+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 39 of 39

Thread: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

  1. #1
    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Odon, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    5,428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    I have been trying to work ahead on my Sunday School lessons. Thus, I've been living with Luke 6 for a couple of weeks now. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you... if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back... [L]ove your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back."

    Even after soaking in it for a couple of weeks, I went to church Sunday morning with little idea where I was going to go with it. After all, I'm not living there. And neither are the others in the group.

    My lack of preparedness actually worked out quite well, since only one member of the group showed up and we opted to join another class. Where, of course, we concluded that we can't really take Jesus' words literally and live that way. After all, if we did, we would soon join the rolls of the needy after all our stuff was gone, since the greediness of those around us will always far outstrip our resources.

    Then last evening we had a session from the book When Helping Hurts in an ongoing attempt to figure out how to help the needy in our community. One person's name came up as a "poster child" for someone who comes to us often for help and seems either unable or unwilling (or a little of both) to find and keep gainful employment. I have been personally involved in the life of this man for quite a few years and mentioned that when he does have work, he has a generous spirit and tends to give away any money left over after meeting his immediate needs. The group quickly jumped on that as a place to start in helping him toward a better life. He needs to learn to take care of his family (fiancee and unborn baby) first.

    "To be less generous," I rephrased.

    No, not less generous. He just needs to care for his family first.

    "And be less generous towards others," I repeated.

    This did not go over well. We agreed we should find another person to discuss.

    It's an interesting example of what happens when someone takes Luke 6 literally. Not that this person necessarily loves his enemy or follows any of the other instructions given in the passage. Rather, he has anger management issues that eventually end any employment he finds when he starts to view someone as his enemy and goes off on them. Still, I find it interesting that my church friends view his spirit of generosity as a character flaw.

    One of my favorite passages on evangelism is from Rebecca Manly Pippert's book Out of the Saltshaker. She tells of counseling someone to just try living by the principles Jesus gave us. This person tried letting go of something someone took from her, and had amazing results. I have tried to follow that advice of just trying kingdom living as an experiment. But my boundaries are too entrenched to get very far in giving people what they ask of me. My resources are too small. I just know they would be exhausted if I tried it. Besides, I'm married and can't give away what isn't fully mine in the first place. Even my time isn't my own to give away. But I look at my generous friend and wonder if he's the one who needs 'fixed' or if it is my church friends and me who need a better perspective. What does it say that we see generosity as a flaw to be remedied? Is this the path to making converts "twice as much a child of hell as [we] are"?

    "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"

    The one place I think I can start as far as learning the spirit of generosity from my impoverished friend is in the area of grace -- that goodwill toward others that overlooks their shortcomings and loves them deeply. Eugene Peterson tweeted this morning that "The world is no friend of grace." I added, "Nor, many times, is the church." The church can't afford to be generous with grace. People will take advantage of that type of generosity. I think that's the one place where I can take up the challenge of trying to live by the principles of Luke 6. Which includes, of course, cultivating grace toward my church friends who would love a chance to discipline the spirit of generosity out of my impoverished, but generous friend.
    Only the power of the Holy Spirit can get truth past the obvious.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Penn's Woods :)
    Posts
    9,945
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    I'm also using the Nazarene curriculum at my Sunday School. We had a good discussion on this but not as in depth as what you describe above. My main problem is that we barely can get good discussion in for one section then suddenly class time is over. What we discussed is knowing the differences between following Jesus' commands literally vs being abused/setting up boundaries. Doing what Jesus said in Luke 7 comes from one's own free choice or because of conviction from God. It is done out of a choice to influence others towards God's love. It is not done out of guilt or shame, or out of a sense of "I'm a worm so of course I deserve that second blow to my face." Jesus' commands are still for today, although the details of how that is played out will be different.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov
    Thanks David Troxler - "thanks" for this post

  3. #3
    Senior Member David Troxler's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Duxbury, MA
    Posts
    1,278
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    I especially enjoyed this past Sunday's lesson. It was well written by George Lyons. We had a good discussion from that and I believe helped one individual who is dealing with a very negative person. It is not that she is struck physically with a slap in the face, but the negative talk and disapproval of matters pertaining to faith against our class member made the lesson come alive for us all.

    One of the particular strengths of the lesson is the companion pieces prepared in the Illustrated Bible Life. In the companion article of "Turning the Other Cheek," we read about the history of the offense but also the practicality of its application within and among one's closest associates (family, co-workers, etc.). The turning of the other cheek is to bring community back to the fellowship despite having been wronged. Often the most difficult "enemies" with which we deal are those closest to us. Their barbs are often even more sharp and painful than those of a true enemy.
    Thanks Susan Unger, Marsha Lynn, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

  4. #4
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    10,388
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    I'm also using the Nazarene curriculum at my Sunday School. We had a good discussion on this but not as in depth as what you describe above. My main problem is that we barely can get good discussion in for one section then suddenly class time is over. What we discussed is knowing the differences between following Jesus' commands literally vs being abused/setting up boundaries. Doing what Jesus said in Luke 7 comes from one's own free choice or because of conviction from God. It is done out of a choice to influence others towards God's love. It is not done out of guilt or shame, or out of a sense of "I'm a worm so of course I deserve that second blow to my face." Jesus' commands are still for today, although the details of how that is played out will be different.
    While I appreciate the context, I think this is an example of a teaching that is almost completely lost in translation and cultural distance. It's kind of like a metaphor that requires 20 minutes of set-up in order to be comprehensible. If it requires a bunch of explanation, it loses most/all of its power.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

  5. #5
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Penn's Woods :)
    Posts
    9,945
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    While I appreciate the context, I think this is an example of a teaching that is almost completely lost in translation and cultural distance. It's kind of like a metaphor that requires 20 minutes of set-up in order to be comprehensible. If it requires a bunch of explanation, it loses most/all of its power.
    We didn't have any problem discussing it. Several expressed appreciation for the explanation.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov
    Thanks Mike Schutz - "thanks" for this post

  6. #6
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    10,388
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    We didn't have any problem discussing it. Several expressed appreciation for the explanation.
    Of all the people who have ever read Luke 6, what percentage of them do you suppose had even the foggiest notion (due to translation and cultural distance) what it means and how we would apply it to present-day life?

