Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"The Temptations of Jesus" video

Here's the video Colten Ivans and Stephen Chafi  (and friends) made for "The Temptations of Jesus"\assignment, filmed right here on campus (including the rooftop of East Hall, to represent the top of the temple...yes, they got permission):

Monday, November 15, 2010

12/2: Tickle's Rummage Sales and Course Summary

Today,  we'll watch the video under #3 below,  For the final, become familiar with Phyllis Tickle'shttp://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dJ81AALsvDg/S89Ki_0XolI/AAAAAAAADiY/e63Cih3TO2U/s1600/rummage-sale-postponed.jpg basic message in "The Great Emergence" book,

particularly about the "Great" Rummage Sales of history,
and be prepared to discuss implications for church today:

  • 1)What is Tickle's basic message?
  • 2)What are the  pivotal events of the 4 Great Rummage Sales?
  • 3)What happens with the "mesh sleeve" around each sale?
  • 4)With each Rummage Sale, the question "Where now is the authority?" comes to the surface, as well as related questions.  What are two of the related questions in this current Rummage Sale, and how should the church address them (See:  the Vimeo video, beginning at 41 min. mark, as well as  pages         )?
  • 5)Each Rummage Sale so far has been followed by violence.  How are we particularly vulnerable in this current one?  (See  42 min. mark till end of Vimeo video, see last five minutes of "New Rose" video, read this )  How does the Mennonite tradition bring a unique positioning to respond (See Kraybill and this )?
  • 6)How do you respond to this interpretative grid of history?



1)Here are several summaries and book reviews:
a)"Rooted in the observation that massive transitions in the church happen about every 500 years, Phyllis Tickle shows readers that we live in such a time right now. She compares the Great Emergence to other "Greats" in the history of Christianity, including the Great Transformation (when God walked among us), the time of Gregory the Great, the Great Schism, and the Great Reformation.

Combining history, a look at the causes of social upheaval, and current events, The Great Emergence shows readers what the Great Emergence in church and culture is, how it came to be, and where it is going. Anyone who is interested in the future of the church in America, no matter what their personal affiliation, will find this book a fascinating exploration."
-Baker Books promo for "The Great Emergence"

b)Summaries and reviews of the book
by Katherine Moody here (excerpt below):

The Reformation was about five hundred years ago. Five hundred before that you hit the Great Schism. Five hundred more was the fall of Rome and the beginning ofmonasticism. Five hundred before that you hit the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, and five hundred before that was the end of the age of judges and the beginning of the dynasty." 
She argues that three things happen during these times of change:
i. new Christainity emerges as reaction to the dominant form of Christianity
ii. dominant Christianity is reconstituted as a response
iii. both forms lead to the spread and growth of Christianity

Rick Diamond here; Via here; Terry Mattingly here;
an interview with Tickle on the book here.

2)Early version of the book, summarized in an article:
Excerpt of the book, particularly about  Rummage Sales here.
3) "The New Rose: video:
(click here, if not viewable directly below)

4)Vimeo Video: "The Great Emergence" (note, you'll have to let the whole video download..a few minutes...before you can fast forward to desired sections):

Phyllis Tickle - The Great Emergence from Recycle Your Faith on Vimeo.

5)Adapted excerpt of the book (published in Sojourners) below:

Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer, an Anglican bishop known for his wit as well as his wisdom, famously observes from time to time that the only way to understand what is currently happening to us as 21st-century Christians in North America is first to understand that about every 500 years the church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale. And, he goes on to say, we are living in and through one of those 500-year sales.

While the bishop may be using a bit of humor to make a point, his is nonetheless a deadly serious and exquisitely accurate point. Any usable discussion of the Great Emergence and what is happening in Christianity today must commence with a discussion of history. Only history can expose the patterns and confluences of the past in such a way as to help us identify the patterns and flow of our own times and occupy them more faithfully.

The first pattern we must consider as relevant to the Great Emer gence is Bishop Dyer’s rummage sale, which, as a pattern, is not only foundational to our understanding but also psychologically very reassuring for most of us. That is, as Bishop Dyer observes, about every 500 years the empowered structures of institutionalized Christianity, whatever they may be at that time, become an intolerable carapace, or hard shell, that must be shattered in order that renewal and new growth may occur. When that mighty upheaval happens, history shows us, there are always at least three consistent results or corollary events.

First, a new, more vital form of Christianity does indeed emerge. Second, the organized expression of Christianity that up until then had been the dominant one is reconstituted into a more pure and less ossified expression of its former self. As a result of this usually energetic but rarely benign process, the church actually ends up with two new creatures where once there had been only one. That is, in the course of birthing a brand-new expression of its faith and praxis, the church also gains a grand refurbishment of the older one.

The third result is of equal, if not greater, significance. Every time the incrustations of an overly established Christianity have been broken open, the faith has spread—and been spread—dramatically into new geographic and demographic areas, thereby increasing exponentially the range and depth of Christianity’s reach as a result of its time of unease and distress. Thus, for example, the birth of Protestantism not only established a new, powerful way of being Christian, but it also forced Roman Catholicism to make changes in its own structures and praxis. As a result of both those changes, Christianity was spread over far more of the earth’s territories than had ever been true in the past.

