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Lost Religion of Jesus Re: 'Kingdom' in the real world

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  • Adam
    ... like riding a bicycle instead of driving a car, buying second hand clothing so as not to directly contribute to sweatshop labor, not wearing makeup because
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 8, 2006
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      --- In Lost_Religion_of_Jesus@yahoogroups.com, Jennifer Lipka
      <spiritwrestler73@...> wrote:

      > But, I also broaden what I mean by ascetism and include things
      like riding a bicycle instead of driving a car, buying second hand
      clothing so as not to directly contribute to sweatshop labor, not
      wearing makeup because it strikes me as ridiculous to spend money on
      makeup when people are starving in this world.

      I agree, I have found simple living (aka voluntary simplicity) to be
      the way forward for me too. Buddha, Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus and
      Muhummmad all practiced simple living, so I feel in good company!

      > And I also go back and forth regarding when I feel closest to God;
      I've lived in monasteries and done silent retreats, and I've
      participated in awesome gatherings too. Actually, I think I feel
      closest to God when I'm hiking in mountains, I love going camping and
      hiking and just being out in nature.

      Me too...I find that nature and God are inseparable. So when I am
      close to nature, I also find myself close to God.

      Peace,

      Adam
    • Pete Z
      nature is how I best commune with God. ... the celtic christians were into nature Pax, Pete “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 8, 2006
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        nature is how I best commune with God.
        > Peace!
        > Jennifer


        the celtic christians were into nature

        Pax,

        Pete



        “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9



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      • David Leon Henise
        Well, Jennifer (and everyone), to just share, here are some of my current tenants. They may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek with hidden truths or just jolly with a
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 8, 2006
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          Well, Jennifer (and everyone), to just share, here are some of my current tenants. They may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek with hidden truths or just jolly with a smile on my face.

          1) In general, people are crazy. Craziness, and/or behavioral issues, are not some "abnormal" things you have to overcome. They are, so to speak, NORMAL things you have to overcome. Each to his/her own.

          2) I suppose I "believe in" rationality. I don't believe in faith (which is kind of a pun, of course). I do not think that things are going to be ok just because I like how I feel when I think that. I honestly am not convinced one way or the other on whether humanity is "going to be ok" in the future (whatever that even MEANS). This is somewhat akin to why I doubt what they call "evolution" in biology and natural history - not because I think it is anti-god, but because I am willing to say that I honestly dont have a solid reason to lean toward much of the theory that falls under evolutionary theory. I'm not convinced that ANYone knows enough to say that this evolved from that and that evolved from this. I have never seen the archeology and general science to support such grand theories that we seem to simply make up - not even in a book, much less with my own eyes. So, I may simply be admitting my own lack of education/experience. But, honesty IS key, after all.

          And well, to be honest, I became a neo-buddhist this year. So, my "tenants" go hand in hand with that. I'm not even a christian. I seriously doubt that Jesus even died on the cross. That is, he may very well have been crucified and survived afterward (and no, I presume NOT in a 'glorified,' new body). So, don't let me mislead you for too long, if I have had you listening to me as if I definitely were a christian.

          I believe that if someone wishes, they can call themself a christian and update their beliefs to include the possibility that Jesus never concentrated on resurrection but instead taught a message of sanctification and spiritual growth. However, the reason I chose/choose not to call myself a christian any longer is that I believe that the core of buddhist teachings incorporates an even higher teaching that Jesus'...teaches or allows for a higher spiritual growth plane, if you will, above the (apparently three) levels which Jesus may have taught. So, in one sense, I've learned to simply talk about human spirituality, god or no god, afterlife or no afterlife.

          I say most of this not to tout my version of buddhist teaching on a Jesus discussion group, and certainly not to get anyone "converted" (a concept I no longer believe in). Instead, I say what I'm saying 1) to honestly relay my stance to you person to person AND 2) to give background to why I reject an "ascetic" way of life, which you seem to have naturally to topic with the group, by what you said to me last. So, as for my stance on ascetics, it's not that I preach against someone's ascetic rejection of some activities that seems immoral for them. Rather, I only point out that there are spiritual growth "levels" or principles which are higher or further along a human's path than ascetic ways of thinking are. Saying that may come across vague, and perhaps naturally so since, to me, there is depth and breadth in this topic and a person's insights depend on their experiences (or, so-called, maturity).

          Now that I may or may not have thoroughly confused you with my writing style in this message, I'll leave you alone for now. :-) So, take care!

