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Title: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 16, 2010, 09:02:51 PM
So what should we think about Joseph? Modern commentators like to wonder how he really felt when he learned that young Mary was pregnant, and he knew he wasn't the daddy. They go through efforts to explain why he decided to "dismiss" or "divorce" her quietly--efforts that often don't really make Old Joe look all that good to modern eyes. The usual explanation is that he didn't really get it until the angel appeared to him in a dream.

Commentators in the early church had a quite different view. They often noted that Matthew tells us Mary was "found to be with child from the Holy Spirit." Found by whom? Well, by Joseph--which suggests he already got it that the babe in her womb was from the Holy Spoirit. So why did he plan to dismiss her, being a righteous man? Keep in mind that in Jewish culture "righteous" means above all "God fearing"--not primarily "ethical and moral." A God-fearing man might assume that since Mary's child is of God, Mary herself belongs to God, and the best thing for him to do is to quietly step out of the picture.

This makes sense of why the angel says "Don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife." He's afraid, not because of scandal or disgrace, but because of God. As Olov Hartmann put it, "How can a man have God in the house and not be afraid?" Joseph's stepping back from Mary, or his intent to do so, is akin to Moses taking off his shoes. You just don't presume on God.

Of course it has a happy ending, as Joseph comes to accept "God in the house"--God there in his bed, in the belly of his bride who is beside him. After all, they call his name Emmanuel, "God with us."
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 16, 2010, 09:13:24 PM
Thanks for these thoughts.  Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 16, 2010, 09:26:31 PM
Sometimes I think Joseph must have been a softie.  My son, the artist, does our Christmas card art each year but I usually suggest the theme or subject matter and I think it was last year that I had him do a happy Joseph (no Mary, sheep, straw or camels) holding high the child and giving him a kiss.  I could have stoned your Mom or have been zapped by your Father!  I used to be quite careful in naming Joseph as the guardian of our Lord but he must have been a wonderful adoptive Father (as I am not necessarily wonderful but an adoptive one.)  Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: iowakatie1981 on December 16, 2010, 10:03:49 PM
Thanks, Richard.  An RC friend introduced me to this very perspective earlier this summer, and in fact, I had been re-pondering it this week in preparation for this Sunday's sermon.  My friend enjoys linking this typologically to King David who was also afraid to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem...  Thoughts on that angle?
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on December 17, 2010, 12:10:00 AM
Yes, thanks Richard.  That ancient take puts a "new" spin on the fear that bothered Joseph.  It's interesting to note that the screenwriter of "The Nativity Story" has Joseph ponder in conversation with Mary while they're trekking from Nazareth to Bethlehem, "how am I going to be able to teach him anything?"  I'm not sure whether that is the exact verbiage, I'm going to have to watch it again.  It is a beautiful rendering of the story.  

I do believe that the screenwriter of "The Nativity Story" also has Joseph assume that Mary committed adultery, but portrays him in a very sympathetic, selfless light. 

Of course, my favorite rendering of a school Nativity play has to be the one found in the movie, "Simon Birch."  In the movie, Simon tells the kid who gets chosen to play Joseph (after the kid seems very proud to be chosen for the role) "Why would you be proud of playing Joseph?  She's the Virgin Mary - Joseph doesn't do anything."  Of course, that's not even close to being the funniest part.  I don't want to put any spoilers here in case there are a few of you whose curiosity is peaked, but it really has a lot for pastors and laypeople alike to appreciate.  Especially if you've known a control freak Nativity play director or two in your day - "Simon Birch" is a must see. 
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 17, 2010, 07:02:39 AM
(deleted)
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: BrotherBoris on December 17, 2010, 08:08:46 AM
I thought you all might like some commentary on how the Eastern Orthodox view Joseph, especially his reaction when he discovers the Mother of God is pregnant.  Here are a few selections from some of the hymns that we sing on Christmas Eve during the Royal Hours.  There is an interesting dialogue in these hymns between St.  Joseph and the Theotokos.  Tell me what you think.

At first Joseph is shocked and scandalized:
 
 Joseph said to the Virgin:
 What has happened to you, O Mary?
 I am troubled; What can I say to you?
 Doubt clouds my mind; Depart from me!
 What has happened to you, O Mary?
 Instead of honor, you bring me shame!
 Instead of joy, you fill me with grief!
 Men who praised me will blame me!
 I cannot bear condemnation from every side!
 I received you, a pure Virgin, in the sight of the Lord.
 What is this that I now see!


Then Joseph begins to understand what is happening:

Tell us, O Joseph!
Why do you bring a maiden great with child to Bethlehem?
"I have searched the prophets," he said.
"I have been instructed by an angel."
"I am convinced that Mary will give birth to God,
 in a manner beyond understanding."
"Wise men from the East will come to worship Him,
offering precious gifts in adoration."
O Lord, incarnate for us, glory to Thee!


Then, finally, the Theotokos addresses St. Joseph and explains the birth to him:

When Joseph went up to Bethlehem,
His heart was filled with sadness.
But you cried out to him, O Virgin:
"Why are you so troubled?"
"Why are you in misery seeing me with child?"
"Do you not understand at all?"
"I bear a fearful mystery!"
"Cast away your fears and learn a strange wonder:"
"God in His mercy descends from heaven to earth!"
"Within my womb He has taken flesh!"
"When He is pleased to be born, you will see Him!"
"You will rejoice and worship Him, your Creator!"
The angles ceaselessly praise Him in song,
Glorifying Him with the Father and the Holy Spirit!



 
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 17, 2010, 08:36:55 AM
Boris,

Thanks.

And I will guess that your hymn texts are older than most, if not all, of ours.

and I thought the biology was nine months or so, but your song sings:

"When He is pleased to be born..."

None of us conceives of ourselves before we are womb-bound by parents, yet God conceives of pleasing us at his good pleasure in the Christ of Theotokos.

Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: mariemeyer on December 17, 2010, 09:20:19 AM
This thread offers me a thoughtful way fo begin the day. 

Might I copy comments for the men of our congregation who meet at 6 am on Wednesdays for Bible Study?  I think they might appreciate pondering the role of Jospeh in the Incarnation. the week before Christmas.

Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 17, 2010, 11:14:25 AM
Keep in mind that in Jewish culture "righteous" means above all "God fearing"--not primarily "ethical and moral." A God-fearing man might assume that since Mary's child is of God, Mary herself belongs to God, and the best thing for him to do is to quietly step out of the picture.

Kind of, δίκαιος (and also the Hebrew צדק) primarilly mean, "what is right". It is used in commerce for a "right" or "just" weight. It is conduct that corresponds to a proper standard. For religious people, "what is right" is defined by God or God's laws or being in the proper relationship. For others, it means being moral, upright, ethical.

