The Christ…Examined

It’s hard for people to imagine that Barrie Wilson might be into something when he mentions Paul – and at least the Gentile writers – may have developed a new idea for the messiah called the ‘Christ’. However, if one looks closely at the scripture in the NT it becomes fairly obvious there was a paradigm shift that happened around the word ‘Christ’; which originally was about the ‘messiah’.

I am going to examine a few of those verses from through-out the gospels and letters.

Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.” (Matthew 16:20)

After Peter confirms who he thinks Jesus is Jesus demands they tell no one he is ‘the Christ’. Here we see this is a title – a type of position – and not a name. It is obviously in direct relation to the messianic ideals from within Judaism – and in Matthew 22:42 they in turn relate it to the Davidic kingdom. From the start of Matthew’s gospel even this seems to be related to that lineage. In Matthew 11:2-5 Jesus advises John the Baptists people to let them know what it is they are seeing – a few things are mentioned (one of them being the ‘good news is preached’) – linking Jesus to Tankah prophets and their sayings. This messiah idea has a link back into history – based on the messianic beliefs held in Judaism and nowhere else.

Luke 23:2 probably pins it the best “And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”” (a title)

This changes over time – from even gospel to gospel – but most noticeably in the letters to the Gentile communities (and John).

Acts 4:10 “let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health.”

This is where we begin to see some of the shift from historical person (Jesus of Nazarene) to meta-physical person (Jesus Christ). It is beginning to seem the name Christ is becoming an almost type of ‘last name’ (or is this a translation problem of people much later – when last names were used – making Christ into a name).

Romans 1:1 “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God

Romans 1:6 “among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ

From pretty much this point on in the NT – and amongst almost every letter – Jesus and Christ are linked together as a ‘name’. Now although one can still find the reference that it is linked to historical ideas of the ‘messiah’ it becomes less clear if one just read these letters.

And here is the problem – the correct way to likely translate this everytime is Jesus the Christ (which means messiah – which further means anointed one – which further falls back to a kingship role). With that name change we find a shift in the paradigm of what ‘Christ’ comes to also mean.

The messiah role becomes rather expanded to include a whole hoarde of new ideas under this Christology. Jesus becomes meta-physical in nature (understandable – even the gospels mention this – but the letters only focus is this). Jesus becomes God’s equal (divinity). Jesus takes on new propitiation roles in sacrifice (some in Paul – mainly in Hebrews). Jesus takes on a new title called ‘Lord’ (how we translate that is in question – but most people use it as some divine clause – likely it can also been seen as some king leader). Jesus also has a 2nd coming.

In essence it’s a huge addition to the term ‘messiah’ that started in Judaism. By the time this term finds it’s use in Gentile communities it’s becomes a new terminology – with so much added dimension to it. It makes sense it would lose it’s historical uses from Judaism – since Gentiles needed to find the meaning in it also. Most people in Christendom have no clue about the historical meaning of the messiah.

Most people don’t know this but Rabbi Maimonides (Rambam) in the 12th Century as one of his ’13 principles of faith’. What did he mean by that term ‘messiah’? Anyone interested in learning more about the ‘jewish messiah’ can read the wiki article included and see some of the differences that have evolved in Christendom from this term to the more historical use of this term in Judaism.

Mainly – food for thought.

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43 thoughts on “The Christ…Examined

  1. Jason

    Im curious how you can still call yourself “Christian”? It seems that there really is no clear cut image of who Jesus really is. So what does it mean to you when you say you are Christian?

  2. “Im curious how you can still call yourself “Christian”? It seems that there really is no clear cut image of who Jesus really is. So what does it mean to you when you say you are Christian?” (John)

    It’s all in the semantics really – in one’s pre-conceived notions about what that term ‘Christ-ian’ means. I am not stripping anything away from the texts that the texts themselves don’t leave open for those questions.

    (1) Christ-ian is about following Jesus as far as I am concerned – and this is done through adherence to what he is claimed to have taught via the gospels and Paul’s writings. That part is a simple explanation…read, see instructions, elaborate, practice, and try again…basically adding in new ideas to your life.

