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[XTalk] Peter and Social Formation

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... [snip] ... Gordon, Rather than reply to the details of your lengthy proposal, please forgive me if I lay out my own take, first. I will distinguish between
    Message 1 of 9 , May 9, 2009
      At 04:12 AM 5/9/2009, Gordon Raynal wrote:
      >Hi Bob,

      [snip]

      >I'm glad you're proceeding on with your approach and likewise I'll
      >continue on with the contrasting way of approaching these questions.
      >It will be interesting to see if and where these approaches lead to
      >any convergence.
      > >
      > > Next, I want to move on to Gordon's second question:
      > >
      > >> 2. What social formation did the proclamation entail? What
      > >> were the central practices?

      Gordon,
      Rather than reply to the details of your lengthy proposal, please forgive
      me if I lay out my own take, first.

      I will distinguish between the fellowship of the disciples, and the
      fellowship of the wider circle of believers. And once again, I will attempt
      some phases.

      Phase I
      I think that the disciples continued the pattern of table fellowship that
      Jesus had shared with them during their travels together. This was
      especially necessary between the crucifixion and Pentecost, because they
      were in Jerusalem, where none of them was at home. Thus, the communalism of
      Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37 was to some extent born of practical necessity,
      rather than ideological fervor.

      We get several indications from Luke about the life of the disciples
      compared with other believers. In Acts 5:13, we have an indication that the
      fellowship of the disciples was different from that of the other believers:
      "None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high
      esteem." But then Luke also claims, in the next chapter,
      NRS Acts 6:1 Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in
      number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows
      were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.
      2 And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and
      said, "It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to
      wait on tables.
      3 Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good
      standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task,
      4 while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving
      the word."
      This is one of the few places that we hear about a "daily distribution of
      food" to widows and others in need (the am ha'aretz?). Luke provides us
      with an indication, in this chapter, that the table fellowship of the
      disciples had a wider orbit, linked at first by the disciples themselves,
      and later by the diakonoi.

      Of course table fellowship, and the Lord's Supper, are prominent features
      of Paul's churches.


      Phase II:
      At some point, the institution of the Lord's Supper differentiated from the
      other table fellowship, and I'm not clear on how that happened, but it has
      important implications for social formation. There were also the
      interesting debates of Acts 11:2-12 (Peter's vision ), and Galatians 2:12,
      Paul's argument with Peter about whether or not Jews could dine with
      Gentiles, as well as (later?) echoes in Paul's letters about what kinds of
      food could be eaten with whom, and where. I take this set of references as
      an indication that the table fellowship issue was one that lasted for
      decades, and was not easily resolved. In any case, a characteristic of this
      phase is that table fellowship expanded to include Gentiles, although not
      without controversy.

      This certainly also reflects issues in social formation among the
      believers. I'll add to this stew the Didache, which is an extremely
      important document for early Christian social formation. One of the
      interesting features of the Didache was its suggestions for vetting
      wandering preachers who claimed to have the Word of God, and dropped by
      wanting food and shelter. The Didache has lots of information relevant to
      social formation.

      And of course, Q is important for social formation. Gordon wrote,
      >The Mission program directly laid out in Q, Mark, Matthew and Luke is a
      >"house mission." (Q/Luke 10:3-10) Where "the peace" was received and
      >shared, then Jesus' suggested farewell words were, "Say to them, 'The
      >Kingdom of God has come near to you.'"

      Gordon has much to say on this subject, but I don't-- at least, not today.
      Maybe later.

      There is one other thing that may belong with a discussion of social
      formation: the healing ministry. It seems logical, and Gordon found a place
      for "social healing" in his essay, but our sources seem silent about
      members of the community who had been healed (what am I
      forgetting?....) However, I am inclined to leave it out, because I can't
      think of any stories of individuals who were healed, and then became
      members of the community.

      Those are my initial thoughts on Gordon's second question.

      Bob Schacht
      University of Hawaii


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • scudi1@charter.net
      Hi Bob, ... Bob, no need to apologize. As noted, I m pleased that you found the questions a helpful way to work through these issues and I m glad you want to
      Message 2 of 9 , May 10, 2009
        Hi Bob,
        ---- Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...> wrote:
        >> 2. What social formation did the proclamation entail? What
        > > >> were the central practices?
        >
        > Gordon,
        > Rather than reply to the details of your lengthy proposal, please forgive
        > me if I lay out my own take, first.

