Tag Archives: Christianity

>>?The Historical Jesus<<


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRtCPlVbGO0      Bach Fugue in G Minor BWV542 Albert Schweitzer

Jesus
Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whilst there is widespread scholarly agreement on the existence of Jesus, the portraits of Jesus constructed have often differed over past centuries until up today. Various scholars have criticized each other on the different approaches being used, – including the studies on the historical Jesus.It’s a long story, which started roughly since 1778 with various books being published and many criticising each other on historical methods of research.  Some scholars believe that the life of Jesus must be seen within the historical and cultural context of Roman Judea and the forces in action within and without the Jewish culture at the time. The Roman occupation must be considered as well. Jesus grew up in Galilee and the majority of his ministry took place there. The language was both Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic being the main language. There are indications that Jesus spoke all those languages with most of his teachings in Aramaic. It would seem Jesus has been identified as a carpenter, woodworker and/or even builder. A highly skilled craftsman perhaps, – besides being wise and highly literate in the Torah. He could clearly read. Nazareth was only an obscure village at the time. His extended travels may suggest he had the financial means to do this. The existence of John the Baptist at the same time frame as Jesus in history, including the execution of John the Baptist, has been confirmed as authentic by far the majority of both old and modern scholars. This included Jesus having disciples and the incident around the Temple.

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Scholars do agree as well that Jesus died between 30-36 AD

Despite the various opinions among scholars there is a consensus on the baptism and the crucification including the painful death of Jesus under Pontius Pilate, all this being historical facts and indisputable.

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Interestingly scholars disagree on the reason and context for the above crucification. Some do say that Jesus did not foretell his own crucifixion, and that this own prediction on his crucification has been a Christian story developed after his death.

Despite efforts through centuries even until up to day the views on the portrait of Jesus are fragmented and no consensus has emerged amidst the different assumptions on the various contradictions in the life of Jesus. Various scholars support both the view that Jesus has prepared his followers for the end of times and that the resurrection of Jesus are physical and historical events .

There is support for view as well that Jesus came to announce the end of the Jewish spiritual exile within the Roman context of oppression and that in a new messianic era God would improve this world through the faith of his people.

The account of Jesus as the Christ being the Son of God can be accepted to be reasonable true in the view of the majority of scholars, – however with variations and despite an element of bias as most biblical scholars are Christians. Having said this some bias perhaps did not prevent many biblical historians being able to keep the scholarly integrity of their work.

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Whilst Jesus hoped to bring God’s rule on earth with a genuine believe that this would arrive in his time, it did not happen. Not the way he did expect this would happen initially. In his days on earth, more than 2000 years ago, – he inspired people to change and to get reborn in God because the Kingdom of Heaven was nearby. He spoke almost as a matter of urgency on various occasions, as not too much time was left. Not much time being left before a revelation of supernatural power would take place enforcing the Kingdom of God on earth.

He gave various indications to get ready with grave warnings for those not being ready. He was clearly anticipating a total transformation, anticipating the unspeakable actually, – the time of the greatest harvest here on earth.

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It was this which provoked him to send away some of his closest followers, promising them that after their return the Kingdom of God would be on earth.

The traditional Jesus as he presented in history was perhaps far more radical than we believe now.

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With his awareness of God so clear and nearby, with no difference between his thoughts and God thoughts, – he expected the Kingdom of God to come soon.

Again it did not happen, for reasons we don’t know.

Only God knows.

We know about some of the miracles Jesus performed. Being able to do this using God given powers he never claimed to be God himself and was very clear in those distinctions.

Unless change was coming from within by complete transformation through him, you misunderstood what he had to say.

This was the only way to God, – as he said.

God’s Kingdom is not on earth as yet, not in the way Jesus initially believed it would come in his own days. God’s Kingdom did neither rule the earth when he died, nor did it rule the earth through centuries gone past, – as we can see and as we still see today.

We still live within anticipation in a time where the world get more complex, where evil powers seem to have free play and where nuclear self-inflicted destruction is hanging like a sword of Damocles on this planet.

Some people may have an awareness that God’s Kingdom is still nearby and some may live out close to similar awareness Jesus had in his days, – but fact is that most of us struggle to face the dilemma’s here on earth as the ruling of God is hard to find in the actions of both many people and countries.

At the root of humanity we were given the gift of a free choice, but this gift in the most general terms has been abused in many ways and humanity by far has not been receptive for the Kingdom of God in the way Jesus once proclaimed to get ready, -to get prepared.

The fact that it may live in some does neither change the world, – nor does it change the needless suffering from the many we can’t reach.

In part Jesus has been created through centuries of darkness into something he never was, part of an agenda within various dimensions and frictions within the Church itself.

Church doctrines often questionable at times, – the least.

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Trying to find the Jesus who once wandered the shores of Galilee is not easy and actually not possible as he is not there anymore, but on a closer look on Matthew, he was at least a man at the time of amazing contradictions, – reflecting an extraordinary human existence on earth and fully embracing an ability (his ability) to be close to God, – despite differences and changing perceptions as shown in some of the existing stories.

