Lest you think I'm combining these two topics, I included both the Stations of the Cross and Paul in my title today because I want to address both of these separate and distinct topics.
This morning I went along as co-teacher on a field trip with our 5th/6th grade RE class to an outdoor retreat center at a Catholic church so that we could walk the Stations of the Cross. (FYI, the Stations of the Cross is a 14-stop walk that symbolizes the walk that Jesus made through Jerusalem on Good Friday on his way to his execution.) We took 8 of our young people and 6 adults. Of course, we framed it all in our UU perspective, but I have to say it is one of the few experiences that I've had at the UU church which really struck me to the core. Most of what I do at the UU church feels so spiritually dry and empty that this was an amazing and blessed departure. I love having Jesus as part of my church experience, which at the UU church is rare. After all, it *is* Palm Sunday.
Then this afternoon was the monthly meeting of my UU Christian Circle. Our discussion topic for the day was Paul. I have to say that I haven't been a fan a Paul. I have attributed much of what I feel is wrong with the modern Christian church to Paul. Our discussion today (based on the Living the Questions
curriculum developed by the United Methodist Church) has caused me to rethink Paul and makes me want to go back and reread the Pauline parts of the New Testament. What I learned was two earth-shattering and important things.
First, of the 13 letters often attributed to Paul, scholars only think 7 were actually written by Paul himself. The other 6 are believed to have been written later by followers of Paul who adapted his message to soften Paul's message of radical grace. So it is possible that the misogynist and homophobic statements attributed to Paul may actually have come from his followers who were trying to make Paul's teachings fit in a patriarchal, conservative society.
The second thing I learned was about the mistranslation of the word Pistis
from the original text. This word was translated originally as "faith in" as in having "faith in Jesus" being the key to salvation. But in reality the closer translation would have been "faithfulness of". So the key to salvation was in believing in the "faithfulness of Jesus". If the scriptures had been translated that way all along, the emphasis would have been in following the teachings of Jesus rather than worshiping and deifying the man. Christianity and the western world would have been a totally different thing if not for that one mistranslation.
I must reread the New Testament...
Labels: Lent, My Spiritual Search, RE, Theology, UU Christian Circle