Some of the posts there still linger but hopefully this will take off. Below is my response to Donna.
I also entertain people coming & responding to the posts about "Judgment" here so I am adding the Archbishop Averky image quote.
Donna wrote:Why not? It has always seemed intuitively obvious that establishing an institutional religion is difficult business and God was acting through (as opposed to unconditionally 'with') a murderous zealot like Saul of Tarsus to accomplish such a task. God needed a Lenin on earth to give Christianity a bit of a push
It's not something that can be formulated from the center without creating a crisis of unity, but intelligent and educated Christians should have the sense to view Paul contextually and worship in slightly heterodox communities that integrate historical context into their theologies.
In order to understand the world in a comparative context one probably needs (or is recommended at least) to study Hindu cosmogony and esotericism or Maya religion, or any ancient tradition that fixates on creation stories or is influenced by intercourse with animist religion. Most of the remnants of these cosmologies, at least Eastern ones, were purged from the nascent Christian movement. The Biblical creation story is comparatively historical-political. It's more about history coming into being rather than the natural world. Because of this Christianity can be understood as a dialectic where things like same-sex marriage and woman-priests can be understood as the actualizing of the full embrace of God's grace over and against the opposite pole of existence that lawfully orders the house and herds the faithful.
That's an interesting perspective. But I have made a lot of effort to try to understand Christianity as it was understood by those in the first millennia, and how it is supposed to be understood in a timeless sense... A bit presumptive of me, but this isn't me just going off on his own, heed you, this is me as someone trying to return to the source by going into the Orthodox church and reading the early Church fathers...
My understanding is that St. Paul really did perform miracles, and so did his relics (as the Bible says), and he was anointed by God. All of our church fathers affirmed his teachings. The visions that he received were from a God who predestined the success of His Church, and anointed St. Paul to play a pivotal role in it.
These teachings are utterly timeless. They are also, simultaneously, situated in opposition to the world, at many different points and times. The prohibitions against excessive wealth, violence, being judgmental, being hypocritical, fornication, substance abuse, etc., are not accidental, and while in our age we may be doing a great job of refraining from violence or being judgmental, with us in mind just as much as any other generation the Gospels & Epistles were crafted, and the words of the Saints and church fathers have come down to us.
The historic context actually does not matter. Christ was flying in the face of society then, why would we not wish to fly in the face of society now?
And if we can choose to interpret the Bible differently in one direction, we can choose to itnerpret it differently in every direction, in every era, for any reason.
As I see it, Christianity should be extremely liberal when it comes to the individual, but unyielding when it comes to tradition. Everyone is welcome, and everyone has a past and a current set of vices to repent of, and it's our job to actually ensure that you get the complete & full message, unchanged, unfiltered... We will accommodate every individual, but we will not accommodate groups and the times.
August 8th, 2019