Hearty Heresy

Lenten Discipline Check In and a Word about Compassion
March 20, 2007, 11:40 am
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Spirituality, Theology

Okay, so I confess that I haven’t been able to faithfully do what I said I would try to do as a spiritual discipline this Lenten season: read through the 26 pages of Stephen Mitchell’s Gospel According to Jesus once each day. I have, however, been able to read at least some of it each day, and it’s been a worthwhile exercise. It’s also been worthwhile for me to get some comments on relying on the limited scope of Mitchell’s portrait of Jesus. There are definitely some important things that Mitchell misses. I mentioned one in an earlier post. Here’s another.

I found this in Marcus J. Borg’s Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. It’s from the chapter entitled “Jesus, Compassion, and Politics,” under the section Compassion, God, and Ethics. I won’t go into detail here because I’m just offering this as an example of where Mitchell’s translation needs to be augmented. Basically, Borg looks at the word “compassion,” explains that the Hebrew singular form means “womb,” points out that it’s often translated as “merciful,” (including the “quite wonderful expression from the King James Version…’tender mercies'”), and so on. The payoff for me is how Borg translates one particular verse: “Be compassionate as God is compassionate.” Not perfect. Not merciful. Compassionate. That’s the message I hear Jesus spreading, a message that wasn’t quite getting through to me when I was being raised in a Brand Xian church. It’s one I take seriously now, just as I take Jesus seriously as a spiritual guide.

And now, Mrs. Heretic, Hearty Jr., and I must prepare for a trip to Seattle. I’m taking my computer, of course, so I’ll post if I can. And I’ll be reading Stephen Mitchell’s version of the Gospel, too…just not as religiously as I had planned!


4 Comments so far
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OK. I know it’s annoying when people leave comments that don’t deal with the post you’ve written, but I have to tell you how much I appreciate the civility of the conversations I’ve been able to have with you and how respectful you’ve been of my questions and viewpoints even when they have not been on the same page. I have to say thanks because several times today I have been called names and discounted because I am an evangelical Christian. Thanks for the dialogue, HH. And thanks, above all else, for being respectful and open to conversation.

Comment by j4jesus

My pleasure, Jason. I appreciate the conversation myself. It helps everyone to get feedback on their thoughts, assumptions, etc., and blogs are a great place to do it. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, too. Nice pastoral use of blogging!

Comment by heartyheretic

Compassion, that is a great lenten practice!

Comment by pastorofdisaster

Great for Lent and any other time of the year, too! Thanks for the comment.

Comment by heartyheretic

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