Sunday, February 14, 2010

Submission to God or human opinion

This morning reading in Auguste Lecerf’s An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics, I noted this statement, “Submission to God is the means and condition of liberation from enslavement to human opinion. If we wish to restore legitimate authority it is only the better to true liberty.” (262)

I read this before listening to the second video make by More Light’s Michael Adee. The videos are entitled God’s New Family. The second one continually insults those who believe it is unbiblical to ordain those who are unrepentant about their homosexual practice. Homophobic, inhuman and unchristian are the terms used. And then there is Adee’s thought that the 1978 Church’s adopted policy that homosexuality is sin actually moved beyond scripture, as well as “medical science, compassion and common sense.”

Submission to God or enslavement to human opinion, these are the two realities the Church must choose between. Choose the first and the Church will be the Church under the Lordship of Christ holding on to Scripture. Choose the second and the Church will succumb to enslavement to the world. Choosing sin, the Church will find only the world’s glory, a sorry, tarnished thing.

If we keep traveling down this same road, pushing for the ordination of practicing homosexuals as well as seeing other sexual sins as normative, the mainline churches, will find what they believe to be a haven. However, the haven will not be the Lord but rather the state.

I am remembering the Scripture where Pilate is so relieved to find that Jesus is from Galilee and that he can be sent to Herod for judgment. Now the interesting thing about that scripture text is that although Herod did not take control of the situation and instead sent Jesus back to Pilate the two leaders who hadn’t liked each other very much, in fact, they were enemies, became friends that day. (Luke 23:1-25)And why was that? They agreed with each other’s opinions.

They agreed that Jesus was innocent but they also agreed that he was bothersome and his words were hard to hear. He spoke with authority and he was too much trouble to save. Each political leader had him mocked and beaten. (Matt 27:26)

Jesus submitted to his Father. They, Pilate and Herod, were owned, each by their desires for acceptance. They didn’t want to submit to anyone who was referred to as the King of the Jews, or the Son of man, or the truth or the only way to the Father. They didn’t want to be overcome by his words. So they submitted to the prevailing opinion.

Yes, Jesus’ disciples, who continued to submit to the authority of Christ, who held on to his word which is the word of God, suffered for their willingness to preach Christ. Still, they now glory in his glory. But Pilate and Herod? One was eaten by worms (Acts 12:23); the other became an obscure politician, whose history is incomplete. Except for this, all those who love Jesus will always remember that Jesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate.”

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1)”

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like God's old family.
Well done Viola!

~Velvel

Toby Brown said...

Great reflection! Really powerful.

Thanks!

John Shuck said...

Thank you for linking to the MLP video. It is a very helpful video as is part 1.

@Toby miss your blog, especially the really outrageous stuff. Now that you have gone private with it, can I log on?

John Shuck
Elizabethton, TN

Dave Moody said...

Helpful in getting people closer to hell...

Thank you Vi.
dm

Anonymous said...

Dave –

I’ll take hell with those folks, than heaven with folks like you.

John McNeese

Viola Larson said...

John Mc, It isn't a matter of spending time with people- but spending time with Jesus. How much do you love Jesus?

Snad said...

it isn't a matter of spending time with people- but spending time with Jesus.

You mean like Jesus did with the people - all the people, including the sick, the lame, the rich, the pure, the collectors, the prostitutes, and the beggars, Viola? You mean it WASN'T about him spending time with them, but all about them spending time with Him? I wonder if he saw it that way.

Snad
Creeking along in Tennessee

Viola Larson said...

Snad that is a good point but you have it backwards. Jesus is the pivotal person. He spent time with sinners and so should we. Of course people are important, extremely important. But John Mc was talking about heaven and hell. In order to be a lover of people in such a way that we do them no harm, we must first be a lover of Jesus, remembering that he first loved us. We must love him, more than, as he put it, even father or mother.

Keep paddling: )

Anonymous said...

You got it wrong Viola.

One does not love God first and then loves neighbor. It happens simultaneously. By loving one’s neighbor (and enemies also) one loves God. . Sinners? No judging who has been naughty and nice.

John Mc

Viola Larson said...

Undoubtedly John Mc I should have insisted that we are all sinners and we all are. But it is only the love of Jesus Christ that captures us and allows us to love as we should love.
You have sent me on a wonderful, Bible study. I was thinking of 1 John 4:19, "We love, because he first loved us." and of course that goes on to say, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar, for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him that the one who loves God should love his brother also." John 4:20-21) But remember it is verse 19 that points in the right direction. It is his love that begins such love-without that love you cannot love rightly.

