Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Catholic meeting semiotics

I would give credit to the artist if I could find it, but this has been floating all around the interwebs.

Thanks to my great Catholic (and Cat-holic,Kory?)_student Kory Billings for sending me this classic
 — at Catholic and Proud.  
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why was the temple veil torn?

How many times have you heard that the veil in the temple was torn to show that the way to God is now open? 

Maybe..but reading in context offers some perhaps better options:
Here's one:
.....Mark purposefully juxtaposes the tearing of the temple veil and the confession of the centurion so that the climax of Mark answers this question: “where is God?”
In this scene, the temple is exposed as a sham.  The veil isn’t torn to symbolize that the way to God is open.  It’s torn to indicate that the temple apparatus is a fraud, corrupted by power and greed.  There’s nothing there and there’s nobody home.  -Full link, Tim Gombis


We all know "the curtain of the temple was torn in two as Jesus died."
And most assume it was the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, meaning Jesus provides direct access to God.
Good and true that he does that, and it is the proper "evangelical answer"..
but what if the temple torn in two was not the second curtain (or second curtain only),but the first..
what would the implications be?  -click to find out


Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land
until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with
a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my
God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders
hearing it said, “This man is calling Elijah.” … And Jesus cried
again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the
veil of the Temple was torn (eschisthe) in two, from top to bottom;
and the earth shook and the rocks were torn (eschisthesan); the
tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had
fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of their tombs after his
resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
(Matt. 27:45–53)

Notice the twofold consequence of Jesus’ death: with the yielding up of his
spirit, it is the Temple and the earth that are both “torn asunder” (Greek: schizo). In
other words, the effects of his death are both cultic and cosmic. With his crucifixion,
the Temple of the old creation and indeed, creation itself, are not only thrown
into a state of upheaval, but arguably begin the process of “passing away.” Should
there be any doubt about this suggestion, recall what we learned earlier and what
every first-century Jew would have known: on the Temple veil was depicted “the
panorama of the heavens.”50 Hence, with the tearing of the Temple veil and the
earthquake—the whole universe, “heaven and earth,” were symbolically being
torn asunder. And because the Jerusalem Temple was the sign and symbol of this
universe, it was now destined to share the same fate. The old Temple would be
replaced by a new, and the old world—as Isaiah had said so long ago—would be
replaced by “a new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17; 66:22). And all this, according
to Jesus, would begin “on the third day.”  LINK, Brant Pitre
How about:

two of the events of Mk 13/Matt 24 that  N.T> Wright argues are seen in AD 70, namely the “abomination of desolation” and the destruction of the Temple, are already seen in Jesus’ final work in Jerusalem and in his death. Wright himself argues that Caiaphas is presented as “evil incarnate” and his position as chief priest may point to his fulfillment of the “abomination of desolation.” Second and more strongly presented by the Gospels is the fact that the Temple is destroyed not in AD 70 but at Jesus’ death when the curtain is torn in two. As Wright demonstrates, Jesus proleptically enacts the Temple’s destruction in the Temple cleansing; the temporary cessation of sacrifices momentarily ends its purpose and thus its destruction is foreshadowed. Therefore when the curtain is torn in two at Jesus’ death, the Temple is permanently destroyed. The Holy of Holies has been violated; it can no longer serve its purpose.   link

Mark 17's missing verse: Jesus and Kosher

Ht Joel Willits

Monday, December 22, 2014

Rob Bell's new chapter

Four links
Rob Bell: A Symbol Of Every Evangelical Who’s Been Shunned For Asking Questions\

What the Continued Crucifying Of Rob Bell Says About Modern Christianity

Rob Bell show: first review

"If you could somehow watch the first episode in a vacuum—without any knowledge of Bell’s past writings, theological questions or critics—you might assume that the host was a conventional pastor attempting to bring Bible teachings to a prime-time audience in a relatable way" The Rob Bell Show’ Premiere Was About the Cross

meaningless (?) metaphors

Click here for meaningless (?) metaphors

What's a meta for? metaphor creates meaning; and is not just for optional illustration

Kenneth Bailey:
At least since the fifth century B.C., and the great days of classical Greece, the Western mind has done its serious thinking in concepts. In most forms of discourse, we from the West begin with an idea and then occasionally illustrate that idea with a simile, metaphor, or parable.

