Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jewish Rapper Knows Jesus

Well, it's actually pretty good. Check out 50 SHEKEL. Lyrically it's quite scripturally based, which makes a change from all the pop stuff that's coming out. His story is basically one of having been a Jew, and then watching the Passion and getting to know Jesus, and now he raps about Jesus from the Jewish scriptures. Make sure you check out the....

Jesus or Jesus?

O r J e s u s ?
With all the various scholars writing about Jesus, and thus the varied and many portraits of Jesus being produced, students often struggle to know which Jesus they must follow. I've heard it asked many times. Once during a lecture with Jimmy Dunn a student stood up desperate: "Can you help us Professor Dunn, we're a bit lost as to which Jesus of scholarship we should be following in our Churches." I sat back in amazement at the question. Churches should follow the biblical Jesus, I thought to myself. The one revealed in scripture. That's who Churches should follow! But this is too naive and misses the point and force of the question.
Michael Bird has a good insight about The Big Tent Revival Jesus and The California Jesus. Of course the critiques are short and incomplete but the point they raise is necessary. There are some sloppy views of Jesus out there, and we must bring them back into line. This is not to suggest that a fundamentalist agenda be adopted but it is to suggest that once the evidence is appropriately assessed and weighed, theories should give way to conclusions and the church should move forward. I am convinced that George Caird hit the nail square on the head when he penned Jesus and the Jewish Nation where it states right at the beginning:

Anyone who believes that in the life and teaching of Christ, God has given a unique revelation of his character and purpose is committed by this belief, whether he likes it or not, whether he admits it or not, to the quest of the historical Jesus. Without the Jesus of history the Christ of faith is merely a docetic figure, a figment of pious imagination. The Christian religion claims to be founded on historic fact, on events which happened sub Pontio Pilato; and having appealed to history, by history it must be justified.[1]

Listen carefully to these words. They will save us much confusion and prejudice. But alas, having appealed to history, scholars still present a variety of views that leave us dazed and confused as students trying to find and follow Jesus in a post-modern world. Is there any hope? Tom Wright thinks there is, and I concur! His article, The Historical Jesus & Christian Theology has been a welcome correction to much superficial and unhelpful research into Jesus of Nazareth. Although this is the narrow path, the harder road of painful and careful historical research within the boundaries of the worldview of 2nd Temple Judaism and how it then relates to the Imperial worldview and then how Jesus either agree with parts, didn't agree with other parts or how he somehow agreed yet challenged other aspects of its various outworkings. This is the task at hand. If not, then Scot McKnight may be right in his assessment:

As I perceive the theological scene today, we have far too many who want to agree that in Jesus Christ, that is, in history, God has acted definitively for the salvation of all people, far too many who think we do have a faith in history, but who for various reasons are unwilling to subject history to a careful examination because it might tip their boat of faith. I am contending that such people believe in faith, not in Jesus, not in what God did for salvation in Jesus, but in faith. Their creed then is: "I believe in faith, faith in the Christian interpretation of life.[2]

Christians need to take responsibility for what they believe and why they believe it and then study the scriptures to see if it is so. Scot McKnight's book The Jesus Creed and Tom Wright's book The Challenge of Jesus are important starting blocks for those wanting to engaged Jesus appropriately. I cannot recommend these two books more highly. Even Wright's little picture book, The Original Jesus, merits mentioning as it is a solid little introduction to the issues at hand. We must answer Jesus' lasting question: WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM? For in answering that question, we will have determined much of our destiny and means of arriving at that destination. As Schweitzer announced:

He comes to us as One unknown without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: 'Follow thou me!' and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfil for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.[3]

Reading and studying the gospels, having fellowship with this UNKNOWN ONE, will lead us to the realization of Who He is... For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the perfect one comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, enigmatically, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
catch ya on the flip side...
[1] G. B. Caird, Jesus and the Jewish Nation, pg. 3.
[2] Scot McKnight, "The Hermeneutics of Confessing Jesus Christ as Lord" Ex Audito.
[3] Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, pg. 415

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I am not, but God knows my name.

I am not, but He has pursued me in His Love.

I am not, but I know the Creator of the universe.

I am not, but I have been invited into His story.

I am not, but I know I AM!

If you see life as your own one-act play and history as your story, you could be in for a rude awakening when the curtain finally closes on your tiny tale—and you discover that life wasn't all about you after all. The real story of life is God—I AM—the main character and true star of time and eternity. He is at center stage in all of Creation, and He wants you to know Him by name. Knowing I AM means celebrating your smallness in light of His greatness.Embrace the true meaning of life as you learn to work and rest in His power, spending your life for what lasts forever—the unending glory that is God's alone.

