Sunday, June 25, 2006

Jesus is Lord!!!

Some thoughts. I need to do more research re this. Isaiah 53:10. Yahweh is the Lord. Jesus is the Lord. Yahweh is Jesus. Jesus does not crush Himself.
Using the interlinear I've noticed a couple things. Could Isaiah be translated something like, "Yahweh was moved/pleased/delighted to allow Himself to be crushed and to be wounded." I want to propose that Yahweh, or the High Priest/Servant who represented/was Yahweh was the one being wounded. This lines up with the Gospel account. Isaiah 53:6, seems to say that Yahweh intercedes in our iniquity. Is this why Aaron had to be so careful when performing the atonement rites, or he would be killed? The lamb was a substitute for Aaron, if he didn't perform them correctly, did the people go after Aaron? Iniquity meaning something close to reciprocal violence, the cycle of revenge/violence. As it says somewhere else, without Him interceding no flesh would have been saved. In Isaiah 53, are we witnessing an atonement ritual. Is this what Jesus was enacting? Jesus allowed Himself to be wounded, like the servant, to bear our sins, so that his children may be prolonged/saved. Humans wounded Yahweh in both Isaiah and the Gospels, to deny this I think is to deny the reality of the text. We transfered our sins to Jesus. Jesus allowed Himself to be the recipient of our sins (the whip, the nails, the cross, our hatred). We made Jesus to be sin, and because He loved us he went along with it. It was either accept the transference of our sin to Himself, or Jesus in the end transfering that sin to another scapegoat. Jesus loved us all He could not do that. God desires mercy not sacrifice, this is plainly stated.

Rene Girard's mimetic theory (James Alison and Atonement) and Margaret Barker's work re First Temple/Day of Atonement symbolism can really provide quite a bit of insight into the text of Isaiah 53. Girardian theory and Margaret Barker's works are must reads if you want to understand Christian symbolism.

Is saying that Jesus is Yahweh scandalous?

Bruce Springsteen and Bring 'em Home

(Via YouTube)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Anthropoetics volume 12, no. 1 is now online. Also of note, Eric Gans and the editorial board of Anthropoetics have a new Generative Anthropology blog, GABlog.

The Wrath of God?

There's a certain subsection in the blog world that believes that God the Father murdered Jesus. Well they do acknowledge that our sins in some way helped to nail Jesus to the cross, because human sin for some reason got God the Father all riled up, hurt his feelings, insulted his "honor", so mad that demanded payment. He became angry, wrathful, if he wasn't repaid for the damage done to his "honor" he would get all violent on us humans. Throw us all into "hell", and just basically burn his violence out on us. Fortunately for us, a the theory goes, Jesus was there to absorb the wrath of God the Father in our place. Jesus would pay what we couldn't.

Penal substitionary atonement theory is absurd. God is on the verge of freeing us from this oh so theoretical theory. Nagasaki, Hiroshima, the Holocaust and ethnic cleansings throughout the 20th century and into the 21st have profoundly shown us human wrath. A few verses:
1. Mark 13:20
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
One thing to note in this verse, "for the chosen/elect" looks like it could be "through the chosen/elect)

2. Matthew 21:41-43
41They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
(Because they answered in this manner the kingdom of God will be taken away from them. God is not violent he will not destroy them. The stone the builders rejected will become the cornerstone. They don't learn, the want to reject Jesus again. If they would have really learned that killing the prophets was wrong they wouldn't want to kill Jesus. Jesus will not punish them, he will forgive them, but they will not accept his forgiveness. They are stuck in the cycle of violent retribution, all they understand is violence, revenge and murder. Jesus is a scandal, someone who will not answer violence with violence, this is the greatest perversion the world system knows. This is why Jesus is such a scandal to them. After all that God has done for them they still haven't learned that God is not a wrathful God, he will not destroy them.)

3. John 10:1-21
Why do the people call him mad? Is it because he said that He will lead his people through the sheep gate. The sheep going to slaughter. Is Jesus asking us to follow Him to slaughter? We must become as Jesus did, the bonds of the covenant of peace. He is not sending some else through the sheep gate, some substitute through the sacrificial machinery, He will go to the slaughter Himself. God does not want sacrifice, he wants mercy. Humanity demands sacrifice and retribution for sins. Jesus sacrifices Himself to a violent mob. He is not a thief who has come to kill and destroy, He has come so that we may have life. If left to ourselves we will destroy each other in nuclear holocaust, Jesus has substituted Himself for us. God doesn't want to destroy us, He loves us. We want to destroy ourselves. Jesus says destroy me instead of destroying each other. My blood is life, drink, and realize what you have done.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Atonement and Isaiah

Isaiah 49:6 says:
He says, "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;I will also make You a light of the nations, so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
Genesis 1:3 could be translated, "And God said, 'Let Him be Light, and He was Light".

I need to do a little more research, but Isaiah 53 should be translated something like "he was wounded by (not for) our transgressions, he was bruised by (not for) our iniquities, the covenant bond of our peace (exemption from war and chaos) was his responsibility, by his joining us together we are healed."

