Thursday, September 29, 2011

DREAM: VINDICATION....april 5, 2010(edited september 26, 2011)

Introduction: This dream features a person who was an active member( I will call Sam) of Clear Lake Church of Christ in Springfield the last few years of my ministry there. He generally appears in previous dreams as a shadow type figure.(This does not suggest he is a 'negative figure' but only  that the dream source casts him that way to help me understand the message of the dream.) He was well educated and was an administrator at the University in Springfield. He was quietly supportive of my ministry. I think he personifies my shadow for he , without ever saying it, helped me become conscious that the Elder group of the church did not have the good of my ministry and its connection to the congregation at heart. I came to realize they were generally a threat to the ministry that was developing around my activities there. Sam helped me to learn ways to protect myself and my ministry. For me to learn to stand against a high authority that I had come to trust and personally care for was something that only ' my internal shadow' aspect could help me do. In other words the always-pleasant, comfortable, nice and seeking-to- please Jim Hibbett was of little value to my
Clear Lake Church of Christ
 ministry when it was under assault. So I discovered my shadow partially through my relationship with this person. I learned to take conscious action to protect my ministry and to attempt to undermine, by honest and fair ways, the wrong use of power by this elder group. I was finding support and information to help with this conflict also in my University studies and Clinical Pastoral Education. Sam and these other resources were rarely if ever directly pointing out or discussing with me the specific ways this elder group was being unjust and irresponsible. They were just an important influence and resource in my own development regarding facing and standing up to the church politics which were seeking to harm my ministry for this church. This was a very important time of new learning for me and also of discovering my living and needed shadow aspect. Mostly it meant I learned somewhat to fight back, in my judgment, for the good of my ministry and the church.
The Flood...Michelangelo Sistine Chapel @ 1510

Dream: In the dream  I was with some friends and family at Sam's home. Rising flood waters were threatening to destroy everything and everyone.  Sam and I were trying to make some kind of plan for surviving and helping others also as best we could. We went to other homes  and the the same threat was everywhere. It seemed to be a world wide threat. It seemed like a losing battle we were up against. But we were trying to save anyone we could. The dream ended with seeming no hope for anyone's survival. *

REFLECTION: This painting captures the archetypal distress and vulnerability that is part of rising flood waters any time or place in History.  I do not recall having such a 'total flood' dream before. This seems to be the archetype of world destruction by natural forces. It was frightening but Sam and I were quite calm as we did what we could to comfort and save life. I would call this a 'flood' dream and relate it to the archetype that was the source of flood myths in numerous ancient cultures and post modern nightmares.

Even though this seems to present a very deep and ancient archetype it is also very personal. It does not seem supernatural in any way. This shows how our personal stories are also ever repeating archetypal stories with individual twists. There is nothing 'other worldly or animated' about it. Sam and I seem to be accepting it as a matter of fact.

I do not take this as a premonition of world destruction. I think it reflects primarily the personal state I experienced in my ministry at Clear Lake ending  and it points to  some possible meanings of the 'visions' I had and activities that came out of them. These were activities I did many months after leaving Clear Lake. I realized at the time that as I made statements, while under the effect of strong archetypes causing 'visions' and audible 'voices,' I  purposely said things to others  that placed my personal credibility on the line to everyone who knew me. I was fully aware of that supreme personal risk at the time but I was also persuaded that I must follow the 'higher voice' that was fully present with me. I was being asked to place my integrity on the line and I complied to that request in most every detail. I have 'outgrown' (decades ago)or have 'been released  from' my ego being so directly influenced and nearly 'possessed' by such Collective Unconscious forces. But I have never denied that I felt I was under the influence of the Sacred in all of that, for better or worse. I feel like my credibility has never been restored from those activities. It still stands, by any who may remember it, as simply a 'sickness' I had.
These pictures are of places in Northwest Houston where I first began my 'confrontation with the Collective Unconscious' in the early Spring of 1985. The apartment where I lived alone for four months is pictured and Bear Creek Park where hexagonal(that carried strong archetypal meaning for me then) shelters were places I often contemplated the consequences of directions I was receiving.  Directions which threatened my personal integrity,  but which I generally found the faith to follow.

So in a sense my integrity for that part of my life has been destroyed in a 'flood of seemingly rational judgments' that Jim Hibbett was deluded and deceived. This also goes back and applies to my ministry at Clear Lake. The teaching and preaching that I was earnestly doing in ministry which I felt was most strongly being guided by the Spirit may also be judged by any who remember has having little positive or true value. For they only seem to have resulted in church confusion and my being , in some eyes, justifiably ejected from that ministry. I am fully aware that neither those who love me or those who opposed me then are ever thinking about any of this. It is now ancient history. And it is also for me but not quite. I would be negligent to duty to think those forces and those times are not still alive, at least in me. They certainly are no longer my life. So the dream says, 'Jim, you are not to forget about those disappointments and you should still ponder the possible meaning of them from time to time.' So this reflection is me doing just that, and now sharing with others who may eventually read this blog post.

I am now most bothered about the possible disappointments  of  my children from my being once judged by some  as a sick person, as compared to a person genuinely experiencing the Sacred via these forces of the 'Collective Unconscious.' They never speak of such but I know they were hurt that more obvious 'good' did not come out of these experiences, ones that I trusted had come from God. This, I consider, as a real calamity for that part of my personal life, practically a destruction of its theological meaning. It threatens to cloud part of  the  joy of the last part of my life. It is an embarrassment even though family and friends seem to hold no animosity toward me.

These pictures are the place that the 'visions' first broke through to consciousness in mid-August '85. This was in Northwest Houston near where I had lived three months earlier.  At the time this was a completely vacant street but the street sign posts are the same as then.
The dream shows that ' my shadow' which was occasionally outwardly displayed was my 'friend and ally' in this 'flood' tragedy. But 'his' reputation (as described in Jungian thought)of being real and able to exert what, in retrospect, can be seen as a positive influence has also been seriously 'flooded out.' The shadow's integrity and positive value needs to be what people can learn from 'his' overall work, which at the time seems only negative and even evil. So I am not only defensive for my own personal reputation but also for the possible good learning that can eventually come to others from this story. I am not taken by surprise by the dream for I have been living this flooding effect of my integrity for more than 25 years. I have developed a whole new and reasonably respectable persona and ministry, which I experience as pure grace, since that time. But any who knows, even if it is only me, what happened then still only have evidence that my integrity in these things was greatly discredited.