To Tract and not deTract

That is the question that pervades us at this point in time. The Four Spiritual Laws have been a welcome help to spreading the message about Jesus, but in the postmodern world, what function do they serve? In dialogue with Scot McKnight, professor of biblical studies at North Park University, here are some meanderings for you to ponder...
First, the problem is disruption of the Eikon of God in its union with God, in its communion with others, with manifold implications spilling over in all directions, including its relationship with the rest of the created order. It's not about breaking some arbitrary "law". It's about offence in a relationship. What humanity has done in its rejection of GOD has broken a relationship and offended an almighty loving Father. To reach the postmodern mind, one must show that a concrete relationship has been damaged and that this is the problem, not the breaking of some abstract law. Abstract is almost tantamount to superficial in the postmodern mind. Whereas relationships are central. Begin with the fact that we were created for/with/in relationships, and now something has gone horribly wrong and we need to realise that, and the postmodern will have been captured to attentiveness.
Second, the solution is reconciliation: with God, with others, and with the rest of creation. A good word for this is "Shalom", and it needs to be understood eschatologically or teleologically: to know what the gospel is all about we have to know what God wants to do with the world he has created and where the world is going. Let me put this differently: the solution is the Kingdom of God as Jesus envisions it and as Jesus embodies it and as Jesus teaches it. [This is explained by McKnight in "The Jesus Creed" chps. 13-18], that kingdom is a society in which the Jesus Creed/Will of God is done. That was the goal of Jesus' ministry: the Kingdom of God. As my friend Eddie notes: The aim of the gospel is “freedom from the power of sin into the sphere of God's restorative love, where we experience the completion and repair of our being in fellowship with each other and God.
That this is a corporate event is an intricate aspect, God is repairing human as well as the divine relationship. This aspect, unfortunately, tracts miss out.”The gospel [the announcement that Jesus is the crucified and risen Messiah who is LORD] aims to restore relationships. Why was Jesus crucified? To restore and heal relationships. Why was Jesus raised? To give us an eternal relationship that will not be affected by death (sin), why is it important to know Jesus the MESSIAH, because that shows our relationship to him as royal subjects of the one true KING. Who is the LORD [the creator of all]? Only YHWH! Which shows our relationship to GOD as his pinnacle creatures whom GOD has created to enjoy, love and cherish. Reconciliation is about relationships, not the appeasement of laws or abstract rationales.
The problem with modern preaching of the gospel [I use the word “modern” intentionally as opposed to postmodern] is that it is still “law” based. Unfortunately, according to scripture the “law” was given to the people of GOD who were ALREADY in relationship with him. The “law” was meant to be a sheep dog guiding and defining the boundaries for the people of GOD. It was never meant to save or to be used as a stick to point fingers at the pagans. The law was there to help mature the people of GOD so that they could love the world [neighbours] and love GOD. Because that’s why humanity exists!
Third, the means of that solution, as the 4SL [Four Spiritual Laws] has it, is Jesus Christ. But, Jesus the Christ must be seen as a person within the Trinity: so the solution is the Father/Son/Spirit's work in restoring us, through three "acts of God," none of which can be minimized without damaging the gospel: Cross, Resurrection, and Pentecost. The means, in other words, is a Person (triune one) and to know that resolution means to come to know God personally.Too many times we compartmentalise people into material or social beings. Or we try and reduce the gospel’s purpose to ethics or rules.
We must realise the powerful truth that we are holistic beings who need a [w]holistic gospel. The gospel’s aim is not a product but a healthy, vibrant relational encountering with the LIVING and POWERFUL GOD of the HEAVENS & the Earth that transforms us to be more like Jesus, so that we have more in common and can relate more fruitfully and intimately!
Fourth, the context of that resolution is the people of God: anticipated in Israel and finding its Christian completion in the Church. The Church embodies the gospel, and the Church does so through Word, sacrament, and performance of that gospel in trust and obedience. Which means this: the gospel is encountered through an advocate (if you want to read up on conversion theory, read “Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels” by Scot McKnight). The most potent advocate is the Church itself, but the Church finds individual embodiment in the individual Christian who is the typical form of an advocate. (Others could be mentioned: the Bible, TV, Christian art, etc.).
Which means this: the gospel cannot be separated from the Church, and the goal of the gospel is to restore Eikons so they live in union with God, in communion with others, in the context of the Church, for the good of the world. Again Eddie laments that with “tracts the method is problematic as well. Not only is it impersonal, but it belittles the message and its world creating power by placing it on a small thin sheet of glossy paper. Further, the attitude that often accompanies the practice is that once the tract is handed over, our job is done. This is lazy, and it hardly represents the extent of God's love for his creation and how far and how long he perseveres to save them.”
But notice it is OUR vocation. It is OUR mission. This is for the CHURCH. Not just for random individuals standing on a street corner. No, this is for all of us to be engaged in proclamation together!The old dichotomy between evangelicals and those who preach a “social” gospel is a false dichotomy. We must as St. Francis propagated, “preach the gospel all the time and if necessary use words.” We must with our whole lives tell the story of God’s gracious intervention and supplication.
We must live out this story with artistic expression and every fibre of our being. We must authenticate the axiom, in the words of Isaiah 26:8 “YOUR NAME AND YOUR RENOWN IS THE DESIRE OF OUR LIVES” Renown is fame that will never fade or wear out. It’s the tale of God’s unending glory. The church must be the biggest publishing agent, news agent, broadcast specialist for the GLORY OF GOD. Because God’s fame in this world is important, not only to GOD but also to us. It’s important because if we don’t worship Jesus, we worship other things that amount to nothing more than worthless idols and these things harm us incessantly.
When we put another as our Lord and King, we get hurt and this hurts God. Because remember, it’s all about good, helpful and solid relationships. And if we fail to have our relational selves in sync with Jesus as our true Lord, we end up dead in our selves and our lives. We miss the opportunity to know and serve GOD the Father. We miss out on the greatest adventure ever, following Jesus. We lose the chance to be and become all the Holy Spirit can enable us to be and become. We forsake everything, for nothing…This is the track, the story, the image projection that the world must hear. This is important because humanity is important. Important enough for Jesus to come and give his life so that we can have a restored friendship of care and commitment to GOD, to others, to self and to the created order.
This is the aim of the gospel.
Not for people to be turned off by a pamphlet. . .

Friday, June 24, 2005

Souix & I are mucking around today... Well, we will be later once I finish some more research on exile and restoration...


