What life should a Christian live to be Christian?

(Cindy) #241

But each side of the mirror is accessible to the other. It’s physically there.

I’m not saying that the spirit is/or is not a part of our reality. I have my hunch that is is but again, I’m not declaring it to be the case without doubt. I don’t think that the Bible clearly says one way or another.

Some verses seem to indicate a separate spiritual world while others not so much. Jesus’s body never being found when many people would have loved to use it as a argument against Christianity; indicates to me that He did physically in his actual body rise from the dead. He raised Lazarus from the dead, days after his death. Clearly a physical (as in an actual body) resurrection is a stance worth considering. As is, again; the idea of two different realities-Spiritual and physical.

Further, if a Spirit can enter the physical but the physical can not enter the Spiritual; that would again be an indication of two realities; not one.

(Mitchell W McKain) #242

So back to the question of… “What life should a Christian live to be Christian?”

His own life.

… bringing this back to my original answer with some elaboration added at this point.

What we should not be doing is living our lives as someone else (who is no more than a blind guide and a sinner himself) dictates! And this is not restricted either to what people calling themselves Xtians dictate but also atheists or anybody else. This is not to say that God doesn’t have anything to say on the matter and obviously the reference to sinners and blind guides does not apply to God. But it is to say that God can speak for Himself despite what any religion monger manipulator might imply. And maybe God will speak to you through the Bible and maybe God will speak to you through someone. But that is for you to decide and making that decision is what makes this your life.

And by living your own life, I most certainly do not mean to imply that you should not be living your life for the sake of others. Some of the most abundant advice you will find in the Bible and elsewhere is that doing for others is one of the most rewarding ways you can live your life. But this advice may not be so straight forward as it might appear, because serving others can come in many different forms. Thank God everyone is not a Mother Theresa. One narrow vision of serving others would make for a rotten world hardly worth living in. But to be sure, it certainly implies that making your life only about yourself alone is a rather empty way of living. But how far you expand your service beyond just yourself is likely to depend a great deal on your abilities.

(Cindy) #243

Indeed, He shook things up! It still boggles my mind though. How many people did He heal? After seeing Him have power over even the wind and the sea? How is it that He died alone? No orchestrated effort to get his release but rather one to let a murderous thief go instead?

Truly the worst of Humanity was illustrated that day.

(Shawn T Murphy) #244

We are stuck on semantics. I am saying that we live in one reality and that most physical beings only experience a small percentage of that reality. Angels experience the entire reality, with what is happening physically and what is happening behind the scenes spiritually. Ghosts only perceive a portion of reality. Different perceptions do create different realities, they are different camera angles. There are plenty of physical beings that can perceive parts of the spiritual, it is called clairvoyance. But again, they just see more of the same reality, not something different.

(Jay Johnson) #245

How is it that the men all fled to their hiding places in fear of their lives, and only the women had the courage to stand by and witness the arduous end?

Yes, every word. We actually disagree on very little, but I would like to persuade you to change your mind on one thing. I’ll have to get to it tomorrow, though, if you’ll bear with me that long.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #246

I guess Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Amos, & co. never got that memo then. Because so much of their material militates against your claim here. You may respond that these passages exist because they were speaking to the political kingdom of Israel (such as it was) in their various times. In which case we might expect Jesus to correct all of that then and update it to say we’re all off the hook on that score. But instead we flip to the pages of the New Testament and find that he is taking on the power structures there too, and dare I say … some of the words Jesus had for them would probably not survive our “gracious dialogue” policies here! We find Jesus raising the stakes even higher and declaring that he is fulfilling the law and the prophets. Sure he doesn’t take on Rome … directly … or does he? His later apostles and the early church after that must not have gotten your memo either. And Rome noticed …and some might say… didn’t survive the encounter.

No – I would have to forget nearly everything I’ve learned from the Bible in order to agree that we’re let off the hook on wider social justice issues. You should also read MLK Jr.'s letter from a Birmingham Jail. In it we get a real taste of how it is nearly always the privileged and the oppressors who are in favor of “letting well enough alone so the status quo can carry on with their lives - or at the very least be patient to let changes slowly happen in due and proper course”. It is always this power-class that so favors patience on behalf of the oppressed. So they give their patience, and then justice never happens. It always takes a struggle; a movement of those who are willing to work (hopefully nonviolently! - thank God for MLK Jr. and his attentiveness to Christ!) to make changes happen; and almost always against the brute populist screams and violence from some privileged class that feels “put upon.” And historically, those power-classes have been in the wrong. Every time. As just such a member of said privileged class, I have approximately 0% confidence that now suddenly, for the first time, we’ve started getting it right. And largely, that’s because I attend to history, and … can read my Bible! Now … may God help me to live up to my own words here. And I am delighted to hear of your church community’s work for the poor. I suspect we probably aren’t really that far apart in this.

