Book Outlines http://booknotes.smallpict.com/ Thu, 29 May 2014 02:04:10 GMT Thu, 29 May 2014 02:04:10 GMT en-us Fargo v1.59 http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/rss/rss.html frank.mcpherson@gmail.com @frankm frank.mcpherson Chapter 8: Easter Sunday http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter8EasterSunday.html <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=MARK+16%3A1-8&amp;version=NRSV" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=MARK+16%3A1-8&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 16:1-8</a></a></p> <p>Easter is utterly central. But what was it? What are the Easter stories about? On one level, the answer is obvious: God raised Jesus. Yes. And what does this mean? Is it about the most spectacular miracle there's ever been? Is it about the promise of an afterlife? Is it about God proving that Jesus was indeed his Son? (page 144)</p> <p>Those of us who grew up Christian have a "preunderstanding" of Easter, just as we do of Good Friday and Christmas, that shapes our hearing of these stories.</p> <p>This widespread preunderstanding emphasizes the historical factuality of the stories, in harder or softer forms.</p> <p>So central is the historical factuality of the Easter stories for many Christians that, if they didn't happen this way, the foundation and truth of Christianity disappear. (page 145)</p> <p>"But we are convinced that an emphasis on the historical factuality of the Easter stories, as if they were reporting events that could have been photographed, gets in the way of understanding them." </p> <p>"When treated as if they are primarily about an utterly unique spectacular event, we often do not get beyond the question, 'Did they happen or not?' to the question, 'What do they mean?'</p> <p><b>History or Parable?</b></p> <p>What kind of narratives are these?</p> <p>When these stories are seen as history, their purpose is to report publicly observable events that could have been witnessed by anybody who was there. (page 146)</p> <p>When we see these stories as parable, the "model" for this understanding is the parables of Jesus.</p> <p>The truth of a parable -- of a parabolic narrative -- is not dependent on its factuality.</p> <p>"Seeing the Easter stories as parable does not involve a denial of their factuality. It's quite happy leaving the question open. <i>What it does insist upon is that the importance of these stories lies in their meanings</i>." (page 146)</p> <p>One should not think of history as "true" and parable as "fiction." (page 147)</p> <p>Both biblical literalists and people who reject the Bible completely do this: the former insist that the truth of the Bible depends on its literal factuality, and the latter see that the Bible cannot be literally and factually true and therefore don't think it is true at all.</p> <p><b>Mark's Story of Easter</b></p> <p>Mark provides us with the first story, the first narrative, of Easter.</p> <p>It is very brief, only eight verses.</p> <p>Mark does not report an appearance of the risen Jesus.</p> <p>Mark's Easter story ends very abruptly.</p> <p>Matthew adds to details to Mark's story in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+16%3A3-4&amp;version=NRSV">16:3-4</a>:</p> <p>He explains how the stone got moved: there is an earthquake</p> <p>He narrates the presence of guards at the tomb</p> <p>The ending is not only abrupt, but puzzling. According to Mark, the women don't tell anybody. End of gospel. Full stop. The ending was deemed unsatisfactory as early as the second century, when a longer ending was added to Mark (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+16%3A9-20&amp;version=NRSV">16:9-20</a>)</p> <p>Matthew reports that the women did tell the disciples. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28%3A8&amp;version=NRSV">28:8</a>)</p> <p>So does Luke (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24%3A9&amp;version=NRSV">24:9</a>)</p> <p>In Mark (and in Matthew), the women are to tell the disciples to go to Galilee, where they will see the risen Jesus. But in Luke, the risen Jesus appears in and around Jerusalem; Luke has no Easter stories set in Galilee.</p> <p><b>Mark's Story As Parable</b></p> <p>Perhaps, as some scholars have suggested, the command to "go to Galilee" means, "Go back to where the story began, to the beginning of the gospel." And what does one hear at the beginning of Mark's gospel? It is about the <i>way</i> and the <i>kingdom</i>. </p> <p><b>Appearance Stories In The Other Gospels</b></p> <p>These stories are the product of the experience and reflection of Jesus's followers in the days, months, years, and decades after his death. Strikingly none is found in more than one gospel -- striking because in the pre-Easter part of the gospels, the same story is often found in two more more gospels. (page 150)</p> <p>Matthew has two appearance stories:</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28%3A9-20&amp;version=NRSV">Matthew 28:9-20</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28%3A16-17&amp;version=NRSV">Matthew 28:16-17</a></p> <p>In the rest of the story (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28%3A18-20&amp;version=NRSV">Matthew 28:18-20</a>), the risen Jesus speaks what has come to be known as the Great Commission:</p> <p>To the risen Jesus, God has given "all authority in heaven and on earth." The implicit but obvious contrast is to the authorities who crucified him.</p> <p>Jesus's followers are to make "disciples" of "all nations." Now the commission is beyond Israel. A disciple is not simply a believer, but one who follows the way of Jesus.</p> <p>They are to teach them "to obey everything I have commanded you." What is required is obedience, not belief.</p> <p>"I am with you always." The words echo a theme announced in the story of Jesus's birth in Matthew, where he identifies Jesus with "Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."</p> <p>Luke also has two appearance stories that are considerably larger than Matthew's. Both are set in Jerusalem, not in Galilee. </p> <p>The first is the Emmaus road story, the longest Easter narrative (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24%3A13-35&amp;version=NRSV">24:13-35</a>)</p> <p>"If we were to use but one story to make the case that Easter stories are parabolic narratives, this is the one. It is difficult to imagine that this story is speaking about events that could have been videotaped." (page 151)</p> <p>"This story is the metaphoric condensation of several years of early Christian thought into one parabolic afternoon. Whether the story happened or not, Emmaus always happens. Emmaus happens again and again -- this is its truth as parabolic narrative." (page 152)</p> <p>Luke's second appearance story (24:36-49) is set on the evening of the same day, so it is still Easter Sunday.</p> <p>John has four appearance stories spread over two chapters.</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20-21&amp;version=NRSV">John 20-21</a></p> <p>After the first three appearances, the gospel of John seems to come to an end. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A30-31&amp;version=NRSV">20:30-31</a>) But then another chapter begins, reporting John's fourth appearance story (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+21%3A1-23&amp;version=NRSV">21:1-23</a>)</p> <p><b>The Gospel Easter Stories Together</b></p> <p>Two themes run through these stories that sum up the central meaning of Easter. The first, in a concise phrase, is <i>Jesus lives.</i> (page 154)</p> <p>Together, the appearance stories in the gospels make explicit what is promised in Mark: "You will see him." They underline the parabolic meaning of Mark's story of the empty tomb: Jesus is not among the dead, but among the living. (page 155)</p> <p>The truth of the affirmation "Jesus lives" is grounded in the experience of Christians throughout the centuries.</p> <p>To state the second affirmation of the Easter stories in an equally concise phrase: God has vindicated Jesus. God has said "yes" to Jesus and "no" to the powers who executed him. (page 155)</p> <p>The stories underline this in different ways. In Luke and John, the risen Jesus continues to bear the wounds of the empire that executed him. In Matthew, the risen Jesus has been given authority over all the authorities of this world.</p> <p>Mark, writing most concisely among the authors of the gospels says simply, "You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, <i>who was crucified; he has been raised</i>."</p> <p>Easter affirms that the domination systems of this world are not of God and that they do not have the final word.</p> <p><b>Paul And The Resurrection of Jesus</b></p> <p>The central themes of the gospel stories -- Jesus lives and Jesus is Lord -- are equally central to Paul's experience, conviction, and theology. To these, he adds a third.</p> <p>How did Paul experience the risen Jesus?</p> <p>Those traveling with Paul did not share the experience; indicating that it was a private and not public experience. In short, it was what is commonly called a vision.</p> <p>It is possible, perhaps even likely, that Paul thought of the appearances of the risen Jesus to Jesus's other followers also as visions.</p> <p>Some Christians are uncomfortable with this thought, as if there were "only" visions.</p> <p>Paul came to believe Jesus is Lord because of his experience of the risen Jesus changed his life.</p> <p>His experience had a crucial corollary. It generated the conviction not only that "Jesus lives," but that God had vindicated Jesus, said "yes" to the one who had been executed by the authorities and whose movement Paul was persecuting. (page 157)</p> <p>Paul's third Easter theme makes explicit what is implicit in the gospel stories of Easter. Namely, within the world of Jewish thought that shaped Jesus, Paul, and the authors of the New Testament, resurrection was associated with eschatology.</p> <p>Jesus, Paul, and earliest Christianity claimed that God's transfiguration of this earth had already started, that they also claimed that the general resurrection had begun with Jesus. That, of course, is why Paul must argue in 1 Corinthians that if there is no general resurrection, there is no Jesus resurrection, and if there is no Jesus resurrection, there is no general resurrection. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15%3A12-16&amp;version=NRSV">15:12-16</a>) </p> <p>If, therefore, the kingdom of God has begun on this earth or the general bodily resurrection has begun on this earth, the claim is also being made that all are here and now called to participate in what is now a collaborative eschatology. Or, in the magnificent aphorism of St. Augustine: "We without God cannot, and God without us will not." (page 158)</p> <p><b>Easter And Christian Life Today: Personal and Political Transformation</b></p> <p>Easter completes the archetypal pattern at the center of the Christian life: death and resurrection, crucifixion and vindication. (page 158)</p> <p>Easter is about God even as it is about Jesus. Easter discloses the character of God. Easter means God's Great Cleanup of the world has begun -- but it will not happen without us.</p> <p>As the climax of Holy Week and the story of Jesus, Good Friday and Easter address the fundamental human question, What ails us? Most of us feel the force of this question -- something is not right. So what ails us? Very compactly, egoism and injustice. And the two go together. (page 159)</p> <p>Egoism means being centered in the self and its anxieties and preoccupations, what is sometimes called the "small self." Egoism is centering in the anxious and fearful self and its concerns and desires.</p> <p>The issue is the kind of self that I am, that you are, that we are.</p> <p>Good Friday and Easter, death and resurrection together, are a central image in the New Testament for the path to a transformed self.</p> <p>Johns' incarnational theology, the death and resurrection of Jesus incarnates the way of transformation.</p> <p>We are invited to the journey that leads through death to resurrection and rebirth. But when only the personal meaning is emphasized, we betray the passion for which Jesus was willing to risk his life. (page 160)</p> <p>The political meaning of Good Friday and Easter sees the human problem as injustice, and the solution is God's justice.</p> <p>Jesus's passion got him killed. But God has vindicated Jesus. This is the political meaning of Good Friday and Easter.</p> <p>The anti-imperal meaning of Good Friday and Easter is particularly important and challenging for American Christians.</p> <p>Empire is (also) about the use of military and economic power to shape the world in one's perceived interest.</p> <p>Christians in the United States are deeply divided about this country's imperial role.</p> <p>Just as there is a dangerous distortion when only the personal meaning of Good Friday and Easter is emphasized, so also when only the political meaning is emphasized. (page 162)</p> <p>"Jesus is Lord," the most widespread post-Easter affirmation in the New Testament, is thus both personal and political. It involves a deep centering in God, a deep centering in God that includes radical trust in God, the same trust that we see in Jesus. It produces freedom -- "For freedom, Christ has set us free"; compassion -- the greatest of the spiritual gifts is love; and courage -- "Fear not, do not be afraid." </p> <p>Love is the soul of justice, and justice is the body, the flesh, of love. All of this is what Easter, the ultimate climax of Holy Week is about.</p> <p>Holy Week and the journey of Lent are about an alternative procession and an alternative journey. (page 163)</p> <p>Alternative procession is what we see on Palm Sunday, an anti-imperial and nonviolent procession.</p> <p>"Now and then, the alternative journey is the path of personal transformation that leads to journeying with the risen Jesus, just as it did for his followers on the road to Emmaus. Holy Week as they annual remembrance of Jesus's last week presents us with the always relevant questions: Which journey are we on? Which procession are we in?" (page 163)</p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 19:14:12 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter8EasterSunday.html Chapter 7: Saturday http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter7Saturday.html <p>After detailing every day from Sunday through Friday of Holy Week, Mark says nothing at all about the sabbath (Saturday). </p> <p>He notes that Jesus was crucified and buried on "the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath." (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+15%3A42&amp;version=NRSV">15:42</a>) Then he picks up the story on Easter Sunday with the finding of the empty tomb.</p> <p>The event -- "he descended into hell" -- mentioned in the Apostle's Creed but omitted in the Nicene Creed is known as the "descent into hell" or the "harrowing of hell." (page 127)</p> <p>"Harrowing" is an Old English word for "robbing" and "hell" is not the later Christian place of eternal punishment, but the Jewish Sheol or the Greek Hades, the afterlife place of nonexistence.</p> <p><b>God's Justice And The Vindication Of The Persecuted Ones</b></p> <p>Mark and the other evangelists were working within a Jewish tradition that had always emphasized how God vindicated those righteous Jews who remained faithful under persecution and were ready, if necessary, to die as martyrs for their faith in God. (page 128)</p> <p>Two models of divine vindication: <i>before </i>or <i>after </i>their death.</p> <p>The classic example of the first model of divine vindication, or salvation at the last minute before death under persecution, is the story of Daniel in the lion's den. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+5%3A1-6%3A28&amp;version=NRSV">Daniel 5:1-6:28</a>)</p> <p>The first model is helpful for faithful Jews facing ridicule or discrimination, but how would they help them in situations of lethal persecution when God did not intervene and they died as martyrs? (page 129)</p> <p>The second model of divine vindication, or salvation but only after death, appears in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Wisdom+2-5&amp;version=NRSV">Wisdom 2-5</a>, a book written shortly before the time of Jesus and now part of the Apocrypha of the Christian Bible. (page 129)</p> <p>It is, of course, that second model that is presumed behind the gospel stories of Jesus's execution and vindication. That is quite clear in Mark's account.</p> <p>Jesus's vindication was "in accordance with the scriptures" for all those who knew their tradition's second model.</p> <p><b>God's Justice And The Bodily Resurrection Of The Dead</b></p> <p>If, as in the biblical tradition, your faith tells you that this world belongs to and is ruled by a just divinity and your experience tells you that the world belongs to and is ruled by an unjust humanity, utopia or eschatology becomes almost inevitable as the reconciliation of faith and experience. (page 130)</p> <p>"Eschatology is absolutely not about the end of this time-space world, but rather about the end of this time-place world's subjection to evil and impurity, injustice, violence, and oppression. It is not about the evacuation of earth for God's heaven, but about the divine transfiguration of God's earth. It is not about the destruction, but about the transfiguration of God's world here below." (page 131)</p> <p>How did the claim of a general bodily resurrection, surely the most counter intuitive idea imaginable, become part of that utopian scenario of cosmic transfiguration at least within some -- for example, Pharisaic -- strands of Judaism? </p> <p>The general reason was because the renewal of an all-good creation here below upon this earth demanded it. How could you have a renewed creation without renewed bodies? (page 132)</p> <p>The specific reason bodily-resurrection became part of the utopian scenario was the problem of martyrdom during the Seleucid persecution of homeland Jews in the 160s BCE. The question was not about their survival, but about God's justice when faced specifically with the battered, tortured, and executed bodies of martyrs. (page 132) See <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+12%3A2-3&amp;version=NRSV">Daniel 12:2-3</a> and <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Maccabees+7%3A9-11&amp;version=NRSV">2 Maccabees 7:9-11</a></p> <p>If you believed, as Jesus said and Mark wrote, that the kingdom of God was already here upon the earth, you were claiming that God's Great Cleanup had already started. And if you believed that the first act of God's Great Cleanup of the earth was the general bodily resurrection and the vindication of all the persecuted and righteous ones, then for Christian Jews, the general resurrection could indeed begin with Jesus, but Jesus's resurrection would only be <i>along with and at the head of those other Jews who had died unjustly or at least righteously before him.</i></p> <p><b>Jesus's Resurrection And The Resurrection Of The Righteous Ones</b></p> <p>Jesus descended into hell, or Hades or Sheol, to liberate all the righteous ones who had lived for justice and died from injustice before he himself had lived and died a similar destiny. (page 133)</p> <p>Borg and Crossan look at this tradition in story, hymn, image, and finally silence.</p> <p><b>In Story</b></p> <p>Compare <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+15%3A37-39&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 15:37-39</a> with <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+27%3A50-54&amp;version=NRSV">Matthew 27:50-54</a> (page 134)</p> <p>Why did Matthew add those portions to Mark and what do they mean?</p> <p>Matthew uses a very significant term. He describes the resurrection of the saints "who had fallen asleep" (Greek <i>kekoime-meno-n</i>). And that is the standard way of describing the righteous ones who died before Jesus -- they are not so much dead as sleeping and awaiting resurrection for their suffering and tortured or executed bodies. See <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15%3A20&amp;version=NRSV">1 Corinthians 15:20</a></p> <p>Gospel of Peter. It's account of the resurrection is unique in that it actually describes the event itself as actually seen by Jewish authorities and Roman guards at the tomb. (page 136)</p> <p><b>In Hymn</b></p> <p>If the harrowing of hell fits with great difficulty into a narrative sequence, it fits with moving beauty into the poetic language of hymn and chant.</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+3%3A18-19&amp;version=NRSV">1 Peter 3:18-19</a>; <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+4%3A6&amp;version=NRSV">4:6</a></p> <p>The Odes of Solomon, a collection of Christian hymns from the end of the first century. (page 137)</p> <p><b>In Image</b></p> <p>It is standard in the iconography of Greek Orthodox Christianity to depict the resurrection of Jesus not as that of an isolated individual but as that of a group in which Jesus is the liberator and leader of the holy ones who slept in Hades awaiting his advent.</p> <p>St. Sargius Church in Old Cairo (page 138)</p> <p>Chora Church in Istanbul (page 139)</p> <p><b>In Silence</b></p> <p>Jesus's harrowing of hell may be present in some other places in the New Testament, but those possibilities are very much debated. It is sometimes asserted that it is a late and post-New Testament piece of theology. </p> <p>Borg and Crossan say that <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+27%3A51-53&amp;version=NRSV">Matthew 27:51-53</a> is less an example than an epitaph for the harrowing of hell tradition. </p> <p>It seems rather that it was early and leaving as the New Testament was being written rather than late and arriving after its creation. (page 140)</p> <p>First, the harrowing of hell is an intensely Jewish Christian tradition.</p> <p>Second, the harrowing of hell is also intensely mythological.</p> <p>Third, the harrowing of hell could not fit easily into any sequence as the ending of a gospel narrative. How could Jesus arise at the head of the martyred and righteous ones and then appear to his disciples to give them their apostolic mandate? </p> <p>Fourth, there is a somewhat complicated dogmatic problem. If Christians had to be baptized in order to enter heaven, did those holy ones who Jesus liberated from Hades enter heaven without baptism?</p> <p>"For those four reasons and especially in view of dogmatic problems like the last one, the harrowing of hell tradition was necessarily lost to the gospel story, but not of course to the wider Christian tradition, especially to Christian poetry and art, hymn and image." (page 141)</p> <p><b>Kingdom of God, Son of Man, And Bodily Resurrection</b></p> <p>For Mark the kingdom of God is already here because the Son of Man is already present. (page 142)</p> <p>Recall was said about Jesus as the Son of Man in Mark when discussing the trial of Jesus on Thursday, in Chapter 5. Mark insists that Jesus is the Son of Man from <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+7%3A13-14&amp;version=NRSV">Daniel 7:13-14</a></p> <p>For Mark, therefore, Jesus as Son of Man has been given the anti-imperial kingdom of God to bring to earth for God's people, for all those willing to enter it or take it upon themselves. (page 143)</p> <p>The three claims, about the kingdom of God as already begun through Jesus, the Son of Man as already arrived in Jesus, and the general bodily resurrection as already started with Jesus, intertwine with one another, serve to interpret one another, and, taken together, reveal the heart of Mark's theology.</p> <p>If God's Great Cleanup, God's Eastertide Spring Cleaning of the world, had already begun, then it was a collaborative effort.</p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 00:41:57 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter7Saturday.html Chapter 6: Friday http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter6Friday.html <p><b>Substitutionary Atonement Once Again</b></p> <p>In order for God to forgive sins, a substitutionary sacrifice must be offered. (page 107)</p> <p>For most of us who are Christian, this understanding is rooted in childhood and reinforced in our liturgies.</p> <p>Hence it is important to realize that this is not the only Christian understanding of Jesus's death. </p> <p>This understanding first appeared in fully developed form in a book written in 1097 by St. Anslem, archbishop of Canterbury. (page 108)</p> <p>Anslem presupposes a legal framework for understanding our relationship with God.</p> <p>This common Christian understanding goes far beyond what the New Testament says.</p> <p>"In particular, we will argue that the substitutionary sacrificial understanding of Jesus's death is not there at all in Mark."</p> <p>We most commonly hear the story of Jesus's death as a composite of the gospels and the New Testament as a whole.</p> <p>For example, only Matthew has the scene of Pilate washing his hands of the blood of Jesus and the cry of the crowd, "His blood be on us and on our children." (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mt++27%3A25&amp;version=NRSV">27:25</a>)</p> <p>Only Luke has the story of Jesus appearing before Herod Antipas as well as three of the "last words" of Jesus. (page 108)</p> <p>The story of Good Friday in John's gospel contains much more dialogue between Jesus and Pilate.</p> <p><b>Mark's Story of Good Friday</b></p> <p>As the earliest gospel, Mark provides the earliest narrative of the crucifixion. (page 109)</p> <p>"That Paul, the earliest author in the New Testament, uses multiple interpretations leads to an important point: there is no uninterpreted account of the death of Jesus in the New Testament." (page 110)</p> <p>The followers of Jesus in the years and decades after his death sought to see meaning in the horrific execution of their beloved master, whom they saw as God's annointed one.</p> <p>Mark tells the story of Good Friday in precisely indicated three-hour intervals.</p> <p>from dawn (6 AM) to 9 AM</p> <p>from 9 AM to noon</p> <p>from noon to 3 PM</p> <p>from 3 PM to evening (6 PM)</p> <p><b>From 6 to 9 AM</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+15%3A1-21&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 15:1-21</a></p> <p>To refuse to respond to authority reflects both courage and contempt. Authorities do not like it. (page 111)</p> <p>As history remembered, the story about Barabbas is difficult. But if we set in Mark's historical context as he wrote around the year 70, it makes considerable sense.</p> <p>Both Barabbas and Jesus were revolutionaries, both defied imperial authority. But Barabbas advocated violent revolution and Jesus advocated nonviolence.