          Blessings..



          ------
          David Leon
          Including spirituality in philosophy, one step at a time..

          Life...is like a string of sausages. It's all good, until you learn more about what's in them. Then, you have something "new" to deal with, which was actually there all along.

          http://www.placeofdave.com


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "spiritwrestler73" <spiritwrestler73@...>
          To: <Lost_Religion_of_Jesus@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 5:42 AM
          Subject: Lost Religion of Jesus Re: 'Kingdom' in the real world


          When you talk about humanity needing to be "rationaling dominant over
          their insecurities" that are the root causes of conflict and war I
          think a couple of things:
          I'm not sure it is possible to be rational about these deeprooted
          survival based fears? I like FDR's quote about the only thing we
          have to fear is fear itself, especially nowadays in the United States
          where fear is an excuse to give up personal freedoms and civil
          liberties. There is a Benjamin Franklin quote that basically
          says "Those who are willing to give up freedom for security are
          worthy of neither." I am often afraid for the world because of how
          fear is gripping everyone; we need to change it to hope. I've been
          trying, since reading Anna Karenina and the particular passage where
          Levin feels bad about being a cynic and thinking bad thoughts about
          people, to constantly take the angle of hope, of possibility. If I
          always say "oh those people have been fighting for thousands of
          years," than I'm not making peace in the Middle East possible. But
          if I believe that peace is possible, I start doing what I need to do
          with my own life, and informing myself on what people think needs to
          be done with practical politics, to achieve peace. That I agree is a
          rational choice on my part.
          However, a lot of my ability to schuck off fear is an irrational
          faith and trust in God. For no reason I believe that things are
          going to be ok, and that nothing will happen that I cannot bear--and
          I am remarkably temperamentally sensitive to the state of the world;
          all of my melancholy and depressions are triggered by politics and
          world events. I think opening up and letting go and the willingness
          to be open and share, which is I think the personal state one has to
          be in to not be a part of violent conflict or a silent supporter of
          violent conflict, is something, at least for me, that comes from
          absolutely irrational faith. Because I have met a few people in my
          life or read them (like Martin Luther King Jr., Leo Tolstoy, Thomas
          Merton), and I can tell that they have achieved something that rings
          true with me, and they have achieved it by abandoning themselves to
          God.
          But, anyway, about the talk of the coming of the Kingdom. Leo
          Tolstoy, in the time leading up to War and Peace, was really
          influenced by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
          Schopenhauer was not a Christian, and is known for incorporating a
          lot of elements of Eastern religion into Western philosophy. He
          believed the way to achieve nothingness, the destruction of the will
          which is driving us all in this world of madness, was asceticism, the
          rejection of material possessions and worldly desires; through that
          passive rejection, if enough people partook, the will would have to
          fold in on itself and we would all be released....just another
          thought on how the Kingdom comes about....
          Appreciating your insights,
          Jennifer


