I've never read any scholarly research on my "take," but when you study the history of the movement it is ...sadly... exactly what occurred. In addition to what I just said, I've a strong feeling that the whole Jesus movement (for which we have Rev Moon to thank I think) began as a "way" to get back to the roots of Christianity....aka, the way.
Learning and understanding the significances of name changes like Paneas to Caesarea Philippi are enlightening. When I first heard of Herod's son renaming and moving the capital to near the Sea of Galilee from John D. Crossan, it made so much sense, brought so much meaning to Jesus ministry. The same goes to what is here for me to read this Sunday morning. Thank you for your scholarship and that of others which you bring to us in The Cottage.
I'm a social historian and as I studied how Christianity, a geographically regional and JEWISH movement, evolved, my take was that, as it became an institutional movement it moved further and further away from The Way (a communitarian movement) that Jesus lived and taught.
Wow, well said! I was talking with my best friend yesterday. He told me, "You are upset at the rampant greed and inequality you see in the world - that's why my disciple said, "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the father but is of the world. 1.John 2:16 So you see now how the world is so contrary to the Kingdom of Heaven where all is generosity, caring, giving and love."
Who do you say that I am? I have never seen Jesus as a warrior or a fighter, I have also never seen him as weak. Jesus strength comes in his refusal to sink to violence toward anyone most importantly the marginalized. Thank you prompting me answer Jesus’ question.
I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a pickle. I have been reading a number of books about the years immediately following Jesus’ death and how the stories/message of Jesus were passed around. The earliest written Christian (though they weren’t called Christians yet) material is from Paul and he told us very little about Jesus. Next come the canonical gospels but… They are based on stories that had been told, repeated, passed on for years. It seems virtually impossible that these stories are exactly the same as the original stories (stories can’t help but change in the telling) and probably include some that were less than historically accurate. So where is the real Jesus in all of this? Zealot, prophet, messiah, someone who expected to be the king of the Jewish nation, one of these, all of these to some extent? Is my understanding of Jesus’ message anywhere close to what it really was? I know how I answer ‘who do you think that I am?’. But have I just made an idol? At the moment, I just don’t know what to think.
...the apple inside the apple.
What a wonder-ful example (when I think about it, and the poem most certainly made me think about it) of the infinite promise inherent in nature.
The Caesarea Philippi Christians are turning so many people away from choosing to identify as being Christian. Many of people of faith are now identified as "nones" rather than Christians.
I love that Jesus taught his disciples- and us - an insight into the character of God that was so different from the God of the Old Testament, the God who instructed His anointed or chosen th kill their enemies, who punished people for disobeying Him. Jesus taught that God was a God of “nonviolence, abundance, generosity, compassion and inclusivity.” Growing up, a little girl who lost her mother to cancer when I was 8, a little girl whose religious instruction was memorizing the Baltimore Catechism, I knew nothing of this God. Imagine my delight in my late 30’s when I discovered Him! When I discovered that Jesus, through His life, death, and resurrection, came to reveal who God truly is.
And yet -- one of the first chapters of Acts has God striking two people dead because they lied about money they’d received from the sale of land and kept some for themselves. Swoosh! I’m swept right back to the Old Testament God and my trust issues pop up all over again,,,
I love that you mention small things in nature and how important they are. The smallest things in the forest are the microbes that eat dead wood. Even dead and broken trees are essential in the forest. I also love rocks. Between the rocks that used to be part of the bedrock to the trees decaying on the ground, we get the soft, fertile forest floor.
Following the way of Jesus does define lower case “religion.” Unfortunately, the Institution can house the Temple of Idolatry if humility, compassion and mercy are not followed there.
THIS: “Peter’s response, then, isn’t just checking off a theological box, but a declaration of commitment to the Way of Jesus, 👣 not just as a belief system, but as an actual WAY of bringing the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 👣 To call Jesus God’s Messiah/Christ, as Peter does here, isn’t just a claim about Jesus; it’s also a claim about God. For Jesus’s earliest followers this declaration was a way of affirming that Jesus’s message of ❤️nonviolence, 🥖🐟 abundance, 💞generosity, ☮️compassion, and ☯️inclusivity align with the very character of God.”