</p> <p><b>From 9AM to Noon</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+15%3A22-32&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 15:22-32</a></p> <p>Crucifixion was a form of Roman imperial terrorism. (page 113)</p> <p>It was not just capital punishment, but a very definite type of capital punishment for those such as runaway slaves or rebel insurgents who subverted Roman law and order and thereby disturbed the Pax Romana (the "Roman peace").</p> <p>It was always as public as possible.</p> <p>What made it <i>supreme </i>was not just the amount of suffering or even humiliation involved, but that there might be nothing left or allowed for burial.</p> <p>On the cross was an inscription: "The King of the Jews" (page 114)</p> <p>Pilate intended it as derision and most likely saw it mocking not only Jesus, but his accusers</p> <p>Mark tells us that Jesus was crucified between to "bandits." The Greek word translated "bandits" is commonly used for guerilla fighters against Rome, who were either "terrorists" or "freedom fighter," depending upon one's point of view.</p> <p><b>From Noon to 3 PM</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+15%3A22-33&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 15:33</a></p> <p>The darkness is the product of Mark's use of religious symbolism. In the ancient world, highly significant events on earth were accompanied by signs in the sky. (page 115)</p> <p>The darkness from noon to 3 PM is best understood as literary symbolism.</p> <p><b>From 3 to 6 PM</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+15%3A34-41&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 15:34-41</a></p> <p>Mark narrates two events that provide two interpretive comments about what has happened. The first is the tearing of the temple curtain. (page 116)</p> <p>This event is best understood symbolically and not as history remembered.</p> <p>That the curtain torn in two has a twofold meaning. On one hand, it is a judgement upon the temple and the temple authorities. On the other hand it is an affirmation.</p> <p>To say that the curtain, the veil, has been torn is to affirm that the execution of Jesus means that access to the presence of God is now open. This affirmation underlines Mark's presentation of Jesus earlier in the gospel: Jesus mediated access to God apart from the temple and the domination system that it had come to represent in the first century.</p> <p>The second interpretive comment is the exclamation by the Roman centurion that "Truly this man was God's Son." (15:30)</p> <p>In this exclamation of the centurion responsible for Jesus's execution, empire testifies against itself.</p> <p>The presence of the women reminds us that Jesus's men followers were not present. They have all fled. (page 117)</p> <p>Why would first-century Jewish women (and slightly later, gentile women) be attracted to Jesus? For the same reasons that first-century men were, yes. But in addition it seems clear that Jesus and earliest Christianity gave to women an identity and status they did not experience within the conventional wisdom of the time. </p> <p>The subversion has been denied by much of Christian history, but it is right here, in a prominent place in the story of the climactic events of Jesus life. (page 118)</p> <p><b>6 PM and the Burial of Jesus</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+15%3A42-47&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 15:42-47</a></p> <p>Pilate's granting Joseph's request for the body of Jesus to be buried is a remarkable departure from customary procedure since, as mentioned earlier, the body of a crucified individual was not given an honorable burial. (page 118)</p> <p><b>Jesus's Death as Sacrifice?</b></p> <p>We return to a common Christian understanding of Jesus's death: that it was a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world. (page 119)</p> <p>The broad meaning refers to sacrificing one's life for a cause.</p> <p>In this sense, one may speak of Jesus sacrificing his life for his passion, namely, for his advocacy of the kingdom of God.</p> <p>The more specific meaning of sacrifice in relation to Jesus's death speaks of it as a substitutionary sacrifice for sin, a dying for the sins of the world. This understanding is absent from Mark's story of Good Friday; it is not there at all.</p> <p>There is only one passage in all of Mark that might have a substitutionary sacrificial meaning. </p> <p>"The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many" (10:45)</p> <p>"To many Christians, the world 'ransom' sounds like sacrificial language, for we sometimes speak of Jesus as the ransom for our sins. But it most certainly does not have this meaning in Mark. As already mentioned, the Greek word translated as 'ransom' (<i>lutron</i>) is used in the Bible not in the context of payment for sin, but to refer to payment made to liberate captives (often from captivity in war) or slaves (often from debt slavery). A <i>lutron </i>is a means of liberation from bondage." (page 119)</p> <p>"Thus to say that Jesus gave 'his life a ransom for many' means he gave his life as a means of liberation from bondage." (page 120)</p> <p>The context of the passage in Mark supports this reading. The preceding verses are a critique of the domination system. The rulers of the nations lord it over their subjects. "It is not so among you," Jesus says. Then Jesus uses his own path as an illustration. In contrast to the rulers of this world, "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a lutron -- a means of liberation -- for many."</p> <p>And this is a path for his followers to imitate: so it shall be "among you." </p> <p>How then does Mark understand Jesus's death?</p> <p>He sees Jesus's death as an execution by the authorities because of his challenge to the domination system.</p> <p>As such, Mark understands Jesus's death as a judgement on the authorities and the temple. Judgement is indicated by the fact that, as Jesus dies, darkness comes over the city and land, and the great curtain in the temple is torn in two. And a Roman centurion pronounces judgement against his own empire, which has just killed Jesus: "Truly this man -- and not the emperor -- is God's Son." (page 120)</p> <p><b>Mark's Use Of The Jewish Bible</b></p> <p>At several points in his story of Good Friday, Mark echoes and sometimes quotes the Jewish Bible.</p> <p>Many of us who grew up Christian were taught that the relationship between the two testaments is one of prophecy and fulfillment.</p> <p>These not only demonstrated that Jesus was the Messiah, but also proved the truth of the Bible and thus Christianity -- only a supernaturally inspired scripture could predict the future so precisely.</p> <p>It easily and naturally, if not inevitably, leads to the inference that things had to happen this way.</p> <p>The Jewish Bible was the sacred scripture of early Christians, and many of them knew it well, whether from hearing it orally or being able to read it. Thus, as they told the story of Jesus, they used language from the Jewish Bible to do so. (page 121)</p> <p>This practice produced what we call "prophecy historicized." A passage from the past (in this case, from the Jewish Bible) is "historicized" when it is used in the narration of a subsequent story.</p> <p>It is an attempt to connect that newer story to the earlier tradition and lend credibility to it.</p> <p>The point, rather, is the use of passages from the Jewish Bible in the telling of the story of Jesus and <i>what such use suggests about the interpretive framework of the narrator.</i></p> <p>Now we focus on Mark's primary use of the Jewish Bible, namely, his frequent citation of Psalm 22. (page 122)</p> <p>How are these references to be understood? </p> <p>Within the framework of "prophecy historicized," they are seen as the product of Mark's use of the psalm as a way of interpreting the death of Jesus.</p> <p>As part of the Jewish Bible, Psalm 22 is a prayer for deliverance. The prayer describes a person experiencing immense suffering and intense hostility.</p> <p>Mark's frequent use of language from this psalm suggests that he and his community saw the death of Jesus this way. It was the suffering and death of one who was righteous, condemned by the powers of this world, and who would be vindicated by God.</p> <p><b>Divine Necessity Or Human Inevitability?</b></p> <p>Did Jesus's death have to happen? There are two quite different reasons why one might think so. One is divine necessity; the other is human inevitability. (page 123)</p> <p>By the time Mark wrote, early Christianity had already developed several interpretations of the death of Jesus.</p> <p>The story of Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery affirms that even the evil deed of selling a brother into slavery was used by God for a providential purpose. (page 124)</p> <p>Like the storyteller of Genesis, early Christian storytellers looking back on what did happen ascribe providential meanings to Good Friday. But this does not mean Good Friday had to happen. (page 125)</p> <p>Human inevitability -- this is what domination systems did to people who publicly and vigorously challenged them.</p> <p>Jesus's passion for the kingdom of God led to what is often called his passion, namely, his suffering and death.</p> <p>To think of Jesus's passion as simply what happened on Good Friday is to separate his death from the passion that animated his life.</p> <p>The language of substitutionary sacrifice for sin is absent from this story. But in an important sense, he was killed <i>because </i>of the sin of the world. It was the injustice of domination systems that killed him, injustice so routine that it is part of the normalcy of civilization. Though sin means more than this, it includes this. And thus Jesus was crucified because of the sin of the world. (page 126)</p> <p>Was Jesus guilty or innocent? The question will seem surprising to some, but it is worth reflecting about.</p> <p>Was Jesus guilty of advocating violent revolution against the empire and its local collaborators? No.</p> <p>As Mark tells the story, was Jesus guilty of nonviolent resistance to Roman oppression and local Jewish collaboration? Oh, yes.</p> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 23:24:48 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter6Friday.html Chapter 5: Thursday http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter5Thursday.html <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=?Mark+14:12-16">Mark 14:12-16</a></p> <p>In Mark (followed by Matthew and Luke), the meal Jesus shares with his disciples is a Passover meal. In John, it is not. Rather, Thursday is the day before Passover, and the lambs to be eaten at the Passover meal on Friday evening will be killed on Friday afternoon, at about the same hour Jesus dies on the cross.</p> <p>The reason for John's dating seems to be theological: Jesus is the new Passover lamb.</p> <p>In Mark nine verses are devoted to Jesus's last gathering with his disciples, in John five chapters, often called "Jesus's Farewell Discourse." </p> <p>In Mark (again followed by Matthew and Luke) Jesus speaks the words that, in slightly varying forms, have become central to Christian celebration of the Lord's Supper (Eucharist, Mass, or Communion): "This is my body, this is my blood." Johns says nothing about this. Instead, John has the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.</p> <p>"Maundy Thursday" is based on John's story: "Maundy" derives from the Latin word for the "mandate" -- the new commandment -- that Jesus gives his followers in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+13%3A34&amp;version=NRSV">John 13:34</a>: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." </p> <p>Back to Mark... the details in this passage recall the preparations for Jesus's entry into the city on Palm Sunday, but in this case the preplanning has to do with secrecy.</p> <p><b>The Last Supper: A Web Of Meanings</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A17-25&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 14:17-25</a></p> <p>Three main elements in Mark's story of the Last Supper: (page 90)</p> <p>they eat the Passover meal together</p> <p>Jesus speaks of his imminent betrayal</p> <p>Jesus invests the bread and wine with meanings associated with his impending death</p> <p>"The theme of failed discipleship continues to be central; more than half of Mark's narration of Thursday evening and night is devoted to it." (page 90)</p> <p>Four rich meanings of the final meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. (page 91)</p> <p><b>A Continuation of the Meal Practice of Jesus</b></p> <p>"According to the gospels, including Mark, shared meals were one of the most distinctive features of Jesus's public activity."</p> <p>"The issue is that Jesus eats with 'undesirables,' the marginalized and outcast, in a society in which the people with whom one shared a meal was hugely significant." </p> <p>"They were real meals, not a morsel and a sip as in our observance of the Eucharist. For Jesus, real food -- bread -- mattered." </p> <p>"For Jesus's peasant audience, bread -- enough food for the day -- was one of the two central survival issues of their lives (the other was debt).</p> <p><b>An Echo of the Feeding of the Five Thousand</b></p> <p>"As Mark narrates what Jesus did at the Last Supper, he uses four verbs: <i>took, blessed, broke,</i> and <i>gave</i>. These four key words refer us back to an earlier scene concerning food in Mark, in which Jesus feeds five thousand people with a few loaves and fishes." (page 91)</p> <p>Why this cross-reference from the Last Supper back to the loaves-and-fishes meal?</p> <p>Mark's story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes begins by establishing two divergent solutions to a hunger situation.</p> <p>The disciples: Send them away so they can get something to eat</p> <p>Jesus: You give them something to eat</p> <p>Jesus forces them to participate step by step as intermediaries in the entire process. (page 92)</p> <p>"The point of this story is not multiplication, but distribution. The food already there is enough for all when it passes through the hands of Jesus as the incarnation of divine justice. The disciples -- think of them as the already present kingdom community in microcosm, or as the leaders of that community -- do not see that as their responsibility and are forced to accept it by Jesus." (page 92)</p> <p>"Mark's emphasis on a just distribution of what does not belong to us in the incident of the loaves and fishes links, therefore, to the emphasis on the 'loaf of bread' and the 'cup of wine' that are shared among all at the New Passover meal." (page 92)</p> <p><b>A Passover Meal</b></p> <p>The first Passover (Exodus 12) occurred on the evening before the tenth plague to strike Pharaoh and Egypt, namely, the death of the firstborn in every household in Egypt. (page 93)</p> <p>"The Passover lamb was thus also food for the journey. Moreover, the first Passover was also the last supper in Egypt, the land of bondage. We note that the Passover lamb is a sacrifice in the broad sense of the word, but not in the narrow sense of substitutionary sacrifice. Its purpose is twofold: protection against death and food for the journey." (page 93)</p> <p>"For the empire of Pharaoh, substitute the Roman Empire or any other empire, and the subversive nature of this story is not difficult to discern." (page 93)</p> <p><b>Body and Blood and the Death of Jesus</b></p> <p>"Mark's story of the Last Supper leaves the connections to Passover implicit. What it makes explicit is the connection to Jesus's impending death." (page 93)</p> <p>Noting the differences between Mark, Matthew and Luke about the words of the Last Supper, the authors write "The different versions indicate a degree of fluidity in how the Last Supper was remembered and celebrated. What they all have in common, however, is an emphasis on body and blood, bread and wine." (page 94)</p> <p>What, then is Mark adding here that was not present before?</p> <p>"First, the point of Jesus's meals -- from the loaves-and-fishes ones to the bread-and-wine one -- is to insist on shared meals as the mandate of divine justice in a world not our own." (page 94)</p> <p>"The language of body and blood points to a violent death. When a person dies nonviolently we speak of a separation of body and soul. But when a person dies violently we speak of a separation of body and blood. That is the first and basic point of Jesus's <i>separated </i>bread/body and wine/blood words." (page 95)</p> <p>Another level of meaning in Mark. "It would never have been possible to speak of Jesus's death as a blood sacrifice unless, first, it had been a violent execution. But, granted that fate, a correlation becomes possible between Jesus as the new paschal lamb and this final meal as a New Passover." (page 95)</p> <p>Writing again about participation, the authors write, "Finally, Jesus does not merely speak of bread and wine as symbols of his body and blood. Rather, he has all the Twelve (including Judas!) actually partake of the food and drink -- they all participate in the bread-as-body and blood-as-wine. It is, as it were, a final attempt to bring all of them with him through execution to resurrection, through death to new life. It is, once again, about <i>participation </i>in Christ and not <i>substitution </i>by Christ." (page 95)</p> <p>"The Last Supper is about bread for the world, God's justice against human injustice, a New Passover from bondage to liberation, and participation in the path that leads through death to new life." (page 95)</p> <p><b>Gethsemane, Prayer, and Arrest</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A26-52&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 14:26-52</a></p> <p>"The prayer is remarkable both for its way of addressing God and its content. Jesus calls God <i>abba</i>, an Aramaic word that Mark includes even though he is writing in Greek. In Aramaic, <i>abba </i>is the familiar or intimate form of 'father,' much like the English 'papa.' It is used by children to address their father not only as toddlers but also as adults." (page 97)</p> <p>"The prayer reflects not a fatalistic resignation to the will of God, but a trusting in God in the midst of the most dire of circumstances." (page 98)</p> <p>"It is instructive to compare Mark's story of the arrest with John's account. In Mark, Jesus is a vulnerable human being. In John, Jesus is in charge and is even acknowledged as a divine being by those who arrest him." (page 98)</p> <p>"We have already mentioned how central the theme of failed discipleship is to Mark's gospel and to Thursday in particular. Judas betrays Jesus, Peter denies him, and the rest flee. They now disappear from the story of Holy Week. Mark does not mention them again until Easter." (page 100)</p> <p><b>Interrogation and Condemnation</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A53-65&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 14:53-65</a></p> <p>Some historical comments:</p> <p>Most likely, Mark (and other early Christians) did not know exactly what happened. (During the "hearing" or "trial.") Thus the trial scene may represent a post-Easter Christian construction and not history remembered.</p> <p>It is unclear whether we should think of Mark as presenting a formal "trial" or an informal but deadly "hearing." </p> <p>The temple authorities did not represent the Jews.</p> <p>Mark's story of Jesus's trial before the temple authorities has three stages:</p> <p>testimony against Jesus in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A55-59&amp;version=NRSV">14:55-59</a></p> <p>witness by Jesus in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A60-62&amp;version=NRSV">14:60-62</a></p> <p>the verdict and abuse in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A63-65&amp;version=NRSV">14:63-65</a></p> <p>"Under Jewish law, testimony was required from 'two or three' witnesses in order to convict. In the absence of witnesses who agree with each other, the high priest in effect goes for a confession, and the crucial interchange occurs." (page 102)</p> <p>"His response begins with what is translated as a affirmation: 'I am.' But as briefly mentioned in Chapter 1, the Greek phrase <i>ego eimi</i> can be translated either as a declarative (and thus as an affirmation) or as an interrogative: 'I am' or "Am I?' (page 102)</p> <p>Matthew and Luke both read it as ambiguous. Matthew has "You have said so" (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26%3A64&amp;version=NRSV">26:64</a>); Luke has "You say that I am" (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22%3A70&amp;version=NRSV">22:70</a>) (page 102)</p> <p>The rest of Jesus's response shifts the topic to the "Son of Man": "You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power," and 'coming with the clouds of heaven.'" "Note the single quotation marks within the double quotation marks; they indicate that Jesus's response includes a quotation, specifically language from <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+7%3A13-14&amp;version=NRSV">Daniel 7:13-14</a>. </p> <p>"We need to pause and reflect on the significance of the shift from 'the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed' to 'the Son of Man.' Recall that when Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah in Mark 8:29, Jesus did not deny it, but reinterpreted or replaced the title immediate with another one. (page 103)</p> <p>"Perhaps for Mark the title 'Messiah' presumed a leader who would use violence to liberate Israel from the military power of Roman oppression. That was not Mark's vision of Jesus, so 'Son of Man' was his preferred replacement to avoid any ambiguity between a violent and nonviolent messiah." (page 103)</p> <p>Mark's quotation of Daniel 7 requires careful consideration.</p> <p>In 167 BCE the Syrian ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes launches a religions persecution against Jews who refuse to be assimilated into his Hellenistic empire.</p> <p>Some Jews (whom we know as the Maccabees) fought a successful military war on earth against his empire</p> <p>Others turned to visions and hope for an absolute divine judgement against all empires past, present, and future</p> <p>In the vision recorded in Daniel 7, all the major empires, Babylonian, Medean, Persian, and Macedonian are envisaged as beasts</p> <p>The vision includes a trial, and the decision is the eventual destruction of these empires, their replacement is the what is described in Daniel 7:13-14.</p> <p>"The fifth and final empire is given not to <i>one like a beast</i>, but to <i>one like a human being</i>. The previous empires are symbolized by beasts, the kingdom of God by a human figure." (page 104)</p> <p>"Daniel 7 is thus an anti-imperial vision and an anti-imperial text: the empires that have oppressed the people of God throughout the centuries are all judged negatively, and positive affirmation is given to the Son of Man, a symbol for the people of God, to whom is given the everlasting kingdom of God." (page 104)</p> <p>"Jesus as the Son of Man must be read against the general background of Daniel 7. That usage has three interlinked aspects:"</p> <p>Jesus as Son of Man with earthly authority</p> <p>Jesus as Son of Man in death and resurrection</p> <p>Jesus as Son of Man returning with heavenly power and glory</p> <p>"In other words, all is not future, but is rather a passage from present into future." (page 105)</p> <p>The kingdom's "presence is now known only to faith (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+1%3A15&amp;version=NRSV">1:15</a>), but one day it will be revealed to sight (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A1&amp;version=NRSV">9:1</a>)." (page 105)</p> <p><b>Confession And Denial</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A66-72&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 14:66-72</a></p> <p>The sequence of 14:53-72 is the last of the three framing units Mark created in recording the passion of Jesus.</p> <p>Incident A: Peter follows Jesus to the high priest's house (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A53-54&amp;version=NRSV">14:53-54</a>)</p> <p>Incident B: Jesus is interrogated and confesses his identity (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A55-65&amp;version=NRSV">14:55-65</a>)</p> <p>Incident A: Peter is interrogated and denies Jesus (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A66-72&amp;version=NRSV">14:66-72</a>)</p> <p>Peter is interrogated and responds with cowardice to unofficial bystanders. Jesus is interrogated and responds with courage to the official high priest (page 106)</p> <p>"The framing of Jesus's confession by Peter's denials offers those Christians a triple consolation".</p> <p>First, those who imitate Jesus rather than Peter are applauded for their courage.</p> <p>Second, even those who imitate Peter rather than Jesus are consoled with the hope of repentance and forgiveness.</p> <p>Third, neither denials nor even betrayals are the worst sin against Jesus or God. The worst sin is despair -- loss of faith that repentance will <i>always, always</i> obtain forgiveness.</p> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 21:58:14 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter5Thursday.html Chapter 4: Wednesday http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter4Wednesday.html <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A1-11&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 14:1-11</a></p> <p>Another Markian frame, this time in opposite and contrast. </p> <p>The need for a traitor: <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A1-2&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 14:1-2</a></p> <p>The unnamed woman: <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A3-9&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 14:3-9</a></p> <p>The advent of traitor: <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14%3A10-11&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 14:10-11</a></p> <p>"The literary contrast between the framed unit and the framing ones is between believer and traitor, but the depth of the Markian juxtaposition requires an understanding of what each person achieved within the sequence of Mark's story about Jesus." (page 71)</p> <p>It is easy to see why betraying Jesus represents the worst action possible, but why does anointing Jesus imply the best?</p> <p><b>The Need For A Traitor</b></p> <p>"Why, if the Jewish crowd was so against Jesus, was it necessary to arrest him in the darkness of night with the help of a traitor from among Jesus's followers?" (page 72)</p> <p>"The only reason given by Josephus for Antipas' execution of John the Baptizer in his <i>Jewish Antiquities</i> is not the content of John's message, but the <i>size </i>of John's crowd." (page 73)</p> <p>Borg &amp; Crossan point out that Mark emphasized that the "ordinary" Jewish citizens, or the crowds, were not against Jesus, in fact they believed it to be the opposite, but that the Jewish leaders feared their support of Jesus. In Mark 14:1-2 it appears that the authorities have given up, there is no way to arrest Jesus unless they use stealth.