James 2:18:

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.


Don’t forget about the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”

(Phil) #248

Enjoyed your post, good stuff. It also helped me to understand the social context to read Joel Anderson’s recap of Josephus’ history of the Jewish revolt. We tend to see Jewish society as monolithic at times, when it was anything but, with lots of factions and internal strife.

(Shaun) #249

The discussion often reminds me of a great story, Robinson Crusoe.

I again need your help with a few questions:

  1. How does his faith help him survive?

  2. If Robinson has to stay on that island forever without seeing any savage, could he be a Christian? He has nobody to help.

  3. What if Friday no longer wants to be his servant but becomes aggressive later, like demanding freedom, equal something, and many more, or even wanting to be his master, as a Christian, what should he do?

(Robin) #250

Thanks, Mitchel…Thanks for your reference to the specific writing of Paul.

It can be easy to misunderstand what someone is saying in a post, I suppose. You made the comment earlier that Jesus’ body was “only physical in the sense of bodily and not in the sense of natural, but spernatural and spiritual.”

And then you draw some meaning from Thomas that seems to imply to you that something “physical in the sense of body” but not “physical in the sense of natural, otherwise why appear in the room without opening a door?”

I have read various other postings here…Enhanced DNA, etc…all of this is a bit like counting the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin. Interesting, I suppose…

From what I have read, we make a distinction between “spiritual” and “physical” that was not part of the thinking of the ancient world…and this has been aggravated by some unfortunate word renderings. Thus, what you or others here are implying by some word choices are not well defined or may mean things not meant in the original texts, for all I know.

According to the writers and commentators I have consulted, the “resurrection body” or biblical references to it in places like First Corinthians applies only to “the people of the Messiah,” – that is, to followers of Jesus – and these new or resurrection bodies will complete the creation that was fouled in the initial rebellion. They will be Spirit-created – not spiritual in the sense of not bodily or not physical – and whether that means enhanced DNA, as one post-er here suggested, or some other thing — interesting speculation, but only time will tell…and again, this refers only to “the people of the Messiah.”

As for Jesus’ resurrected form…again, I may be misunderstanding your wording here. As one archaeologist (not sure his religious perspective) the many explanations for the “empty tomb” of Jesus are “all based on nonsense” and the only viable explanation for it “is theological, i.e., the resurrection.” Now, again, what you mean by “not that He was making an effort to demonstrate He was physical in the sense of natural, otherwise why appear in the room without opening a door?” —the possibility also exists that both things are true – a physical body (in the sense by which we mean it – that is, we can touch it) which, because it was Spirit-powered or Spirit-created, is able to do things that the old corruptible body could not…When Jesus appeared to His disciples and they took hold of His feet and worshipped Him, this was a physical being with physical feet whom they were touching; when (Matthew 28:6) …“Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself. Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones…” (Luke 24:39)…“Do not hold onto me” (John 20:17 ) — statements which makes sense only if people actually WERE holding on to --touching – Him.

Beyond all that, I do not know what you are trying to say when you go on about ‘physical’ being ‘supernatural and spiritual’ and 'physical in the sense of body but not that He…was physical in the sense of natural…" This part sounds like making a distinction that may not have been at all in the mind or heart of the writers of the gospels or Corinthians.

