Monthly Archives: June, 2005

John 16: 25 – 33 – Crystal

1. What is the author’s main point in this passage? (MAIN POINT)

The parts that stand out for me are … Jesus is leaving … the relationship between the disciples (us) and God is now complete … Jesus is concerned about how the disciples will manage once he’s gone.

2. What new light do I find in this particular reading of this passage of the text? (NEW LIGHT)

Jesus (God) is affected by us … it matters to him if the disciples believe in him … he doesn’t want them to feel bad later, after they’ve run off and left him to face death alone … he wants them to find courage and peace after his death.

3. Is this passage true to my experience? (TRUTH)

I do find Jesus (in prayer) to be vulnerable and affectable and concerned.

4. What are the implications of this passage for my life? (IMPLICATIONS)

Big time implications. The God I’ve been getting to know is changed by me as much as I am by him. I know he’s supposed to be immutable but nothing changes a person as much as being in love … I’d like yo believe, as Fr. William Barry writes in one of his books, that God is madly in love with us.

5. What problems do I have with this passage? (PROBLEMS)

There seems to be the implication that God loves us because we love Jesus … but I think/hope God loves eceryone.

How does this passage agree with or differ from the beliefs or practices of other religious groups in my experience? (OTHERS)

I don’t know enough about other belief systems to answer this … but I do think there are those, like Deists, who thaink God is remote and uncaring … Yikes! 🙂

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david’s responses

1. What is the author’s main point in this passage? (MAIN POINT)

The time is coming when the disciples of Jesus (us?) will be able to pray on Christ’s authority (in his name) and God (“the Father”) will hear those prayers and respond to them as if Jesus himself had uttered them, for Jesus’ sake, and because of the love the disciples have for Jesus.

2. What new light do I find in this particular reading of this passage of the text? (NEW LIGHT)

What struck me and I had not noticed before was the line:
I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me, and believing that I came from God.
A genuine transfer of spiritual authority appears to be taking place here.

3. Is this passage true to my experience? (TRUTH)

As I have said before — I cannot bear witness to this truth in my life. Sometimes — in moments — like flashes of lightning on distant horizons. But not consistently. Nor often.

4. How does this passage agree with or differ from the beliefs or practices of other religious groups in my experience? (OTHERS)

There are groups which seem to bear witness to answered prayer often and consistently. This troubles me as they are groups that seem unspiritual in most other aspects of their faith and practice — though I have met folks of deep and abiding faith amongst them — so I must not judge too harshly. These are groups — too use the biblical language — strong in gifts and lacking fruits. Even though as I said I have known fruit-filled people amongst them.

5. What are the implications of this passage for my life? (IMPLICATIONS)

John’s Jesus tells me — nay — promises me that I can expect petitionary prayer to find an audience with God if I but trust in Jesus and believe he was sent by God. Surely the implication is to begin praying on that basis — or to walk away from the witness of John’s gospel.

6. What problems do I have with this passage? (PROBLEMS)

Many. Mostly in the implications and in the others questions above.

The Friendly Bible Study Questions

These are the questions from the Spears’ Friendly Bible Study in case anyone wants to cut and paste them fro use in their own postings or in use in their own meditations prior to posting.

1. What is the author’s main point in this passage? (MAIN POINT)

2. What new light do I find in this particular reading of this passage of the text? (NEW LIGHT)

3. Is this passage true to my experience? (TRUTH)

4. What are the implications of this passage for my life? (IMPLICATIONS)

5. What problems do I have with this passage? (PROBLEMS)

The Spears also published a follow-up tract for studying Quaker Faith and Practice books and they use the questions but add one more (sandwiched between Truth and Experience):

How does this passage agree with or differ from the beliefs or practices of other religious groups in my experience? (OTHERS)

It may be a useful question to consider given the ecumenical character of this group. There is another website I’m involved with (retired from actually) where an ongoing thread is based upon certain people refusing to use the phrase Christian when referring to Catholics — even after they have been corrected.

speaking in plain words

I have been telling you these things in veiled language. The hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in veiled language but tell you about the Father in plain words. When that day comes you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me, and believing that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I am leaving the world to go to the Father.’

His disciples said, ‘Now you are speaking plainly and not using veiled language. Now we see that you know everything and need not wait for questions to be put into words; because of this we believe that you came from God.’

Jesus answered them: Do you believe at last? Listen; the time will come — indeed it has come already — when you are going to be scattered, each going his own way and leaving me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me. In the world you will have hardship, but be courageous: I have conquered the world.

using the New Jerusalem Translation

John 6:16-24 – Comment by Joe G.

Hello, everyone. This is my first post on friendly scripture study. I prefer to use the questions designed by Friendly Bible Study to help me focus better on the verses. So I will structure my posts around those questions.

1. What is the author’s main point in this passage? (MAIN POINT)

The main point, which seems to be a re-occurring theme in the gospel of John, is a testimony to who Jesus was/is. The passage demonstrates not only Jesus’ foreknowledge of his own death, but of his resurrection, and the “benefits” to those who believe in him after he is gone (ascended into heaven?). His death and resurrection is like that of the pains of labor: at first the process is painful, but soon after, with new life comes great joy and hope for the future.

