Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What Really Happened on Easter?

Lately, I have been thinking and researching the idea of resurrection, you know, the Christian idea that Jesus returned to a living state after a number of days. All of the shows about Jesus are not simply contained in the gospels. Many stories developed in the counsels of the early church over a period of some 1000 years.

 According to the gospels, there seems to be some disagreement as to the actual number of days before he returned to life. Check it out for yourself in all four gospels. There are other discrepancies that make me wonder exactly what physically happened if anything. So, was it a physical resusitation of a dead body. I mean the scripture says Jesus seemed to be real, a live person, with a real body.  He ate with folks, walked with them, they touched him, etc;  But, he told the ladies at the tomb NOT to touch him (John 20:17). However,  in Matthew 28:9, he tells the same ladies to TOUCH him. At various times after the resurrection, Jesus  APPEARS to the disciples, then VANISHES (John 20:19, Mark 16:12). Jesus asks his disciples to touch him, including Thomas, the doubter (Luke 24:39, John 20: 27). Jesus eats with the disciples (John 21:12, Luke 24:43). So, was this a real, physical body?

The early Christians were, of course, influenced by their Jewish heritage, and scriptures. In the Jewish scriptures, there are frequent mentions of a place called SHEOL. It is the abode of the dead; ALL the dead.  The New Testament scriptures say Jesus descended to SHEOL while he was in the grave. On most occasions when Sheol is mentioned, when one goes to sheol, he remains there. There are rare occasions where a return from Sheol is mentioned (I Samuel 2:6). It says that God brings people down to Sheol and then lifts them up.This seems to be the idea that the early followers of Jesus believed.  In early Christianity, to be lifted up was to be exalted. This is a term often used in regard to Jesus; that God exalted him, or lifted him up. Interesting. Somewhere along the way Jesus appears to have gone from being lifted up, ie; exalted, to being raised, ?; to being resurrected. Resurrection means- a return from the dead, a rising again, as from decay, disuse, etc.; revival. A physical resusitation of a body is quite different from being exalted. I tend to think of exaltation as being a spritual act. 

So what happened on Easter? What was it that led the early church to believe that Jesus was physically resurrected back to life? Was there confusion on the part of the early believers? Did the early church then have to decide what really happened with Jesus on Easter? It seems they did. And, the decision they made has continued to this day. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our Job for the Future

In the future, our job as Americans should be to make an attempt to negate those voices of hatred, extremism, and bitterness, that come from both sides of the political divide. In other words, LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Politics or Religion?

There was post on Facebook today which questioned evangelical Christian's support of Romney. The concern of the author, who is an evangelical, is that in his past experience Mormons had been portrayed as a cult in his particular evangelical denomination*. They had been seen as a threat to traditional Christianity. Why all of a sudden had this past belief been discarded? Remember that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has removed from their publications any references to the LDS church being a cult. Hmmmm.

Yet, as we all have seen, today evangelicals are supporting Romney in large numbers rather than a man who claims to be a traditional Christian. Why is that? What is there about President Obama that would cause these folks to do that? Some of the evangelicals say that Obama is not a Christian at all, but a "closet" Muslim. Therefore, a Mormon is a better choice than a Muslim.

What does this say about the average evangelical's thinking concerning a choice for president? Does it speak at all to the age-old question of separation of church and state? Does it speak at all to the "dead" issue of racism. It does for me. It speaks volumes.

Are there other possible reasons that an evangelical would vote for Governor Romney? I am sure there are. I am sure evangelicals could provide me with many good reasons why they should vote for Mr. Romney.  I am sure a lot of other Christians could provide me with good reasons why they should vote for President Obama.

I am not at all at ease about this election. I hope our nation can get through the next few days and some how come out stronger. 

*This was also true in the conservative evangelical church I was part of for almost 60 years.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


If you only listen to a small range of voices on any subject, you will not get the full picture. Open your mind, and your ears.