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What is the "Word of God"?


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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

Gee, its a tough crowd that want so much out of a verse.  I guess the question goes to you Thormas then - how does the Golden Rule (please stick to the sentence that is the Golden Rule) express more than the human ethos of treating others how you want to be treated?  Or don't - it just seems you were excited about Ben Harper's words not matching the Golden Rule too, but I'm not sure how you or Burl could read so much more into the Golden Rule, as it stands, than Harper's words.  

Not the verse........... the interpretation :+}

The rule does express an ethos, specifically the way to be in preparation for the coming Kingdom of God. Where I part company is your interpretation which, as I think Burl gets to, is, in places, the least not the most one can do. 

I get that you have put it in your words but the golden rule of Jesus isn't telling us to take a chill pill or that nobody has the answers. Actually, for Jesus, an apocalyptic prophet time is short: there is no time to chill and he is giving an (the) answer - additionally he has been arguing with others and he certainly thinks they are wrong and he has the answer).  Jesus didn't 'get along' or 'respect the differences' he was hearing and seeing. Perhaps you should have stopped with love one another for this is the essence of the golden rule.

The Golden Rule (do to others what you would have them do to you) is the same as the 2nd of the great commandments (thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself). I get that Ben sums it up for you, and I agree with part of what you 'hear" from Jesus - just not all of it. Ben's words might make people think they don't have to take action in a certain way but Jesus' words called for a very specific action: love, do .........and such action is seen in the stories about him: he doesn't chill, he doesn't just get along, he loves.

 

 

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On 7/23/2020 at 4:35 AM, Elen1107 said:

I've been looking at the verses that you posted. You weren't saying that they were the 'same' as the Golden Rule, you were saying that they were as "pure". To me this means they are of good value. Also the song doesn't say "do nothing" whatsoever whenever, what it says is if someone is doing "no harm" then that shouldn't "bother" anyone.

You've nailed it, Elen!

On 7/23/2020 at 4:35 AM, Elen1107 said:

So you've found a bit of the word of God in part of a Ben Harper song. I can apricate and have a smile about that. 🙂 

Precisely.  And I'm glad you can appreciate it and even have a smile to boot - a bonus!

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On 7/23/2020 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

Not the verse........... the interpretation :+}

The rule does express an ethos, specifically the way to be in preparation for the coming Kingdom of God. Where I part company is your interpretation which, as I think Burl gets to, is, in places, the least not the most one can do. 

I get that you have put it in your words but the golden rule of Jesus isn't telling us to take a chill pill or that nobody has the answers. Actually, for Jesus, an apocalyptic prophet time is short: there is no time to chill and he is giving an (the) answer - additionally he has been arguing with others and he certainly thinks they are wrong and he has the answer).  Jesus didn't 'get along' or 'respect the differences' he was hearing and seeing. Perhaps you should have stopped with love one another for this is the essence of the golden rule.

The Golden Rule (do to others what you would have them do to you) is the same as the 2nd of the great commandments (thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself). I get that Ben sums it up for you, and I agree with part of what you 'hear" from Jesus - just not all of it. but Jesus' words called for a very specific action: love, do .........and such action is seen in the stories about him: he doesn't chill, he doesn't just get along, he loves.

 

 

My point is that the Golden Rule rule itself is one sentence (Matthew 7:12) which doesn't say any of the things you are saying.  You draw those conclusion (not all of them necessarily incorrectly) because of other material.  So similarly for me, I don't hang my hat on this single verse from Harper to provide me 'the' interpretation -  it's an inspiration, not a command, just like the Golden Rule. 

Taking Ben's words in mind, if thinking all those things about the Golden Rule offer you inspiration, then you're alright with me as long as you aren't causing any harm.

Peace & goodwill.

 

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11 minutes ago, PaulS said:

My point is that the Golden Rule rule itself is one sentence (Matthew 7:12) which doesn't say any of the things you are saying.  You draw those conclusion (not all of them necessarily incorrectly) because of other material.  So similarly for me, I don't hang my hat on this single verse from Harper to provide me 'the' interpretation -  it's an inspiration, not a command, just like the Golden Rule. 

Taking Ben's words in mind, if thinking all those things about the Golden Rule offer you inspiration, then you're alright with me as long as you aren't causing any harm.

