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Jesus

Sometimes it's just lovely to reflect upon the loving kindness of Jesus. How good and decent he was (and is, of course). The way he connected to people, the way people were attracted, and moved by his presence and grace. His engagement with women as well as men. His intelligence, but cleverness mingled with gentle goodness. His healing instinct, and the way he could touch people's hearts and change them. His strong and still centre, rooted in daily prayer. His courage. His willingness to go out on a limb. His tenderness. His compassion and tears.

It makes me glad: that God, creator of the heavens and earth, was not so high and mighty and detached, but was willing to come and dwell with us in human form, with a humble, servant heart. To share the dust, the hunger, the thirst, the sorrows, the joys.

And our Jesus: had the amazing courage to go the whole way, out of love for us. Was willing to face mockery, physical injury, loneliness, scorn, and a horrible death... the pouring out of his dear life blood, to the point of no turning back. Loved us that much.

It's lovely to reflect on how Jesus was not only carrying out a tremendous action in history, but was also a friend. A friend who lived alongside people, laughed with them, shared with them, wept with them, ate with them, relaxed with them, in I am sure a sweet and humble-hearted way. A patient way. He could see the way we as people frequently messed up, he could see the failings, and yet he also valued us, believed in us where we could not believe in ourselves. I am amazed about the person of Jesus. And love him for his friendship, courage and kindness.

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so many...

There was not only 1 Jesus and there is not only 1 God and there are more than just 1 Holy Spirits. This is the truth of life and the universe and the cosmoi. Don't forget that the King Jesus had friends. He didn't even want to be the king. He just wanted to befriend Herodes. He said, okay, I wear the crown. And the old guy didn't even get angry. He went to the prison for him. And Judea had a good king for some time. Fat guys know something about the world. Thing guys too, but they have to eat often. The other Jesus people were great too. Some much greater than the King Jesus. And the King Jesus called himself Mister only. He disappeared into the fog later. And travelled to England to become King Arthur when he got older. That is the truth. There is mystery and long life in this world. Some bible prophecies were true and not too damaged by zealous priests, idiot officials and many big and small rogues and criminals in innocent clothing!

500 Years Later



On Oct. 31, 1517, an obscure German professor of theology named Martin Luther launched an attack on the Roman Catholic Church by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg's Castle Church — a story that has been repeated for hundreds of years. Luther's act of rebellion led to the Protestant Reformation, which is being marked by millions of Christians around the world Tuesday on its 500th anniversary.

But did that dramatic moment — Luther defiantly hammering his critique to the church door — really happen?

The story was first told by Philipp Melanchthon, a fellow professor at the University of Wittenberg, a close friend of Luther’s and a leader of the Reformation, after Luther’s death in 1546. And the church door did serve as a public bulletin board of sorts.

But Melanchthon was not in Wittenberg on the day he supposedly witnessed the nailing. He didn't join the university faculty until 1518. And Luther, a prolific writer who published 30 pamphlets in three years and later translated the Bible into German, never recounted the story.

In 1961, Erwin Iserloh, a Catholic Luther researcher, argued that there was no evidence that Luther actually nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door. Indeed, at the 1617 celebration of the Reformation, Luther was depicted as writing the 95 Theses on the church door with a quill.

Iserloh's assertion set off a debate among Luther historians that remains unresolved.

A decade ago, Martin Treu, who works for the Luther Memorials Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt, discovered a handwritten note by Luther's secretary, Georg Rörer, made in a revised copy of the New Testament before Luther’s death. It reads: "On the evening before All Saints' Day in the year of our Lord 1517, theses about letters of indulgence were nailed to the doors of the Wittenberg churches by Doctor Martin Luther."

While Rörer was also not an eyewitness, Treu noted, "he was one of Luther's closest staff." Treu's conclusion: 95 Theses may have been nailed to several church doors in Wittenberg, not just at Castle Church.

What's not in dispute: Luther mailed his attack on the Catholic sale of indulgences to the archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, Albert of Brandenburg, on Oct. 31, 1517. The indulgences were meant to assure their buyer that their sins would be forgiven — a form of corruption in Luther's eyes.

"Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" quickly spread across Europe and reached Pope Leo X sometime in 1518. After a series of disputes, Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic Church on Jan. 3, 1521.

