Author Topic: Hello from Kansas  (Read 2420 times)

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autoimmune

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Hello from Kansas
« on: June 15, 2008, 10:59:18 AM »
My name is Mary Ellen and I found tentmakers a few years ago.  I had read Origen ages ago and, though a lot of what he wrote seemed like nonsense to me, the concept of a universal restoration of all things through Christ grabbed my attention.  It made sense of all the questions I had concerning the Father Jesus described, our God of Love, versus the traditional teachings about hell.

At then time a google search came up with only a few links on the net.  Thanks to people like Gary, more Christians are finding the peace of the Blessed Hope, and there are many more sources available to people now.

I just noticed the forum link when I visited tentmakers today and decided to join.

Looking forward to chatting with others.

pax,
--autoimmune

martincisneros

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2008, 10:47:28 PM »
Hi!  Welcome to Tentmaker :HeartThrob:

My only complaint about Origen is that we don't have more of his writings preserved for us.  He was the first modern theologian in many ways.  He's on a very short list of names when it comes to the question of "if you could have dinner with absolutely anyone and pick their brain for an evening...."  There was no one in his generation that was closer to the true Spirit of Christ than him.  And like St. Paul before him and as many after him, he's been slandered on a very supernatural level where all of the slanders have been so preposterous and yet there have been so many ready to believe the lies that it's truly amazing! 

Had his works not been successfully suppressed, the dark ages would have never happened.  In many ways, he's both the father of Orthodoxy and of Heresy.  He is so neglected among the great theologians of the Church.  The problem isn't so much of a few heresies, as you can prove absolutely anyone heretical if you will not quote them in context when you quote them, but the true issue is "where was he going and what was he seeing when he said this or that?"  Between the third century and the present era, you'd be hard pressed to find a Christian mystic that walked in more holiness, love, and gentleness in this life.

autoimmune

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 12:04:12 AM »
Hello, Martin.  Maybe we can have dinner together with Origen some evening in the future :)

I agree that he was definitely a saintly man, and probably the first systematic theologian in the church.  With the great amount of material he wrote, I'm not surprised some was found worthy of dispute. From what I understand it was one of his lasts works that caused the problem.  Everything else he wrote is highly esteemed. No man ever gets it all right, but Origen seems to have come close.

It's been years, but as I recall, the part that turned me off was his ideas about the physical body/matter being secondary to the spirit.  As a feminist I had a strong reaction in those days to anything that devalued the material body, which is very closely associated with the feminine. 

As a follower of Christ's Way (though I didn't necessarily call myself a Christian in those days), I did believe in the Resurrection, which shows that matter is as inherently valuable as the spirit and soul.

So, anyone like Origen who relied on Platonic thinking about a dichotomy between matter and spirit was instantly discounted by me.

I'm not sure the Dark Ages would have been eliminated if his teachings had not been surpressed.  Might have made a difference and we maybe would have avoided some of the later medieval power growth in the Catholic Church after Charlemagne, but what I know of history tells me the Dark Ages were caused more by the descent of northern tribes on Rome and Europe, than "suppression" of texts by the church.

Truth be known, it was the Catholic monks who preserved the little of Origen we DO have left, along with all the other ancient texts so valued by us now.  Like Origen, I think the Catholic Church catches a lot of flack it doesn't always deserve.

I look forward to discussions here with you.  I am very happy to be at a place where I don't feel constantly called to defend my beliefs.  It will be nice to share them with others of similar beliefs.

Mary Ellen


 

jabcat

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 04:50:17 AM »
Hi Mary Ellen.  Interesting name, 'autoimmune'...cool.  Welcome here to this part of the Body of The Christ.  God's blessing, James.

martincisneros

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 11:01:05 AM »
Origen lived in such a different world from our own, that it's really hard to convey, or even for a modern audience to understand that world that he lived in.  It wasn't long after the death of Peter and Paul that the doctrine of the Church became a glorification of bodily suffering and martyrdom.  Clement of Rome, Bishop Onesimus of Ephesus and a small handful of others tried to get people back on the big picture of the Gospel, but I think that once the legend of the death of polycarp got out, I think that that pretty much sealed the fate of the Church for a few centuries.  When their doctrine became personal suffering rather than the sufferings of Christ and all He'd redeemed us from by His suffering, then when the persecution stopped that's when they turned to self mutilation for acts of penance, etc.  I don't think that Origen would have been approaching the view of the body being secondary to the spirit from the standpoint of the doctrines of the gnostics which he was constantly combating.  I think it was this over glorification of martyrdom that probably had Origen bewitched.  And, as the historical record stands, he was martyred for his faith, although his reputation had become a casualty quite a bit before that time. 