Keener (A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew) notes: "Jewish, Greek, and Roman law all demanded that a man divorce his wife if she were guilty of adultery. . . . Mediterranean society viewed with contempt the weakness of a man who let his love for his wife outweigh his appropriate honor in repudiating her" (p. 91). Divorcing pregnant Mary was the right thing for Joseph to do.

Other commentaries suggest that releasing Mary from the engagement was the right thing to do because it would then allow the real father of the child to marry her and raise his child.

I see Joseph, like Ahaz in the First Reading from Isaiah 7:10-16, as men who had made up their minds about "what is right" and God has to intervene to show them that they were wrong.

Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: LCMS87 on December 17, 2010, 11:33:20 AM
Let's see, "Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.  And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, as his father David had done" (2 Kings 16:2),  versus, "And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly" (Matthew 1:19).  

And then also, "Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 'Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.'  But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test' " (Isaiah 7:10-12), versus, "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife" (Matthew 1:24).

It's hard for me to see unrighteous Ahaz, who refuses to do as the Lord asks, as being like just Joseph, who does as the angel of the Lord commands.  Joseph's intention was according to the law.  Ahaz's, not so much.  Alike?  Seems more like opposite.      


Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 17, 2010, 11:43:45 AM
Let's see, "Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.  And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, as his father David had done" (2 Kings 16:2),  versus, "And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly" (Matthew 1:19).  

And then also, "Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 'Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.'  But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test' " (Isaiah 7:10-12), versus, "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife" (Matthew 1:24).

It's hard for me to see unrighteous Ahaz, who refuses to do as the Lord asks, as being like just Joseph, who does as the angel of the Lord commands.  Joseph's intention was according to the law.  Ahaz's, not so much.  Alike?  Seems more like opposite.

God was able to change Joseph from what he believed was the right thing to do -- namely, to divorce Mary. God was not able to change Ahaz from what he believed was the right thing to do -- namely to form an alliance with Assyria against Israel and Syria.

It may be that the greater miracle in Matthew 1 is not the virginal conception, but that a man who was convinced he was right, had his mind changed.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Virgil on December 17, 2010, 11:47:22 AM
From the Meaning of Icons by Leonid Ouspensky and Vladimir Lossky, re Icon of the Nativity, in which Joseph sits off to the side dejectedly:

"Another detail emphasises that in the Nativity of Christ 'the order of nature is vanquished'--this is Joseph. He is not part of the central group of the Child and His Mother; he is not the father and is emphatically separated from this group. Before him, under the guise of an old and bent shepherd, stands the devil tempting him. On some icons he is represented with small horns or a short tail. The presence of the devil and his role of tempter acquires a particularly deep meaning in connection with this 'feast of re-creation'. Here, on the basis of tradition, the icon transmits the meaning of certain liturgic texts, which speak of the doubts of Joseph and the troubled state of his soul. This state is expressed in the icon by his dejected attitude and is emphasised by the black mouth of the cave, which sometimes serves as a background to his figure. Tradition, transmitted also by the apocrypha, relates how the devil tempted Joseph telling him that a virgin birth is not possible, being opposed to the laws of nature. This argument, assuming different forms, keeps on reappearing through the whole history of the Church. It is the basis of many heresies. In the person of Joseph the icon discloses not only his personal drama, but the drama of all mankind--the difficulty of accepting that which is "beyond words or reason"--the incarnation of God."
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: kls on December 17, 2010, 11:52:22 AM
It may be that the greater miracle in Matthew 1 is not the virginal conception, but that a man who was convinced he was right, had his mind changed.

Wow . . . just, wow.  ::)  Any chance of getting another one of those miracles where you're concerned?   ;)
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: LCMS87 on December 17, 2010, 12:02:31 PM
God was able to change Joseph from what he believed was the right thing to do -- namely, to divorce Mary. God was not able to change Ahaz from what he believed was the right thing to do -- namely to form an alliance with Assyria against Israel and Syria.

Right, Joseph's proposed action was based on trust in God and his word.  Ahaz's on unbelief.  And did you really say God was not able?  Lk. 1:37 and Jn. 3:10.  Far better to say Ahaz was adamant in his rebellion against the Lord and his word even when God sent him a prophet to call him to repentance.  


It may be that the greater miracle in Matthew 1 is not the virginal conception, but that a man who was convinced he was right, had his mind changed.

It's sort of a silly point, but let's see, in the history of the world how many virgin births?  One.  And how many minds changed?  "A great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages . . ." (Rev. 7:9), all the redeemed of the Lord.  I think I'll go with the incarnation of the Lord in the womb of a virgin as the greater miracle, if only because it is completely unique.    




Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 17, 2010, 12:23:18 PM
This is interesting.

Especially for me because it places yet another wrinkle in the semper virgo controversy.

Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.

And yet we are to believe that he must have been afraid to take Mary as his wife in a conjugal way in order to revere the womb that bore Christ.

Interesting to consider.


Well, yes.  To consider. 

OTOH, it is interesting to consider that in our era we seem to be unable to think/speak of marriage and all that it entails apart from conjugal relations. 

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: ptmccain on December 17, 2010, 12:31:39 PM
Oh, boy, here we go again with more talk about Mary and Joseph's sex life.

I thought Richard's opening comment was helpful and I would hope we can stick with his comment on this topic.

Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: ptmccain on December 17, 2010, 12:33:46 PM
I'll light a candle, rather than just cursing the darkness.

 ;D

Joseph is a remarkable role model for all men to whom the Lord has given a wife and children. He was their defender, their protector and their servant, performing his role humbly, fearing, loving and trusting in the God who had made good and certain promises to Him, even as He makes them to all men who are called to be husbands and fathers.

Thank God for St. Joseph!
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: kls on December 17, 2010, 12:40:45 PM
I'll light a candle, rather than just cursing the darkness.

 ;D

Joseph is a remarkable role model for all men to whom the Lord has given a wife and children. He was their defender, their protector and their servant, performing his role humbly, fearing, loving and trusting in the God who had made good and certain promises to Him, even as He makes them to all men who are called to be husbands and fathers.

Thank God for St. Joseph!

Very nicely said.  I'm glad you let your little light shine without hiding it under a bushel nor letting Satan snuff it out.   ;D
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 17, 2010, 12:50:38 PM
It may be that the greater miracle in Matthew 1 is not the virginal conception, but that a man who was convinced he was right, had his mind changed.

