Sunday, August 09, 2009
In the names of Abraham, Isaac, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Muhammad and Jesus, (peace be upon them)
Sermon title: "More in Common Than You Think," with Scriptures from Genesis and the Qur'an.
Would that every Christian pulpit in Oklahoma could have him, especially our Baptist and other fundamentalist brethren. Some would be revived -- or maybe vived for the first time -- and some would never go to church again.
The churches would be improved on both accounts.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
"Lord of Life, help us to remember that nothing is more difficult to believe than that God really does love everybody. We have our favorites; we show partiality; and so we assume that divine love is not that different from human love. Push us beyond the horizon of all we think we know, and take us to that place where only grace can lead. In Christ's name we pray, Amen."
Tolerance, yes, freedom to worship , yes, friends and neighbors yes, common beliefs no.
Is the God of Islam the God of Christianity, the God of Judaism, the God of the LDS, and the God of the Buddhist? Are we just looking at different facets of him?
Or are we even looking at him at all?
The one God.
And yes, we're lookin' at different facets of God -- the facets that we project onto God.
And God, being God, loves us to much to look over our projections of ourselves onto God's Self -- providing we manage to make our selves available for God's purposes, which are to love us and for us to love one another.
Even if we're not looking at God at all, I think God accepts our looking FOR God -- in faith, in hope, in whatever -- seeing, as we do, through a dark glass.
All of which is a bunch of "beliefs." Which, I also think, have little to do with much at all.
"And God, being God, loves us SO much to look over our projections ..."
In fact, it may well be that this anxious reduction of God's love down to a stern, schoolmarm's imperious testing is "the father of lies."
In John 15, Jesus says we remain in his love if we keep his commandments. But what are his commandments?
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
He goes on for a few chapters in his farewell discourse, and seems to go round and round, trying hard to say something but never coming up with it. That's mostly because we read the word love and go right over it, when this word is the very center of these chapters. The disciples know Jesus is from God because of how loved them and how he talks about love. Those in the synagogue and in the wide world will not treat them well because they do not know God.
What is Jesus answer to this problem of knowing and loving?
My commandment is this: Love each other.
If we think our neighbor, of a hundred feet or a hundred thousand miles, does not know God, what are we to do?
Love each other.
Not "teach" what we know, not "preach" what we know. These are ministries for our Christian community.
Love each other. Since God loves them, we may as well.
Only by this way do we "know" God in his being. We "see" God through a glass. But we "know" God by loving.
Not by making sure that the world knows a lot about God. Not by thinking we know more. We cannot keep his commandments doing these things.
How do we keep stay in his love? By keeping his commandments.
And what are they?
Just... love each other.
0Affirmation 1: Walking fully in the path of Jesus, without denying the legitimacy of other paths God may provide humanity;
Matthew 11:28-29; John 8:12; John 10:16; Mark 9:40
As Christians, we find spiritual awakening, challenge, growth, and fulfillment in Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. While we have accepted the Path of Jesus as our Path, we do not deny the legitimacy of other paths God may provide humanity. Where possible, we seek lively dialog with those of other faiths for mutual benefit and fellowship.
We affirm that the Path of Jesus is found wherever love of God, neighbor, and self are practiced together. Whether or not the path bears the name of Jesus, such paths bear the identity of Christ.
We confess that we have stepped away from Christ’s Path whenever we have failed to practice love of God, neighbor, and self, or have claimed Christianity is the only way, even as we claim it to be our way.
I like the next to last graf, especially. And, note that it's exclusivity claims for "Christianity" that are being denied.
I thought Jesus reaffirmed TWO commandments.
Number ONE was to love God.
Number TWO was love your neighbor as yourself.
And if I remember it correctly he classified number TWO as being LIKE number ONE. Meaning I think without number One you haven't got much chance of accomplishing number Two.
(you can stow the scatology now)
Neither of these two commandments are unique to Christianity.
Love thy neighbor is effectively the Golden Rule, which comes from many separate moral schemes and religions whether in the negative or positive format.
