Week 15 Final Post Reflection on Video Essay

Overall, the process of making this video essay challenged me and helped me be more creative. The first thing that worried me when I saw this essay was the criteria for picture taking. I tried to strictly uphold the criteria no stock images while still finding pictures that somehow represented what I would narrate. I found that when searching for pictures to take in the 3pm spokane sunset, that the criteria itself forced me to see jesus, learning, thinking and mindfulness in a more symbolic way.  I started seeing how a picture could represent more, for example, though somewhat blasphemous, I saw the Image of Jesus in a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime holding his arms so he looked like a big armed cross. 

One problem that I had with this assignment was the criteria of only 250 words. I found it a little hard to explain my views fully with this criteria. Specifically, I wish to reiterate what I said about Jesus’ miracle stories being memories written down. What I really mean is that the stories are the miracles seem to me like they are just stating what Jesus did to keep track. I think this because the miracle passages are not overly described like a story or parable, rather the miracle passages seem straightforward and simple and for this reason I think they are true.

Technological difficulties also re-taught me to be patient before I stress. The library offered no digital cameras so I was forced to use my ‘dumb’ (not smart) Phone to hold my pictures. Though my phone had little room and died while on my first excursion for pictures, the old thing came through and the pictures turned out better then expected. 

I’m proud to say that my essay does not hold stock images, save for my leg in the beginning. This class and essay has taught me to speak my own voice and thoughts. These blogs were helpful because I found them an easy way to let my thoughts flow free on any subject. See you next year, Merry Christmas!

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Week 14 Paul Life Together In Christ

The phrase “in-christ” was used by Paul in his letters over a hundred times. Paul obviously thought the phrase was very important for living an authentic christian life. Paul says anyone that does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. This sentence of Paul’s makes me wonder what it feels like to have the spirit of Christ, is it something we all have or is it a select few?

Now when Paul uses the phrase ‘body of christ’ I understand it a little better. Paul is calling the new and early christians the ‘body’ of christ because the christians now represent christ on earth.

The eschaton is God’s dream for the world. I find it quite interesting to think that God has a dream for how the world would end up. Paul seemed to think that God’s dream of the world started to take place the second Jesus came to Earth. I wish I could see this plan written out. I also wonder if God’s plan is still working out for him now in the real world like he expected. 

Paul sent his letters to many communities and some of these new breed christian communities became “Share communities.” This means that the residents of the communities shared with each both physical and Spiritual resources. This means that early christian communities were social and prayed together. The fact that early christians lived in such communities showed how great the early christian movement was.

Love is one way to live with the Spirit. Paul tells us not to self-indulge ourselves but rather become slaves to the love humans have for one another. I agree with this idea of spiritual living through love. It is not hard to see that a life with love and community trumps a life of self-indulgence every time. Next, Paul describes how the desires of the flesh is in perfect opposition with the desires of the Spirit. I think Paul is putting a little to much emphasis on the desires of the flesh as a bad thing. Is it not perfectly natural for our bodies to receive no source of pleasure.

The life in-christ and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are all the characteristics needed to live a life in-christ. Paul’s letter of farewell preaches to be content with one’s life and to also look out for others before oneself.

It seems to me that sacrifice is one of the most important aspects of christianity. Since Jesus came and sacrificed for our sins we to must live a life with less selfishness and more personal sacrifice.

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Week 12 Blog Letter to Galatians/ Paul’s Beliefs

Paul opens hisletter to the Galatians by first claiming hisown authority. He does this when he says that he was not commissioned to speak of Jesus and God by human authority but rather Jesus inspired Paul to be an apostle through a private revelation. As discussed in class the fact that Paul’s revelation is private casts some doubt on whether his claim is legit. One reason his declaration may be false derives from this statement, “He gave himself for our sins, so he could deliver us from our present evil age.” Paul implies that Jesus will return during his own lifetime (present age), however, we know this never happened. Jesus did not return to free Paul from the age he thinks is evil, and because of this Paul must be wrong. So the possibilities are that Paul did not have a true revelation (meaning he had what he thought was a revelation), he made it up, or he had one and misinterpreted what Jesus meant. The last possibility wouldtruly be a missed opportunity.

