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Re: [XTalk] Re: from network to organisation

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Hi John, ... Thanks for posting your summary views. I ll not deal with your castle in the air assessment, other than to say, in these notes I ve pointed
    Message 1 of 6 , May 21, 2009
      Hi John,
      On May 21, 2009, at 5:14 AM, John E Staton wrote:

      > Actually, Gordon, all of this is a castle in the air. There is no
      > evidence in the entire NT of a community which was egalitarian in
      > practice as opposed to theory (Gal. 3: 28 is theory). This idea of
      > egalitarianism is a construct of 20th-21st century wishful thinking
      > forced onto a first century situation. As Bob points out, your airy
      > declaration that the "natural pairing" is male and female runs counter
      > to the actual evidence. A comment about apostles being accompanied by
      > their wives plus a couple of well-known couples is hardly sufficient
      > evidence on which to declare that this sort of thing was going on all
      > over the NT church. (BTW, the textual evidence is for "Junia", not
      > "Julia", though we are talking about a female name nonetheless).
      > It would appear to me, and I think to most scholars, that it is
      > precisely the "master and student" typology which most suits the early
      > Jesus movement. Of course, they needed a supporting network, but that
      > was not the important thing. The important thing was the message of
      > God's kingdom and Jesus as God's messenger. The community of the "sent
      > ones" and the network of the "homey's" was no more than a contingent
      > necessity, as was the later church. It is the person of Jesus and his
      > message that is the centre. Not sure what all this business about
      > welcoming people from all parts was about. No-one doubts Jesus
      > preached
      > his message to all and called all to follow him. But they were being
      > called to follow him and believe his message. It is the message
      > that is
      > radical, not the community, and it is the message that is central.

      Thanks for posting your summary views. I'll not deal with your
      "castle in the air" assessment, other than to say, in these notes
      I've pointed again and again to texts, not theories, and I'd still
      invite you to "breathe in those texts" a bit more.

      As for this and any "most scholars" argument, such an argument has
      never impressed me. When Galileo took out his telescope and looked
      at Jupiter with greater focus, he found circling moons which led to a
      reassessment of the shape of the cosmos. At the time most scholars
      did not agree. What is happening in the 20-21st century is a major
      reassessment of historical assumptions about Jesus, his earliest
      friends and the development of what would become Christianities. At
      present and for surely a good patch of time ahead, there are several
      paradigms afloat about how to grasp a new picturing of all of this.
      Good! What I have tried to do is offer my own understanding as
      related to the original questions I laid out. I am quite happy to
      continue to hear other proposals.

      The sentence, "No one doubts Jesus preached his message to all and
      called all to follow him." Well, actually a lot of students of the
      tradition doubt this model.

      Finally, I don't think either Jesus' message or the community was
      "radical." And I think it is the bonds of trust, courage and love
      and the "way of life" to which they lead in community, is what
      matters most. Yes, that all a message makes and it contains lots to
      talk and think about, but it is relationship and relationships and
      not ideas that are central, in my view.

      Per the above and what I've been up to, I'll leave our conversation
      with a text for you to ponder. I am, of course, happy to communicate
      more about texts and interpretations, but as I wrote to Bruce the
      other day, I'm not interested in just arguing back and forth over
      whether you like my approach. So, thanks for the conversations and I
      leave you with some words from Paul that get to the core of
      reconciled relationships and that being offered as universally
      available for all and offered freely to all is utterly egalitarian:

      "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
      rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor
      height, nor depth, nor anything else ini all creation will be able to
      separate us from God in Christ Jesus the Lord." (from the close of
      Romans 8, of course.)

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC

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