One sentence within a context ..............I referred to both :+}

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On 7/22/2020 at 5:27 PM, thormas said:

We disagree on one-to-one contact with God (although I do believe one can have a personal relationship with God) as I simply don't think God works that way or is exclusive if indeed the rain falls on all. And I do think one can 'know' God (depending on what is meant by know).

 

I certainly don't think that God is "exclusive". I have wondered if some of us get enough or plenty of water from other people, then they are less likely to notice the "rain" when it does fall on them directly. Or perhaps they are less need of the "rain" so they don't need to seek it as much. For other people this is not so. The direct rain is all they get, and so the notice it and love it and are determined to drink it up and keep finding this source.

Perhaps what is most important here is that everyone can get the water, whether it comes from an through other people, or direct from the sky, it is still God's water of life.

On 7/22/2020 at 5:27 PM, thormas said:

As for the Bible, it depends on how one interprets it: for me the songs, hymns and many of the verses are not to be taken literally. I agree that Jesus 'knew' God, addressed God as Abba and spoke to God (prayer) but I also believe that Jesus stood on the shoulders of his fellow Jews (and his parents) and came to know God through them which resulted in a unique understanding/insight that the man Jesus developed or grew into. I don't accept that God miraculously came to Jesus in a way that was different than how he comes to us all. I do believe that Jesus was unique in his insights on what had already existed: the Jewish relationship/covenant with God and the Law.

 

I tend to like the idea that Jesus had an education, not only in Jewish circles but all over the known world. There have been some books on this subject in the past century. There's even a YouTube video that covers parts of this. There were many educational centers and religious/spiritual traditions existing at the time. They say that a sign of a good manager is that they are able to sort the wheat from the shaft so to speak, concerning good ideas and not so good ideas. I'm thinking with Jesus there might well have been more to it than that, but the concept still applies.

I think that I myself tend to believe in both. That he both had an education and as you say "stood on the shoulders" of others, as well as had something very special and insightful and directly God given to him.

On 7/22/2020 at 5:27 PM, thormas said:

I think the contact is both: God in man. I think the only difference is due to luck/happenstance: the good or bad fortune of the parents/family/community you are born into and/or the good or bad fortune of others significant influences in/throughout one's life. Thus, we carry an awesome responsibility and we are essential, we are the co-creators and if we don't do it................? We are the 2nd coming and the (present) body of the Christ.

 

I really like the verses that say "the kingdom of heaven is within us" and "it comes in a way that cannot be seen" and "it is scattered among us and [some] people do not see it". I think that this may well be the same as and pertain to the 2nd coming as well. Perhaps someday all people will "see it", but maybe not today, and maybe not totally in our lifetimes.

-------------

This is the 3rd time in like the past week that I've run out of the comments I can make, while we've been in the middle of a dialogue. Sorry about that.

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

You've nailed it, Elen!

 

Well thanks for saying so! 🙂 

I'm thinking that in addition the song is saying, 'If I'm doing no harm, it shouldn't bother you'. Like wise, 'If you're doing no harm, it shouldn't bother me". So in a sense it is like the Golden Rule, saying that this goes both ways.  You don't get bothered by what I'm doing that doesn't do any harm, which is how I would like to be treated. Likewise, I'll treat you how I want to be treated, and not get bothered when you are doing something that doesn't do any harm. :-) 

1 hour ago, PaulS said:

Precisely.  And I'm glad you can appreciate it and even have a smile to boot - a bonus!

I'm thinking that it will be one of those things that I'll remember for quite some time. Like for a decade or something, it's like that special. It will stick with me for a while.

------------------------------

Lately I've been thinking that a/the word of God could be thought of as just one word,... Care

Just that: ... Care

Care about yourself

Care about others

Care about what you are doing

Care about your relationship and understanding of God

etc.

Just ... Care

 

Thanks for reading

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

One sentence within a context ..............I referred to both :+}

I think you're still missing my point.  If you don't apply any context to Harper's verse then indeed one could hold the narrow view that it’s a bit sad because it says that the rock bottom humanist ethos is sufficient.  The context that I apply, doesn't say that to me (and possibly others).  The context you apply to the Golden Rule makes it say what it says to you.  All power to you whatever that may be, as long as you cause no harm, in my opinion.