OVER THE COURSE of previous hinge times, the church has always been sucked along in the same ideational currents as has the culture in general, especially in matters of governance. The result has been that, at any given time, the political structure of one has always been reflected in and/or exercised influence upon the organizational structures of the other.

Gregory the Great, in wrapping up the chaos of the 6th century, created a church run by monasteries and convents, a system that was in every way analogous to the manors and small fiefdoms of Europe’s Dark Ages. The Roman Church, in emerging from the Great Schism, positioned the exercise and definition of authority in a single position, the papacy, and the council of appointed cardinals surrounding that throne. As a pattern, it was a religious expression of the system of kings and lords growing up in the centuries of pre-Reformation culture.

The Reformation, with its shift to the democratic theology of the priesthood of all believers and its insistence on literacy for the sake of sola scriptura, created a governance exercised by elected leaders subject, in theory anyway, to the will of the people whom they served. Modern Pro testant bodies reflect this flow of authority for the same reason that America itself does. Both are products of the same stimuli and circumstances. Given all of that, what logically can be expected of the Great Emergence, especially in terms of authority in religion?

When one asks an emergent Christian where ultimate authority lies, he or she will sometimes choose to say either “in scripture” or “in the community.” More often though, he or she will run the two together and respond, “in scripture and the community.” At first blush, this may seem like no more than a thoughtless or futile effort to make two old opposites cohabit in one new theology, but that does not appear to be what is happening here. What is happening is something much closer to what mathematicians and physicists call network theory.

That is, a vital whole—the church—is not really a “thing” or entity so much as it is a network in exactly the same way that the Internet or the World Wide Web or, for that matter, gene regulatory and metabolic networks are not “things” or entities. Like them and from the point of view of an emergent, the church is a self-organizing system of relations, symmetrical or otherwise, between innumerable member-parts that themselves form subsets of relations within their smaller networks, in interlacing levels of complexity.

The end result of this understanding of dynamic structure is the realization that no one of the member parts or connecting networks has the whole or entire “truth” of anything, either as such and/or when independent of the others. Each is only a single working piece of what is evolving and is sustainable so long as the interconnectivity of the whole remains intact. No one of the member parts or their hubs has the whole truth as a possession or as its domain. This conceptualization is not just theory. Rather, it has a name: crowd-sourcing, and crowd-sourcing differs from democracy far more substantially than one might at first suspect. It differs in that it employs total egalitarianism, a respect for the worth of the hoi polloi that even pure democracy never had, and a complete indifference to capitalism as a virtue or to individualism as a godly circumstance.

The duty, challenge, joy, and excitement of the church and for the Christians who compose her, then, is in discovering what it means to believe that the kingdom of God is within one and in understanding that one is thereby a pulsating, vibrating bit in a much grander network. Neither established human authority nor scholarly or priestly discernment alone can lead, because, being human, both are trapped in space/time and thereby prevented from a perspective of total understanding. Rather, it is how the message runs back and forth, over and about, the hubs of the network that it is tried and amended and tempered into wisdom and right action for effecting God’s will.  -Phyllis Tickle


11/30: The Third Question

We'll be posting here some pictures of the amazing results of today's project.

Like Kristen's:

BONUS: If you have--or have access to--any old magazines, bring them to class today.
(Prizes given to all who do)

11/23: Planting Churches

We'll be posting here some photos from our church planting efforts today (Remember, there'll  be a question on the final related to today's session, click "final" tab at top)
If you have time before class, take a look at the folling texts, and make a list of characteristics/DNA of the early church/community
(CLICK EACH TO READ, listen to, or download audio)

PS: Guess how many times the word "pastor" shows up in the New Testament...then click here to see. 
Surprised by that result?  Make it a plural.  How about "pastors" (plural)?
Here are all the uses of the word "church" in the New Testament


UPDATE: Here (on Facebook, feel free to tag yourself and comment over there) are the photos of the awesome churches you designed today..

Happy Thanksgiving
(and do let the turkey in this photo know if
you have no place to go
on Thursday..we would
love to have you over for a meal)


 HERE is one more alternative assignment to the final:

Write a   6-8 page "Three Worlds" paper on the "temple tantrum" of  Matthew 21: 12-17.
Consider the context of the rest of the chapter, especially focusing on the entrance into Jerusalem and the cursing of the fig tree.  What do these episodes have to do with the temple tantrum?  How does the rest of the chapter relate thematically and  literarily to the temple tantrum?
Do you note any chiasm, inclusio, intercalation, or other literary devices?  If so, what help do these offer in interpreting this passage for our contemporary world.

How do the other gospel writers tell the same story differently (compare here)  What do you make of the differences?  Note the context that each writer places the story into.

What does a study of the "historical world" background reveal?
Include insights from three or four sources, such as the Bible Background Comemntary, Matthew Green's Commentary,  IVP Commentary here,  Keener's   Commentary on Matthew ,
Keener's more "historical world"
Commentary on Matthew....others listed on right hand sidebar.

