Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I want to believe.

As I was sitting in a doctor's office waiting room for a full hour yesterday, I decided to pick up my poor, neglected The New Yorker magazine and trudge through an article that I had been meaning to read - no, had tried to read, but couldn't because the writing was so. freaking. monotonous. that, though I was interested in the content, I kept falling asleep or reading the same line over and over again and asking myself, "What's it mean? What's it saying? The words make no sense.." So, I figured that a tedious wait in a doctor's office was the perfect place to read the article because it might actually seem entertaining in that type of atmosphere, or at least give my eyes a place to focus since God knows you don't make eye-contact in an OBGYN office. And no, I did not randomly go to a doctor's office waiting room so that I could actually read the article, though it isn't a bad idea come to think of it. I'll have to suggest this to my students when their eyes become heavy and they begin drooling during "A Modest Proposal" and/or (dear God) Paradise Lost.

Anyway.

As I said before, the article's content was of interest to me. It was about "new evangelicals," post-Falwell and (almost) post-Dobson. To sum it up (as could have been done in the article itself), the writer basically asserts that the Christian Right-wing Republican reign is (finally) coming to an end in favor of a new generation of Christian conservatives who actually have some compassion for the poor, the environment, and (gasp) the homosexuals(!), ones who don't automatically check the Republican box on their ballots, who actually do research and have reasonable opinions. According to the article, this happened accidentally when none of the curmudgeons could agree on which Republican candidate to support (Ooops McCain!), thus splintering the coalition and allowing for a new group to emerge. Too bad this happened after W's second term and not before.

This may sound like a slam to those "Focus on the Family" / I heart Rush Limbaugh types, and, by God, it is meant to be! And before anyone starts pointing fingers in my direction and crying "heretic!", I have to tell you that this falling "Christian" coalition is part of what turns me away from ever attending church again - or that kind of church.

I grew up Southern Baptist. I dedicated and rededicated my life to what I thought was godly at the time; I freaking wore out the carpet on the center aisle of the church for all of my rededicating. I worked at being a good person, since that is the Christian thing to do, and (as scripted), I was vocally intolerant of anything and everything that was remotely different. It took me being the object of that intolerance - literally being outcasted - to give me time to figure out what an idiot I was and that I was missing so much color in my life, and substance!

So this is personal.

And it turns out it is personal to many god fearing people who have been horribly embarrassed by what has been done in the name of Christianity. And I'm not just talking about Michael W. Smith here.

The point is that the political Christian powerhouses, at least the ones in the forefront today, scare the shit out of me. I am afraid of their platform which relies on fear mongering, war waging, and money wielding for votes. How do people not see that what they are doing is wrong, and is in direct opposition to what Jesus would actually do? - loving folks individually, regardless of culture or creed; working in the community, without a megaphone, soap box, or check book; and nourishing people, both emotionally and physically. The latter is the type of politic - potentially the politic of the new evangelicals - that has every right to march on Washington as it certainly should(!). And maybe, now that the mighty have fallen, the newbies, though I am still leery of some of their ideology, will have a chance to prove that Christianity doesn't have to be dogmatic, domineering, and prejudicially loud.

I want to believe that the Christian coalitions can be that mature.

Hell, I simply want to believe.

37 comments:

happyfunpants said...

Amen Sista!

No seriously - I couldn't agree more. This is a fight that I find myself fighting.

Yes, I was raised in a Christian home...but no, I don't vote blindly.

I'm so thankful that people are starting to realize that you miss SO much when you have blinders on.

I want to print out your post and hang it at work. Because I'm shocked at the people that consider themselves Christians and then openly mock anyone who is different, tell off color jokes, and treat others so vicously...while mocking the democrat in the group because clearly I must be a heathen if I don't vote republican.

(sigh)

But alas, I digress.

What I want to say is how very much I appreciate your post - because it sums up what I have been feeling for quite a while.

You still rock.

rich said...

I’m right there with you. It’s been at least a decade, maybe two since I’ve been to a church that around November didn’t tell me how “all God fearing people” should vote. They can’t come out and say “any vote for a Democrat is another spear in Jesus’ side” since that would be illegal. Instead they just urge you toward the red side of the aisle. Ironically these people tend to be up in arms about the audacity of unions influencing votes, but it is perfectly fine when Christians do it. WTFWJD? (Thanks Neal)

The worst part is that folks like Dobson aren’t really Republican; they are far too extreme for that. They can’t decide if they can support a centrist like McCain. Their rhetoric is surprisingly similar to the Islamic extremists they hate. As far as I can tell our scary zealots say ‘crusade’ and their scary zealots say ‘jihad’. Thank God/Allah for rational believers. We’ve been searching for them overseas, but we need them here just as much.

rich said...

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

Christine said...

Nice quote, Rich!

I completely agree, though, as you know, I come at this from the position of someone whom these folks would call an unbeliever. I'm not sure if that makes them scarier to me or scarier to you...

Anyway, I agree with the author's premise, because I see it and hear it, too. I LOVE that Obama uses religious rhetoric in his speeches and talks about policy in a way that sounds (and, I believe, IS) moral. It continually surprises me how those who would label themselves "religious" (and specifically "evangelical Christians") seem to believe things that so clearly fly in the face of Jesus' central message to love one another.

(And, seriously, what's the deal with the hatred of gays? Not only can I not stand it, I don't get it. At all. Someone give me a logical argument, for god's sake, because I can't fight against stupid hatred. It's tiring. Hmm... maybe that's their strategy? If so, they totally underestimated this straight girl!)

Mark said...

But Christine Obama even if he wins it is just going to be part of that very same fascist unaccountable and out of control bureacratic capitalist US/EU/CHINA globally imperial money mad top down machine &, to be frank even with the very best will in the world, and all the brains & resources at his disposal he will not be able to build a new society, which is what is now required, to remake the world in God's image. At least, from that perspective, do you see what i mean..?

Mark said...

PS. this is quite a nice, & educationally useful site, in case u didn't see it yet
The Story of Stuff

Love n Peas
Xx

Ginger said...

It's funny that when I write posts like these, I don't think that they are in any way remotely original. My mom called and said that she would have to take the baby away from me for all of my "dangerous" religious, politicial dialog.. but she was joking.. I think.

Anyway, I'm glad to spark conversation. :)

Anne, I say post it, even if it's anonymously. Or better yet, write your own, better version - maybe on sticky notes that accidentally float around the office.. Create a scandal that doesn't involve Vicodin and karate. ;)OR create another one that does.. I want to be a fly on the wall.

Wratch! As usual, you furthered the point in a most accessible way. Thanks for the quote, too (though it reminds me of Eddie Izzard in a way).

Christine - the answer is scarier to me, hilarious to you.. or hilarios now that some of the power is gone. Jesus Camp scared the living God out of me and, as I recall, you found it interesting.

Also, I'm with you on the Obama front, though I am still pissed about his emphatic denial of being a Muslim.

The hatred of gays thing is still completely bogus.

Mark - you are absolutely right. Obama will be part of the fascist...machine, and will not be able to build a whole new society, per se. BUT he is at least a voice for change - no one else will hear the word -, a voice that could very well plant a mustard seed. And we know what those things can do. He also advocates community - look at his grassroots campaign, for example.

So, you are right. Obama is not superman. He isn't going to save us, but maybe he's the beginning of something. And if he isn't then at least we opted for change in this election.
.
Also, to "remake the world in God's image" is a frightening phrase, one that probably sounds a lot nicer in your voice, but one that is terrifying in the hands of religious extremists - building the new Israel by hastening the second coming...Nuke the bastards in the name of the Lord, etc. etc.

I live in the Bible belt. Religious rhetoric, especially "Jesus-ese" is wielded often and with force here.

rich said...

Mark, no one expects Obama to be the messiah. Ok maybe some do but most don’t. And his grass roots campaign is nothing short of revolutionary. Over 1.5 million donors, and currently 56% of them give less than $500. Sure some folks with stacks of cash support him, but the vast majority of them are regular Joes with small donations. Sure, he’s not going to remake society, but at least he will take steps away from the totalitarian precipice (even if they are baby steps) instead of goose-stepping towards it. If nothing else, he would give activists like you more time to garner support, instead of rounding everyone up.
Remaking the world in ‘Gods image’ is scary because no two people agree on that image. Do we use yours? Mine? Osama’s?

Christine said...

Yeah. What Ginger and Rich said. :) This is one of the reasons I love you guys so much... that whole sharing a brain thing.

I walk into my support for Obama with my eyes wide open. There is no way he'll be able to get half (a quarter!) of his initiatives put into law. (Honestly, I view this as a good thing, since I'm an advocate of small government.) And I have to admit that it is a fear of mine that he will become just another power-driven, second-term-seeking, morally-compromised president. It's a fear, but I know it will happen to a certain extent. I just hope not too much.

My point is that I believe in small steps toward change. It's how I balance my idealism with my sense of reality. Besides, large leaps of change -- even if the end result is positive -- often leave many caskets in their path. Hell, caskets if you're lucky; unmarked mass graves if you're not.

Mark said...

