Atonement – A Theory?

The word atonement was invented in the sixteenth century by William Tyndale who recognized that there was not a direct English translation of the biblical Hebraic concept. The word is composed of two parts “at” and “onement” in order to reflect the dual aspect of Christ’s sacrifice: the remission of sin and reconciliation of man to God. Tyndale’s concept overcome the limitations of the word “reconciliation” whilst incorporating aspects of propitiation and forgiveness” (Wikipedia – Etymology of the word ‘atonement’)

Atonement is a process of reconciliation – as I see it – for the wrong(s) one has committed. It includes forgiveness but it also includes a sense of justice – combining the 2 into a process of reconciliation leading to equality/same measure for measure.

Now the Jewish faith describes 3 things about this process – charity, repentance, and blood sacrifice (no longer exists) – so let’s go with just ‘sacrifice’. These 3 things are paths to making a situation ‘right’ – or ‘equal’. Not all 3 are used for each act of atoning for one’s sins/wrong-doings – no – sometimes it’s charity and sometimes it’s sacrificial.

I want to put my hand up for this idea – it works and it is the best thing a society/community can follow. It puts 2 parties into the mix and makes them deal with with the ‘sin’ via certfiable ‘action’ that will make put the parties back on ‘equal’ footing.

The problem with sin is this – it unlevels the playing field – it makes one a ‘victim’ and one a ‘perpetrator’. It takes away while one loses. It’s makes things…well unequal.

If communities had an idea like this – things within that community would be (a) held to accountability, (b) provide for ‘equality’ (respect) for each citizen, and (c) provide a sense of ‘justice’ needed in the act of forgiveness & repentance. It would make the community very stable and people would feel their hurts and needs were heard. 

We don’t live in that society – sadly enough…no! We live in a lazy and broken society where accountability isn’t fashionable and atonement is a thing of the long, forgotten past. Where victims remain victims and are bound to a path of forgiveness without much logic. Where individualism is all that matters and the response to the people around us is a moot point. We are a broken people – we have each gone our own way – and we forget the past – better yet – we help bury it.


Non-Violence as a Standard

Comment taken from NP’s blog ‘the torture memo’s & Int’l accountability’

Non violence is the notion of the NT – it is the path taught by Jesus beyond question. Steve’s one scripture he pulls out from Luke is a single passage in 27 books and letters – and I think FIF is right about it -why? If this was the standard Jesus left them (take up the sword and defend those around u) how come in Acts they don’t follow such a path? Paul should of been meting out punishment – not evangelism to Roman guards. Then we have Peter and others being killed – with no scripture to back up the idea of ‘justice by the sword’ – thye preferred to be martyrs over murderers.

However, I know this is a complex issue – defending yourself. This is my take:

(a) The standard set is non-violence – this is the path of Jesus – this is also his teachings to his desciples.

(b) Even with that teaching – we know the best basis to follow is non-violence – however – at times – we need to defend people for the sake of their safety – although this is not the standard – we admit this is our deviation from the standard for justifiable reasons (of the which we must present for each time we do this). Is that wrong? Depends on one’s motive.

(c) Can a Christian support torture? No. If so, scripture to back that point would help – as it stands – no one has presented a single piece of proof from within the life of Jesus (or Paul) that could so much as defend that position…so it won’t neccesarily hold water in God’s court (if he goes by judicial decisions like that – and I look at God’s court as a court).

(d) The gov’t can do whatever it wants – regardless of how we view it – we are not of that kingdom anyways – we are of God’s kingdom and not ‘of this world’. Should we loosen our morals for the sake of support of our gov’t? No. I see no reason to support ideas on torture we cannot find one iota of proof to support from a NT standpoint. A deviation from that standard is in ‘us’ – not in the scriptures.

(e) It is true the world contains a lot of ‘evil’ – but to think more ‘repayment for that evil’ will solve the situation is not measuring the situation very well. Evil for evil will not end any cycles of violence anytime soon – what ends scenarios like that is actually the path of non-violence – including measures of forgiveness, mercy, understanding, diplomacy, and peace. Violence is a result of anger – we need to be addressing the real issue which are just that – anger being fueld over and over…and gitmo did not make that sitaution any smoother.

