Thursday, August 20, 2015

#ThingsJesusNeverSaid ... and something Jesus did say

There is a funny ha-ha (and funny=interesting, sorta) hashtag on Twitter: #ThingsJesusNeverSaid.

There are an infinite number of things Jesus 'never' said. Like, 'No, I am not telling you who will win the Rugby World Cup in 2015' and 'Change the NZ flag? How about changing your life first?'

So it is is easy to have fun with the hashtag and easy to make wham, bam, shame points like:

But theologically there are some things to ponder in a slower way than Tweets provide for.

Jesus never said anything, for instance, about interpreting his words and producing four different authoritative accounts of his teaching and activities. That means that what we have received as 'What Jesus said' has been already subject to a process of 'What did Jesus mean when he said?' and 'So, how will we express that meaning, not least in Greek, a language in which (arguably) he said nothing?'

But we should not run too far in that direction without acknowledging that whatever Jesus did say and whatever he 'never' said, those authoritative accounts give us plenty which we find hard to live by without worrying about #ThingsJesusNeverSaid.

Incidentally, yesterday one of the lectionary readings was Mark 5:35-43. In that reading, when we read the words 'Talitha cum' (41), I suggest we have an instance where the gospels record the actual words Jesus said and in the language he said them in. #ThingsJesusActuallySaid #AndYouCanBetYourHouseOnThat :)


Father Ron Smith said...

'Tis best, surely, to concentrate on the actual teaching Jesus gave - rather than what he is not reported to have said. In my estimation, the most important instruction Jesus ever gave his disciples was that they should Love one another, as he has loved them - UTTERLY, without false discrimination. Jesus even loved the rich young man who decided he could not do what Jesus asked of him. Now that's unconditional LOVE that the Church needs to practise!

Chris H. said...

Unfortunately, Father Ron, your example of the rich young ruler doesn't end the modern controversy, because even though Christ loved him, he didn't obey and left and Jesus isn't recorded as going, "Wait, wait, I'll change the rules, don't leave. You can still be my follower", which is what the modern church does. Christ's love still let hundreds, if not thousands, of people walk away during his ministry and he didn't change his tune and become "inclusive" in order to maintain his popularity. He still preached obedience, perfection, and giving up anything that takes precedence over Him--and the church won't touch that with a 10 foot pole. It's too exclusive, and hateful, by today's standards.

Father Ron Smith said...

Yes, Chris, but it didn't stop Jesus 'loving him'. This is the attraction of Christianity - that the Church sometimes misses out on: "If you don't believe what I believe (about human sexuality) then I'll draw away from you and form my own Church (ACNA & GAFCON). That's not Christ's way."

"God so loved the world....." Is the Church to act contrarily to this?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I have a great deal of difficulty with your last comment because it does not appear to allow that there ever could be different churches because of differences in belief.

Yet you and I are sympathetic to the glories and graces of the Roman Catholic church while stoutly determining that they do not believe what we believe on every issue and thus we happily belong to a "form my own church" (i.e. Henry's forming of his own Church of England, an heir of which is our ACANZP)!

Father Ron Smith said...

Actually, Peter, I sometimes find I have more in common with our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers than I do with some of my own ACANZP community.
The centrality of the sacramental life is something I value that is basic to a mature Christian understanding of tools available for evangelism.

However, I, like your good-self, am heir to the faith of my family situation. Otherwise, starting from scratch, I might be either R.C.or E. Orthodox.

The Creeds are our common basic faith - rather than the Fateful 39 Articles. I don't think even the Taize Community recognises the latter.