Surely a world in God's image is what the early Christian's did, how they lived. It's founders were, after all alive during his time. Counter-cultural, anti-imperial, refusal to keep slaves or participate in slave economy. Property in common wherever need arose. Asking whose God is precisely the problem we face, where we are making God in our image. A simple society where every one is able to partake in decision making, if they chose will suffice. From each according to capacity, to each according to need. Not a new idea. Not a big leap, a modest proposal, seeds of this in every locality for resilient, sustaining change from below!

Mark said...

And anyway, election maybe eclipsed by the people by then (inshallah)..

Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust. Isaiah 26:19

General Strike 911

And Vote Strike

Maybe we can make it a strike and picnic in front of symbols of Empire..?

Amira A. said...

I have yet to decide whether or not Obama is the anti-Christ. It's supposed to be someone that means well, isn't it?

:P

Mark said...

Good question Amira!

The world of the elite continues to unite behind a well-meaning but ultimately tragic idea, this globalising system. IMO no one person, not Hitler, not Bush, Blair, Brown or Obama is the anti-Christ.

Rather it is the imperial system (both structurally, and of the mind) which continues to render (as all empires do) you, me and others like us - and especially our voices however worthwhile - invisible, marginal, illegal even. Aside from the odd relatively meaningless vote of course. Voting which props up the system and gives it its veneer of legitimacy.

Is this not the precise modern day equivalent (ok, admittedly with a few democratic bells on, to mollify the masses)to the empire which crucified - ie rendered physically dead, and you can't get much more invisible than that - Jesus?

Ginger said...

Oprah.

My dad says the anti-Christ is Oprah.

Oprah Uma, Uma Oprah.

Is it something, or is it nothing?

Wern's Sis said...

Isn't by painting all evenagelic Christians as hate mongerers hate mongering yourself? Sorry but to place all of us in a category is doing the very same thing you hate, which is hating.

It hurts my heart to see that you hate church so much. What church is supposed to be is a place to worship God and grow in your faith, surrounded by others who can support you and help you grow.

The truth is that a church, just like the world we live in, is full of flawed, sinful human beings that often don't realize it!

Over the years, I have been hurt from time to time by these very same people. I get what you are saying about the judgement and the hypocrisy seen in many churches today. I see it myself at times but have chosen to realize that it is certain individuals who are closed minded and culturally brainwashed instead of truly moved by the loving and full of grace God you know is there.

Churches are also filled with merciful, kind, supportive people whom I choose to love. The church is the Body of Christ, and sometimes the body gets cancer or muscle pain.

I for one want to love all people, but that doesn't mean that I should go against my own convictions that line up with the Word of God on issues like homosexuality. Anyone who knows my heart as an individual knows that our calling is to love all people. Being friends with a homosexual would not go against my doctrine, it would line up with it.

The reason so many evangelicals vote republican and don't buy into Obama's "hope" and "change" Messiah speak is precisely because we DO have a brain and ARE mature.

My own set of convictions line up more with conservatives because I believe in a small fiscal government, low taxes and a very strong military to protect us. I also believe abortion is wrong because it kills innocent babies.

I would also like to see us use oil we have in our own country so my gas prices wouldn't be so high and so that we wouldn't have to rely on whacko extremist countries to provide it to us.

I desire for our Supreme Court to have conservative judges so that these ideals can be maintained and so that the constitution will not be interpreted by individual whims.

If that makes me a hateful person, I would have to disagree with you.

I respect your opinion, Christine's, Rich's, etc. but I just had to tell you I disagree!

The Lord has changed me for the better, and to live life without Him and His Word would be a life not worth living!

OK now I bet your annoyed with me.

Christine said...

Ginger loves good dialog, sis! No worries.

I do have to say that this discussion is NOT about the church as a whole and Christians as a whole. The article was about the political control a certain very conservative groups has asserted, and the fact that a more moderate group of Christians seems to be stepping up to speak up. I view this as a good thing, because I believe what you've written about the church (I believe it about religion in general) and all the good things it can be and often is. But I also believe that ANY theology can be twisted in ways that it was not intended, and this becomes especially true when it steps into a political system that governs a diverse nation such as ours.

Perhaps you and I could have a discussion about why homosexuals should receive unequal treatment in this country. I certainly cannot have this discussion with mum or dad; perhaps you could explain your logic to me. We're not discussing personal theology here (though I'm interested in that argument as well), we're talking about the involvement of said theology in the political arena. I'm yet to hear an argument regarding this issue that I buy.

The point that the article was making is that we may be reaching a time where there will not be just one, extremely conservative voice that people can label politically as "Christian." It shows the kind of inordinate control that this political group exercises that it's labeled the largest religious group in the country as entirely conservative Republican. I think what we're saying here is that it will be good to hear other voices coming from the church.

You should blog about this. I'll definitely comment.

Wern's Sis said...

First of all, this thing needs spell check. I am so dependent on that darn thing.

Secondly I thought I posted a response to my Werna T. Ferna's comment to me. But I don't see it here so who knows what I did!

I think mostly what I want to say is thanks to Christine for clarifying the article. I was commenting more on Ginger's response to the article, and also the comments I was reading in response on this site.....feeling like the evangelical and conservative viewpoint was being misrepresented somewhat.

But regarding the homosexuality issue, I find it hard to separate the theological from the political, because my theology governs my life and all the choices I make within it.

I believe the Bible clearly states within the context of several passages that homosexuality is sinful behavior. But to be honest with you, I sin all the time. We all do, so I would extend mercy and grace to a homosexual individual the same way I would hope they would do to me. I know you see this differently than I do - - i.e. not as sin but rather a genetic issue, I just don't see that in the Bible. So because the bible governs my life, I have the viewpoints that I do.

The main issue I have with equal rights to homosexuals is when it enters into the educational realm, i.e. I have a problem with the homosexual viewpoint on a # of levels being a part of curriculum in the public schools.

This and many similar other reasons are why Ron and I have decided to send B&R to private Christian school. By sending them to the school we have chosen, we feel confident that they will hear consistent messages at home, church, and school.

Love to all!

Ginger said...

But Laura, more than the Bible talks about homosexuality (which is only something like 7 times), hundreds of times it talks about loving people. Jesus hung out with the outcasts. He was the revolutionary, the anarchist who went against societal norms (and law) to show how to love ALL people.

Why do Christians zoom in on the sexuality issue more than anything else? I mean, why not on not cutting your hair or not eating pork? The thing is, we rationalize other behaviors, saying that in the modern world, we do not need to live by certain outdated laws. All the while we have tunnel vision for the things we don't understand or fear.

I think it is wonderful that you love your kids enough to "protect them", and I honestly respect that, but I feel that in not exposing them to the "other", you may actually be creating more of a stigma, ensuring that they will operate in a world of intolerance and misunderstanding. It creates an "us" vs. "them" when there is only "we". I think you are getting at that in saying that you, like homosexuals, are a sinner and need mercy; but maybe what should be said is simply, "We are all sinners. We all need mercy".

We both know that God is so much bigger than what we can rationalize. I know this because I used to say the very things that you are saying. I lived that life for a lot of years, and it felt nice to feel like I was "getting it right". But then I found out that we can't get it right and any definition we assign to God is out of vanity because we can never understand or know. That's the folly with mixing humanity and free will, I suppose.

Also, the "whacko countries" are made up of mostly WONDERFUL, beautiful men and women who want what's best for their family and friends. I also have to note that the majority of Muslims are much more tolerant of Christians than we are of them. They view Islam, Judaism, and Christianity as sister religions - all decendants of the God of Abraham, theirs being the most recent interpretation.

I hope this doesn't sound antagonistic. It is meant to be discussion. We may have to agree to disagree and love each other anyway.

Wern's Sis said...

We are definitely in agreement that there are wonderful individuals in those whacko extremest countries I am referring to. However I can't say the same for many of their leaders. The leaders was who I meant, not the citizens. I don't want to rely on them for oil when we have it here to drill within the proper means. I disagree with the environmental stance that we can't drill in Alaska, for example. That just bothers me and seems like an extreme environmental position which is impacting our pocket books every day.

One of my closest friends from work is a Muslim. She is sweet and kind and I love her. I do not think all Muslims are whackos. Sorry if I gave that impression.

I disagree with your assessment that homosexuality being in the Bible 7 times versus love 700 - - that one is more important than the other. I believe the Bible should be read within the context of all surrounding passages.

Not all Christians believe this, rather they parse out what makes them feel better or meets their mostly cultural agenda. I prefer to be a student of the Bible as a whole and to hence see it in its full meaning and context.

Cutting of the hair and eating pork were sections of the mosaic law that with Christ's coming was fulfilled and no longer a requirement. Christ fulfilled the law, didn't nullify it, however the issue of homosexuality can not be seen in the same context as the mosaic law. I am not sure why many Christians single this issue out, I explained my issue with it (the potential of it entering within the public school arena).

Regarding the education of our children, we desire for our precious ones to be raised to know the grace and love of Christ. We believe God is central to all that is within creation and so for Him to be excluded from the conversation in a public school makes us desire to look for an alternative. The school we have chosen is not a southern baptist / right wing school. We have those in town and those don't fit our purpose for the learning of our children.

