Forget the Poor — Anoint Me

by Bill Noorlander

beggarI have a confession to make. I went Catholic Mass on Palm Sunday. Lest anyone think the spirit has moved me, I went because I lost a bet with one of my non-believing brethren.

I took my medicine like a man, and dutifully sat through the service. Truthfully, I spent most of the service wondering things like: “How can this huge building not be taxed?” and “Some of the greatest classical music was written for the Catholic mass, why don’t American Catholics use it?”

“The Poor You Will Always Have With You”

Then through the fog of my own reason I heard the priest read the following from the Gospel of Mark:

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.

She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Now this caught my attention: the “people” wanted to sell expensive perfume in order to feed the poor, and Jesus thought it was a better idea to anoint his body with it?!

What Would Jesus Do?

When asking WWJD, aren’t we all suppose to believe that he loves the poor and wants to help them? Yet here he is basically telling the poor to take a hike because his body needs to be properly anointed. Did Jesus really need that perfume?

Doesn’t seem like Jesus acted very Jesusy here.

But what about this “the poor you will always have with you” stuff? Isn’t Jesus part of the three in one all powerful creator God? Doesn’t that mean he can “poof” the poor away in an instant if he wants to? Why doesn’t he?

If Jesus is all powerful, the poor exist because he wants them to exist. Doesn’t seem very worthy of worship.

If Jesus is incapable of raising the poor from poverty, he isn’t all powerful. Doesn’t seem very God-like.

Either way, I’m not putting on my “Sunday best” to go worship him.

Bill Noorlander is a lawyer in Milwaukee, where he live with his wife and four kids. He blogs at Bill Post.

  • Steven Carr

    ‘Simon the Leper’

    Not the nicest name to be known by

    Of course, after he met Jesus, he was known as Simon-still-the-Leper.

    People used to point him out as somebody miraculously not healed by Jesus.

    ‘Tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”’

    Of course, Mark couldn’t be bothered to tell anybody her name. That would be sharing the limelight.

  • Flea

    Two questions.

    A minor one: How did the magic man justify the action of Jesus?

    And a major one, “I went because I lost a bet with one of my non-believing brethren”: Can you give details please?

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    1. There was no explanation, just a reading. I wasn’t raised catholic (I was raised presbyterian), and this was a big difference in the services I grew up with. The mass didn’t include a “sermon” as I remember it.

    2. It was work related. I can’t discuss the details, but basically I thought one thing would happen he thought another. We bet on it, and the loser had to take his family to palm sunday mass.

  • http://www.sindri79.blog.is Sindri Guðjónsson

    When I was a Christian, I used the fact that Jesus had said: “The poor you will always have with you”, as an argument against socialism (but only when I was talking to bible Christians, since it is not an argument for those that didn’t believe the same way I did). Jesus said that poverty could not be eradicated, so stay conservative! (btw I am still a fiscal conservative (or perhaps a moderate) when it comes to politics)

  • Billybee

    And Jebus said: “Give your goodies to ME !!”.

  • Sunny Day

    “But what about this “the poor you will always have with you” stuff? Isn’t Jesus part of the three in one all powerful creator God? Doesn’t that mean he can “poof” the poor away in an instant if he wants to? Why doesn’t he?”

    That’s because some theists paint god as both all powerful and also a pitiable creature trapped by the circumstances of its own existence. (example below) Yah, it doesn’t make any sense to me either. But when you start

    ****************************************
    “You assume that the law of God is arbitrary, that God could choose to make the law be whatever He wanted it to be.

    God could no more make the moral law in a different way than he could make the laws of mathematics a different way. All of these abstract laws are an expression of His nature and character.

    God’s character is the basis for good attitudes. God’s actions are the basis for good behavior. God’s character and morality cannot change because His being cannot change.

    God’s knowledge is the basis for the laws of logic, and by consequence the laws of mathematics. He cannot learn or forget. His knowledge is unchanging, and everything He knows must fit together into a coherent account. Logic helps us spot inconsistencies in our own views, the places where our knowledge does not fit together coherently.

    God could not make the laws of morality or the laws of logic differently than what they are. God, being who He is, must create as an expression of Himself.