Michael Bird has a little snippet on the Continuing Exile view which is brief but helpful. Wright and others, notably Craig Evans, have done much to show that many Jews in the 1st century thoughts of themselves as still in exile. The term exile conjures up social, political and religious images of judgment, captivity, banishment, displacement, uprootedness, alienation and deportation.
In the Hebrew narrative exile constitutes a major plot line in the story of God's people, weaving itself through almost every major account from Genesis to Malachi. It could be suggested that "exile" is the story of the Hebrew scriptures. Some of the more well known expressions of exile are found in stories such as Adam and Eve’s banishment from the garden of Eden, Abraham’s journey to the land of Canaan, Joseph’s deportation to Egypt, Moses’ wandering in the wilderness, David’s escape from Saul’s paranoia, and the most established of them all: Israel’s exilic experiences in Assyria and Babylon.
The theme of exile, however, does not function in isolation. In the two most important expressions for the study of the NT—the stories of Adam and Eve’s banishment and the deportation of the Israelites to Babylon—exile, which is always a result of rejection [rejecting YHWH, his purposes & provision], is accompanied by the hope that YHWH will liberate and restore his people, and ultimately the whole earth [See Romans 8].
Exile”, could then be seen thematically as a multi-threaded image running through the scriptural narrative, both Hebrew and Christian, with an actual, concrete referent –i.e., multi-dimensional alienation from YHWH, others, self, et. al. due to rebellion – beginning with Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden, the various other images of Exile and climaxing in the people of Israel being sent into exile. It seems to me, if one allows this, then a multitude of ideas and narrative events recorded in our meta-story can be drawn together to make a probable & coherent picture story which amounts to history.
Thus, when Jesus arrives on the scene and the people of Israel are still under foreign rule and oppression, YHWH has not been pronounced "KING", the revolutionary cry "NO KING BUT YHWH" is still being proclaimed but paganism reigns - it makes sense to think that Israel's exile wasn't over. Isaiah 52 makes this explicit:
Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion! Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for the uncircumcised and the unclean shall enter you no more.
Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter Zion!
For thus says the Lord: You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money. For thus says the Lord God: Long ago, my people went down into Egypt to reside there as aliens; the Assyrian, too, has oppressed them without cause. Now therefore what am I doing here, says the Lord, seeing that my people are taken away without cause? Their rulers howl, says the Lord, and continually, all day long, my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of it, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the Lord.
For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Israel was in "Bondage" and YHWH would liberate/save/free his people. That was part and parcel of the aims and intentions of Jesus of Nazareth. Although I certainly wouldn't follow all the conclusions and arguments presented by Cornelis Bennema, his article The Sword of the Messiah and the Concept of Liberation in the Fourth Gospel, does seem to be asking the right questions. Questions like, What was Jesus’ concept of liberation? Whom and from whom did he liberate? How did Jesus accomplish his goal? Were Jesus and his followers quietists or activists? These are important questions and set within the right context will provide fruitful discourse on Jesus' aims & intentions. Aims and intentions that included liberating Israel from oppression to Rome [though ultimately opposing the Satan, as Wright has argued?]. Would that be the end of exile? When YHWH is King, i.e., when Jesus is on the throne ruling and reigning [through his people?], when there is a re:creation with resurrection and restoration. Will that be the final end of exile? And has that begun with the proleptic act of Jesus being raised from the dead?
Questions invade my mind...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Evangelism & Tracts?

Scot McKnight once again puts us in his debt with his comments on 'tracts'.

Let me offer a slightly different tract:

First, the problem is disruption of the Eikon of God in its union with God, in its communion with others, with manifold implications spilling over in all directions, including its relationship with the rest of the created order.

Second, the solution is reconciliation: with God, with others, and with the rest of creation. A good word for this is Shalom, and it needs to be understood eschatologically or teleologically: to know what the gospel is all about we have to know what God wants to do with the world he has created and where the world is going. Let me put this differently: the solution is the Kingdom of God as Jesus envisions it and as Jesus embodies it and as Jesus teaches it. As I explain in the Jesus Creed (chps. 13-18), that kingdom is a society in which the Jesus Creed/Will of God is done. That was the goal of Jesus' ministry: the Kingdom of God.

Third, the means of that solution, as the 4SL has it, is Jesus Christ. But, Jesus Christ must be seen as a person within the Trinity: so the solution is the Father/Son/Spirit's work in restoring us, through three "acts of God," none of which can be minimized without damaging the gospel: Cross, Resurrection, and Pentecost. The means, in other words, is a Person (triune one) and to know that resolution means to come to know God personally.
Fourth, the context of that resolution is the people of God: anticipated in Israel and finding its Christian completion in the Church. The Church embodies the gospel, and the Church does so through Word, sacrament, and performance of that gospel in faith and obedience. Which means this: the gospel is encountered through an advocate (if you want to read up on conversion theory, read this). The most potent advocate is the Church itself, but the Church finds individual embodiment in the individual Christian who is the typical form of an advocate. (Others could be mentioned: the Bible, TV, Christian art, etc.). Which means this: the gospel cannot be separated from the Church, and the goal of the gospel is to restore Eikons so they live in union with God, in communion with others, in the context of the Church, for the good of the world.
This is some exciting developments and one hopes that the church will sit up and listen to the wisdom given here.

To Blog or not to Blog?

I am excited to learn about Michael Bird's new blog: EUANGELION. Bird is a New Testament lecturer moving to Highland Theological College in Scotland. His blog contains some interesting material, and I'm hoping that he will share some of his Ph.D. thesis in his blog. His thesis is on: Why did the Gentile Mission Begin? Which will explore the aims and intentions of Jesus and look at the critical passage in Matthew 8:11-12. Some will realise that I view this passage as critical to my own research. I see this as a concrete incident where Jesus is loving his enemies. This must include by example a Gentile mission. But it would be interesting to see Bird argue this in detail.
Bird has an excellent start to his blog that I just must share. He begins with "Let us commence with a definition":

Blogging. From the Greek word blogoĊ meaning to publish highly opinionated and sometimes dubious information. The publishing of information in electronic media by some twit with an opinion and a computer. Why blog? Well, I fit the definition. But there are other reasons too:
1. Peer pressure. Everyone else is doing it.
2. Therapy. It is good for one’s mental fitness and sanity to muse aloud (or on-line) in order to clarify and mull over one's own thoughts.
3. Publish. It is a good resource for friends, students, and net-surfers who may actually learn something, be encouraged or be challenged by something that you have to say.
4. Philosophical. If I may butcher the words of Descartes: “I blog . . . therefore, I am!” Blogging gives us a new existence in cyberspace, a voice in the electronic wilderness, and a light to shine in the darkness of ignorance which we would not otherwise have.
5. Doxological. I intend to blog unto the glory of God.
With these aims and intentions, one cannot help but stay tuned for more blogging. Especially since Bird aims to comment on:
The Peril of Modernizing Jesus. I intend to critique two strands of Jesus research, viz., the ‘California Jesus’ and the ‘Big Tent Revival Jesus’ and look at a more balanced approach to pursuing historical Jesus studies without falling into the perils of modernizing.
I am keenly aware of such a critical problem as I study through the historical Jesus books on my shelf. So I welcome attempts and clarifications about our enterprise of research. I wonder what Bird means by these two category distinctions? Thoughts ring out...

It's all about Girls...