    (2) Christ is a term that means messiah – which means anointed one from God…and that’s how I view Jesus. I make no qualms with the original wording and usage of this idea and the history from which it came…I only have questions about the additions to the idea over time from Gentile mindsets. To me, Jesus is authoritative in that he was ‘sent by God’…good enough for me.

    So it comes down to one’s defintion of what is and isn’t Christian. I take the label because I obviously find meaning in the writings of the NT. Many will consider me a heretic of some stripe or another within Christian circles – and that’s quite okay – they may not even know the history on such subjects and how the messiah concept has changed over time.

    I think the problem I present to Christianity is I am not fitting into the neat categories the church has developed for everything they believe. I am also not rejecting everything they believe so the problem they present for me is one of identification (I do feel I identify with the Christian movement).

    But things have changed in some 10 years and likely will change some more.

  3. @ Jason

    So I get “HOW” you justify calling yourself a Christian. But “WHY” do you call yourself a Christian? You could do similar gymnastics to call yourself a Muslim, a Hindi, an Atheist or many other labels. What does that label do for you that you choose to wear it on your coat?

  4. “So I get “HOW” you justify calling yourself a Christian. But “WHY” do you call yourself a Christian?…What does that label do for you that you choose to wear it on your coat?” (Sabio)

    I guess it’s where all my changes started that helped me to improve on my lifestyle immensely. I also recognize that I follow the teachings of Jesus and do elaborate on them in my life – I see the guidance such ideas can provide.

    In the end, it’s really a choice I am making to not forget where I came from. Many things have changed since I entered a church and made a committment back on in old Oct of 1992.

    I am middle class now – then I was in poverty. I lived in the inner city – now I live in a nice residential area. I have a post secondary education – then I didn’t even finish grade 11. I have a career – then I was on social assistance. I own a home and a vehicle – then I was living by rent and didn’t have a license.

    Tonnes of things managed to change when I grasped the teachings and decided to committ to their use…in fact even enemies turned to friends from the inner city. I could turn around and say I see no use for the teachings now that I have accomplished all of this – I just don’t think that’s a fair thing to do…and I have considered it.

  5. @ Jason: Very honest, great response, thanx !
    Follow-up questions:

    1) What is it that you typify the teaching of Jesus that you follow? Which teachings? How do you view Jesus?

    2) You said it would be “unfair” to leave. Unfair to whom? Are people dependent on you at a Church or family. Or did you mean, unfair to Jesus

  6. “What is it that you typify the teaching of Jesus that you follow? Which teachings? How do you view Jesus?” (Sabio)

    The teachings from the lens of Matthew’s intro in the beatitudes to the sermon on the mount – outwards to the synoptic gospels – to John – and then to the letters (namely James). I still incorporate it all – just understand historicity and context a lot better as I study it.

    The core of the idea is really quite simple and 3-fold: Love God via loving your neighbor via loving yourself (and these 3 are inter-connected). If there is a trinity it only exists in the love we give. The good news is that God loves us (IMO) – freeing us to love ourselves (introspection and self esteem) and the ability to put that towards others/our neighbor (sharing, giving, caring, etc). That’s really the gist of it.

    “You said it would be “unfair” to leave. Unfair to whom? Are people dependent on you at a Church or family. Or did you mean, unfair to Jesus” (Sabio)

    I don’t attend church and most of my family hates when I discuss religion – so none of those societal pressures. Not unfair to Jesus – because that’s just weird. Unfair in the sense in light of the whole history of my change and growing up that once I get to a point of contentness I forget my roots. I stop not to give thanks anymore for the journey that got me here today…I think there is an unfairness in that. Unfair to me I guess?

  7. @ Jason

    So, from what you have written, here is how I would imagine you discussing “Christianity”:

    “Christianity has benefitted me with moral encouragement and improved my self-esteem so I still call myself a Christian though I doubt all the orthodox doctrinal stuff and don’t take too much literal and don’t go to church. It just seems easier to keep identifying with as a Christian because it helps keep a consistent picture of myself. Besides, it is fun to blog about. I like looking at other ways of thinking too”

  8. It’sa little deeper than that in some regards (as humans are quite the complex picture to look at) – and some of the faith aspects are meaningful to me also. It’s about consistency but it may also may be about it providing meaning also.