    Things being what they are, the laws of morality cannot be any different. We know this intuitively whether we admit it or not. We know some things are right and some things are wrong. That is the way the universe works. We know it full well.”
    *********************

    Yah, it doesn’t make any sense to me either. But when you start from a conclusion and work backwards from there you get to manufacture all kinds of nonsense. But working backwards from the problem allows you to check your answers. LOL

    The theist I spoke to admits this.

    “My mathematics textbook in high school contained the correct answers to many of the practice problems. Having the answers allowed me to check my work. I still had to solve the problem using good logic and math. skills in order to get any benefit. I didn’t just write down the answers that were given and take them on faith.

    The point is that the justification may be accurate even if I do work backwards. What matters is the logic and truth of the argument itself.”

  • http://www.slim-blondje.com/eng Pascalle

    I actually think Jebus had a point there.

    Think of the timing of the “whining” of his diciples.
    The jar was already broken and he was already drenched in the stuff.

    What was he supposed to say? Poof back in the bottle infidel perfume?

    I don’t believe in god, but i do think that jesus has walked the earth. Human man jesus.. who could make up amazing stories and had his own view on morality and what he hoped would happen soon (the coming of the kingdom of god). But none of that god spirit jebus all in one crap that can wave a magic finger.

    I imagine what i would say.. if someone drenched me in expensive perfume and my friends (who know i’m on welfare) would say.. OMG.. such a pitty that chick put the stuff on you we could have sold it.

    I would see it as a gift as well and thank the chick. If i had known before hand, i would have stopped her and make better use of the money.. but that wasn’t the case.. was it?
    It had already been done.

    Case of “you can’t turn back what has been done so you better be grateful for it”.
    And _that_ i think is indeed a very good way of viewing it.

  • reformedfred

    I like Bill’s observation about why isn’t this place (the church he visited) taxed. I am currently in a huge debate with a group of folks about this same issue given the economy the way it is, especially in my home state. To not tax (I’m speaking specificaly of property tax) is to be given a government subsidy, and that should fly in the face of separation of church and state. It fries my ass that our libraries are closing, our teachers are getting laid off, my kids’ college tuitions are going up 28%, and yet there are over 30 elaborately built (bordering decadent) churches w/i a 5 mile radius of my home. We’re talking churches with gyms, coffee shops, indoor pools and all the other hotel ammenities that Jesus wants his followers to have access to. The folks on the other side of this debate try and make the claim that these churches do so much for the community. So what? I do too but I still pay my freakin’ taxes. ‘Render unto Caesar’, I say and stop the proliferation of consumer-driven-christianity.

  • Alexis

    The poor will be with you always. This passage was often cited by Mother (on the fast track to sainthood) Theresa. This helped her justify the millions in unspent donations she had at the time of her death.

  • brgulker

    No offense intended, but I think you’re missing the forest for the trees here.

    I’ll take my best stab to explain why.

    One of the thematic elements of the Gospel of Mark is that the disciples (who would have been included in “those present” from this passage) continually misunderstand the message of Jesus. Moreover, it becomes clear throughout the narrative that the disciples often take or suggest action to try to impress Jesus, not because they have understood the ultimate message of his teaching.

    When set in that thematic context, it is entirely appropriate to understand the comments of “those present” as an attempt to impress Jesus, not necessarily out of genuine concern for the poor.

    Also, in Mark, the disciples fail to discern Jesus’ identity time and again, and this is yet another example of that failure. The woman, on the other hand, recognizes Jesus and his importance and responds with a valuable gift.

    Hence the statement about the poor, which really isn’t about the poor at all; rather, it’s about Jesus himself and is meant to emphasize how short his time will be, thus foreshadowing his death.

    Moreover, it’s not as if Jesus asks for this. A woman approaches him with a gift that she pours on him of her own volition. For your argument to work, you have to assume that Jesus should have stopped her? That seems silly. Why should he?

    When asking WWJD, aren’t we all suppose to believe that he loves the poor and wants to help them? Yet here he is basically telling the poor to take a hike because his body needs to be properly anointed. Did Jesus really need that perfume?