    No, the following lyrics are the more common 'exegesis' of the turn the other cheek teaching.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny Rogers
    Everyone considered him the coward of the county
    He'd never stood one single time to prove the county wrong
    His mama named him Tommy, but folks just called him yellow
    Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong

    He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison
    I looked after Tommy, 'cause he was my brother's son
    I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy
    "Son, my life is over, but yours has just begun"

    "Promise me, son, not to do the things I've done
    Walk away from trouble if you can
    It won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek
    I hope you're old enough to understand
    Son, you don't have to fight to be a man"

    There's someone for everyone, and Tommy's love was Becky
    In her arms, he didn't have to prove he was a man
    One day while he was working, the Gatlin boys came calling
    They took turns at Becky, n'there was three of them

    Tommy opened up the door, and saw his Becky crying
    The torn dress, the shattered look was more than he could stand
    He reached above the fireplace, and took down his daddy's picture
    As the tears fell on his daddy's face, he heard these words again

    "Promise me, son, not to do the things I've done
    Walk away from trouble if you can
    Now, it won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek
    I hope you're old enough to understand
    Son, you don't have to fight to be a man"

    The Gatlin boys just laughed at him when he walked into the barroom
    One of them got up and met him halfway 'cross the floor
    When Tommy turned around they said, "hey look, old yeller's leaving"
    But you could've heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door

    Twenty years of crawling was bottled up inside him
    He wasn't holding nothin' back, he let 'em have it all
    When Tommy left the barroom, not a Gatlin boy was standing
    He said, "this one's for Becky, as he watched the last one fall

    "I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you've done
    I walk away from trouble when I can
    Now please don't think I'm weak, I didn't turn the other cheek
    And papa, I sure hope you understand
    Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man"

    Everyone considered him the coward of the county
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

  7. #7
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Penn's Woods :)
    Posts
    9,945
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Of all the people who have ever read Luke 6, what percentage of them do you suppose had even the foggiest notion (due to translation and cultural distance) what it means and how we would apply it to present-day life?

    No, the following lyrics are the more common 'exegesis' of the turn the other cheek teaching.
    And I explained the background to the class, we discussed it and the class said they understood and could apply the passage better for their lives now.

    I don't understand the point you are trying to make.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov

  8. #8
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    10,388
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    And I explained the background to the class, we discussed it and the class said they understood and could apply the passage better for their lives now.

    I don't understand the point you are trying to make.
    The point is that this teaching borders on functional obsolescence. A part of scripture becomes functionally obsolete when the plain reading doesn't jive with any contemporary reality. People thus learn to disregard it because the obvious application is either absurd or incomprehensible. They do the same thing with a large swath of the Old Testament already. I think that Wes Smith would back me up on this.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post

  9. #9
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Penn's Woods :)
    Posts
    9,945
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    The point is that this teaching borders on functional obsolescence. A part of scripture becomes functionally obsolete when the plain reading doesn't jive with any contemporary reality. People thus learn to disregard it because the obvious application is either absurd or incomprehensible. They do the same thing with a large swath of the Old Testament already. I think that Wes Smith would back me up on this.
    Well, that's why we have a Sunday School class, so that this passage is no longer obsolete and incomprehensible.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

  10. #10
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    10,388
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    Well, that's why we have a Sunday School class, so that this passage is no longer obsolete and incomprehensible.
    Yes, we will let no teaching go softly into that good night.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Norton, MA Connor, ME
    Posts
    11,883
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    And I explained the background to the class, we discussed it and the class said they understood and could apply the passage better for their lives now.

    I don't understand the point you are trying to make.
    The point that I get from the song Billy has shared is a good one. The fellow in the song did the right thing when the time came. He did turn the other cheek, when it was his face that was slapped. Still love protects, and when the time came, he protected Becky. If the Gatlin boys knew the background and application, they might have realized what they had coming to them. The folks in Marsha's class are right, the man in question should be providing for his family first. Not that he shouldn't be generous, more that he shouldn't be generous with things that are not his. He has an obligation to support his family, his resources belong to them until that obligation is fulfilled. Those who give away that which belong to others are not generous at all.

    One thing that hasn't changed across the millennia is that we still take instruction from our God in the context of the whole. Just like they did way back then. Jesus explains a similar situation where folks were focusing narrowly. He explained the wrong in keeping Corban when they were not discharging their commitments to their parents. In another place He says something similar when He says that God doesn't want our gift if someone has something against you, go and make it right first.

    While this is probably not Billy's intended point, it does come through loud and clear. Unless his point was to show that Kenny Rogers is no fan of the Gatlins?

    I'm sure that you taught your class well and that you are making a positive difference.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  12. #12
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warr Acres, OK (OKC)
    Posts
    936
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    The point is that this teaching borders on functional obsolescence. A part of scripture becomes functionally obsolete when the plain reading doesn't jive with any contemporary reality. People thus learn to disregard it because the obvious application is either absurd or incomprehensible. They do the same thing with a large swath of the Old Testament already. I think that Wes Smith would back me up on this.
    Yet, this illustrates well the point I kept making to Wes. If this is the criteria to be used for how we use Scripture ("when the plain reading doesn’t jive with any contemporary reality" it "becomes functionally obsolete"), then not only the OT but functionally the entire NT is obsolete and easy to disregard, since it comes from a time and place half a world and 2,000 years removed from us. So, we are left with either 1) disregarding Scripture entirely as absurd and incomprehensible (which is close to what others have advocated); 2) picking and choosing what we think is easy to understand on a superficial level (and we have plenty examples of how that tracks), or 3) making the effort to understand what Scripture contextualized tells us about God, about ourselves, and our relationship with God, and then working out what that would look like when practiced in the modern world.

    If we opt for 1), then we are either left with only tradition to guide us and then the diversity of that tradition becomes equally problematic for many of the same reasons, or we rely on reason to tell us what is true and how to live, which creates still other issues. If we opt for 2) history demonstrates that we will inevitably pick and choose what is most comfortable to us, which will make redacted Scripture a reflection of what we already think as conditioned by our own individual or communal contexts.

    So, as painful as it may be to our comfort zones, and our penchant for instant gratification and easy answers, we must allow Scripture to speak with its own voice, and then do the necessary work to hear and understand it across time and place. Sadly, that process has been far better exemplified by the Reformed tradition, especially Southern Baptists and Presbyterians, than any group in the Arminian-Wesleyan tradition.