The problem it seems to me is the disconnect between action and consequence going on in many of the convo’s. People acting as if non-violence is not an answer – but I am not saying we don’t get involved – let’s not pass into the idea of how much violence we will use – because that’s dangerous ‘evil’ territory – allow a little in and soon we are talking about how much gunshots fired into a person is ‘normal’? The standard for the use of violence is quite vague don’t ya think? As compared to non-violence as the standard – we are sure what is being asked of us (no amount of violence is neccesarily the starting point).

I know for a fact the way of Jesus does work – I use it all the time – a standard of peacemaking and not violence. I have broken up around 30 fights in the last 8 years – in some fairly intense situations – including weapons…what should be a good Christian ethic in scenario of violence. Always should start with peace – making things right – stepping in to break up violent acts and pursuing ways to not see people hurt. Does it always work – 30 of 30 times I stepped in to stop or prevent something – it worked. Now maybe the next time I get stabbed or something – I don’t know – but at least I know I hold a standard that does work – tried, tested, and results.

I hear talk of killing home invaders – why is this the only answer? Some shots into the villian as the just response? Why is the worst level of violence going to be the obvious answer to an attack on your family? I almost have to think some of you have never been in these situations or don’t know people that have perpetrated them. I keep a bat by my bed in case of such scenarios (to protect my wife and I) – but is my thought of killing the perp? No. Hurt him, stop him, scare him, or whatever – but death is far from my idea of ‘keeping my family safe’…because I would consider the death of the home invader as murder – but that’s my standard…I don’t seek death for that person – just boundaries be set.

I think the convo has delved into Christian people sitting too close to violence and too far from their personal admission they would do something if pressured to ‘help someone’. Always seek peace – set a standard becoming of a Christian – be the change that is not there. Know that violence may happen – but ‘admit’ it is our personal deviation of our known standard – and in the end – we will find we are non-violent almost 10 times out of 10.

***Some of my ideas on non-violence as a path to live by

Re-Digging the Messianic Soil

Comment taken from Deacon Blue’s ‘Triple Play’ Blog

I think Judaism is the foundation, but the fact is that the Old Testament points to a schism of millennia upon millennia between humans and God.” (Blue)

Schism – I think we see a constant backing away from the statutes of the law of God – but as for schism between humans and God – I don’t know about that. God seems to have a good track record of keeping in touch with these people – from prophet to prophet – king to king – judge to judge…so much so Christianity is grown from that soil.

He pointed us to new ways of looking at things and more important things to focus on than the law in a strictly literal and ritualistic fashion.” (Blue)

Is this what you think Judaism was like up and until Jesus arrived? I know for a fact it wasn’t – not for the prior 500+ years according to the Jewish rabbinical tradition that surfaces after Nehemiah (and that re-building of the temple). The law was seen as a ‘bottom line’ type thing – where killing someone for any crime was very rare – 1 person says a death in every 70 years seems a little excessive (and would call that a bad judge).

But we are not simply continuing Judaism. There is a strong and good foundation in there, but it wasn’t meant to carry us through to the end, because it is rooted in a tradition of separation between humans and God” (Blue)

If this is true – then isn’t Judaism still seperated from God? And if this is so, how do we explain some of the very enlightened rabbi’s coming out of that religion?

and a different face of God is revealed to us than the one that we could only see when he was LORD and KING and not also FATHER.” (Blue)

Worth noting here – prior to Jesus the term ‘Father’ for God was being used in Jewish circles.

Regardless, if this is not a continuation of Judiasm (which I agree it is not) then how much of Judaism is valid to a Christian person? None? Some? We are sharing 39 books – so how much of what they do speaks to us? Or is changed so much to make the face of Christianity look nothing like the face of Judaism (which has taught from the 39 books for like a 1000 years longer than Christianity)?

Think about it – attractive religion in the midst of the ‘known world’ that many people may have been interested in…then comes Paul with his allowing of the ‘known world’ in. Changes the dynamic of knowledge involved in the constructing of this new faith (Christianity) – with no direct line to the rabbinic teachings and synagogues (the whole background) – the faith has to be built upon – so they lean away from Judaism to Gentile thought (having no real recourse) – building a new thing based on majority Gentile ideas.