Whether or not after his death some elements in the general view on his remarkable existence have been created as a selling point for Christianity is perhaps not that important, as long as we don’t get carried away with the small trivial stuff.

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He wanted to save the world by showing people the pathway to God and as such the New Testament became a way of looking to Jesus by people who felt both reborn in Jesus but in ways left behind as well. The last may explain that the true historical Jesus is hard to be found as within this context some of his followers may have filled up the feeling of emptiness after his death with the sort of hope to comfort their own feelings, – genuine hope reflected as facts neither being right or complete correct. This has been the process where the true Jesus got lost in history and where groups within Christianity went to war with each other on in essence trivial differences in perceptions

Clear is that Jesus aimed to offer people a shift in conscious. Making people “the Light of the world” seems to have been his purpose, and with this nothing would stand between his followers and God.

When the Kingdom of God did not arrive the way he did expect it would come, and for which he warned his people to get ready before it was too late, he made a shift in perception. The perception that the Kingdom of God could be reached by a different and higher level of conscious and within this context he died for our sins, – promising his spirit to come back, enabling those searching for him to reunite with him and via him with God, – based on faith.

As faith on its own without action is no faith at all, – considerate action would follow based on this faith. In summary compassion with others, humility and believe in God were the strongholds of this faith. The Kingdom of God as described in the book of Revelation (NT) has no authority from Jesus himself, even though his early prediction of the Kingdom of God had the ingredients of both last judgement and the division of the righteous and evil in his own time.

If Jesus would arrive again today, his compassion would be with those who suffer, not only perhaps because of war or famine, but because of their difficulty to be in the light with him. He knew that nothing was terminal but that despite suffering and through death everything was transitional in his faith and through his faith. That neither death nor live, neither mountains nor valleys could separate us from the love from God through him in Christ.

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In other words that based on faith in him we don’t need to worry about the future whatever this entails. This means as well to be awake, as we don’t know “when the master of the house will come, in the evening or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn”. The last still with the implication that God himself will come one day, as predicted for his time by the special rabbi who once wandered the shores of Northern Galilee so many centuries ago, asking simply people to follow him.

Even where we don’t know him in person, through the centuries he still asks us to follow him when we are receptive for this, – and as an unknown stranger we may meet him in our times with him repeating the same question and indicating us to do what is required for our time and generation, – even when we are faced with baffling contradictions.

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Whether the Kingdom of God is within those who follow him or in the expected entity of God coming back one day in ways we don’t know, is perhaps not that important for this once despised rabbi, crucified and resurrected.

The simple fact is that both is true, as in both cases we need to be ready by what we do in the short time frame of our own life.

If we respond to the quest to follow him, He understands the area of the unknown as he was faced with this as well, – being in the world but not of it, but faced with the challenge to love, – regardless.

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This last word is the word most strongly connected with Jesus, – and this quest is posed to be renewed in every generation regardless of what we are faced with, even though love has failed in many ways where it earns forgiveness.

Therefore the same applies what Jesus once told, – to abide in Him. We don’t need to know each other, as we often do. We don’t need to know the intimate details of our friends to call them friends as lots is a secret in our dealings with others, even in the best possible marriage. But we can abide in the trust we have in some people, though not in all. And perhaps there are circumstances we can’t trust on people, but fact is that Jesus came back to his disciples after he died, after he made the human transition to spiritual transition being more close to God than ever before, but not God himself. He said that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. Given to him by God. Like Pharaoh made Joseph in some way in command over Egypt, with all authority being provided to help Egypt during the 7 years of draught.

This is just a comparison

And indeed God will be coming one day, – through the agony of times where the suffering hopefully will be shortened.

But as long as we have been caretakers and shepherds for the things we were created, within the scope of our talents, – we don’t need to fear that day as nothing through pain is terminal. Everything is transitional. He knows what we are going through, what we are struggling with and what we are faced with and in His compassion He will not let us down, whatever we are, – bright or silly, beautiful or ugly.

Through the centuries the historical Jesus will come to us this way in a different identity and comfort us , wiping our tears away.

And when our bodies give up in the last agony of dying He will take us away to our eternal Father in Heaven, without judgement on what we did in the true colours of His name.

And so we may say  those words again today, – the words He once spoke differently perhaps, but with similar intention: >>

Our Father, Who is in Heaven, … Holy is Your Name; Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven….Give us this day our daily bread, and what we need to stay within Your Will…Forgive us our sins. As we forgive those who sin against us; ..and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…..Help us to find Your Ways in our life, caring and sharing in what we are able to share. Help us to stay within Your Will and show us as to be proper caretakers of Your creation here on earth. And if our lives come to an end lead us in peace to that part of Your Eternal Energy where we once came from, and allow us to stay close to Your Eternal Love….Amen..

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In the silence of our hearts, He may still come to us, – asking the same question as He did so long ago. The question to follow Him.   And if we do so we get to know Him, – better even as time goes by.  Better in the struggles we share, whilst trying to find similar answers for things we face today, in different identities as being faced in the past…………

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Thank you so much!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

 

The Art of Leadership and lessons from the Past – introduction.


