Thursday, February 23, 2012

Matthew 5:29

"And if your right hand offends you, so to speak, lift it out and cast it from you, for it is more profitable for you that one of your members should be loosed from wholeness rather than your whole body to be cast into a garbage dump in Hinnom Ravine."

If a word or phrase is not literally present in the text, then Holy Wind Living Breath New Testament uses italics in the translation to indicate those words.  In this verse, Jesus uses a figure of speach, hyperbole, to make a point about wasting our lives.  So, HWLB makes this clear with the phrase in italics, so to speak.  It is much better to discipline ourselves than for our entire life to wasted, thrown into a garbage dump, so to speak.  The Greek text has the word, transliterated from Hebrew, GEHENNA.  Ultra-literally, this refers to the ravine southwest of Jerusalem used for burning refuse.

Focusing our lives on Jesus' way of justice and peace results in the fullest life possible.  The opposite way leads to...the garbage dump! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Matthew 5:27,28

"You have heard that it was said, You will not commit adultery, but I say to you, that everyone who is viewing toward a woman to intensely feel after her, has already committed adultery on her within the heart."

Rules as solutions.  Jesus responded in several ways to his rule making society.  One way is to move inward to the heart.  Another is to change the definition.  Here, he does both.

In Holy Wind Living Breath New Testament, the 'present' or 'continuous' tense is often made emphatic.  So, here, "everyone who is viewing."  When this viewing of another woman becomes continual, there is a problem.  Likewise, the problem becomes severe when this viewing has a distinct purpose: to intensely feel (KATA, used as an intensifier, along with the verb TO FEEL) after this person. If one reaches this stage, says Jesus, the adultery is a fait accompli.  At least from the perspective of the inward life, our heart.

So, rules as solutions?  Not really.  Learning to respect ourselves and then learning to respect others is the fundamental life principle.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Matthew 5:25,26

"Become well minded to your adversary quickly, while you are with the same, in the journey, so the the adversary does not give you over to the judge and the judge give you over to the officer and you be cast into prison.  Amen I say to you, you will definitely not come out from there, until you have paid the last quadran."

Jesus' teaching on how to relate to those who consider themselves our adversaries: first, it begins with our minds.  We become, very literally in Holy Wind Living Breath New Testament, "well minded."  Without a well mind, reconciliation with adversaries seems improbable.  Part of the affliction of modern fundamentalist religion is the way in which it abrogates reason.  A mental lobotomy makes peace with others very difficult.  Second, reconciliation begins while you are with that person.  Long distance reconciliation is harder. Third, begin the process while you're traveling together, "in the journey."  Otherwise we are all liable to inhabit our own special prisons.

And, note the connection between money and imprisonment during Jesus' time: "until you have paid the last quadran."  Not a lot has changed in the past couple millennia.  The relationship of money and jail time remains very clear.  Those who can pay receive the 'justice'.  .   .

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Matthew 5:23,24

"If therefore you are carrying your gift toward the altar, and there you remember that your family member has something against you, Let your gift go from yourself, before the altar, and go your way.  First be reconciled to your family member and then come and offer your gift."

In the contest of religious ritual vs. human relationships, Jesus taught the priority of the latter. Even in the very act of carrying your gift toward the altar, the resolution of a perceived problem (with anyone close to us, a family member) takes precedence. In fact, we need to allow the gift that we had been bearing to the altar, to "go from yourself" and then seek out that family member.  In Holy Wind Living Breath New Testament one can see the various ways that the Greek word often translated "forgive" is used.  In this case we let the very essence of our religious worship, our gift for the altar,  "go from ourselves" as we seek the higher priority of positive human relationships. And then we will find the need to forgive or, as HWLB has it, "let go from ourselves" the debts that we feel others owe us.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Matthew 5:21,22

"You have heard that it was said to the ancients, You will not kill, but whoever may kill, will be accountable to the judgment, but I say to you, that everyone who is angry with a family member will be accountable to judgment.  And whoever may be saying to a family member, Empty, will be accountable to the council, and whoever may continually say, Fool, will be accountable to the fire of Hinnom Ravine's garbage dump."  Murderous anger.  Whether I actually fulfill that rage or not, is no longer the issue. The judgment comes when I harbor and nurse this wrath toward my neighbor, my family member. In Authentic Teaching of Jesus, italics are used for words not literally present, but which are implied by the original text. One way to emphasize the present, linear sense of a verb is by translating as "be saying" rather than as "say."  Another method is to render the verb, "may continually say."  Both translations are used in this passage. This makes clear that the ongoing act is in view.  Whoever keeps on demeaning a fellow human being will end up in the garbage dump, so to speak.  Most translations have "hell" for the word GEHENNA. Holy Wind Living Breath New Testament is very literal with "Hinnom Ravine."  In italics the phrase "garbage dump" follows to let the reader know what this Ravine, southwest of Jerusalem, was used for.  With its continually smoldering fires, it was a well known location to the Jewish listeners.  In Jesus' teaching, to belittle others is to destroy one's own life.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Matthew 5:20

"For I say to you, that unless your justice should exceed that of the writers and expounders, you should in no way be entering into the realm of upward vision."  Holy Wind Living Breath New Testament very consistently translates "Pharisee" as "expounder."  The word is an Aramaic one whose etymology is from the word to expand or expound.  Throughout Authentic Teaching of Jesus, one will read of these expounders who had so much to say about the correct meaning of scripture and tradition.  So, today, there are many self-appointed defenders of orthodoxy who expound so eloquently (or not) on the one, correct interpretation of theology.  Jesus' challenge to those wanting to learn more of life: your commitment to justice must exceed that of the leaders of the religious establishment.  After all the expounding is finished, where has our sense of justice taken us?  If our justice does not exceed that of the noisy religious leaders, then we are not really entering into this new realm of a higher, upward vision of life.  

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Matthew 5:18,19

"For amen I say to you, Until upward vision and land may come along beside, one jot or one tittle will in no way come along beside, from the law, until all things are becoming. Whoever therefore may loose one of the least of these directions, and thus teach humanity, will be called least in the realm of upward vision, but whoever may do and teach them, the same will be called great in the realm of upward vision."  One day our land and the realm of upward vision will be coming along beside one another. And then "all things are becoming."  Therefore "these directions" that Jesus is setting forth, these principles of living, are vital to the new realm.  To "loose" or let go of these teachings of upward vision, is devastating.  To forsake the directions concerning poverty, justice or peace (just laid out) is to be "least in the realm of upward vision."  To be "great" in the sense intended here, is simply to be found doing and teaching the principles of the realm.