Chapter 3 brought up many questions. Who are called to follow Jesus? Just the Jews, or everybody? We have no answers to many of these questions because when the religion was being formed people didn’t know the answer. I think in all religions there is a certain amount that is left unknown and left to the insider’s interpretation. For example, in Judaism the text is all the same, but the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform branches have extremely different views of what it means. I think that is the same for Christianity as well. As we discussed in class, Christian insiders can believe that the world was literally created in 6 days or they can take it as a metaphor that demonstrated God’s vast power. Was Jesus actually born of a virgin? Did Jesus really walk on water? Did he perform these profound miracles? To some, he certainly was and he certainly did. To some others, maybe not. I think that Christianity is successful in the world today because there are hundreds of different views based off of one text. Each denomination seems to find different ways to explain bible verses. You aren’t forced to accept the sacred text as fact and can find a church with (pretty close to) the same biblical opinions as you.
I find it ironic that in trying to put together a religion that would unify a large group of people that felt touched by the Holy Spirit, there were many conflicts and disagreements. Although, I can’t image trying to sit down and set out all of the laws of a religion and have everyone agree. I wonder if the people who tried to construct the religion ever thought that it would become as big as it is today? I mean, approximately one in three people identify with a Christian faith in the world today (according to Christianity.about.com)
On page 39, I like the bible stories that are brought up that show God’s love for everyone, whether they’re a Jew or not. The story about the Samaritans eagerly accepting the Christian faith displays that even if someone may be part of a group that isn’t widely accepted, God will accept you. Once again, we see a story that may have never happened, but it bears much moral significance.
Once again, women are noted as holding powerful positions in the church (according to the letters of Paul). After reading texts that note that both Jesus and Paul let women have some sort of authority in the teachings and in the church, I certainly want to look more into the branches of Christianity that don’t allow women to have a significant role so that I can better understand their reasons why.