Christ Path

Arthur's Journal on God & Politics
What Does It Mean to be Christian in America?
A God of War
Apocalypse & End Times
Biblical Literalism
Christ Path
Conformity & Orthodoxy
Fear, Shame & Guilt
God & Politics
Goodness, Morality & Sin
Heresy & Heretics
History, Mystery & Doubt
Kindergarten Religion
Mental Spiritual Constructs
Mystical Christianity
Mythical Proportions
Passion of The Christ ...
Someone Else's Magic

The Jesus Theology Series

The "What Would Jesus Do?" mantra

Hi Arthur... Would Jesus allow the 'preaching' of homosexuality as moral and normal behavior, being taught to elementary school children? (or any public school)

I can't rightly say what Jesus would say, do or "allow" and I am aware and acknowledge the big assumption behind the highly popular notion that Jesus is a judgemental God who surely is giving the high hand of support behind an invisibly divine curtain to those obsessed on a very narrow and preferred morality.

Such is not my assumption and in this regard the only words of Jesus that come to mind are rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

I suspect that what you described as being "allowed" by Jesus falls into the category of God's and that means it's God's to deal with and not mine to presume to tell others what God allows.
Having seen publicly pious pharisee's leap to their feet and proclaim God's voice condemning American sinfulness right after the fall of the two towers, I know what the socially acceptible answer should be.

I also think that folks who really believe that some form of formal, legal coercion of other folks to some commonly supported orthodoxy of belief do not trust God's power and ability to assert His own will. I think that there's a lack of faith there that doesn't come up to snuff despite the pious preachings.

I also suspect that this is precisely the reason why Mr. Dobson stays safely within the realm of SpongeBob because the realm of the killing in Iraq is too dangerous for him to speak on behalf of God.

Same thing for Falwell hiding behind a defense of Christmas and Robertson pounding loudly about Supreme Court Justices while neither offer even their own flock some form of reconciling the killing with the God everyone sings and waves about in stadium size churches.

to know God as God is
It's my opinion that a shallow view of the life of Jesus is very much the substance of limiting one's self to the idea that we never measure up to the ideas and concepts Jesus taught about our relationship to the Father. Being stricken with some consequence of original sin or possessing inherent evil is an old sectarian notion.

Were we in fact not in possession of the capacity to know God as He is because of an inability to measure up, we then cannot relate one-to-one with Jesus who was not born guilty of original sin or possessing inherent evil - if I follow the logic of those who insist that Jesus in the most unique and powerful way, was God.

Our relationship to the Father is the same as Jesus' relationship to the father. Our relationship to Jesus is Jesus' relationship to the Father.

All of those old sectarian notions support a construct that never existed. Endless words and sermons pleading its existence will not change that.
 I've been told that from the Bible over 400 times does Jesus equate himself as God and over 800 times it is claimed that His passion is the justifying act for the atoning sacrifice that God required.

And in an inerrant Bible one cannot read God Himself explaining why that atoning sacrifice is needed and in that specific way. That's a strange circumstance because it leaves the believers in an inerrant Bible in a position of having to trust those who discriminantly chose, compiled, organized and ordered the writings that became scripture.

It leaves Protestants having to assume that at least in regards to the Bible, Catholic forefathers were totally righteousness and pious and knew precisely the mind and will of God - and left that knowledge intact and untouched over the resulting centuries at the same time their need for survival and security compelled them to totally dishonest actions: the selling of forgiveness, the creation of crusades and inquisitions.

Belief in an inerrant Bible totally hangs on whether or not one is willing to accept that despite all other corruptions, those early Roman priests and scribes were faithfully copying and including EVERYTHING the earliest Christians knew and recorded about Jesus and God.

If one is willing to accept the above, then why could those Roman Fathers not formally agree and declare that Jesus was God until they voted on it 300 years after Jesus resurrected?

I've also been told that only those who take such a position are those who only want to reinvent their own personal God, yet doing so with no authority.

A curious statement.

Whether one admits it or not, one's relationship with God is totally and entirely personal. What authority might be needed before such a relationship is established?

It sounds in some way like signing up with an Internet provider. Until an agreement is reached and value is exchanged, the provider does not permit and actually refuses access to the world wide web and all contained therein.

I seriously doubt that a personal relationship with God is conditional and needs outside authority.

Are we not all men and women who normally act on what we think?

We should and must claim what we think. We should be willing to own up to that which we think. We should honestly try to live up to that which we think - especially fundamentalist preachers who are willing to tell God what to do and people how to behave.

I've been told that God has not asked our opinion as we can only react to what is given to us through His chosen men."