    Grace and peace,

    Dennis B.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Odon, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    5,428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Of all the people who have ever read Luke 6, what percentage of them do you suppose had even the foggiest notion (due to translation and cultural distance) what it means and how we would apply it to present-day life?

    No, the following lyrics are the more common 'exegesis' of the turn the other cheek teaching.
    I don't have words to express how much I despise that song. To say I hate, hate, HATE it is too mild. HATE IT! Wreck-the-car-turning-off-the-radio-and-realize-it's-worth-it level hatred. Worst-song-ever-written hatred. I can't believe you posted it here! ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    First of all, it's not true. There are many, many manly men who have lived and died without ever being involved in a physical fight. To discount them all as less than manly is ridiculous. You do NOT have to fight to be a man. Nor to avoid being labeled a coward. Besides not being true in practical experience, it goes against everything the gospels teach and the example of Jesus -- whose sword is in his mouth, not his hands. A strong, manly man has no need to get involved in fist fights. He has plenty of other ways to stand strong against evil. A young man whom "everyone" calls "the coward of the county" has sure enough failed to learn to be a man, but the will or ability to physically knock other men down is not what's missing.

    Second, if the only way to protect Becky was to beat up the Gatlin boys, Tommy needed to do it BEFORE they "took turns at" her. The song seems to imply that taking revenge on them afterward made everything even. Now he and Becky can go on with their lives knowing that he made those Gatlin boys pay for what they did. NO!!! NO!!!! NO!!!!! Adding evil to evil does nothing to mitigate the original evil. Becky is still "shattered," devastated, not one iota less for what happened in that barroom. I am offended beyond words by that implication. My heart breaks for poor Becky every time I hear the song. While the fight is happening down at the barroom and Tommy is strutting home proud of himself for his effective revenge, I'm still back with Becky crying for what she has forever lost. NOTHING will make up for that loss. NOTHING!! Anyone who thinks it does deserves a lifetime sentence to a sensitivity training facility. Any culture that accepts this equity needs redemption.

    Third, the tune is SO catchy! Once it gets stuck in my head it's there for days, even weeks. I'm fighting it with all my might right now. The only song that comes close to competing with it for stuck-ibility and disturbing lyrics is "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia."

    Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! I need to go wash my hands off with soap for even touching this with my keyboard.
    Last edited by Marsha Lynn; February 22nd, 2017 at 01:12 PM.
    Only the power of the Holy Spirit can get truth past the obvious.
    Thanks Wes Smith, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post
    Laughing Wes Smith - thanks for this funny post

  14. #14
    Senior Member Lucas Finch's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Victor, MT
    Posts
    4,109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    I don't have words to express how much I despise that song. To say I hate, hate, HATE it is too mild. HATE IT! Wreck-the-car-turning-off-the-radio-and-realize-it's-worth-it level hatred. Worst-song-ever-written hatred. I can't believe you posted it here! ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So . . . how do you feel about that song?
    StrengthsFinder Top 5: Input ---------- Intellection ---------- Connectedness ---------- Context ---------- Belief

    Myers-Briggs Type: Introversion ---------- Intuition ---------- Feeling ---------- Perception (INFP)

    My Website & Blog: alucasfinch.net
    Laughing Billy Cox, Jim Chabot, Wes Smith - thanks for this funny post

  15. #15
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    10,388
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    I don't have words to express how much I despise that song. To say I hate, hate, HATE it is too mild. HATE IT! Wreck-the-car-turning-off-the-radio-and-realize-it's-worth-it level hatred. Worst-song-ever-written hatred. I can't believe you posted it here! ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    First of all, it's not true. There are many, many manly men who have lived and died without ever being involved in a physical fight. To discount them all as less than manly is ridiculous. You do NOT have to fight to be a man. Nor to avoid being labeled a coward. Besides not being true in practical experience, it goes against everything the gospels teach and the example of Jesus -- whose sword is in his mouth, not his hands. A strong, manly man has no need to get involved in fist fights. He has plenty of other ways to stand strong against evil. A young man whom "everyone" calls "the coward of the county" has sure enough failed to learn to be a man, but the will or ability to physically knock other men down is not what's missing.
    I always took the song to mean that in a culture where fighting and manliness are linked, the refusal to fight dooms a man to being bullied by his peers. Is it every culture? No, but isn't it a great song?


    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    Second, if the only way to protect Becky was to beat up the Gatlin boys, he needed to do it BEFORE they "took turns at" her. The song seems to imply that taking revenge on them afterward made everything even. Now he and Becky can go on with their lives knowing that he made those Gatlin boys pay for what they did. NO!!! NO!!!! NO!!!!! Adding evil to evil does nothing to mitigate the original evil. Becky is still "shattered," devastated, not one iota less for what happened in that barroom. I am offended beyond words by that implication. My heart breaks for poor Becky every time I hear the song. While the fight is happening down at the barroom and he is strutting home proud of himself for his effective revenge, I'm still back with Becky crying for what she has forever lost. NOTHING will make up for that loss. NOTHING!! Anyone who thinks it does deserves a lifetime sentence to a sensitivity training facility.
    Heh, you assume that he beat up the Gatlin boys. Given that he spent his life not fighting, what are the chances that he could really prevail against three opponents with only his rage and inexperienced fists? My interpretation is that he guns down those darned Gatlin boys and is thus doomed to die in prison just like his dad who told him to turn the other cheek.

    And this is how a country song became the hermenutical authority on Jesus' teaching in Luke 6:29. Word Action just needs a hit country song in order to turn the tide.

    A funny aside... Until I went in search of the song lyrics, I always thought that the song referred to 'the gamblin' boys'. My life is immeasurably enriched by finally clearing this up.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post
    Laughing Wes Smith - thanks for this funny post

  16. #16
    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Odon, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    5,428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    I always took the song to mean that in a culture where fighting and manliness are linked, the refusal to fight dooms a man to being bullied by his peers. Is it every culture? No, but isn't it a great song?
    NO! It's not a great song! (I may have neglected to mention in my previous post that I HATE IT!)