Wow . . . just, wow.  ::)  Any chance of getting another one of those miracles where you're concerned?   ;)

Of course, God is changing me all the time.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 17, 2010, 12:57:17 PM
God was able to change Joseph from what he believed was the right thing to do -- namely, to divorce Mary. God was not able to change Ahaz from what he believed was the right thing to do -- namely to form an alliance with Assyria against Israel and Syria.

Right, Joseph's proposed action was based on trust in God and his word.  Ahaz's on unbelief.  And did you really say God was not able?  Lk. 1:37 and Jn. 3:10.  Far better to say Ahaz was adamant in his rebellion against the Lord and his word even when God sent him a prophet to call him to repentance.  


It may be that the greater miracle in Matthew 1 is not the virginal conception, but that a man who was convinced he was right, had his mind changed.

It's sort of a silly point, but let's see, in the history of the world how many virgin births?  One.  And how many minds changed?  "A great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages . . ." (Rev. 7:9), all the redeemed of the Lord.  I think I'll go with the incarnation of the Lord in the womb of a virgin as the greater miracle, if only because it is completely unique.


These are some thoughts to discuss and perhaps research. Yet, at the same time, the virgin conception wasn't that big a deal in the first century.

Consider what Eduard Schweizer (The Good News According to Matthew) writes:

It was assumed of many great men at the time, from Plato to Alexander, that they had been born without human father. The fact of such a birth therefore did not single Jesus out as unique, it simply placed him in the company of all the great men of the age.

More important than the idea of Mary's virginity therefore are the points that distinguish the birth stories in the Gospels from these other accounts. In them god is pictured as mating with a woman or virgin. . . .

Whether a virgin birth is possible is a question only a modern world ask; virgin birth was an accepted notion to men of the New Testament period. By no means, therefore, should a man's faith be judged by whether nor not he thinks a miracle like this is possible, the less so because the virgin birth plays such an infinitesimal role in the New Testament. It is nowhere described; only the Annunciation is mentioned in Matthew 1 and Luke 1. Neither Matthew nor Luke returns to the subject, not even in the course of the Christmas story proper. According to Mark 3:21, Jesus' mother, who thinks him mad, appears to have no inkling of the promises made by the angel. No other document, above all none of the many summaries of the faith in a formula, hymn, or sermon in the New Testament, mentions the virgin birth. . . .

What the text asks is therefore not whether we can consider a virgin birth physically possible, but . . . whether in this birth we can see God's own and unique intervention for man's salvation. And if this is the case, then we can also say what this story of the virgin birth is further meant to say: that this birth stands not merely as one among many in the long series of millions of births, that it took place not merely through the creative will or drive of a man, but through God's own will as creator. [pages 33-35]

I think that in the first century, stories of miraculous births and even stories of a god producing a child with a human mother, such as Hercules, were quite common. Changing the mind of a man who is convinced he is right is not so common -- even today! Consider Pharaoh in Moses' day or the Pharisees in Jesus' day.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 17, 2010, 01:03:57 PM
I'll light a candle, rather than just cursing the darkness.

 ;D

Joseph is a remarkable role model for all men to whom the Lord has given a wife and children. He was their defender, their protector and their servant, performing his role humbly, fearing, loving and trusting in the God who had made good and certain promises to Him, even as He makes them to all men who are called to be husbands and fathers.

Thank God for St. Joseph!

ELW elevated March 19 as a Lesser Festival for Joseph, Guardian of Jesus, where LBW only commemorated him.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Jeff-MN on December 17, 2010, 02:48:05 PM
interesting to see on traditional Nativity icons that Joseph is in the corner being plagued by doubts and often shown tempted by Satan to doubt
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: BrotherBoris on December 17, 2010, 03:38:12 PM
So what should we think about Joseph? Modern commentators like to wonder how he really felt when he learned that young Mary was pregnant, and he knew he wasn't the daddy. They go through efforts to explain why he decided to "dismiss" or "divorce" her quietly--efforts that often don't really make Old Joe look all that good to modern eyes. The usual explanation is that he didn't really get it until the angel appeared to him in a dream.

Commentators in the early church had a quite different view. They often noted that Matthew tells us Mary was "found to be with child from the Holy Spirit." Found by whom? Well, by Joseph--which suggests he already got it that the babe in her womb was from the Holy Spoirit. So why did he plan to dismiss her, being a righteous man? Keep in mind that in Jewish culture "righteous" means above all "God fearing"--not primarily "ethical and moral." A God-fearing man might assume that since Mary's child is of God, Mary herself belongs to God, and the best thing for him to do is to quietly step out of the picture.

This makes sense of why the angel says "Don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife." He's afraid, not because of scandal or disgrace, but because of God. As Olov Hartmann put it, "How can a man have God in the house and not be afraid?" Joseph's stepping back from Mary, or his intent to do so, is akin to Moses taking off his shoes. You just don't presume on God.

Of course it has a happy ending, as Joseph comes to accept "God in the house"--God there in his bed, in the belly of his bride who is beside him. After all, they call his name Emmanuel, "God with us."

This is interesting.

Especially for me because it places yet another wrinkle in the semper virgo controversy.
  How so?  I don't see it conflicting with the received tradition of the entire Christian Church at all.
Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.

And yet we are to believe that he must have been afraid to take Mary as his wife in a conjugal way in order to revere the womb that bore Christ.

[color=blue]Not necessarily. The received tradition of the Church is that St. Joseph was an older man (a widower with a son, one of whom was St. James, the "brother of the Lord") and who was to be  the guardian of the Virgin Mary (who was probably only about 14 years old) and the foster father for our Lord Jesus. The reason fear enters the picture is because St. Joseph had received the Virgin Mary as a consecrated VIRGIN.  It was his responsibility to care for her, protect her, and to provide the financial means in which she have a decent home and raise Jesus. Finding out the Virgin Mary was pregnant was a scandal to Joseph because he was her protector, not because he wanted to have conjugal union with her. It scandalized him because he felt the Virgin Mary had betrayed his honor and his generosity, because he assumed although she had taken an oath of virginity, she had broken it and was now pregnant.  Quietly divorcing her would have allowed Joseph to rid himself of this disgrace and allow the natural father to marry the Theotokos.  This is not a conflict with the semper virgo at all. 

Interesting to consider.

Mike
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 17, 2010, 04:04:23 PM
This thread offers me a thoughtful way fo begin the day. 

Might I copy comments for the men of our congregation who meet at 6 am on Wednesdays for Bible Study?  I think they might appreciate pondering the role of Jospeh in the Incarnation. the week before Christmas.



You can certainly copy mine, and I don't believe there are any copyright restrictions, unless otherwise indicated, on an open forum like this!  ;D
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Keith Falk on December 17, 2010, 08:21:42 PM
This thread offers me a thoughtful way fo begin the day. 

