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Jesus embodies the Unconditional Love of God for us.


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Showing 1-25 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 17, 2012 11:09:42 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
For me, Jesus remains the image of the unconditional love of God for us. I can live with the idea that the gospels might not purely reflect all that he said, or the way that he said things.
But His life and death and resurrection continue to speak to me of the unconditional love of God for us.
Karl Rahner, the great theologian said that in the person of Jesus Christ, God embraced the finite absolutely.
That is a beautiful statement.
The Incarnation is the most moving love story I know.
I have to get back with that.
And forget all the discouraging things that organized and disorganized religion can do to people.
We can't let religion stand between us and Jesus Christ.
I have to remember that core idea: that God loved us enough to become one of us, to be born as one of us, to work, to learn, to grow, to be surprised, to "increase in
wisdom," with us, and to die with us, and to rise again to affirm that He was God.
That is my Jesus --- the wounded God man ascending into Heaven with the wounds in the palms of his hands and in his feet, taking the human DNA with him into the Godhead.

I think that Christianity continues largely because Jesus is the emblem of unconditional love for many. We learn our Christianity as children in bits and pieces; it may be years before we hear all the theology of our church or sect.
But we remember that image of the God Man who loves us, with his arms outstretched towards us, inviting us to draw close.
We remember that --- even when the theology seeks to separate us from that infinite embrace.

The Sacrament of the Eucharist is one of the most beautiful rituals of Roman Catholicism because it takes seriously the concept of being one with Jesus Christ. "This is my body; this is my blood" becomes our body and our blood.

Jesus is love.

That endures. That transcends.

Posted on Oct 17, 2012 12:46:33 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Dr. Eben Alexander has written a book called "Proof of Heaven."
It will be out later this month, in just a few days actually.
It does not "prove" Heaven.
But it is an excellent account of a Near Death Experience, and it adds to the growing
NDE literature, yet another story in which the experiencer confronted (on the other side)
what he describes as the unconditional love of God.
I recommend this book. I was able to get an early copy and I was
very moved by it.
NDErs frequently find themselves struggling with words when they try to describe
the intensity of God's love that they experienced.
I was inspired by Alexander, and I have been by Howard Storm.

Posted on Oct 17, 2012 12:58:58 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Another book I recommend is
Love Wins
by Rob Bell.
It was news when Rob Bell published this, suggesting there might not be a Hell.
Excellent and gentle book.

Posted on Oct 17, 2012 1:17:28 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Another interesting book along these lines is Hans Urs van Balthasar's
Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?

I recommend it.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 1:38:59 PM PDT
Anne Rice: Rob Bell is a universalist. This is the most common heresy of the last 2,000 years. You have to make the case that Jesus never said any of these things:

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Luke 16:24 And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. 25 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.'

Luke 11:32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Matthew 11:20-24 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you."

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 2:06:35 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 5, 2012 5:02:20 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 2:16:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 17, 2012 6:03:55 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Metaphorical speech.

Does anyone really believe that a literal Jonah went to a literal Nineveh
and that a literal Nineveh converted to the God of the Jews?

Does anyone really believe that the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida will
be gathered together on a literal judgment day?
Or that all the inhabitants of Capernaum will be brought down to Hades?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 2:17:25 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Thank you, Jack.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 2:29:10 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 5, 2012 5:02:28 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 2:54:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 17, 2012 2:55:56 PM PDT
Anne Rice: The only parts of the synoptic gospels that could be metaphorical without destroying their credibility are parables such as the vineyard owners (one whose son was murdered and one who paid every worker the same), the man who buried the talent, the man who was forgiven a huge debt then would not forgive a small one (and was sent to hell, coincidentally), etc. Even the parables could have actually happened precisely as Jesus described. No new testament author or scribe seemed to speculate one way or the other.

Ninevah was geographically the largest city in the ancient world. Ancient buildings and artifacts have been found over that vast area in what is now southern Iraq. Study the events of Jonah. There are dozens of minute details that a metaphor would not have.

My bible does not say that those residents of Chorazin and Bethsaida will be gathered together. It says that they will each be judged individually. It's very possible some accepted Jesus years or even decades after His death. I walked through Chorazin in 2009 and it is nothing but piles of dark gray rocks now.

Capernaum will also face judgement one resident at the time. God never judges a town, a family, or a denomination in one fell swoop.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 3:21:07 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Your post seemed all over the place. I don't where to begin to answer all the different things you throw out. There seems an element of carelessness in your post. You include all sorts of ideas there. Again, I don't know where to begin. You seem full of assumptions.
The post seems sloppy.
I was trying to acknowledge your post but be polite.
I don't know how to make an intelligent substantive answer to you that would advance this discussion or satisfy you as a poster.
I don't know what you want.
Did I say Jesus needed to be worshipped?
Did I say anything about a bloodfest?
No.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 3:21:59 PM PDT
The Weasel says:
Anne,

I used to think that way when MLK was a prime example of how religious leaders could make the world a better place. Now, I find that the alliance with the rightwing has twisted what passes for "love" into hatred. Every time I hear Pat Robertson speak I now wish there were no religions at all. Every word out of his mouth sounds like hate to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 3:23:37 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
This supports my belief that this is all metaphorical language.
The citizens of these towns will be treated no differently from anyone else.
Of course.
There won't be any special vengeance for the residents of those towns.