Incorporate insights from Kraybill's "The Upside Down Kingdom" (see chapters 1, 3, and 8..especially chapter 8's "Fumigating the Temple" section).  Use some information from the links on the 12/14 class session post here,  Here  and  here  are some Vander Lann teachings on the temple courts.m You are welcome to include other insights from class and your own reserach

Conclude the last two pages or so of your paper summarizing your conclusions as to what the passage means in our contemporary world, and  suggesting practical applications of the text for today.  What does the passage mean for individual Christians?  What might churches learn from this passage?

.Also, if you have a passion for a research paper (related to a 
topic from class, maybe a passage from Matthew you'd like to study in depth) you might like to do as an alternative, let me know so I can consider approving it.


11:18: Who is Jesus?/What is Church? responses

You all know Danny Bartlett, who sits in the front row?

Well, as you may have heard, he used to front a band, Thirteen Arrows. Here he is, live at the Whiskey a Go Go..,..before, as he says "Jesus broke up the band":


Post  your responses/thoughts to our "Who Is Jesus" roundtable discussion, and Rabbi Adam Bernay's  presentation here
below in the "comments" section..

I will link all of our guests to this page, so they can chime in here:

The rabbi (his congregation, his music, , his  book  and radio show download...note: ADAM I CAN"T FIND THE FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD, CAN YOU POST IT BELOW?

Marta Escarcega  (Fresno House of Prayer, her blog)

 Mike Rinaldi  (Here's the website he recommended) 
I know some of you wanted to ask follow-up questions of Rabbi Adam, you can do so below..

(Oh, the videos of Danny Bartlett and his band are here.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

11/16: Rabbi and Talmidim: 3 resources

Note: this appears to be the episode of "House" that Julia mentioned in class..the one with the Jesus and the Romans reference...will see if she can let us know the time reference (you can posts in the comments section below if you find it);


As we move from the first question ("Who is Jesus?") to the second ("What is Church?),"
well define several words that all relate to the word, all of which suggest that, in a word, "church" is PEOPLE
(church as people, not place):
  • -"Polis"-Latin word from Roman Empire for 'city-state,' a bounded set of citizens
  • -Qa'hal-Hebrew word for-"group of people gathered or assembled"
  • Synagogue-Greek word for Jewish gathering, "gathered with or togeter"
  • -Ekklesia-Greek, New Testament word , which often translates qahal,  the central word for church, "a called-out people"

So what kind of people?


which brings us to today's topic:

Today, we'll watch parts of episodes 1 and 2 from "Volume 6: Dust of the Rabbi" from the "Faith Lessons"  series (videos not online, but info here....and below). 


1)See  the Vander Laan slideshow here, clicking the tabs on the top..interesting information about synagogue, rabbi, and talmidim..For example,  "These disciples were usually in their teens when they began to follow a rabbi, and most of Jesus' disciples were probably fifteen years old or younger."


2)"Rabbi and Talmidim," by Ray Vander Laan:

The people of Galilee were the most religious Jews in the world in the time of Jesus. This is quite contrary to the common view that the Galileans were simple, uneducated peasants from an isolated area. This perspective is probably due to the comments made in the Bible, which appear to belittle people from this area. At the Shavuoth feast in the book of Acts for example, the people seem amazed that the Galileans were capable of speaking in other languages. But this is certainly a bias against Galileans by the people of Judea and other countries due to the very strong and passionate religious commitments of the people of Galilee. Besides, the Galileans had more interaction with the world living on the "way of the sea" (the trade route, see Matt. 4:15) than the Jews of Jerusalem who were more isolated in the mountains. The Galilean people were actually more educated in the Bible and its application than most Jews. More famous Jewish teachers come from Galilee than anywhere else in the world. They were known for their great reverence for Scripture and the passionate desire to be faithful to it. This translated into vibrant religious communities, devoted to strong families, their country, whose synagogues echoed the debate and discussions about keeping the Torah. They resisted the pagan influences of Hellenism far more than did their Judean counterparts. When the great revolt against the pagan Romans and their collaborators (66-74 AD) finally occurred, it began among the Galileans.

Jesus was born, grew up, and spent his ministry among people who knew Scripture by memory, who debated its application with enthusiasm, and who loved God with all their hearts, all their souls and all their might (Deut. 6:5). God prepared this environment carefully so that Jesus would have exactly the context he needed to present his message of Malchut Shemayim="the kingdom of heaven" and his followers would understand and join his new movement. He fit his world perfectly. Understanding this helps to understand the great faith and courage of his followers who left Galilee and went to the whole world to bring the good news. Their courage, their message, the methods they used, and their complete devotion to God and his Word were born in the religious communities in the Galilee.

                      Education in Galilee
The Mishnah(1) describes the educational process for a young Jewish boy in Jesus? time.
At five years old [one is fit] for the Scripture, at ten years the Mishnah (oral Torah, interpretations) at thirteen for the fulfilling of the commandments, at fifteen the Talmud (making Rabbinic interpretations), at eighteen the bride-chamber, at twenty pursuing a vocation, at thirty for authority (able to teach others)
This clearly describes the exceptional student, for very few would become teachers but indicates the centrality of Scripture in the education in Galilee. It is interesting to compare Jesus' life to this description. Though little is stated about his childhood we know that he ?grew in wisdom? as a boy (Luke 2:52) and that he reached the ?fulfilling of the commandments? indicated by ones first Passover at age twelve (Luke 2:41). He then learned a trade (Matt. 13:55, Mark 6:3) and spent time with John the Baptist (Luke 3:21; John 3:22?26) and began his ministry at ?about thirty? (Luke 3:23). This parallels the Mishnah description quite closely. It certainly demands a closer look at the education process in Galilee.