Love God, is out there too, but not as often as one might think.
Generally, it comes across as God "loves" you and you should submit, obey, fear, follow,cower, and other such actions to God.
Of course there are also those religions where God doesn't love or think much of his offspring at all and we are left to our own devices to live with one another. the Golden Rule comes in handy there.
Putting them together might be unique to Christianity, except they were originally taken from among the 700 or something Jewish laws in the first place.
Acts of love can be deceptive things however. Meaning we are capable of the most damn actions while believing them to be love.
Two historical instance come to mind. First is the slaughter of all of the Cathars and Catholics in the 'third?' Crusade in France, where it was said, "Kill them all, God knows His own." Secondly is 9/11 where the "martyrs" believed that not only God would forgive or bless their murders but that those they murdered would do the same when they realized that they were killed for God's love.
Now in both of those instances they very well may have been talking to the same god.
Or, enacting the second commandment in space and time is, ontologically, accomplishing the first commandment in eternity.
"Meaning we are capable of the most damn actions while believing them to be love."
This would be where source, tradition, and application of reason operate as normalizing boundaries, in order to fence out the destructively abnormal.
mom2s creed, which is the creed of way too many, has stripped itself in recent centuries of all of these helpful disciplines, and even turns a despising eye toward the product of human faculties.
Of course, as DrLBJ would say, other creeds absolutize these guides.
DrLobo, re: "Neither of these two commandments are unique to Christianity."
So what? Srsly. So what? Since Christianity ain't the thing in the fiorst place, but the man Jesus and the personhood of the living Christ/Messiah or, as the chicken-fried version puts its, Saver?
Jesus said, it is said, that he was The Way. Whicvh I take to mean he embodied it. That don't mean it was knew or that he came up with it. In gact, my close chicken-fried reading of Matthew makes me think what he was saying more than anything was: "Hey, y'all are all off track. Follow me back to it."
I cannot say anything about how you are in the world.
But I can point to how the way you think, as presented in what you write, is deficient Christian theology and that, as such, it has unwarranted consequences for Christian teaching.
You may or may not agree; you probably do not. You may not truly intend the consequences of your thinking; you probably do not.
But always, in Christian history, intentions and theology are healthier and stronger, when they are smarter. And we only get smarter by discussing them and sometimes taking a stand when openness is aborted, or simply not offered -- no matter the extent of disingenuous claims to the contrary.
It is not a problem of logic to rightly judge those who are judgmental. Unfortunately, it is one task of Christian reason.
LOL. Jealous much?
I'm plenty tolerant of fellow Christian believers. I don't treat them as they treat me.
But it's the busybodies, fusspots, tattletales and scolds I'm intolerant of.
A Sheriff Arpaio of love.
A Professor Snape of the one, true art of magic.
A St. Paul as it were, but in a more enlightened epoch, or a St. John, without the anti-Semitism.
Would that I were Nyssa, or Rumi, Gandhi or MLK. but when DrLBJ and ER are around, someone's got to remind us of the function of order and cultic practice.
What's that noise I hear?
A scold is never appreciated in someone else's town.
BTW Rudy, thanks for relayin my words yesterday...I forgot that Hughsnet rations its webberlookin.
And the Bible, as we know it, is the Word -- which is a contradiction of the Bible itself, which point to Christ as the Word.
I know what yer saying is common, Mom2. And that, actually, makes it the broad way within American Christianity. Be careful.
You, Mom2, would crucify Jesus anew.
No, I simply don't agree with some of the things *you think* that the Word of God says.
You are not God. There is a difference between the Word of God, and the word of just another random anonymous busybody on the internet. You believe your words are God's Word. They aren't.
You. Are. Not. God.
And though you're wrong (and you definitely are, about a great many things) you need not be afraid of hell. You won't go to hell for saying or typing the wrong thing.
Nothing you can say can send you to hell. Nothing you don't say can send you to hell. Nor can saying some magical incantation get you out of hell, as you believe. Jesus already got you out of hell, just as he did me, and ER, and Feodor, and drlobojo, and whosoever believes in Him.