Next Paul states that God had set him apart since birth. This makes me wonder what in God’s decision making set Paul apart from others, what was special about Paul for God to put his trust in him. God’s reason for his revelation to Paul, according to Paul, is for Paul to preach to the Gentiles. This part of Paul’s story has an air of legitimacy because history tells us that eventually most Gentiles will have a christian faith. God obviously wants everyone to know about Jesus, because after all he is the truth, but if this is the case and God is all powerful then why not just reveal himself to more people so that faith around the world can be strengthened. The only reasoning I can think behindGod not revealing himself more often is the idea of an individual journey. Perhaps God doesn’t want faith to be to easy, maybe he wants individuals to figure out for themselves the answers to the questions of faith and life.

Paul himself brings up God and favoritism. He says God does not show favoritism but then again he was graced and given power. In this way Paul never comes to a conclusion as to whether God shows favoritism.  Next, Paul makes a point to the Jews about the sin of righteousness. He teaches that if some of the Jews think themselves special because God revealed himself to them first then Jesus’ death for the sins of the WORLD was all for not.

Paul makes another point that the past laws of Judaism that informed people how to live life is no longer as important to God as faith is. And for this reason any man, woman, Jew or Gentile is able to be a son or daughter of God.

Paul also spells out for us the two different ways of living; either through the spirit or selfish actions. Paul lists what he considers to be selfish acts: sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, idolatry, drug use, hate, fighting, obsession, loosing your temper, conflict, group rivalry, jealousy, drunkenness, and partying. His description of aspirit filled life includes, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. A problem I have with these two forms of living is that joy is much to ambiguous. Joy for me involves spending time with people and making friendships, however, in this day and age meeting people often means, partying, drinking or drug use. Imnot claiming that the only way to meet people is at parties, however, why not enjoy some  forms of inebriation with people, safely, that God after all put on this earth.

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Paul Appealing Or Appalling week 11

In the very beginning of “The First Paul” Borg and Crossan claim that Paul is second only to Jesus in importance in the origins of Christianity. Never reading any of Paul’s letters myself I am unable to agree or disagree. The next thing I notice about this introduction is Paul’s writings that many would consider appalling. Paul is quoted supporting slavery, anti-Semitism and the subjugation of women. Despite some of these appalling beliefs Paul takes up about half of the New Testament, either through his 13 letters or the 16 chapters he is present in the Book of Acts. Paul’s greatest effort was in the recruitment of Gentiles, not just Jews, into the movement of Jesus.This considerable effort eventually led to the new Christian religion. Paul succeeded in converting many Gentiles and Jews and is therefore extremely influential for the growth of the new religion. In addition, to helping create a religion during his lifetime, Paul also managed to influence many christian churches that blossomed during the reformation. Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley were the leaders of the Lutheran, Calvinist and Methodist churches, respectively. Each one of these leaders incorporated Paul’s writings into their religions. Paul seems very two-sided, he has an intense influence over the religious lives of many Gentiles and Jews, but also writes out some of his harsh beliefs. 

Crossan mentions an ancient artifact which shows Peter and Paul on a boat. The Interesting part of the artifact, which is in fact a bronze lamp, is that Paul guides while Peter steers. This shows the importance and camaraderie that must have been present amongst the two men. In addition, this enlightened me to the fact that Paul is as important to Christians as Peter was.  

