Living in the Tension
the Diatessaron was a gospel that was put together by a fellow named Tatian that was widely circulated in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Tatian put together the four gospels into one to create unity and provide us with one gospel. it was very seriously considered being canonized, but it was not. why not? why was it so important to have four different gospels? if this would have been an issue during the Enlightenment, would they have put four gospels in or put in Tatian's gospel? in today's postmodern project would we put in four gospels or would we put in Tatian's one gospel? this is not the only tension that we have in the writing and canonization of the gospels. the gospels were written a few hundred years before the councils at Nicea and Chalcedon which developed a Christology that have endured and been orthodox since that time. the tension is that the gospels do not have any clue of Jesus' divinity which was the biggest issue raised in the councils. what does this mean in the reading of the gospels that are in our canon?
i am thankful that our canon was formed prior to the enlightenment project because i fear that reductionism and scientific reason would have put Tatian's gospel (or something similar) in the canon and we would not have four different voices. in my mind this means, based on God's timing, that it is important to have four different voices, which should be a glimmer of hope for those of us that are comfortable with a postmodern worldview. i'm also thankful that, based on God's timing, that our canon was not left up to postmodernists too. if it were left up to us, we would probably have a lot more than four gospels.
so how do we read the gospels? should we read the gospels with our Nicene and Chalcedonian glasses on? or should we take those glasses off when we read them? this is a tough question for me because i've been taught for so long that historical criticism is of utmost importance in reading the biblical texts. however i'm beginning to read more about a new kind of reading of texts. paul ricoeur and a.k.m. adam are two people that are influencing my understanding of how to read texts. it seems to me that we need a post-historical criticism reading of the gospels and the scriptures as a whole.
two questions: what do you think of this? and what would a new reading look like? i'm extremely busy, but i hope to write more about this soon.
according to dr. warren carter, paul's understanding of salvation is that it is a future event. so he uses phrases like "into salvation" (Rom. 1.16) or "will be saved" (Rom 5.9). some questions this all raises for me. is jesus necessary for salvation? how can the hebrew bible speak of salvation and we christians just ignore that? what about paul saying "were saved" (Rom. 8.24)? sounds like it is a past event. what exactly is salvation? i'm positive it has nothing to do with my soul going to heaven. i'm fairly comfortable with how we are saved, but not so much with what exactly it is.
hey, kansas city emergent people... there will be a discussion of the christianity today article "the emergent mystique" at youthfront. afterward we'll be heading to mccoys in westport for drinks and further conversation. so come being familiar with the article and open to discovering what emergent is and where it is heading.
accomodation & resistance
today i'm wondering about living life as a christian in my context of the u.s.a. this morning i read in the hebrew scriptures and the apocrypha about jewish folks who were spread out over the ancient near east either in exile or as a result of exile. the stories of daniel, maccabees, tobit, judith illuminate the idea of resistance. they all refused to eat food that would be unclean and the lord seemed to honor that. in romans then paul speaks to the church about what practices to incorporate into their lives, and which ones not to accomodate. mostly what paul says is to be tolerant of other believers convictions. it has caused me to reflect a little more about what things i can accomodate and what things should i resist in terms of living in a postmodern world. i've accomodated technology, beer, cigars, and dropping the "f" bomb when it is useful to the conversation. i have resisted the no-carb diet, getting people saved, wearing girl pants, and being republican (or democrat for that matter).
of course this will get hairy with really important issues like homosexuality, practicing other religions, stem cell research, nanotechnology, and the list could go on and on. this has really hit home a little bit more because marie had a conversation with a coworker last week at the pub house (a nazarene christian publishing place). the conversation was about the emergent church and they got onto reinterpretting scripture and some basic theological questions. he ended their time with the question, "So, how do we stay set apart (holy)?" in this post-modern world. in some ways this is the question daniel and others dealt with as they were living in a gentile world. the difference would be that they didn't have practices to make them holy. they already knew they were holy. holiness was something god did, not them. that is a presuppostion that some would disagree with. so what is it that sets us apart? is it by resisting certain practices? is it by accomodating certain practices? is there something else? and should that (whatever makes us set apart) cause us to accomodate or resist anything in our current world?
last night was interesting
even though i didn't vote for a major party candidate, last night was interesting. my local favorite radio station 96.5 The Buzz, was broadcasting live hoping to have a Kerry party. it was funny listening to them bitch and moan about how things went, especially in Missouri. although, i didn't really care much who won (because i don't feel either are good options) i was excited and tense about the whole process. it brought me up out of a bit of depression that i was feeling after yesterday. i am so overwhelmed with stuff to do and caused me to hit a wall yesterday. then as marie and i were getting ready to hit the hay (or should i say feathers?) someone showed up at our door needing a ride home. her home was a good 20 min. drive into kansas city. she said some guys wanted to have sex with her and she wouldn't so they kicked her out and wouldn't take her back home. she didn't really want us to take her home, but we did and she seemed appreciative. i wonder in the back of my mind, if her story was true or if it was a sad story to get people to help her. either way, i felt like we did the right thing, even though that means a heavier eyes today. well, i've got a paper due in the morning that i need to start on!