And then there is 1 Peter. "and though you have not seen him [Jesus] you love him, and though you do not see him now, but believe in him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." (1:8-9) Then combine that with a later part of the chapter which refers to the sincere love of the brethren.

What I am trying to say is that because Jesus loved us we also lovedhim and because of that we love our brothers and sisters. But that love relationship between Christ and the Christian must exist or as I was attempting to say in my post we will care more about the opinions of the world. We will seek our place of safety in others rather than in Christ. And I will add that we will wink at the sins of others rather than caring enough to give them God's word.

Dave Moody said...

John Mc-
Why in the world would you say that?

My comment regarding MLP's video had to do with the very real danger of calling God a liar- that the bible, His word, is telling us things that aren't true- in MLP's case- that God blesses homosexual relationships, and that those who hold to a biblical line are- bigoted, lack common sense and compassion. Nice....

This really is about God, John. He isn't made in your image. Jesus is his own man- and its on his terms that we come to him. Everything is submitted to his Lordship, including our sexuality.

If that would make you want to go to hell, thats a big idol you've got. And I don't think you've really thought it through.

I wish you the best,
dm

Anonymous said...

Dave.

You ask “Why in the world would you say that?”

Because I don’t believe in a heaven and hell. It is, in my humble opinion, unbiblical. The gospel, for me, preached by Jesus is the kingdom of God is at hand.”He has appointed me to bring good news to the poor...” The kingdom is very much in a “new earth.” We are not trying out on earth for angelic status in heaven. We will not be disembodied spirits flying home to heaven.

I would certainly hope that God is not made in image, or we are all in a lot of trouble. “Jesus is his own man? Mow why in the world would you say something like that?

John McNeese

Viola Larson said...

John Mc you are unclear to me. I believe in a new earth and heavens, but I also believe when I die I will be with Jesus forever. (As I am now with him, but face to face then. Do you believe in life after death of any kind? What about Jesus?

Anonymous said...

Viola

Yes, but it is very much on a new earth. “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them, he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

I’m pleased for you that you say “As I am now with him...” I would not be so bold. I think scripture reads than now we know only in part.

“For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end...For now we see in a mirror, dimly,* but then we will see face to face.”

I will quit this thread with that thought. We are going around and around.

John McNeese

Abundancetrek said...

If it's a choice between Submission to God and human opinion, I definitely go with Submission to God ... and that's why I don't go with submission to Viola's opinions.

Who gets to speak for God?

love, john a wilde (whitesboro ny) + www.abundancetrek.com + "The spirit of liberty is the spirit of not being too sure you are right.” – Judge Learned Hand

Mary E said...

I tried to watch the video, when he said "the task force couldn't find anything wrong with homosexuality", I had to wonder. Did we read the same report? Well I take that back, the Church of Christ stated they did, but that is a statement about them, not Presbyterians.

I am tired to the bait and switch tactic of trying to change the subject...such as the previous comments would attest to. This is an easy way to avoid the subject you started.

I agree with you Viola, they have no biblical references to represent their stance. Except for some science and psychology to support a worldly views.

Mary Eidson
Tennessee

Viola Larson said...

John,
The believer is united to Christ, that's good reformed theology that we sometimes forget. Nourished always by the risen Lord of which the Lord's Supper is a sign and seal.
I love the verse you quoted. Thank you. But I have to tell you that one of the good things to say to a JW when they come knocking on your door, but only if you believe it, is that, like Paul, when you die you will be with the Lord. You see they don't expect to. Only the 144, 000. And when they talk about a new earth I always tell them yes, but new heavens also and best of all the resurrected Lord.

Viola Larson said...

John I am so glad you don't go with submission to Viola's opinion, but you also don't go with submission to God, at least not the God of Holy Scripture.

Viola Larson said...

That last was for John W. Too many Johns: )

Viola Larson said...

Thank you Mary for your comments. Yes medical science and psychology don't always get it right. And if you stop and think about it sometimes even when they do we must listen first of all to God's word. For instance some men seem to be wired for violence; there has even been suggestions that there is something genetic that causes that. Nonetheless we must obey God.

Abundancetrek said...