          >
          > Yes. I think you pretty much got it, based on what you say below.
          Or you WERE getting it if you hadn't thought much about it before.
          Logically speaking, I tend to think that we inevitably have to
          grapple with this part, even if we do so in a hurry. Even Tolstoy
          dealt with it in The Kingdom of God is Within You, if not very
          deeply. If I remember, his conclusion was vaguely that "the kingdom"
          can be brought about, or moved toward, at least on a group-think or
          political level, if we were to follow through on his interpretation
          of the Gospels, centering around nonforceful love. Whether the finer
          implications of a non-forceful way of life can be brought about in
          the real world, or..brought about very quickly from our current
          state, is up for debate. But.. if "the kingdom" is defined as simply
          a basic fulfillment of the principles which Tolstoy discusses, then,
          hey, I cannot really argue. It may be possible in a modern-but-future
          world, though I must admit I can hardly imagine it when I analyze it
          economically. Given the insecure motivations for war/violence which
          people must overcome internally, I can see that it's easy, especially
          given an individual's possible violent or turbulent past experience,
          to lose faith in the possibility that humanity can BE rationally
          dominant over their insecurities, to include hypothetical hunger and
          starvation of their familes during a food shortage. On the other
          hand, it's easier to be hungry when you do NOT see some rich person a
          mile down the road hording a bunch of the food by employing and
          feeding and fattening an army to defend his luxuries. But perhaps in
          your opinion I've departed too far from the topic - I dont know. I
          think it's in keeping with the topic, myself, though I probably did
          not always know that consciously when I was trained to think moreso
          like an abstract-gospel evangelical-American christian as a
          youngster.
          >
          > Well..cheers for now..
          > blessings,
          > Dave
          >
          >
          >
          > > As a mere mortal who is impatient and moody, I derive my hope
          from reading the words of Jesus and feeling a sense of solidarity.
          I've also had some fantastic moments, taking part in either prayer,
          peace and social justice actions, or volunteer activities where I
          just have a flash of a feeling that I'm part of something big and
          timeless that I just call "the good fight". And I also have hope
          because I honestly believe that I will always be OK, no matter what
          tragedy may befall me, because God is with me and I am never alone.
          > > Funny that I've never really gotten excited that the Kingdom of
          God is coming; I literally am in wonder that I've never really
          thought about that. I guess I am so "The Kingdom of God is Within
          You" that I never think of it as some future event.
          > > Hmmm....
          > > Jennifer
          > >
          > >
          >
        • Jennifer Lipka
          David! I am so impressed with you! And before seeing what anyone else has had to say about your posting I want to respond: I am a Christian, but most people
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 9, 2006
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            David!  I am so impressed with you!  And before seeing what anyone else has had to say about your posting I want to respond:
            I am a Christian, but most people would probably consider me an absolute heretic.  I consider myself a total Christian anarchist, because I don't believe I have any authority to answer to other than God.
            I'm not sure I believe in the Resurrection, that could well be a Church invention.  I'm not sure I believe that Jesus is God.  He talks about, in the Bible, being the Son of God and the Son of Man, and I think that these are really deep sayings.  I think he was a very spiritual person, I think he prayed a lot and communed with God alot, but really the jury is out on whether or not he is God.  I've never been a fan of St. Paul (I've heard it said that some people even consider that he was the Antichrist), just because he comes across as a self-righteous asshole in his letters in the New Testament.  And those are the earliest written things in the New Testament, so we have to go on what one pompous ass says.  The Gospels were all written long after Christ's death; Mark was the first from around 70 A.D.--in those days that is whole generations after Jesus. 
            I'm a straight up Sermon on the Mount Christian.  I've got a degree in German Literature, so I know that there are things like metaphors and symbols and different ways to read a text, so I'm definitaly not a Bible literalist.
            But I do have a faith in God that is irrational, I have no reason to believe the things I do.  And when I say that everything is going to be OK, I am not saying that it won't seem horrible and painful all the while, just that I believe that the end of the story--and it may be not until the afterlife, which I also believe in--is that Love wins.
            I welcome a Buddhist.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christian resistor of the Nazis who was executed by them, said that Jesus is always wherever people are working for good.  I believe if love is something you consider a goal and a supreme value, I don't care what you call your God or if you have a God, because I at least believe that God is Love, and so trying to be loving and caring is good enough for me....
            I also agree that everyone is bonkers nuts.  I used to think I was crazy, but then I started working healthcare, and its made me realize that everyone is nuts.
            Peace!
            Jennifer


            David Leon Henise <dave@...> wrote:
            Well, Jennifer (and everyone), to just share, here are some of my current tenants. They may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek with hidden truths or just jolly with a smile on my face.

            1) In general, people are crazy. Craziness, and/or behavioral issues, are not some "abnormal" things you have to overcome. They are, so to speak, NORMAL things you have to overcome. Each to his/her own.

            2) I suppose I "believe in" rationality. I don't believe in faith (which is kind of a pun, of course). I do not think that things are going to be ok just because I like how I feel when I think that. I honestly am not convinced one way or the other on whether humanity is "going to be ok" in the future (whatever that even MEANS). This is somewhat akin to why I doubt what they call "evolution" in biology and natural history - not because I think it is anti-god, but because I am willing to say that I honestly dont have a solid reason to lean toward much of the theory that falls under evolutionary theory. I'm not convinced that ANYone knows enough to say that this evolved from that and that evolved from this. I have never seen the archeology and general science to support such grand theories that we seem to simply make up - not even in a book, much less with my own eyes. So, I may simply be admitting my own lack of education/experienc e. But, honesty IS key, after all.

            And well, to be honest, I became a neo-buddhist this year. So, my "tenants" go hand in hand with that. I'm not even a christian. I seriously doubt that Jesus even died on the cross. That is, he may very well have been crucified and survived afterward (and no, I presume NOT in a 'glorified,' new body). So, don't let me mislead you for too long, if I have had you listening to me as if I definitely were a christian.

