Thursday, April 02, 2009

fragmented jesus and self aware (loathing) christianity

I haven't written anything lately. I'm reading a couple books right now...actually, I'm reading three books right now, and they aren't related in any way other than the fact they are all about God. All three texts are ultimately leading me to the same ideas, reinforced over and over again, and aside from the occasional new perspective, I really haven't felt motivated to write about something which I have already beat to death in my past posts. It's somewhat fulfilling that the problems I have focused on in the past are seemingly being reaffirmed as I continue to read and wonder, although, it is a bummer that I'm essentially reaffirming the impossibility of Christianity. The impossibility is not based on "lack of evidence" or anything boring or collegiate like that, it is simply an honest concern. Kierkegaard mentions that Christianity is an "eternal process of becoming", and I take that to mean a lot of things, one of them being the idea that one can never become a Christian, one can only try eternally, to become one. I think Christianity should be like voting, one can only decide to become one after they are completely self-willed and independent of any coercion. I was baptized when I was 7 years old, or maybe I was 11, either way, now I'm 27 and might as well be 4 years old in relation to spirituality. I've considered copying words from journal to this blog, but I'm not going to...they aren't written in any form that is aimed at being read.

Honestly, my thoughts aren't organized (per usual) enough to make sense of what I want to say, nor are they very cohesive. Essentially, I've been milling over two things lately, they are only related through specific texts that in will not necessarily mean anything to anyone else. There is no soft way to mention this problem, essentially, I can't get away from the idea that self awareness in relation to God can never be completely bearable. At it's best, it is a nagging presence in your thought process, at it's worst, it's agonizing. (forgive my dramatic diction) I'll just say what I told a friend:

" christianity, if taken seriously, creates this division of the self. The body and soul that God created is mourned because of the sinful nature of huamanity. So, as a christian we are told to eradicate our very self (Matthew 16:24), in order to have his will fill the void. But his will is so enigmatic that we ultimately end up rationalizing our shortfalls in understanding. We bridge the gaps with our own human intellect (an intellect which is frowned up on because of the pride and humanistic tendencies it can harbor) and ultimately worship a God that is a product of our own idea of perfection that has been a mix of conditioning, "culturalization", convenience and possiblity."

So, that is a rough description of something I've been going over. The self aware christian can become a self loathing christian very quickly and it is completely understandable. I don't mean to point blame to "those" who are guilty of this. I believe we are all guilty of it. I feel inclined to continue on this topic, maybe try to make more sense of what I mean to those of you who might be reading, but I'm not going to. The "crisis" is self explanatory.

I referenced Matthew in the previous paragraph...Oh! The bible! I chose to believe Mark's version of Jesus rather than Luke's (in relation to their differing accounts of the crucifixion). I would love to take comfort in the Jesus depicted in Luke, but I feel like Mark's version paints a more honest and vulnerable Jesus, overwhelmed by love and confusion. I used to be able to take solace in John 3:16 or Ephesians 2:8, but then I read James 2:26. Let the semantics begin!! Please, I'm encouraging everyone to assuage my scrutiny pertaining to the "inerrancy" of the Bible. (that is a trick) No, I don't believe the bible is inerrant. In Mark, Jesus says that the end is near and that "this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened", so if the bible is inerrant, Jesus was wrong. I'm shooting my mouth off. So, please, tell me again that I'm reading this verse wrong, please tell me that I'm not taking into account the context in which these things were written. Tell me that I am supposed to pleasantly swallow Paul's advice in Phillippians 1:15-18, which I don't agree with at all. Jesus is fragmented, accounts of his life differ from book to book of the New Testament. This does nothing to challenge my belief that Jesus existed, but it does nothing to confirm his assumed "divinity" either, that is something that only faith can provide. The centuries that have passed between the life of Jesus and the modern era have effectively placed a blinding and deafening buffer on the cultural outrage of the "reality" of Jesus, if we are indeed to take the stories from the bible at face value. History has silenced him, owned him, softened him, and turned his life into a heroic legend rather than a short, misunderstood, lowly tragedy. I remember seeing mewithouyou in DC and when Aaron (the singer, for those of you who don't know) mentioned Jesus Christ, the crowd cheered and he quickly silenced them and asked why they were cheering...that makes sense to me.

How strange and difficult it is that humanity is God's most valued creation and at the same time his most vile offense. I am a valued creation and I am a vile offense.

Anyway.....hmm, anyway.

9 Comments:

Blogger systemreceiver said...

I like this...very well put.

1:51 PM

 
Blogger Jonny H said...

I think the only reason that the four gospels is not received by so many as the real eye witness accounts of Jesus Christ is because there are supernatural elements to the accounts. If there was never a mention of walking on water or the multiplying of bread, those gospels would be considered as one of the most reliable accounts of history ever written. The first copies were written only 30 years after the events, and Paul is considered by textual critics as a legit writer, having been an author outside of the bible's contents. But hey, no one can turn wine into water, so that means we can so now that it's not a true story and therefore can't trust any of it's accounts.