Viola wrote: "John I am so glad you don't go with submission to Viola's opinion, but you also don't go with submission to God, at least not the God of Holy Scripture."

+++

And that's your opinion. I know you believe that your opinion is the only orthodox belief but the church is always changing because our human consciousness is always evolving. Your understanding of the universe and the Holy Bible is limited and so is mine.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is open to my kind of thinking and my hope for you is that you will come to embrace the reality of the big and wonderful tent the PC(USA) is. We need you. You are fantastic, made in God's likeness. We need John Shuck. He is fantastic, made in God's likeness. What a wonderful world. What a wonderful church.

I love your blog and I cherish the opportunity to offer my beliefs and values and experiences here.
Your blog is a part of the marvelous. miraculous and mysterious process of being united with Christ as is John Shuck's blog.

Viva Viola.

love, john a wilde (whitesboro ny) + www.abundancetrek.com + And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? -- Micah 6:8

Viola Larson said...

John, your words are a sham. And I am speaking of this.

"The Presbyterian Church (USA) is open to my kind of thinking and my hope for you is that you will come to embrace the reality of the big and wonderful tent the PC(USA) is. We need you. You are fantastic, made in God's likeness. We need John Shuck. He is fantastic, made in God's likeness. What a wonderful world. What a wonderful church."

If you were a person of another faith or said that you were doubtful of your faith I would be more kind. But you are a minister in the Christian Church who attempts to change everything that Christians believe. You are a wolf leading others astray.

I hope and pray that when our leaders speak of a big tent they are not including in it people who do not believe in a personal God, such as John Shuck, or they do not include in it those who believe we all are god such as you. If they do mean that they are in apostasy and we are far down that slope where at the end the risen Lord removes our darkened candle from his gathering of churches.

Kattie W. Coon said...

From Calvin's "Institutes" Book 4, Chapter 1

"Among the Corinthians it was not a few that erred, but almost the whole body had become tainted; there was not one species of sin merely, but a multitude, and those not trivial errors, but some of them execrable crimes. There was not only corruption in manners, but also in doctrine. What course was taken by the holy apostle, in other words, by the organ of the heavenly Spirit, by whose testimony the Church stands and falls? Does he seek separation from them? Does he discard them from the kingdom of Christ? Does he strike them with the thunder of a final anathema? He not only does none of these things, but he acknowledges and heralds them as a Church of Christ, and a society of saints. If the Church remains among the Corinthians, where envyings, divisions, and contentions rage; where quarrels, lawsuits, and avarice prevail; where a crime, which even the Gentiles would execrate, is openly approved; where the name of Paul, whom they ought to have honoured as a father, is petulantly assailed; where some hold the resurrection of the dead in derision, though with it the whole gospel must fall; where the gifts of God are made subservient to ambition, not to charity; where many things are done neither decently nor in order: If there the Church still remains, simply because the ministration of word and sacrament is not rejected, who will presume to deny the title of church to those to whom a tenth part of these crimes cannot be imputed?"

I keep wondering when you're going to lighten up on the two Johns. I personaly think there is as much hope for them as there is for you.

Dave Moody said...

Katie Coon,
You miss apply Calvin... and Paul's intentions towards the saints in Corinth.

Our Lord's brother, Jude speaks to what Viola bears witness to better than I can.


3Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4For certain men whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" 10Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." 16These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

A call to persevere

17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." 19These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Doxology

24To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Kattie W. Coon said...

"You miss apply Calvin"

Well, I would prefer Ms or Mrs. to miss. :-)
And, no, I don't believe I misapplied Calvin at all.

"Our Lord's brother, Jude speaks to what Viola bears witness to better than I can."

That's interesting Dave, But I didn't see you try to apply that to the two John's. As I read it, it doesn't apply. Where are the similarities?

Abundancetrek said...

Dear Viola,

I just wrote 3 paragraphs and hit a key which erased everything. Maybe you will read something into that!

But, anyway, to make a long story short, my struggle, my wrestling with God, is not a sham and your struggle, your wrestling with God, is not a sham either.

Words can often get in the way of Truth and my words sometimes do not convey what I really want to get across. That's why a conversation like this is useful. I can keep trying to explain myself and possibly even gain more understanding from you. Miracles happen! It is disheartening, however, to be judged and even condemned in ways which the Greater Church does not judge or condemn me, thank God.

