Parables Jesus Forgot – Part III

An Imaginary Meeting With Jesus

Close your eyes and try to imagine this scene: The disciples of Jesus Christ were sitting at His feet in the quiet and stillness of the evening. The labors of the day were finished. Multitudes had been fed, miracles had been wrought and a great many people had been healed. Perhaps Jesus had walked on the water that very day! They had seen Him still a tempest with the power of His words. They believed in Him and they loved Him, but they still had questions. One of the disciples raised a hand and said, “Lord, could you kind of explain to us about You and God? I don’t mean to sound stupid but how does it all fit together? You’re the Son of God, and the Father is God and then you talk about the Spirit too?”

Is God Like a Triangle?

With great patience Jesus looked upon His disciples and when He knew they were ready to hear Him He said, “You must open your eyes and see that God is like a triangle!”  His disciples were dumbfounded! They had never seen anything remotely like that in the Hebrew scriptures! Jesus’ explanation left them totally baffled. They were more bewildered than ever. The obvious question no one dared to ask was “What in the world does a triangle have to do with God?” It sure didn’t sound Biblical to their ears. Sensing their confusion, Jesus decided to try again. “Look men, there are three points connected by three sides and a nice big pyramid shape in the middle! Don’t you get it? It is just one triangle and that is God!” His disciples looked dazed but things were about to get worse.

Is God Like an Egg?

Jesus sensed their failure to understand Him so He raised His voice and said, “God is like an egg I tell you! That’s how it is with me and God! Every egg has a shell and a yolk and some egg white  but it’s just one egg. All you have to do is think of eggs and the Mystery of God will make perfect sense to you.”  Well that really jumbled things up in the minds of His disciples! They started mumbling, “What does that have to do with God? Triangles and now eggs? These  examples sure don’t glorify God and Moses in the Law never said anything remotely like this to Israel! These parables don’t make anything clear! None of this makes sense to us Lord!”

Is God Like Water, Ice and Steam?

Then all the disciples with one voice began to say unto Him, “Lord, we don’t understand what you are trying to say!” It had already been a long day but Jesus decided to try one more time. He wanted to elevate their thinking to heavenly things so He patiently said, “Let’s see if you can get this one! God is like a cup of water and an ice cube and steam that rises from a boiling pot!” That didn’t seem to help much either so Jesus gave up and decided to never teach them parables about the Trinity again or ever.

The Apostles Were Really Primitive

Jesus finished His teachings by saying, “How is it that you are so blind? In 300 years some really smart philosophers will create doctrines you’ve never dreamed of! These are the parables they will eventually teach! You are just too primitive to get it.” The disciples’ heads were spinning! They had never heard anything like this before which was little wonder. All they knew was sacred scripture, and they knew Jesus. This is why they later became known as primitive Christians. (Believers didn’t even begin to get sophisticated or modern until the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon.)

Unbiblical Ideas Call for Unbiblical Parables!

Tertullian continued, One thing we have learned is that the teachings of scripture do not result in the parables we need! Logic demands that Christians create extra-biblical parables to explain our extra-biblical creeds! The dogmas we believe and illustrations we use to explain them may not be Biblical but they are very convincing! Most Christians believe in our creeds and recite them faithfully whenever they meet for worship! Ask them about the mystery of God and they will solemnly recite the parables we have invented. They will proclaim our parables of triangles and eggs and cups of water with a straight face! I think God must be very proud of us and of what we have accomplished!

Parables About the Trinity… Endless Possibilities!

In closing, I hope my short time with you has been helpful. Perhaps someday someone somewhere will expand the limits of our understanding even further and create new parables that are even more stunning than what we have now. There may come a time when Christians everywhere will embrace the parable of an egg frozen in a block of ice shaped like a triangle! The possibilities are endless! We can only imagine. In the meantime I thank you for your attention and the brotherly love you have extended to me! May God bless you richly.

Audience: Rising to their feet to cheer! With one voice they began singing the Song of Parables!

A Song of Parables

All God’s points are numbered three, We love triangularity! How blessed is our theology!

Bless God of shell and yolk and white, Bless every holy egg in sight!

So blessed is our theology!

Bless our frozen liquid one, who turns to steam when we are done!

Oh bless our lovely Trinity, and all our fine theology!

PS: Oh my goodness! Did we actually say these things out loud and in print? You bet we did and think it’s long overdue! Now you can say them too.

Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes

Parables Jesus Forgot – Part II

Man-Made Parables About the Trinity

This is not to say that, God forbid, we are passing judgment on Jesus! We all know He did a great job with so many other things. Never the less, His failure to teach about the Trinity is a glaring omission and one we should not overlook! Thanks be to God for theologians! Theologians who have bravely stepped into the gaping holes Jesus left in His teachings! We have filled them to the brim with our own intellectual ability and scholarly language. We were compelled to write our own creeds and parables out of necessity! Fortunately for everyone we are really good at it. Let’s all thank God for that!