This is another "old sectarian notion" that requires a Monarchical God rather than a loving Father in order for the notion to be valid. The idea that God delegates "authority" and dispenses different doses of wisdom to each individual does not correspond with a God who is no respecter of persons and who causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

Again the old lie that God will talk to a priest before God will talk to a parishoner.

Or the bigger lie that some sort of worthiness status must be achieved before one can receive the Word personally.

Or the even bigger lie that God will curse the person who does not believe men who claim to be God's chosen mouthpieces.

God-talk from a male-dominated self-righteous evangelism:

a patriarchal God who talks only through male prophets;

a God who chooses and favors one man over another - worse, one people over another.

All of those old sectarian notions support a construct that never existed. Endless words and sermons pleading its existence will not change that.

As I have written before, The New Christianity remains the oldest Christianity - the on-going living practice of what Jesus actually taught and patterned. That, for 21st Century Christians - with all one's heart, might, mind and strength - is to love and trust God as the Father of Compassion and forgetting about an imagined Giver of Laws who must be blindly and inerrantly followed.

Jesus, Resurrection & language
I don't believe in the resurrection of Christ nor do I see it as necessary. Regardless of those biblical verses that make reference to the concept, it's my opinion that the whole point of resurrection/redemption theology is an after-the-fact creation of early catholic Christian fathers.

The Gnostics rejected the literal resurrection of Jesus and after studying their logic and theology, although I may not have come to total agreement with all they believed, their reasons for rejection make sense to me.

One thing about Gnostic theology is this= there's a much clearer sense of the kinds of spiritual contexts, theological outlook and ritualistic meaning that correspond to that actual historic time.

Add to that the overwhelming appearance that the early fathers adapted their theology to fit pre-Christian pagan concepts of resurrection, dying gods, virgin mothers, salvation and sacrifice - even going so far as to absorb pagan holidays and bring them forth in Christian context - for me it seems impossible to prove that what is claimed about and in an inerrant bible,

In contrast, you and I are left to discuss things like resurrection founded mostly on our limitations with modern language - it's contemporary meanings, contemporary nuance and its impact on how metaphoric concepts are expressed.

I also think that another problem with our modern language is that it reflects these times and sophistication in which we actually live. For this reason, perhaps, those whom we have labeled as biblicists are left to express 2000-year old religious ideas using translations of the original phrases without knowing the nuance and contemporary sense of words and concepts of that ancient time.

no sense of comparison

Gosh, if one has an on-going relationship with God then of course one has already asked God. If the relationship is real, then surely God will have answered. Looking up words in the Bible would be then secondary to what answer God gives.

Isn't that what the Holy Spirit is all about?

What kind of minister am I? Heck I don't know. I suppose I'm like my faithful dog Jake who never asks himself:

What kind of dog am I? On a scale of 1-10 what kind of dog am I? A 5? A 2? A 7.5?

Nope, he just goes from day to day being Jake with no sense of comparison to the other dogs. His concern is being Jake and doing what Jake does.

What kind of minister am I? Heck, I don't know. I didn't know there was a minister contest with scorekeepers.

Reminds me of a story I read somewhere about the idiot flower.

In the meadow are a group of flowers who are organized and exhort each other to stand just so, face only in the direction the flower group deems the best, whine when some animal touches them or drops on them, only come out when the sun shines, and work as hard to stand as tall as possible.

Outside that flower group are the idiot flowers. They just grow where they're planted, stay out as long as their instincts prompt, catch the sun and the rain and the wind and get tinkled and dropped on by willd animals, basically glorying in the life God has given them.

And dang if them idiot flowers ain't taller, broader, brighter and healthier than them others over in their corner asking each other "what kind of flower are you?"

God is in our experience
 My own experience has been more easily understood (by me) in the context of Paul's writings.

God IS in our experience and as we ultimately define all things for ourselves based on our own inner encyclopedia, God will be more vividly sensed inwardly than outward.

I believe that those things from which we tend to hide and cower come from how we've internalized external portrayals and this is one of the fundamental temptations we face internally.

Learning to trust our own internal perceptiveness makes life - especially God - more real. It is not necessary to simply be satisfied with the limitations of outward evidence.

I come back to my old saw - the God from which we are tempted to hide and cower is someone else's magic.

Again to literal thinking: Jehovah of the Old Testament comes across as a mean-spirited, vindictive and judgemental old guy. Easy to think it's better to hide and cower.

The God of Compassion taught and patterned by Christ contrasts that Old Testament either-or mindset. Realizing the total implication of "the kingdom of God is within you" ought to unleash our willingness to trust the internal sense we have of God's reality. Otherwise, we're left to wait on extra-ordinary external events such as miracles or perceived "divine retribution events" - from which we may then say, "Aha! There is a God. Or God DOES exist."

