movement, movement

More Like Pharisees

Posted in christianity, conversation, philosophy, quotes, religion by amoslanka on December 18, 2008

..how is it that Jesus was a magnet for prostitutes and tax collectors – the two most despised classes of sinners in Jesus’ day – while the Church repels these types of people, just as the Pharisees did? The answer, I submit, is as inescapable as it is challenging. The Church, as a whole, is simply more like the Pharisees than it is like Jesus.

 – Greg Boyd (via)

Also, this and this and this is a great rundown of Greg Boyd’s philosophy and book, The Myth Of A Christian Nation, if you’re interested. I’m a fan. The essay is a long read, but quite good.

I’ve conversed quite a bit recently, mostly internally, on the idea of church in general. Much of it references the distinction between the church and the Church, between the general idea of those who follow Christ’s teaching and the Pharisaic institution that the organized religion became long ago. I’m appreciative of all those who’ve offered their insight and stories on the matter, and have been willing to examine the issue with me. 

Greg Boyd’s essay, The Religionless Church Of The Future, from which the quote above comes, offers an accurate illustration of the same religiosity that frustrates me. In much of my sorting out the pieces and remembering that Love applies as much to religiously ignorant people as it does to anyone, the only peace I continue to find is not the divorce of a system included in “the world”  but willing marginalization. 

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7 Responses

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  1. ash said, on December 19, 2008 at 9:14 am

    the myth of a christian nation is a great read. i think i did a blog on it awhile back…

    but onto the essay…Boyd makes a great point about how Christians convince themselves they have what is right for the non believing world. i liked this statement-

    “Of course, despite our reputation, we evangelical Christians often convince ourselves that we are in fact loving. We sometimes try to convince ourselves that people just can’t see our love because they are sinners who don’t understand what “true” love is. Such an attitude is tragically comical, especially in light of Christ’s teaching that we are to regard our own sin as tree trunks and other peoples’ sin, whatever it may be, as dust particles”

    i think that the outside perspective is an important one and should keep us in check to see whether or not we are truly acting as Christ did. are we treating different groups of people differently depending on their status in religion or the world OR are we treating everyone around us equally with the love and grace that we are commanded to by the Cross??

    Good stuff Amos

  2. amoslanka said, on December 19, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I agree, Ash, and am deeply troubled by the theological ideas that support the absolute depravity of man in terms of goodness and love. I’ve been told with a straight face by some folks in my past that people without God are simply pure evil, unable to love, unable to do good. What arrogance and ignorance! The parallels are not hard to notice between modern established religion and 1st century established judaism.

  3. rachell said, on December 19, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    this post and following discussion made me remember a blog post i had written a couple of years back. here’s some.

    “I didn’t explain who the anawim are…it is a Jewish understanding- the term anawim refers to all those who are marginalized by society, those that the world does not seem to care about. The “unclean.” The oppressed, the suffering.

    The people that Jesus ministered to, spent his time with, healed.

    Thich Nhat Hanh, wrote, “When you understand, you cannot help but love. You cannot get angry. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.”

    Who are the anawim today? Generally speaking, what is the church’s reponse to them?
    Seeing the beauty in everyone, regarding each and every individual in the light of who God is and how much he loves them…this requires much Compassion.
    Was there anyone that Jesus did not extend his Compassion to?”

    I think Christ participated in willing marginalization.

  4. Stephen Stonestreet said, on December 19, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    “True and undefiled RELIGION in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” – James 1:27

    Religion=visiting orphans and widows and being unstained by the world, but being stained by the blood of Christ.

  5. ash said, on December 20, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Stephen- a friend of mine once said (and Amos, I’m sure you’ve heard it)….Religion is spelled “d-o.” and Christ is spelled “d-o-n-e.” Christ has already taken care of our transgressions and sorrows, all we must do is accept it, accept him. i think as believers in the Most High, it is imperative that we pass it along. to me? that is what taking care of the orphans and widows of our day is about, showing them forgiveness and grace…..and love and willingness to serve….just some continuing thoughts.

  6. subversivechurch said, on December 20, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    @ rachell,

    Chris and I talked about becoming like a refugee in several of our posts. Forced marginalization is what Amos called it, which I thought was a really good term. I think willing is maybe a better term.

    -mike

  7. amoslanka said, on December 21, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    @Rachell — what a great statement by Nhat Hanh: “When you understand, you love.” That sums up much of our un-love and dis-love. Thanks very much for passing that along. Do you have a link to the post you wrote about it?

    And as you say, the willing marginalization is exactly what Christ’s actions toward the poor were. He was willingly marginal not only in his Love, but in all his actions. His politics were marginal because he refused to participate in the ways of the world, which will inherently always be the majority course of action and opinion.


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