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re: Peter and Social Formation

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  • 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 1 of 9 , May 10 2:44 PM
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      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 2 of 9 , May 10 4:59 PM
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        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


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      • 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 3 of 9 , May 10 5:05 PM
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          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


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        • 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 4 of 9 , May 10 5:46 PM
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            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 5 of 9 , May 11 7:00 AM
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              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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