Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Bring it on, Bubba
I really would like a chance to at least try to explain that while, clearly Jesus did not say all, or even many -- if any -- of the exact words attributed to him in the Bible, that does not mean I don't think the words attributed to him aren't important!
The Gospel writers are authoritative by definition -- authoritative as the earliest known testimonies and interpretations of what the Jesus movement seemed to be about. But that doedn't mean they got it persactly right down to the jots and tittles!
But that might be too much for the lad right there.
You're not going to convince him of anything. You won't even convince him that your efforts to faithfully understand Scripture, even if misguided and/or outright wrong, are even sincere. In fact his whole MO and the MO of the rest of his cronies is to begin with the assumption that none of us think the words of Jesus (whether transmitted word-for-word or not) are important. They begin with the assumption that we hate God, the Bible, and Jesus. What's the point of discussing anything with anyone like that?
The guy is an inerrantist. I know this because other than teh gays, it's nearly the only thing he talks about -- incessantly and profusely. (If only someone had given him a Strunk and White sometime in his youth.) Anything other than seeing the Bible as inerrant is is simply "picking and choosing" blah, blah blah. Has he ever said anything new? No. Has he ever led you to believe that he'd ever deviate from that particular POV? No. Has he even ever given you the impression that he's capable of disagreeing yet respecting a position that's different from his? No.
Again, I'm not saying that discussion with people like this is a waste of time because you'll never change their minds, though it definitely is and you never ever will. I'm saying it's a waste of time because they aren't even capable of acknowledging the importance of attempting to faithfully understand Scripture. Disagreement with them equals disagreement with God. Period.
I suspect you know all that already.
So, yeah, why bother? I know some folks do continue to try to engage with these folks, and I seriously honestly don't get why.
But you have a dog already. That's what they're for. :)
And remember your Emerson, "To be great is to be misunderstood."
Beyond that, being understood only works if comprehension is possible on the other side. In this case, it isn't.
While I don't agree with much of Spong's theology, he says the same things many of us have been saying for years, that is, it's a waste of time to debate hatred, ignorance and fear with the hateful, ignorant, and fearful. Or put more simply, as a former pastor of mine used to say, "Here we stand, y'all come!"
Most of the time when uncle Alley expressed an opinion I generally said something along the lines of, " Yep, that seems right to me."
One thing you can explain to me about something Niel said on that blog. Exactly why does he have your site "blocked" on his computer? Now is he afraid he'll forget and call your blog up? Is he keeping his wife and kids from reading it?
Maybe he thinks you are spreading some kind of virus along with your heresy? I don't quite understand that one. Is it a symbolic casting you out of his "kingdom on earth"?
Or... Well, actually he never said he blocked *my* blog, just yours. So maybe it isn't a lie. Maybe he does indeed block your blog, but he just likes surfing my blog for a dose of hot man-on-man "pornography." LOL Hey, if it keeps him from pulling a Haggard, more power to him. ;)
So is that why Bubba has spoken up here? Neil is protecting him from your evil influence and Bubba can't figure out how to get here on his own.
Ah, Jim Jones and David Koresh are still being "Channeled".
Say Alan, a lttle Haggard exploration might do the boy a service. He does seem a classic case in many ways of many suppressed needs. Maybe you are correct most of them need to remain suppressed. Indeed, thinking about it, you are absolutely correct.
But obsessing about gay stuff all the time; intentionally cruising gay blogs for interesting tidbits that you mention with surprising regularity (ie. HWMNBN *loves* a humorous post I wrote once about camping, he mentions it all the time); basing your entire theology (ie. who is saved and who isn't) not on anything Biblical, but based solely on sexuality, etc. It doesn't take the light blue row on the abacus to add up the numbers here. And then you have his cronies, who I have had the misfortune of reading some of their comments in which they spin out surprisingly elaborate and detailed descriptions of gay sex. Hmmmmm?
Now maybe they're not all a bunch of closet queens. But I can only go by the evidence.
1) Many of the gay men I know, when they were closeted (say, High School) now admit that they were huge homophobes back then. Myself included. It's natural to try to deflect attention.
2) Studies show that there is a link between increased homophobia and increased arousal from looking at same-sex images.
3) Example after example after example: Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Charlie Crist, Glenn Murphy, Jeff Gannon, Jim West, etc., etc., etc. Individual situations like that aren't generalizable but they do show the pattern: the guilty dog barks loudest.
Or look at Peter Labarbera, president of "Americans for Truth" who goes around to various events around the country (events that most people gay or straight wouldn't be caught dead at) and he *films them* in order to show the films to people to demonstrate how horrible gay people are. He. Films. Gay. Men. Having. Sex.
Or look at one of the sites HWMNBN links to all the time: http://www.massresistance.com/ A site which proudly displays this:
Again, that's a site which HWMNBN links to A LOT.
Dude .... that's pretty damn gay.
Now I don't call the american descenters and their coterie closet cases because I think it's an insult to call them gay. Obviously there's nothing wrong with being gay. I just think they're closeted hypocrites. It's sad, and as we've seen innumerable times now, it's the poor wife and kids who end up having to pick up the pieces.
The "Bug" is funny stuff.
You've nailed the real "sin" here, hypocrisy. Straight-Gay-or on the Spectrum it is their hypocrisy about it that most people really hate.
As I've gotten older, I spend far less time thinking about it. I certainly spend far less time doing it. I have never really been one to sit around and imagine my friends, casual acquaintances, whomever, and what they might do behind closed doors. I was raised to assume that kind of thing was only my business if I was invited to join.
As Alan has said over and over, these folks talk about salvation through grace, but they damn people precisely because of what they do with their naughty bits. I am going to make a comment that might just be heretical and say that I do not believe for one moment that God cares who we have sex with, as long as mutual love is involved. If God had not wanted us to lust, it wouldn't exist, but love is the key ingredient for me.
There. I said it. I suppose I'm outside the communion on this one, but I've always believed that. As my Mom always said, if God made anything better than sex, he kept it to Himself; a direct quote from a woman who had the five fathers of her five children picked out before she met and married the man who actually did father her five children.
That would have been Day 2, Martin Luther, Wittenburg.
If the Church cannot save one by the cleansing and recycling of the soul via the sacraments, then making a case for sola gratia found it needed something more concrete in order to console anxieties that found sola gratia unnervingly abstract. So, protestantism was made more effective by claiming traditional moral behavior as evidence of a salvation that was not supposed to rest on behavior.
Protestantism comes to its internal contradictions from the very first.
Seriously, tho', I think we need to step away from sex. Just my humble opinion.
You don't see a single sermon of Jesus on the horrors of inappropriate sex. You find very little where Jesus even touches on sexuality.
When the woman accused of adultery is brought before Jesus (brought to her by religious hypocrites, he did not seek her out) and asked what should be done (should she be stoned as the law commands?), Jesus played it down, reminded folk that we're all sinners and there was no need to single her out. It was a very empowering, loving response to a volatile situation.
And, yes, Jesus told her to go and sin no more, so I think it's safe to assume that Jesus considered the adultery (of both the man and the woman) to be a sin, but he did not condemn her over it. He forgave it and saved her from her oppressors.
