2/ We believe he taught ethics and ways of wisdom, as well as healing sick men and women.
One motivation for doing a DIY creed was the jump in the Nicene Creed from “born of the virgin Mary” to “suffered under Pontious Pilate”. Just leave out his whole life, why don’t you?! I have definitely reacted against this unbelievable omission in writing the ZC.
Notice Zingcreed doesn’t deal with the traditional Christiantian credal categories: virgin birth, dying for our sins, rising from the dead, coming again….
This is very deliberate. It’s not simply a matter of emphasis, nor of prioritizing; because I practically exclude St Paul from my belief system these topics are not necessarily interesting or relevant to living a Christian life.(In my humble opinion) They are a stumbling block to many thinking people, and not what J. was about. They are later interpolations for the main part, thought up by St Paul, the evangelists or the early church; obscuring our view – distracting us from his way. As I see it J. wasn’t starting a religion he was showing a way to live. He was an individual who may well be worth emulating – the jury’s out; or at least the Zingcreed jury is still pondering the issues and probably still will be throughout the next 100 Zingcreed blogs.
Jesus’ ethical precepts like the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes are for me at the core of the man’s life. Some like Tolstoy have distilled them to a list of commandments (“Don’t swear, don’t fornicate” etc) Sounds conservative and pro-status quo. There’s a risk in doing this, though anyone can try if you’re trapped inside for a wet weekend: Jesus was rarely direct and literal. He used stories which it was up to his listeners to interpret. He used exaggeration,and humour. I would ask: Is he being original or is he just rehashing the Hebrew scriptures? (“Forgive”) Are his ethics based on the assumption that the world’s going to go bang tomorrow? (“Lilies of the field”) Are his precepts open to more than one interpretation? Are his listeners expected to be good because that’s an intrinsically worthwhile project or because it’s a way to get to the better of the 2 post mortem destinations? (See the prologue to the parable of the good samaritan)
Miracles – yes the gospels are full of them, can’t leave them out. I’ve yet to read a satisfactory account of them though. As a kid I rejected the lot, pretended they weren’t there. They’re still an embarrassment to many.