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40 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:
I'm thinking that in addition the song is saying, 'If I'm doing no harm, it shouldn't bother you'. Like wise, 'If you're doing no harm, it shouldn't bother me". So in a sense it is like the Golden Rule, saying that this goes both ways.  You don't get bothered by what I'm doing that doesn't do any harm, which is how I would like to be treated. Likewise, I'll treat you how I want to be treated, and not get bothered when you are doing something that doesn't do any harm. 🙂

Sounds sound to me! :)

40 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I'm thinking that it will be one of those things that I'll remember for quite some time. Like for a decade or something, it's like that special. It will stick with me for a while.

Nice!

40 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Lately I've been thinking that a/the word of God could be thought of as just one word,... Care

Just that: ... Care

Care about yourself

Care about others

Care about what you are doing

Care about your relationship and understanding of God

etc.

Just ... Care

Perhaps you have just summed up the Law and the Prophets! :)

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12 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I certainly don't think that God is "exclusive". I have wondered if some of us get enough or plenty of water from other people, then they are less likely to notice the "rain" when it does fall on them directly. Or perhaps they are less need of the "rain" so they don't need to seek it as much. For other people this is not so. The direct rain is all they get, and so the notice it and love it and are determined to drink it up and keep finding this source.

Perhaps what is most important here is that everyone can get the water, whether it comes from an through other people, or direct from the sky, it is still God's water of life.

 

My take is that if there is one-to-one contact from and between God a a particular human being - that is exclusive. Plus this seems to posit a concept of a traditional theistic God - something that progressives are discounting as they speak of the Real in different ways.

 

12 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I tend to like the idea that Jesus had an education, not only in Jewish circles but all over the known world. There have been some books on this subject in the past century. There's even a YouTube video that covers parts of this. There were many educational centers and religious/spiritual traditions existing at the time. They say that a sign of a good manager is that they are able to sort the wheat from the shaft so to speak, concerning good ideas and not so good ideas. I'm thinking with Jesus there might well have been more to it than that, but the concept still applies.

I think that I myself tend to believe in both. That he both had an education and as you say "stood on the shoulders" of others, as well as had something very special and insightful and directly God given to him.

I have heard both the world education take for Jesus and that he was an Essene however the best scholarship does not support either claim.

When I say he 'stood on the shoulders of others' I did not mean he did not receive an education that would have been typical for that time. 

13 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I think that this may well be the same as and pertain to the 2nd coming as well. Perhaps someday all people will "see it", but maybe not today, and maybe not totally in our lifetimes.

Agreed

 

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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think you're still missing my point.  If you don't apply any context to Harper's verse then indeed one could hold the narrow view that it’s a bit sad because it says that the rock bottom humanist ethos is sufficient.  The context that I apply, doesn't say that to me (and possibly others).  The context you apply to the Golden Rule makes it say what it says to you.  All power to you whatever that may be, as long as you cause no harm, in my opinion.

I don't think I ever commented on it being sad and that's not what I liked about Burl's comment - sad or not was not important to me.

Just as you read Harper within a context so too do I read the Rule within a context that is presented in the gospels. 

I did not 'apply' a context to the Rule but rather accepted the context that is in the gospels and elaborated on by the best biblical scholars, to include Ehrman, Allison, Fredriksen, etc.

 

Causing no harm is a start but the Rule, i.e. actively doing to the other, is a much more.

 

 

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3 hours ago, thormas said:

My take is that if there is one-to-one contact from and between God a a particular human being - that is exclusive. Plus this seems to posit a concept of a traditional theistic God - something that progressives are discounting as they speak of the Real in different ways.

 

It's not "exclusive" if God does or will do this for anyone and everyone.

I disagree with you, it is not at all what people in PC call the "theistic" god. In fact it is quite the opposite and another thing entirely. It's a universal understanding of God that places Em everywhere and everywhere, including in our understandings and insight and in our inner minds.

3 hours ago, thormas said:

I have heard both the world education take for Jesus and that he was an Essene however the best scholarship does not support either claim.

When I say he 'stood on the shoulders of others' I did not mean he did not receive an education that would have been typical for that time. 

Your first sentence I think I disagree with. I think that some very good scholarship does support the idea that Christ may have had an education that stretched across the known world. Perhaps even further, after all he's Christ.

Concerning your second sentence, I didn't take what you said as meaning that. I'm just stating that his education could have gone even further than that. 