Romans 12:2 makes it clear that divine perfection is a goal worthy of our human efforts. Jesus Christ, as an archetype, models this perfection and calls us to make the effort. The Good News is that God loves me even though I fall short and will most likely continue to fall short as long as I live. Same for you and everyone.

Thanks again for your great blog. I live in hope that you will come to embrace the freedom of the Good News which St. Paul fought for and so many others.

Freedom means taking risks and even being wrong sometimes.

love, john a wilde (whitesboro ny) + www.abundancetrek.com + “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” – Mohandas Gandhi

Abundancetrek said...

Dear Viola.

This is your blog and I don't want to be here if you don't want me to be here. So, do you want to have this conversation with me? Yes or No or Maybe?

I am willing to put with your frequent condemnations (and from others) because I think this conversation may be useful both for me and for you (and others). But, as I said, it is your blog and I'm not sure that you want the kind of critique of your beliefs I am offering here.

I realize that I am pushing the envelope when it comes to beliefs about incarnation. This is not new ground for me. I have put up with heavy criticism from some quarters for a long time and I am sure I will continue to draw fire. Being honest can be painful.

love, john a wilde + whitesboro ny + www.abundancetrek.com + "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." -- Albert Einstein

Debbie said...

This is not a direct reply to the recent comments but more to earlier comments and just the whole idea of the MLP videos (which I have not actually watched). If the gist of the videos, and also the gist of many of the comments made by the supporters of same-sex marriage and of practicing-LGBT ordination, etc., is that "we just need to get to know them and find out that they are nice, gifted, wonderful, loving people", then I have a comment to make about that.

Several people have made put-down remarks in these comments about people like Viola and Dave Moody (for example, John McNeese said to Dave Moody, "I’ll take hell with those folks, than heaven with folks like you."

I haven't noticed much effort on the part of progressives to "get to know" evangelicals, to learn their stories, to, in short, find out that they are nice, gifted, wonderful, loving people. Instead what I find is the assumption that they are NOT nice, gifted, wonderful, loving people.

If we are going to (at least partially) base our arguments on whether or not people are nice and kind and loving, we at least ought to get to know our opponents, instead of just making assumptions about them.

For the record, yes, I do know some GLBT people rather well.

Debbie Berkley
Bellevue, WA

Viola Larson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viola Larson said...

John,
I too am editing what I wrote.

Perhaps you don't understand, I am not writing so that people can come to a compromise on their beliefs or look for common ground as a way to get along-

I am writing as a witness to the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and how his Lordship (And only his Lordship) can be lived out in the Church and world and my own life. When something is wrong I say so. If that does not interest you or you don’t like me disagreeing with you I think you should make the decision for yourself.

Abundancetrek said...

Dear Viola,

I don't come here to be corrected, nor to correct you. While common ground is a goal, far more important to me is mutual understanding. When my struggle, my wrestling (Biblical images) is called a sham, I know we haven't gotten too far. That's disheartening because I am really trying to be as honest and vulnerable and authentic as I can be. I don't want to you to agree with me. But I do want you to try to understand me without the judgment, the condemnation. So, maybe what I am really asking is: Can you do that? Do you want to work at mutual understanding?

I could easily judge you and condemn you for what I perceive as ignorance and lack of curiosity on your part but that's a "human opinion." I constantly remind people that I could be wrong. It is possible that you are right, that your understanding of reality and scripture is correct or a lot closer than mine. I doubt it but it is possible.

Another scripture which comes to mind is Paul saying that "it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me." I interpret this as a clear statement that divinity is indeed attainable and worth pursuing even by "the worst of sinners." I see a marvelous mind at work when I read Paul.

Freedom is a precious gift and I am glad that the Presbyterian Church (USA) is a denomination which values freedom and allows even clergy to have free speech, allowing even church leaders to push the envelope when it comes to understanding reality. My faith journey is not a sham but an honest attempt to understand reality and do God's will.

Thanks again for your fascinating and challenging blog and your openness to being challenged as well.

love, john + www.abundancetrek.com + "The spirit of liberty is the spirit of not being too sure you are right.” – Judge Learned Hand

Abundancetrek said...

I;m taking a wonderful e-course on Interspiritual Wisdom led by a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Hindu. Rabbi Rami offered this wisdom this week:

According to Maimonides the great Jewish philosopher of the Middle Ages we can say nothing about God because God surpasses our capacity to imagine God.