Beyond that, we have Jesus approving of marriage, disapproving of divorce and really, that is about the sum total of Jesus' entire message on sexuality as found in the Bible.
If He did not find it necessary to obsess especially over sexual sin, why would we who follow in his steps?
His breakdown of the story of the woman caught in adultery, and Jesus' response - especially the way Jesus refuses to condemn her, only telling her to go and "sin no more" - is wonderful. It forces us to wonder, I think, what is it about sexuality in general that creates so much fear among some folks.
While we know these as truisms, still, sex "drives" a lot of the daily human experience (and by this, I mean a lot more than intercourse).
And since conservative Christianity - and Christianity which conceives of any kind of eschatological judgment - is very, very, anxious in personality, this immense power of sex gnaws at the mind.
It is, in part, the freedom from anxiety that non-conformist sexualities exhibit that so maddens those who so want a strict moral conformity.
Yes it is presumptuous of me, but why would two "seminarians" use a account of Jesus that was not known except from the late 4th or early 5th Century A.D. to make a point about what Jesus thought.
John 7:53-8:11 is a latter addition to the Gospel of the Beloved Disciple by any-one's standards. When the clergy fail to educate their congregations about the validity of such things as this, they commit the sin of omission. When they embrace, use, or preach about such they are being fraudulent.
As Robert Frost as said:
"Some as soon throw it all as throw a part away..."
Some may argue that the story of the woman caught in adultery has been taught so long and too such effect that it should be continued as a traditional teaching. If that is what they mean by "tradition" then so be it.
Except the story is in direct violation of Jewish law and tradition upon which our Christian tradition supposedly stands.
I would say that my opinion is best expressed by Emily Dickinson:
IT dropped so low in my regard
I heard it hit the ground,
And go to pieces on the stones
At bottom of my mind;
Yet blamed the fate that fractured, less
Than I reviled myself
For entertaining plated wares
Upon my silver shelf.
DrLoboJO: I was wonderin' about that, too, the authenticity of the woman-caught passage, I mean.
My take on sex, and this stems from my experience: I was quite the skirt chasee, as they say, in my 20s, and I caught quite a few, in a series of mutually shallow, temporary encounters. Sometimes, there would be hard feelings, misunderstandings, etc., but I don't recall many of them having to do with the sex.
I never then, nor do I now, feel "guilty," "bad" or "convicted" or whatever for that period of my life -- except for cases where I caused harm. And where I caused harm, or some gal caused harm to me, again, it had to do with selfishness, not with the sex per se.
Now, I am dedicated to Dr. ER, sexually and otherwise, because I love her and she expects me to be, and to not be would be to cause her harm. But not because I think sex with someone else would be "wrong" by definition. Because I don't think that.
It's not social norms or mores or rules, implied or explicit, that make me dedicated to my wife. How cheap would that be?
Indeed. I'm not sure I'd place the blame at Luther's feet. He was, after all, pretty instrumental in arguing against the RCs vows of chastity.
Calvin, on the other hand, seems to have had some serious intimacy issues.
Like ER, I had a roving eye, although serially and consecutively, rather than simultaneously. I discovered both the demonic and angelic power of human sexuality at first hand, and am satisfied that both are contained, potentially, within it, although I would say I much prefer the latter.
As for this comment of ER's - "It's not social norms or mores or rules, implied or explicit, that make me dedicated to my wife. How cheap would that be?" - that about sums up how stupid some of these people are. To think that he, and I, and Feodor, and Alan are all devoted to our spouses out of some minimalist concern over rule-breaking is actually quite telling. The notion that some of these folks have - we would all tomcat around if it weren't for fear of hell, or something like that apparently - is demeaning not just to us, but to the very reality that is love, including sexual love.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
This is the gordian knot that the dark side cannot cut. It is not the Bible which sets us free. It is Christ, which infers that Christ is also alive to set us free. But the freedom Christ offers is too vague for anxious minds and so they settle for the freedom circumscribed by Holy Scripture rather than from the living Christ.
Which precisely sets the sharp internal contradictions which they carry.
In Bubba's world, if one participates in credit/interest bearing vehicles like a credit card or JCrew, one has broken a biblical law. Bubba, being the most conscientious of interpreters, along with Eric, understands the severely restricted freedom of biblical understanding. The others fudge, a lot. And probably none more duplicitously than Neil.
So, the issue of sex is central to how one understands the freedom that Christ brings because there is little else in the world over which we ourselves have such little control. Express it we must, to phrase it like Yoda. Almost every human being is unfree from having sexual feelings.
But the power it has over us is shaming because it is our also our closest link to the rest of biology and does not, as an act, set us apart from anything (though our consciousness of and meaning importation to it, does).
And protestantism, ever so much more than on-the-ground Catholicism, is wrenched with an early Enlightenment valuing of the rational capacity of human nature to exert self-control over our animalistic concupiscence. Protestants are the nonpareil inheritors of Augustine, bereft of the periodic sacramental cleansing that he balanced against the continual failure of perfect behavior.
Conservatives are still locked into this early Protestant prison. Perhaps I overreached with Luther, but I did say day 2, and Luther, while paradigm shattering, still upheld an extreme need for order and this extended to sex and the state, if not as low as the stomach and intestine. And Luther was not against chastity. He was against enforced chastity. (Not that the vow was much perfectly kept anyway. It was a promise more than a plan, and often went the way plans of mice and men do.)
All of which is to say that sexuality in the main and our bodies in the abstract are ringing the death knell to an epoch of defining theology by doctrine and setting forth the categorization of true faith along issues of social interest, which Alan has said previously in other words.
Which is sad.
It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.
But Christ nor freedom is not found, principally or corporately, in condoms, forceps, economic systems or health care structures, or in genitalia. Surely our relationship with Christ has derivative impact on such things.
But to start there is to start in with an intrusive power interest in the conscience of others; it is coercive colonialism of our neighbor; casuistic legalism.
To try to live in the freedom that is from the bible and not Christ is to live in the theologically failed state of Bubbaland: a boat load of legislation dictating everything down to outlawing usury... but absolutely not life for anyone.
DrLBJ cannot accept a wonderful, human-filled parable because its "authenticity" as the very words of Jesus has fallen to scholastic prohibition.
This dependence on the "very words," historical authenticity which is what makes a text "holy," is so very antithetical to biblical theology and the church's interpretation until post-Enlightenment biblical criticism and the protestant privileging of text over community and rite.
Bubba and DrLJB are kissing cousins in this regard, but deny their common DNA.
BUT, this is great: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
Amen. Liberty for the sake of liberty. For how else can we approach God honestly? Otherwise, we would approach God in fear, or to get something, or to get away from something else.
In liberty, we can approach God because we want to.
I just ran this by Dr. ER.
"Nontransactional," she said.
It is very much the Catholic tradition to tell "stories" that are wonderful and wondrous. However when you say "Jesus said" or "Jesus did" and present it a real it is best that He said or did it or a witness says he did or something.
To just include something 400 years after the fact is a fraud if it is presented as "fact" or "part of the original". If you want to use it, then tell your students, congregation, etc. what it is and then use it.