So we see a ’son of God’ ideology come out – to take away from Caesar worship. The messiah becomes a literal God in another pantheon of beings – this time a Trinity – where God is a Father, Jesus is his son, and the Holy Spirit functions as the spirit of this Being – to stay somewhat connected they call it ‘One’ – but the logic they use fails for the most obvious of reasons. Jesus is found to be against Jewish authority of all kinds (and lets not forget the Romans – whom he has a kinder relationship with for some reason – even Pilate) – from Herod, to Pharisees, to Sadducee’s, etc…he’s a rebel for Gentile inclusion.

But for all this explanation – the painting of Judaism in a bad light in the NT is not accidental…it’s meant to serve a purpose. It is known that Judaism was causing quite the stir with Roman occupation and did not accept this new form of Judaism (Christianity) – so what did Christians do…they severed their ties. Why be persecuted along w/Jewish uprisings? Easy way to do that – make them look so uniquely different in your writings so as to not cause any confusion. People would not mistake Christian communities for Judaic ones after a while – no synagogue, no temple, no rabbi, no same rituals…plus they were kicked out of synagogues anyways. So what did they do? They fought back…and denied Judaism as it’s founder – and found a way to usurp it – the messiah.

Now I know on some of this I am opiniating – true – but most of it lines up with historical accounts from within Judaism – something most of are not privy too nor look into with much depth. But I live in a city and know how easy it is for some original idea to be borrowed and adopted. It is plausible – Christianity adopted a lot of stuff and was on the right path (with Peter, James, and John) but then veered off centre after Paul and the divergence from Israel.

Life is The Matter

I am a very positive person for some reason – and the way I view life reflects a lot of that. I am into bantering about scripture and anything concerning the church – yet these things are passions of mine – I really do very little concerning them in my actual day to day existence…why…no avenue for it + who would respect me in this theological game (no church I can tell you that)?

But it’s all good you know. Life is about perspective and I choose to see the enjoymemt I have with theology and it’s importance to me – if I never get respect for my work – so be it – I did this for me.

I had a chance to watch a documentary called ‘global metal’ yesterday – which was about finding metal-heads all over the world – including China, Japan, Indonesia, The Middle East, Norway, Germany, and Israel. Loved the show, was and still am a fan of metal music, and it really was a study in cultures worldwide. One thing really stuck out to me…this is about ‘life’.

They interviewed some Israeli metal bands and how this effected them – and I had to laugh at the truth one of them spoke. The person said the stuff in these metal songs does not scare him, he laughs at them really (ie: demons and what have u)…because real life is much scarier. Poignant, yes.

Real life is the issue – it’s the heart of the matter – and worrying about some unknowns and unseens and focusing attention there is a ‘waste of time’. See, what we got here is a failure to communicate…religion is faulty in the sense of focus/perspective. It’s not solving world problems – because the world is beyond repair anyways or is only something to conquer. Religion – for all its talk of hope – is rather hopeless in some regards.

But this is why theology is a passion of mine – not my life – a passion of my real life. Because in real life I have to deal with real issues and not suppositions about heaven, hell, or the unknown…if God wants to stay unknown – good for Him. I have to deal with life and not un-attach from it – which is a huge religious problem – one I had to break free from/rehab from for a few years.

My quest now is – is religious unattachment from this present realm and planet actually helping destroy it?

The Risk of Relationships

Lately, in my family’s personal life, we have been dealing with a drug addict/drunk. Can’t say I enjoy the whole situation – it’s tough (very comedic at times) – but harrassingly tiring.

I always wonder what the real key to situations like that are – and I always go back to exposure of the problem – knowing it is a problem. Want a tough job – try convincing someone they have a problem!

The situation has been going on for the last few years and lately is intensified – to the point – I had to cut the person out of our life (my wife and I had to that is). I looked up what the side effects of the drug were and what was going on – and it all lined up to what the drug was supposed to do (the side effects anyways). I feel like having mercy – I feel like having none. It’s all a game in a way to this person – it’s also beyond crazy to us.