    You’re wrong about the first part. I could raise the argument that you’re prooftexting, which you are. I could point you to parable upon parable in which Jesus speaks about money, greed, and poverty.

    But ultimately, I don’t think your argument works because you’ve ignored the literary context and have consequently put the emphasis on the wrong syllable. The point of this short story is not that Jesus disregards the poor. The point is that a woman recognized Jesus when his own disciples did not and responded with a sacrificial gift to him. The response from the disciples should not be recognized as authentic, given their history in the narrative of Mark, so Jesus does not validate it in his response. Instead, he points out the woman’s recognition of who he is, which the disciples repeatedly miss.

    That’s the point of this short story.

    If you want to dispute the point of the text, please feel free. I’m assuming you would say something like Jesus was wrong about himself and so was this woman for anointing his body and that the disciples were actually right, in spite of their suspicious intentions. That’s fine by me, because you’re actually engaging the text on its own terms.

    But, don’t contort an isolated story from a larger literary context to make a point that’s not there.

  • Kevin

    brgulker

    I give you this from a chistoher hitchens article on Mother Theresa

    “She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility? “

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Blessed are the humble.

  • Shelly

    As to Mother Theresa, I’ve read she refused to give dying patients pain medications. That alone makes her deserving of contempt.

  • claidheamh mor

    I was always puzzled by this story. Never took it as a lesson or an admonishment to be socialist or anything else, just a puzzling story. (Well, maybe an admonishment against overpopulation.) It always left me thinking (as much as I hate it, and whatever we do to help), “It looks like it’s factual that poverty and the poor will always be around.” A story someone wrote around a kernel of depressing but so-far-inescapable fact.

  • Mark D

    Without the poor, who would full up the churches?

    “Ken’s Guide to the Bible” by Ken Smith lists many of Jesus’s other selfish behaviors.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Jesus loves the poor SO MUCH, he wants them to remain that way. In fact, he insists it.

  • Kevin

    “I obviously wasn’t as clear as I should have been.

    I was trying to demonstrate that the “inconsistency” that was sited in the OP could be explained (not explained away) when set in its literary context”

    Christians only talk about context when they need to deflect from a simple truth: That the bible advocates positions that are morally indefensible. In this scripture, Jesus stated very clearly what his priorities were when it came to choosing between the poor and his own vanity

  • dr.R.

    Lest anyone think the spirit has moved me, I went because I lost a bet with one of my non-believing brethren.

    There, that should learn you not to bet. Luckily for you it was not Pascal’s wager that you lost.

    “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

    The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.

    Maybe this is why the church has always wanted to build such huge and expensive buildings in the first place: “donate your money for our new cathedral to honour Jebus! Forget about the poor – you can always help them later!”

  • Mau de Katt

    Hmm… regardless of the hermeneutical and contextual arguments presented on the supporting side, it’s highly likely that the writer of The Gospel of John had the same problem with that text. In his version of the tale (John 12:1-8), it wasn’t some or all of The Twelve who griped about the waste, it was ~Judas~ (by the time of this last gospel’s writing, already well-established as a villain), and he was griping not because the money could have gone to the poor instead of on Jesus’ bod, but because he had a habit of filching from the group’s money bag. So the criticism in the argument was changed into an anti-hypocrisy one rather than one of not recognizing Jesus for who he was and what was about to happen to him.

  • http://zayzayem.wordpress.com zayzayem

    I always thought JC was more trying to calm down his chauvanistic buddies from using a poor excuse to go beat up a woman who thought she was doing something right.

    You can’t exactly un-break a bottle of perfume after its been poured over your head.

  • Slurm

    “Of course, Mark couldn’t be bothered to tell anybody her name. That would be sharing the limelight”

    lol, should be renamed “Book of that poor chick who’s name escapes me”

  • Roger

    All your salvation are belong to us.

  • Slurm

    ROFL

  • Slurm

    Only thing…I’m curous if the translation is off because it says “she broke the jar…yadda yadda” Did she purposely break it to pour it on him, or was it an accident like you suggest?