    But in general, you pretty much have a decent explanation of how I think about it.

  9. Dude,

    honest and good conversation.. i’m happy that you’re honest to your roots. many are apt to say “well that’s just you straightening up and flying right” but missing the rubric through which you used. Matt 25 springs to mind as well as Romans.

    if we take serious the power for transformation that religion provides, specifically the Christian one in our case, then we get results like yours. we have new selves, new community, and a new ethos in which to navigate the world by.

  10. So, my question.
    Does Luke or Jason feel that:

    (1) Serious “transformation” (of equal caliber) can take place without religion?

    (2) Did Jason really make a “new ethos”, a “new community” (he doesn’t belong to any church)? Sounds pretty amazing.

    (3) Could he healthfully sustain all those without religion?

  11. “(1) Serious “transformation” (of equal caliber) can take place without religion?” (Sabio)

    Yes – without the use or attendance to any religious institution real change can take place (or ‘transformation’). The subject at the core of this is the ‘ideas’ within the teachings and their power to transform one’s mind (from one way of thinking to a more useful way of thinking). I will admit it is harder to make serious change without any support – but it can be done.

    “2) Did Jason really make a “new ethos”, a “new community” (he doesn’t belong to any church)? Sounds pretty amazing.” (Sabio)

    I did belong to a church for 7 years (attended a bible college for 4 of those and earned a degree). I left church simply because I outgrew the people teaching/mentoring me (and some other friends of mine were kind of getting a hassle from leadership).

    That is (not) a new ‘ethos’ or even a ‘new community’ – I am only an extension of a previous community. The things I am doing can be found throughout the blog world – or even current writers on these topics – and I am really only promoting freedom of thought and responsibility for one’s actions. Churches will be the first to admit they actively restrict free thought and live on the margins of society (kind of excluding themselves from the bigger society). I just got sick of that exclusion to the rest of society.

    “(3) Could he healthfully sustain all those without religion?” (Sabio)

    I don’t get this – is this like can I help sustain the other people that also left?

  12. Ah, sorry, #3:
    Do you feel that the changes that you made with Christianity could be sustained without identifying yourself or feeling like you are a Christian?

    From some of your answers, I am going to make up another term to describe you, if I may. Tell me if it is accurate:

    “Jesus-Meme-ite” : Someone who chooses his/her favorite Jesus teachings and uses them to change himself.

    In other words, the memes change you, not a Holy Spirit that you invite in your heart.

    The reason for this distinction is that all the teachings of Jesus can be found in other philosophers around the world before him. So, if someone focused on those same memes, albeit from different teachers, they should be able to get the same results as you.

    So it is, as you said, ideas changing you — not some spirit possession as many Christians claim (albeit in a “highly nuanced and of course more sophisticated” sense.).

  13. 1) Serious “transformation” (of equal caliber) can take place without religion?

    yes.

    (2) Did Jason really make a “new ethos”, a “new community” (he doesn’t belong to any church)? Sounds pretty amazing.

    he answered that.. i can’t.

    (3) Could he healthfully sustain all those without religion?

    depends on religion. if you mean “habit” then no. diets, exercise, and pretty much anything worth doing is better with practice. if you mean “going to church” then that depends… if your community doesn’t allow certain thoughts, as in the case with Jason, then no it doesn’t help. if you leave for some other reason, like psychosis, egotism, or political motivations I get a little hurky about.

    as for the Meme- the unitarians, liberal theologians like Crossan, Borg, and such like as well as many in my denomination would affirm the idea. i won’t cause i’m trinitarian. but that’s different names possibly for the transformation. as i think about the sacraments and even why i seek to be ordained… something happened, some mystery took place, and to name it seems idolatrous.

    but since Jason’s new thing is to go after motivation, i’m going to question yours. are you asking because you want to gauge how included you are here, or because you seek conversion or at least open up the possibility for Jason and I de-converting?

  14. @ Luke

    I seek to move people toward non-exclusion. This includes seeing through the exclusiveness that may linger in old habits which are yet unchallenged. It is a non-exclusiveness born from truly understanding your self and how you use ideas and relationships. So certainly, I want to unabashedly de-convert people from vestiges of exclusiveness.

