The Easter Moment: Drawing Conclusions

Armed with historical clues, we can speculate on the moving drama that came to be called the Resurrection.


05/21/2005 10:04:29 AM

I feel this article of John Spong was excellent.


05/21/2005 09:48:20 AM

birdie Paul, of the Bible, tells us to renew our minds. With? The principles of Christ. Enough said on that. Sin is NOT a force in and of itself. The proper definition of sin is >missing the marklet the ego die< is what that scripture means. As a human, Jesus was fully conscious and behaved as He believed. The Kingdom of God is within, He said. To go within, you must use your mind. Jesus was fully aware of how to access His divinity. He taught humanity how to do the same. Still, over 2000yrs later, it goes over humanity's head.


05/21/2005 06:03:22 AM

birdie, We can use the Bible to learn about what people thought 2000 years ago and further back. We can get at least a picture of the ministry of Jesus. But for those of us who do not start with the a priori assumption that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, there is no need to accept it as the absolute arbiter of truth.


05/21/2005 12:27:30 AM

lisloh - What I see as the major problem with an emphasis on salvation through knowledge is not simply that it is essentially gnostic, but that your view is unable to comprehend sin in any substantial, bibilcal manner. Throughout the Bible, and particularly in Rom 7, sin is depicted as an intractable problem. Sin is not simply an unwillingness to use your mind, but a force which leads us to do the things we hate even when our mind knows better. We need not simply to use our mind. Instead, our minds must be transformed and renewed (Rom 12:2). This is accomplished by Christ who renews creation and reconciles all things to God. To be sure, your biblical knowledge seems substantive. But it doesn't seem able to sustain a biblical theology of sin. If not, why use the Bible in the first place? Of course, we might ask Spong the same sorts of questions.


05/20/2005 11:38:08 PM

Heritic for Christ I agree about "Let there be light". And understand about logos. "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us." I study Science of Mind among many other sources. Have you read "The Urantia Book" ? I think the events that led to the crucifixion of Jesus are more accurate than some other events (stories) about Jesus. The Gospels were written decades after the fact. We should take it all with a grain of salt, no matter what/who the source is. We as humans, have an innate need to be right about what we believe. I choose to be flexible and willing to listen before denying a thing. The mind is key. Wisdom comes through experience. Knowledge encourages a broader spectrum. I firmly believe we are all teachers and learners. I also firmly believe we should never relinquish either position. Truth? We won't really know until we get there. Take care.


05/20/2005 10:58:05 PM

lisloh, Yes, I did read your posts. And they sounded like Science of Mind (which I see from your profile is your affiliation). We might have some interestingly different takes on specifics of interpretation, but I strongly believe that "Let there be light" is NOT a metaphor for the Big Bang but for the entry of reason, mind, thought, rationality, intelligence into a system that had previously known only formless and void chaos. (Yale theologian Jaroslav Pelikan notes that thought, rationality, etc., are all included meanings in the Greek term "logos," usually translated as "word" (especially, John 1:1.) I'd also question the circumstances of Jesus' death. There were many messianic figures in that age, and crucifixion was a horribly common event. There did not have to be any great plot against Jesus; the Romans routinely crucified anyone that bothered them.


05/20/2005 10:21:41 PM

Heretic for Christ I agree. Read my posts, there are 4. Too many characters for 1 post....:) Let me know what you think.


05/20/2005 10:15:07 PM

strefanash. I would respectfully disagree that truth depends on who speaks it. I think Jesus' teachings ARE true; you can call them unrealistic and idealistic IF he were just a man, but they ring true for me WHOEVER he was. I interpret the lesson about murder and anger quite differently--NOT that if I am angry I am guilty of murder, but that my anger is hurtful to me and to its target; so I should not be smugly self-satisfied that I refrained from killing the object of my anger; rather, I should look within myself and see the price of anger itself. You may sneer at this interpretation, but that truly is how I read it. You think Spong has no business even calling himself a Christian. Not being a Christian myself, I really don't care. But if I were a Christian, I'd be grateful for the presence of one who is looking to find spiritual truth. Whether he always finds it or is always right is less important than that he is seeking it. And that seems entirely consistent with the ministry of the Galilean rabbi.