For me, having the person back in your life is a ‘risk’ – should the behavior rise up again. It’s always a constant forgiving and back into the same situation again…which sucks. At some point enuff is enuff! Pulling the plug is sometimes the best you can do.

But that’s the story – of a relationship in my life. I really want to support this person and be there for them (and when the times comes – my wife and I will be there) – but the time isn’t right – this person is seriously trying to alienate themselves and just flat out hurt people. You can only take so much before it’s time to just stop listening.

How much abuse does one take in the helping of another that cannot hear?

Reality: Measured Distance – Arm’s Length Puh-leeeze!

Comment taken from Naked Pastor’s ‘Cartoon: A Measured Distance”

I would like to say Caroline…ever think of converting to Judaism? (lol)

It’s weird to me how vehement Christian denoms are about this issue without any real evidential background to build from. I just pointed out how 3 of 4 branches within Judaism (excluding orthodox – which is not the biggest branch in Judaism) are looking at those texts and arriving at conclusions concerning the rights of gay people/couples. Christianity will hold up orthodox Judaism as some ‘flag-bearer’ for real Judaism – but they aren’t – Conservative would be the biggest – closest category to deserve that title (and they allow gay marriage).

Throw the law out and what do we get – Gentiles running around like a chicken without a head concerning texts they know little about (namely concerning interpretation). The question I saw posed made sense ‘is this a chosen lifestyle or not?’. Because if being gay is not ‘chosen’ then by ‘law’ you cannot force someone to do that with which they are not able (thus Jewish denoms changing their tune on gay marriage and rights – since 1977).

In Christianity, we do not debate like Judaism – it’s never an ‘either/or’ thing – but more a ‘yes/no’ thing – on any and all things – no 2 ways to view something for some reason. Which leads me further to believe – did this faith really come from Judaism or just some co-opting rip off version of the ‘real article’? Where is our safe debate on such topics and reference to Judaism and it’s views when we debate issues like ‘gay marriage’? If they are the fore-runners then I think they earn a voice.

But I am coming to believe Judaism and Christianity have nothing in similar except a few concepts (ie: messiah) – and even then – it’s so heavily skewed to make the comparisons useless.

What does it mean? It means people like Fishon and Steve can ignore Judaic commentary on a Christian (Gentile) subject – because it really has no bearing on the wealth of knowledge Chrstianity has concerning the scriptures (including the Jewish Tanakh – written in Hebrew – an original language of Jewish people; side note – Greek was what culture’s main language?). So they can ignore this and that rabbi – no matter the denom and wealth of knowledge/study they bring to the table on a law issue like ‘gay marriage’…because Paul said so!

Note – Jesus says nothing on gay rights or marriage – leaving this an actual gray area in the gospels. The one passage used is the ‘2 become 1′ passage – and yes this seems to exclude gay couples on a physical/reproduction front – it does not exclude them in the relational aspect of that idea (2 people sharing their lives as 1).

My apologies (and my heart goes out) to Caroline for the absolute ignorance within Christianity.

Mistakes & Evil

This may be just me and my personal viewpoint – what’s the problem with evil again? Because evil sucks and it hurts – or because God allows it? What does evil have to do with God? Like what does someone else’s choices have to do with mine?

This whole thing on evil is quite perplexing to me – not that it exists – sh*t I know that all too well – but as to why it cannot be simply reasoned to the hands of each human responsible is quite beyond me?

I asked a question to someone a while back concerning ‘free will’ – ‘does God allow us to make mistakes since in them we also learn’? No answer ever came back.

***Comment taken from Yael’s blog “Learning About Evil

All Things Being Equal…

God does not judge sin on a sliding scale. The breaking of any of God’s laws garners a penalty of eternal death” (Steve) (from Old Adam’s blog ‘Christian Schizophrenia’)

 What does the penalty really matter now – all is paid for – even future sins! Perspective is really everything in this convo. What’s the reason for holiness or change if both are equal (sin and righteousness)? I am acquited on the basis of someone else’s actions – some 2000 years ago – and that makes my compliment (whether good or bad) into the faith  meaningless (nothing I do changes a thing – correct?). All things being equal…