He wanted to be martyred so badly since he was a little kid, that on one occasion, when he was a child, someone actually had to hide his clothes to keep him from running out into a situation where he would have gotten arrested and gotten his death wish for the cause of Christ.  If someone's really got a death wish, I'm not sure what hiding their clothes had to do with keeping them from getting killed.  I'm sure some Roman soldier wouldn't have minded impaling his nude behind with a sword or a spear for public indecency, atheism (according to the Roman way of looking at monotheism), and for believing in a King other than the Emperor.  I'm sure it had to have dawned on him later, that if he really wanted to die, what did clothes have to do with it?  When the mind is a captive of a religious tradition that has no baring on the reality of the Gospel, it's amazing how distant from reality that someone will be who holds to that particular tradition within the bounds of reality where that particular tradition is concerned.

Maybe it was ego.  He was a great teacher of the Word, but he just absolutely had to die with his boots on :laughing7:

autoimmune

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2008, 09:34:09 PM »
Hi Mary Ellen.  Interesting name, 'autoimmune'...cool.  Welcome here to this part of the Body of The Christ.  God's blessing, James.

Thank you, James.  It seems like a very compatible part of the Body so I'm thrilled to be here.  No less debate than in other areas around the net, but a very different atmosphere in which it takes place, imo. 

I spent quite a while on conspiracy type forums with a lot of end of the world woo-woos (being one myself I don't mind the term :)) who ranged from extremely angry atheists to new age ascenscionists to Sabbath keeping prophets of God.  All, for the most part, were intent on letting others know why the doom was about to befall them and almost all agree that Christians were open game.  God taught me patience there :)

Just recently spent a month or two on a revival forum chatting with Christians who see satan in everyone and everything.  Didn't really want to post there, but God asked me to share a few things with them, so I did.  I came here the other day to check out an article on UR I wanted to post to them.  Found the forum and was thrilled.  I don't know how I missed the link in the past!

I'm kind of myopic at times, though, so I probably just never saw it because I was focused on a particular topic and was staring at the articles section :)

Anyway, thanks for the welcome.

FTR, I've used the name autoimmune for several years since I became disabled with several autoimmune diseases.  I use it now for consistancy's sake, but also because it represents to me the place within the Body I have been placed.  Because of the disability I have time to pray a bit more than most.  God chuckled at me one day when I was asking if I should be praying for healing so I could do more than I presently can.  He asked me what part of the body is affected by autoimmune diseases.  I said, the connective tissue. He chuckled again and then said, so where are you and what should you be doing?

What a way to find out I'm not an eye or ear or mouth or hand or foot!  I'm connective tissue, the unseen part that holds the rest together (through prayer).  LOL! I thought it fit beautifully, so I like using the name now.

Later!
ME

martincisneros

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2008, 10:18:26 PM »
From one connective tissue to another, I'm glad you're here :thumbsup:

autoimmune

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2008, 10:48:09 PM »
Origen lived in such a different world from our own, that it's really hard to convey, or even for a modern audience to understand that world that he lived in. 

Very true.  Since I was a child, though, I have always been interested in the primitive church, what it must have been like to be a Christian in those first generations after Christ.  I've actually written a book on it, though I never attempted to have it published.  The core issue the plot revolved around is based on beliefs I no longer hold,  so it didn't seem worth pursuing, though I did get a contract with an agent for it when it was first begun.  Was hard to let it go because I think the book is good.  Have been toying with the idea of a rewrite if I can see the way past changing the underlying theme of it appropriately.

Who knows? Perhaps God led me to this forum so that the conversations here wil help me do that?  We never know! ")

It wasn't long after the death of Peter and Paul that the doctrine of the Church became a glorification of bodily suffering and martyrdom.  Clement of Rome, Bishop Onesimus of Ephesus and a small handful of others tried to get people back on the big picture of the Gospel, but I think that once the legend of the death of polycarp got out, I think that that pretty much sealed the fate of the Church for a few centuries.  When their doctrine became personal suffering rather than the sufferings of Christ and all He'd redeemed us from by His suffering, then when the persecution stopped that's when they turned to self mutilation for acts of penance, etc. 

