Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bad Week, Bright Spot

When it rains it pours. I spent last week in bed with a fever and chills and bronchitis. Then my Powerbook's hard disk died, with years of un-backed-up files, photos, and art. This event made me return to bed for several hours. I just could not cope.

A large expense is on the horizon in the form of a new computer. (And I so wanted to go to Sweden!) Meanwhile, I don't have internet access -- I'm typing this from Kinko's -- so if you don't hear from me for awhile, that's why.

A bright spot was the chance to hear Marcus Borg this morning, preaching at University Congregational. His topic was the Lord's Prayer. There is so much to share, but at 30 cents a minute, I'll limit myself to this: "Abba" in Aramaic is the intimate word for Father: like "papa." Why did Jesus teach us to ask Abba for his kingdom to come, here on earth? What does that mean? Note that the prayer doesn't ask for eternal life or for the power to believe. Borg thinks this is significant.

Okay, friends, talk away!

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update, Free. I thought maybe you went to Sweden a little early!

    Sorry about your bad week--I hope you feel better soon. And I think there's nothing worse than that sinking feeling of realizing how many files are sitting on a harddrive that won't work. It would be nice if the files could be extracted somehow. {:-o

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  2. Free...

    Sorry about the computer and certainly the files. I had to replace mine two weeks ago with the same problem... wouldn't boot to Windows. At any rate I reluctantly got one with Vista as the OS and am currently replacing software (perhaps this was the time to switch to MAC). Comp USA or any competent PC consultant can extract old files from even an inoperable hard drive and I would suggest that you try this. I hope this helps.

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  3. Hoo boy, free2bme, you have chosen a controversial topic in the history of modern Christianity, Jesus's use of the words "Kingdom of God." These words have been intrepreted in nearly countless ways. One of the finest studies of the historical context of these words that I have read is Michael Grant's "Jesus: A Historian's Review of the Gospels." Grant is a superb historian of ancient times and a fine writer, lucid and informative. One of the greatest mysteries of history, of course, is how the life and teachings of an obscure Jewish Rabbi inspired the world religion we know and, from our perspective, brought about the Finnish Apostolic movements more than a dozen centuries later. Trying to remain committed to the common principles of historical investigation, Grant examines the life of Jesus without the usual spiritual trappings that we find in studies from believers. He argues well for the plausible opinion that Jesus's ministry was based on the belief that the Kingdom of God -- the end of the world as we know it -- was at hand. Grant believed that this phrase expressed the the sure belief (he was betting his life on the idea, after all) that something like we find described in the book of "Revelation" was going to happen any day during Jesus's life -- or shortly thereafter. Grant thinks that Jesus thought that the Jews, or at least the elect of the Jews, would be liberated from oppression, the unjust Gentiles would be punished, and God would rule on earth in some powerful form. Grant speculates that Jesus went knowingly to his death to further the imminent apocalypse and the coming of the Kingdom. Now, this is, as most of you realize without knowing the details, a very controversial view, one in fact that most Evangelicals and Fundamentalists consider close to blasphemy. But I think it offers a better account of the historical evidence than most other views of this phrase. In most Evangelical churches, the phrase is believed to be Jesus's announcement of the wholly spiritual kingdom to be innaugurated shortly after his defeat of Satan and propitiation of the wrath of God against human sin in his death on the cross. Yet the whole creation still awaits its liberation from its bondage to decay, as Paul some time later revealed (see "The Epistle to the Romans"). My opinion is that Grant is probably much closer to the facts about Jesus, that Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth. But every person has to make her own decisions about such difficult matters, and she just has to do the best she can in the face of controversy that will never cease. For a debate about what this phrase means could last as long as Christianity has lasted so far. As frustrating as it can be, as agonizing as it can sometimes be, we're all stuck with making these tough intellectual and spirtual choices for ourselves. This is what the Apostolic pastors of our youths sought to protect us from and prevent us from doing: from having to bother with thinking about these tough matters and to just accept what they told us was true.

