Friday, July 16, 2010

314: Pedicure

John 13-15
" he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him." - John 13:4-5

Chapter 13 starts as passover nears. Jesus knows that his death is near. As Jesus and his disciples are having their evening dinner (this must be the last supper, though John doesn't make a big deal about it), the bible says that Satan has already prompted Judas to betray Jesus.

In the middle of dinner, Jesus takes off his "outer clothing" and wraps a towel around his waist. He then starts washing all of his disciples feet. Peter, upon seeing this, says that Jesus will never wash his feet. Jesus responds by saying "unless I wash you, you have no part with me". Peter says that if he washes his feet, he should wash his entire body. I guess it's in for a penny in for a pound with Peter. Jesus further replies that a person who takes a bath needs only to wash their feet. I guess all the showers I've taken in my life have been a big waste of time.

Jesus explains that, since he's washed their feet, they should go wash others' feet. Which I assume is a metaphor for spreading the word of God, or some such thing.

The next section is Jesus predicting his betrayal. This is decidedly different than the other times we've heard this story. Jesus first says that someone is going to betray him, and the disciples ask who. Jesus says that he will dip his bread in a dish, and the person he gives the bread to is his betrayer.

Jesus dips the bread and gives it to Judas (in front of the disciples). As soon as Judas takes the bread, "Satan entered into him". This would imply that Jesus somehow allowed Satan to enter Judas. Jesus then tells Judas to go quickly, and do what he is going to do. Instead of "woe" to the person that betrays him, in John, Jesus seems to give Judas his blessing.

As if this version of the story weren't strange enough already, none of the disciples seem to acknowledge what Jesus has just told them. The bible says that nobody at the table knew what Jesus mean't when he said "go quickly" to Judas. Shouldn't everyone be saying "holy shit, Judas is the betrayer". Jesus, after all, pretty clearly answered their question.

At the end of chapter 13, Jesus gives the disciples the command to love one another as he has loved them. Unfortunately for the reader, we haven't really seen how Jesus showed love for his disciples. Should we randomly wash people's feet? Thats the only really loving thing that Jesus has said/done for the disciples.

The entirety of chapter 14 is a long rant about Jesus being the way to God and promising to give people the Holy Spirit. I don't claim to fully understand this, but I'm told most Christians don't really understand the trinity, so I don't feel so bad.

First Jesus says that the only way to God is through him. The disciples then immediately ask to be shown the Father. Jesus responds by saying he's in the Father and the Father is in him. So by being shown Jesus they've been shown the Father. Then Jesus is the Father? Then how can we get to the Father through Jesus if Jesus is already the father? I've found a video that may help us understand (I think I've already shown this, but it's worth a second watch):

Glad we got that cleared up.

Moving on to the last half of chapter 14, Jesus tries to explain this "Holy Spirit" that he's leaving us all with (well, not all of us). Jesus says that if you love and obey him, he will tell the Father to imbue you with Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit will be your counselor and will somehow allow Jesus to be in you. When you get this Spirit, the bible says, "you will realize that I [Jesus] am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you". I'm starting to feel like some sort of strange Russian nesting doll.

Jesus further explains that his counselor (the Holy Spirit) will teach you all things and remind you of what Jesus taught. So all you have to do is love and obey Jesus and you'll have a walking bible encyclopedia in your brain? Needless to say, this doesn't quite align with reality.

Chapter 15 just repeats Jesus's command for the disciples to love one another. There's also a rambling metaphor about God trimming the vine (Jesus) so that only the best fruit (disciples?) will grow. The chapter ends with Jesus saying that the world may hate the disciples. But this is just because the disciples are not of this world(?).

