Friday, March 5, 2010

10 Questions from Bishop Alan

This looked like an interesting meme to me so I thought I would try it.I have not read any of the book that Bishop Alan discusses nor will I. Too busy.

Here are the 10 questions
  1. What is the overarching story line of the Bible?
  2. How should the Bible be understood?
  3. Is God violent?
  4. Who is Jesus and why is he important?
  5. What is the Gospel?
  6. What do we do about the Church?
  7. Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it?
  8. Can we find a better way of viewing the future?
  9. How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?
  10. How can we translate our quest into action?
My short answers
  1. A love song - see the The Song of Songs
  2. Literally but paying attention to all sources of information scientific, literary, cultural, and theological.
  3. No, but we are. And we are very good at justifying violence and retribution and attributing such to God. That is even more a projection than the attribution of love. God has demonstrated non-violence definitively in the person of Jesus.
  4. Jesus exhibits God's character. As Harold Bloom notes The Lord of the Old Testament is anthropomorphic and the Jesus of the New Testament is theomorphic. 
  5. God is love - the anointing Spirit that God shares with us is the proof. Just take God seriously and ask the source of that love.
  6. Rule in the midst of your enemies. (Psalm 110:2)
  7. Yes. See point 1. The lovers are unmarried. Male or female, each of us can find the answer to the question through the anointing Spirit.
  8. We need to work for hope and belonging as our local shelter 'Our Place' has as its motto. I don't know that the future is open to our gaze, but the present has need enough.
  9. With respect. See point 1.
  10. However we are called - so we had better be listening.
While I'm at this, a question that Mark Nanos asked me 4 years ago is still with me: If Jesus is the Messiah, why is the world still in such a state? I found a riposte to that question - not an answer. Why did prophecy cease in Israel? It is an equally loaded question of course and touches on the Muslim claim of Mohammad as the seal of the prophets. I may say I must respect other people's beliefs. But I don't agree with them. Is that possible? It is strange, because I have learned so much through the Jewish scriptures and so little through those of Islam. I often am angry at my own traditions of Christianity also. How can I even come to unity in myself and sing the Schema as I do every week in our Sunday School?

Take my ten answers as ten contradictions.

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