        Bob, no need to apologize. As noted, I'm pleased that you found the questions a helpful way to work through these issues and I'm glad you want to lay out your way of seeing these issues. We start from very different bases and we see how to address these issues differently. I'll simply be interested in the convergences that might come from these alternate proposals. So, please do go ahead.

        I do have a few questions that this note raises. Perhaps we'll want to keep a running list and address these at a later time, but let me raise them now:
        >
        > I will distinguish between the fellowship of the disciples, and the
        > fellowship of the wider circle of believers. And once again, I will attempt
        > some phases.

        Question(s) 1: Who do you place in "this fellowship of disciples?" Is this simply a reference to the 12/11 men? If so, help me understand how they are different from such as Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, Lazarus, Nicodemus, etc.

        Looking at I Cor. 15, Paul claims "opthe's" (appearances) for Cephas, the 12, 500, James and "all the apostles," before he last appeared to Paul. That is 513 plus however many "sent ones" pre-Paul. Acts has the initial post- Easter fellowship including 11 (12 minus Judas), certain women, Jesus' mom and brothers... and a total group of about 120 which include Matthias and Justus. Per the above, what distinctions do you see among these folks in terms of "fellowship" and "fellowship activities?
        >
        > Phase I
        > I think that the disciples continued the pattern of table fellowship that
        > Jesus had shared with them during their travels together. This was
        > especially necessary between the crucifixion and Pentecost, because they
        > were in Jerusalem, where none of them was at home.

        Question(s) two: Why do you favor Luke's ending over that of Matthew and Mark?
        What sources give you grounds to think that Luke got it right and Mark and Matthew wrong? And in terms of all those homes that the missional pairs went, were received, dined/talked and healed, how do you understand the relationship of all this missional success to "the fellowship" you're talking about? Were such as Jairus and his daughter, the Syro-Phoenician woman and her child, Peter's mother-in-law a part of this fellowship of believers or not?


        Thus, the communalism of
        > Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37 was to some extent born of practical necessity,
        > rather than ideological fervor.

        Question 3: I'll be interested in hearing what you mean by this???


        Regarding Table Fellowship I want to again urge you and all to read Hal Taussig's new book. I'm reading my copy this week.

        Bob, I'm actually hoping you'll not stop now to answer these questions now, but will plow ahead with the original question list. In like fashion I'll follow suit. My point is not some big debate over approaches. You choose one way to work through these questions and I another. Again, it is convergences that interest me. My comment so far is that you seem to be pointing towards "a preaching" dynamic that drove the early work of the apostles. Is this correct? As we go on I want to focus on the home fellowship/ dining/ "Peace of God" sharing as the central dynamic. But continue on. When you want to move to the next question, I in like fashion will lay out what comes from my preferred approach.

        Gordon Raynal
        Inman, SC
        >
      • John E Staton
        Bob wrote, However, I am inclined to leave it out, because I can t think of any stories of individuals who were healed, and then became members of the
        Message 3 of 9 , May 10, 2009
          Bob wrote, "However, I am inclined to leave it out, because I can't
          think of any stories of individuals who were healed, and then became
          members of the community."

          Richard Bauckham argues (in "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses") that where
          people are named in the gospels as having been healed or as being
          involved in the story of Jesus in a positive way, these were people who
          did the rounds of the churches giving personal testimony to the event
          they were involved in. The gospel writers would then be citing them in
          much the same way a a modern writer would cite a source (i.e this is the
          person, ask them if you want coroboration). Thus he would believe it
          likely that any named person who was healed in the gospels (e.g
          Bartimaeus) would be a member of the community. Those who demur from
          Bauckham's thesis would be of a different opinion, of course, but this
          argument might suggest at least some of those healed (but not all!)
          became members of the community.

