smart little kid
Yeah, and I remember how when my kids were small and being “dragged ” to church every Sunday morning, afterwards there would always be tension in the car on the way home, and there would be a fight over something trivial, and I would wonder what the “happy” Christian family was all about. We certainly didn’t experience it. But it took me years to figure out why, and how I wish now that I had had the guts to decipher those clues and free myself and my kids from the outcome of all the doctrination, so yes, your cartoon, David, makes a lot of sense to me.
If you’re in a church where they have a proper doctrine of sin…that being that we are ALL sinners, then people can let their guards down and be themselves…not be phony. And when everyone is who they really are, then you can relax and enjoy the worship and fellowship.
Who is happy in a Church where they lecture at you and tell you you are a sinner..ie bad person. Why so much talk of the negative? Why all the fear mongering? Why the squashing of individual critical thinking processes and expressions? I guess being a square peg I don’t fit into the round holes many churches try to cram me in. So yes, I can see why people would be happy and confident in their own homes and uncertain and tense in a church.
Everyone is a sinner. Isn’t refreshing to actually hear the truth about ourselves? And then hear that God loves and forgives us, anyway?
I think it is more than refreshing. It is renewing.
Well, the fact that people continue to leave the church suggests that the whole “you’re a sinner” thing isn’t really working out.
Not to be that guy, but the word “sinner” isn’t used towards Christians. The word “sinner” is quite synonymous with “ungodly”, so if you’re comfortable with calling yourself an ungodly Christian…well….I’ll leave it at that. Romans 6-8 packs a wallop when it comes to that. Also, Christians are referred to as saints. Our actions do not define our identity; a coin remains a coin if it is still lost; a sheep is still a sheep if it has run away.
That being said, this picture captures my childhood experience quite perfectly. That, and there was always constant fighting. :/
Simul Justus et Peccator– at the very same time sinner and saint, and completely, not just in portions. This is good stuff. Having all that out of the way, it leaves me and my brother and sister to become what we are. My path to him or her is always via Christ ( Bonhoeffer), thus we do not exercise personal pressure over him. As a whole family may get stressed getting somewhere together at the same time, they are just being real people. Church is a sanctuary from the phony.
For me this cartoon spoke about more than just who we call ‘sinner’ and why. It spoke to me about the way to function in the church, where intellectual robustness and individual interpretation is seen as suspect at best. We lost the dimension of participation that was so prevalent in the Jewish synagogues, where any male (at that time) could stand up, read a passage, and then give his own interpretation, often leading to intense debate. There was no single voice, single teacher, single perspective. It looks like the early church preserved this pattern, which later was thwarted by the imperial agenda for control. The church lots its most precious treasure in the process – diversity and dialogue.
Read ‘lost’, not ‘lots’ in the last sentence.
Indeed the cartoon has nothing to do with us being sinners. That is entirely a different subject altogether. I will address only the interpretative issues. While I promote and encourage intellectual robustness and critical thinking, individual interpretation (just for the sake of being individual–i.e. different) I do not. Individual interpretation, for the sake of diversity, in this sense, leads to pure chaos and pointless debates. Interpretation should be done by engaging in serious exegesis and hermeneutics. I speak about Bible interpretation. Whatever book of the Bible we speak of, it has an author who tried to communicate a truth in his writing. When it comes to Scriptures we should seek to understand that what the author meant and not what we like or want to understand. That is authorial intent. Do you think, for example, that Paul wrote what he wrote in order to promote individual interpretation, expression or diversity or intellectual art No! He had a single intent and we should seek to understand his intent, or the Bible and its religion will become meaningless. We should not worry about a single voice, single teaching, single perspective–that never existed and will never be possible. There is no such thing. Diversity and dialogue always existed even in a unified Catholic church. Reformation boosted diversity and dialogue to new dimensions. Imperial agenda for control!?…that is not only going to far but it is not the point. We should seek precision in interpretation not chaos!
