Anglican Church of Canada FINALLY Removes Prayer Calling For The Conversion Of The Jews

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
Anglican Church of Canada FINALLY Removes Prayer Calling For The Conversion Of The Jews

And only nineteen years into the 21st Century!

https://forward.com/fast-forward/429010/canadian-anglicans-will-stop-pra...

Scaries line in the story:

"A similar resolution had failed in 2016."

 

Aristotleded24

Former Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong on anti-Semitism:

Quote:
I never really liked the Gospel of John because I never could find the humanity of Jesus in it. I thought it presented Jesus as a visitor from another planet; in addition, John’s gospel is and has been interpreted as a document that fuels anti-Semitism in the church. Then I discovered Aileen Guilding’s book, The Fourth Gospel and Jewish Worship, and she convinced me that the fourth gospel was a thoroughly Jewish document. It’s the only one of the four gospels, for example, that mentions all of the major festivals of the Jewish faith. So I spent the next five years reading the Gospel of John and every commentary on the fourth gospel from the first through the early 21st century. I discovered a fascinating gospel that is Jewish to its core, characterized by its boundless, mystical thought.

I can try and track down more from Spong on this topic if people are interested.

Unionist

Oh my bloody luck. Here I was, just about to open my heart and see and confess the Lord Jesus to be God's Son and my true Messiah. Now they pull the rug out - and I get no extra credits? WTF. Bunch of antisemites if you ask me. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Unionist wrote:

Oh my bloody luck. Here I was, just about to open my heart and see and confess the Lord Jesus to be God's Son and my true Messiah. Now they pull the rug out - and I get no extra credits? WTF. Bunch of antisemites if you ask me. 

You could try Harper's church.

NDPP

Or a good NDP United Church -  with similar politics to some of the local synagogues even...!

 

United Church of Canada Should Come Clean on Anti-Palestinian Accord

https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/08/united-church-of-canada-should-come-c...

"Toronto church Trinty St Paul's shameful suppression of a Palestinian youth cultural event highlights anti-Palestinian rot festering in the United Church of Canada. It ought to also shine a light on a little discussed anti-Palestinian accord UCC leaders signed with Israel lobby groups five decades ago..."

bekayne

Unionist wrote:

Oh my bloody luck. Here I was, just about to open my heart and see and confess the Lord Jesus to be God's Son and my true Messiah. Now they pull the rug out - and I get no extra credits? WTF. Bunch of antisemites if you ask me. 

Just give unquestioning support to the govenment of Israel and you'll be fine.

bekayne

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Former Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong on anti-Semitism:

Quote:
I never really liked the Gospel of John because I never could find the humanity of Jesus in it. I thought it presented Jesus as a visitor from another planet; in addition, John’s gospel is and has been interpreted as a document that fuels anti-Semitism in the church. Then I discovered Aileen Guilding’s book, The Fourth Gospel and Jewish Worship, and she convinced me that the fourth gospel was a thoroughly Jewish document. It’s the only one of the four gospels, for example, that mentions all of the major festivals of the Jewish faith. So I spent the next five years reading the Gospel of John and every commentary on the fourth gospel from the first through the early 21st century. I discovered a fascinating gospel that is Jewish to its core, characterized by its boundless, mystical thought.

I can try and track down more from Spong on this topic if people are interested.

Back in high school I had a good friend who was a Baptist. I remember them being quite fond of John, so much so that I called them "Johnists". Not big fans of the Gospel of Matthew, though.

Aristotleded24

bekayne wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Former Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong on anti-Semitism:

Quote:
I never really liked the Gospel of John because I never could find the humanity of Jesus in it. I thought it presented Jesus as a visitor from another planet; in addition, John’s gospel is and has been interpreted as a document that fuels anti-Semitism in the church. Then I discovered Aileen Guilding’s book, The Fourth Gospel and Jewish Worship, and she convinced me that the fourth gospel was a thoroughly Jewish document. It’s the only one of the four gospels, for example, that mentions all of the major festivals of the Jewish faith. So I spent the next five years reading the Gospel of John and every commentary on the fourth gospel from the first through the early 21st century. I discovered a fascinating gospel that is Jewish to its core, characterized by its boundless, mystical thought.

