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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Week 3

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We watched this to prepare us for Matthew 18. It led to great discussion about annoying/squeaky shoe people at work! Note the crazy pastor in the video used a verse out of context.  CIE: Context is Everything!

Here's a video you'll need to respond to on Moodle: Apples and Oranges and Verse-itis:

the Holy Kiss for today..on a bridge and in a bucket


That the Bible explicitly mentions this practice five times:

  • Romans 16.16a — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greekἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
  • I Corinthians 16.20b — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greekἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
  • II Corinthians 13.12a — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greekἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν ἁγίῳ φιλήματι).
  • I Thessalonians 5.26 — "Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss" (Greekἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς πάντας ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
  • I Peter 5.14a — "Greet one another with a kiss of love" (Greekἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης).
...makes it a classic case study in how to apply
any scriptures that we assume need a cultural equivalent to out taking them literally.

On this issue of interpretation:

  • Brian Dodd's discussion of the "interpretive bridge" is helpful (p. 19 here)
as is
  • Ron Martoia's posts on the "two buckets" (see "The Two Bucket Theory Examined" here).

I really recommend you read both above links, then get back to us.
They helped us when we tackled women in leadership, and homosexuality.

We learned that, counterintuitively to our guesses from this end of the cultural bridge, it seems the early church's holy kissing was almost always... on the lips!
The reason is powerful: that form on kiss implied equality...a kiss on the cheeks implied one person was inferior. Nothing like a Kingdom Kiss as an acted parable and reminder that in Christ we are equal! Of course, today, when we look at cultural equivalents like the "holy hug", "holy handshake," we might not realize that that, too, began as a Kingdom equalizer:

In fact, handshaking, which can seem quite prosaic today, was popularised by Quakers as a sign of equality under God, rather than stratified system of etiquette of seventeenth century England
Ironically, the kiss of inclusion became a kiss of exclusion (from centered to bounded set):

Just as kissing had many different meanings in the wider ancient world, so too early Christians interpreted the kiss in various ways. Because ancient kissing was often seen as a familiar gesture, many early Christians kissed each other to help construct themselves as a new sort of family, a family of Christ. Similarly, in the Greco-Roman world, kissing often was seen as involving a transfer of spirit; when you kissed someone else you literally gave them part of your soul. The early church expanded on this and claimed that, when Christians kissed, they exchanged the Holy Spirit with one another. Christians also emphasized the kiss as an indication of mutual forgiveness (it’s from here that we get the term “kiss of peace”). These different meanings influenced and were influenced by the sorts of rituals kissing became associated with. For example, because the kiss helped exchange spirit, it made perfect sense for it to become part of baptism and ordination, rituals in which you wanted the Holy Spirit to descend and enter the initiate. The flip side of the coin is that before someone was baptized you wouldn’t want to kiss them. Early Christians often believed that previous to exorcism and baptism people were inevitably demon possessed. Given that they also thought that kissing resulted in spiritual exchange, it’s pretty clear why you wouldn’t want to kiss non-Christians. I sometimes think of this as an ancient form of “cooties.” It resulted in early Christian debates over whether one could kiss a pagan relative, if one should kiss a potential heretic, or if Jews even had a kiss.
-Penn, link

We incorporated insights from these and other articles linked below, and quoted the only book on the topic, "Kissing Christians" by Michael Penn. You'll note some of the articles below include interview with him. We particularly enjoyed some of the early fathers and teachers' comments and guidelines on the practice.

One early guideline, for real (wonder if this was in the weekly "bulletin?"):

1)No French Kissing!
2)If you come back for seconds, because you liked the first kiss too much, you may be going to hell!!

"There are those who do nothing but make the church resound with the kiss."

“We are the temple of Christ, and when we kiss each other
we are kissing the porch and entrance of the temple.”

"when your lips draw close to the lips of your brother, let your heart not draw away."

