Is this who Jesus forgave from the cross?

"Father Forgive Them" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Father Forgive Them” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I remember an old song, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” The point is, theologically, that humanity with all its inventions, including the church, participated and cooperated in the death of its greatest good.

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16 Responses

  1. Caryn LeMur says:

    I see all those church buildings in your cartoon. And, I am ok with a zillion denominations, blogs, FB pages, and so forth. Why not – a few billion people need spots to meet…. lol.

    However, the questions of ‘community’ are often very tribal – who has the power? who is our enemy? what is our distinctive that makes us different? what ritual marks us as true members of the tribe?

    In my opinion, it is the answers to the tribal questions – not the noble questions – that drives humanity.

    The narrative of Jesus answers these tribal questions in rather unexpected ways:

    – God has the power, and you are ‘all brothers’ (that is, equals).

    – Who is the enemy does not matter – rather, it is loving your enemy ‘as yourself’ -by extending all the privileges and rights you enjoy to your enemy.

    – Our distinctive is now that we would love each other – ‘by this shall all men know that you are my disciples’ – no matter the theological differences, we would stand with our neighbor during his/her divorce, job hunt, sickness, joyful times, and disasters.

    – Our ‘ritual’ is not external, but is being ‘born again’ – an internal calling upon God, for forgiveness and/or remembrance and/or Jesus-within-us and/or …..

    Have you thought about TLS from a tribal perspective?

  2. Oh yes I think TLS is a kind of tribe. Although “tribal” tends to carry a pejorative connotation.

  3. Caryn LeMur says:

    Lol… yes, ‘tribal’ has strong negative semantics for many people.

    However, the tribal experience – power, enemy, distinctives, and ‘entry ritual’ are very deeply human.

    At that level, I think of the Vineyard (the last church of which I was a member), and then TLS:

    The Vineyard:

    – Power: the pastor had the power… and then again, the board. There was a power struggle between the pastor and a certain elder. Sides were drawn up. [Bonnie and I departed.] A year later, the pastor was removed. The board now appears to hold the power.

    – Enemy: a certain perspective called ‘A Christian World-view’ was espoused. There was the Kingdom of God taught ‘as a beachhead on enemy shores’. Thus, there were enemies everywhere. The pastor had a fairly wide perspective of whom was part of the Kingdom (though strongly Republican), and some of the board a much more narrow perspective. Also, the pastor leaned towards a ‘messy church’ with open doors; while some of the board leaned the other way.

    Thus, who owned the right to define ‘the enemy’ (and the rejection towards them) was a point of contention.

    – Distinctives: weekly worship services, a certain modern flair to the music, high chanting/repetition songs, street clothing, some use of charismatic gifts during the service.

    – Entry Ritual: that is, what ritual marks the true members of the tribe? I think, at this Vineyard, the entry-ritual marks were as follows: a general attitude of submission to the chain-of-command, no conflicting views allowed between the non-elite and the elite, much attendance to meetings, and a mild form of patriarchy (men and women lead, but the nod was toward the men).

  4. Martin Hol says:

    He has a soft spot for fools and little children and I,m glad cause I,ve been both of those.

  5. Caryn LeMur says:

    When I look at TLS (using a tribal perspective), I think I see the following evolving:

    – Power: it is shared. Anyone can post on anything. Anyone can start a ‘thread’ of thoughts. You may wish to discuss religion, culture, and/or a normal passage of life. You can rant, or shout with joy, or just wonder about a moment in time.

    – Enemy: If you join, you are not an enemy. Thus, if we disagree, we share our different story or perspective. I can rant about a denomination’s actions…. but not about your reply, which incidentally, may share quite an opposite view of the very denom actions that I dislike.

    – Distinctives: Because we have everyone from ex-pastors to current believers; from Atheist to Zionist; from Straight to LGBTQ; from marring to divorcing to alt marriages; we have developed a distinctive of being a ‘messy’ community, by default.

    We advocate self-care (you are free to skip reading a certain post) and trigger warnings at the top of the post.

    We have learned to look past the Atheist that quotes Carl Sagan or the believer that quotes the Bible – and continue the discussion and exchange of views.

    We advocate that it is very OK to have a spiritual journey, or even a non-spiritual one. Thus, we support spiritual independence, and owning your own journey-decisions.

    – Entry Ritual: I have noticed that ‘honesty’, ‘self-vulnerability’, ‘sharing where you are at (for real)’, and (in the replies) compassion/caring with mutual respect, have become the ‘entry rituals’.

    I find this incredibly fascinating. You see, over the years, I have learned that these three items (for speaking/posting) are ‘exit rituals’, in reality, for all faith-based groups that I have joined in the past.

