1/10/2006

On the Matter of an Authentic Christianity:

In response to a sentence in my posting, “A Church at War,” one person wrote, “What objective standard would you use to determine the existence of a ‘more authentic Christianity?’”

The sentence in question was, “It is glaringly obvious, from reading Bates’ fine book on a Church at War that whatever our hopes for a more authentic Christianity, particularly one that sees God at work in culture as well as over against culture, those hopes do not lie with the realignment movement or with the English hard line evangelicals.”

Good question.

Let me first say that my comment was about Bates’ devastating journalistic account of the political manipulations of the players in the American realignment and English reform groups. Given his account, I came to the conclusion that whatever counts as an authentic Christianity will be found somewhere else. The reader was quite right to point out that I don’t define what would count as an authentic Christianity or how one might go about providing an objective standard for determining that something was an expression of authentic Christianity. Implicit in his question is whether I am just muttering slightly warm air or have any sense of what I was talking about. Good question indeed.

So here is a small beginning stab at a personal faith statement of what I consider authentic Christianity to be and how one might go about testing if one’s own expression of faith meets the test. It is of course a futile small and unworthy effort if for no other reason than that words fall short of adoration and ideas far short of grasping the joyful proposition that God is a present tense reality rather than a distant thunderer and / or a former creator now relaxing as the whole thing unwinds.

I am a Christian, among other reasons, because of the following:

(i) I have accepted Jesus' invitation, “follow me” and am working out the details. The best hints I have of what that means are that:

I am to practice, as he did, self-emptying - getting my ego out of the way of God’s spirit taking me where I would not otherwise go, to people and places beyond my imagining;

I will more and more caught up in the immediate follower’s experience of Jesus being the person in whom all the fullness of God is pleased to dwell, or alternately of Jesus as being the exact imprint of God in the world.

(ii) I take seriously William Stringfellow’s witness, that “I spend most of my life now with the Bible, reading or, more precisely listening.” (p. 3, Instead of Death) I am by no means as disciplined or as good at that as Stringfellow, but I am on my way. That listening itself is a practice, one which by no means is limited to the biblical material, but rather is without limits as we grow in our ability to hear the sufferings and joys of others and hear them without feeling threatened and without condemning - that is to hear them with compassion.

(iii) I practice being a companion and seeking companions on the way, trying not to be too ego centered and picky about those I break bread with. We say, the bread we eat is companionship too with the One we follow and that Jesus is thereby know to be with us on the way. We share all sorts of concerns and joys and sorrows, for the way stretches out before us as a way through the wilderness, and at the core of that sharing is the biblical witness. The bread is all the more tasty for being a meal on the journey.

So, my sense is an authentic Christianity consists of following Jesus without too much ego and in awe of knowing God present in him, in living in a mode of biblical listening, and in sharing the simplest of meals on the Way. An authentic Christianity, in this sense, is filled with the desire to practice self-emptying, to listen compassionately, and to share the bread of tomorrow.

What sort of “objective standard” might there be? Beats me. I suspect there is no objective standard. Yet anyone who is without guile (or ego demands), who listens and who walks in the way will have a sense of knowing the presence of someone practicing such a Christianity.

You may note that none of this has very much to do with Church in its complexities of historical functions, forms and theologies. I have sometimes said half jokingly that I don’t think Jesus had the Church in mind. It is indeed only half a joke. WE have the Church in mind as a way of responding to the notion of the people of faith as the Body of Christ. It is no joke to try to do this: to incorporate organizationally to be a collective reflection of authentic Christ presence, or an authentic Christianity. But I do think Jesus would be appalled by our behavior sometimes.

I love the Church in its efforts to be an embodiment of Christ in the world, and more particularly the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church as expressions of that effort. But I don’t for a moment confuse its standards for the demands of authentic Christian living. It does often provide better guidelines and signposts than we might otherwise be able to find, but it is finally to be judged by the least of the followers of Jesus Christ and its leaders brought to task for setting burdens on faithful people that are unnecessary or worse that separate us from the love of God known in others.

I am aware that after 40 years in the ordained ministry and 65 years of stumbling around on the planet this is hardly a well organized statement of what I believe it means to be authentically a Christian. The reader will easily recognize my shortcomings in not being able to provide any sort of “objective standard” for what it means to be an authentic Christian. Still, my sense is that we are likely to recognize such a Christian when we meet her. I know I have.