Audience: Gasp! We never thought about that before! Yes indeed! Thank God!

Do “The Secret Things” Really Belong to God?

Tertullian: The Good Book says, “The secret things belong to God but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.” Perhaps we do “see through a glass darkly” after all. Are we, as some like to say, just pretending to understand the deepest mysteries of God’s very Being? We have to admit we can’t even understand our own wives. How can we claim to have penetrated the deepest mysteries of God’s own Being in eternity past? It almost makes me wonder if we have waded out into water that is over our heads.

A Story About Martin Luther

I do like the story that is told about old Martin Luther. When a student came to him and asked, “What was God doing before He created the world?”  Martin Luther replied, “He sat under a birch tree cutting rods for those who ask nosy questions.” Just kidding folks! Everyone knows we have figured out the answers to all those nosy questions. It’s our job!

He’s not really a Church Father, but oh my goodness everyone!  Is that Martin Luther I see over there in the corner? Stand up and wave to everyone Brother Marty! I’m glad you got invited even if you weren’t born until many centuries after the Nicene Council. Brother Marty was something of a misfit and a rabble rouser in his day! He had a low opinion of Church Councils but I’m glad he joined us here anyway!

Audience: Nervous laughter.

Theologians Wrote Parables About the Trinity

Tertullian: Let’s get back to business folks. The truth of the matter is that we were forced to craft our own parables to make up for Jesus’ neglect! There is no good reason to downplay the importance of our own parables simply because they have no basis in Jesus’ teachings! Just because something is not in the Bible doesn’t mean it isn’t Biblical! Just because we have done this there is really nothing to worry about! Those ancient scriptural warnings against adding to or taking away from the holy writ clearly do not apply in this case! The need was too pressing and our doctrine was too important for us to do anything less.

Why Didn’t Jesus Explain the Trinity?

You may be wondering why Jesus never gave us a clear explanation of the Trinity. Everyone knows it is the single most important thing we believe! Those who deny it have been banished, ridiculed and killed by those who are smart enough to go along with our dogma. Some have even wondered why Jesus didn’t write a good trinitarian creed Himself and get it done with. Perhaps you are thinking, “But Tertullian, you weren’t even there! You were already dead by the time we met at the Nicene Council!” That may be true my friends but most of what you debated there was based on my writings. That should count for something!

Why Didn’t Jesus Teach Our Parables?

We have written some beautiful parables of our own but why didn’t Jesus teach these Himself? Was He so busy with His earthly ministry that it just slipped His mind? Was He so tired at the end of every day that He didn’t have the energy to bring it up to His disciples? Or… did He intentionally leave us in the dark? Did He know we would come up with some pretty good parables of our own if we had enough time? The best explanation is that He was counting on us to write some parables for Him from the richness of our own imagination! We should be flattered that Jesus never taught on the most important doctrine of the church. He was depending on us to take care of it for Him!

Only Man-made Parables Can Explain the Trinity!

And what magnificent parables we have written! Our parables are easy to understand and they do seem to convey something important. Some of our illustrations are so good I bet Jesus almost wishes He had spoken them Himself! Just because our parables have no basis at all in the scriptures is no reason to mock them. No indeed! Sincere and spiritual people are well advised to take them (and us) very seriously. Let’s take a minute to imagine how it might have looked. What if Jesus had taught the parables that are so widely taught and believed in His church?

PS: Don’t you just love the way Tertullian explains things? We sure do and hope his speech at the All-Stars Reunion helped bring things into focus for you. The rest of his remarks are in our next post.
PPS: Why not share a link to theologyallstars.com with your friends? They’ll be glad you did.

Continued…Click for the conclusion

Theology or Nonsense?

Lewis Carroll Knew How to Speak Theology!

As I have said in the past, “Be what you would seem to be – or, if you’d like to put it more simply – never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”

Audience: Warm applause. “Well said Brother Carroll! Bravo”

Severus of Antioch Was So Eloquent!

Few men have demonstrated the art of expression more clearly or written more eloquently than Severus of Antioch who said, “For even if the Only-Begotten Son of God, incarnate and inhominate, is said by us to be one…. nor has the nature of the Word passed over into the nature of the flesh, nor indeed has the nature of the flesh passed into that which is his, but while each one of them continues together in the particularity that belongs to the nature, and is thought of in accordance with the account which has just been given by us, the inexpressible and ineffable union shows us one nature of the son, but as I have said, incarnate.” Isn’t that just priceless? I stand in awe at his gifts, such ability is rare indeed!

Jabberwocky and the Trinity

In closing I would like to read just a few stanzas from one of my most acclaimed works. It is a poem  called The Jabberwocky and you will see for yourself how carefully I have followed the lead of Severus and how much literary tradition we share.

The Jabberwocky

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves, did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son, the jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand; long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree, and stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood, the Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, and burbled as it came!