          Best Wishes

          --
          JOHN E STATON (BA Sheffield; DipTheol. Bristol)
          Hull, UK
          www.christianreflection.org.uk

          ----------


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        • Bob Schacht
          ... Gordon, Thanks for the interesting questions. I d like to address some of them now, before moving on. ... I see this fellowship as being defined by two
          Message 4 of 9 , May 10, 2009
            At 04:04 AM 5/10/2009, scudi1@... wrote:
            >Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
            >
            >Hi Bob,
            >---- Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...> wrote:
            > >> 2. What social formation did the proclamation entail? What
            > > > >> were the central practices?
            > >
            > > Gordon,
            > > Rather than reply to the details of your lengthy proposal, please forgive
            > > me if I lay out my own take, first.
            >
            >Bob, no need to apologize. As noted, I'm pleased that you found the
            >questions a helpful way to work through these issues and I'm glad you want
            >to lay out your way of seeing these issues. We start from very different
            >bases and we see how to address these issues differently. I'll simply be
            >interested in the convergences that might come from these alternate
            >proposals. So, please do go ahead.
            >
            >I do have a few questions that this note raises. Perhaps we'll want to
            >keep a running list and address these at a later time, but let me raise
            >them now:

            Gordon,
            Thanks for the interesting questions. I'd like to address some of them now,
            before moving on.

            > >
            > > I will distinguish between the fellowship of the disciples, and the
            > > fellowship of the wider circle of believers. And once again, I will
            > attempt
            > > some phases.
            >
            >Question(s) 1: Who do you place in "this fellowship of disciples?" Is
            >this simply a reference to the 12/11 men? If so, help me understand how
            >they are different from such as Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, Lazarus,
            >Nicodemus, etc. . . . .

            I see this fellowship as being defined by two things: Commitment, and
            knowledge/experience of Jesus before the crucifixion. Commitment meant
            leaving one's former occupation to devote one's life to the fellowship.
            There are plenty of indications of this in the Gospels: The first group of
            disciples "left their nets in Galilee." There are loads of other examples,
            I'm sure you know them.

            The knowledge/experience factor is summed up in Acts 1:
            21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the
            Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
            22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up
            from us-- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection."

            And, following Acts 1:14, I would also include "certain women,"
            14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with
            certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

            The brothers thing is interesting-- we know that later, Jesus' brother
            James became an important leader, but when did he become one of the Fellowship?

            You know from your own pastoral experience that maybe 5% of the membership
            of your church is actively engaged, and it is a number much smaller than
            that who keep the church going on a day to day basis.



            > > Phase I
            > > I think that the disciples continued the pattern of table fellowship that
            > > Jesus had shared with them during their travels together. This was
            > > especially necessary between the crucifixion and Pentecost, because they
            > > were in Jerusalem, where none of them was at home.
            >
            >Question(s) two: Why do you favor Luke's ending over that of Matthew and Mark?

            Good question. I suppose you are referring to the Galilean ending in Matt.
            28:16-20, . I don't know why you contrast with Mark, other than the brief
            allusion in 16:7, rather than referring to the Galilean postscript in John 21.

            The Galilean postscripts both refer, I think, to a time after Pentecost
            when the fellowship of the disciples was trying to figure out what to do--
            and probably breaking up. The communalism of Acts 2, 4 & 6 probably did not
            last all that long for many of the disciples, as the pressing needs of
            making a living reasserted themselves. Many of the lesser known disciples
            probably just went back to Galilee to resume their former lives, as the
            fishermen probably did. But we don't know how long any of these episodes
            lasted (if they were not literary creations to begin with). At the least,
            the Galilean postscripts are a reminder that the unified picture that some
            have of the early church is incomplete. I suppose I should add to my phase
            II, or even Phase I-b, that some of the disciples went back to their
            previous professions from time to time, or even permanently.

            Your reference to Mark's ending I assume refers to 16:15-18? It is more of
            a description of a certain charismatic style of worship than "social
            formation," but I suppose one could call baptism + faith + signs (such as
            casting out demons, speaking in new tongues; picking up snakes in their
            hands, drinking deadly things, and healing the sick a kind of social
            formation. What that reminds me of is Simon Magus, and the likelihood of
            spin-off fellowships. Is that what you were referring to?


            >What sources give you grounds to think that Luke got it right and Mark and
            >Matthew wrong?

            Well, much as Crossan would want me to, I don't choose either/or here, but
            rather both/and. Let me modify my original answer by adding (a) the
            Galilean postlude and (b) the snake-handlers as variants on the main theme.

            >And in terms of all those homes that the missional pairs went, were
            >received, dined/talked and healed, how do you understand the relationship
            >of all this missional success to "the fellowship" you're talking
            >about? Were such as Jairus and his daughter, the Syro-Phoenician woman
            >and her child, Peter's mother-in-law a part of this fellowship of
            >believers or not?

            As above, I distinguish between the core fellowship of those with a high
            level of commitment, and the rank and file of supporters/believers who do
            not share the same level of commitment or experience.