Despite being Southern Baptist, I personally believe those other schools would be like you describe in your last post and would have a less than stellar educational offering. This school we are sending them too is a very demanding, Classical Christian school, where God will be celebrated and part of all the curriculum. We want to be able to teach our children about the things of this world on our own terms, not on the terms of a system where God has no part, that is all.

And you and I will surely agree to disagree on a lot of things I am sure. I still love you, am glad you are my sissy's best bud, and I believe you are truly a brilliant individual. Love to you!

Christine said...

La - You said:

Cutting of the hair and eating pork were sections of the mosaic law that with Christ's coming was fulfilled and no longer a requirement. Christ fulfilled the law, didn't nullify it, however the issue of homosexuality can not be seen in the same context as the mosaic law.

Can you explain your last sentence more fully for me? Also, are there references specifically against homosexuality in the New Testament?

Wern's Sis said...

Hey Christine,

First regarding your question on Christ fulfilling the law, I am referring to the passages found in Romans 3.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=52&chapter=3&version=31&context=chapter

In this section of the bible, Paul is responding to the Jews in the church who thought that circumcision was a requirement to be a follower of Christ. It goes on to state that the law has been fulfilled through the grace of God through Jesus Christ his Son. My belief that the Bible speaks to homosexuality in particular does not come from the 613 mitzvot / commandments, but rather from what I am outlining below with regard to your 2nd question.

Secondly, yes, there are new testamant passages on homosexuality. Here are a few I know of:

Romans 1:18-32

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:18-32&version=49


1 Corinthians 6:9-11

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%206:9-11;&version=49;


1 Timothy 1:9-11

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Timothy%201:9-11;&version=49;

Each of these passages above are quoted in my link from the NASB version of the Bible. From all of my research, this version most closely represents the original Greek.

Within the old testament, the story of Sodom is the strongest evidence I have that homosexuality is sinful behavior. Genesis 13 and then 19....

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2013-20;&version=49;

One interesting side note - - I just read an article regarding homosexuality vs sodomy. It said the bible doesn't specifically say homosexuality is a sin (although my NASB version does use that word), but that homosexual ACTS(i.e. sodomy) are. This article states that sodomy is a sin just as fornication and adultery are sinful behaviors that heterosexuals do.

I will think some more on that particular point.

Christine said...

Well we're definitely going to have to agree to disagree. The 1 Timothy verse equates gays to murderers and kidnappers, and I don't believe God would say that. In fact, I find it pretty horrible.

But let's move on to the political/legal implications here. I still don't see how this is a viable argument against gay marriage. People have used biblical references to support laws for slavery and against interracial marriage. We now see these laws as non-Constitutional. What is the difference here?

And is it fair to impose one religion's point of view onto the populace as a whole, even if that religion is the majority? Consider Iran's strict dress code for women as an example.

Wern's Sis said...

First I don't read the Timothy passage the same as you do. In that particular passage, Paul is writing to Timothy, a young follower who has been charged with helping to lead the church at Ephesus. There had been some falling away from the faith, falling back into sin and in particular false doctrine.

In all of Paul's letters to the churches, and here to his friend Tim, he is responding to the issues that are marking the church of the day. Text without Context is just Text. So which much care, I have to read the entire passage and surrounding passages to hear the full message. Paul saw, lies, murder, idolatry, promiscuity, etc. abundant in that environment and so chose those items to be included in that particular letter. However as I read that passage, I really am seeing them all together as sin, not parsing them out individually.

One of the biggest lies in the world today is categorizing sin. That is something we do, but I do not believe that is something God does. God is a Holy God who can not look upon sin at all. Sin is what separates us from God, which is why Christ had to come and die for us.

Now with that said, God is most certainly a compassionate God. He had to be to love us enough to send a part of Himself, His Only Son, down to earth, away from the throne of glory and perfection to down here. So He looks on those impacted by murder, for example, a truly horrible and life changing event, or the loss of a child, for example, as well as all the struggles we go through, with great compassion. Think of when Lazarus died, Christ (who is fully God) cried because he loved his friend who had died and he loved those who were grieving. So yes He is most loving and fully compassionate.

However, he still can not look upon sin. Until we allow Christ to cover that sin in each of our own lives, God the Father, can not look upon us with mercy.

So now we are back to the political aspect. Gay Marriage is not something I could ever support because for me, it goes back to creation. God made the heavens and the earth and then made a man and fashioned the woman out of the man. That compared with Sodom and the passages I gave you in the New Testament, all lead me to believe that homosexual behavior is wrong.

I can not support gay marriage and all the rights that go along with it, nor allowing the gay lifestyle to indoctrinate the public schools because of these beliefs that I hold as Truth.

Wern's Sis said...

OK, now these are my husband Ron's comments as emailed to Christine this morning. Do not shoot the messenger. :-) Laura

We are all made in God's image...that includes people who have a gay life style. It also includes people who murder and kidnap. In God's eyes... sin is sin. And yes, sex outside of marriage is sin. God gives us all the free gift to be forgiven by receiving Christ's free gift of salvation.

God's word is without error as is God...he is holy. You may not agree with everything it says. However, that doesn't change God or his word as it has remained unchanged inspite of infinite attempts to disprove it's validity and truth.

In response to gay marriage, we have such a decline in values in our society that things that once were taboo are ok now...divorce, gay life style, disrepect for authority and elders.

The root cause is sin has become more accepted as we live with it more each day and become blind to sin. God has not changed his mind on sin...it doesn't matter how people feel about or rationalize sin.

God is serious about sin, as you can see by the cross he hung on to forgive us (those who believe).

I know sin is an old fashioned word and may be a little funny to people...ponder that?

Christine said...

We'll have to disagree on the infallibility of the bible as God's word. Even so, this alone is not a legitimate legal argument.

Regarding the law, are you suggesting that divorce and disrespecting parents should be illegal as well? Where does one draw the line, and why?

We need to question the purpose of laws. Ultimately they are about protection of rights, usually of others' rights that you get in trouble for intruding upon (i.e. you can't kill someone b/c you took away their right to life, you can't steal someone else's property). There are also public decency laws (i.e. you can't walk around naked in public) that attempt to maintain both public order and a sense of the society's values. Where does a law that doesn't allow certain pairs of consenting adults to enter into a legally-binding, publically-recognized union fit in here? Do we find the gay lifestyle so offensive that we should also make two men holding hands in public an offense (making it a public decency issue)? I do not see how the Constitution allows us to make this differentiation. Some suggest an amendment, but historically all of the amendments that address specific groups of people have been INclusive, not EXclusive. In fact, the one time we tried to exclude drinkers, it didn't stick.

And, lastly, why is this such a central issue on the right side of the aisle? Of all the problems in the world, this is the important one?

Werns Bro said...

Wern

If you don't believe in the Word of God; the Holy Bible...then, this discussion is pointless.

God proved laws don't work as grace is needed to seal the deal. Man can't follow laws...sin is the problem. The ten commandments were given to us with five related to God and five to our relationship with our fellow man. We failed and he sent Jesus Christ to save us. If you accept his free gift and believe in your heart, then you get heaven as a home...

God's grace is sufficient.

As far as politics are concerned, I don't recommend. putting your hope and energy into it...Don't get me wrong,I believe strongly in voting and have voted in every election I was eligible to vote and yes, I'm conservative. However, I break most libs sterotype of a conservative. As you know,I'm an ex-pro hockey player from a lower-middle class family.I became a believer at 22 after meeting your sis.

Gay lifestyles are sinful. Maybe, they want to be married to somehow validate their sinful lifestyle. I want to protect marriage as instituted by God in the Bible. One man and one woman. Otherwise, we are condoning sin. It is about hatred of sin, not the sinners. Liberals get confused and call this hate...


Obama has some people fooled here with his words and promises. Remember, he's a (sshhh! )POLITICIAN wink, wink. His rhetoric is eloqouent and empty. Promises, promises. Put your hope in something important...Jesus, family and friends.Trust me.

Look at how Obama has invested in friends and Pastors...McCain will get my vote.

Peace Out!

rich said...

Hi everyone, here’s my two cents worth. I like this sort of discussion. This is the sort of topic that all too often devolves into a shouting match so to have a calm discourse is nice.
Laura, you are willing to examine your beliefs; I respect that a lot even though we disagree. When we stop asking questions we start to die.
That being said I have some issues with your take on homosexuality.
First I’d want to point out that every word of the Bible was physically written by the hand of a flawed sinful man, and second the list of texts that made it into the Bible was decided 300 to 400 years after Christ once again by men (flawed and sinful by definition) who put in what they agreed with and labeled as heretical what they did not. But that may be for another time.