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6 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

It's not "exclusive" if God does or will do this for anyone and everyone.

I disagree with you, it is not at all what people in PC call the "theistic" god. In fact it is quite the opposite and another thing entirely. It's a universal understanding of God that places Em everywhere and everywhere, including in our understandings and insight and in our inner minds.

Your first sentence I think I disagree with. I think that some very good scholarship does support the idea that Christ may have had an education that stretched across the known world. Perhaps even further, after all he's Christ.

Concerning your second sentence, I didn't take what you said as meaning that. I'm just stating that his education could have gone even further than that. 

The construction of Jesus’ parables is not Jewish but similar to Sufi teaching stories, so there certainly other non-Jewish influences.

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1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

t's not "exclusive" if God does or will do this for anyone and everyone.

I disagree with you, it is not at all what people in PC call the "theistic" god. In fact it is quite the opposite and another thing entirely. It's a universal understanding of God that places Em everywhere and everywhere, including in our understandings and insight and in our inner minds.

Agreed then it is not exclusive, however I still don't buy one-on-one contact. However if God does it for Jesus (only) that would be exclusive.

The idea of a God who has 1-on1 contact is more theistic than non-theistic. 

1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

I think that some very good scholarship does support the idea that Christ may have had an education that stretched across the known world. Perhaps even further, after all he's Christ.

What scholarship?

1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

'm just stating that his education could have gone even further than that. 

I just haven't found critical scholars who buy into Jesus having the broad education that you suggest. And to say that "after all he's Christ" seems to suggest that he is different than the rest of us and different than the Jews of his day........and again seems like traditional theism (which is fine, I simply disagree with it and it seems to be at odds with PC).

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10 hours ago, thormas said:

I don't think I ever commented on it being sad and that's not what I liked about Burl's comment - sad or not was not important to me.

Just as you read Harper within a context so too do I read the Rule within a context that is presented in the gospels. 

I did not 'apply' a context to the Rule but rather accepted the context that is in the gospels and elaborated on by the best biblical scholars, to include Ehrman, Allison, Fredriksen, etc.

Causing no harm is a start but the Rule, i.e. actively doing to the other, is a much more.

 On 7/22/2020 at 9:00 PM, Burl said:

The reason it’s a bit sad is because it says that the rock bottom humanist ethos is sufficient.  

Great point!

 

You seemed to agree it was sad.  But anyway...

We are now agreeing about context, largely.  I was simply saying that the saying itself (i.e. the Golden Rule - Matthew 7:12) does not provide a lot of context to go on, much as Harper's verse alone may be sad to Burl because he thinks it only says one thing.  The Golden Rule simply does not stipulate that it is about actively doing to the other, but rather that is the context with which we interpret it because of so much more attributed to Jesus (not necessarily in that chapter).

The context which we apply to the individual sayings is what gives them meaning or inspire us.

I'm not arguing that one saying is better than the other (although you and Burl seem to be).  I'm simply saying that for me Harper's verse is just as meaningful as the Golden Rule.  Harper's verse speaks to me because of the context I understand it to be in.  The Golden Rule too speaks to me because of the context I understand it within.  But it is us that applies the contexts - neither saying stipulates those things.

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11 hours ago, PaulS said:

 

As said, "that's not what I liked about Burl's comment - sad or not was not important to me."  My comment was agreement that 'do no harm' was, as Burl said, "rock bottom humanist ethos."  

 

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20 hours ago, Burl said:

The construction of Jesus’ parables is not Jewish but similar to Sufi teaching stories, so there certainly other non-Jewish influences.

Also the content of what he was saying is often similar to other spiritual, wisdom and university traditions.

I'm thinking that Sufism came some 600 years after Christ, so if there was some borrowing done here, it was probably the other way around.

Jesus did something between the ages of 13 and 30. That's 17 years. It's also the years that most of us get what we call a higher education. Thinking of him just doing some kind of regular manual type work somehow doesn't quite fit, not that there's anything wrong with that kind of work.

I've read a few books on the subject, wish to no end that I could remember the authors and titles, they were all library books.

I think that the 'content' argument is a good and compelling argument. Myself I put more weight into the 'content' of an idea or a saying than whether the person who said it had a PHD or something.