            I believe that if someone wishes, they can call themself a christian and update their beliefs to include the possibility that Jesus never concentrated on resurrection but instead taught a message of sanctification and spiritual growth. However, the reason I chose/choose not to call myself a christian any longer is that I believe that the core of buddhist teachings incorporates an even higher teaching that Jesus'...teaches or allows for a higher spiritual growth plane, if you will, above the (apparently three) levels which Jesus may have taught. So, in one sense, I've learned to simply talk about human spirituality, god or no god, afterlife or no afterlife.

            I say most of this not to tout my version of buddhist teaching on a Jesus discussion group, and certainly not to get anyone "converted" (a concept I no longer believe in). Instead, I say what I'm saying 1) to honestly relay my stance to you person to person AND 2) to give background to why I reject an "ascetic" way of life, which you seem to have naturally to topic with the group, by what you said to me last. So, as for my stance on ascetics, it's not that I preach against someone's ascetic rejection of some activities that seems immoral for them. Rather, I only point out that there are spiritual growth "levels" or principles which are higher or further along a human's path than ascetic ways of thinking are. Saying that may come across vague, and perhaps naturally so since, to me, there is depth and breadth in this topic and a person's insights depend on their experiences (or, so-called, maturity).

            Now that I may or may not have thoroughly confused you with my writing style in this message, I'll leave you alone for now. :-) So, take care!

            Blessings..

            ------
            David Leon
            Including spirituality in philosophy, one step at a time..

            Life...is like a string of sausages. It's all good, until you learn more about what's in them. Then, you have something "new" to deal with, which was actually there all along.

            http://www.placeofd ave.com

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "spiritwrestler73" <spiritwrestler73@ yahoo.com>
            To: <Lost_Religion_ of_Jesus@ yahoogroups. com>
            Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 5:42 AM
            Subject: Lost Religion of Jesus Re: 'Kingdom' in the real world

            When you talk about humanity needing to be "rationaling dominant over
            their insecurities" that are the root causes of conflict and war I
            think a couple of things:
            I'm not sure it is possible to be rational about these deeprooted
            survival based fears? I like FDR's quote about the only thing we
            have to fear is fear itself, especially nowadays in the United States
            where fear is an excuse to give up personal freedoms and civil
            liberties. There is a Benjamin Franklin quote that basically
            says "Those who are willing to give up freedom for security are
            worthy of neither." I am often afraid for the world because of how
            fear is gripping everyone; we need to change it to hope. I've been
            trying, since reading Anna Karenina and the particular passage where
            Levin feels bad about being a cynic and thinking bad thoughts about
            people, to constantly take the angle of hope, of possibility. If I
            always say "oh those people have been fighting for thousands of
            years," than I'm not making peace in the Middle East possible. But
            if I believe that peace is possible, I start doing what I need to do
            with my own life, and informing myself on what people think needs to
            be done with practical politics, to achieve peace. That I agree is a
            rational choice on my part.
            However, a lot of my ability to schuck off fear is an irrational
            faith and trust in God. For no reason I believe that things are
            going to be ok, and that nothing will happen that I cannot bear--and
            I am remarkably temperamentally sensitive to the state of the world;
            all of my melancholy and depressions are triggered by politics and
            world events. I think opening up and letting go and the willingness
            to be open and share, which is I think the personal state one has to
            be in to not be a part of violent conflict or a silent supporter of
            violent conflict, is something, at least for me, that comes from
            absolutely irrational faith. Because I have met a few people in my
            life or read them (like Martin Luther King Jr., Leo Tolstoy, Thomas
            Merton), and I can tell that they have achieved something that rings
            true with me, and they have achieved it by abandoning themselves to
            God.
            But, anyway, about the talk of the coming of the Kingdom. Leo
            Tolstoy, in the time leading up to War and Peace, was really
            influenced by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
            Schopenhauer was not a Christian, and is known for incorporating a
            lot of elements of Eastern religion into Western philosophy. He
            believed the way to achieve nothingness, the destruction of the will
            which is driving us all in this world of madness, was asceticism, the
            rejection of material possessions and worldly desires; through that
            passive rejection, if enough people partook, the will would have to
            fold in on itself and we would all be released.... just another
            thought on how the Kingdom comes about....
            Appreciating your insights,
            Jennifer