What troubles me more than that, however, is that by aligning God with good, and then defining good as we will, we immediately set up the anti-God. This is the at the heart of so many wars fought in the name of God. Each side assumes God is good, and defines good as what is good for them, and then assumes, logically, that the enemy is the enemy not only of my side but of God. Very dangerous stuff.

When Jewish doctors in Medieval Europe had a much higher cure rate than their Christian counterparts, the reason given by the Church was that they were in league with the Devil who was trying to seduce the people to abandon Christ by helping the Jews could heal more effectively then the Christians. The fact that European Jewish doctors had Jewish family contacts in Muslim lands where medicine was far more advanced, and that these Jews were sharing the latest medical advancement never crossed the minds of the Church leaders. All they could think of was this: God is good, God is Christ, a good God wouldn’t let nonChristians physicians excel medically, ergo superior doctors, whether Jewish or Muslim, must be in league with the Devil. This lead the King of England to pass a law making it illegal for Christians to go to Jewish doctors. There was only one exception to the law, and that was the King himself who had a Jewish doctor in his court.

God isn’t good or bad. People aren’t good or bad. God embraces all opposites, and so do we. People who assume they are basically good scare the shit out of me. I prefer people who know they have a dark side and are willing to do the deep shadow work necessary to prevent it from getting out of hand.


+++

I hope you can receive this wisdom from 2 wise Jews. Maybe it will help you to be more accepting of those who understand God and reality differently than you do.

love, john a wilde, whitesboro ny

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

(Oops, had to fix a typo.)

John Wilde, it's astonishing that you say that Viola lacks curiosity. She has such a wide range of knowledge! And that can only come from having a lot of curiosity about a wide variety of subjects.

I can only assume that you actually mean that she lacks openness to being persuaded to other points of view. And in that you would be right. At least, she lacks openness to being persuaded to non-orthodox Christian points of view. That would be because she has given her life to Jesus Christ and lives it according to his word as she reads it in the Bible.

Now I bet that you are probably going to make that claim for yourself as well. And I think I understand part of the problem here. I just read your comment in which you quoted the passage from Scripture, "it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me." And then you said, "I interpret this as a clear statement that divinity is indeed attainable...."

You are interpreting this passage out of context and using a different meaning from the one that Paul, the author, intended. Paul was not writing about becoming divine; he was writing about giving up sin, and letting Christ have control of his life. This is the orthodox interpretation of this passage, read in context.

Your novel interpretation of this passage (perhaps shared by other progressives?) is a large part of the problem here, and there will never be mutual understanding that you and Viola are within the same belief system as long as you and she interpret the Bible in such different ways.

I concede that you are sincere in your beliefs and honestly want to follow Christ. However, I will never say that your beliefs as you have stated them are orthodox Christianity. And that barrier between you on the one hand and Viola and me on the other hand cannot be crossed as long as our beliefs remain the same as they are. There are irreconcilable differences between our beliefs.

Viola, as she said, is not seeking common ground. She is doing apologetics: explicating the faith once delivered, and persuading people of its truth.

Debbie Berkley
Bellevue, WA

Abundancetrek said...

Dear Debbie,

Christianity is changing, always has been and always will be. It is a dynamic faith.

I love the 2 candles on or near the communion table. Why are there always 2 candles? One represents the Divine Christ (Son of God) and one represents the Human Christ (Son of Man). One way to look at that is that the Human Christ is the same as us and the Divine Christ is different than us. (Let's not forget that it is all a mystery as we reflect on these things.)

You and Viola and others here are emphasizing the Christ who is different than us and I am emphasizing the Christ who is the same as us. We do participate in divinity through our baptism and communion. We are limited human beings who must always recognize that we are different (less than) God. But, on the other hand, we are called to perfection, to holiness, to divine freedom and abundance.

We are brothers and sisters of Christ. That's in tomorrow's daily lectionary reading dfrom Hebrews. Not slaves, not servants, not offsprings, but brothers and sisters of the Divine and Human Christ. My emphasis has always been a part of our great wisdom tradition. So has your emphasis. I acknowledge that.

Sadly, you think I must embrace your emphasis and I can not do that but I can accept that you sincerely believe what you believe. So do I and I think it would be best for us to stop bashing each other and start humbly appreciating and respecting each other.

