Okay, here’s my try:
The hour is getting late in this universe. If we aren’t scared, we’ve either got faith or blind spots. I fear I’ve just gone numb.
If we find it hard to care about all those strangers whom we ought to help if we only knew a way… it’s probably because we really don’t know any way. There’s serious despair going around; we’re lucky if we haven’t come down with it ourselves.
Most of us are compulsively going through motions, some of us donating and others of us busy lobbying or organizing or protesting to keep the Forces of Shameless Cluelessness from committing yet another incredibly stupid atrocity, just wanting to believe we can.
While we often want to pray that some new evil be averted, we know that God has allowed the same thing over and over in the past, and shows no sign of stopping. We see furthermore that humans everywhere are persisting in just the sort of behavior that makes calamities unavoidable.
We’re humans; we have to either make sense of all this or at least imagine we can cope with it anyway. But the world only truly makes sense in reference to God.
Scriptures can be misused in many ways; their true value is that they remind us of God and lead us to see our situation in that context.
For the past several months we’ve been reading a scripture about Jesus, and we haven’t found too much to say about it.
“If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.”
Jesus said that, according to the Gospel of Thomas. It sounds to me like something he would have said. Truth.
Come on, please! Someone bring forth something, from what is within you!
What is this person Jesus doing, so far? Why? What does it mean to you?
Is there material worth studying in the Christian scriptures? I think so.
Is there much appetite on the net for this kind of study? Among Friends & acquaintances? Maybe someone can give me an estimate of how many lurkers we have here; maybe there’re more than I think. Maybe the problem is merely one of encouraging them to speak up and make fools of themselves like the rest of us?
We need more people contributing to this site! We couldn’t afford to lose David, but we have, and my appetite for slogging through Mark: start at the beginning, go on to the end, then stop!–isn’t what I thought it would be.
What are we reading this stuff for? Is this–and nothing else–the “Word of God”?–or as George Fox put it, at least “words of God”? What does that mean? If we stare at these books long enough, do we reach Truth somehow?
What’s central here? Is there a coherent story that accounts for the existence of these materials, the inspiration together with the narrow misunderstandings? What part of this do we most need to study, for what reason?
How do we all see what we’re trying to do with this? Comments, anyone?
I have been, voluntarily or just accidentally, bugging out of participation here. Partly from having the system all churned-up by the site service-providers, mainly from caring-less and feeling that I would rather be fixing my old go-playing program to run again, only redesigned to improve its game sufficiently in maybe a million years or so of playing with itself….
The Bible. A collection of stories-of and ravings-by people who once lived their lives in reference to God.
Here we are, reading these books in an age of disconnection. (Like all the other ages we’ve ever heard of…) Our civilization offers us the choice of being disconnected atheists or disconnected believers. God knows we can’t live that way; it’s just not eternally viable! But this seems to be the norm.
I’ve seen a lot of comments here. I can’t be sure my own comments are better–How would I know what blind spots I’m not seeing?– but most of what I’ve observed has been people busy confirming their own mental baggage. If this were an airplane it would still be on the runway struggling to move against all the anchors we’d hung out the windows.
I can’t prove myself innocent, nor would it matter. What I’m saying is that this exercise, as we’ve been practicing it, is useless. No wonder people quit (or stay away from the beginning) in droves.
Am I the only one who’s felt this? What might be a better approach?
Growing up my favourite Saturday morning radio show was Eclectic Circus on CBC FM. The name was apropos: played everything from Wagner to The Beatles seasoned liberally with Mozart, 60s folk-rock, and the occasional jazz ensemble piece. The host, Alan McFee would sign off each show with the a reading I later learned was from Shakespeare’s The Tempest:
OUR revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Prospero in The Tempest
He would then say: “Good Night Vacuumland!”
I think Eclectic Circus is a good metaphor for the last year and a half we have spent here together. But I think it is time for me, like Prospero, to set aside my magick bookes and re-enter incarnate society. Its been fun. If those of you still left decide to continue the project — feel free — Crystal, Forrest, and Larry all have administrative rights — I may check in now and then to kibitz around — throw my two pennies into the pot and so forth.
Good night vaccumland.
