Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Radishes in the Bible

Topical Study or Word Study or...

Since I've wondered about my current topic, "Radishes in the Bible," ever since I heard an allusion to it somewhere at whatever time that was, I decided it's high time I posted something regarding Radishes in the Bible on Desert Spirits Fire, my theology place. So here goes!

Charlotte and the White Horse,© 1955, @copy; renewed 1983 by Ruth Krauss with Maurice Sendak's exquisite illustrations (published by HarperCollins), long has been one of my favorite books, the kind of book you read over and over again. As it describes the end of the rainy season, the poetic narrative says:
the wind and the rains are gone
the grass is coming out of the ground
the leaves are coming out of the trees
the people are coming out of doors
they are coming out of windows
they are coming out and planting radishes
the worms are coming out of the old apples—the time of my singing is come.
summer radishesUnlike my usual approach, I searched for "Radishes in the Bible" and radishes Bible – which yielded 66 hits, like the number of books in the Bible! But none of those was truly biblical, so it looks like I'm on my own (as usual). To begin, the root of radishes means root, meaning it's both a root veggie (that we already know from how it grows) and it must be very basic or fundamental, as in the mathematical concept of "radical," and in the sense a person, behavior, idea or action can be radical. So far quite good. Then, the seeds germinate very fast, yielding greenery in only a few days. I remember buying one of those cool kits kids like and that contained radish seeds and appropriately radish-y soil, a very fun thing since the sower (me – we're talking about "biblical," not?) could see results really fast. So how biblical is that? According to a couple of my recent posts and in-person discussions, being fast, doing things fast and things that are fast or act fast aren't particularly biblical at all, since I've been observing how our God tends to act slowly – at least when we humans want God to be a fast God – and since a thousand years is to God as a nanosecond is to us...insights I gleaned, BTW, from the online discussion of Water Buffalo Theology I participated in a while ago. Isn't "gleaned" an agricultural word?

From Beliefnet I get a daily Torah reading along with Jewish Wisdom, and for September 15th they called the Wisdom, "To be rooted," and the quote from Simone Weil says, "To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul." (from The Need for Roots found in A Treasury of Jewish Quotations, edited by Joseph L. Baron, Jason Aronson Inc.)

Enough for this time about Radishes in the Bible...

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Why One Way? 7


Why One Way? by John MacArthur

why one way coverHi again, everyone! And E, I totally agree with J about your being a most gracious and also a most supportive facilitator: knowing you is a pleasure!

First I'll respond to your asking why I don't affiliate more with more conservative Christians and say it is more them than it is me…I'd love more ecumenism vis-à-vis them and me, but they're the ones who consistently separate themselves.

M, I just got online and read your post and you've got it all right, alright! My friend and neighbor who's active at one of the large local metaphysical churches keeps telling me about "prosperity thinking" [theology??? I guess any worldview or lifestyle can become one's god-talk.] I'll try to comment further on your post at another time, but right now I have only a few minutes.

E, you wrote: "I have found in this world INTEGRITY is a quality one must constantly work at. But, I cannot think of a better quality knowing that someone's word is a bond." And God's Word is God's bond – amply and fully demonstrated in Jesus Christ!

Dr. Mac quotes Scripture in saying church leadership must be "above reproach…" as Paul points out, no one is righteous, no not one…but I agree with Dr. Mac (and with E, of course) not only church leadership but every Christian's gotta walk the talk.

In another passage E refers to Dr. Mac's asking, "But whose church is this? Is this your church to be used at your discretion, or is this Christ's church?" At Dr. Mac's church they "gather to worship God, to exalt Christ, and to hear the Word of God preached." E, your reference to Dr. Mac's pride is most telling!

"…a return to these six distinctives of Biblical Christianity…"

He says this is Christ's church, but Dr. Mac never even ever mentions the sacraments, not even a single time! How can any local church or church-body be fully biblical without a sacramental emphasis and lifestyle, without constant awareness of our baptism and of God's call to Eucharistic inclusivity?