I've had to wait until the rage in me subsides before I think about commenting on this very problematic topic. Men are pigs! Well, not all of us, but a huge amount of guys are just doing and being things to women that are UNACCEPTABLE! [That's my new phrase for "sin"]. A recent blog by Richard Anderson sets the stage for my rant...
When life is cheap, there are some very interesting consequences that are important. Let us use abortion as an example. The early Christians prohibited abortion and infanticide. More women joined the Christian community at a greater rate than men because they were more respected in the Christian community than the society at large. A church that prohibits abortion holds its women in higher regard than a church that does not. At least this was true in the early years of Christianity. I suggest it could be true today. In the early church, women were permitted to control their own wealth and were not forced to remarry when their spouse died. Women held church office and were influential in the early church community and because of their status, were also influential in the community at large.
This is a pivotal piece that makes for all sorts of exciting and provocative comments. But I limit myself to my area of study and reflection. All four Gospels contain information on Jesus’ relationship to women and the involvement of women in Jesus’ life and ministry. Jesus accepted and affirmed as persons of worth various women who were neglected or rejected within his society. Jesus taught women and included them among his disciples. Women also participated in the proclamation of the gospel. Many women associated with Jesus are known by name. Among the four Gospels Luke evidences the greatest interest in Jesus’ relationship with women and their involvement in his life and ministry. The contacts and involvements between Jesus and women need to be set within the social and cultural contexts of the first century A.D. The Gospel data on Jesus and women lead also to discussions about the significance of this data for women in ministry, leadership and authority within the church. Although I don't want to turn this into a discussion about whether women can be church leaders or exactly what positions they can hold, I do want to stress that women played [and continue to play] a vital role in the Christian Community [i.e. CHURCH].
Jesus’ respect for and inclusion of women as disciples and proclaimers provided the foundation for the positive place of women in the earliest churches and their ministry. The Gospel of Luke shows the greatest interest in women in the life and ministry of Jesus, including numerous accounts and stories about women unique to its presentation. Luke also gives the specific names of more women in Jesus’ life than do the other Gospels. This interest is continued in Acts (for Jesus’ female disciples see Acts 1:14). Luke relates stories about the healing (Lk 4:38–39; 8:1–3, 40–56; 13:11–17; 17:11–17) and faith (Lk 4:26; 7:36–50; 8:48; 18:1–8; 21:1–4) of women, many of which are unique to Luke. Women are important in two parables unique to Luke (Lk 15:8–10; 18:1–8) and are mentioned in two stories about the kingdom of God (Lk 13:20–21; 17:35). The place of women in discipleship is particularly stressed by Luke, both in general statements (Lk 8:19–21; 11:27–28), in the story of Mary and Martha (Lk 10:38–42) and in the reports of the female disciples who travelled with Jesus (Lk 8:1–3) and are described in the passion and resurrection narratives (Lk 23:49; 23:55–24:12). Again, some of these accounts are unique to Luke (Lk 8:1–3; 10:38–42; 11:27–28). Woman are prominent as proclaimers in the infancy narratives (Elizabeth, Mary the mother of Jesus, Anna; Lk 1–2) and in the resurrection narratives (Lk 24:10–11, 22–24).
So what's the point I'm trying to make, and what rage has needed to subside for me to make these comments with a sober mind? I am utter unsatisfied [understatement of the year!] with the level of respect and care given to women around me. Last night, I'm sitting in a Cafe/Lounge type effort listening to someone extremely close to me share how once again she was being harassed by someone she knew well. Over the past six months, I could publish a book on all the conversations I've had with friends of mine about how they've been treated badly and unacceptably by various men. I'm afraid this is just unacceptable! So what to do?
I'm of the strange opinion that Jesus provides us with a strong apologetic for the gospel. [Many reading this think "DUH", of course Jesus does, but I'm talking specifically about Jesus' attitude to women!] I wonder how women would respond if the Church treated them, as Jesus treated them? Not that I have got this right, and I'm still struggling to find a solid way to do this, but women in general have found my group of friends to be a strange bunch for the specific reason of how we treat our women friends!
Women are not objects to be ordered around, or to be spoken down to as if they were second class citizens of the human race. NO! Rather, they are specifically created in the image of YHWH. Their intrinsic worth stems from them being created carefully and delicately by a GOD who is most in love with them. A God who loved them, and deemed them worthy enough, to send his SON, so that they may be in relationship with HIM and enjoy the benefits of the creation and worship of the one true GOD. They are worthy in that they are GOD's, and not random things, but rather are persons. And as such, that demands our attention, affection and adoration for GOD and for women!
Jesus' revolutionary agenda included women [my academic supervisor will be so happy with that statement!]. Many people of the culture and times (both Roman and Jewish) were treating women inappropriately and Jesus would not [WILL NOT] settle for such unacceptable behaviour. Jesus acted counter culturally and started a movement where women had prominent positions and influence. It's time to challenge men with the gospel that women are special. It's time to challenge women with the liberating truth that they do not have to sit back and take such garbage. The gospel will and does empower women to say "NO" this is unacceptable behaviour and "we will not stand for this!" Life is NOT cheap, but rather a precious gift from an awesome loving creator. We should thus treat it as such, and then watch the world respond.
For who could resist such a love as this? Surely this is the power that brings about the salvation of those who believe? The GREAT NEWS that Jesus values people, values them enough to give up his life so that we may have life. So much that he lays down his life, so that we may have not a half-baked life -> but rather life to an ABUNDANCE!
Scot McKnight reminds us with a quote:
The light of Christ's life reaches us through the Church as the community of those who, bound together in the love which Christ brought down, are "forever shedding that love abroad" in their own lives and "manifesting in the grace of Christlike character the reconciling purpose of God.
From Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life, by Geoffrey Wainwright (p. 36).
I think it's time for people to realise the truth and power of the GOSPEL. I think it's time for the church to remember her revolutionary Master, and embrace his mission and vocation not just with regards to the salvation of souls, but with the revolutionary vocation to liberate women from the oppression of abuse, and unhappiness. May our lives reflect his life, may our actions reflect his actions.
Here endeth my rant for the hour... Comments, Criticisms, Comments?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

all work and no play makes for a pretty dull existence...

Love is a Verb, or is it?