    Ok, I have never lived in a culture where physical altercations are expected from men and boys. (Actually, I have always lived among pacifists.) Nor have I been a man. But I've watched Gunsmoke and read Lone Ranger books. The idea that the bespectacled banker has to be protected by real men may play well on television, but it always looks like a caricature to me. I suspect every culture has space for people whose strength lies more with their "presence" than their brawn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Heh, you assume that he beat up the Gatlin boys. Given that he spent his life not fighting, what are the chances that he could really prevail against three opponents with only his rage and inexperienced fists? My interpretation is that he guns down those darned Gatlin boys and is thus doomed to die in prison just like his dad who told him to turn the other cheek.
    And, see, that's another problem with the song. I actually thought there was a gun involved until I looked at the lyrics again and saw it was his father's picture he took down from above the fireplace rather than a rusty old gun. It clearly says he had so much rage bottled up within from all the abuse he had taken over the years plus the attack on Becky, that he was able to deck all three of those Gatlin boys.

    Yea, right. Because fist fights are always won by the participant who is most enraged.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    And this is how a country song became the hermeneutical authority on Jesus' teaching in Luke 6:29. Word Action just needs a hit country song in order to turn the tide.
    It's probably a good thing no one brought up this song during our Sunday session. I might not be able to discuss it calmly with someone who sees it as definitive for male relationships.
    Save
    Save
    Save
    Only the power of the Holy Spirit can get truth past the obvious.
    Thanks Billy Cox, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  17. #17
    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    West Grove, PA
    Posts
    2,768
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bratcher View Post
    Yet, this illustrates well the point I kept making to Wes. If this is the criteria to be used for how we use Scripture ("when the plain reading doesn’t jive with any contemporary reality" it "becomes functionally obsolete"), then not only the OT but functionally the entire NT is obsolete and easy to disregard, since it comes from a time and place half a world and 2,000 years removed from us. So, we are left with either 1) disregarding Scripture entirely as absurd and incomprehensible (which is close to what others have advocated); 2) picking and choosing what we think is easy to understand on a superficial level (and we have plenty examples of how that tracks), or 3) making the effort to understand what Scripture contextualized tells us about God, about ourselves, and our relationship with God, and then working out what that would look like when practiced in the modern world.

    If we opt for 1), then we are either left with only tradition to guide us and then the diversity of that tradition becomes equally problematic for many of the same reasons, or we rely on reason to tell us what is true and how to live, which creates still other issues. If we opt for 2) history demonstrates that we will inevitably pick and choose what is most comfortable to us, which will make redacted Scripture a reflection of what we already think as conditioned by our own individual or communal contexts.

    So, as painful as it may be to our comfort zones, and our penchant for instant gratification and easy answers, we must allow Scripture to speak with its own voice, and then do the necessary work to hear and understand it across time and place. Sadly, that process has been far better exemplified by the Reformed tradition, especially Southern Baptists and Presbyterians, than any group in the Arminian-Wesleyan tradition.

    Grace and peace,

    Dennis B.
    Dennis - Thank you.

    Like most pastors, I have a few "bless their hearts" folks in my church who, by temperament and experience, are radically anti-intellectual. They would prefer to accept what they were told in the junior boys Sunday school class 40 years ago by the beloved teacher with a 7th grade education than what their pastor says. And I quote - "We have a pastor who was educated into imbecility."
    Thus, any passage that requires the least bit of contextual explanation evokes a "there he goes again" reaction.

    Fortunately, I have a much larger percentage of "Take us deep" folks who, while not the least bit interested in going into the deep weeds of Greek translation issues or nuances of authorship (which is why we teach young preachers not to "preach your homework"), really do want to journey with scripture. As one person said to me - "At least once every week, I have a 'I didn't know that - now I get it' moment in your sermons.Thanks for treating us like adults with a head on our shoulders."
    "Fully embracing the Gospel, fully engaging the world"

  18. #18
    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Odon, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    5,428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Ok, now that I have, to the best of my ability, smashed the lyrics you posted to bits and scattered them all over the forum so they will never again join together ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Of all the people who have ever read Luke 6, what percentage of them do you suppose had even the foggiest notion (due to translation and cultural distance) what it means and how we would apply it to present-day life?
    I don't know. Does it matter? How many people have to reject the revelation of God we have received before we decide it's a flawed or obsolete revelation?

    Personally,I'm still trying to figure out what this passage means beyond the literal application. And how we can apply it to present-day life. What are your thoughts on the subject?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    The point is that this teaching borders on functional obsolescence. A part of scripture becomes functionally obsolete when the plain reading doesn't jive with any contemporary reality. People thus learn to disregard it because the obvious application is either absurd or incomprehensible. They do the same thing with a large swath of the Old Testament already. I think that Wes Smith would back me up on this.
    So is that the appropriate response to this passage? Are you saying it has nothing in it that can be applied to people living in the 21st century?

    By the way, I would say that the reason I didn't go (or wouldn't have gone if my group had shown up) the direction Susan did is because it has been way too long since I have dealt with a "victim mentality" and I wouldn't know how to address it beyond saying, "This scripture does not describe life as a victim." I suspect that has to do with my pacifist heritage. Unlike some song- or screen-writers might suggest, my observation is that true pacifists are not popular targets for bullies. Too much inner strength. Bullies recognize weakness and gravitate toward it. My solution to bullying is always to address the weakness of the victim. It is those with inner strength who can embrace the teachings found in this passage.
    Only the power of the Holy Spirit can get truth past the obvious.
    Thanks Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

  19. #19
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    10,388
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bratcher View Post
    Yet, this illustrates well the point I kept making to Wes. If this is the criteria to be used for how we use Scripture ("when the plain reading doesn’t jive with any contemporary reality" it "becomes functionally obsolete"), then not only the OT but functionally the entire NT is obsolete and easy to disregard, since it comes from a time and place half a world and 2,000 years removed from us. So, we are left with either 1) disregarding Scripture entirely as absurd and incomprehensible (which is close to what others have advocated); 2) picking and choosing what we think is easy to understand on a superficial level (and we have plenty examples of how that tracks), or 3) making the effort to understand what Scripture contextualized tells us about God, about ourselves, and our relationship with God, and then working out what that would look like when practiced in the modern world.

