was jesus gay?

for class this week, we’re reading a book by theodore w. jennings, jr. – the man jesus loved. i’ve only read the first hundred pages so far. the argument is mainly based on gospel of john in the first part where the author argues that the disciple whom jesus loves indicates not only that jesus was his lover but also that this love was of physical nature, setting it apart from the love jesus expressed for other disciples. it’s amazing how much one can go on just a few phrases in the text! the author compares the beloved disciple and jesus’ relationship to a marriage basing it on the dialogue when jesus was on the cross. jesus tells his mother, woman behold your son. and to the beloved disciple, behold your mother.

i honestly think that the text doesn’t really support the author’s argument that jesus and the beloved disciple were romantically involved. but i think jesus, as he cared for oppressed people, loved all those who were marginalized by the society.

if jesus were gay-friendly, would this/should this affect our faith? what if jesus himself was gay? does it even make sense that god/man would be either heterosexual or homosexual? at the same time, as the author states, if jesus was fully human, wouldn’t he have had some sort of sexual orientation?

class will be interesting, no doubt!

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prosperity gospel – does god want you to be happy?

so the tradition i was brought up in, is big on prosperity gospel. god wants to bless us, spiritually and materially. if we keep god’s commandments, pray hard and live in accordance to god’s will, god will show god’s favor upon us. and of course, to complicate matters, the tradition i believe in now is not big on prosperity, at least not in the way most prosperity preachers would like their congregation to believe.

i just read dave sung’s blog where he asks what prosperity gospel folks would do with the passage where apostle paul asks god three times, to take the thorn away from his side and god responds to paul by telling him that god’ grace is sufficient for him (pasted from dave sung’s blog out of laziness on my part):

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

so how would prosperity (god wants to bless us – physically, materially, spiritually) gospel preachers respond to this passage?

i think the problem with prosperity gospel is that they emphasize material (wealth, health, etc.) blessing at the expense of spiritual blessing. and those who criticize prosperity gospel folks do it at the expense of limiting how god can/does bless us. granted, i know those who are pointing fingers at prosperity gospel preachers are saying they are limiting god and choosing to believe in a god who is like a santa clause – giving toys (or blessing) to those who are good (theough works, not grace). and well, i can’t disagree there! they are picking and choosing to believe in a god that does not fully capture who god is as revealed through the hebrew bible and the new testament.

but the non-prosperity gospel preachers don’t/can’t/couldn’t deny that god could bless us if god chooses to – in all aspects, not only spiritually, but materially, physically, etc. we can’t run with hebrew bible (as well as some NT) passages where god says do X and god will bless you. for instance, if you commit your works to god, or if you ask, if you have faith, etc. then god will “bless” you. now exactly what the blessing is, isn’t that what prosperity gospel preachers are choosing to focus on wealth, health, etc. BUT they shouldn’t leave out spiritual blessing. and those who are non-prosperity preachers shouldn’t just say god blesses us spiritually because god can and does bless us in anyway god chooses to.

i just realized that the distinctions i’m seeing here explain why my parents and i don’t understand each other sometimes! okay, a lot of times. wowsers.

i believe – help my unbelief

wow.  time is passing by fast even when i am visiting my parents in korea.  today is christmas eve and it’s just another day, well, except that i’ll be spending the night at church.

yesterday at church, the pastor said the meaning of christmas was christ worship.  and i wonder how many people even know that’s what the word means! 

lately, i have been reflecting on whether, how much, and in what nature i believe in God.  it’s been super difficult to pray to God.  part of the reason is my recent struggles with depression.  i seem to be doing worse, not better.  and part of the reason has to do with what i’m reading/learning in my theology class.  i was brought up to believe in god who wants to bless us, loves us, and cares about us.  that is to say i believe/d in a personal god.  but the more i study theology i realize that the god i believe in is boxed in my what i want god to be, and not actually who god might be.  i mean who really knows what god is like anyway right?  but some theories sound more convincing than others, that is for sure. 

i still pray, prayers half-filled with unbelief.  i go to church but reluctantly, wondering what worshipping an impersonal god means.  can one maintain one’s faith while the conception of god which one previously held on to is going through radical change?  it seems that there is/must be a kind of a suspension in belief.  while the belief in god is going through radical revisions, it’s difficult even to know what one believes in. 

so as for the meaning of christmas, to be honest, i’m not sure what i believe or feel about it.  presents have been exchanged already in my family and tomorrow morning, we’ll rush to get to church and then head out for a family trip. 

top five new year’s resolutions

i’m determined to do the following during the year of 2008!!!

1.  lose about 60 pounds/30 kgs.  i gained a lot of weight since my last depression episode.  i know that at least one of my medicines are facilitating weight gain.  i’ve been exercising three time a week for the past six months.  i’m going to try to go to the gym 4 time a week during the new year. 

2.  by the end of january i want to quit smoking for good.  i don’t know if i can.  but i’m sure going to try. 

3.  i want to finish my program in theology by the end of spring semester.  i think i want to write a thesis on nothingness in order to fulfill graduation requirements. 

4.  i want to come off of effexor completely.

5. there shall be no 10th hospital visit!

that’s all for now.  🙂

sleep

i stayed up until 7 am this morning and then slept through out the day today. what i realize is that when i’m feeling good, as i did last night, i just don’t want to go to bed. and sure enough today i didn’t feel as good this morning. so i’m giving up on the regular sleeping thing and i got a cup of coffee for the night. hehe

i’m trying to consolidate my blog websites but it won’t happen succesfully until i get my website up and running. does anyone know a book or a site that is easy to understand yet informative enough on how to build a website? i have a domain name and a remote server already.

so since this is my first real blog here, i thought i’d have a little confessional moment. i am big on avoidance. it’s not even procrastination where people do other semi-productive things instead of doing what they dread doing. for me, i just avoid doing all things when i have something i have to do that is emotionally difficult. so i’ve been in bed a lot or because i have been in bed a lot because i don’t feel so good.

another thing is that i am trying to recover from unipolar depression. sure illnesses don’t define you. like that’s in question? but it sure colors everything you perceive and every decision you make, or don’t make. i’ve been in and out of the hospital a lot in the past few years, especially. they, the doctors, are trying different combinations of drugs on me. one medicine worked for a while but stopped working for whatever reason, so i’m coming off of that medicine. anyway, long story short, it takes a lot of effort for me to do anything, anything except for blogging. so i’m rather prolific most of the time.

i study theology, having studied philosophy previously. i love it, but it’s become difficult especially with hospital stays and “bad” days and so forth. so i am considering a career change. but not because i want to, you see? it is not the greatest feeling to have in the world to know you can’t pursue what you felt was such a meaningful aspect of your life.

as much as studying had/has giving my life meaning, i am also musically/artistically inclined. i used to play piano for a long time, which i couldn’t keep up so i gave it up pretty much completely. but i still paint and when i’ve got lots of energy, then i take photographs too.

life is a torture for me most of the time. i’ve written else where that life feels to me like someone is holding my eye lids open when all i want to do is blink. and it’s true that at times i just want the pain and suffering to end. let’s face it, i feel like that most of the time. but then there are times when i am distracted enough that i actually forget that i don’t want to live. and at those moments i feel thankful.

there is a whole lot of religious seeking/searching that is going on with me right now which i would like to write about at some point. but maybe i’ve said enough for now.