april 12, 2014 § Lämna en kommentar
I would like to introduce to you a new term and a new concept for ”faith” which I just recently stumbled across. It would be pretty astonishing if this concept would be new for mainstream Christian theology, but that could pretty well be the case, for historical reasons. (See next paragraphs about that). Personally, this new concept of ”faith” came as a needed component in my struggling life of faith, so maybe this discovery is flavored by this need, but you as a reader can later decide if this is really a new discovery or not. I say ”later”, because this blog will be a little bit of a background to the discovery.
Historically, we have been caught between pillar and post, between James and Paul, when it comes to faith. So we have been literally blinded to any other outlook to what ”faith” could be.
This is unfortunate. I am fairly convinced that the difference of opinion we believe James and Paul had was a religious chimera originating from the schism of the Jewish and non-Jewish Christian communities. A typical cultural clash. Since the schism and loss of communication and understanding of the others mindset, we have not been able to understand the mindset of James, and to a certain degree, not of Paul either, since he is addressing the ”God-fearers,” who were sympathetic to Judaism. Because these two communities have totally different religious mindsets (to this day), we have not and can not understand the others mindset, ever since the time we denied the others existence, (that is, through the whole of orthodox church history).
The reason why I am fairly convinced, is because a few weeks ago I compared James and Paul on the issue of faith, but with consideration of the mindsets of these two authors. What I found is that they could very well be saying the same thing, but with different mindsets. James says specifically that he is writing to the twelve tribes, so he is a Jew writing to Jews. So when reading James you must put on the semantic glasses of the Jew. Paul though is writing to both Jews and non-Jews, but when warning the Galatians, for example, he is talking to non-Jews, and probably the so called ”God-fearers”, so when one reads Paul you need to put on the semantic glasses of the non-Jew. So when I read the pivotal verses about faith in the letters of James and Paul with the different mindsets taken into consideration, I found an astonishing third viewpoint about faith that harmonizes the two! I’ll quote from myself (from material not published yet):
But the Gospel is seen differently by Jew and Gentile. To the Jew, the Gospel is a deepening of the Law (=instruction from God to His people Israel) through faith in the Messiah. To the Gentile, the Gospel is the realization of the purpose of their faith, that is the realization of true communion with God and Mankind. For both Jew and Gentile, this is made possible by the Law of the Spirit. But the vocabulary to describe this is different for Jew and Gentile.
For the Jew who had the Law, they received faith in the Messiah in order to fulfill the True Intent of the Law in them, the Law of the Spirit. For the Gentile who already had faith, they received the Law of the Spirit of the Messiah in order that their faith in God would fully and totally reach its goal.
My conclusion: James and Paul are actually saying the same thing about faith, but with different mindsets, and thus with different words and expressions. I think we can express what James and Paul is trying to say in the following phrase: By faith we live by the Law of the Spirit.
Now, I don’t pretend that I know precisely what this means, and I guess it all boils down to what ”faith” here is supposed to mean. I think my ignorance has to do with the loss of experience and the loss of vocabulary, both mine and the Church’s. … (Our theological history has worsened our understanding of these terms, especially the term ”Law,” for which we have no longer the understanding of its origin and dynamic in the Israeli covenant. Instead we have added on laws from this Law as a sort of morality, which is both law to us (because they are ”Biblical”) and not law to us (so that Paul won’t get angry 😉 ) …)
But I think the abovementioned ignorance of what it means to ”by faith, live by the Law of the Spirit” is greatly reduced with my and maybe our discovery of a new term and concept for ”faith”! It is a discovery of what ”faith” could have meant before the orthodox church cut its cord with the Jewish Christians. … But instead of just saying it, I will let you have the joy of discovering it from the source from where I myself discovered it: In a quote from Ephesians 2:8-9 from the OJB (Orthodox Jewish Bible) version at this ”frantic” webpage: http://www.afii.org/studygkwus.htm (Don’t be intimidated by all the Hebrew and Yiddish terms. (They do reflect another mindset, and thus the words do pop up more emphatically.)).
