Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What Would Jesus Do... ?

Interesting Question... It first came to me when I bought a teddy bear for a Jewish pal's kid... it had a funny sweater... with the letters WWJD, thought it was a college or something. Gordon was not amused. He told me what it meant. Whoops. Well, let's see... What WOULD Jesus do... ?

Pretty sure he would not worship a bloke... anyone... ( even if he saw him in the mirror... )

Likely he'd torch the New Testament.

He'd take a bullwhip to the Churches... all of 'em... even ours... whoever is the ours ...

He'd say, eat together... don't forget the wine... have fun.
oh and don't leave anyone out...

That's because he got left out, allot. He remembered when he got popular,

allot don't

Oh yeah... he'd also say stop all the make-ee-up-ee crap and seek the truth.

14 Comments:

At 6:58 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Did I forget to say, love each other? Love each other, so so much.... cut the crap and love each other.

 
At 4:37 AM, Blogger postliberal said...

I think it's a bit of a moot point as to what Jesus would do, especially in the context of our 21st century Church - what we say of his possible views and actions is likely to be a mirror to our own personal mores, predjudices, motivations, and wishes. It's likely that, as a first century provincial Jew, he'd be somewhat awkward in the midst of a (post?) modern gentile society. Some would believe, that's the whole point of the great comission, and later developments in Christianity over the centauries - to reincarnate Jesus in every culture, wherever he's needed.

Perhaps I betray a fairly 'high' Christology there? Hey ho ;P

 
At 4:51 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

I suppose, after a lifetime of Quakerism, seeking to get away from myth towards truth or honesty, I have to ask, isn't it a dangerous trap to tie all these things to myth? One can't reason with myth... "of course I am right, God says so... " I think a Rabbi long ago would say, don't use me in that way.
cheers
lor

 
At 6:19 AM, Blogger Twyla said...

You know what? I know loads of people that have it figured out...EXACTLY what Jesus would do, in every circumstance. They will point you to the Book to prove it.

Sort of like those religious dudes in Christ's day, who bandied about the scriptures and missed the point entirely.

What do I think he would do? Most of the time, I have little idea. Love, certainly. Experience life fully, probably. Cut the crap, yeah, I think so. Other than that, I imagine I would be surprised, since he seemed always to do and say the opposite of what folks expected.

 
At 6:22 AM, Blogger ash said...

Myth is an interesting word. I think we have lost the meaning of it in our time. The church sees myth as the enemy. I tell a fundimentalist that the creation narrative is a myth and he will boil with rage. "no, it is not a myth, it is the truth!" he might say.

we have been lead to believe that "myth" is synonimous with "false" or "lies" or "untruth". It seems to me that this is a mistake.

In the philosophy of religious language, we talk about myth quite a bit. Myth conveys truth, but not in a literal sense. or

"Any myth is not concerned with literal or physical truth. It is an attempt to communicate an eternal or spiritual truth, to be absorbed by the mind rather than just the intellect. It is aimed at affective rather than cognitive faculties. Although it may have characteristics similar to a fairy tale, it should never be seen as the same. Fairy tales are fantasies about other worlds, told/read for the sake of escapist pleasure, the attraction of the magical and the surreal. By contrast, a myth is told to excite and inform a person’s sense of the religious and the moral. (A fairy tale can, of course, adopt myths into its story — CS Lewis’ tales from Narnia do exactly this.)"

Thus, we can say that Genesis conveys truth: it tells us that we are made by God, in his/her image, and that God cares about his creation, and is involved with us. It does not, however, invite us to read it such that the world was made in 6 days and so on. That is the allagory.

Therefore, I am all for myth. Myth fascinates me, and excites me. But it also upsets me immensely when I see myths taken out of their context and treated as cognitive language. This ruins the magic, and, invariably, destroys the truth that the myth is set to convey.

So we should not, you are right, say that "God says this...", more "God tells this story, and I believe he is saying this. How do you read it?"