My arch rival and nemesis ‘master Eddie’ gives us his meanderings on the nature of love & sentiment within the context of ‘doing’. While not being a full discussion, he does probe deep into the mysteries of its beauty and power and probes some interesting questions.
Is love an action? Is it something we do to another person?
In my journal, I have written the following and I quote it to show that this is not based on academic reflection but on the mere fact that it is how I have conveyed my feelings in my journal:

I was listening to Michael Ramsden today and he tells the story of being in a cell group with his wife and 12 Teenage girls. The topic of discussion was “what is Love?” In a society where people fall in love, get together or get married and then fall out of love and then split or get divorced, is the pain and hassle really worth it? “What is love?” Michael quivered. Michael got all the girls to close their eyes and think about someone special, a boy, walking up to them at school or work and in a soft gentle voice saying: “I love you.” “How does that make you feel”, Michael asked. Smiles lit up the room. Now imagine the next day you see that same boy walking up to another girl and saying: “I love you.” Michael again asked: “How does that make you feel?” Smiles disappeared. Michael then went on to explain that the concept of “LOVE” is meaningless without the framework of exclusivity and commitment. We don’t want to share our love and we want love to be constant. When someone loves us, that love is focussed and consistent. One day I was sitting in a room on a bed. I was listening to a song by David Grey entitled “Sail Away With Me”. I was overwhelmed with exclusivity and commitment, with heart-felt passion for one person. She was standing in front of me, and with tears in my eyes I told her something that would change my life forever. I told her that I loved her and that I would always love her. The power and authenticity that pervaded that utterance still haunts me to this day.

But this begs the question, is love merely a feeling, a sentiment as Eddie probes? Is love something you do? Or is it a mystical combination of many elements? I would argue that love is an interaction between two hearts in the deep places of our beings, where we communicate via means of touch, gifts, time, words and acts that the well-being of the other person involved is important and that their ecstasy is imperative. Love is a beautiful, authentic and meaningful connecting between lives. Love is sacred.
In a culture plagued by reckless freedom [actually anarchy because freedom is a moral concept and we are spirally towards an amoral society] we have lost the sense of honour and sacredness of relationships. We too easily give our acquaintances the keys to our most tender spots. They then get used and abused in more than inappropriate ways. My Master notes that we are to do unto others as we would want done to ourselves. Ergo: do we want respect? Do we want kindness? Do we want pure and holy relationships? If so, then that is what we must give to others. Wisdom laments that people should guard their inner-selves as it is the well-spring {source} of living. If you’re not careful and selective about what goes in, you may be exposed to contamination from the outside. Love is sacred and thus it should be treated as such!
The Moulin Rouge venerates that “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is how to love, and be loved in return.” Having had my soul awakened once again to this reality, I heartily concur!
But this merely begs the pivotal question of where does “love” come from? I again concur with my nemesis when he looks to YHWH for the foundation and model of love. John was right, “GOD IS LOVE” and that simple but overwhelming fact should change, does change, is changing reality as we know and understand it. R. Horsley in his book “Jesus and the Spiral of Violence” notes that:

The “Kingdom” involves not a blissful rest in static beatitude, but social interaction such as feasting. Similarly, the saving activity of GOD does indeed bring wholeness to individual persons; but this does not stand in contrast to the restoration of society. Personal wholeness is integrally involved with the renewal of social life, apparently even with certain transformations in the patterns of political-religious life.

This is merely the KING of LOVE working LOVE out in all inter-personal encounters. Jesus had much to say on the topic of love, and thus his kingdom dynamic should be understood within the broad framework of this view of YHWH. The fundamental reality of the gospel is not based on an Individual-God abstraction of God's love and plan for me, myself and I, but rather on the reality of experiencing and seeing and knowing love in the face of an Other. God comes to us in a relational way, through parents, friends, siblings or a stranger and confronts us with unimaginable kindness and care. I am yet to find a single verse which categorically states: “God loves you.” Instead, what we have in scripture is a series of relational encounters that demonstrate and tell the story of God’s embarrassingly faithful care, concern and commitment for humanity.
Which brings us full circle, having skipped a series of important excurses on other fundamental issues, to the foundation of love: GOD. Without GOD I want to suggest humanity cannot truly know love and without love humanity cannot truly know GOD [1 John 4:7-9]. Jesus "taught" this love because first of all he "wrought" this love: in other words, those around Jesus learned God's love by being loved by Jesus and by being invited to sit at his table and by being challenged by his words and by being overwhelmed by his entire life (birth to ascension and intercession). Jesus is GOD’s LOVE to humanity in a concrete expression that again tells God’s story of care, concern and commitment for people!
Without God, Shakespeare’s Macbeth may have got it right, namely, that life is but “A tale told by an idiot, filled with sound and fury, signifying nothing.” But with GOD, life is a beautiful story of God, with God and through God of sharing and ecstasy that will never end, but just get bigger & better.

Bultmann Reads Mother Goose

Bultmann Reads Mother Goose
by Jack Lundquist
I–A: Hey diddle-diddle,
I-B: The cat and the fiddle,
II–A: The cow jumped over the moon,
II–B: The little dog laughed to see such sport,
III–: And the dish ran away with the spoon.
Authorship and Date
Internal evidence rejects the view that wehave here an original composition by Mary (Mother) Goose of Boston(1686–1743).[1] The phrasing of I–A is definitely late eighteenthcentury, since the Goose Period would have rendered it "diddley-diddley" (and thus "fiddley" in I–B). Furthermore, the sequence "cat-cow-dog-dish" represents an obvious redaction and is a compilation ofat least four different accounts.[2] Thus, the author of the piece isunknown,[3] and its date set between 1780 and 1820.[4] The Sitz imLeben of the Depression of 1815 may be reflected in III.2.
The received text is very corrupt. The mythological elementin II–A is typical of many other interpolations, as is the anthropomorphism in II–B.[5] However, I–A may be original, excluding,of course, the "hey."[6]3.
Stripped of its thought forms, the piece tells us of something revolutionary as existentially encountered by three animals, two cooking implements, and one musical instrument.[7]
1. Discussed in F. Sauerkraut, Gooses Werke, vol. XXVII, pp. 825–906; G.F.W. Steinbauger, Gooserbrief, pp. 704–8636; Festschrift fur Baronvon Munchausen, pp. XIII–XX; R. Pretzelbender, Die Goosensinger vomBostom, p. 10.
2. See P. Katzenjammer in Goosengeschichtliche Schule Jahrbuch, vol.X.
3. Some attribute it to Mary's grandson, Wild Goose (1793–1849), andother Wild Goose's nephew, Cooked (1803–1865). Both views are challenged by A. Kegdrainer in the thirty volume prolegomenon, Gooseleiden, vol. XV.
4. F. Pfeffernusse contends it is an English translation of a German original by the infant Wagner. See his Goose und Volkgeist, pp. 38–52; see also his Geist und Volkgoose, pp. 27–46.
5. The authenticity of both II–A and II–B is poorly argued by the reactionary American Goosologist, Carl Sanbag in his Old Glory and Mother Goose (see vol. IV, The Winters in the South, p. 357).
6. The meaning of the word "hey" is now hopelessly obscure. See my articles on "Hey, That Ain't" and "Hey, What The" in Goosengrease,Fall, 1942.
7. Perhaps an eclipse of the moon?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Exegeting Stop Signs