I can try and track down more from Spong on this topic if people are interested.

Back in high school I had a good friend who was a Baptist. I remember them being quite fond of John, so much so that I called them "Johnists". Not big fans of the Gospel of Matthew, though.

Do you mean for things like John 3:16, which the fundamentalists generally take out of context?

I agree from personal experience that many Christians emphasize the Gospel of John, precisely because of the literalist interpretation that Spong describes in the interview. When I read the opening chapters, it reminds me of the creation myths that open the book of Genesis. I like to read those openings right beside each other at the same time.

cco

Will they stop trying to convert everyone else, too? I have high hopes for a future where all religious solicitation is treated as discrimination against those who aren't part of the religion.

Bacchus

Only if Political and Social solicitation is lumped in with that

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Still trying to get my head around the fact that as late as 2016, the AC of C couldn't get the votes to remove that prayer.  At that late stage of the game, why would any Anglicans, a generally NON-zealous, not-at-all-religious extremist communion, still want to retain such a hateful set of words within their liturgical tradition?

NDPP

Like so many other things typically Canadian, probably hadn't a fucking clue it was even there...

cco

For the overwhelming majority of Christians, their theology dictates that anyone who doesn't share their religion is in for eternal torture. Not trying to convert a group, then, in their minds, is like withholding a vaccine for a deadly disease. Sincere believers consider that a hateful act. Christianity's tried to publicly make peace with Judaism since the Holocaust, but aside from the Unitarian Universalists, I don't think I've ever met a practicing Christian who believes Jews aren't going to hell, just like they believe I am.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

cco wrote:
For the overwhelming majority of Christians, their theology dictates that anyone who doesn't share their religion is in for eternal torture. Not trying to convert a group, then, in their minds, is like withholding a vaccine for a deadly disease. Sincere believers consider that a hateful act. Christianity's tried to publicly make peace with Judaism since the Holocaust, but aside from the Unitarian Universalists, I don't think I've ever met a practicing Christian who believes Jews aren't going to hell, just like they believe I am.

The same thing could be achieved by offering a general prayer that anybody who isn't Christian might eventually be converted(on edit:  I have no idea why I originally ended that sentence with the word "created").

Unionist

cco wrote:
For the overwhelming majority of Christians, their theology dictates that anyone who doesn't share their religion is in for eternal torture. Not trying to convert a group, then, in their minds, is like withholding a vaccine for a deadly disease. Sincere believers consider that a hateful act. Christianity's tried to publicly make peace with Judaism since the Holocaust, but aside from the Unitarian Universalists, I don't think I've ever met a practicing Christian who believes Jews aren't going to hell, just like they believe I am.

As a Jew born and growing up in Canada... that's been my experience too. Besides Unitarian Universalists, I would include a significant section of United Church devotees I think. As for the rest - as I said, I agree with you.

Misfit Misfit's picture

I was raised United and I don’t recall any of that garbage. I went to a Lutheran school for grades 10 and 11 and I experienced massive culture shock. The religious judgement was very pronounced there and I found it offensive. 

Before I resigned from the church we had a minister who used the word sin in her sermons and I found even that to be extreme. 

 

My happiest day was telling the United Church to F••• off! I am ashamed of Christianity’s brutal history and I am ashamed to be associated with that religion.

But I do tend to agree with Unionist that the United Church sets itself apart as being more tolerant and accepting of other religions.

swallow swallow's picture

I was raised Catholic and was never taught that that non-Christians were going to Hell. I’ve rarely met a practising Christian who believes that, though I know there are many.

The Anglican Church in Canada No longer does missionary work. 

Aristotleded24

Ken Burch wrote:
Still trying to get my head around the fact that as late as 2016, the AC of C couldn't get the votes to remove that prayer.  At that late stage of the game, why would any Anglicans, a generally NON-zealous, not-at-all-religious extremist communion, still want to retain such a hateful set of words within their liturgical tradition?

Not knowing exactly how it played out, my guess is that some of the more established clergy who were higher up voted to keep that language on the basis of tradition and resistance to change that is typical of established institutions.