26 comments:

  1. Mr Harris,

    It was kind of you to respond so directly to my question.

    But you are right that I find your answer considerably short of the mark. For there is nothing in your statement about sin, and redemption, and reconcilation with God. This is the gospel - that Christ Jesus though God became man that He might die for helpless sinners - enemies of God who could not and would not do anything to help themselves - and rise to life for their justification. Without that Gospel, there is no authentic Christianity - only judgment, damnation, and wrath.

    I suspect however that judgment, damnation, and wrath might be consigned to Mr Carroll's category of "doctrinal error." This is the danger of discarding the Word in favor of our own judgment, for the first thing discarded will be the offense of the Gospel - that all men are sinful and deserving of judgment, damnation, and wrath. But if men are not helplessly sinful, then who needs a Savior? And what purpose has Hell if the Holiness of God requires no satisfaction for Sin? And ever so quietly the Gospel is no more.

    You will know them by their fruit, that is true. But the fruits are derivative of faith. First they must believe on Him whom God has sent. The man who believes the Gospel - that man is a Christian. There you will find authentic Christianity.

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  2. Should we teach about Judgment-yes; Damnation-no; wrath-depends on what you mean.

    I do think that Christianity would be better off without any concept of damnation. I think that most of the sayings of Jesus with regard to judgment can be given a perfectly good sense without belief in eternal punishment. The only sense I can get out of the idea is that God won't force us to change and may allow even our rejection to have eternal validity. The Catechism explains hell as "eternal death in our rejection of God." I suppose that is possible, but I hope no one suffers that.

    It's not a matter of substituting one's own judgment for the Word but of exercising one's baptismal authority and responsibility as a prophet, priest, and servant with Christ to interpret the word.

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  3. I'm struck - both in your post and in my own experience - by the struggle to balance right belief and right practice in a way that authentically honors both. Perhaps right practice comes out of right belief; but there are many who do not believe that Jesus Christ was truly God incarnate and was raised from the dead who manage to love neighbor, seek justice, and seek God. By the same token, if we are not to require the belief that Jesus Christ was truly God incarnate and was raised from the dead, how can we call it Christianity?

    I am one who believes the Living and Incarnate Word transcends the written word. At the same time, we cannot distinguish the voice of the Living Word from our own petty words without the perspective of the written word, both as recorded and as lived out in the lives of the faithful. If I am to be a faithful Christian, I believe I need to be about following God in the Christ of Scripture and the Christ of the Church and the Christ whom I experience in my own life and community. I cannot exclude any of them; and if that prevents a more defined understanding of "authentic Christianity," then I have to live in that tension.

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  4. Anonymous, I believe you have offered a very succinct summary of what I would classify as "The Bad News" (probably of the sort that has driven Wendy's friends away from Anglican Christianity over the past few years). :-(

    I'm at a loss as to how you can derive such Bad News from Scripture, Tradition and Reason (which I find more consonant w/ Mark's eloquent stumblings towards a "more authentic Christianity").

    At least I take comfort, Anon, that we'll both find out in Heaven (by the grace of the All-Saving Christ) where we were closer to The Truth, and where we were more distant... :-)

    "then I have to live in that tension."

    You're not alone, Marshall: living in the tension is where we're all at (fortunately, Christ is with us there, too!)

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  5. Anonymous said, " This is the gospel - that Christ Jesus though God became man that He might die for helpless sinners - enemies of God who could not and would not do anything to help themselves - and rise to life for their justification. Without that Gospel, there is no authentic Christianity - only judgment, damnation, and wrath."

    I was trying to address a concrete matter - recognizing an example of Authentic Christianity in a person. I was not addressing the abstract issue of Authentic Christianity. If I were I would attempt to lay out precisely why the biblical witness and the desire to be a follower of Jesus Christ lead to an engagement with the problems of sin, the nead for redemption and the promise of reconciliation.

    My emphasis on living with the bible seems to me to include taking its witness to the many ways in which Jesus Christ is Good News.

    I regret that you have not found my remarks of value, but there you are. I believe the Gospel and am sorry you don't think I do. The Gospel I embrace is quite a bit larger and more complex than the one you state, and I suppose our witness in tandum might be of some value.

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  6. Thanks for your thoughts Mark, they were interesting and well worth thinking over.

