We shared a lovely ‘Seeds Companions’ Day on Saturday hosted by Seeds Bendigo at St. Matthews in Long Gully. The day consisted of introductions, singing, prayer, a working bee in the ‘Hope… it Grow’s’ Community Garden, a fantastic ‘homemade from the garden’ soup lunch and a reflective time upon the Seeds Covenant and The Questions of Jesus.
My reflection was based upon the Foreword to John Dear’s “The Questions of Jesus” by Richard Rohr
…which I summarised with the following:
The Problem with Answers
1. We stop searching.
2. Become entrenched in a specific position or rut that may not be healthy.
3. Avoid clarifying the inner conflict or social conflict around us. Settle for a false or superficial peace. The problem of Christian teaching being shaped by the superficial self help, motivational culture.
4. Emphasis on changing others, not ourselves.
5. Shuts us off to relationship: The role of relationship in a question and in Knowing Truth.
The ego so demands immediate satisfaction that it will almost always settle for satisfying falsehood rather than remain on the search for often unsatisfying truth. Jesus keeps us on the necessary search.
Jesus only directly answers 3 of the 183 questions that he himself is asked in the four Gospels!
Jesus’ questions are to re-position you, make you own your unconscious biases, break you out of your dualistic mind, challenge your image of God or the world, or present new creative possibilities. He himself does not usually wait for or expect specific answers. He hopes to call forth an answering person. He wants to be in relationship with a person, with the idea as it informs the person, and with the process of transformation itself. Thus his questions are worth examining because they, along with the parables, reveal his basic style of encounter with the soul, or what we would call today, his style of “evangelization”.
Easy answers instead of hard questions allow us to try to change others instead of allowing God to change us. At least, I know that is true in my life.
– Richard Rohr
“In the end the questions leading to more questions distill down to the big one: What am I willing to die for? And the answer to that is probably not another question.”
– Bill Wylie Kellerman
God on the cross explains nothing but criticizes every proffered explanation. The cross is not a response; it is a new form of questioning… it is not so much people asking questions about God; rather it is primarily people being called into question concerning themselves and their self-interest in trying to hold and defend a specific form of the deity.
– John Sobrino
The contribution of Critical Theory to Biblical Study:
- The Power of Idolatry: No Name or Image of God “Who do you say that I AM?” Helps Critique Idolatry of our Culture & recovers the Negativity of the Cross.
- ‘Biblical Eschatology’ as the critique of Progressive History and enabler of alternative political imagination
- Recovering a ‘Conversionist’ Theology. Diagnosing the personal and political change required for transformation.
Does this create an unnecessary adversarial culture?
“ It probably does not work for a large majority of people, at least in my experience. They merely ignore you or fight you.”
– Richard Rohr
Thoughts on Queries and Advices from the Quaker Tradition based on Ched Myers “Who Will Roll Away The Stone”.
History: The Reformation & Counter Reformation; Prioritising Discipleship over Dogma
A Testimony is a standard of faith, ethical behaviour or Gospel order which a group of people covenants together to observe
A Query is a sharply focused question designed to challenge persons of a group to live up to a corporately adopted Standard of faith and behaviour.
An Advice is friendly counsel from the group on what it means to live by a commonly accepted testimony.
Queries are not loaded questions; their purpose is to facilitate an examination of the community’s conscience.
“Suited to the searching mood of Friends at their best, they are broad, open-ended questions to promote self examination under the leadership of the Spirit. They are non-dogmatic, non-hortatory…not intended to discourage but to encourage.”
Questions NOT Accusations BUT Hard Questions NOT Rhetorical
Unity vs. Will of God Delicate balance. Do you exclude Slave Owners?
Weaknesses: Social Location, Spiritualised, Loss of Biblical Roots
Orthopraxy before Orthodoxy
Communal before the Private
Reflection before Declaration … Flexible
The Seeds Covenant: A Rule of Life based on common ideology, common practices or common questions?
Advices grow from the experience of each group
- How are the Marks practiced in Bendigo?
- What advices work for you? What new ones might you offer?
- Avoiding new ‘purity’ codes
Your Questions & The Questions of Jesus: What is the next step for you? via Candle Prayer Spiral Exercise
More pics from the day by Xop here @ Seeds Companions Day in Long Gully « Wonderful Awful Things.