Maybe just my prejudice. Maybe being very conscious of style... and finding no resemblance whatsoever between the style of the synoptic Jesus, and the rather pompous style of John's "Jesus."


I know, I know, John is just being symbolic about Jesus' role in the scheme of things... and every once in awhile there's a really good quote. But mostly it's "I know who I am & Who sent me, and you don't, which just goes to show what a clueless, evil bunch you are..." Mostly accusations against "the Jews" for not accepting Jesus as Messiah... accusations which could easily be made against any nation, for there's no nation on Earth where either the bulk of the population or (especially) the leaders have accepted Jesus as a guide to God and to what God wants of us. "We can't do that! It would be utterly impractical and irresponsible; we have to do the wise thing!"


On that level... I guess the book is saying: God sends Jesus to help save people from their own ignorant, blundering corruption... and they don't want to hear it. On some level they know better, but to maintain their egos in whichever roles they've learned to treasure-- People have to reject Jesus, and to fear Jesus, and eventually try to kill him, lest he lead the people "astray." So, being the nice loving guy he is, he lets them do it. Then he returns to life so that his closest followers can see him, and leaves his enemies still believing he's dead. A win-win outcome, you might say.


Pages & pages of goodguy vs badguys dialogue... By popular demand, I tried discussing 'John' on friendly scripture study, and quickly bogged down. I'm just not the one to find much good in it. So now I'm starting Luke, and would like more people to comment now & then (hint, hint!!!)


Rather than calling John "the Quaker gospel," I'm inclined to call it "the Calvinist gospel". Because it seems to imply that there are only a few good people, who instinctively "belong to" Jesus and can be saved-- while the rest just arent' going to get it. Yet another, quite serious discrepancy, between "Jesus" and the guy who gave us 'the Sermon on the Mount.'


Better ways to see this?

Views: 79

Comment by Chel Avery on 6th mo. 11, 2011 at 6:58am
A new book, "Conversation with Christ" by Doug Gwyn, really grapples with the gospel of John and all those challenging issues.  I've always been extremely ambivalent about the 4th gospel, but Doug pulls some very thought-provoking insights out of it and relates them to Quaker history.  If I may plug (may I?), it's on the way from the printer and can be pre-ordered at a discount:
Comment by James C Schultz on 6th mo. 11, 2011 at 11:39am
John is used by God to speak to our spirits.  At least to mine and many others that I know.  It's soul food.  I am writing something on John that might help others feed on it but who knows?  I think a problem with any scripture is looking for what's wrong with it rather than asking "what is God trying to get through to me here?".  It's like that picture of Jesus taken by the camera that fell in the snow.  If you concentrate while looking at it, it's just a bunch of shadows but if you look at it from the right perspective and relax it's a picture of a man, claimed to be Jesus.  I believe when you try to reason out a scripture you're relying solely on your mind.  When you meditate on a scripture you allow your soul to bridge the gap between your mind and the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes this happens for me at the oddest times.  I will spend some time reading or just thinking about things of God and/or life and then go on with my day.  Sometime later, maybe the following day, thoughts about the questions start coming to mind.  Sometimes I never get through.  I just have to keep working at accessing my soul and that involves relaxing not striving.  Thanks for all you do in sharing here on Quaker Quaker.  I appreciate it.
Comment by Barbara Quintiliano on 6th mo. 12, 2011 at 3:28pm

"Because it seems to imply that there are only a few good people, who instinctively "belong to" Jesus and can be saved-- while the rest just arent' going to get it."


Seems consistent with a gospel that has been identified as "gnostic" = for those "in the know."

Comment by James C Schultz on 6th mo. 12, 2011 at 6:39pm
Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.   That doesn't imply selectivity.  The scriptures have always been abused by people who selectively take only those scriptures that agree with their particular point of view or choose to emphasize only the portion of the scripture that serves their purpose or fits their preconceived agenda.  A true interpretation should agree with the whole or there is something missing.
Comment by Forrest Curo on 6th mo. 13, 2011 at 10:43pm

As this subject goes right on digesting... it's occurred to me that a prominent theme of "John" as a whole... Is how attached people get to their religions: that even God incarnate couldn't convince most people to step outside their habitual ideas of what God wants from us!


I'm afraid that while I've always liked the part about "For God so loved the world", the suggestion of "This offer good only for those able to believe that a) God has an 'only begotten son' and b) wouldn't save them unless that son died" had quite the opposite effect. I can see now that it's open to better interpretations than the literally unbelievable ones I'd been offered-- but it still seems to put an undue emphasis on credulity, saying little about the importance of absorbing Jesus' meaning...


& I don't think there's really anyone on Earth too stubborn for God to save. It reminds me of the time I talked my parents into letting me stay up all night. They said, Okay, but you have to stay out on the front porch. It was cold, & dark, a little bit spooky... so I really wasn't out there all that long.


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