Can you find the new term for faith here?:
For by unmerited Chen v’Chesed Hashem you have been delivered from Hashem’s Din(Judgment) and granted a share in the Geulah (Redemption), through emunah; and this is not [an ainfal (intuitive idea)] of yourselves, it is a matnat Hashem (gift of G-d); 9 Not the result [of the zchus (merit)] of doing ma’asei mitzvot (works) [Ac 15:1; Ga 5:3-4], so that before Hashem no man should be a ravrevan (boaster, braggart). [DEVARIM 9:5] 10 For we are His masterpiece, having been created in Moshiach Yehoshua for ma’asim tovim, which Hashem prepared beforehand, that we should walk our derech in them.[YESHAYAH 29:23; 42:7; 60:21;]
Did you find it? I will take on this new term of faith in my next blog (part 2) coming shortly! …
februari 13, 2014 § Lämna en kommentar
I believe I have found a parallel between the pericope of 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 and the pericope of Hebrews 11:1-12:3. If so, if the parallel is there, there could be another possible interpretation of 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.
In 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 we meet a peculiar statement: The knowing that we are absent from the Lord, while living in this body, is a result of walking by faith. It is strange if you think about it, that faith would give you a consciousness of absence of the Lord. One would expect the opposite, that faith would give a consciousness of the Lord’s presence.
But in Hebrew 11 we actually find exactly this relation between faith and estrangement, especially in 11:13: ”All these died in faith, … having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
– Now, most believers misunderstand this as an estrangement on the earth per se, that is, life on the earth is in itself estrangement from God. This is _not_ the correct reading of this verse or the whole of Hebrews 11. This verse is alluding to David’s prayer for the project of building the Lord’s temple in 1 Chronicles 29:15: ”For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope.” ”Before You” is literally ”before your face,” and is translated ”in your presence” in the NET Bible. ”Face” has to do with presence. It’s not surprising that David is speaking of the Lord’s presence since the prayer is about building the Lord’s temple where the Presence of the Lord will reside. What David is confessing is that the people of God are figuratively sojourners and nomads since they have not yet found a home in God’s Presence. In other words, they are still strangers to God’s Presence. This should mean that Hebrews 11:13 does not see the earth, or life on earth as foreign, but while alluding to 1 Chronicles 29:15, this passage sees the heroes of faith in the OT as foreigners before God’s presence. Distance from God’s Presence is what is foreign, not the earth, or life on earth. –
So, getting back to the curious relation between faith and estrangement, we find in Hebrews 11 that the heroes of faith experience themselves as strangers before God’s presence. Why? Because since faith ”is the assurance of things not seen,” (11:1), it also senses the Presence of God not seen, and yearns for it. So faith causes need, the consciousness of want.
If so, then 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 might not be so cryptic after all.
But this then also brings upon the whole pericope 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 another interpretation altogether, which I wish to explore here.
Just as sojourning in Hebrews 11 and 1 Chronicles is not about earth being an alien place, but about alienation before God’s Presence; so also 2 Corinthians 5, if this parallel is correct, is not about being absent from the Lord while we are living here on the earth (and present with the Lord when we die), but about being absent from the Lord by being ”home in the body” which I interpret as merely living for oneself. Instead of waiting for death, the sojourner, here and now, yearns to be present with the Lord, to be ”clothed with our dwelling from heaven,” ”in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
In the previous chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about the life of Jesus manifested in our body, and that ”He who raised [the body of] the Lord Jesus will raise us [that is, the bodies of our’s] also with Jesus … .” Then 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 has symbols of the temple (of his Presence) in verse 1, and then carries on to liken our bodies, especially our future bodies, as God’s temple. Taken together, it is natural to see verses 5:6-10 being about our mortal body being the sojourner’s tent, and the Lord’s life-giving body being the Lord’s temple, filled with the Lord’s Presence.
So verses 6-8 presents this idea of the two bodies/housings:
Living in our mortal body <——> Living in the Lord’s life-giving body
Though this is simply abbreviated by:
The body <——> The Lord.
What I am suggesting is this: The interpretation we have of verse 5:8, that Paul is longing to leave this earth in order to ”be at home with the Lord” is not the only interpretation possible. Actually, I see it as more plausible that the verse should be interpreted as wanting to less find ”a home” in our mortal bodies, and more and more find ”a home” in the ”dwelling from heaven” (v.2) which is the body that channels the life of Jesus (vv 4:10-11), … already now in this life. (But it is promised to become a fact when we leave this life of ours, (vv. 5:1, 3-4)).
So the idea of being ”at home with the Lord” not _only_ in the life after this, but actually during _this_ life, is confirmed by verse 10 where it says that we will be judged by our ”deeds in the body … whether good or bad.” (v.10).
Being ”absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” here and now, on the earth, while we live, is also echoed later in verse 5:15: ”and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again …” Mark the parallel: ”live for themselves” = ”home in the body”; ”live … for Him” = ”home with the Lord.”