    The way I would have answered would have been to point to Jesus' summary of the Law and also to Paul's words on love in 1 Cor. 13, but what you said is quite probably more helpful to those who have been alienated by the church.

    As for Judgement, Damnation, and Wrath, they are God's business; not mine and probably not any other Christian's either. The only possible exception I can think of is the righteous wrath that seeks to over turn evil, and that sort of wrath has its own dangers.

    Jon

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  7. If I remember correctly, Aristotle was once pressed to define the abstraction of "virtue" and replied that it was the quality one sees in "a virtuous man." It seems that you have reminded us that for the abstraction of "authentic Christianity" we need look to the "authentic Christian", the Word Incarnate who is far beyond any definitions we may try to impose upon him.

    Thanks for the stimulating and faithful discussion.

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  8. Pax

    We do indeed have guidance - let us not forget that Christ did not leave us the Bible as guide, but left to us 'the Comforter'; the Holy Spirit.

    Whereas the books of the Bible were written under specific cultural contexts, by different authors and their theological understanding evolved over a period of time, the Spirit guides us towards loving compassion each time we listen to that message.

    Where the 2 conflict, we must choose the Holy Spirit for it always guides us towards compassion.

    We can access this guidance merely by looking within ourselves to find that which is best within us; that which is most compassionate. Herein is our guide, what we call the Comforter.

    Indeed, we can access this without the Church as intermediary, but as our Companion instead. As adults, we are given the responsibility for our relationship with the Divine and the Church assists us in that; both the clergy, and the community of believers are here to provide opportunity for us to turn towards God.

    I liked your spiritual statement. We must learn, as Christians, not to be so caught up in practise, and instead we must re-learn to get caught up in the compassionate message of the Christ. The true Gospel.

    K+

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  9. K. your suggestion that we rely strictly on the Holy Spirit makes me nervous. How can you difinitively say what the Holy Spirit wills? How do you even know that the Holy Spirit leads to compassion, if this knowledge doesn't itself come from scripture?

    Maybe I'm just being foolish, but comments like these strike me as being the sort of thing that convince more conservative people that the Episcopal Church has thrown out the bible and isn't really Christian. I really hope, though, that the vast majority of Episcopalians don't believe that they should ignore what the bible actually says when scripture contradicts what they assume to be the will of the Spirit

    Jon

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  10. Jon,

    re what the bible actually says

    I have no problem w/ that, as long as it is understood that, whatever the subject at hand, "what the bible actually says" begins w/ Genesis 1:1, and runs to Revelation 22:21.

    It's when "what the bible actually says" (usually " . . . about [topic x]") gets cut down to Passage N, that I get worried.

    It's in the subjective human decision that the Bible is limited on topic x to Passage N (et al), that we can see that someone is turning "what the bible actually says" INTO "what ***I*** actually believe (and so should you!)"

    Do I do this, too? You bet! (And behold: JCF is a sinner :-/)

    . . . but that just shows that I am not yet wholly conformed to the true Word of God, Christ the Lord.

    Grant us More Light, Lord Christ!

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  11. Peace to all

    My dear brother Jon

    I never said we must rely 'strictly' on the Holy Spirit. I indicated that 'where the 2 conflict', one must choose what the Holy Spirit (of compassion) writes upon our hearts.

    The Bible is one opportunity that God gives us daily to turn towards him; do you not know his presence in all that you do? In everyone you meet? In every place that you are? Seek this presence in each moment for this leads automatically to compassion. You will then know who your 'authority' must be.

    The Bible is so full of holes and problems that it requires discernment when reading it; simply, it must be read through the eyes of compassion or that portion rejected. The learning of this discernment cannot take place outside of the process described above - it comes from the immediacy of God immanent in our lives.

    Is your authority that which Christ left for us or what men wrote? I can verify the veracity of compassion by actually living it. I cannot read the entire Bible in the same way. Occam's Razor.

    But this doesn't dismiss the Bible at all! I do not reject the Bible - I merely read it when open to the compassionate message contained therein. I get nbetter at this every day for it is a process; you can't just turn a switch and say 'I understand what the Spirit id saying!'. Instead, you must attune yourself to the 'music' that is God. Learn to listen.

    I might add that 'compassion' isn't defined here as 'everything is wonderful, let's all be fluffy bunnies (Grin)'; instead it is defined as 'truly seeking that which is best for all'; sometiumes that means judgement and punishment. Sometimes it means being uplifting and supportive.