2. What new light do I find in this particular reading of this passage of the text? (NEW LIGHT)

While training as a family therapist I was taught the approach of “reframing” a situation. The approach is used when individuals or families appear to be “stuck” in a negative cycle of blame, shame, recriminations, etc. Thus, a little boy who constantly fails in school due to disruptive behaviors (and which causes a great deal of conflict and anguish for the parents) is actually “helping” the usually emotionally distant family unit to come together as a team to help one of their members to cope better.

It seems that Jesus is doing that sort of thing here. Of course, if one believes the traditional theology of the Christian church, then Jesus was referring more to just metaphor. However, he does use a life-affirming, uplifting metaphor of a potentially traumatizing and horrific event: namely, his arrest and crucifixion. I had never noticed how he had “reframed” the entire situation to one of birth and new life to help prepare his followers for impending events.

3. Is this passage true to my experience? (TRUTH)

Happily, yes. I’ve had several very difficult situations that appeared to be permanently damaging, but turned into life changing and “reviving” circumstances. A “life from or after death” sort of thing.

Sensing God’s presence and the love of others in the midst of those “dying times” helps me to recognize the new life afterwards more readily and easily.

4. What are the implications of this passage for my life? (IMPLICATIONS)

Hmm. I don’t know if I have ever had the prescience of Jesus: that is, to recognize an impending horrible situation as being a prelude to something that will bring new life and new beginnings. Typically, I can only tell afterwards – hindsight is 20/20, that sort of thing.

Or maybe I have as with the death of a dear friend or family member. Despite my deep sadness and pain, I recall that afterwards there is life, even a new life that creates change and transformation (at least for me and possibly for those who have died – I am agnostic about the particulars of post-death).

5. What problems do I have with this passage? (PROBLEMS)

None. I tend to be agnostic and ambivalent regarding some of the specifics of the Nicene creed, etc., and these verses hint to some of that. But, one can also interpret it in other ways that affirms that the pain and loss of today is the process wherein we can and do find renewal, hope, and new life.

Anything you want – you got it :-)

Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

What does it mean to ask for something in another person’s name? Is it a blank check for whatever I might want? I’m not sure …

Suppose that every day, you and your dad go to the AM-PM mini-mart and get a snack. One day, your dad can’t go with you, and he says, “Go by yourself, and ask for whatever you want in my name.” So you go, and see something you want – a nitrate-tainted mystery-meat weiner (hey, I’m a vegetarian 🙂 – but the store clerk will not give it to you …. why not? Because you stood in the place of your dad, who was gone, and asked for something “in his name” – asked for something he himself would have requested for you …… that weiner wouldn’t make your joy completer.

Maybe asking for something in Jesus’ name means asking for something he would want for you … something that will align you with what God desires for you. But how can doing what someone else wants, even God, make one’s joy complete?

I asked Fr. Marsh once about God’s will and he wrote …

We tend to think of God’s will as a blueprint we can follow or ignore, but it can’t be like that. God’s will has to be as responsive to the moment as ours is. When Ignatius was writing, the whole idea of “will” was rather different than ours … back then, will was the aspect of the soul associated with love and with desire … instead of God’s will, God’s deaire is how I think of it. What is God desiring right now for me?

I think (on my good days) that God’s desire for me is the same thing that I most deeply want for myself … so if I ask for something that sends me in that direction, in J’s name, God may well give it to me and make my joy complete 🙂

and Jesus explains himself

we should be careful of such — its likely an indicator that John the gospel writer felt a need to explain Jesus.

But what does John say?

There will be the death and then the resurrection. And the trauma following tehd eath will be like the birth pangs of a new birth and the resurrection will be like taht birth.

In the resurrection the disciples will be able to ask the father for anything in his name and it will be given. Indeed Christ encourages such asking so your joy may be complete.

An interesting phrase that. It was used before:

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:10-11)

It will reappear in John 17:13 and in the Johannine letters 1 and 2.

I cannot bear witness to such a faith as this. It has not been fulfilled in my life and experience. Based upon what others here have said — it is not true of anyone else’s here either — though some may have found other consolations.

New Member

Joe G. author and blogmeister at BeppeBlog has joined the ranks of the baker Street Irregulars.

Welcome Joe. We extend to you the freedom of the meeting to post both blog and comment. SOP here is for me david-william (aka kwakersaur) to post the passage under consideration about twice a week — generally Sunday and Wednesday. People post their responses as they feel moved — in full blog posting or in comments to postings and then we respond to each other’s responses.

I would suggest we all post personal bios at some point but another invite is pending and it might be well to wait on that.

And again — welcome and thank-you for joining us.

* * *

P.S. the pending invite is to Lorcan of Plain in the City. Until such time as Lorcan elects to join formally commenting on other’s postings are still possible. Only the option of posting a full blog posting is reserved for full membership.

This goes for any lurkers out there. You are certainly welcome to post comments to other’s postings or to the scripture passage. And if what you have to say is poignant enough I’m sure someone will use their blogging powers to elevate it to bloghood.

Sorrow of the Disciples (John 16:16-24)

“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.”

Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.”

Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”

Pending Invites

I have taken the initiative to invite two more folks to join us if their spirits incline in such a direction. I invite them to peruse past comments and consider sagely before diving in.

The two folks in question are:

Lorcan Otway of Plain in the City; and

Joe G. of BeppeBlog

I was also intending to invite Amanda of Of the Best, But Plain but could not locate her email on her profile.

I’m also open to suggestions for additional members and/or functional limits on our group size. These two folks create a certain gender inequity as well as a certain weighting towards Quakes — if that is of any concern to the Catholics and Episcopalians present.