A More Popular Kind of Christianity

"Popular Christianity" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Popular Christianity” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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Although the historicity of the whole gospel narrative is under serious scrutiny, and has been for a long time, the thrust of the story I believe, orbits around the themes the cross represents.

 

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8 Responses

  1. Adam Julians says:

    Very true.

    Endeavouring to keep from being polluted by evil and care for the vulnerable is challenging as is staying on track when things get tough.

    Don’t we all naturally like to be popular and approved of? What happens when we are not popular? Do we do what is right that might mean losing friends or..?

  2. Caryn LeMur says:

    I suppose we agree. However, I think of the Temple when I think of the Cross.

    I studied the Book of Matthew many years ago. Every week, one chapter or so. Memorized much of it. Competed with other young men and women in contests and all that.

    Thus, that first deep exposure during 9th grade shaped my view of the ‘thrust of the gospel’.

    To me, it is not just the ‘cross’. But rather, the thrust is a ‘compare and contrast’ between the Temple vs the Effects of the Cross.

    Without the Temple concepts, I find it to difficult to measure the Effects of the Cross. Here is what I mean:

    – Within the Temple, there was exclusion. Within the Cross, any that believe are included.

    – Within the Temple, there was patriarchy. Within the Cross, there is neither male nor female.

    – Within the Temple, there is a list of Do and Do Not’s. Within the Cross, there are guiding principles.

    – Within the Temple, the presence of God dwelt in the center of blocks of stone. Within the Cross, the presence of God dwells within our heart.

    – Within the Temple, there was mercy in abundance (though neglected by that generation). Within the Cross, there is mercy in abundance (though often presented with qualifications and prerequisites by my generation).

    There was tension between the two systems in the early church, as recorded by Paul in the Letter to the Galatians.

    There is tension between the two systems continuing to this day, in my opinion.

  3. Brigitte says:

    We want so badly, like Peter, not to have suffering and death be part of the story.

  4. Adam Julians says:

    What I hear you drawing a comparison with and likening Caryn is the temple and the contemporary church.

    I see that.

    What I also see for all of us not dis-similarly I think is the ego. It being attached to desire and what makes up happy and being adverse to pain and suffering.

    So then I ask, does the temple/church/spirit of the age/ego take prominence in our choices or love, truth, compassion, willingness to suffer for good?

    The saying “sow a thought reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny” comes to my mind.

  5. Brigitte says:

    Caryn makes interesting points by contrasting the temple and the cross. Some of them work better than others. With the Old Testament and the New with have something like we had in the Reformation, the changes were both conservative and new and creative. The temple was not so exclusive that non-Jews did not have a place to come. The temple knew about sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Men and women were always considered to be made in the image of God and of equal value, though they would have different roles. Coming to modern issues like birthcontrol, abortion, homosexuality and so on, we can discuss various in’s and out’s and be tolerant of some things, and take a gracious and moderated view of some things, as Jesus did, hoping people could come to their senses by the power of freedom of conscience, but we see that some practices are no where recommended or condoned, in the old nor new testament. The cross might very well mean, that I give up my desires in some of these areas. In the regular marriage that I am in, there are certain things that I can’t get. For one thing, we were never able to conceive a child.

  6. Adam Julians says:

    Brigitte,

    What you say about Peter also applies to Jesus. the difference with Peter being at the time of his denial that he had not yet received the Holy Spirit – the comforter. We know that Perter received the Holy Spirit as the day of Pentecost and the same fate was for Peter as it was for Jesus.

    So when suffering and death comes calling we may very well pray “if it be possible let this cup pass from me” as our ego, our natural inclination is towards survival, and happiness.

    But it that what we want, or is there something greater than our own temporary happiness, and even our own lives that we find preferable?

    The saying comes to my mind “it’s no fool that gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose”.

  7. Brigitte says:

    Certainly, we may ask to be spared, but there is a will higher than ours. We are called to pray for relief, and also to take initiative with all kinds of measures that are morally good or neutral.

    Jesus could have avoided the cross, if he had shut up about what is right. That was not an option. Thus the good died for those who killed him (all of us).