On so many things we are in agreement. Tomorrow's daily readings -- again from Hebrews -- tell us to have no divisions but have the same mind and the same purpose. I really believe that we do have the same mind. God has created enormous variety but we have one mind and we must affirm our unity even in the midst of these disagreements we have. We affirm our common mind and common purpose as we engage humbly and respectfully. I am glad Viola provides a forum for such an effort. I hope you can be moved to appreciate the sincere and diligent efforts of those who disagree with you but remain solidly committed to following Christ faithfully even in this new age, these interesting times to be alive.

love, john a wilde, whitesboro ny

Viola Larson said...

John,
Maimonides the Jewish philosopher was also a dark mystic in the sense of John of the Cross, that is, you could not know the attributes of God, but only the negatives. For example God is not finite. In Maimonides opinion if God is in any way good it cannot be known, it can only be known that he is not evil. (It is true that he believed God did not have any attributes) Maimonides believed that God could only be known by experiencing him in an intellectual way. That doesn’t mean know about him as in facts but know about him as the mind cleared all else away and experienced him.

However, that is not the way a Christian knows God. A Christian first of all knows God and his goodness through Jesus Christ. Jesus has revealed who God is; Jesus is God and came that we might know God. All the attributes of Jesus Christ are the attributes of God.

Further the Christian knows about the attributes of God from God’s written revelation, his word. You are simply giving me human opinions, but you say you are a Christian so listen to the word of God.

Viola Larson said...

John,
You write:
“I love the 2 candles on or near the communion table. Why are there always 2 candles? One represents the Divine Christ (Son of God) and one represents the Human Christ (Son of Man). One way to look at that is that the Human Christ is the same as us and the Divine Christ is different than us. (Let's not forget that it is all a mystery as we reflect on these things.)”

I am writing back to you the Creed of Chalcedon which is one of the ecumenical creeds of Christendom.

"Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; "like us in all things but sin." He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
“We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division, or separation (in duabus naturis inconfuse, immutabiliter, indivise, inseparabiliter). The distinction between natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis.”

You cannot separate the two natures of Jesus as you just have done. And let me add that the term “Son of man,” has more to do with the divinity of Jesus than any other term he used about himself.

Now to another very big issue. I told you I was not attempting to provide a place for people to find common ground. And yet you write this to Debbie, “We affirm our common mind and common purpose as we engage humbly and respectfully. I am glad Viola provides a forum for such an effort.”

I think that you must be the person who is not listening!

Abundancetrek said...

Dear Debbie,

I made a mistake on scripture references. The passage about the common mind and purpose is from 1 Corinthians and that is one of tomorrow's daily readings.

The Hebrews passage is in today's daily readings.

love, john a wilde + whitesboro ny

Abundancetrek said...

Dear Viola,

Yesterday I wrote:

"I don't want to you to agree with me. But I do want you to try to understand me without the judgment, the condemnation. So, maybe what I am really asking is: Can you do that? Do you want to work at mutual understanding?"

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I don't see a direct answer to my question in your comment just now but it lead me to believe that your is answer is No. That's too bad.

One of my best friends is a Russian Orthodox Priest. He would side with you on many issues. But he has helped me to appreciate that the Eastern Mind of Christianity and the Western Mind of Christianity have some significant differences. The Western Mind tends to be legalistic and wants everything to be seen in clear categories. The Eastern Mind is far more open to ambiguity, paradox and mystery.

He knows my beliefs are far from what he would call orthodoxy but we can have very respectful and honest dialogue. I would also point out that any Protestant is far from Orthodox in his version of reality.

I have one more thought to share and then I will drop this for a while particularly since I can see that you remain in your rigid position that I must learn from you and not vice versa.

The thought is from a highly respected Christian Spiritual Teacher, Cynthia Bourgeault as she introduces this weeks topic in InterSpiritual Wisdom. I will put it in my next and probably last comment (in this string anyway).

love, john a wilde + whitesboro ny

Abundancetrek said...

Cynthia Bougeault introduces the topic of Interdependence and Reciprocity:

When you enter the Practice Circle today, you'll see a photograph of me enjoying Christmas "high tea" in London with my daughter Gwen and granddaughter Zoë. As we prepare to dive into this week's theme, it seemed only fitting to offer a visual reinforcement from my own immediate version of "interdependent arising."

We may not yet be able to live for each other, but we inescapably live from each other, observes the modern English mystic Charles Williams. We enter, like children on a playground, into a great jump rope that is already turning. The name of the game is "Are you quick enough to pick up the rhythm?"