    *shrug*

    all I know is I snicker when I read, “made of pure nard”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I don’t believe in god, but i do think that jesus has walked the earth. Human man jesus.. who could make up amazing stories and had his own view on morality and what he hoped would happen soon (the coming of the kingdom of god). But none of that god spirit jebus all in one crap that can wave a magic finger.

    Magic stuff aside, I do not believe that all the parables and moral teachings in the Gospels came from one person. They just don’t seem to all hang together with a common philosophy. It seems more like a collection of proverbs that got added to from various sources.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “The jar was already broken and he was already drenched in the stuff.”

    1. If he’s god I assume he could have avoided the jar being broken in the first place.

    2. If he can’t stop the breaking he can turn to the disciples and say something like:

    “Hey this lady was just trying to do something nice for me, go easy on her. But you know what, you guys are right about the poor. I mean I’ve been walking around the middle east telling people about how much I care about poverty and it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. As a last gift to humanity before I go up to sit at the right hand of the father I’m going to eliminate poverty. But you guys really should work on being nicer when people do something nice.”

    That would be one way to go.

  • brgulker

    It’s unfortunate that you have such an incomplete picture of Mother Theresa.

    If you knew more about her and her work, you would never make such an absurd claim.

  • brgulker

    Magic stuff aside, I do not believe that all the parables and moral teachings in the Gospels came from one person. They just don’t seem to all hang together with a common philosophy. It seems more like a collection of proverbs that got added to from various sources.

    The problem with your argument is that you’re assuming a man like Jesus in his socio-cultural-historical context would have cared about having a unified philosophical worldview.

    I don’t have any doubt that the majority of the words attributed to Jesus actually originated with him. Are they exact quotes? Maybe some of them are. But more likely, people who followed Jesus passed them down via oral tradition and some writings until they were eventually compiled as the Gospels.

    For example, take the Sermon on the Mount. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jesus did not get up and deliver that sermon word for word. However, when set in its literary context, it becomes clear that whoever authored Matthew understood that the teachings contained in the Sermon on the Mount were some of the most important and should be put together.

    That disjointedness that you rightly discern can be just as easily attributed to that type of ancient editing as it can be to the content coming from multiple sources.

    Obviously, there’s plenty of room for debate and skepticism about that, but given the evidence, it’s fair to conclude that the source for many of the sayings of Jesus in the Gospels is the human Jesus. It’s also a fair conclusion to disagree with me, because there is evidence against my position as well.

  • Marley

    No, I don’t think any contortion took place. We’re shifting the emphasis of the story to how jesus is supposed to be sacrificial in nature, but he insists that this perfume be poured on his body instead of sold to help the poor.
    Why does god incarnate need perfume?

    Jesus is always performing miracles. Why doesn’t he perform one here and do something for the poor?

    Instead, he comes up with some ridiculous cop-out: The poor will always be with you, but I’m only here for a little while. Well, jesus is the one who decided to come to earth as a servant instead of a king, right? This post is just highlighting one of the many inconsistencies in the biblical account of jesus’s behavior and the bible as a whole.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “When set in that thematic context, it is entirely appropriate to understand the comments of “those present” as an attempt to impress Jesus, not necessarily out of genuine concern for the poor.”

    My response is – Who cares? Whether they are doing it to impress jesus or out of genuine concern, if jesus really cares about the poor he should side with them regardless of the lesson he wants to teach the disciples.

    He could just as easily eliminate poverty and then take the disciples aside and say: “Hey I know you are trying to impress me, and you really should work on you motives.”

    “For your argument to work, you have to assume that Jesus should have stopped her? That seems silly. Why should he?”

    My point is not that he should have stopped her – although if he is indeed god he should be able to – but that the lesson he teaches from this is contrary to carrying for the poor. He tells those present: “Hey it’s cool, I’m more important the the poor today because the poor will always be here anyway.”

    “The point of this short story is not that Jesus disregards the poor.”

    This is a matter of interpretation. Once again we are left with a story from the supposedly inerant book of god, which reasonable people can argue about.

    I think my interpretation is just as – probably more – reasonable than yours.

    Beyond this – you fail to address the fact that an all powerful god could eliminate poverty if he wanted to. either he doesn’t want to, or he can’t.