I do not believe that any Jewish prophet named Jonah ever converted the entire
city of Ninevah. I think the Book of Jonah is a light and entertaining Jewish novella,
with a humorous ending. I love reading it. Do I believe Jonah was swallowed by a fish?
No.
Do I believe Jesus took it literally when he alluded to it? No.
I see no indication that he took the O.T. literally when he alluded to stories in the O.T.
He was speaking metaphorically.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 3:25:56 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I understand exactly how you feel.
I am trying in this thread to focus on the unconditional love coming from God to us,
and how Jesus is an emblem of it.
I do think that that many organized and disorganized religions attempt to stand between us and God, to control our "access" to God. They threaten us, attempt to control, and attempt to scare us as they seek to be "the gateway" to God.
Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life."
He never said, "I come to give you organized religion."

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 3:45:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 17, 2012 3:46:38 PM PDT
Jesus Christ will judge each person based upon what they saw, heard, read, or knew. I know that raises a big question about dead people from Cambodia or Laos who never heard the name of Jesus...I personally cannot believe they go to hell without a fair chance (a "Damascus Road" type offer?) to accept or reject Jesus. Several scriptures also suggest that not every soul in hell will suffer equally.

The residents of those towns who saw Jesus perform miracles and heard His sermons will NOT get this Damascus Road type offer. They had a clear "take it or leave it" offer and more than fair warning of the judgement after death.

Jonah is worth reading again and again. My pastor unpacked details that had escaped me even after dozens of cursory scans. It does say that Jonah's skin was bleached a bright white after spending those 3 days in the mouth of the whale. If you saw a man looking like that walking uptown from the beach, you would stop and listen for 10 minutes out of sheer curiosity. These were big city folks who thought they had seen and heard it all.

Jonah was a (reluctant) prophet of Jehovah. Prophets were never confused with fictional characters. We tend to think of ancient peoples as extremely gullible. I think they were perhaps even more skeptical than we are in some ways. Plato's idea of state nurseries to assign every baby as a soldier, an athlete, or a politician certainly never got any traction among the people of that region.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 3:49:32 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Who knows?

One thing NDErs tell us all the time after their glimpses of the other side:
they get a sense of a vast tapestry so intricate, so immense, so beyond our comprehension, that they are forever after awed by the beauty and power of God expressed in the universe.

How the Hell do we know how God will judge anyone?
Must we spend our time trying to say who should be judged and how, and when,
and for what?

Let's leave it to Heaven.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:11:31 PM PDT
8 billion people say 8 billion slightly different things. The bible says we must sincerely admit we are sinners and ask forgiveness in Jesus Christ's name. The only people who without doubt are going to hell are those who die saying "I am not a sinner...I do not need forgiveness...I do not need a Savior...the bible is not the Word of God...the bible is total lies and fabrication."

George Carlin is someone I might expect to go to hell. But maybe even more bitter atheists than him have accepted Jesus on their death beds. the parable of the vineyard laborers certainly emphasizes this is possible. Ted Bundy was certainly grasping with his mortality those last few days in prison.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:15:17 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
You know as well as I do that Christians have killed one another over the question of what the bible says. Wars have been fought over this.

Right now I want to focus on the unconditional love of God, and talk about that. Not about how and why people are going to be damned for all eternity in a blazing lake of fire, screaming in agony for a God who doesn't listen to them.

I don't believe that stuff.
That stuff keeps people from God.

It frightens them and horrifies them and makes them distrustful of religion
and people who claim to know, from the bible, or any other source, who is going to Hell
and why.

People who talk about hell are almost always talking about
a place where they thing other people will go, not them.
And why they talk about it is very complex. Seems to have a lot to do with
their devout desire to believe others will be punished. But not themselves.

What has this to do with God?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:19:50 PM PDT
I've been wondering for awhile now, to what degree have you investigated religions other than Christianity?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:23:06 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I have not studied any other religion in depth.
I have only a superficial general knowledge of other religions.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:23:24 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I have studied Judaism in depth.
But cannot claim to be an expert.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:26:23 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 5, 2012 5:02:56 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:33:28 PM PDT
It frightens and horrifies them but Jesus Christ spoke clearly of it. I am very optimistic that billions of people slowly open their hearts to Christ when death comes knocking upon their doors. What else have 80 year old's got to think about except where they are going? This is implied with the vineyard laborers and also the works burning up like straw but the immortal soul barely escaping.

This is why scriptures say better to love and obey God in the flower of youth than just the dark evil days of death. One thing we can clearly agree on, there could be some people in heaven that come as a big surprise. Josef Stalin was eligible to ask Christ's forgiveness. Now THAT is God's unconditional love.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:38:59 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 4:39:43 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I have no opinion on that one way or the other.
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
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Total posts:  1285
Initial post:  Oct 17, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 20, 2013

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