For now assuming that the Bible is divinely inspired (which I agree with) and infallible (which I do not) I still have trouble with using it to justify the Church’s view of homosexuality. I hear ‘love the sinner hate the sin’ all too often but I’ve never seen it happen. I don’t know you so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m really talking about the Church in general not specific individuals. We say that all sin is the same in the eyes of God, but we all differentiate. Adulterers, liars, and gossipers are all included with homosexuality in the New Testament passages, but in all too many congregations adultery is tolerated, lying is ignored, and gossiping is practically required (but “strictly in confidence and only for prayer”) If a couple is in their 2nd (or 3rd, 4th…) marriage they are committing adultery (Matthew 5:32, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18). I’m not saying they should be stoned to death (although the Bible does – Leviticus 20:10) I’m just asking why the Church congregation will allow them to hold hands during the sermon, but ostracize a gay couple. They simply are not held to the same standard.

You have hit on a good point that the word the Bible uses is Sodomites as in people of Sodom. It doesn’t even use the word sodomy. I urge you to take another look at the story of Sodom (Genesis 19). When the angels came to visit Lot, the good folks of Sodom tried to force their way into Lot’s house to drag out the two visitors to rape them, which not even the most liberal activist wants to legalize. That’s what it takes to be a Sodomite. It has nothing too with two loving adults who want to spend their lives together, but are held back because they have matching naughty bits.

Even if the Bible says homosexual = sinner, which I’m not convinced it does, you still have to admit the Bible says a lot of odd things that every Christian picks and chooses from. Far from merely outlawing bacon, the Holy Scripture also forbids cutting your sideburns (Leviticus 19:27), cotton-poly blends (Leviticus 19:19) and touching a woman during her period (Leviticus 15:19). Many Christians say that these things in the old testament are null through the fulfillment of Christ, but Jesus says not a letter of the law will pass away (Matthew 5:18). There are plenty of things we ignore from the new testament as well, though, such as women must were a hat to pray (I Corinthians 11:5) and should be silent in church (I Corinthians 14:34)

Saying we pick and choose is a bit cheeky, but we do have to interpret the words of the Book. If we took every word as the literal truth it wouldn’t make sense. Jesus’ own words would contradict. "For he who is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40) and “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Luke 11:23).

The biggest problem with using the Bible to justify something is that it can be misused too easily. It says repeatedly that slaves must obey their masters (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, I Timothy 6:1, Titus 2:9 I Peter 2:18 to name a few), but never says it is wrong. So for centuries White Christians used the Bible to justify slavery. Their argument was Biblically sound, but wrong. Completely wrong. I think that in the future the argument against homosexuality will seem as silly as the argument for slavery does today.

So that’s my take on the matter.
You are definitely right about the need for a spell check – I always have to type my responses in Word then cut and paste.

Elena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wern's Sis said...

I am not getting any work done people! :-)

Your feelings that the Bible has errors or is fiction is something I must take issue with.

2 Tim 3:16-20: "16(A)All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that (B)the man of God may be adequate, (C)equipped for every good work. "

The Holy Spirit (fully God) is who inspired the fallible people to write the infallible words that are in the book.

You don't all believe that and that is the choice you have been given through your own God ordained free will. How is that for an oxymoron! :-)

However I do believe it to be true - - taken on Faith, yes, but only because of the grace God has given me through the relationship I have with Him. As I spend time in the Bible each day, He speaks to me in loving and convicting ways. God said it, I didn't. Instead of choosing to see it as restrictive and hateful, it offers an immense Freedom! Freedom from sin and intimate communion with a God who loves you personally.

Psalm 22, a book and chapter in the Bible written 400 years before crucifixion was invented, points so convincingly to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2022;&version=49;

Or Isaiah 53, written 700 years before Christ, which so perfectly describes the fate of the suffering servant. (Christ)

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2053;&version=49;

Can these be seen as cosmic accidents?

All Scripture is not only God-breathed and inspired, it also uniquely and beautifully points to Christ throughout.

We have been round and round on this one. I am sure Ginger never expected this many comments on this story. Way to go Ginger!

Y'all are wearing me out!!! :-)

Wern's Sis said...

Oh poo, I got interrupted by a stupid meat sales lady knocking on my door - - then Rachel fell of her bike - - -

I forgot to comment on the libertarian issue. My understanding is that libertarians are so mostly because they want the government out of their business - - fiscal and social. Correct me if I am off base here Elena.

Here is the main problem I have with libertarians- how do you justify abortion being legal? The babies are innocents and have no say in the matter.

I am not writing this to fight, I just want to hear your thoughts on the issue from a libertarian perspective so I can learn.

Thank you sis of sis!

And Rich, thanks for the excellent debate. You are as smart as your brilliant and beautiful wife. I can't wait to meet you both one day, as long as we don't talk politics or religion I think we will be OK. ;-)

Wern's Sis said...

I am starting to get a little obsessed with this whole discussion, that is poison because I am supposed to be making dinner right now.

But I need to say one more thing.
Although the Bible is inerrant, I don't believe it should be taken literally. That word was used in one of the recent posts and it has been bothering me the last couple of hours.

That is a fundamentalist view that can lead to legalism, and I choose to take a conservative view of the Bible.

Inerrant but not literal. There are some differences that we can discuss if you so desire. But if Ginger is getting tired of all this rhetoric, just speak up sweetie!

Wern's Sis said...

This is Ron...Again it's Big Ron!

I'm enjoying this dialog!

The problem with our society is a sin problem. Romans 3:23 (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God)...not some, but all.

A real church of Jesus Christ welcomes sinners and loves on them... Sounds like we have some friends here, that have been hurt by the church and have either quit the church or have justified not getting committed or involved in a real church...just a hunch. I may be way off base here...please forgive me, if I am.

People can be nasty including Christians...see above about our sin problem.

Most quoting of scripture here is out of context...Matthew 5:18-Jesus is not speaking against observing all the requirements of the law.But against hypocritical, Pharisaical legalism. Such legalism was not the keeping of all details of the law but the hollow sham of keeping laws externally, to gain merit before God, while breaking them internally. It was follwing the letter of the law while ignoring its spirit. Righteousness only comes through faith In Christ!

Jesus is not contradicting himself.
For he who is not against is for us... in context is referencing Jesus's view of discipleship was far more inclusive, than the narrow view held by the 12. While in Luke 11:23 the point is neutrality is impossible, when deciding on what you will do with Christ.

I hope the stand against sin does not grow weaker (including homosexuality). The whole slavery argument comparison with gay lifestyle choices is a major stretch. But, a comparison with sin to slavery is valid.

Elena, many Christian higher learning institutions are only nominal at this point. I would challenge anyone to find the same amount of gay sinful lifesytles at Liberty University for example.

Thanks for letting me participate in this healthy discussion!

In Him,
Ron

rich said...

Ron, if most of the verses are out of context, which ones and how so? The “against us… for us” quotes were deliberately out of context to show that we can’t take every word as the literal truth. But it looks like everyone here agrees on that. So we have to look at the big picture to see what it means. Different people will see different meanings. Some better than others. Some think women should cover their hair in church – Fine, but not for me. Others think True Christians should juggle poisonous snakes – Nut jobs who must be stopped. So I’m not saying all interpretations are ok, I’m just saying we all interpret.

As for Matthew 5:18, we’re both saying the same thing, Jesus isn’t speaking against following the law. The rules are still there, we just have grace. I don’t see how it is out of context.

In regards to slavery, please explain how it is a stretch. The New Testament says repeatedly that slavery is ok; more than it mentions Sodomites. But it is not ok; it’s wrong. Slaves should not obey their masters. Running away from a southern slave owner was not a sin - even though it was exactly the opposite of what the Bible said.

I don’t want to seem anti Christian (maybe Elena is, you’ll have to ask her), Most Christians are good people doing the best they can. I’m just looking for a group of them to join that are willing to admit that we’re still just looking at the “poor reflection” (I Corinthians 13:12). I haven’t found it yet but I’m still hopeful.

Werns Bro said...

Rich,

Yes, I was referring to the "for us...against us" being out of context and general priniciples of the Law vs Grace. I see now it was intentional.

The law reveals sin...we are in bondage to sin until we accept Christ by Grace through Faith.

This bondage to sin is what I was referring to when I said "The whole slavery argument comparison with gay lifestyle choices is a major stretch. But, a comparison with sin to slavery is valid".
Regarding Ephesians 6:5 and the rest...
Both the OT and NT included regulations for societal situations such as slavery, hats for ladies and divorce which were the results of hardness of hearts (Matthew 19:8). Such regulations did not encourage or condone such situations but were divinely-given, practical ways of dealing with the realaties of the day.

I encourage you to press forward on your journey of faith to find a loving Christ-like congregation of belivers to surround you and your family.

God Bless!
Ron

Werns Bro said...

Elena,

How can this be...the Bible fiction?

Anti-Christian as Rich eludes?

I Corinthians 1:20 "Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Jack Welch (GE) when asked: "what is the hardest question you have ever been asked" replied: "If I will go to heaven". What an example of the wise being foolish.

It's simple...even a child can understand it? You either believe in Christ or you don't...you don't get to be neutral. Although Satan prefers neutrality.

What about all the good that has done by Christians (Samaritan's Purse, Habitat for humanity,etc) in Christ's name?

Have you read "In Defense of Isreal"? Laura may want comment here...

