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Ten Things That Aren't In The Sermon On The Mount


JosephM
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To All PC's,

 

While looking through a TCPC blog and musings of Jim Burklo who is an honary advisor at our Progressive Christianity .org homepage, I came across this short interesting article/post of his that i think every Progressive Christian might find interesting.

 

 

Jim Burklo is an ordained United Church of Christ pastor who serves as the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California and is an honary advisor to Progressive Christianity.com among other things. Enjoy reading his post by clicking -------------------> HERE

 

Afterwards, feel free to comment here in this thread with your thoughts on his post or make any additional points you think are related.

 

Joseph

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Love it! Jim's musings here should probably be read in every Church in the world, in sync with the Sermon on the Mount!

 

After reading the article, the only thought that stuck in my brain was the 'lust' factor (I wonder if that says something about my character :)).

 

I think lust, in the sense of a person looking at another and holding sexual thoughts, is entirely natural and on it's own is not a concern. Simply put, if we didn't lust after a member of the opposite sex then we wouldn't be able to procreate.

 

I interpret the lust that Jesus was referring to as the lust that then goes on to cause harm. To me this would mean jealousy that eats one up, or desire which causes one then to make bad decisions (such as choosing to lie, or deceive, or even cause harm to another so that they might benefit toward the object of their desire). Should a persons' lust drive them to harmful behaviours (say internet porn addiction) then that's the sort of lust (IMO) that Jesus was saying was not conducive to the Kingdom (although I acknowledge that internet porn wasn't big in Jesus' day).

 

Lust which 'harms' is what I think Jesus would have meant, not just a picture in one's head of what it would be like to have sexual relations with another.

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After looking at this opening post and Paul’s reply for the past three days, I thought I’d post the part from Burklo’s post that Paul is referring to and also that portion of the Sermon on the Mount that it relates to:

 

From Jim Burklo’s post:

Any reference to homosexuality and abortion. The “pelvic issues” Jesus raised in the Sermon on the Mount were limited to male lust for women, heterosexual adultery, and heterosexual divorce and remarriage – all of which he lumped into the same category of sinfulness. Find a heterosexual male who has never lusted for a woman! All heterosexual males are “busted” by this passage, so those in this category would do well to refrain from throwing stones at anybody for perceived lapses in morality.

 

From the Sermon on the Mount:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5-7&version=NIV

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e]28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f]32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

 

One thing I’ve gotta say about Christianity is that it actually gives the male gender some of the responsibility for their own “health” and conduct.

 

A line from My Fair Lady goes as follows: “Being a lady is not about,… (this that and the other thing)… being a lady is about how she (women) is treated.”

 

Paul, I’m thinking what maybe JC is saying that it’s only ok to look at or think about one’s spouse that way,… that way procreation can still exist. :)

 

Does looking at others in a certain way cause them harm, or harm the spirit and/or soul of the one doing this looking? Maybe that’s another post thread / topic.

 

To get off the serious side of this subject I thought I’d post a link to Mr. Burklo’s Sermon on Mount Hollywood:

 

http://tcpc.blogs.com/musings/2014/10/the-sermon-on-mount-hollywood.html

 

Cheers – Good Day – Freedom and Peace

and don't do anything your true self wouldn't do

Edited by Elen1107
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I’ve been wanting to get back to the full scope of the ideas brought up in this threads opening post. However since the subject’s got introduced, I thought I’d add an extra two cents into the one part of the Sermon on the Mount and Burklo’s commentary on it that has been focused on here.

 

29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

 

Is it me or does anyone else think this is a bit much? Is this really Christ talking here,… I’ve got to wonder what the hyper-literalists do with these passages. I got to figure that they can’t be meant literally.

 

I’m reminded of a sermon I once saw on TV. It was being given by one of them big black preachers that just says what he’s got to say with no if ands or buts about it. He was preaching about David and Bathsheba, and more so he seemed to be talking about some of his parishioners. His speech went something like this: “If you know you have problems with this sort of thing,… I you know this is something you don’t manage too well,… What are you doing up on the roof in a city that has no indoor plumbing,.!...” This I can kind of understand, cutting off or gouging out body parts, not so much.