    It always means to 'empty oneself' and ones own ego and to surrender in the best way we know at the time to the will of God - rarely do our own wants align with His!

    So the knowledge you seek comes from God - through Scripture, yes, but discernemt of that scripture is worthless without also experientially knowing him in your life - more each day.

    When I was a child, I did childish things and I understood things as a child does. But now that I am an adult, I must grow and learn and take daily responsibility for my relationship with God.

    There are stages in our spiritual growth; at 1st, we grow 'bodily'; by showing up and participating in the Rites. Later, we develop a curiosity as to what is going on and what this means; we investigate scripture, tradition and canon and create an intellectual understanding of our relationship with God. Later still, if diligent, we learn to internalize our relationship and live it in our lives, rather than just in our bodies or in our heads. It is in our 'hearts'.

    This process is exactly as it should be; it is an opportunity and methodology to grow in God.

    For example, Scripture supports my contention in this within the Great Commandment: to Love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength.

    As we are living this Great Commandment, we *express* it in community by 'loving our neighbor as ourselves'...

    Religion or spirituality without action is dead.

    Sorry about the long-windedness folks, but 'what authority we follow' is central to both our relationship with God and also our positions on many topics.

    Many Blessings

    K+

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  12. Wendy said...

    '[W]hat authority we follow' is central to both our relationship with God and also our positions on many topics.

    Exactly correct. I appreciate it when people communicate with clarity. And Wendy's post is without ambiguity.

    It also clearly summarizes why the problems of the ECUSA are intractible. For her post may be reduced to the following statement: "I read the Bible, but I discard the parts I don't like, because after all God has not spoken, and it's therefore necessary for me to correct the Bible's deficiencies." Effectively, she has shifted authority from transcendent revelation to immanent discernment.

    But this presents her a problem. How does the immanent comprehend the transcendent without assistence? Wendy (being an immanent creature) solves the problem by claiming guidance from the Holy Spirit - specifically what the Holy Spirit of compassion writes upon the heart. But then how does she separate the guidance of the Holy Spirit from the guidance of her own will and desires? It is easy to claim guidance by the Holy Spirit. But how does one establish it? Nice words about emptying oneself do not solve the problem, for they do not remove the source of authority (discernment) from the the source of the problem (the reach of the creature's will). The classical answer of course - "Test all things by Scripture" - merely brings the argument once more around the same well-worn circle.

    Authority is the central issue. If God has clearly spoken, then we are bound in conscience by His words. If He has not clearly spoken, then we are left to speculate about the transcendent as best we can - if we even so desire. These positions are mutually exclusive, and so cannot coexist.

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  13. Anonymous (i.e. "Anonymous responding to Wendy": I'm never sure if I'm communicating w/ more than one "Anonymous" here!)

    You're still ignoring the REALITY of your subjective reading of God's Word in Scripture.

    . . . instead, you're trying to dismiss those who do acknowledge the inevitibility of discernment, of interpretation, of "listening to the Holy Spirit"---as if we do not acknowledge the authority of Scripture (or worse, that we say that "God has not spoken clearly").

    This isn't about the clarity of God's Word.

    It's about---this side of heaven---fallen sinners being UNABLE to get ourselves out of the way (and the more we try to INSIST that there is a "plain meaning", the more we're under the thrall of our fallen selves, w/ our fallen understandings).

    Why, Anonymous, can you not confess "This is how Anonymous understands how 'God has clearly spoken'"???

    God is no less glorified thereby.

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  14. You are responding to more than one 'anonymous' - I sign my posts..

    Makes it tough to follow - even for me, 'Anonymous #1' :)

    Pax

    K+

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  15. I wrote an article not long ago for Covenant on the authority of Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church according to the Catechism.

    Here's a link:

    www.covpubs.org/cov/iss21

    Forthcoming article coming soon on the same site: "Bishop: Lord or Servant?"

    Nowhere are Episcopalians required to believe that the inspiration of Scripture implies that every word of it is true. We believe that "God inspired their human authors and God still speaks to us through the Bible."

    The transcendent has become immanent. In other words the Word has become flesh.

    The words of Scripture are the earthen vessel in which we have divine treasure. As Luther noted, the Scriptures are the crib in which the Christ child lies, together with much straw.