PS. I'm Anti-Soccer... so maybe, were even as this seems to the Fouge's religion...just kidding! At least Ginger likes hockey..go girl!

Love,
Ron

Wern's Sis said...

Rich and Ginger,

Thanks for your posts. I can see what special and smart people you are and truly Ron and I have enjoyed blogging with you this week.

Faith is a journey, for sure. Ron and I have been where you are at - - hurt by church - - questioning some of the injustices and seeming inconsistencies. That hurt was complex and real and took us years to work through. At times we still work through it -- that is part of what is meant by sanctification.

I guess we just had to come to the point where we realized that being at church is really about worshipping the Lord, trying to grow in Him, and helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others. It is not about following all the rules or doing something that is contrary to what we believe the Lord has called us to do.

There are still those people around us in that environment that drive us nuts, are closed minded on some issues, and say rude things. And your comment on the gossip thing - - ARGH!!! That drives me nuts too. BUT the thing is, they are all people, just like us, prone to sin.

A perfect church environment does not exist this side of heaven.

On my myspace page I say "Cave Spring Baptist Church is my home away from home." That is true, I love my church, the pastor, the people in it, singing there, etc.
But just like when I am visiting my parents for a week or so, there sometimes is conflict and disagreement. (just ask my dad next time you see him.) :-)

Sanctification in the faith is really about growing in your faith and working through that stuff.

We have found that true spiritual growth comes from spending time working through these faith issues with other believers. The level of trust it takes to open up in those environments does take time and at times is a struggle. But the rewards are: long lasting friendships - - people that are there to support you on such a deep spiritual level - - people who support you in crisis - - growth in understanding the Bible -there is also power in corporate worship - etc.

Something so funny happened last weekend. We were at a wedding reception for this couple from church that got married. We were sitting with other members of our church sunday school class, when one of the couples all of a sudden declared to us "my candidate is no longer in the race...I loved Hilary....we are democrats!" After my Sunday School teacher got over his coronary attack :-).....

...it was one of the most awesome discussions I have ever had. We laughed, loved on each other, and discussed our differences. I patted the husband on the back and said "you know, this is really good! This is going to be great for David (our Sunday School teacher.)

I can honestly, with all that is within me, tell you, I have so much respect for that couple for opening up to our group the way they did, expressing their opinions (and funny thing was, they brought up the issue of homosexuality - - again, no cosmic accident IMO)

God is first of all interested in our justification - - realizing there is no way we can earn our way to heaven - - even one little sin separates us from the Holy God. So we need to believe in our hearts that what Jesus did on the cross builds that bridge to the Father and make that divine exchange our sin for His holiness. In doing that, the Holy Spirit enters our life and sanctification can truly take place.

Elena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I want to believe.

As I was sitting in a doctor's office waiting room for a full hour yesterday, I decided to pick up my poor, neglected The New Yorker magazine and trudge through an article that I had been meaning to read - no, had tried to read, but couldn't because the writing was so. freaking. monotonous. that, though I was interested in the content, I kept falling asleep or reading the same line over and over again and asking myself, "What's it mean? What's it saying? The words make no sense.." So, I figured that a tedious wait in a doctor's office was the perfect place to read the article because it might actually seem entertaining in that type of atmosphere, or at least give my eyes a place to focus since God knows you don't make eye-contact in an OBGYN office. And no, I did not randomly go to a doctor's office waiting room so that I could actually read the article, though it isn't a bad idea come to think of it. I'll have to suggest this to my students when their eyes become heavy and they begin drooling during "A Modest Proposal" and/or (dear God) Paradise Lost.

Anyway.

As I said before, the article's content was of interest to me. It was about "new evangelicals," post-Falwell and (almost) post-Dobson. To sum it up (as could have been done in the article itself), the writer basically asserts that the Christian Right-wing Republican reign is (finally) coming to an end in favor of a new generation of Christian conservatives who actually have some compassion for the poor, the environment, and (gasp) the homosexuals(!), ones who don't automatically check the Republican box on their ballots, who actually do research and have reasonable opinions. According to the article, this happened accidentally when none of the curmudgeons could agree on which Republican candidate to support (Ooops McCain!), thus splintering the coalition and allowing for a new group to emerge. Too bad this happened after W's second term and not before.

This may sound like a slam to those "Focus on the Family" / I heart Rush Limbaugh types, and, by God, it is meant to be! And before anyone starts pointing fingers in my direction and crying "heretic!", I have to tell you that this falling "Christian" coalition is part of what turns me away from ever attending church again - or that kind of church.

I grew up Southern Baptist. I dedicated and rededicated my life to what I thought was godly at the time; I freaking wore out the carpet on the center aisle of the church for all of my rededicating. I worked at being a good person, since that is the Christian thing to do, and (as scripted), I was vocally intolerant of anything and everything that was remotely different. It took me being the object of that intolerance - literally being outcasted - to give me time to figure out what an idiot I was and that I was missing so much color in my life, and substance!

So this is personal.

And it turns out it is personal to many god fearing people who have been horribly embarrassed by what has been done in the name of Christianity. And I'm not just talking about Michael W. Smith here.

The point is that the political Christian powerhouses, at least the ones in the forefront today, scare the shit out of me. I am afraid of their platform which relies on fear mongering, war waging, and money wielding for votes. How do people not see that what they are doing is wrong, and is in direct opposition to what Jesus would actually do? - loving folks individually, regardless of culture or creed; working in the community, without a megaphone, soap box, or check book; and nourishing people, both emotionally and physically. The latter is the type of politic - potentially the politic of the new evangelicals - that has every right to march on Washington as it certainly should(!). And maybe, now that the mighty have fallen, the newbies, though I am still leery of some of their ideology, will have a chance to prove that Christianity doesn't have to be dogmatic, domineering, and prejudicially loud.

I want to believe that the Christian coalitions can be that mature.

Hell, I simply want to believe.

37 comments:

happyfunpants said...

Amen Sista!

No seriously - I couldn't agree more. This is a fight that I find myself fighting.

Yes, I was raised in a Christian home...but no, I don't vote blindly.

I'm so thankful that people are starting to realize that you miss SO much when you have blinders on.

I want to print out your post and hang it at work. Because I'm shocked at the people that consider themselves Christians and then openly mock anyone who is different, tell off color jokes, and treat others so vicously...while mocking the democrat in the group because clearly I must be a heathen if I don't vote republican.

(sigh)

But alas, I digress.

What I want to say is how very much I appreciate your post - because it sums up what I have been feeling for quite a while.

You still rock.

rich said...

I’m right there with you. It’s been at least a decade, maybe two since I’ve been to a church that around November didn’t tell me how “all God fearing people” should vote. They can’t come out and say “any vote for a Democrat is another spear in Jesus’ side” since that would be illegal. Instead they just urge you toward the red side of the aisle. Ironically these people tend to be up in arms about the audacity of unions influencing votes, but it is perfectly fine when Christians do it. WTFWJD? (Thanks Neal)

The worst part is that folks like Dobson aren’t really Republican; they are far too extreme for that. They can’t decide if they can support a centrist like McCain. Their rhetoric is surprisingly similar to the Islamic extremists they hate. As far as I can tell our scary zealots say ‘crusade’ and their scary zealots say ‘jihad’. Thank God/Allah for rational believers. We’ve been searching for them overseas, but we need them here just as much.

rich said...

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

Christine said...

Nice quote, Rich!

I completely agree, though, as you know, I come at this from the position of someone whom these folks would call an unbeliever. I'm not sure if that makes them scarier to me or scarier to you...

Anyway, I agree with the author's premise, because I see it and hear it, too. I LOVE that Obama uses religious rhetoric in his speeches and talks about policy in a way that sounds (and, I believe, IS) moral. It continually surprises me how those who would label themselves "religious" (and specifically "evangelical Christians") seem to believe things that so clearly fly in the face of Jesus' central message to love one another.

(And, seriously, what's the deal with the hatred of gays? Not only can I not stand it, I don't get it. At all. Someone give me a logical argument, for god's sake, because I can't fight against stupid hatred. It's tiring. Hmm... maybe that's their strategy? If so, they totally underestimated this straight girl!)

Mark said...

But Christine Obama even if he wins it is just going to be part of that very same fascist unaccountable and out of control bureacratic capitalist US/EU/CHINA globally imperial money mad top down machine &, to be frank even with the very best will in the world, and all the brains & resources at his disposal he will not be able to build a new society, which is what is now required, to remake the world in God's image. At least, from that perspective, do you see what i mean..?

Mark said...

PS. this is quite a nice, & educationally useful site, in case u didn't see it yet
The Story of Stuff

Love n Peas
Xx

Ginger said...

It's funny that when I write posts like these, I don't think that they are in any way remotely original. My mom called and said that she would have to take the baby away from me for all of my "dangerous" religious, politicial dialog.. but she was joking.. I think.

Anyway, I'm glad to spark conversation. :)

Anne, I say post it, even if it's anonymously. Or better yet, write your own, better version - maybe on sticky notes that accidentally float around the office.. Create a scandal that doesn't involve Vicodin and karate. ;)OR create another one that does.. I want to be a fly on the wall.