This places me in that theological predicament that nearly all  remembered  stories of 'believers' describes one way or another. My integrity 'seems' to need vindicating by the 'God' who I believed to have been working through me and making promises to me. Like both the Jews and the Christians following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE a part of me cries out, "Lord vindicate me by openly showing I was indeed under your influence and walking your ways when my integrity was harmed and my ministry shamed. Do not allow my 'enemies' to forever make fun of the work you gave me and which I  tried to accomplish." The Jews' cry for vindication only resulted in a nation totally brought to rubble and they were spiritually mocked regarding their claim of being God's chosen people. The Christians were mocked at their claim that their triumphant Jesus would return soon, in their life time for sure. Similarly, I have been forced to reinterpret my life's status and the claims that came from my own mouth and actions. I too have had to openly 'eat crow' regarding what I had experienced as proof positive that I was under the guidance, protection and living will of God in my ministerial activities. A living out of which was perilous for  me and  our family.

This I think is what this dream of 'certain and real disaster' is about. Did the Jews and did the Christians find a way to be credited or vindicated for their claims and faith after suffering such ridicule and mockery? Some think so and others do not. They both still exist in the world and have had great influences that are a mix of good and bad. They exist with significantly changed personae and redefined descriptions of who they are and what those  humiliations in their ancient stories actually meant, then and now. Neither is still, at least openly, crying out for the same divine vindication that they did in those moments of great loss and distress. Perhaps Judaism and Christianity can be  stronger and more spiritually mature movements  to the extent they acknowledge their public humiliations and work honestly with its reality and meaning. All of that has over time changed for them. Is this how it is also for an individual going through such crises? I still do not know for sure?
Destruction Of Jerusalem..70 CE, by David Roberts,1850

I  feel that phase of my life was somewhat  'flooded' and I see no evidence of any redefining of my experiences so that my ministry then can be seen as part of something 'good and true' from a religious and theological perspective. I have no plan and see no way of that happening. I see no prospect that the experiences I had, have described and interpreted as best I can will be more than a forgotten tragic part of my personal story. I think I still have the desire to be vindicated by life's forces. I still stand by my fading story. But I know that anything positive  coming out of it is in the hands of fate. It is in the 'hands' of the God that I have tried to describe and serve, the Sacred presence that 'I have believed and am persuaded' is the only force that might vindicate me and my ministry's story. I do not feel I have any right to 'demand' anything of these Sacred forces. I would not change any of the experiences I had or the continuous confidence I carry that I was on the path that God had placed me to walk. I'm confident I will never deny those Sacred experiences and actions nor the forces I believed had initiated and supported them. All of this is what it is. I will not turn against any of the aspects of the 'Self' that have been manifest in me. These include 'the shadow', 'the anima' and the ' Sacred Self' of which I have  some awareness of  being a part of and it a part of me..

This is my best statement of what I am to learn and remember from this dream.

*NOTE: (September 26, 2011) I want to clearly state that I am superbly grateful and pleased with where I am in my life. For the comfort of my semi-retirement, for the love of family and friends and for the freedom and health to be doing what I fully now choose to do. I am not whining above nor am I angry at anyone or anything. I simply am stating, at the nudge of this dream, an important part of my life I would change in no way for what seems to me 'had to be.'  I am  acknowledging what happened regarding my ministry, especially from early spring of '84 (My Church of Christ ministry ended in mid May )until  spring of  '86 when I began to pick up a normal work life again. Another view I have chosen is that any unfairness and rejection of my ministry at Clear Lake was a necessary impetus to make the changes in faith and values that I did in the months and years that followed. I'm quite sure it generated the stressful situation that prepared me to receive the 'more than usual' contents from the Collective Unconscious in the months that followed.  Looked at that way, which I think is a healthy perspective, it can be correctly concluded that  there is 'no one to blame' but rather everyone played out their role in the drama  precisely the way needed for the somehow 'necessary to happen.' Perhaps nothing very significant ever happens in life without our personal and collective shadows having a strong hand in it. I think Goethe's  Faust said something akin to, ' There is that bad which works the highest good.' I think this is now a primary way I interpret the events of those two years. Maybe this is a healthy way for most of us to look at life's most serious disappointments.

Peace and Gratitude, Jim Hibbett

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A WOMAN'S RESPONSIBILITY TO CHOOSE.. july, 2006(edited Sept 28, 2011)

The inherent value of a potential, yet unborn, human being is not the same as that of a present living human being. There, that is what I, through the evidence available, have gradually come to fully believe. Since I was first confronted with the idea of aborting a potential human life, I began to ask and to consider what the moral implications of such a decision are. I offer my perspective acknowledging that this is not an easy , sweet or sentimental view. But every religion makes it clear there are hard and necessary truths that for justice and love=s sake need to be  consciously and  apologetically accepted.
I believe that the carrier of a fetus is the one who is in the best place to have final responsibility  whether this potential child should become an actual child, and  I also see the decision to abort as one of the most serious moral dilemmas that a female human can face.

We should be ever aware of the long history in Western culture, going back to the paternity laws of the Old Testament, of  the determined male control over  female reproduction. Many have not noticed  the reason it was wrong for a man 'to have another's' wife or daughter was because it was a sin against another 'man's property rights.'  In  Mosaic paternalism it was essential that a man 'know for sure' his children were his and not another's. These laws were never really about sexual love and morality  as  we have usually  been led to think. This archetypal  male-control emotional force shows itself in all anti-abortion  movements. This  unethical need to keep women's bodily  reproduction  rights under male control is still  alive in America and in all the patriarchal societies.

To decide to abort is to undoubtedly carry the responsibility of facing feelings of sadness, remorse and loss that are as strong and real as the loss of a new born child. But, that being accepted, the assumption that many people have that an unborn potential human is to be considered as having the same inherent value as a living human is not spiritually or psychologically supportable.
Male-owned Women Must Cover Face

Gospels Speak of  Mary's Potential Shame  If   'out of wed-lock' Pregnancy
Every natural seed is an embryo with potential to become a fully developed life specimen. Yet most view interrupting the seed from becoming an actual plant or creature in the world as not the same as destroying one that already occupies space and stands in need of life sustenance. I am not suggesting that any natural plant or creature is of equal value to a human being or an embryonic human. The value that Christianity holds as the highest is the full realization of human life. The determining question is, >What is it that makes a human person much more to be valued and supported compared to all others?@ Physically, biologically and genetically a human is insignificantly different from other animal life forms. But most people intuitively believe that if a living human and any other animal are compared in value as deserving society=s strongest efforts to support it, it is unquestionably the human person. This is(or should be) any human person who is occupying individual space on the planet, who is breathing, receiving nutrition, receiving and expressing emotion and insisting as best it can that it have what it needs to live and thrive. This value should be ethically the same regardless of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, sex or any other description of difference. To be a born human is by all spiritual and moral standards to be the supreme value in the order of all reality.