The servant poured out his blood to the people so that they would be healed. By absorbing the conflict of the community, the servant prevents further violence. The community can unite around the scourging of the servant. He pours out his blood so that the blood of others will not be shed. He is a substitute for the community. Without him the community would continue to fight and bruise each other. He renews the covenant bond of the community. He is the one who keeps them from disintegrating. His blood is life. The people cry out let his blood be upon us. His blood gives the community life. Because the people the people in the community do not love each other and commit idolatry, the servant is bruised in a very real way by the sins of the community. The sins are often shaped as stones, or in our case bombs and bullets. God doesn't want anyone to perish, so his servant, the one who takes seriously his commandments, takes upon himself the sins of the others. He refuses to lay his sins on someone else, he will not fight back, he is a lamb at the slaughter. By the transgressions of the people he was stricken. He had done no violence, and no deceit was in his mouth. He interceded for the transgressors, he stood between them and let them use him as a substitute for each other. Kill me instead of each other.

Matthew 16-17:
16When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
Margaret Barker, Atonement: The Rite of Healing.
Raymund Schwager, The Suffering Servant
Excerpt from James Williams
Gil Bailie, Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (re Isaiah)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Atonement and Murder

A blogger by the name of Adrian Warnock is a little confused, a little disoriented, he believes that God the Father/the Most High God killed Yahweh, the Lord. A murder has taken place and he's trying to find the culprit. He thinks he has discovered the murderer. Astoundingly the person, or more appropriately the Godhead he accuses is none other than God the Father, the Most High God, the guy, the most esteemed personage who came up with the whole "thou shalt not murder" thing.

Mr. Warnock says:
Until he can understand why we think God killing his son is good news, I do not have any confidence that he will be able to accept the gospel.
This is the kind of thing I think we can rightly call neo-paganism. In pre-Christian pagan religions gods organized their own mob lynchings so that they could bring peace and salvation to their communities. We are the benefactors of 2000 years of Christianity, we now know that the violent laying of our sins on another person is wrong. We now know, because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, that a mob lynching which was previously believed to have been orchestrated by a god to bring peace/salvation is not a salvific act by that god, but murder on the part of the lynch mob.

I think in the penal substitutionary atonement community that there is a belief that our sins, the sins we are committing today, in some way brought about the death of Christ. Matthew 25, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I think we can say that if you kill your neighbor, you are killing Christ. If you support the bombing of Iraq, the bombing of Iraqi children, you support the bombing of Christ. We all have our rationalizations about the people we want killed, about how they're really evil, and about how it had to be done and that we had no other choice. We aren't really responsible, it was actually God punishing the designated evil doer. We aren't like those pagans and ancient people who seemed to kill arbitrarily our victims our really evil they deserve it. I'm rambling a little.

God the Father didn't place any sin on Jesus, Jesus absorbed our sin, he took our sins from us, he was a sin magnet. In times of crisis people look for vulnerable people to place their sins and conflict on, to be a substitute. People can't kick their boss, but they can take their frustrations out on their dog, or their wife or their kids. I keep going back to "The Horrible Miracle of Appolonius of Tyana". The poor old mendicant was not a plague demon, he was a poor old mendicant who was murdered. This was miracle, there is no reason to think that this is not a true story. There was crisis, a plague, a lot of conflict and violence in the society. The townspeople placed their sins on this poor old mendicant. They stoned him and murdered him, an innocent man, but they were healed, the plague and the violence disappeared. Each stone was a sin that was laid on upon this innocent scapegoat. The townsfolk believed he was a demon, Christianity says he was human and that a murder was committed.

I'm rambling, but violence is human violence, violent wrath is human wrath. Christ was murdered by humans, we apparently, and almost literally, continue to murder Him through our refusal to take responsibility for our own violence and sin.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Casualties in Iraq and Real Life Super Heroes

Metafilter had a couple of good posts today. The latest in y2Karl's long line of great posts is this one, Why We Lost in Iraq: The Language of Noncombatant Death. The other one had to do with the real life Super Heroes I quite often see driving around our neighborhood, Superhero pizza man defeats nefarious villain. I might have to finally try their pizza. Mrs. Eschaton says it's pretty darn good.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New James Alison Article re Pentecost

There's a new article by James Alison online regarding Pentecost. The Wild Ride. This is a particularly good Alisonian insight:
This was in fulfilment of a messianic prophecy which saw that, when the Messiah came, all the Holy Things which had been lost to the Temple would be restored in the New Temple. The Ark is of course already there, in the person of Mary. She had been recognised as Ark when John the Baptist, in Elizabeth’s womb, danced before her – Luke’s Greek word is the same as that used of David dancing before the Ark in the Septuagint. This is the Ark that bore the new and living covenant.

Margaret Barker's Very Own, Brand New Website!!!

Margaret Barker now has her own website. She has a brief introduction to temple theology.
New papers include:
Creation Theology (pdf)
Temple, Time and Space (pdf)
Fragrance in the Making of Sacred Space (pdf)
Wisdom and Stewardship of Knowledge (pdf)