    And, the two items – replying with compassion/caring with mutual respect – are also ‘exit rituals’, in reality, for many faith-based groups. These two items must be redeemed with ‘exclusion/punishment’, or… they are considered an affront to the tribal dynamics.

    On TLS, these items (the 3 for speaking; the 2 for replying) have become ‘entry rituals’. These are the postings that carry that most insightful, compassionate, and respectful dialogs. I have learned an amazing amount from these dialogs.

    At any rate, I find that using a Tribal Perspective helps me to understand some of the success we are having at TLS.

    Cheers! Caryn

  6. Brigitte says:

    He died to forgive everyone, but in church are those who care to receive forgiveness.

  7. terri jo says:

    Like the Jackson 5 song says, “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl”. It is simplistic to whitewash churches as failing with one swoop. There s a lovely church I attend in New Westminster BC Canada that is on a good bus route…… I can give you all directions. Service on Sundays at 11 a.m. And Circle of Love prayer and meditation at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. ***smile***

  8. Gary says:

    I’m pretty sure church attendance is not God’s condition of forgiveness…nor is it the only way people demonstrate a desire to be forgiven Brigitte. The church may be one path…but it is certainly not the only path.

  9. Caryn LeMur says:

    Brigitte: One way to word the question of Biblical forgiveness is this: How are the words of Jesus during his ministry on earth appropriately combined with his words during the last supper?

    Jesus taught forgiveness in very broad terms: By being brought to him on a mat – no words used (Matt 9); without words but with weeping (Luke 7:36 and onward); with words outside of the temple (Luke 18:13); while dying on a cross outside the city, using words (Luke 23:42).

    Jesus was the center of forgiveness for examples 1, 2, and 4. Jesus was not the center of forgiveness for example 3.

    Then, we should also include the phrase used by believers of the Catholic and Lutheran persuasion: “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” [John 20:23]

    How do we handle these concepts? Do we say the forgiveness of Jesus, initially taught as being very broad, is now ALSO extended to church apostles ? (Think of this like addition, and one more possible path to forgiveness.)

    Or, forgiveness is now RESTRICTED to church apostles/saints/etc.? (Think of this like subtraction, or a new clause in the contract that strikes out the previous clauses.)

    Or, that Jesus is teaching about forgiveness of sins against God versus sins against each other? (Think of this approach as clarification within a contract.)

    Why is the Restricted theme never taught again by the Apostles in their letters?

    I would offer to you that Martin Luther, within his historical concept, was moving the ‘ownership’ of forgiveness from the Catholic church hierarchy to the Lutheran hierarchy, and to the fellow believers. It was a brilliant move that disempowered the Catholic church.

    After all, whomever ‘owns’ forgiveness, owns the very soul of the people that fear God.

  10. Brigitte says:

    Caryn, that’s a long and confusing thing that I think can be summarized thus: you can go and have forgiveness proclaimed to you, in Jesus name, in the community, where we also live and offend and need to be forgiven, and ask to be forgiven, or you can be a hermit and proclaim it to yourself. Choose. The hierarchy thing is something that is a hang-up with you, I think, along with the “institutional”.

  11. Caryn LeMur says:

    Brigitte: thank you for the link. It was an excellent read.

    I agree that confession can be between god and man alone. The church or community is not required. Nor should someone ever be or feel ‘coerced’ towards confession within the church or to another person.

    I find it interesting that Luther taught, per the link, that confession within the church is a ‘treasure’ that a person should run to obtain.

    Thus, I ask you: If someone is a Lutheran member, and declines Confession, or confession to others in the community, do they stay in good standing within your experience?

  12. Brigitte says:

    I hardly know anyone who goes to confession and pastor’s never mention it. It’s very sad. Sometimes I wish I were a Roman Catholic.

  13. Caryn LeMur says:

    Brigitte: First, you have my apology for unintentionally prodding you, rather than trying hard to understand your concepts, and your denomination.

    I try to be hard on the ideas, but not on the people. I think your responses show that you feel attacked, and I apologize for not selecting my words more carefully.

    Confession obviously means much to you, and I am fully in favor of people finding what they need, and what works for their spiritual journey.

    I hope that you can find a Lutheran meeting, that provides the Confession experience that you desire, with others that enjoy such a Confession experience, as well. It is always hard to feel alone.

    And, on another note, you have provided much insight into the Lutheran doctrine… and with the last statement, a real insight into the Lutheran reality, and into your good heart.

    Thank you. Hang in there. May the Lord Jesus provide for you.

  14. Brigitte says:

    I think Caryn, that in your search for the “real” in people, you might not understand how “confession” is exactly the place that has been provided for such thing to happen in a safe place.