            > > Thus, the communalism of Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37 was to some extent
            > born of practical necessity,
            > > rather than ideological fervor.
            >
            >Question 3: I'll be interested in hearing what you mean by this???

            I should not have phrased in terms of either/or. What I meant to say is
            that the disciple's basic M.O. was the same as it was when they were
            traveling with Jesus, which included being received by households along
            their way. Those with the highest level of commitment needed to know where
            the next meal would come from, and where they could sleep the next night.
            These were practical necessities. The leading thought was not, in my view,
            "Hey, communes are groovy! let's form a commune!" but "hey, Jesus told us
            to stay here in Jerusalem until some big thingy he was talking about. So,
            where are we going to stay tonight? Where can we find something to eat?"
            But these were not new questions; they were the same questions that had
            come up time and again when they were traveling with Jesus.

            >Bob, I'm actually hoping you'll not stop now to answer these questions
            >now, but will plow ahead with the original question list.

            Well, as you see, I could not resist temptation, and wanted to take time to
            respond to your excellent questions.

            > In like fashion I'll follow suit. My point is not some big debate over
            > approaches. You choose one way to work through these questions and I
            > another. Again, it is convergences that interest me. My comment so far
            > is that you seem to be pointing towards "a preaching" dynamic that drove
            > the early work of the apostles. Is this correct?

            Well, I'm persuaded by the Great Commission thing, which sounds to me like
            a "preaching dynamic":

            Mark 16:15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the
            good news to the whole creation.

            Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven
            and on earth has been given to me.
            19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
            name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
            20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And
            remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

            Luke 24: 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,
            46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to
            suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,
            47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his
            name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
            48 You are witnesses of these things.

            So this doesn't sound to me like the marching orders for a bunch of Quakers
            (although I like Quakers a lot, and one of my brothers is one of them.)

            >As we go on I want to focus on the home fellowship/ dining/ "Peace of God"
            >sharing as the central dynamic. But continue on. When you want to move
            >to the next question, I in like fashion will lay out what comes from my
            >preferred approach.

            Thanks.

            Bob


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Bob Schacht
            ... John, Thanks for this. I am keeping a running file, and will post to the files section of our Yahoo website, with revised essays. For example, my essay on
            Message 5 of 9 , May 10, 2009
              At 11:44 AM 5/10/2009, John E Staton wrote:
              >Bob wrote, "However, I am inclined to leave it out, because I can't
              > think of any stories of individuals who were healed, and then became
              > members of the community."
              >
              >Richard Bauckham argues (in "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses") that where
              >people are named in the gospels as having been healed or as being
              >involved in the story of Jesus in a positive way, these were people who
              >did the rounds of the churches giving personal testimony to the event
              >they were involved in. The gospel writers would then be citing them in
              >much the same way a a modern writer would cite a source (i.e this is the
              >person, ask them if you want coroboration). Thus he would believe it
              >likely that any named person who was healed in the gospels (e.g
              >Bartimaeus) would be a member of the community. Those who demur from
              >Bauckham's thesis would be of a different opinion, of course, but this
              >argument might suggest at least some of those healed (but not all!)
              >became members of the community.

              John,
              Thanks for this.
              I am keeping a running file, and will post to the files section of our
              Yahoo website, with revised essays. For example, my essay on The
              Originating Proclamation has needed a few minor revisions that I will
              include in the version posted in the file. I'll put together my two posts
              on Social Formation, plus this, with due credits, in a summary post on
              Social Formation, and upload it in due course to the same place, if anyone
              is interested.

              Aloha,
              Bob


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Crosstalk Cc: GPG In Response To: Bob Schacht On: Brothers From: Bruce [In the course of a discussion of Peter, Bob had remarked]: BOB: The brothers thing
              Message 6 of 9 , May 10, 2009
                To: Crosstalk
                Cc: GPG
                In Response To: Bob Schacht
                On: Brothers
                From: Bruce

                [In the course of a discussion of Peter, Bob had remarked]:

                BOB: The brothers thing is interesting-- we know that later, Jesus' brother
                James became an important leader, but when did he become one of the
                Fellowship?

                BRUCE: Exactly. That event seems to have escaped the attention of the early
                chroniclers or mythographers. And as far as that does, did Jacob indeed join
                the movement? or was he merely an influential person? Assuming the movement
                to have been defined in some sense by its theology, what was the theology of
                Jacob? Not as based on the Epistle, which is probably by somebody else, but
                as attested by Paul or the early anecdotal tradition?