You are right about my DNA and Bubba's being the same in this regard, canonizing fairy tales (again a Roman Church tradition) is not helpful to understanding God.
Hell let's just add in 'The Little Drummer Boy' to the official Christmas story. Put him in Mathew. He is such a wonder heart felt parable of gift giving. He should be there shouldn't he.
To continue to present to those who trust your word something as authentic scripture when you damn well know it can't be is not a small thing.
" This dependence on the "very words," historical authenticity which is what makes a text "holy," is so very antithetical to biblical theology and the church's interpretation until post-Enlightenment biblical criticism and the protestant privileging of text over community and rite.
One of the troubles with non-Orthodox Christians is that they do not have the many assistants to understanding that the Orthodox do. We have to do without Papal or LDS Presidential Prophet explanations, Saints intersessions, Sanctioned Dogma, and a useful sanctioned encyclopedia of terms and meanings of all the creeds and decrees from the church.
We are limited to ourselves, what we can learn, and direct inspiration that filters to us from God.
As for the "very words", enlighten me, theologians have no need of the "very words" as a starting place?
And one final diatribe, I see no difference between worshiping a Church and worshiping the Bible both are missing the central point
and are a diversion.
Speaking of the New Testament, you would not have anything resembling a canon until the Rylands Papyrus which is mid-second century at best and still not our New Testament. And interpreting any book or passage as if it has not been edited and thematized in light of a sense of the whole canon is like trying to treat chemical bonding with only the nucleus in focus.
You've ignored the shaping by the community (those damned buzzing electrons, never where we think they will be determining everything). One cannot rightly read anything in the New Testament outside of the community of the church. This simple sentence gives the lie to a bedrock principle of protestantism.
And speaking of the community, the Church is the living body of lives lived in faith for two thousand years. Over the course of those two thousand years, there are countless "stories" of human faith thinking and acing in relation to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the church is right to celebrate this legacy of the living Spirit finding cooperation with living human beings via the grace that is the life of God. This whole panoply of text and life, life and stories is the good news that the church preaches and teaches. In as much as it is The Church's Gospel story resting on, drawn from, and cycling back to the canonical gospels as mediated and reflected by the worshiping corporate community and not just my sola voce, the canon of Holy Scripture remains open, again, by the power of the Holy Spirit working through us.
This freedom has aided the too late liberation of oppressed peoples, women, and gay and lesbian people. (To bring the discussion back to the post.)
But since this kind of freedom cannot be Bubba's understanding of the Gospel and the Christian Church working in tandem and with the indwelling Holy Spirit, he and those like him cannot stomach the movement of faith.
This necessity of finding justification outside of community life is thoroughly the kind of privatized political freedom built out of print, literacy, and the Enlightenment. Great and terrible gifts, no doubt, but destructive where extreme. And the protestant spirit took it to an extreme in part defending itself from the philosophies that used the same tools to a more rational and humane extent. This extreme was also built on the defensive justification of identifying the living witness of historic Christianity - "the Church" - with a repudiated brand, a corrupt bureaucracy, a power interest.
You thereby further give the lie to protestantism by denying, in untended ignorance, that the authentic witness and source of historic authority of the Church exists in the lives of faith lived by the faithful from Dyarbakir to Aksum to Cadiz to Tara to Whitby to Kiev to Kerala to Constantinople and Ravenna and beyond.
A great circle of human faith, spinning, like the world, wonders of truth patterned out of bread and wine and the Gospel they told, each to each carried from Jerusalem and Antioch and Alexandria and Rome, shaped for their communities and incarnated in their flesh, lifting their spirits to God.
The Gospel of John is partly responsible for this, but not entirely. The bishops of Rome are partly responsible for this, but not entirely. The whole is the whole in heaven, the only reality, which is among us through the Holy Spirit living in the kingdom of Christ's body.
It is a continuum that must be respected in oder to be effective.
Western instrumental rationalism, as theologically structured in protestantism and the counter reformation, is forensic in motivation. And so must seek elsewhere for myths that keep the bedside lamp on at night, as the privatized, privation-riven, individual recomposes his or her god.
You have nothing from which to form Christian faith except yourself. A priesthood of one believer only, far, far from "all believers."
No sacramental experience.
No New Testament gospel.
No Church witness.
No body or blood or gospel of Christ
No basis on which to decide between Bubba and Neil on one hand and yourselves on the other except socio-cultural and political commitments which both sides read back into your respective, so-called, "faiths."
Welcome to liberal protestant christianity.
Christ is culture.
As someone at Yale once said, a long while ago.
The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580 by Eamon Duffy...
Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture by Miri Rubin...
Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages by Caroline Walker Bynum.
You put forth that we don't know what we are talking about and then demonstrate that we do and then infer if we just understood it we would have that view as well.
What you see as the correct and wrong access to Christianity I see as a difference in human temperaments.
"You have nothing from which to form Christian faith except yourself. A priesthood of one believer only, far, far from "all believers."
No sacramental experience.
No New Testament gospel.
No Church witness.
No body or blood or gospel of Christ..."
And with that self serving analysis you damn me or us no less that Neil or Bubba does. It does bring to mind that my Palatine ancestors in the early 1600's were murdered and prosecuted by both the Protestants and and Catholic Churches and fled to the Western American frontier of the time to rebuild their lives after the loss of their wives and children and land to those crimes.
I will endure my isolated individuality and be what Christian I can be, doing so. But as I would say to Neil or Bubba, damn me at your own risk.
1. You have a problem with a text you consider to have been written 400 years after "the fact" - yet you do not state what "the fact" is, in fact, much less argue why 400 years is a terminal problem. Is 300 years not? 200? 80? And what is "the fact" again?
2. You provide sarcasm with The Little Drummer Boy, and mention "canonizing fairy tales." Canonizing fairy tales? Fairy tales are not canonized. Saints are. True, stories of miraculous events from their ministry are part of the criteria. Kind of like the recent Nobel Peace Prize. There should be evidence of effect. Changing the foreign world's view of America is like a miracle. But, then, you are free to protest that, too.
Are you aware that the birth narratives and passion narratives display a remarkable trait of having been added in concert as though stuck on at the beginning and at the end, as if they are separate narratives... "canonized" as you may say?. And what "witnesses" would you provide to make sure there is a ground of "what he did" and "what he said" for the birth narratives?
So, is this your barometer of scripture: "However when you say "Jesus said" or "Jesus did" and present it a real it is best that He said or did it or a witness says he did or something"? Got to cut off the birth narratives, then, or do you supply a missing affidavit from Mary to cover? And then the duel with the devil in the desert. Got to go. You and Thomas Jefferson would get along. He had a really short New Testament.
Again, there is no argument, certainly not one from protestant theology for whatever it is you are suggesting. I'm making your argument for you by cutting and pasting. Otherwise, it's just your sarcasm that is self-damning. Far from needing me to do it.