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  4. Ben, this is interesting;

    "Grant thinks that Jesus thought that the Jews, or at least the elect of the Jews, would be liberated from oppression, the unjust Gentiles would be punished, and God would rule on earth in some powerful form. Grant speculates that Jesus went knowingly to his death to further the imminent apocalypse and the coming of the Kingdom."

    I would put forth this: that what Grant is saying was indeed Jesus' motivation. A spiritual kingdom was established. Luke 17:20-21 "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." The second chapter of Ephesians also speaks of this.

    I did a quick search for 'kingdom of God is within you' and up came references to Tolstoy on Christian anarchism.

    Oy, so much to read and so little time :-/

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  5. Hope you are feeling better, Free!

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  6. We have been worried about our laptop and even burned out our cd burner trying to copy files so as not to lose them. I keep hearing about things to motivate me to continue the process... Now I just need to do it :p So sorry Free, hope everyone feels better soon, and things work out well in the end.

    Im so often confused as to why "new found historal artifacts" and "other opinions/theories" of history are so often met with an uproar from Christians. I dont understand why so many seem to interpret so much as a threat. Evolution, Jesus' marital status, thoughts of revelations timeline etc. For me, it doesnt really change anything for me today. Im still here, I still have choices to make, I still have to decide what to believe... I can still only do what I can do... Jesus' message is still the same for me. Its fascinating, but not faith altering. Strange for me.

    "In most Evangelical churches, the phrase is believed to be Jesus's announcement of the wholly spiritual kingdom to be innaugurated shortly after his defeat of Satan and propitiation of the wrath of God against human sin in his death on the cross. Yet the whole creation still awaits its liberation from its bondage to decay, as Paul some time later revealed (see "The Epistle to the Romans").

    Kind of reminds me of a topic from another thread: Jesus did his job, but many of are still trying to do the same job for him... I will definately have to read study; any suggestions on where to start looking for it?

    Thanks

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  7. sorry, how does it do that? Im probably impatiantly hitting the post button twice...

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  8. We have been worried about our laptop and even burned out our cd burner trying to copy files so as not to lose them. I keep hearing about things to motivate me to continue the process... Now I just need to do it :p So sorry Free, hope everyone feels better soon, and things work out well in the end.

    Im so often confused as to why "new found historal artifacts" and "other opinions/theories" of history are so often met with an uproar from Christians. I dont understand why so many seem to interpret so much as a threat. Evolution, Jesus' marital status, thoughts of revelations timeline etc. For me, it doesnt really change anything for me today. Im still here, I still have choices to make, I still have to decide what to believe... I can still only do what I can do... Jesus' message is still the same for me. Its fascinating, but not faith altering. Strange for me.

    "In most Evangelical churches, the phrase is believed to be Jesus's announcement of the wholly spiritual kingdom to be innaugurated shortly after his defeat of Satan and propitiation of the wrath of God against human sin in his death on the cross. Yet the whole creation still awaits its liberation from its bondage to decay, as Paul some time later revealed (see "The Epistle to the Romans").

    Kind of reminds me of a topic from another thread: Jesus did his job, but many of are still trying to do the same job for him... I will definately have to read study; any suggestions on where to start looking for it?

    Thanks

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  9. I recommend getting a large external hard drive and doing a backup to that. Most of them come with a decent backup solution. I have one at home and it works nice.

    The way i see it is Christians are the kingdom on earth, for if we are saved is there any difference in God's eyes if we are on earth or in heaven? We are his...end of story. I dont think there is anything pointing to a spiritual kingdom to come on earth or anything.

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  10. I agree that the kingdom of God is within us. We see it in our hearts.
    I agree hp3, like the finding recently, that claims they have found Jesus tomb. Doesn't change my faith any. I don't think they can really prove it. And if it were, per say, really Jesus bones, I can say it was his spirit that went into heaven. His teachings are still the same, his love is still the same.

