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Thu Dec 21, 2017, 11:21 AM

How can you be Christian without caring for the poor?

The minuscule Galilean town in which Joseph and Mary spent their lives and raised their son Jesus, was, quite literally, a joke. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” asked one disciple, when he heard where the Messiah was from. Some scholars posit that this was a popular saying in the 1st century. In any event, Nazareth was on the fringes of the Roman Empire. Roman roads avoided it until the 2nd century. Jesus came from a backwater of a backwater; he and his mother and father, the figures at the heart of the Christmas story, were most likely considered throwaway people.

The Gospels tell us little about Mary other than to say that she was a parthenon, a young woman, a virgin, most likely illiterate. The life of women in 1st century Nazareth was difficult: filled mainly with labor.

But life in Nazareth was difficult for everyone, not just women. Life expectancy was in the 30s. Those who reached 60 were rare. In “Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit,” a fascinating study of daily Jewish life in Nazareth, the scholar Jodi Magness points out that we tend to view the life of the Holy Family through a “highly sanitized lens.” Garbage and sewage were tossed outside into the alleyways, perhaps by Mary herself. Magness describes conditions in Galilee as “filthy, malodorous and unhealthy.”Joseph is described in the Gospels as a tekton, a word that opens a tantalizing window into Jesus’ early life as well, since he followed his foster father in his profession. Tektons were generally seen as ranking, socially and economically, below the peasantry since most didn’t own a plot of land. It was probably a hardscrabble life, building doors and tables, but also likely digging ditches and building walls. Today many scholars translate tekton not as carpenter, but as handyman or day laborer.

Jesus came from a backwater of a backwater; he and his mother and father were most likely considered throwaway people.
You can detect growing discomfort with this lower-class status in the Gospel narratives. When Jesus reveals his divine identity in Mark, the earliest Gospel, people say, “Is this not the tekton?” Writing a few decades later, Matthew transfers the label onto Jesus’ foster father: “Is this not the son of the tekton?” people ask. Finally, in Luke and John, written even later, all vestiges of Jesus’ former occupation disappear from the question: “Is this not the son of Joseph?”

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-martin-throwaway-holy-family-20171221-story.html

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Reply How can you be Christian without caring for the poor? (Original post)
Zorro Dec 2017 OP
Girard442 Dec 2017 #1
FBaggins Dec 2017 #2
SCantiGOP Dec 2017 #5
Skittles Dec 2017 #3
marble falls Dec 2017 #4
hatrack Dec 2017 #6
Igel Dec 2017 #7
uriel1972 Dec 2017 #8
crim son Dec 2017 #9
Hortensis Dec 2017 #10

Response to Zorro (Original post)

Thu Dec 21, 2017, 11:34 AM

1. It's my sincere wish in this Christmas Season...

...that those who profess to believe that every word in the Bible is the inspired word of God would suddenly be given a deep understanding of all of it.

Whether this would be a blessing or a curse, you can decide for yourself.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Thu Dec 21, 2017, 12:03 PM

2. You can't... but that's not particularly useful for political conversations

The author's interpretation/guesses that make Jesus "throwaway people" is unsupportable IMO, but that's not needed in order to make the point that Christians are obligated to care for the poor.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 21, 2017, 03:19 PM

5. My sister-in-law

Reposted a message about how fortunate we are to have Trump in the WH so we can once again celebrate a “Christ-centered Christmas.”
I usually don’t respond to her crap (like her “like this if you think Hillary should be in prison”) but I couldn’t ignore her on this one.
I told her that if she truly wanted a Christ-like Christmas she would turn off FOX news and read the New Testament where it tells you to care for the sick and the poor and not to be obsessed with money.
Haven’t heard back from her yet.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Thu Dec 21, 2017, 02:18 PM

3. YOU CAN'T

NONE OF THOSE THIEVING BASTARDS ARE REAL CHRISTIANS

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Thu Dec 21, 2017, 03:04 PM

4. How can you be human and ignore the poor?

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Thu Dec 21, 2017, 05:37 PM

6. Simple - tell yourself that's it's A: God's will they're poor or B: Their fault they're poor . . .

Or combine A and B.

Simple!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Dec 22, 2017, 11:29 AM

7. The backwaterness of Nazareth is something I learned about a long time ago.

Recently--in the last year or two--I learned about Sepphoris.

It was the administrative capital of Galilee. It was a major trading center for the area and a military outpost.

It was 5 km from Nazareth, if the location we think Nazareth was in actually was Nazareth. 5 km's a bit more than 3 miles. That's an hour's walk.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 10:08 AM

8. quite easily it seems...

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Thu Dec 28, 2017, 08:07 PM

9. They like to claim that

they are helping the poor by forcing them to help themselves. In some cases that's a good argument, but not in most. I'm afraid that when Jesus said that the poor will always be with us, He prepared the ground for a whole lot of nonsense on the part of his followers.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Dec 29, 2017, 10:56 AM

10. Let's be honest about Republicans and the Bible. Both

emphasize very strongly beliefs that people who do right are rewarded and those who do not are punished.

Yes, you do hear a whole lot fewer "what would Jesus do"s these days. At least I do and suspect a great deal of defiance and adjusted understandings of Jesus's teachings behind it, but not rejection.

Conservatives naturally tend to a gut belief in a natural order that rewards good behaviors and punish bad behaviors. This has also been a major part of Christian doctrine (and other religions) for many centuries. Christianity's god may have become a loving father in more recent ones, but serene acceptance of even viciously severe punishments for people who sin is deeply inculcated.

Who hasn't heard "why me?" dozens of times? It comes from people who believe in their guts that when cancer, a child's death, unemployment or economic disasters hit others they are usually deserved in some way, that even good people must have done something wrong or god wouldn't let it happen.

Now add in this reality: By personality alone, before environmental religious factors kick in, conservative brains are genetically wired to have a darker view of humanity than liberal brains are. Very generally speaking, liberals tend to believe people will mostly be good on their own. Conservatives know they will not.

Conservatives today believe more than ever, courtesy of mass manipulation, that government programs that keep people from experience the consequences of sinning encourage bad behaviors (not entirely irrationally--they can and do in some cases) on disastrous nationwide and biblical scales that will eventually destroy whole societies around the planet. With the help of anxiety-fanning manipulators, most believe we are witnessing just that happen and are voting to save themselves and everyone else.

Not excusing so many following demons far off the path of righteousness, only saying that to most it still looks like that.

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