  • Marley

    I think we all know as much about mother teresa as we need to. From Penn & Teller, not the most unbiased source, but I think its something you should see brgulker.

  • Alexis

    I went out to learn more. This is just a fraction of what I found:

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1655415,00.html
    http://www.slate.com/id/2090083/
    Christopher Hitchens:
    MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?

    http://www.mukto-mona.com/Articles/mother_teresa/sanal_ed.htm
    Mother Teresa has collected many, many millions (some say: billions) of Dollars in the name of India’s paupers (and many, many more in the name of paupers in the other “gutters” of the world). Where did all this money go? It is surely not used to improve the lot of those, for whom it was meant. The nuns would hand out some bowls of soup to them and offer shelter and care to some of the sick and suffering. The richest order in the world is not very generous, as it wants to teach them the charm of poverty. “The suffering of the poor is something very beautiful and the world is being very much helped by the nobility of this example of misery and suffering,” said Mother Teresa. Do we have to be grateful for this lecture of an eccentric billionaire?

    Mother Teresa did not serve the poor in Calcutta, she served the rich in the West. She helped them to overcome their bad conscience by taking billions of Dollars from them. Some of her donors were dictators and criminals, who tried to white wash their dirty vests. Mother Teresa revered them for a price. Most of her supporters, however, were honest people with good intentions and a warm heart, who fall for the illusion that the “Saint of the Gutter” was there to wipe away all tears and end all misery and undo all injustice in the world. Those in love with an illusion often refuse to see reality.

  • ThisGodlessEndeavor

    I think what you said makes a lot of sense…but on the same token I have a hard time believing any “direct quote” from Jesus is actually a quote considering all the authors of the bible wrote their gospels 60-100 years after he died.

    60 years (plus another 30 for the years he was living) seems like an awful long time to believe the message and the words and the sentence structure stayed in tact so that we can still read them as “the words of Jesus.”

  • Karleigh

    I knew something didn’t seem right with her. Where is this quoted from, I’d like to read more about it?

  • ThisGodlessEndeavor

    Its definitley a tricky situation because I imagine there are hundreds of thousands of small churches and temples and mosques (sp?) here in America that only have a handful of (maybe 25-100) members. So they can’t possibly generate enough income to pay taxes. And while I personally find any and all denominations of the big 3 religions silly and stupid, I can’t rationalize putting these small congregations out of business because they are entitled to their right to practice and shutting them down because they can’t pay taxes also seems to violate seperationg of church and state.

    Perhaps there can be some sort of profit line where if the church/temple/mosque is making X amount of dollars annually then they now must pay taxes.

  • brgulker

    I obviously wasn’t as clear as I should have been.

    I was trying to demonstrate that the “inconsistency” that was sited in the OP could be explained (not explained away) when set in its literary context. This story is about foreshadowing the death of Jesus primarily. Secondarily, it is another example of Jesus’ disciples missing the point.

    I’m not just pulling this out of my hat, either. Just google thematic elements of mark or disciples in mark or messianic secret in mark, and you’ll see that there’s a whole lot of scholarship and research concerning these points.

    ================

    It’s interesting to me that all the posts that have to do with the Bible that I’ve read on this site employ the same flawed hermeneutics as fundamentalists. People take a story, verse, or statement, ignore its literary context and then extract it from that context, assume that the only meaning it could have is the literal, face-value meaning, and then use that text to prove their point.

    That effectively demonstrates the problems that fundamentalists have, don’t get me wrong.

    And that method can make Jesus into a hypocrite.

    What irritates me, however, is that this site is posited on rational thinking and weighing all the evidence … except when it comes to the bible.

    I’m not arguing that the bible is perfect or even that it’s God’s Word. And I’m not arguing that Jesus was always consistent. I am arguing, however, that the “inconsistency” cited here doesn’t make him a hypocrite (which is the point of the post, I think) because the perceived inconsistency can be accounted for if Mark is taken as a piece of literature and analyzed as such.

  • Hans

    Wait, your family had to suffer through sunday mass because of a bet *you* lost?

