A Possible Gospel And New Testament

More Fun Than Fundamentalism.

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For further information, email Darius at possiblegospel@yahoo.com.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Gospel, Chapter 16: Scribes, Pharisees, etc.

On Wealth

Jesus: “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” {= wealth} Mat 6:24.

Jesus: “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Mat 19:24.

Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things. He said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” Luke 19:45-46.

And Jesus addressed the far-right Christian leadership – the televangelists, mega-ministers, and comfortable priests “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15.

And just to be sure, he added:

“Woe to you leaders of the Christian far-right! For you market false piety, give support to corrupt officials, and neglect the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” Cf. Mat 23:23.

On Hypocrisy

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.” Mat 23:25-26.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Mat 23:27-28.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” Mat 23:13-15.

Therefore beware of false ministers in shepherd’s clothing who you can easily know by their fruits. A good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bad. Cf. 7:16-17.

Many preach without practicing. Many who are first will be last. Cf. Mat 19:30.

Many are those who say, “Lord, Lord,” or shout “Mohammed,” supposing they will enter the kingdom of heaven. Yet only those who do God’s will enter heaven, and these are already at the gate. Cf. Mat 7:21.

Those who most indulge in God-talk are among those who know God least.

The prayers of those who are in a position to help but will not do so are blasphemous.

On Lunacy

Render unto God what is God’s and science what belongs to science. Cf. Mat 22:21.

Those who eagerly await apocalypse and rapture are like someone yelling “Beware!” at the foot of a mountain that is prone to avalanches.

Death did not come through sin - silly. The flowers of the field die too (cf. Mat 6:28); yet who has written concerning the disobedience of Adam Dandelion and Eve Petunia in the flower-garden of Og? Because we may perceive death as bad, its occurrence does not mean that an Other-God is punishing us. Let us weed our own gardens, putting away childish thoughts. Cf. Romans 5:12-14.

It is not written, “Be fruitful and multiply until the earth becomes uninhabitable for your children.” Cf. Gen 1:28.

Are you focused on the “unborn?” Then let your concern rest chiefly with the state of the earth that will be inherited from us by the full-fledged and indisputable human beings of the generations to come. Worry more about your grandchildren and less about their fertilized eggs.

Seek but you will not find Bible verses about birth control pills, embryos, stem cell research, or the phrase, “right to life.” Though we find Jesus intervening with love and compassion for the lives of many, none are embryos.

An acorn is not an oak.


At 12:10 PM, Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

Seriously Darius this is absolutely perfect. You have balanced your comprehension of the Word and layed it before the neo-pharisees. All of the modern day self righteous hypocracy becomes self evident in an instant.
I am so appreciative of the fact that I found your site. Nowhere else have I experienced such a calm, cool and collected dissemination of reason interspersed with the volatile emotional aspects of faith.

Did Dubya's incredibly short sighted stem cell decision ignite this response. That decision reveals several things about his debilitating philosophical retardation. Firstly a momentary deflection from his idiotic decision to invade Iraq and secondly to gather the faithful since his ratings are still in the 30s and all of the GOP candidates are sprinting from his shadow.
The third and most distressing revelation is his utter and complete contempt for anyone who struggles with afflictions that may be cured tomorrow given the proper environment and resources to study their genetic pathway.

What a shame that he is so myopic.
History will judge his Veto to be an act of lunacy and cowardice despite the fact that he thinks is climbing to higher moral ground. Does he know that the genetic material that is required is simply discarded as medical waste. No.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger kathy said...

Great post Darius! I'll make a small comment on the Wealth section. Did you ever see that couple on tv, the lady has big pinkish hair and they sing a lot on thier show...but the one thing that stands out is thier Gold mirrors and flashy decor. People send lots and lots of money to them.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Darius said...

HOMO ESCAPEONS, really appreciate that. As far as whether Bush's recent stem cell veto precipitated this post - kind of. It was on deck just before I took my "mental vacation." I was thinking about another week's vacation, then decided to post it now because of the stem cell veto.

