Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Week 6: Art Project , Bridges, Course Summary. Philemon

Don't forget to bring magazines for our project tonight..

In the "three worlds" language of our textbook, interpreting the Bible is all about how we cross the bridge from  the literary and historical worlds to our
day (contemporary world):

This seems to get tricky..especially with issues like Slavery Sabbath War and Women.
  How do we know what cultural commandments carry over to our day?  It can be a tough bridge..
See also: "kicking butts, hair in a bun, tattoos"

Click here (scroll down to page 19-21) to see the helpful "bridge" section from Brian Dodd's book.  (i also really recommend chapter 1, pp. 9-18)

As you can see by the David Lee photo here,
and as you have been experiencing in class,
traveling the bridge can be a foggy and frustrating affair.


Or to mix the metaphor, the bridge can be
"all wet" (photo below and story here).

To play with the bridge image one more time:
Here 's a pic of the New Choluteca Bridge, which, thanks to a hurricane, effectively links "nothing to nowhere"

This way of reading the Bible really helps us cross the bridge,
ans is especially helpful for sections or books of the Bible that we have too often read with "verse-itis,"
and not through the "historical world" and "literary world" of their day.

How about building a bridge from BOTH SIDES?:
Like this one in Virginia>

or the Hoover Dam bridge.



On this week's topic of Worth and Status, we'll look at some of these Scriptures:  How do they inform your Philemon paper?
  • Matthew 12: 46 – 50
  • Matthew 13: 53 – 58
  • Mark 9:33 – 37
  • Luke 6:27 – 38
  • Luke 10:38 – 42
  • Luke 14:12 – 14
  • Luke 16:1 – 9
  • Luke 22:24 – 30
  • John 5:19-30
  • Acts 10:38
  • Romans 8:12 – 16
  • I Corinthians 11:17 – 22
  • Ephesians 5:21 – 33
  • Philippians 2:5-11
  • I Timothy 2:8 – 15
  • I Timothy 3:8 – 13
  • I Timothy 5:1 –16
In thinking about  living selflessly like Jesus did...

fill in this blank:
The Scripture suggests that Jesus was able to do miracles, and have 

supernatural knowledge, because he was ___________.

If you answered "God" ...
and not 'human" on:

Some theologians call this "Spirit Christology" or "kenosis",  whether or not  this proposed theology is consistently true. If it is, it would almost move this question into the realm of "essential" doctrines, because it then provides the very key to how we are to live in relation to daily Christian life, walking in the power and possibilities of the Spirit; doing the "greater works than Jesus" that Jesus flatly and unapologetically predicted we would do. Now, not every proponent of "Spirit Christology" or "kenosis theology" is biblical or orthodox, so hear me when I say that I know I don't agree with everyone using these categories. The basic argument would be this; to put it bluntly, as one preacher did for shock value:

"Jesus did nothing on earth as God! "

Wow, better unpack that! Now, that statement doesn't have to imply He was not God.. He was, is and always will be fully God in my Book! It's just that He didn't. during His earthly ministry, anything out of His innate, inherent and intrinsic Godhood. He voluntarily surrendered the rights to use and access His God hood's attributes... such as omniscience, or power to do mighty miracles. Several
Scriptures come into play: John 5:19 and 30 offer that Jesus did nothing in and of Himself, but only did what the Father and Spirit told/led/empowered Him to do. Philippians 2:6-11 asserts that Jesus didn't take advantage of, or even access of the rights and power of His Godhood, which would be "robbery," and a violation of the whole point of His incarnation; His coming to earth. Instead of functioning out of His eternal power and prerogative as Almighty God, He "emptied Himself". A by-product of this, is as Hebrews affirms "Jesus know every temptation we have endured by His own experience" (2:18 and 4:15). I also love to shock congregations by asking "When Jesus did miracles on earth, how was He able to do those miracles?" Well-trained evangelicals of course automatically answer, "Because He was God!" When actually, that may be the wrong answer all together. Of course He was God, no debate. But the only Scriptural answer to "How did He do those miracles?" is "in the power of the Spirit". And witness Matt. 12:28: He cast out demons; not because He was God and could do so, but as a human "by the power of the Spirit." Thus, that is the "key" key, crucial catch, and ancient but overlooked secret as to how we, mere humans, are to do the same works He did, even greater. (Jesus said that, not me. Blame Him: John 14:12) 