3. And then this argument for an anti-argument position (classically frontier protestant and unconscious of all the reformation material of the last five hundred years upon your positions rest, unstated because unknowing):
"One of the troubles with non-Orthodox Christians is that they do not have the many assistants to understanding that the Orthodox do. We have to do without Papal or LDS Presidential Prophet explanations, Saints intersessions, Sanctioned Dogma, and a useful sanctioned encyclopedia of terms and meanings of all the creeds and decrees from the church.
We are limited to ourselves, what we can learn, and direct inspiration that filters to us from God."
4. And I quote your perspicacity: "Exactly."
So, again, when I supply the missing argument, you don't like it, apparently.
Same with Bubba, who cannot acknowledge his progenitors either, and trusts in his autodidacticism.
And, as Bubba trusts his King James Version and his eighteenth century fundamentalist heroes, here you are reaching back to the seventeenth with a grudge and a commitment to honor it, cherish it, be guided by it.
And the confederate flag is still with us.
Why are we so much creatures of habitual fear?
So, as I understand it, your argument for scriptural authority is that it must be proximal to Jesus and able to presume that it's based on witness.
Is this right? Though, surely you have a different kind of authority for Old Testament scriptures, yes?
After all, the Jesus Seminar only covers so much ground.
Whereas mine is that authority is conferred by the life of the church in worshipping relationship with the living Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, the way scripture has functioned in that life -- which has not been exactly the same at all times -- gets its authority from that life. That life has to be corporately valued and time honored while, at the same time, open to God's activity to change the conceptions of that life via the Trinity, the body of Christ, and reflection on its life.
So, all things in the earthy church - sacraments/scripture/order of ministry - have no authority in and of themselves unless it is given by the living Trinity as expressed in the enduring experience of the church. This does not happen the same everywhere or at the same time. Movements do happen.
In this way, the whole of John has authority -- needing to be interpreted -- but authority as Holy Scripture with a long history in the community's life as set forth by that community.
So, too, do pseudapigrapha and explicitly Gnostic scriptures. In need of interpretation, and given a different authoritative role by the Church's witness.
So, too, do stories of the saints. For the very reasons I've mentioned.
The canon is the canon, has the authority of the canon, and is used in ways appropriate to the time at hand. But it is open to layering.
For that is the experience of faith in the community in the living Christ in the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Even the Little Drummer Boy is gospel. Because it makes us smile. And know a little more about faith.
I'm even surprised that you would attack it, DrLBJ. That did not sound like the expansive side of your spirituality.
It sounded like the petulant side.
Please don't forget to correct me on your argument for the authority of scripture.
And, what Drlobo said, re: ignorance versus disagreement. I am not ignorant of the Reformation, for Christ's sake; I HAVE studied it formally and casually.
Why do you give such a big s--t? Are you Catholic? I thought you were Episcopalean. Unchurched, as they say, at that -- based on something you said a long time ago.
Cracks me up. From where I sit, I see churches, not A church, not THE church -- not now, not then, not ever. The cloud of witnesses has nothing no more to do with any one tradition, doctrine, confession, than any other. So, all your refracting of everything I/we say into "protestant," "prairie," "populism" and what have you -- well, it's all academic. Very cool stuff to talk about when one has time, which I do, having eight more verses of Exodus 23 to analyze for a paper due -- due WHERE? In a seminary class. A seminary class. Me. At age 45. After a lifetime of casual study. SO GET OFF ME. If there IS a God, so to speak, I pray to come out of seminary with less of a chip on ky shoulder, and less of a fire in my belly for suspicion than you.
Protestant! Catholic! Bullshit, all!
Reminds me of something I think every time I hear some of Neil's spew: It's not that there are "liberal" seminaries and "conservative seminaries. There are seminaries. And there are Bible vo-tech schools.
Rather the contrary.
And I write because this equation of historic catholicity - an amalgam of wide diversity - with the Roman Catholic Church is really, poorly, misconceived historical conflation. And really, really old. Like Geneva old.
So, I expect more here.
And as much as I find Anglicanism to be a very fine reformed kind of catholicity, it is in crisis no less than the less of Christianity. And is due no eternal loyalty.
I'm not unchurched. Only by a protestant definition perhaps.
You wanted Bubba.
You didn't get Bubba.
But all you've done here is avoid a different kind of discussion where you were the one to have been called out.
Where are the finely considered arguments among like-minded people?
Which is more difficult... and irritating for the comfortably confident.
Kind of sucky.
To which I can only say - No. We differ because we differ. Your perspective is important, Feodor, but hardly determinate. ER, drlobojo, others - we are all educated, intelligent, thoughtful people who just might have a perspective that is valid, and serves the wonderful purpose of informing our lives far more than your constant badgering of our inherent inadequacies might lead you to believe.
I would also echo ER's statement that I'm just not quite sure with whom you are arguing. Indeed, why argue? The kind of discussion we are having here is not an attempt to arrive at intellectual, or even existential, consensus. We are, I think, rather learning about one another, from one another, and I count myself privileged to be among a small group of people who visit here and always come away more full than when I arrived.
We need no hectoring, no lecturing, no discourse on our inadequacies. Furthermore, we happen to like you, man. Present your ideas as your perspective, as we all do, without demanding engagement on the merits. For myself, I recognize the inherent limitations of my own perspective; I also refuse to be badgered in to changing them by someone who refuses to even consider the possibility that he might just be . . . wrong. Not wrong for himself, but wrong for me.
Enough lecturing for today.
I'll remind you that ER invited Bubba for exactly an engagement demanding merits. You make the same inferred invitation every time you post. You guys engage on the merits when idiots show up, as do I.
And I recognize that many of you are "all educated, intelligent, thoughtful people who just might have a perspective that is valid." But it is the "just might have" that gets tested in life, if one is willing.
And I like testing the validity of certain notions that seem to me to be shallowly understood, or just popularly understood. Like what catholicity is, what protestantism is, what is the source and role of doctrine, how we are all marked culturally as white male protestants in ways that keep us from recognizing the lineaments of, as you say, "the inherent limitations of my own perspective."
Progress, intellectually and morally, can be made in a lifetime is part of life is given to self-critical discourse on just the limitations we may have.
But ER, lately, and DrLBJ consistently, and you, on occasion, seem to put one foot in toward strong engagement, and then pull it out when the weather gets rough. One cannot grow on milk and bread alone. We have teeth to chew more than cud.
Bubba is cud.
We can do more and seem to feint toward more, for a time, then draw back.
Now that, to me, is tiresome.
(Sorry for the mixed metaphors.)
And DrLBJ is absolutely wrong. I do not damn his faith as he says. I was pointing out the theological consequences of the inferences of his stated position. This has nothing to do with faith and relationship with God. It has to do with understanding. The body of Christ is stronger with stronger understanding. But damnation is not part of the conversation on Christian understanding.
Damnation has to do with soul, and DrLBJ has a beautiful soul.
Not a seminar. Not an chance to prove anything to anybody. Just a bunch of folk sitting around and chatting. Disagreement is one thing, and is going to happen in any event. Just let them be what they are.
Nope. No time. And, as "thrown together, not edited" really is my baseline, you should see deep, sustained engagment on complicated and controversial topics (I mean among those of us generally agree on the Big Things) as the exception, not the rule. (I seem to always find time to whack certain types of Peeps Who Must Not Be Named upside the head; but it's easier, not that deep and doesn't require much of me. Feodor, you do require much of me.)
