A great host of aphorisms call us to persistence. Don't give up this ship; don't halt before you are lame; hang in there; the darkest hour is just before dawn; while there is life, there is hope; always give people more than they expect; the expectations of life depend on diligence are but a few of many. This expression manages to convey the idea in three short words.

Luke 23:46
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said,“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

While the Bible is full of teachings about perseverance, Jesus frequently says die. His own death is one of his most favoured teaching topics and he freely accepts his unjust death when it comes to him. He accepts defeat even unto death and asks us to follow him on that path. Without a real death, there is no resurrection. As believers in resurrection, Christians are invited to always say die and never to fear it. Jesus’ words on the cross echo Psalm 31:5 but have their own meaning being uttered moments before death and deliverance being into and beyond death as opposed to away from it. In fact, if you read Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death you may well be convinced that the “never say die” myth is at the heart of evil.

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Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 1:50pm

I think this says it all:

Ecc 3:2  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

If you don't believe it's your time to die don't give up the ship.  If you have run the good race accept your reward.

Comment by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 5:14pm

Are suggesting then, James, that the idea to "never say die" is seemingly contradicted by the notion that there is a "time to die?" Or if one wanted to attempt mental and linguistic gymnastics, they could say there is a time to die but it should not be spoken of. All is not to try and resolve these two kinds of thinking but to point to the challenges of (and perhaps to tip my hand a little further) the inherent foolishness of the "never say die" proclamation.

Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 6:18pm

As the scripture says "never say die" has an exception to the rule like most if not all rules.  In my business I run into people who refuse to face the reality of death, often to their or more often their family's detriment.  It's a good rule, just not iron clad.  Like Yogi says it ain't over 'till it's over" but to the best of my knowledge sooner or later it's over.  (Speaking of exceptions to the rule see 1 Thessalonians 4:17)

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 7:54pm

Resurrection wouldn't be an exception to the rule, just "Something more we hadn't known about death." That it isn't as permanent as we've thought.

The exceptions...? Sometimes human beings reach a point of being stuck, not able to change, continue as they are,  or to develop further without changing.

And in the case of Jesus? That looks like a choice... To accept a terrible death, or to try to survive by violent means. To call on God to protect him by violent means? No, that wouldn't have been any improvement. Everything he'd been telling people made accepting the death he faced  a necessity.

Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 8:43pm

the Thessalonian scripture doesn't necessarily involve death.  It can be interpreted to skip that point.  Then there's Enoch.  You probably know more about Enoch than I.  What is your understanding of "walked with God"?

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 9:30pm

And he was not, for God had taken him? A lot of speculative writing was done about that, much of it in circulation in Jesus' day.

People would pray for understanding of what had happened in the world, then attribute what they received to Enoch (as one in a position to have seen all this. Likewise with Elijah for later revelations.)

It's not that this was the last word, though being human they may well have believed it was.

It may have happened like that -- but much of early Genesis is legendary, after all. Stories keep going after the people who first told them have been replaced by new generations with different ways and different understandings.... Some of this may have been in reference to Egyptian dynasties, not individual lives. (Hence the apparently overlong lifespans. Maybe, I dunno!)

Comment by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 11:13pm

I am really not sure what to make of Enoch, but a place I often look is "The Message" translation: 

5-6 By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.” It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 11:20pm

Another interesting thing about the Thessalonian piece... Paul was using the metaphor of an official visit from a touring 1st Century ruler. (Some observations from JD Crossan.

First the ruler comes to the graveyards. These are out by the roads on the way in. Then he sees the inhabitants who come out to meet him.

And then he comes into town, calls in the auditors, cleans up the government and puts his own people in charge. He doesn't just take the loyal citizens away; he's 'there' on a permanent basis.

Comment by James C Schultz on 5th mo. 1, 2017 at 8:10am

Thank God for that.


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