Might I copy comments for the men of our congregation who meet at 6 am on Wednesdays for Bible Study?  I think they might appreciate pondering the role of Jospeh in the Incarnation. the week before Christmas.



You can certainly copy mine, and I don't believe there are any copyright restrictions, unless otherwise indicated, on an open forum like this!  ;D

If there are, I want the royalties for my "God's Work. Our Hands" piece which appeared in the Forum Letter.  I imagine with all of the money rolling in from that, I could buy a candy bar... maybe even two!   ;D
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 17, 2010, 08:32:14 PM
This thread offers me a thoughtful way fo begin the day. 

Might I copy comments for the men of our congregation who meet at 6 am on Wednesdays for Bible Study?  I think they might appreciate pondering the role of Jospeh in the Incarnation. the week before Christmas.



You can certainly copy mine, and I don't believe there are any copyright restrictions, unless otherwise indicated, on an open forum like this!  ;D

If there are, I want the royalties for my "God's Work. Our Hands" piece which appeared in the Forum Letter.  I imagine with all of the money rolling in from that, I could buy a candy bar... maybe even two!   ;D

Now hold on there, pardner. There ARE copyright restrictions on what appears in the print version of Forum Letter. Stuff there may not be reprinted without permission. Which is freely given, but people really are supposed to ask. We've nearly got Herman Otten convinced.  ;)
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 17, 2010, 08:46:56 PM
This thread offers me a thoughtful way fo begin the day. 

Might I copy comments for the men of our congregation who meet at 6 am on Wednesdays for Bible Study?  I think they might appreciate pondering the role of Jospeh in the Incarnation. the week before Christmas.



You can certainly copy mine, and I don't believe there are any copyright restrictions, unless otherwise indicated, on an open forum like this!  ;D

If there are, I want the royalties for my "God's Work. Our Hands" piece which appeared in the Forum Letter.  I imagine with all of the money rolling in from that, I could buy a candy bar... maybe even two!   ;D

Now hold on there, pardner. There ARE copyright restrictions on what appears in the print version of Forum Letter. Stuff there may not be reprinted without permission. Which is freely given, but people really are supposed to ask. We've nearly got Herman Otten convinced.  ;)

Ah, while copyright laws say that one has to get permission before copying copyrighted materials, to protect and assure one's protection under the copyright laws, a copy of the original piece has to be registered with the copyright office.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: GoCubsGo on December 17, 2010, 10:41:21 PM
It may be that the greater miracle in Matthew 1 is not the virginal conception, but that a man who was convinced he was right, had his mind changed.

Wow . . . just, wow.  ::)  Any chance of getting another one of those miracles where you're concerned?   ;)

LOL!  Go Kim, go! ;D
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 18, 2010, 12:30:12 AM

Especially for me because it places yet another wrinkle in the semper virgo controversy.

Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.

Well, Mike, semper virgo did cross my mind when reading the opening post of this topic. 

But I must say that to use this to assert that the Blessed Virgin is not Ever Virgin sounds suspiciously like, "Because if they didn't engage in 'marital relations,' then they were living a lie."

But they weren't living a lie.  Joseph cared for Mary and her child, protecting them from harm, helping raise Jesus in wisdom and stature, making a home for and with them.  That is what a husband does when he takes a woman to be his wife.  Whether she is ever virgin or not.

Pax, Steven+

Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 18, 2010, 09:31:45 AM
Gee, so the real deal in a marriage is commitment and care, disconnected from the mechanics of sexuality? Wonder where we could go with that?
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 18, 2010, 01:28:03 PM
Gee, so the real deal in a marriage is commitment and care, disconnected from the mechanics of sexuality? Wonder where we could go with that?

I think someone wrote that some time ago -- and was chastised for suggesting that the key element of marriage is commitment.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: ptmccain on December 18, 2010, 01:42:29 PM
Brian, you have attempted to define marriage as chiefly "commitment" in order to prop up your advocacy for homosexual "marriages" and "unions". Let's at least be honest in what our positions are.

And it is also to be noted how Brian S. chooses to continue to derail yet another topic on this forum with entirely irrelevant comments.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 18, 2010, 02:11:20 PM
Gee, so the real deal in a marriage is commitment and care, disconnected from the mechanics of sexuality? Wonder where we could go with that?

<sigh!>
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: ptmccain on December 18, 2010, 02:23:00 PM
Indeed, let's use the Holy Family as a way to shoehorn in homosexual "marriages" or "unions."

Any such idea is vile, disgusting and perverse.

 >:(

Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 18, 2010, 03:22:18 PM
ptmccain writes:
Indeed, let's use the Holy Family as a way to shoehorn in homosexual "marriages" or "unions." Any such idea is vile, disgusting and perverse.

I ask:
And who exactly is doing that? Not me. I just wondered whether the basis of a marriage between a man and a woman (or even Joseph and Mary) might be commitment, vocation, care, etc. etc., rather than boudoir activity, or the creation of children. I made no mention of same sex unions. That seems to be the obsession of ptmccain, not me.


Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Jeff-MN on December 18, 2010, 04:38:00 PM
IF Mary were not Semper-Virgo, wouldn't elderly Joseph have to register as a sex offender?
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 18, 2010, 04:44:19 PM
Brian, you have attempted to define marriage as chiefly "commitment" in order to prop up your advocacy for homosexual "marriages" and "unions". Let's at least be honest in what our positions are.

Bunk! I stated numerous times that defining marriage as "commitment" came from a book I read in the early 70's, before there was any discussion of same-gender unions -- even before I had met an openly gay person. (I know now that I had met some earlier, but they weren't open about their orientation.)

Even today, I believe that there are states that if a marriage is not consummated by sexual intercourse, it can be annulled -- it wasn't really a marriage. The two hadn't become one. It has been "traditionalists" arguing against Charles and me who have made "two-become-one-flesh" a definition of marriage. So, for such traditionalists, isn't it reasonable to think that if Joseph never consummated his relationship with Mary, they wouldn't be considered legally married especially in the first century?
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 18, 2010, 04:50:12 PM
IF Mary were not Semper-Virgo, wouldn't elderly Joseph have to register as a sex offender?

Not in the first century. Depending on the state today, it is not statutory rape if the couple are married. Jerry Lee Lewis got out of rape charges by marrying a 13-year-old.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: BrotherBoris on December 18, 2010, 04:55:28 PM
Brian, you have attempted to define marriage as chiefly "commitment" in order to prop up your advocacy for homosexual "marriages" and "unions". Let's at least be honest in what our positions are.