The theologian became a celebrity, and with his celebrity came a following and a new religion: Lutheranism. And the founding symbol of the Protestant Reformation remains the door of Castle Church, now inscribed in bronze with Luther’s 95 Theses.

(Reposted from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/10/31/martin-luther-shook-the-world-500-years-ago-but-did-he-nail-anything-to-a-church-door/?utm_term=.68d1936c732d)

universal salvation

I am very sure now that God saves all of us and that there are no hellfire punishments. I went to our graveyard recently and spoke about that with people. They all got lifted up in their spirit and put smiles on their faces. This is how christianity must be done. Jesus is not a harsh judge - instead He was and is someone who brings the truth about the wonderful afterlife to us. Eternal life is the commandment of God - not that eternal life is the reward for serving him. God is a gentle and deep father, and Rilke and Goethe and Morus and Bonhoeffer were more right about him than Luther, Augustine, many of the bible writers, etc. We humans possess a dignity and a deep and serious heart, and God connects to us through them than through subservience and fear. This is absolutely true, my human brethren!

The Numinous

How often do you sense the numinous? The mysterious, awe-inspiring otherness of God? As a mountaineer, all through my life I have known moments when my being has been stilled - by a sudden sense of presence... of a God "just round the corner"... a sense of the deep mystery and loveliness of God. In a sense, I think God calls to us this way, all along our journey. Perhaps that's why people were drawn out to the wilderness. Perhaps that's what Moses felt when he saw the burning bush. I also feel it in great cathedrals sometimes. Or at dusk, as light fades, and the day stills. It's as if, sometimes, at God's choice, we are overshadowed by God's presence, and we know God is there, but God seems deep and beyond our words and explanations.

At times like this, we realise that though God is personal and can draw so close to us, God is also God, and beyond our control or definition. At this point, it is as if we are aware of a 'cloud of unknowing', and our tense mental control runs out of road, and in silence and wonder we become simply recipient. I love this 'hidden' God. This God who is so deep. The God, who when we stop and rest by the constantly flowing stream, is 'just around the next bend in the river'. And incites us, and touches us with yearning, and leads us on.

Do you have experiences like these?

Opening our hearts to the Love of God

How easily we get hurt, or hurt ourselves, and retreat into a protective hard shell. It's very understandable.

Yet God longs for us to open our hearts to healing and the touch of God's love. We can't do it ourselves. It's a work of grace.

Deep in our innermost place, God waits for us, day after day, all through our lives. Longs to comfort, reassure us. Longs to touch us with love and forgiveness and acceptance. Longs to open us up.

Being a Christian is opening our hearts and letting God in. It is also opening our hearts to others - not keeping God's love just for ourselves, but sharing it, letting it flow, just like God shares with us.

Open your eyes, open your ears, Jesus is trying to touch your heart. Open your mind, open your life, Jesus is wanting to show you. His grace is all you need, and in your weakness you'll have strength. Please don't be proud, please don't pretend, Jesus can see every need you have. Weakness is hard, failure is real, but Jesus can give you your freedom.

Jesus just longs for us to let down our defences, and let him touch our hearts with his gentle, powerful love. Longs to heal us where we hurt the most. Longs to open our hearts, and be there, be there with us.

another perspective on the bible

I believe some of us read the bible as if this book is a clear-cut manual for life. We think everything is laid out in it plainly and needs to be taken at face value. So when it says that God sent a flood to punish mankind for being too wicked, we really think that God once wiped out all human and animal life on Earth.

But this is not how the bible is supposed to be read. The bible is not a plain account of history but instead a very artistic and complex poetic work about laws of life and love and faith. That is made possible by the Hebrew hiding many different meanings and themes in the language of the text.

For example, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was first known as Sarai. In Hebrew, that means, one who leads. She was like a noblewoman lording things over her subject. Later she was known as Sarah, and in Hebrew that means, one who inspires. She changed from a mere boss to someone who would not issue commands but instead inspire her folks to trust in God and live with each other in peace.

There are countless examples of such wordplay in scripture. "Rea" my neighbor is associated to "roa", Gossip and Crying. How do neighbors relate to gossip? Everyone should understand this. The text offers a huge discourse on the laws, issues and truths of life.