Misfit Misfit's picture

At the private school I went to which I mentioned earlier, I got into an argument with a Bible teacher who told me that only Christians go to heaven and that everyone else goes to hell.  I asked him rather bemusedly what about people before Christ and he said that they went to hell as well.

It really scares me what some people think.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Misfit wrote:

I was raised United and I don’t recall any of that garbage. I went to a Lutheran school for grades 10 and 11 and I experienced massive culture shock. The religious judgement was very pronounced there and I found it offensive. 

Before I resigned from the church we had a minister who used the word sin in her sermons and I found even that to be extreme. 

 

My happiest day was telling the United Church to F••• off! I am ashamed of Christianity’s brutal history and I am ashamed to be associated with that religion.

But I do tend to agree with Unionist that the United Church sets itself apart as being more tolerant and accepting of other religions.

I was raised Presbyterian in the States in the Sixties and we were never taught that non-Christians would burn in Hell.

I do know, however, that seeing a sign on a kiosk in London which referenced that basic idea(posted directly above another sign which said "Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!" which prompted the British songwriter Leon Rosselson to create this athiest anthem:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=EKR6xj-6RjA

NDPP

@Aristotleded24

That sounds about right. Good the Anglicans finally did the right thing. Nobody with even a passing acquaintance with the history of the  Abrahamic religions will be unaware of their darker aspects or 'believers' periodic violent animus towards  others. It wasn't always 'do unto others' or 'love one another', by any means. And the 'good books' of all of them still contain things to make one's blood run cold.

Here's Pete Seeger doing Joe Hill's 'The Preacher and the Slave':

https://youtu.be/aIQpuKHHI-E

voice of the damned

Misfit wrote:

 

But I do tend to agree with Unionist that the United Church sets itself apart as being more tolerant and accepting of other religions.

The UCC was also slightly ahead of the federal government(at that time Liberal, so supposedly leading the way on social progress) in regards to marriage equality... 

In 2003, at the 37th General Council, commissioners affirmed that "human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are a gift from God and part of the marvellous diversity of creation." When later that year, courts in Ontario and British Columbia ruled in favour of same-sex marriage, church leadership called upon the government of Canada to extend these rulings across the country.[1][7]

https://tinyurl.com/y4jgd6o7

NDPP

So why such an awful fail on the Palestinian file? (see #5)

lagatta4

Don't trinitarians consider Unitarians non-Christian?

The unicity of God is an important point among Muslims (perhaps Jews take it for granted?)

voice of the damned

lagatta4 wrote:

Don't trinitarians consider Unitarians non-Christian?

 

There are at least two meaning of the word "Unitarian". 

Originally, it meant someone, like the theologian Arius, who rejected the Trinity. These days, that definition would include groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses. Many trinitarian Christians, indeed, do not regard them as Christian, even though these unitarian groups regard themselves as such.

However, more commonaly these days, it's used to mean the churches that explicity go by that name. They are mostly decended from the earlier unitarian Christians, but embrace and accept a wide variety of beliefs, including but not limited to Christianity, humanism, Buddhism, paganism, etc. Most traditionalist Christians would indeed not consider any of these people(including the Unitarian Christians) to be Christian, and for that matter, MOST of these Unitarians would not regard themselves as such.

I myself am a Unitarian Universalist of theistic beliefs. One observation I've heard about the faith is that it attracts people who have abandoned Christian belief, but are still attracted to the general structure of church worship. While I think there is a lot more to it than that, I can't say the formulation is entirely without resonance.  

Unionist

My God is the only God and He can beat the crap out of your God any day of the week.

Bacchus

Well Unionist that certainly does sound like the Old Testament God for sure. And the fig leaf justification for many a war in  Ancient ( as well as more modern times)

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

My God is the only God and He can beat the crap out of your God any day of the week.

No way. I think Allah wins on Fridays and Jehovah on Saturdays and Christ on Sundays. The rest of the days its the biggest baddest god takes the hindmost. Is that Buddha a secret sumo warrior and really who wants to argue with Lord Shiva about anything?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Unionist wrote:

My God is the only God and He can beat the crap out of your God any day of the week.