But, I have just toiled four hours on 2 pages of a 5-page first draft of what I hope is a passable stab at a grammatical exegesis of Exodus 23: 1-9. It's due Tuesday morning. I have a long work day tomorrow. And some personal s--t to deal with. I wish you wouldn't interpret my lack of engagement with reticence! No fricking time!
Wow. So much of Feodoricity is coming into focus. Hoo hoo. :-)
Yer not only a fellow erudite. You are a fellow erudite redneck! A very complex version of a type. The type: Peeps who have turned what they have become into an excuse to revile what they once were -- or what they narrowly averted! It applies to place, culture, time and self.
And I am the other type: My type: Peeps who take what they have become and use to understand -- and accept -- what they once were and to see more clearly what they narrowly averted. It, too, applies to place, culture, time and self.
I have brought a bag of bullets and a flask of gunpowder.
And true, back in the day when I was newly erudite. But, time, suffering and the un-self examining masses which live everywhere (not just rednecks) disproved my sense that my experience was at the center of the universe.
But we do all have something in common, and more than many. So, I know a part of you well. And GKS. And if my father had taken his romantic self a little further out into the world when he was young, he could have shared a lot with the quirky, erudite, spontaneous yet deep running water that is DrLBJ.
Revile my old self or my narrowly averted self? Not anymore. Love, rather; poignantly... in the knowledge that time is all we have, we cannot keep it, and it started moving on us before we were aware.
But it was worth a shot, ER. Seminary has done to that to thousands of people.
Hell Feodor, sometimes engaging you is like trying to get that proverbial drink from a fire hydrant (I've said this before?). It is not that I have to pull out but rather fall back to keep from drowing in the flow.
What cha think ER, doesn't the boy often come to a coffee klatch with his own moonshine?
Even if I hadn't been busy, I frankly don't make a habit of visiting your blog. Some of what you wrote at Neil's made me wonder whether you had said something more here at your blog, and so I checked here on a whim, when I saw your blog entry from Tuesday. I figured that was going to be the only comment. I checked this blog again only on another whim, and I'm only now reading through this thread.
For what it's worth, I understand Neil's decision to ban you, but I wish he would have taken a different approach than he did at the thread in question.
He probably shouldn't have allowed any comment of yours to stand in the first place, but if he was going to let stand your antagonistic remark about "Bible worshippers" and let stand my response, I would have preferred your rebuttal to remain published.
As I made clear there, letting your subsequent comments stand would have let people see exactly what you are and what you believe.
About inerrancy, very early on you write:
"I really would like a chance to at least try to explain that while, clearly Jesus did not say all, or even many -- if any -- of the exact words attributed to him in the Bible, that does not mean I don't think the words attributed to him aren't important!
"The Gospel writers are authoritative by definition -- authoritative as the earliest known testimonies and interpretations of what the Jesus movement seemed to be about. But that doedn't mean they got it persactly right down to the jots and tittles!"
I don't think it's true that "clearly" Jesus didn't say much of what the Gospels attribute to Him, and you should argue for this claim rather than assume that your claim is obvious to everyone.
In opposition to that conclusion we have the claims of the Gospel writers themselves, such as Luke's claim (in 1:1-4) that he carefully investigated everything that he documented, and the claim in John's gospel (in 21:24) that his testimony is true.
There are cases where we can compare manuscripts and find a few sections that weren't present in the older copies -- e.g., parts of Mark 16 and the beginning of John 8, which you've already mentioned. We can theorize that these passages are later and possibly inauthentic additions.
But most of what is in the Gospels are present in the oldest manuscripts that we have. You may think that the writers didn't get things "persactly right," but NONE OF US are now equipped to sift the authentic from the inauthentic. Those who think they are so equipped tend to use question-begging criteria like the (arguably anachronistic) standard of dissimilarity, presuming that the Jewish teacher who founded the Christian church would never teach anything that sounds Jewish or Christian.
But my point has been that, if you really believe the Gospels are untrustworthy records of what Jesus' words and deeds, then -- as I wrote at Neil's -- "you really cannot have any confidence about what Jesus did and taught."
For you, Christ must be at best a shadowy figure of history, and so you shouldn't invoke His name in criticizing other Christians, and you have business telling them that they're not Christlike.
If you don't trust the best records we have of what Christ was like on earth, then you cannot have any good reason to weigh in on how others are or are not Christ-like.
Feodor: I was erudite -- that is, scholarly -- long before I was educated.
To all and sundry: The concept of Scriptural "authority" is one thing. The notions of inerrancy and infallibility, and even "completeness" are totally different!
The Bible canons -- canonS -- have authority, and it rests in the tradtition of the various groups of followers of Christ. As a descendent of two or three or more traditions within the Western "church," I accept those traditions. Why do you think I am formally and systematically studying? Within all the traditions are loing, long discussions and arguments over -- well, everything! The creeds and such, as summations of agreement, are exceptions, not rules, in my opinion.
But not that says anything about historicity of facts and actions within the Scriptures. Or accuracy. Or completeness. Nothing.
I generally trust the gist of what I've inherited from my forefathers and foremothers in the faith, when it comes to how to treat the Bible: With care but with scrutiny, with veneration, perhaps, but not worshipfully, as a pointer to Christ, who points to God, but not as the Word of God, which is not words, but is Christ. Niow, some of that is in the Bible, and some of it is in the cloud of testimony of the churches over the ages.
I trust scholarship, generally, even hermenuetics of suspicion, and, Bubba, in the past few weeks I've been forced to realize that while I don't care for it myself, your own approach -- and Neil's -- has to be seen as a kind of Canonical exegesis that has value for churches, but not much, frankly, in the Year of Our Lord 2009. But hey, it's your deal. Enjoy it -- and I know you do.
I trust Paul -- I mean, I accept his theological interpretations, more or less, and I trust that he was being honest when he wrote everything he, or his close followers, wrote, some of which I flatly disagree with, slavery, women in church, etc., and I think he was prone to hyperbole if not mild hysterics (in a good way). I would love to meet the Lord in the air! But I think that might have been Paul going off half-cocked in glorious joy nd anticipation of his own, and others' reconciliation with God. And whether when Christ appeared to Paul, the Lord materialized out of thin air before Paul's eyes, or it dawned on Paul, in his mind's eye and imagination, through holy spirit, that Jesus was Paul's messiah, I don't know. But I believe Paul meant what he wrote and was being honest about it.
Jesus IS a shadowy figure from Palestinian history. The living Christ, however, is a bright foundation, if not the center, of the Present. My present and churches'. My own conceptions of Christ are informed by Scripture and churches' tradition, which is the keeper of Canonicity.
I trust Jesus, the Christ, as the pointer to God, and I throw myself onto the Cosmos ... with hope and faith that God is as much "I Am Being" now as when another shadowy-and-now-dressed-up figure from history, Moses, encountered God.
Wow. What a nutshell. Helped limber up my thinker for the work at hand. Y'all have fun, and somebody mop up any blood that get spilled, 'k? Now, back to Exodus 23!
