Posts Tagged ‘Nero’


Scholars believe Peter, the one that is held as the Apostolic Succession by the Roman Catholic Church, wrote these words in 1 Peter between 60-64 CE, in the seat of Imperial power, Rome. As has been noted in earlier posts there were many different types of Christianities all existing under one huge umbrella. Peter’s as seen in the first chapter held to the teachings of the Hebrew Bible, but also to the life, teachings, and death of Jesus of Nazareth. What is lost in translation, is that the simple fact of the “gospel” they chose to live as followers of the Way was an act of treason. Say what?

Yes, you read that right. TREASON. See the term gospel is a political proclamation. The way the followers of Jesus of Nazareth deemed to live was in direct confrontation and contradiction to the Emperor’s Gospel. It created a scenario where in different jurisdictions persecution, imprisonment and even execution was valid. Paul, when he was Saul was a lead inquisitor from religious oppression on this front (and it was one of the reasons the other Apostle’s struggled with trusting him). In 64 CE Nero’s contempt and rage would reach a crescendo as he attempted to cover up his own burning of Rome, and yes it would lead to the execution of Peter.

Yet Peter still brings these words to the second chapter:

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”[a]

and

“A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

-1 Peter 2:1-12 (English Standard Version)

Peter dives into personal holistic formation. A rebuilding of the self within the new reality of wholeness. As the Holy Spirit/Breath has been attuned within you. That’s right, it has always been there, but now you are aware and living in the Oneness with God. All the religious barriers created were thrown away. It was about being the Law and the Prophets as Brother Jesus had brought them together in the Great Commandments of Love-God, Neighbour and Self. This is what we are now living into, and living out of. By doing this, even if you are not understood or seen as weird, what cannot be questioned is the actions of compassion. Even when those actions destroy and eliminate societal levels creating a community where all belong.

Spiritual formation. Holistic health. Mentoring. Or to use a Biblical word- discipleship. Not about huge numbers, but about a depth of character created that makes a true positive and holy change in the world.

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[b] whether it be to the emperor[c] as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[d] of God.17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

-1 Peter 2:13-25 (ESV)

This is a passage that can be used for evil (ala weaponized) so easily to create sheeple. For it sounds like Peter is telling his gathering to surrender and do whatever the government and other institutions tell them to do. Whether it is right or not. Think of how this has played out in time with slavery, holocausts, genocides, sexual abuse cover ups (and the list can go on). In a way saying that you cannot question authority. But that is a shallow and twisted hearing of the words for a man that lost his life to stand against the Empire.

Look at the key words: Do good, Love, Live as a free people. People in the Empire were not free, they were controlled by a strong caste system, and many were seen as nothing more than property. Things were hard to change in the era. But these key words are inspirational to those that want to bring change. Stand firm in your belief of faith, know that it will be challenging (as the second piece walks one through what happened to Jesus with his stance of equality, justice, and love).

It is about throwing off the oppressive labels and shackles that still exist in this day and age. What stigma causing labels are holding you back? Do you accept them, but know that you are just how you are meant to be? Or do you hear the words of Peter and live into the defeat that the labels are used to bring about?

It is the choice between light and darkness. For darkness exists because the hope has been snuffed out. One is left to believe that their life is dark and defeated, hopeless. No hope to return. This is what Peter is saying, there is hope. You have done the work destroying the sludge that had buried the light of your soul. Let that light shine, and know that change will happen.

Will you choose to live the light?

Apostle Shuffle 1

Posted: December 1, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible, Spirituality
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Ah Simon, whom Jesus named Peter. Which can be translated in two ways- as rock or little pebble. I like the concept of little pebble, for if that is what community is to be built upon it works so well within the Gospel proclamation that a seed as small as a Mustard Seed will grow a huge tree to house all the birds. Peter, eventually came to lead the gathering in Rome.

But let’s touch upon a few of the things that happened before this. Peter could be working class to middle class if economics could be described as such in the occupied Judea. He was married (we know this because Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law). He is recorded as the one that tried to step out of the boat and walk on water, but a shaking of his faith causes him to fall in, to be rescued by Jesus. He is there when Jesus is transfigured and has an adventure in missing the point by wanting to commemorate the moment in the old ways. At one point in the journey of life, Jesus calls his best friend, Satan. Oh, and there was the sword and the cutting of the guard’s ear off in the garden. Let us not forget when Jesus was arrested and lynched, Peter in his fear would deny even knowing him. His closure and new beginning coming when Jesus walks with Peter to re-affirm his conviction of the new path Jesus had laid out. Oh, and for the Roman Catholics, the big shout out that Peter seeing the incarnation for what it truly was, and knowing the Oneness possible in the Holy Breath of creation, Jesus metaphorically let Peter know the keys to the Kingdom were his. Peter was the one that stood at Pentecost with the other Apostles as the Holy Spirit renewed the community; he argued with God about what was clean and unclean. Scholars believe it is his stories that inspired John Mark (the one running naked from the arrest in the Canonical Gospel of Mark) to put quill to parchment and write the Canonical Gospel of Mark circa 70 CE (6 years after Peter’s martyrdom).

This is the man that has Jude or perhaps John Mark act as his scribe to write 1 Peter for encouragement under times of persecution. Let us pause and really understand persecution, it is not when people get offended if you say Merry Christmas, or a world embracing all people so you feel social conservative values are threatened. It is actual execution level persecution. Yes there are Christians that still encounter this in the 21st Century, but there are many groups as well and that needs to be remembered.

