AZspot

blue bits. red rocks.

jesus

Jesus appears regularly on magazine covers. His life is the subject of Hollywood movies, television miniseries, and more books in the Library of Congress than have been written about any other person. His image appears not only on stained-glass windows in churches but also on billboards, T-shirts, and tattooed bodies. Jesus may or may not be God, but he is certainly an American hero. Unfortunately, on his road to fame and fortune, Jesus seems to have lost most of his prophetic power. Yes, Jesus was employed by abolitionists to put an end to slavery and by civil rights activists to put an end to segregation. But over the long haul of U.S. history, Jesus has rarely ordered us around. Rather than being a shaper of American history, Jesus seems to have been shaped by it, buffeted about by the preoccupations of the Puritans, the winds of the Enlightenment, the acids of modernity, and the not-so-biblical logic of advertising. Stephen Prothero

The rhythms of creation- night to day, winter to spring, barrenness to fertility- are interpreted as foreshadowings and ciphers for the final rebirth of creation from suffering and dying, a rebirth which has begun with the first-born from the dead. Yet it is only in the light of Christ’s rebirth that these regeneration processes in nature become parables of the new creation. Although every morning is followed by evening, every spring by winter, and every birth by death, in the light of Christ’s final resurrection it is only in these natural beginnings of life that pointers to eternal life are seen, so that they are lifted out of the cycle of the eternal return of the same to which they otherwise belong. Moltmann

☼   ☼      ☼   ☼

Nietzsche rejected Christ because he couldn’t believe in a God who offers this universal forgiveness. And the truth is that many who claim to be Christians can’t believe in that God either. Adam Ericksen

At the time of his death, one person appears in all the gospel narratives, and only one: Mary of Magdala. And, similarly, at the time of his resurrection, in all of the gospel narratives, one person and only one appears as the first to be with him: Mary of Magdala. In this man’s moments of his most extreme vulnerability, he was supported, sustained, and accompanied by one consistent friend: a woman, Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

☼   ☼      ☼   ☼

It’s time we stop looking to the organized world of religion as our way of becoming acceptable and pleasing to God. We need to look to Christ and allow Him to live through us and let Him love all those we meet each day. Stop demanding that people come to follow your doctrine, your rules, your beliefs and accept people as they are. Show the love of Christ to them and let God work in them the way He sees fit. What Do You Mean, Jesus Wasn’t a Christian?

Wait …Nietzsche was closer to Christ than many Christians? How could that be? Nietzsche understood the implications of what Christ did on Good Friday better than many who claim to be Christians. Nietzsche was closer to Christ than many Christians because he knew the Christ that he rejected, whereas many Christians don’t know the Christ whom they call Lord and Savior. A God Torn to Pieces: Good Friday, Nietzsche, and Sacrifice

☼   ☼      ☼   ☼

Imagine you are back in high school or college and the prettiest or most handsome person, the one who is intelligent and witty, outgoing, the one everyone wishes they could have as their boyfriend or girlfriend comes to you and says, “I want you to know that I really find you attractive, in fact, I love you. I love you so much, so deeply, it astonishes me. I want to be with you forever, you light up my life, you are the reason I exist.” Wouldn’t that be just amazing? One of the reasons for the popularity of romantic comedies is that the boy/girl is in these circumstances and they end up with the one they so desire. Imagine spending your life with such a person who was absolutely devoted to you, who loved you with an undying love, who cared for you in ways you could not imagine or dream in your wildest dreams. Now before you could respond with a “Yes” or a “Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!!” suppose they went on to say “But I also want you to know that if you will not love me in return I will make your life a living nightmare, a hell on earth. I will spread rumors and lies about you; I will trash your home. I will make it my life’s goal to punish you in every way possible if you won’t accept my love for you.” Wouldn’t you go to the authorities and at a minimum get a restraining order on such a person? Sure you would. Who wants someone this obsessive to ruin their life? Then why is it that Christians tell essentially the same story with regard to the way God loves the world? We say God loves the world but if God’s love is spurned we will be punished with an everlasting punishment. Where can one take out a restraining order on this kind of a God? Job had trouble with this kind of a god and three times in the book of Job he threatens to file a lawsuit against God. Sadly, most of what Christians think and believe about God is exactly the opposite of what Jesus believed and taught about his abba. Michael Hardin

Sad to say, most Christians still think more like John the Baptist than Jesus. Christians have lived a long time with a God who is retributive. We say that God is perfect and thus has the right to punish those whom he deems fit. We say that God will bring his righteous wrath upon all those who reject God. We say that God can do what God wants because God is God. All of this logic is foreign to the gospel teaching of Jesus about the character of his heavenly abba. Jesus does not begin with an abstract notion of God or Platonic metaphysics, but with the Creator God whom he knows as loving, nurturing and caring for all persons regardless of their moral condition, their politics, their ethnic background or their social or economic status. God cares for everyone equally and alike. Michael Hardin

Approaching the subject from a fresh, historical perspective and without appealing to sensationalist stories or dismissing Jesus’ sexuality on theological grounds, Le Donne places Jesus firmly within his sociocultural context. By investigating gender and marriage norms – as well as a number of social outliers who defied them — he provocatively argues that Jesus might have been married before he was thirty years of age. Le Donne then points to several indicators that suggest that Jesus was a sexual non-conformist and probably was single during his public career. It is a quest that illuminates the humanity of Jesus, while also revealing important connections between ancient sexuality and modern spirituality If You Are Truly Interested in the Question of ‘The Wife of Jesus’…

The Bible is not the Word of God. It never refers to itself as such. According to the New Testament, Jesus is the Word of God. The Word of God is a person, not a collection of texts. The documents that make up the Bible contain words of God and inspired words about God written by people who encountered God in various ways. The grand mistake made over the last 500 years has been to substitute the text for the Word. This inevitably leads to a well-intentioned Phariseeism, a subtle idolatry. It can also, paradoxically, lead to a reluctance to honestly and rigorously examine the scriptural texts. What (or Who) is the Word of God?

☼   ☼      ☼   ☼

Right at the same time that Christians were calling Jesus “God” is exactly when Romans started calling their emperors “God.” So these Christians were not doing this in a vacuum; they were actually doing it in a context. I don’t think this could be an accident that this is a point at which the emperors are being called “God.” So by calling Jesus “God,” in fact, it was a competition between your God, the emperor, and our God, Jesus. When Constantine, the emperor, then converted to Christianity, it changed everything because now rather than the emperor being God, the emperor was the worshipper of the God, Jesus. That was quite a forceful change, and one could argue that it changed the understanding of religion and politics for all time. Bart Ehrman

A GNT creation ©2007–2014