            >
            > Yes. I think you pretty much got it, based on what you say below.
            Or you WERE getting it if you hadn't thought much about it before.
            Logically speaking, I tend to think that we inevitably have to
            grapple with this part, even if we do so in a hurry. Even Tolstoy
            dealt with it in The Kingdom of God is Within You, if not very
            deeply. If I remember, his conclusion was vaguely that "the kingdom"
            can be brought about, or moved toward, at least on a group-think or
            political level, if we were to follow through on his interpretation
            of the Gospels, centering around nonforceful love. Whether the finer
            implications of a non-forceful way of life can be brought about in
            the real world, or..brought about very quickly from our current
            state, is up for debate. But.. if "the kingdom" is defined as simply
            a basic fulfillment of the principles which Tolstoy discusses, then,
            hey, I cannot really argue. It may be possible in a modern-but-future
            world, though I must admit I can hardly imagine it when I analyze it
            economically. Given the insecure motivations for war/violence which
            people must overcome internally, I can see that it's easy, especially
            given an individual's possible violent or turbulent past experience,
            to lose faith in the possibility that humanity can BE rationally
            dominant over their insecurities, to include hypothetical hunger and
            starvation of their familes during a food shortage. On the other
            hand, it's easier to be hungry when you do NOT see some rich person a
            mile down the road hording a bunch of the food by employing and
            feeding and fattening an army to defend his luxuries. But perhaps in
            your opinion I've departed too far from the topic - I dont know. I
            think it's in keeping with the topic, myself, though I probably did
            not always know that consciously when I was trained to think moreso
            like an abstract-gospel evangelical- American christian as a
            youngster.
            >
            > Well..cheers for now..
            > blessings,
            > Dave
            >
            >
            >
            > > As a mere mortal who is impatient and moody, I derive my hope
            from reading the words of Jesus and feeling a sense of solidarity.
            I've also had some fantastic moments, taking part in either prayer,
            peace and social justice actions, or volunteer activities where I
            just have a flash of a feeling that I'm part of something big and
            timeless that I just call "the good fight". And I also have hope
            because I honestly believe that I will always be OK, no matter what
            tragedy may befall me, because God is with me and I am never alone.
            > > Funny that I've never really gotten excited that the Kingdom of
            God is coming; I literally am in wonder that I've never really
            thought about that. I guess I am so "The Kingdom of God is Within
            You" that I never think of it as some future event.
            > > Hmmm....
            > > Jennifer
            > >
            > >
            >



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          • Pete Z
            ... had to say about your ... i believe that jesus was god for a particular reason. The jews were the most stringent monotheists. Jews were trained to never
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 9, 2006
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              --- Jennifer Lipka <spiritwrestler73@...> wrote:
              had to say about your
              > posting I want to respond:
              > I am a Christian, but most people would probably
              > consider me an absolute heretic. I consider myself
              > a total Christian anarchist, because I don't believe
              > I have any authority to answer to other than God.
              > I'm not sure I believe in the Resurrection, that
              > could well be a Church invention. I'm not sure I
              > believe that Jesus is God. He talks about, in the


              i believe that jesus was god for a particular reason.

              The jews were the most stringent monotheists. Jews
              were trained to never call anything god but god. when
              the disciples started following jesus, the did because
              he was a great teacher. then they came to believe he
              was the messiah. then they began to call him lord. he
              died and rose. if he had not risen, then they would
              have no hope. they did not sit around a room and say
              "wouldn't it be neat if he was kinda still with us?"
              the bible is very explicit. why would so many people
              believe they saw a risen being that they thought was
              jesus?

              now, when jews speak greek they only call two things
              LORD: god and the messiah. i think that the trinity
              may be novel invention.

              i am not sure that god the father and jesus are co
              equal.

              but i do believe that jesus was literally god in the
              flesh.

              remember, for jews to idolize anything as god but the
              heavenly creator was blasphemy.

              so to summarize. if jesus is divine, and there is only
              one god, than in some way jesus is god.

              again, i am not saying i am not troubled by the fact
              that the bible is obtuse about christ's divinity.