Pope Gregory once wrote a 30 volume treatise on the book of Job. If you read the book of Job literally, it doesn't say all that much besides the litany of a suffering man who can hardly bear his fate. But in Gregory's treatise, the book of Job is a bible en miniature explaining how men and God relate to each other and what they should understand in order to have real life with each other.

So the bible is not a book that you can simply read in translated language and come away from with exercises to do and orders to fulfill, lest you get punished. This simple paradigm never was true. Instead it is a story of life and what you encounter in it, appealing to your sense of wisdom and reason to tread on everything life makes us get in touch with.

Blessings!

The Child Jesus

The child Jesus is a really precious part of my spiritual life and relationship with God. I love thinking about what it was like to be a friend of Jesus when he was a child: what a delight he must have been, how sweet, how intelligent, how kind, how inquisitive. And just such good company as a friend when clambering up the hillside above Nazareth with another child.

I love thinking about his company, his sudden excitement, how sensible he would have been, and yet full of laughter and kind humour too. I love thinking about the bonds of friendship that may have developed between us, day by day, month by month, year by year. And how I would have known him from inside this relationship, as he grew older, as he started to demonstrate wisdom and leadership, and his amazing ministry and love and care.

And though I would shed bitter tears when he was cruelly killed, yet I would share in the joy of his resurrection. I would trust him, because I knew him.

And all these thoughts expressed above consolidate my personal relationship with Jesus, and I find them very powerful and dignifying. That's what sharing with Jesus does: it dignifies us. It makes us more mature. It opens our heart to decency, kindness, and the sheer gracious loveliness of who God is.

The God who, though dwelling in a high and holy place, chose to come and live among us, to be our friend, to take the form and experience of a human being, growing up through a day by day childhood, and sort of radiant with a goodness, a simple goodness, and the presence of his being.

post-modernity and lousy gods

Race, gender, and the post-modern paradigm are addressed in this article by Michael Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary:

https://www.michaeljkruger.com/can-a-person-choose-their-own-race-the-inevitable-hypocrisy-of-relativism/


Given some of the viewpoints expressed in this community, I am curious if this is viewed as an issue of cognitive dissonance or not.

charismatic christianity

I used to be not so involved in this kind of christianity because it had been my impression that it was very demanding and often rather fantastical in the mindset it led its believers into. Now this impression has faded and I find it very enjoyable. I am watching videos from TB Joshua and finally I am meeting a more emotional christianity where there is more experience of the divine.

I like it that TB Joshua doesn't simply put the people before the bible but instead speaks freely about the grace of God. I read the bible still but God is more than that book and it's important to live in modernity. I also like liturgy in churches which gives me everything I need about God. I am reading Bonhoeffer and he spoke about a this-worldly christian faith to whom God comes as an otherworldly cosmic power that brings love and healing and freedom.

I was listening to a video recently where the speaker said there is no afterlife. There is instead another life beyond death, and that between this life here and that life there there is no simple continuity. This was really eye opening for me because previously I thought of a mere transition between earthly life and heavenly life. Instead the next life is really different and what we know from our earthly experiences doesn't carry over into that next life. There are things we just do not know. For example, an airplane is something that nobody in the ancient times could conceive of, although a simple hot air balloon is easy to make. Nobody would have guessed we would go as far as travel to the moon or even to other planets like Mars. Likewise we cannot conceive at all of the heavenly life because there are things to it that do not enter our minds yet. And the quality difference is again some steps higher than concerning just technology.

Because technology may have changed our normal lives here, but it did not change our soul. We are still monkeys and despite using technology we do not all understand it. I think life in Heaven is like entering another dimension. We have and know pretty well space and time, but what if there are another 5 dimensions in Heaven? This is totally away from us and I too have to say I do not know how heavenly life will be like. The only thing I know is that it will be with and about JesusChrist and God and love. This world here is a seed world that knows much darkness, but all of this darkness is not present in Heaven.

What do you think of Heaven and charismatism? Don't we make rather little out of our faith when so many promises by God are attached to it? Could we not finally loose our fear of death and insecurity and step with God into the problems of this world and life?

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