Jesus

Seventh Sunday of Easter

June 1, 2014
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 1:6-14
Reading 2: 
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
Reading 3: 
I Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11
Reading 4: 
John 17:1-11
By Bruce Epperly

This Sunday, often celebrated as Ascension Sunday, invites us to be both heavenly minded and earthly good. The Acts passage sets the tone. Jesus promises the disciples that they will receive the power of the Spirit, and then departs into the heavens. Jesus’ ascension is a puzzling event that is more problematic than helpful, if we take it literally. Jesus is no longer with us, and we have to explain his absence.

Good Friday

April 18, 2014
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Reading 2: 
Psalm 22
Reading 3: 
John 18:1-19:42
Reading 4: 
Hebrews 10:16-25
Alt Reading 1: 
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
By Ignacio Castuera

I have read several of the past years Lectionary Commentaries in Process & Faith for both Good Friday and Easter. I also read Ask Dr. Cobb responding to questions about sacrifice in August of 2013.

Process Thought's Contribution to Societal Change

Question: 
Can process thought contribute to cultural, social, and political reform?
Publication Month: 
June 2012
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

I appreciate this question. My answer is, of course, yes. If I did not think so, I would not have devoted so much of my time to process thought. But before I answer positively, I should acknowledge what process thought, by itself, certainly cannot do.

Thomas Jefferson & the Bible

Question: 
What is your opinion of the way Thomas Jefferson edited the Bible?
Publication Month: 
August 2011
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

We can be grateful to Jefferson for his experiment. In my book, Spiritual Bankruptcy, I argue for secularizing the great traditions, and as a Christian, of course, I deal chiefly with Christianity. I contrast this secularizing with secularism, which tries to create knowledge anew out of what is indubitably given. I argue that the massive experiments with secularism, beginning with Descartes, have had disastrous consequences, whereas beginning with the accumulated wisdom of a culture and subjecting it to thoroughly critical analysis is highly productive.

Sinless Jesus?

Question: 
I think that many process thinkers are open to the possibility that during the life of Jesus, there were times when he did not choose to respond to God's initial aims for him. That is what makes him so distinctly human. Yet, there is clearly something about his life and death that created a vast field of force that continues to draw people to him and his life. So, my questions are: 1) To what extent do you think that this field of force is created around the idea that Jesus is unique because he was perfect on earth (which I do not believe he was)? 2) Do you think that the sinless image of Jesus is more real than the Jesus who walked upon this earth? (I am thinking here about Whitehead's tendency to philosophically agree with Aristotle over Plato that actualities are more real than ideals.) I am, of course, also open to hearing other ideas about the sinless nature of Jesus or the current influence he has in human life.
Publication Month: 
April 2007
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

At the outset, it is important to remind ourselves that process thinkers vary greatly, so there is no single position of process thinkers on an issue of this sort. At best we can say a few things that all would reject. We would all deny that Jesus is metaphysically different from other human beings. This is not to deny that God was in Jesus, since God is in every creature. It is to deny that the way God was in Jesus is metaphysically different from the way God is in other creatures. Without qualification, Jesus was a human being.

Jesus

Question: 
"What were the special (if any) experiences that Jesus of Nazareth had in his background that enabled him to be so much more receptive to God's aims than the rest of us? If Jesus was 'both the manifest expression of God's character and purpose and the fulfillment of the possibilities present in humankind,' and if Jesus is not ontologically different from other human beings, to what does Process Theology attribute this greater than normal receptiveness to God's aim for his life?"
Publication Month: 
August 2004
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

The assumption underlying this question is that Jesus' distinctiveness lies primarily in the fullness with which he responded to God's aims for him. This is the view of a number of process Christologies. Other liberal Christologies have similar ideas, beginning with Schleiermacher. He thought that whereas God-consciousness plays some role in everyone, it was perfect in Jesus.  In the Ritschlian tradition some affirmed that the distinctiveness of Jesus lay in the perfection of his moral character.

Interpreting Jesus: Natural or Supernatural Being?

Question: 
In the Gospels Jesus was doing many miracles. When he heard about the beheading of John the Baptist, he turned and went another way. It almost seems as if there was no emotion. My question is Jesus healed many, brought many back from the dead, why didn't he raise John? I am a born again believer, and I have always wondered this. It may be one of the videos I will have to rent when I get to heaven.
Publication Month: 
April 2008
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

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