05/20/2005 09:29:59 PM

Verdugo...Emotion is a notoriously poor motivator for action. A sociopath has not feelings or empathy for anyone, they study other peoples reactions and copy those in order to fit in with other people; because of this they take action to hurt or kill whatever they want to be rid of. Taking action without empathy or love can be dangerous. I think feelings or emotions come first, actions next and perhaps love last if it's in you. I don't agree that Bishop Spong is sloppy. He makes good sense and takes nothing away from the Trinity that I can see.


05/20/2005 07:09:13 PM

4>>When you take "you" out of the body, there is no separation. We all come from Spirit (God) and we all are going back to Spirit (God). Prejudice. Greed. Deception. Lust. Self righteousness. Hatred. Fear. Arguing about who is right and who is wrong. There is only one right. Love. God is Love. Love is God. Jesus proved the power of the mind and the powerlessness of the body. He didn't hang on that cross for your or my sins. Salvation comes with knowledge. With using your mind. The Kingdom of God is within. Behave as Jesus did and you are saved. From what? That vicious thing called ego. I many will rise up in self righteousness after reading this in totality...:)? Take care of you for those who care about you & be safe. Life & Love.


05/20/2005 06:59:16 PM

3>>Jesus said, "Repent & follow me." Properly translated, repent means use your mind. Follow me..Hmmm...Could He have meant, behave as I do? I think so. The Bible is full of wonderful Truths when properly translated. Yet, man still uses It for his grandizement. Robbing humanity of its livelyhood. Hmmm...What would Jesus do? God is all there is and God is good all the time. It's us who mess It up. Make better choices. Use your mind. Love your nieghbor. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. "Realize" we are all one. Behave as you preach. Judge not for you will surely be judged. It's called reciprocity. 2 B cont (4)


05/20/2005 06:48:55 PM

who jesus is makes a difference as regards his teachings. who he is affects WHAT HE MEANT when he said these things. if he is not god, he is not risen, then there is only an absurd idealism. you think not? takea CLOSE look at the sermon on the mount, realise that you are a murderer the moment you get angry at someone, because Jesus said so and if you admire his teachings you agree with this. if he is not God then he is some utopian fantasist with no grasp of the real world whatever to call Jesus merely a great teacher is to patronise him to death


05/20/2005 06:42:45 PM

>>God is Love. Love is God. Jesus proved that a human being could live a Life of Love and not transgress the Golden Rule. He taught that the same Spirit is in all of us. those that "get it", behave different. Those that don't, well, isn't the state of the world an obvious enough example of those that don't? You argue over phraseology and have no viable evidence to prove what you say. Why are you arguing anyway? Didn't Jesus say to turn the other cheek? Love your nieghbor as yourself? Who's your nieghbor? The whole world. I understand why Jesus lost it and tore up the temple. Vipers! Hypocrits! You will sell your Soul for a few pieces of silver yet, will not help your nieghbor. Then you will raise those same hands in worship to a God you don't even understand. 2 B cont


05/20/2005 06:41:45 PM

what is faith anyway. it is either based on something real or it is whistling in the dark. spong denies the christian faith is based on anything real, so he is but whistling in the dark? why should I. honest atheists who beleve as spong does do not play his games, they get out of he church as spong should have 40 years ago


05/20/2005 06:39:23 PM

and how can spong speak so lovingly of the church as a community of faith. looking at church history the church has been an obscenity almost (but not quite) from the start. . . why does the church concern me then? because Jesus is God, literally rose from the dead, and the rest. . . take these away and the church is only a burbling irrelevancy and no elderly retired heretic bishop's sentimentality can change that


05/20/2005 06:36:19 PM

spong speaks of a community of faith. surely what a comunity of faith is defined as is what it defined itself as in the beginning, For example I do not beleve mohammed is a prophet of God therefore i am no muslim and would be a fool to say i were one. the church defined itself millenia ago - and beleving in the litearl the divinity and resurrecion of christ are part of that. You don't beleve it? fine, you are not a christian. Spong is therefore not a christian, but he wants to eat his cake and have it too. what does he think faith is if he rejects what the church always believed but still wants to be part of a "community of faith"> alli can see is that he likes bells and smells.