The Trinity is Terribly Confusing But Very Important!

You see how convincingly my prose seems to say something of real importance but how difficult it is to figure out exactly what that might be! Is not this the case with the very best that theological excellence has to offer? Sweet Alice of Alice in Wonderland stated it best: “It seems very pretty but it’s rather hard to understand!” (You see she didn’t like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn’t make it out at all.) “Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don’t exactly know what they are!”

Audience: Thunderous applause and shouts of “That’s it! He’s got it!” and “He is most assuredly one of us!” An honorary Doctor of Theology degree was then unanimously conferred upon Mr. Carroll and with that the opening ceremony concluded and everyone retired to the social hall for drinks and appetizers.

PS: Well there you have it! We have, at long last, seen the deep connection between the nonsense prose of Lewis Carroll and the nonsensical theology of our ancient and esteemed theologians. In our next post we’ll take a look at Jesus’ parables, real and imagined. Make plans to take a look and please take time to share a link to theologyallstars.com with anyone who comes to mind. Thanks!

Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes

Nicene Council Staff – Part II

Church Councils Got Violent!

Meticulus:  Hi Sally! It’s sure good to see your face again!

Sally:  You mean without the black eyes and broken nose? You’re not making fun of me are you Ticulus? I know I was in pretty bad shape after Nicea. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t want to leave the palace for months!

Meticulus:  I thought it was awful how you ended up getting caught right in the middle of that brawl between those Church Fathers Sally. They were all claiming to be the true disciples of Jesus but I’m not sure about any of them. A lot of people are still dumbfounded by how nasty they were to each other.

The Church Fathers Wanted Constantine For an Ally

Pragmatticus: Let’s just call it what it was kiddos, religious hatred pure and simple. Those guys were so full of pride they couldn’t stand anyone who dared to disagree with them! That’s what it looked like to me anyway. Once they figured out that the winner was going to have the Emperor for an ally that so called “Great Church Council” turned into a plain old street fight. I’ve seen bar fights that were more civil.

Constantine Had Power Over the Nicene Council

Meticulus:  I thought the same thing Prag! As soon as the Emperor got involved with all his power no one seemed to care much about having the King of Kings for an ally. Once old Constantine got that Council rolling there was no turning it back! No way! He was footing the bill for the whole Council and it was his idea in the first place. There wasn’t much chance that anyone would stand up and say, “This Council is a bad idea! Let’s all go home now before we really mess things up!”

The Church Fathers Were Christian Pharisees

Sally:  The first time I heard how Jesus said “He that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” I knew I was going to love Him! I always thought Jesus was trying to protect us from each other when He said, “Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls.”  I felt safe when I heard those words but I sure didn’t feel safe at that Council! They made it sound like you better dot every “i” and cross every “t” just like they wanted or you were on your way to hell. Then they voted to throw everyone out of the Church who disagreed with anything they said!  The more they said the worse it got! I don’t know the difference between a hoot owl and homoousios but at least a hoot owl makes sense!

Jesus Shelters Us From Each Other

Pragmatticus:  You know Sally, I always thought Jesus taught the parable about Tares and the Wheat for the same reason. He was trying to protect us from each other, especially from people who claim to know who belongs in the Kingdom and who should get thrown out. Jesus taught that we should mostly just forgive each other and let Him run His kingdom the way He sees fit. When we try to weed His fields all we do is uproot the wrong people and offend the lost. I know He plans to send His angels to sort it all out when He returns and that’s good enough for me. I don’t like pulling weeds anyway and figuring out who belongs and who doesn’t is way above my pay grade!

Entering The Kingdom of God Depends on Creeds?

Meticulus:  You two are a fine pair of rebels! These are some pretty dangerous thoughts my friends and we haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet! If the Reunion Organizers find out I think like you they’ll probably take away my press pass! I mean, the whole purpose of the Council was to make up a Creed to help us decide who’s in and who’s out of the Kingdom. That ancient Creed machinery is still running strong and most people never even wonder why it’s running at all.

Sally: Well Ticulus! I had no idea you were so crazy but don’t you worry! I promise not to tell anyone what you think until the Reunion is over. I’m just glad I know someone who knows how to read and write and makes good sense anyway.

Pragmatticus:  We could stand here and talk all day but I’ve got work to do. I better get going.

Meticulus:  Alright Prag, see you at the Meet and Greet! I suspect you’ll be hanging around the punch bowl acting like you’re working! Oops, sorry about that word Sally.

Sally: (Ducking and starting to twitch) Whatever Ticulus! Just be more careful next time huh?

Meticulus: I will Sally! Right now I’m going to see if I can’t find you a nice helmet and a good set of earplugs.

PS: The Theology All-Stars Reunion Opening Ceremony is coming up next. Now we’re going to have some fun you don’t want to miss! Bring a friend, share a link. Thanks and God Bless.

Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes

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