    If we opt for 1), then we are either left with only tradition to guide us and then the diversity of that tradition becomes equally problematic for many of the same reasons, or we rely on reason to tell us what is true and how to live, which creates still other issues. If we opt for 2) history demonstrates that we will inevitably pick and choose what is most comfortable to us, which will make redacted Scripture a reflection of what we already think as conditioned by our own individual or communal contexts.

    So, as painful as it may be to our comfort zones, and our penchant for instant gratification and easy answers, we must allow Scripture to speak with its own voice, and then do the necessary work to hear and understand it across time and place. Sadly, that process has been far better exemplified by the Reformed tradition, especially Southern Baptists and Presbyterians, than any group in the Arminian-Wesleyan tradition.
    In my mind, the list of functionally obsolete scripture verses/passages is very short. The tragedy of Luke 6 is that it is a difficult teaching that happens to exist in a well-traveled part of the Bible; a recipe for widespread misunderstanding. Churchgoers who are utterly dependent on the Sunday sermon for most/all of their exposure to the Bible may live an entire lifetime thinking that turning the other cheek is about not fighting.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

  20. #20
    NazNet Host

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    3,524
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Not exactly sure where to "chime in" on this. Since my name has been taken in vain a few times, I would most assuredly be labeled a successful "Tommy" if I just rolled over. Ain't gonna happen!

    My history is somewhat saturated with face-saving events. I could roll back my upper and lower lips and show scars remaining from school ground fighting encounters. My chief nemesis (Mike) died and went to hell a few years ago. I rejoice. Another nemesis, Eugene, converted and we are quite good friends. Mike Ahee was a year ahead of me and was fully a foot shorter, but knocked me completely out at the close of a noon hour. I discovered in that experience that being knocked out does not hurt. I "came to" with a feeling of admiration for a shrimp that could inflict such monumental incapacity on me. My senior year in high school was my last fight. I stopped because Kurt was taking a merciless beating and I reached the end of my need to cause him pain.

    In the context of this thread I have to wonder if my theology has been influenced by my childhood culture. In Moravia, IA, there were countless opportunities to fight for honor back then. It's just the way it was.

    A favorite developmental book for me was Scott Peck's "The Road Less Traveled." I loved what he had to say about the "development of responsibility" and at least in my mind, responsibility and pain were inseparable.

    Dr. James Dobson wrote some rather profound thoughts on "tough love," and I bought in and still do.

    As far as Billy's & Dennis's thoughts about the functional obsolescence of certain scriptures and certain teachings, I find myself quite okay with having that discussion, and truly wish that more people were comfortable with such. My openness for jettisoning the OT and keeping somewhat of a redacted Old Covenant seems to be somewhat of an off-put for the folks.

    Regarding the Luke 6 discussion, put me in the column of signing on for the trip to selective application of those teachings in tandem with the development of responsibility and tough love in order to participate in a responsible and tough loving society.

    Friend,

    Wes

    [eta...hoping people see some humor in my comment about my chief nemesis "going to hell." The reality is that he probably went to heaven and will likely be closer to God than I could ever hope. Either way, I won't have to ever see him again. Smile! Folks this is a great illustration about a "root of bitterness." Mike has not been a part of my life since May 27, 1964, 3:10 PM. Fully 48 years, 37 weeks, 5 days, 3 hours and 12 minutes ago.]
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Valparaiso, IN, USA
    Posts
    5,572
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    So there have been quite a few mentions of the importance of the not-obvious-to-us original context of Luke 6's "turn the other cheek" command... but no one has shared that context. I'd love to hear how some of you would bring that passage into today's Christian life based on that original context. I know what I've heard (that basically paints it as a form of non-violent resistance that forces your enemy to see you as human and shames them into treating you like one), but I don't know if that's what you all are describing...

    Anyone want to share?
    Thanks Marsha Lynn - "thanks" for this post

  22. #22
    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    West Grove, PA
    Posts
    2,768
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    I find, whenever I am teaching or preaching from either the Sermon on the Mount or the Sermon on the Plain, I continue to return to the helpful perspectives found in studying the other.

    Thus, I think one of the most helpful ways to understand the Lucan passage is by reading one of the most helpful books on unpacking the Matthew passage - The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard.

    Just throwing that out there.
    "Fully embracing the Gospel, fully engaging the world"

  23. #23
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Norton, MA Connor, ME
    Posts
    11,883
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    So there have been quite a few mentions of the importance of the not-obvious-to-us original context of Luke 6's "turn the other cheek" command... but no one has shared that context. I'd love to hear how some of you would bring that passage into today's Christian life based on that original context. I know what I've heard (that basically paints it as a form of non-violent resistance that forces your enemy to see you as human and shames them into treating you like one), but I don't know if that's what you all are describing...

    Anyone want to share?
    Sure, I'll give it a whack.

    My understanding is the left hand would never be used to strike someone, as it was used for other things quite unclean. This was before Sears sent out catalogs.

    To strike an equal with a fist would cause contact to the left cheek. The right cheek would be struck with a backhand, used to strike someone of little regard.

    Turning the other cheek is the I distance that we will interact as equals, a backhand will not be tolerated. That was the setting according to what I've been taught.

    Of course the initial response is non violent, we aren't looking for nor are we eager to fight.

    Moreover the application is only to your own cheek. There remains no excuse for cowards to fail to protect others in need.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks Rich Schmidt - "thanks" for this post

  24. #24
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    10,388
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    So there have been quite a few mentions of the importance of the not-obvious-to-us original context of Luke 6's "turn the other cheek" command... but no one has shared that context. I'd love to hear how some of you would bring that passage into today's Christian life based on that original context. I know what I've heard (that basically paints it as a form of non-violent resistance that forces your enemy to see you as human and shames them into treating you like one), but I don't know if that's what you all are describing...

    Anyone want to share?
    I think that the application is as elusive for us today as it would have been in the 1st century for someone like Caiaphas, Annas, Pilate or Cornelius. We are in a favored class of people - more likely to be meting out injustice than to be on the receiving end of it.

    Or to put it in a less delicate way, the passage about loving our enemies reads differently when we are the enemies.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks Rich Schmidt, Mike Schutz - "thanks" for this post

  25. #25
    Host Fun & Prayer forums Gina Stevenson's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    W Michigan
    Posts
    12,070
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Marsha says it's a catchy tune, so tho' I don't think I've ever heard it before, I'll ignore the temptation to look for it at YouTube, lest I end up with an earworm!
    Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. ~ Stella Adler
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    It takes a great deal of maturity to accept that trying to eliminate all risk eliminates life. ~ Susan Lapin ~
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5 (NLT)

  26. #26
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Norton, MA Connor, ME
    Posts
    11,883
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    Sure, I'll give it a whack.