KATHY, thanks. Not specifically, but I do know the kind of thing you mean...

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Lee said...

Fascinating post! Thank you.

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous grumblite said...

Fascinating, as I would have expected. The question of whom a
person should acknowledge as their
personal master- God, Og, Mammon, or one of a host of other poseurs -seems to have many of us in a quandary; even the minority who
aren't experiencing any confusion,
appear to have too often made either baffling (or outright wrong) choices- but then, what are
leaders for? Failing at simpler
problems, it becomes incumbent to
screw up ever-larger solutions; is
anyone so infallible in governing their own actions, as to be worthy of prescribing the courses of the lives of others? I think that
h. Escapeons nailed it- your words
reflect a certain balance that too
frequently remains wanted.

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Sometimes I think of it as if I am something approximating a self and everything else is the other (not other god, just other). I'm separate and to become whole I have the option of either taking from the other(s) or giving myself away to the other(s).

Jesus is the example of giving (gave his life) and this criticism of the agglomeration of wealth and personal possession is a criticism of taking.

There are myriad flaws to this theory but sometimes I ponder it that way. And culturally we tend to ponder these aspects of giving and taking too, of course.

At 8:06 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Oh, and when you think about it it's easier to give something of your self away than to take something from an other. I don't know, I'm just wondering. I have a lot of ego, a lot of 'I want to be the best' which is a desire to take love from others. I should write a post, instead of taking (darn) up this comment space, or better still I should be still and quiet and let the answers come to me. Er... peace, of course x

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Marissa said...

Hear, hear! Stephen Colbert had a great bit on his show the other day about stem cell research, his guest was comparing stem cells to the cells on our arms, and Colbert responded with "So there are babies growing on my arms right now???" Brilliant.

Did you hear that on the bible-thumpers websites there's a lot of discussion going on about how the rapture is starting and how excited they all are about it? It's sick!

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

I knew he would veto it. He said he would veto it. But even so, it still infuriates me. Life, and its preservation, are more important than anything to me. Embryonic stem cells show great promise in the areas of spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's, diabetes, etc. And these embryos would most likely be destroyed anyway. He needs to quit pandering to the far-right.

At 3:41 AM, Anonymous Gangadhar said...

Great post,Darius...

and off the post..sorry...

Can u pl do me a favor? Pl edit my url on ur blog to

thank you

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Darius said...

Please excuse my brief replies... Blogger ate the more thoughtful version...

LEE, thanks -

GRUMBLITE: Yeah, I don't know where the world is digging up its leaders lately...

BENJAMIN: Not seeing any flaws... that first comment of yours... I see it the same way. Would just add that I think you get a whole that has real integrity only with the "giving" alternative.

MARISSA, I like him too. Yeah, actually the blogosphere is where I first noticed there are people who seem to really look forward to "the rapture" to the point where it almost seems they're in favor of helping to bring it on.

STACEY: There's a lot about George himself that strikes me as embryonic. So far he's developed no interest in the poor, the oppressed, the sick... they represent "life" too, as far as I can tell...

I always wonder how the "pro life" position got turned into a "pro egg" position.

GANGADHAR: Thanks, and done -

At 9:04 PM, Blogger Lady Wordsmith said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Lady Wordsmith said...

Oh the unbearable lunacy of hypocrites who use their wealth to control and master others in the name of their so called faith!

"Worry more about your grandchildren and less about their fertilized eggs. ... An acorn is not an oak."

Well said Darius.

Thank you

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Keshi said...

**An acorn is not an oak.

thats a great line.


At 10:51 AM, Blogger White Forest said...

"Therefore beware of false ministers in shepherd’s clothing who you can easily know by their fruits. A good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bad"

so so true...but sometimes its difficult to identify ..or it takes time ...!

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Darius said...

LADY W: Hard to figure, that's for sure.

KESHI: And it seems so obvious - that an acorn is not an oak; that a cluster of cells having the potential to become a human being under certain circumstances is not actually a human being. For that matter every sperm cell and every ovum on earth has the potential to become a human being.