There are two options 1) the Bible is inerrant and we miserable sinners still need to interpret it and those interpretations will, due to total depravity, always be tainted by sin, or 2) the Bible is not inerrant and we miserable sinners still need to interpret it and those interpretations will, due to total depravity, always be tainted by sin.
Because we cannot approach the Bible without interpretation, which will always be errant, there is no way to confirm whether or not the text is inerrant.
It's a ridiculous argument about something that can never be confirmed and is thus merely a way for people who like to argue to find a way to argue about something and, if at all possible, damn their opponents to hell.
Good luck with that. Meanwhile I'll be over here trying to prove that unicorns are pink, a task with as much likelihood of success as trying to prove the Bible inerrant.
I take my leave asking a couple questions -- rhetorical questions to consider, not necessarily to answer here.
As best as we can tell from the texts that were eventually canonized as the New Testament and the testimony of the early church, what was Christ's approach to Scripture, at least to Jewish Scripture?
Does your approach match up to His, or is it more likely that you denigrate as idolatrous those approaches to Scripture that do align with Christ's?
I'm not sure Jesus of Nazareth was literate, for one thing, being a peasant of an era and place where illiteracy was the norm. So, considering the other literary dressings in Luke, including his reading from Isaiah, I doubt he said anything as specific as "jots and tittles."
But, could he have SAID the things he is supposed to have READ? Sure. Would he have generally accepted the authority of the prophets, the ancient stories, the law, the wisdom of Jewish writings? Sure. He was a Jew. But as writings? Probably not.
In other words, I think the literate urban followers of Jesus and his rural-based Way dressed up the story for their urban, more educated audience. Was God's hand in that? Absolutely. Does God give a rip about such human ideas a "historicity," "literalness" and jots, tittles and other penstrokes? Not so much.
Of course the unstated assumption is that Bubba's approach is the same as Christ's, and therefore cannot be questioned.
Nah, forget it. That rhetorical pump-fake doesn't even deserve a "nice try."
My favorite line in what I've skimmed is Alan's astute observations about inerrancy and we errant people striving to come up with inerrant conclusions whether or not the bible is inerrant...
I was actually kind of impressed with Bubba's initial comment, even though I don't agree with it. It's nice that someone who goes by "Bubba" doesn't exactly live up to the nickname. . .
Also, how Paul interpreted his Bible is even more tantalizing and exciting. After all, to study how one of Christianity's major interpreters used his own scriptures in Galations and Romans and Corinthians reveals so much about the way he himself moved meaning of a text in its original context to meaning something quite different for his purposes. Midrash is not Bubba exegesis. At all.
The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul As Interpreter of Israel's Scripture by Richard B. Hays
Romans 10:6 Deut. 30:12
Romans 10:7 Deut. 30:13
Romans 10:8 Deut. 30:14
Romans 10:11 Isaiah 28:16
Romans 10:13 Joel 2:32
Romans 10:15 Isaiah 52:7
Romans 10:16 Isaiah 53:1
Romans 10:18 Psalm 19:4
Romans 10:19 Deut. 32:21
Romans 10:20 Isaiah 65:1
Romans 10:21 Isaiah 65:2
Wow, Romans 10 looks a lot like Paul was proof texting! And gee what if Pagels 'Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters" has any validity then that doubles what all this may mean.
Once upon a time I took Romans 10:14-18 as part of my personal call to the mission field. That was several life times ago.
Fedor's Comment: "The use Paul makes of Deut. 30 in Romans 10 can take a whole semester and come out with deeply spiritual theology that - from my mouth before God - provides a profoundly rich, even mystical foundation for protestant thought."
This would deserve more than a semester's study. I wonder what the Jewish/Thomasian Christians of India would have made of this before the Portuguese got to them?
Or what the Nestorian Priest accompanying Attila The Hun's army would say about Romans 10.
Compararing all of the "Orthodox" Christian voices across the globe/ over time on any major Paulian letter would be most interesting. That I would like to attend.
I wonder what Butcher Bob thought it ment?
Ah heck, I'm going to pull out now.
I was just kidding about all that above.
Now why would he do that?
Whoops, dang I re-engaged. I'm out of here.
The bottom was where "peteincyberspace" gives the crispest, most concise summary of the issues, showing how Paulsceptic is running with the wrong end of the stick.
And notice how Paulsceptic did not respond to this last comment.
The only addition I would make is the rather mystical elaboration that Paul is coming very close to what Peter says early in 2 Peter: if the word (read word of God) is in your mouth and in your heart then is rather more than just "looking to Christ" as "peteincyberspace" would have it. It is more like Christ is in you, and you are now able to co-participate with the divine nature, your life, the whole of it, can be perfectly holy, not by phalacteries (Bubba, read The Bible), but by Christ within you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now, this may remind you of Gnosticism, but remember, this notion is shot through various writers in the NT and always comes composed with a fairly systemic understanding within the community.
Gnostics were scavengers, you know.... you know, getting their best ideas from everywhere, and putting them together in contradictory flotsam and jetsom? Cross fertilization has its internal modifier: cross.
Well, now here's a continuation of the Irenaeus position regurgitated for the last 1800 years. New discoveries, renewed scholarship, fresh analysis put less of a negative spin on these early Christians.
Why are they, their philosophy,their view of God, Jesus, Heaven, Salvation etc. still a threat to Orthodoxy?
"...getting their best ideas from everywhere...", except God?
Feodor, ER was the one who brought up this blog post. Although interesting, I'm not fond of this guy's positions on Paul. However over time I have read many others who have described Paul as inconsistant and self contradictory and asked why.
First and foremost, the Christian message, at least so far as we can guess, in its earliest form was public, relatively clear, and open to all (Jews first, then after the Paul/Peter controversy, to all, although "Gentile" might just refer to proselytes). The gnostics - and there were non-Christian gnostics, remember - not only adulterated the Gospel with various requirements outside the necessity of baptism; they claimed a gnosis separate from and superior to the pistis that was offered in faith.
Two thousand years later, we have all sort of gnostics running around, from followers of the occult (which just means "things hidden", a loaded topic for gnostics in general anyway) to Mormons to Christian Scientists. Harold Bloom argues persuasively although not convincingly that The American Religion, in whatever form it takes, is shot through with gnosticism.
For my own part, gnosticism errs by creating a layer of necessity where the Gospel only ever offers freedom. The dualism inherent in gnosticism is neither here nor there, because even the most traditional Christian theology is hard-pressed to escape even a little dualism, no matter how hard it tries to avoid it (try tossing Satan and hell out the window and watch what happens).
St. Paul wrote that we are freed for freedom's sake. I usually consider that my hermeneutical starting point for reading not only his letters, but the Gospel message as well (unlike many, I consider St. Paul's letters indicative of first century mainstream Christian thought, thus this entryway offers a beginning for understanding the Gospels as writings for me). The gnostics, on the other hand, did not offer freedom, but reams of necessity. It is thought that renders Christ's cross irrelevant, which is an offense against the grace and love of God, as far as I'm concerned.
St. Paul was brilliant with many spiritual things, but a draconian boob with some practicalities and social power.
