As a participant in western Christianity you are taught that that keeping [the third commandment] is supposed to keep God’s name from being spoken with disregard or irreverence. From Sunday school onward the exegesis of taking God's name in vain is usually presented without context or explanation. Christian culture doesn't tend to be overly curious about meaning and intent...
...The evangelical definition of taking God’s name in vain is so far-reaching that it has become the mainstream (secular) definition. Ask someone what it means to take God’s name in vain and regardless of their faith tradition or religious persuasion they will probably tell you that it means using one of God’s many pseudonyms in an exclamatory or thoughtless manner. Test it right now. Poll a friend or nine and they will prove this...
Much of western Christianity doesn't even know that the commandments were issued to the same Israelites who, when they asked God his name, weren’t given a straight answer. They still don’t have an answer. The story goes that answer was only "I Am," which is why Jews traditionally write the name as G-d. And Christian culture hasn't really publicized the fact that the commandment issued on Mount Sinai wasn’t intended to censor careless bandying about of a literal name, but rather was stating we are not to use God to justify or legitimize an action that is not justified or legitimated by God.
Getting this detail wrong has resulted in Christian culture declaring God’s position on causes such as war, marriage rights, evolution and megachurches, all while staunchly refraining from typing “omg” lest they blaspheme the name of G-d. The irony is excruciating, and they are able to keep it going as long as people don't ask too many questions. link, full article
Taking the name of God in vain doesn't mean saying "g-----n." At the 1975 National Religious Broadcasters Convention I told the audience taking the Lord's name in vain had nothing to do with cussing. It meant taking the slightest bit of glory for yourself. None of the early believers called themselves Christians. They called themselves People of the Way. They were too humble to put the name of Christ on their own flesh. I posed a question: "Can you imagine the Saul of Tarsus Evangelistic Association?" That was the last time I spoke at a national Christian meeting. -Truths I Couldn't Find in Church": by Ole and Skippy
Michael Bird's paraphrase, he has switched John to the nickname for John, Jack.
All Bible translators have to confront the problem of words that don't convey the same meaning to a modern audience as they did to an ancient one, said linguist Joel M. Hoffman, author of "And God Said - How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning.""For example, `John the Baptist' was really like `John the Dunker,'" Hoffman said.John was doing something new by submerging people in water to cleanse them of their sins, but that is lost on people 2,000 years later, Hoffman said. Today, people hearing John's title might think it refers to a Baptist denomination rather than his then-strange behavior. -link
NOTICE: Persons attempting to find a "text" in this book will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a "subtext" in it will be banished; persons attempting to explain, interpret, explicate, analyze, deconstruct, or otherwise "understand" it will be exiled to a desert island in the company only of other explainers. BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR
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In the context of liminality, the trickster is a very dangerous figure: “in a liminal situation where certainties are lost, imitative behavior escalates, and tricksters can be mistaken for charismatic leaders”. This means that in their search for guidance, the individuals caught in the liminal situation might choose to follow a trickster, whom they confuse with a charismatic leader capable of “saving” them. Liminal periods that affect entire societies are characterized by the absence of a “master of ceremonies” (the leadership figures that are supposed to lead the initiands out of the liminal phase), which can in turn lead to the rise of tricksters into positions of power. When a trickster enters into a position of leadership, “liminality will not be restricted to a temporary crisis, followed by a return to normality, but can be perpetuated endlessly”. This can be explained by three important characteristics of the trickster: his lack of a home (the trickster is, by definition, homeless and an outsider), lack of deeply felt human relations, and lack of existential commitments. These traits cause the trickster to have no interest in solving the liminal crisis; “on the contrary, being really at home in liminality, or in homelessness, his real interest lies in its opposite, in perpetuating such conditions of confusion”. On the other hand, the trickster is also a mime. “Imitation, whether in learning or in social activity, is only possible in so far as we are not aware that we are actually imitating…because as soon as we do so, imitation becomes a mere miming and would produce no effect in learning or no pleasure in involvement”. Seeing as the trickster is incapable of “experiencing learning or the pleasure of sociability” as others do, he can be considered a mime rather than an imitator. He thus appears to act just as everyone else does. With this in mind, there are “two characteristics [of the trickster] that under certain conditions could turn to be profitable, even [leading him to gain] unlimited and total power”: “his permanent state of exteriority helps him to think rationally and makes him a good mime: he cannot learn by genuine imitation but learns how to mime others and this produces laughter; thus he receives appreciation that otherwise he would never obtain”.[they] are always marginal characters: outsiders, as they cannot trust or be trusted, cannot give or share, they are incapable of living in a community; they are repulsive, as – being insatiable – they are characterized by excessive eating, drinking, and sexual behavior, having no sense of shame; they are not taken seriously, given their affinity with jokes, storytelling, and fantasizing.
