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Sept. 19, 2018 Psalm 43, ecclesiastes 8, Psalm 112, (24)

This mornings Psalm was short and uplifting and refers to altars and thankfulness. Is vanity more like futility. In those days heart was the thinking part of a person which explains why heart is used rather than mind as is used in some translations. We had a long discussion about the origin of the ELCA and the various factions of Lutherans like Missouri synod, ALC, and LCA as well as the supporters of Seminex. There also was a discussion of Luther’s view on inclusion in the church. The background of Ecclesiastes came out of the struggle between the literalists and the interpreters and adapters of scriptures. Just like the interpretation of our constitution. Everybody has to figure out how to handle situations that are not directly addressed in the original document or its amendments. In the OT there was a sort of connection between belief in God and good fortune in life. There is an increasing emphasis on the concept of membership versus discipleship. 

Sept. 12, 2018 Psalm 77:1-11 , ecclesiastes 7, Psalm 77:11-20, (23)

S. read a great comic about squirrels and churches. We talked about whether this was a downer or sort of medium. Sorrow is better than laughter. Is the tone of the chapter verse 26 which says I find something more bitter than death:the woman whose heart is snares and nets. Don’t stop too soon. It goes on to say that he who pleases God escapes such a woman. This probably was newer than the other OT, and was changed by Persian, Syrian, and Aramaic writings. Some think Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon, which would have placed it 1000 BC. There is more evidence to a later time of writing. We talked about verse 10, which says the old days are not necessarily better than today. Verse 3 and 4 present the idea of learning more from hardship than success. Do we learn more from mourning than by laughing about everything. R. says the dam lawyers fit into the last verse God made man upright but gave figured out many schemes to get an advantage. 

Sept. 5, 2018 psalm 134 ecclesiastes 4, psalm 62 (22)

a really short psalm. he says the dead who are already dead – is this profound versus redundant. this reminds us of Amway’s marketing process.  maybe this is a way to approach a good way to view work. vs 8 suggests that one works for others. We can be called to a profession that can help others. it matters what we do with what we have. Bill Gates is an example of giving to help others. is every job just for getting things for oneself and not necessarily to help others. is it necessary to learn how to want to be helpful and think about others. is there a switch from seeking riches to seeking power. Is there a switch or is it just a continuation of their quest for riches. Do people have to be trained to give to others and to act not in one’s own interest all the time. there are various kinds of power and how it can be used. institutional, reputation, etc. 

August 29, 2018 psalm 134 ecclesiastes 4, psalm 62 (22)

a really short psalm. he says the dead who are already dead – is this profound versus redundant. this reminds us of Amway’s marketing process.  maybe this is a way to approach a good way to view work. vs 8 suggests that one works for others. We can be called to a profession that can help others. it matters what we do with what we have. Bill Gates is an example of giving to help others. is every job just for getting things for oneself and not necessarily to help others. is it necessary to learn how to want to be helpful and think about others. is there a switch from seeking riches to seeking power. Is there a switch or is it just a continuation of their quest for riches. Do people have to be trained to give to others and to act not in one’s own interest all the time. there are various kinds of power and how it can be used. institutional, reputation, etc. 

August 22, 2018 Psalm 44:1-16, ecclesiastes 3:9- , (23)

this is a strange book, god is just and good, but the author is full of crap. this the book of vanities the word fear in 14 probably means revere and awe. isn’t fear judgement or is it more the idea of jaw breaking awe idea. everything has been done and will endure for. it suggests that since what god has done endures forever, possibly god instituted evolution and contonually creates changes in the world and all its creatures. there is nothing new under the sun. maybe that is why the author is called a philosopher not a prophet. does this mean god had everything created and we reveal that as we learn more about what really exists. V9 asks if it really makes a difference what we do. is v 12 life, liberty, anx the pursuit of happiness. the author questions if humans are really different from animals. is that what god meant when he told adam and eve that the knowledge of good and evil is the difference between humans and animals. when did the concept of soul originate? 

July 18, 2018 Psalm 36, I thessalonians 2, Psalm (20)

Al read the nagamonti prayer of Paul.Paul talks about not depending on the people he is visiting, but maybe there is a hint of arrogance and braggedadocia.Paul has to assert his credentials. But Paul was making policies for the churches. The story of the problem Paul had in Phillipi is told in Acts 16:13-19. There were many competing gods, idols, ideologies, and Paul had to preach the difference between Christ’s teachings and these other religious teachings. Many of them were more developed and possibly more organized and it would have been more difficult to distinguish from these other groups. 

