Saturday, July 30, 2011

HUMANISM Dec23, 2005.... note to Edward Fudge

Hi Edward.
To me it is regrettable that 'humanistic" has actually become a negative word to some Christians of all people. Are you suggesting Edward that you do not read the Bible as a human? May I ask in what capacity you do your reading? - As an alien?  I'm genuinely curious. I've never found a more appropriate fulcrum(though not as powerful as some people claim they have found) from which to operate than that of being first and always a human. I'm not likely a humanist in the philosophical meaning of the word but as Landon Saunders once said, "The only trouble with humanism is that it is not human enough." I think that may be true. The same I think can be said of much present day popular Christianity.  Orthodox Christianity has I guess finally managed to thoroughly give 'human' a bad name even though it gives lip service to that being the object not only of God's full love but of God's hope and even the place in which God chooses to dwell. My how we have managed to change that value around and to even say the word with strong  contempt. The key purpose and gift of the story of Christ with which we 'humans' have been entrusted should be, I believe, to help us arrive back at our full humanity and be at home for the first time as they say. This is indeed a way of defining the' peace that passes all understanding'- to be fully and spiritually at home in our own skin and to practice being what we are- humans carrying within us the very image of God. What a different world it would be if that is how we viewed ourselves and others. That is a way of describing what the hope behind the story of Jesus is all about..
Did you happen to see the CNN special last night on the 'Two Marys' ? It refers to some of the most recent information about the Bible and gospels that I sometimes refer to. Information that hopefully will some day be included commonly in Christian discussions of understanding the Bible. I was happy to see it being given at such a public level. I think God does sometimes use T.V. I have corresponded some with one of the presenters- Elaine Pagels, Biblical text historian, and have read her books appreciatively. Her personal Christian story to which she sometimes refers is a strong witness to the Spirit of Christ at work in a human life. Christians in general prefer to be very closed off to information, past and present, about their own texts to which they feel responsible. As a Christian I also feel that responsibility. Historic Christianity has not, from near its inception, been comfortable with Jesus' humanity which is 'a' if not 'the' central issue of the gospel This is obvious in a perusal of much Christian art through the centuries not to mention many of the edicts, creeds and dogmas of the church councils. I think orthodoxy has terribly clouded that central purpose for the larger part of Christendom not to mention for the world. I feel this with deep regret and sadness. Jesus' humanity, which is the only aspect of His that we can hope to personally identify with, has been hidden in the 'spiritual' language and dogma of the historical church.
But I wish to set such concerns aside this close to Christmas in the desire for Christ to 'be born in us(how truly human and genuinely spiritual) today'. God bless you. Jim H.
On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 08:52:48 -0600 "Edward ... writes:
I can appreciate some of your points but we part company with your thoroughgoing humanistic reading of the Bible.
Merry Christmas! Edward

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