</p> <p>"Do the other evangelists follow Mark's emphasis? Less and less." (page 74)</p> <p>"as we move sequentially from Mark through Matthew and Luke to John, that is, from the early 70s to the mid 90s CE, that original emphasis on Jewish supporting crowd versus Jewish high-priestly authority diminishes significantly." (page 75)</p> <p><b>The Twelve As Failed Disciples</b></p> <p>"as we shall see, Peter, James, and John, then the Twelve as a group, and finally Judas all fail tragically but not irrevocably (except for Judas) to accept their destiny alongside Jesus." (page 75)</p> <p>"to be the Twelve (apostles or disciples) in Mark's story is to fail Jesus badly." (page 76)</p> <p>Mark makes this clear with his framing of the journey to Jerusalem with healings of blindness at the beginning and end of the journey. </p> <p>"Between those frames of blindness, Mark focuses the failed discipleship of the Twelve around three prophetic warnings of his death and resurrection given to them by Jesus." (page 77)</p> <p><b>First Prophecy, Reaction, And Response</b></p> <p>"Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, but far from applauding him Jesus 'sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him' (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A29-30&amp;version=NRSV">8:29-30</a>). Such injunctions to silence in Mark usually <i>do not mean</i>, "You have it right, but keep it secret," <i>but rather</i>, "You have it wrong, so keep it quiet." In other words, "Please, shut up!" (page 77)</p> <p>"Right after that wrong and silenced misunderstanding about Jesus as Messiah comes that correct and open announcement of Jesus as Son of Man." The title of Son of Man will be discussed in more detail in chapter 5.</p> <p>"All three connected prophecies of death and resurrection beget at least incomprehension if not downright opposition from the Twelve." </p> <p>"It is extremely important to underline Mark's theology at this point. For him, Jesus knows in precise detail what is going to happen, but he does not speak of suffering vicariously to atone for the sins of the world." (page 78)</p> <p>"To follow Jesus means to accept the cross, to walk with him against imperial violence and religious collaboration, and to pass through death to resurrection." </p> <p><b>Second Prophecy, Reaction, And Response</b></p> <p>"Even as Jesus is announcing his death buy execution, they are debating precedence among themselves. Here Mark is not only criticizing the disciples; he is almost lampooning them." (page 79)</p> <p><b>Third Prophecy, Reaction, And Response</b></p> <p>"Continues what we have called the Lenten journey theme as Jesus tries in vain not just to foretell but to explain his destiny to the disciples, so that they will be enabled to follow him on the way through death to resurrected life." (Page 79)</p> <p>The third prophecy is the most detailed of the three. (page 80)</p> <p>the "three prophecies emphasize also that Jesus is calling all his followers -- and not just the twelve disciples -- to accept that communal destiny of death and resurrection." (page 81)</p> <p>"that confrontation is with oppressive foreign empire (against violence) and its collaborative local religion (against injustice), that is to say, with any religio-political combination that establishes injustice on earth that belongs to a God of justice." (page 81)</p> <p>"notice that in the first prophecy's reaction and response Jesus was challenging them to die or at least be ready to die with him in Jerusalem. In the second and third ones, however, the emphasis is on how to behave -- and behave as leaders -- both now and hereafter." (page 82)</p> <p>"The function of the three responses is to spell out in some detail what Jesus's destiny of execution and resurrection means for himself, for the Twelve, and for all his followers." (page 82)</p> <p><b>Atonement: Substitution Or Participation?</b></p> <p>"It is probably fair to say that substitutionary atonement is the only way that many or even most contemporary Christians understand faith in the sacrificial and salvific death of Jesus." (page 83) </p> <p>"The basic and controlling metaphor for that understanding of God's design is our own experience of a responsible human judge who, no matter how loving, cannot legitimately or validly walk into her courtroom and clear the docket of all offenders by anticipatory forgiveness." (page 83)</p> <p>"Notice, above all, how repeatedly Mark has Jesus insist that Peter, James, and John, the Twelve, and all his followers on the way from Caesarea Phillippi to Jerusalem must pass with him through death to a resurrected life." (page 83)</p> <p>"For Mark, it is about participation with Jesus and not substitution by Jesus." </p> <p>"And every year, our Lent asks us to repent, change, and participate in that transition with Jesus." (page 84)</p> <p>"What about that climactic conclusion in Mark 10:45, which states that "the Son of Man came not be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many"?</p> <p>"The Greek word translated 'ransom' is <i>lutron</i>, which means the payment to an owner for a slave's freedom or a captive's ransom. It is not used in the Greek of the Hebrew Bible for anything like vicarious satisfaction or vicarious atonement to God for sin." </p> <p>"How does Mark think Jesus's death is a 'ransom' (lutron) for many? The Markan Jesus has been insisting on the 'how' ever since Caesarea Phillippi -- to the Twelve in particular but also to all others as well. It is not by Jesus substituting for them, but by their participating in Jesus." (page 84)</p> <p><b>In Remembrance Of Her</b></p> <p>"Why does she deserve or her action receive this absolutely unique and stunningly extraordinary accolade from Jesus: 'Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her'" (14:9) (page 85)</p> <p>"She alone, of all those who heard Jesus's three prophecies of his death and resurrection, believe him and drew the obvious conclusion. <i>Since (not if) you are going to die and rise, I must anoint you now beforehand, because I will never have a chance to do it afterward.</i> She is, for Mark, the first believer. And she believed from the word of Jesus before any discovery of an empty tomb." (page 85)</p> <p>"The unnamed woman is not only the first believer; she is also the model leader. Jesus has been telling the Twelve what leadership entails from Caesarea Phillippi to Jerusalem and has gotten nowhere with them." (page 85)</p> <p>"The unnamed woman represents the perfect disciple-leader and is contrasted with Judas, who represents the worst one possible." (page 86)</p> <p><b>The Motive Of Judas</b></p> <p>Mark gives absolutely no hint of Judas's motive in betraying Jesus. Mark, by the way, does not say that Judas did it for money, simply that they promised him some.</p> <p>"Mark's emphasis is not on Judas's motive, whatever it was, but on Judas's membership in the Twelve." (page 87)</p> <p>"The traitor has entered into an agreement with those who collaborate with imperial rule. And so Wednesday ends and the plot has been set in motion." (page 87)</p> Sat, 29 Mar 2014 20:45:27 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter4Wednesday.html Chapter 3: Tuesday http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter3Tuesday.html <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+11:20-25">Mark 11:20-25</a></p> <p>Tuesday is the longest day in Mark's story of Jesus's final week.</p> <p>About two-thirds of Tuesday consists of conflict with temple authorities</p> <p>The remaining third warns of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and speaks of the coming of the Son of Man, all in the near future.</p> <p><b>Jesus's Authority Is Challenged</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+11%3A27-33&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 11:27-33</a></p> <p>"They ask Jesus, 'By what authority are you doing these things?' The question refers to Jesus's prophetic act in the temple on Monday, and Mark's use of the plural 'things' suggests that Sunday's provocative entry into the city may also be included." (page 51) </p> <p><b>Jesus Indicts The Authorities With A Parable</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A1-12&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 12:1-12</a></p> <p>Jesus takes the initiative. Commonly called the parable of the wicked tenants, this story might better be called the parable of the greedy tenants.</p> <p>"The motivation for their murderous behavior is greed: they want to possess the produce of the vineyard for themselves." (page 52)</p> <p>"Christian interpretation of this parable has most often emphasized a christological meaning." but...</p> <p>"The primary meaning of the parable is not christological. Rather as Mark tells us at the very end of the story, it is an indictment of the authorities." (page 52)</p> <p>"The tenants are not 'Israel' not 'the Jews.' Rather, the vineyard is Israel -- both the land and its people. And the vineyard belongs to God, not to the greedy tenants -- the powerful and wealthy at the top of the local domination system -- who want its produce for themselves." (page 53)</p> <p><b>Taxes To Caesar?</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A13-17&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 12:13-17</a></p> <p>"It has been most commonly understood to mean that there are two separate realms of human life, one religious and one political." (page 54)</p> <p>"The heavy weight given to this verse as a solemn pronouncement about the relationship between religion and politics obscures what it means in Mark." (page 54)</p> <p>"To imagine that their purpose is to provide a set of eternal truths about how human life should be ordered is to ignore the larger narrative of which they are a part." (page 55)</p> <p>"Should we pay them (taxes to Caesar) or not?" </p> <p>It's a volatile question. </p> <p>"The spokesmen of the authorities set the trap skillfully. Either answer would get Jesus in trouble." (page 55) Either he</p> <p>Could be charged with sedition or,</p> <p>He risked discrediting himself with the crowd. "Most likely, this was the primary purpose of the question: to separate Jesus from the crowd by leading him into an unpopular response." (page 55)</p> <p>As he did with the question about authority, he turns the situation back on his opponents.</p> <p>"Jesus's strategy has led his questioners to disclose to the crowd that they have a coin with Caesar's image on it. In this moment, they are discredited." (page 56)</p> <p>"Thus, even before the famous words about rendering to Caesar, Jesus has won the encounter." (page 56)</p> <p>"The second half of Jesus's response is both evocative and provocative: "Give to God the things that are God's. It raises the question, 'What belongs to Caesar, and what belongs to God?" (page 56)</p> <p>"What belongs to Caesar? The implication is, nothing." (page 57)</p> <p><b>God Of The Dead Or Of The Living?</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A18-27&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 12:18-27</a></p> <p>The Sadducees differed from the "chief priests, elders, and scribes" in two ways:</p> <p>They accepted only the "law," the five books of Moses called the Torah as sacred scripture.</p> <p>They did not believe in an afterlife. (They did not believe there would be a resurrection of the dead."</p> <p>The purpose of the resurrection of the dead was to redress human injustice: Jews who were faithful to God were being executed, and Jews who were willing to collaborate with Antiochus were being spared.</p> <p>"If you're rich and powerful, who needs an afterlife?" (page 58)</p> <p>Levirate marriage: if a man dies before his wife has a child, then the man's brother shall marry the widow and conceive an heir for the brother who died. (page 58)</p> <p>Does personal identity continue in a life after death, and do our relationships continue?</p> <p>Jesus's response is threefold</p> <p>He charges the Sadducees with a deficient understanding of scripture and God</p> <p>He addresses the specific question: "When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A25&amp;version=NRSV">12:25</a>)</p> <p>Borg &amp; Crossan say it is unclear to them what to make of this response.</p> <p>They suggest trying to discern a informative meaning may be a mistake</p> <p>Jesus refers to a passage from the book of Exodus, one of the books the Sadducess did regard as sacred scripture.</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+3%3A6&amp;version=NRSV">Exodus 3:6</a></p> <p>"God is God not of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong." (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A27&amp;version=NRSV">12:27</a>)</p> <p>"For Jesus, the kingdom of God is not primarily about the dead, but about the living, not primarily about life after death, but about life in this world." (page 60)</p> <p><b>The Great Commandment</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A28-34&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 12:28-34</a></p> <p>For the first and only time in this section of Mark, the theme of conflict disappears, and we have a story in which a connection is made between Jesus and an interrogator.</p> <p>"A request to provide a concise summary of what loyalty to God means was not unusual within Judaism, though teachers were not always ready to be brief." (page 60)</p> <p>The two-fold great commandment -- to love God and love our neighbor -- is so familiar to us that it has become a Christian cliche. Miss the radical meaning of what Jesus is saying:</p> <p>"To love God above all else means giving to God what belongs to God: our heart, soul, mind, and strength. These belong to God, not Caesar." (page 61)</p> <p>"To love one's neighbor as one's self means to refuse to accept the divisions rendered by the normalcy of civilization."</p> <p>The scribe repeats what he heard and adds, "This is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." </p> <p>Thus the scribe brings up the contrast that dominates this section of Mark</p> <p>"He is not far from it because he knows its heart, but he is not in it. To be in it means more than knowing this. It means living it." (page 62)</p> <p><b>Jesus Challenges Scribal Teaching And Practice</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A35-44&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 12:35-44</a></p> <p>Now (again) Jesus takes the initiative.</p> <p>"How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David?" (page 63)</p> <p>The question challenges the teaching of the scribes that the Messiah is the son of David. But what does this mean?</p> <p>It might be about biological ancestry. It implies that Jesus is not of Davidic descent. This seems unlikely. The tradition that Jesus is a descendant of David is early, such as in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+1%3A3&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 1:3</a>.</p> <p>"Some of Jesus's contemporaries expected that the Messiah would be 'son of David' in the sense of being a king like David -- a warrior who presided over Israel in the time of its greatest power and glory." (page 63)</p> <p>"The message here then is that the Messiah will not be a king like David, not 'son of David' in this sense." </p> <p>"The term 'son David' is not so much wrong as inadequate. The point, rather, is that the Messiah is David's Lord -- that is, greater than David, more than David, different from David." (page 64)</p> <p>Next, Jesus indicts the self-important practice of the scribes. "... and yet, 'They devour widows' houses' (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A40&amp;version=NRSV">12:40</a>)</p> <p>How do they devour widows' houses? Most likely this is in reference to the scribes' activity as working for the wealthy, they would have administered loan agreements and then foreclosed on widows' property when the loan could not be re-payed.</p> <p>Then we have the passage about the poor widow who puts in the temple treasury "all that she had." </p> <p>This passage is commonly understood as contrasting the deep devotion of the poor widow with the public display of generosity of the wealthy.</p> <p>"An alternative interpretation hears the passage as a condemnation of the way the poor are manipulated to give all that they have to support the temple." (page 64)</p> <p><b>The Temple's Destruction And Jesus's Return</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+13%3A1-4&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 13:1-4</a></p> <p>Jesus and the disciples are leaving the temple. One of them exclaims, "Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!" Jesus responds by telling them, "Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down." </p> <p>Like the prophet Jeremiah six centuries earlier, Jesus speaks of the destruction of the temple, and of Jerusalem. </p> <p>"In an important sense, this passage is the climax of the series of conflicts between Jesus and the system of domination and collaboration centered in the temple. The judgement against what it had become pronounced by Jesus's prophetic act in the temple on Monday is here explicitly articulated." (page 65)</p> <p>The disciples then ask, "When will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?" (page 65)</p> <p><b>The Little Apocalypse</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+13%3A5-37&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 13:5-37</a></p> <p>An apocalypse -- the word means "revelation" or "unveiling" -- is a kind of Jewish and Christian literature that reveals or unveils the future in language loaded with images and symbols.</p> <p>This is the longest single speech in Mark's gospel.</p> <p>"At the center of the little apocalypse is an event described as 'the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be,' followed by an aside to the reader, the only such remark in Mark, 'Let the reader understand.'" (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+13%3A14&amp;version=NRSV">13:14</a>)</p> <p>"Chapter 13 uses this language to speak of an event in Mark's own time, namely, the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by Rome in the year 70." (page 68)</p> <p>The war began in the year 66 when the greatest of the Jewish revolts against Roman rule broke out.</p> <p>The desolating sacrilege -- the destruction of the temple -- is not the last word in this chapter. Jesus also speaks of "the coming of the Son of Man." It also indicates a time, "But in those days, after that suffering," (page 69)</p> <p>"It refers to a humanlike figure who comes to God and to whom God gives an everlasting kingdom." (page 69)</p> <p>"To use later Christian language, this seems to be a 'second coming' of Jesus text. Mark expected this soon." </p> <p>"In our judgement, Mark's gospel expresses an intensification of apocalyptic expectation triggered by the great war." (page 70)</p> <p>"But beneath Mark's timetable, one may perceive a deeper meaning in his apocalyptic conviction. Namely, what has begun in Jesus will triumph, despite the tumult and resistance of this world." (page 70)</p> <p>"Tuesday has been a long day. By now, it is evening on the Mount of Olives. Darkness is coming on, a darkness that will deepen as the week continues to unfold. And as the darkness falls, Mark commends us, 'Be alert! Stay awake! Watch!" (page 70)</p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 01:22:47 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/theLastWeek/theLastWeekChapter3Tuesday.html Favorite Quotes http://booknotes.smallpict.com/ThePastrix/favQuotes.html <p>Seekers &amp; Skeptics, Hope's Tuesday night book discussion group, will begin discussing a new book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Pastrix-Cranky-Beautiful-Faith-Sinner/dp/1455527084">Pastrix, The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner &amp; Saint</a> by Nadia Bolz-Weber on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Bolz-Weber is pastor of <a href="http://houseforall.org/">House For All Sinners And Saints</a>, an ELCA mission church in Denver, Colorado, and is a leading voice in the emerging church movement. </p> <blockquote>Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint Outrageous, rich, and remarkable, PASTRIX turns spiritual memoir on its ear in this sardonically irreverent and beautifully honest page-turner. Nadia Bolz-Weber takes no prisoners as she reclaims the term "pastrix" (pronounced "pas-triks," a term used by some Christians who refuse to recognize female pastors) in her messy, beautiful, prayer-and-profanity laden narrative about an unconventional life of faith. </blockquote> <p>Page xvii: The story told in this book is not chronological, but rather thematic. It's about the development of Nadia's faith, the expression of her faith, and the community of her faith. </p> <p>Page xvii: "How the Christian faith, while wildly misrepresented in so much of American culture, is really about death and resurrection." </p> <p>Page 9: "here in the midst of my own community of underside dwellers that I couldn't help but begin to see the Gospel, the life-changing reality that God is not far off, but here among the brokeness of our lives. And having seen it, I couldn't help but point it out. For reasons I'll never quite understand, I realized that I had been called to proclaim the Gospel from the place where I am, and proclaim where I am from the Gospel." </p> <p>Page 15: "I can't imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. .. In a way, I need a God who is bigger and more nimble and mysterious than what I could understand and contrive. Otherwise it can feel like I am worshipping nothing more than my own ability to understand the divine." </p> <p>"Unlike my feelings toward the Christian fundamentalism from which I would soon part ways, I never stopped valuing the spiritual weirdness of hospitality and community. ... I was looking for a community in which all of me would actually fit in." (Page 26)</p> <p>"..the connection -- the deep, ongoing, and personal connection people like Margery had with God, a power greater than their alcoholic selves -- was in no way based on piety or righteousness. It was based solely on something I could related to a hell of a lot more: desperation." (Page 38)</p> <p>"God's grace is not defined as God being forgiving to us even though we sin. Grace is when God is a source of wholeness, which makes up for my failings." (Page 49)</p> <p>"If they choose to leave when we don't meet their expectations, they won't get to see how the grace of God can come in and fill the holes left by our community's failure, and that's just too beautiful and too real to miss." (Page 54)</p> <p>"What makes Lutherans blessed is not, as I once thought, that they're somehow different from the people in the Church of Christ where I was raised. Rather, what makes us all blessed is that, like the landowner in the parable, God comes and gets us, taps us on the shoulder, and says, 'Pay attention, this is for you.' Dumb was we are, smart and faithful as we are, just as we are." (Page 56)</p> <p>"There's a popular misconception that religion, Christianity specifically, is about knowing the difference between good and evil so that we can choose the good. But being good has never set me free the way truth has. Knowing all of this makes me love and hate Jesus at the same time. Because, when instead of contrasting good and evil, he contrasted truth and evil, I have to think about all the times I've substituted being good (or appearing to be good) for truth." (Page 72)</p> <p>"There is simply no knowable answer to the question of why there is suffering. But there is meaning. And for me that meaning ended up being related to Jesus -- Emmanuel -- which means, "God with us." We want to go to God for answers, but sometimes what we get is God's presence." (Page 86)</p> <p>"I was, now a pastor of a GLBTQ "inclusive" congregation, and I felt revulsion at seeing an intersex person. It was humbling to say the least. And it made me face, in a very real way, the limitations of inclusion. If the quality of my Christianity lies in my ability to be more inclusive than the next pastor, things get tricky because I will always, always encounter people -- intersex people, Republicans, criminals, Ann Coulter, etc. -- whom I don't want in the tent with me. Always. I only really want to be inclusive of some kinds of people and not others." (Page 90)</p> <p>"I was reminded again of the loaves and fishes. 'What do we have?' they asked. 'We have nothing. Nothing but a few loaves and a couple of fish.' And they said this as though it were a bad thing. The disciples' mistake was also my mistake: They forgot that they have a God who created the universe out of 'nothing,' that can put flesh on dry bones 'nothing,' that can put life in a dusty womb 'nothing.' I mean, let's face it, 'nothing' is God's favorite material to work with." (Page 104)</p> <p>"I think loving our enemies might be too central to the Gospel -- to close to the heart of Jesus -- for it to wait until we mean it." (Page 115)</p> <p>"For far too long, I believed that how the Church of Christ saw me, or how my family saw me, or how society saw me, was the same as how God saw me." (Page 138)</p> <p>"Somewhere along the way I was taught that evil is fought through justice and might. ... So maybe retaliation or holding on to anger about the harm done to me doesn't actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it." (Page 149)</p> <p>"Jesus brings a kingdom ruled by the crucified one and populated by the unclean and always found in the unexpected. I'd expected to look at the past and see only mistakes that I'd moved on from, to see only damage and addiction and tragic self-delusion. But by thinking that way, I'd assumed that God was nowhere to be found back then. But that's kind of an insult to God. It's like saying, 'You only exist when I recognize you.'" (Page 162)</p> <p>There are times when I hear my name, turn, and recognize Jesus. There are times when faith feels like a friendship with God. But there are many other times when it feels more adversarial or even vacant. Yet none of that matters in the end. How we feel about Jesus or how close we feel to God is meaningless next to how God acts upon us." (Page 176)</p> <p>"But Russell refused to play along, 'Yeah, that sucks,' he said sarcastically. 