July 11, 2018 psalm 54, I Thessalonians 1, psalm (25)

earliest writer from the early church. thessalonica was in Macedonia. the letter shows pauls relationship with the church he had established. they still thought jesus would come any day. people have served many gods but we believe in jesus as true God. distinguish between a conversio and a call. the differencef between jewish christion and jewish beliefs. look at bishop tsendall. calls and conversion. paul was with the disciples in Damascus and learned about the church. the early years they just fragments, but by 150 there were whole letters. paul congratulates them on getting new members and living their faith. when the jews conquered territories the people linving there might become jews and the major distinction was that such jewish women couldnt marry priests.  verse 5 suggesta that the oral tradition was what the people believed. did they actually reference the gospels in other books. when did the jews settle on what their scriptures are? is it just the pentateuch? 

June 27, 2018 Psalm 94:1-14, Mark16, Psalm 94:15-23 (19)

only the first 8 verses are from the original. they are from possible other gospels. the 8 verses end with an empty tomb, so that presents a problem so the early church had to make an addition that sounds like something that had to be changed. what does that mean for the veracity of the church and the scriptures selected for the Bible. does it mean that it has substance since it has survived so long. where does the basis of the church at that point, was it in Jerusalem, Galilee. there groups affiliated with john the Baptist, early beginnings of Paul, Peter, and even the mystic views of John. there were others who believed Christianity was just another Jewish sect. so it was very Jewish. there is a collection of early scrolls called the Nagamonti, which proceeded the dead sea scrolls. (here is a link to the early versions of the scriptures: Description of early scrolls ) there was also an oral tradition that carried on to determine some of the substance of Christianity. was Jesus a Christian?  the letters of Paul provide the basis for the future direction of Christianity. we will do I Thessalonians starting on July 11, and will then follow with Romans. an early heretic said the new testament should be Mark and 10 letters of Paul. which letters were actually were written by Paul? Is Paul trying to persuade or explain or infirm them.
We will proceed to read I Thessalonians on July 11, 2018

June 20, 2018 Psalm 97, Mark 15, Psalm 134 (27)

this is the parable of the tenants and the landowner was extraordinarily patient. If the vineyard owner was God and he sent prophets who are mistreated or killed and finally his son. the people were probably the Israelis at that time. also should they pay taxes to Caesar? then the woman with 7 brothers as husbands. this whole chapter is about giving and the first story is about what is due to God, the second is what is due to Caesar. it finally ends with the poor widow giving everything. he is speaking out against the Herodians who were the leaders of the Jews at that time. this gospel came out in the 70-80s amid the destruction of the temple snd Jerusalem. the Herodians were people working with and for Herod in the 30s. this chapter is about the rabbi type of questioning, challenge and response format. the last section of ch. 11 questioned Jesus authority and in 12 his answers to rabbinic questions which were intended to trip him up. Babylon was a veiled reference to Rome because you didn’t criticize the Romans. anathema was the split between those who had to pay the temple tax and those who didn’t. early Christians didn’t want to pay taxes so said they weren’t Jews. this raised the whole problem of whether Christians had to become Jews first. the Sadducees only believed in the Pentateuch.

June 13, 2018 Psalm75, Mark 14, Psalm134 (27)

Jeff gives the reason for having the young man who lost his linen cloth and ran away. he said it was John Mark. we discussed the woman he poured the nard over Jesus. was his statement about giving to the poor a weak statement? is thus like people attacking the poor today? was Judas predestined to do betray Jesus. Jesus really condemned him and said it would be better if he had never be born. chuck had a version whose notes said that Judas hated Jesus. Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him and that was why Jesus chose him. Why is this story told as it was. does the time influence how Mark wrote this story. Judas was probably one of the scariot sect, the dagger people, who had assassinated people they opposed. there was a version of this story without Judas and he was added afterwards for the affect. Dan is going on about how god is somewhere in the future and knows about what is happening to us now. Jim was saying that he had seen the last supper in Haiti and everyone was black except for Judas who was white interesting. what changed Europe more, the reformation or the discovery of the new world?