              Pax,

              Pete



              “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9



              ____________________________________________________________________________________
              Do you Yahoo!?
              Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
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            • David Leon Henise
              Well, thank you for your welcoming words, Jennifer. If it wasn t apparent, I still believe that there is a lost religion of Jesus ...just a little MORESO than
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 9, 2006
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                Well, thank you for your welcoming words, Jennifer. If it wasn't apparent, I still believe that there is a "lost religion of Jesus"...just a little MORESO than I did when I first joined this group (I think that was the end of 2005). I believe that Jesus probably taught something remarkably different, or should I say free of, the "christian" doctrines that arose later. I believe that he very well MAY have survived his crucifixion - thus the reason for some people describing it as a resuscitation of a glorious form, including Paul. But apparently, he would have travelled on to other lands off to the east shortly thereafter, thus leaving in his wake the void which would have allowed for people to later "create" christianity's tenants of Jesus being magically glorified rather than physically resuscitated, and risen to be with god rather than leaving the Palestinian Jews to go seek out other Jews and/or other thinkers.

                Or, I guess I just like the story better than the christian one, nowdays.

                As for Jesus' teachings, I suspect something along the lines of encouraging us to graduate to the LEVEL of a "son of god." If so, then a remnant of that teaching was apparently even extant in some form in Paul's "joint heirs" concept of joining with Jesus, though it took a different spin (again, in the void left by Jesus' apparent departure from the area, perhaps among other factors). I forget something that I briefly read from someone else one day, and where I read it, since I have not delved into it further. But even in what I read, outside my own thoughts, there was some sort of mention of an apparent three levels or stages to spiritual growth taught or admitted by Jesus. At any rate, a "son of god" would apparently have joined in the kingdom of god, as it were...following god almost by instinct rather than by laws which were always faulty in their interpretations and immature in their aspects. Of course, Paul's version of this sort of teaching was something like what turned into our "grace versus law." And I do not necessarily BLAME these differences on Paul, without further critical thought or imagination as to other influences. It's just that, of course, christians kept his writings in their bible, etc. So, his writings are there to illustrate some of the points, no matter how they came about or related to the thoughts of other early christians, or no matter how some of us have learned to interpret them today versus days past.

                I don't claim to be a foremost authority on these issues. It's just some of what I happen to have come to suspect.. It casts some different light not just on what history might or might not be, but on what the kingdom might be, for instance. Something perhaps a little more stripped down, without the gold and jewels of political rulers behind it, and something a little less flashy and after-lifish, or less other-wordly.

                blessings on you,
                Dave


                ------
                David Leon
                Including spirituality in philosophy, one step at a time..

                Life...is like a string of sausages. It's all good, until you learn more about what's in them. Then, you have something "new" to deal with, which was actually there all along.

                http://www.placeofdave.com


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Jennifer Lipka" <spiritwrestler73@...>
                To: <Lost_Religion_of_Jesus@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Saturday, December 09, 2006 4:53 AM
                Subject: Re: Lost Religion of Jesus Re: 'Kingdom' in the real world


