1. Hmmm . . .
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    07 Apr '07 23:10
    Kirk,

    Weary from recent arguing (and arguing from different viewpoints, at that), I would like to invite you to be teacher for a bit. I just want to be student, and maybe a few others will as well.

    I was reflecting on your “relational faith” and considering some of the things you’ve written lately that made me think of yours as also more a “theology of possibilities,” than one of doctrines. I wonder if you would be willing to expound and expand a bit... If you are, I will depart from the other threads and focus solely on this one for awhile.

    I have excerpted from some recent posts of yours, so you can see what I’m responding to. Of course, you can choose your own Biblical texts. (You can also decline, if you wish.)

    I’m going to take Easter Sunday as a break from here, and come back next week.

    PS: This is not a joke request; I’m serious. Thanks.
    ______________________________

    From “Text and Tradition”

    My particular brand of faith tends to be more relation in its orientation. The "word" finds its meaning in experiences that I have. It goes in that direction more than it goes in the direction of my experiences finding meaning in the "word."

    ...

    I learned not to be a biblical literalist from those that espouse it. Because I grew up with a lot of pain, I learned that relationships were the only thing that mattered. I typically found those in therapy. That was just a living "word made flesh" experience.

    _________________________

    From “God Fails at Salvation?”

    For me it is impossible to get around this question without some discussion of the meaning of "Good" Friday. There is no way to get around the fact that Good Friday was failure. I know some will say that "hey, there is Easter right around the corner and death was defeated once and for all." There is still the problem of Jesus dying on the cross.

    The answer to your question is a theological one. The cross stands as God participating in our failures, and when I say that I mean suffering in our failures. Let me give an example. I heard the most unusual Good Friday sermon last night. It was on the pain of Mary at the foot of the cross and what it meant for a woman to lose a son, lose a future, lose her care in the future, and all the feeling that may have come her way. This female priest talked about her own divorce in the past 3 months and what this has meant to her in terms of having a 5 year old kid. She cried throughout most of the sermon.

    I think failure is best understood in the context of relationships. It is there that the healing takes place. The failure of the cross is no doubt a failure, but at least for this particular priest it became a point of relationship beyond just reading about an account of failure.

    _______________________

    The Prodigal Son

    Let's suppose that this "journey" he takes is a necessary part of his spiritual growth. Has he gained something by leaving home? Yes, I think so. Has the other brother lost something by staying home and being the complaint dutiful son. I believe so. Clearly his reaction at the joy and celebration is one of entitlement.

    What if this coming to himself is the "god-image" within himself that he connects with? I think we tend to look down on this son for leaving home and perhaps that is natural as he "wants his share of the inheritance." There was the possibility of his doing something good with it besides squandering it. His journey may not be that different from Jesus' venture into the wilderness. Both had experiences of temptation and "coming to themselves."
  2. Donationkirksey957
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    07 Apr '07 23:32
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Kirk,

    Weary from recent arguing (and arguing from different viewpoints, at that), I would like to invite you to be teacher for a bit. I just want to be student, and maybe a few others will as well.

    I was reflecting on your “relational faith” and considering some of the things you’ve written lately that made me think of yours as also more a “theology o ...[text shortened]... e wilderness. Both had experiences of temptation and "coming to themselves."
    Stephen , I am honored, but I would hope you will continue to drop in and cast your seeds among the soil.

    Let me start by saying that I don't understand the languages and traditions as you do. However, having said that, there is a poetic and mystical quality to Jesus' stories and responses that resonants across various traditions and religions. The story of the prodigal son is a good example and since we have been talking about that one, let me say that it has many layers of identification. But for me I tend to identify with the older brother. I am an older brother. I have also had a history of being the dutiful child growing up. I also have a sense that nothing is ever good enough for me. I am always comparing myself to others where I end up being the proverbial hind tit on a boar hog. My growing edge is to accept the daily blessings I pay absolutely no attention to.

    That helps me to connect with that passage on a different level than just "God welcomes us back after we screw up." That's OK, but I need to address my jealousy that somebody was having a good time partying and screwing around.

    I hope that is a good example of making this personal and relational.
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    08 Apr '07 03:38
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    Stephen , I am honored, but I would hope you will continue to drop in and cast your seeds among the soil.

    Let me start by saying that I don't understand the languages and traditions as you do. However, having said that, there is a poetic and mystical quality to Jesus' stories and responses that resonants across various traditions and religions. The s ...[text shortened]... screwing around.

    I hope that is a good example of making this personal and relational.
    Thank you, Kirk. I have known two other people in my life who seem to have seen things as you do. One was a Lutheran pastor (about whom I wrote you). Just a couple of comments to bump this, and then, as I said, I’m taking tomorrow off.

    ...there is a poetic and mystical quality to Jesus' stories and responses that resonates across various traditions and religions.

    Yes. And maybe the “truth” is in that resonance?

    The story of the prodigal son is a good example and since we have been talking about that one, let me say that it has many layers of identification.

    I think this is very true, but sometimes we think we have a parable “nailed” with a certain understanding—maybe one we were taught to accept as the only one.

    But for me I tend to identify with the older brother. I am an older brother. I have also had a history of being the dutiful child growing up.

    Me too. I spent most of my life trying to be dutiful—until shortly before the age of 40, when what I call “the slow catastrophe” began to unravel my life (actually before that; I just didn’t see it). The end results were not so pretty, though, and really lead to the catastrophe. All my life, trying to be “good.” In the end it all came crashing down.