 
At 6:39 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Ash:
That's the problem... growing up in a folkloric tradition I LOVE myth as well... nothing beats it to make a point... problem is when you conect myth and faith, it becomes like a loaded gun. Folks begin to believe the myth and miss the point. They begin to argue how many Angles fit on the head of a pin and go to court to take science out of the schools... and often, in the US they are able to do just that... then wrapped in the cloak of their myth, they go on cursades from Women's clinic bombing, to the invasion of nations who worship in ways we do not. I've noticed how many people associate the faith of the Iraqi people with the rightness of our cause, here in the US, from statements that Muslem faith creates susiside bombers, to Muslems practice an imature religion which is why they are more prone to violence than "we" are... jeeze... some people have a lot of trouble counting... ah well, seems this got folks thinking and talking...
:)
lor

 
At 6:43 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Oh... also... Post Liberal, would there be more meaning as a Christian to say, "look for Christ in each generation" - rather than "reincarnate Jesus in every culture". Think of the apostles who did not recognise the risen Christ until he fed them on that beach so long ago... if we look for Jesus, we may be closed to the presence of Christs (mulitple... God teaching us through others... )
Cheers,
Yours in Christs (and one God... )
lor

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger postliberal said...

“…problem is when you conect myth and faith, it becomes like a loaded gun. Folks begin to believe the myth and miss the point.”

There will always be myths and stories – of however long. It’s in our nature to tell stories, from the gods walking on earth to a nation’s inspired rightness to intervene in other’s causes. It’s not good castigating the very idea of having ‘sacred stories’ (ie. Those which help us find meaning and inspiration). Far better to try and encourage the best of them, for the truth they carry. To dismiss mythology per say makes me think of babies and bathwaters.

“…would there be more meaning as a Christian to say, "look for Christ in each generation" - rather than "reincarnate Jesus in every culture". Think of the apostles who did not recognise the risen Christ until he fed them on that beach so long ago... if we look for Jesus, we may be closed to the presence of Christs (mulitple... God teaching us through others... )”

It takes someone to be Christ, nothing will come from assuming he’ll just be around in an ethereal sense. That’s what I mean when I say reincarnate – not that people, and the world, is a godless clean slate waiting to be visited. But that it takes people of compassion and creativity to make this ‘kingdom of heaven’ a reality – look around and we see his face in all those people who, at times, will care. And the story of Christ, human divinity, will surely help to see better.

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

"It takes someone to be Christ, nothing will come from assuming he’ll just be around in an ethereal sense. That’s what I mean when I say reincarnate – not that people, and the world, is a godless clean slate waiting to be visited. But that it takes people of compassion and creativity to make this ‘kingdom of heaven’ a reality – look around and we see his face in all those people who, at times, will care. And the story of Christ, human divinity, will surely help to see better."

Ah Post... this is the crux... when we make a God of a good man, in a singular sense, many stop looking for God in others. So, I think it is more important to see God equally in Jesus, and your next door neighbor, as Jesus said, and was quoted in the book of Thomas, the oldest gosple we have in existence, we are all twins. He also said, if you follow me, you are not following God. Seems he made a lot more of a distinction between myth and fact than many Christians do, today. I have a feeling he was a bit worried about the cult of personality.
I am not saying through myth and fiction out the window... but right in bright red letters, "this is an aligory folks... " well that might not be enough if the "DeVinci Codes" are an example of someone screaming FICTION and folks finding fact in them...
HHmmm...
Well, send bucks to help with the flood, folks...
cheers
lor

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger postliberal said...

oh this is all ever so interesting.

"when we make a God of a good man, in a singular sense, many stop looking for God in others. So, I think it is more important to see God equally in Jesus, and your next door neighbor,"

I think there's an archetype in Jesus, that there's a divine pattern for the potential of humanity in him (not to be served by trying to constrain all people in the patter of 1st century Judaism, I hasten tro add). But I think that the particular communicates something about the universal - that's what most strikes me about incarnational theology. Jesus was unique, as an event - but that singularity happened because of truthes about everything in our world and lives, rather than to the exlusion of them. God became one of us, and this even exposes how divine our world is - and has become - rather than simply how empty everything around him was and is. The curtain, of the holiest place, in the temple was torn. The highest Christology points towards a humane vision, perhaps the best humanism - I certainly think so.

"as Jesus said, and was quoted in the book of Thomas, the oldest gosple we have in existence, we are all twins. He also said, if you follow me, you are not following God."

Maybe I labour under a misconception, but I've been long led to believe that the gospel of St Mark was considered the earliest extant account - not least by virtue of it being so 'unpolished' and without clean ending. It's not necessarily important in itself - unless you see this as a matter of greater authenticity of the stories contained within - but I'd be interested in hearing why you think it's the earliest. I really need to read it, this has been an ambition of mine for a couple of years now.