The conceptual language is primary and the metaphor or parable is secondary. The first is critical, the second is optional. If the listener/reader is intelligent enough, the speaker/writer may dispense with illustrations. For indeed the story is presented only to clarify the meaning of the concept. If people are able to catch that meaning without using up time with illustrations, so much the better.
The illustration is useful for simplification, the Western mind thinks. It aids memory. It assists in adding emotional coloration and in catching and holding attention. But through all of this, the pictorial remains a secondary form of speech. The concept continues as the primary form of theological language.
A theological discourse is created by attaching one concept to another by means of logic. Philosophy then provides an overall structure for the material. This has been the primary Greco-Roman form of theological discourse and thereby the dominant Western form. It has been in use for centuries.
But there is another way to “do theology.” Middle Eastern creators of meaning do not offer a concept and then illustrate (or choose not to illustrate) with a metaphor or parable. For them the equation is reversed.
Rather than
concept + illustration
the Middle Easterner offers
parable + conceptual interpretation.
The Middle Eastern mind creates meaning by the use of simile, metaphor, proverb, parable, and dramatic action. The person involved is not illustrating a concept but is rather creating meaning by reference to something concrete.
The primary language is that of the metaphor/parable and the secondary language is the conceptual interpretation of the metaphor that in Biblical literature is often given with it.
[An] example of this structure is in the well-known text of Isaiah 53:7-8:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth, INJUSTICE/ SILENCE
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, PARABLE
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, PARABLE
so he did not open his mouth SILENCE
By a perversion of justice he was taken away. INJUSTICE
The parable appears in the center and is encased with concepts that direct any reflection on the parable’s meaning. The meaning is created by metaphor. At the same time the metaphor, as it were, “cries out” for conceptual interpretation which appears in the text as a frame set around the metaphor. Thus concepts appear with the parable in Biblical literature and are not strangers to it (cf. also Isaiah 5:1-7).
Second, clearly the metaphorical language is the primarylanguage which creates the meaning set forth in the discourse. The metaphor says more than the conceptual frame. The conceptual interpretive language is important yet secondary. The reader of Is. 53:7-8 knows that the lamb is unjustly treated and that it is silent. Thoughtful contemplation on this “parable of the lamb before its killer and shearer” has for centuries taken readers into great depths of meaning that reach far beyond the interpretation that encases the parable.
The concepts that surround the Biblical metaphors (as can be seen in the above texts) catch only a part of the meaning of the metaphor. Yes, the servant of God is unjustly treated. Yes, he is silent. But the picture of the lamb standing mute before the butcher or shearer creates far more meaning than the concepts which surround it.   Finding the Lost Cultural Keys to Luke 15

Friday, December 12, 2014

Via media dolorosa 2:6

Via media dolorosa 2:6   
 ( i'm so vain;  i probably thing this song is about politics)

it was the third party i went to that eve
elixed by the tenor of hype
Republicant or Demofat
triangulated me into all  i grieve

it was the third party i voted for that year
transfixed by the pleasure of pain
One way or  another
dogged me from booth and from fear

the oldest profession
partisan obsexxion
tabloid tableau
into art nouveau
Via media dolorosa

it was the third Man i sang to that noon
fixed on the Church of great price
side-walked or market-placed
prodigal  and party; soon very soon

 it was the third way that  New Pneuma shone
tertium in Ephesus that shines
Kindomnow or is it then
That togethered me from voting alone

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"At the table, Mal is no longer captain"

From Church in a Circle:

My all-time favourite TV show would have to be Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Set in the future, it follows the lives and relationships of an odd assortment of characters as they travel the universe in an ageing spaceship.
At the heart of the ship, named “Serenity”, is a common eating area. As they eat together, the passengers and crew share more than food – they share laughter, and stories, and conflict, and special moments. At the table, Mal is no longer captain, Simon and River are no longer fugitives – they are all equals, comrades with a common unity. Bonds are formed and strengthened which enable them to keep each other’s backs as they go out into dangerous worlds. They cease to be individuals, and become family link

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

"Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up?"