The concept of radical grace meant for Luther that God accepts us just as we are, and christian life is about living more fully into that realization. I disagree with this belief of grace because I believe God sent Jesus to be an example of how one is supposed to live. In addition, I think changing yourself for the better and trying to be the best person you can be is important for this life and for the possible judgment that occurs in the next. Another possible teaching of Paul’s was that faith is the new requirement for salvation. I tend to disagree with this belief as well because I think actions speak louder then words and even words speak louder than thoughts, and for me having faith for some people can be a ‘get out of jail free card’ in some ways. What I mean by this is people use faith as an excuse to do whatever they want, if faith is the number one requirement for salvation than why commit christian actions if your faith has already saved you. I believe that making good chooses throughout life in addition to faith is a more realistic way to attain salvation.

Paul states in his passage to the Romans that every person must obey the governing authorities because God put all of them in place. It seems odd to me that God chose each ruler and government authority. I disagree with this passage of Paul’s because this would mean all political leaders in history have been pre-ordained by God to rule their specific nation. If one were to believe this passage whole-heartedly then they would be instant subjects and would not even think of speaking out against a leader. This inability to revolt goes directly against our God given free will and therefore the passage must be wrong.

Though Paul receives a lot of criticism for his prejudgments, it is to be remembered that he was a faithful apostle to Jesus who managed to spread the word in many Roman cities. Paul wrote his letters to small communities of early christians rather, than the cities we know as the titles of most letters. In addition, these were communities that Paul had either visited or had once been apart of. For this reason the letters are not messages about Jesus, but rather as the letters were responses to problems that early christian communities were facing. In many ways Paul, up there with Peter, was an early leader of the early christians. 

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The Gospel of Luke week 10

The opening of Luke consists of Luke voicing his purpose, in which he says he hopes people will have confidence in what he has written. I found it interesting that in voicing his purpose Luke never once mentions Jesus. The first passage of Luke describes how Zechariah was approached by an angel and the angel told him his son John will be holy. The angel tells Zechariah that his son is not to drink wine or liquor. I thought this was an odd request to be made by an angel, it makes me think that perhaps God knew that John the Baptist could just as easily become a drunk if he had disobeyed the angel. The angel Gabriel visits Mary and tell her she is favored and will give birth to Jesus. The fact that  Mary is favored in God’s eyes, makes me wonder what about her makes her favorable for God. I also wonder how God chose Mary and what qualifications she had that other women did not. In the Opening of Luke, God seems to be planning out where Jesus would be born. God uses an angel to inform of the impending miracles of birth. The start of Luke features two immaculate conceptions. This shows that John the Baptist was vital for God’s plan to be carried out. Without John’s outgoing teachings about the coming of Jesus perhaps God’s plan would have failed. I think the importance of John the baptist is often overlooked because people forget he was immaculately conceived.

It seems to me that some of the people in the Gospel of Luke are already confused as to what Jesus means. When Zechariah regains his ability to speak he praises Jesus as the promise of salvation for “abraham’s ancestors.” Zechariah thinks of Jesus more as a national leader, he believes that Jesus will help overcome the power of the enemies of Israel. Meanwhile, Simeon says Jesus is, “A light of revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel.” Simeon sees Jesus as more of a universal figure and leader someone that all races can interpret. Anna is also a prophet who meets Jesus and seems to instantly know that he is someone special.

Jesus’s 12 year old adventure in the Temple showed that Jesus was no mere 12 year old. Luke mentions that he questioned the teachers in the temple and conversed with them. Jesus seems to already have the knowledge of a clergy member in the temple. The baptism of Jesus in Luke is quite short, only mentioning that the skies opened and God spoke. The fact that look leaves out the reactions of the members of society puzzles me. I would think a stronger faith would be had if Luke had described the reactions to the voice of God. I feel like God speaking would have been huge news in those days. After Jesus’ baptism he foes about finding disciples. I have always wondered how Jesus went about choosing disciples. Im sure some of them began following him on there own, but forthe ones Jesus’ decided to interact with he must have seen something special in them. Luke’s Gospel brings up a lot of questions of faith for me, not that it makes me question my faith but rather my understanding of the History of Jesus.