I don't think I'd hold that particular statement in much esteem. Not just because I've been brought up in an alternative view, to take a notable Christ as the norm for a Christian worldview, in some way. But also because I don't think it's fair to seperate out God from people - it seems to rational to take away the devotional element from our regard of people. Not least Christ, in whom countless people have found an encounter with God. In looking to people, even certain people more so, many of us have found something transcendent - beyond idolatry or blinkered hero worship.

"Seems he made a lot more of a distinction between myth and fact than many Christians do, today. I have a feeling he was a bit worried about the cult of personality. I am not saying through myth and fiction out the window... but right in bright red letters, "this is an aligory folks... " well that might not be enough if the "DeVinci Codes" are an example of someone screaming FICTION and folks finding fact in them..."

He said many things about himself, in all the acounts - for which many motives have been drawn. This retiscence cannot merely be traced back to an utter ordinaryness in Jesus. Of course the very incarnation itself is a bit of a paradox, for how can Christ have been truely human and one of the rest of us if he was divinely living? But it's that kinda ambiguity that attracts me, and makes me hope for the opposite to you in a way - for a less rational and orderly faith than so many seem to wish to squeeze us into. I wouldn't say 'no compromise', but I'd rather see a Christianity that can live without its terms being ordered by modern enlightenment values. The mixing of scientific outlooks with religious is often dangerous or silly, but won't be helped by emptying the latter of it's meaning in order to make it imitate the former's approach. Our world is more, so much more, than fact and fiction.

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Post Liberal... you and Ash, and Martin... and my ol' pal C.A.... I hope to get to England this winter again, play some music, do some research, we all have to have pint or eight, and really get down to talk... : )... but, here it is... why do we need to make archetypes out of humans? Is that not a huge assault on that person. How do you think Jesus the Rabbi would feel if you worshiped his image and referred to him as perfect. Frankly, I think, from the Gospel of Thomas ( the oldest existing actual book, 25 ACE... no reference to resurrection, lots of nifty quotes... there is a new edition edited by Pagles... )

Well let's look at why this is not a good thing. Here in the US, the state murdered Dr. King, a rather Jesus like fellow, I believe. After his death, the state which killed him, made an icon of him and began to assign to him support for everything including the Gulf war... Leave people their dignity! There is wonder that flawed mankind can inspire to goodness. Look at Schindler! What a flawed fellow! A war profiteer... but when it came down to it, he could not get in line with mass murder.

I love the fact that Jesus lost his temper. God only knows what else he would tell you are his crunchy bits. Yes God is NOT an externality, but we are all equally part of God.

Christs are all over the place. Who ever it was who fed the apostles on the beach, after their teacher was exicuted was A Christ, Schindler was a Christ when he said no to the holocaust. Thomas Otway was a Christ when he did not get in line with the genocide of the Irish Hunger in 1847, Reverend Niemoiler was a Christ when he said, care for those who are not you when the nazis come for them... Even that fellow ( I have to center down to love at all ) Rudy Guiliani was a Christ when he put his arm around a crying Police woman and told her all would be alright as the Towers fell, The islanders who are fighting back from the Tsunami - who sent thousands of dollars in relief to the people of Mississippi and Louisiana are Christs...

Cheers all, lor

 
At 4:16 AM, Blogger Twyla said...

Funny, all this reminds me of the old Buddhist saying, " If you see Buddha on the road, kill him".

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger postliberal said...

Aha, it would be god to see you in the flesh, and hat, when you make it over here.

“...why do we need to make archetypes out of humans? Is that not a huge assault on that person. How do you think Jesus the Rabbi would feel if you worshiped his image and referred to him as perfect.”

I’m rather fond of the writings of Geza Vermes, and in line with the general trend of his analysis (and personal view), I suspect that any faith-healer Rabbi Jesus would be bemused, or perhaps concerned, about the personification of God through him. But perhaps mainly because it might allow some people to get distracted from his rather urgent aim of the kingdom of heaven (did he expect it to come about fully, with the end, in his lifetime? I think it’s possible, but that’s for another time), by focussing on personality and esoteric devotion. Rather like some Catholics getting distracted by devotion to the Pope, from devotion to their everyday life.