Even at a scientific and secular level, this week's theme has become an unsettling new fact of contemporary existence. In a planet pressed to its limits, actions in one part of the world show up as consequences in another on an increasingly short tether. As I drive across the mountains to my winter home in Colorado, I am starkly confronted by millions of acres of dead evergreen forests, felled by a small parasite called the spruce budworm, which managed to escape its usual seasonal demise because of a series of unusually warm Rocky Mountain winters attributed to global warming. It's right there in my face!

From the most visionary spiritual leaders of our times, then, we are beginning to hear a common theme: We are one world, and we need to think and act as one world. "The most serious threat is no longer genocide, but humanicide," says my own teacher, Fr. Thomas Keating. Our limited and parochial ways of looking at the world — our haste to define ourselves by particular ethnic, religious, national, or other identities as we have done in the past — is a luxury our planet can no longer afford. What binds us together as human beings far outweighs what divides us, and we must learn to think from unity.

Unfortunately, thinking in terms of interdependence and reciprocity does not come easily to the Western mindset of the past several centuries, which has focused on the individual as the basic unit around which everything else revolves: "My freedom, my happiness, my enlightenment." Learning to shift our basis to a larger common denominator produces real fear and resistance — just like for little Zoë when I offered to take away her hundred pennies and replace them with a dollar bill. She thought she was being cheated!

That's where our spiritual traditions have so much to teach us — in fact here is where they truly come into their own. Though they name it in different ways, each one has at its core a powerful vision of that "dollar" — that higher unit of collectivity in which all the pennies of our individual existences come into resonance and coherence. The image that comes to my mind is of a stained glass window in which all those millions of little bits of shape and color are drawn together into a single image, then suddenly bathed in oneness as the sunlight streams through. It's a good analogy as long as you don't think of creation as the "bits" and God as the "light." We are all both "bits" and "light" and the whole thing is the revealed masterpiece of meaning.

Never are the traditions more eloquent than when alluding to this Mystery — this higher order of coherence in which "all things hold together," and whose jump rope is reciprocity and interdependence. The intimation of an unseen wholeness illumines the heart of each tradition and is never far away from that dazzling breakthrough into enlightenment — the personal realization that indeed "We are all One." It's a vision whose time has now fully come.

You're in for a feast this week. In the ancient words of the Song of Songs, "Drink, friends; drink deeply of love!"

< www.spiritualityandpractice.com

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love, john a wilde + whitesboro ny

Viola Larson said...

John,
Shame on you, you are trying to use my blog for your own postings. That is all a lot of nonesense that has nothing to do with Christianity and you are proving your own unChristian attitudes by continuing to push on this blog what is not at all biblical. Please do not comment on this posting again.

Debbie said...

John Wilde, Viola has asked you not to comment on this posting again, but perhaps you will read this reply that I am making to what you wrote to me several comments earlier.

You have made some unwarranted assumptions about me! I don't have an emphasis on Jesus as divine over Jesus as human, because he was both at once, with no separation. Therefore I can't "think you must embrace my emphasis", as you alleged.

I have also not bashed you. I have merely pointed out differences between our beliefs. I have noted before, however, that you have great sensitivity on this subject; you feel that arguments against your beliefs are putdowns of your very self. If that is the case, you really ought not to be participating in debates. In debates you have to expect opposition without getting hurt feelings or feeling that you have been bashed. In debates, you will have opponents who will disagree with you. That does not mean that they have bashed you. Surely you don't expect that as soon as you state an opinion, everyone will immediately say, "Oh, you must be right! I agree now, since you have said so!" Instead, it is a consequence of being in debates that people are going to disagree with what you say.

Disagreeing with you does not even mean that we don't respect or appreciate you. Disrespect and lack of appreciation comes not from what you believe, but from how you act about what you believe.

Debbie Berkley
Bellevue, WA

Viola Larson said...

Debbie,
Its late and I'm going to bed. If you come back and read this you will find out that John is doing more than he says- This is embarrassing but go here- http://www.shuckandjive.org/2010/01/meaning-of-life-part-43.html

Thanks for your comments.

Viola Larson said...

I meant John W and scroll down to the comment section on that link.

Debbie said...

They have a distorted view of reality over there. They certainly misinterpret and/or read all sorts of wrong things into us!

Debbie Berkley
Bellevue, WA

Viola Larson said...

Amen to that!