When a mimetic crisis is artificially staged in the ritual process, it always happens in the presence of a “master of ceremonies” who maintains order once the stabilities of everyday life are dissolved in the rites of separation. When the schism takes place in real life, however, it is not certain that charismatic heroes emerge that are up to solving the situation through eidetic perception, in the Platonic sense.
Thus the culture that is established by such tricksters following their rise to power “can have its structure and persistence, as the negative sentiments of hatred, hostility, fear and envy, based on vital instincts of self-preservation, can indeed maintain in the long term a social order in a relative state of stability”. But in addition, this same society would “preserve, forever, its broken, fragmented, schismatic character”.When trickster figures are mistaken for saviors, then emotions will be continually and repeatedly incited, until the community is reduced to a schismatic state. Societies can maintain themselves in such situations of oppression and violence for a long time, without returning to normal order, if stable external referent points are absent. This is why schismogenic societies need to maintain themselves in a perpetual state of war; presumably surrounded by enemies who try to conquer and destroy them.
Language will always fail to describe the strange relationship between the Way of Jesus and anarchistic political imoulkses. There are some real downsides to identifying as a "christian anarchist.." The stress naturally falls on one of the two words as though they are two separate things mashed together, unreconcilable into any cohesive whole.
I've toyed with alternative language...Even my own affinity for a phrase like "the unkingdom of God" is ofetn too confusing to be helpful in polite conversation. --p. 65
Christo-anarchism refers not only to the insight that Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God has anarchic (anti-domination) implications, but also the assumption that, only by nurturing practices centered on the presence of the Living Christ, can we move from domination to non-domination, from death to life, from oppression to liberation, and from alienation to love. p, 65
Jesus reign isn't other-worldy. It isn't apolitical. It's just political in a radivally different sort of way. Rather than taking Caesar's throne (or any throne, including the one Satan offered him) Jesus is saying that Caesar's days are numbered. By saying "My kingdom is not from this world" he isn't saying "My kingdom is only spiritual. so you don't have to worry. Jesus' Kingship renders Caesar's obsolete. It isn't a mere "trumping" as though Jesus is simply greater than Caesar; it is an entirely different sort of kingship. (pp12-13)We must ask "sort," kind," "form," "shape" questions a whole lot more.
The “Fall” in Gen 1-11, then, is not so much a cosmic moment of moral failure as a
progressive “history” of decline into civilization—exactly contrary to the myth of
Progress. Its polemical perspective is plausible when correlated with various
aspects of the Neolithic “rupture” hypotheses noted above. The biblical primeval
history thus should be considered not only as “mythic memory,” but also as
perhaps the first literature of resistance to the grand project of civilization—rightly
warning against its social pathologies and ecocidal consequences. -p. 35 in the book, and context of Myers' article at this link
I don’t believe that it makes any sense to say “God is such a big King that he obliterates all other kings…therefore, I’m an anarchist.” Rather, I would say “The way in which God sustains and shapes existence…and calls us to be in deeper relationship is the opposite of how Kings function…therefore, I am an anarchist.” To quote the late Dorothee Soelle:
Obedience presupposes duality: one who speaks and one who listens; one who knows and one who is ignorant; a ruler and ruled ones. Religious groups who broke away from the spirit of dependency and obedience cherish different values such as mutuality and interdependence…The main virtue of an authoritarian religion is obedience…God’s love and righteousness are less important than God’s power…why do people worship a God whose supreme quality is power, not justice; whose interest lies in subjection, not in mutuality; who fears equality?” 1Jesus is an unking. I worship the one who calls me friend. But I don’t think it would be accurate to say that I “obey” him in the way that servants obey masters. That is just a first step–a metaphor. Just as most green anarchists believe they should respect, cherish, and affirm nature, I am called to worship and love the source of life. Semantics? Not to me. (p. 33)
..a shift away from seeing Christian Anarchism as a set of beliefs and ideals, as well as a shift away from seeing it as a category or a faction. Rather, I want to see it as a way of interpreting and a set of practices first and foremost. Certainly, likeminded communities are bound to network and organize around common ideals and convictions. This is important and good. But in that networking and organizing, I believe our focus should be on engaging the Living Christ.As a friend of mine once told me: “All we have to offer the world is the Presence of God.” I agree. And I believe that Presence tears down walls of alienation. And that is, in so many important ways, an anarchist project.
Kraybill further illustrates the point of community over self by discussing the distinction between an aggregate and a collectivity. He illustrates an aggregate as a group of people who occupy a time and space together but lack any true community (i.e. people at a crosswalk). The key is that they do not influence each other. A collectivity, as Kraybill defines it, has an element of interdependence. These individuals “influence each other, formulate common goals, and together decide how to reach them.” The Kingdom of God functions as a collectivity. The individual lays down his life for the good of the collective. For the church to bear witness to this Kingdom, the body of Christ must exercise this practice. link