    My understanding is the left hand would never be used to strike someone, as it was used for other things quite unclean. This was before Sears sent out catalogs.

    To strike an equal with a fist would cause contact to the left cheek. The right cheek would be struck with a backhand, used to strike someone of little regard.

    Turning the other cheek is the I distance that we will interact as equals, a backhand will not be tolerated. That was the setting according to what I've been taught.

    Of course the initial response is non violent, we aren't looking for nor are we eager to fight.

    Moreover the application is only to your own cheek. There remains no excuse for cowards to fail to protect others in need.
    Hey Rich;

    Been thinking on this last night into this morning and I'm starting to think that this doesn't pass the smell test. I'll see if I can add some more thoughts tonight after I get back from riding.

    Glad to have had a chance to think on it, I've accepted the left hand explanation for quite a few years now, now I'm seeing where it's not a good fit.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  27. #27
    Senior Member Debi Peck's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    429
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Scott Daniels preached a sermon this last Sunday on the Matthew version of these verses. It was excellent! I am guessing he was influenced by the book Jesus For President. Here's the link to his podcast from Sunday.

    https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/n...07_51_13-08_00
    Thanks Lucas Finch, Peggy Gray, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  28. #28
    Senior Member Lucas Finch's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Victor, MT
    Posts
    4,109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Debi Peck View Post
    Scott Daniels preached a sermon this last Sunday on the Matthew version of these verses. It was excellent! I am guessing he was influenced by the book Jesus For President. Here's the link to his podcast from Sunday.

    https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/n...07_51_13-08_00
    I haven't listened to his sermon from this Sunday yet, but I preached on the same passage (it was the Gospel reading from the Lectionary this week), and I quoted him (with credit to him) a couple of times in my sermon, as I had listened to his last several sermons and found some useful information on the Sermon on the Mount in them.
    StrengthsFinder Top 5: Input ---------- Intellection ---------- Connectedness ---------- Context ---------- Belief

    Myers-Briggs Type: Introversion ---------- Intuition ---------- Feeling ---------- Perception (INFP)

    My Website & Blog: alucasfinch.net

  29. #29
    Full Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    68
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    I have been trying to work ahead on my Sunday School lessons. Thus, I've been living with Luke 6 for a couple of weeks now. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you... if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back... [L]ove your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back."

    Even after soaking in it for a couple of weeks, I went to church Sunday morning with little idea where I was going to go with it. After all, I'm not living there. And neither are the others in the group.

    My lack of preparedness actually worked out quite well, since only one member of the group showed up and we opted to join another class. Where, of course, we concluded that we can't really take Jesus' words literally and live that way. After all, if we did, we would soon join the rolls of the needy after all our stuff was gone, since the greediness of those around us will always far outstrip our resources.

    Then last evening we had a session from the book When Helping Hurts in an ongoing attempt to figure out how to help the needy in our community. One person's name came up as a "poster child" for someone who comes to us often for help and seems either unable or unwilling (or a little of both) to find and keep gainful employment. I have been personally involved in the life of this man for quite a few years and mentioned that when he does have work, he has a generous spirit and tends to give away any money left over after meeting his immediate needs. The group quickly jumped on that as a place to start in helping him toward a better life. He needs to learn to take care of his family (fiancee and unborn baby) first.

    "To be less generous," I rephrased.

    No, not less generous. He just needs to care for his family first.

    "And be less generous towards others," I repeated.

    This did not go over well. We agreed we should find another person to discuss.

    It's an interesting example of what happens when someone takes Luke 6 literally. Not that this person necessarily loves his enemy or follows any of the other instructions given in the passage. Rather, he has anger management issues that eventually end any employment he finds when he starts to view someone as his enemy and goes off on them. Still, I find it interesting that my church friends view his spirit of generosity as a character flaw.

    One of my favorite passages on evangelism is from Rebecca Manly Pippert's book Out of the Saltshaker. She tells of counseling someone to just try living by the principles Jesus gave us. This person tried letting go of something someone took from her, and had amazing results. I have tried to follow that advice of just trying kingdom living as an experiment. But my boundaries are too entrenched to get very far in giving people what they ask of me. My resources are too small. I just know they would be exhausted if I tried it. Besides, I'm married and can't give away what isn't fully mine in the first place. Even my time isn't my own to give away. But I look at my generous friend and wonder if he's the one who needs 'fixed' or if it is my church friends and me who need a better perspective. What does it say that we see generosity as a flaw to be remedied? Is this the path to making converts "twice as much a child of hell as [we] are"?

    "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"

    The one place I think I can start as far as learning the spirit of generosity from my impoverished friend is in the area of grace -- that goodwill toward others that overlooks their shortcomings and loves them deeply. Eugene Peterson tweeted this morning that "The world is no friend of grace." I added, "Nor, many times, is the church." The church can't afford to be generous with grace. People will take advantage of that type of generosity. I think that's the one place where I can take up the challenge of trying to live by the principles of Luke 6. Which includes, of course, cultivating grace toward my church friends who would love a chance to discipline the spirit of generosity out of my impoverished, but generous friend.
    It says, 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Gal 6:10( ESV)

    I believe this verse is saying that we are to take care of the 'household' which means the community of believers first.
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

  30. #30
    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Odon, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    5,428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    The folks in Marsha's class are right, the man in question should be providing for his family first. Not that he shouldn't be generous, more that he shouldn't be generous with things that are not his. He has an obligation to support his family, his resources belong to them until that obligation is fulfilled. Those who give away that which belong to others are not generous at all.
    A missing piece of information is that this man in not married -- yet -- although he has been engaged for several years and has a son with his fiancee. That son was removed from the home they shared with multiple other people and they no longer have contact with him. No one is depending on him for survival, or even housing. Rather, he is dependent on others. Which means, he is aware of his indebtedness to those other people and 1) feels an obligation to share what comes his way in appreciation of their kindness and 2) wants to show kindness to other people as it has been shown to him.

