Tuesday, July 28, 2015

tossed to and fro

PCNH this morning, Linda showed me, front page of the B section, has an interesting article with pictures of what is being done along Lisenby Avenue (east of Lisenby, north of 11th Street, south of K-Mart, and west of Lake Caroline, to box it in). Watching the construction happen, I thought it was just fancy fenced-in drainage, but turns out it’s another nice park with a walking area, and intended to improve water quality in Lake Caroline and ultimately to help improve water quality in St. Andrew Bay. That is good news, and impressive. My further thought is that if the authorities truly want to improve the Bay they must open the Old Pass so that circulation is possible instead of stagnancy and the slow filling in with marshy area and that makes Shell Island actually a peninsula not an island. What was the name of that barrier before the new Pass was cut, when you would have been able to walk from the Long Beach Casino all the way down to the (Old) Pass? I’d have to ask my grandfather. 

But that’s not what’s occupying Uncle Bubba’s twisted, twisting and turning mind. What I was doing when Linda handed me the PCNH was/is reading through lectionary lessons for the upcoming Sunday. The OT reading continues the forgettable story of David & Bathsheba, but with God’s mercy nevertheless and notwithstanding. Turns out David is no better or worse than the rest of us, and it’s all (2Samuel is all) the post-Solomon court reporter’s story of David’s life and leading up to the reign of Solomon anyway, and without Bathsheba you can’t have Solomon -- how much of this graphic little πόρνη is “agenda” to get to Solomon, IDK. In “Children’s Time” last Sunday I sure couldn’t tell the kiddiewinks what David had been up to. So this morning I’m taking a break from the OT’s Sunday School stories and browsing the Ephesians reading. 

Sunday’s reading is Ephesians 4:1-16. This is our fourth Sunday reading in Ephesians, which I have been ignoring. Bit of introspection: why have I been ignoring it, why do I not like Ephesians? IDK, it’s subconscious or at least unconscious, I haven’t thought about it. Maybe because deep down I agree with scholars who say it’s dated 80 to 100 AD, not from St. Paul, and based on Colossians (50-80 AD), which itself is contested as to whether Paul wrote it or not. I think it’s psychological with me and I need to worry that. But right now, I’m wandering someplace specific and yet one more time again changing my unsure mind about something.

First, those who were with us for the three services of Holy Baptism that we just had at HNEC will recognize in the Ephesians reading (scroll down, pasted below) where the introduction to the baptism liturgy comes from. Second, my wandering mind traces over to Colossians, so I go read Colossians again, beginning to end. (Reading Colossians start to finish doesn’t take but a few minutes and it’s good stuff, try it, you may like it, Sam I Am).

No, I don’t find Sunday’s Ephesians verses in Colossians, but I find more interesting. So I go read again what some scholars argue about the Pauline authenticity of Colossians. I thought NO, then I thought YES, then I thought NO, now I’m in my favorite place, which is not certain. I despise certainty. Read these three verses: Colossians 2: 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 

What I find in Colossians, after not having paid much attention to it for twenty or thirty years, is that it may have heavily influenced the high christology of those who framed the Nicene Creed, who thought it came from Paul. So if Paul’s christology was as unchangingly low as I thought, Paul did not write Colossians (AD 80?). But if Paul did write Colossians (AD 50-60?), his christology changed markedly over his several years of ministry and writing. Look at Colossians 2, “… Christ, for in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”

There are credible scholars on every side. 

I wish I’d explored Colossians again before I insisted last week on Paul’s low christology. Now I’m back to not certain, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine. Jiminy Christmas.

/S/ Waffling Bubba
Ephesians 4:1-16 (NRSV)

1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
    he gave gifts to his people.”
9 (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended [other ancient authorities add first] into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

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