November 1, 2008

A Short Rumination on All Saints' Day

Have you ever observed the extent to which people appear not to notice that so much of what the church is recorded to have gone through in Acts and the Epistles (I'm thinking of the debate on whether Gentiles should be part of the Church, and the discussion on eating meat offered to idols, or other unclean food) would not have been necessary if Jesus had actually said some of the things the Gospels record? We know the Gospels post-date the Epistles in terms of time of composition, so were these passages in Jesus' teaching retrofitted? Or were they recollected? Were the apostles not listening attentively when Jesus told them to baptize all nations, and not to worry about whether food was clean or unclean?

Perhaps that's it after all. There is ample evidence before us even now that the Church is slow to put the teachings of Jesus to work.

Tobias Haller BSG


Brother David said...

Oh, you are going to get it now, from the usual suspects!

June Butler said...

Tobias, I remember an Aha! moment in a Bible study class as we were reading Acts and Peter and Paul were disputing about something Jesus had spoken of in the Gospels, and I asked why they were quarreling about that when Jesus had spoken the word already. The rector said, "Think about it". That was the first time I realized that Paul had never read the Gospels, because they were not yet written, and that perhaps he had heard some of the stories, but not necessarily all of the stories recorded in the Gospels. OK, I'm a little slow, but there it is.

Anonymous said...

when Jesus told them to baptize all nations

I've long heard this passage (along w/ the following Trinitarian description) as one in which "the ink is still wet."

[I'm a lifelong Episcopalian, obviously! ;-)]

...and I know what comes next (from "the usual suspects", as Daveed hints): "If you doubt Jesus said one thing in the Gospel, how can you believe in any of it at all?"

I really don't know how to respond to that, exactly.

To me, that question indicates an existential anxiety about TRUTH (as opposed to mere "fact") of the Gospel, that I've just never shared.

I know Jesus (i.e., in relationship). Every word, every event (including the miracles) don't have to have factually "happened", for me to believe the Gospel is True.

The Gospel is True, because Jesus IS Truth. That's all I need to know.