Bunk! I stated numerous times that defining marriage as "commitment" came from a book I read in the early 70's, before there was any discussion of same-gender unions -- even before I had met an openly gay person. (I know now that I had met some earlier, but they weren't open about their orientation.)

Even today, I believe that there are states that if a marriage is not consummated by sexual intercourse, it can be annulled -- it wasn't really a marriage. The two hadn't become one. It has been "traditionalists" arguing against Charles and me who have made "two-become-one-flesh" a definition of marriage. So, for such traditionalists, isn't it reasonable to think that if Joseph never consummated his relationship with Mary, they wouldn't be considered legally married especially in the first century?


Perhaps that is why we Eastern Orthodox often refer to the Virgin Mary as the "Unwedded Bride" or in another translation "Bride without Bridegroom".  In a sense she wasn't even married to Joseph, she was simply betrothed to him. He was her caretaker, not her "husband" in the intimate sense.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Keith Falk on December 18, 2010, 05:27:40 PM
Can't you people stop making it all about sex and arguments about sex (and, before you even pipe up about it, arguing that commitment is more important than sex is still an argument about sex) for once and peacefully contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation? 
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 18, 2010, 05:27:55 PM
Perhaps that is why we Eastern Orthodox often refer to the Virgin Mary as the "Unwedded Bride" or in another translation "Bride without Bridegroom".  In a sense she wasn't even married to Joseph, she was simply betrothed to him. He was her caretaker, not her "husband" in the intimate sense.

That would show consistency in your beliefs.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 18, 2010, 05:34:19 PM
Can't you people stop making it all about sex for once and peacefully contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation?

Some of us have been stressing the importance of Joseph's commitment to Mary and the child.

I will be preaching on the theme, as I have in some year's past, about the miracle of God changing Joseph's mind after he had determined what he would graciously do with "found-to-be-with-child" Mary. A miracle of repentance -- with the literal meaning of the Greek: a change in thinking -- that did not happen to Ahaz. (I'll be preaching about him at our Wednesday mid-week service.)

Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Keith Falk on December 18, 2010, 05:48:02 PM
Can't you people stop making it all about sex for once and peacefully contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation?

Some of us have been stressing the importance of Joseph's commitment to Mary and the child.

I will be preaching on the theme, as I have in some year's past, about the miracle of God changing Joseph's mind after he had determined what he would graciously do with "found-to-be-with-child" Mary. A miracle of repentance -- with the literal meaning of the Greek: a change in thinking -- that did not happen to Ahaz. (I'll be preaching about him at our Wednesday mid-week service.)



I knew the response would be forthcoming, so I edited my comment at 5:30... apparently it didn't post in time.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: cssml on December 18, 2010, 06:03:08 PM

This question is also taken up on the "New Theological Movement: blog.  From the intro:

" with simplicity of heart and purity of mind, we look to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and we ask: What was St. Joseph really thinking, when he had intended to put Mary away secretly? Did he perhaps suspect the most holy Virgin of sin? Did he perceive the gift he had received?
In matters so highly sensitive, we will not rely upon our own reasoning, nor less on the reasoning of the modernist biblical “scholars” of our day – men who know little of true piety – rather, guided by the expositions of St. Thomas Aquinas and the learned scholar Fr. Cornelius a’ Lapide, we will look to the sound interpretation given by the Fathers of the Church."

http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2010/12/did-st-joseph-suspect-blessed-virgin.html
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: George Erdner on December 18, 2010, 06:32:42 PM
Can't you people stop making it all about sex and arguments about sex (and, before you even pipe up about it, arguing that commitment is more important than sex is still an argument about sex) for once and peacefully contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation? 

How does one contemplates the mystery of the Incarnation via posts in a discussion forum? When I contemplate such things, I sit alone and quietly with my thoughts, in a contemplative manner. The nature of a forum such as this is to engage in back and forth exchanges of ideas, not contemplation. How does one "peacefully contemplate" anything by making posts in an internet discussion forum?

Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 18, 2010, 06:52:49 PM
Indeed, let's use the Holy Family as a way to shoehorn in homosexual "marriages" or "unions."

Any such idea is vile, disgusting and perverse.

 >:(
the fuzzball asks,

And who exactly is doing that?

Hmm, Jeffrey Johnson, one of those expelled in 1989 and recently re-admitted to the ELCA roster, for one.  Back in 1994, I wrote a rebuttal article that was published in the (then) Great Commission Network's newsletter.  It rebutted his position that Jesus was gay and engaged in gay sex with a "young man" who purportedly spent the night with him, which he took from a gnostic fragment that is not accepted to be part of mark's Gospel.

Suffice to say that several key mistranslations of the greek led him to his false and perverted conclusions, which when translated appropriately and properly make no assertions even close to what Johnson asserted in his article from the LLGM newsletter.

FYI, Johnson is one of the key players in bringing about the changes that occurred at the 2009 CWA, and has been since the formation of the ELCA.

So in answer to your question: Jeffrey Johnson, that's who.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 18, 2010, 06:53:25 PM
and talk about topic drift!  Sheesh.   ::)
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 18, 2010, 07:15:39 PM
The nature of a forum such as this is to engage in back and forth exchanges of ideas, not contemplation. How does one "peacefully contemplate" anything by making posts in an internet discussion forum?


I'd say that's Keith's point; this was a post for contemplating, not debating.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: DCharlton on December 18, 2010, 08:10:31 PM
Bunk! I stated numerous times that...  came from a book I read in the early 70's,

 ;D ;) ::)
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 18, 2010, 11:38:47 PM
Hmm, Jeffrey Johnson, one of those expelled in 1989 and recently re-admitted to the ELCA roster, for one. 

Not "re-admitted," since he was never admitted in the first place.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: totaliter vivens on December 18, 2010, 11:46:34 PM
People, people...

The text is being ignored here. The structure and grammar of the pericope clearly show that the point of this passage is the announcement of the impending birth of the Savior and His Name. Matthew is NOT interested in mechanics or making pronouncements beyond the announcement of the imminent Incarnation.

SPS
 
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 19, 2010, 04:42:57 AM
I asked who was equating the Holy Family with any discussion about same sex unions and coachrev wrote:
Hmm, Jeffrey Johnson, one of those expelled in 1989 and recently re-admitted to the ELCA roster, for one.  Back in 1994, I wrote a rebuttal article that was published in the (then) Great Commission Network's newsletter. 