    Why such a pointed question, did you feel my questions threatening to Jason?
    I was exploring — actually curious how he holds it all together. That and I was trying to see what Jason was really saying. It sounds like you are trying to jump to his defense.

    He seems like he is doing just fine.

    “Idolatry” is a sin !!!! Or so Bible logic goes. Thus when you label trying to describe something (name it) as being “idolatrous”, you seem to be using religion in one of the worse manners. You are playing on the SIN CARD — Of angering the almighty ! To forbid to talk about something is typical sanctification cloak material which I am highly averse to. To dance with all these holy terms and holy categories is great when you are in your club, but when talking to those outside your tribe it is less productive. Yet alone when you declare that trying to analyze holy things is an abomination to your god. That is a cheap move to close conversation. (Sorry if I misinterpret you)

  15. “So certainly, I want to unabashedly de-convert people from vestiges of exclusiveness. ”

    you and me both! however, i feel i can do more damage within the system than without. check out Karl Barth and Neo-Orthodoxy. very Christocentric but also very inclusive.

    i wasn’t feeling that the questions were threatening or pointed, just wondered at the source of your wondering or why you would ask. i’m happy to be affirmed that we have yet another intersection to celebrate. no defense intended, jay can hold his own and frequently does on topics i don’t wanna touch or consider with far more hostile people who aren’t half as considerate or caring as you, Sabio.

    (Sorry if I misinterpret you)

    holy SHIT do you ever!!! what i’m saying is “I don’t know!” when you stated “In other words, the memes change you, not a Holy Spirit that you invite in your heart.” i was affirming that is also within the christian tradition and there is a scholarly and peer-reviewed group out there argue’n your point within the tradition. i see it, i’ve read it, but yet, i can’t affirm it. there is a mystery and i’ll use terms and categories that are fitting my tradition not to exclude but to fully define. it’d be if you tried to define “En” without offering everything you’ve experienced, known, and read about this concept. that’d be stupid. instead you just say “En” and provide links and those who are interest can track it down and understand more fully where you’re coming from.

    i have done this with you, and continue to do so and i look forward to your posts and comments. i try my damnest never to close the conversation. for me questioning and looking for clarity is not an offense or abomination to god, but the exact opposite! what i’m saying, and apparently failing at, is that i’ve fully examined and read a diverse set of views from my tradition that include fundie, catholic, and liberal (and all in between) and i can’t articulate it fully. there is transformation, i believe it’s sacramental, and it’s a step towards a fuller view of God. in your case, if you don’t like god, then substitute “existence” and you’d get a similar idea but without some nuances.

  16. All taken well Luke.
    “Transformation” means people change. Seems simple to me. No holy categories needed.

    “Sacramental” — I have no idea how you are using that word. Remember, it is not used in normal conversation. In normal conversation, btw, I would say “special connections” for “En”.

    So I didn’t follow your last sentence. When, or what causes a fuller view of existence?

  17. “Transformation” means people change. Seems simple to me.

    well, not everyone believes this. sadly, many of them are religious 😉 each culture and group uses different names for this. while the concept is simple, the experience is not, so i understand the trappings that hold such transformations in trying to articulate their meaning.

    second note: sacramental= holy/special/really cool! and the problem is that i use this in ‘normal’ conversation as those i’m in conversation with would get my meaning. thanks for calling that to my attention though.

    as to when or “what” causes a fuller view of existence, it would be these “sacramental/holy/special” times where transformation takes place. many terms encompass this: for conservative christians it’s “born again” for buddhists “another step on the path to enlightenment” for my ‘once born’ crowd it’s “ephiphany” and for the rest it’d prolly be “I get it!”

    those times where the bigger picture comes into focus, clicks together in a new way, and holy crap! we just stand there in awe and know that we can never be the same. like the feeling you get while standing beside the ocean. or seeing the grand canyon for the first time. or when you finally understand the lyrics to a favorite song. or to the more religious in nature of having meditative peace wash over you, or gain an insight from reading a story or scripture or theology book.

    hope that helps.

