Talk:Jesus Now - A Personal Influence
Please offer comments and responses to Patricia's essay here. A few default sections for possible comment have been suggested, but you should feel free to shape your own response. If your response involves more than a paragraph or two, it may be better to create a new page so that your contribution is given some prominence and can be the basis for an ongoing collaborative text.
Patricia: I want to thank you for this inaugural essay in the Living with Jesus Now series. I especially appreciate the directness and simplicity of your account, and of the spiritual disciplines that you have described here. The three core values of spirituality, simplicity and silence challenge me to reflect on my own practice. I think I have acquired an appropriate spirituality, and (as a former Franciscan tertiary) I have always found the call to simplicity compelling. However, silence is more difficult for me - especially since it seems to require stillness, and waiting. Enough words. Time to go sit and ponder! Greg Jenks
I am envious of your commitment and your practice. Thanks for the work you do and your witness as a Quaker.
I disagree, however, with your statement about justice. I believe gospel writers adapted Jesus' teaching for their time and place, and therefore, missed some of the radical wisdom teaching found within his message. For example, Matthew relates a story about day laborers who are hired at different parts of the day by the plantation owner. At the end of the day, they all receive the same wage. Matthew makes that into a parable or teaching about being satisfied with whatever you get. As you indicated, Matthew tells his community (probably overworked church women) that God is not about justice or fairness. Be satisfied with what you have received.
I believe Jesus originally taught such stories as a way of saying this is how life is for us. The plantation owner gets to decide. We (day laborers)do not.
I have oft heard that verse preached as God not being fair but just. Perhaps my own bias struggles to understand God as a plantation owner who indiscriminately decides who and how the material bases of life are decided. Believing that justice is about the sharing of the material bases of life rather than a discussion about personal sin and forgiveness (justification), I believe God is Justice. I believe Jesus co-created (with God and others) a community that was all about sharing the material bases of life.
Rev. Mike Mulberry
Patricia wrote: The main values that guide my life are spirituality/simplicity/silence. These are so closely related in my life they symbolize my three-in-one trinity. Silence enables me to listen for that spiritual power Jesus represents and to incarnate it. Because that power is a spirit of simplicity.......
These are meaningful attributes, indeed, and I wish that more had been said about listening to the motivational power of the JS red/pink material as a whole. For me, no other material packs such a wallop.
Jesus' Life: Words
- The last shall be first
- The hidden will be revealed
- Losing life will save it
- It's not what goes in but what comes out
- Behaviors must be kingdom based
- Life demands goal oriented passion
Jesus' Life: Actions
- Sharing meals with debt producers
- Sharing meals with sin producers
- Healing skin disease and blood flows
- Exorcising demons
- Speaking against the temple
- Living by goal oriented passion
I was struck by Patricia's comment about 'not' trying to fit her reading of "God's books" together. While we all must live with several tensions, I do try to fit history, theology, anthropology, science, the thought and the action, the spirit and the body, my work and 'personal' life into the frame of some unity. Otherwise I would consider myself a house divided. A life partitioned say into business and personal life is not an integrated whole.
Jesus lived in a past distant to us but full of the same human power struggles that I see today. Is there a move to integration in the inferences we can make from what we know of those who wrote of him? I think so, but I do not want to oversimplify.
I would particularly like to respond to some of your topic headings. I have worked with integration based on what I have known of Jesus for 35 years and cannot distill them too quickly.
See e.g. some of my online thoughts. Particularly relevant to the sexual questions are the following: a ceremony for marriage; the beginning of creed based on the Song of Songs; meditation on nakedness; review of book by Rabbi Steven Greenberg; outline of a book to be written; some notes on the Windsor Report.