This goes to show how strong an influence dualism has on our minds and imagination, so we can only understand a certain pericope in one way and one way only, since it has been interpreted that way a thousand times over.
_ _ _
To summarize this article:
Before the Messiah came, those of faith felt the absence of the Lord’s Presence. Now when the Messiah has come, we still feel the absence of the Lord when living like we usually do for ourselves. But through faith, we prefer living for the Messiah instead, which fills us with his Presence. This is because when we let his life manifest itself in us, our body becomes his temple, his body.
So we gradually become more and more home with the Lord, while our mortal body trails along; until one day we lay off our mortal body and we are totally ”swallowed up in life.” So preferring ”to be at home with the Lord” is not about wanting to die, so as to be with the Lord. It’s about yearning to harvest what all the witnesses in the OT have been longing for, which is now brought to us in the NT through the Messiah. It’s actually about letting our body become His home right now, our body being transformed to the Lord’s body, thus not only being in his Presence, but also being a home for his Presence, … while we live, here on earth before we die, (… but, of course, even after we die too).
But isn’t the earth what makes our life sinful? No, because being on earth is not what alienates us from God, it is our ungenerated selves that alienate us from God. ”The city” the faithful were looking for (in Hebrews 11:10) will not be in heaven, but on earth, (Rev. 21:2,10). The earth is not the problem. It’s rather our ungenerated self that is the problem, … and finding a home in His Presence, the answer.
_ _ _
Actually, after a second reading of 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, there is actually really nothing that should compel us to interpret the verses 1-5 to be relating to our death in particular. Yes, it talks of our deterioration, which everyone becomes aware of with growing age, but it needn’t necessarily be understood as our death. ”Earthly” and ”heavenly” can very well be understood symbolically. ”Earthly” could mean having to do with our ungenerated lives, while ”heavenly” could have to do with the Spirit filled life Jesus has invited us into. Reading it that way, vv. 1-5 can be readily read as our gradual bodily transformation from tents of sojourners to the temple of God’s Presence.
The ”non-death” interpretation in vv. 1-5 can then be seen as a basis for interpretation for vv. 6-10: ”while … home in the body” = ”indeed in this [earthly tent] we groan,” ”we are absent from the Lord” = ”longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,” (verse 5 vs verse 2); but we are ”of good courage,” preferring ”rather to be absent from the body” = ”the earthly tent which is our house is torn down,” we are instead ”at home with the Lord” = ”we have a building from God.” (verse 8 vs verse 1).
”… [I]f the earthly tent which is our house is torn down …” in 1 Corinthians 5:1 is most probably an allusion to the story of Hezekiah’s illness and restoration in Isaiah 38, where also the temple is mentioned. ”Absent from the body” in verse 8, as equated with our ”earthly tent” being torn down, can then be seen, as in Hezekiah’s illness story, as our cross. This is what can be understood in verse 9: ”whether at home [the presence of his glory in our lives] or absent [the cross in our lives], [we have the ambition of being] pleasing to Him,” (with my interpretation in the first two brackets).
There is a similar transformation where God resides first in the tent of meeting and in the tabernacle, and then eventually in the temple. God as stranger living in a tent is told in Jeremiah 14:8 thus:
”O Hope of Israel,
Its Savior in time of distress,
Why are You like a stranger in the land
Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?”
Interestingly, ”Hope” as a name of God is the same word for ”hope” in David’s supplication in 1 Chronicles 29.
* * * * *
Edit: correct 2 Chronicles to 1 Chronicles.
Edit: the addition of an ”Addition” including new tags.
Edit: Rewording at the end of the 8th paragraph.
maj 9, 2011 § 4 kommentarer
The only remaining thing I hold any faith in is Jesus, the Messiah, himself. The continuing loss of faith has continued for many years, but it’s only since a year ago that I realized that it was actually only Jesus I trust in.
I lost trust in theology and dogmatic structures.
I lost trust in how man interprets the scriptures.
I lost trust in tradition.
I lost trust in the church.
What I have left is Jesus, … and my brothers and sisters, … and the world.
… And that’s enough according to John’s first epistle: ”He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
A parallel process has been ongoing in my inner man for some time: to know the words of Jesus more intimately. Sometimes I get the feeling that I and other Christians know more of the other books of scripture more than the Gospels themselves; and it feels like sometimes we almost disregard what Jesus himself declare. If we are unsure of some dogmatic point, we would listen to Paul more than Jesus himself. There’s something very wrong with that. Now, my thirst is for the words of Jesus. I want to know his words. And that’s enough according to Jesus: ”If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; …” John 8:31 (emphasis mine).