One interview with Michael Penn:

Whoever said ''a kiss is just a kiss" didn't know their theological history. During Christianity's first five centuries, ritual kissing -- on the lips -- was a vital part of worship, says Michael P. Penn, who teaches religion at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. In that context, kissing helped Christians define themselves as a family of faith, he writes in his new book, ''Kissing Christians: Ritual and Community in the Late Ancient Church" (University of Pennsylvania Press). Excerpts from a recent interview follow.
Q: Let me start with the basic question: Who kissed whom?
A: In the first two centuries [AD], men may kissmen, women women, but also you would have men and women kissing one another. In future centuries, there continued to be a debate over who should kiss whom. In later years, Christians will no longer have men and women kissing each other, but only men men, women women. [Christians had] debates on whether or not priests could kiss the laity, on whether you should kiss a non-Christian relative in the normal, everyday situation, even debates over whether Jews have a kiss or not.
Q: When in the service was the kiss performed?
A: Our earliest references would be a kiss that would follow a communal prayer. Later on, it gets increasingly associated with the Eucharist and also occurs in part of the rites of baptism and in ordination rites. You have Christians kissing each other as an everyday greeting or also martyrs, before they're killed, kissing one another.
Q: What was the theological significance?
A: In antiquity, a kiss on the lips was seen as transferring a little bit of one's spirit to the other person. You have a lot of early -- I kind of think of them almost as Greco-Roman Harlequin -- novels that speak of the kiss as this transfer of spirit. Christians modify it a bit, to suggest that when Christians kiss each other, they don't just exchange their own spirit, but also share a part of the Holy Spirit with one another. So the kiss is seen as a way to bind the community together.
There's another side, though. There was a concern that kissing an individual who has promised to join the Christian community but isn't yet baptized should be avoided, because the spirit that would be transferred wouldn't be a holy spirit but a demonic spirit. So you have the kiss working as this ritual of exclusion.
Q: Did Christian leaders worry about the erotic overtones?
A: We have only two explicit references to this concern. One says, essentially, to kiss with a closed and chaste mouth, which suggests that a few of these kisses may have been too erotic. The other one warns against those who kiss a second time because they liked the first one so much.
Judas kissing Jesus [to betray him] terrifies them a lot more than eroticism. There's this evil intention behind it. Early Christian writers use the kiss of Judas to warn that it's not just how you practice the kiss, but what you're thinking. If you kiss another Christian while keeping evil in your heart against them, you are repeating Judas' betrayal.
Q: When did kissing fall out of favor?
A: In the third century, men and women are no longer to kiss one another. Early Christians met in what we think of as a house church -- you meet in someone's living room, essentially. Starting in the third century, when Christians [worship] in a public forum, this familial kiss is less appropriate. It's also a time where Christianity becomes concerned with making sure women and men are categorically separated. In the fourth century, that clergy and laity become increasingly distant. You start having prohibitions against clergy and laity kissing one another.
The ritual kiss never entirely died out. We still have it as an exchange of peace [in Christian services]. We see it in the kissing of the pope's ring. In Catholicism, a priest may kiss a ritual object.
Q: What would Christianity have been without the kiss?
A: What I find exciting is to see how what we think of as trivial is so central to early Christian self-understanding. Our earliest Christian writing, Paul's letter to the First Thessalonians, talks about the ritual kiss, albeit briefly. We have hundreds of early Christian references to this ritual. For these authors, it was anything but trivial.
ARTICLES if interested:

  • Wikipedia article on Holy Kiss
  • Kiss and Tell the Gospel
  • Michael Penn explains what the early church meant by the "holy kiss."
  • On Kissing: A Q&A with Michael Penn
  • -PUCKER UP by Martin Marty
  • The Holy Kiss of Love: Are We Keeping This Command?
  • I Corinthians 16-II Corinthians 1: Greet One Another with a Holy Kiss
  • --------------------- 

    Two versions of
    U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name"..
     I filled you in on the
     "historical world"?

      taking attendance at U2church..tag yourself

      .. the  U2 Gigelpizel U2 fan cam, see it here,

      If you want to see  a pic of me...or any of the other 70,000 that were with me... at the Oakland gig,click  this.  (just X out the popup)...Have fun with the videocam!  You can find yourself, and almost anyone who is at any concert of the tour.





      What do you remember about this story?

      embarrassing story: My Dress for Sale on EBay...Finally!


      This week';s "COMMUNITY"  topic is Greatness

      Jesus came to serve.
                   The last shall be first.
                               That's who is great in the Kingdom  economy:

      Jesus said in it yet another chiasm:
      But those who exalt            themselves will be               humbled, 
      and those who humble     themselves will be                exalted
      (Matt 23:12)


      My Dack Rambo story?  Click here  to read all about it
      ""dackrambophoto1.jpg (1116×1416)

       we apply some "Three Worlds" theory to Matthew 18 and the topic of "Who is great?"