    The Catechism explicitly teaches that the visible Church, by the power of the Holy Spirit, interprets the meaning of the text. The Windsor/anti-Windsor debate concerns who is empowered to speak for the Church. Do we centralize authority and deny the authority of the laity to do anything but rubberstamp decisions made by bishops (in the consensus fidelium)? Or do we allow more democratic, less clericalist means for the Church to exercise its God-given gifts of discernment?

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  16. Both of you Anonymous's make me nervous. I'm more or less with j.c. fisher in what he(she?) says to Anon #2, so I won't add more on that front.

    Anon #1 (K), sorry for mis-stating the extent to which you commend relying on the Holy Spirit. Still, I'm not comfortable ignoring scripture only when it contradicts what we believe. After all, that is precisely the time when we need to be most careful to check to make sure we aren't trying to raise our own prejudices to the level of divine decree. The importance of some external verification is part of the reason why we need to be in submission to scripture even as we also stand in judgement over what it means.

    I am also uneasy about the test you propose (that we use compassion to judge whether a thing is good or not) especially since judgement and punishment can be required by it. I don't know you well enough to say what position you yourself hold, but that test is horribly open to the sins of paternalism and gnosticism. The risk of paternalism is easily verified, just think back to the arguments for taking up "the white man's burden." The risk of gnosticism is perhaps less clear, but I see it most in reflecting on the stages of spiritual growth you talk about. The stages themselves may be an accurate reflection of how people grow, but they can also be used to say "Oh, you just haven't grown up enough; you'll understand when you get older." This clearly relies on the speaker possessing knowledge hidden from the one to whom it is said.

    If I may ask a question to both of you Anons, on what grounds do you propose other could disagree with what you believe to be the will of God?

    Jon

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  17. And Anonymous did not respond to Wendy, as I have not yet said anything in this particular discussion.....

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  18. Wendy

    I apologize for the mistake. Don't quite know how I did it, but I suspect I had two windows open and just looked at the wrong one.

    Everyone else,

    Sorry for all the confusion about 'anonymous.' I didn't anticipate the problems it would cause. My posts are #1 and the post incorrectly attributed to Wendy.

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  19. Pax

    I merely speak of the mystical availability of the Christ within us - no more hidden than

    what is in your own pocket. If we choose not to use the gift that is given us, then it is

    sad.

    We learn to listen to that which is already there. Who here can say that they haven't grown

    in their faith and understanding by learning to do this? Life is never stagnant and God is

    Life. We must progress and are given this opportunity in each moment and each interaction and

    each Call that we choose to acknowledge.

    To answer your question about how 'others could disagree with what you believe to be the will

    of God?':

    Others are completely free to disagree with what I discern to be God's will - if they can

    discern an act more compassionate than mine in the circumstance we are applying our

    discernment to, then I am all for it and will have learnt! Always be open to learning. If

    they act and are less compassionate, than a greater judge than I will make that

    determination.

    I have no ego-driven need to be *right*. Only to be compassionate and to listen to that voice

    within. Then to act in goodwill to relieve suffering. I believe that this is Christ's message

    and that it continues to be revealed in the ongoing revelation of the Spirit.

    Scripture is also an excellent guide, but only when read in this light.

    For example, my own mentor taught me that while the 6th Commandment might be "Thou Shalt Not

    Kill", it can also be read as "What have I done to affirm Life?". Not 'don't work on the

    Sabbath', but keep each day Holy and live in the knowledge of God daily. Keeping the Sabbath

    Holy is a barest minimum!

    Again, others may disagree with me: and I will pluralistically agree that you can go your

    way.

    But please do not try to deflect me from mine either; accept mine as I accept your way.

    I will not devolve to paternalism, but to Kenosis (emptying, surrender). An acknowledgement

    that each of us as adults has a responsibility for our own relationship with the Divine. Or

    at least in how we react to the relationship that already exists..

    Blessings!

    K+

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  20. Pax

    I would like to follow up on your comment that you are 'uncomfortable with using compassion' as the test litmus (sic).

    I refer again to the Great Commandment of Christ(apology for the paraphrase for brevity sake):

    Firstly: We are to Love the Lord...(snip) and the second is like unto it: 'Love our Neighbour' and then 'all the law and the prophets hang from this'.

    So 'Love Comes First'. Then, Christ doesn't dismiss 'the law and prophets', but they 'hang off of' the command to 'Love 1st'.

    There is no judgement and punishment here until after the love. Then there is 'law', which creates judgement and punishment, but again, we are admonished to do this only after love.