Adulterous Woman Far More 'Shamed' Than A man.
The answer to the above question which I find consistent with above considerations, with the stories of Jesus= words and actions and with other respected areas of human knowledge is this: The reality supporting a human=s high value is what is usually called >human consciousness.= Every person has, to some extent from the time of birth and potentially to a a much fuller extent, a consciousness of themselves, others and the whole world environment. Jesus= words point to this highest value when he rhetorically asks, >What good is it if one gains the whole world but loses his/her own soul(consciousness) or What shall a person give in exchange for his/her soul(consciousness)?@

Some are going to push this human consciousness back to the womb and even to conception. That is the flaw in perception and logic that I am seeking to challenge in my statement. The most poignant way to describe the difference between the value of a fetus and one born into beginning >consciousness= is the realization that also at birth begins the reality of conscious human >suffering.= (This explains why it=s said that only God=s suffering(a cross) rather than His existence is able to affirm the high value of each person). With the glory of human consciousness(religiously that which makes us all carriers of the image of God) comes also the experience of emotional and physical suffering. From the Judeo-Christian perspective this suffering is an indication of the >fall from God=. Jesus was focused on recognizing and relieving the >conscious= suffering of human beings. His followers should be as well. Being more conscious makes us at once more fully human, more divine and the identified highest value of all reality. The joyous glory and suffering of human consciousness begins when a person is hurled by birth, no doubt with significant but necessary suffering, into the world to be an actual >separated= human being. (This >birth to consciousness= is a spiritual meaning of Adam and Eve being cast from the garden of paradise.)It is only the born human child with its developing consciousness who stands in essential need of humanity=s direct concern, love and interaction. This need is to assist the child on its path of becoming as fully conscious human being as possible. It is upon the born child there is such a need in our world of the highest value being placed. We most value the human fetus by valuing the conscious and sometimes suffering mother who carries it.

Whatever value we attach to an unborn fetus, it is not the value of human consciousness. Only when we look into the eyes of a human being, whether soon after birth or even near the time of death, are we glimpsing into a developing suffering consciousness. That alone is the reality that has a claim on each of us to value as an equal life form. This deserves from us the religious value expressed as that which >God so loved that God gave God=s very self (God=s consciousness) that such a value might not perish but live forever@. This is the reality implied in our near sacred U.S. constitution that seeks to provide all humans with the Ainalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness@

What many are so certain shows an embryo having the same value as an arrived human being is actually not the potential human person, but the >expecting= dreams and wishes of= >having(even demanding)= that a new person come into life and fulfill someone=s personal meaning for it. I do not make light of that for surely every child needs to arrive with a strong welcome. But for us to take our own >desire and need= for a child as the equivalent to valuing an actual born child is somewhat selfish. I think the flaw of such valuing is seen in that there is seldom such emotional interest among people to help meet the needs of actual born children who are experiencing their developing consciousness. Here is where there is often much suffering that is often quite ignored and certainly not as strongly felt by some who claim a value of >right to life=.

I began to learn this view when looking into the concerned suffering face of a pregnant woman who intuitively knew that the potential human she carried did not have the >fullness of time= (religiously the >kairos=) to have what it deserved and needed to begin a life of consciousness. To not listen to that woman=s intuitive truth is, to me, to not listen to the voice of God who is speaking through her, the carrier of the fetus. I=ve been aware of several incidents of the motherly suffering decision to abort . Later the same women, in the >fullness of time=, gave birth to a child. Had she not used her best judgment before, this child would not have likely ever been received to its grand and waiting world, to begin its glorious path to joyful consciousness. The mystery and profundity of life causes me to wonder if this child were not perhaps the same unconscious potential child she previously aborted? Jim Hibbett

INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND SCIENCE...december, 2005(edited sept.29, 2006)

Call me paranoid but I think what is called 'intelligent design' is being promoted by sources that place little value on science or its historical development in Western Civilization. Evolution from its beginning has been viewed as a threat to the literal interpretation of the Biblical story of creation. I place a very high and personal value on the Bible, and believe that it is always at risk of being misused-especially when its symbolic language is taken literally, or interpreted as historical fact. I maintain such use of the Bible violates the very nature of ancient writings such as the first chapters of Genesis.
Many people are familiar with the Scopes "monkey trial" that took place in Tennessee in the 1920's, which is portrayed in the movie Inherit The Wind. This event disturbed some Bible believers by making humans seem (to them) too much like animals, and bringing into question such religious doctrines as the "fall of humankind," which are often literalized and historicized from the Bible stories. I think such ideas are what many 'literal' Bible believers have a deep need to keep in tact, even after all that has been learned about the nature of the Bible in the past 100 years.

To believe there is an "intelligent design" behind evolution is a philosophical or religious idea, not a scientific one; and that should be made clear wherever this discussion(which I think is totally appropriate in literature, philosophy or religion classes) comes up in public school teaching. It is a belief not,like Evolution is, a scientific model from which to experiment. Evolutionary theory does not claim ultimate truth and changes with new learning. But it is a model, a very successful one, from which to productively do scientific experimentation. Such use of the Theory of Evolution has been the major model used in research that has made possible the great progress in Medical science and the richer understanding we now have of life processes. There is no real scientific experimentation that flows from 'intelligent design' that I can even imagine. It raises no questions as science must continually do to be science. 'Intelligent Design' makes a faith claim and that's  where it ends.  It does not attempt to lead to any new and clearer  truth nor does it ask questions which is the the fundamental  nature of science. 