I have to agree that I think the extreme of self-imposed suffering like flaggelation goes against the teachings of Christ, but as you said, the long centuries of Christian martyrdom played a big role in that. 

On the other hand, I don't think joining in the sufferings of Christ is to be avoided.  Even Paul rejoiced that his sufferings "filled in" the sufferings of Christ.  To be honest, I think we have a lot to (re)learn about the topic and UR has made me take a new look at things like that.

I'm not sure we can understand the big picture of the gospel without understanding what it means to authentically walk the same path Christ did.  For people of our culture, especially for those like me in America, it seems strange because we have been given so much and paid so little.  Yet, I think the Cross is intimately tied to the Body of Christ, and the Body is intimately tied to the doctrine of UR.

American Christians tend to focus on what Christ has done for us in His death, but rarely consider what the call to follow Him implies on their part of the new covenent.  Perhaps that's one reason there has been such a heavy investment into hell preaching?  God gave us all this for free, we don't owe anything in return, but if we dont accept the offer, we'll pay for it.

If we look at UR as part of the invitation, then the loving response (once the traditional threat of hell is removed) is to give back what is actually asked of us. And that's what Love is, a 2 way covenant between us and God.  Yes, the gift and the grace to receive it is free, but accepting that gift does carry along with it the hope of Love being returned to the Giver. 

One of my grandsons is about to enter the seminary.  We were having a discussion about UR recently and the subject of following Christ came up.  I asked Him, " where did Christ go?" He looked suprised and asked what I meant.  I said, "If Jesus said to pick up our crosses and follow Him, where did He go?  where is He leading us?"

My grandson said, "to tell the people about the Kingdom of God."

I asked, "And then where?"

He answered, "To trial and suffering?"

I nodded and asked, "And then where?"

"To death."

"And then where?"

"Resurrection?"

"Where did He go before that?"

At that point my grandson began running through the Nicene Creed and said, "Well, he descended into hell before He rose on the third day."

So, I asked him, "Why? Why did He go there." 

My grandson sort of looked at me a moment and then got it.  Not sure he agreed with me but we had a discussion then about the Body of Christ being called to the same exact path Christ walked.  We're called, not so that we get to heaven and other poor jerks who weren't smart enough to get it go to hell.  We're called as part of the plan to free the captives there, just as Jesus did for us. That's what it means to be first fruits.

We're told that the gates of hellwon't prevail against us.  We take that to mean that satan can never destroy the church Christ created.  But UR changes the assumption and makes me ask if that doesnt mean that it is WE who break down the gates of hell in Christ.  The gates of hell cannot hold against us as we enter in to release the captives with Christ.

And, to me, that means the Body of Christ is called so that those who do not accept Christ in this age will be freed in the next, through our doing for them (those we love) what Christ has done for us--suffering in Love for them.

So, I can't say that I think the doctrine of personal suffering has no place in UR.  In fact, I believe it is an essential part of it, and that perhaps it is WE who need to understand why martyrdom was considered such a glorious option in the primitive church, rather than think that they were the ones who missed the real gospel message we're just starting to understand now.

Consider that when the martyrdom's stopped, the church opted into the world and its way of power.   

I don't disagree completely with you, Martin.  The excess, the seeking of it is wrong, substitutionary self-inflicted suffering is anti-gospel, but authentically taking on the suffering of Christ as if it is our own is something the church in the future may face again.  I think all happens according to God's timing and plan, so I can't say I think the church wrong to gladly accept the end of the persecution that Constantine offered, but I do think it should have stayed out of politics :)

Then again, God seemed to have seen that coming and prophecized it, perhaps so we could be sure today that we are once again on the right track.  Who knows?  Not me, though I do admit to being interested very much in the topic.

 
I don't think that Origen would have been approaching the view of the body being secondary to the spirit from the standpoint of the doctrines of the gnostics which he was constantly combating.  I think it was this over glorification of martyrdom that probably had Origen bewitched.  And, as the historical record stands, he was martyred for his faith, although his reputation had become a casualty quite a bit before that time. 