 

Anyways I hope we can get back to the whole set of ideas introduced by the opening post, this one part being focused on enough.

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My understanding of biblical scholarship over the last few hundred years is that the term Hell has been translated from the oldest surviving texts from a number of words including Sheol and Gehenna. Gehenna was a very real place in Jesus' day which I understand was like the town tip. It was perpetually on fire or smouldering to diminish the waste that was put there. This waste included the bodies of people considered unworthy of appropriate burial/entombment, people such as criminals and enemies. Maybe we could call them the 'lowest of the low', at least I think that is how they may have been viewed by society then.

 

Without checking my facts, I think this verse incorrectly translates Gehenna into Hell. If Jesus was referring to Gehenna then I think I could imagine a Jesus message like these verses:

 

"It is better to lose a part of your body than be misled into a life of wickedness and misery which only repays you with isolation and despair and results in you being chucked onto the smouldering dump heap of Hell (Gehenna) because you don't have anybody who loves or cares for you because of who you became".

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Paul, I definitely like your understanding of this passage better than a literalistic interpretation of it. It definitively makes more sense and puts it into some kind of context.

 

Can I ask where you got the understanding that Gehenna was a real place on edge of town? I haven’t heard this one before and wonder who or where the translation or the information comes from.

 

I guess the other thing that bothers me about the passage is that it states one can only divorce in a case of “sexual immorality”. What if one’s spouse comes at them with a butchers knife on a regular basis, or serves up poisoned rat for dinner, or some of the other really sick things that we sometimes have to hear about. I could understand if it said “extreme immorality” or “excessive immorality”, but just leaving it at “sexual immorality” seems to leave the passage more than a bit hollow. I can’t imagine having to tell anyone that they have to put up with and live with that sort of thing for the rest of their life. That to me seems like a crime and a sin in its own right, even worse than sexual immorality, which yeah, is not alright.

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Paul, I definitely like your understanding of this passage better than a literalistic interpretation of it. It definitively makes more sense and puts it into some kind of context.

 

Can I ask where you got the understanding that Gehenna was a real place on edge of town? I haven’t heard this one before and wonder who or where the translation or the information comes from.

 

I guess the other thing that bothers me about the passage is that it states one can only divorce in a case of “sexual immorality”. What if one’s spouse comes at them with a butchers knife on a regular basis, or serves up poisoned rat for dinner, or some of the other really sick things that we sometimes have to hear about. I could understand if it said “extreme immorality” or “excessive immorality”, but just leaving it at “sexual immorality” seems to leave the passage more than a bit hollow. I can’t imagine having to tell anyone that they have to put up with and live with that sort of thing for the rest of their life. That to me seems like a crime and a sin in its own right, even worse than sexual immorality, which yeah, is not alright.

 

Elen,

 

I have briefly reviewed some literature and it seems certain that the English word hell was used to replace Gehenna in this text.

 

Furthermore, Gehenna is cited in the OT as the Valley of Hinnon and a place where evil sacrifice was made to the God Malek, possibly child sacrifice.

 

Jewish folklore associated Gehenna with fire and as a place of despair. Perhaps this is where the Hell myth grows from.

 

I now see that there is some debate about whether Gehenna as a town tip did actually exist or not. I don't think it is dispute that it is/was a place near Jerusalem's southern wall, but it's actual purpose in Jesus' day is debated. Perhaps it was a tip, perhaps it was a place associated with misery and despair, perhaps Jesus meant it was a place of eternal damnation with no chance for redemption (however that last doesn't seem to fit Jesus' character in my opinion).

 

In relation to divorce, I think the bureaucrats might have hijacked Jesus' message! To me it reads as way to vague to mean anything in particular and perhaps Jesus was just saying divorce is okay in a loveless marriage.

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Thanks Paul,

Maybe I can do some research on the subject myself.

One has got to wonder how much has been hijacked and by whom.

I think that's just why I go with the spirit, the words get too weird and wound up.

Peace Love and Freedom to You and Yours

Elen

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