Where evolution is taught it is common and understandable for the question to surface of whether the universe is all by chance or by design. A competent science teacher might respond, "We don't know, but scientifically it makes no difference. Major religions and philosophies  have various ways to explain ultimate origins but in science we restrict ourselves to doing the work of science using this time-proven successful model called Evolution. It, unlike religion or philosophy,  has been the basis of much scientific progress for 150 years."
One Of The General Ideas Of  Evolution Theory

I think that it is wrong for groups to come seeking public support with a hidden agenda. And I suspect that 'intelligent design' promoters are doing just that. I've heard this discussed on radio programs (I actually called into two of them only to be cut short.) and find it disturbing that the real public importance and value of Evolution rarely even surfaces. I view such a powerful and enduring spark of creative thinking, like evolutionary theory, as evidence of God's wisdom dwelling in humanity. The story of how Charles Darwin, a believer in God, came to visualize this amazing pattern that has been so productive in furthering human understanding of the natural world is a powerful testimony, I believe, to God at work. Yet, many Biblical literalists have taken it as a threat to their particular faith structure. I find that very sad. It seems to be a kind of willful ignorance of modern information. The promotion of 'intelligent design' comes across to me not as an interest in science at all but an interest in promoting a particular form of the Biblical faith (however important it may be to some) onto the whole public via the public schools. Very few working scientists seem to be saying much in this debate. They may either think it is laughable (I might also if I did not see it as a rather serious threat to scientific learning in America's public education) or perhaps they are too busy doing real science. 
Both faith and science are extremely important, and, I believe, God-given functions of the human mind and heart. Science, by its nature, thrives and progresses from a deep desire to know more than is now known. Popular forms of religious faith, by their nature, derive meaning and security in what they trust and are not driven to find out more truth. Scientific thinking is a more recently evolved (if you will) capacity of human beings who were previously at the mercy of the faith function, which was often dominated by what we now view as untrue prejudices and superstitions. This does not call us to cast out the faith function but to see faith and science clearly as two different ways of being and of progressing as humans. We need both. But to fail to keep this distinction is to take a step backward in human development that was very hard won. To think of 'intelligent design' as something to compare or to balance out 'evolutionary theory' is a tragic educational mixing of apples and oranges.

Some religious people view nature as evidence for their belief in a creator God(of their particular religion). That is fine and understandable. However, some people's belief in God does not rest on that, at least not in any primary way. If my faith rested on a literal interpretation of the Genesis story, evolution would scare me also, as it did in my early adult life. And I fought diligently, as many still do, to discredit it. Science, on the other hand, wants to approach nature as a mystery that will give up some of her secrets (via the scientific method) to human understanding. This has often helped humans to control aspects of nature in ways that assist and benefit human(such as modern medicine) and other life on the planet.

If either view in this debate comes to the public without acknowledging what its assumptions and agendas are, then it is guilty of deceit and should be ashamed. I think this discussion is very healthy for the American public and I hope it will be taken seriously enough that more people can get a truer perspective of the nature of both faith and science. I'm confident that a more complete truth will present a way to see how these two important human functions can intersect each other without misrepresenting or doing harm to the legitimate reality of either. Jim Hibbett

Sunday, September 25, 2011

INERRANCY AND THE NUMINOUS...may 15, 2007(edited sept. 25,2011)..notes to Edward Fudge

Hi Edward. *(Edward's words are in Blue.) Thank you for your encouraging words. I am glad you are able to appreciate my personal story. It may be  there is some similarity in the effects of the experience of prayer language( speaking in tongues) and mine which would be closer to the biblical description of 'visions.' I know what occurred with me had every sense of coming from outside myself by a power and source that I had absolutely no control of and that was far greater than my ego, conscious self. It was also 'friendly' and 'respectful' of my human nature. This was especially evident in that it presented a lively and endearing  sense of humor. I have concern over any emotional religious experience where ego consciousness is totally surrendered or overcome. I think ones ego consciousness  must be present even if only primarily as an observer of the encounter with the Sacred. 

Moses' Vision of  'Burning Bush'
Otherwise the 'uniting and coming together' of Conscious and Unconscious is aborted by the Unconscious overwhelming human Consciousness. (I see an example of this being threatened by the way the raging Yahweh  seeks to overcome Job's nearly powerless Ego state. But Job's ego remained, even if barely, in tact.)   And this, it seems to me, is the primary value to the Human community of any 'direct experience of God' by an individual.  Some modern descriptions of 'prayer language' seem to raise need for this concern. But I do not doubt the reality of such experiences and how they display my description of 'numinous' below. 

I have since come to understand my experience as actually having its origin within me, though a part of me that was beyond my conscious awareness and superior to my Ego alone.(I should add that it is my understanding that the  Collective Unconscious is similarly an Unconscious part of each of us. It the depth  foundation of psyche potential that connects every human to all others and to all that is.) And this reality of the Human situation can never become totally otherwise. Consciousness can never fully surround or include the Collective Unconscious  but far more can become conscious to Humans than we would have ever imagined with our past and present levels of consciousness. Whenever something that is not fully conscious comes forward within a person it  produces  the experience of what has been called  'numinous' (see pics near bottom) ;  meaning it has all the force of coming totally from outside oneself and carries a power that  significantly changes or transforms conscious life and understanding. This through the  ages has been what has been meant by a 'religious' experience.
Numinous Vision,The  'Red Dragon' Of Revelation 12...Wm Blake 1805

 In quite recent times some , such as in typical Church of Christ belief and many others, ruled out such experience as impossible and sought to gain a religious experience that was totally intellectual. This limits one's religious experience to a matter of the head and leaves little place for an experience of heart and soul or one that makes one acquainted with what is 'numinous'. It only gives stories of others who have had such experiences. This makes much religion a 'second hand' experience which I do not think is enough to survive post-modern human spiritual need. I think considering the written word of scripture as the inerrant communication of the Word of God is very supportive of the effort to 'limit religious experience' to the intellectual, for reading and understanding words is totally an intellectual experience and a relatively recent experience for the masses of humanity.

Inerrancy Of Scripture...A Protestant Claim For Final Authority
In earlier cultures God was more of an immediate experience. Such experience of God is generally seen as a threat to organized religion for it appeals to the direct authority of God rather than institutional authority. Obviously there is great danger in such experience because of its subjective nature. I would never deny that problem. But the consequences of trying to legislate it out of life is far worse. For it legislates(or attempts to) the Spirit of God out of life.