'You guys are really good at welcoming the stranger when it's a young transgender person. But sometimes the stranger looks like your mom and dad." (Page 184)</p> <p>"Repentance in Greek means something much closer to 'thinking differently afterward' than it does 'changing your cheating ways.'" (Page 192)</p> <p>"Repentance, 'thinking differently afterward,' is what happens to me when the truth of who I am and the truth of who God is scatter the darkness of competing ideas. And these truths don't ever feel like they come from inside me." (Page 193)</p> <p>"The greatest spiritual practice is just showing up. And Mary Magdelene is the patron saint of just showing up. Showing up, to me, means being present to what is real, what is actually happening." (Page 197)</p> <p>"And it was her, a deeply faithful and deeply flawed woman, whom Jesus chose to be the first witness of his resurrection and to whom he commanded to go and tell everyone else about it." (Page 198)</p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 01:37:04 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/ThePastrix/favQuotes.html Chapter 12: Conclusion: Is There An Atonement Model in this Story? http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter12ConclusionIsThereAnAtonementModelInThisStory.html <p>"For many Christians, the 'biblical view' of salvation centers on Jesus's death. The doctrine of salvation ('soteriology') is defined in terms of how Jesus's death makes salvation possible. It is linked closely with atonement, which is commonly defined as 'how Christ accomplished our justification (i.e. being found just or righteous before God) through his sacrifice on the cross. I have attempted in this book to show that the Bible's portrayal of salvation actually does not focus on Jesus's death as the basis for reconciliation of humanity with God." (AK location 6523)</p> <p>"I argue that the biblical story of salvation portrays God as reaching out to human beings with mercy. The God of the Bible responds to human brokeness, violence, and sinfulness with healing love. In telling the salvation story in this way, the Bible refutes the logic of retribution." (AK location 6535)</p> <p>The basic argument starting at AK location 6546</p> <p>"The point of the consequences is not punishment, nor is it that God is unable to forgive without the scale of justice being balanced. Rather, the consequences remind people that wholeness requires harmony with the God of the universe. The consequences themselves point toward God's healing love that must be trusted in for it to heal." (AK location 6591)</p> <p>"Jesus's death reveals the logic of retribution to be the tool of evil, not the God-ordained rule of the universe." (AK location 6623)</p> <p>"The differences between the Bible's salvation story and atonement theology are significant enough to conclude that we do not find an atonement model in this story." (AK location 6668)</p> <p>"As David Brandos concludes, 'Jesus's death may have been seen as the center and starting point' of traditional atonement theology. However, for the Bible 'what was redemptive was the whole story, that is, all the events making up that story; the cross was redemptive only to the extent that it formed a part of that story.' (AK location 6668)</p> <p>Starting at AK location 6695, Grimsrud addresses some of the violence that is in fact in the Bible. He asks, "How should one who reads the Bible in light of the way of Jesus best understand these materials?"</p> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 01:12:31 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter12ConclusionIsThereAnAtonementModelInThisStory.html Chapter 11: Salvation Through Revelation http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter11SalvationThroughRevelation.html <p>"The book of Revelation provides a closing summary of the Bible's salvation story in the form of an extended vision that interprets Jesus's message of salvation." (AK location 5959)</p> <p>"Revelation challenges the empire's notions of salvation, power, and victory and presents the Bible's notions as a viable alternative."</p> <p>"John compares and contrasts these two salvation stories [the empire's and the Bible's] to inspire peaceable living."</p> <p>"Lamb theology is the whole message of Revelation. Evil is defeated not by overwhelming force or violence but by the Lamb's suffering love on the cross. The victim becomes the victor." (AK location 5982)</p> <p>"Fundamental to Revelation's whole understanding of the way in which Christ establishes God's kingdom on earth is the conviction that in his death and resurrection Christ has already won his decisive victory over evil." (AK location 5994)</p> <p>"Jesus also provides "freedom for." (AK location 6020) This is also a Lutheran conviction.</p> <p>"When John labels his book a "revelation of Jesus Christ," he has in mind the Jesus who healed. Revelation, like the Gospels and epistles (and the law and prophets), is about embodiment of God's healing strategy. What does John want to inspire his readers to do? 'Follow the Lamb where he goes.' (AK location 6352)</p> <p>"Jesus's crucifixion gains its significance as a 'revelation' that shows all with eyes to see that God's love stand above the Beast's domination practies. (AK location 6374)</p> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 00:50:02 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter11SalvationThroughRevelation.html The Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber http://booknotes.smallpict.com/ThePastrix.html <p>Introduction</p> <p>Seekers &amp; Skeptics, Hope's Tuesday night book discussion group, will begin discussing a new book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Pastrix-Cranky-Beautiful-Faith-Sinner/dp/1455527084">Pastrix, The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner &amp; Saint</a> by Nadia Bolz-Weber on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Bolz-Weber is pastor of <a href="http://houseforall.org/">House For All Sinners And Saints</a>, an ELCA mission church in Denver, Colorado, and is a leading voice in the emerging church movement. </p> <p>From <a href="http://www.nadiabolzweber.com/">the author's web site</a>:</p> <blockquote>Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint Outrageous, rich, and remarkable, PASTRIX turns spiritual memoir on its ear in this sardonically irreverent and beautifully honest page-turner. Nadia Bolz-Weber takes no prisoners as she reclaims the term "pastrix" (pronounced "pas-triks," a term used by some Christians who refuse to recognize female pastors) in her messy, beautiful, prayer-and-profanity laden narrative about an unconventional life of faith. </blockquote> <p>For more about the book from the author, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcMcydw-yOo">watch this video</a>. </p> <p>At the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering, Bolz-Weber spoke to thousands of youth from congregations across the country, including members from Hope. You can watch the presentation below. </p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kM9Y5S3UYi8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>If you are interested in reading this book and would like to discuss it with other people who have questions, you are welcome to join us in the Senior High Room of Hope Lutheran Church starting at 7 PM on each Tuesday, starting January 7, 2014. </p> <p>On January 7 we will discuss the introduction, Fall 2005, and chapters 1 &amp; 2. </p> <p>Fall 2005</p> <p>Page xvi: "when I experience God it comes in the form of some kind of death and resurrection." </p> <p>Page xvii: The story told in this book is not chronological, but rather thematic. It's about the development of Nadia's faith, the expression of her faith, and the community of her faith. </p> <p>Page xvii: "How the Christian faith, while wildly misrepresented in so much of American culture, is really about death and resurrection." </p> <p>Chapter 1: The Rowing Team</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about how she was called to be a pastor.</p> <p>Page 4: "We all find different things challenging in life. Speaking in front of hundreds of people was far less challenging for me than scheduling dental appointments."</p> <p>Page 8: In writing about her friend, PJ, who committed suicide, she says, "He wondered about God: Was he beyond the pale of God's love?"</p> <p>Page 8: Writing about being asked to do PJ's funeral service, Nadia says, "This is how I was called to ministry. My main qualification? I was the religious one. ... These were my people. Giving PJ's eulogy, I realized that perhaps I was supposed to be their pastor."</p> <p>Page 9: "here in the midst of my own community of underside dwellers that I couldn't help but begin to see the Gospel, the life-changing reality that God is not far off, but here among the brokeness of our lives. And having seen it, I couldn't help but point it out. For reasons I'll never quite understand, I realized that I had been called to proclaim the Gospel from the place where I am, and proclaim where I am from the Gospel." </p> <p>Chapter 2: God's Aunt</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about what it was like as a young girl growing up in the Church of Christ, and touches on the gender attitudes that exist within the Christian tribe.</p> <p>Page 11: "In the church of my childhood (Church of Christ) it was taught that the 'age of accountability' was somewhere around twelve. To hit the age of accountability was to spiritually go off of your parent's insurance."</p> <p>Page 12: "Because twelve was the age of accountability, it was also the age at which boys could no longer be taught in Sunday school by women." </p> <p>Page 13: "I was a strong, smart and smart-mouthed girl, and the church I was raised in had no place for that kind of thing even though they loved me. By the time I left the church, I questioned everything ... I still didn't manage to be an atheist, as one might be expect. I had never stopped believing in God."</p> <p>Writing about her experience with Wicca. Page 14: "There was something safe about being around women. They let me hang out with God's aunt, and I couldn't help but think she liked me." </p> <p>Page 15: "I can't imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. .. In a way, I need a God who is bigger and more nimble and mysterious than what I could understand and contrive. Otherwise it can feel like I am worshipping nothing more than my own ability to understand the divine." </p> <p>Page 16, Nadia writes "in order for me to be the kind of pastor I would want to be, I would need to look at some of my own personal stuff, ... I was experiencing a feeling of purpose, perhaps for the first time in my life."</p> <p>Chapter 3: Albion Babylon</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about being part of a community.</p> <p>"Church, for all its faults, was the only place outside my own home were people didn't gawk at me or make fun of me." (Page 23)</p> <p>"Which is why it sucked that there were other reasons I'd eventually not fit in." (Page 23) </p> <p>"Belonging to the Church of Christ -- and therefore, being a Christian -- mostly meant being really good at not doing things. ... The better you were at not doing these things, the better a Christian you were." (Page 23)</p> <p>"..the Church of Christ I was raised in was a community. As churchgoers, our lives were shared." (Page 26)</p> <p>"Unlike my feelings toward the Christian fundamentalism from which I would soon part ways, I never stopped valuing the spiritual weirdness of hospitality and community. ... I was looking for a community in which all of me would actually fit in." (Page 26)</p> <p>Nadia writes about sneaking off to a nearby Quaker meeting, and notes, "Still, although the Quakers were a community, I wasn't really part of it. I was more of a spectator." (Page 28)</p> <p>"This experience (living at Albion Babylon) taught me that a community based on the idea that everyone hates rules is, in the end, just as disappointing and oppressive as a community based on the ability to follow rules." (Page 29)</p> <p>Chapter 4: La Femme Nadia</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about how she believes God "plunked her down" on a different path, and allowed not to die in exchange for working for God.</p> <p>Have you watched Le Femme Nikita? </p> <p>"When you can't control something -- like how if I take one drink all bets are off no matter what motivation I have for controlling myself -- it's easier to arrange life in which it looks like you've chosen it all, as opposed to facing the truth: You have lost your ability to choose any of it." (page 36)</p> <p>"I was still looking for an affirmation that I wasn't an alcoholic, so that, dear Jesus, I could go drink again." </p> <p>"And these people talked about God a lot. But never about an angry God who judged or condemned or was always disappointed in people. The God they spoke of was not the God I was taught to fear." (Page 36)</p> <p>"Her relationship to God wasn't doctrinal. It was functional." (Page 36)</p> <p>"..I was sitting in a twelve-step meeting in an upstairs Masonic lodge when someone shared about something he had rad in the Bible that week that really spoke to his sobriety. I stood up and walked out. The Bible had been the weapon of choice in the spiritual gladiatorial arena of my youth." (Page 37)</p> <p>"..the connection -- the deep, ongoing, and personal connection people like Margery had with God, a power greater than their alcoholic selves -- was in no way based on piety or righteousness. It was based solely on something I could related to a hell of a lot more: desperation." (Page 38)</p> <p>"Getting sober never felt like I had pulled myself up by my own spiritual bootstraps. It felt instead like I was on one path toward self-destruction and God pulled me off of it by the scruff of my collar, me hopelessly kicking and flailing and saying, 'Screw you, I'll take the destruction please.'" (Page 40)</p> <p>Chapter 5: Thanks, ELCA!</p> <p>In which Nadia sums up Lutheran theology in one chapter at less than the cost of a Lutheran seminary education. </p> <p>"At the time I didn't know it would take more to escape black-and-white thinking than just no longer attending your parent's church. The church had provided me a sorting system, which was now ingrained. (Page 43)</p> <p>Nadia writes about her first date with her future husband. He says, "Well, my heart for social justice is rooted in my Christian faith." Nadia responds, "Um, what? I just stared at him saying nothing." (Page 43)</p> <p>"I soon learned that there were actually a whole world of Christians who take Matthew 25 seriously." (Page 44)</p> <p>"I had never experienced liturgy before. But here the congregation said things together during the service. And they did stuff: stood, sat, knelt, crossed themselves, went up to the altar for communion, like choreographed sacredness." (Page 45)</p> <p>"Something about the liturgy was simultaneously destabilizing and centering: my individualism subverted by being joined to other people through God to find who I was. Somehow it happened through God. One specific, divine force. (Page 46)</p> <p>"Most of what I had been taught by Christian clergy was that I was created by God, but was bad because of something some chick did in the Garden of Eden, and that I should try really hard to be good so that God, who is an angry bastard, won't punish me. Grace had nothing to do with it. I hadn't learned about grace from the church." (Page 47)</p> <p>On page 48 she writes what Pastor Ross taught her about grace.</p> <p>"God's grace is not defined as God being forgiving to us even though we sin. Grace is when God is a source of wholeness, which makes up for my failings." (Page 49)</p> <p>Nadia then writes about learning how Pastor Ross was removed from the official clergy roster of the ELCA, and how this made her feel: "It feels like the rug of hope that the church might actually be something beautiful and redemptive was pulled out from under me." (Page 51)</p> <p>Pastor Ross responds: "God is still at work redeeming us and making all things new even in the midst of broken people and broken systems and that, despite any idealism otherwise, it had always been that way." (Page 51)</p> <p>Her husband Matthew says, "There's not enough wrong with it to leave and there's just enough wrong with it to stay.... Fight to change it." (Page 52)</p> <p>"Every human community will disappoint us, regardless of how well-intentioned or inclusive. But I am totally idealistic about God's redeeming work in my life and in the world." (Page 54)</p> <p>"If they choose to leave when we don't meet their expectations, they won't get to see how the grace of God can come in and fill the holes left by our community's failure, and that's just too beautiful and too real to miss." (Page 54)</p> <p>"What makes Lutherans blessed is not, as I once thought, that they're somehow different from the people in the Church of Christ where I was raised. Rather, what makes us all blessed is that, like the landowner in the parable, God comes and gets us, taps us on the shoulder, and says, 'Pay attention, this is for you.' Dumb was we are, smart and faithful as we are, just as we are." (Page 56)</p> <p>Chapter 6: Hurricanes and Humiliation</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about how she was conned, willingly and unwillingly</p> <p>"I had rescued a pregnant, disadvantaged, teenaged African American girl... and I was about to give them a new life. This was a white privileged liberal's dream, and I was riding high on it." (Page 59)</p> <p>"Still, of all the betrayals in that circumstance, it was my betrayal of myself that stung the most." (Page 66)</p> <p>"Jesus calls us to welcome the stranger and serve our neighbor. ... Who is that neighbor? Being Christian is much harder than I wish it was." (Page 67)</p> <p>"I'm haunted by how much my love was based on my need to be seen as heroic, and yet I can't deny that it did feel like love. A better Christian would love her anyway and still want to help her. A lousy Christian is conflicted and maybe a little hurt." (Page 67)</p> <p>"God uses our humiliations as much as our victories."</p> <p>Chapter 7: I Didn't Call You for This Truth Bullshit</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about a friendship with Candace that does not work out</p> <p>"We met in an alcohol recovery meeting a few years earlier and became friends based purely on the unlikely number of things we had in common." (Page 70)</p> <p>"Being a loyal friend is something I haven't always been good at, so at the time, I was trying to make up for my past dis-loyalties by being (or just making it look like I was) selfless." (Page 71)</p> <p>Nadia writes about a conversation with her sister after visiting Candace in which her sister says, "you have a limited amount of time and emotional energy in your life, and you are squandering tons of it on this one situation just so you can maintain the idea you like to have of yourself as being a loyal friend." Nadia responds.."I didn't call you for this truth bullshit." (Page 71)</p> <p>"There's a popular misconception that religion, Christianity specifically, is about knowing the difference between good and evil so that we can choose the good. But being good has never set me free the way truth has. Knowing all of this makes me love and hate Jesus at the same time. Because, when instead of contrasting good and evil, he contrasted truth and evil, I have to think about all the times I've substituted being good (or appearing to be good) for truth." (Page 72)</p> <p>"The truth does crush us, but the instant it crushes us, it somehow puts us back together into something honest. It's death and resurrection every time it happens. This, to me, is the point of confession and absolution in the liturgy." (Page 73)</p> <p>Writing about the first time she experienced absolution in liturgy she says she thought it was hogwash. "Why should I care if someone says to me that some God I may or may not really believe in has erased the check marks against me for things I may or may not even think are so-called sins? This obviously is the problem with religion for so many: It makes you feel bad enough that you will need the religion to help you feel good again." (Page 73)</p> <p>Then she says absolution in liturgy came to mean everything to her. "It gradually began to feel like a moment when truth was spoken, perhaps for the only time all week, and it would crush me and then put me back together." (Page 73)</p> <p>In talking about the last time she meet with Candace and not being able to tell the truth. "I wish I could say that I had learned how powerful the truth is and that I am unwavering in my commitment to it. But in that moment I couldn't manage to be good or tell the truth. Instead, I said that I had the friends that I needed. Sometimes we can't manage to choose the truth or to be good, and in those moments I just hope God comes and does that thing where something is transformed into healing anyway." (Page 76)</p> <p>Chapter 8: Clinical Pastoral Education</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about her experience as a hospital chaplain</p> <p>During her first experience in a trauma room she asked a nurse what her job was, and the response was "Your job is to be aware of God's presence in the room while we do our jobs." (Page 80)</p> <p>"It wasn't long before I found myself sensing God's presence in other rooms, too." (Page 81)</p> <p>"I was the chaplain, but I didn't have answers for anyone." (Page 82)</p> <p>She writes about her emotions of dealing with two young boys who just lost their mother. "You hear a lot of nonsense in hospitals and funeral homes. .. But this is the nonsense spawned from bad religion. And usually when you are grieving and someone says something so senselessly optimistic to you, it's about them" (Page 83) </p> <p>She writes about reading Marcus Borg's "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time." "This was the bonus to liberal Christianity: I could use my reason and believe at the same time. But it only worked for me for a short while. And soon I wanted to experiment with the harder stuff. Admiring Jesus, while a noble pursuit, doesn't show me where God is to be found when we suffer the death of a loved one or a terrifying cancer diagnosis or when our child is hurt. Admiring and trying to imitate a guy [Jesus] who was really in touch with God just doesn't seem to bridge the distance between me and the Almighty in ways that help me understand where the hell God is when we are suffering." (Page 74)</p> <p>Nadia then writes about the image of God she was raised to believe and writes, "this type of thinking portrays God as just as mean and selfish as we are, which feels like it has a lot more to do with our own greed and spite than it has to do with God." (Page 84)</p> <p>She then writes about being at Good Friday service, which was three days after the accident involving the two young boy and hearing the passion story in John's Gospel with changed ears. "I listened with the ears of someone who didn't just admire and want to imitate Jesus, but had felt him present in the room where two motherless boys played on the floor." (Page 85)</p> <p>"I realized that in Jesus, God had come to dwell with us and share our human story. Even the parts of our human story that are the most painful. ... Maybe the Good Friday story is about how God would rather die than be in our sin-accounting business anymore." (Page 85)</p> <p>"There is simply no knowable answer to the question of why there is suffering. But there is meaning. And for me that meaning ended up being related to Jesus -- Emmanuel -- which means, "God with us." We want to go to God for answers, but sometimes what we get is God's presence." (Page 86)</p> <p>Chapter 9: Eunuchs and Hermaphrodites</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia proposes that the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 is the story of the conversion of Philip.</p> <p>In talking about this passage in Acts, Nadia says, "The first gentile convert ended up being a black sexual minority." (Page 89)</p> <p>"I was always told that the message of this text was that we should tell everyone we meet about Jesus because in doing so we might save them. We might convert them." (Page 89)</p> <p>Nadia is working on a sermon about this text when she encounters a hermaphrodite at a coffee shop. </p> <p>"I was, now a pastor of a GLBTQ "inclusive" congregation, and I felt revulsion at seeing an intersex person. It was humbling to say the least. And it made me face, in a very real way, the limitations of inclusion. If the quality of my Christianity lies in my ability to be more inclusive than the next pastor, things get tricky because I will always, always encounter people -- intersex people, Republicans, criminals, Ann Coulter, etc. -- whom I don't want in the tent with me. Always. I only really want to be inclusive of some kinds of people and not others." (Page 90)</p> <p>"I began to realize that maybe the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch was really about the conversion -- not of the eunuch, but of Philip." (Page 92)</p> <p>The law strictly forbids a eunuch from entering the temple.</p> <p>The eunuch sought God despite the fact that he had heard there was no love for him there.</p> <p>The only command that we know came from God in this instance was for Philip to go and join.</p> <p>"This desire to learn what the faith is from those who have lived it in the face of being told they are not welcome or worthy is far more than "inclusion." Actually, inclusion isn't the right word at all, because it sounds like in our niceness and virtue we are allowing "them" to join "us" -- like we are judging another group of people to be worthy of inclusion in a tent that we don't even own." (Page 93)</p> <p>"I continually need the stranger, the foreigner, the "other" to show me water in the desert." (Page 93)</p> <p>"I can only look at the seemingly limited space under the tent and think either it's my job to change people so they fit or it's my job to extend the roof so that they fit. Either way, it's misguided because it's not my tent. It's God's tent." (Page 93)</p> <p>"So in the story of the conversion of Philip and the eunuch is some hope for the church and maybe society itself." (Page 95)</p> <p>Chapter 10: Cotton Candy</p> <p>In this chapter we see Nadia so wrapped up with Rally Day that she is unaware of how the Spirit had healed her hurting back</p> <p>"A quaint tradition in Lutheran churches, Rally Day is an effort to get all the families together after the end of the summer to celebrate the beginning of a new year of Sunday school." (Page 100)</p> <p>"Having a Rally Day event, complete with a cotton candy machine at a church without children, was just the sort of random thing that started getting House for All Sinners and Saints noticed by the ELCA." (Page 100)</p> <p>There was:</p> <p>A cotton candy machine</p> <p>Six dozen burgers and buns with all the fixings</p> <p>An industrial-size bag of Doritos</p> <p>A couple of cases of soda</p> <p>And Nadia could barely stand up </p> <p>Twenty six people show up</p> <p>Nobody donates money for the food</p> <p>Nadia was pissed</p> <p>"It sounds crazy, and if someone told me this story I'd assume they were lying or delusional. As Stuart's big drag queen hands lovingly rubbed my lower back and he sweetly asked God to heal me, the muscles in my back went from being a fist to an open hand. The spasms released." (Page 103)</p> <p>"But then at two a.m. I was startled awake with what can only be described as a bitch slap from the Holy Spirit. My eyes sprang open and out loud I said, "Oh wow." The force of the realization hit me: My back didn't hurt. It hadn't hurt after they prayed for me and it didn't hurt now as I laid in my bed, startled awake." (Page 104)</p> <p>Nadia also recalls all of the unexpected outcomes that had occurred during that Rally Day.