I can breathe. That's good.
Blueberry muffins. I finally made some and they are Good.
I did get the raspberries transplanted. I have more tomato seedlings. The OUR center garden is doing just fine without me. There will be twenty ladies planting plants on the last weekend of May because of me. And, even with lung stuffs I can write. That is good, too.
So. Since I said I'd write a bit about the class. I shall do so now.
And to start, THIS IS NOT WHAT ALL or even many CHRISTIANS BELIEVE. In fact, many would take offense at what is being spoken of in this class, and probably rightfully so as it's at the heart of some denomination's theologies. Just so that no one reading this goes up to someone that's Christian and goes, "Well you believe this, huh?" Cause, likely, they don't.
So the first class materials pretty much presented why the Roman Empire, as the established civilization of the day, pretty much had to kill Jesus and the Jews of the times were a ready scapegoat.
Part of it was that the books were written at about 100 C.E. (common epoch, the non-Christ-centric way of dennoting the dates), which was when the Romans were in power (and therefore pretty dangerous to antagonize), and the Jews were starting to push the Christians out as a dangerous edge group that was too different from the norm of Judism. So both groups were trying to differentiate themselves, and it was both more useful and safer to make the Jews the Bad Guys than the Romans. This is probably why Pilate was shown as a kind of wimp.
It's Augustus' time. The golden time of the Ceasar Augustus, when the Empire was built, and Pax Romana is the by-word of civilization. Where over 1000 times is carved, "I conquered X, I brought peace to X" over most of the known world. The model of the day was that one has to defeat, conquer an area in order to bring peace. Jesus' idea was new and dangerous, that the way to peace as through justice, not through force. The Romans and Pilate had ways of dealing with violent protest, they had troops to deal with violent protest, but they couldn't deal with Jesus non-violent protest. As one of the speakers in the video said, "Pilate got it right. He got it absolutely right. He killed Jesus and just Jesus and left his followers alone."
The basic idea of the first class was that the Roman's had to execute Jesus to keep the State stable. So they did. Pilate could have pull the strings anyway he needed to, but Jesus, because he was promoting an idea that was actively dangerous to the state, had to be dealt with. Like Martin Luther King, like Socrates. Ideas are more dangerous to the State than simple violence. There was also a whole section on the pre-mediated, cold violence by the State of a real execution by the lady that wrote Dead Man Walking.
It really rattled the way I'd always seen Pilate, and the whole way in the gospel of John that the Jews are the Bad Guys. And there was a whole section of the video by a Jewish scholar of the New Testament (yes, she studies the New Testament) about how she first ran across anti-Semitism as a result of those very passages.
The second part examined the whole idea of the Doctrine of Atonement. Bad shorthand for it is that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, and that God wanted it that way. It was really pushed by Anselm nearly 1000 years ago, in the Middle Ages because at that time he couldn't conceive of a God that could forgive sin, that *someone* had to pay. And, as one speaker put it, Anselm was a terrible historian, so he had no idea why the Roman Empire would have killed Jesus for practical reasons. So Jesus became the payer, and it was through not just the blood of the lamb but the suffering on the way to and on the cross. Or, as some put it, "You've got a credit card and Daddy's paying the bill." Which just makes me shake my head for different reasons.
Some clergy have used this in ways that make me cringe. One of the segments in the video was about a woman who, twenty years ago, went to her priest because she was being beaten by her husband. The priest said that she should just endure it, and rejoice as her suffering brought her closer to Christ. And twenty years later, the husband was starting to beat the kids, too, so she went to this woman priest to ask if the other one had been right. GAH!!
And the woman priest said, "No. He was wrong." There are dozens of stories of Jesus standing up against abuse, of saying "No, you cannot continue this, this is wrong." Dozens of incidents of non-violent protest, of calling people on what they were doing that was evil. And the church was made to support those who would stand for the right against abuse, against evil, against wrong. Not just endure it. It's the same sinkhole as "Jesus meek and mild."
Ahem. Uhm.. that last bit about the sinkhole is my opinion anyway.
One speaker really clarified it for me by separating sacrifice from suffering from substitution. In Jesus' time, blood sacrifice was an outgrowth of simple human need to right relationships. If you fought with someone, the best way to make it up was through either a gift or a meal. And in rural times, a meal, or a feast with another basically meant an animal had to die to provide the meal. So if you wanted to right your relationship with God, you took an animal to the Temple (to make it official), and spilled its blood on the alter (to make it sacred). Then you were given the sacred animal back in order to take it home, prepare it, and feast with God. It would be obscene at that time to even *think* that you had to make the animal *SUFFER* for it to be sacred. The animal had to die to make it food for the holy meal; but suffer???
And no one, at that time, would have thought, Well, I'M the one that's supposed to die, so I'll use a goat or a sheep instead and let them die for me. It's just with time and Anselm's doctrine that it's all warped into something very different than the words would have been understood as 2000 years ago.
That was the speaker who said that the whole doctrine of atonement was a crime against divinity.
I tend to agree. I could see, however, how others would not. So it is.
But the whole class brought to light a lot of things I hadn't known about the historical context of the whole death of Jesus.
So that's the scrambled gist of what I got. *grin*