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Borg: Bible Political And Personal week 9

The main point Borg is trying to make in chapter nine of his book is that the Bible is both personal and political. In this way he means that the reason for writing the bible is both personal and political. The Bible is personal because a renewal of faith can result in new beginnings. The bible is political because with the new kingdom of God proclaimed the bible implies a stand against the current domination system.

Borg’s proof that the bible is both political and personal is the way Jesus lived. Borg claims that Jesus’ way was both personal and political. Politically Jesus preached that all nations live under God. Personally Jesus transformed from God into Jesus which was obviously a personal journey for God. Jesus, according to Borg practiced nonviolent resistance to the Roman domination system.

Borg goes into detail about Jerusalem and mentions that it is the place God had chosen to dwell on earth. This made me wonder whether he meant thats where Jesus dwelled in that area or that before and after Jesus God was dwelling there only. If its the latter then I disagree because I think God is everywhere and wouldn’t choose one place above the other. I also found it interesting that the Gospels provide more detail about Jesus’ last week of life than any other portion of his life. Perhaps the writers saw this as the most important part of Jesus’ life. This makes sense because the last week of Jesus’ life will eventually be Holy week, which is the most important week for the christian faith, because the sacrifice  Jesus made for our sins, and his resurrection and proof of divinity.

Borg also goes into detail about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Borg believes that there is great meaning in the fact that jesus rode in on a donkey, because it is written in the book of one of the prophets that a great king will enter the city on a donkey and he will be advocating peace. This claim in meaning if true shows the early prophets as a little bit more legit.

In the days of Jesus being a wealthy man meant that you used the domination system to your advantage, usually through collaboration with the romans. In this way the wealthy were considered traitors to anyone that persecuted the domination system. This makes a lot of sense because Jesus’ teachings often mentioned the rich not being morally correct and the poor will get a lot under the kingdom of God.

Borg explains the saying of ‘turn the other cheek’ as it relates to the culture of the time. Subordinates hit by superiors would get hit with the back hand, and to turn the other cheek a superior would then have to use a forehand which in those days meant an equal hitting an equal.  This new meaning shows that Jesus may have spoken out against the domination system more openly then perviously thought. Showing once again how the bible has a large political meaning.

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Borg Ch. 8 week 7

Its interesting to hear Borg say that the Bible is both political and personal. This makes me think many of the stories in the bible may be purely political, symbols that represent the power of Rome. The Bible is personal in that each one of us can have a personal connection to God and his word if we so choose. Politically in the Bible portrays a just world that God rules over the nations, a situation the Jews would have loved compared to Roman occupation.

As the Bible can be interpreted in many ways so to can Jesus and his purpose be interpreted in many different ways. Jesus portrays the man and way of life that each of us can live by. In addition, Jesus preaches the coming of God’s kingdom, a very political sentiment.

Borg also points out just how angry the Jews were. As a culture rich in the history of rebellion and theology the Jews did not see Roman rule as a good thing. Jewish violent and nonviolent resistance occurred. Jesus himself was advocating Jewish nonviolent resistance. This was the main reason for Jesus’ eventual crucifixion.

Borg interprets the story of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem. Borg claims that by riding into Jerusalem on a young donkey, Jesus enacted his message: the Kingdom of God of which he spoke was a kingdom of peace, not violence. This decision of Jesus to enter the city like this was a type of political demonstration. The best way to gain wealth in those days was either to inherit it or exploit the domination system and ally oneself with powerful rulers. Borg develops many interesting points about the historic life of Jesus, and I find the political pretesting of Jesus very interesting.