Suppose you're travelling to work and you see a stop sign. What do you do? That depends on how you exegete the stop sign.
1. A postmodernist deconstructs the sign (knocks it over with his car), ending forever the tyranny of the north-south traffic over the east-west traffic.
2. Similarly, a Marxist sees a stop sign as an instrument of class conflict. He concludes that the bourgeoisie use the north-south road and obstruct the progress of the workers on the east-west road.
3. A serious and educated Catholic believes that he cannot understand the stop sign apart from its interpretive community and their tradition. Observing that the interpretive community doesn't take it too seriously, he doesn't feel obligated to take it too seriously either.
4. An average Catholic (or Orthodox or Coptic or Anglican or Methodist or Presbyterian or whatever) doesn't bother to read the sign but he'll stop if the car in front of him does.
5. A fundamentalist, taking the text very literally, stops at the stop sign and waits for it to tell him to go.
6. A preacher might look up "STOP" in his lexicons of English and discover that it can mean: 1) something which prevents motion, such as a plug for a drain, or a block of wood that prevents a door from closing; 2) a location where a train or bus lets off passengers. The main point of his sermon the following Sunday on this text is: when you see a stop sign, it is a place where traffic is naturally clogged, so it is a good place to let off passengers from your car.
7. An orthodox Jew does one of two things: 1) Take another route to work that doesn't have a stop sign so that he doesn't run the risk of disobeying the Law. 2) Stop at the stop sign, say "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who hast given us thy commandment to stop," wait 3 seconds according to his watch, and then proceed. Incidentally, the Talmud has the following comments on this passage: R[abbi] Meir says: He who does not stop shall not live long. R. Hillel says: Cursed is he who does not count to three before proceeding. R. Simon ben Yudah says: Why three? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, gave us the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. R. ben Isaac says: Because of the three patriarchs. R. Yehuda says: Why bless the Lord at a stop sign? Because it says: "Be still, and know that I am God." R. Hezekiel says: When Jephthah returned from defeating the Ammonites, the Holy One, blessed be He, knew that a donkey would run out of the house and overtake his daughter; but Jephthah did not stop at the stop sign, and the donkey did not have time to come out. For this reason he saw his daughter first and lost her. Thus he was judged for his transgression at the stop sign. R. Gamaliel says: R. Hillel, when he was a baby, never spoke a word, though his parents tried to teach him by speaking and showing him the words on a scroll. One day his father was driving through town and did not stop at the sign. Young Hillel called out: "Stop, father!" In this way, he began reading and speaking at the same time. Thus it is written: "Out of the mouth of babes." R. ben Jacob says: Where did the stop sign come from? Out of the sky, for it is written: "Forever, O Lord, your word is fixed in the heavens." R. ben Nathan says: When were stop signs created? On the fourth day, for it is written: "let them serve as signs." R. Yeshuah says: ... [continues for three more pages]
8. A Pharisee does the same thing as an orthodox Jew, except that he waits 10 seconds instead of 3. He also replaces his brake lights with 1000 watt searchlights and connects his horn so that it is activated whenever he touches the brake pedal.
9. A scholar from Jesus seminar concludes that the passage "STOP" undoubtedly was never uttered by Jesus himself, but belongs entirely to stage III of the gospel tradition, when the church was first confronted by traffic in its parking lot.
10. A NT scholar notices that there is no stop sign on Mark street but there is one on Matthew and Luke streets, and concludes that the ones on Luke and Matthew streets are both copied from a sign on a completely hypothetical street called "Q". There is an excellent 300 page discussion of speculations on the origin of these stop signs and the differences between the stop signs on Matthew and Luke street in the scholar's commentary on the passage. There is an unfortunately an omission in the commentary, however; the author apparently forgot to explain what the text means.
11. An OT scholar points out that there are a number of stylistic differences between the first and second half of the passage "STOP". For example, "ST" contains no enclosed areas and 5 line endings, whereas "OP" contains two enclosed areas and only one line termination. He concludes that the author for the second part is different from the author for the first part and probably lived hundreds of years later. Later scholars determine that the second half is itself actually written by two separate authors because of similar stylistic differences between the "O" and the "P".
12. Another prominent OT scholar notes in his commentary that the stop sign would fit better into the context three streets back. (Unfortunately, he neglected to explain why in his commentary.) Clearly it was moved to its present location by a later redactor. He thus exegetes the intersection as though the stop sign were not there. More Inside!!!
13. Because of the difficulties in interpretation, another OT scholar emends the text, changing "T" to "H". "SHOP" is much easier to understand in context than "STOP" because of the multiplicity of stores in the area. The textual corruption probably occurred because "SHOP" is so similar to "STOP" on the sign several streets back that it is a natural mistake for a scribe to make. Thus the sign should be interpreted to announce the existence of a shopping area.
One can see from the hermeneutical humour above that I'm engaged in some interesting reading. Notably, I'm working through Kevin Vanhoozer's excellent book: Is There a Meaning in this Text?: [Baker, 1998]. Vanhoozer has some important things to say about hermeneutical realism in the face of postmodern deconstructionism. A difficult, but solid read...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Rome vs. Jesus