Schools were associated with the local synagogue in first century Galilee. Apparently each community would hire a teacher (respectfully called ?rabbi?) for the school. While this teacher was responsible for the education of the village he had no special authority in the synagogue itself. Children began their study at age 4-5 in Beth Sefer (elementary school). Most scholars believe both boys and girls attended the class in the synagogue. The teaching focused primarily on the Torah, emphasizing both reading and writing Scripture. Large portions were memorized and it is likely that many students knew the entire Torah by memory by the time this level of education was finished. At this point most students (and certainly the girls) stayed at home to help with the family and in the case of boys to learn the family trade. It is at this point that a boy would participate in his first Passover in Jerusalem (a ceremony that probably forms the background of today's bar mitzvah in orthodox Jewish families today.) Jesus'  excellent questions for the teachers in the temple at his first Passover indicate the study he had done.

The best students continued their study (while learning a trade) in Beth Midrash (secondary school) also taught by a rabbi of the community. Here they (along with the adults in the town) studied the prophets and the writings (3) in addition to Torah and began to learn the interpretations of the Oral Torah (4) to learn how to make their own applications and interpretations much like a catechism class might in some Churches today. Memorization continued to be important because most people did not have their own copy of the Scripture so they either had to know it by heart or go to the synagogue to consult the village scroll. Memory was enhanced by reciting aloud, a practice still widely used in Middle Eastern education both Jewish and Muslim. Constant repetition was considered to be an essential element of learning (5).

A few (very few) of the most outstanding Beth Midrash students sought permission to study with a famous rabbi often leaving home to travel with him for a lengthy period of time. These students were called talmidim (talmid, s.) in Hebrew, which is translated disciple. There is much more to a talmid than what we call student. A student wants to know what the teacher knows for the grade, to complete the class or the degree or even out of respect for the teacher. A talmid wants to like the teacher, that is to become what the teacher is. That meant that students were passionately devoted to their rabbi and noted everything he did or said. This meant the rabbi-talmid relationship was a very intense and personal system of education. As the rabbi lived and taught his understanding of the Scripture his students (talmidim) listened and watched and imitated so as to become like him. Eventually they would become teachers passing on a lifestyle to their talmidim.
As a result, Galilee was a place of intense study of Scripture. People were knowledgeable about its content and the various applications made by their tradition. They were determined to live by it and to pass their faith and knowledge and lifestyle on to their children. It was into this world that Jesus came as a child and eventually a rabbi.

                            Jesus the Rabbi
The term rabbi in the time of Jesus did not necessarily refer to a specific office or occupation. That would be true only after the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed (70 AD). Rather, it was a word meaning ?great one? or "my master" which was applied to many kinds of people in everyday speech. It clearly was used as a term of respect for one?s teacher as well even though the formal position of rabbi would come later. In one sense then, calling Jesus "Rabbi" is an anachronism. In another sense the use of this term for him by the people his day is a measure of their great respect for him as a person and as a teacher and not just a reference to the activity of teaching he was engaged in.