No way. I think Allah wins on Fridays and Jehovah on Saturdays and Christ on Sundays. The rest of the days its the biggest baddest god takes the hindmost. Is that Buddha a secret sumo warrior and really who wants to argue with Lord Shiva about anything?

All other deities tremble in fear at the might of The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

 

Aristotleded24

Bacchus wrote:
Well Unionist that certainly does sound like the Old Testament God for sure. And the fig leaf justification for many a war in  Ancient ( as well as more modern times)

That's actually a big misconception about the Bible that the God of the Hebrew Bible* is different than the God of the New Testament we see in Jesus. In truth, the tension between the angry, vengeful God and the loving, forgiving God is found throughout the entirety of the Bible. The best example in the Hebrew Bible I can think of is the God of the Israelites showing mercy on people the Israelites considered their enemies upon repentance. In the New Testament, you see a progression away from Jesus overturning the tables in the temples to the idea that the earthly authorities are established by God and should be respected.

*Out of respect for the Jewish faith, it is common practice in biblical scholarship to refer to what is commonly known as the Old Testament as the Hebrew Bible. That is the way that I have heard these texts introduced when I go to church for many years.

Bacchus

Oddly enough I have always heard of it referred to as the Old Testament both at University and at Church, though truthfully I have not set foot ina church for many many years

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The proper term would be the Tanach, right?

Unionist

Ken Burch wrote:

The proper term would be the Tanach, right?

Yes, exactly, thank you Ken.

Bacchus wrote:

Oddly enough I have always heard of it referred to as the Old Testament both at University and at Church, though truthfully I have not set foot ina church for many many years

Interesting. We've always referred to it as the "Right Testament", and the one where we picked Barabbas over Jesus as the "Wrong Testament".

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I compare it to everybody who lived through the Great War saying to, some smug Yank, "what do you mean...'World War ONE'?".

Aristotleded24

Bacchus wrote:
Oddly enough I have always heard of it referred to as the Old Testament both at University and at Church, though truthfully I have not set foot ina church for many many years

I first heard about replacing "Old Testament" with "Hebrew Scriptures/Hebrew Bible" in the mid-1990s. We've used those replacements in the United Church since then, but I suspect that most churches still use the term "Old Testament."

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

If nothing else, they could switch to "Testament Classic".

Aristotleded24

In any case, I promised more material from Spong, and here it is:

Jesus did not die for your sins

Spong explains how the Jewish themes in the gospels were missed, and the gospels later misunderstood:

Quote:
Candace Chellew-Hodge: You say in this book that reading the Bible literally is a Gentile heresy. What does that mean?

John Shelby Spong: It means that the gospels, and especially Matthew [is written by] a Jewish disciple of Jesus, part of a congregation of Jewish disciples of Jesus. [Matthew] assumes certain things that Jews can assume about their common life, their common heritage and scriptures and their common ability to tell stories. He doesn’t have to explain that. Then, by the year 150 or thereabouts, there were so few Jews left in the Christian church that Marcion wanted to remove any semblance of Judaism from the Christian scripture. The church officially resisted that, but unofficially they became quite anti-Semitic. What happens then, you have an audience of only Gentiles reading these Jewish stories and because they don’t understand the storytelling background they have to assume that the stories are literal.

The literalization of the Gospels is not the result of the authors, it’s the result of a generation 150 years after the birth of Jesus who didn’t know the Jewish tradition so they couldn’t see these connections. They didn’t know, for example, that the feeding of the 5,000 was not a miracle. It was a retelling of Moses’ manna in the wilderness story heightened and applied to Jesus. That’s a very different perspective so the Jews never argued about whether Jesus actually fed all those people with five loaves and two fish. But, if you see it as a familiar story in the Jewish tradition where the food supply is expanded in the Moses story, and in the stories of Elijah and Elisha, then you can retell it about Jesus and magnify it.