Wratch! As usual, you furthered the point in a most accessible way. Thanks for the quote, too (though it reminds me of Eddie Izzard in a way).

Christine - the answer is scarier to me, hilarious to you.. or hilarios now that some of the power is gone. Jesus Camp scared the living God out of me and, as I recall, you found it interesting.

Also, I'm with you on the Obama front, though I am still pissed about his emphatic denial of being a Muslim.

The hatred of gays thing is still completely bogus.

Mark - you are absolutely right. Obama will be part of the fascist...machine, and will not be able to build a whole new society, per se. BUT he is at least a voice for change - no one else will hear the word -, a voice that could very well plant a mustard seed. And we know what those things can do. He also advocates community - look at his grassroots campaign, for example.

So, you are right. Obama is not superman. He isn't going to save us, but maybe he's the beginning of something. And if he isn't then at least we opted for change in this election.
.
Also, to "remake the world in God's image" is a frightening phrase, one that probably sounds a lot nicer in your voice, but one that is terrifying in the hands of religious extremists - building the new Israel by hastening the second coming...Nuke the bastards in the name of the Lord, etc. etc.

I live in the Bible belt. Religious rhetoric, especially "Jesus-ese" is wielded often and with force here.

rich said...

Mark, no one expects Obama to be the messiah. Ok maybe some do but most don’t. And his grass roots campaign is nothing short of revolutionary. Over 1.5 million donors, and currently 56% of them give less than $500. Sure some folks with stacks of cash support him, but the vast majority of them are regular Joes with small donations. Sure, he’s not going to remake society, but at least he will take steps away from the totalitarian precipice (even if they are baby steps) instead of goose-stepping towards it. If nothing else, he would give activists like you more time to garner support, instead of rounding everyone up.
Remaking the world in ‘Gods image’ is scary because no two people agree on that image. Do we use yours? Mine? Osama’s?

Christine said...

Yeah. What Ginger and Rich said. :) This is one of the reasons I love you guys so much... that whole sharing a brain thing.

I walk into my support for Obama with my eyes wide open. There is no way he'll be able to get half (a quarter!) of his initiatives put into law. (Honestly, I view this as a good thing, since I'm an advocate of small government.) And I have to admit that it is a fear of mine that he will become just another power-driven, second-term-seeking, morally-compromised president. It's a fear, but I know it will happen to a certain extent. I just hope not too much.

My point is that I believe in small steps toward change. It's how I balance my idealism with my sense of reality. Besides, large leaps of change -- even if the end result is positive -- often leave many caskets in their path. Hell, caskets if you're lucky; unmarked mass graves if you're not.

Mark said...

Surely a world in God's image is what the early Christian's did, how they lived. It's founders were, after all alive during his time. Counter-cultural, anti-imperial, refusal to keep slaves or participate in slave economy. Property in common wherever need arose. Asking whose God is precisely the problem we face, where we are making God in our image. A simple society where every one is able to partake in decision making, if they chose will suffice. From each according to capacity, to each according to need. Not a new idea. Not a big leap, a modest proposal, seeds of this in every locality for resilient, sustaining change from below!

Mark said...

And anyway, election maybe eclipsed by the people by then (inshallah)..

Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust. Isaiah 26:19

General Strike 911

And Vote Strike

Maybe we can make it a strike and picnic in front of symbols of Empire..?

Amira A. said...

I have yet to decide whether or not Obama is the anti-Christ. It's supposed to be someone that means well, isn't it?

:P

Mark said...

Good question Amira!

The world of the elite continues to unite behind a well-meaning but ultimately tragic idea, this globalising system. IMO no one person, not Hitler, not Bush, Blair, Brown or Obama is the anti-Christ.

Rather it is the imperial system (both structurally, and of the mind) which continues to render (as all empires do) you, me and others like us - and especially our voices however worthwhile - invisible, marginal, illegal even. Aside from the odd relatively meaningless vote of course. Voting which props up the system and gives it its veneer of legitimacy.

Is this not the precise modern day equivalent (ok, admittedly with a few democratic bells on, to mollify the masses)to the empire which crucified - ie rendered physically dead, and you can't get much more invisible than that - Jesus?

Ginger said...

Oprah.

My dad says the anti-Christ is Oprah.

Oprah Uma, Uma Oprah.

Is it something, or is it nothing?

Wern's Sis said...

Isn't by painting all evenagelic Christians as hate mongerers hate mongering yourself? Sorry but to place all of us in a category is doing the very same thing you hate, which is hating.

It hurts my heart to see that you hate church so much. What church is supposed to be is a place to worship God and grow in your faith, surrounded by others who can support you and help you grow.

The truth is that a church, just like the world we live in, is full of flawed, sinful human beings that often don't realize it!

Over the years, I have been hurt from time to time by these very same people. I get what you are saying about the judgement and the hypocrisy seen in many churches today. I see it myself at times but have chosen to realize that it is certain individuals who are closed minded and culturally brainwashed instead of truly moved by the loving and full of grace God you know is there.

Churches are also filled with merciful, kind, supportive people whom I choose to love. The church is the Body of Christ, and sometimes the body gets cancer or muscle pain.

I for one want to love all people, but that doesn't mean that I should go against my own convictions that line up with the Word of God on issues like homosexuality. Anyone who knows my heart as an individual knows that our calling is to love all people. Being friends with a homosexual would not go against my doctrine, it would line up with it.

The reason so many evangelicals vote republican and don't buy into Obama's "hope" and "change" Messiah speak is precisely because we DO have a brain and ARE mature.

My own set of convictions line up more with conservatives because I believe in a small fiscal government, low taxes and a very strong military to protect us. I also believe abortion is wrong because it kills innocent babies.

I would also like to see us use oil we have in our own country so my gas prices wouldn't be so high and so that we wouldn't have to rely on whacko extremist countries to provide it to us.

I desire for our Supreme Court to have conservative judges so that these ideals can be maintained and so that the constitution will not be interpreted by individual whims.

If that makes me a hateful person, I would have to disagree with you.

I respect your opinion, Christine's, Rich's, etc. but I just had to tell you I disagree!

The Lord has changed me for the better, and to live life without Him and His Word would be a life not worth living!

OK now I bet your annoyed with me.

Christine said...

Ginger loves good dialog, sis! No worries.

I do have to say that this discussion is NOT about the church as a whole and Christians as a whole. The article was about the political control a certain very conservative groups has asserted, and the fact that a more moderate group of Christians seems to be stepping up to speak up. I view this as a good thing, because I believe what you've written about the church (I believe it about religion in general) and all the good things it can be and often is. But I also believe that ANY theology can be twisted in ways that it was not intended, and this becomes especially true when it steps into a political system that governs a diverse nation such as ours.

Perhaps you and I could have a discussion about why homosexuals should receive unequal treatment in this country. I certainly cannot have this discussion with mum or dad; perhaps you could explain your logic to me. We're not discussing personal theology here (though I'm interested in that argument as well), we're talking about the involvement of said theology in the political arena. I'm yet to hear an argument regarding this issue that I buy.

The point that the article was making is that we may be reaching a time where there will not be just one, extremely conservative voice that people can label politically as "Christian." It shows the kind of inordinate control that this political group exercises that it's labeled the largest religious group in the country as entirely conservative Republican. I think what we're saying here is that it will be good to hear other voices coming from the church.

You should blog about this. I'll definitely comment.

Wern's Sis said...

First of all, this thing needs spell check. I am so dependent on that darn thing.

Secondly I thought I posted a response to my Werna T. Ferna's comment to me. But I don't see it here so who knows what I did!

I think mostly what I want to say is thanks to Christine for clarifying the article. I was commenting more on Ginger's response to the article, and also the comments I was reading in response on this site.....feeling like the evangelical and conservative viewpoint was being misrepresented somewhat.

But regarding the homosexuality issue, I find it hard to separate the theological from the political, because my theology governs my life and all the choices I make within it.

I believe the Bible clearly states within the context of several passages that homosexuality is sinful behavior. But to be honest with you, I sin all the time. We all do, so I would extend mercy and grace to a homosexual individual the same way I would hope they would do to me. I know you see this differently than I do - - i.e. not as sin but rather a genetic issue, I just don't see that in the Bible. So because the bible governs my life, I have the viewpoints that I do.

The main issue I have with equal rights to homosexuals is when it enters into the educational realm, i.e. I have a problem with the homosexual viewpoint on a # of levels being a part of curriculum in the public schools.

This and many similar other reasons are why Ron and I have decided to send B&R to private Christian school. By sending them to the school we have chosen, we feel confident that they will hear consistent messages at home, church, and school.

Love to all!

Ginger said...

But Laura, more than the Bible talks about homosexuality (which is only something like 7 times), hundreds of times it talks about loving people. Jesus hung out with the outcasts. He was the revolutionary, the anarchist who went against societal norms (and law) to show how to love ALL people.

