This post is based upon an in-depth conversation.
My position is truly conservative. It's a matter of what is being preserved. How far back and how far forward are we speaking? I'm thinking in eternal terms here.
It's the perfectibility issue that separates many. What is revealed to me via the words of Jesus as recorded especially in the Gospel of John and via the Holy Spirit that is always consistent with Jesus's words and deeds is that we are invited to become re-perfected: Return home. It doesn't mean that everyone will be dressed for the wedding so to speak, as Jesus's parable discusses. Therefore, human nature, as people choose to be, is wide ranging. There are the perfectible. It is those souls Jesus is seeking out and finding. This is tautological (read circular) in the mundane mind. We Christians are to see beyond that.
Jesus uses the word "perfect." He puts it to people that if they want to be perfect they are to follow him. He speaks very inspiringly about becoming, and being, one with God and with him. No one goes to Heaven who didn't come out from Heaven.
I can't see precluding anyone. People as individuals and groups preclude themselves. It's a psychological (soul) barrier. They look around and just can't see any possibility of getting from here to there. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for them. What is required is a breakthrough. The New idea must be brought to the fore.
The idea that we aren't perfectible has been conditioned in by those who frankly are in the dark. So, turn on the light. Why stick with the status quo? Why gloss over the words in a stupor?
If Jesus spoke of perfectibility, why follow church dogma that runs contrary to it? How can running contrary to Christ be Christian? It's very simple. Why over intellectualize it?
At this point, I'm moved to say that I'm not speaking down to you. These thoughts are things I work at bringing to the forefront of my consciousness. If I fail to remain vigilant about it, what appears simple will slip away. It's simple and easy, but with so many other souls in the world working at odds with this, they don't allow it to be easy. So, we say make straight the way.
I'm optimistic about the remnant of humanity. I believe the vision of the whole of humanity turning completely. I also believe in souls being freed from Hell. They pay to that proverbial last farthing, receive their stripes, and then the pain and suffering ends. Jesus specifically said that some receive more stripes than do others.
As for, "...an economic and political system without means of coercion is doomed to a very quick failure," the worldly system is evil. Satan is the one who kills souls. God is not Satan. God doesn't kill souls. Jesus specifically said that neither God nor he judge any man. Only in the parables is there a leader who has the wicked cut asunder right before him. That can't ultimately be God. He said that evil must come but woe to the one by whom it comes. I am always drawn to the belief that that one is Satan (if he gets it wrong; God only doesn't use coercion; Satan uses it) who is self-deluded, imagining he's doing God's works, even being God, as he wipes out the wicked as he thinks he even has the duty to do. George W. Bush claimed some of this spirit of himself, although I don't believe for a moment that he was being sincere. Hitler's image makers attempted to project him as savior and the punisher of the wicked and unclean. Mohammed fits the bill to a large extent. Barack Obama is being held out as a bit of a militant savior. The wicked come, and the iniquitous are taken in their iniquity; however, the wheat is taken with the chaff. That is something Jesus does not abide, and neither do I. That's the error God doesn't make. It's God's nemeses' error.
We as Christians don't rush the wicked, self-authorized, well-intentioned king with swords drawn else we become him. Woe to us if we do, not seeing the light and repenting of it all. He warns of the king to come who has been given authority from above, just as Pontius Pilate had been given authority over him, Jesus, but Jesus is not of that spirit. This is not taught, has never been taught, anywhere else that I'm aware. Only I know Jesus taught it. It is right there in his words and deeds. It has been missed and deliberately obfuscated throughout history.
Total pacifism is the path. Jesus drew no blood with the cords he fashioned. He harmed not one soul when he cleans the temple. They did not arrest him or try him on charges of having harmed even one hair on anyone's head. If he had done anything illegal while cleaning our Father's house (symbolic house), we wouldn't have the Gospels. In fact, he wouldn't have been truly cleaning that house. It was a warning of the spirit to come that would and will show no such mercy, no such care, hence the Romans, the Germans, all the imperialists that came up between them, and now the Americans for awhile but not directed at the Jews. Of course, the empires are not all directed at the Jews and the Jews (some of them) attempt worldly empire themselves, not seeing the light.
What form of coercion is acceptable to you? What coercion do you want used on you? Where do you draw the line as to what deserves coercive correction? How do you avoid hypocrisy in any of this? God wants perfection. If you don't live up to it, what will befall you if coercion is the means by which you will be corrected? Will you be burned at the stake for the slightest deviation from the faith as decreed by the church/state? That is the state of affairs we see in history. What about the poor dogs who are tortured into a state of what they call "learned helplessness" by the demon psychologists, are those psychologists the instruments of correction? They went on to teach the U.S. military and (stupid) intelligence community how to turn those methods on the iniquitous and innocent (relatively speaking) alike.