Very nice term, Martin.  Over-glorification of martyrdom.  Exactly what happened sometimes.  And I do agree, he wasn't taking it from the gnostic point of view.  Most of what he wrote to counter Celsius should prove that.  I like the way you point out that this overglorification of martyrdom can lead to the same disregard of the physical body in a similar way. I hadn't really thought about that, but will.  If anything, Christ's resurrection should teach us how valuable in God's eyes our physical body is to Him, so martyrdom should be avoided until necessary to preserve the faith. A no-other-option deal, imo.

I'm sure it had to have dawned on him later, that if he really wanted to die, what did clothes have to do with it?

LOL! Enjoyed that and the part about the Roman spear . . . I think it was his mom who took his clothes at the time his father was being martyred.  Origen wanted to join his father.

Oddly enough saw a Christian video/song last night along the same thing.  Set in the future, a father talking to his son about the gospel and how people have died for it in the past. He's in jail, they come to take him away for execution and the father says "I know you'll make the same choice because you have Jesus in your heart."    It bothered me that this is meant to teach children to die willingly for CHrist.  NOt that I discount the principle, but something about it botheredme.  Your term today pinpointed that uneasy feeling I had.  It was the over-glorification of the martyrdom, rather than the sometimes sad necessity for it, that struck me in this video.

Just like Origen's father's death must have called to him throughout his own lifetime to do the same . . .

Sorry, I went off on a tangent there a bit. But it does make evident the fine line we traavel when walking as Christ did in the world.  On one extreme, we should never reject suffering as Christ did, but neither should we over-glorify it and seek it out.

When the mind is a captive of a religious tradition that has no baring on the reality of the Gospel, it's amazing how distant from reality that someone will be who holds to that particular tradition within the bounds of reality where that particular tradition is concerned.

Could you clarify for me a bit?  Are you referring to the primitive church when you say "captive to a religious tradition" or to the present day church?  If the religious tradition under question is martyrdom, then can we really say it has no bearing on the gospel?

Maybe it was ego.  He was a great teacher of the Word, but he just absolutely had to die with his boots on :laughing7:

LOL! Most always IS our ego if it isn't from God! :)

I've enjoyed this, Martin.  Thank you.

Mary Ellen

autoimmune

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2008, 10:50:36 PM »
From one connective tissue to another, I'm glad you're here :thumbsup:

I'm sorry you're ill, but I'm glad to find a brother in the same body part!

ME

martincisneros

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2008, 12:41:02 AM »
I'm sorry you're ill, but I'm glad to find a brother in the same body part!

ME

I've recently discovered that my issue was because of unresolved grief that was poisoning my body from years ago.  Since I put that together and have been trying to have a couple of giggles a day and have endeavored to drink more water, lose a tiny bit of weight, and deal with other areas of my thinking, my physical strength is returning and I'm not in the kind of pain that I'd been in with my right leg.  I'm supposed to be completely off of wheat and anything with gluten in it, but I've been a really bad boy along those lines.  With what the price of food's been, buying some things just seemed realistic in order to get the most bang for the buck.  But that's probably played a part in prolonging things.  Heart, blood sugar, and circulation have all been looked at.  It was just an autoimmune abnormality.  I don't expect for it to go into another year.  One year's more than enough for me!  Reading labels has been a real eye-opener on how many things have gluten in them.  I'm already a vegan for several reasons.  I've been telling the Lord, if You're wanting me to be a raw foodist, just let me know directly rather than leading me through all of this stuff.  I wouldn't lose any time in turning the stove into a bookshelf if I got a very clear incling that that's where all of this is going.  What's ironic is that it seems as though multivitamins may have played a part in doing me in where my health is concerned.  Wasn't the cheap stuff either with the wholefood vitamins that I bought.

When I said:

Quote
When the mind is a captive of a religious tradition that has no baring on the reality of the Gospel, it's amazing how distant from reality that someone will be who holds to that particular tradition within the bounds of reality where that particular tradition is concerned.