I respond:
Of course, I was asking who here, in this forum, was doing that, not what someone who was not on the ELCA clergy roster said 16 years ago. Some of us do not yank out decades-old declarations clearly indicating a pathological homophobia and if we did so, today's "traditionalists" would say: "Well! I don't believe that!" So let's keep the discussion current.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 19, 2010, 06:51:33 AM
I asked who was equating the Holy Family with any discussion about same sex unions and coachrev wrote:
Hmm, Jeffrey Johnson, one of those expelled in 1989 and recently re-admitted to the ELCA roster, for one.  Back in 1994, I wrote a rebuttal article that was published in the (then) Great Commission Network's newsletter. 

I respond:
Of course, I was asking who here, in this forum, was doing that, not what someone who was not on the ELCA clergy roster said 16 years ago. Some of us do not yank out decades-old declarations clearly indicating a pathological homophobia and if we did so, today's "traditionalists" would say: "Well! I don't believe that!" So let's keep the discussion current.

So the fuzzball now accuses me of "pathological homophobia" eh?  Dang, well I guess you nailed it!  Charles said it about me, so it must be true!  Thanks for enlightening me as to my true nature!  I could have never figured that out so it means so much that you've got it figured out for me!!!  ::)

Come on Charles, you can't do any better than that??  That's the typical, stock answer to anyone who objects to the 2009 CWA actions: they are a homophobe.

Why do I even bother getting sucked into these threads, and WORSE, this incessant topic drift, often created by the likes of you?  Maybe I'll have to add to the moderator's woes and start complaining about all of your name calling...  ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)
::)
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 19, 2010, 07:07:17 AM
I have restrained myself.  But if you look back to the first couple of pages, this was a very nice (not sicky sweet), even perceptive topic that even fed my sermon last night and today thanks to what Richard wrote about Joseph's fear of true and close up holiness.  Sad.  So what about us?   No such fear on our parts.   You know there is a meeting that talks about what to do about the fact that there is too much to save of our postings.  I have come up with a methodology which is sort of not nice but also makes me feel better.  When a thread that I start has somewhat run its course and either gets side tracked or just is plain over, I have gone back and deleted all  my postings.  That loses a history I suppose, altho it is my own to keep if I want, but it also sort of guts any misuse and thwarts thread drift that is innane when compared to where the topic could be going either in intent or even fruitful drift.    Ah, back to St. Joseph, guardian...      Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 19, 2010, 07:29:23 AM
thank you for pulling it back on track, Harvey.  I too am building off of this for the sermon today.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Team Hesse on December 19, 2010, 07:56:50 AM
This may lead to more thread drift, but this thread in particular has struck me with the truth of scripture that the wrath of God is actually when he withdraws and allows His creatures "the futility of their own minds." Certain folks can no longer control themselves- they are simply unable to not draw conversations off into the realm where they are being "held in futility". Such obsession gives one pause. "There but for the Grace of God go I."

Apologies,
Lou
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: revjagow on December 19, 2010, 05:30:30 PM
I have restrained myself.  But if you look back to the first couple of pages, this was a very nice (not sicky sweet), even perceptive topic that even fed my sermon last night and today thanks to what Richard wrote about Joseph's fear of true and close up holiness.  Sad.  So what about us?   No such fear on our parts.   You know there is a meeting that talks about what to do about the fact that there is too much to save of our postings.  I have come up with a methodology which is sort of not nice but also makes me feel better.  When a thread that I start has somewhat run its course and either gets side tracked or just is plain over, I have gone back and deleted all  my postings.  That loses a history I suppose, altho it is my own to keep if I want, but it also sort of guts any misuse and thwarts thread drift that is innane when compared to where the topic could be going either in intent or even fruitful drift.    Ah, back to St. Joseph, guardian...      Harvey Mozolak

Earlier in the week (when the thread was one page long), I put a link up on Twitter and Facebook and encouraged people to read Richard's post and then scroll down for your prose, Harvey. 

I'm hoping people looked at it then and didn't find some of the later conversation.  *sigh*

A good reminder that folk from all corners of the Body can look in here and we are all accountable for the example we set. 
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: kls on December 19, 2010, 05:47:50 PM
A good reminder that folk from all corners of the Body can look in here and we are all accountable for the example we set.  

QUOTE OF THE WEEK!!!!  I am one who is beginning to believe the "P" in ALPB will seemingly stand for something other than Publicity thanks to the posting habits of some.  :-[

Addendum to original post:  I may have left that too wide open  ;) and was referring to a comment I made here:
http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3527.msg195767#msg195767
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Mike Bennett on December 19, 2010, 07:27:21 PM
ptmccain writes:
Indeed, let's use the Holy Family as a way to shoehorn in homosexual "marriages" or "unions." Any such idea is vile, disgusting and perverse.

I ask:
And who exactly is doing that? Not me. I just wondered whether the basis of a marriage between a man and a woman (or even Joseph and Mary) might be commitment, vocation, care, etc. etc., rather than boudoir activity, or the creation of children. I made no mention of same sex unions. That seems to be the obsession of ptmccain, not me.


Eddie Haskell strikes again.  Golly, Mr. Cleever, the words "same sex unions" never passed my lips.

And another perfectly good topic is trashed.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Keith Falk on December 19, 2010, 07:30:15 PM
The nature of a forum such as this is to engage in back and forth exchanges of ideas, not contemplation. How does one "peacefully contemplate" anything by making posts in an internet discussion forum?


I'd say that's Keith's point; this was a post for contemplating, not debating.

Yes.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 19, 2010, 08:18:52 PM


So the fuzzball now accuses me of "pathological homophobia" eh? 

Actually, I don't think he did that at all. Let's review the difference between "implication" and "inference."
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 19, 2010, 08:20:25 PM
On second thought, let's not. Let's return to contemplating Joseph.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 19, 2010, 09:22:57 PM
Moderator Johnson is right. I did not call coachrev anything... except perhaps anonymous.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Weedon on December 19, 2010, 10:20:52 PM
way too late to the discussion, but here're my thoughts from some years back...


He sort of lurks in the background, Joseph does.  We know that he’s there, but we tend to forget him.  It’s a role fathers are accustomed to at the time of child-birth, and one – truth to tell – that we’re rather comfortable with.  After all, the star of the show is the little baby, and if there’s a first-runner-up, it’s the mama.  The papa’s joy comes from just standing there in awe and staring at the miracle in front of him.

Of course, for Joseph, it was different.  The child wasn’t his.  He’d been hurt, of course, dreadfully hurt when he found out that Mary was pregnant.  You see, they were betrothed, not married.  But in Jewish society of that day, betrothal was so serious that it could be broken only by divorce.  And it sure seemed to Joseph that Mary had broken faith with him.