In other words, hardly a Gnostic with secret sauce.
If yer going to hit a piece of wood in the highway at 75 mph in a Mazda 3, blowing a tire and ruining a wheel, and having to use one of those alleged spare tires that they strongly advise not driving on over 50 mph, try not to do it more than 100 miles away from home on a turnpike where the speed limit is 75. Long. Trip.
(HOOT! Word verification: agnized.)
"The gnostics, on the other hand, did not offer freedom, but reams of necessity."
Expand a little on what you understand this to mean.
"It is thought that renders Christ's cross irrelevant, which is an offense against the grace and love of God, as far as I'm concerned."
...."thought" renders "Christ's cross" irrelevant.... ???????
Salvation and thought are mutually exclusive? How does that work?
As for main stream equaling orthodoxy, I see orthodoxy as having defined the channel in which the flow of the main stream can do naught but follow.
Somewhere back in the thread it was said that Jesus did not have "secret teachings". Read more carefully your four gospels.
Feodor: Paul was "...hardly a Gnostic with a secret sauce."
Is that original? Nice turn of phrase. The orthodox Paul seems to have choked both the Jerusalem Church and the Roman Church in turn, where as the gnostic Paul was embraced by the Alexandrian Church. When I read Paul I hear echoes of the Elysian Mysteries and Plato in his two ways of speaking. Paul in Christianity was the firstest with the mostest so the organized and authoritative orthodox couldn't just decry and reject him so Irenaeus successfully embraced him. Any orthodoxy will absorb what it needs to get and retain power and control.
ER glad your still alive. Having a blow out is bad, but having a Semi run up your tail pipe is a whole nother experience.
And, re: "I see orthodoxy as having defined the channel in which the flow of the main stream can do naught but follow."
Orthodoxy ... Levees: High mounds of silt, which have deposited on the banks of a river during flooding and have frequently been increased by man to protect the floodplain.
And this is worth pondering in this context:
Meander: A meander is the name for the natural curves in a river. As a river flows, the current increases any curve in its course. On the outside of the curve the water velocity, and therefore the erosion caused by the current is greatest. Here the river cuts into the outside bank, producing a river cliff and the river's deepest points, pools. On the curve's inside the current is slow and deposits any transported material, building up a gentle slip-off slope. As each meander migrates in the direction of its river cliff, the river gradually changes its course across the flood plain. A loop in a river's flow may become so far away from the straight route that it becomes cut off from the normal course and forms an oxbow lake.
Which raises the question ... in this context, what is an oxbow lake? It's not unorthodox quite, since it's a natural spinoff, not artificially cutoff ... hmmm.
Oxbow lake: Curved lake found on the flood plain of a river. Oxbows are caused by the loops of meanders being cut off at times of flood and the river changing its route so that it flows along a shorter course.
In this metaphor I would classify the Primitive Baptist Church, some of the Seventh Day Adventist off shoots, and "One Cup-ers" that Feodor pointed out as Oxbows.
Oxbows may persist for some time. On rare occasions the river reclaims them, mostly however they fill with silt and become just another element of the flood plain.
Hye, how long do you think until overt, anti-gay Christian hatred becomes an oxbow? I'd say 100 years at least.
100 posts! Woo hoo!
"And, re: "I see orthodoxy as having defined the channel in which the flow of the main stream can do naught but follow."
Orthodoxy ... Levees: High mounds of silt, which have deposited on the banks of a river during flooding and have frequently been increased by man to protect the floodplain."
The word, "orthodoxy," is rather like the word, "church." There is the structure, the bureaucracy, the official entity. And then there is unique experience to be gained in communal worship over a long period of time despite whatever the structure, bureaucracy, official entity.
There is Orthodoxy, which is both more and less the subject of criticism which you guys imagine you address.
And then there is orthodoxy, a regula, a rule, a way of approach to personal/corporate experience of faith whose deep grammar, deep psychology is structured by that way. And that kind of spiritual formation is very far indeed from main channels and silt banks.
Protestants always worry with authority (main channels and such). That is its birthright and its too often dead weight.
And so protestants often cannot see ethos: the formative mold in which Christian faith can reach its highest expression. Orthodoxy has paid attention to ways of praying rather than just prayer; ways of worshipping, rather than just worship; ways of describing God that are not ultimate, but approximate, and yet deeply concerned with the consequences of higher or lower approximations; ways to relate to Jesus rather than just "relating" to Jesus; ways of being a community rather than just settling for any kind of like-minded community.
And orthodoxy is a body of work on these issues that has transcended millennia. Apart form whatever political bodies have been in charge, orthodoxy is a movement trying for the highest of Christian expressions.
Silk not silt. Only recently has the silk road come to the West.
I ... forget it.
You would argue with an effing hoe handle mistaking it for a fence post.
My amazing ability to perfectly read God's mind while everyone else who disagrees with me wallows in total depravity.
We said what we considered orthodoxy to be -- to us. We most certainly Do *get* THAT.
Gnosticisms, ancient, medieval, and modern - Hermetic cults, alchemy and the occult, Freemasonry and even college fraternities and sororities - all rely on two levels of understanding. Their public face usually hides a deeper, "secret" set of understandings, usually opposed to the public face.
Christian gnosticisms operate in much the same fashion, specifically juxtaposing the pistis of those outside the circle of the blessed with the gnosis of those inside. Part of this collection of deeper knowledge is that the understanding of those still stuck in pistis is both false and incapable of leading to "real salvation" which flows from true knowledge.
The public nature of the Gospel message is always emphasized by mainstream theology precisely to head off any possible misunderstandings concerning whether or not the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is both necessary and efficient for salvation. Far too many recent popular portrayals of the Roman Catholic Church, especially, portray it as a form of gnosticism.
That there are still-extant Christian gnosticisms, from Christian Science to LDS complicate the issue.
Alan's most recent comment is one reason why I don't like to talk about "orthodox" theology, except when addressing thought from the Eastern churches. While I disagree with gnostic takes on Christian thought, I would never say, "You shouldn't call yourselves Christian", or whatever. I was offering, as I always do, my own lowly, humble opinion, nothing more.
In that context you are correct, but direct contact with God and an individuals Oneness with Christ/God are also gnostic traits that have come down outside the Orthodoxy and pop up perennially.
Quakers (Society of Friends) are the closest thing to that element of gnosticism operating today.
Feodor, I know your orthodoxy, contains the mystical community of believers operating in a concert of behavior and sacraments. When I use orthodoxy I'm referring to the bureaucracy and their proscribing policies of behavior. What I feel you are describing in your second definition of orthodoxy would be my concept of the "Kingdom of Heaven".
I understand now what you mean by "orthodox" - the actual bureaucratic nightmare of the contemporary Church. I would caution that one reason the gnostics were rooted out so vigorously is precisely because they posed a real threat to the power base of the established Church. While I don't fear such an assault today (except when you hear or read some ultramontane Catholic excoriate Freemasonry), the dual false promise of perpetual direct communion with God, which renders those so enlightened outside the reach of discipline is also problematic.
That's just so simply wrong.
