Re: [XTalk] XTalk on Peter: Originating Proclamation
- Hi Mark,
I'm cutting down to get to a comments and response to your question:
On May 7, 2009, at 4:16 PM, Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:
> Gordon Raynal argued on the "originating proclamation":
>>> Question One: What was the original proclamation (messaging) of the
>>> community? What was it about?
>>> Phase I text? The Q1 Mission Program found in extant Luke 10:3-11.
>>> Message: "say to them, The Kingdom of God has come near to you."
>>> And so this program was at core about (per the directives of the
>>> aforementioned), peace (shalom) declaration, shared table fellowship
>>> (which, of course is
>>> inclusive of the conversations), and "healing" in homes. Where "the
>>> peace" was received and shared, then there would be another home on
>>> the map to make
>>> up a network of peace/ reconciliation places/ families & friends.
> A couple of notes on the exchange above:
> 1. At root, a basic issue is what was the major impetus for the
> rise of
> the early church?
Mark I note here you opt for the definite article (***the*** early
church (singular)). This sounds so organized and so, well,
singular:)! Seriously, when I read such as Paul's Corinthian
correspondence I'm not very moved to start with such singularity or
sense of clear organization! When I look to the earliest evidences I
can find, I find a none too surprising diversity in various locales.
And for historical purposes I think the term "movement" is a more
helpful term... so we're talking a movement with a lot of diverse
voices in it. This makes entire sense to me in a reconciliation
movement, as opposed to a sharply ideological movement. Rush
Limbaugh's pushing Republican Purity (his definition) is doing a fine
job of driving folks away;)!
> 3. Assuming Q (as most economist jokes start "assume a free
> market", we
> can also begin many hypothetical discussions with "assume Q), Jesus
> appears to focus on the coming kingdom. Of course Mark does too at the
> beginning of his gospel, the first preaching of Jesus. But that is
> the necessarily the preaching of the church in its earliest
What literature doesn't focus on the Kingdom of God? Even if you
want to approach the question(s) as you do, the proclamation of the
cross/ resurrection kerygma is all about the Kingdom of God, right?
> The sending of the 12 or 70 was not evangelistic so much as
> exploring the power of God in his kingdom -- though it could be
> anticipatory (progymnasmata training exercises) for a coming
> of the church.
And here is where we disagree.
> 4. What I would want to know from Gordon, is whether he sees the
> and resurrection of Jesus as the primary formative event for the
> Or does he see a church formed based on Jesus' preaching, and which
> later added on the importance of the resurrection of Jesus. In other
> words, was it Jesus as subject of the preaching content or Jesus as
> object of preaching content that drove the earliest church to form
> as an
> ongoing replicative social unit?
You give me an either/or question and I'm going to answer,
"neither:)!" Again you use the definite article, "the" ("the
primary formative event") of "the church." As noted, I really want
to frame approaching my suggested questions in a different way. To
your questions and my "neither" answer, I want to suggest that what
we see emerge out of late Second Temple Judaism is a reconciliation
movement (to work off of Paul's summary phrasing). I see this as a
social development, not as a movement inaugurated by one person or
response to one person. For the sake of a modern analogy I would
suggest something like the organization of the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference. We're talking the coming together among
friends and associates over some years to form a distinctive
movement. The dynamism of this comes from response to a real need
(here... reconciliation work/ with the SCLC the need for civil rights
for African Americans). That dynamism is spurred by key voices and
the broader conversations that are evoke. The dynamism of a
reconciliation movement, as opposed to an core ideological movement,
is very vital as diverse voices join in and only grows as that
diversity grows. Hence, they are messy. And these reconciliation
folks were an arguing lot! The eventual canon (a much later work, of
course) shows us what were considered to be the tolerable limits of
that diversity, but then those decisions began to be worked out over
a hundred years after Jesus. So, I have to answer, "neither."
Now to Jesus, I think he became "the lead voice" in this circle of
friends and associates. I actually think "teacher" is the wrong term
to use to describe him. The authentic language we have from him, in
my view, is found in the aphorisms and parables... in other words
"wisdom speech." Wisdom words as wisdom words, don't "teach," they
alert and orient and stir conversations and stir imaginations. They
are evocative "wonder" and "wondering words." The word "sage" is
closer to a descriptive titling, but I think the better way to talk
of Jesus is that he was "a man of aphorisms and parables." The
"dynamic juicing" so such language sharing is powerful. I think with
imaginations stirred, then sharing "the peace" led to the organizing
of a movement to share this experience. The mission agenda we find
described in and/ or assumed/ talked about in Q, Thomas, the
Synoptics, John, Paul's letters, Acts, etc. was a key inaugural
moment in that it intentionally spread the reconciliation experience
beyond the confines of the original family, friends and associates.
Per that mission agenda, this was "a two by two to homes" movement,
hence it was a social operation. And per all the gospels and the
fact that we're still talking about it, it "worked." (or it "can"
work). That the lead "imaginator," who was mercilessly killed by the
"Pax" they were responding to, became the iconic embodiment of the
whole thing is no surprise. To be sure, there were fears and
fallings away in the midst of that horror, but that didn't kill this
movement, it spurred it on! And that cross could not kill the
imaginative power of Jesus' potent language. Those words still
"worked" and still do "for those with ears to hear:)!"
To end on some shameless self promotion:)! "The 4th R" has just
published the first of two articles by me on wisdom speech (this
article) and Jesus as a wisdom communicator (the next edition). I
hope some might be interested in reading it. Also I want to give a
shout out to Hal Taussig's new book, "In the Beginning Was the
Meal." It is fresh off the presses and I just got my copy. I urge
all to read it.
Good to chat.