Author Topic: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered  (Read 29613 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2007, 02:48:31 PM »
There is all the difference in the world between asking and plumbing the depths of meaning of an event and Person that really happened and asking the meaning of a passage of fiction.
I don't buy that distinction. Some of the most significant and deeply studied and powerful passages of scriptures are the parables. I believe that these stories were so powerful in their message, that they are the source of the opposition that had Jesus executed. It was a parable that Nathan told that opened David's eyes to the depth of his sins with Bathsheba and Uriah. To suggest that these biblical passages are shallow and insignificant because they didn't really happen is to miss the power of story -- a power that is a good story whether or not it is really happened or is parable.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #31 on: July 24, 2007, 03:17:33 PM »
I don't buy that distinction.

Funny.  Every other time one of us says "both, and," you keep insisting upon distinctions.


FWIW:
St. Mark 16:8b is true. 

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BeornBjornson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2007, 03:23:55 PM »
I wrote:
Quote
There is all the difference in the world between asking and plumbing the depths of meaning of an event and Person that really happened and asking the meaning of a passage of fiction.
Pastor Stoffregen wrote:
Quote
I don't buy that distinction. Some of the most significant and deeply studied and powerful passages of scriptures are the parables. I believe that these stories were so powerful in their message, that they are the source of the opposition that had Jesus executed. It was a parable that Nathan told that opened David's eyes to the depth of his sins with Bathsheba and Uriah. To suggest that these biblical passages are shallow and insignificant because they didn't really happen is to miss the power of story -- a power that is a good story whether or not it is really happened or is parable.


First, the discussion was whether the Resurrection (and by extension, the Incarnation) were real events (and Person) or parable.   Second, calling Biblical parables "shallow and insignificant" is your phrase, not mine.  Third, if the Incarnation and Resurrection are just parables and not real events (and Person) that really happened, then, yes, I would say that all the parables in the Bible are indeed insignificant, because they then signify nothing because they have no ontological, historical antecedent or referent.  Then the Bible is simply ancient fictive literature like Ovid's Metamorphoses or Apuleius' The Golden Ass.   The view of Scripture which you and Borg seem to hold in regard to its historical unbelievability is little different from the view I held when I was a professing agnostic.  The only difference is that my old agnostic self wonders at the intellectual dishonesty of claiming a Christian identity in continuity with the Church through history, when Borg or you seem to think it a matter of little consequence whether Christianity is founded on fiction or something that really happened.  The version of Christian faith evinced by Borg and perhaps by yourself is not one that would get me out of bed on a Sunday morning, much less stake my life upon it or much less, experience as transformative.   "I'd rather be a pagan than suckled on a creed outworn..."  
Ken Kimball

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2007, 03:52:17 PM »
I don't buy that distinction.

Funny.  Every other time one of us says "both, and," you keep insisting upon distinctions.
Funny. I thought I was denying the distinction.


Quote
FWIW:
St. Mark 16:8b is true.
I haven't argued whether or not it's true. Parables are true, but not necessarily historically factual. My question was whether or not it his historically factual. Did the women say nothing to anyone?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Michael_Rothaar

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2007, 03:53:10 PM »
At the recent death of my father, I can not tell you how grateful I am for the ministry of a pastor who did not regard the accounts in the Scriptures about Christ's resurrection to be parables. I would not wish such a pastor on anyone.

I am antiquarian enough to remember the pre-html days of online communication. Typing something in all caps used to be called shouting, and was considered uncivil and extremely rude. Now that the GUI world has made possible bold scrolling text, I hardly know how to characterize it.

Besides incivility, your typographic choice trivialized the message you wanted to convey about the comfort you received from a believer at a time of grief.
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #35 on: July 24, 2007, 03:59:48 PM »
Did the women say nothing to anyone?

At first.

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #36 on: July 24, 2007, 04:08:19 PM »

First, the discussion was whether the Resurrection (and by extension, the Incarnation) were real events (and Person) or parable.
Not quite. The discussion is whether or not the scriptural reports about the events are better understood as just historical facts, or should be understood, interpreted, and applied like parables -- that is, their meanings involve more-than-historical and more-than-factual understandings.

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Second, calling Biblical parables "shallow and insignificant" is your phrase, not mine.  

What is your phrase for these fictional writings?

Quote
Third, if the Incarnation and Resurrection are just parables and not real events (and Person) that really happened, then, yes, I would say that all the parables in the Bible are indeed insignificant, because they then signify nothing because they have no ontological, historical antecedent or referent.

Again, the question is about the biblical stories of the incarnation and resurrection. Do these stories contain meanings that go beyond the literal and factual?

Quote
The only difference is that my old agnostic self wonders at the intellectual dishonesty of claiming a Christian identity in continuity with the Church through history, when Borg or you seem to think it a matter of little consequence whether Christianity is founded on fiction or something that really happened.

Borg states and I agree that some things really happened. Jesus healed people. Jesus taught, often using parables. However, all that we have about what really happened are the people's memories of what happened -- memories that were written down some 35-60 years after the events actually happened. (It is argued that in oral societies, people remembered more accurately. Perhaps so, but what we have are still the records of the people's memories -- not a videotape of the historical events.) It's precisely because the resurrection really happened, and it was a life-changing event -- so it colored the way people remember things that happened before the event.