Photograph of Ralph Waldo Emerson House, Conco...
Photograph of Ralph Waldo Emerson House, Concord, Massachusetts, USA. This National Historic Landmark was the longtime home of philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”  -(Proverbs 29:18)

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” – (Mark Twain)

INTRODUCTION

Yes, it’s all about choices in life, – choices being so important as it determines where we will be in 3 to 5 to 10 years down the line. We did not realise this when we were kids or young adults, but after developing some corner stones in our own lives, – we all do realise it is important to make good choices as choices do find our outcomes, – not only at personal level but also at collective level.

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Most of those choices we have to make on our own, – guided by instinct or values. Guided by what we have seen in the past and hope for in the future. Sometimes it is 2 step’s forward and one step backwards. Sometimes we don’t know where to go or how to take it further, — but what we choose can make – at times – the difference between life and death, – between winning or losing, – between a bad marriage or a good marriage.

This means as well that if we are going to lose “inches”, we have the freedom of choice how we are going to lose those inches, – with dignity and respect or with non-civilised behaviour – the last we know has its extremes.

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The future is there where your dreams are, when you are prepared to take the first steps to get you there, – whether it is in art or politics or any other attempt.

We have all unique talents, to be used neither only for ourselves nor in the outcome of bad decisions, – neither only for the past but for the sake of our future, and those who will be part of this future.

When we have some sort of peace with ourselves amidst any trouble hardship or hard work, being able to apply certain rules of self-leadership, – we may be well on our way to attract what we need to attract to become good leaders in whatever endeavour in life, which means to connect in a broader sense with people helping our ideas to resonate in others, to bring movement or action where this is required.

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There have been many books written about leadership and good leadership is like a diamond with various aspects and different ways of viewing it, – like a beautiful stone which you can see from different angles. We will discuss this further but in this introduction I only want to touch base on a few basics. For sure a strong valuable vision for the future and obedience to your own well developed (God-given) conscious are important ingredients to influence people in the positive, – which if well articulated may it mobilize the talents, the capacities of the people within the domain of your influence. Hence clear direction being required, – direction which helps to realise this vision in a practical way.

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Real leaders have influence in the positive as they add value.  Hitler eg was an effective leader, – however without adding value to life in whatsoever way, without respect for life in whatsoever way. He may have had a vision, but he had no conscious. The difference with eg a mother Theresa was that she had apart from both passion, vision and direction, – conscious as well. And she obeyed this conscious.

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Conscious and integrity are people orientated, based on connection with values and principles, based on respect for life, – and the outcome is neither concentration camps nor major self-inflicted war. The outcome is always directed in the positive, in adding value to productivity, business management or government.

With some people in history their importance was recognised in retrospect, as at the time the establishment was against them. Their influence appeared to be small at the start perhaps, but after they died it grew. Not always be the real image as it was then, but sometimes with the image history gave it, with the first image being perhaps more powerful. Death in those circumstances is not always the real end and on occasions it signifies a new beginning. This applies eg to Jesus from Nazareth. He was rejected and despised by the existing establishment, the world at the time, – despite his followers in those days. However his impact was of such a nature that after he was killed his influence continued, often misunderstood among Christianity and Church doctrines. But for his believers he may seem as an “unknown”, asking the question to follow him.

Great leaders have followers.

The agenda of good leaders is to motivate people to do what is right, with an influence greater than existing resistance, – even in the hours of risks and danger. Often it has to do with prompt action by choice, with faith, with a strong belief in what lies ahead, – as action without belief of what lies may prove to be often empty action.

This flow of action in the positive requires both courage and commitment, both partnership and integrity, both trials and tribulations to strengthen the efforts, – but besides this humility, wisdom and shared vision.

Neither defeat where right is valued over what is popular, nor any adversity in the midst of struggle, – will be a deterrent for the true leader to get the required seasoning to be eventually effective.

Even faced with death we may be assured that nothing is terminal and that everything is transitional.

Leadership on its own is not a goal, the vision and the process are the goal. And if the last is strong enough, at some stage there may be the harvest of our actions, – sometimes long  after we have gone.

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For most of us leadership will be neither dramatic nor often seen in the public eye. We have leaders on the street and leaders in government. It does not make any difference. What makes a difference is that our creative expressions in life meet the needs of our fellow humans beings, that our unique talents may serve  humanity in the smaller and greater deeds, – and the art of leadership in all of this is a valuable tool in the right hands.

There are many lessons from the past, and this small introduction will be followed a number of articles and examples.

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If interested keep reading on those examples and find them in your own life.

Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

Interesting might be: Profiles In US Presidential Violations of Justice – Front page (Part 1 of 11) on July 5, 2011

The  Art  of  Leadership  and  Lessons  from  the  Past – Edward M. Kennedy on October 29, 2011

The  Art  of  Leadership  and  Lessons  from  the  Past  – Gandhi. on October 27, 2011

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https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/the-art-of-leadership-and-lessons-from-the-past-nelson-mandela/