Tag Archives: neighbor

Observations

I am an observer. I have become over the years interested what people say and think, in whatever the circumstance I am in. I listen to people’s conversations on the street, in restaurants, in groups of friends, not just to hear them talk, but to listen to what they are ‘really’ are saying. I have veered off of my original school studies in college of Psychology, but more of a sociology angle of people. Although I was very interested in sociology in high school as well.

This leads me to my love of listening of a plethora of things and topics on Youtube. My playlist covers a gambit of topics that I have chosen to constantly be apprised on. I continually am researching and being aware of things that are currently being discussed, but also the history of things that are always being brought back up for discussion.

My most recent episode of youtube video was a production of someone that decided to venture out on a limb(which I applaud mightily) and ask three individuals of Israel and three individuals from palistine to talk in a setting to talk. The format of the discussion was set up by a host that would ask a question that they would agree or disagree on or just a question of inquiry of state of affairs between the two people. All six people would then walk over to a stool, three stools facing three other stools for a face to face discussion. They could chose to elaborate on their opinion on the question with a rebuttal coming from the other side of the discussion. It was a very civil discussion and very informative.

I have come away with two observations from this video, not about the subjects, but from a more humanity perspective. One, in the discussion after probably thru most of the discussion it came apparent from both sides that the problem of their issue, was that it was the governments on both sides were getting in the way of what the people wanted out of the whole issue. It was like if the people could talk to each other as a whole that they could come to a resolution in a matter of minutes. What was also apparent that these six people were from the opposite sides of conflict in their views, that they were not acting as an enemy after the talks, but were one on one talking with each other about various subjects that they had discussed earlier.

The second observation, was a brilliant move by the creators of this experiment( I again want to stand up and give them an ovation for what they did), their cementing of the end result of what the creators knew what would happen in their discussions of the actual participants of the parties involved, would not be going at their adversarial throats or even attacking each other in hatred. They knew the outcome!

After the questions had all been asked and discussed by all and the answers were satisfactory understood, there was a surprise to all six participants.

They were treated to a formal dinner brought in to them for them to sup together! All six of the individuals said they would enjoy the meal together! Is this just ridiculous? Two enemies sitting together and eating together as if nothing between them mattered! They were after all just eating a meal together! But what about the things that they were fighting about in the real world? They were enemies, fighting from afar and from side to side,they were standing up for their beliefs on the issues. How could this happen, people on the opposite sides, sitting down to eat together!

I want to expand on this last point with a couple of expansions of the point. One of the realities of the discussion is the intrusion of the government into the equation. It is the ulterior motives of the government that always gets in the way of things, but it is the people that are in the middle of things, that seem to not understand the fundamental needs of the people of just getting along with each other and just living their lives. For the people as a whole wish to live together in harmony.

The last point I wish to expound on is what happened at the end of the questions put on the six people of the video on youtube. The Meal.

I can’t enough say that this event is and was a powerful statement to mankind, but even more to the audience of christianity. I will now tell you that we have to go back to the New Testament and the story of Paul and Peter in Antioch of the actual historical confrontation but also the allegoric meaning of this story.

The story of Paul and his mission to the people of Antioch was the harmony of the message was the same within the gospel being taught. A key element was the justification of who was apart of the gospel? The answer was everyone. Jew and Gentile(anyone not Jewish), The chosen people were now not just for the people of Israel but of the whole world. This picture was realized in the actual sitting down with everyone involved in the gospel and eating with them. It was a cementing statement in a picture of sorts.

It is when Peter and Paul both understood this element of the gospel, and their evangelizing to all that were concerned to know the gospel. To really understand this soon to be confrontation in context we have to understand that it was Peter that was considered to be the leader of the assembly in Jerusalem, along with James.

But it is when James and a party of his men come to antioch to check on the people of antioch for themselves and see that Peter quickly arise from the table of the gentiles to sit with the jews to eat his meal that causes a scene. Paul, having seen what had happened, chastises Peter for not staying with the gentiles to eat and escaping to sit with his fellow jews. This was not the gospel! and Paul told him so.

It was almost a story within a story to this altercation. Why did Peter do what he did? Was he only standing for his convictions when he was with Paul, or did he not really believe that the gospel was just for the Jews? It was James and his party that were being put on trial in sorts because is this the way that the assembly in Jerusalem believed. This last part will have to be for a later time to delve into for a separate blog.

It is my opinion in this matter that this was a sign of Paul and Peter going their separate ways of understanding of the gospel. This matter in this story is not often really dug into for the real issues driving the story along. I honestly believe that Paul and Peter were not on the same page of the gospel. There was a divide of the gospel stemming from the ‘church’ in Jerusalem and all the other church’s, especially the ones started with Paul.

We will further talk about this story in coming blogs to maybe clear up some things between Paul and Peter.

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Grass Roots

This term has been used in another field of study, but We won’t go there today.

My sense of a way of life in the new testament for the new christians of the world, were always very small in size and very unique in their living. They began by either ‘seeing’ Jesus and ‘knowing’ that He was the ‘Messiah’ that was promised by the Jews and their religion. This was known by the Jews but also by the gentiles that were coming to the tabernacle square to hear the latest word from the religious leaders and of the issues of the Roman Kingdom.