When I read your explanation of Caesarea Philippi I immediately thought of the Trump Tower sign in Manhattan or Las Vegas. The beacons to the zealots. Then, I saw the beautiful tiny shells Diana shared with us, reminding me of the shells my daughter and I would collect at the beaches in SoCal and I agree, “awe needn’t be big and dramatic...Jesus’s building plan included mustard seeds, yeast, pearls, lilies of the field...” And I know his building plan includes each one of us in our corner of the world, seeking a small nugget of inspiration to keep our Holy Spirit energized! Thank you, friends of The Cottage, for joining me on this field trip in my heart today.
Josh, thank you for your beautiful writing, it’s symbolism is great, especially coming on this anniversary of MLK standing on similar steps of power to call for equity and jobs.
A tale of two walks
There were hints of despair creeping in around the edges of the jellyfish walk. In high school I worked in a special needs recreation program, Camp Anchor, on Lido Beach, just east of Long Beach, west of the Robert Moses creation, the Jones Beach enclave. Major artery roads running north (to the Sound) and south (to the Atlantic beaches of Long Island) were built with bridges over the east/west major feeder roads (the inimitable Long Island alleged Expressway) set at a height too low to allow for the passage of busses from the City, to keep those folks confined to the swimming pools of NYC. Thank you, Robert Caro, for unearthing the motivating influences that formed our physical and social environment. Back to the beach - I well remember invasions of the jellies there that would render the sand unusable for recreation for a time before nature cleaned up. I've seen the same on Florida beaches on spring break vacations. There's a season, turn, turn, turn. I was sad for your lost time, but also sad because our hope was occluded in your description. Not a Pollyanna airhead refusal to see any darkness, that's not our hope. That's the recipe for complacency. Our hope is that God stands by the promises.
And so I was happy to see some shell talk today. You found the Bonaventurian fingerprints on the shells! You gained back the Kintsugian vision of a redeemed and repaired cosmos as you regarded the ashes renewed in beauty. You got recreated! Well done!
Would that all recreations have that effect! But we've turned that leisure (hat tip Joe Pieper) into vacated consumption, accurately described in 1983 cinema verite masterwork National Lampoon's Vacation. Walker Percent called it a bit differently in his portrayal of restless hearts, frustrated that our plans missed the mark so badly that we're left unfulfilled. There is nothing worse, mea culpa, than the feeling on the plane going home that somehow I missed out, left something important undone, that I wasted this valuable time.
I'd hazard a guess that between two walks there was a disconnect or at least a healthy distancing from media, social and news, and a reconnect with nature, God's original book of revealed truth, if Francis of Assisi and Francis of Buenos Aires are to be believed. Let's pray for those whose vacations this season were not recreations, and those whose lives don't allow for much of any Sabbath, that we can help bring them an inkling of the Kingdom coming . . . . and thanks for your inkling!
Diana I loved the pictures of the tiny shells and the view of the beach.
Strange, but thinking of what we can learn from small things it reminded me of my fascination with ANTS.
It is Amazing how they work singly, and also works as a group. I noticed how effective they were at achieving their mission of getting food to their Queen.
I thought this is a lesson for we humans and our leaders.
Sometimes I would stop my walk, and just watch to see how far some had go from their home, and impressed at their ability to carry a morsel three times their size. I was more impressed when a group was working together. I thought this would be great if we could get congress and church’s to do the same.
I have to admit this Bibical story reminded me how men in the future have used that statement “On this Rock.” to justify how only men such as the Pope and clergy began to use the power over who is saved and etc.
I am grateful much has changed, but I fear the power the Christian Nationalist have today.
When religion uses politics, that is oppression. Not only oppression of non-believers, but of other believers who do not support those interpretations. Not only do we need to look at the minute, but also at the bigger picture when we choose our path. Today's Evangelicals are looking at the small picture, making people follow God's laws, rather than the big picture that they are creating oppression. That is not love.