9:30-32 – Then they left that district and went straight through Galilee. Jesus kept this journey secret for he was teaching his disciples that the Son of Man would be betrayed into the power of men, that they would kill him and that three days after his death he would rise again. But they were completely mystified by this saying, and were afraid to question him about it.
9:33 – So they came to Capernaum. And when they were indoors he asked them, “What were you discussing as we came along?”
9:34-35 – They were silent, for on the way they had been arguing about who should be the greatest. Jesus sat down and called the twelve, and said to them, “If any man wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”
9:36-37 – Then he took a little child and stood him in front of them all, and putting his arms round him, said to them, “Anyone who welcomes one little child like this for my sake is welcoming me. And the man who welcomes me is welcoming not only me but the one who sent me!”
9:38 – Then John said to him, “Master, we saw somebody driving out evil spirits in your name, and we stopped him, for he is not one who follows us.”
9:39-41 – But Jesus replied, “You must not stop him. No one who exerts such power in my name would readily say anything against me. For the man who is not against us is on our side. In fact, I assure you that the man who gives you a mere drink of water in my name, because you are followers of mine, will most certainly be rewarded.”
9:42 – “And I tell you too, that the man who disturbs the faith of one of the humblest of those who believe in me would be better off if he were thrown into the sea with a great mill-stone hung round his neck!”
9:14-15 – Then as they rejoined the other disciples, they saw that they were surrounded by a large crowd, and that some of the scribes were arguing with them. As soon as the people saw Jesus, they ran forward excitedly to welcome him.
9:16 – “What is the trouble?” Jesus asked them.
9:17-18 – A man from the crowd answered, “Master, I brought my son to you because he has a dumb spirit. Wherever he is, it gets hold of him, throws him down on the ground and there he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth. It’s simply wearing him out. I did speak to your disciples to get them to drive it out, but they hadn’t the power to do it.”
9:19 – Jesus answered them, “Oh, what a faithless people you are! How long must I be with you, how long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.”
9:20 – So they brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it convulsed the boy, who fell to the ground and writhed there, foaming at the mouth.
9:21 – “How long has he been like this?” Jesus asked the father.
9:22 – “Ever since he was a child,” he replied. “Again and again it has thrown him into the fire or into water to finish him off. But if you can do anything, please take pity on us and help us.”
9:23 – “If you can do anything!” retorted Jesus. “Everything is possible to the man who believes.”
9:24 – “I do believe,” the boy’s father burst out. “Help me to believe more!”
9:25 – When Jesus noticed that a crowd was rapidly gathering, he spoke sharply to the evil spirit, with the words, “I command you, deaf and dumb spirit, come out of this boy, and never go into him again!”
9:26 – The spirit gave a loud scream and after a dreadful convulsion left him. The boy lay there like a corpse, so that most of the bystanders said, “He is dead.”
9:27-28 – But Jesus grasped his hands and lifted him up, and then he stood on his own feet. When he had gone home, Jesus’ disciples asked him privately, “Why were we unable to drive it out?”
9:29 – “Nothing can drive out this kind of thing except prayer,” replied Jesus.
9:1 – Then he added, “Believe me, there are some of you standing here who will know nothing of death until you have seen the kingdom of God coming in its power!”
9:2-5 – Six days later, Jesus took Peter and James and John with him and led them high up on a hill-side where they were entirely alone. His whole appearance changed before their eyes, while his clothes became white, dazzling white – whiter than any earthly bleaching could make them. Elijah and Moses appeared to the disciples and stood there in conversation with Jesus. Peter burst out to Jesus, “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here! Shall we put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah?”
9:6-7 – He really did not know what to say, for they were very frightened. Then came a cloud which overshadowed them and a voice spoke out of the cloud, “This is my dearly-loved Son. Listen to him!”
9:8-11 – Then, quite suddenly they looked all round them and saw nobody at all with them but Jesus. And as they came down the hill-side, he warned them not to tell anybody what they had seen till “the Son of Man should have risen again from the dead”. They treasured this remark and tried to puzzle out among themselves what “Rising from the dead” could mean. Then they asked him this question, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come before Christ?”
9:12-13 – “It is quite true,” he told them, “that Elijah does come first, and begins the restitution of all things. But what does the scripture say about the Son of Man? This: that he must go through much suffering and be treated with contempt! I tell you that not only has Elijah come already but they have done to him exactly what they wanted – just as the scripture says of him.”