When we pray to God for something and that something - or some other thing equally beneficial occurs - many of us seem to be content that "God has spoken and answered our prayers." There is a limitation to that in that we never really speak to God or feel God's presence only through the event itself. That leaves us to conclude that God exists in the same way we concluded that Santa exists because we wanted a bicycle and found one under the tree.

If that's all we have then all we have is a God of two dimensions - either/or - with no explorable depth.

Without Jesus' gospel and subsequent Christian exposition such as Paul's we'd be left with only the letter of the law.

Fundamentalist and literalist dogma force to believe that the godlike qualities of Jesus are to be emulated to the greatest degree.
What godlike qualities can we emulate without being God's ourselves?
Are we to do everything found in the New Testament - taking it all literally with Jesus as our model?
Fundamentalists piously declare  that you must accept Jesus as your personal savior to be born again and saved.
In fact, the late Jerry Falwell considered all human beings failures if they had not been born again.
But Jesus obviously did not accept Jesus as his personal savior to gain resurrected return to God's home.
Or did he?
Did he not teach that the Kingdom of God is within every person?
If Jesus accepted Jesus as his personal savior, does that not teach us that we must accept ourselvesas our personal savior in order to return to an honored place in the presence of The Father?

Measured and found to be something short of godly

 Lietta has written about Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was - to my surprise - by label a German Evangelical.

Watch the 90-minute DVD and you'll be wont to say that Bonhoeffer "was a German evangelical Christian," not to be confused in any way shape or form with American Evangelical Christians.

The American evangelical version is founded in literalism and totally in thrall to Darby and company's End Times fantasies which are as justifiably based on genuine bible verses as Superboy is based on the official history of Kansas.

Although I had heard the name and read a few things ascribed to Bonhoeffer, I knew literally nothing about him. I've been someone who for years has asked if there exists ANY deep Christian evangelical theologian as opposed to the myriad evangelical apologists who have mastered the art of verse memorization, hiding  behind walls of shallow dogma or shouting from pulpits more stage than podium;  tossing supposed quote bombs to justify junior high school religious morality.

Nobody ever responded with the name of any in-depth Christian evangelical theologian. And no, I never considered Billy Graham a theologian, merely first and foremost a dyed in the wool tent-meeting preacher whose doctrines never went deeper than anything buddy Falwell, Robertson, Kennedy also found in the shallow end of the scriptural pool.

... until Bonhoeffer.

Americans have no evangelical of any equal stature.

In this regard Pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle's Mars Hill Church is found greatly wanting and merely one of the dime-a-dozen bible-quoters passing themselves off as profound spiritual thinkers. It's almost an insult to consider the likes of Bonhoeffer the EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN LEADER and Driscoll the evangelical christian leader.

Bonhoeffer's test of fire in the relentless and almost hopeless crucible of 1930's and 1940's Germany where the government was deliberately egging the populace on toward moral suicide brought him face to face with Christ and God in a context of life's most serious and tragic moral dilemmas.

What has been driscoll's test of fire?

From what crucible was forged his little guy's spirituality that revealed a foolish and shallow patriarchal mind?

... a pretended godly demeanor that belittles his Christian sisters in a way barely removed from how the guys all talk about women at the Elk Snout Tavern?

So long as we have shallow and immature thinkers posing as deeply devout and true Christian ministers, we'll see no movement toward a national spiritual maturity. What we'll get is on-going embarrassment from mostly men (but not all Christian doofuses are male) who bring forth such intelligent and deep spiritual frisbees as ....

"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being." --Jerry Falwell--

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism." --Randall Terry --

"Nobody has the right to worship on this planet any other God than Jehovah. And therefore the state does not have the responsibility to defend anybody's pseudo-right to worship an idol." --Rev. Joseph Morecraft, Chalcedon Presbyterian Church

-- "This is God's world, not Satan's. Christians are the lawful heirs, not non-Christians." --Gary North --

"There will never be world peace until God's house and God's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world. How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age worshipers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top?" -- Pat Robertson --

"The number one virtue in America has become the number one threat, and one of the top two or three threats to the cause of Christ. That virtue is tolerance." --Josh McDowell--

"American Veterans are to blame for the fag takeover of this nation. They have the power in their political lobby to influence the zeitgeist, get the fags out of the military, and back in the closet where they belong!"