  18. @ Luke
    Many folks have “cool” experiences that they think are transformative but aren’t. You go on vacation and see the grand canyon, sip wine in love at the beach, read an awesome novel and get totally involved and inspired, and then back to work and life carries on as always. Why can’t something be special to you right then ? Why does it have to be “transformative”? Well, one reason, is we want to put words around the experience to make it even more special, even if the words are dishonest. This is largely what rituals are, no? Trying to make something special. Wedding Vows, for instance — if they are so special …. If they are so transformative ….

    Birth of a kid…. It changes someone for a while until the locomotive of habits takes over again after the flush of hormones at birth.

    I get that things can be transformative — I think they are rarely momentary.
    I have been born again, then baptized in the spirit and much more and felt them transformative, but later, being honest and watching all those around me who claimed the same, I saw how simple indeed what was really happening. We want to be special so badly !

    @ T4T — are you familiar with the “Tu Quoque” fallacy often used in dialogue as a red herring?

  19. Sabio,

    i’m unsure what you mean. you seem to be saying two things at once. there are transformative experiences but then the mudane washes over them and things become ritualized?

    i’m still riding high on the transformation of being a father. each day i’m born again even if i don’t want to wake up at 6 a.m. there is still a new joy to the day. i’m all about the constant small epiphanies, the joy and awe at the mudane and normal. there is transcendence in the everyday. as Carrie Newcomer sings “Folding clothes like folding hands, to pray as only laundry can.”

    i take these to heart and these moments are special, there is no “wanting” about it. things could be otherwise… i could be sick, i could be without laundry or a wife or child or friends or wonderful blogging conversation partners like yourself. it is special if we wake up to the possibility and change the way we view these things. i have no distinction in my theology between the sacred and secular… it’s all holy and all normal. normal enmeshed with the holy and vice versa. to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar… except when it’s not.

  20. ““Jesus-Meme-ite” : Someone who chooses his/her favorite Jesus teachings and uses them to change himself.” (Sabio)

    It’s close Sabio – but I don’t pick and choose the teahcings I will follow – I look at all of them and what they mean – from the synoptics to the letters – and then develop from there. I am not neccesarily in disagreeance with many things Paul says (for example) when it comes to structuring one’s life according to the principles of God.

    The key thing here is I think the teachings are inspired – or at least come from that source – as an issue of care for humanity (in the same way the Torah came from God through Moses to the Israelites). To me, this stuff is connected to God – through the person of Jesus (whom I see as a teacher ‘sent by God for God for the people’).

    Am I picking and choosing – not really…name any teaching and we can walk through it a discussion about it (for interpretive reasons and for experiential reasons). To me, the teachings are about the ‘word becoming flesh’…books on those pages becoming real life experiences (tried, tested, and true). Beyond that – it’s just a book with no real power.

    “So, if someone focused on those same memes, albeit from different teachers, they should be able to get the same results as you” (Sabio)

    I think so (and this is not the common Christian belief on this issue). I have a friend who is a Muslim experiencing the same change I did some 17 years back…starting a process of change for his personal life which will change everything for him – and it starts with ‘Allah’ (God). Who is to say where change will occur and for whom? (to borrow from a teaching of Jesus in John 3 ‘The wind blows where it wishes’).

    “So it is, as you said, ideas changing you — not some spirit possession as many Christians claim (albeit in a “highly nuanced and of course more sophisticated” sense.).” Sabio)

    I wouldn’t go that far – I also think people are ‘spiritual’ beings. I do not disregard the teachings on the spirit of God – as if this phenom isn’t an aspect of spirituality. I think of this as the connection God makes with humans – through the ‘spirit’. God is not someone we can see, name, or even speak to – but the spirit is where this connnection seems to occur.

    It’s like the story when Elijah goes to a mountain and prays – losing what it seems like faith in God. All these crazy and loud sounding things happen around him – and in those things God is not to be found. In the silence of the moment he hears the still, small, voice that re-assures him. The spirit of God seems to function like that (from my personal experiences). That’s not the only way – but a good lesson on the direction I am leaning.

  21. ““Tu Quoque” fallacy. Now that is “normal” dialogue. What was I thinking” (John)

    I was wondering the name for that fallacy – a kind of non-response to the question at hand…I find this a lot in real life when someone does not want to answer a question – then blames someone else for being a ‘hypocrite’. I just stand my ground and ask them to answer the question since we are discussing their actions – not mine (we’ll get to that soon enough).