The orthodox notion of apotheosis, sometimes found in Catholic theology as divinization, is the strong affirmation that human persons are raised into the godhead by Christ to participate in the divine activity. 2 Peter 1:4. In this sense human persons are revelations of god continuing on Earth by virtue of full com-union. A oneness by absolute "with"ness.
See John Zizoulas, Being as Communion. He is the Eastern Orthodox metropolitan of Pergamon and before that an Oxford professor.
One has to know the Cappadocians, St. John Chrysostom, St John Climacus, Gregory Palamas, Nikolai Afanassieff, Vladimir Lossky, Georges Florovsky and Zizioulas to begin to know what orthodoxy means.
I'm glad DrLBH recognized the power of theological orthodoxy to locate the kingdom of god on earth as the church.
There is God; here I am; there is a bridge from me to God, who Christians call Jesus Christ; reliance on that for communion with God.
"direct contact with God and an individuals Oneness with Christ/God are also gnostic traits that have come down outside the Orthodoxy"
That's just so simply wrong.""
Feodor I don't think orthodox divination or apotheosis is the same thing. In that version you are raise up to being Divine. In the other you are born/created One with God and gnosis is uncovering that within you. E.G. the Quaker "inner light". The difference between the two, defines a heresy.
What is orthodoxy? A unique musical theological storehouse of its own.
And yet, human nature is not seen as fallen in the Western sense by orthodoxy. It is, rather, the need for remedial education that the fall brought, a diminishment of our capacity to know God and love the world. But it is not an erased capacity, just one that now needs time to grow toward perfection.
It is the opposite of total depravity in the orthodox Christian sense. In orthodoxy, it is not that we are incapable, we are merely a little behind, which the spiritual life has always treated and remedied. Christ sped things along enormously, much less with accomplishing the victory over death, he provided that which binds human nature and the godhead in true and absolute communion.
So, your "original spark" is fully within ancient Greek theology and, thus, within the Eastern orthodoxy which so rests on and developed from ancient Greek theology.
Apparently, in Oklahoma it's the better part of being polite to never get down to the bedrock with one's conversation partner. Instead, I guess, folks there settle for half-assed arguments from both sides, so no one looses face... any search for truth be damned.
You are umnable to make a damn argument without being personally insulting. It's either sidestep that shit, or shoot you. I think we're being nice to you.
If you'd rather drink than think, but want to feel you're thinking with each sip, then this is not the place for me.
Right or wrong, its a different Christian world I'm trying to paint for the discussion. But the bar seems closed to that wider world. One can sense it in the default "colloquial" language used to dismiss the unfamiliar.
If you want to play the fool, I can't stop you. (This would be colloquial Flatbush, by the way.)
If you want to masturbate your feeling that you know a thing without investigating it, I can't stop you.
If your habit is to bring the redneck in to cover when the bared ass of erudite shows, I can't stop you.
But editing out challenges on the substance of an issue with down home regression is still editing.
And its becoming habitual and, from my point of view, unsubstantiated.
I've been objecting to ideas. So, I have not, until the last two comments. made smug, smug, use of region... or foul language about you guys.
But then perhaps you are right. I do feel as if i've been "handling" two hos - as we say in Brooklyn.
And to suggest that rape, one perpetrated in California being so horribly in the news, is also a hate crime.
I've been reading John Zizioulas of late on Being and Otherness. He develops the idea that otherness is inherent in the nature of god, since the Christian god is, in the East, principally a trinity of being, then one.
But, then, Zizioulas writes from the theological direction of orthodoxy: an other. So, we should remain suspicious.
"One has to know the Cappadocians, St. John Chrysostom, St John Climacus, Gregory Palamas, Nikolai Afanassieff, Vladimir Lossky, Georges Florovsky and Zizioulas to begin to know what orthodoxy means.", after, after mind you, our delineation of what orthodox means in our comments, well hell. How many years do you expect this blog about Bubba to go on.
As for the Orthodox being suspect, absolutely! Every thing is suspect. I am not talented enough to adequately share with you how much death and misery I've witnessed due to absolute certainty, religious and otherwise.
Now as a Texan by early affiliation you should know that out here it is not healthy to push a conversation to a bar fight conclusion. Most Okies, for example, do bring a Glock, to the knife fights.
Finaly, as I understand Zizioulas' view on "Baptism", I don't see it that much different than "Gnosis" as far as joining God is concerned except that he wants to join the Trinity and Gnosis is a joining of the One, but being a ho or hoe handle what would I know?
What I don't know is how long it will take before social guilt and low self esteem ceases to define the deepest character of the white South.
"If you want to masturbate your feeling that you know a thing without investigating it, I can't stop you."
"No, it's just that we try to limit being an insulting asshole to the half hour or so before a bar fight and annual familoy reunions."
This thread went bad a long time ago.
This kind of crap just makes me tired. It's just another listen-to-me loudmouth that always turns a party, or a discussion, or a chat, into a freaking personal pissing match. Life's too short.
Feodor think of us as your mission field and setting us straight your call from God. But you got to slow down a bit. You jump one idea to another idea too quickly for some of us. KISS! Remember, if the student hasn't learned then the teacher hasn't taught. Repetition is the key. Patience is needed. Success is sometimes very s l o w .
I think I may have started the meanness when I suggested someone out Karl Rove. Sorry, I'm just a bad influence. Larry Deeryberry's mother told my mother that when I was 16. I was real sorry, I didn't know the punch at the Junior/Senior banquet had already been spiked with vodka when I poured the quart of pure grain alcohol into it. I really can't be held responsible for Larry not fastening his safety harness when he climb into my boss's Stimson Biplane crop-duster and I took him up for a short spin. I hadn't had enough flying lessons to know you needed to be higher than 100 feet to successfully do a 360 barrel roll. It was just lucky that I tried it the first time over Lake Jean Murray so when Larry went screaming out the back seat it wasn't such a high dive into the water, but I was going 70 mph so it weren't such a soft landing, but it didn't kill him. So his mother was somewhat unhappy with me. Not that he wasn't killed mind you, but that he was in the hospital for 3 months and a wheel chair for 6 more.
Those old Stimsons are kind of like big box kites lucky for me it ran out of gas over a newly mowed alfalfa field and the hay bales had already been picked up. I could have gotten the plane back to the hanger and no one would have been the wiser cept Larry rated me out because he couldn't come up with a convincing story about why was banged up and broken in a lake five miles from the banquet where he was supposed to be. Larry always was a mommy's boy.
There's a pattern here I guess. So I'm sorry I degraded this thread like I did.
I was "flying" his yellow Stearman PT, an old WWII trainer outfitted for dusting.
I wouldn't want my story to be questioned cause I forgot which plane it was.
Hey, Feodor, how 'bout this:
You pick one or two wisps of this thread where you want me to, like, ---- (fill in the blank), then tell me what it is exactly you think I haven't thought through, and then tell me how to think through it -- but you can't send me to more than one link per wisp. And I'll try to accommodate yer wishes. I ain't kidding. I'll try to give some time to it over the weekend. Because I don't know what it is yer bein' so pissy about! And as Drlobo said, Keep it Simple, Sir.