It's not Christian to side with any of that. Jesus simply was not that spirit the cuts up or tortures the wicked or the innocent. He was warning people about not being wicked and not cutting people up both, since cutting people up is definitely an offense in God's eyes, at least my God's eyes (not the Old Testament God/god of wrath).
We are to overcome the elites you describe. We are to make clear and plain so that the general public, who are capable of seeing, do see their way clear not to be hornswoggled. We are to be convincing enough that those elites transform into good shepherds. People do convert. I did. I was never against Jesus in my mind. I just didn't know any better. Frankly, I never heard anyone saying what I'm saying. I have yet to hear anyone else saying it.
In the Christian Commons, the decisions are bottom up and then top down such that it is level. All serve. All wash feet, not just symbolically, not ritualistically, but truly do those things akin to that level of service. Any soul wanting to luxuriate all the time and be as you say, metrosexual, just isn't going to fit in growing food for one and all. So, the metrosexuals will one day look around and conclude that life in the Christian Commons is real or they will go where the metrosexuals end up, which isn't in the Heaven I envision. That said, I wish no pain or suffering on them. That area is not mine. I'm not given to it. It's not my spirit. I'm not of the wrath.
The real hierarchy is exactly as Jesus described. It is the current system turned right side up. The last are first. The servers are the highest. Why not grasp it? Is it really that difficult to breakthrough the conditioning? It's a choice. If you decide it is, then it is. If you choose it, who's to deny you? Someone coming along telling the Good Samaritan, "Hey, you can't do that" doesn't stop him. So, why should it stop two billion, six billion, ten billion Good Samaritans, even infinite Good Samaritans?
Healing is to be everywhere. The spirit is the healer. There is to be no place and no time that is more spirit filled than another. We are to be full of light. The whole Church (people) is to be full. When he says they won't be worshipping on the one mountain or in the temple anymore, he's opening up the scripture. We are to worship everywhere all the time in everything we do. It's a public work. It's easier together. The more of us there are, the easier it will be.
You have faith in tradition I don't share with you (the faith or that tradition). Who developed all these forms? What was and is their fruit? How do I know the tree and its root whether it is calling me to make the whole tree good? I don't see it in the forms. Jesus isn't holding with the show. Nothing is pageantry. He isn't a dramatist. There isn't a contrived bone in his body. He isn't affected. He is no fop, no dandy, no metrosexual. He doesn't wear a powdered wig or go in for theatrics. He teaches his followers to be real. The higher the church, the more ornate. That should tell you something. It's a matter of excess. Don't get me wrong. I like the sound of pipe organs. I don't hate architecture. I hate atheist humanism. So does Jesus and for right reason always.
Especially when the church overtly was the state, there were many atheists as clergy. The clergy was just more of the nobility. The current crop of televangelists and their megachurches registering the flock to vote for the next Caesar for a fixed term is hardly better. I don't vote for Caesar. I'm not registered with that system to that end. The "religious right" leaders who have gone about registering the people in the Southern churches, were and are wolves in sheep's clothing. They are capitalists. Their churches are their personal profit centers. Their congregations are their employees in that sense.
"...not all high church services require a large production." This is better thinking than the super high-church mentality. It is turning in the right direction. Look, I hold with house churches. I find nothing bad in the idea at all. In fact, I love the idea. I think every home ought to be the Church if you will. I like the idea of Bible discussions. I think that communion and corporate prayers and real conversation and the home are good things to be rolled together. I like shared meals. That's what the last supper is. All of this is where group/family decisions are taken. That's where consensus is built. What should we do next: We? We are one. What is best? Who needs what? How do we serve each other? Who around us (our neighbors) needs what? What can we do? That's the mentality that monopolistic capitalists (they are all monopolistic at heart) and socialist centralizers at the phony top hate.
You are right that I have not focused on any liturgy of any "established" denominations. If I thought any denomination could lead me, I'd be in it. I don't hear anyone in any of them telling me better then what I'm telling you here. I have received no inspiration from them. My inspiration is directly from the source. There are no intermediaries. No clergy is my father or teacher. Why is that? It's true though.
Feeding the lambs and sheep of Jesus is healing. Turn on your emotions about it. Feel what happens when the Church in your heart pours out compassion as the servants Jesus said we are to be. Don't you feel the healing power of God's love? Of course the Church is to build on this. Shepherding, caring, is the whole point. God will raise up the righteous. The righteous are marked and sealed by the very deeds I'm emphasizing, so say the words of God straight out of the mouth of Jesus.