  22. “i’m still riding high on the transformation of being a father. each day i’m born again even if i don’t want to wake up at 6 a.m. there is still a new joy to the day” (Luke)

    This is one of the greatnesses of faith – the purpose and meaning it provides – the hope and the drive. I cannot truly say that for many other ideologies I have looked into – many being political in nature (ie: Marxism or Capitalism). It is hard to find a man-made system that does not reveal a fatal flaw – human motivations which stretch to the ends of other humans (and also hurt other humans in the process).

    Now religion has done the same – being an institution and all – anyone can attest to this. But faith, in it’s most pure form – aside from religion joined with politics – is not about humans controlling one another (religion is used that way also mind you). In the depth of faith is a human at his weakest – not his strongest – admitting with all honesty their flaws and mistakes. Most systems do no function that way – in fact – I can barely find another (outside faith) which does. Humans are in this to protect their ego – we all are – and we all know it.

    This is why Christians seperate faith from religion – and never really explain what they mean. But what they mean is that personal experience with faith (God) is different than the institutional experience with God (which can become dictorial and squash what faith is even about)…institutions are not human, they do not have a face or leader, there is something inherently inhuman about them. That singular moment of experience is sincere and real – and seems to be the ideology of Jesus from Matthew (ie: do not do these things in front of people). Thus we have church experience vs. sincere experience.

    I see faith as good, very good in fact – and cannot burn those who hold it.

  23. “Hopefully Im using that word appropriately” (John)

    You are. My quote of you was in response to the ‘tu quoque’ fallacy and not about your response…I am really quite enthralled with that fallacy…I have seen it a lot.

  24. @ Society:

    (1) Dude, when you comment on my site, please do me a favor – either type in your website address : https://societyvs.wordpress.com into the URL box or leave it totally blank. Instead, you type in (or leave in) “http://” which gives a false link. Thanks, just a heads up. Actually, always best, for traffic sake, to type in your address.

    (2) Yes, Society, you got it — You understand Tu QuoQue. People use it when they are avoiding real dialogue and are just interested in Tit-for-Tat, a game I don’t enjoy.

    (3) More later on your other response, they got to the core of some stuff for me. Meanwhile, off to take care of patients — later dude.

  25. People use it when they are avoiding real dialogue and are just interested in Tit-for-Tat, a game I don’t enjoy.(Sabio)

    Thats not necessarily totally true. In fact there have been times you have made comments to me that could be easily construed as a Tit for Tat exchange. I do find sometimes that your dialogue doesnt always favour true discourse as many individuals do not have the same intellect or vocabulary that you possess. This then limits who you can talk with. Now that is perfectly within your right. But it also shows that maybe you only want discourse with those who share a similar intellect. If it truly is “real” dialogue you want then as the master communicator you are maybe you could bring it down a notch for some of us mere mortals. 🙂

  26. “This is why Christians seperate faith from religion – and never really explain what they mean…I see faith as good, very good in fact – and cannot burn those who hold it.” SVS

    i may steal this for my ordination paper. that’s right on and to the point! i keep saying that my christianity isn’t a religion, this is echoed by many scholars i read, esp. Robert Capon. they talk about christianity being a lived experience, an embodied piety, and i really dig that.

  27. “Dude, when you comment on my site, please do me a favor – either type in your website address” (Sabio)

    I thought it was working (the link) – I guess when I type in again I will have to check that out.

    “People use it when they are avoiding real dialogue and are just interested in Tit-for-Tat, a game I don’t enjoy” (Sabio)

    I see it a lot – when people play some sort of deflecting game.

  28. “If it truly is “real” dialogue you want then as the master communicator you are maybe you could bring it down a notch for some of us mere mortals.” (John)

    Unbelievably – I agree with a lot of this. There was some test a few years back that rated what a blog’s reading age was – I ended up PG14. It was intentional. I want to meet people at their level and explain some things that may be intricate at a level all can read and respond to. Maybe those younger than 14 may struggle with what I write – but I am trying to make it as easy to read as possible.