Even at the time this letter was written there was some highly active persecution, as recorded in the ancient texts of the Didache. That saw some governors comparing notes of one-up-man-ship in how they executed Christians and other malcontents. Some areas could care less, and just let the small sect exist, for natural distrust by other citizens and residents of the new sect led to exclusion. Others took more of an active role encouraged by the Emperor who needed an enemy to cover up his short comings. As well remember this letter came out around the time of the Epistle of James that saw the religious re-seize Jerusalem from Rome, which created more of an air of suspicion for this small sect whose teachings completely removed followers from being apart of the Emperor Cult.

Which when Nero would burn down Rome in his madness…well… can one say scape goat in 64 CE? That is what happened with Peter, reported crucified upside down, for his beliefs in a hope of eliminating the sect in Rome.

These are the words in 1 Peter that came before that moment.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Epistle of First Peter 1:3-9 (English Standard Version)

The pilgrimage of the soul to the heart of the sacred (I believe I wrote a book called that). It is the journey of the visible and invisible. The teachings of hope, faith, peace, joy and love. In his visit in Acts of the Apostle’s to Cornelius’ house (Acts 10) that all barriers and labels had fallen away. As originally intended, yet our shadow side of humanity had gotten in the way. This is the true salvation, moving into Oneness with the Holy Mystery, letting that Holy Breath (Spirit) connect us each with one another. It is as the Great Commandment had been laid out. No barrier love of the Holy, opened up love of the Image Bearer in the mirror before you, and for the one next to you.

Creates eternal joy as you are the authentic you. Knowing you are created just as you are meant to be. Now you are on the path of the vocation that is truly you.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time[a] the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

-Epistle of First Peter 1:10-12 (ESV)

Psychology. Mindfulness. CBT. DBT. These are things that are used secular to draw us back to our true core. Energy Healing and other holistic spirituality are used to draw us back to our core. Centering prayer and meditation are used to draw us back to our core. As is ritual in community and individually used to draw us back to our core.

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[b] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

“All flesh is like grass
    and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

-Epistle of First Peter 1:13-25 (ESV)

Peter relying on what he learned as a child from the stories that would become the Hebrew Bible synthesized through the completion of the Law and the Prophets Jesus of Nazareth extolled in what would become the Christian Testament. How do we know this?

When the lawyer came to trap Brother Jesus about the greatest commandments he rested on Love- God, Self, and Neighbour with your everything– mind, body, soul and emotions (very much a medicine wheel). This is what does not perish when one is gone, the love they lived within this world, and the love in Paradise of the next life to come.

What story does your love create in the world?

 

 


Some Sundays even when one is healthy they cannot pull it together to get to church with the family. It can even be harder after a night of neuro-events, that left your own son checking on you to make sure “Daddy was still alive”. This was the night that I had come through, and was not well rested when I awoke. But needed to fill up the spirit over my cheerios and cuppa, which led me to accept a challenge from a friend. Re-look at JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek reboot.

See, the challenge is, I am not a huge fan of Star Trek XI-XIII. I understand a series rebooting, new generation, new ideas. Yet I was one of the Trekkies’ pulling for a Worf led Enterprise movie; or a Riker/Troi USS Titan or a DS9 or Voyager…or even and Enterprise series movie…if there was to be something new what about looking at Enterprise C or B? Or another ship completely in the Star Trek Universe. Why re-cast iconic characters (and yes I realize this happens with James Bond, Conan, Batman, The Doctor, etc.). But this was the original cast being, well, re-cast. It is also a bit of Trekkie cognitive dissonance because I may not be completely infatuated with the new movies Boldly Going, but have enjoyed the re-cast in the IDW comic series. Soooo….

So addled brained, lethargic and somewhat hypothermic I settled in to be filled.

I am part of an endangered species.

-Spock (2009)

The death of Romulus leading a time travel narrative, a nod to Remus’ demise in Star Trek: Nemesis. Nero seeking vengeance for loss of his family, and destroying Vulcan. The act of travelling back creating an alternate reality where not everything is the same (and Vulcan is destroyed by an act of Zealot-Terrorism). New imaginings of each character.

Yet core precepts remain the same.

You are now, and will always be my friend… I am emotionally compromised, I lost my people, you need to get others to see.

-Spock (TOS in 2009).

Scotty talking about beaming Admiral Archers dog into somewhere when trying transwarp teleporting. Elder (Other-reality) Spock doing a tongue-in-cheek nod to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, by giving Scotty a formula he would invent to move along a problem-solving plot point.

Kirk’s beating of the Kobayashi Maru (the no-win situation) a test designed by this reality’s Spock who chose Starfleet realizing he would never fit within Vulcan world fully. Playing out a more human side to the child of both world’s that followed Spock throughout the original.

Bones sharing his venture outwards to space, due to a loss of his family.

The ultimate no-win scenario to beat the drive of vengeance as Vulcan is in ruins, only 10,000 survivors and Nero has set his sights of Earth. The travel back in time to destroy the Federation (A Star Trek: First Contact nod), and red matter if it was the 1980’s you could hear the word “Genesis” ringing…life from lifelessness, lifelessness from life.

But it raises an allegorical point. Vulcan was the epicentre of where the Federation was birthed. A zealot not tied to any group officially lost something and took revenge by blowing up Vulcan (are you seeing terrorist parallels in our world?)…and how easy it would be to move to escalation instead of focusing on the need for a measured response while continuing to build relations. Even by bringing out a darker tone, as the story is being birthed in the world of uncertainty (more precarious than I would say the Cold War world, and post-Cold War world that birthed the original shows and spin-offs)…but still trying to bring hope to the front.

How is hope brought forward?

Through guidance of the elders to the core values of each character. That even if it appears everything may be different, choices can still be made to create a community of belonging.

The question the movie raises is whether Kirk and company this time will let the inclusion principles of the Federation win out, or succumb to the darkness being spread by Nero?

Are you Spock or Nero? Or Spock? Each decision creates a point in time of change.

What is your choice?