No, ritual is only as good as it moves one to do the things. It is nothing (dead) otherwise. The last supper is about reminding us to do the love. He said three times to Peter to feed the lambs and sheep. He was emphasizing that. Also, Jesus healed without any of the liturgical forms of the current churches.
He asked for people to be good. Where are we nearly two thousand years later? Have we done it yet? Just because we haven't done it yet, does that mean we're incapable so forget it? Just go to services, pray and hope for the best, being realistic (it's not) knowing things won't get better, and wait it out until we die? That's not how I see it. I don't mean to say that that is how you see it, but it is largely what's being offered up in the old, mainstream churches.
Fewer and fewer people are claiming Christianity, because it isn't moving them. Buildings are being filled by those who are moving them but the wrong way. Plenty of people see that it's the wrong way, but they aren't hearing about the right way. When I was born, some 80% of Americans went to church every Sunday. Now, it's below 40% and some say it's more like 20%. That's with a wider range of choices from the traditional to the fog machines and laser shows. What's up with this state of affairs? Well, the Vietnam War is central to what happened, and the name Christian hasn't recovered its original sense going back to Jesus and not just the 1950's postwar period of shock and denial.
"It IS important to feed and clothe the poor, but a church liturgy cannot be designed around this point." The fact is that Holy Communion is designed around it, as I've stated above, which is that the wine and bread is about reminding us to do the love. He did the love, showed the right kind and degree of love, when he gave up his body and blood under faith in the promise of not losing them. So it was and is. You don't do the love without feeding and clothing everyone. Jesus designed it that way. It's not my fault that people have taught otherwise down through the ages.
Let me say that the Diggers' mistake was in just going right on out there and starting. The land was theirs, because they hoped the landlords would just let them be. The Christian Commons Project is about buying the stolen land back or having it gifted to the Church or both. The rich fear this where they didn't fear the Diggers, because coercion is the main illusion they offer up. The self-styled laissez-faire capitalists, anarcho-capitalists, say socialism and communism are evil because they coerce. However, those same capitalists hypocritically say that in the final analysis, it is okay to use violence to assure their claimed right to form their contracts. They have no answer to the Christian Commons that assert not even that level of coercion. There is no hypocrisy in the Christian Commons. The laissez-faire capitalists and anarcho-capitalists only point to what they attempt to make appear as more hypocritical than their own position. They can do nothing, however, when it comes to the Christian Commons. They are speechless. They can only beat around the bush. They are helpless to refute it. It's why they murdered Jesus, to prevent him the time to continue elucidating. Little did they know that he chose the time and place and means so he would stick out in all of history as the one to study to find the light. In the contest of brains and spirit, it was hands down, of course.
Now they hope that ignoring it will make it go away. That won't work either though. They can't win.
Think about the poor and needy all about. So, the Church obtains land and says come. It's yours all together to work, to care for, to raise food to share and to give. Where's the Great Cathedral? It's in each heart as a tiny seed of faith that will grow and grow. Doesn't this do it for you? Isn't giving and sharing central to you? How are these liturgical issues going to be written on the hearts of the Christians on the Commons as being required for the healing of their souls and bodies? They're going to ask you where the liturgy was with Jesus.
Yes, the Anabaptists as a whole didn't take it all the way. The pacifists of the Radical Reformation did much better. They didn't join in the peasant's war. They weren't the militant liberation theologians of their day. They were and are closer. They too didn't go all the way though. Of course, they were severely persecuted. It was evil. They are toying with things now with what I see as decidedly mixed results. While it is right that they open up to teach others some of their ways of farming communistically, they are also opening up to allowing greater error to creep in (fashion and such), not that I hold with being stuck in a fashion time warp as are the Amish for instance. To clarify, I'm no Luddite, but so-called modernity is a complete farce.
What do you hold against the Anabaptists where the Roman Catholics and Orthodox are better as a whole?
I see the work of love as doing the healing that is claimed for the Orthodox brand of liturgy. Say you're in a brand new community of the Christian Commons. It's raw. You're roughing it. You want the souls there to come together in the spirit to observe and magnify. Do you need to change into vestments, or are you already in your raiment? Maybe you haven't seen your way clear to afford vestments, because you're so focused on mouths to feed. You make do. Are you further away from God for roughing it that way? No way are you further away. In fact, you're closer to the Kingdom. Surely you see that. So why bother with the expensive and fancy exterior at all? Isn't it just the whitewash of which Jesus speaks? He didn't say to build gothic cathedrals as psychological devices before the lambs and sheep are fed. What is preventing you from seeing this? At the same time, he wasn't as Judas who wouldn't afford anyone, even Jesus, the expensive ointment. We can ultimately do both at the same time even while we stick with prioritization: Weightier matters.