Many people referred to Jesus as Rabbi. His disciples (Luke 7:40), lawyers (Matt. 22:35?36), ordinary people (Luke 12:13), the rich (Matt. 19:16), Pharisees (Luke 19:39), and Sadducees (Luke 20:27?28). Jesus fit the description of a first century rabbi especially one at the most advanced level,the one sought by talmidim.
He traveled from place to place with his disciples depending on the hospitality of others (Luke 8:1?3) and often meeting in private homes (Luke 10:38-42)
In travel, rabbis would visit local synagogues because of the discussion of Scripture that occurred regularly in these community centers (Matt. 4:23)
Rabbis used similar methods of interpreting Scripture. For example the great teachers used a technique today called remez or hint, in which they used part of a Scripture passage in discussion assuming their audience?s knowledge of the Bible would allow them to deduce for themselves fuller meaning. Apparently Jesus used this method often. When the children sang Hosanna to him in the Temple and the Sadducees demanded Jesus quiet them he responded with a quote from Psalm 8:2 "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise." Their anger at Jesus is better understood when you realize that the next phrase in the Psalm adds the reason why children and infants would praise?because of the enemies of God who would be silenced (Ps. 8:2). In other words the chief priests realized Jesus was implying they were God?s enemies.
Another example is Jesus' comments to Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1?10). Jesus said "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (Luke 19:10) The background to this statement is probably Ezekiel 34. God, angry with the leaders of Israel for scattering and harming his flock (the people of Israel) states the he himself will become the shepherd and will seek the lost ones and deliver (save) them. Based on this the people of Jesus? day understood that the Messiah to come would "seek and save" the lost. By using this phrase, knowing the people knew the Scripture, Jesus said several things. To the people he said "I am the Messiah and God no less."To the leaders (whose influence kept Zacchaeus out of the crowd) he said "you have scattered and harmed God?s flock." To Zacchaeus he said "you are one of God's lost sheep, he still loves you."
This technique indicated a brilliant understanding of Scripture and incredible teaching skills on Jesus part. It also demonstrates the background knowledge of Scripture the common people had.
Rabbis used similar teaching techniques like the use of parables. More than 3,500 parables from first century rabbis still exist and Jesus's are among the very best. He uses similar themes (landowner, king, and farmer) as well. (Matt. 13:3,34)
Jesus seems to be a type of rabbi believed to have smikhah or authority to make new interpretations. Most of the teachers were Torah teachers (teachers of the law) who could only teach accepted interpretations. Those with authority (today "ordination") could make new interpretations and pass legal judgments. Crowds were amazed because Jesus taught with /authority (Hebrew smikhah, Greek exousia) not as their Torah teachers (Matt. 7:28/29). Jesus was questioned about his authority (Matt. 21:23?27). While this makes Jesus one of a small group of teachers he was not the only one with authority.
Rabbis invited people to learn to keep the Torah. This was called taking
"the yoke of Torah" or "the yoke of the kingdom of heaven". Rabbis with smikhah would have a new interpretation or yoke. Torah teachers would teach the accepted interpretations or yoke of their community. Jesus invitation to those who listened to many teachers and interpretations helps establish him as a Rabbi would present an interpretation that was easy and light (to understand not necessarily to do) (Matt. 13:11-30). As such, he was probably not speaking to unsaved people burdened with sin but people unsure of the many interpretations they heard in the dynamic religious debate in Galilee.
Fulfilling the Torah was the task of a first century rabbi. The technical term for interpreting the Scripture so it would be obeyed correctly was "fulfill."To interpret Scripture incorrectly so it would not be obeyed as God intended was to "destroy" the Torah. Jesus uses these terms to describe his task as well (Matt. 5:17?19). Contrary to what some think Jesus did not come to do away with God?s Torah or Old Testament. He came to complete it and to show how to correctly keep it. One of the ways Jesus interpreted the Torah was to stress the importance of the right attitude of heart as well as the right action (Matt. 5:27?28).

                    The Disciples as Talmidim
The decision to follow a rabbi as a talmid meant total commitment in the first century as it does today. Since a talmid was totally devoted to becoming like the rabbi he would have spent his entire time listening and observing the teacher to know how to understand the Scripture and how to put it into practice. Jesus describes his relationship to his disciples in exactly this way (Matt. 10:24/25; Luke 6:40) He chose them to be with him (Mark 3:13?19) so they could be like him (John 13:15).

Most students sought out the rabbis they wished to follow. This happened to Jesus on occasion (Mark 5:19; Luke 9:57). There were a few exceptional rabbis who were famous for seeking out their own students. If a student wanted to study with a rabbi he would ask if he might "follow" the rabbi. The rabbi would consider the students potential to become like him and whether he would make the commitment necessary. It is likely most students were turned away. Some of course were invited to "follow me". This indicated the rabbi believed the potential talmid had the ability and commitment to become like him. It would be a remarkable affirmation of the confidence the teacher had in the student. In that light, consider whether the disciples of Jesus were talmidim as understood by the people of his time. They were to be "with" him Mark 3:13?19; to follow him Mark 1:16=20; to live by his teaching John 8:31; were to imitate his actions John 13:13?15; were to make everything else secondary to their learning from the rabbi Luke 14:26.

This may explain Peter's walking on water (Matt. 14:22-33). When Jesus (the rabbi) walked on water, Peter (the talmid) wanted to be like him. Certainly Peter had not walked on water before nor could he have imagined being able to do it. However, if the teacher, who chose me because he believed I could be like him, can do it so must I. And he did! It was a miracle but he was just like the rabbi! And then...he doubted. Doubted what? Traditionally we have seen he doubted Jesus? power. Maybe, but Jesus was still standing on the water. I believe Peter doubted himself, or maybe better his capacity to be empowered by Jesus. Jesus response "why did you doubt?" (14:31) then means "why did you doubt I could empower you to be like me"
That is a crucial message for the talmid of today. We must believe that Jesus calls us to be disciples because he knows he can so instruct, empower, and fill us with his Spirit that we can be like him (at least in our actions). We must believe in ourselves! Otherwise we will doubt that he can use us and as a result we will not be like him.

Being like the rabbi is the major focus of the life of talmidim. They listen and question, they respond when questioned, they follow without knowing where the rabbi is taking them knowing that the rabbi has good reason for bringing them to the right place for his teaching to make the most sense. In the story recorded in Matthew 16, Jesus walked nearly thirty miles one way to be in Caesarea Philippi for a lesson that fit the location perfectly. Surely he talked with them along the way but the whole trip seems to have been geared for one lesson that takes less than ten minutes to give (Matt. 16:13?28).