Joseph was a good man.  He was torn, as all good men are, over the horrible conflict between justice and pity.  His sense of justice wouldn’t let him even consider marrying her.  She was just not the sort of person he had been led to believe her to be.  She evidently didn’t hold God’s commands in the same high regard that he did, and what kind of a life could be built out of two people who lived by such different values.  And yet, in pity, he didn’t want to make a public spectacle out of her.  He wasn’t the least bit vindictive; he wouldn’t enjoy abandoning her to public shame.  He was just very sad.

And no doubt people were already talking, and given the normal behavior of human beings the obvious answer to Mary’s condition leapt to the mind.  Probably there was a good deal of speculation as to who the papa was.  Some held out for Joseph.  Others said:  “That old priss!  He wouldn’t touch her until after the ceremony.  Trust me, my friend, Mary just couldn’t wait.”

Many were the nights that Joseph lay awake and stared at the ceiling, wondering what to do.  Wondering what God’s will was for him in this situation.  Asking:  “Why me, God? Why have you let this happen to me?”  And then it happened.  One night after he had finally fallen into a fitful sleep, God answered.  You see, there was someone who saw Joseph’s pain and hurt and knew his struggle.  There was someone who saw the hurt and fear in Mary’s eyes as well.  And that someone in his own time and in his own way did something about it.

It was a dream Joseph had, but as real as could be.  The Angel of the Lord stood there, shining and glittering and somehow terrifying in his holiness, and spoke gentle, unbelievable words of comfort.  “Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a Son and you are to give him the name JESUS because he will save his people from their sins.”

And suddenly as the dream had started, it was over.  Joseph was wide awake again.  But now his eyes were filled with tears and his heart with peace.  “Why did I ever doubt her, God?  And why did I ever doubt you?”  Bet he got out of bed and made himself a pot of coffee or some such and waited impatiently for the light of dawn.

As soon as it was light, he ran out of the house and over to Mary’s parent’s home.  When she saw him, saw the look in his eyes, saw the smile on his face, she knew that he knew the truth.  At last.  Old Elizabeth had shared her secret joy, but no one else up to that point.  Now Joseph did.  Joseph understood – and that meant the world to Mary.  No doubt there were awkward attempts at an apology from Joseph, but Mary just brushed them all away.  None of that mattered anymore – now that Joseph knew the secret of what and who was growing in her womb.

“I see his plan now, Mary.  I am not to be this baby’s father, but his protector and provider.  The protector and provider of the Messiah, Mary!  The Promised One, the One whose name is JESUS – who saves his people from their sins.  The One promised by Isaiah as God with Us – the Virgin-Born.  Oh, Mary!  God is so good!  How could I have doubted?”

Now please note:  the sneers and the knowing looks in Nazareth did not cease.  If anything they increased when the people saw that Joseph was determined to stand by Mary.  And no doubt, half of the people said:  “See, I was right.  He is the father.”  And the other half said:  “See, I was right.  He doesn’t have the guts to throw her over even after what she did to him.”  But Joseph and Mary were beyond being bothered by such comments and looks.  They just looked at each other and smiled.  A marvelous secret!

Jesus was the name the angel gave.  “Because he will save his people from their sins.”  As Mary came nearer to term and the child bulged in her womb, Joseph would place his hand on her tummy and feel the baby kick, and say to himself:  “This is my Savior.  This is the one we have prayed for and hoped for all our lives.  He comes to set us free!”
Old Joseph didn’t live to see how that redemption would take place.  He’s last mentioned in the temple with Mary and Jesus when the lad was 12.  Sometime between then and Jesus’ baptism at the age of 30, he died.  He didn’t live to see the shame of the cross, when only Mary and her friends had the courage to stand by him.  He didn’t live to see the joy of the empty tomb when Jesus would begin spreading the joy of death’s defeat into all the world.  He probably never saw Jesus work a miracle, but that didn’t matter.
He still died full of faith and hope because he knew that in that child, learning to walk, learning to talk, in that child who hugged him and liked to rub his face in Joseph’s rough beard, in that child who ate at his table and looked so peaceful sleeping under his roof, in that child who played with abandon and prayed with glee, in that child God had come to be with us, to save us.  And so Joseph closed his eyes in peace and opened them in heaven’s light only to be embraced by his child, his Jesus.  While on earth, Joseph had cared and provided for the Child and now in heaven the Child of Mary would forever care and provide for him.

Joseph lurks in the background, true.  But how our Lord loved his earthly protector and provider!  You and I often know what Joseph felt like.  We’re background people, too, for the most part.  Maybe often overlooked and forgotten, just doing the tasks the Lord has given us to do.  That’s okay.  There’s one who doesn’t overlook or forget.  One who loves us.  One who is waiting to welcome us home.  The Child who was born of Mary, nurtured by Joseph; the Child who by his cross and resurrection has opened for all who trust Him – great and small alike – an eternal home.  Amen.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 20, 2010, 12:27:54 AM
I suggested in my sermon that a better question to ask ourselves is: "What would Joseph do?" I find myself much more like Joseph than Jesus. He wants to do what is right, but sometimes is misdirected. He's afraid of what the neighbors might say. He wants to be compassionate to this pregnant woman, but discovers he's doing it the wrong way. When God confronts him with his wrong choices, he changes. Would that we were that repentant.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: revjagow on December 20, 2010, 10:26:02 AM
In response to Rev. Weedon, I'd say it's never "too late" for contributions like that!

So, as long as we're sharing... I'm blushing a bit as I pulled up something I wrote the year my first child was born and I was contemplating fatherhood that Christmas.  It was a series of imaginary letters that Joseph wrote to give some of the nativity experiences from his perspective.  Since we have Jesus in the Temple in the lectionary soon (for those reading it Second Sunday of Christmas, series A), I'll share this paragraph:

After we left the city, Mary and I realized that Jesus was not with us.   I wanted to go stop and search, but Mary very piously reminded me that at twelve years of age, our son could well take care of Himself.  Besides, she said, He was probably with some other member of the family.  But, after a whole day’s travel He was no where to be found.  In a panic, Mary and I went all the way back to the city.  What we found there was simply astonishing!  Our search took us into the Temple where twelve year old Jesus had a group of rabbis enthralled as He debated the Scriptures with them.  Mary did not see that, however.  And, she probably forgot completely about her  virgin birth, the angel’s announcement to the shepherds, the strange star in the sky, the visit of the wise men, and the way that God had been talking to me in my dreams.  “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US!”  As her voice echoed off the Temple walls – all I could do is turn to the rabbis and shrug.  “YOUR FATHER AND I HAVE BEEN LOOKING EVERYWHERE!”  At this point, Jesus looked at her with what can only be the very definition of child-like innocence and truthfulness.  “Did you not know that I would be in my father’s house?”  He asked very sincerely.  And the words that were caught in my throat were, “But I’m…”  But, I didn’t say it – because I was starting to understand.  After twelve years… starting to understand.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: mariemeyer on December 20, 2010, 10:27:46 AM
Joseph is a remarkable role model for all men to whom the Lord has given a wife and children. He was their defender, their protector and their servant, performing his role humbly, fearing, loving and trusting in the God who had made good and certain promises to Him, even as He makes them to all men who are called to be husbands and fathers.