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  11. I stumbled on this site after researching lars on the net. I am not sure if this is where I post but I thought I would start here.

    I left the IALC 7 years ago at the age of 28. I was raised in it and my immediate family is still active. But I am not sure if it is as controlling as possibly other laestadian groups.

    Maybe someone can enlighten me there.

    I have had no issues thus far other than it is strange when my family mentions they can't do something with me because of church. I do miss out on babtism's of nieces and nephews and I am sure funerals will be akward but life isn't supposed to easy.

    I admit it is difficult but I am not sure it is any more difficult than leaving any another religion.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the IALC? LMK.

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  12. saved by grace3/01/2007 09:25:00 PM

    Hi Rebel,

    Welcome.

    I'm not from there myself...I'm from the LLC originally, but I'm sure if you hang around for a bit, you will find other from the IALC.

    Where are there IALC churches (which states)?

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  13. LLLreader sez: The IALC has it's largest congreation in Minneapolis Minnesota. There are congregations in Duluth Minnesota, Kenosha Wisconson, and Ishpeming Michigan. There are about 3000 members. The Pollarites have had many splits. (Oh, those cantanktrous Finns!)

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  14. stranger in a strange land3/02/2007 09:55:00 AM

    Hi Rebel,

    We are close to the same age, so I probably know you. I have a brother and a sister closer to your age. I can give you some historical information on the IALC and how its the same and how its different from other Laestadian-derived congregations. I have done a little bit of research. I believe you're right--there are not as much social consequences of leaving as the other LLL churches have. My brother, about your age, left a bit before you but when he is in town, he often comes just to see old friends and family and such. But I think sometimes there is awkwardness on both sides. I still go after a lot of soul-searching and weighing the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving. I have difficulty with the concept some have on the area of exclusivism. I have never been able to wrap my head or heart around that notion, no matter how hard I have tried. I don't see how anyone can judge the mind of God. I will continue to BELIEVE Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, because that is all the Bible requires of me, not to place emphasis on who will be in heaven with me, if I can indeed make it there.

    If you want to connect with me, contact the blog owner. There is one other fellow who comes on here sometimes.

    I hope it gets easier for you to adjust. It took my brother a while. I know my mom would really like him to come back, she worries about him, but I try to reassure her that we cannot judge the condition of his soul and that pressuring him to return might only cause him to turn further away from his family, who love him dearly, and we don't want to give him a reason to separate himself from us. Our job is to love him and support him.

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  15. Hello, I have been reading this site for a couple of weeks now and am wondering why the OALC and the ALC split.
    Thnaks, MC

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  16. There are some errors in this, but pretty good info.

    www.me.mtu.edu/~mahepoko/disputes/disputes-main.htm

    Should help with split info

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  17. Rebel--

    Welcome. I am also a former IALC member, a few years younger than you, who recently found the site. From what I've gathered so far it seems that other branches of Laestadianism are indeed a bit harsher when it comes to leaving the group. All the same, my experiences since leaving haven't been so hot either.

    My extended family is pretty much all involved in the group, and the awkwardness you mention is something I can identify with. I was just asking in the previous post's comments about rejoicing/liikutuksia, since I'd done some research in that area in college...and it was also something that, once I started questioning, kind of creeped me out.

    Also, Mr. Smith, thanks for that link! It was a longer version of the sort of project I attempted in college, but much more complete (although also in places obviously biased). The name Matt Reed is definitely one that I am familiar with from the 1960s split, but this is the first time I have seen anyone write about it.

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  18. "Everybody wants to save my soul,
    but nobody wants to help Mom do
    the dishes !"

    Paraphrasing-P.J.ORourke

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  19. Troll, are you sure that P.J. O'Rourke wasn't ALC? Truer and funnier words have seldom been spoken!

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  20. "Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

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