  • Roger

    Sounds like Original Sin: the Aftermath to me. ;-)

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Let’s just say they thought the bet was hysterical until I was getting them ready for church.

  • rodneyAnonymous

    She also repeatedly said that abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace in the world. Nice.

  • DarkMatter

    There are others who rebelled against Jesus by preaching the delusional prosperity gospel to enrich themselves.

  • etrine

    well said.
    I agree, If we are basing our discourse on rational thinking and weighing all the evidence then it should be played all the way out.

  • Margaret

    I don’t know where that quote came from, but there is quite a bit on the subject of Mother Teresa’s lies & hypocrisy in “Mother Teresa The Final Verdict” (by Aroup Chatterjee). The book is available on-line (text only, no photos) at http://www.meteorbooks.com/.

    What little I’ve read so far was eye-opening.

  • etrine

    I think we could all agree that we all need to do a better job of researching the literary/historical context for all texts…

    The dispute here is not Jesus’ apparent “priorities” in this passage, but the reasoning behind this apparent priority.

    Thus, it seems that there are two options after encountering the text: 1. Take it at face value and draw a conclusion. 2. Research the literary/historical context and draw a conclusion.

    As brgulker points out, choosing number 1 often produces poor results, and rarely moves the conversation forward. As he says, it a major problem with fundamentalist Christians as well.

  • Nick DLP

    O.J. killed his wife, but let’s put it in context guys…

  • etrine

    Not the best example, but I’ll go with it:

    OJ killed his wife = what actually happened.
    Jesus chose to accept the perfume from the lady and disregard the poor = what actually happened.

    It’s not until we investigate the greater context that we can understand why “what actually happened” happened.

    Putting it into context does not excuse the action, it merely gives us a window into the “why” of the action. What’s behind it? Why would Jesus do this? Why would OJ kill his wife? WWJD? WWOJD?

    Actually, Nick, that’s Genius!!! We should make a tshirt with the face of O.J. Simpson, with a line underneath that says WWOJD?

    Hopefully, context should serve to expose meaning, not excuse actions.

  • reformedfred

    Exactly! In fact, there are some states that have churches pay taxes if they own more than like an acre of land ( I think ND is like this, or was). The parking lots of most churches nowadays are bigger than that! The last church that I worked at needed $11,000 per week to meet budget. However, they often took in upwards of $17,000 a week in tithes and offerings. There’s something about this that is so not “non-profit” that it stinks. Too many churches are raking in big bucks, and shelling out very little to the communities that they supposedly serve. Self-serving is more like it.

  • Nick DLP

    “talk about context when they need to deflect”
    yes

    “Putting it into context does not excuse the action”
    thank you

  • http://www.pinksy.co.uk/ Pinksy

    @etrine So what is the context? You’ve not said. Maybe I’ll understand it better if I get the context as you say, but I’m struggling to find a context that puts any better spin on it.

  • Framtonm

    Not to mention that a lot (most) of Jesus’ parables would have come through the Silk Route from India. They all read very similar to the earlier parables of the Buddha. Given the trading between India and the Middle east, Jesus must have heard the stories brought into Palestine by the traders from the east.

  • vorjack

    “Not to mention that a lot (most) of Jesus’ parables would have come through the Silk Route from India”

    There’s no reason to go that route. The sayings of Jesus fit within the context of 1st century Palestine. Most of the saying resemble those of the liberal Pharisees, such as the school of Hillel. Even the questions he was called upon to answer were typical of the Pharisees.

    So there’s no reason to assume a cultural connection between Christianity and Buddhism. There could have been one, but it’s more likely that Jesus was simply a product of his time and place.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    So God is powerless over himself?

    Doesn’t sound “omnipotent” to me. Does that mean he’s neve gonna quit smoking?

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Wait – So all those weeks in church when the pastor told me god is all powerful and can do anything, he was lying?!

    God is actually subject to the same laws as everyone else? That just sounds like a really powerful person.

  • Sunny Day

    Yah, it sounds like hes describing god as if it was some kind of universal constant like the mass of an electron or proton. Then goes off on a tangent talking about a personal relationship with it.


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