    I think I longed to be the younger son, who escaped all the dutifulness. My younger brother is a good man—but I recall a few years ago, he asked me if I knew what our Dad’s undergraduate degree was in. He didn’t know, but I did. I remembered a lot about our Dad’s business life and religious life and such. My brother remembered hunting and fishing and playing. My brother also broke a lot of the “rules” that I never dared to, little things growing up...

    Ironically, in adulthood, my brother has ended up following more in our father’s footsteps; he is now much more “dutiful” than I am—although I am a bit adrift...

    It makes me wonder now if anyone can be the older or younger brother (or sister) for all their life. If any of us dare to identify with any single character in any of the parables. You mentioned Jung in one of your posts (his views on the Job story). I read a rabbi once who said that the way to read these stories is a bit like interpreting dreams: in which I am every character and everything in the story...

    I wonder if some of the parables and teachings are aimed at getting us to quit thinking that we have it all figured out—including what God is...

    That's OK, but I need to address my jealousy that somebody was having a good time partying and screwing around.

    Yeah. The ironic thing is, when I was accused of all that (and became something of a persona non grata in the church, except for the pastor; I told you something of that story), none of it was true! But almost everyone believed it anyway. Suddenly, I had all those “older brothers,” and “sisters” acting the same way as the older brother in the parable. And I had always tried to behave like the older brother!

    When people talk about the “rules” for “salvation” (believe right, think right, etc.), I tend to think of all this. It’s just another way of being “dutiful.” So what does the parable say about that?

    See you next week.
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    10 Apr '07 13:34
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    Stephen , I am honored, but I would hope you will continue to drop in and cast your seeds among the soil.

    Let me start by saying that I don't understand the languages and traditions as you do. However, having said that, there is a poetic and mystical quality to Jesus' stories and responses that resonants across various traditions and religions. The s ...[text shortened]... screwing around.

    I hope that is a good example of making this personal and relational.
    May i just say...i found your thread to be very interesting !!! 🙂
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    10 Apr '07 18:53
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    Stephen , I am honored, but I would hope you will continue to drop in and cast your seeds among the soil.

    Let me start by saying that I don't understand the languages and traditions as you do. However, having said that, there is a poetic and mystical quality to Jesus' stories and responses that resonants across various traditions and religions. The s ...[text shortened]... screwing around.

    I hope that is a good example of making this personal and relational.
    Don't think that being dutiful or faithful is "missing out" on anything.

    Luke 12:42 "And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes will find so doing. Of a truth I say to you, that the will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; and will begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink and to be drunken, the lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with unbelievers. and that servant, which knew his lords will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, will be beaten with many stripes."

    Every aciton has its reward. Therefore consider the rewards before comitting any action. If being faithful were easy everyone would do it, but many end up taking the easy road instead and miss out on the rewards.
  6. Donationkirksey957
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    11 Apr '07 06:00
    Originally posted by Jay Joos
    May i just say...i found your thread to be very interesting !!! 🙂
    Holy Mackeral! Am I leadin another to Jesus by the wide road?
  7. Joined
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    11 Apr '07 12:47
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    Holy Mackeral! Am I leadin another to Jesus by the wide road?
    Im already there my friend... just found your words interesting thats all !!!!!🙂
  8. London
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    13 Apr '07 11:43
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Kirk,

    Weary from recent arguing (and arguing from different viewpoints, at that), I would like to invite you to be teacher for a bit. I just want to be student, and maybe a few others will as well.

    I was reflecting on your “relational faith” and considering some of the things you’ve written lately that made me think of yours as also more a “theology o ...[text shortened]... e wilderness. Both had experiences of temptation and "coming to themselves."
    I'm going to play the role of party-pooper here. 😉

    My particular brand of faith tends to be more relation in its orientation. The "word" finds its meaning in experiences that I have. It goes in that direction more than it goes in the direction of my experiences finding meaning in the "word."

    The Word is God's message to every human being. Of course every individual does (and must) interpret it in the light of his/her own experience. It is not just a communal message - it is personal as well.

    However, the Word is also God's revelation of Himself and His plan of salvation for Mankind. Our experiences have complete meaning only in the light of that revelation and plan. It's both/and -- not either/or.

    Another thought that crossed my mind (and I might be overly harsh here -- pardon me if that is the case) is that the Word represents a standard or truth that we try to realise in our lives. We become better persons by aspiring to a higher standard; not by lowering the standard to meet our actions.
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    13 Apr '07 15:58
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    I'm going to play the role of party-pooper here. 😉

    [b]My particular brand of faith tends to be more relation in its orientation. The "word" finds its meaning in experiences that I have. It goes in that direction more than it goes in the direction of my experiences finding meaning in the "word."


    The Word is God's message to every human being ...[text shortened]... sons by aspiring to a higher standard; not by lowering the standard to meet our actions.[/b]
    Unfortunately in the hurly-burly of the human condition, “both/and” is not always easy to see.

    Nevertheless, I think agape may be the preeminent “standard of truth” in Christian terms, or at least the principle that trumps questions of propositional truth. In a recent thread, Mother Theresa’s Christian faith was once more challenged from a fundamentalist position because she did not see it as necessary to attempt “death bed” conversions of Hindus to whom she ministered, but rather assured them of God’s grace.

    NRS 1 Corinthians 13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing... 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end... 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
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