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A couple of thoughts about the Ascension discussion:
1. C. S. Lewis does get around to introducing the Holy Spirit in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is sort of the Gospel of John episode of the Narnia Chronicles: there is the dove that gives the voyagers hope and courage when they encounter the Dark Isle, the face of Aslan in Caspian's cabin that counsels them at a crucial point in the story. We don't get the Holy Spirit much in the Synoptics, either...
2. William Temple (Archbishop of Canterbury during WWII) wrote a wonderful book--Readings in John's Gospel--in which he talks about the disciples having received the Spirit in the upper room on the day of the Resurrection. Temple describes the Spirit working and growing in power among the disciples "secretly like yeast in dough" until the Spirit's energy could no longer be contained and spilled out into the streets of Jerusalem at Pentecost.
3. Our regional gathering of Episcopal clergy discussed the Ascension at our last meeting, and we came to the consensus that Jesus' departure acted somewhat like repotting a rootbound plant in a larger container. In sending the disciples out to be his witnesses throughout the world, Jesus basically planted them in a bigger pot.
How's that for a mish-mash of images and analogies? :) Thanks for the conversation that always, always stirs up my holy imagination!
As always Suz, you bring a lot of food for thought. I did not remember that part of Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I read the whole series many years ago, but it was pre-seminary.
The ascension and re-potting analogy is an interesting one. Certainly a viable starting point. When I first thought of the analogy, I was thinking about Jesus as the one re-potted. He was "taken up," and planted somewhere else, but still present. I'm not sure if that makes sense though. Good thoughts...
Hey guys! Love the podcast. I do have to disagree with a couple of your interpretations, though. In particular, I know that you're both more pluralistically inclined, particularly when it comes to salvation. I agree with that perspective. Nonetheless, I think you're a little too quick to dismiss the exclusivistly-inclined passages. For example, when talking about John this week, you mentioned that "it's 'for God so loved the world.'" This is true. But liberals NEVER finish that thought - "that WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM" is the next part. Personally, I don't understand why those words are credited to Jesus, because they look to me like clear editorializing on the part of the fourth evangelist. I guess it comes down to your philosophy of Scripture. I have no problem saying, "Some parts of Scripture are very salvation-inclusive; some are very exclusive. I agree with the former and not the latter." It seems to me that you two sometimes bend over backwards a little bit to shy away from the ugly bits of Scripture. Just a thought for you today. Like I said, I love the podcast, and it's a REALLY important part of my weekly sermon prep. Thanks so much for all the hard work!
I'm glad we're a part of your preparation. I think your criticism is valid. I think we've mentioned before the struggle with more exclusivist texts. The Gospel of John is certainly full of these types of passages. Perhaps it is more faithful to simply live with the paradox of both types of passages being a part of the story.
I think one of the things we do in this century is forget the setting of the gospel. For me the author was writing to people who were outsiders from the religious communities they had been part of and was reassuring them they were in fact on the right track. People now interpret the setting as Jesus speaking to the insiders and religious "right" and it becomes heard as exclusivity. Thanks for you work. Just stumbled o this site.
Darlene, We're glad you found us, and hope you come back again. We're here very week. Eric and I try very hard to consider the historical context of every passage. And I think you're exactly right about the exclusive nature of the Gospel of John in particular.
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