    The only reason I like your statement is because I have entered many convo’s where people use definition and words on subjects that could be made much easier to relate to – yet those people don’t realize they are doing it (not saying Sabio does this – he doesn’t – he provided a link for his reference).

  29. “[speaking of “transformation”] This is one of the greatnesses of faith — the purpose and meaning it provides” (Society)

    You don’t need religion to provide these. That is my point. One has these well outside of religion too. So you see, one has experiences and then coats it with their ideology. I ask why can’t we keep it raw, keep it human, not color it with MY faith !

    It is funny how willing you are to look past all the stupid politics, violence and the rest of religions while praising its “greatness”. There is no such thing as “Faith” , there are only people having experiences. (I know that phrase won’t get through the grid) So I guess we’ll have to drop it.

    Christians often claim their faith is not a religion. That is the most arrogant, self-centered thing I ever hear religious people say.

    “I am so, so, so special. I don’t do all that silly stuff that religions do, I am so, so different and cool. Oh yeah, did I say, I am Christian !”

    Seriously can’t you tell what that sounds like. I have heard Muslims say this, Jews say it etc… You all want to thing you don’t do religion because religion has all that dirty stuff, you just do “faith”. And Luke is graduating to make a business out of his religion. Seriously guys. Such denial is unconscionable. [sorry, T4T, I think that means “outrageous,dude !”]

    But wait, I may misunderstand you again. Maybe you are putting up yet another definition of faith. “In the depth of faith is a human at his weakest – not his strongest — admitting with all honesty their flaws and mistakes.” Again, you don’t need religion to do that, you don’t need faith or whatever you are calling your trip. We don’t have to call it religion or faith we can call it humility or other words. We don’t have to religious-coat them. These are humans, doing things humans do in many faiths AND in many non-faiths ! You use your religions to coat them. That is fine, but why then turn around and give the credit to ‘faith’ because people without faith do this as well. Keep it HUMAN !

    Alright, that is my ecumenism coming out again, human, not religious ecumenism — to use an in-house term.

    We agree about egoism, forgiveness, love, savoring the moment, feeling the richness of reality. But it does not have to be done religiously. I know you guys use your religion to do it, which is great, but then to turn around and credit “faith”. And make “faith” as that which is transformative, seems highly inaccurate and actually deceptive. (albeit, non-intentionally) That is why I respond to this. I guess you guys are only talking to an in-house crowd and us ex-religious and ex-faith folks should just close our ears. We should pretend you really did not exclude the vast majority of humanity in your holiness.

  30. Sabio,

    ” That is the most arrogant, self-centered thing I ever hear religious people say.”

    then you’re not hearing it right. when i say it it means i put people and experience first. i’m a relational being. however, i won’t deny that i make sense of the world through the framework of my faith and i affirm the mysteries of my existence and i believe there is a force out there. a force i find through Jesus of Nazareth. it is a faith walk.

    what you imply is that religious people techincally aren’t human and are arrogant and exclusive. yet, you state ” So you see, one has experiences and then coats it with their ideology. I ask why can’t we keep it raw, keep it human, not color it with MY faith !” and miss your own unstated bais. you’re already coating these statements with your ideology and adding your own defintion as to what it means to be “raw and human” and thus you color it with YOUR faith which is expressed in your last sentence.

    if you’re about human ecumenicism then i don’t have you change for you to meet me where i am. so far, i don’t think i’ve asked anything of you save to clarify.

    what you ask me to do is have no integrity and drop any and all references to a faith experience i’ve had, studied about, and lived all my life. that doesn’t sound like ecumenism to me.

  31. @ Luke — yeah, I am not being successful at communicating what I see. I think will call it a pause. Thanx.

    @ T4T: To answer your question you may wish to read my apophatic post called “Atheism: an epiphenomenon“. But you might want to open up another browser with a dictionary, I am certainly not trying to reach everyone. I leave that to you Billy Grahams !
    🙂

  32. apparently not man.. i’m try’n to listen. i’m a pragmatist at heart, but i’m a Dewy pragmatist, so that indeed colors it.. but to be aware of the bias is the first start. please try to articulate and come back, i’m interested and all earsas it is my goal to be inclusive as possible.

  33. “[speaking of “transformation”] This is one of the greatnesses of faith — the purpose and meaning it provides” (Society)

    Actually this is in direct regards to ‘faith’ as something that gives a person ‘drive’ and ‘purpose’. It is related to transformation (obviously) and is perhaps even the motivation for change.

    “I ask why can’t we keep it raw, keep it human, not color it with MY faith!” (Sabio)

    We can and if you look real carefully and weigh out the majority of what I do say – I keep it as humanly realistic as possible…kind of forgoing most of the religious ‘God jargon’ that usually comes along with Christianity (ie: the Holy Spirit said; God said…etc). I realize I speak for me, not for God, and not for the church. I seek a very humanistic faith – based in experience and how this effects me now…I am not going to worry so much about ‘what happens there and then’.

    However, for me to deny my faith played a role in my change from teen to adult would be (for me) a complete denial of the reality I lived. I am just not into denial – no matter how that rubs someone else or if my faith reasoning sounds ‘weak’. Maybe it is ‘weak’? But no one said one’s reality has to make sense to everyone else.

    “It is funny how willing you are to look past all the stupid politics, violence and the rest of religions while praising its “greatness”.” (Sabio)

    I am not looking past anything. I praised ‘faith’ – which includes my muslim friend who has found the purpose he needs to change from Islam (Qu’ran). Politics is not like faith – I only merely point out it’s limitations when used like a religious system (doesn’t work).

    “There is no such thing as “Faith”” (Sabio)

    Faith is such a part of the human experience I wouldn’t know where to even start with answering this statement…excpet to say the opposite ‘there is such a thing as (having/using) faith’.

    “Christians often claim their faith is not a religion. That is the most arrogant, self-centered thing I ever hear religious people say” (Sabio)

    I am not saying faith is not part of religion – I am aware of this and am not seeking to deny that (even if I do not attend a church and likely never will). But I am part of the living conundrum of this problem…seeking God but not really seeking the institution that claims to hold God. So how can I say I am religious when I don’t belong to a prescribed set of traditions and beliefs of a church? But I do think I practice my faith nonetheless…in the community of humanity.

    This is why there is some stark differences between having faith in God and being religious…it depends on how we define religion? If religion is just having faith in God – I am religious and proud of it. If religion is the system of church that defines the faith of Christians – then I am definitely not religious and proud of it.

    “Again, you don’t need religion to do that, you don’t need faith or whatever you are calling your trip.” (Sabio)

    But you do need support to do that – and support that can be counted on to help you in that time of ‘opening yourself to the world and exposing your own wekanesses’. That’s a tough thing to do and most people don’t risk that kind of thing…it’s too much damn work. However, in churches they expect this of their parishoners – and I really was no different in going through that process. This process of transformation happened in a place that not only respects us in dealing with the worst of our character – but also stand beside you while you do it.

    Now that may not take faith – but show me another system even trying to do that – and takes us at our most vulnerable?

    “That is fine, but why then turn around and give the credit to ‘faith’ because people without faith do this as well. Keep it HUMAN !” (Sabio)

    Because I am telling my story of being a human in the sea of humanity – and it includes having/using faith…to deny that is to deny humanity one of it’s greatest acheivements…humility.

    I am not sure what you have against faith per se – except to say ‘without it we can all do the same things’…I question that to some degree – but it seems honest enough.

    I find faith gives an advantage to some that previously did not exist (in direction/guidance/purpose/meaning/etc)…that category includes me…and tomorrow it might include a gang member, the next day it may include a homeless person, after that it might include someone who tried to take their own life, and then it might find someone who lost everything he had in a recession, and then maybe a pregnant teen.

    Word to the wise, humanity is great and all – but humanity is also not an even playing field in experience…some make a name while some die nameless. Now although it makes sense to you to forget about ‘faith’ because your now well on your way to contentness, maybe even have all that you wanted in life (and I am with you – so am I – I am middle class and living good). But faith always keeps me grounded – in that – the fccus is on the poor, needy, broken, and hurt…which was where I sprang up from as a teen.

  34. Pingback: To Faith Or Not To Faith… « Losing My Religion

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