    So here is the central reason why I am called to use compassion as my measure: it is Christ's Greatest Commandment. :))

    And 'then'Law and the prophets can be consulted. But only through the 'lens' of love.

    (I am enjoying this dialogue - it is the 'walking together as companions' that Rev Mark alluded to in his spiritual statement, IMHO).

    Blessings!

    K+

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  21. I don't object to raising up compassion as the greatest of virtues. As you point out, the rule of compassion is clearly expressed in Jesus's summary of the Law, and is clearly hugely important in living out a Christian life.

    My unease starts up when I can't see any external structure to provide accountability, and what I've seen of your way seems to be almost hostile to any sort of external checks. That's not to say that the external overrides the internal. No, both personal beliefs and the thoughts of the community need to be held in balance, even if this occasionally means not doing what you or I may personally believe to be most compassionate.

    Perhaps you can imagine living faithfully without a connection to a community but I can't, and the assumed presence of a community limits in some ways what can sensibly be done.

    Jon

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  22. Peace to you Jon

    I think you misunderstand where I come from, so I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to explain:

    Community is still central - where is compassion expressed than through compassionate action?

    And community is also the check and balancer of our acts - I did say that the Law and the Prophets hang off of' Compassion, and are not displaced by it. But if the Law and the Prophets cease to 'hang off of' then they DROP and fall off. But the Law and the Prophets are still very much there and the Law is the expression of the community for standards.

    So this is a both/and situation, not an either/or one. We must have individual spiritual practise but we must also have community practise.

    It is why we form communities; we are human and in God's image, therefore we have community to support us, and sometimes we provide our support to community. It is a win-win, both/and situation.

    Each thing or act or moment is an opportunity to turn towards God, but as flawed humans, or ignorant ones, we are not always able to 'listen' to the 'music of God' that constantly runs through us.

    Both Individual praxis and community provide opportunity for us to discover and act.

    And if you are 'uneasy' as you mentioned, then I am challenging you, and that how we each learn.

    We learn from each other, and again, that is community..

    Many Blessings

    K+

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  23. Oh good, there is some sort of accountability. That makes me feel better. I've always assumed that scripture was one of the tools used to ensure accountability, but, given a reading of scripture that sees the whole as a hodge podge of stuff filled with holes and/or contradictions, I can see why one might choose to ignore it. I've always assumed there was more cohesiveness to scripture, such that seeing a contradiction between two parts indicates a misunderstanding of the meaning of scripture rather than indicating an absolute break between the two pieces.

    Jon

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  24. Peace to you Jon

    Well, there can certainly be a 'break between 2 parts of Scripture' - that is why we need to read scripture with discernment, using the compassion of the Holy Spirtit as our guide.

    We we call 'Scripture' was not written as a cohesive whole; it was written by different people, who heard different stories of what happened, told by different people. They wrote in different languages, at different times after the events, which different interpretations and with different mindsets.

    If you wrote a story today about World War II, would it be the same story that I wrote? Or a person from Russia? Or a German? What if you wrote your WWII story now, but the German fellow wrote his 40 years ago? What if another story was written 100 years from now? What if they were written in German and Russian and English and then translated into French? Some stories written by educated people and some by less-educated people?

    This is how Scripture was written:
    Over a period of time, by different people who likely weren't direct witnesses to events, they were from different cultures, with different educations and viewpoints. Then Scripture was translated into an entirely different language for our use!

    Scripture is not a monolithic block of writings. But even its diversity tells us much! It just requires discernment and the source of that discernment is that which was left for us - the Holy Spirit which we can encounter each moment in our lives :)

    Again - I don't discount Scripture. But I also know its reality; it can be wrong in places.

    Pax

    K+

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  25. You are certainly right in your description of how scripture came into being, but this lack of monolithity just makes holding the whole thing together more challenging and more interesting.

    One problem with explicitly relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is that it makes it nearly impossible to argue against what is being proposed since there is no external source to check to verify the direction. This is also part of the problem with claims of infallibility.

    Jon

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  26. Peace

    This interesting look at Scripture doesn't detract from our faith, it adds to it!

    That is why I am detached from the need to be 'right' - I do not need to be infallible :), but I need to encourage compassion - and then let go and trust to that same Spirit that 'Thy Will be Done! :)

    God Bless

    K+

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OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.