WHITE FOREST: I like to think the Christian far right's focus on the "real" religious issues like gayness, egg cells and all things reproductive, public prayer, public displays of the ten commandments - and amassing power and wealth - while blithely ignoring the environment and social justice and the lives of the upcoming generations, will start making these false ministers easier and easier to identify.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger ThursdayNext said...

That was well said and quite powerful. I am so glad I visited here this evening; I look forward to reading more.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger crystal said...

Hi Darius

I know some Catholics who are very sure embrionic stem cell research violates an ethic of life ... they see conception as the start of life. I don't think I agree with them, but I also don't think they're all hypocrits - many are sincere.

Thankfully, though, Catholics don't believe in the rapture :-)

At 9:05 PM, Blogger rama said...

Hullo Darius, thanks for visiting cuckoo's call & your comment! Best, rama

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Keshi said...

thats why that line makes it so brilliant.


At 9:40 PM, Blogger mistipurple said...

the caged bird was not worshipping mammon. perhaps she didn't hear god well, though she tried. survival was an issue, not wealth.

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Darius said...

THURSDAYNEXT, thanks. Enjoyed your blog as well.

CRYSTAL, hi. Yes, a lot of "prolifers" are sincere - I think. That's why I didn't actually call them "hypocrites" in the post, even though I used the word a lot for other attitudes.

I guess I have to qualify it with "I think" because frankly it seems to me that the people who go out and gun down doctors who perform abortions are really the only "prolifers" who are morally consistent in their position.

If you really believe that newly fertilized eggs and early term embryos are human beings, then what we have in this country is the legalization of a true holocaust. It would be best to gun down women who use birth control as well. You'd be preventing them from murdering a person a month.

The fact that practically everyone, including "prolifers," would see this as grossly immoral and absurd suggests to me that they're not really entirely cluess about the difference between human beings and cell clusters.

RAMA, you're welcome.

KESHI, not sure exactly what you're referring to, but OK, I guess I won't argue with you over the idea that I may have said something brilliant.

MISTIPURPLE: Not all cages are gilded, that's for sure. (Wealth was never a temptation or an issue for me either, if I'm reading you correctly here...)

At 11:36 AM, Blogger crystal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger pissed off patricia said...

An acorn is not an oak, but it does work as food for squirrels. That's why one tree gives off so many acorns because some will be lost. Works the same with people, at least that's the way I see it.

The veto was nothing more than a political move. In his heart (if he has one) he doesn't give a damn about zygotes.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

Speaking of acorns and oaks, have you seen the video clip of
Sen. Brownback and his eagle?

The eagle makes its appearance a minute or two into the video. With headphones, it's SFW.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Hi Darius. Thanks for your response to my last comment here. You make a fine role model. That's silly, but I like your views and the genuine feeling that comes with them. I tend to come and go but your caring and sincerity stays the course. I admire that x

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Darius said...

CRYSTAL: That's what I would have guessed, and me too - re. pro choice.

To me, "prolifer" is very much a misnomer. "Pro fertilized egg" or more simply, "pro egger" would be more like it. For example, I've heard of PLENTY of "prolifers" who favor the death penalty. And the poor and the sick - they're very much alive too.

Yes, no proegger in his or her right mind would consider shooting abortion clinic doctors. By saying it would be more morally consistent if they did, I was pointing to the lack of serious moral passion commensurate to a sincere conviction that embryos are children.

If you really believe that abortion = the murder of children, it seems to me it's a dire situation. You would expect millions of proeggers around the country to be staging massive demonstrations in the streets, practicing large scale nonviolent resistance - going on strike, bringing the nation to a standstill. If none of that worked, then yes, you'd expect them to eventually take up arms against the state sanctioned systematic murder of children. That would certainly have to rank as being as morally objectionable as slavery - worth having a civil war about.

I don't think they really believe embryos are children.