There’s a lot to say on what you are talking about Romeo, but I don’t think this is the place a discussion on that. I actually disagree with you about the single intent, as that is not how Jews did theology, and Paul is a Jew, and Pharisee at that. And even if I agreed on a single intent of Paul, there is disagreement across the board about what exactly was that intent, and that disagreement fits with the way Jews did theology. To say that anyone can state what that intent was would imply a lack of hermeneutical humility. We keep forgetting where the apostles came from and how they worshipped, and impose a post Constantinian view of ‘church’ on the early church. This idea of a council formulating the single truth was Constantine’s idea, not the church fathers’. The Council of Jerusalem (in Acts) settled very basic issues only. The results of councils at the time of Constantine were often the slaughter and severe persecution of those who didn’t fall in line (Cyril being only one example, with his notorious purging of the Jews from Alexandria.) This is a part of church history we would rather ignore. But my connection with the cartoon was that in our obsession to find this single intent we have completely deskilled and discouraged people to share their views on the Biblical texts, and confined that to pseudo-specialists. Of course, during the time of Jesus it was normal, because all males over 14 would have known the whole of the Old Testament by heart (after Bet Midrash) and would have been taught how to interpret Scripture. We lost that dimension.
*I agree to disagree. But to continue our dialogue, I would like to respond to a few of your statements. It is true that Jews did theology somewhat different than we do today, but that is progression. However I would like to remind you that there was many ways Jews did theology and one of them is similar to what we call today literal interpretation. This method was not unknown to the Jews. Moreover, who says that we should do exactly what the Jews did. We have progressed and it is normal to do so. Our lifestyles are different than the Jews’ way of life, isn’t it?
*To move forward, I want to say that I know of such disagreement across the board No one pretends to know exactly what was that single intent in every situation, and neither do I. However that is the role of hermeneutics and exegesis and a host of other disciplines to help us discern what that intent was. And in many cases we have relatively succeeded. This is a good source of dialogue that leads to diversity.
*Regarding the councils and their formulations of doctrine there is much to say. However, to indict Constantine and the early historical Christianity in this way is at best simplistic, and in majority of cases betrays much ignorance of church factual history. Now I do know that you know much about church history but I would like to remind you that the Church formulated many of its doctrines, such as the Trinity, Jesus’ divinity, etc., by way of combating heresy. It is needless to say that may Church fathers, such as Origen, Augustine, etc., have also fought against heresy. This is how the formulations of the councils came about. In the early days many conflicting and false interpretations (the chaos I was talking about) arose and started to threat the church’s very existence. Without it is doubtful that we would even have a church today. I am not saying that the councils were perfect but they have done their best to preserve and assure continuity of the church.
*The Council of Jerusalem tried to settle different issues than the historical church councils. They were discussing Paul’s claims and his ways of doing “evangelization” so to speak. The did not tackle major doctrines of “The Way.”
*Yes I admit there were many bad things that happened, but we cannot blame entire Christianity or the Church so singularly. This is simply HUMAN. This has not much to do with the CHURCH as it has to do with HUMANITY. We do mistakes, even good people. And the Church had their errors that we are not retrospectively proud of. Oh well.
*I disagree with you that hermeneutics singularly deskilled people in doing theology like the apostles did. That is simply not factual. There are many things that contributed to such thing however. However, the fact is that people today are by enlarge unskilled and ignorant about interpreting Scriptures. You cannot expect them to engage in doing theology like the Jews who were trained in doing that from very early age.
*People can at best express their OPINIONS, and most of them are uneducated opinions. If we interpret Scripture this way will result in chaos and the Bible would loose any authority.
*However Daniel, hermeneutics and much scholarship never stopped people to state their views about anything. Actually, Reformation did encourage and promote diversity and dialogue. Diversity will always exist.
*By the way, what do you mean by “pseudo-specialists?”
I apologize for some unintentional grammatical and punctuation mistakes in the above comment.
Sorry, but I’m not going to answer you here. It’s off topic, and I would have to take a lot of time addressing statements you implied I said that I never actually said. There’s too much to say, and my time is limited. Let’s leave it at ‘I agree to disagree’. I liked that!