My understanding of it arising from within in no way takes away from its powerful and transforming effect or wonder but it gives a way of understanding the reality of God in ways that are not in conflict with all other legitimate areas of human knowledge including  legitimate scientific knowledge. It provides a way of understanding which does not divide the human 'inner man' but rather heals and makes whole body, mind and spirit. This is what I hear throughout the NT with its emphasis on the metaphors of healing, wholeness, 'perfection', salvation, oneness, 'new creation', 'abundant life' etc. Religion gone astray becomes a divider and separator of God's creation and of God's human rather than a healer, nurturer and bridge that unites all that is a part of the human creature. The metaphor of Christ as 'great physician' is a powerful statement of what I seek to describe here.

The parable that to me has hardly begun to be experienced among humans is that of Luke's  'prodigious father' image of God. All common sense tells us that the irresponsible son should be denied a place at the table or at least a less honored one. But instead it says that which 'should' be cut off as of little value is raised to as high a level of importance as ones already accepted. I see historic Christianity as very often going the route of trying to 'toss out' and of 'devaluing' that which God has already made a full and mutual part(ie  Peter's dream teaching him to not devalue what God values.). I see this as applicable to a whole range of things whether it be ones attitude to the opposite sex, various sexual orientations, scientific knowledge, the Unconscious(commonly  experienced in human dream), the human body and matter in general.  I could go on and on. I see the movement of God as always being 'conservative' i.e. nothing of creation is discarded or considered of little value. This is especially true of all things human. God is one and is the source of all that is and all that exists is
Here A Sense of 'Ultimate Source' William Blake..179
essentially necessary for the the process of  whatever was before creation to eventually be one again. Humans not knowing this, and under the influence of institutions and religions that support 'separation' over 'oneness' , are quick to cut off and attempt to get rid of whatever seems 'other' or 'foreign'. This causes a split in the human's innermost being(as well as separating humans from each other) and such humans(all of us to various extents) contribute to the split and separations in the rest of creation and to all  we put our hand to. 

I realize that I am stating many things above but I think you might agree that many of these ideas and symbols are present in the Biblical record, especially when the metaphors of the bible are taken seriously and not reduced to being literal, physical or primarily historical. I find that reducing the biblical documents to those categories greatly reduces the depth and value of what can be learned from them. It denies the very nature of these precious gifts and so limits their healing power and potential. I've said enough, probably too much.
Have a good evening, Jim
Throughout all cultures in all times much  of the art, architecture and  literature seek to communicate the 'Numinous Experience' that some humans have been sensitive to:

Thanks for the feedback.  Regarding  I do not think a theoretical view of Scripture as inerrant presents a danger. The danger I see is that if  written word is viewed as perfect and whole Word of God  it places a limit on what one's mind allows oneself to experience as the living and unwritten Spirit of God. That is usually in fact the argument  often given  for the need of an inerrancy doctrine ie.,' all  living experience must be validated and be fully consistent with  the written words'.  Inerrancy  of written word becomes the final test of the living Spirit.  It must I think, as  frightening as this may seem to some, be somewhat the  other way around. Actually balance is what is always the golden mean. Otherwise  it always makes  intellect and reason  reign superior over the heart  and soul; and thus over the wellspring from which God actually enters   human  consciousness.  Hebrew, Christian as well as other world religions  all present themselves as coming out of  the human experience of heart and soul -not primarily  intellect.  Scripture themselves no doubt are the product of humans experiencing the  living Spirit within themselves. So why would we  arbitrarily decide that the quality of the experience they had be limited only for them personally and not potentially
Sacred Written Text.. What Is It's Proper Place In How We Connect With God?
for all believers in all times? It is my judgment that no  spiritual experience can ever be fully communicated by either written or spoken word thus no literal words can, by their  very nature, be inerrant or fully able to 'deliver' a complete and whole image of reality or truth.

This  concept of  inerrant written word is what I cannot accept.  If  I had done so I would have cut off the most significant religious experiences of my life(And many friends would have been more than happy and relieved for me to have done that.) That was my temptation in fact for  the experiences did not 'seem' to fit any views I had from scripture. It was  very scary,  and I sensed a spiritual courage that allowed  the Spirit 'free course'  by  reducing the authority of scripture. These 'views' of Perfect Scripture  had always kept me comfortable and protected  against directly experiencing God.  I see that as a key( not  an admirable one) motivator in the  Protestant Reformers'  declaring  inerrancy of scripture.  The church's authority  no longer served that protection for them. I understand their fear but  'fear is not what  is given by the Spirit of God'  but rather  a 'sound(undivided) mind.'  I can now see very strong parallels in scripture for my experience but I could not at the time because of my conditioning and because of the way I read  and interpreted scripture.  I now  highly value and appreciate scripture but  do not  make  of it an ultimate  and final authority for the  Living Word of God. 

The only way I could receive the experience  that came to me and thus not destroy the delicate balance of  my inner being(become schizophrenic) was to confess in effect, " This is far greater authority from God than how anything has ever struck me, including the gospels or Paul, or that I have ever read or can imagine reading". 
Like a child I had to 'give up' what had before seemed, and was, necessary  for spiritual survival. This is how many are still related to Sacred Texts whether  the Bible or others.  If I had clung to inerrancy of what is written I would have for conscience sake 'had'  to deny  the  actual  living  experience of God. I cringe to think where my life would be now if I had made such an arbitrary and fear-based  decision. I'm quite certain I would be dead, certainly spiritually if not altogether.  I would have been victim  to what Paul warns when he says, ' the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.'  God, I believe, refuses to be captured in written word in any  complete fullness but is  potentially far more fully manifest in  direct human experience.  This is part of my understanding of the God 'in whom we live and move and have our very being'.

I'll leave my comments to these.  God bless. Jim

On Tue, 15 May 2007 05:51:28 -0500 "Edward Fudge" <> writes:
*Note:Below Edward copies parts of my writing above (in intallics) and comments on them:

This through the ages has been what has been meant by a 'religious' experience. In quite recent times some ,such as in typical COC belief and many others, ruled out such experience as impossible and sought to gain a religious experience that was totally intellectual.  This limits one's religious experience to a matter of the head  and leaves no place for  an experience of heart or one that meets the definition of 'numinous'.

I agree.