      As we study, apply as many literary world symbols as you can

      A video on that chapter featuring Keltic Ken: 

      Related outtakes:

      Of LITERARY WORLD note:

      • -There is a hyperinked account in Matthew 16, there only Peter receives power to bind and loose, here all the disciples do.  Remember 'ustedes va"?
      • -The  sheep parable hyperlinks to Luke 15, but with a different context
      • Structurally, the last section of chapter 17 is connected
      • Two inclusios place this section in the middle of a unit about taxes/rights  and children.  Implications---

      Of Historical World note:

        • What did you learn about a millstone the video clip below? ( notes from complete video here: 

        this (click)

        video, "Weight of the World,"
        • Faith Lessons by Ray Vander Laan: The Weight of the World

          “Gethsemane” means olive press. The film shows an image of an ancient olive press at Capernaum. The olive press symbolizes the crucifixion.
          There is a synagogue in Capernaum from the 3rd or 4th century, which is likely along the same plans as was used in the First Century.
          Jesus was asked to heal a centurion’s servant. The centurion had built the synagogue and was highly esteemed by the people.
          (Luke 7:2-5)  There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”
          Jesus was amazed at the faith of the centurion.
          In Matthew 11, Jesus pronounces a curse on Capernaum for failing to repent.
          (Mat 11:20-23)  Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.
          RVL: We’ve been taught the miracles of Jesus. Therefore, we will have no excuse. The most severe curses in the Bible are against those who knew better — not those who sinned in ignorance.
          Olive oil was used for lubricant, for fuel, for lamps, for cleaning, as a preservative, and in cooking. Olive oil production was a major industry.
          A massive stone rolled over the olives to produce olive oil. The crushed olives were then placed in another container and a massive stone column crushed the rest of the oil out of them. The olives were repeatedly crushed to get all the oil out.
          Only the wealthy, typically the aristocrats, could afford the equipment needed to press the olives, and so they had control over local agriculture.
          The Messiah is the “annointed one,” which refers to annointing with oil — olive oil.
          Every few hundred years, an olive tree will stop bearing fruit and so must be cut down, and a new tree will grow from the stump.
          (Isa 11:1)  A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
          The Jews taught that the new “shoot” was the Messiah — the shoot or branch out of Jesse.
          Paul teaches that the Gentiles are grafted into the stump, meaning that out roots are Jewish.
          And if God will cut down the natural tree for not bearing fruit, what will he do with the grafted-in tree?
          “Nazareth” means shoot. Hence, Jesus is from “shoot” or “branch.”
          Parents of children brought children to be blessed by the rabbi Jesus. Jesus insisted that the children come.
          (Mat 18:2-6)  He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
          5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
          Children had no status in that culture. To become like a child was to give up status and rights.
          Jesus felt strongly about those without status, who are unimportant. These are the “little ones.” If we don’t care about the little ones, the unimportant, the unloved, we’ll be tossed into the Abyss with a millstone (from an olive press) tied around our necks.
          The column or pillar of stone used to squeeze the last of the oil out of a crushed olive was a “geth semane.” After telling the disciples to take on the gates of hell, he led them to Jerusalem, and then he went to the Garden of the Olive Press. There he felt the weight of the olive pressed — to the point of sweating blood.
          The burden of carrying our sins was enormous. The “olives” are Jesus. The “weight” is us — we are the weight that squeezed the blood out of Jesus.   by Jay Guin

        • NOTE A RECURRENCE OF the phrase "little one."


          this (click)

          video, "Weight of the World,"

          Remember Jesus said a lost sheep was great,  Wow.
        • Review: Why did we say Shireen was temporarily greater than the rest of us?

        Page 19 of Syllabus,Matthew 18 Outline
        (by Greg Camp/Laura Roberts):

        Question #1: Who is Greatest?

        2-17 Responses (each are counter proposals):

        2-10 Response #1: Children
        2-4 Counter Proposal: Accept children
        5-9 Threat: If cause scandal
        10 Show of force: Angels protect

        12-14 Response #2: Sheep
        (Who is temporarily greater?)
        12-14 Counter Proposal: Search for the 1 of 100 who is lost

        15-17 Response #3Brother who sins (counter proposal)
        15a Hypothetical situation: If sin
        15-17 Answer: Attempt to get brother to be reconciled
        17b If fail: Put him out and start over

        18-20 Statement: What you bind or loose

        21-22 Question #2How far do we go in forgiveness?