    You and my friends are completely justified in seeing this generosity as a bad thing when, if he could just hang onto a job and practice frugality, he could become a supporter rather than someone being supported by others. But from my perspective, you're also blind to the rare beauty of that spirit of generosity.

    Do you know what would be really cool? This young man is fully immersed in the impoverished segment of our community and truly cares about people. The household of which he is a part has played a big role over the years in making sure homeless people have a roof over their head at night. Wouldn't it be great if we could equip people like that to take the love of God into their circles of friends and acquaintances to a greater degree than they are currently able rather than zeroing in on their generosity as a starting point to make them as close-fisted as everyone, of course, has to live in order to get ahead like us?

    Crazy talk, I know. But sometimes I can dream.

    If only he would quit smoking and quit giving money (and grace) away, maybe God could turn him into a respectable human being -- like us.
    Only the power of the Holy Spirit can get truth past the obvious.

  31. #31
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,578
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Marsha, I'm struggling to decipher what to me comes across as a bit of a disconnect concerning the young man. Why do you think he would have to be less generous with others in order to live a responsible lifestyle? To me he sounds from your description like the poster boy for selfish greed. Nope, not gonna saddle him with responsibility for others or for himself. In failing to grow up and behave properly so he could hold a job, and then failing to provide for himself and his now gone son (more greed) he comes across as the greediest person around, not the most generous. On top of that he comes across as a slothful thief by expecting others to care for him and his offspring.

    Real generosity would put others first: his friends, his son, his family, even his nation before irresponsible action. I have many Mennonite friends who love to watch youtube documentaries on pacifism. One of them details a story from the founding of the nation, when Indians attacked a homestead. Father and son hid in the woods and watched the women of the family including little girls raped, scalped, and then murdered and burned to ash. They admire those males for the strength to do nothing to protect the innocents, and then being captured and being willing slaves. Nah, I'd much more admire men who would have fought to the death to protect them, or better yet men with brains enough not to put them in that position to start with.
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

  32. #32
    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Odon, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    5,428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    Marsha, I'm struggling to decipher what to me comes across as a bit of a disconnect concerning the young man. Why do you think he would have to be less generous with others in order to live a responsible lifestyle? To me he sounds from your description like the poster boy for selfish greed. Nope, not gonna saddle him with responsibility for others or for himself. In failing to grow up and behave properly so he could hold a job, and then failing to provide for himself and his now gone son (more greed) he comes across as the greediest person around, not the most generous. On top of that he comes across as a slothful thief by expecting others to care for him and his offspring.

    Real generosity would put others first: his friends, his son, his family, even his nation before irresponsible action.
    I guess we can both be glad that there are plenty of good Christian people who share your perspective and are eager to set this young man (and all the other dirty rotten sinners) on the strait and narrow path -- as soon as they can persuade him/them to submit to their authority. Thus far, he hasn't shown a lot of inclination that direction, but time will tell. Whatever happens, I think there are enough of them that I can safely be his friend and naively view his "greed" (really?? greed?) in sharing his meager resources with others as something in his favor rather than a character flaw. Particularly in light of Jesus' teaching in Luke 6 that doing so is the better way to live.

    One thing I decided a long time ago is to take the risk of showing up at the pearly gates and being turned away for being too liberal with grace toward sinners. I thank you for your concern, but you should probably not waste too much effort trying to set me straight. I'm in so deep I apparently can't even tell the difference between greed and generosity any more.
    Only the power of the Holy Spirit can get truth past the obvious.
    Thanks Dennis Bratcher - "thanks" for this post

  33. #33
    Senior Member Debi Peck's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    429
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas Finch View Post
    I haven't listened to his sermon from this Sunday yet, but I preached on the same passage (it was the Gospel reading from the Lectionary this week), and I quoted him (with credit to him) a couple of times in my sermon, as I had listened to his last several sermons and found some useful information on the Sermon on the Mount in them.
    His series on the Sermon on the Mount has been very helpful--convicting, too. He doesn't leave us any room to just sit around and be comfortable, that's for sure!
    Thanks Lucas Finch, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

  34. #34
    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Odon, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    5,428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    So there have been quite a few mentions of the importance of the not-obvious-to-us original context of Luke 6's "turn the other cheek" command... but no one has shared that context. I'd love to hear how some of you would bring that passage into today's Christian life based on that original context. I know what I've heard (that basically paints it as a form of non-violent resistance that forces your enemy to see you as human and shames them into treating you like one), but I don't know if that's what you all are describing...

    Anyone want to share?
    I might have some thoughts, but first I have to obtain and read a 488-page book and listen to a 45-minute sermon to catch up with what has already been offered. Unless, of course, someone would like to summarize the applicable sections.
    Only the power of the Holy Spirit can get truth past the obvious.

  35. #35
    Senior Member Debi Peck's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    429
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    I might have some thoughts, but first I have to obtain and read a 488-page book and listen to a 45-minute sermon to catch up with what has already been offered. Unless, of course, someone would like to summarize the applicable sections.
    Never fear. We're patient. We'll wait.

    I'm always reluctant to try paraphrasing what someone else has said, but I'll try. Essentially, what both the book and Pastor Scott brought out was that this passage isn't about "laying down and taking it." Quite to the contrary, it is exposing the injustice of the other person. When a person is "smote" on their cheek, it would be a back-hand, which is a very dismissive action. By turning the other cheek, you are causing them to go from dismissal to violence, from impersonal to personal. In that culture, a person who was poor could be taken to court and required to give their cloak--their outer garment which was their comfort, protection and status. By stripping naked and giving them your tunic, also, you are revealing the injustice of their action. Also in that culture, it was not a shame for a person to be naked--it was a shame for another person to see that nakedness. So by giving them your tunic, you were placing all the shame on them. A Roman soldier could require you by law to carry their stuff for one mile. By walking an additional mile, you cause them to break their own law, and again reveal the absurdity of them requiring you to walk the first mile.

    The thrust of the argument is that what may appear on the surface to be complete passivism is actually about revealing the injustice and wickedness of the other's actions. It is not about being a victim.