Or if they do, they are conspicuously lacking in moral courage and would rather lead comfortable, law-abiding lives than put themselves at risk to stand against unbridled murder.

I always thought the birth control thing was more of same. That is, those who oppose it consider birth control as interfering with human lives that "God intended" to be born. But I'm a poor spokesperson for being anti-birth control because I really don't get it either.

PO PATRICIA - Yes - nature is prolific with all things seed. Somehow right wing Christians have the idea that everything potentially human shouldn't participate in that general profuse untidiness. I just don't get it. Anything that could possibly become a baby is "precious." Except, strangely, semen and unfertilzed ova. And these have more sheer potential for giving rise to human lives than anything.

MATTHEW: I only got to see part of it before the audio failed. Listening to the start though, it made me think of how it's reached a point where the line between the administration's actual positions and parody of their actual positions is getting really hard for me to make out.

BENJAMIN: Thanks, I've enjoyed having you as one of the "regulars" here.

Maybe your "comings and goings" are your way of charting a course right now.

At 4:31 AM, Blogger Bruce Garrison said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I'm glad you did. Your blog is very interesting, especially to a born and bred American who has been living outside of the country and all things Americana for the last 20 years. Your perspective is very refreshing. By the way, your comment encouraged me to go ahead and post a prayer of Soren Kierkegaard's that I had been intending to put up "one of these days."

At 6:54 AM, Blogger Liquidplastic said...

It seem I have return just in time to get a wake up call x 3 --- this is an outstanding and profound post. Everything that should be said is being said --- woe to those who didn't get the point.

I am an Oak ---!

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Darius said...

BRUCE G: Thanks for stopping by, sounds like you could have an interesting perspective on the "state of the nation."

LIQUIDPLASTIC: Good to have you back, I'll be checking in - the whole pace of blogging seems to have slowed lately, vacation time I guess -

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Lee said...

Sometimes things just slow down without rhyme or reason.

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

Thanks for coming by my blog, Darius. Are you a Christian or are you sick of the Christians who give others a bad name? I need to study your blog. I will bookmark it for further study. If you are interested in Christian blogs, I am part of a group blog called Live Love and Ponder on blogspot. You name it; we discuss it, but it all boils down to our issues with faith.

At 4:27 AM, Blogger christabelle said...

"The prayers of those who are in a position to help but will not do so"

Ha, Hipocrisy in the highest order

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Darius said...

LEE: True. I imagine there are also seasonal vacation times according to where you live. July and August are probably the major vacation months here...

ENEMY OF THE R: Welcome. Sounds like an interesting group.

Christianity is certainly an interesting phenomenon these days - very diverse. It ranges from Christians who don't believe that Jesus was God, or that he was resurrected, and view him as a compassionate and enlightened person; to the politically prominent right wing that, imo, has made Christianity into a fig leaf for power grabbing and wealth hoarding.

I was raised, loosely, as a Catholic. The New Testament has had more of an influence on me than any other book. But meditating and dawn runs over a period of about fourteen years influenced me much more than any book.

CHRISTABELLE: Maybe this administration should give some thought to the concept of "feel-good" prayer.

At 5:11 AM, Blogger FrenchExpat said...

I remember seeing that documentary on TV. Some fundamentalist Christian who had killed a doctor who worked at an abortion clinic. He said he was justified, since Jesus said: "Let the little children come to me". He added: "Jesus therefore is against abortion! This passage makes it plain enough!"

How often do we hear people quoting Scriptures out of their context! I too don't see anything in the Bible that supports or condemns abortion. Who knows when the soul gets incarnated in the child! And say that a soul gets incarnated, I am sure God in his wisdom would then select another recipient for the soul to come and inhabit.

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Samuel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Darius said...

FRENCHEXPAT: There's a lot of selective scripture quoting going on today, that's for sure. Thing is, they tend to emphasize my least favorite verses and neglect my favorite, so I'm trying here to compensate...!

At 9:09 PM, Blogger chris said...

Another wonderful post. Keep them coming!!

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Darius said...

Thanks Chris -


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