                > David! I am so impressed with you! And before seeing what anyone else has had to say about your posting I want to respond:
                > I am a Christian, but most people would probably consider me an absolute heretic. I consider myself a total Christian anarchist, because I don't believe I have any authority to answer to other than God.
                > I'm not sure I believe in the Resurrection, that could well be a Church invention. I'm not sure I believe that Jesus is God. He talks about, in the Bible, being the Son of God and the Son of Man, and I think that these are really deep sayings. I think he was a very spiritual person, I think he prayed a lot and communed with God alot, but really the jury is out on whether or not he is God. I've never been a fan of St. Paul (I've heard it said that some people even consider that he was the Antichrist), just because he comes across as a self-righteous asshole in his letters in the New Testament. And those are the earliest written things in the New Testament, so we have to go on what one pompous ass says. The Gospels were all written long after Christ's death; Mark was the first from around 70 A.D.--in those days that is whole generations after Jesus.
                > I'm a straight up Sermon on the Mount Christian. I've got a degree in German Literature, so I know that there are things like metaphors and symbols and different ways to read a text, so I'm definitaly not a Bible literalist.
                > But I do have a faith in God that is irrational, I have no reason to believe the things I do. And when I say that everything is going to be OK, I am not saying that it won't seem horrible and painful all the while, just that I believe that the end of the story--and it may be not until the afterlife, which I also believe in--is that Love wins.
                > I welcome a Buddhist. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christian resistor of the Nazis who was executed by them, said that Jesus is always wherever people are working for good. I believe if love is something you consider a goal and a supreme value, I don't care what you call your God or if you have a God, because I at least believe that God is Love, and so trying to be loving and caring is good enough for me....
                > I also agree that everyone is bonkers nuts. I used to think I was crazy, but then I started working healthcare, and its made me realize that everyone is nuts.
                > Peace!
                > Jennifer
                >
                >
                > David Leon Henise <dave@...> wrote:
                > Well, Jennifer (and everyone), to just share, here are some of my current tenants. They may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek with hidden truths or just jolly with a smile on my face.
                >
                > 1) In general, people are crazy. Craziness, and/or behavioral issues, are not some "abnormal" things you have to overcome. They are, so to speak, NORMAL things you have to overcome. Each to his/her own.
                >
                > 2) I suppose I "believe in" rationality. I don't believe in faith (which is kind of a pun, of course). I do not think that things are going to be ok just because I like how I feel when I think that. I honestly am not convinced one way or the other on whether humanity is "going to be ok" in the future (whatever that even MEANS). This is somewhat akin to why I doubt what they call "evolution" in biology and natural history - not because I think it is anti-god, but because I am willing to say that I honestly dont have a solid reason to lean toward much of the theory that falls under evolutionary theory. I'm not convinced that ANYone knows enough to say that this evolved from that and that evolved from this. I have never seen the archeology and general science to support such grand theories that we seem to simply make up - not even in a book, much less with my own eyes. So, I may simply be admitting my own lack of education/experience. But, honesty IS key, after all.
                >
                > And well, to be honest, I became a neo-buddhist this year. So, my "tenants" go hand in hand with that. I'm not even a christian. I seriously doubt that Jesus even died on the cross. That is, he may very well have been crucified and survived afterward (and no, I presume NOT in a 'glorified,' new body). So, don't let me mislead you for too long, if I have had you listening to me as if I definitely were a christian.
                >
                > I believe that if someone wishes, they can call themself a christian and update their beliefs to include the possibility that Jesus never concentrated on resurrection but instead taught a message of sanctification and spiritual growth. However, the reason I chose/choose not to call myself a christian any longer is that I believe that the core of buddhist teachings incorporates an even higher teaching that Jesus'...teaches or allows for a higher spiritual growth plane, if you will, above the (apparently three) levels which Jesus may have taught. So, in one sense, I've learned to simply talk about human spirituality, god or no god, afterlife or no afterlife.
                >
                > I say most of this not to tout my version of buddhist teaching on a Jesus discussion group, and certainly not to get anyone "converted" (a concept I no longer believe in). Instead, I say what I'm saying 1) to honestly relay my stance to you person to person AND 2) to give background to why I reject an "ascetic" way of life, which you seem to have naturally to topic with the group, by what you said to me last. So, as for my stance on ascetics, it's not that I preach against someone's ascetic rejection of some activities that seems immoral for them. Rather, I only point out that there are spiritual growth "levels" or principles which are higher or further along a human's path than ascetic ways of thinking are. Saying that may come across vague, and perhaps naturally so since, to me, there is depth and breadth in this topic and a person's insights depend on their experiences (or, so-called, maturity).
                >
                > Now that I may or may not have thoroughly confused you with my writing style in this message, I'll leave you alone for now. :-) So, take care!
                >
                > Blessings..
                >
                > ------
                > David Leon
                > Including spirituality in philosophy, one step at a time..
                >
                > Life...is like a string of sausages. It's all good, until you learn more about what's in them. Then, you have something "new" to deal with, which was actually there all along.
                >
                > http://www.placeofdave.com
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "spiritwrestler73" <spiritwrestler73@...>
                > To: <Lost_Religion_of_Jesus@yahoogroups.com>
                > Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 5:42 AM
                > Subject: Lost Religion of Jesus Re: 'Kingdom' in the real world
                >
                > When you talk about humanity needing to be "rationaling dominant over
                > their insecurities" that are the root causes of conflict and war I
                > think a couple of things:
                > I'm not sure it is possible to be rational about these deeprooted
                > survival based fears? I like FDR's quote about the only thing we
                > have to fear is fear itself, especially nowadays in the United States
                > where fear is an excuse to give up personal freedoms and civil
                > liberties. There is a Benjamin Franklin quote that basically
                > says "Those who are willing to give up freedom for security are
                > worthy of neither." I am often afraid for the world because of how
                > fear is gripping everyone; we need to change it to hope. I've been
                > trying, since reading Anna Karenina and the particular passage where
                > Levin feels bad about being a cynic and thinking bad thoughts about
                > people, to constantly take the angle of hope, of possibility. If I
                > always say "oh those people have been fighting for thousands of
                > years," than I'm not making peace in the Middle East possible. But
                > if I believe that peace is possible, I start doing what I need to do
                > with my own life, and informing myself on what people think needs to
                > be done with practical politics, to achieve peace. That I agree is a
                > rational choice on my part.
                > However, a lot of my ability to schuck off fear is an irrational
                > faith and trust in God. For no reason I believe that things are
                > going to be ok, and that nothing will happen that I cannot bear--and
                > I am remarkably temperamentally sensitive to the state of the world;
                > all of my melancholy and depressions are triggered by politics and
                > world events. I think opening up and letting go and the willingness
                > to be open and share, which is I think the personal state one has to
                > be in to not be a part of violent conflict or a silent supporter of
                > violent conflict, is something, at least for me, that comes from
                > absolutely irrational faith. Because I have met a few people in my
                > life or read them (like Martin Luther King Jr., Leo Tolstoy, Thomas
                > Merton), and I can tell that they have achieved something that rings
                > true with me, and they have achieved it by abandoning themselves to
                > God.
                > But, anyway, about the talk of the coming of the Kingdom. Leo
                > Tolstoy, in the time leading up to War and Peace, was really
                > influenced by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
                > Schopenhauer was not a Christian, and is known for incorporating a
                > lot of elements of Eastern religion into Western philosophy. He
                > believed the way to achieve nothingness, the destruction of the will
                > which is driving us all in this world of madness, was asceticism, the
                > rejection of material possessions and worldly desires; through that
                > passive rejection, if enough people partook, the will would have to
                > fold in on itself and we would all be released....just another
                > thought on how the Kingdom comes about....
                > Appreciating your insights,
                > Jennifer
                >
                >>
                >> Yes. I think you pretty much got it, based on what you say below.
                > Or you WERE getting it if you hadn't thought much about it before.
                > Logically speaking, I tend to think that we inevitably have to
                > grapple with this part, even if we do so in a hurry. Even Tolstoy
                > dealt with it in The Kingdom of God is Within You, if not very
                > deeply. If I remember, his conclusion was vaguely that "the kingdom"
                > can be brought about, or moved toward, at least on a group-think or
                > political level, if we were to follow through on his interpretation
                > of the Gospels, centering around nonforceful love. Whether the finer
                > implications of a non-forceful way of life can be brought about in
                > the real world, or..brought about very quickly from our current
                > state, is up for debate. But.. if "the kingdom" is defined as simply
                > a basic fulfillment of the principles which Tolstoy discusses, then,
                > hey, I cannot really argue. It may be possible in a modern-but-future
                > world, though I must admit I can hardly imagine it when I analyze it
                > economically. Given the insecure motivations for war/violence which
                > people must overcome internally, I can see that it's easy, especially
                > given an individual's possible violent or turbulent past experience,
                > to lose faith in the possibility that humanity can BE rationally
                > dominant over their insecurities, to include hypothetical hunger and
                > starvation of their familes during a food shortage. On the other
                > hand, it's easier to be hungry when you do NOT see some rich person a
                > mile down the road hording a bunch of the food by employing and
                > feeding and fattening an army to defend his luxuries. But perhaps in
                > your opinion I've departed too far from the topic - I dont know. I
                > think it's in keeping with the topic, myself, though I probably did
                > not always know that consciously when I was trained to think moreso
                > like an abstract-gospel evangelical-American christian as a
                > youngster.
                >>
                >> Well..cheers for now..
                >> blessings,
                >> Dave
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >> > As a mere mortal who is impatient and moody, I derive my hope
                > from reading the words of Jesus and feeling a sense of solidarity.
                > I've also had some fantastic moments, taking part in either prayer,
                > peace and social justice actions, or volunteer activities where I
                > just have a flash of a feeling that I'm part of something big and
                > timeless that I just call "the good fight". And I also have hope
                > because I honestly believe that I will always be OK, no matter what
                > tragedy may befall me, because God is with me and I am never alone.
                >> > Funny that I've never really gotten excited that the Kingdom of
                > God is coming; I literally am in wonder that I've never really
                > thought about that. I guess I am so "The Kingdom of God is Within
                > You" that I never think of it as some future event.
                >> > Hmmm....
                >> > Jennifer
                >> >
                >> >
                >>
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > ---------------------------------
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