05/20/2005 06:32:13 PM

Fauldsey 5/20/2005 8:02:10 AM If the only thing that saves us is that we pretend to believe that we believe something that we find impossible to believe is true then that is not salvation - it is delusion. Stref: I agree with thisd Fauldsey I too sometimes find SPong sloppy and opinionated, but he is also a man of integrity and he is at least honest with himself. Stef: but not this. if Spong were honest he would leave the church outright like the average atheist or pagan. his daring to call himself a christian is utterlyt offensive. i have no problem with atheists or even pagans, but liberals who refuse to be consistent and acknoeledge that they already have rejected the whole gospel are just lazy thinkers


05/20/2005 06:31:36 PM

Been here reading posts and just have to say something....Bishop Spong makes more sense than any other teacher (preacher) I have been exposed to. There have been "many". As with Bishop Spong, I, also, consider myself a believer in exile. Jesus is my anchor yet not because of how the church teaches it. Jesus came to show us our reflection. It went over humanity's head then and continues to go over humanity's head today. Because of gov't, politics & religion, we as a species, have been robbed of our very right to Life. Jesus tried to teach the Truth of "who" we are and the leaders of the day feared Him, knowing if the multitudes caught on, their power over humanity ceased. Hence, the crucificion. Jesus was plotted against, hunted down, received a shabby trial, pronounced quilty of BS charges and murdered in the fashion of the day. Resurrected? Yes, in Spiritual terms He sure is. Love never dies, It only changes form. 2 B cont


05/20/2005 06:29:08 PM

there is much woolly thinking here. if it is non corporeal survival after death this is not resurrection. it is only resurrection if one phyically rises from the dead. If jesus did not rise physicaly from the dead HE IS STILL DEAD, so was just another preacher, and a crazy one for getting himself strung up thus there is no such thing as a "spiritual" resurection. this is merely fudging of issues and double talk for someone who does not beleve in resurrection and has not the honour to say so. like spong


05/20/2005 04:19:48 PM

rbethell, We each see things from our own perspective. Christians see clear messages from God all the time; I see no such clear messages. Last December, lots of Christians saw the tsunami as a warning from God; what I saw was a tsunami. I don't even think of God as being somewhere "out there," having to send messages to us at all. As to the Resurrection, my rascally rational mind just keeps asking questions: If physical resurrection (albeit in some perfected form) what awaits us, how is eternity all that different from Earthly life? If spiritual (noncorporeal) resurrection awaits us, why promise us physical resurrection as shown in the rising of Jesus from the grave? If the point is to send us a message about redemption, why is it so cryptic that people can draw such wildly differing interpretations? Understand, I had no religious training as a child; I came to faith as an adult, but I still approach it with the same rationality and objectivity I try to bring to purely secular matters.


05/20/2005 04:08:29 PM

Reading some of the posts, I get the feeling that some people confuse the message with the messenger. `To take away the ascension in no way takes away Christ's divinity or the concept of a spiritual afterlife, it simply means someone doesn't believe that Christ was resurrected in human form. And it doesn't take away the divinity in this man we call Christ, in both what he preached and the way he lived. Whether Christ was God incarnate or not, or physically rose from the dead or not, doesn't take away from the message I feel.


05/20/2005 02:07:36 PM

Rising from the dead is not a "magic trick." It is the signal to humanity that God loves us, redeems us, and has visited us with this truth to tell us.


05/20/2005 02:00:42 PM

You can get to it from the front page by pressing the "previous" button to the left of "today's homepage". There it is linked under the old "Bible's Worst Verses" title.