You're entering the spirit of the Christian Commons. You're giving up the worldly way. You're being unselfish. You know you've been exceedingly selfish, and now you are apologetic. You are allowing your heart to fill and soften after all the hardening. You're turning away from self-centeredness apart from God to self centered on God within. Compassion moves you to action. You can do much more cooperatively, so you organize with others of like mind to do that. You pool resources, get the land, build and prepare, move onto it, work it, share it all together as community property, give, and spread it out forever. It grows in spirit. Greater things happen, because he, Jesus, went on ahead as he did.
What principles that Jesus didn't demonstrate or speak do we need? I don't understand where you see what he does and says as being insufficient. Am I completely missing what you intend to convey?
I have to laugh about the "butch" priestesses. I think they want to be priests. You know, like actors rather than actresses or princesses. It was King James I think who said you had your King Elizabeth and now you have your Queen James, or words to that effect.
Right, I don't hold with homosexuality. It's wrong. It's harmful. That's clearly demonstrated. "Homosexuals: What they ignore." It's a choice, genetic predisposition or not. No one has to have sex. Anyone who thinks he has to molest little kids for instance can also have it lopped off. Better to enter the Kingdom without it than use it wrong and end up in Hell. I do believe that the flesh is capable of being radically changed. How can one believe in the real clinical death of the flesh and the real bodily resurrection and not believe God can raise up children of Abraham from rocks, as John the Baptist realized. I believe it.
As for the place of women in the Church, their place is determined by the degree to which the law is obviously written on their hearts. Is consistent mercy the weightier with her? Homosexuality isn't merciful. It's knowingly harmful, as I've shown. So, are lesbians to be Church leaders? No, they can't be. They are misleading, which is obvious to anyone who seeks and loves the truth. When temptation comes around, is she the first to say no? There's no shame for any man in heeding when a woman is just echoing Jesus. Praise her and the man both. It's easy. I believe in the priesthood of all believers. It's idealist of course, but Jesus calls us to be perfect.
I don't think I have anything more to offer about matters liturgical. I grew up in a house where liturgy was central. The order of service was rigid. My mother was the congregation's cue. When she stood, they stood. When she knelt, they knelt. She was first. There were others who knew, but if someone with some knowledge and experience started to stand when it was time to sit, you'd see heads turn slightly to see what my mother was doing. If she sat down, they would be half way into standing and reverse course to sit. She knew the whole order of service for the whole year. Did it heal her? Did it heal anyone? I can't say that it did.
The hypocrisy in that highly liturgical environment though left me severely disillusioned even before my teens. It only became more so after I left. It became more liturgical, more high church, and more blatantly hypocritical. I don't hear Jesus telling me to dwell on liturgy. I keep hearing, "conflate them, feed my lambs, feed my sheep, bring forth." I hear him rebuking the churches for dwelling on the liturgy while ignoring the weightier matters.
You don't hear him saying that though, or do you? Do you ask God and Jesus questions with the view of obtaining clear and direct answers? I've been surprised by some others who have told me that Jesus has told them things that I can't believe.
It appears that traditionalism puts some distance between people. I consider the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches as being worldly.
Well, maybe you'll see your way clear to reordering priorities after what I've related here.
As for good ideas being enough to enter paradise, based upon the few words from the heart of the criminal crucified next to him, Jesus said he would be in paradise with him that very day. I don't doubt it. I don't preclude that there may have been more to the conversation than those few words, but the point remains valid. It is a matter of true conviction, true transformation, and the spirit of forgiveness. The criminal came to work in the vineyard in the last hour. His reward was the full wage for the day. That was the deal.
Also, Jesus liked the rich man and said he had life, until the rich man pressed Jesus about what he, the rich one, was yet lacking. It was only after that, that Jesus told them how mammon and material possession is the snare that it is. It is from this spirit that I offer up to share paradise with you. If the human tradition that is liturgy as the old mainline denominations have constructed it is your first priority, then I see it as akin to mammon and material possessions in your case.
George W. Bush can go through the liturgical motions and walk out and order the bombing of thousands of innocents. Going through the motions obviously does not confer grace. It isn't what goes in. It's what comes out that confers grace. He cannot exemplify the New Commandment and order that same bombing. He could, if he would, exemplify the New Commandment without ever undergoing the liturgy of either the Roman Catholic or the Orthodox institutions or any other so-called liturgical church. He could, however, (and this ought to satisfy you) exemplify the New Commandment and with matters therefore placed in proper order, offer up planned corporate song and joyful celebration, etc., to the LORD thereby meeting the definition of liturgy. None of this precludes the sacrament. I must tell you though that the real baptism is the baptism of fire of which Jesus spoke. The water baptism is to the real baptism as the manna is to the real bread.
In any case, God watch over you.