This morning I read  Paul McCain's comments in the context of the sermon preached yesterday by our our young assistant pastor.  My pastor concluded that the righteous said of Jospeh is the rightousness to which all Christians are called, one that is not inherent in their sexuality, but in their being recreated in the image of the Son Mary was to deliver.  Joseph could have "put Mary" away just as God can separate Himself from the harlots that each of us is. But the righeousness of God did not prevent the Son from joining himself to the men and women who are all His unfaithful unrighteous wife.  

As I ponder the part God allowed Mary and Jospeh to play in the Incarnation, I wonder if both are not models for men and for women.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Coach-Rev on December 20, 2010, 11:23:23 AM


So the fuzzball now accuses me of "pathological homophobia" eh?

Actually, I don't think he did that at all. Let's review the difference between "implication" and "inference."
Moderator Johnson is right. I did not call coachrev anything... except perhaps anonymous.

I don't see a difference, aside from one being direct, and the other indirect.  One is standing in a room with a live grenade, while the other is opening the door to the room, pulling the pin, tossing it in, and then shutting the door again. 

I guess we will differ on this interpretation. 

Of course, I was asking who here, in this forum, was doing that, not what someone who was not on the ELCA clergy roster said 16 years ago. Some of us do not yank out decades-old declarations clearly indicating a pathological homophobia and if we did so, today's "traditionalists" would say: "Well! I don't believe that!" So let's keep the discussion current.

Some of us = Charles, and by Inference I'm the "other of us"
clearly indicating = directly referring to the "other of us" = me
pathological homophobia = what the "other of us" = me, are.  By direct inference and implication.

However, I will point out that I have not once reported any of this to the moderators, FWIW.

And regardless of events 16 years ago, he is currently on the roster of the ELCA, and his position has not changed from 16 years ago.  Again, FWIW.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: John, an Unlikely Pastor on December 20, 2010, 01:24:44 PM
It may be that the greater miracle in Matthew 1 is not the virginal conception, but that a man who was convinced he was right, had his mind changed.
You are quite right that there are two miracle stories that flow together here from two very different experiences of Mary's pregnancy.  No question what the angel told Joseph changed everything.
thanks for the insights
John
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Matt Staneck on December 21, 2010, 10:12:03 AM
Read this article over at Daily Mail UK today:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1340382/Historys-greatest-male-role-model-humbling-lesson-feckless-fathers-today.html

M. Staneck
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: FatherWilliam57 on December 21, 2010, 12:26:22 PM
Nice article.  Two thumbs up.  Thanks for posting this.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 21, 2010, 12:54:18 PM
I had to work ahead on my sermon for the Sunday after Christmas, which this year gives us the second half of the story of the Wise Men.  We get the angel coming a second time to Joseph, warning him to take the child and Mary and flee to Egypt, for Herod is now about to attack.  I was struck, in a way I had not been before, by the contrast between the two men, Joseph and Herod.  The first is the descendent of David, the second sits on the throne of David:  and what a difference there is in how these two men act!  The pretender to the throne (Herod) acts out of his (justifiable) fear that he will be replaced by a true son of David, and moves against his own people in ordering the slaughter of the children.  The true descendent of David, however, responds to the word of the Lord faithfully and protects the mother and child as a real king would.  Joseph never sits on the throne of David, but he is a fulfillment of the Old Testament texts of how a true ruler over the flock of the Lord should act.  Herod, the bloody tyrant, only proves that he is no true shepherd of Israel, for all his show of power.
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: Matt Staneck on December 21, 2010, 07:47:26 PM
I had to work ahead on my sermon for the Sunday after Christmas, which this year gives us the second half of the story of the Wise Men.  We get the angel coming a second time to Joseph, warning him to take the child and Mary and flee to Egypt, for Herod is now about to attack.  I was struck, in a way I had not been before, by the contrast between the two men, Joseph and Herod.  The first is the descendent of David, the second sits on the throne of David:  and what a difference there is in how these two men act!  The pretender to the throne (Herod) acts out of his (justifiable) fear that he will be replaced by a true son of David, and moves against his own people in ordering the slaughter of the children.  The true descendent of David, however, responds to the word of the Lord faithfully and protects the mother and child as a real king would.  Joseph never sits on the throne of David, but he is a fulfillment of the Old Testament texts of how a true ruler over the flock of the Lord should act.  Herod, the bloody tyrant, only proves that he is no true shepherd of Israel, for all his show of power.

What a great observation this is!

M. Staneck
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: FatherWilliam57 on December 22, 2010, 03:27:11 AM
Love the analysis, Erma!  I have always felt that Joseph got short shrift as far as understanding his role in God's plan of salvation.  (I also love the fact that he shares the same name as another "dreamer" in the Old Testament.)

I keep telling my congregation to forget about "Hallmark" observances.  If they want to celebrate Christian mothers, do it on August 15th (not the second Sunday of May) and if they want to celebrate God-fearing fathers, do it on March 19th (not the third Sunday of June).  I also hate the way the three-year lectionary "slices and dices" the Nativity story for the First Sunday after Christmas.  I think I would prefer to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family instead and come up with a decent lectionary that completes the Nativity story in one fell swoop.  Jumping ahead to the Innocents before hearing of the Magi on Epiphany kind of messes with my head.  (Sorry, it's 3:30 AM and I'm probably rambling incoherently.  If anyone can make sense of that last sentence, please let me know.  ;))
Title: Re: So what about Joseph?
Post by: John, an Unlikely Pastor on December 22, 2010, 04:01:28 PM
You are right on about the two different reading needing to come at different times to keep the story flowing.
 Jumping ahead to the Innocents before hearing of the Magi on Epiphany kind of messes with my head.  (Sorry, it's 3:30 AM and I'm probably rambling incoherently.  If anyone can make sense of that last sentence, please let me know.  ;))
We live in a biblicallly illiterate age when the Lectionary, poorly applied, can even add to the sense of fragmentation that people have about scripture.  It's tough to keep a sense of each reading as part of a book and each book as a part of the greater whole.  Over the years I try harder and harder to keep Mary and Joseph linked together in my telling by linking Matthew and Luke in preaching.

thanks, John