05/20/2005 01:54:23 PM

Where is it archived? We were having a lively discussion.


05/20/2005 12:46:51 PM

Just found the "missing" board. Although it had been listed on the home page as "Bible's Worst Verses," it is now archived under the title "I am a mystic."


05/20/2005 12:45:42 PM

Bishop John Shelby Spong is an extremely intelligent, articulate speaker/author. I believe Jesus was the most brilliant man that ever walked the earth. Whether or not he literally arose from the dead is not important to me. Many people need to have the ressurection but I don't in order to believe his message of love. No one can change my belief anymore than they can change the color of my eyes. That's called FAITH.


05/20/2005 12:25:51 PM

A fallible, humanized Christ is not going to galvanize the Church. 1) I'm not sure that's even true. I thought the whole point was that Jesus was both fully human and fully God. 2) Even if that were true, so what? It's entirely Spong's opinion. His message is not for eeryone, but for the many who find the orthodox version of the ressurection story hard to swallow but want to believe in Jesus's teachings. I still don't understand what Evangelicals and fundamantalists have against the idea that Jesus' teachings may have validity outside of orthodox Christianity. What is wrong with telling people to love their enemies and turn the other cheek?


05/20/2005 12:11:20 PM

Mr. Spong does not enhance my opinion of him. What is his point? And for what reason? He writes book after book mainly from a personal standpoint which in no way contributes to the health or well being of the Faith. What is it he is trying to get across. Jesus Christ was not devine? He was not the only begotten Son of God? Contrary to the Scriptures He is not the ONLY way to God? So, what does that do for us? How can it possibly benefit the Faithful? It is true that Christianty has become a weak, insipid religion making itself a door mat fashioned on pop culture's concept of Christian "love." But Spong is not the answer. A fallible, humanized Christ is not going to galvanize the Church. I don't for a moment think Spong doesn't know that. Ginna


05/20/2005 12:02:01 PM

I don't think Spong is sloppy, and nor do his beliefs in any way take away from the Christian story in its fullness. I know that to some people Christ rising is important to them as their belief, and I can respect that. But it also takes a lot of courage to actually sit down and ponder ones beliefs and to find the truth, no matter how disquieting the questions are. It is a lot easier to simply accept what others tell you is the truth then to find it for yourselves. And ultimately I personally believe the ascension story is not important in terms of Christ and Christianity, that the bulk of the story lies in Christ's teachings and to large extent the way he died on the cross, not whether or not the miracle happened.


05/20/2005 11:51:39 AM

Where is the board that was titled "Bible's Worst Verses" (also focusing on Spong)?


05/20/2005 11:47:30 AM

rbethell, I don't feel sorry for Spong for having a faith that does not depend on miracles. To me, the truth in Jesus' teachings is just that -- truth. It seems preposterous that he, as a rabbi, would try to teach by saying, "I'm going to tell you about God, and just to prove that I know what I'm talking about, I will now perform some magic tricks." The Bible contains numerous accounts of supernatural events, some performed by the godly and some by the ungodly. Jesus himself said we should not put God to the test (demanding miracles). So it is with the resurrection. It seems like a shallow kind of faith that demands miracles as proof. Wouldn't the truth of Jesus' teachings still be the truth even if there were no physical resurrection?


05/20/2005 11:16:00 AM

I am sorry, I do not want to be disrespectful but Spong's attempted recreation of an unknown, unverifiable third party story of hear say, is just a joke. It is nothing short of speculation heaped upon speculation! The Gospels ARE NOT historically credible documents. Their own believers and propounders recognize them as people writing down their recollections. Plus we know because of historical analysis and High Criticism that the Gospels we have today are based on an earlier unwriiten collection of Christ's sayings edited by the powers that were at that time. Ergo, the whole thing cannot be used, credibly, to determine the reality or validity of anything, let alone the Resurrection.