Probably these two processes described above are the same process: my life centering all the more and finally only on the Messiah himself.
I found the following quote of Umberto Eco, see photo.
I share Eco’s world view except that also Jesus is an enigma, and we shouldn’t try to solve the mystery of Him. And only in his humanity is the truth, and we shouldn’t try to find the truth in any theology that’s apart from his person.
_ _ _
I will lay up a page on this site, called something like ”The Words of Jesus”, on which all the meditations of Jesus’ Words on my blog will be accessible.
_ _ _
The photo is a self-portrait of Dia™ @ flickr. She looks very much like my favorite Milla Jovovich. Visit her site by clicking on the photo.
juni 15, 2009 § Lämna en kommentar
I found the following at http://iran.twazzup.com/
it seems gov. tries to hack the reformist websites to insert fake statement. Mousavi’s website is the only remained connection #iranelection
It’s impossible to decide the truth value of this statement.
It’s like saying: there’s a conspiracy. But you don’t know about it because of the conspiracy. So because you don’t know about the conspiracy, there is a conspiracy.
There are two things to consider here:
A conspiracy that influences our sphere of knowledge cannot be proven.
… But neither can it be rejected as illogical.
This last point is usually not taken into consideration. Probably because the burden of proof is laid upon the person who suspects a conspiracy. … which rationally is unfair, but, to be honest, is the only practical way to handle this world (… which of course the conspirators take advantage of). But actually, this default way of handling conspiracies is dishonest, because the person presuming there is no conspiracy usually does not take into consideration that his/her judgement might be contaminated by the conspiracy itself. In other words, how does the one who takes the ”objective” view of things really know that his or her view is actually ”objective” and not actually biased?
So the person believing in a conspiracy could point out to the person who, without further discussion, disbelieves the conspiracy to be a bit dishonest. But the unbeliever’s behaviour wouldn’t be unfair though, because it would be too time consuming for any human being to consider every conspiracy theory out there, wouldn’t it?
When it comes to this type of information-distorting conspiracies, it all comes down to belief, really, since neither party can either prove itself or disprove the other. The tragic part is when one or both parties aren’t satisfied with belief, but begin organizing to the point that they begin to infringe on the rights of others. (This has been typical of certain ideologies or religions which find fuel in suspicion of conspiracy).
But there is another way of seeing the whole situation: Since it all boils down to belief anyway, people across boundaries can seize the opportunity of taking on a new ”conspiracy belief” together: the sacred belief that we are siblings, that despite everything happening around us, we are brothers and sisters, that we are of a common ancestry, and there are bounds between us that cannot be broken!
This does challenge the objective world view though, since what this says actually is that we can make up our own minds on what will be true for us or not. But I also see this as a genuine ”act of faith”: ”… if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” (NASB Matthew 18:19).
So we can revisit the question why Jesus didn’t answer Pilate’s question: What is truth?
Could it be because a verbal answer wasn’t the optimal way af revealing to Pilate the conspiracy of love going on there at that moment? The best way of making Pilate think was not answering the question at all, but instead to demonstrate it, demonstrate the Truth. (… his question was hypothetical, for he would had brushed off any verbal answer, because he was probably of the philosophical view that no man could know the Truth …)
Jesus’ silence was like saying: ”Oh yeah, Pilate, your are cooool! I mean, who gets the chance of asking the Messiah the grandeur question of What is Truth? … and not even getting an answer back! Ha! I mean, man! That is coooool! … I’m not gonna take that away from you Pilate! But do you know what is cooler than coool? It’s having the real choice of being friend with whomever you like without really having any substantial reason for it. … And so that’s what I’m doing for you right now King Pilate. You might not see it today, but you’ll see it tomorrow: You’ll be given the opportunity of becoming cool just like Me: Cooler than coool! That’s the brutal Truth (… and we’re talking _brutal_ here!…), the brutal Truth that will be given as a true Gift to every human living on this earth. But it’s hard to explain the Truth of that conspiracy, because Truth is an Action, it’s Me. But one thing is not too hard to do (… the hard thing is believing that it’s really cool!…): It’s believing in the Truth of this conspiracy, in the conspiracy of Friendship and Siblinghood, and then you, Pilate, will experience Real Coooolness! Like Morpheus said: ”… sooner or later you’re going to realize … that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Walk the path, Pilate, don’t necessarily understand it; just follow Me, and you’ll get the hang of it!”
So which conspiracy are you going to believe in?