Continue a reading of John Smith’s Jesus and the Empowering Influence of Friendship
Last Tuesday we discussed Chap 3 The way of the historical Jesus in John Smith’s thought provoking book. Here are a few key points:
P 55 John says ‘I don’t want to hear so much what they think the parable means, but more importantly how it makes them feel.’ However, we thought that head and heart were just as important here.
P 57 We need to stop looking for the intervention of a Messianic figure and realise that the power to change the world lies within us.
P 59-60 If the kingdom of God is within you, then God comes to visibility in your relationships with others.
P 60 Jesus did not practise ‘passive resistance’ but ‘active non-violent resistance’. I mentioned the Jason Porterfield book Fight like Jesus: How Jesus waged peace throughout Holy Week which develops the theme of active non-violent resistance.
P 61 ‘Jesus states six times that a person’s healing comes from the sacred energy that resides within . . .’ Wendy commented that in her chiropractor’s rooms is this statement ’The power that made the body heals the body.’
P 63 . . . the spirit of the sacred energy we call God will be revealed in the way we care for each other.
P 65 . . . compassion is the most outstanding unifying force among the world’s religions.
P 69 John says ‘We have a wonderful ability to block out those portions of scripture that challenge our prejudices and would prompt us to action outside our comfort zone.’ For example Matthew 5:40 ‘And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.’
Nancy related the story of how her husband Rob came home one day with a strange very dirty shirt on. He had met a down-and-out person in the park who was going for a job interview and didn’t have a clean shirt, so Rob offered to swap shirts. Good on you, Rob!
P 69 John says ‘The Uniting Church in Australia . . . raises social justice issues but the dilemma has always been how we can get this message across to congregations.’ Margaret, the convenor of our Social Justice Group, says she could certainly identify with that comment.
P 79-80 . . . when Jesus says to this woman (who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume Matthew 26:6-13) ‘Your faith has saved you’, he is saying ‘by your contrition and humble act of loving kindness, you have revealed that the spirit of God is with you.’
P 83 We need to explore the God Jesus knew before Christianity clothed him in religious language.
P 85 . . . we find Jesus in everyone we meet. I noted the wonderful Namaste greeting ‘The divine in me sees the divine in you.’
P 90 Wendy shared something she read: ‘Love is like the sun. We cannot look directly at it, but we see our world because of it and experience its many life-sustaining functions.’
P 92 John continues his theme of social justice: Our current response to asylum seekers and refugees should give us great cause for concern as people of faith.
P 101 Jesus . . . never encouraged people to let God take over their lives and their decisions, as do many modern right wing Evangelists.
P 103 Jesus himself denies the ‘Atonement’ in the parable of the ‘prodigal Son’ which illustrates God as a forgiving and loving Father when he welcomes back his erring son. Jesus thus condemns christian orthodoxy (the idea that a loving God should sacrifice his son).
P 103 John finishes the chapter by quoting Bishop Spong: ‘Go into the world and become involved, reach out to other people in love and seek out evidence of the spiritual energy we know as God in every circumstance, in every person.’
Because we missed a week, we will meet next Tuesday 25 April to discuss Chapters 4, 5 and 6. All are welcome.