David Bercot ( website here; wikipedia here) an attorney who became an early church historian and ordained Anglican (and now  a Mennonite "layperson") has his critics... but the issues he raises (regarding how faithful were the Reformation and the contemporary evangelical church to Scripture; especially to how the early fathers..90 to 199 AD... interpreted it) should be wrestled with.

From his website:

David Bercot began his professional career in 1980 as an attorney, and he still practices law part time. However, for most of his life, his driving passion has been for Christ. In 1985, to satisfy his theological curiosity, he began reading all of the existing writings of the early Christians (A.D. 100-325). Although his aim at the time was merely for theological inquiry, what he learned about Christianity in the early centuries profoundly affected his entire life. When David shared what he had discovered with various Christian friends, they encouraged him to write a book about how Christianity looked when it was still young.
Bercot eventually followed up on their suggestion, and he wrote the book Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up, which was published in 1989. That book provides a provocative look at early Christianity in contrast to modern Christianity. Since the book challenges many of the cherished beliefs of evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics alike, Bercot wasn’t sure what type of response the book would have. To his astonishment, the book sold out of its first printing in six months—and the Heretics book is still in demand over twenty years later.
When Bercot began receiving letters from his various readers, he learned about various Christian churches and groups that he had never even heard of before. What he has learned as he has interacted with different groups of Christians has had an enormous spiritual impact on his own life and that of his family. Today, David Bercot works full-time as an author and speaker. For a complete list of the books authored by David Bercot, please click here.
As you can see,  his seminal work is "Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up."
(much shorter version of his argument is in this Kindle book,

An excerpt  below on one area of his teaching which hits home on this blog (role of the pastor)
and some video below.church-w

From "Real Heretics..":

Shepherds Who Graduated From the School of Hard Knocks

..Today's evangelical churches are typically governed by a pastor and a body of elders and/or a board of deacons.  Normally,the pastor is a professionally-trained man with a seminary degree who wasn't raised in the congregation that has hired him.  Frequently, he has no governing authority other than the power of persuasion.  The body of elders or board of deacons are normally men with full-time secular jobs.  They oversee church finances and programs, and they establish church policy.  But typically, no one in the church goes to them for counseling, and they aren't usually the shepherds of the flock.
Although we use many of the same names for church leaders..our church government differs considerably from theirs in substance  .  Instead of a sole professional pastor, the entire body of elders (presbyters) were full-time pastors in the early churches.  As Christianity grew, all Christians in a given city were not able to meet together in one place.  But each separate fellowship of believers in that city had at least one elder or presbyter to shepherd them.  And each city had one overseer or bishop who coordinated all of the individual congregations in that city..

The overseer (bishop) and elders (presbyters) weren't outsiders brought into the local church.  Rather, they had generally lived in that community for years.  Their strengths and weaknesses were well-known to the entire congregation.  Furthermore, they didn't qualify to serve...by studying in school and stuffing their heads with knowledge....As Tertullian told the Romans, 'Our presbyters are proven men who obtain their position not by purchase, but by established character.'

..Once an elder or overseer was appointed, he normally stayed in that local church for the rest of his life, unless persecution forced him to moved.  He didn't serve for three or four years and then move to a large congregation with better compensation...the entire body of elders were normally full-time shepherds and teachers.  Unless the congregation was simply too small to support them, elders were expected to free themselves from any secular jobs.  By doing so, they could devote their full attention to the flock..

..With so many full-time pastors, each member of the congregation undoubtedly received close, individual attention.

To serve as an elder or overseer in the early church, a man had to be willing to lay down everything for Christ.  This began with material possessions.  An elder didn't leave his secular occupation in exchange for middle-class salary from the congregation.  It was considered heretical for a congregation to pay any salary to its overseers or elders.  Instead the church financially maintained its leaders on the same basis it supported  widows and orphans .   pp 44-47 Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up."


"It's Just War" - Should Christians Fight? Debate from FollowersOfTheWay on Vimeo.
On March 28, 2014, Anchor-Cross Publishing and Followers of the Way sponsored a debate on the subject of just war. We sought to bring leading thinkers together to discuss the issue in historic Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. Speaking of behalf of just war were Dr. Peter Kreeft (professor of philosophy at Boston College) and Dr. J. Daryl Charles (Berry College). Speaking against just war and for biblical nonresistance were David Bercot and Dean Taylor.