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8 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Jesus did something between the ages of 13 and 30. That's 17 years. It's also the years that most of us get what we call a higher education. Thinking of him just doing some kind of regular manual type work somehow doesn't quite fit, not that there's anything wrong with that kind of work.

Doesn't quite fit what, the careful research by scholars into life and education in 1st C Palestine or a more modern take on education, including higher education?

The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ by Nicolas Notovitch (1894) about Jesus in India during his teenage years was exposed as a fraud (Ehrman's blog).  

It is not that one has a PhD or something but whether they have the expertise and experience to know what they're talking about. One could have been impressed by the content of Notovitch's 'Unknown Life" but they would have been he victim of an elaborate hoax. The content was a false!

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19 hours ago, thormas said:

Agreed then it is not exclusive, however I still don't buy one-on-one contact. However if God does it for Jesus (only) that would be exclusive.

The idea of a God who has 1-on1 contact is more theistic than non-theistic. 

I totally disagree with you that "a God who has 1-on1 contact is more theistic than non-theistic." What I understand to be the "theistic god" from John Shelby Spong's writings and lectures is that this is a god who lives in the sky like a supernatural daddy or something. Not a God whose spirit and presence can be felt in our hearts and minds and souls and who gives us insights through these same means.

I don't mean to sound negative or too blunt, but you sound a bit like someone who thinks that food can only come from the supermarkets, (through middle people and persons), and that people can never ever no matter what, grow or gather their own food or fetch their own water. Both ways are equally doable, it's just that one might take a bit more or a different kind of personal effort or be a good bit more unfamiliar.

19 hours ago, thormas said:

What scholarship?

I wish I could remember the titles and authors of some of the books I've read. I've even thought of driving some 200+ miles to the library I used to frequent just to get the info. 

There is the book, 'Jesus the Lost Years', by Ronald Rayner and, 'Jesus in Cornwall' by the same author, but there are other books as well.

Doing a google search on this subject there is a lot that comes up. It would take some real time to sort through and sort out.

19 hours ago, thormas said:

I just haven't found critical scholars who buy into Jesus having the broad education that you suggest. And to say that "after all he's Christ" seems to suggest that he is different than the rest of us and different than the Jews of his day........and again seems like traditional theism (which is fine, I simply disagree with it and it seems to be at odds with PC).

One thing that stands out for me is that the 'content' of what Jesus taught and preach is often very similar to the 'content' put forth in other traditions. There's been a lot said and written about this in the past few decades. How much of it was by "critical scholars" I don't know, but I'm sure there are some. I'm afraid I've been studying this for my own education, because I'm very much interested in it, and not so I could collect the information and pass it on to others. In fact I haven't thought about that at all, so I haven't kept a bibliography or a source listing of I've gotten the information. I'm just looking for the good and enlightening ideas and not caring too much who wrote them or where they come from. If a good idea comes from a 5 year old or a 95 year old, it's pretty much all the same to me.

Yeah, I think that Christ is different than the rest of us. How much and to what degrees is another question. I think that he was most probably the first person, the first human being, to become fully eternal. I think that he is the Christ, the savior of the whole world and humanity. Yeah this is different from the rest of us and from the Jews of his day.

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43 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I totally disagree with you that "a God who has 1-on1 contact is more theistic than non-theistic."

Well, we disagree. Spong has moved very far from a theistic God but I would have to go back and check if he comments about 1-on-1 contact. 

It is that theistic God in the sky who intercedes or 'breaks in' to our natural world and those actions are called miracles. If you consider the development of ordinary human beings, I'm simply saying that 1-on-1 contact is such an in-breaking, a miracle .........and that seems at odds with a much broader, un-theistic, notion of God.

I think I'm actually being a bit more 'radical' than you as as I'm agreeing about the ever-presence or immanence of God in creation and that his modus operandi is not 1-on-1s (which given the reposts of human beings are very limited, i.e. exclusive) but a continual active presence as the Word which speaks/calls through our words and the Spirit/Love who loves in and through our love - and these are universal, constant and necessary. Without God, we cannot grow to become fully Human: God is essential. And this Presence is for all, given to all and it does not depend on our religious beliefs: the Word always Calls, the Love always give the courage to (respond and) be. Sure it can be 'felt in our hearts, minds and souls' but that is because it is first given (Grace) in and through creation and most powerfully in and through human beings (the image). The contact is others and then, I agree, that one can feel or reflect on what is given and have a 'personal relationship' with God.