Answer: We do them through "checking in" with the same Father Jesus checked in with while on earth; and trusting,...radically; to the point where the supernatural almost becomes natural and norm... the same Spirit Jesus trusted. (Note Jesus, a few sentences later, suggests that is His secret, and ours. He simply passes the torch to us, but not without the sharing the same equipping Holy Spirit: verses 16-17).Such deep trust and dependency doesn't make us Jesus, of course, but they do position us to trust the timing and voice of the Father, and prompting and power of the Spirit, as radically as Jesus did...with similar and "even greater" results! If JESUS never did anything in and of Himself (John 5:19 and 30), who do we think WE are?

When Jesus asked, in Mark 5:30, "Who touched me?," did He mean it, or was this a test? If "Spirit Christology" is true, one could answer the former, without sacrificing an iota of essential, foundational evangelical theology. When Jesus said even He (Matthew 24:36) did not know the day or hour of His return, was that a lie?. No, and this "lack of knowledge" on the part of a member of the all-knowing Trinity poses no problem. I would propose that He knows now, but He chose not to know on earth. This was all part of His modeling a complete self-emptying. This, though, is core to my third question:" How consistent and complete is this theology.? Did Jesus ever do anything 'on earth as God', even though He was God? And Lord, is this profound truth so profound that to miss it allows us to miss the 'normal' life you have intended for us?"

Whatever the ultimate answer to this question the Lord would give me, the bottom line question I keep hearing in the meantime. and "real time" is haunting: "Have I yet trusted as completely and recklessly as I could in the leading of the Father and the power of the Sprit? I almost don't even care if I do a greater work or not, I just want to be found faithful, and be an answer to Jesus' wild and waiting prophecy of John 14:12. 

I love Dwight Edwards' penetrating, "must-be- wrestled- with" self-questions :

1. What have I done recently that could not be duplicated by an unbeliever, no matter how hard they tried?

2.What blatant evidence of the supernatural God has leaked out of my life?

Questions indeed! (link)


Here are some notes the faculty has put together to help summarize the class and themes:

: is created
stories are foundational, laws/norms provide boundaries and guidelines, relational concept of righteousness/guidelines, power and authority are present but look different in community of believers, worship as something which forms and nurtures community, challenge of dealing with the realities of status within community and the different way status and relationships are to be grounded in the community of faith, the challenge of living lives that are connected, of allowing others to challenge and test our preconceptions about how the world works and who God is. Community as process and shared journey.

Skills: You know more about how to read and interpret the Bible than you did 6 weeks ago. We have noticed that there are different kinds of writing in scripture, and we have to work at reading and interpreting those different kinds of texts differently. We have realized that we bring who we are to the text, and must be aware of our own biases. We have recognized that sometimes we come asking questions the text is not trying to answer. We have to work at hearing the text and taking it on its own terms, developing ourselves as good listening partners. The work of hearing the text has meant we've asked many different kinds of questions of the texts themselves. What are the underlying assumptions about how the world works, who God is, how the community should be—these make up the historical world. They require investigative work and thought by us. They may reveal differences between assumptions of our day and the day of the texts were written. We have asked questions about the way in which the things we were reading were put together. Biblical writers have lots of material and are making choices about what is told and the way in which it is told. We learn what is important to them by the way they construct the story they tell. This is the literary world. And finally, tonight, we have especially asked questions about how the text impacts the people hearing or reading it. What are the biblical writers trying to encourage or cajole or command their hearers/readers to do? What is happening in the encounter that happens in front of the text as reader and text interact? This the contemporary world includes both the first readers and us, as readers now. How is the text influencing us? How are we responding?
The hope is that our time together, spent getting to know these different worlds, has enhanced your skills and joy for reading scripture. 
Be sure to find all the helpful resources for your Philemon paper on the "Philemon" tab above.. Pay special attention to the chiasms found there...Tonight we may have time to watch this clip from NT Wright

 Think about any ways we found these symbols in Philemon during class discussion tonight:
Click Here fort he syllabus for your next Bible Class: 300B..  IMPORTANT: ALL WORK IS DONE AHEAD OF CLASS, INCLUDING A  SERVICE PROJECT AND CHURCH VISIT..