</p> <p>"I was reminded again of the loaves and fishes. 'What do we have?' they asked. 'We have nothing. Nothing but a few loaves and a couple of fish.' And they said this as though it were a bad thing. The disciples' mistake was also my mistake: They forgot that they have a God who created the universe out of 'nothing,' that can put flesh on dry bones 'nothing,' that can put life in a dusty womb 'nothing.' I mean, let's face it, 'nothing' is God's favorite material to work with." (Page 104)</p> <p>"People at my table didn't ask me questions about how they could do HFASS-type stuff at their churches. Instead, they told their own failure stories. With heart and humor I was regaled with tales of badly handled firings and church secretaries with drinking problems and Vacation Bible School nepotism, and I realized that sometimes the best thing we can do for each other is talk honestly about being wrong." (Page 107)</p> <p>Chapter 11: Pirate Christian</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about learning to love her enemy</p> <p>"Chris, under the name of Pirate Christian, has a large public following as a heresy hunter. His <a href="http://www.piratechristianradio.com/">Pirate Christian Internet radio show</a> broadcast attacks all kinds of Christians who depart even slightly from his own understanding of the faith." (Page 108)</p> <p>"My liberalness and femaleness and gay-lovingness made me easy plunder for the Pirate." (Page 109)</p> <p>"Ego and anger often compete for stage time in my head, and inevitably anger cannot be kept under the curtain for long." (Page 110)</p> <p>Nadia writes about her meeting Chris, the Pirate Christian in a receiving line at a conference.</p> <p>"It's weird Nadia," he said. "We obviously disagree about a lot, but something tells me that out of all these liberal Christians, you and I have a couple things we might agree on." (Page 111)</p> <p>"I looked him in the eye and said, "Chris, I have two things to say to you. One, you are a beautiful child of God. Two, I think that maybe you and I are desperate enough to hear the Gospel that we can even hear it from each other." (Page 112)</p> <p>"When these kinds of things happen in my life, things that are so clearly filled with more beauty or redemption or reconciliation than my cranky personality and stony heart could ever manufacture on their own, I just have no other explanation than this: God." (Page 112)</p> <p>Love your neighbor and hate your enemies is not in the Old Testament</p> <p>"'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy' sounds so familiar.. I'm pretty sure it's in my heart. It's link in my DNA." (Page 114)</p> <p>"I think loving our enemies might be too central to the Gospel -- to close to the heart of Jesus -- for it to wait until we mean it." (Page 115)</p> <p>Nadia then goes on the write about being "attacked" by liberal Christians because she supported Sojourners magazine's decision to not sell ad space to Believe Out Loud.</p> <p>"I may have gotten an ego boost from being attacked by a conservative heresy hunter, but it felt awful to be attacked by my own people." (Page 118)</p> <p>She then describes getting a phone call of support from Chris. "Chris said that he loved me and would pray for me. His enemy." (Page 119)</p> <p>Chapter 12: The Haitian Stations of the Cross</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about how she learned about the earthquakes in Haiti in January 2012 and how she determine how to lead HFASS' reaction to it.</p> <p>Nadia's challenge: what to preach on that Sunday with the assigned text for that day being the Wedding at Cana.</p> <p>"So the week of the earthquake, I started to see Mary in a long line of prophets who have not kept silent." (Page 127)</p> <p>What liturgical practices do you like? (For example, the stations of the cross)</p> <p>Chapter 13: Demons and Snow Angels</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about identity, and our identity through baptism</p> <p>"That's when Paul finally understood grace. Paul finally understood that God's ability to name and love us is always greater than our ability to make ourselves worthy of either thing." (Page 134)</p> <p>"Luther read that we are saved by grace and not through our 'works,' and when he read that he realized he had been lied to." (Page 134)</p> <p>Nadia compares Paul and Luther to Asher (Mary Callahan), and notes that at the time of Asher's naming rite she too was struggling with identity issues. Her feelings of self-worth too heavily tied to the success or failure of HFASS.</p> <p>Nadia is struggling with the sermon for that Sunday, the text for which is Jesus's baptism, which she associates with identity. </p> <p>"Before we do anything wrong and before we do anything right, God has named and claimed us as God's own." (Page 138)</p> <p>"For far too long, I believed that how the Church of Christ saw me, or how my family saw me, or how society saw me, was the same as how God saw me." (Page 138)</p> <p>"Our identity has nothing to do with how we are perceived by others." </p> <p>In that sermon Nadia preached about demons. </p> <p>Martin Luther: "I am baptized." (Page 140)</p> <p>"since the thing I love about baptism is that it is about God's action upon us and not our decision to 'choose' God, I believe that the promises spoken over us in baptism are promises that are for all of humanity." (Page 140)</p> <p>Chapter 14: Doormats and Wrinkled Vestments</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about preaching on the tenth anniversary of 9/11</p> <p>Tenth year anniversary of 9/11. "A cheerful, yellow square on which was written: 'I can't forgive this. Can you?' (Page 145)</p> <p>"I find forgiveness to be one of the trickier elements of the Christian faith since it can feel like forgiving something is the same as saying it's OK." (Page 145)</p> <p>The lectionary texts for that Sunday were all about forgiveness</p> <p>"Jesus showed up ten years after the most unforgivable, murderous event of my lifetime and started babbling about forgiveness. And this made forgiveness feel less like a concept and more like a crucible." (Page 147)</p> <p>"Jesus always seems to be pairing God's forgiveness of us with our forgiveness of others. But why?" (Page 148)</p> <p>"Somewhere along the way I was taught that evil is fought through justice and might. ... So maybe retaliation or holding on to anger about the harm done to me doesn't actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it." (Page 149)</p> <p>"What if forgiveness, rather than being a pansy way of saying it's OK, is actually a way of wielding bolt cutters and snapping the chain that links us?" (Page 150)</p> <p>"What happened on 9/11 was not OK. That's why I need to forgive. Because I can't be bound to that kind of evil. Lest it infect the evil in my own heart and metastasize it." (Page 150)</p> <p>Chapter 15: Ghosts in the Kingdom of Heaven</p> <p>In this chapter Nadia writes about recognizing the kingdom heaven.</p> <p>"The week Amy Winehouse died, I was trying to come up with a sermon for that Sunday when my ex-boyfriend sent me a Facebook friend request." (Page 152)</p> <p>The gospel text is a string of parables in Matthew comparing the kingdom of heaven to things like a mustard seed and yeast and searching for fine pearls.</p> <p>"Every commentary and article I read about the parables offered me the same combination of obvious and useless." (Page 159)</p> <p>In this context of her ex-boyfriend contacting her and preparing her sermon, she learns that Amy Winehouse is dead. </p> <p>"Yet Jesus says that heaven's kingdom is like shrubs and nets and yeast. ... I remembered that yeast was considered impure. ... So then I began to consider that maybe the kingdom of heaven is found in the unclean and surprising and even the profane." (Page 161)</p> <p>"I mistakenly had been thinking that the kingdom of heaven was something I should be able to find an illustration for on this side of my life." (Page 162)</p> <p>"Jesus brings a kingdom ruled by the crucified one and populated by the unclean and always found in the unexpected. I'd expected to look at the past and see only mistakes that I'd moved on from, to see only damage and addiction and tragic self-delusion. But by thinking that way, I'd assumed that God was nowhere to be found back then. But that's kind of an insult to God. It's like saying, 'You only exist when I recognize you.'" (Page 162)</p> <p>Chapter 16: Dirty Fingernails</p> <p>"The notion that our names are spoken by Jesus, and that this is what makes us turn and recognize him, had become important to me, especially in light of how I was called by God." (Page 167)</p> <p>"He confessed that after nine months at our church he still wasn't so sure about this Jesus thing. But he knew something real happened in church, especially in the Eucharist." (Page 168)</p> <p>"The best I could do in that moment was to assure Michael that I didn't care that he felt like Jesus was ignoring him." (Page 169)</p> <p>Nadia reminds Michael about how they first met, and what has happened since. (Easter Sunday sermon at Red Rocks)</p> <p>"Easter is not a story about new dresses and flowers and spiffiness. Really, it's a story about flesh and dirt and bodies and confusion, and it's about the way God never seems to adhere to our expectations of what a proper God would do (as in not get himself killed in a totally avoidable way.)" (Page 172)</p> <p>"New doesn't always look perfect. Like the Easter story itself, new is often messy." (Page 174)</p> <p>"God simply keeps reaching down into the dirt of humanity and resurrecting us from the graves we dig for ourselves through our violence, our lies, our selfishness, our arrogance, and our addictions. And God keeps loving us back to life over and over." (Page 174)</p> <p>"Lack of connections is death," he told me as we sat in Hooked on Colfax, nine months after he'd first visited HFASS. "The opposite of that is being able to hug a perfect stranger." (Page 175)</p> <p>There are times when I hear my name, turn, and recognize Jesus. There are times when faith feels like a friendship with God. But there are many other times when it feels more adversarial or even vacant. Yet none of that matters in the end. How we feel about Jesus or how close we feel to God is meaningless next to how God acts upon us." (Page 176)</p> <p>Chapter 17: The Wrong Kind of Different</p> <p>"It was the summer of 2011, and three months earlier a bad thing and a couple of good things had happened" (Page 178)</p> <p>Bad: HFASS was evicted from the church building they had been in for three years</p> <p>Good: Nadia preached at Red Rocks and the Denver Post cover feature, with her picture, had been printed.</p> <p>"This will change everything, I'd thought." (Page 179)</p> <p>Up to this point HFASS rarely had more than 45 people show up on Sunday</p> <p>"When I dreamed of my church growing, I dreamed of having seventy people at liturgy." (Page 179)</p> <p>"The very next week after Easter -- after the Post and after Red Rocks -- our church doubled in size." (Page 180)</p> <p>"But what we didn't realize was that they were going to stay, and that they wouldn't look like us."</p> <p>"As the weeks progressed during the early summer, I found it increasingly more difficult to muster up a welcoming attitude toward a group of people who, unlike the rest of us, could walk into any mainline protestant church in town and see a room full of people who looked just like them." (Page 181)</p> <p>"I called a meeting for the church to talk about the 'sudden growth and demographic changes.'" (Page 182)</p> <p>"For the two weeks prior to the meeting, I had been engaged in a heated emotional battle, but now I felt calm." (Page 183)</p> <p>"I had lost in what I felt like divine defeat. A few days before the meeting, I underwent what I can only describe as a heart transplant."</p> <p>"A few days before the meeting, I had called my friend Russell who pastors a church in St. Paul with a similar story and demographic as HFASS." (Page 184)</p> <p>"But Russell refused to play along, 'Yeah, that sucks,' he said sarcastically. 'You guys are really good at welcoming the stranger when it's a young transgender person. But sometimes the stranger looks like your mom and dad." (Page 184)</p> <p>Russell was right.</p> <p>"Then Asher spoke up. 'As the young transgender kid who was welcomed into this community, I just want to go on the record and say that I'm really glad there are people at church now who look like my mom and dad. Because I have a relationship with them that I just can't with my own mom and dad.'" (Page 185)</p> <p>"Aaaaand heart transplant healed." (Page 186)</p> <p>"Out of one corner of your eye there's a homeless guy serving communion to a corporate lawyer and out of the other corner is a teenage girl with pink hair holding the baby of a suburban soccer mom. And there I was a year ago fearing that the weirdness of our church as going to be diluted." (Page 187)</p> <p>Chapter 18: He's a Fuck-up, But He's Our Fuck-up</p> <p>"Being conned is up there with throat cancer in terms of things I want to avoid. I had already been had by a Denver pimp and I hardly was up for repeating the experience with a Denver con man. So when Rick Strandlof showed up at church in August of 2011, my first instinct was to try to get rid of him. You know, like Jesus would do." (Page 191)</p> <p>"Yet the fact that I manage to now move from 'fuck you' to something less hostile, and the fact that I am often able to make the move quickly, well, once again, all of it makes be believe in God. And every time, it feels like repentance." (Page 192)</p> <p>"Repentance in Greek means something much closer to 'thinking differently afterward' than it does 'changing your cheating ways.'" (Page 192)</p> <p>"Repentance, 'thinking differently afterward,' is what happens to me when the truth of who I am and the truth of who God is scatter the darkness of competing ideas. And these truths don't ever feel like they come from inside me." (Page 193)</p> <p>"the real Rick has a history of childhood neglect, mental illness, and alcohol abuse." (Page 193)</p> <p>Chapter 19: Beer &amp; Hymns</p> <p>"Singing vespers in a bar is something even we had never done, but it was July 20, 2012, and nineteen hours earlier and nine miles east of us, a gunman had walked into a midnight showing of a Batman movie and opened fire, killing twelve people and injuring dozens more. Some of our friends had been in that theatre." (Page 196)</p> <p>"It took a few minutes for me to pinpoint the uniqueness of how these hymns were being sung. But then I knew. It was defiance." (Page 197)</p> <p>"The greatest spiritual practice is just showing up. And Mary Magdelene is the patron saint of just showing up. Showing up, to me, means being present to what is real, what is actually happening." (Page 197)</p> <p>"And it was her, a deeply faithful and deeply flawed woman, whom Jesus chose to be the first witness of his resurrection and to whom he commanded to go and tell everyone else about it." (Page 198)</p> <p>"To sing to God amidst sorrow is to defiantly proclaim, like Mary Magdalene did to the apostles, and like my friend Don did at Dylan Klebold's funeral, that death is not the final word." (Page 201)</p> <p>Favorite Quotes</p> <p>Seekers &amp; Skeptics, Hope's Tuesday night book discussion group, will begin discussing a new book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Pastrix-Cranky-Beautiful-Faith-Sinner/dp/1455527084">Pastrix, The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner &amp; Saint</a> by Nadia Bolz-Weber on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Bolz-Weber is pastor of <a href="http://houseforall.org/">House For All Sinners And Saints</a>, an ELCA mission church in Denver, Colorado, and is a leading voice in the emerging church movement. </p> <blockquote>Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint Outrageous, rich, and remarkable, PASTRIX turns spiritual memoir on its ear in this sardonically irreverent and beautifully honest page-turner. Nadia Bolz-Weber takes no prisoners as she reclaims the term "pastrix" (pronounced "pas-triks," a term used by some Christians who refuse to recognize female pastors) in her messy, beautiful, prayer-and-profanity laden narrative about an unconventional life of faith. </blockquote> <p>Page xvii: The story told in this book is not chronological, but rather thematic. It's about the development of Nadia's faith, the expression of her faith, and the community of her faith. </p> <p>Page xvii: "How the Christian faith, while wildly misrepresented in so much of American culture, is really about death and resurrection." </p> <p>Page 9: "here in the midst of my own community of underside dwellers that I couldn't help but begin to see the Gospel, the life-changing reality that God is not far off, but here among the brokeness of our lives. And having seen it, I couldn't help but point it out. For reasons I'll never quite understand, I realized that I had been called to proclaim the Gospel from the place where I am, and proclaim where I am from the Gospel." </p> <p>Page 15: "I can't imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. .. In a way, I need a God who is bigger and more nimble and mysterious than what I could understand and contrive. Otherwise it can feel like I am worshipping nothing more than my own ability to understand the divine." </p> <p>"Unlike my feelings toward the Christian fundamentalism from which I would soon part ways, I never stopped valuing the spiritual weirdness of hospitality and community. ... I was looking for a community in which all of me would actually fit in." (Page 26)</p> <p>"..the connection -- the deep, ongoing, and personal connection people like Margery had with God, a power greater than their alcoholic selves -- was in no way based on piety or righteousness. It was based solely on something I could related to a hell of a lot more: desperation." (Page 38)</p> <p>"God's grace is not defined as God being forgiving to us even though we sin. Grace is when God is a source of wholeness, which makes up for my failings." (Page 49)</p> <p>"If they choose to leave when we don't meet their expectations, they won't get to see how the grace of God can come in and fill the holes left by our community's failure, and that's just too beautiful and too real to miss." (Page 54)</p> <p>"What makes Lutherans blessed is not, as I once thought, that they're somehow different from the people in the Church of Christ where I was raised. Rather, what makes us all blessed is that, like the landowner in the parable, God comes and gets us, taps us on the shoulder, and says, 'Pay attention, this is for you.' Dumb was we are, smart and faithful as we are, just as we are." (Page 56)</p> <p>"There's a popular misconception that religion, Christianity specifically, is about knowing the difference between good and evil so that we can choose the good. But being good has never set me free the way truth has. Knowing all of this makes me love and hate Jesus at the same time. Because, when instead of contrasting good and evil, he contrasted truth and evil, I have to think about all the times I've substituted being good (or appearing to be good) for truth." (Page 72)</p> <p>"There is simply no knowable answer to the question of why there is suffering. But there is meaning. And for me that meaning ended up being related to Jesus -- Emmanuel -- which means, "God with us." We want to go to God for answers, but sometimes what we get is God's presence." (Page 86)</p> <p>"I was, now a pastor of a GLBTQ "inclusive" congregation, and I felt revulsion at seeing an intersex person. It was humbling to say the least. And it made me face, in a very real way, the limitations of inclusion. If the quality of my Christianity lies in my ability to be more inclusive than the next pastor, things get tricky because I will always, always encounter people -- intersex people, Republicans, criminals, Ann Coulter, etc. -- whom I don't want in the tent with me. Always. I only really want to be inclusive of some kinds of people and not others." (Page 90)</p> <p>"I was reminded again of the loaves and fishes. 'What do we have?' they asked. 'We have nothing. Nothing but a few loaves and a couple of fish.' And they said this as though it were a bad thing. The disciples' mistake was also my mistake: They forgot that they have a God who created the universe out of 'nothing,' that can put flesh on dry bones 'nothing,' that can put life in a dusty womb 'nothing.' I mean, let's face it, 'nothing' is God's favorite material to work with." (Page 104)</p> <p>"I think loving our enemies might be too central to the Gospel -- to close to the heart of Jesus -- for it to wait until we mean it." (Page 115)</p> <p>"For far too long, I believed that how the Church of Christ saw me, or how my family saw me, or how society saw me, was the same as how God saw me." (Page 138)</p> <p>"Somewhere along the way I was taught that evil is fought through justice and might. ... So maybe retaliation or holding on to anger about the harm done to me doesn't actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it." (Page 149)</p> <p>"Jesus brings a kingdom ruled by the crucified one and populated by the unclean and always found in the unexpected. I'd expected to look at the past and see only mistakes that I'd moved on from, to see only damage and addiction and tragic self-delusion. But by thinking that way, I'd assumed that God was nowhere to be found back then. But that's kind of an insult to God. It's like saying, 'You only exist when I recognize you.'" (Page 162)</p> <p>There are times when I hear my name, turn, and recognize Jesus. There are times when faith feels like a friendship with God. But there are many other times when it feels more adversarial or even vacant. Yet none of that matters in the end. How we feel about Jesus or how close we feel to God is meaningless next to how God acts upon us." (Page 176)</p> <p>"But Russell refused to play along, 'Yeah, that sucks,' he said sarcastically. 'You guys are really good at welcoming the stranger when it's a young transgender person. But sometimes the stranger looks like your mom and dad." (Page 184)</p> <p>"Repentance in Greek means something much closer to 'thinking differently afterward' than it does 'changing your cheating ways.'" (Page 192)</p> <p>"Repentance, 'thinking differently afterward,' is what happens to me when the truth of who I am and the truth of who God is scatter the darkness of competing ideas. And these truths don't ever feel like they come from inside me." (Page 193)</p> <p>"The greatest spiritual practice is just showing up. And Mary Magdelene is the patron saint of just showing up. Showing up, to me, means being present to what is real, what is actually happening." (Page 197)</p> <p>"And it was her, a deeply faithful and deeply flawed woman, whom Jesus chose to be the first witness of his resurrection and to whom he commanded to go and tell everyone else about it." (Page 198)</p> Thu, 26 Dec 2013 03:07:50 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/ThePastrix.html Chapter 10: God's Saving Justice http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter10GodsSavingJustice.html <p>"Christian salvation theology has, for better and for worse, tended to be Pauline salvation theology." (AK location 5275)</p> <p>"I will argue that Paul understands salvation in ways fully compatible with the Old Testament and the story of Jesus." </p> <p>Pauls' most extended argument related to salvation comes in the first three chapters of Romans</p> <p><b>Paul's Main Concern In Romans</b></p> <p>Footnote 2: "The word translated "faith" (pistis) is a key term for Paul. It may be translated "faith" or "faithfulness." The meaning of this term continues to be a point of intense debate. In my view, with this term Paul has in mind a way of life that encompasses trust in God, belief in the content of Torah and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and faithful living." Grimsrud prefers the term faithfulness in the sense of an entire way of life.</p> <p>Footnote 3: Grimsrud prefers "justice" rather than "righteousness" in translation of dikaiosune and its various derivatives because he believes it more closely captures Paul's meaning.</p> <p><b>Idolatry: The Problem Paul Analyzes</b></p> <p>What is the problem that Paul believes that humanity needs to be saved from?</p> <p>"From a careful reading of <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+1%3A18-3%3A20&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 1:18-3:20</a>, we may find at the heart of the sin problem for Paul the dynamic of idolatry, people giving ultimate loyalty to entities other than God." (AK location 5321)</p> <p>Idolatry of the nations (Greeks)</p> <p>"People move from the rejection of truth, to lack of gratitude, to trust in created things, to out of control lust, to injustice and violence." </p> <p>This manifests "wrath" Not direct intervention by God, but God "giving them up" to a self-selected spiral of death.</p> <p>Since Paul makes clear that God's intentions towards humanity is salvific (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%205:1-11&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 5:1-11</a>; <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011:32&amp;version=NRSV">11:32</a>) it is a mistake to interpret "wrath" as God's punitive anger.</p> <p>In context of the gospel, "wrath" refers to how God works in indirect ways to hold human beings accountable. (consequences)</p> <p>"When human beings exchange trust in 'the glory of God' for trust in images that resemble created things, they lose their ability to discern God's revelation." (AK location 5354) Paul echoes <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20115&amp;version=NRSV">Psalm 115</a></p> <p>"The paradigmatic expression of this dynamic for Paul is how inter-human love -- which indeed reveals God in profound ways -- comes to be reduced to lust, and relationships become unjust, broken, contexts for alienation." </p> <p>Paul writes that "for this reason" God gave those consumed by lust (the "lusters") "up to degrading passions." </p> <p>Neil Elliott: Paul may have in mind the recent history of the Roman emperor's (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula#Scandals">Caligula</a>) court and its profligate sexual behavior that had scandalized many. </p> <p>Paul sees lust as the problem (not homosexuality per se) because of how it diminishes humanness, reflects worship of "degrading passions" rather than God. (AK location 5368)</p> <p>"In this discussion of idolatry in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:18-32&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 1:18-32</a>, Paul wants his readers to see their would-be Benefactors (the rulers of the empire) as God's rivals." (AK location 5381)</p> <p>Idolatry of the covenant people (Jews) : Works of the Law</p> <p>James Dunn: Uses the term "works of the law" in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galations%202:16&amp;version=NRSV">Galations 2:16</a> as helping us distinguish between Paul's critique of how his opponents understood the law and his own affirmation of the continuing validity of the law." (AK location 5407)</p> <p>"Behind Paul's critique here is his own earlier commitment to works of the law as boundary markers." </p> <p>"If one points fingers at other idolaters while denying one's own tendency to worship idols, one will never find such freedom." (AK location 5421)</p> <p>"The antidote to idolatry is recognition of God's unconditional and abundant mercy. God's kindness comes first, then comes repentance." (AK location 5438)</p> <p>Condemnation comes to everyone who does evil -- Jew first and also Greek (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%202:9&amp;version=NRSV">2:9</a>)</p> <p>Paul immediately follows this terrifying word with a word of hope. Salvation comes to all kinds of people, Jew first and also Greek. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%202:10-11&amp;version=NRSV">2:11</a>)</p> <p>Paul associates "sin" (a term he introduces in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%202:12&amp;version=NRSV">2:12</a>) with the idolatry he describes</p> <p>"sin and idolatry arise when people live without trust and gratitude, become futile in their thinking and darkened in their minds, and practice injustice and move toward lifelessness." (AK location 5457)</p> <p>Paul relates whats going on in Rome to his own life before encountering Jesus.</p> <p><b>The Universality of the Dominance of Sin</b></p> <p>"no one will be made whole and gain salvation by using the letter of the law as the basis for condemning others in order to strengthen their own standing before God. Paul here in a nutshell captures the following of the path he himself had taken." <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:20&amp;version=NRSV">Rom 3:20</a> (AK location 5554)</p> <p>"This is the problem: the universality of the domination of the 'power of sin' (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:9&amp;version=NRSV">3:9</a>) over all groups of people."</p> <p>"Paul's logic here follows this path: humanity is trapped in bondage to systems of injustice that claim to be our Benefactors and agents of God's will. This claim is false; such systems (be the Roman or Jewish) enslave rather than liberate." (AK location 5569)</p> <p>"wrath refers to the process of God 'turning us over' that allows us to worship as we please with self-inflicted consequences." (AK location 5580)</p> <p><b>The Resolution: Justice Apart from Works of the Law</b></p> <p>"Paul answers the question about deliverance in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:21-31&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 3:21-31</a>. These verses provide a remarkable (and dense) summary of how he understands salvation -- that parallels what we have seen in the Old Testament and in the Gospels." (AK location 5580)</p> <p>"Paul also emphasizes that salvation has simply to do with turning to God and trusting in God's mercy." </p> <p>"The resolution has to do with the justice of God, going back to the beginning of Paul's argument where he proclaims that the justice of God is revealed in the gospel of salvation. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:16-17&amp;version=NRSV">Rom 1:16-17</a>)</p> <p>"This justice has been disclosed. The Greek word, pephanerotai, echoes the term used in 1:17, apokalypsis. God has disclosed or revealed the truth -- the very thing idolaters suppress (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:18&amp;version=NRSV">1:18</a>)" (AK location 5597)</p> <p>"This disclosure that Paul will describe 'is attested by the law and prophets.' ... Whatever he goes on to say, he insists that his gospel directly links with the Bible's message." (AK location 5612)</p> <p>"The justice of God is seen in Jesus's faithfulness (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:22&amp;version=NRSV">3:22</a>) Jesus discloses the true nature of God, the path to life, and the agenda of the Powers that seek to separate humanity from God's love. <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%208:38-39&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 8:38-39</a> (AK location 5624)</p> <p>"God's justice disclosed through Jesus brings salvation 'for all who believe.' .. Those 'who believe' are those who see Jesus and God for who they are, who see the Powers for what they are, and who commit their lives to the path of justice set out in Jesus's life and enabled now by the presence of Jesus's Spirit." <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%208:9-11&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 8:9-11</a></p> <p>"Paul earlier asserted the universality of bondage to sin in order to now assert the universality of liberation from this bondage." (AK location 5639)</p> <p>"Paul emphasizes that God initiates the needed liberation -- strictly out of God's mercy. Just as God 'put forward' Moses and freed the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, Paul asserts that God 'put forward' Jesus to free Jew and Greek alike from enslavement to the power of sin. God is not the recipient of this act but the doer of it. In no sense, according to Paul's argument, does the liberation come from God's own retributive justice." (AK location 5655)</p> <p>"God puts Jesus forward as a 'sacrifice of atonement.' (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:25&amp;version=NRSV">3:25</a>) What does Paul mean by 'sacrifice of atonement' (Greek: hilasterion)?" </p> <p>The meaning of this term continues to be highly contested. </p> <p>Let's note here some points about the broader context of Paul's thought. </p> <p>God is responsible for this saving action, the one who offers the sacrifice (not the one who receives it).</p> <p>"How is Jesus a 'sacrifice'? Not as a blood offering to appease God's anger or honor or holiness but as one who freely devoted his own life to persevering in love all the way to the end." (see AK location 5666)</p> <p>"Thus the 'sacrifice' should be understood as Jesus's self-sacrifice expressed in faithful living, his way of being in the world. </p> <p>"The 'atonement' (at-one-ment, reconciliation) is not a sacrifice to God that satisfies God's neediness (that God is not needy for sacrifices has been established back with <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2050&amp;version=NRSV">Psalm 50</a>). The 'atonement' illumines the truth that humanity has suppressed (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:18&amp;version=NRSV">Rom 1:18</a>), truth that helps (or allows) sinners to see God's welcoming mercy clearly. This illumination makes 'one-ment' with God possible -- not from God's side (God has always welcomed sinners) but from the human side." </p> <p>"The 'sacrifice of atonement' is given 'by Jesus's blood' (3:25). What does 'blood' signify here?" (AK location 5679)</p> <p>"The need for offerings rests on the human side. Offerings are necessary to concretize for the human imagination the reality of God's mercy and the expectations God has for life lived in the light of that mercy."</p> <p>"It seems to symbolize Jesus's life of self-giving, giving to the point of being killed by the Powers. This 'self-sacrifice' by 'blood' is 'effective through faithfulness' Paul states (3:25)" (AK location 5695)</p> <p>"Our sense of what Paul means here, of how 'putting forward Jesus' expresses God's justice, will be determined by how we define 'justice' in this broader Romans passage." (AK location 5695)</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:16-17&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 1:16-17</a> Paul links God's justice to bringing salvation</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:21-24&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 3:21-24</a> Paul links the disclosure of God's justice directly with sinners being justified (made whole, saved) by God's grace.</p> <p>"Clearly, the revelation of God's justice in Jesus has to do with God's healing and restorative work." </p> <p>"Because God's mercy serves as the basis for salvation, we have no reason to 'boast.' By 'boasting,' Paul here has in mind the kinds of attitudes and behaviors that characterize his own life as a judger." (AK location 5725)</p> <p>"The contrast Paul makes here has to do not with a distinction between ethics and belief ('works' versus 'faith') but between exclusivism versus inclusive, healing, restorative justice." (AK location 5725)</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:28&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 3:28</a> "By 'justified by faith' Paul means we are made whole through faithfulness. This faithfulness involves trusting in Jesus in such a way that one commits oneself to following Jesus's way of life." (AK location 5737)</p> <p>"Justification has to do with faithfulness (Jesus's and his followers'), not with ethnic identity, relation to the empire, a punitive sacrifice, or doctrinal belief. Justification and salvation are about a living relationship with God that is manifested in love of neighbor." (AK location 5750)</p> <p>Paul makes this affirmation clear in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2013:8-10&amp;version=NRSV">Romans 13:8-10</a></p> <p><b>God's Saving Justice</b></p> <p>"According to Paul in Romans 1-3, the fundamental need humanity has is liberation or salvation from the power of sin. He defines 'sin' as most basically expressed in the dynamics of idolatry." (AK location 5765)</p> <p>"These various expressions of idolatry leave human beings in bondage to whatever Power they give ultimate loyalty to -- with the consequence of living lives characterized by 'wrath' rather than genuine justice." </p> <p>"So, what is needed is something to break this spiral toward death. That 'something' is the core element of Paul's theology of salvation."</p> <p>"The resolution to this crisis of humanity may be found in God's revelation of the true nature of humanity's problem and God's solution. The resolution is a process of illumination. God provides sight and breaks the hold of blindness that idolatry has on humanity with its misplaced loyalties." (AK location 5781)</p> <p>"Paul makes clear, in full continuity with the Bible's salvation story, that the salvation he describes comes to humanity due to God's initiative." (AK location 5793)</p> <p>"So, the 'justice of God' that stands at the center of Paul's theology of salvation from start to finish is restorative justice, not retributive justice." </p> <p>"Paul adds no new spin to the Bible's salvation story. He reiterates what the call of Abraham, the exodus, the gift of Torah, the sustenance of the community in exile, and the message of Jesus have all (in harmony with one another) expressed: God is merciful and offers empowerment for just living for all who embrace that mercy and let it transform their lives." (AK location 5803)</p> <p>"Paul's distinctive contribution in Romans 1-3 to the biblical salvation story lies in his powerful portrayal of the problem of idolatry both in the empire and in the faith community." </p> Sat, 07 Dec 2013 21:42:27 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter10GodsSavingJustice.html Chapter 9: Jesus Brings Salvation http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter9JesusBringsSalvation.html <p><em>Why does the resurrection matter? What would have happened if God had not resurrected Jesus? What does the resurrection have to say about salvation? <a href="http://the-narthex.org/2013/11/30/the-logic-of-retribution/">What is the logic of retribution?</a> </em></p> <p><em>Is the Easter story a story of what Jesus did and/or a story of what God did? </em></p> <p>"Jesus apparently understood early on that his conflict with the religious leaders would move beyond the 'on the ground' differences with the Pharisees. Luke tells us that he proposed to 'turn to Jerusalem' (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%209:51&amp;version=NRSV">Luke 9:51</a>) and that as he did so his language took on a more ominous tone." (AK location 4869)</p> <p>"Jesus's words and actions, given the popular support he gathered, threatened to undercut the legitimacy of the temple among the Jewish population." </p> <p>"On a deeper level, for many Jews the temple did serve as the locus for God's presence among the people." (AK location 4881)</p> <p>"The logic of retribution led the Powers of cultural exclusivism to seek to destroy Jesus (even if they were ultimately unable to do so). It, in turn, led the Powers of religious institutionalism actually to take steps to arrest Jesus, try him, and turn him over to the state for punishment. However, the Powers of political authoritarianism actually took the final step and used the state's ultimate tool of punishment to execute Jesus." (AK location 4911)</p> <p>"The collaborative work of the Powers did eliminate Jesus. His counter-cultural movement that had sought a Torah-centered renewal of the way of mercy and shalom in Israel lay in ruins."</p> <p><strong>God Vindicates Jesus</strong></p> <p>"Jesus's followers experienced his arrest and crucifixion as a devastating blow to their hopes and beliefs." <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2024:21&amp;version=NRSV">Luke 24:21 </a>they "had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel." (AK location 4922)</p> <p>"Though the story tells that Jesus alluded to resurrection when he discussed his likely death, it seems clear that no one actually understood him to mean his personal resurrection prior to the general resurrection at the end of time." (AK location 4935)</p> <p>"That is, the events of Easter Sunday took everyone by surprise." (AK location 4946)</p> <p>"To underscore that no one expected Jesus's personal resurrection at this point, we read of the women's absolute terror. Mark's gospel ends with this terror, as they flee from the empty tomb. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2016:8&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 16:8</a>)</p> <p>"This was not an anticipated characteristic of the Messiah, but came as a surprise to everyone." (AK location 4960)</p> <p>"The evidence suggests that by the time of Jesus, most Jews either believed in some form of resurrection or at least knew it as standard teaching. What surprised believers was that Jesus would have been resurrected immediately following his death, not that resurrection could happen."</p> <p>What does this all mean?</p> <p><strong>Jesus's Resurrection Vindicates His Life</strong></p> <p>"First of all, and perhaps most fundamentally, when God raised Jesus from the tomb, against all expectations, God vindicated Jesus's life as fully reflective of God's will for humankind." (AK location 4974)</p> <p>"The message of healing justice that Jesus embodied is revealed to be a message from the heart of God through his vindication and affirmation."</p> <p>Jesus's basic strategy to bring salvation to the world included:</p> <ol> <li><p>He welcomed all people even across the boundary lines of the cultural exclusivists</p></li> <li><p>He reiterated the core message of Torah concerning God's mercy and human responsibility</p></li> <li><p>He directly challenged the Powers</p></li> <li><p>He simply proclaimed and demonstrated God's love</p></li> </ol> <p><em>What would have happened to the strategy if God did not resurrect Jesus? </em></p> <p>His story would not have provided much hope</p> <p>"Jesus's life, morally exemplary as it may have been, would not likely have been seen to reflect God's will for human beings by many people." (AK location 4989) </p> <p>"Walk this path and you too will end up abandoned." (AK location 5001)</p> <p><em>Recall what happened to the followers of John the Baptist after his execution</em></p> <p>"Due to God's unprecedented act of raising Jesus, the message that emerges from the story of his life is one of hope and empowerment, not defeat and despair." (AK location 5012)</p> <p>Jesus's followers "concluded that Jesus was the Messiah because of the way the resurrection validated his life." </p> <p><strong>Jesus's Resurrection Rebukes The Powers</strong></p> <p>"When God raises Jesus from the dead, God not only endorses Jesus's way as God's way, but also rebukes the Powers that put Jesus to death." (AK location 5023)</p> <p>"Jesus's resurrection makes the point that his critique of those Powers for usurping God came not from some disaffected prophet railing against the status quo. Rather, Jesus's resurrection proves that Jesus's critique reflected the will of the God of the universe." (AK location 5036)</p> <p>"Each of these Powers, in their own way, claimed to represent God and thereby justified their demand for loyalty."</p> <p>"So, for Jesus not to stay dead serves to rebuke those forces that killed him. They were not all-powerful; more importantly, they actively rejected God's Son." (AK location 5068)</p> <p>"When it rebukes the Powers, Jesus's resurrection unmasks their use of the logic of retribution as antithetical to salvation. God does not operate in accord with the logic or retribution when God brings salvation to the world. Rather, the Powers operate according to this logic in trying to destroy the saving efforts of God." (AK location 5079)</p> <p>"Jesus's resurrection makes clear that salvation is rooted in God's deep, persevering love, not God's inviolable holiness and anger that must be appeased when holiness is violated." (AK location 5092)</p> <p><strong>Jesus's Resurrection Points to His Follower's Vocation</strong></p> <p>"The purpose of God's gift of healing has from the time of Abraham and Sarah been to 'bless all the families of the earth. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Gen%2012:3&amp;version=NRSV">Gen 12:3</a>) The purpose of the exodus from Egypt was for the Hebrew people to mediate God's mercy to the world (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exod%2019:6&amp;version=NRSV">Exod 19:6</a>). The giving of the Commandments followed directly from God's mercy (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exod%2020:2&amp;version=NRSV">Exod 20:2</a>), for the purpose of guiding the people in merciful living. The very heart of the Levitical holiness code emphasizes the Hebrews' responsibility to care for each other, especially the vulnerable ones in their community, but also to love the outsiders in their midst. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2019&amp;version=NRSV">Leviticus 19</a>) (AK location 5120)</p> <p>"the purpose of salvation is not simply to bless the recipient; the purpose is to move the blessing out into the world." </p> <p>"the main implication is that because Jesus was raised, his followers are commissioned to go out into the world and share the good news of the presence of God's healing mercy." </p> <p>"The Gospels say nothing along the lines of Jesus is risen, therefore you will be too." (AK location 5120)</p> <p>"Jesus's resurrection provides his followers with a vocation. This vocation links with the content of Jesus's life and teaching; the resurrection does not redirect the content of the message." (AK location 5131)</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2028:18-20&amp;version=NRSV">Matthew 28:18-20</a></p> <p>"It speaks of the main ramifications for his followers without any allusion to their own promised resurrection and eternal life (quite likely because this was already assumed by many Jews, especially those in the Pharisaic tradition; Jesus's own resurrection did not challenge that assumption)." (AK location 5143)</p> <p>"The primary meaning of Jesus's resurrection does not lie in the personal future of individuals after we die. The message is not, 'you too can have life after death.' Rather, what the story tells the believer is that God has a plan to transform the entire creation through the vocation of God's people -- and you are to be part of this task. Jesus is raised, so now get involved in blessing all the families of the earth." (AK location 5143)</p> <p><em>Is this an easy thing to sell? </em></p> <p>"So the story links the resurrection inextricably with Jesus's life and teaching. Its meaning lies primarily in its reiteration that the content of Jesus's life does indeed reflect god's will for human beings and that the calling of Jesus's followers is to do as he did -- with the great likelihood of facing the same consequences.' (AK location 5155)</p> <p>One more piece of evidence, is the account in Acts of Paul's encounter with the risen Jesus</p> <p>"the point is not that Paul now knows he will get to go to heaven after he dies (as a Pharisee, he already believed that); the point is that now Saul/Paul himself has a new vocation." (AK location 5167)</p> <p><strong>Jesus's Resurrection Reveals the Nature of Reality</strong></p> <p>"The creator and sustainer of the universe is the one who brought Jesus back from the dead." (AK location 5180)</p> <p>"When the early Christians confess Jesus as Messiah, ... they affirm that Jesus's way is God's way, the way of the cosmos." </p> <p>"the revelation the resurrection gives makes clear that the universe (and God) have always been this way -- Jesus's resurrection simply makes this more clearer."</p> <p>"Jesus's resurrection, then, serves as a strong statement that the logic of retribution, based as it is on an understanding of God's holiness as inflexible, does not cohere with the nature of the cosmos." </p> <p>"The resurrection of Jesus confirms the argument in this book that the biblical portrayal of salvation provides a strong basis to reject the logic of retribution. Jesus lived and taught mercy, not retribution. When he did so, he alienated the Powers of his time to the point that they joined together in deadly retributive violence." (AK location 5204)</p> <p>"The holiness of God that transforms the world from brokenness to wholeness does so in that it heals, not that it punishes. This is the basis for our hope for wholeness." </p> Sun, 01 Dec 2013 00:07:17 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter9JesusBringsSalvation.html Chapter 8: Jesus's Death and the Powers Political Authoritarianism (Empire) http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter8JesussDeathAndThePowersPoliticalAuthoritarianismEmpire.html <p>"From Genesis through Revelation, all the biblical stories take place in the shadow of some sort of empire." (AK location 4266)</p> <p><b>Contra Egypt</b></p> <p>"Out of fear of the proliferating Hebrew people who had resisted full assimilation into Egyptian society and its empire state-ideology, the Pharaoh acts against them." <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%201:1-10&amp;version=NRSV">Exodus 1:10-11</a> (AK location 4279)</p> <p>"The story of the exodus exposes how Pharaoh clung to power. In the end, Pharaoh's stubbornness led to disaster for his empire and liberation for the Hebrew slaves." (AK location 4294)</p> <p>"The exodus testimony, 'this most radical of all of Israel's testimony about Yahweh,' verifies that the God of Israel is a relentless opponent of human oppression, even when the oppression is undertaken and sponsored by what appear to be legitimated powers." (AK location 4317)</p> <p><b>Israel's Monarchy and the Critique of Empire</b></p> <p>"The tradition's hostility toward empire, reflected implicitly in the law codes providing for a decidedly non-empire-like social order, found overt expressions at a major crossroads in the story of the Hebrew community" (AK location 4317)</p> <p>"in those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes." <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%2021:25&amp;version=NRSV">Judges 21:25</a></p> <p>Samuel made his sons judges over Israel, but they did not follow his ways, took bribes and perverted justice.</p> <p>On top of this the Hebrews faced an external threat, an emerging regional empire of the Philistines.</p> <p>As a consequence, the elders of Israel sought a human king, like other nations. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Sam%208:5&amp;version=NRSV">1 Sam 8:5</a>)</p> <p>Feared losing their identity by being conquered by the Philistines</p> <p>But becoming like other nations could also lead to the elimination of the covenant community</p> <p>Samuel argued that there was a third option: continue to trust in Yahweh as your only king, maintain a distinct identity oriented around exodus and Torah, and Yahweh will see that the covenant promises remain viable.</p> <p>Anti-empire argument; if Israel takes the human king route it would also become empire-like</p> <p>The people refuse to listen to Samuel (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Sam%208:19-20&amp;version=NRSV">1 Sam 8:19-20</a>) so Yahweh instructs hi to relent and "set a king over them" (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Sam%208:22&amp;version=NRSV">8:22</a>)</p> <p>Deuteronomy establishes a kingship that is still subordinate to Torah. The king was to come from within the Israelite community, in other words one who had grown up observing Torah. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deut%2017:18-20&amp;version=NRSV">Deut 17:18-20</a>)</p> <p>"The accounts that follow in 1 and 2 Kings almost all reflect the king's unwillingness to submit to Torah in this way." (AK location 4379)</p> <p>A rebellion of King Rehoboam's (Solomon's son) treatment of Jeroboam led to a split between the northern kingdom, Israel, and the southern kingdom, Judah. </p> <p>Kings of both Judah and Israel turn toward idolatry, authoritarianism, corruption, and injustice.</p> <p>The northern kingdom, Israel, falls to the Assyrian empire near the end of the eighth century BCE, and a 100 years latter Judah falls to the Babylonian empire.</p> <p>Outside of Israel kingship was a blessing of the gods. Within Israel, kingship was regarded as human rebellion. (AK location 4409)</p> <p><b>The Hebrews Among the Empires</b></p> <p>Four large empires: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Persia</p> <p>Greece during the inter-testamental period</p> <p>Rome dominates the New Testament</p> <p><b>Egypt</b></p> <p>The story of Solomon includes several allusions to Egypt. "Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh" (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kgs%203:1&amp;version=NRSV">1 Kgs 3:1</a>)</p> <p>"The irony that Solomon would marry into the Egyptian Empire's leadership class rings loudly when we remember Samuel's warning about the people, under their desired king, returning to slavery." (AK location 4428)</p> <p><b>Assyria</b></p> <p>Located north of Israel.