Why do Christians zoom in on the sexuality issue more than anything else? I mean, why not on not cutting your hair or not eating pork? The thing is, we rationalize other behaviors, saying that in the modern world, we do not need to live by certain outdated laws. All the while we have tunnel vision for the things we don't understand or fear.

I think it is wonderful that you love your kids enough to "protect them", and I honestly respect that, but I feel that in not exposing them to the "other", you may actually be creating more of a stigma, ensuring that they will operate in a world of intolerance and misunderstanding. It creates an "us" vs. "them" when there is only "we". I think you are getting at that in saying that you, like homosexuals, are a sinner and need mercy; but maybe what should be said is simply, "We are all sinners. We all need mercy".

We both know that God is so much bigger than what we can rationalize. I know this because I used to say the very things that you are saying. I lived that life for a lot of years, and it felt nice to feel like I was "getting it right". But then I found out that we can't get it right and any definition we assign to God is out of vanity because we can never understand or know. That's the folly with mixing humanity and free will, I suppose.

Also, the "whacko countries" are made up of mostly WONDERFUL, beautiful men and women who want what's best for their family and friends. I also have to note that the majority of Muslims are much more tolerant of Christians than we are of them. They view Islam, Judaism, and Christianity as sister religions - all decendants of the God of Abraham, theirs being the most recent interpretation.

I hope this doesn't sound antagonistic. It is meant to be discussion. We may have to agree to disagree and love each other anyway.

Wern's Sis said...

We are definitely in agreement that there are wonderful individuals in those whacko extremest countries I am referring to. However I can't say the same for many of their leaders. The leaders was who I meant, not the citizens. I don't want to rely on them for oil when we have it here to drill within the proper means. I disagree with the environmental stance that we can't drill in Alaska, for example. That just bothers me and seems like an extreme environmental position which is impacting our pocket books every day.

One of my closest friends from work is a Muslim. She is sweet and kind and I love her. I do not think all Muslims are whackos. Sorry if I gave that impression.

I disagree with your assessment that homosexuality being in the Bible 7 times versus love 700 - - that one is more important than the other. I believe the Bible should be read within the context of all surrounding passages.

Not all Christians believe this, rather they parse out what makes them feel better or meets their mostly cultural agenda. I prefer to be a student of the Bible as a whole and to hence see it in its full meaning and context.

Cutting of the hair and eating pork were sections of the mosaic law that with Christ's coming was fulfilled and no longer a requirement. Christ fulfilled the law, didn't nullify it, however the issue of homosexuality can not be seen in the same context as the mosaic law. I am not sure why many Christians single this issue out, I explained my issue with it (the potential of it entering within the public school arena).

Regarding the education of our children, we desire for our precious ones to be raised to know the grace and love of Christ. We believe God is central to all that is within creation and so for Him to be excluded from the conversation in a public school makes us desire to look for an alternative. The school we have chosen is not a southern baptist / right wing school. We have those in town and those don't fit our purpose for the learning of our children.

Despite being Southern Baptist, I personally believe those other schools would be like you describe in your last post and would have a less than stellar educational offering. This school we are sending them too is a very demanding, Classical Christian school, where God will be celebrated and part of all the curriculum. We want to be able to teach our children about the things of this world on our own terms, not on the terms of a system where God has no part, that is all.

And you and I will surely agree to disagree on a lot of things I am sure. I still love you, am glad you are my sissy's best bud, and I believe you are truly a brilliant individual. Love to you!

Christine said...

La - You said:

Cutting of the hair and eating pork were sections of the mosaic law that with Christ's coming was fulfilled and no longer a requirement. Christ fulfilled the law, didn't nullify it, however the issue of homosexuality can not be seen in the same context as the mosaic law.

Can you explain your last sentence more fully for me? Also, are there references specifically against homosexuality in the New Testament?

Wern's Sis said...

Hey Christine,

First regarding your question on Christ fulfilling the law, I am referring to the passages found in Romans 3.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=52&chapter=3&version=31&context=chapter

In this section of the bible, Paul is responding to the Jews in the church who thought that circumcision was a requirement to be a follower of Christ. It goes on to state that the law has been fulfilled through the grace of God through Jesus Christ his Son. My belief that the Bible speaks to homosexuality in particular does not come from the 613 mitzvot / commandments, but rather from what I am outlining below with regard to your 2nd question.

Secondly, yes, there are new testamant passages on homosexuality. Here are a few I know of:

Romans 1:18-32

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:18-32&version=49


1 Corinthians 6:9-11

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%206:9-11;&version=49;


1 Timothy 1:9-11

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Timothy%201:9-11;&version=49;

Each of these passages above are quoted in my link from the NASB version of the Bible. From all of my research, this version most closely represents the original Greek.

Within the old testament, the story of Sodom is the strongest evidence I have that homosexuality is sinful behavior. Genesis 13 and then 19....

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2013-20;&version=49;

One interesting side note - - I just read an article regarding homosexuality vs sodomy. It said the bible doesn't specifically say homosexuality is a sin (although my NASB version does use that word), but that homosexual ACTS(i.e. sodomy) are. This article states that sodomy is a sin just as fornication and adultery are sinful behaviors that heterosexuals do.

I will think some more on that particular point.

Christine said...

Well we're definitely going to have to agree to disagree. The 1 Timothy verse equates gays to murderers and kidnappers, and I don't believe God would say that. In fact, I find it pretty horrible.

But let's move on to the political/legal implications here. I still don't see how this is a viable argument against gay marriage. People have used biblical references to support laws for slavery and against interracial marriage. We now see these laws as non-Constitutional. What is the difference here?

And is it fair to impose one religion's point of view onto the populace as a whole, even if that religion is the majority? Consider Iran's strict dress code for women as an example.

Wern's Sis said...

First I don't read the Timothy passage the same as you do. In that particular passage, Paul is writing to Timothy, a young follower who has been charged with helping to lead the church at Ephesus. There had been some falling away from the faith, falling back into sin and in particular false doctrine.

In all of Paul's letters to the churches, and here to his friend Tim, he is responding to the issues that are marking the church of the day. Text without Context is just Text. So which much care, I have to read the entire passage and surrounding passages to hear the full message. Paul saw, lies, murder, idolatry, promiscuity, etc. abundant in that environment and so chose those items to be included in that particular letter. However as I read that passage, I really am seeing them all together as sin, not parsing them out individually.

One of the biggest lies in the world today is categorizing sin. That is something we do, but I do not believe that is something God does. God is a Holy God who can not look upon sin at all. Sin is what separates us from God, which is why Christ had to come and die for us.

Now with that said, God is most certainly a compassionate God. He had to be to love us enough to send a part of Himself, His Only Son, down to earth, away from the throne of glory and perfection to down here. So He looks on those impacted by murder, for example, a truly horrible and life changing event, or the loss of a child, for example, as well as all the struggles we go through, with great compassion. Think of when Lazarus died, Christ (who is fully God) cried because he loved his friend who had died and he loved those who were grieving. So yes He is most loving and fully compassionate.

However, he still can not look upon sin. Until we allow Christ to cover that sin in each of our own lives, God the Father, can not look upon us with mercy.

So now we are back to the political aspect. Gay Marriage is not something I could ever support because for me, it goes back to creation. God made the heavens and the earth and then made a man and fashioned the woman out of the man. That compared with Sodom and the passages I gave you in the New Testament, all lead me to believe that homosexual behavior is wrong.

I can not support gay marriage and all the rights that go along with it, nor allowing the gay lifestyle to indoctrinate the public schools because of these beliefs that I hold as Truth.

Wern's Sis said...

OK, now these are my husband Ron's comments as emailed to Christine this morning. Do not shoot the messenger. :-) Laura

We are all made in God's image...that includes people who have a gay life style. It also includes people who murder and kidnap. In God's eyes... sin is sin. And yes, sex outside of marriage is sin. God gives us all the free gift to be forgiven by receiving Christ's free gift of salvation.

God's word is without error as is God...he is holy. You may not agree with everything it says. However, that doesn't change God or his word as it has remained unchanged inspite of infinite attempts to disprove it's validity and truth.

In response to gay marriage, we have such a decline in values in our society that things that once were taboo are ok now...divorce, gay life style, disrepect for authority and elders.

The root cause is sin has become more accepted as we live with it more each day and become blind to sin. God has not changed his mind on sin...it doesn't matter how people feel about or rationalize sin.

God is serious about sin, as you can see by the cross he hung on to forgive us (those who believe).

I know sin is an old fashioned word and may be a little funny to people...ponder that?

Christine said...

We'll have to disagree on the infallibility of the bible as God's word. Even so, this alone is not a legitimate legal argument.

Regarding the law, are you suggesting that divorce and disrespecting parents should be illegal as well? Where does one draw the line, and why?

We need to question the purpose of laws. Ultimately they are about protection of rights, usually of others' rights that you get in trouble for intruding upon (i.e. you can't kill someone b/c you took away their right to life, you can't steal someone else's property). There are also public decency laws (i.e. you can't walk around naked in public) that attempt to maintain both public order and a sense of the society's values. Where does a law that doesn't allow certain pairs of consenting adults to enter into a legally-binding, publically-recognized union fit in here? Do we find the gay lifestyle so offensive that we should also make two men holding hands in public an offense (making it a public decency issue)? I do not see how the Constitution allows us to make this differentiation. Some suggest an amendment, but historically all of the amendments that address specific groups of people have been INclusive, not EXclusive. In fact, the one time we tried to exclude drinkers, it didn't stick.