05/20/2005 10:48:35 AM

I feel sorry for Bishop Spong. His inability to believe in the genuinely miraculous robs the faith of all mysticism, all sense that we do not need all things explained to us...


05/20/2005 10:44:18 AM

Well-said, Verdugo; I agree. If we wait to feel like doing what we need to do before we do it, it often doesn't get done. The emotion does indeed follow the action, not usually the other way around. AA says it well: "Fake it 'til you make it."


05/20/2005 10:32:41 AM

(cont.) Similarly, when Jesus was asked to define love he responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Not once in the entire story do we learn what the Samaritan was feeling. He may have been feeling frustrated, annoyed, irritated, etc. It's quite probable he felt the typical antipathy that existed between Jews and Samaritans. But Jesus describes him as an example of love, not because of his warm, fuzzy feelings, but because of what he did-- he stopped, he noticed, he took sacrificial action to help. And, for the injured man on the road, his warm, fuzzy feelings wouldn't mean a whole lot-- but his actions sure as heck did.


05/20/2005 10:32:24 AM

Actually, emotion is a notoriously poor motivator for action. Emotions are fleeting and to a large degree beyond our control. The people we have to worry about the most in our society are those with no impulse control-- those who act on every feeling. Psychologists are finding that, contrary to popular opinion, emotions often follow actions, rather than vice versa. For example, one effective strategy in marital therapy with couples who have simply "fallen out of love" (with no other complicating factors such as abuse, addiction, adultery) is to ask them how they behaved when they were in love-- then do those same things (greet each other with a kiss, take time to talk each day, etc.). 9 times out of 10, after 6-8 weeks of "acting" loving, those loving feelings return. (cont.)


05/20/2005 10:29:11 AM

akbusch, "If we believe in something that's easily proven or seen, that's not really faith." Perhaps you (and others) can help me answer a question. From a Christian perspective, what's the difference between "faith" and "hope"? I ask sincerely. Peace...


05/20/2005 10:25:16 AM

henry1, "Unlike Spongs fixation on emotions, love is not what we feel - it's what we DO." Sounds good but I think what we do is motivated by our emotions. First comes love THEN comes action. Actions don't emerge from a vacuum. That's why actions motivated by hate are so different from actions motivated by love. Sponge is correct.


05/20/2005 09:25:54 AM

Yea, Z-E-I, you're right. It is absurd, and ridiculous. And so is faith itself, if it really is faith. If we believe in something that's easily proven or seen, that's not really faith. Yes, Spong is sloppy. There was a glaring error in the last article of his Bnet posted. He can, I think, also be mean-spirited and ad hominem in his arguments. On the other hand, he does get us thinking and talking, doesn't he?


05/20/2005 08:02:09 AM

If the only thing that saves us is that we pretend to believe that we believe something that we find impossible to believe is true then that is not salvation - it is delusion. I too sometimes find Spong sloppy and opinionated, but he is also a man of integrity and he is at least honest with himself.


05/20/2005 07:58:32 AM

Can I ask why we seek to prove empirically that Jesus rose in body, in spirit or in metaphor? What is the stumbling block of Paul, whether we who find it hard to believe lie in our hearts about what we really believe? (because god knows what we really believe no?)or how we show the world what a risen christ means to us in our actions.


05/20/2005 06:18:05 AM

Belief in a physical resurrection is absurd. It is a nice myth and as a myth it is an excellent allegory. But to take it as a factual physical event is like taking Genesis that way, which is patently ridiculous. It amazes me that in this age, that so many people have these beliefs as axiomatic to their worldview.


05/20/2005 04:35:36 AM

With the crucifixion, Jesus demonstrated the true definition of love. Unlike Spongs fixation on emotions, love is not what we feel - it's what we DO. I seriously doubt that Jesus "wanted" wanted to be crucified, and I don't imagine that He FELT warm 'n fuzzy toward humanity while wracked in agony on the cross. No, he did what had to be done. Throughout his life and on the cross, God wants us to do love. The need is everywhere!