I think considering the written word of scripture as the inerrant communication of the Word of God as very supportive of the effort to limit 'religious' experience to the intellectual for reading and understanding words is totally an intellectual experience and a relatively recent experience for the masses of humanity. In earlier cultures God was  primarily an immediate experience.  Such experience of God is generally seen as a threat to organized religion for it appeals to the direct authority of God rather than institutional authority. Obviously there is great danger in such experience because of its subjective nature. I would never deny that. But  the consequences of  trying to legislate it out of life is far worse.
For it legislates(or attempts to) God out of life.

I also agree with this for the most part. I do not think a theoretical view of Scripture as inerrant presents a danger, so long as one remains honest in acknowledging one’s own ability to err in understanding and applying any particular Scripture. It is a legitimate question then to ask what value the theoretical inerrancy is, and a question to which I am still trying to understand a complete answer.

My understanding  of it arising from within in no way  takes away from its  powerful and  transforming effect or wonder but it gives a way of understanding the reality of  God in way that is not in conflict with
all other legitimate areas of human knowledge including  all legitimate scientific knowledge. It provides a way of  understanding that does not divide the human 'inner man'  but rather heals and makes whole  body,mind and spirit. This is what I  hear throughout the NT with it emphasis on  the metaphors of  healing, wholeness, 'perfection', salvation,  oneness,  'new creation',  'abundant life'. Religion gone astray  becomes  a divider  and separator  of  God's  creation  and  of God's human rather than a healer and nurturer and bridge that unites all that is a part of the human creature.  The metaphor of  Christ as great physician  is a powerful statement of what I seek to describe here.  The parable that to me has hardly begun to be experienced  among humans is that of the 'prodigal father' image of God.  All common sense tells us that the irresponsible son should be denied a place at the table or at least a less honored one. But instead it says that which 'should' be cut of as of little  value is raised to as high a level of importance as  ones already accepted.  I see historic Christianity as  very often going the route of  trying to 'toss out'  and  of 'devaluing'  that which God has already made a full and mutual part(cf Peter's dream).

I agree.

I think you might agree that  many of these ideas and symbols are present in the biblical record, especially when the metaphors of the bible are taken seriously and not reduced to being  literal, physical or primarily historical. I find that reducing the biblical documents to those categories greatly reduces the depth and value of what can be learned from them. It denies the very  nature of these precious gifts and so limits their healing power and potential.

I agree, except that I insist that taking a narrative literally does not prevent one from also taking it seriously and understanding the metaphor that is present. I learned this in seminary when I was reading Reinhold Niebuhr at Eden Seminary and studying under Francis Schaeffer at Covenant Seminary simultaneously. Both discussed Genesis 1-3. Schaeffer took it literally. Niebuhr did not. But both men explained its meaning the very same way!



Saturday, September 24, 2011

SALVATION....janurary 3, 2010..note to Edward Fudge

Hi Edward.  I'm always perplexed and saddened that people have such deep wonderings of whether or not they  are 'saved'.  I Think this is because no matter what  'words'  the Christian community uses what people still hear is that there is a 'check list' somewhere that we are all being compared to. I feel that is such a tragedy. Also I am rather confident that if a person seriously has this laboring question about themselves that they can 'know' they are saved. This is especially true considering that  salvation is described as present reality, for example in the gospel of John, not just a future state. It is actually themselves they should ask.
The Word Is Near You, In Your Heart
I hear the apostle saying in Romans 10:8  that the answer is within, 'The word is near you, in your heart'. And I think it is presumptuous and nonspiritual to think his statement refers to some specific 'written word' that has been learned from material pages as I was first taught.  We have been deluged with the idea of some external standard regarding Salvation instead of accepting the assurance that seems to me can come from nowhere except one's own heart. And a center piece of any 'good news' is that the answer is yes. Once we know salvation is secured then we are more likely to be about living as moral and loving life with others as lies within us. The whole question often strikes me as quite egotistical and the answer is often more of the same.

 'Words words  words' do truly get in the way and humanity has never been more  'word' oriented than present day Westerners.  Not just our religion but our whole cultural world view is perceived nearly entirely through the intellect, the Word, the Greek Logos. Word, rather than heart, is our god and  Eros has been lost. We are adrift in a sea of words.  It seems  we really don't know we have  a heart, a soul through which the most real and personal authority of God speaks. These kinds of questions from your readers say so much about all of this.  I used to think it was just my Church of Christ background but  now realize it is a deeply embedded cultural phenomenon that  makes finding the spiritual path so very difficult in our day. Because we have all been taught to look only on the outside for both our directions and our promise. We even turn 'belief' into a  'work' that can save. We are subtly reminded we need to believe 'well enough' the 'precise right thing' to be successful in analyzing our salvation.   We look usually in the wrong places. All of this simply fails to meet the human condition as it is. I am convinced that  Jesus did that exact thing, looked to his own heart and encouraged others to do the same for assurance. He met people as they truly were, not through some model that was supposedly how they were. That is such a big difference. When one is met in such a way, he/she knows it without any other affirmation.

Edward, as much as you seek to encourage people to give up 'legalistic' views of securing spiritual salvation I think I still hear your language  promoting a rather  strong 'we-them' model. I know you are joined by most everyone in that perception of humanity and I confess I often fall into it, but I  think we can know better. I think this is something that Jesus was  helping people get over. As soon as we think of others as significantly somehow  less 'saved' than we are, whether due to their behavior, response to religious formula(even if intellectually derived from Bible writings) or attitude we have added to the 'we-them' mentality that cripples humanity and causes every kind  of harmful judgment. A 'we-them' model of humanity is always backed by
Strong 'We-Them' Christian Painting Of Last Judgment ..Stefan. Lochner 1435
some, even if unspoken, kind of ultimate and precise standard that we are being judged by. Also such a judgment is one we humans, not just God, are confidently able to make regarding self and others. And we commence to do that arriving at our list of the 'saved and unsaved.' Is this kind of judgment a Christlike activity, even when Jesus' gravest warning is to ,' not judge' each other? Do your questioners pull you into playing their game here?  I recall the judgment scene  passage in Matthew 25:31-46  where Jesus  is pictured explaining that whatever side  of this 'good-bad'  polarity we may be on at any moment that we are not even able to 'know' it. ...'when saw we..???..both groups ask'.  Jesus is asking them to look inwardly against their insistence on an external standard. Sound familiar?