"Not only is homosexuality a sin, but anyone who supports fags is just as guilty as they are. You are both worthy of death." -- Fred Phelps (Westboro Baptist Church)--

"With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew." -- Bailey Smith --

"I don't know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." -- George Bush Sr. (President of the United States)--

"I do not believe the homosexual community deserves minority status. One's misbehavior does not qualify him or her for minority status. Blacks, Hispanics, women, etc., are God-ordained minorities who do indeed deserve minority status." --Jerry Falwell --

"I don't think so, sir, that Buddhists and other faiths - and I won't speak to all faiths because I'm not a theologian - recognize the Creator, God," Moore replied. "Some might, but if they do, it's not the God of the Holy Scriptures. And that's why the Bible is used for the very foundation upon which we take our oaths." --Roy Moore, during court testimony over the Ten Commandments monument he installed in the Alabama Judicial Building--

"I have many Muslim friends, but I want the people of this country to know that the god of Islam is not the Christian god. The god of Islam is not a father. The god of Christianity was the father of Jesus Christ." -- Franklin Graham, Billy's son --

"The perversion that follows homosexuality is bestiality and then human sacrifice and cannibalism." -- --Barbara Blewster, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Arizona State Legislature --

"God Hates Fags!" --Rev. Fred Phelps

"If it takes 10 years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord." --Jerry Falwell, on "CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer"--

and finally the summum cum laudanum of driscoll's theology as given by God's Grand Blowhard Mouthpiece, Mr. Robertson: "I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period. The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

less to do with salvation and its assumed requirements and more to do with ...

t's only my opinion but Jesus' gift of salvation - as a gift - is one given without conditions. A gift once given is like bread cast on the water. We no longer own the gift and its belongs to the recipient to enjoy. Otherwise, it's a contractual loan.

Striving to be and live the life of a Christ-like person could then be founded on the idea of Jesus' love for humanity ... His unconditional gift that has less to do with salvation and its assumed requirements and more to do with having learn to see things as Jesus saw them and know things as Jesus knew them.


For me this word implies or seems to be directly connected to an idea of being "saved". Being saved also seems to represent some sort of rescue from a fate worse than death and, as a conditional state, is conditionally related to obedience to a monarchical will.

This then is a tradition of God primarily as monarch more than source. The monarch then holds sway not only in controlling the world, but in subjecting humanity to a system of reward or punishment - as if the sole desire and intent of the monarchical supernatural diety is not sourceness but rule based upon mere obedience, albeit supposedly benevolent rule.

Thus we end up with a psychological need for extreme trust and reliance on the virtues of mercy and compassion.

It is my experience and understanding that Jesus primarily taught a God of compassion, not a monarchical God. The most clear and lucid words attributed to Jesus, even when assumed absolutely to come from the "Son of God", or in fundamentalist assumption, "The Boss's Son," are not words describing and supporting the monarchical view.

Rather, they are words that emphasize human choices around issues of goodness, attitude and primarily compassion as the most desired human attribute.

The idea of salvation as one's primary motivation tends to compel humans toward goodness and compassion by doing the right things but for the wrong reasons.

Doing good in order to win salvation - to in effect purchase post-mortal happiness insurance - makes suspect the idea that human acts of goodness and compassion are spontaneous reflections of real and sincere human concern for the welfare of others.

I have come to understand that salvation is not on the heavenly list of objectives. Rather, it is the development in each human soul of a desire for the highest good of all concerned or involved in one's life.

god was somehow subject to the demands of justice

On justice ...

As I began to dissent against Mormonism with it's specific required "works" of faith, it felt like their theistic god was somehow subject to the demands of justice.

Hence the theistic god HAD to do something to mitigate an unfair playing field where humans blessed (and cursed) with free agency would be left to compete against a divine ringer in the form of Lucifer in an unfair contest.

That was the sense of the idea of the theistic god loving the world enough to send another divine ringer in the form of a son-god to equalize the playing field.

So I wondered if God was not powerless against another abstraction ... justice ... which imposed the need on God to manage humanity with justice irrevocably included in the mix.

personal spirituality requires permission or approval from other Christians?

The point seems to be whether or not the Bible contains the absolute and whether or not such an absolute is what was originally intended when early Christians sought to record what they knew, why they knew it and why they wanted posterity to know it.

Otherwise, we all seem to live in a world where our personal spirituality requires permission or approval from other Christians in order to be socially valid. There is an idea of "one Lord, one faith and one baptism" that has been promoted and distorted as justification for a unique and narrow qualification for Christian heaven. The "one Lord" quote is also suspect itself as being something original with Jesus or any of the Apostles.

In this regard, I support the work of The Jesus Seminar to the degree that their challenges of what Jesus did and did not say promote critical thinking in how we respond to exhortation based on biblical inerrancy.

I find the Bible useful as a spiritual document and not as a divine manual of commandment or instruction which becomes the basis for enrollment in any particular Christian organization. The label Christian is not the goal. A life of Christian spirituality ought to be.

I refer you to the sight at as an example of biblical spirituality versus letter-of-the-law views.

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