9:04 PM

 
Blogger David said...

I don't think it is the miracles that challenge the bible's accounts of Jesus' life, I think that people just question the accounts because of the variables that are inevitable when you consider the fact that these stories were translated orally from person to person, town to town. The literacy of the disciples is definitely in question based on where they came from and their class, etc, so when they were spreading their accounts and sharing what they had seen, it heavily relied upon a game of "telephone" that spans across expansive regions and generations. I've read that Jesus is mentioned in secular historical records very little when you consider the cultural impact he came to have. Actually, I read that mentions of a man called Jesus is mentioned like 2 or 3 times, that is all. I'm not a biblical scholar, but I'm just considering what I've read so far.

8:15 AM

 
Blogger billy said...

One thing I've learned that helps explain (or at least scratches the surface of) the differing Gospel accounts is the fact that they were written for different audiences (off the top of my head, I can't remember who). Different audiences would have been more attuned to certain parts of Jesus' ministry than others.

I totally agree that Christianity, in light of who Christ is, creates a fundamental division of who we are as humans. The new creation we become in Christ is constantly in the tension with our old broken sinful nature. In some ways, eternity is here and now, having been reconciled to God in Christ. Still, we daily struggle with brokenness, and we look toward eternity, and what we will become. It's a beautiful, yet perplexing tension.

9:42 PM

 
Blogger Jonny H said...

Actually David, according to textual critics we can be positive that the bible we have today is almost exactly the same as the earliest copies that were made around 60 A.D. It wasn't told orally from person to person, it was copied in writing.

11:00 PM

 
Blogger David said...

What textual critics should i read to find that? From what i've read that is not the case, so we can also be positive that within the world of historical-critical textual research, there are biases as well. Just as in the bible, there are text and verse to back up whatever point or agenda one wants to encourage. I am very skeptical when considering that the bible I read now is the exact thing that was originally transcribed from aramaic to greek text in early christianity, and so forth. And when you say the earliest copies of the Bible date back to 60 AD, are you referring to accounts that date back to 60 AD which were included in what became the Bible as we know it today?

7:09 AM

 
Blogger theUhers said...

You wrote:
" christianity, if taken seriously, creates this division of the self. The body and soul that God created is mourned because of the sinful nature of huamanity. So, as a christian we are told to eradicate our very self (Matthew 16:24), in order to have his will fill the void. But his will is so enigmatic that we ultimately end up rationalizing our shortfalls in understanding. We bridge the gaps with our own human intellect (an intellect which is frowned up on because of the pride and humanistic tendencies it can harbor) and ultimately worship a God that is a product of our own idea of perfection that has been a mix of conditioning, "culturalization", convenience and possiblity."

What?!
I suppose my first question is, what authority have you to decide what "we" do. What "we" think. How "we" feel?
Who is we?
Are you speaking on behalf of Christians? Really? C'mon Zach.

And who is frowning upon intellect? Who is this mysterious group of people? From whom do you need validation?

And dare I comment on your opening statement, "if taken seriously". Have you? Perhaps that is harsh, but it is an honest thought.

Division of self, dissect that please. What do you mean?
In response to what you wrote,I would beg to differ. Christianity, if taken seriously would do none of the above. Christianity is not a doing or earning or guilt ridden confusing thing that we try to achieve in life. Well, I guess unless we choose to keep it at that.
If anything, Christianity pieces together the fragments of self. It is an everlasting marriage of thought and beating heart and spirit and allows a love that is beyond.
I don't believe that "his will is so enigmatic that we ultimately end up rationalizing." I imagine he becomes enigmatic due to an all consuming addiction to rationalization.

Do you not rejoice that, in Christ, you are not left to your shortcomings? I have them. I can speak with certainty, that all mankind has shortcomings. Do you not rejoice that you cannot love God hard enough? Do you not rejoice that Truth does not hinge on your ability to love or attempts to earn love. Do you not rejoice at the Truth? You seem to take the Bible lightly, but what of Peter. Oh Peter who promised to follow Jesus to the end, but was told, that he would deny him. Did that denial condemn Him? No! Jesus knew what the heck was going down, despite Peter's 'undying devotion'. I am (a) Peter. I know I am.
Rejoice! Be glad that you don't have to know everything. Let go and rejoice.
-m

11:44 PM

 
Blogger David said...

my friend michelle everyone :-) her post drops hints that she may know me in one form or another! she does, and she took it to me.

10:48 AM

 
Blogger theUhers said...

my post bleeds with an unkindness that it was not intended to.
passion can ward off sensitivity and discretion.
so for that i am sorry.
i do value all that i read here. =)

12:31 PM

 

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