</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2017:5-23&amp;version=NRSV">2 Kings 17:5-23</a> gives the account of Assyria destroying Israel</p> <p>"Nahum joyfully proclaims the impending doom of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, as due to Assyria's injustice and brutality." (AK location 4461)</p> <p>The book of Jonah, as mentioned earlier, centers on the capital of Assyria, Nineveh.</p> <p><b>Babylon</b></p> <p>Nebuchadnezzar ruled the Babylonian Empire from 605 BCE to 562 BCE.</p> <p>Not long after Nebuchadnezzar's death, the Persians, led by Cyrus, replaced Babylon as the dominant empire</p> <p>"those were extraordinarily eventful years for the Hebrews, and the Babylonian Empire and Nebuchadnezzar loom large in biblical writings, down through the final book of the New Testament." (AK location 4478)</p> <p>"The role of Babylon in Israel's consciousness as the paradigmatic example of political authoritarianism may be seen in the use of "Babylon" in symbolic ways down through the writings of the New Testament." (AK location 4502)</p> <p>In Revelation "Babylon symbolizes the brutalities and blasphemies of the Roman Empire</p> <p><b>Persia</b></p> <p>Emerged mid-sixth century BCE under Cyrus</p> <p>Is presented in a more positive light than the other empires</p> <p>"The Persians evidently concluded that their purposes would be better served if they permitted their conquered nations a measure of self-determination. Perhaps this would provide for greater tax revenue and overall productivity in the occupied territories." (AK location 4515)</p> <p>"The positive impression the Old Testament gives of the Persian Empire in part stems from the likelihood that during this time most of the Hebrew Bible reached its final form." (AK location 4528)</p> <p>"The Persian period provides evidence that the covenant community was capable of survival apart from operating its own nation-state"</p> <p><b>Roman Domination</b></p> <p>The greatest empire of the ancient world emerged in the second century BCE</p> <p>Rome appoints Herod "king of the Jews" and rules at behest of Rome from 37 BCE until his death at 4 BCE</p> <p>After Herod's death Rome divided his kingdom into thirds among his sons</p> <p>Herod Antipas - Galilee and Perea (40 years)</p> <p>Philip - Trachonitis and Iturea (40 years)</p> <p>The third son, Archelaus, was given Judea, but he failed to maintain control and so Pontius Pilate was appointed governor of Judea</p> <p><b>Jesus and Empire</b></p> <p>In Palestine of Jesus's day, society is divided into two groups:</p> <p>The ruling class, including representatives of the Roman Empire</p> <p>The second group included most everyone else, the peasants in the countryside and the vast majority of the population of Jerusalem</p> <p>Jesus came from this second group and oriented his ministry towards them</p> <p>"When Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God, he challenged the Pax Romana. He prayed for the coming of God's kingdom and expected it soon. He believed his own work would inaugurate this kingdom. He did not accept the empire's claims to bring the 'gospel' (good news) of peace. And he rejected the claims that the empire acts on behalf of God." (AK location 4590)</p> <p>"When seen in conjunction with his ministry as a whole, Jesus is in both cases presenting his politics as an alternative to Roman political authoritarianism in the here and now" (AK location 4615)</p> <p>"In Jesus's execution, two contradictory notions of peace meet head on." (AK location 4630)</p> <p>Pax Romana (peace through violence) vs the non-violent Peace of Jesus </p> <p><b>The Death of a Political Criminal</b></p> <p>"The central conflicts in Jesus's career occurred with the Jewish religious leaders, not the representatives of the Roman Empire." (AK location 4630) Yet it was Rome that crucified Jesus</p> <p>Crucifixion carried enormous symbolic weight</p> <p>The allegations of Jesus claiming to be king stand at the center of Pilate's concern when he faces Jesus.</p> <p>Pilate asks, "Are you king of the Jews?"</p> <p>Jesus replies, "My kingdom is not of this world." </p> <p>What did Jesus mean? Did me mean to advocate only a purely spiritual "otherworldly" kingdom, or did he mean that his kingdom was not like the typical kingdoms of this world and as was known through the entire Biblical story?</p> <p>"Jesus was apolitical only if we understand 'politics' strictly as power politics, the politics of the sword. However, if we understand politics more generally to mean the way human beings order their social world, Jesus was political." (AK location 4669)</p> <p>Summary of last three chapters: (AK location 4705)</p> <p>Jesus asserted the possibility of direct access to God. In doing so, he undercut the authority of the temple. </p> <p>Jesus challenged the interpretations of the law that empowered the Pharisees. He advocated an approach to the law that placed the priority on mercy and justice, not on the legalistic focus on external regulations</p> <p>Jesus rejected the Roman Empire at a basic level. He replaced a violent, debt-oriented way of seeing with a way that started with God's mercy.</p> Sat, 23 Nov 2013 21:36:30 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter8JesussDeathAndThePowersPoliticalAuthoritarianismEmpire.html Chapter 7: Jesus's Death and the Powers -- Religious Exclusivism (Temple) http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter7JesussDeathAndThePowersReligiousExclusivismTemple.html <p><b>The Legacy of Solomon's Temple</b></p> <p>Before Solomon built the temple at Jerusalem, worship was done in a number of sanctuaries, most prominently Shiloh, which was destroyed by the Philistines.</p> <p>Solomon's temple: <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1KGS%206-7&amp;version=NRSV">1 Kings 6-7</a></p> <p>"Solomon constructed the temple as a central element of his successful efforts to centralize the power of the king office in Israel." (AK location 3709)</p> <p>Solomon also implemented a system of tax districts</p> <p>"Under Solomon's administrative policies the concern for equitable distribution of economic resources reflected in the covenant law codes is displaced by an economics of privilege that begins to create sharp class divisions of wealth and poor within Israel." (AK location 3721)</p> <p>"The construction of the temple on 'Mount Zion' creates in Israel a tradition in tension with the prophetic/Torah tradition." (AK location 3731)</p> <p>"For Mosaic faith, Israel serves a transcendent God, not simply a God who supports Israel's interests whatever they may be." ... "With Solomon, God enters Israel's life at the beck and call of the king and his minions. The king's servants control access to God." (AK location 3745)</p> <p>"Israelites came to see the temple as evidence for God's support of Israel."</p> <p>"The prophets, at their most intense, portray the temple as being opposed to God." (AK location 3798)</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%207&amp;version=NRSV">Jeremiah 7</a> contains harsh words for the temple and its leaders. Jeremiah 7:9-11 (AK location 3808)</p> <p>"In violent and daring ways, Ezekiel makes clear that all to which Yahweh has been committed is revocable." (AK location 3823) </p> <p><b>The Second Temple</b></p> <p>Solomon's temple is destroyed in 587 BCE by the Bablyonian armies</p> <p>Most the Judean ruling class from Jerusalem is deported to Bablyon, then after the Persian Empire conquered the Bablyons the Jewish exiles were allowed to return to Palestine. The Persian's allowed the Israelites to rebuild the temple on a much more modest scale. (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezra%201-2&amp;version=NRSV">Ezra 1-2</a>)</p> <p>This second temple was constructed under the leadership of Zerubbabel in the years 520-516 BCE</p> <p>Walter Brueggemann: "..a miracle wrought by the Judeans themselves. They were the only people in antiquity exiled from the homeland and national religion who maintained their religious and social identity in captivity." (AK location 3838)</p> <p>"That the elite of the empire approved the rebuilding of Israel's temple and its faith community indicates that they saw such efforts to serve the empire's purposes." (AK location 3853)</p> <p>In the years that followed, Jews exhibited various attitudes towards the second temple.</p> <p>Beliefs linked with the first temple -- the temple as the dwelling place of God, unique in all the earth. Both Ezekiel and Zechariah seems to acknowledge this.</p> <p>Others rooted in the story expressed more hostility toward the temple. "This more negative viewpoint found expression in the emergent apocalyptic expressions of faith that arose during the inter-testamental period." (AK location 3867)</p> <p><b>The Temple in Jesus's Time</b></p> <p>"The temple housed the one Jewish altar on which the high priest performed the sacrificial rites of atonement once a year for the entire Jewish world." (AK location 3879)</p> <p>Forgiveness of people's sins</p> <p>After the Romans gained control of Palestine, they established Herod as their client king. Herod embarked on an ambitions building project, expanding the temple greatly.</p> <p>"As many as 18,000 priests participated in the temple activities." (AK location 3892)</p> <p>The temple treasury functioned as a huge national bank. Devout Jews living beyond Palestine traveled to the temple three times a year to celebrate religions festivities.</p> <p>Feast of Passover - deliverance from Egypt</p> <p>Feast of Pentecost - thanks for the first fruits of the harvest</p> <p>Feast of Tabernacles - gratitude for the completed harvest</p> <p>Day of Atonement</p> <p>Holiday in autumn</p> <p>High priest sacrificed a goat for his own sins and sent another one into the desert for the sins of the people.</p> <p>Only the high priest, in purity, could part the curtains and enter the holy of holies in the very presence of God once a year on the Day of Atonement.</p> <p>The Sanhedrin, the final Jewish authority in religious, political, and civil matters, made their home at the temple, along with the high priest.</p> <p>The high priest became the most powerful Jewish leader in relation to the occupying Roman leaders.</p> <p>The religious party that centered in Jerusalem and made up most of the Sanhedrin were known as the Sadducees.</p> <p>The Sadducees rejected the oral tradition and professed skepticism about personal immortality, including the resurrection.</p> <p>Generally came from the wealthy upper class</p> <p>Accepted Roman occupation and cooperated in order to keep the temple viable</p> <p>"Unlike with Leviticus, for the temple in the first century sacrifice served as a means to connect with God that required the mediation of the religious institution whose wealth and power served the king's interests." (AK location 3949)</p> <p>"Sacrifice in Leviticus stems from an experience of God's mercy and serves the community as a whole, not only the power elite."</p> <p>"As a 'conservative,' that is, one who drew directly from the tradition of Moses as filtered through prophetic critique, Jesus ended up on a collision course with the temple hierarchy -- a course that exposed the true nature of religious institutionalism, its violence and subservience to political authoritarianism." (AK location 3949)</p> <p><b>Jesus and the Temple</b></p> <p>"Jesus had a nuanced attitude toward the temple and its sacrificial system" (AK location 3960)</p> <p>He understood the sacrificial system as peripheral to the dynamics of salvation ("I desire mercy, not sacrifice," <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matt%209:13&amp;version=NRSV">Matt 9:13</a> and <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matt%2012:7&amp;version=NRSV">12:7</a> quoting <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hos%206:6&amp;version=NRSV">Hos 6:6</a>)</p> <p>The two birth accounts, in Matthew and Luke, give a mixed perspective on Jesus's relation with the temple.</p> <p>Luke tells of his parents dedicating him in the temple (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%202:21-40&amp;version=NRSV">Luke 2:21-40</a>), their dedication frame as adherence 'to the law of Moses.' Encounter to old 'saints' Simeon and Anna, both who praise God when they see Jesus for God's work of salvation.</p> <p>"So, Luke presents Jesus coming from a devout family that observed temple rituals, and he shows that in the temple itself people are found who understand Jesus as an agent of God's saving work for the whole world." (AK location 3990)</p> <p>"The impression in Matthew's birth story is subtler. For one thing, Matthew does not actually mention the temple." </p> <p>Up until Jesus's final entry into Jerusalem, the temple plays a peripheral role in stories of Jesus's ministry. In particular, when Jesus pronounced people forgiven, he circumvented the temple's role in the process of dealing with sins.</p> <p><b>Jesus's Conflict with Religious Institutionalism</b></p> <p>"The problem with the temple is that it has failed to be 'a house of prayer for all the nations.' Instead, the temple had become a center for religious exclusivism and economic exploitation." (AK location 4053)</p> <p>"For Mark's Gospel, there is a clear connection between Jesus being put to death and Jesus's conflict with the temple, Jerusalem's center of religious institutionalism" (AK location 4117)</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2011:12-13:38&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 11:12-13:38</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2013&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 13</a> begins with the foretelling of the destruction of the temple</p> <p>"Mark's treatment of the temple concludes in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2015:38&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 15:38</a>. When Jesus died, 'the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.' The torn 'curtain of the temple' juxtaposes Jesus and the temple as alternative places of divine presence. (AK location 4101)</p> <p>"In the end, though Jesus's death does not signal that the religious authorities were victorious. Jesus's death actually signifies the opposite. The temple curtain is torn. Jesus, even on the cross, fulfills what the temple was meant to and did not -- he engendered worship of God by Gentiles as well as Jews. The Gentile centurion confesses, 'surely this was God's son' (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2015:39&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 15:39</a>)</p> <p>"So, in effect, the old temple must be torn down, and a new, open and inclusive temple based on Jesus himself must take its place." (AK location 4143)</p> <p>"Institutionalism stifles creativity. When institutional survival takes priority, then order, security, peace at all costs take precedence." (AK location 4143)</p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 01:36:55 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter7JesussDeathAndThePowersReligiousExclusivismTemple.html Chapter 6: Jesus's Death and the Powers http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter6JesussDeathAndThePowers.html <p><b>Cultural Exclusivism (Law)</b></p> <p>"I will argue that Jesus died because he challenged the main cultural and political Powers of his day -- the law, the temple, and the empire." (AK location 3156)</p> <ol> <li><p>he overtly critiqued the Powers</p></li> <li><p>he established alternative social practices that bypassed the Powers' domination</p></li> </ol> <p>Walter Wink: "The death of Jesus was not 'necessary' because God needed Jesus killed in order to save the world. Rather, Jesus was killed because the Powers are in rebellion against God and are determined to silence anyone who slips through their barbed-wire perimeter with a message from the sovereign of the universe." (AK location 3169)</p> <p>Disagreement with the Pharisees over how to best understand and apply the law.</p> <p>Jesus recognized that the temple had not been part of Mose's original mediation of God's will for God's people. Recognized how it was being used to exploit the Hebrew people.</p> <p>The conflict with the empire seems indirect, but "if we take seriously Jesus's message of God's kingdom, we will recognize that he articulated a vision for social life that overturned the values of empire." (AK location 3191)</p> <p><b>Torah and Cultural Exclusivism</b></p> <p>"The post-exilic existence of the Jewish people was always uneasy, a struggle to sustain their identity without being a nation-state." (AK location 3249)</p> <p>Out of this struggle came strategies to maintain identity with the establishment of "boundary markers" to make clear who was in the community and who was not. </p> <p>Male circumcision</p> <p>Kosher eating habits</p> <p>Observing the Sabbath</p> <p>Prohibiting marriages between those who were in the community and those who were not in the community.</p> <p>"In the prophet's view, when boundary markers reminded people of God's already given mercy and their calling to bless the nations, they would be creative and life-sustaining." BUT "They could be absolutized, seen to provide a sense that our community's survival in and of itself matters most." (AK location 3269)</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah%201&amp;version=NRSV">Jonah</a> is believed to be written at about the same time as Ezra. Ezra and Nehmiah portray sympathetically the necessary and creative efforts to sustain peoplehood in the context of colonialism. </p> <p>Grimsrud says the tensions between Ezra and Nehemiah versus Jonah prefigure the tensions we see in the Gospels between Jesus and the Pharisees.</p> <p>Jonah is likely intended to challenge an uncritical tendency to absolutize the boundary markers </p> <p>"The character of Jonah echoes the mindset of Hebrews who think only of their internal life when he rejects the call to share the word of God with outsiders." (AK location 3279)</p> <p>Not just any outsiders, but the Ninevites lived in the capital city of Assyria, the great empire that plagued Israel and Judah</p> <p>God is way bigger than the boundaries of Israel</p> <p>"This story reiterates the 'light-to-the-nations' calling and implies that efforts to sustain the community still need to keep that calling in mind." (AK location 3290)</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah%204:11&amp;version=NRSV">Jonah concludes with an open question</a>: "Should I not be concerned about that great city?" We are not given Jonah's answer.</p> <p><b>The Traditions of the Pharisees</b></p> <p>Jesus did not affirm the Pharisees' use of the oral law. The Pharisees gave more authority to traditional interpretations that sought to apply Torah more widely.</p> <p>After the Bablyonian exile, the Jewish community sought more faithfulness to Torah. A verse-by-verse commentary known as <a href="http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Rabbinics/Midrash/Midrash_Aggadah/How_Midrash_Functions.shtml">Midrash</a> was developed.</p> <p>Midrash applied specific laws more directly</p> <p>Midrash was passed on by word of mouth over generations, hence "oral law"</p> <p>A second type of oral law emerged about 200 years before Jesus</p> <p>This second type, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishnah">Mishnah</a>, concerned itself with applying Torah to circumstances not spoken of in the biblical writings.</p> <p>A written version of the Mishnah, called the <a href="http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/talmud_&amp;_mishna.html">Talmud</a>, was not produced until the 4th century CE.</p> <p>The Mishnah also came to be called the oral law, or as in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%207:5&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 7:5</a> the "tradition of the elders."</p> <p>"The Pharisees probably emerged around the same time as the beginnings of the <a href="http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Rabbinics/Talmud/Mishnah.shtml">Mishnah</a>, and may have understood their role to be the main guardians and appliers of these teachings." (AK location 3302)</p> <p>"The Mishnah guided religions practice among Palestinian Jews, attempting to speak to all kinds of religious issues that might arise." (AK location 3314)</p> <p>Can laborers on top of a tree or wall offer a prayer?</p> <p>If one is naked and makes a dough offering from barley in one's house, does that make the offering unclean?</p> <p>Can a man divorce his wife for burning a meal?</p> <p>"The Pharisees sought to give clear direction to observant Jews concerning how to apply Torah to concrete living." (AK location 3325)</p> <p><i>Black and white</i></p> <p>"Theologically, the calamity of 586 BCE was seen as God's judgement upon Israel because of its corruption by the practices of the nations." (AK location 3325, quoting Borg)</p> <p>Mishnah devotes 240 paragraphs to Sabbath behavior, outlining in detailed specificity what could and could not be done.</p> <p>"When the central concern became to sustain boundary markers more than to celebrate God's mercy, the tone of Sabbath legislation changed." (AK location 3337)</p> <p>Because the Sabbath had become crucial for a sense of community identity, violation of the Sabbath threatened the entire community.</p> <p>The Mishnah devoted 185 pages to laws of defilement and purity.</p> <p>Kosher eating practices stemmed from a concern about maintaining purity</p> <p>Should a pure person share a meal with an impure person, the latter's pollution was understood to be contagious.</p> <p>Circumcision stood as a central externally apparent boundary marker throughout the biblical period</p> <p>By the time of the prophets it had become an ambiguous symbol</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%209:25-26&amp;version=NRSV">Jeremiah 9:25-26</a> criticizes Israel, said to be "circumcised only in the foreskin" but "uncircumcised in heart." </p> <p>"Throughout the biblical tradition we see tensions concerning the use of these boundary markers." (AK location 3385)</p> <p><b>Jesus and the Pharisees</b></p> <p>Recall the escalating conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees noted in Chapter 5</p> <p>"The similarity between Jesus and the Pharisees -- sharing the same tradition, struggling with the same questions, competing for the allegiance of the same people -- accounts for the depth of the conflict between them." (AK location 3421, Borg)</p> <p>"For Jesus to enter the scene as one who rigorously observed Torah and gained a public following but did not join the Pharisees meant he would be seen as a direct rival." (AK location 3441)</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2012&amp;version=NRSV">Matthew 12</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%202:27&amp;version=NRSV">Mark 2:27</a> has a slightly different phrasing behind the meaning of the contrasts highlighted in Matthew 12. "the Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the Sabbath." </p> <p>"One emphasizes that the deeper meaning of the law (i.e., mercy) allows for flexibility in how the details are practiced, as long as we are serving human well-being. The other points more to strict consistency, assuming that each piece of the regulations carries equal weight and that to violate one is to violate the whole" (AK location 3474)</p> <p>"The issue is not law or no law; the issue is how the law is interpreted." (AK location 3486)</p> <p>"What is at stake in this conflict? Why would the Pharisees conspire to destroy Jesus because of these altercations? We may see at the heart of the Pharisees response, according to these stories, the conviction that the integrity of their purity project might require the use of violence to be sustained." (AK location 3498)</p> <p>Pharisees core = purity to replicate in their social life the holiness of God by maintaining the holiness to which God has called the people in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2019:2&amp;version=NRSV">Lev 19:2</a></p> <p>Jesus core = forgiveness because he views God as a God of mercy, <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%206:36&amp;version=NRSV">Luke 6:36</a></p> <p>"The Pharisees became convinced that they determined who did and who did not have the possibility of gaining God's favor." (AK location 3547)</p> <p>"With the covenant community so concerned with its own survival, the original vocation given this community -- to be a light to the nations (<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+49:6&amp;version=NRSV">Isaiah 49:6</a>) -- may be pushed to the side." (AK location 3557)</p> <p><i>Does this issue sound familiar? The role of women in the church? Sexuality? Biblical authority? </i></p> <p><b>The Law and Retribution Toward Jesus</b></p> <p>"Jesus and the Pharisees differed sharply over the relative weight to be given to strict adherence to regulations as compared to mercy-oriented flexibility." (AK location 3557) </p> <p>We see in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2012:1-14&amp;version=NRSV">Matthew 12:1-14</a> a direct conflict between the forces of cultural exclusivism and the true God. </p> <p>Cultural exclusivism and its reliance on the law understood in a legalistic way proves itself to be a Power in rebellion against the true God.</p> <p>Conflicts with the Pharisees continued. In the years following Jesus death, the Pharisees led violent opposition to Jesus's followers. (the stoning of Stephen in Acts) The early Jesus movement rejected cultural exclusivism and that led to the inclusion of Gentiles as Gentiles into their version of the covenant community -- and ongoing conflicts. (AK location 3606)</p> Fri, 08 Nov 2013 22:14:35 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter6JesussDeathAndThePowers.html Chapter 5: The Death of Jesus http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter5TheDeathOfJesus.html <p><b>The Powers and the Story of Jesus's Death</b></p> <p>"The story tells us that the logic of retribution was an instrument of the fallen Powers, not God--and that Jesus's followers should see in the story a direct refutation of that logic." (AK location 2600)</p> <p>"We have not resolved the issue of salvation until we face the fact that people resist God's love." </p> <p>Jesus faced resistance from three types of sources:</p> <ol> <li><p>Cultural exclusivism: the interpretation of the Torah by the Pharisees</p></li> <li><p>Religions institutionalism: temple practicies</p></li> <li><p>Political authoritarianism: the government of the Roman Empire</p></li> </ol> <p>"The law, temple, and empire may be understood in terms of the Powers analysis developed by Walter Wink." (AK location 2611)</p> <p>"Wink presents the Powers in terms of the basic social structures of human life." </p> <p>"The Powers rely on belief. As long as we believe in their ultimacy, trusting in them for security and meaning, the Powers rule. Jesus challenges human beings to change our allegiance." (AK location 2632)</p> <p>"That Jesus died as he did shows that the logic of retribution reflects a rejection of God's will, not its fullfillment." (AK location 2643)</p> <p>"The Gospels understand Jesus's death as the key event in the story they tell. My question is this: why is Jesus's death so important to this story?"