(Mitchell W McKain) #251

That is just quoting Paul in 1 Cor 15. He addresses the question, “with what kind of body are we resurrected?” He replies that it is “not a physical body but a spiritual body,” though sometimes this is translated as “not a natural body but a spiritual body.” What this means is the question. But Paul discusses this at length and thus makes it pretty clear what He means. The physical body, he says, is perishable, weak, and made of the stuff of the earth like Adam. The spiritual body, he says, is imperishable, powerful, and made of the stuff of heaven like Jesus who was a life giving spirit. Beyond that I will go to the other passages in the Bible which makes it clear that resurrected Jesus was just as real and capable as any of us, though apparently a little more so since He could appear in a room without opening a door. I know some like to dodge this by saying Jesus is finally using His divine power, but I think this is inconsistent with the pattern of Jesus whole life. He never does stuff like that, and I don’t think the miracles are a counter example for two reasons. One is that Jesus attributes these miracles to the Father not Himself, and second is that Jesus is quite adamant that we will do even greater things (with the help of God, of course). Fully man and fully God doesn’t mean a super-being but that in Jesus, God has accepted all the limitations of being human. It is actually we who can do more than we think (with the help of God, of course), and this is a very important part of what Jesus has been trying to teach us throughout His ministry as he constantly teaches us that with faith we can move mountains. And again, one of the crucial parts of this is that God is not defined by power.

(Richard Wright) #252

Hello Mervin,

You said it yourself!

I don’t know how many times, Mervin, that I have to say that I believe in, and do, good works. They are part of how we deal with injustice, when people go out of their way to help someone they don’t know. Besides meeting a need, it gives hope to the people receiving the help that there’s something better in this world, and it glorifies God when his children are being like his son. It’s actually just as much for us as it is for the receivers. Yesterday a friend of mine, Marlon, a dad of 2 young children known for acts of service, preached to the church about that. It was challenging and convicting.

So we are called to do good works as part of our faith. But that’s different from saying that we are called to go out into the world to end injustice and oppression. Those exist because this world is disconnected from God, and that’s what Jesus came to end. A Christian is what we are, not only what we do. We clean the inside then help others clear their insides. That actually clears up a lot of oppression, when people have hope in their lives after being freed from their sin.

(Randy) #253

Great observation. The Bible and this thread seem to be a good place to demonstrate nobility of spirit–especially among the downtrodden. I remember in med school Bible study when a Black woman classmate pointed out that African American women are the most underprivileged of classes in the US; and it struck me like a thunderclap, to my shame, that I didn’t even ever realize it that way.

Yesterday, Jesus’ observation about the widow’s mite and his condemnation of the rich man for storing up money for himself (presumably in exclusion of others) also struck me. Anyway, thanks for starting that train of thought.

(Mitchell W McKain) #254

Yep this has been the bogus rhetoric in the previous centuries which effectively amounted to no more than a justification for injustice and oppression. But it is founded on a profound lie, that conversion to Christianity makes people any more ethical, just, or less oppressive than they were before. What we have from the last two centuries is a proof, for anyone who is even willing to consider evidence, which evidently many Christians are not willing to do, that conversion to Christianity does no such thing!

(Robin) #255

Thanks. I may even agree with you, although the subject is a bit technical…Have a good day…

(Robin) #256

Good thoughts, Richard…I would make a note that “we clean the insides” is exactly what we are incapable of doing…God uses frail and imperfect people…but we do need to be, as they say, “Jesus’ hands and feet” in this world…despite our own shortcomings.

(Robin) #257

Good thoughts, Richard

(Richard Wright) #258

Hello Mitchell,

What is the rhetoric? That the world is disconnected from God? That Jesus came to end that? That we clean our dishes and help others clean theirs? That by helping people become Christians it clears up a form of oppression?

Well, it helped me become more ethical! I regularly and blatantly lied. If someone becomes an authentic Christian, by repenting and being born again, they will have stopped doing any number of things, such as sexual immorality, lying, getting drunk and doing drugs, cheating on their taxes, swearing, being apart of violent gangs, etc. Are those people more ethical? Becoming more ethical is not the goal of Jesus Christ, but it’s certainly a natural consequence!

(Mitchell W McKain) #259

I believe you. I believe many religions help many people to become more ethical. But what history demonstrates is that Christianity does not solve the problem of injustice and oppression. For while it may help many become more ethical, others have no problem using Christianity for injustice and oppression. And as long as you teach that Christians are not called to oppose injustice and oppression then you are helping them.

(Randy) #260

This is very true. I have read of studies regarding conversions from one belief system to the other (atheist to Christian, Christian to Muslim, agnostic to Scientology) and it seems that the change itself is the thing. And I am a Christian.

Being ethical should be a result of being a Christian, but we should not be surprised if we misuse the label to do bad things, too. We all struggle!