Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY #1.. december 17,2010..note to Edward Fudge

 Edward, At first reading you sort of lose me here.(His essay is below.) It makes full sense to me that the  early Christians, along with all Jews, were  struck down and hopeless by the destroying of Jerusalem and then even more, for the Christian Jews, by Jesus' death. The one they had indeed come to love and find new meaning in their life through, but meaning that could only come, they believed, through his bodily presence with them. Instead he had been killed as a marked criminal by the Romans with Hebrew leadership colluding. Out of that hope destroying turn of events came the creative work of  'seeing' him and his most exceptional character and life in the pages(and stories) of their sacred book.

A Modern Resurrected Christ Image
At first it brought them to believe and expect him to come bodily back, he was surely not dead, he couldn't be. This is not unlike our own initial reactions to untimely loss of a loved one.(And it no doubt was a bodily resurrection that they first expected and longed for.)  But Jesus' life  quickly began to take on meaning not for just a family or one small group but for  a multi-group  of 'believers.' His life and even more his death sparked strong archetypes in the Collective Unconscious. He became, in a rather short space of time, more than mortal Jesus of Nazareth could ever be. He even became through such living archetypes stirred up, to be nothing less than God.  By the time of the first gospel, the interpretive mass  consciousness had found a way to turn hopeless, downtrodden, broken hearted people into survivors with a new hope, direction and purpose. This is the power of the Archetypes, however we think of them originating, at work . This is their function when there is not rational means of finding meaning and hope, to give meaning to the despairing meaninglessness that  occurs in humans when  the previous archetypes  are no longer alive and active.  This is the process of  religion making that still is possible and likely , although no doubt in some ways different , today. Humans have come to be  able to 'understand' at least generally how this kind of  eruption of the Collective Unconscious is able to produce individual  and community religious experience but we have not out grown it or our need for it. It still is  able to happen, even if  in a more conscious way.(It for sure still can and is happening in unconscious ways but that can lead to bad results as easily as to good ones in our age. For example the archetypes can become alive in political movements. When so politics will become unconsciously driven as strongly and emotionally as religious ones. Politics in fact  becomes religion as in the case of extreme political movements today. Nazism is an example of far more than the fringe of a culture being 'possessed' by a destructive collective archetype.)  The capacity of this process to positively lift the hearts of  despairing and hope shattered humanity today is as possible and as needed as ever before. 

 It may be that the symbols generated by the same archetypes of the Christian age can find new life, even when they have become 'broken' and  even now somewhat understood as to their origins?  I certainly can still feel my heart lifted by watching a nativity story, or from images of chosen  sacrificing love even though  I do not believe in the literalness of the supra human details presented in many of our Sacred stories. I do not feel duped that  I once took them literally. But I understand that  increased consciousness was bound to begin to undermine that ' kind of belief' eventually for us all. And I feel  now a deep need  for me and my culture to once again find  not only heart felt  but head  consistent   connection to our spiritual dimension as human beings. The religious making factor is not dead but how we have historically been receptive to it has. Our task is to humbly accept our situation, be open to every avenue of  intellectually acceptable knowledge, even that which challenges our previous religious convictions and beliefs; and to again 'wait' for the direction that can only come from the unseen world of the Collective Unconscious or from God(whose definition for us is certainly changing due to increased human consciousness.).

Again, I'm  not sure of your main thrust here. It seems a bit different than  typical orthodoxy. I hope it is not coming from a need to shore up the literalness of the projected  archetypes that happened around the person of Jesus. For to do so is to, however unintentionally, try to find spiritual treasure with determined will power and effort to control the archetypes rather than to be open for God to  be 'born again'  in us today. To have such new birth will not be by returning to a literal and physical interpretation of the  upsurge  of the Collective Unconscious archetypes regarding Jesus that has served humanity well  but whose ripple is no longer capable of doing what it once did. We must accept that one beloved  world view is dying or greatly shifting in meaning  before we can experience a new and more appropriate one  being born. This is the heart of the post modern situation in our Western Cultures. It is truly a time of unprecedented change for good or ill. Blessings, Jim

On Fri, 17 Dec 2010 14:48:56 -0500 "Edward Fudge" <> writes:


It is not as though the Jews were waiting, Bibles in hand (underlined and highlighted) for a long list of specific messianic predictions to be fulfilled. Had that been so, any would-be Messiah could simply copy the agenda, contrive the fulfillments, and claim the position for himself. Indeed, certain sensationalist authors have accused Jesus Christ of doing that very thing.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the Jewish prophets, but New Testament writers speak of "fulfillment" in a greater-than-simplistic way. The better way to say it is that the events that together comprise the story of Jesus "fill" the Old Testament "full" of meaning. But that is known by faith, and faith is better understood in retrospect.
God's way of fulfilling tends to frustrate prophetic program-planners, whether in the first century or in the twenty-first. On the one hand, some of the most popular expectations did not materialize at all. Messiah did not thunder in on a white horse and chase out the Romans. The nations did not send representatives to Jerusalem as a world capital. The Pharisees did not inherit the earth.
On the other hand, what did occur took everyone by surprise. There is no evidence that anyone read Isaiah 7:14 and understood that the Messiah would be conceived by a virgin. To Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, Jesus' death on a cross proved that he was NOT the Messiah. Not even Jesus' closest and most perceptive disciples understood (much less "expected") a bodily resurrection back from among the dead. Even today, most professing believers in Jesus are clueless about the pause in the end of the world--although that vision permeates and shapes the whole New Testament.

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