In addition, Jesus’ ascension into heaven is not an astronomical wonder, it’s the story of Elijah magnified and retold about Jesus. When Elijah ascends into heaven he sends a double portion of his human spirit onto his human disciple. When Jesus ascends into heaven he sends the infinite power of God’s holy spirit on the whole gathered community sufficient to last through all of time.

You’ve got to see the connections between these stories before they make sense. It gives you an alternative to biblical fundamentalism. That’s not original to the text. We imposed fundamentalism on the Bible. No one who has ever read the Bible could be a literalist.

When you’ve grown up in a tradition of literal biblical interpretation, like I did in the Southern Baptist church, your words can be very challenging. You debunk deeply held literal beliefs by asserting that the star of Bethlehem wasn’t real, the Lord’s prayer is a creation of the church and was never uttered by Jesus. If all of these symbols that we have taken literally can’t be read that way, how do we make new meaning?

That’s the hard part. The reason why is that you now have to talk about the Jesus experience in the light of whatever contemporary knowledge we have. We can’t just pretend it’s not there. So, I say to people, “Do you know what a star is? It’s burning masses of gas at incredible temperatures and formed out of all sorts of dust and matter over millions of years. A star does not give a message about some event that happened on earth.”

When you say that, they say, “Well, of course not.” Then you ask, “How many of you have known about a star that traveled across the sky so slowly that wise men could keep up with it? Was it equipped with a GPS system? But then it failed because it led them to Herod, to the palace of the king. It didn’t lead them to the child.”

Once you say that, they say, “I never thought about that.”

They can [then] say that if it’s not true then their whole religious faith is not true, or they can say, “This story was a first-century way that Jews learned to describe something that was incredibly true to them and I need to get out from under their explanation to understand what the substance was,” and that’s the place where you begin to lead them into a new possibility.

Tensions within Jewish community around the then-burgeoning Christian sect are reflected in the gospels:

Quote:

Spong explained that followers of Jesus created friction with the first-century Jewish hierarchy. But Christ’s followers “were not Christians at that point, they were Jews who saw in Jesus the next stage of Jewish development.”

As the number of Christ followers grew and the balance of power began to shift, leaders in the orthodox Jewish party “became more and more rigid, because they were threatened with extinction. I think that’s what people do when they are threatened,” Spong said. “They become more and more rigid and more fundamentalist. They cling more and more firmly to less and less reality.”

Leaders of the Jewish party “excommunicated the followers of Jesus, who were Jewish, and then the followers of Jesus began to say things about the orthodox party that sounded very anti-Semitic,” he said.

Once he saw that it was “a Jewish internecine war” going on, he said, it changed his understanding of the anti-Semitism apparent in John’s Gospel.

...

“It was not incarnation, that’s a fourth century idea,” Spong said. “It was the identification of the human with the divine in the first century that caused him to say, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches,’ ‘as God dwells in me so I will dwell in you,’ ‘If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the father,’ those sorts of things that, when you read them through fourth century Nicaean theology they sound really strange to me. But when you read them through Jewish mysticism, they sound sort of ecstatic, entering into a new level of consciousness. And so it became very, very important to me as I sort of broke that boundary and entered into a new direction.”

More about how John's gospel has been used to justify anti-Semitism:

Quote:
It has been quoted in witch hunts, in heresy trials, in anti-semitic rampages. This is likely to surprise many of our readers, so let’s explain why this book has such seemingly angry language slamming the actions of “the Jews,” which becomes a shorthand reference for Jesus’s enemies. If we properly understand the first century, though, we know that Jesus and his followers all were Jewish. Your book puts the whole Gospel of John in much deeper context. Give us a brief explanation of all the seemingly anti-Jewish language in John.

JACK: Yes, John is overtly quoted in anti-Semitic literature because of these references to “the Jews.” But we have to remember that this was written as the Jewish people were suffering through an era of war with Rome. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. There was conflict between Jewish groups about who controlled the synagogue—about their future. Eventually, the followers of Jesus, who were primarily Jewish, were excommunicated from the synagogue. So this revisionist party who followed Jesus referred to the Jews still within the synagogue as “the Jews.” It is confusing to readers today, but what actually was happening was: Jews were arguing with Jews in a very turbulent era.