I urge you to actually read the Bible sometime. Try reading it instead of just using it as a weapon. I pray that you'd find comfort instead of fear, consolation instead of terror, heaven instead of hell.
Or at the very least, a little peace to replace your constant nagging.
So what? Srsly. So what? Since Christianity ain't the thing in the fiorst place, but the man Jesus and the personhood of the living Christ/Messiah or, as the chicken-fried version puts its, Saver?"
1. Then you are basing your belief system on a person, a historical Jesus, as you say the Saver.
2. "So What. Srsly. So what." ??? Am I hung up in your craw here?
So what? Indeed.
Because, as you so plainly put it, I am, in fact, "basing (my faith) on a person, a historical Jesus, as you say the Saver."
Yes. The personness of the man Jesus/risen Christ.
And I didn't say I give intellectual assent to the proposition that Jesus, the man, exists. I said my faith is based on the present reality of the living Christ, which has no meaning absent the man Jesus -- whether he existed in history or not.
All of which leaves room for avatars, and Logos and all kinds of stuff.
F: "Nobody believes Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, or Pliny the Younger anymore?"
I beleive Josephus' writting are true but perhaps altered to fit the needs of some scholars. As for the others just don't know.
The Gospels are filled with historical facts. And at the very least Paul knew the man's brother (whom Josephus also mentions, along with Pontius Pilate, Herod, and others from the Gospels) and knew many others who "knew" him.
Polycarp and Ignatius knew people who "knew" Jesus.
The man is better documented than any other colonized peasant, including military enemies of Rome, and as well documented as half or more than every other person from antiquity.
The Son of God is a completely different matter.
I did not say up there, in the earliest part of this fuzz on this thread, that I believe the man Jesus existed. But I will say it now: I believe the man Jesus existed.
I did say up there that my faith -- which is much more complicated than saying, "I believe" this, or "I believe" that -- is based on the living Christ. I also said that the idea of the living Christ has no meaning apart from the idea of the man Jesus. Or that's what I meant to say. Ergo, I believe the man Jesus existed, and my faith is in Christ; but if one were to prove that the man Jesus had never existed, my faith in the living Christ would remain because the connection the concepts have would remain, and because "faith" is not the same thing as "belief" when it means to intellectually assent to a proposition.
Here's a modification of an old example:
I see a chair.
I believe it exists, that is, I intellectuallyt assent to the propositin that the chair exists.
I sit in the chair, that is, I place my faith in the chair to do what the chair apparently exists to do: hold me up.
If, as I'm sitting in what I intellectually believe is a chair, and I am being held up, and someone comes along and proves to me that the chair never existed, yet I am still being held up, well, then, nothing would change much would it? Not unless I had a crisis if faith based on the loss of my intellectually belief that the chair existed. If I am still being held up, I'm still being held up.
He was delicious
Dr. Bill, I have to resist the temptation. "Hiding his nuts when I sat on him". Get thee behind me, Satan.
Tell me, Mom2, why should we be tolerant of anyone as small minded, vindictive, and intrusive into the lives of others as you? Seems to me the Imam's prayer was far more in the Spirit of love than any of the writings I have yet to read from your keyboard. Being lectured to by you is a sure-fire cure for the guilts; if you say it's a no-no, then by God I might just go out and do it!
ER, now let me get your statement straight, you think Jesus was historically a chair?
Mom2, thanks for stopping by, we get tired of bitching at each other.
F: "Polycarp and Ignatius knew people who "knew" Jesus."
Say! I know people who know people that saw Obama being born in Kenya.
ER: "Not sure DrLobio believes anybody."
Sure I do, and as soon I remember who, I'll get back to you.
In two thousand years you think your connection will be known? And we are in a digital/information age.
"your "dingo ate my baby" look?"
Careful bro, I got me a new JuJu hat.
Heavin Anglos, are we back on the Texan thread?