    (Hopefully I haven't completely butchered this!! LOL)
    Thanks Susan Unger, Gina Stevenson, Rich Schmidt, Marsha Lynn - "thanks" for this post

  36. #36
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Norton, MA Connor, ME
    Posts
    11,883
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    A missing piece of information is that this man in not married -- yet -- although he has been engaged for several years and has a son with his fiancee. That son was removed from the home they shared with multiple other people and they no longer have contact with him. No one is depending on him for survival, or even housing. Rather, he is dependent on others. Which means, he is aware of his indebtedness to those other people and 1) feels an obligation to share what comes his way in appreciation of their kindness and 2) wants to show kindness to other people as it has been shown to him.

    You and my friends are completely justified in seeing this generosity as a bad thing when, if he could just hang onto a job and practice frugality, he could become a supporter rather than someone being supported by others. But from my perspective, you're also blind to the rare beauty of that spirit of generosity.

    Do you know what would be really cool? This young man is fully immersed in the impoverished segment of our community and truly cares about people. The household of which he is a part has played a big role over the years in making sure homeless people have a roof over their head at night. Wouldn't it be great if we could equip people like that to take the love of God into their circles of friends and acquaintances to a greater degree than they are currently able rather than zeroing in on their generosity as a starting point to make them as close-fisted as everyone, of course, has to live in order to get ahead like us?

    Crazy talk, I know. But sometimes I can dream.

    If only he would quit smoking and quit giving money (and grace) away, maybe God could turn him into a respectable human being -- like us.
    Not blind to generosity at all Marsha. I know plenty of folks just like this fellow, he isn't generous at all. So technically he isn't married, and for some strange sense of perspective you don't see where he has an obligation to his son and son's mother?

    I'll not waste my words nor concern myself with your scorn directed toward people like us. Sarah has spoken well.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  37. #37
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Norton, MA Connor, ME
    Posts
    11,883
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Debi Peck View Post
    Never fear. We're patient. We'll wait.

    I'm always reluctant to try paraphrasing what someone else has said, but I'll try. Essentially, what both the book and Pastor Scott brought out was that this passage isn't about "laying down and taking it." Quite to the contrary, it is exposing the injustice of the other person. When a person is "smote" on their cheek, it would be a back-hand, which is a very dismissive action. By turning the other cheek, you are causing them to go from dismissal to violence, from impersonal to personal. In that culture, a person who was poor could be taken to court and required to give their cloak--their outer garment which was their comfort, protection and status. By stripping naked and giving them your tunic, also, you are revealing the injustice of their action. Also in that culture, it was not a shame for a person to be naked--it was a shame for another person to see that nakedness. So by giving them your tunic, you were placing all the shame on them. A Roman soldier could require you by law to carry their stuff for one mile. By walking an additional mile, you cause them to break their own law, and again reveal the absurdity of them requiring you to walk the first mile.

    The thrust of the argument is that what may appear on the surface to be complete passivism is actually about revealing the injustice and wickedness of the other's actions. It is not about being a victim.

    (Hopefully I haven't completely butchered this!! LOL)

    Good summary, this is what I've been taught and believed for years. But I'm having second thoughts, as this interpretation seems to require that we either ignore the immediate context of the passage, or as I've recently read, butcher them to the point where they become unbelievable. Way too much speculation, and I'm beginning to believe that the cultural context is made up.

    I've become more concerned as my research this last couple of days seems to point to Walter Wink as the originator of this. Not a credible source, in my book.

    I'm coming to the conclusion that the most believable option is also the most common. Avoid retribution.

    Not that Wink's advice is bad. I'm fine with the idea that I shouldn't consider myself better than anyone else, and Paul teaches us that we should assume that others are better than us. Wink is saying, and I agree, that when someone desires a hostile interaction while positioning themselves as a superior, then we don't accept and insist upon an interaction among equals.

    Good advice, but I highly suspect that it is built upon a made up story. Especially when I think upon the supposed use of the left hand. It doesn't add up, or pun intended, it doesn't pass the smell test.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  38. #38
    Full Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    68
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Some of the most generous people l have known, have also been the most irresponsible. We must look at people's motives first as this is what scripture tells us. God looks at the heart, and not just at the outward action.

    Easy living gives in abundance when the harvest is in, in the hope that the rest of the time, others will feel obligated to give back. But the period of the lean times, far outweighs the harvest. It also saves all the bother of storage.

    As in all things, we need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to know people's hearts and motives.

  39. #39
    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Odon, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    5,428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Luke 6 -- The Sermon on the Plain

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    Not blind to generosity at all Marsha. I know plenty of folks just like this fellow, he isn't generous at all. So technically he isn't married, and for some strange sense of perspective you don't see where he has an obligation to his son and son's mother?
    Who said he has no obligation toward others? Look again at the lyrics Billy posted. If "coward of the county" Tommy hadn't been off working someplace he could have protected Becky BEFORE the Gatlin boys got to her. Didn't he have an obligation to stay near her in such a dangerous county rather than leaving her alone and unprotected? Maybe my friend is filling his obligation by being present for the one he loves.

    Look, I'm not defending irresponsibility. I am pushing back against those who are so sure their way is the best/only way even when, at some level, it conflicts with the teachings of the man they claim to follow.

    Jesus said:
    Do not store up for yourselvestreasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
    Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
    “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain...”’
    20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool!'"
    "[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds"
    Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
    Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
    We say, "You must plan for the future! It is wrong to depend on other people to provide for you. You must work for your daily bread and support your family."

    Am I following these teachings of Jesus? Not very well. I definitely have possessions. I have savings for emergencies and the future. I turn people away who ask me to share with them. I'm not there. But what I hope I do NOT do is tell those who are closer to following Jesus' teachings than I am that they need to be more like me in order to please God.

    If this generous friend of mine invited me to help him improve his life, I would certainly not start by curbing his (greedy?) generosity. Nor even with his jobless state. I would try to help him with the anger that sometimes wells up within him and has ended several employment situations and landed him in jail multiple times. And with his physical well-being. I would help him explore his triggers and what lies behind them. I would review the choices that have caused him physical pain - failure to take proper precautions in risky situations - to see if he can better foresee the possible results of certain actions. (This may be an ADHD thing.) And I would assure him that he has infinite value in the eyes of God.
    Last edited by Marsha Lynn; February 24th, 2017 at 08:51 AM.
    Only the power of the Holy Spirit can get truth past the obvious.
    Thanks Rich Schmidt, Jon Bemis - "thanks" for this post

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts