Jump to content

Picking And Chosing


tariki
 Share

Recommended Posts

I would just like to begin a thread on the noble art of "picking and choosing"......... :D

 

Such a stance comes in for a lot of criticism from some quarters yet maybe should not draw down upon itself such a negative attitude.

 

As a starter, here is a "cut and paste" from another forum where the subject was raised and I posted this.......

 

......... as far as "picking and choosing" from the Bible, from my own reading and study of Biblical scholarship it becomes apparent that the fundamental error is not recognising the cultural and time conditioned nature of the Biblical text. Scholars such as Bart Ehrman - with what to me at least is a host of uncontroversial detail and indisputable facts - show that the nascent Christian movement/witness produced a whole host of Gospels and letters/epistles that addressed issues facing particular groups. The canonical gospels each present a different perspective on Jesus, perspectives that are irreconcilable. The various Letters (of St Paul and others) are not capable of intelligent reconciliation as far as any particular overall "theology" is concerned. As I see it, the whole basic Protestant stance of seeing the NT as one "whole" that presents just one theology of salvation is wrong. It is Christ as Living Word, not inerrant Book, that saves.

So, as I see it, one can do nothing else but "pick and choose", first because we are each unique individuals with our own relationship with he Divine, and second, to think that NOT to do so results in our finding just one message throughout the NT that offers no contradictions is misguided. Sadly, it seems that many still approach the Bible as "the word of God", inerrant, and insist that their own particular way of reconciling each and every word creates the "true faith".

 

 

(End of cut and paste)

 

Anyway, over to others here who may be interested.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No argument from me, I couldn't agree more.

 

To me, not recognising that the NT comprises of different views, opinions and theologies from within different times and socio-political contexts, has been the greatest disservice to Jesus and his message.

 

To try and reconcile the contradictory views is to perform illogical and embarrassing mental gymnastics. Apologetics should be about apologising for ridiculous mind warping!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the above post. The parts of the Bible we choose to develop our unit consciousness is just a method to expand our awareness and a way to obtain a greater knowledge of truth. The path does not give us power, the passages we choose do not give us power, only the spiritual awareness of God gives us knowlege so the goal of our work is to develop our spiritual consciousness and not just to acquire more truth. I feel we Christians need to expand our reading to science, history, and holy scriptures from many disciplines to broaden our awareness and not narrow it as some ministers suggest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I certainly agree with what has been said. I’m never quite sure what Christians really mean when they speak of “salvation theology”. My impression is that most are talking about escape from the human condition to an easier, friendlier existence. If this is the case, individually none of us have to wait very long to change realms of existence. That’s already a done deal.

 

In John 10, Jesus said that he came so that we might have life more abundantly. If I were picking and choosing, I think I’d want to start right there.

 

Peace.

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the various responses. It seems I am speaking to the converted,,,,,,, :)

 

As I see it there was the event, a life. Then we have the beginning of people responded to that life. Each gospel (canonical or otherwise) represents one particular way of seeing and understanding that life.

 

We each must make our own........."who do you say that I am?"

 

Those who seek to amalgamate the various gospel accounts and create a composite picture, claiming that such was what "really happened" thus miss the point entirely.

 

Ehrman gives a very good example of this by speaking of the "seven words from the cross". He shows how each particular Gospel has its own way of understanding Christ by its own "words from the cross". He sums up by stating that those who seek to string all seven sayings together and think that such was what "really happened" and was actually said just end up with a meaningless string of sayings that in fact can mean little of significance to anyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

In my own personal experience paradox is something that cannot be understood or resolved, but transcended. All the contradictions in the gospels reveal, to me, the character of Jesus, which can only be understood - and not fully - only if faith and reason are balanced and practice is evident. Has anyone read Be Here Now by Ram Dass? If not I recommend it. I for one approach the many hard to understand passages in the gospels with some humility toward Spirit (God or whatever you want to call it) as manifested in Jesus. This requires from me some faith in the veracity of Spirit. Faith for me is the twin of doubt. I need both. The Progressive hermeneutics (and there are many) work best for me. I for one can appreciate the insights and shortcomings of orthodox theology to build of a progressive faith. I have to forgive their trespasses as I expect others to forgive mine. Hope they do anyway.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Forum Matt.

 

I'd agree that any text is never fully understood. Historically, in institutionalised religion, it often seems that texts are read according to a particular tradition, or point of view, and the ultimate temptation is to enforce such and thereby marginalise others - a point made by Karen Armstrong in her fine book "The Case for God".Thus the text is read, not as you suggest, in "humility toward spirit", but with what can only be called blindness towards the spirit that will blow where it will.

 

Just to add a small quote from the book mentioned which seems relevant here......

 

"Ezra had not swallowed the text gullibly but had 'set his heart to investigate (li-drosh) it. Jewish exegesis would be called midrash, which derives from the verb darash; 'to search', 'to investigate', 'to go in pursuit of' something as yet undiscovered.

 

Anyway, welcome again....and if you wish, please introduce yourself in the "Water Cooler", "Members Introductions".

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"'set his heart to investigate (li-drosh) it." In my own personal experience, and that is all I can say about anything, this is the same as humility. I am not making any statements that anyone else should follow. Just my opinion. I have found in my growing faith that without humility, I might as well not even bother. This is the only way I have found to leave myself vulnerable to others I would rather have nothing to do with. The same for the mystery of God and the Christ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I so agree. I have had Christians quote half a verse from one gospel and add it to something Paul said, and its like they are rewriting it themselves. Many think it just fell from the sky as one book and that God himself wrote it.

Edited by Luvtosew
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had Christians quote half a verse from one gospel and add it to something Paul said...........

 

For me this all revolves around theologies of salvation where the verse "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" becomes the foundation stone to "You must be born again", then "repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" is added, and then "Whoever believes wll be saved but whoever does not believe will be condemned", finally "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven" is thrown into the mix..........and hey presto! The job is done!

 

As Thomas Merton has written........

 

The reification of faith. Real meaning of the phrase we are saved by faith = we are saved by Christ, whom we encounter in faith. But constant disputation about faith has made Christians become obsessed with faith almost as an object, at least as an experience, a "thing" and in concentrating upon it they lose sight of Christ. Whereas faith without the encounter with Christ and without His presence is less than nothing. It is the deadest of dead works, an act elicited in a moral and existential void. To seek to believe that one believes, and arbitrarily to decree that one believes, and then to conclude that this gymnastic has been blessed by Christ - this is pathological Christianity. And a Christianity of works. One has this mental gymnastic in which to trust. One is safe, one possesses the psychic key to salvation......

 

The key words are the "presence of Christ". The beauty of these words are that they cannot be pinned down, no parameters can be set to them. Christ surprised many (Parable of the Sheep and the Goats) when revealing that they had within them the presence of Christ, and had in fact been loving Christ, yet had never known)

 

My own understanding is that a "true prophet" ( as Christ indicated ) is known by their fruits, and St Paul speaks of those fruits.....love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. St Paul also speaks of a reality that can be spoken of as "Not I, but Christ lives in me." Just how Christ comes to live in us is for me beyond our knowing and perhaps even beyond our control. My own Pure Land Buddhist path has it that....

 

Faith does not arise within oneself

The entrusting heart is itself

Given by the Other Power.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess as a universalist there is really nothing to be done. No one is saved because there is no need for salvation. Everyone doesn't south pick and choose as realize the truth as they are capable of doing so at the point they are at in their karmic journey. God is in all and all is in God. No need to judge anyone, then because all that is, as the Hindus and Buddhists call it, maya or illusion - as fun as maya can be. I get the hermeneutics that various denominations employ and listen to then with love and humility and without derision. I understand what infallibility and inerrancy mean when it comes to scripture and cannot believe that anything written by humans is without error. Saying that the crack (humanity) through which the light (god) shines through is the only way the light can get in insufficient as it is to illuminate all the darkness. All that can done is giving love, joy, gratitude, forebearance, compassion, and patience to all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service