As if we haven't heard enough about this ground zero mosque, God recently visited Bill Keller and told him he needed to build a church near ground zero (to combat the mosque, of course). God seems to have forgotten that there is already a church in the rebuilt 7 World Trade Center (right across the street), and that St. Paul Chapel is a block away. For reference, let's see what the Cordoba House's (renamed 51 Park Place) initiative is:
Cordoba House is a Muslim-led project which will build a world-class facility that promotes tolerance, reflecting the rich diversity of New York City. The center will be community-driven, serving as a platform for inter-community gatherings and cooperation at all levels, providing a space for all New Yorkers to enjoy.
Now lets see what Bill has to say about Islam:
Islam is a 1400-year-old lie from hell, dreamed up by Mohammed after being visited by angels of satan in his sleep. "Allah" is an imaginary god that is actually a black rock and is NOT the God of the Bible! Islam has advanced this false relgion for 1400 years through violence, hatred, and death. The greatest difference between Christianity and Islam is that you are born into Islam, or threatened with death to become a Muslim. You become a Christian by making the free-will choice to accept Jesus Christ by faith!
A "black rock"? I guess black rocks are worse than regular rocks (which God is constantly compared to in the Old Testament). I don't see that it matters (at least in this discussion) how the religion was originally advanced. Christianity had it's violent days too. What does matter is that the Islam of today (in America) doesn't advance itself through hatred or violence. In fact, the only hatred I see in this situation is the Christians, which seems to contradict at least the teaching of Jesus.
After I got over being angry, I got on my knees in prayer. I knew God was calling me to do something, but what? After many hours, I realized it would not be another "big event," that just hours after it was over people would be back to their lives and nothing would have been accomplished. We have all been to and seen "big events," and nothing ever changes. No, this had to be more than an event, but an ongoing mission to combat this new evil being constructed near ground zero which would bring people the Truth of God's Word and the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
And as usual when God calls you to do something, all he needs is money. Eight million dollars worth to be exact. Eight million dollars is perfectly ok for something unneeded, God says so:
God has shown me that the new 9-11 Christian Center at Ground Zero is going to be the catalyst, the final piece to the many ministries of Liveprayer to not only continue impacting millions of lives for Christ each day, but exponentially expand all of our existing efforts to not just bring God's Truth to the national marketplace in a bold and visible way, not just see souls won for Christ, but have the ability to turn the spritual course of this nation and lead our great land back to God and His Truth!!!
Right, a catalyst to spread your message of hatred and fear of Islam. Why is it that American Muslims (who I'm supposed to believe are insane extremists) always seem to come off as the sane, moderate ones in the Christian vs. Islam debate? If these nutty Christians don't want to follow the Constitution (which affords them the same right to build a church as it does for a Muslim group to build a mosque), they could at least follow their own scripture. They seem to have forgotten Jesus's command to "love each other".


  1. Hey Bryan, maybe when you're finished with the Bible you can tackle the Koran next.

  2. John 13

    John doesn't say that the Last supper is Passover his Gospel, it isn't, as we'll see later. Note that there's no mention of Jesus giving instructions for the disciples to prepare for Passover, Jesus doesn't say that he was looking forward to eating Passover with the disciples (as in Luke), and he doesn't institute the the sacramental meal of bread and wine, adopted from pagan rituals but parallel to Moses' sacred meal of the lamb for Passover. (John has placed that much earlier, during the Bread of Life discussion in Capernaum.)

  3. John 14-15

    John 14:1. Trust in God and trust in Jesus? I thought they were the same.

    John 14:5-6. Another artificial prompt, this time by Thomas, to set up one of Jesus' monologues, like Martha in 11:.

    John 14:14. "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." Another promise of Jesus that is broken countless times every day.

    John 14:16,26. The Counselor (Paracletos) is a convenient concept for introducing all kinds of new ideas and ascribing them to Jesus after the fact. Paul does something similar with his "words of the Lord."

    John 14:22. Judas (not Judas Iscariot) is probably the same person as Judas son of James in Luke, but he was not among Mark's and Matthew's lists of the Twelve.

    John 14:28. The Father is greater than Jesus? How can they be if they are the same? x>x? Then logically every false statement is also true. Which would be perfectly in keeping with this Gospel, and the religion in general.