This means that the present day talmid (disciple) must be no less focused on the rabbi. We must be with him in his Word, we must follow him even if we are not sure of the final destination, we must live by his teaching (which means we must know those teachings well), and we must imitate him whenever we can. In other words everything becomes secondary in life to being like him. When they had observed and learned for a time they were sent out to begin to practice being like the teacher (Luke 9:1?6; 10:1?24). The amazement of the talmidim in discovering they could be like their teacher is delightful (10:17). It is very understandable to anyone who has seen the deep attachment of talmidim to his or her rabbi even today. It is most affirming when a student discovers that being like the teacher is possible. The teachers joy is no less as he discovers his students have learned well and are gifted and empowered by God to act as the rabbi does (Luke 10:21; see also John 17:16, 18).

When the teacher believed that his talmidim were prepared to be like him he would commission them to become disciple makers. He was saying "As far as is possible you are like me. Now go and seek others who will imitate you. Because you are like me, when they imitate you they will be like me." This practice certainly lies behind Jesus great commission (Matt. 28:18-20). While in one sense no one can be like Jesus in his divine nature, or in his perfect human nature, when taught by the Rabbi, empowered and blessed by the Spirit of God, imitating Jesus becomes a possibility. The mission of the disciples was to seek others who would imitate them and therefore become like Jesus. That strategy, blessed by God?s Spirit would bear amazing fruit especially in the Gentile world.

It also helps to understand the teaching of Paul who sought to make disciples. He invited Herod Agrippa and the Roman governor to become like him (Acts 26:28=29). He taught the young churches to imitate him and others who were like Jesus (1 Cor. 4:15-16, 11:1; 1 Thess. 1:6-7, 2:14; 2 Thess. 3:7?9; 1 Tim. 4:12. The writer to the Hebrews had the same mission (Heb. 6:12, 13:7).

This is one of the most significant concepts of the New Testament. Jesus, the divine Messiah, chose the rabbi-talmid system. He taught like a rabbi in real life situations, using the most brilliant methods ever devised. He interpreted God's word and completed it. He demonstrated obedience to it. He chose disciples whom he would empower to become like him and led them around until they began to imitate him. Then (after the gift of the Holy Spirit) he sent them our to make disciples...to lead people to imitate them by obeying Jesus. And that strategy, by God's blessing would change the most pagan of cultures.

That is our call too! Jesus calls us to be his talmidim. We must know God's Word and Jesus' interpretation of it. We must be passionate in our devotion to that word and Jesus example. As we are filled with his Spirit, we must be obsessed with being like him as far as is humanly possible. We must strive for relationships with others so they will observe us and seek to imitate our love and devotion to God and our Jesus-like lifestyle (1 Cor. 2:16, 11:1; Gal. 3:27). By God?s grace, that strategy CAN change the most pagan of cultures.... our own!
-Ray Vander Laan, link and footnotes


3)Rob Bell video, "Covered in the Dust of Your Rabbi":
"Rob Bell, Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, takes us deep into the first century world of Jesus and helps us reflect on what it means for us as we follow Jesus.
Jews in Jesus' day knew that the Hebrew Scriptures was the ultimate expression of a loving God who loves His children so much that He teaches them how to live. Therefore, central to the life of the Jewish community was educating children in the text of the Scriptures. It was essential to place the words of God into the minds of children so that faith would continue throughout generations. Young Jews, beginning at the age of six, began their education and were taught in a very tactile taste sense that the words of God are linked with the most pleasurable, sweet thing they could possibly imagine. With this mind-set, they were passionate in their learning, which involved memorizing and understanding the Scriptures.
The ultimate and highest honor and achievement in their educational system was to become a rabbi. The role of a rabbi was the most respected, prestigious role in the community. Jesus went through this educational system as a young Jew and became a rabbi. His way of understanding the text and calling disciples was radical in His day. He called young disciples who were broken, abused, hurting, and rejected by others and used them to change the world. Jesus calls us, who are also broken, to follow Him today. He has given us the opportunity to change the world." -link

See also:

Two rabbinic schools of Jesus' day:  See:
-Hauer and Young pages 

Which school..if either..do you think Jesus "sided" with?  We'll ask Rabbi Adam on Thursday.
The three terms for "rabbi," and a wonderful "historical world" and "litererary world" lesson about which term Mary used for Jesus: HERE.
 Bonus! What did Jesus The Rabbi mean by 'Binding and Loosing"?
Pages 40-69 here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

11/2 and 11/4: Kraybill parts 2 and 3

Tuesday: Kraybill chapters 5-7:

These chapters all have a lot to with MONEY/MAMMON.

We noted that on the final, one section will ask you to argue with Kraybill: find a section you disagree with, or want to challenge him on (Or even assume the role of someone disagreeing).  We thought some of the sections on money would be good candidates here (living out Jubilee; the seven dangers of wealth, graduated tithing, etc.)

We picked up the temptation theme from last class,
^actual photo of two rats found in Sattler 101 today^
starting with "the devil is God's devil"  list of Scriptures,
and continued into what Charles Kraft calls the
"garbage and rats" Scriptures:

We left a pile of garbage in the room, and asked what would happen if it were left there overnight:

it would invite rats.

Certain attitudes/behaviors/ethical responses seem to be the equivalent of  "garbage," with invites/incites demonic entities to piggyback on them.  Here are some we looked at.