                Does he preach Christ Crucified? Neither that nor anything else, as far as I
                recall.

                I think some of the basic assumptions here are up for re-examination.

                Bruce
              • Gordon Raynal
                Good Morning Bob, ... As you decided to deal with these questions now, I ll ask some more questions, make a few comments and work on from this post. ... Where
                Message 7 of 9 , May 11, 2009
                  Good Morning Bob,
                  On May 10, 2009, at 7:59 PM, Bob Schacht wrote:
                  >>
                  >
                  > Gordon,
                  > Thanks for the interesting questions. I'd like to address some of
                  > them now,
                  > before moving on.

                  As you decided to deal with these questions now, I'll ask some more
                  questions, make a few comments and work on from this post.
                  >
                  >>
                  >> Question(s) 1: Who do you place in "this fellowship of
                  >> disciples?" Is
                  >> this simply a reference to the 12/11 men? If so, help me
                  >> understand how
                  >> they are different from such as Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha,
                  >> Lazarus,
                  >> Nicodemus, etc. . . . .
                  >
                  > I see this fellowship as being defined by two things: Commitment, and
                  > knowledge/experience of Jesus before the crucifixion.

                  Where does commitment to God/ God's rule fit into this?

                  > Commitment meant
                  > leaving one's former occupation to devote one's life to the
                  > fellowship.
                  > There are plenty of indications of this in the Gospels: The first
                  > group of
                  > disciples "left their nets in Galilee." There are loads of other
                  > examples,
                  > I'm sure you know them.

                  So, you assume a peripatetic Jesus and the Gospel portraits of Jesus
                  followed by a band of 12 men following him full time? Does this mean
                  that Peter, for example, pretty much abandoned his wife and mother-in-
                  law and probably children and that James and John simply left dear
                  old Zebedee to make the fishing business work without them?
                  >
                  >
                  > And, following Acts 1:14, I would also include "certain women,"
                  > 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer,
                  > together with
                  > certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his
                  > brothers.

                  An interesting exercise is to simply list out the named associates
                  (both "sent ones" and "home and wayside folks") of Jesus and as far
                  as possible, place them on the map. As a visual exercise it is
                  suggestive of the size and extent of the social network in Jesus'
                  day. An interesting question is, how much did Jesus actually
                  travel? Here I simply note that 6 pairs and then Luke's 35/6 pairs
                  obviously would cover a lot more ground that just Jesus and 12 guys.
                  >
                  > The brothers thing is interesting-- we know that later, Jesus' brother
                  > James became an important leader, but when did he become one of the
                  > Fellowship?

                  In my model for thinking about this that begins with a need and a
                  cause within Judaism, as opposed to a personality (Jesus) centered
                  social network, then there's no reason to think that the whole family
                  were not: a.) pious Jews and b.) positive about the cause of
                  reconciliation in those troubled circumstances. Paul's letters only
                  help us get to the time after Jesus' death. But notably to the
                  Galatians he cites Peter, James the Just (just to keep our James'
                  straight) and John as "the three Pillars." Likewise in the list of
                  those who had opthe's before him, only Peter and James are listed by
                  name. And then, the Gospel of Thomas makes it exceedingly plain who
                  the authority after Jesus' time was (G.Th. 12) and pays him an
                  extraordinary compliment. I'll return to the whole issue of growing
                  an organized bureaucracy out of a loose-y goose-y social networking
                  movement, but here I'll note two things: 1.) Once we get to the much
                  later Acts, James is still clearly understood as the go-to leader.
                  Peter reports to him. He has the defining word in the Jerusalem
                  conference. Whenever he **really got on board** he was the first
                  real leader of the post Jesus time. Per Josephus' little note, this
                  is also clear. And, 2.) if one thinks about this as a Jewish
                  religious movement wherein the questions of central religious
                  devotion are thought about in relationship to the God of Israel, and
                  not the later etching out of Christology, then the boundary issues or
                  "who's in" and "who's not" are different. My own model for thinking
                  through this is really "a percolating model." By this I mean, "Peace
                  of God"/ reconciliation belief in Judaism had long roots. That this
                  was forwarded into a social movement that got organized in a
                  particular way so as to lead to a social network, need not be thought
                  of as a kind of supernova event. As a model for thinking purposes,
                  James and Jesus may have been two peas in a pod about this, but Jesus
                  started it and only later did James really get involved. We don't
                  have timing data, but then that's actually not important to figuring
                  the big picture out. Paul's letters, G. Thomas, Josephus and Acts
                  all cite James the Just as the key leader after Jesus' death.
                  >
                  > You know from your own pastoral experience that maybe 5% of the
                  > membership
                  > of your church is actively engaged, and it is a number much smaller
                  > than
                  > that who keep the church going on a day to day basis.

                  I'm a small church pastor and in small church's that number has got
                  to be higher or one has no church. I think this is true of larger
                  churches, but then the dynamics change when one goes from a small
                  community/ family church to a larger group. In the preacher lingo
                  there are "pastoral churches" and "program driven churches."
                  >>
                  >> Question(s) two: Why do you favor Luke's ending over that of
                  >> Matthew and Mark?
                  >
                  > Good question. I suppose you are referring to the Galilean ending
                  > in Matt.
                  > 28:16-20, . I don't know why you contrast with Mark, other than the
                  > brief
                  > allusion in 16:7, rather than referring to the Galilean postscript
                  > in John 21.

                  I am referring to the original ending in Mark. Mark suggests and
                  Matthew clearly says that the organizing post resurrection moment was
                  in Galilee and not Jerusalem. Matthew closes with Jesus' ascent from
                  the Mount of Beatitudes. Lay Matthew and Luke side by side and they
                  simply tell different stories. Your move is to somehow conflate
                  these. I just wonder what gives you warrant to do this? Why prefer
                  Luke over Matthew? For this point in the discussion I'm not at all
                  interested in the extended and weird ending of Mark:)!
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >> And in terms of all those homes that the missional pairs went, were
                  >> received, dined/talked and healed, how do you understand the
                  >> relationship
                  >> of all this missional success to "the fellowship" you're talking
                  >> about? Were such as Jairus and his daughter, the Syro-Phoenician
                  >> woman
                  >> and her child, Peter's mother-in-law a part of this fellowship of
                  >> believers or not?
                  >
                  > As above, I distinguish between the core fellowship of those with a
                  > high
                  > level of commitment, and the rank and file of supporters/believers
                  > who do
                  > not share the same level of commitment or experience.

                  Here, I will simply note that in my model the connected homes are the
                  key places. The "goers" go to make for the network. It is the stay-
                  ers who are at the center of my model. So "commitment" here is
                  defined not simply by "belief" (ideational assent), but by the
                  willingness to welcome, feed, house, listen and talk, and so belong
                  to a social cause and be part of an active network.
                  >
                  >>> Thus, the communalism of Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37 was to some extent
                  >> born of practical necessity,
                  >>> rather than ideological fervor.
                  >>
                  >> Question 3: I'll be interested in hearing what you mean by this???
                  >
                  > I should not have phrased in terms of either/or. What I meant to
                  > say is
                  > that the disciple's basic M.O. was the same as it was when they were
                  > traveling with Jesus, which included being received by households
                  > along
                  > their way. Those with the highest level of commitment needed to
                  > know where
                  > the next meal would come from, and where they could sleep the next
                  > night.
                  > These were practical necessities. The leading thought was not, in
                  > my view,
                  > "Hey, communes are groovy! let's form a commune!" but "hey, Jesus
                  > told us
                  > to stay here in Jerusalem until some big thingy he was talking
                  > about. So,
                  > where are we going to stay tonight? Where can we find something to
                  > eat?"
                  > But these were not new questions; they were the same questions that
                  > had
                  > come up time and again when they were traveling with Jesus.

                  I do think there is a pragmatism in all of this. Jewish religion is
                  very pragmatic! If one feeds and shelters a pair of guests, then
                  joins the network and next week 9 neighbors come over, then it is
                  going to take a lot more food. Among the peasant farmers and town
                  tradespersons, this meant a changed expense pattern unto itself. But
                  then as the movement was very interested in taking care of "widows
                  and orphans" (per Ep. of James) and the homeless and destitute (per
                  Jesus' words), then free sharing was a must. I am not talking
                  "groovy communes;)!" I am talking about a social ministry that
                  intentionally starts to deal with the huge burdens of living in a
                  foreign occupied country. Yet this pragmatism also contained a
                  "money where your mouth is" uplifting of old Jewish ideals about
                  justice. (think Micah 6:8, for example) A social network that made
                  "do justice, love kindness, walk humbly..." is an expensive
                  proposition in a Roman dominated, peasant culture. For us such
                  charity is about what we do with disposable income. This was quite
                  the challenge in these very challenging and dangerous circumstances.
                  This is where my model focuses on the issue of "commitment."
                  >
                  >> Bob, I'm actually hoping you'll not stop now to answer these
                  >> questions
                  >> now, but will plow ahead with the original question list.
                  >
                  > Well, as you see, I could not resist temptation, and wanted to take
                  > time to
                  > respond to your excellent questions.

