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The Gospel Truth

(Note: When I started this blog site, I expected it to be mostly political and cultural but it has taken off in a theological direction. Mainly because the responses have been to those issues.
The American people have always been a "spiritually engaged people."
When I write about religion I am sharing the answers I have worked out for myself.  I make no claim that they are the "right" or only way.  You have to work that out for yourself. The following is a second letter to a religious Conservative who has politely asked me to explain my religious liberalism.)

 I have had a very busy week but finally some time to respond to your questions.  I can certainly appreciate that my paraphrasing of John 14: verse 6 is unrecognizable because it is an attempt to get around the “exclusivity” of Jesus as the only path to god which is what the literal words of the Gospel are saying.  I have come to believe that this “exclusivity” is how First Century people interpreted their experience of Jesus and his followers.  It is a natural human response.  “Our way is the right way.”    I found your phrase “how someone would profess to distrust the Gospels,” most interesting. I don’t distrust the Gospels.  I trust them profoundly.  I spend everyday of my life trying to live  up to their spirit and usually come up short. “Kyrie eleison.”  It is the spirit of the Gospels that grabs me, not the letters on the printed page.  Modern 21st Century people of the Western World have forgotten (if they ever even knew) that the Bible, both old and New Testament is Jewish story telling. It is part of the mythic rendering of truth not the scientific reporting of facts which is what the Western mind both secular and religious craves.  It was the faith of the Hebrew people that led them out of Egypt.  The parting of The Red Sea speaks of the power of God to lead them and is absolutely true in the telling of the story.  No, I do not believe for one minute that God violated the laws of physics  to get them out but that is how it felt to the slaves who escaped the Pharaohs’ army.  And they told that story over and over again for generations and we are still telling it.  It has inspired oppressed people through out history.
     Now let us fast forward.  The Greek intellectual tradition has matured into the modern Western Scientific spirit.  Something either happened and it is true or it didn’t happen and it isn’t true.  Through Christianity, The West adopted the sacred texts of the Jews including the writings surrounding Jesus as the basis of their spiritual life.   Suddenly there is a problem.  If it didn’t happen exactly as it is written, the Western mind says it it’s not true.  Now, we have what I find to be the great sin of both Islam and Christianity.  Worshiping the printed page.  Bibliolitry.  How many times in The Gospels do the parables of Jesus show the spirit of the law is higher then the letter of the law.
    I realize this doesn't address all of your question.  I do have some thoughts about the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity and I have not really told you "Why Jesus?"  But I'll try to get there.  In the meantime, have a spirit filled week."


Posted: April 17, 2005 ,   Modified: April 17, 2005

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