        23-35 Response #1Parable of the forgiving king/unforgiving servant
        ----------------Read verses 15-17 and then ask yourself:
        "What did it mean in their historical world to treat  people like

        "tax collectors and sinners?"
        Two answers

        1)Don't allow them in your bounded set.

        2)How did Jesus treat  tax collectors and sinners? In a centered set way. Tony Jones writes: 

        but because anyone, including Trucker Frank, can speak freely in this  church, my seminary-trained eyes were opened to find a truth in the Bible that had previously eluded me.”...That truth emerged in a discussion of Matthew 18's "treat the unrepentant brother like a tax collector or sinner.":
        "And how did Jesus treat tax collectors and pagans?" Frank asked aloud, pausing, "as of for a punchline he'd been waiting all his life to deliver,"....., "He welcomed them!""

        :We discussed some of your great answers on Moodle.  We watched this on Peter Popoff..who is a great person, right? (:


        What do you remember about this line on your Bible?  Why does it say "PROBABLY Philemon??



        --Hint: we read Colossians chapter 4 below
        Could it be the letter to ARCHIPPUS??
        Note ,many of the same names as Paul mentions in Philemon.
        Note,  v. 17: Is Archippus the slaveowner  (literal or metaphorical) in Philemon?

        Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant[b] in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are[c] and that he may encourage your hearts; he is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.
        10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him. 11 And Jesus who is called Justus greets you. These are the only ones of the circumcision among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant[d] of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills. 13 For I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters[e] in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. <what did we say about her??16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you complete the task that you have received in the Lord.”
        18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.[f]

        John Knox (at Univ of Chicago) thought Archippus (not Philemon) was the slave-owner and that Paul publicly shamed Archippus into forgiving Onesimus (see Col 4:17)… link

        Knox offered a completely different reconstruction of the occasion for the letter identifying the master as Archippus who was the host of the church mentioned in verse one, and Philemon as the one to plead reinstatement of Onesimus. He considers the epistle of Philemon to be the letter from Laodicea in Colossians 4:16, and the exhortation for Archippus to “fulfill his God-given ministry” (Col. 4:17) to be the request of Paul concerning Philemon (see John Knox, “Philemon” in The Interpreters Bible, vol. xi [New York, 1955], pp. 555ff; Knox,Philemon among the Letters of Paul: A New View of its Place and Importance; Guthrie, NTI, pp. 635-638; Bruce, Paul: Apostle, p. 401-406; O’Brien, Philemon, pp. 267-268).  link

        Paul Harmon writes:
        1-3: The letter is from Paul and Timothy to Philemon, Apphia and Archippus. Timothy we know. Philemon is only mentioned in this letter, nowhere else; the same with Apphia. Archippus, however, is mentioned elsewhere. In the letter to the Colossians Paul closes with, “Tell Archippus to complete the task he has received in the Lord.” (Colossians 4:17). This leads to the tantalizing theory that this letter was not written just to Philemon but to the leaders of the church in his community, probably Colossae, although some scholars think the nearby town of Laodicea is the address to which the letter is sent and that this letter which we call Philemon is the “letter from Laodicea” Paul mentions in Colossians (4:16). Following that theory, the command for Archippus to “complete the task” is a reference to Paul’s demands for their treatment of Onesimus when he is sent back to them. In other words, Paul wants the decision to receive Onesimus gracefully to be a community decision, not an individual one. Even if Philemon is the owner of the slave Onesimus, he should give way to the wisdom of the church in dealing with the situation. But we get ahead of ourselves.
        4-7: However, we have to concede that the “you” in this paragraph (and through verse 21) is in the singular form. Which of the three addressees, then, is Paul giving thanks for in this passage? Nearly everyone agrees it is Philemon, but it is possible that the “you” is intended as a reference to the congregation as a single unit and the singular form would thus be appropriate. In verse 6, where the NRSV translates “we,” some ancient manuscripts have “you” plural. Enough of this speculation: It is apparent that these are people Paul knows personally, and his greeting is most complimentary. -link

        --we dID THIS in class:


        part a)Take this quick test to see how well you will do on mechanical errors on signature paper.  Remember,  if the teacher finds there are mechanical errors on a signature paper in every paragraph, the  teacher will call for a rewrite.  So try this  below and see how you might fare.   Remember the big rules: no contractions and no "you" language, but most of these errors are something other.
        Read this sample signature paper excerpt below, and either copy it  into comments, making corrections in red, or noting them and correcting them..
        Don't look at part b until done.

        Not since Moses’s day had there been a leader like Paul.  In a sense, Paul 

        was the most important leader mentioned in the bible.  Not only was he an 

        Apostle, but the most prominent  and clear headed one ever mentioned by 

        God in his Word.   Maybe the most prominent character in Christianity’s 

        history.  Due to his special calling, his ability to face prosecution and abuse,

         his status as an Elder and his great Faith, he ranks highly, even though he is 
        not one of the original 12 Disciples, and wasn’t even mentioned in the 

        Biblical texts that discuss Jesus’s earthly days.

        In a way, you could compare him to today’s Pope, or the President of the 

        United States—or more appropriately, the Senior Pastor of a large church or

         the Bishop of a denomination.  Think of him like a modern Saint, a person 

        that has great Spiritual courage and skill.  A person that  loves God and His

         ways.  Which makes him all the more remarkeable in the way he treated 

        Onesimus’s owner, Philemon.  Philemon was a humble man, that had a 

        Church in his house, and that owned Philemon as a slave.    In its own 

        unique way, the paradox of Paul the great leader being kind and 

        compassionate to people of lower Economic status like Onesimus (a lowly 

        Slave) shows that he was also a great sheperd not one who would Lord it 

        over people.  He had no allusions of being the King.

        Let's examine in detail the world of Paul, Philemon and Onesimus--the 3 

        key players in a story with abundent  lessons for our day.  In a funny verse,

         the Bible says "a dog returns to it's own vomit."     Thinking about an 

        animal being attracted to there own vomit is a strong image and thought 

        provoking. This remind's me of  the religous leaders Jesus confronted in the 

        Temple.  One Sunday, my Pastor preached on this.  Matthew 11:15, " Jesus 

        said, "My house shall be a House of prayer, but you have made it a den of 

        robbers."  When people think they're more imporatnt then others based on 

        Religion or Race,  the affect is  divine anger.  I have thought alot about why

         Followers of God would ever think they are holier then other people.   Or 

        how they could justify hating a person that was innocent or poorer then 

        them.  It's a mystery to me, and a headscratching one at that.   I sometimes 

        literally loose my mind over things like these.

        Think about someone that dessecrated the Alter of a Church, or think's it's 

        alright to have a prejudist attitude.  What an extordinary embarassment for 

        priviledged people to act that way; witholding grace from a person that is in 

        need.  Our professor talked about this one day when we did a practise for this 
        signature assignment.


        Click here for a complete signature paper, which would flunk due to mechanical errors alone.  They are all noted in red and corrected.

        Here are the "13 Commandments"--that is the most common mechanical errors in signature papers over the years


        2)clauses and fragments that are not full sentences
        3)commas where they don't belong (or no commas where they do)
        4) CAPS: a)words like king, president, pastor, apostle are NOT capitalized unless used as a title.  "Barrack Obama is the President" is  not correct.   "President Obama says.." is.
        b)often students capitalize words because they are important: faith, prayer,altar.. Incorrect
        c)"Bible" is capitalized; "biblical" is not  Some formats allow Bible to not be capitalized; if you choose that, be consistent throughout paper
        5)Careful with plurals, possessives, apostrophes etc.  Google if you need help.
        This sign is all over the country, but dead wrong!
        6)For historical figures whose name ends in 's, you write  "Jesus' disciples," not "Jesus's."  Note you have a lot of these who may appear in your paper: Onesimus, Moses, et al
        7)Traditions and translations vary as to whether or not "He" "Him" "His" are capitalized when referring to God or Jesus.  Either way you choose, be consistent thought the paper.
        8)"Their"  vs "they're" type errors
        9)It's vs its.  Read this for help.  Think in your mind about our textbook title:
         "How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth"

        or is it

        "How to Read the Bible For All It's Worth"
        Answer and the look.  Most students guess incorrectly, This is even explained in the preface.

        10)singular and plural disagreement across sentences  Google for help
        11)Departments vary in this. For biblical studies, spell out numbers under 100.
        12)HUGE: "who" for people; "that" for things.  "A person that likes cookies" is wrong
        13)miselanyaous speling errrors

        This sign in a church is incorrect:


        don't play until after class:


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