Given your analogy, I'm a person who says that food is given in and through creation and human effort first and only then can we receive it 1-on-1 (or curbside) from the market.

 

 

Took a brief look at Rayner and it sounds 'out there.' As an example Joseph of Arimathea is the uncle of Jesus? Yet some scholars question the very existence of this man. However I will look at him some more.

 

43 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

One thing that stands out for me is that the 'content' of what Jesus taught and preach is often very similar to the 'content' put forth in other traditions.

Not sure if this is surprising but it does not suggest world wide travel by Jesus to India, China or England. 

43 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Yeah, I think that Christ is different than the rest of us. How much and to what degrees is another question. I think that he was most probably the first person, the first human being, to become fully eternal. I think that he is the Christ, the savior of the whole world and humanity. Yeah this is different from the rest of us and from the Jews of his day.

Here again we differ (which obviously is fine) in that I think the real glory is that he is man, he is human just like we are but he is one who (again not alone but in his tradition and on the shoulders of those before him) opens himself to Abba and says, "your Way"  and he becomes the Image of the Father,, the image and likeness of Love, even unto death. And after his death, his earliest followers see him (not as God) but as one exalted by God to be Lord.

Only if he was like us 'in all ways' is he relevant: what he is, we are called to be.

I do agree he is different in 'degree' but not in kind. He is not God who became man but man who 'became God' because of the degree of his love.

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34 minutes ago, thormas said:

Well, we disagree. Spong has moved very far from a theistic God but I would have to go back and check if he comments about 1-on-1 contact. 

It is that theistic God in the sky who intercedes or 'breaks in' to our natural world and those actions are called miracles. If you consider the development of ordinary human beings, I'm simply saying that 1-on-1 contact is such an in-breaking, a miracle .........and that seems at odds with a much broader, un-theistic, notion of God.

I think we will have to agree to disagree.

I personally find it amazing, the way you write and often look at things, that you haven't experienced this yourself. That you haven't felt God inside you, haven't experienced Es Grace and Presence. This without anything intermediary, other people, books, teachers, art, landscapes, what have you.

I don't find it "theistic" at all, at least not the way Spong uses the word. As I've said before, I find it in fact completely the opposite. 

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36 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I personally find it amazing, the way you write and often look at things, that you haven't experienced this yourself. That you haven't felt God inside you, haven't experienced Es Grace and Presence. This without anything intermediary, other people, books, teachers, art, landscapes, what have you.

I never said I didn't.

I am just discussing how I have come to believe (after years of reading, teaching, lectures, discussions, reflection, etc.) God 'operates' in the world.

God does not come, God cannot 'get to us' unless he is borne/embodied by others (and creation). Thus we carry an awesome responsibility to Love and Call others to Life.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, thormas said:

God does not come, God cannot 'get to us' unless he is borne/embodied by others (and creation). Thus we carry an awesome responsibility to Love and Call others to Life.

 

Well, we will have to agree to disagree.

I used to work with people who were abused as children. Some of these people have stated quite plainly that they have had to find and have found a positive understanding of God and a feeling of God's presence within them and in their live, all on their own.

If they were given any understanding of god from their parents or community, it was a very awful, distorted one.

A hermit or a monk living and working alone can have this kind of understanding. Someone who just lives alone and thinks about this kind of thing can develop this kind of experience and understanding of God. 

Thanks for reading

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4 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I used to work with people who were abused as children. Some of these people have stated quite plainly that they have had to find and have found a positive understanding of God and a feeling of God's presence within them and in their live, all on their own.

And how did they get that off the wind or from people like you (Christ-bearers) or others before you who helped in that positive understanding - sometimes just by your presence (which also carried a greater Presence)?

You and others like you presented a new and different community - you were community also.

Most hermits were first 'of the world' so bring something with them to their cave to think on.

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5 minutes ago, thormas said:

And how did they get that off the wind or from people like you (Christ-bearers) or others before you who helped in that positive understanding - sometimes just by your presence (which also carried a greater Presence)?

 

Actually from withdrawing and thinking, and internal searching,  and meditating. Maybe with some given words like "knock and you shall find", but not much else.

A lot of the recovery happened without someone else, including myself. They were just there to talk about it. 

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