Jeffery Gibson allerts me to a fantastic article that I had missed, The Gospel of Rome vs. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is an article by Marianne P. Bonz of Harvard university on the early Christian response to the theological challenge posed by "the gospel of Rome" promulgated in the Imperial Cult. From the companion Web Site tothe PBS Frontline Series From Jesus to Christ.
I'm also very excited by the prospects of Philip Harland's new blog. See his post Honouring the Emperor. His website seems very helpful as well, especially his short intro article on Imperial Cults. Those interested in New Testament studies will have to familiarise themselves with this sort of thing as it seems to be the norm given the Fresh Perspective on this issue. Hopefully time will permit more blogging of reflections and thoughts later...
take care, ciao

a simple prayer

Holy God – in this precious hour, we pause and gather to hear your word– to do so, we break from our work responsibilities and from our play fantasies; we move from our fears that overwhelm and from our ambitions that are too strong, Free us in these moments from every distraction, that we may focus to listen, that we may hear, that we may change. Amen
--Walter Brueggemann From Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (Fortress Press, 2003 p. 61)
It's important at times to just push pause on the world, and go and be quiet and contemplate the supreme excellency of the divine nature. After all, that is why we exist and that is our high calling in life. So why not take 5min, and just reflect on the nature of the supreme being.

Informal Controlled Oral Tradition

I am extremely happy to share Kenneth Bailey's seminal article on Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels, which is a must read for all those interested in studying the gospels and their origins carefully. This articles forms the basis of much historical research into Jesus of Nazareth. Bailey's conclusion looks like this:
Thus, in summary and conclusion, here we have observed a classical methodology for the preservation, control and transmission of tradition that provides, on the one hand, assurance of authenticity and, on the other hand, freedom within limits for various forms of that tradition. Furthermore, the types of material that appear in the Synoptic Gospels include primarily the same forms that we have found preserved by informal controlled oral tradition such as proverbs, parables, poems, dialogues, conflict stories and historical narratives.
Tom Wright uses it foundationally in his tome, Jesus and the Victory of God. Jimmy Dunn has also made use of it in his study, Jesus Remembered. Dunn has also managed to take a parting jab at the third quest for not taking seriously enough studies on Oral Tradition, but favouring rather more speculative literary hypotheses about the infamous "Q". Dunn's latest little book: A New Perspective On Jesus: What The Quest For The Historical Jesus Missed, adds much to the discussion about oral tradition. For those brave enough to sift through a rather technical study, NT Gateway still has Dunn's online seminar: Jesus in Oral Memory. R. T. France also makes use of this lecture in his essay, The Gospels as Historical Sources, which is a must read for those not familiar with the field.
Have fun...

Divine Hours

It's wonderful to see New Testament scholars making a way back into the church. Scot McKnight has already given us a fab blog in The Jesus Creed, and now he adds to that a blog of thoughts and prayers: Divine Hours. It's a thoughtful and spiritual blog that I plan to use. I mean, with proclamations such as:
We see the works of God and we see holiness kiss love in the life of Jesus, who says he has loved us the way the Father has loved the Son.
I am moved by such statements as one reflects on the "CHRIST EVENT". McKnight has the unusual habbit of being so grounded in critical thought, yet so alive to the Spirit of God, that I am drawn [and hope others are too] to that kind of vocation.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the blog, and make use of it in your spiritual disciplines.
ciao ciao

Thursday, June 09, 2005

So Paul Got it Right?

In a
new article informing readers of Dom Crossan’s new book In Search of Paul: How Jesus's Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom, Crossan had some interesting things to say [as usual] about Paul. The writer notes that:
Paul was in direct defiance of the Roman imperial theology that Caesar was a god, Crossan said. "Every coin said Caesar was god, the son of god, the redeemer," Crossan said. "It was all around people, like advertising is all around today. When Paul is using these terms to refer to Christ, he is committing high treason. He's directly saying Caesar is not the lord and savior, Jesus is." "If you ask me what Jesus would have said to Paul," Crossan said, "I think he would have said, 'Thank you.'"
Well, I can heartily agree with that! I very much enjoyed Crossan’s book on Paul, the first chapter of which can be located here. It’s a stunning tour of the imperial world that surrounded Paul and places his teachings squarely within that socio-historical context. There are a few anomalies [that Paul only focussed on the Gentiles and forgot about the Jews, or that Crossan only considers 7 of the usual 13 letters authentically Pauline. But hey, he might have a case on one or two...???], as one would expect with Crossan. But overall the book is well worth reading. Hopefully in the future, I'll work my way through it carefully and fill in some quotes and comments on this blog.
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Caird, the Cross and Politics