The individuals coming to the square for the news were either from the city or from the outside of the city because of the business of the person to come to Jerusalem for the day. The individuals coming from within the city walls were being curious of this Man who was claiming to be the ‘Messiah’, Son of God. It was a curiosity at first, but later it was intriguing thought to be a more thought out fact. This curiosity was then bantered about with friends who have also heard this claim to ‘Messiahship’. It is this encounter with this claim by ‘Jesus’, that sparked the discussion between friends of acquaintance or from your neighbor, or from the tabernacle square discussions that have led you to the small group of disciples.

The individuals that were coming from outside the city of Jerusalem, businessman or just travelers going thru the city on their way to somewhere else. Their stopovers would always lead them to where the latest scoop of religious and city news and notes would be discussed for the good and the bad. It is then that the traveler would hear about the news about the man that they were calling the ‘Son of God’,doing miracles of healing and of raising from the dead, and being a teacher wiser that all the teachers that they knew. This was the beginning of ‘gossip’ or things that we have heard that we must tell someone else, so that they might be also interested too. This was the beginning of another pocket of discussion back at the traveler’s home town to his friends,family and to the religious leaders of that town. It would soon become to be known as an assembly of the discussion of ‘Son of Man’.

Now if you can imagine this scenario played over and over again, with people coming and going inside and outside the city, discussing the matter of ‘Messiah’, and asking yourself if Jesus was this one, t,hat it created alot of discussion in and around the temple of the Jews, which was a threat to their authority, but also the new claim that God had sent his Son to save them from all of humanity. From the gentile perspective, this was a very confusing time with their philosophy of having a plethora of gods to take care of your needs, covering them all individually in your life, but now to be told that there was a God that was a God of all, was to much to handle.

It is these little pockets of believers that were dotting the landscape of the roman world that was changing the romans but also the Jewish leaders of Israel. They were different. They were believers in this ‘man of God’ that was going to free them from the slavery of roman hierarchy of rule and also the rule of law of the priests and of their institution.

It is this ‘Grass roots’ formation that will keep the belief alive in the coming Kingdom. It will not be the formation of the ‘Jewish’ separation of authority of ‘knowing’ God but the oneness of all, the kingdom of Priests. It will not be formation of a kingdom of mankind to rule over us as to whatever he chooses to be for us, for this too is slavery.

God will reward us for diligence of becoming that light on the hill that shines Christ to all that are around our little hill! That little hill combined with all those other ‘little’ hills will eventually be the brightest light for God! Which is exactly what He said would happen.

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Neighbor

Sounds like a very innocent word, doesn’t it.

We use it all the time, even a variant of it to describe someone or someones.

I am going to use it in the literal sense today.

Neighbor : one living or located near another by Merriam Webster

This will be our definition for use in the discussion.

Exodus 12:4 says ‘Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; in proportion to what each one should eat, you are to divide the lamb.

This passage points to the subject of the ONE living near you It is the one that is involved in the daily activity of your life and to those around you. (Let me take a moment to set this in context that might help in our really understanding this concept. Think not of the context of this in the terms of today’s lives that we live now, Lord knows that we are so different in our lives that it would take a book to describe it.Think of when this text was written and the social atmosphere it was in. People were living in very small villages, with very small homes next to each other, with shared daily activities of getting food at the center of the village with everyone sharing their crops, and wares of personal use. These were their neighbors.) This is our reality too, but on a much grandeur stage for most of us. We usually consider ‘our’ neighbors the ones that we are in contact with going to work, and our extra activities outside the house. (Which is actually pretty sad when we say that)

Galatians 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

It is this statement that we have to break in two. We have to start with the second part first. Ourselves, this is the example, that we have to use as the foundation as the next step of a neighbor. It is this identity that we must ‘be’ to build on the reality of God. God in us, and us in Him. This is the light that must be seen from every hill on earth. Our neighbor being like us; being as God in them, and them in God.

I believe that this term of ‘neighbor‘ is the key to the ‘Kingdom of God’, but it is not seen as the method of instituting this kingdom in our system today.The ‘local church’ seems to be the rite of use in this day of time. (This topic will always be a concern for me, which I will always have doubts on) This term neighbor is the cornerstone to God’s flourishing expansion of His Life into the world. It starts as a more recent term as a ‘grass roots’ movement in our more recent sayings. The small but unique beginning of such symbolism of the next stage of the kingdom would be the ‘community‘.

The ‘community’ is the next step to the Kingdom in that the communities that are grown in the same way as the ‘neighbor’ model. The community filled with neighbors, expanding around each other finally becoming a Kingdom of God.

It is from this ‘community’ that I see the flourishing of the kingdom of God, in that the ‘world’ will ‘see’ the people of God as the ‘light’ on the hill that will lead them to God of All. It is this paradigm of God’s Kingdom that will prevail as model of the true ‘Ekklesia’ of Jesus’s Bride.

But it will all start with the simplest of things of our lives, our neighbor: the one living or located near another!

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Community?

What defines the word-‘community’?

It is used in so many ways that we have a distorted understanding of it. We also have a lot of questions about it too. Some people believe that it is your neighbor, neighbors, your little town, your big town, or maybe just who you associate with. It is also could be the community of your beliefs, community of your work, or the community of family.

Maybe, just maybe if we could just combine all these things that we believe is just the one that we see as a community as we are involved in. It is because ‘we’ need to see that our community is the entire creation that God has created.

Community is a unique way of distinguishing a people that are united in their nature in something that unites them all to one thing. That one thing is God, the creator. We are his creation, he is our creator.

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