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Gospel of Mark week 6

In the beginning of Mark’s Gospel it is mentioned that Jesus teaches with authority not like the legal experts. First I wonder what do they mean by legal experts then I think Jesus came down to teach people how to live their lives. The news of Jesus spread right away which makes you think that Jesus may have performed these miracles because I figure news in Galilee doesn’t usually travel that fast. Must have been word of mouth from shepherd to shepherd or something. When Jesus heals Simon’s mother in law Mark makes it sound like James and John are rushing miracle opportunities to Jesus as if they just found this talent God grew into. Does Jesus really call himself the ‘human one,’ does this imply there is another species form of God if that makes sense. Jesus says to the Legal experts why do you fill your mind with these questions, this passage in some ways makes it seem like Jesus read their minds, otherwise why would Jesus say fill your mind with these questions like he went into their mind and read it. Why would anyone in their right mind see Jesus heal someone and then imediately thing of a way to kill Jesus? Its almost unrealistic how dumb it is that someone that heals people deserves to die. These are my thoughts on the first part of Mark. 

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Borg 5 Jesus The Mystic week 5

In Chapter 5 Borg gives us his argument that Jesus was a Jewish Mystic. This means that at some point in Jesus’ early life he experienced the presence of God in and around him. There are two ways of thinking of God as present. The first is supernatural theism, this means seeing God as separate from the Universe, basically God as its own entity.  The other belief is God’s immanence, which means God is in all things. I tend to lean more towards God as immanent. I found both these theories interesting and I lean towards immanence because I believe that our natural environment is more than a place for us to use, but rather a home for life. God is basically our home.

Borg goes on to explain the type of experiences of God that Jesus is said to have had. Visions occur when someone sees into another reality brought upon by God. While, an audition is hearing a voice from another reality. I find myself growing jealous of these experiences offered up by God to mystics, and people of extreme patience and faith. I have never tried to sit perfectly still and empty my mind or meditate. Borg says these experiences are like a doorway into another reality, an experience that I would love to have. These experiences are examples of firsthand faith, or actually physically seeing or hearing ‘more.’ A couple of times in areas of complete silence I swear I have heard my name whispered. Theres almost nothing I want more than to have a firsthand religious encounter just to strengthen my faith and confidence. This always leads me to ask God the question of why not prove yourself  to all of us, why not show up and enlighten us wouldn’t that be a good thing to do, to put it simply?

Reading on Borg mentions the experience of Jesus in the wilderness talking to the devil. What shocks me most in the reading is that one of the devil’s ‘evil’ questions is “if you are the Son of God then confirm it?” This question as not evil and it scares me to think I wonder the same thing. Why not just show us so we all know? If this question is considered evil, (or at least as a question the devil would ask), then curiosity must be considered evil because that is all this question is.


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Borg 4 Blog 4

Chapter four of Borg is devoted to studying what Jesus would have studied. Jesus grew up in a village where education was tough to come by and the Torah was not just stories but also divine law. One odd question that popped into my head while reading and that is Why did God choose the time and place to unleash his son on the world? Why not send Jesus down right now in our generation, a world in which we could prove Jesus truly is the son of God because we would video tape those miracles. If God is all powerful and he wants our faith then why choose to send his son down to a world that cannot document as well the actions of the messiah, in that way God created the need for faith, some having it and some not. Why not end our doubts?

Borg explores the government type that Jesus would have had to suffer, and what the Jews of the times thought of the current government system. He mentions that Jesus would have either accepted Roman rule, or fought it. Borg claims Jesus’ upbringing shaped him, and to this claim I would agree but also believe that if Jesus was divine then he would do some divine things in his free time like talk to God or maybe just think to himself sense he is God. This chapter makes me want to know what Jesus did in his free time. Jesus grew up in a fairly violent world, which makes sense because he would later become a pacifist. This shows partially that Jesus may have been shaped to some degree by what he grew up witnessing.

Borg notes also that Jesus would have studied the Torah and possibly only the Torah. I would be interested to compare what Jesus says as teachings to the teachings found in the Torah and see how much Jesus broke off from the Torah when it came to what he preached. I was interested to learn a bit more about the sabbath. Borg explains that it was more of a day to relax then anything, some people just see it as all church and no play.  Also the sabbath year was a concept I had never heard of: every seventh year removing all debt. Borg’s study of Jewish culture sheds light on how to picture Jesus’ as he was growing in his world. 

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