Caird rightly declares that it is a fact that Jesus died on a Roman cross. This also rightly leads to the pivotal question of why? Why would the Roma, the vast and powerful entity which ruled with an iron fist care about a Jewish prophet enough to not only silence him, but do so in a way that would declare in no uncertain terms that Rome was the supreme authority here, and any challenge to that would be met with serious and dire consequence. To Rome, Jesus was a Lestes [Revolutionary]. Granted, he wasn't the usual type who picked up weapons and gathered a movement for violent resistance, but nonetheless Jesus did oppose Rome at significant points. Points which Rome could not, would not, tolerate.
Notice how Caird builds towards understanding the teachings of Jesus in connection with events so as to explain the fact of the crucifixion. It appears to me from a cursory reading of the relevant literature that scholars have for too long either chosen a poor selection of "sayings" and neglected key events, or they have focussed to narrowly on events, and neglected key teachings. Using the criterion of historical plausibility, teachings which give actions meaning and purpose should be seriously considered as authentic material [See The Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria. By Gerd Theissen and Dagmar Winter. Translated by M. Eugene Boring. Westminster John Rnox, 2002, but see also Criteria for Authenticity in Historical Jesus Research: Previous Discussion and New Proposals JSNTSup 191; Sheffield Academic Press, 2000]. Scholars should, as Wright has noted several times in NTPG and JVG propose an historical hypothesis which is to be tested by the various exegetical and historical details.
Ergo, if Jesus was crucified by Rome, if the titulus is accurate and represents what Jesus claimed, then we have reason to believe that within Jesus' teachings there were elements that either a) bothered Rome/Jewish leadership or b) threatened Rome. We have reason to believe that the threat that Jesus posed, warranted more than just a thrashing [as other supposed messianic claimants or irritants had received]. Jesus' presence, teaching and challenge warranted the death penalty. What in his teaching might have achieved such a response? I propose that when looking at the Jesus traditions, and analysing their authenticity and plausibility - teachings which explain this particular aspect of his cruel demise at the hands of a ruthless empire should be considered authentic. And this is exactly what J.P. Meier has noted in the first volume of his epic, A Marginal Jew.
Caird's questions persist:
If Jesus had no interest in politics, why go to Jerusalem at all? Why not be content to train his disciples in the calm of the Galilean hills? Why this headlong clash with authority? And at the last, when he is aware that treachery is afoot, why not simply slip away quietly, under cover of darkness, to a place where his enemies could not get at him?[1]
One wonders if Jesus had a political agenda. One wonders if Jesus' political agenda lead him to face Rome in Jerusalem. One wonders if Jesus' mission to Jerusalem, firmly rooted in his ministry and movements in Galilee, was compelled by a vision of protest against Rome in such a manner that his death [and way of dying?] would speak volumes about what kind of empire Rome had really established compared with the empire Jesus was already establishing. One wonders...
In his essay Rome's Victory and God's Honour, Bruce Longenecker makes the insightful claim that:
In the Johannine passion narrative "the Jews" are asked by Pilate, 'Shall I crucify your King?' - a question that, in the context of a fiercely nationalistic Passover celebration, goes directly to the heart of Jewish hopes for the dissolution or Roman reign over them. Their famous reply, 'we have no king but Caesar' (Jn 19:15) is suggestive of a disavowal of the kingship of their GOD and their resignation to Rome's imperial lordship.[2]
Jesus specifically answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” [Jn 18:36] If Jesus had been the sort of revolutionary that Rome was accustomed to, then fighting would definitely have been on the agenda. But this is just another one of those important clues that not only is Jesus different, but his kingdom is different. The dichotomy between physical and spiritual has no place or bearing on the text for that is a western imposition. Rather, Jesus is suggesting that his kingdom on earth is not like other kingdoms on this earth. It is a kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.
Richard Hays is on the right track, but deals with this not in the context of Jesus’ ministry but within the community of John’s disciples, that:

In response to Pilate’s claim to have power to crucify him, Jesus pointedly asserts that Pilate actually has no power over him; God has merely granted Pilate a temporary and limited authority in order that God’s own purpose might be fulfilled. The whole dialogue subverts Roman claims of sovereignty and subordinates Roman power to the power of God.[3]

IF this is an accurate portrait, then part of Jesus' political agenda was to recall the people of Israel [as well as the Gentiles] back to her GOD. Nationally, Israel must 'embrace and entrust' [traditionally: repent and believe] the KING, Jesus [as YHWH's earthly representative]. Caird's words again ring in my thoughts:
One answer of course is that he exposed himself to certain danger because he believed he was fulfilling the scriptures. But apart from attributing to Jesus a one-dimensional understanding of this world and his role in it, such an answer does not account for much information in the Gospels which relates to Jesus’ concern for the Jewish nation. If he found himself at the end embroiled in political crisis which resulted in his execution on the order of a Roman governor, it was not because he avoided politics. It was because for him politics and theology were inseparable.
In going to Jerusalem, in protesting prophetically against the temple, in making messianic claims, Jesus sets himself up as counter-imperial. Jesus exposes the corruption of the empire and its methods by embracing Israel’s consequences of rejecting her GOD and facing justly the punishment handed out by Rome. Rome had made all these claims about bringing peace and prosperity, but at such a brutal cost? The way Jesus was proposing was highly subversive.
[1] Caird, New Testament Theology, pg. 357 [2] Longenecker, "Rome’s Victory and God’s Honour" in The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins, pg. 95 [3] Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, pg. 148

Emerging Primal?

What's all the fuss about? Sunday night @Primal, we had a gathering - students, children, teenagers and those more mature than us. We had worship, we had interaction, we had the Spirit. So why label this gathering "emerging church"? And what do we mean by that? I've never set out to be "emerging" in running primal.
What I've always tried to do is remain faithful to scripture, and relevant to the culture. Sometimes these two cohere, sometimes they clash. Wisdom and Experience show us ways forward. In an effort to further the conversation, and to explore this "emerging" phenomenon, here's a little dictionary from my teacher and blog friend, Steve Taylor [New Zealand]
A to Z of the Emerging Church"[] In Genesis 2 - "adam" is invited to name creation. The desire to name the emerging church could thus be part of our God-given ability to use language to describe and understand. While “adam” named creation, yet no companion was found. “Adam” remained incomplete. A certain humility is therefore intrinsic to naming. To name is not an act of limitation, but an act of partiality, part of a search for completeness. We seem reluctant to name the emerging church. Perhaps our naming yet lacks an alphabet. We need some A, B, C’s before we can spell the word. So in a spirit of Genesis 2, and in partiality...
I'm not sure if this blog is the right forum for this... Not sure if I wanted to mix business [writing an academic thesis] with pleasure [helping run primal]... But alas, the two are fused because what I learn about Jesus affects the way we run primal, the way I experience Jesus @primal, will affect my academic study of Jesus for my thesis. The two are inseperable... At least, I think they are ? ? ?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Still Busy

Blogging has been too slow lately, but unfortunately due to internet problems here in Southern Africa, and a hectic schedule, I hope to return to blogging in a week or so.

I'm trying to get hold of R. D. Kaylor's book: Jesus the Prophet: His Vision for the Kingdom of God on Earth which is a much neglected work in the "Third Quest." Ben Witherington has an excellent discussion about it in his book The Jesus Quest. Witherington has this quote which is very encouraging:
One can argue that Jesus' words and actions had political implications without arguing that Jesus was primarily a political actor... Jesus preached and taught a message that was thoroughly political, a message that demanded a social and political revolution.[1]
This adds to my selection of quotes from Caird that I hope to discuss in the coming weeks. Until then...
[1] Kaylor, Jesus the Prophet, pg. 213