Thursday, June 30, 2005
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
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.
Bird has an excellent start to his blog that I just must share. He begins with "Let us commence with a definition":
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'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.
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?
From Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life, by Geoffrey Wainwright (p. 36).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.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
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.
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.
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.
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
Friday, June 10, 2005
take care, ciao
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)
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.
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.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
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.'"
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
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?
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.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:
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:
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.
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.  Caird, New Testament Theology, pg. 357  Longenecker, "Rome’s Victory and God’s Honour" in The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins, pg. 95  Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, pg. 148
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] EmergentKiwi
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
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.