Wednesday, January 13, 2010
A New Christian and the Core “C” Document
There is that last scene in the 1960 Movie “Time Machine” where it is determined that the Time Traveler has gone back to the future to rebuild a dying Earth civilization. It is also discovered that he has taken three books from his library to aid him in his efforts. The interesting question is what three books did he take? What three books would you take to represent the best of Human History and Cultures?
Interesting questions. I have written before about the Quelle Document that scholars have searched for in trying to balance the quotes of Jesus in the first three gospels that seem to be very exact or the same in translation. The “Q” – (Quelle – or “source” in German) - document is something of a holy grail for New Testament scholars.
I step back and have to wonder if the quest for “Q” is a macro or a micro attempt to get closer to the teachings of Jesus. Since it covers the base of three documents, the synoptic gospels, it is a macro item.
I want something a little more that a cheat sheet that the gospels writers, the dozens of them, copied from to define the true essence of Jesus and his teachings.
The search for the basic Jesus is perhaps in a “C” or Core Document (Core same in English as German?) - that is the base seed from which all other gospels grow and build upon. If there is such a Core or “C” document, then it might be a small and hidden document and right in front of the scholars’ noses all along.
If the new belief in non-belief represents the New Atheism, perhaps the minimalist beliefs of a Cultural Christian can represent that of a New Christian.
Where am I going with this? Well looking through the top fifteen “red ball” quotes by the Jesus Seminar of religious scholars, I see that seven out of the top fifteen quotes are from one chapter of one gospel. This particular group of scholars agree on what was truly said by Jesus with a high percentage of agreement on certan quotes in the NT. Those seven quotes I refer to are from Luke chapter six.
Reading Luke 6, I have to consider that here is close to eighty percent of the Jesus drama and Jesus message spelled out in plain language.
You have the blasphemy of King David in the House of G-D and the taking of the Sabbath from the sacred to the secular in the one phrase “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” – meaning “the people” make the rules for Sabbath and not high priests. Miracles are allowed on the Sabbath.
You have the naming of the twelve Apostles.
You have the Sermon on the Mount.
You have love for enemies and the judging of others.
You have a tree and its fruit.
And you have the houses built on rock and sand.
Luke 6 (New International Version)
That if one wanted to print Luke 6 in small print, it could be printed on two sides of one piece of paper. Luke 6 could be put into your wallet or purse.
You could read it everyday to be reminded of the message of the teacher, the master, the Prophet, the social agitator, the community organizer, the Son of Man, and the people – the people of God – who live the Jesus message everyday as – New Christians in a new global age.
A New Christian can believe and try to live by the basic core message of Jesus' teachings.
Like the Time Traveler who needed three books to bear witness to the whole of human history and culture, the New Christian perhaps only needs two to three pages – Luke 6 – on which to build a future for mankind, the whole of the human race, for generations to come.