Re: [XTalk] Re: Good News
- Hi John,
On May 18, 2009, at 4:41 AM, John E Staton wrote:
> Actually, Gordon, "ideology" is not a trem of my choosing, it is one I
> have picked up from the discussion. And the more you elaborate your
> vision of what it was Jesus was teaching, the more ideologically
> it appears.
Okay, let's move past how we each understand ideology.
> "Ideology" is one of those words, like "religion" which mean
> different things to different people and the only thing they agree
> is that whatever it means it is bad. I am suggesting Jesus must
> have had
> a message he wanted to preach that upset people.
I think people, whether ideologically or theologically driven to
seek reconciliation, are aiming at finding a healing common ground.
To be sure, those who oppose the proffered "common ground" will be
upset! Were that not the case there would be no need for
reconciliation:)! Back to your word that you have avoided yet again,
"radical." From my reading of the OT, the whole book brims with a
theological understanding of a God who is up to reconciliation. It
is pretty much at the heart of the traditions. I don't think Jesus
was "being radical," I think he was being a good Jew. People were
killed all the time in ancient Imperial states, as they are now in
totalitarian ones. That a good Jew talking up reconciliation in such
a way as to form a reconciliation movement was killed is actually no
big surprise in this world. Sad, isn't it?
> You are saying that he
> was trying to overturn the contemporary social reality by means of
> teaching wisdom. But that is just another way of saying a very similar
> thing. I accept, of course, that Jesus perached the kingdom of God.
Glad to hear that you are on side with the angel voices:)! (as in,
"Peace on Earth and goodwill toward humanity...")
But I'll quibble with you about whether Jesus ever "preached" or
really did much "teaching." Wisdom words shared as wisdom words are
not didactic words, they are sense making words. It was his
followers, after his death, who collected them into "sermons" and
"teachings." Such is a secondary use of wisdom language and a
valuable one. But wisdom words as wisdom words have their potency
not as educational language or affirmational language, but as words
that point others to find and discover sense. No doubt you've heard
and maybe used the expression, "Common sense isn't all that common."
Well, really good sense in the best of times is even rarer. In
deeply unsettling times it can be rare or even absent.... until
someone starts "making sense." Jesus was good at that. Quite a talent!
> Though who Jesus was, was a very important part of that teaching.
Let me ask "a what if" question, just for fun. Let's say that Jesus
decided not to go to Passover that year (30, 31, 33? We don't even
know the year, do we.), and that he kept on promoting this "ministry
of reconciliation," lived a long life and died in his bed as an old
man. Would you still think of him as the Christ of God, the Son of
God, the High Priest after the order of Melchizidek, the Lamb of God,
the Light of the World, etc. etc. I am asking this "what if"
question because you've now raised the "who Jesus was" point. So was
and is "who he was" defined by his death? Is "who he was" defined by
his post death glorification? What is it that most centrally defines
"who he was?"
> Obviously it became a much more important part after his death, and
> wisdom teaching was a greater part during his life, but the latter was
> not entirely lost sight of after the death and the former was part of
> Jesus' proclamation during hsi life. I am not suggesting Jesus was
> saying the things you are saying, but I am not convinced that was all.
Again, I'm glad you do want to pay close attention to a very large
part of what we find in the materials we have:)! Let me leave you
with this musing question and questions: Who means the most to you
in your life? Is it someone who really loves you? Has that person
(and those persons) helped you make sense of your life? Isn't it
truly profound when someone not only teaches you and shares things
and ideas in common with you, but also helps you discover a
refreshing sense of life, the world, possibilities? When things have
been really confusing, unsettling and divisive, don't you seek out
those who can help you "straighten out," settle down and find
wholeness? (wholeness of feelings, thoughts, intentions, plans,
> Best Wishes
and to you,
> JOHN E STATON