In context, I was talking about martyrdom having become so much more precious than life and instructing and edifying others in the Gospel.  It became very self-centered instead of focused on what was in the best interests of the furtherance of the Gospel and the furtherance of the lives being discipled by the Gospel.  It never occured to many of these people that because of what Jesus had done on the Cross, life in this world wasn't supposed to be so anathema any more.  Yeah, you'd have to fight for what you believed in, in your spirit, soul, body, relationships, and circumstances, but that would be more foundational for the recovery of all of mankind than just getting burned at the stake or getting your head cut off, getting crucified or whatever.

I could be wrong, but I think that you were talking about the Ray Boltz music video "I pledge allegiance to the Lamb."  I love Ray's music, but that one video is soooo fatalistic as though the Gospel will always be subject to the whims of wickedness.  St. Paul taught us to deaden the deeds and desires of the flesh, to put on the new man, to present ourselves to God as alive from the dead, to present ourselves as instruments of righteousness, and to not be debters to the flesh in proportion to our awareness of the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead being within us, but to continually strive to pay others the debt that we owe to them of more and more love.  But instead of focusing on those things, a lot of evangelicals honestly think that if we could just get all of the killing going on again that it would somehow strengthen and unify the Church.  It's a twisted form of Islamic thought.  We're not trying to kill others by our death-wish, but if we could just all die, then some greater good would be served and we'd have really great rewards in heaven!  I genuinely don't think that martyrdom many times has the same impact as it did in previous eras.  It causes political change, but the only death that was necessary was the death of Christ.  All other deaths tend to produce anger rather than a soul-stirring change.  I agree that when it's unavoidable because of the level of opposition to the Gospel, then we ought to run towards the blade.  I wrote an article on 1John a long time ago saying as much, in the course of proving that 1John was a martyr's manual.

Our deaths should be the death of the selfish.  Not necessarily of the ego, because the ego is the power by which we get up everyday and do anything.  The ego should be transformed according to James chapter one where we behold in the Word, as in the mirror, the glory of the Lord and walk away from there and not be forgetful hearers, but walkers in the image of Jesus Christ as 2Corinthians 3 and Romans 8 would corroborate and explain further.  St. Paul would buffet his body when it would try to step out of line and he'd expect the anointing to flow and to subdue his flesh to the image of Christ in the same way that his laying on of hands on the ill would produce the image of the risen Christ in their flesh with their healing.  If a believer catches themselves lusting, coveting, or about to tell a lie and smacks themselves in the chest saying "stop that in the Name of Jesus" expecting the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead to quicken their bodies -- that's an entirely different thing from gratuitous self-beating as though that were such a great offering to Father and as though there weren't enough stripes on the back of Christ prior to His crucifixion.  The way to participate in the death of the flesh is through taking communion and then behaving in a loving way when the flesh would love to be profane, vulgar, and depreciating of the value of others.  It's not through seeing if one can totally wear a whip out on one's own back.

Otherwise, when I said:

Quote
When the mind is a captive of a religious tradition that has no baring on the reality of the Gospel, it's amazing how distant from reality that someone will be who holds to that particular tradition within the bounds of reality where that particular tradition is concerned.

It would apply to any religious tradition that steals the life of it's adherents, such as the unconditionally unloving doctrine of eternal punishment.  People who still believe that seem to have absolutely no idea how much that dissociates them from reality.  Life is motivated by that fear.  Things are tunnel-visioned to where that's the only reality that they're looking at.  If you don't believe in eternal punishment, then your sanctification in Christ must be suspect; your call to the ministry must be deceptive; your life of service to Christ must be demonic, etc., etc.  Oh, I've heard it all over the last 7 years on why an eternal hell is necessary for holiness, loving God, loving one another, evangelistic zeal, devotion to Scripture, etc.  The mind is neither sanctified nor free under that paradigm, but people just go on and on about the virtues of preaching Christ as the damnation of lost souls rather than as the Saviour of the world.

autoimmune

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Re: Hello from Kansas
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2008, 04:44:10 AM »
I'm tired this evening, Martin, so I'll return tomorrow to post to your last marvelous message, but I wanted to take time enough to tell you that I love you dearly as a brother in Christ already.  You have a tremendous love that is very evident in all you say.  No mistaking your high intelligence either.  I have honestly enjoyed every single post you've made, learned from them, and seen clearly a soul in love with God and others.  You are a graced person, Martin.  I'm thankful to have met you here.

Mary ELlen