</p> <p>Jesus's death links with salvation in that:</p> <ol> <li><p>it exposes the fallacy of the logic of retribution</p></li> <li><p>it exposes the direct link between this "murderous" logic and the institutions that exploit it</p></li> <li><p>it exposes that the spiral of violence set loose by this logic may be broken only by non-retaliation and mercy in the way Jesus embodied them</p></li> <li><p>it sets the stage for God's act that vindicates Jesus through his resurrection</p></li> </ol> <p><b>Setting the Stage: Birth Narratives</b></p> <p>Matthew and Luke's birth narratives foreshadow coming conflicts, particularly King Herod's response to the knowledge of Jesus's birth.</p> <p><b>Initial Tensions</b></p> <p>Temptations of Jesus as recorded in Luke. Luke points to coming conflicts when he concludes after the temptations: "When the devil had finished every test, he departed until an opportune time." (Luke 4:13)</p> <p>Luke then goes on to the beginning of Jesus's public ministry in his home and after an initially positive response Jesus pushes the issue with two examples of how God's blessing came to Gentiles in the time of the past prophets Elijah and Elisha, in part due to the hard hearts of the Hebrews. The synagogue is filled with rage and seek to kill Jesus.</p> <p><b>Conflicts Intensify</b></p> <p>In this section Grimsrud focuses on Jesus's interactions with the Pharisees, with the conflict between the two increasing. </p> <p>"Jesus makes clear an inevitable, unavoidable link between following his way and conflict with the Powers that were so hostile to him. The inevitability of conflict reflects the nature of the Powers. They will not relinquish their domination without a fight." (AK location 2796)</p> <p>"When they [the Pharisees] criticize him for welcoming so-called 'sinners' and those labeled 'unclean,' they reveal that their own priorities lay contrary to the actual priorities of God." (AK location 2826)</p> <p>Luke 11:45-52. "Jesus links himself with the prophets of old who were killed by the lawyers' ancestors in Israel. Understandably, given the vehemence of Jesus's critique, Luke reports that the lawyers and Pharisees 'begin to be very hostile toward him...'" Luke 11:53-54 (AK location 2849)</p> <p>"The die is cast. Jesus faces deadly foes"</p> <p>"The system is corrupt; the hold of the Powers must be broken. And conflict will grow, because the Powers will not surrender." (AK location 2863)</p> <p><b>Jesus's Final Days</b></p> <p>Begins with Jesus's entry in to Jerusalem in a kingly manner, although rather than with a show of power, he road on the back of a donkey. </p> <p>Jesus's opponents change from the Pharisees to the chief priests and Sadducees, the temple authorities.</p> <p>Jesus then moves on to the temple. Jesus charges that the temple has become a den of robbers. "Unlike with the Law, Jesus seems to see the temple as a dead end, not a structure that can be restored to an original, life-enhancing purpose." (AK location 2926)</p> <p>"So when he curses the fig tree, drives out the merchants, tells the parable of the vineyard, and predicts the actual physical destruction of the temple, Jesus sets himself firmly against the religious structures that dominate his culture. Jesus exposes the collaboration of religious institutionalism with political authoritarianism--and thereby makes clear that both stand in opposition to Israel's true God." (AK location 2955)</p> <p>"Pilate mostly, though, treats Jesus as a tool to manipulate the Jewish leaders and to transfer the crowd's support for Jesus into support for Rome. Pilate's intention is not placate 'the Jews' but to humiliate them." (AK location 3027)</p> <p>Grimsrud then details how Pilate manipulates the Jewish authorities to get what he wants, a public confession from the chief priests of the emperor's sovereignty. "The chief priests answered, 'We have no king by the emperor'" John 19:15</p> <p>"Jesus was one of those thousands of Jews executed publicly on crosses, because what they represented had to be suppressed in order to safeguard law and order in the Roman state." (AK location 3055) (McClaren, Pax Romana)</p> <p>"How is the story of Jesus's death related to the Bible's portrayal of salvation?" I believe that at the heart of the saving relevance of the story we find an exposure of the Powers of cultural exclusivism, religious institutionalism, and political authoritarianism as responsible for Jesus's death. They too easily become idols that claim trust that is due God alone. As such, they become the very forces from which God's saving work means to liberate human beings."</p> <p>"The resurrection adds a profound message of vindication to the entire story." </p> <p>"From start to finish, Jesus's message totally reinforced the original story. His resurrection vindicates this message. (AK location 3083)</p> <p>"Jesus died to illumine the ages-old truth--God's mercy seeks healing for all who trust in it. This mercy perseveres even in the face of the powerful violence of its enemies." (AK location 3095)</p> Sun, 03 Nov 2013 23:48:37 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter5TheDeathOfJesus.html Chapter 4: Jesus's Teaching on Salvation http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter4JesussTeachingOnSalvation.html <p>Believe the Good News</p> <p>"The story told in the Gospels places itself in the heart of the traditions of Israel." (AK location 1975)</p> <p>He does not tell a different story, but proclaims the truth of the old story.</p> <p>The Birth Stories</p> <p>"Luke presents John the Baptist as a prophet in the direct line of the Old Testament prophets, the guardians of Yahweh's message of salvation." (AK location 1988)</p> <p>Grimsrud cites several versus of Luke that connect Jesus to the Old Testament story</p> <p>Jesus's Self-conscious Link With The Old Testament</p> <p>He anchors his identity in Israel's story.</p> <p>Matthew 5:17-18</p> <p>"Jesus did find himself in conflict with religious leaders over differing interpretations of scripture. But these conflicts must not prevent us from recognizing that in his own self-understanding, he affirms the law and the prophets." (AK location 2092)</p> <p>Jesus and Liberation</p> <p>Jesus begins his ministry by speaking of liberation, Luke 4:16-30</p> <p>"Jesus draws on Torah to transform how people view debt and God's participation among the people."</p> <p>The elites used debt to their advantage, Jesus saw debt as an opportunity for forgiveness. "Jesus's God was not a God who maintained debt records for the purpose of foreclosing on the poor, but a God who canceled debt and restored life." (AK location 2119)</p> <p>Explicit affirmation here against retribution. "Jubilee theology does not accept the logic of retribution that portrays God as demanding perfect obedience or a violent sacrifice as a necessary basis for earning God's favor." (AK location 2119)</p> <p>Recall the "original" language of the Lord's Prayer: forgive our debts; forgive our trespasses; forgive our sins</p> <p>The Presence of the Kingdom</p> <p>Grimsrud uses Mark 1 for his discussion about the Kingdom.</p> <p>Five key points to Jesus' proclamation:</p> <ol> <li><p>the kingdom of God</p></li> <li><p>that kingdom has "come near" or is "at hand"</p></li> <li><p>the call to "repent" </p></li> <li><p>the call to "believe"</p></li> <li><p>the description of the message as "good news"</p></li> </ol> <p>In talking about what listeners are to do, Grimsrud says "Jesus offers no hint that repentance and belief are conditions God requires before making the kingdom present." (AK location 2181) It is already present.</p> <p>Contrast John the Baptist's view of repentance with Jesus's. Grimsrud says the difference looms large. "John basically presents repentance as an act born out of fear....In contrast, Jesus presents repentance in the context not of fear but of joy. He teaches, not, 'turn because God is angry and will destroy.' He teaches, rather, 'turn because God is love.'" (AK location 2192)</p> <p>Believe may also be translated as trust. "To 'repent and believe' means to turn from fear, mistrust, and alienation toward joy, trust, and healing." (AK location 2205)</p> <p>"Jesus's death adds nothing to the means of salvation--God's mercy saves, from the reprieve of Cain and the calling of Abraham in Genesis 1-12 on. Instead, Jesus's death reveals the depth of the Powers' rebellion and the ultimate power of God's love. So Jesus's death indeed profoundly heightens our understanding of salvation." (AK location 2216)</p> <p>Evidence of Jesus's Identity</p> <p>"Following the first programmatic statements, Jesus went to work to embody the presence of the kingdom with his words and deeds." (AK location 2227)</p> <p>"Jesus's response to John's question serves as a programmatic summary of his message. What shows most of all that he is God's agent? Jesus answers: the 'Coming One' heals those who hurt and proclaims the good news of God's love to those who need it most." (AK location 2241)</p> <p>Grimsrud says that Matthew 9:33 provides a hint of connection with Jesus's death. Cites the Powers (as represented by the religious leader) as reacting to the salvation that Jesus offers.</p> <p>Jesus's Prescription for Eternal Life</p> <p>The synoptic Gospels include only two stores of Jesus being asked directly about eternal life.</p> <p>The parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37</p> <p>The "expert in the law" asks Jesus an intellectual question. </p> <p>Jesus turns the tables, asks the lawyer what he thinks. He provides the "traditional" answer, from Deuteronomy 6:5 (Love God), and Leviticus 19:18 (Love your neighbor)</p> <p>The lawyer asks for clarity of who is our neighbor, and Jesus answers with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Samaritans were considered to be enemies of the Jews.</p> <p>"Jesus characterizes eternal life in terms of mercy toward the one in need." (AK location 2331)</p> <p>Jesus encounter with the "rich young ruler" (Matt 19:16-26; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-25)</p> <p>This time Jesus links salvation with the Commandments</p> <p>"Jesus makes clear that two closely linked elements lie at the heart of the Commandments: (1) do not idolize wealth and (2) to be committed to God means to be committed to care for the vulnerable ones in the community." (AK location 2343)</p> <p>"When we consider Jesus's two responses to direct questions about salvation, we see something unremarkable if we understand Jesus to be in continuity with the Old Testament. Jesus actually adds nothing to the Old Testament portrayal of salvation." (AK location 2343)</p> <p>"We do not see in these two stores any hint that Jesus thinks of salvation in terms of the logic of retribution." (AK location 2370)</p> <p>Jesus's Portrayal of God</p> <p>Parable of the Prodigal Son, or Parable of the Welcoming Father. Luke 15:11-32</p> <p>The 'Great Divide'</p> <p>Matthew 25:31. Division of sheep from goats. Sheep are the ones who ministered to the needy. The goats are convicted because they disregarded "the least of these." </p> <p>"We become whole as we incarnate that mercy in our treatment of other vulnerable ones." (AK location 2415)</p> <p>Jesus's Allusions To His Death</p> <p>Jesus most directly linked his death with salvation in Mark 10:45</p> <p>"Ancient Israelites used the term "ransom" (originally a compensation required for the release of slaves) as a metaphor for the liberation of God's people from slavery in Egypt and from the oppression of exile. It need not imply a price paid to someone so much as simply a metaphor for bringing redemption." (AK location 2444)</p> <p>"He brings Exodus-like liberation from the domination of the Powers... Jesus willingly gives his life as an expression of God's pure mercy. Only a commitment to the way of love that does not waver even in the face of the Powers' extreme violence opens the way to true life." (AK location 2479)</p> <p>Jesus's Soteriology</p> <p><a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/soteriology">Soteriology</a>: theology dealing with salvation especially as effected by Jesus Christ</p> <p>"Jesus proclaimed a simple salvation message. Turn to God and trust in the good news of God's love. To make this message perfectly clear, Jesus expressed the good news of God's love in concrete ways." (AK location 2490)</p> <p>"Jesus's death as part of the salvation story reveals like nothing else the hostility of the fallen Powers to the social outworking of the logic of mercy." (AK location 2500)</p> <p>"The basic issue here is whether the logic of mercy may actually make a difference in a world governed by retribution." </p> <p>Is the "good news" that God provided Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins OR is the "good news" that God isn't concerned with retribution for what we may or may not have done to him but rather that our lives right now may be full? </p> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 22:25:50 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter4JesussTeachingOnSalvation.html Chapter 3: Guardians for the Way of Wholeness http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter3GuardiansForTheWayOfWholeness.html <p><b>Problems with Law and Sacrifices</b></p> <p>"These books (the books of Moses) meant the law and sacrifices to enhance justice in the community. Once they were established, though, the danger inevitably arose that either or both would be separated from their grounding in God's merciful liberating works." (Problems with Law and Sacrifices, AK Location 1405)</p> <p>Law: tendency to focus on external expressions, easily enforced and susceptible to becoming tools of people in power.</p> <p>Sacrifices: became means of salvation, ritual acts separated from practical justice in the community. "Presenting sacrifice as a necessary means to salvation enabled people who controlled access to sacrificial rituals in the temple to exercise enormous power in the community." (AK Location 1416)</p> <p>"The prophets emerged as the voice of loyalty to Torah following the establishment of kingship." (AK Location 1416)</p> <p>1 Kings 21</p> <p>Quotes Brueggemann:</p> <p>"Prophets arise in Israel when covenantal modes of existence are endangered." (AK Location 1450)</p> <p>"The prophets are to invite a 'turning' in Israel, a turn from pride to trust, from despair to hope, from abusiveness to covenantal neighborliness."</p> <p>"... these prophets exerted a profound influence on Jesus." (AK Location 1460)</p> <p><b>What Causes the Disharmony?</b></p> <p>"All three of the eighth-century prophets, Amos, Hosea, and Micah, spoke in response to the disharmony they perceived among the Hebrew people." (AK Location 1470) </p> <p>"In the prophet's view, the people have always known that Yahweh expected justice." (AK Location 1483)</p> <p>"'The reason the commands are so urgent and insistent is that they are Yahweh's (and therefore Israel's) strategy for fending off a return to pre-Exodus conditions of exploitation and brutality within the community.'" </p> <p><b>Injustice</b></p> <p>"According to these prophets, the people had changed their original social structure." (AK Location 1518)</p> <p>"The presence of widespread injustice among the Hebrews contradicted the dynamics of liberation that characterized Yahweh's original intervention." (AK Location 1540)</p> <p><b>Violence</b></p> <p>"All these prophets identified violence as a key manifestation of disharmony." (AK Location 1553)</p> <p>"Hosea, of the three prophets, speaks of the curse of violence the most forcefully and extensively." (AK Location 1553)</p> <p>"To the prophets, the covenant community, with its injustice and violence, denies the character of its founding God." (AK Location 1610)</p> <p>"The prophetic rhetoric of judgement does not stem from God's retributive eye-for-an-eye justice that must punish wrongdoing. No, this rhetoric stems from God's continuing love and its meant to call the people back." (see Hos 11:8-9) (AK Location 1620)</p> <p><b>Idolatry</b></p> <p>While Amos' critique of Israel says little about idolatry, Hosea places the central focus on it.</p> <p>Idolatry seems to be the root cause of the injustice and violence.</p> <p>"As Psalm 135:18 points out, people become like that which they worship. So, to offer sacrifices to Baal instead of Yahweh leads to a society becoming violent instead of peaceable, given Baal's status as the source of violent storms." (AK Location 1644)</p> <p><b>Vain Religiosity</b></p> <p>"All three prophets forcefully express their rejection of the possibility that the Hebrews' rituals effectively connect them with Yahweh. However, they do not reject religions or cultic practices per se; they reject religious practices separated from their original intention." (AK Location 1659)</p> <p><b>How Is Harmony Restored?</b></p> <p>"The prophets reject a sacrifice-centered approach to restoring harmony...The prophets assume that God remains the source of wholeness, that God still loves the people in the same way as God had in the time of Moses. Hence, the restoration of harmony is not complicated..." (AK Location 1706)</p> <p>Hosea 12:6: "Return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God." </p> <p>Repent. Do kindness and justice. Trust.</p> <p><b>Repent</b></p> <p>"Behind prophetic call to 'return' or 'repent' lies the presumption of God's availability." (AK location 1719)</p> <p><b>Justice</b></p> <p>"In calling Israel to justice, the prophets do not call for impersonal 'fairness' nor eye-for-an-eye vengeance. They call to covenant community. Doing justice relates to salvation. Saved people know themselves to be loved by the justice-seeking God, and out of this love, walk in God's paths." (AK Location 1743)</p> <p><b>Kindness</b></p> <p>Hosea and Micah link the call to kindness with justice</p> <p>"Salvation, then, in the context of the disharmony the prophets spoke so strongly against, led to the healing of relationships within the community." (AK Location 1756)</p> <p><b>Trust</b></p> <p>"Repent, turn from idolatry and toward God. Let justice and mercy characterize your lives. Trust in your loving and faithful God. And that is it." (AK location 1769)</p> <p><b>Salvation In The Prophets</b></p> <p>"These three eighth-century prophets often assert that God initiates salvation out of love for the Hebrew people." (AK Location 1816)</p> <p>"The entire context for theological reflection concerning salvation must be seen in terms of the covenant relationships God has established with God's people. Justice is not about God's internal processes and impersonal holiness. Rather, justice encourages health in the community of people who seek to live together in a way that glorifies God." (AK Location 1855)</p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 13:56:33 UTC http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter3GuardiansForTheWayOfWholeness.html Chapter 2: Salvation in the Old Testament http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter2SalvationInTheOldTestament.html <p>References to Amazon Kindle locations based on 9895 locations, 241 book pages, chapter 1 start on page 1, location 63, last chapter ending on page 241, location 6853, converted using <a href="http://www.bookmonk.com/labs/numbers.php">this page</a>. </p> <p>What is salvation? Do we also need to be saved from God?</p> <p>"Salvation in the Old Testament is not about some transaction in the heart of God or some sort of weighing of the cosmic scale of justice. Rather, salvation has to do with flesh and blood actions." (The Healing God, second paragraph, AK Location 791, page 26)</p> <p>Eight steps of the primal story</p> <p>"Jesus and his followers express their understandings of salvation in terms of the Old Testament's primal story" (The Primal Salvation Story, AK Location 843, page 28)</p> <p>"In this primal salvation story, the key saving act of God comes in the exodus. However, the exodus presupposes God's initial call of Abraham and Sarah..."</p> <p>"God's strategy to bring about peace leads to another act of creation,..."</p> <p>Read Isaiah 2:2-4</p> <p>Micah 4:1-3</p> <p>Compare to Acts 2:44-47</p> <p>"The Exodus was a crucial part of God's healing strategy and an important memory for biblical faith." (AK Location 890, page 30)</p> <p>"The God of the Exodus is not the God of people in power."</p> <p>"The 'salvation story' tells us: ..."(AK Location 915, page 31)</p> <p>Hos 11:8, Admah and Zeboiim were two cities, according to Genesis 19, destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah. How does the logic of retribution apply here? Grimsrud asks, "Why does God do this?" The answer is in Hos 11:9, "I am your God and no mortal." (AK location 958, page 32) </p> <p>Rob Bell asked, "Does God get what God wants?"</p> <p>Move on to the Babylonian exile...</p> <p>Jer 31:31-34</p> <p>Is 43</p> <p>"The heart of the Old Testament's primal story may be seen as three key saving moments: the calling of Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 12), the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery (Exod 1-15), and the proclamation of mercy to the Hebrew exiles (Isa 40-55)" (AK Location 1014, page 34)</p> <p>God gives salvation in each of these key moments to unworthy recipients</p> <p>God the savior acts in these moments purely out of God's own good will</p> <p>At its core, according to the primal story, salvation has to do with a loving, passionate God desiring a personal connection with hmanity</p> <p>According to a typical account of the primal story, Hosea 11, God's holiness fuels mercy, not retribution</p> <p><b>The Role Of The Law</b></p> <p>"The law provides a framework for ongoing faithful living" (AK Location 1058, page 36)</p> <p>"At its heart, Torah was not about picky, legalistic rules that must not be violated out of fear of harsh punishment. Rather, Torah sought healthy communal relationships for all in the community. Torah had a constructive, relational, and life-embracing concern." (AK Location 1093, page 37)</p> <p>"Most fundamentally, biblical law has its roots in God's love. It expresses God's mercy meant to empower people of faith to live joyful, healthy lives in community." (AK Location 1133, page 38)</p> <p>Hence Jesus' statement that he fulfills the law rather than abolishes it. Matthew 5:17</p> <p>Do we think that Paul had this understanding of the law?</p> <p><b>The Role of Sacrifices</b></p> <p>"Sacrifices do not appease an angry and punitive God; rather their practice enters as gifts from a consistently loving God to sustain relationships established already by God initiating healing, delivering love." (AK location 1165, page 39)</p> <p>Two general types of sacrifices presented in Leviticus 1-7</p> <p>Offerings that express commitment, loyalty, and gratitude.</p> <p>Sin offerings - expressions of repentence, regret for wrongdoing, and resolve to return to a viable relationship with Yahweh. (Lev 4-6)</p> <p>Those who inadvertently violated Torah</p> <p>For those who advertently violated Torah the offender is first to make restitution with the community</p> <p>The place of blood in sin offerings is not explained in the Old Testament. Leviticus 17:11 seems to say that blood symbolizes life</p> <p>"The acts of 'atonement' in the sin offering were not practiced with the expectation that the death of a sacrificed animal would provide satisfaction to an angry or dishonored deity and in that way make salvation possible. Salvation was made possible by God's mercy instead of atonement." (AK Location 1208, page 41)</p> <p>"By the eighth century, Amos and other prophets claimed that such faithfulness had been forgotten and the sacrifices had become autonomous (and empty) religions acts.." (AK Location 1227, page 42)</p> <p><b>Salvation and Retribution</b> (AK Location 1236, page 42)</p> <p>"The called-for actions, rather, include the Hebrews responding to God's merciful acts by acting mercifully themselves." (AK Location 1236)</p> Fri, 04 Oct 2013 20:56:36 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/chapter2SalvationInTheOldTestament.html Part 1: The Bible's Salvation Story http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/part1TheBiblesSalvationStory.html <p>"I intend this book to be a Christian reflection on understanding salvation as a gift -- and how this understanding might help us break free from the violence that is encouraged by acceptance of the logic of retribution." (Location 701)</p> <p>The life and teaching of Jesus provides the basic criteria for interpreting the bible.</p> <p>The God of the Bible is most clearly revealed in the life and teaching of Jesus.</p> <p>And those materials in tension with such a portrayal will be seen as less central.</p> <p>The Bible presents a single basic story.</p> <p>Authoritative biblical speech is grounded in content, not the official status of the speaker</p> <p>"For now, I self-consciously present an argument meant to suggest more than prove." (Location 739)</p> Fri, 04 Oct 2013 14:46:45 GMT http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/part1TheBiblesSalvationStory.html Introduction http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/introduction.html <p>The book traces the Bible's main salvation story through God's liberating acts, the testimony of the prophets, and Jesus's life and teaching. It then takes a closer look at Jesus's death and argues that his death gains its meaning when it exposes violence in the cultural, religious, and political Powers. God's raising of Jesus completes the story and vindicates Jesus's life and teaching.</p> <p>The book also examines the understandings of salvation in Romans and Revelation that reinforce the message that salvation is a gift of God and that Jesus's "work" has to do with his faithful life, his resistance to the Powers, and God's vindication of him through resurrection.</p> <p>The book concludes that the "Bible's salvation story" provides a different way, instead of atonement, to understand salvation. In turn, this biblical understanding gives us today theological resources for a mercy-oriented approach to responding to wrongdoing, one that follows God's own model.</p> <p>Ted Grimsrud is Professor of Theology and Peace Studies at Eastern Mennonite University. Prior to teaching at EMU beginning in 1996, he served 10 years as a pastor in Mennonite churches in Arizona, Oregon and South Dakota. His PhD is from the Graduate Theological Union. He is especially interested in the connection between Christian theology and pacifism. He teaches classes in theology, peace studies, ethics, and the Bible. Grimsrud blogs at <a href="http://thinkingpacifism.net/">thinkingpacifism.net</a>. He has a website that gathers his writings at <a href="http://peacetheology.net/">peacetheology.net</a>.</p> Wed, 2 Oct 2013 19:42:07 UTC http://booknotes.smallpict.com/insteadOfAtonementByTedGrimsrud/introduction.html