The deeper meaning of such complicated yet simple statements of scripture are best used to help us to learn to not judge others as having  'good or bad' faith for we simply are unqualified to make such judgment, even against ourselves.  This is the source of humility and  of a much more humane world that healthy religion can facilitate. Unfortunately well meaning religion seems more often to do the opposite. It does no one any good to take satisfaction that there are literally such groups of people, ie 'good and bad' even if there are. Closer to the truth is that we are all 'both/and'  not  'either/or'.  Is anyone so prejudiced that they really think sheep are good and deserve to live and that goats aren't?  Biologically they are very closely related, even able to crossbreed.
'Goats On His Left'

'Sheep On His Right'

 Jesus is teaching  a contrarian, thus often against our common logic, way for people to live, to think and relate; the 'way of the kingdom'.  It remains as novel in the midst of organized religion today as it was then.  Things have changed so little.   

Words do little good if they serve to shore up peoples'  inclination to see 'we- them'  in humanity and thus to gain some  false  confidence that ' we are  saved and not they.'  Most 'salvation questions' fall into such activity. Nothing demonstrates this at its worse than a religious argument.  Just knowing we and they are  'saved'  as far as we can know removes all motivation or need  to ever see God's humanity as 'we-them'. We should  leave this to the politicians and sadly  the religious who are determined to have a 'law in words', no matter how strongly they profess the doctrine of grace. We should pray that even a few high political people might today understand that to attempt to solve the deepest social/ humanity problems with a  'we-them' mentality is doomed to failure. It always has been.

Edward, this is one of those times I am not at all thinking of you personally as I write for I am aware that this topic is quite universal among religious people.. Your words just  sparked my thought process.  Thanks and Blessings , Jim

BAPTISM & SALVATION By Edward Fudge In GraceMail January 4, 2010
A preacher friend and gracEmail subscriber writes: "Edward, From your commercial message for the Billy Graham Crusade I see that you once again are hinting that baptism has nothing much to do with salvation. Am I correct? Yes or no?"
* * *
No. I am not hinting that water baptism has nothing much to do with salvation. It has very much "to do with" salvation, although it is no part of the work which sets us right with God. That was the perfect doing and dying of Jesus Christ our representative. It is the very news of Christ's saving work to which a believer responds by being baptized.

What does baptism have to do with salvation? It is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) -- for it expresses faith by which one obtains remission of sins (Acts 10:43), faith in Christ's blood which was shed for remission of sins (Matt. 26:28). Baptism is a visible manifestation of trust in Jesus Christ as Savior -- a declaration of, commitment to, and reliance on the perfect work which Jesus accomplished and by which alone sinners are set right with God (Col. 2:12). It is a silent declaration that the believer died and rose again when Jesus died and rose, for he was our representative who acted in our stead (Rom. 6:1-11).

Baptism is a formal request to God for a good conscience, based on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Pet. 3:21). It is the means for subjective cleansing, as one calls on the name of the Lord for salvation (Acts 22:16). By it, one is saved or delivered from identification with this crooked generation, inasmuch as baptism marks off one as a believer over against the unbelieving world (1 Pet. 3:21). We are saved from sin by grace (not by baptism) through faith (not through baptism). Baptism is a visible, tangible confession of that faith, an act of obedient trust in Jesus Christ who only is the Savior of the world.

Friday, September 23, 2011

THE NATURE OF THE GOSPEL WRITINGS...Note To Edward Fudge..april 15, 2011(edited sept. 23, 2011)

Introduction: In this essay I attempt to offer another  specific explanation of how we can get closer to the origins of the Gospel writings and  avoid  the traditional lack of appreciation for the actual challenge and  humanness of these writers. The four Biblical gospels, and also some of those that were discarded but have recently been rediscovered, are amazing and influential creative writings  that helped form likely the single most powerful influence on Western Society, orthodox Christianity.(The blue text below is a quote from Edward's essay that is in total at the end of this essay.)

The Bible story most likely on the author's mind as he reinterpreted the story for his gospel, that day in the meadow(the  setting given by the author in the gospel narrative), was the one in which Elisha feeds 100 men with 20 barley loaves and ears of grain, with "some" food left over (2 Kings 4:42-44). ......Then the writer shows Jesus using his one-fourth as much bread to satisfy fifty times more men than Elisha does (don't even count the moms and toddlers). Then, as if that were not enough, the author depicts Jesus' disciples recover a dozen bread baskets full of edible leftovers.

A Gospel Author With His Resources...9th Century CE
Hi Edward. With the editing liberties I add the above paragraph I think  becomes a  reasonable explanation of the creative  literary nature of the gospels. I would like to expand on that notion here. The gospels are replete with examples showing how the author takes the central OT hero stories and weaves them to say,' and  Jesus was this and far more'. The Jewish gospel author in the Midrash* tradition is completely within bounds to write a heart felt, thoroughly Jewish  description  and  explanation of the impact that the carpenter of Nazareth had had on him or his   immediate heirs some 50-90 years before. (The Midrash was an accepted practice of the Hebrews producing  creative commentary and interpretations of the O.T. stories suited to the *Midrash author's and the Hebrew people's present day situations and needs. This is the very style and function of the literary form the writers of the gospels used.)   That time with Jesus was followed by his  horrific, humiliating and hope-dashing murder. Jesus had become more and more to be religiously  seen as one who could only be described(looking back to when he was with them as a full bodied human being) as the very Presence of God. 
Gospel Authors Reinterpreted  The OT Similarly as Ancient Midrash Writers.

You say the disciples missed the point. The author is surely showing them as missing the point. It was not the original disciples who  this was being written for.(For The Gospel of John some seventy years had passed since Jesus was killed,) They surely could  not  have recognized as they were with Jesus just what they would eventually  think of him after his death;  after the loss and shock and hopelessness they would go through, not just for three days but for some years and decades. Just like our mourning for a dearly loved one is never completed.  It was in the first generation  of broken hearts  that the creative psyche began to, in ways we can have some understanding of now,  consider that  Jesus was still among them.  Among them in ways that were absolutely real and life changing.  Among them in ways that gave them the inner experience of  'hope full of glory.' At first and for no doubt some years they were convinced that he would return in human form any moment, any day.  Then it would be in Palestine what it was when he was alive and  their original hopes would be realized. Besides, they could stand anything if He were only with them as they re-imagined him being  before. As that did not happen day after day, year after year, their devotion, need and 'God with us' impression did not become less but more real.  This is how a religious perspective is born in the real human world. They began to desire and hope to be 'like him' and many saw their and others' lives changed  for the better by that deep sincere longing and aspiration.