But intentions or nay, most Christians have come, over the centuries, to confess that they believe in one God, of which Jesus is. I’m one of them, and can see how it can lead to abuse. But that so many people, across time and the world, have been moved and inspired to a better life – for themselves and others- by meeting God in Jesus, well that means I cannot be so reticent as yourself. Jesus is as much a story, to us, as any limited person – for good and ill.

Call me sceptical if you like, but I think it’s unlikely that there’s any gospel account that’s so close to the supposed life of Jesus – at the very least there’s a generation or so’s telling and embellishment with belief before any records were finally written down. But I think this lack of absolute connection to Jesus words is quite positive, in a way – without it there wouldn’t have been the flexibility and inspiration to make him the inspirer (even sometimes by proxy) of a world faith. Or should that be faiths?

“Well let's look at why this is not a good thing. Here in the US, the state murdered Dr. King, a rather Jesus like fellow, I believe. After his death, the state which killed him, made an icon of him and began to assign to him support for everything including the Gulf war... Leave people their dignity!”

ha, it’s certainly true that people can become some kinda moral/spiritual version of the product endorsement. Like a Hollywood star selling cigarettes, Jesus has been dug up, dusted-off, and used to promote all sorts of trashy things like war, genocide, sectarianism, and abuse. But for those who’ve kept his spirit alive, who believe that he lives in all who make Gods love a reality rather than just an idea or teaching, there’s the possibility of transformation.

“I love the fact that Jesus lost his temper. God only knows what else he would tell you are his crunchy bits.”

The character we have in the gospel accounts was sometimes a rather pugnacious character – the most notable bit for me is where he appears to be casting aspersions on gentiles (calling them pigs and dogs, in effect). Does that humanity diminish the belief of the incarnation? Only, I’d wager, for those who live in a middle class world where God is only associated with the dull tackiness of notions of ‘dignity’ and ‘respectability’. As the quote I stuck up here put so well: “...I see the man toiling along in the hot sun, at times in the cold wind, going long stages, tired, hungry often, and footsore...” Would he really be without emotions, after all?

“Yes God is NOT an externality, but we are all equally part of God. Christs are all over the place...”

I don’t see the special event of God’s incarnation as to the exclusion of God’s utter involvement in everyone and everything – see above. God’s inspired people in every age to be those who care, that’s for sure. What is perhaps notable is that so many of those who’ve been inspired over the last couple of thousand years, is that they’ve found their lives make sense in the context of their encounters with Jesus Christ – this led them to become, however patchily, imitators of Christ. That’s why I don’t like the self-referential term of Christians, so many people who don’t use it are, in effect, ones themselves without being included in the Church.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger ash said...

What an interesting discussion this is turning out to be! And, I must say, I'd be most honoured to have a pint or eight in your company this winter if at all possible!

I've just got up from reading a book on the history of our religion. I got about as far as Nicea and Constantine before i needed a breather, and wandered to your turf for it.

One of the earliest disputes in church seems to have been, aside from circumcision, seems to have been "who is Jesus?" Was Jesus God? or was Jesus a bloke like you and me?

It seems to me the answer is both and neither. In that he was man, he was not God. In that he was God, he was not man. Yet in that he was God, he was able to be God and man. And, because he was man, he was able to unite man and God in that thing we all call salvation.

I'll not go on about atonement methods because that's a rather boring and messy conversation to have, and I don't know enough nor will enough to bother.

But here's the thing of it: if God and Man are fused together in the person of Christ, we become ever inseperable because Christ is eternal. So you are right to say we see Christ in our fellow men and women and younglings.

I remember going for a cup of tea with an old mate of mine when he was in training to become a youthworker for the council. On the way to the café after morning prayer, we ran into a guy who runs a project to teach school-drop-outs and trouble-makers the skills of the mechanic and to help them rebuild their lives and give themselves a future. He was all gushing and full of love, and sharewd a few stories about the guys he worked with and how hard they worked.

My mate turns to me as this guy walks off, and whispers "and they say only the saved will be in the Kingdom of Heaven? ha!"

Christ is in us, Christ is outside of us, Christ is all around us. I think we gotta open our eyes to see him!

I do believe Christ was God. But also, through Christ and the Holy Spirit, he are able to be very godly at times...

On Myth, incidentally, it would seem we agree...

 

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