Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Friday, October 27, 2006
The stumbling block, for this reader at least, is this passage:
It's harder to love those who have quirks, who are weird, or who aren't real likeable. It's a true test to love your enemies. Yet it is here that is the measure of our faith, of who and what we say we're about. Acceptance is tough. It is difficult to embrace everything as a gift. Actually, I think we confuse acceptance with a lot of things that it doesn't do. You can't reject someone (or an idea) and accept it at the same time. You'd think that would be an obvious thing to state, yet look at how 'hate the sin and love the sinner' practically works itself out. Indifference, resignation, or partial/begruding acceptance is not acceptance. It might be 'not caring' but that's not the same as acceptance. Nor is acceptance approval. I think that is a key hang up that people have. That if I 'accept' a person or their worldview that's the same as (tacit) approval of it.
I agree with almost all of that passage, apart from the red bit. The problem is, at least for me, that acceptance with 'disapproval' isn't 'acceptance'. It's raking up one's own ego as a condition of 'acceptance'. Soon as the ego gets in there, both judgement, and an inherent idea of superiority, which may or may not be justified, turns up sere and pinched to dance a ghastly quadrille. Then you may as well just 'not care', in fact, to me, apathy is a far better alternative.
Was, 'Now go, and sin no more' a reproof, or a piece of advice? Who knows... the woman at the well appears to be a fragment of lost context, but looking at Jesus ministry, the people who were with him he seemed to take as he found, so it could well just have been a farewell 'Well, don't let me keep you, and don't do anything I wouldn't do'
I really don't see that 'acceptance' with any rider can be but judgement in a party frock. And what did the Son of Man have to say about judging folk?
Sunday, October 15, 2006
If I'd been introduced to his work before being introduced to the 'high' Christalogical nonsense they teach as 'fact' (virgin birth, moving stars, dumb moves for tax purposes, the physical resurrection, the Trinity... stuff I'd more or less fully rejected before the age of 7) I'd probably be a Christian today.
The shades of meaning in Aramaic, coupled with the insights that would have been alien to a Middle Eastern mind set of the first century, make a whole lot of sense. Much of what is now called Christian would be unrecognisable to a 1st century Jew, since it's mostly Greek thought on balance of opposites rather than the unity ideas espoused by the limits of the Aramaic language. There is no concept of internal and external, spirit and flesh being together...
Quite an eye opener on a nearly wholly alien mind set.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
More Martin Luther King Jr.
A time comes when silence is betrayal.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason but with no morals.
Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.
Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It cause him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
If a man is called a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon ...which cuts without wounding and enables the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of justice
Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defence or justification],(B)
21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honour and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [c]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.
22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].
23And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin],
25Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen (so be it).(C)
26For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one,
27And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another--men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own [d]bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong-doing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution.
28And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome,
29Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers,
30Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents.
31[They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless.
32Though they are fully aware of God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.
"OK, what of it?", I hear you cry. "Tis the the heart of doctrine and you're using the wrong version... "Reading it over without taking note of what one is told it means....
It's clearly about the state of things in Rome at that time, not a great and good notice on all time, unless I've missed the Temple 'whores' and the mutilation cults in the present day (Rom 1:26:27) . The abnormal role for women, in Paul's book (specifically in Timothy) seems to be not bare foot, pregnant, in the kitchen and silent, so women teachers would be 'abnormal and unnatural'. There was also the tail end of the mystery cults of the Magna Mater and Attys to consider, where ritual emasculation and mutilation were part of the religion (with a sacrament similar to, but less symbolic than, the Christian one). That covers "suffering in their own [d]bodies and personalities" very well. Also, the use of drugs to aid possession and scyring, as well as fuelling the Roman 'Bacchanals' were common. Usually belladonna family, the effects being disassociation, hallucinations and, quite literally, a burning sensation in the privates, which was arousing.
Looking form the social context of the letter, Paul is having a square go at two things:
1) Women in power. A repeating theme as one of Paul's bete noire. But that is wholly in line with Peter's attitude as outlined in the Apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and the Apocryphal Gospel of the Magdalene.
2) Drug fuelled lust and mutilation.
Reading over Romans with my best historian's eye, that's the best I can come up with, But I am now pressing agin 1600 years of dogma about Paul's 'intent'.
The only intent that can really be imputed would be the historical conditions in Rome at the time Paul was being scribed. Since we don't know what the letter that this responded to contained, some of the over all context is lost, but what we know of Roman society around that period, my context is probably as good as it gets.
Wake up people. It doesn't mean what you've been told!!!
The Wisdom of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
"Cowardice asks the question, Is it safe?
Expediency asks the question, Is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, Is it popular?
But conscience asks the question, Is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right."
"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
"In struggling for human dignity the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves to become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns. To retaliate with hate and bitterness would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can be done only by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives. "
"The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy."
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Migraine and the Soul - Caution Graphic content!
It's hard to be arrogant, sitting, at three am, blind, in one's own excrement and vomit, reduced for the moment to infancy or dotage. If you can rise out of the pain and the stench, you hear the silence that having one's ego stripped from one gives. And in a strange way, it's comforting.
A divine, watchful silence, with which you are one.
Then you're dragged back to the place of pain and stink and degradation to try to throw the contents of a now empty stomach down the toilet bowl. Then it passes and you can go back to the silence, beyond the pain, the smell, the noise....
And in the silence you meet who you are. Good and bad.
St. John of the Cross ,eat yer heart out! :D To qualify that comment, I was first diagnosed with migraine aged 7. I'm now 41. I lost a lot of my childhood to migraines, when I wasn't caring for my mother. So 34 glorious years. One gets practised in finding a way through it.
It is pointless dressing the reality in a party frock. It's painful and sometimes you lose control of bodily function, up to and including a full bowel motion.
If you can't pull your mind into a 'better' place you let it win. Sometimes it wins. Last night I ended up winning...
Sunday, June 25, 2006
A Letter To Louise.
There's not much I can say about this. If there had been more of this in the Church of Christ and less of what I've seen, and been on the pointy end of, I'd probably be Christian now, rather than what I have become. Even though the guy is a Baptist.
I'll leave the last line to Bruce W. Lowe... A man with whom I will probably never agree with, but I think I can say I both respect and admire...
...[H]ow can we sinners, we great sinners, say anything to gays or lesbians or anybody who wants to worship and work with us except, "You say you love the Lord and want to serve him. We do, too. Come be a part of our fellowship of worship and study and work. We are all such sinners in God's sight we need one another and we can help and support one another. We are not here to judge one another's sins; we are here to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ as we make our Christian pilgrimage."