          GARBAGE:                    RATS:         CLICK EACH SCRIPTURE:

  • unresolved anger          devil given a foothold           (Ephesians 4:26-27)
  • no marital relations        Satan tempts                            (1 Corinthians 7: 4-5)
  • unforgiveness                Satan comes in                         (2 Corinthians 2:10)
  • human thinking              "Get behind me, Satan!"          (Matthew  16:23-24)
  • human thinking                becomes demonic and evil     (James 3:16-17)
  • love of money                   a root of many kinds of evil    (1 Tim 6:10)

We called special attention to these last three, and notice how
1) human reasoning, which often seems so ...well, reasonable"....is often the opposite of Upside Down Kingdom thinking.
2)Money matters show up again...

How might virtually all temptations (the three Jesus faced, or others you could name) be fundamentally economic?  Kraybill, you'll remember, calls the bread temptation "economic," but how might any/all others temptations trace to this root/'garbage"?
HINT: We noted that he term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") from οἶκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)".[1]  
Hmm, maybe when we are tempted to act in "garbage"- like ways within the community/household of faith, we are  facing a core demonic temptation!  How might Jesus, and how might his followers, be tempted economically to not act out the radical ethic of the Upside Down Kingdom?
See below...

Was Jesus ever angry?  Was he ever so angry that he was tempted toward sin?  What might have been those times?  We sure noticed how often he was serious about money/economic issues (temple tantrum,   "you cannot serve God and Money, etc).  If Jesus was the New Moses, maybe he was tempted in a similar way with anger...we watched  the Ray VanDer Laan video  (Volume 10, episode 4: "By Every Word- Striking The Rock."  Study notes here below (click, and then click again to enlarge)


Do you think Jesus was ever tempted to call his flock "Marah!," and "deliberately defiant" as Moses was?    Why was this such a  huge issue that he was prevented entrance into the Promised Land?  How was his striking the rock an economic temptation?

Walter Brueggemann: ""The key issues of worship  in the community are fundamentally economic" fundamentally economic."  (source).

In preparation for the final, continue thinking of ways Jesus (and Moses) faced temptations (especially re: use of power) throughout their lives.

Thursday: Kraybill chapters 8-12:

What a great wiki-day!  We split the class into five teams (Kraybill discussion groups).   Part of the fun (and the test) was I gave no instructions about  how to choose your team, how each team would choose a leader, etc.
The most fun was that teams needed to "recruit" members (students who came in late)..

Then for half an hour the teams each read their particular section of Kraybill, discussed it, and argued with it.  The next half hour, we heard each team's five minute report.  Great job!

Team                                             Kraybill section
  1. PHARISEES:     "Sacred Cows" -pages 163-164
  2. SADDUCEES      "Myth of Redemptive Violence" -pages 190-191
  3. ZEALOTS          "Stop Climbing"  -page 226
  4. ESSENES          "From There to Here" -pages 237-239
  5. MENNONITES    "Triple Symbols" -pages 241-242

The team names were just for fun today, but we also noted that for the final, each student will:
a)write a paragraph summarazing the assigned section, noting any places you (or your group) agreed or disagree
b)write a paragraph suggesting how, if you really were a member of  your assigned group (Pharisees, etc.), you would respond to the assigned section.  Where would you agree and disagree?  (This will call for a working knowledge of the four groups...see Hauer and Young index and glossary, Kraybill book, and class notes).

If you had to miss class today, you will have to wait till the next class to see which "team" you are on.
You'll find that each team will aggressively try to "recruit" you as you come in...

>>Finally, we reviewed the two alternatiives for the 11.17 assignment,
and the altermative to the final.



1)Oh, and  as we mentioned there is a class field trip (surprise location) Tuesday
(If you show up more than five minutes late, you may have to call me
(974-2508) or a class member to find exactly where we are, so you can join us.  (:

2) New news: I just found out I will be gone next
Thurs, Nov. 11,  Veterans Day, so no class then AND since that is when your assignment (Kraybill paper OR chiasm
paper) was supposed to be due, you can now  have till the next class session after that  (Tues Nov, 16) to turn it in(by handing it in in class or emailing by beginning of class).

Of course, you are welcome to turn it in earlier (:

Keep up the good work

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10/26 amd 10/28:: Timelines and Testations

Tuesday's class:

After hearing Trucker Frank's timeline:

(more Trucker Frank videos here)

..we talked about history, narrative and timelines,
and then inserted our own  history, narrative and timelines into the crucial
(literally; the word means "cross")
event of Matthew's gospel "timeline" the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It was interesting to have Michael and Daniel chart out their life timelines on the board.
In the process, we learned about Daniel's former life in the band Thirteen Arrows..

We also noted that Trucker Frank suggested Kingdom life is sometimes more about journey than destination.
We remembered that  according to Cahill, the Jews "invented" history, and Western civilization" that is, the sense that life and history have a purpose; that the arrow of our corporate timeline is going somewhere.
Many ancient cultures and worldviews saw time and history as cyclical or reincarnational.

To offer a visual, we charted out our timelines as a "holy helix"  (You'll remember I brought one to class)
Note there are lines working both directions: one might represent our lifeline (bottom to top, or left to right) and the other  God;s involvement with our life and history (top to bottom, or right to left),  Note how connected and inseparable the two are.

