John 15: 17-16:4 L

In this section John is dealing with the persecution that his congregation is facing because of their faith in Jesus. He is preparing them for more persecution to come. Jesus has given him this message for them. (It’s certainly not an accurate report of something Jesus literally said 2 generations before IMHO.)

Reflecting on this it occurs to me that unless I believe that everything was dictated miraculously by Jesus, I have to evaluate the (often contradictory) passages and decide which of them speaks to our condition. This passage is not one of them, since I don’t suffer from any persecution, nor need to condemn anyone. (of course I do have some strong negative feelings about some politicians.)

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7 responses

  1. The basic life situation of persecution seems to be assumed by a lote of the Christian scriptures. Wonder what we’re doing wrong that people aren’t trying to kill us?

  2. Hi Larry :-). You said …(It’s certainly not an accurate report of something Jesus literally said 2 generations before IMHO.)… but we can say that about every word ascribed to him. And if that’s the case, why even read this stuff?

  3. Some things in scripture are more likely to approximate Jesus’ teachings than others.Folks like Larry and I accept that in our reading of it — though we deal with it slightly differently.When you enter into the Ignatian exercises and in you imagination meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus — if in your imagination Jesus is wearing purple but historians say he was probably wearing blue — does that mean the exercise was invalid? By no means. Imagination is the vehicle for meeting God but the imagined events themselevs are not the meeting.In the same way scripture is a means to hear God speak truth to us. But the words of scripture are not necessarily God speaking to us or even true in a factual sense.

  4. That’s a very good question, Crystal. To begin to answer it: most things are not either-or; they are both-and. And that is very true of interpretation of the Bible. If you buy everything as either-or, then God told the Israelites to exterminate the Caanites, because, as my fundamentalist O.T. teacher said, “they were totally depraved”. Yes, even the babies. You’ve justified genocide. The either-or approach to the Bible also justifies slavery, warfare with ‘take no prisoners’ and a host of other obviously subChristian practices, such as killing your children if they disobey you.I think we have to decide on a principle of interpretation. I see many things the O.T. God “did” that as a Christian I have to condemn.It’s also true in the N.T. My principle of interpretation: Love God and your neighbor (which means everybody). So hateful stuff in the O.T. (and the N.T.!!!) I disregard. In other words I select those portions of the N.T. that seem most closely in tune with Jesus’ God and his commandment– the big one, that is.There is stuff in the N.T. not in tune with that.Now God gave us a mind and told us to discriminate: between fact and fiction. As Paul said, “discern the spirits”.There are things in the N.T., even in John that I don’t believe emanate from the H.S. If I was ‘either-or’, I would just throw out the Bible, but with ‘both-and’ I know it is a mine, full of mud and gold. If I work at it, I can separate out the gold.Hope this helps.

  5. Well Kwak, we’re working on the same channel this time (I knew we had a lot in common). Notice our comments were two minutes apart. Bless you.

  6. Great interchange — I really enjoy reading all of your comments. I don’t know what I think anymore. I liked kwake’s comment that the Bible is a way of hearing God speak truths to us even if its not literally through the words.Anyway, thats generally why I haven’t said much lately — I don’t know what I think and when I realized I was lazily spouting fundy doctrine I decided it was time for me to talk less and listen more. If thats not God at work I don’t know what is!

  7. Marjorie, I heartily agree with you and Kwake about the Bible. It is the “Living word”, and it speaks to our condition, whatever that may be. Were those Jesus’ words? I don’t know (and my faith does not require me to know; it also gives me permission to ‘have opinions’).Do the words represent God speaking to me now? Absolutely!!

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