    John 14:31. Jesus says, "Come now; let us leave," in the middle of his monologue, and then continues on for several more chapters without missing a beat.

  4. Hello, nice blog. I recently finished reading the Bible myself. From one atheist to another: Your repeated defenses of Islam baffle me. You seem to have bought in to the idea that Islamic terrorists are extremists, and that extremists are rare. Actually, polls show that the majority of Muslims believe that suicide bombing is justifiable. And these polls were taken outside of the most Islamic countries! Islam teaches its adherents that God/Allah hates nonbelievers, that nonbelievers will go to Hell, that it is the Muslim's duty to go to war against nonbelievers, and the glorious murder of nonbelievers will send you directly to Paradise and allow you to choose several people to go with you. Young men and women who blow themselves up in their quest for martyrdom are admired; their parents are congratulated; the family celebrates. Yes, Christianity had its period in history when it was filled with violence and murder. But in first world nations, those days are over. Islam, on the other hand, is filled with violence and murder NOW. I believe that as a critical thinker and skeptic of religion, you would enjoy Sam Harris's books "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation". There is some great information on Islam in the former.

  5. Anna Nicole DahmerJuly 17, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    great site. no surprise here, but bill keller is a fraud. this is just another scheme of his to raise 8 million dollars so he can get back on television to raise even more money. go figure.

  6. Akarikaty and Bryan are both right here. Islam does indeed have extremes of violence and death to compete with other religions (a kind of survival of the fittest religion?), but decent everyday Muslims have to ignore these directives to lead peaceful lives. In a similar manner Christians have to ignore the violent parts of the bible, which the average person manages to do without difficulty.
    I often wonder what goes through the mind of the religious person when they read their holy book but choose not to follow it implicitly because they correctly realise that they would rather get on with their neighbour. In my street live average Christians and average Muslims, and they are as good neighbours as anyone. Why they retain their religious affiliations baffles me.

  7. Here is a link to the poll I was talking about, which is also a Pew poll, coincidentally:

    Thanks for the study. Glad to see American Muslims are less ok with terrorism than Muslims seem to be in much of the rest of the world. Are you really that impressed with an 83% disapproval rate, though? That still gives us a lot of Muslims in the United States who support suicide bombing. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that there is a smaller percentage of Christians in this country who are in favor of terrorism for the sake of spreading their religion, as meddlesome as they are in the areas of abortion, stem cell research, same sex marriage, etc. In a different post, you said, “From what I read in this article the only reason these people oppose this mosque is their baseless fears about terrorists.” Even if we agree that Americans’ fear of Muslims is greater than it should be, I do not think those fears are baseless. There are enough Islamic terrorist attacks going on to form some kind of base for that fear, surely. No one here worries about Buddhist terrorist attacks, after all.

    My point is not that we should fight the building of the mosque. To do so is to violate our constitution. I agree with you that Christians have no right to get upset and try to prevent the building of the mosque. I just can't agree that Islam does not advance itself in this country through hatred and violence. Let me just quote right out of The End of Faith:

    “Terrorist Hunter (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), whose anonymous author has gone undercover to tape the proceedings at Muslim conferences in the United States, depicts a shocking level of intolerance among Muslims living in the West. The author reports that at one conference, held at the Ramada Plaza hotel in suburban Chicago, Arab American children performed skits in which they killed Jews and became martyrs. Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine (appointed by Yasir Arafat), recently announced, ‘The Jews do not dare to bother me, because they are the most cowardly creatures Allah has ever created….We tell them: In as much as you love life, the Muslin loves death and martyrdom’ (ibid., 134). Sabri, who regularly calls for the destruction of America and all infidel nations, and encourages child suicide bombers (‘The younger the martyr, the more I respect him’ –ibid., 132) spoke these words not in a mosque on the West Bank but at the Twenty-sixth Annual Convention of the Islamic Circle of North America, in Cleveland, Ohio.”



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