Then third and fourth generation creative minds of  'the Christ  way' communities  began to write their own Jewish stories such as the one you refer to, most showing how Jesus was like and far  more than their Hebrew heroes.(Christians are often oblivious of how this is seen as an egotistic put-down to Jews who still honor these heroes and do not see Jesus as supplanting them like developing Christianity did and does.) They were naturally able to cast Jesus into being the long awaited  mysterious  Messiah and the 'suffering servant' as well as one like but  more than Moses ( eg they both providentially escaped death as infants  in Egypt) Elijah and Elisha.  Jesus is thus described as the  'real' present day  'manna'  of God, the  'bread of life.'   Another event in the OT  story of Elijah is his experience in the wilderness. This story is seen in the gospel account of Jesus' also being 'Tested in the Wilderness.' Also there is a strong connection between the names Elijah and Jesus, causing some to think of Elijah being a previous incarnation of Jesus. All these kinds of associations and reinterpretations of  the OT Hero stories  are  part of the style that the gospel authors used which had been modeled for centuries by a similar  free use of OT scripture in the Midrash  tradition.

' Elijah In Wilderness' Is Also Used For Jesus In Gospels.

The gospel authors write like this, using their copy of the Greek Old Testament and  probably copies of already circulating gospels,  to explain the phenomenal historical presence and memory of Jesus; and what the ripples of his real life and death had created in the heart and soul of some groups of  Hebrew people. This effect was at a time when  their religious, social and economic lives were threatened with complete extinction. Life in every regard was in shambles.  They wrote to explain and they wrote to evangelize, to give others who had not been a part of the 50-90 year ripple but who also were ripe for a new perspective, for new  images and visions of God, Human and the world. A great social/religious ferment was in progress.  The gospel writers became far more successful in their very  inspired  desire and effort than they likely ever dreamed of. I think of them writing about what must have, at the point of writing, been to them like a dream they or their immediate forebears had been through. It might be compared to some elements of a prolonged social  'post traumatic syndrome.'   It is so hard, even impossible,  for us  to begin to comprehend the psychological  and physical suffering that are the background of  the Christ story(including its gospel writers) and its development first into numerous religious communities and eventually into a World religious/social/political power. Because their lives had been devastated  by the brutal crushing of their Jewish heritage and religion and also, for the Hebrew Christians', by the murder of the godly person whose life, words and  fresh interpretations of Hebrew scripture had brought much hope. His life, love and passion for the outcast and marginalized  had begun to give them hope of a far better life and for a vindication from God that all their Hebrew history had assured them of.  The common 'cross' of crucifixion became  no longer a symbol of sin and humiliation but one of conquering glory and transcendence. In some ways that transformation is similar to how the American black community, long before most white people were aware of it, changed the word 'nigger' from a brutal word of humiliating bigotry and hate to one of affection, acceptance and appreciation. An image that no one should take as a right to use, except those who have experienced it. Both of these symbols are examples of spiritual transcendence.

I do not think this kind of explanation of the nature of the gospels and of the spiritual/historical/psychological/social/religious event that happened around the life of a peasant  Jewish carpenter diminish their meaning,  or the astonishing story they tell. This became the launch pad for  Western Civilization's religion, culture and law. As this civilization now faces a whole new set of problems and needs(unimagined until recent centuries), it is time that we use our new place in history and our newer  kinds of knowledge to give our people a more full and true, but not less important, explanation and interpretation of   the impact  that life has had on us all. We greatly need also to acknowledge  that no ripple effect,  however amazing, alive, astonishing and unpredictable, can last forever. It is time for us to wonder how anything similar could begin to happen again to effect another millennia or more. It no doubt would be a very different and unexpected experience and story. Maybe such a story, or stories, are happening right now. Stories that will some day seem like a societal dream  we went through and  ones that demand as good of an explanation, and true to the best of present knowledge,  that  our most creative and  brightest can deliver. Best Always, Jim
*Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש; plural midrashim, lit. "to investigate" or "study") is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible.
Midrash is a way of interpreting biblical stories that goes beyond simple distillation of religious, legal or moral teachings. It fills in many gaps left in the biblical narrative regarding events and personalities that are only hinted at.[1]

On Sun, 17 Apr 2011 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <> writes:

Edward Fudge

Click here for 100 popular topical links to 1100 past gracEmails.

A gracEmail subscriber writes that her daughter is reading about Jesus feeding the multitude, and she wonders why he wanted to save the leftovers.
* * *
According to John's Gospel, Jesus ordered the disciples to collect the uneaten fragments (not crumbs or scraps) of flat-bread and fish to prevent wasting good food (John 6:12). Matthew's Gospel also suggests that Jesus hoped to impress the disciples with God's power, which they had just observed in action (Matt. 16:8-9). As they moved from person to person through the crowd, the disciples might have recalled other stories of God's special provisions of food. For example, there was the manna in the wilderness (Ex. 16). Perhaps they thought of Elijah's multiplication of a widow's oil and meal (1 Kings 17:7-16), and a similar miracle by Elisha (2 Kings 4:1-7).
But the Bible story most likely on their minds that day in the meadow, was the one in which Elisha feeds 100 men with 20 barley loaves and ears of grain, with "some" food left over (2 Kings 4:42-44). Just imagine what the Food Channel could do with these two scenarios! The episode opens, and the host gives Elisha four times more bread than Jesus gets. But before the program ends, Jesus uses his one-fourth as much bread to satisfy fifty times more men than Elisha does (don't even count the moms and toddlers). Then, as if that were not enough, Jesus' disciples recover a dozen bread baskets full of edible leftovers. Unfortunately, after all this, the disciples still miss the lesson of the day (Mk. 6:51-52).
John alone follows this narrative with Jesus' discourse about himself as the "bread of life" -- the manna truly sent down from heaven. For John, Jesus' feeding the 5,000 is not only a miracle (a work of "power") and a wonder (an act that produces "awe"). It is also a sign (a deed with significance because it points to a deeper truth or reality). This gustatory gala on the grass "sign-ifies" who Jesus really is and what he is about. He is the incarnate Son of God who gives and sustains life, life "eternal" in longevity and in quality. Whoever, by faith, regularly feeds on Jesus has something far better than a take-home bag for another meal. Indeed, that person will never hunger or thirst again (John 6:34-35).