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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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28 Responses to 569

  1. Linus says:

    The words of jesus are one thing. The teachings of the church, well, that’s a whole other bag of talents =]

  2. Becky says:

    What’s interesting is the number of times his disciples didn’t get what he was saying and they were the ones he chose to follow him. Also, they were actually there and still went ‘say what?’ on more than one occasion.

  3. I LOVE this discussion, like Linus (?) said in 568, it’s exciting to talk about stuff like this and find out what other people think. The reason I find the bible such a great hand-book for life is the way that it reveals itself to different people in different ways depending on where you’re at on the journey. You can read a piece of scripture dozens of times and think you get it…or don’t get it…then all of a sudden it makes sense. I don’t think (most) people are right or wrong in their interpretations, it just reflects their life at the moment and what God is trying to talk to them about; which I think is why some bits make more sense to us than others. The thing I don’t like or accept is being told that this scripture means this or that and it applies to everybody and is writ in stone (as in the teachings of some churches)
    I’ve waffled way too much for one day…will try to shut up now.

  4. jonbirch says:

    waffle away bw… it’s all good stuff. :-)

  5. Jay says:

    And the appropriate answer to both people is:

    “Why, yes! You’re absolutely correct”

  6. Forrest says:

    Key word here is “seems”.

  7. Mark says:

    This is a cartoon I like, as long as you are allow them both to be true! (as Jay said)

    Someone said in the other thread that you need to know all the historical context first, which I’m not sure I’m completely down with, because otherwise the bible’s pretty poorly inspired, or God’s clearly too forgetful to inspire a glossary of terms.

    Best thing to remember is probably 2 Peter 3:15-16

    Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    A) Some things are hard to understand in scripture (note that he says Paul is writing scripture)
    B) This can lead people to pervert them (as they do to all the scriptures).

    So when we read a parable, or a story, or a teaching, if we don’t understand it, well that’s fine. It happens, we should try and work it out. If we do understand it though, or it seems to be obvious what it means, we can’t, unless we have reason from the rest of the bible, change what it means so it suits us. This means we’re ignorant, unstable and bringing about our own destruction. I worry that that is what was happening with the last cartoon. The parable clearly seems to make Jesus out as a harsh and merciless master who requires us to do obey him, we don’t like that, so we reinterpret the section. That’s what Kiekergaard is probably getting at (and he overstates his case, but he’s like that I guess).

  8. janetp says:

    Not that I would claim to be Jesus or anything, but people have been known to say the same about me …. in both cases! :)

  9. marcus says:

    In the case of Jesus we shouldn’t be that surprised that this is the case…the whole God / Man thingy

    but as for janetp I can shed no light!

  10. Linus says:

    I guess that Jesus would tell the guy on the left that God’s ways are unsearchable and beyond finding out, and he’d tell the guy on the right to have faith like a child (ie: trust me!) Forrest is right, the key word here is seems. For both points of view.

    Mark: do you think that Jesus is a harsh and merciless master (serious question)? I think we have reason from the rest of the bible to think he isn’t. So my question becomes how do we resolve this seeming contradiction? or how do we hold these things in tension?

    I agree with you that its healthy to admit when we don’t understand things, but that we should keep seeking for understanding.

    You don’t need to know the historical context any more than you need to know ancient greek to understand the bible. Oh, wait…

    (i think God has inspired much more than a glossary, its just you won’t find it in the canon of scripture. Whatever that means)

  11. Linus says:

    [rude words] the lack of an edit button… Mark i also agree that when we understand and believe something, we should “not merely read the word, but do what it says”

  12. Caroline Too says:

    is it difficult to understand?

    I think that it is
    I fear that it isn’t

    but fortunately

    we’ve got all eternity to ponder it and all eternity to work out how to put it all into action

    somewhere along the eternity line, we’ll get there (or be got there)

    I was once asked what heaven was like, I reckoned that it was having all eternity to explore infinity.

    we don’t have to get it right now, just be on the way towards…

    Grace makes up the difference

  13. sarah says:

    I think it’s so deep the truths therein occur to you gradually.

    But also for Children to understand.

    That’s why they’re there, to teach us.

  14. sarah says:

    Botticelli – yep!

  15. Robb says:

    Well Jon, I hate to be contrary but I am going to stick rigidly to the beliefs I gleaned on Sunday night from the preacher I saw. “It is alright to question because with time and effort you can understand everything.”

    Amen sister – my life is complete. She even used the word ‘contradictions’ at the same point as well as a phrase not too dissimilar to ‘vanish in a puff of logic‘… I’m glad this wasn’t dingo’s kidneys as it is helping me greatly.

    Incidentally, I am being cruel to a gin and tonic!

  16. youthworkerpete says:

    While much of the bible is difficult to understand, I’m not sure the teachings of Jesus are really.

    I think we make them hard when we try to combine them with a relatively rich western outlook. They are wuite straight forward, I think we sometimes say ‘he surely didn’t actually mean give everything to the poor, lets look at context/translation/etc’ when the message is pretty straight forward.

  17. subo says:

    “ignorant and unstable people” – that must be me then, I have days when nothing makes sense

    then again, I’ll read a text and think it’s about something completely different from the last time I read it, which leaves me with a smug feeling of having got one more layer down to a new level truth

    and then I get really hurt by the blank looks people give me, when I try talking about my new understanding.

  18. jonbirch says:

    probably time to be acruel to another one now robb. :-)

    i agree with what you say ywp re. jesus’ straight talking about giving what you have etc… and you’re right, there are those who’d love to argue those tough things away… and in my view, as in yours, this can’t be done. i find these things easy to understand too, though not always easy to do mind you. but there are other more complex things he says. see caroline too’s take on the talents in the last thread. she has really helped me with something i genuinely wasn’t understanding.
    i tend to agree with both guys (the same guy really) in the above cartoon… really depending on ‘how’ jesus is saying something. sometimes he is referring to specific things that i am unaware of that shed light on things in a more dynamic way… or even sometimes help me understand it at all.

  19. jonbirch says:

    “ignorant and unstable”… me too subo.

  20. Robb says:

    Heck, I may have been dishing out intollerable cruelty all evening… and in about 30seconds, mattins………….

  21. jonbirch says:

    your life is sounding fascinating robb. looking forward to finding out more.

  22. Robb says:

    My life at the moment is lik a monty python sketch… it really is!!

  23. Carole says:

    You know, the important thing for me in reading the words of Jesus is that at least they stop me in my tracks and make me think. I would worry if I glibly read through and thought, “yeah, yeah, yeah, tell me something I didn’t know”. But virtually every time there is something to set me off on a Vicky Pollard “yeah, but no, but..” loop. At my level,that is something akin to intellectual tussle. If I’m lucky,it may even be spiritual at some point. Even the deceptively simple things that I have always taken for granted can spark new levels of meaning which cause me to wonder if I know anything at all. I like a good enigma even if it occasionally makes me feel frustrated. I think it all fits in with the idea of spiritual ‘journey’ and the revelation of truth, or levels of truth, at the appropriate time for the individual. It is, I think, as individual as we are. There are universal truths but I wonder
    if there are also certain aspects which fall into the category ‘one person’s truth is another person’s irrelevance’ and vice versa…ramble alert, ramble alert!

  24. miriworm says:

    They are both right of cause!

  25. Robb says:

    OK, I may have exaggerated with 30 seconds…

  26. Pingback: The words of Jesus | Seven whole days

  27. Pingback: Understanding the Words of Jesus | Think Christian

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