Mark Wutka's Wonderful Questions
Mark Wutka really summarizes all the questions in looking at theology and philosophers, I think. Do read his comment to yesterdays posting. Mark thee is correct in thy question. What it boils down to, is a fine line between fact and opinion.
Let me use thy comment as an outline. "You refer to Quakers who talk about George Fox as "backward-looking", yet you have frequently brought up Elias Hicks. Is it only okay to look back at certain people?"
Fox began us on a process of worship and approaching the world in Peace. In this approach he and I have much in common, and if we were to meet over the centuries, we would recognize each other on much about Quaker Process. He was a man of the Seventeenth Century, so, on many scientific facts, he and I would not right off, see eye to eye, but in his process I would stay open to hear him, and I expect he'd be open to hear me. To look back on his facts and opinions is backward looking, as the facts change over time as the process of openness continues. I have access to comparative biblical studies that just did not exist in his day. Most people could not compare early texts of the bible as they were undiscovered or un translated.
Hicks and I agreed on the issue of inclusive Quakerism, and as with the facts of his day and some opinions we would not be in unity. For example, Hicks did not believe, as a personal observation, we should make graven images of each other. Like his nephew, Edward, I love making images and do not believe it violates my faith. The strength of the Hicksite tradition, is that from the example of Elias' dearness towards his nephew, and treatment of others with whom he did not agree, I know Elias would have stayed in process with me and I would not worry about him driving me from my meeting.
"You say you are not anti-Christian, but you seem in many of your posts to be discrediting Christianity as a corruption and misunderstanding of a Jewish Rabbi."
Some Christians consider me a Christian, and I don't run from that definition. If as a Christian, it is meant that the message of Yeshua is vital in my faith, as is the message of Fox and Hicks. However, as with Fox and Hicks, with whom I would not be in unity on certain opinions and facts, I know as a matter of scholarship, that the Jesus of the present Bibles cannot be the Yeshua of history. The statement that Christianity is a corruption and misunderstanding of a Jewish Rabbi, I would say, is a fact provable in a court of law. The changes in the texts, in order to conform his life and teaching to a violent growing institution of Christendom where so extensive that much detail of his life and much of his teaching has been buried under the weight of untruths. However, I think there is an outline that is valid and more, is vital.
Yeshua was born in Judea. He, as a young man follows John the Baptist. John believed that ritual washing was central to Judaism. Yeshua fell out with him over this, coming to believe that feeding each other, both literally and spiritually was the central ideal in Judaism as we were spiritually clean, and that we needed to feed each other in these ways beyond the division of nation or faith, and in so doing, we walked in the light of God. He was crucified and during that, this man who said we will not thirst cried out that he was thirsty and was forsaken by our father. His followers were pitched into despair. Shortly there after, a stranger prepared a meal for them as they landed from fishing, and they said, "he is risen." For me, they meant the seeds he planted grew, strangers were feeding strangers, literally food and spirit.
Now, am I less a Christian because I do not believe his body was reanimated? For many yes. For them, I am not a member of their tribe, and some who feel I am not their tribe turn their back on me, block me from comment on their blogs, bar the door of their heart to me. Which of us is Christian, well, that is a matter of theology. For me, we should all feed each other, literally and in spirit. I try and do that each day. Even those deep dark days in this past worst year of my life, I remain committed to Yeshua's lesson, feeding others as I can and remaining open to be fed as they can feed me.
"You say that "we should not bar the door to the Christian Bible", just after you mention violence in early Christianity followed immediately by the fact that people refuse to use nazi research. What kind of a conclusion are we supposed to draw from that?"
I draw the conclusion that we look at the violence we brought into our hearts in creating a Christian tribe, rather than following the tribeless faith of Yeshua. Once we make Yeshua a God, or the only intermediary of God, then we express the violence of the bible and reject his lesson of feeding each other, and tribelessness. Once we need others to believe the facts of our faith, we build walls between us, and I think walls between us and the message of Yeshua.
We accept the violence of the genocide against the Cathars, the Jews, all who did not accept the editorial and factual changes that made these books the present bible and all the other books officially false.
"Perhaps you are only trying to argue against requiring Quakers to be Christian, but your result is that you are belittling the entire tradition in the process."
Exactly. Right on the point. As someone who was led to inclusion by the processes traditional to my Hicksite upbringing, I feed lovingly Quakers who believe Jesus is God, or God's only son, or a perfect being... but, I will speak to their power to build walls that exclude me in the same way I will speak truth to the powers that drop bombs. In love and in the courage to know it will take time and effort.
I would not say belittling. I am rejecting as I reject all violence, that part of Christianity which is a prize of war. I am not belittling or rejecting thee, or any other who accept those parts of the story which come into our homes on the blood of Cathar or Jewish martyrs, or all those burned, shot with arrow or bullet, all who were starved in prisons, or drowned in the tides. This telling of the story of Jesus, whose blood as a drop in the process that included the blood of so many innocents, killed for their loving faith.
Mark, dear Mark. Thy questions gave me the opportunity to make this more clear I hope, and I hope thee has more such questions as it leads us to unity in our one God.
Thine, all of you, dearly in the light