To all participants and lurkers, a "God bless you all" and a big thank you from me, as well! This has challenged me and I've learned more of where I stand and I know our discussion participants better than I did.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Why One Way? 6


Why One Way? by John MacArthur

why one way coverHi, everyone…gosh, once again Dr. Mac so loses me! Again we need to ask, "What exactly is the Good Friday-Easter proclamation" Is it about a "personal relationship" (a concept not in Scripture) with Jesus as Personal Savior? Or isn't it rather the declaration of the end of the reign of death, the proclamation of the reality, primacy and ascendancy of the reign of life – "The Sovereignty of God," since someone on one of the other threads said "Reign of God" sounds exactly the same as "Rain of God!"

To quote a translation into English of Martin Luther's paraphrase of Psalm 46:

"That Word above all earthly powers
No thanks to them abideth
The Spirit and the gifts are ours…"
Continuing on this chapter's topic, I need to say both exclusivity – salvation only in the Christ event – and inclusivity – that the salvific Christ Event has a cosmic, totally all-encompassing scope and reach to all creation, whether or not the person or entity affirms Jesus as "personal savior" or publicly confesses the name of Jesus.

Nehemiah chapters 8 and 9 are wonderful, but we need to read them in historical context, and since that's available in a lot of places I won't go into it here. Here are the verses our facilitator mentioned:
Nehemiah 9:2: "And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners..."

2 Cor 6:14: "Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"

E also suggested:

2 Corinthians 11:4: "For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus from the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted…"
and then E, you questioned,

"How does they apply when we worship? Are those verses and example authoritative? Are we incompatible?" And, "May I ask respectfully those who would worship with other faiths if you love Jesus how can we not proclaim Him? Or why would "you deny Him before men." Or are you proclaiming Jesus but .... (fill in the blank)."

For me, ecumenical Christian services are simplicity in that regard, though most more doctrinally conservative Christians around here almost never associate with more liberal Christian types, since in general they don't consider people like me really Christian partly because of our not considering the Bible literally inerrant. So far as interfaith services go (and especially since 9/11/2001 we've had a bunch of those here in Paradise) if I have an opportunity to speak in public I always self-identify as Christian; when I'm not part of the leadership I don't say unless people ask. My point is there's only one true God so whoever worships God worships the one true God, and I'd be very uncomfortable with Satan worshipers, for example, but that's not the issue here?

Again Dr. Mac's doing Scripture as the "objective, authoritative truth of God," rather than Christ Jesus as the truth he proclaimed himself to be.

E, you closed with, "E loves Jesus, the ultimate TRUTH! Have a great Lord's day!" I'll echo with "Leah loves Jesus, the ultimate TRUTH!" And with "everyone have a great Lord's day," too! That's exactly what it's about – it's about the living Christ, and about the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to the extent that they reflect and proclaim Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Why One Way? 5


Why One Way? by John MacArthur

why one way coverThere were some things I really liked on the first couple of pages of chapter 5, so I'll mention those and then go on to express my dismay about what I really did NOT like further on in 5! First, together with E I like Dr. Mac's saying the authority of the Word of God is the authority of Godself, rather than of any office, calling, church body, or any other expression of the church. And I love his words, "To speak boldly and declare that God has spoken with finality is neither stylish nor politically correct." I also much appreciate his describing our decision as Christians as being "to accept Scripture and set its authority and ourselves against the rest of the world."

But as he continues, once again he's totally lost sight of the ambiguity, vulnerability and sometimes outright plain complexity of the manifestation of the Word the Good Book is. Again he uses the phrase "biblical Christianity!" Well, I totally believe my Christianity is "biblical" and becoming more so every day, but it's not much like what Dr. Mac's been talking about! I won't comment again on his saying "effeminate and powerless" in the same breath!

"False religion!" With M, I'm not sure how much more of this I can take, but I also know for a fact this kind of discussion and exploration is very good for opinionated "moi." I have no trouble whatsoever with the course description (BTW, from Claremont) that appalls him so. And I sure do need a large does of humility these days! I agree with M that God enjoyed everything about the picnic she described and I also believe (in all humility) God likes interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

Someone asked,
I guess the real question is — what constitutes an "other worldview?" is it Islam vs. Christianity or is it the teachings of Christ (mercy, humility, compassion) vs. the teachings of the materialistic, self-centered and self-interested world?
I think you're absolute correct in saying that's the "other worldview" we see in the life of Christ and in his teaching, so in closing and once again, I need to ask Dr. Mac, "where is the person and work of Jesus Christ in all of this?"