Sunday, August 3, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

Hearts aglow, we began by congratulating ourselves for our nuanced study of history and doing what is pointed out in an issue, entitled (see URL->) "Wade Deep: Bible Study as a Remedy for Shallow Faith" (Circuit Rider magazine May/June/July 2004). 

We soon lathered into discussion:
Chapter 3: You Know Where I Come From
The early Christian community appears not to have been particularly concerned about any aspect of Jesus' life before the launch of his ministry.  This later on became more important.  Reza Aslan, author of our book Zealot, spells out how Jesus was born in the tiny hillside village of Nazareth, not Bethlehem.  Mathew and Luke, in the New Testament, both tried to make Jesus fit into the Jewish myths and prophecies about the coming Messiah.  For example, "The Jewish Messiah is the descendant of King David; he comes to restore Israel, to free the Jews from the yoke of Roman occupation, and to establish God's rule in Jerusalem." (p. 28)

--This chapter reminded Pete Bailey of Joseph Campbell's book, (see URL->) The Power of Myth

Chapter 4: The Fourth Philosophy
This chapter discussed the philosophy that was context to Jesus in Palestine.  Jesus toiled as a tecton, a woodworker or builder, six days a week, from sunup to sundown, to build palatial houses for Jewish aristocracy, returning to his crumbling mud-brick home at night.  He would have witnessed for himself the rapidly expanding divide between the absurdly rich and the indebted poor.

--Check out the article, (see URL->) Sunday Homily: Pope Francis on Wealth Redistribution that tackles the chasmic wealth gap today!

The fourth philosophy was centered about the notion of zeal, after which our book Zealot is named.  Zeal implied a strict adherence to the Jewish Torah and the Law, a refusal to serve any foreign master--to serve any human master at all--and an uncompromising devotion to the sovereignty of God.  Many Jews in first-century Palestine strove to live a life of zeal in his or her own way.  During Jesus' lifetime, zealotry did not signify a firm sectarian or a political party.  It was an idea, an inspiration, a model of piety inextricably linked to the widespread sense of apocalyptic expectation that had seized the Jews in the wake of the Roman occupation. (p. 41)

For Next Week:
We should definitely read both Chapter 5 (p. 46+) Where is Your Fleet to Sweep the Roman Seas and the notes (p. 233+).  The notes will enrich our understanding of author Reza Aslan's research.

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