We also remembered that The Kingdom (a la George Ladd) is in a sense "the end times working backwards.  (see bottom of 10/5 post)

The Vander Laan video we watcehd was "Roll Away the Stone".  
Unfortunately, it is not online in any form, but several  Vander Laan audio downloads are here,

Remember, on Hebrew vs. Greek  views on time (and several other categories:   sin, faith, truth ,community, truth over time etc), be sure ti familiarize with the charts linked on this page (also on top of this website under "Thinking  Hebrew") as this will be on the final exam.

Thursday's class:

As we began our discusion on Kryabill's  "UpsideDown Kingdom"  we suggested (along with Ktaybill_
taht teh three "temptations" Jesus met in Matthew 4 were  the same three tempttaions that shiw up throiughtlout Jesus' timeline on earth...righ yoo to, and espcillay includiung the cross.

The Ray Vander Laan video we watched  ( "Jesus Our Desert – The Three Temptations")  offered several examples:

  • Jesus put God ahead of family ("Who are my brothers and sisters?"  "Whoveer loves father and mother more than me cannot be my disciple."
  • When people reported Herod wanted to kill him, he was not concerned (Luke 13)
  • When people wanted to make him king, he walked away
  • When the crowds were hungry, the disciples  wanted Jesus to feed them.  He refused.
  • The "get behind me, Satan" comment to Peter when Peter suggested Jesus should bypass the cross.
  • "go ahead and use Your power; the cross is going to hurt
Vander Laan also suggested that

We moted that VanderLaan prefers to translate "tests" instead of "temptations."
I coined the woprd "testations"  It woulkd seen that in Scriptrure that
God tests, and the devil tempts.

But we found both in the narrative.

And we were tempted to take the  shocking "The devil is God's devil"  test:

  • 1.)Who sent an evil spirit to terrorize Saul? (1 Sam. 16:14; 18:10)
  • 2.)Who sent a deceiving and lying spirit? (1 Kings 22:22)
  • 3)Who authorizes satanic harassment of Job (Job 1:12)
  • 4)Who can destroy both body and soul in hell? (Matthew 10:28)
  • 5)Who sent a deceiving influence, so that wicked people are damned? (2 Thess. 2:11)
  • 6)Who sees to it that a sinner is saved? (1 Cor. 5:5)
  • 7)Who is the god of this world? (2 Cor 4:4)
  • 8)Who helps keep Paul humble? (2 Cor, 12:7)
  • 9)Who teaches Paul not to blaspheme? (1 Tim 1:20)

Qualifier:These verses have "verse-itis," and are out of context, and are meant to over-ehpasize a point (God is incredibly sovereign, and "uses" the devil), but if you look them up, you'll see that the answers to #1-5 are GOD, and #6-9 are THE DEVIL!
It was also announced that as an alternative to the final exam, you can instead write a paper:

  • 1)What were the three temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11, Compare any ways Mark's account,  Mark 1:12-13  and  Luke's account, Luke 4:1-13 differ, and suggest any reasons why.
  • 2)How does Nouewen summarize the three temptations?  How do you (use your own words)?
  • 3)How do the three temptations connect to the historical and literary world of the Hebrew Testament?
  • 4)How do the three temptations connect to the contemporary world of Jesus and the disciples?
  • 5)List and discuss several possible ways that versions of the three temptations reoccur and are revisited  throughout Jesus' life in Matthew's gospel?  (How is Jesus tested/tempted elswhere in Matthew, and how are the temptations versions of a similar one (two, or three) that he faced in the original temptation passage?
  • 6)What are the three core temptations you face, and how have they revisited you  throughout your timeline?  How would you categorize them using Nouwen's categories?  Using the three categories of the "Shema"  (heart/mind/might) a la  Vander Laan'?  Using Kraybill's three categories?
  • 7)What have you learned about passing these tests/resiiting these temptations?
  • 8)What does all of this  (the Matt 4 Scripture, and testing/tempting) have to do with the Kingdom?
  • 9)Discuss how the passages that deal with Jesus not being immune to temptation( Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 4:14-16,  and Hebrews 5:7-9) affect your views of  "Who is Jesus?" and of Jesus' divinity and humanity.

The video we saw today was so loaded with help for this paper.  But it's brand new and not online or in FPU library yet.  You may want to locate it, rent it, or get notes from a classmate if you had to miss it (I will see if I can get permission to upload it)  It's  episode 4 of Vol 11, here.
For help on question 1, see video and class notes from today, and this chart
For help on question 2, see class notes for 10/12. 
 For help on question 3, see notes from the video and read Deuteronomy  6-8, and commentaries on        Deuteronomy Matthew  4  (see "helpful resources" at right for online resources).
 For help on question 4, see the Kraybill book, first four chapters (tons of info).  For question 5, see video notes above, but come up with some of your own from your reading of Matthew.  For question 6, I would recommend Nouwen's "In The Name of Jesus" book (it's a very short and classic book, and several copies are in the library.  Click here for a fairly thorough summary.

This should be a 7-10 page paper, or a detailed video or power point.