                  Thanks. I am glad these are helpful, as well.
                  >
                  >> In like fashion I'll follow suit. My point is not some big
                  >> debate over
                  >> approaches. You choose one way to work through these questions and I
                  >> another. Again, it is convergences that interest me. My comment
                  >> so far
                  >> is that you seem to be pointing towards "a preaching" dynamic that
                  >> drove
                  >> the early work of the apostles. Is this correct?
                  >
                  > Well, I'm persuaded by the Great Commission thing, which sounds to
                  > me like
                  > a "preaching dynamic":
                  >
                  > Mark 16:15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim
                  > the
                  > good news to the whole creation.
                  >
                  > Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in
                  > heaven
                  > and on earth has been given to me.
                  > 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
                  > in the
                  > name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
                  > 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded
                  > you. And
                  > remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
                  >
                  > Luke 24: 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,
                  > 46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to
                  > suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,
                  > 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be
                  > proclaimed in his
                  > name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
                  > 48 You are witnesses of these things.
                  >
                  > So this doesn't sound to me like the marching orders for a bunch of
                  > Quakers
                  > (although I like Quakers a lot, and one of my brothers is one of
                  > them.)

                  Here, I'll simply contrast again what that "good news" is. For you
                  and your model it is centrally a set of ideas about Jesus' death and
                  his continued presence. For me it is a shared experience (which is
                  inclusive of words, activities and deeds) of "God's rule." Per
                  Matthew's later lovely creation of "a Great Commission," making
                  disciples, in my view, is about making "followers" of this
                  "way" (again, "way of wisdom" (Ep. James), "fruits of the
                  Spirit" (Paul), "way of Life" (the Didache)). "Followers of the
                  Way" (as it was later called in Acts) was inclusive of both "sent
                  ones" and "receiving ones." I'll simply note that this model very
                  much means that kids were just as much a part of this movement as
                  were any adults. I say this not to be cute, but simply to note that
                  a home connecting movement necessarily is inclusive of children and
                  all for the usual business of "making babies." I don't think Jesus
                  was being cute or sentimental when he talked about the kids.

                  For now I'll leave aside baptism and the catechetical declaration,
                  and I'll go on to "teaching." I'll get to this particular role when
                  we come to the organizational duties. I also will write another note
                  about "the messaging content," but here I'll note Matthew's
                  "teaching obedience." Often this is thought of moralistically. In
                  my model I want to highlight the idea of the skills of making
                  reconciliation homes and a network work. Certain practices and
                  certain patterns of relating are what make such a network a
                  reality. Again we see Paul, James and the Didache forward mottos/
                  credos of these essential characteristics. They are not "law lists,"
                  they are "way lists." As a sailor, for example, is obedient to the
                  way to manage lines, sails and rudder in the face of the empowering
                  wind, so this call for obedience to "the ways of the Way," makes this
                  "Peace of God/ Kingdom rule" present and workable. (As an aside, if
                  one ponders this sort of obedience as being central, then one can get
                  a much better clue as to why Paul rails so hard against Torah
                  legalists. Legalism puts the proverbial cart before the horse. It
                  is indeed "the Spirit that gives life." This is perfectly in line
                  with Jesus' inquiries to legalists about their insistence on "washing
                  the outside of the cup.")
                  >
                  >> As we go on I want to focus on the home fellowship/ dining/ "Peace
                  >> of God"
                  >> sharing as the central dynamic. But continue on. When you want
                  >> to move
                  >> to the next question, I in like fashion will lay out what comes
                  >> from my
                  >> preferred approach.
                  >
                  > Thanks.
                  >
                  > Bob

                  You're welcome. This is an enjoyable discussion.

                  Gordon Raynal
                  Inman, SC
                  >


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