What we are reading about, in those references, was an internal Jewish debate. If you go back and recover the history of the early church in this era, you’re seeing Christians emerge from within Judaism and trying to separate themselves from other Jews. Today, people might experience this kind of conflict in a church where there may be a liberal group and a Fundamentalist group vying for the future of the church.

Through the centuries, John also was widely quoted as the standard for what came to be known as orthodox Christianity. The Christian creeds were based largely on John and, along with the creeds, came things like the heresy hunts and the inquisition. It was as though this one gospel gave the world the final rules for our faith.

...

JACK: People will never understand the true message of John’s gospel until we stop regarding it as literal history. In fact, John keeps telling readers not to be too literal.

Early in John, we read about Jesus himself making fun of people who take things too literally. We read the story of Nicodemus. Jesus is saying that people must be born again, but Nicodemus is a literalist. He asks Jesus: “How can I climb back up into the womb again?” Jesus makes fun of him. Jesus says: You’re supposed to be a teacher, yet you don’t understand what I’m saying? I’m talking about a new birth.

...

DAVID: We are talking, here, about entire sections of your book that take many pages to explain to readers. So, I’m sure readers of this interview are likely to have many more questions about Mary within the Gospel of John. We can say: Read the book. Then, let’s touch briefly on one more example: the grape vine and vineyard imagery in John.

JACK: This vine image is a very Jewish image. You’ll find a lot of places in the Hebrew scriptures and the Prophets in which Israel is referred to as God’s vineyard. And, as he makes so many references to this imagery, Jesus is trying to talk about where we experience God. He’s saying God is not—out there. Of course, most modern people realize that God is not a deity sitting on a throne up above the dome of the sky. We haven’t believed that since the modern scientists have begun charting the cosmos for us. We now know that there isn’t a dome over us. The universe is vast. Light travels for millions of years across the universe. So the notion of God sitting up on a throne above the dome of the sky—an ancient image of a deity—doesn’t make much sense to people.

But if you see God as a permeating presence—and I think John does that over and over again—then this vine imagery takes on new meaning. Jesus is saying that, if we stay attached to the God presence, then we become bearers of God. We are the branches of the vine. God permeates all that there is. I can say that God was in Christ but I can also say that God is in you, David, and God is in me. What Jesus is calling us to do is to break the old boundaries of humanity. Jesus is calling us to break out of the barriers that separated Jew from gentile, men from women, wealthy from poor. We have to break out of the boundaries that separate Protestant from Catholic, gay from straight, all the boundaries in which we seek to wall off people to this day. This is a different Christian message than the old Christian banner that marched around the world for so many centuries—all about conquering and dominating the whole world in the name of a deity on a throne above the sky.

Was Judas Iscariot a real person or a literary creation?

Bacchus

Hmm thought provoking, Thanks

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Misfit wrote:

At the private school I went to which I mentioned earlier, I got into an argument with a Bible teacher who told me that only Christians go to heaven and that everyone else goes to hell.  I asked him rather bemusedly what about people before Christ and he said that they went to hell as well.

It really scares me what some people think.

 

If you took that thought to its logical extreme, Mary, Joseph and the older Apostles, as well as John the Baptist, would all end up becoming metaphysical crispy critters, since they existed BEFORE Jesus.   

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

(self-delete.  dupe post).

cco

Ken Burch wrote:

If you took that thought to its logical extreme, Mary, Joseph and the older Apostles, as well as John the Baptist, would all end up becoming metaphysical crispy critters, since they existed BEFORE Jesus.

Not just the logical extreme – mainstream Christian doctrine (including Anglican, no matter how softly they sell it these days) teaches that almost nobody got into heaven before Jesus opened the gates. (The theology varies by denomination as to whether they all went to hell or just became regular worm food.) That is, in fact, the big "selling point" of Christianity: ol' JC's suicide mission handing humanity a gift card to the premium lounge. Terms and conditions apply.

swallow swallow's picture

As I understand it, Catholic doctrine says there may well be no one in hell, it's perhaps a state of choosing separation from God rather than a real place. But this is words and talk by Catholics reflecting lived faith, not theology.