Quote
The version of Christian faith evinced by Borg and perhaps by yourself is not one that would get me out of bed on a Sunday morning, much less stake my life upon it or much less, experience as transformative.   "I'd rather be a pagan than suckled on a creed outworn..."  

Well, it's the Christian faith that caused such passion in Jesus that he gave his life for it. It's the Christian faith that the early believers were so passionate about that they were willing to die for it. It was not a doctrine just to believe, but a faith to be lived. It was following the Way of Jesus, not just believing something about Jesus. By saying that the gospels are the remembrances of early believers, we are also saying that these memories were so powerful that they were willing to stake their lives on them. They were persecuted and put to death because of them. These were not "wishful-thinking" memories, but stories they were convinced were true and powerful and that had changed their lives. Would that believers today had such convictions about the stories of Jesus that they were willing to suffer and die for them. If getting out of bed on Sunday morning is all that you expect Christianity to motivate you to do; it's a pretty pathetic belief.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #37 on: July 24, 2007, 04:14:49 PM »
Did the women say nothing to anyone?

At first.
So you offer another alternative ending to the gospel of Mark with the addition of "at first". There is nothing in the original gospel that suggests the ladies told anyone. It states clearly that they said nothing to anyone, period.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #38 on: July 24, 2007, 04:15:15 PM »
Well, it's the Christian faith that caused such passion in Jesus that he gave his life for it.

Uh . . . no.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #39 on: July 24, 2007, 04:22:33 PM »
Well, it's the Christian faith that caused such passion in Jesus that he gave his life for it.

Uh . . . no.
What about "God-centered life" or "kingdom of God" as causing such passion?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #40 on: July 24, 2007, 04:34:52 PM »

What about "God-centered life" or "kingdom of God" as causing such passion?

My vote would be more along the lines of obedience to his Father and love for us poor sinners.
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BeornBjornson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #41 on: July 24, 2007, 04:47:48 PM »
Quote
If getting out of bed on Sunday morning is all that you expect Christianity to motivate you to do; it's a pretty pathetic belief.

Actually I was referring to the version of Christianity filtered through Borg and yourself as failing even that test.  The fact is that faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus has changed the whole direction of my life from cynical agnostic to a Lutheran pastor of 20 years service thus far (not to mention that I thought I was headed for a career as Naval officer with a degree in nuclear engineering).  My point was that the remythologized version of Christianity being proferred by Borg and yourself would have elicited from my old agnostic self a disinterested shrug and a "So?  Why bother with Christianity at all?"

Ken Kimball 

« Last Edit: July 24, 2007, 07:40:22 PM by BeornBjornson »

ptmccain

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #42 on: July 24, 2007, 05:14:35 PM »
Besides incivility, your typographic choice trivialized the message you wanted to convey about the comfort you received from a believer at a time of grief.

I wish to underscore as strongly as I can the most important point in all this, that is easily lost as Brian tries to bury every comment anyone makes with an ever increasing avalanche of words.

As for "incivility" -- perhaps you might consider spending less time concerning yourself about that and more time considering the severity of the danger of the stuff Brian keeps serving up here. I'd like to see just a bit more passion about that, than perceptions about "civility" when we are talking about the absolute core of our very being as Christians. That's something to get, perhaps, just a tad exercised about.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2007, 11:08:41 PM »
Actually I was referring to the version of Christianity filtered through Borg and yourself as failing even that test.  The fact is that faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus has changed the whole direction of my life from cynical agnostic to a Lutheran pastor of 20 years service thus far (not to mention that I thought I was headed for a career as Naval officer with a degree in nuclear engineering).  My point was that the remythologized version of Christianity being proferred by Borg and yourself would have elicited from my old agnostic self a disinterested shrug and a "So?  Why bother with Christianity at all?"
What is it about what I have quoted or offered cause such disinterest? I was greatly excited when reading Borg. It was much better than I had expected. I learned much. (I don't agree with everything he says.) Most of his exegetical conclusions excited me. He does a better job than anyone else I've read of placing Jesus within the Roman Near East. If I were to teach a class on understanding Jesus, this is the book I would use. For instance, why was Jesus crucified? "Rome reserved crucifixion for two categories of people: chronically defiant slaves and others who challenged Roman rule. What they shared in common was refusing to accept established authority" (p. 271). If true, and I have no doubt that it is, then we need to look at how Jesus challenged Roman rule. How did he refuse to accept the established authority?

Borg: "It has become a cliche among Jesus scholars to say that the most certain fact we know about him is that he was crucified. but it is an important cliche. Jesus was executed. He didn't simply die; authorities killed him. For a sketch of the historical Jesus to be persuasive, it must account for this." (pp. 271-272) He argues that Jesus' passion for God and the kingdom of God and God's passion for justice is what so threatened the authorities, that they execute him. He argues that followers of Jesus need to be passionate about what Jesus was passionate about: God, the kingdom of God and God's justice. That, to me, has a lot more life in it than saying, "Christians have to believe a virgin got pregnant" or "Jesus did miracles" or "Jesus was raised from the dead." This isn't saying that those beliefs about Jesus are unimportant, but those do not seem to be what the earlier believers were passionate about. They continued to buck the system and get themselves arrested, beaten, and even killed because they believed that Jesus was Lord of their lives (and Caesar was not).
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2007, 11:12:10 PM »
My vote would be more along the lines of obedience to his Father and love for us poor sinners.
What about passionate about God, the kingdom of God, and God's justice? Borg uses those phrases.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]