And, lastly, why is this such a central issue on the right side of the aisle? Of all the problems in the world, this is the important one?

Werns Bro said...

Wern

If you don't believe in the Word of God; the Holy Bible...then, this discussion is pointless.

God proved laws don't work as grace is needed to seal the deal. Man can't follow laws...sin is the problem. The ten commandments were given to us with five related to God and five to our relationship with our fellow man. We failed and he sent Jesus Christ to save us. If you accept his free gift and believe in your heart, then you get heaven as a home...

God's grace is sufficient.

As far as politics are concerned, I don't recommend. putting your hope and energy into it...Don't get me wrong,I believe strongly in voting and have voted in every election I was eligible to vote and yes, I'm conservative. However, I break most libs sterotype of a conservative. As you know,I'm an ex-pro hockey player from a lower-middle class family.I became a believer at 22 after meeting your sis.

Gay lifestyles are sinful. Maybe, they want to be married to somehow validate their sinful lifestyle. I want to protect marriage as instituted by God in the Bible. One man and one woman. Otherwise, we are condoning sin. It is about hatred of sin, not the sinners. Liberals get confused and call this hate...


Obama has some people fooled here with his words and promises. Remember, he's a (sshhh! )POLITICIAN wink, wink. His rhetoric is eloqouent and empty. Promises, promises. Put your hope in something important...Jesus, family and friends.Trust me.

Look at how Obama has invested in friends and Pastors...McCain will get my vote.

Peace Out!

rich said...

Hi everyone, here’s my two cents worth. I like this sort of discussion. This is the sort of topic that all too often devolves into a shouting match so to have a calm discourse is nice.
Laura, you are willing to examine your beliefs; I respect that a lot even though we disagree. When we stop asking questions we start to die.
That being said I have some issues with your take on homosexuality.
First I’d want to point out that every word of the Bible was physically written by the hand of a flawed sinful man, and second the list of texts that made it into the Bible was decided 300 to 400 years after Christ once again by men (flawed and sinful by definition) who put in what they agreed with and labeled as heretical what they did not. But that may be for another time.

For now assuming that the Bible is divinely inspired (which I agree with) and infallible (which I do not) I still have trouble with using it to justify the Church’s view of homosexuality. I hear ‘love the sinner hate the sin’ all too often but I’ve never seen it happen. I don’t know you so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m really talking about the Church in general not specific individuals. We say that all sin is the same in the eyes of God, but we all differentiate. Adulterers, liars, and gossipers are all included with homosexuality in the New Testament passages, but in all too many congregations adultery is tolerated, lying is ignored, and gossiping is practically required (but “strictly in confidence and only for prayer”) If a couple is in their 2nd (or 3rd, 4th…) marriage they are committing adultery (Matthew 5:32, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18). I’m not saying they should be stoned to death (although the Bible does – Leviticus 20:10) I’m just asking why the Church congregation will allow them to hold hands during the sermon, but ostracize a gay couple. They simply are not held to the same standard.

You have hit on a good point that the word the Bible uses is Sodomites as in people of Sodom. It doesn’t even use the word sodomy. I urge you to take another look at the story of Sodom (Genesis 19). When the angels came to visit Lot, the good folks of Sodom tried to force their way into Lot’s house to drag out the two visitors to rape them, which not even the most liberal activist wants to legalize. That’s what it takes to be a Sodomite. It has nothing too with two loving adults who want to spend their lives together, but are held back because they have matching naughty bits.

Even if the Bible says homosexual = sinner, which I’m not convinced it does, you still have to admit the Bible says a lot of odd things that every Christian picks and chooses from. Far from merely outlawing bacon, the Holy Scripture also forbids cutting your sideburns (Leviticus 19:27), cotton-poly blends (Leviticus 19:19) and touching a woman during her period (Leviticus 15:19). Many Christians say that these things in the old testament are null through the fulfillment of Christ, but Jesus says not a letter of the law will pass away (Matthew 5:18). There are plenty of things we ignore from the new testament as well, though, such as women must were a hat to pray (I Corinthians 11:5) and should be silent in church (I Corinthians 14:34)

Saying we pick and choose is a bit cheeky, but we do have to interpret the words of the Book. If we took every word as the literal truth it wouldn’t make sense. Jesus’ own words would contradict. "For he who is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40) and “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Luke 11:23).

The biggest problem with using the Bible to justify something is that it can be misused too easily. It says repeatedly that slaves must obey their masters (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, I Timothy 6:1, Titus 2:9 I Peter 2:18 to name a few), but never says it is wrong. So for centuries White Christians used the Bible to justify slavery. Their argument was Biblically sound, but wrong. Completely wrong. I think that in the future the argument against homosexuality will seem as silly as the argument for slavery does today.

So that’s my take on the matter.
You are definitely right about the need for a spell check – I always have to type my responses in Word then cut and paste.

Elena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wern's Sis said...

I am not getting any work done people! :-)

Your feelings that the Bible has errors or is fiction is something I must take issue with.

2 Tim 3:16-20: "16(A)All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that (B)the man of God may be adequate, (C)equipped for every good work. "

The Holy Spirit (fully God) is who inspired the fallible people to write the infallible words that are in the book.

You don't all believe that and that is the choice you have been given through your own God ordained free will. How is that for an oxymoron! :-)

However I do believe it to be true - - taken on Faith, yes, but only because of the grace God has given me through the relationship I have with Him. As I spend time in the Bible each day, He speaks to me in loving and convicting ways. God said it, I didn't. Instead of choosing to see it as restrictive and hateful, it offers an immense Freedom! Freedom from sin and intimate communion with a God who loves you personally.

Psalm 22, a book and chapter in the Bible written 400 years before crucifixion was invented, points so convincingly to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2022;&version=49;

Or Isaiah 53, written 700 years before Christ, which so perfectly describes the fate of the suffering servant. (Christ)

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2053;&version=49;

Can these be seen as cosmic accidents?

All Scripture is not only God-breathed and inspired, it also uniquely and beautifully points to Christ throughout.

We have been round and round on this one. I am sure Ginger never expected this many comments on this story. Way to go Ginger!

Y'all are wearing me out!!! :-)

Wern's Sis said...

Oh poo, I got interrupted by a stupid meat sales lady knocking on my door - - then Rachel fell of her bike - - -

I forgot to comment on the libertarian issue. My understanding is that libertarians are so mostly because they want the government out of their business - - fiscal and social. Correct me if I am off base here Elena.

Here is the main problem I have with libertarians- how do you justify abortion being legal? The babies are innocents and have no say in the matter.

I am not writing this to fight, I just want to hear your thoughts on the issue from a libertarian perspective so I can learn.

Thank you sis of sis!

And Rich, thanks for the excellent debate. You are as smart as your brilliant and beautiful wife. I can't wait to meet you both one day, as long as we don't talk politics or religion I think we will be OK. ;-)

Wern's Sis said...

I am starting to get a little obsessed with this whole discussion, that is poison because I am supposed to be making dinner right now.

But I need to say one more thing.
Although the Bible is inerrant, I don't believe it should be taken literally. That word was used in one of the recent posts and it has been bothering me the last couple of hours.

That is a fundamentalist view that can lead to legalism, and I choose to take a conservative view of the Bible.

Inerrant but not literal. There are some differences that we can discuss if you so desire. But if Ginger is getting tired of all this rhetoric, just speak up sweetie!

Wern's Sis said...

This is Ron...Again it's Big Ron!

I'm enjoying this dialog!

The problem with our society is a sin problem. Romans 3:23 (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God)...not some, but all.

A real church of Jesus Christ welcomes sinners and loves on them... Sounds like we have some friends here, that have been hurt by the church and have either quit the church or have justified not getting committed or involved in a real church...just a hunch. I may be way off base here...please forgive me, if I am.

People can be nasty including Christians...see above about our sin problem.

Most quoting of scripture here is out of context...Matthew 5:18-Jesus is not speaking against observing all the requirements of the law.But against hypocritical, Pharisaical legalism. Such legalism was not the keeping of all details of the law but the hollow sham of keeping laws externally, to gain merit before God, while breaking them internally. It was follwing the letter of the law while ignoring its spirit. Righteousness only comes through faith In Christ!

Jesus is not contradicting himself.
For he who is not against is for us... in context is referencing Jesus's view of discipleship was far more inclusive, than the narrow view held by the 12. While in Luke 11:23 the point is neutrality is impossible, when deciding on what you will do with Christ.

I hope the stand against sin does not grow weaker (including homosexuality). The whole slavery argument comparison with gay lifestyle choices is a major stretch. But, a comparison with sin to slavery is valid.

Elena, many Christian higher learning institutions are only nominal at this point. I would challenge anyone to find the same amount of gay sinful lifesytles at Liberty University for example.

Thanks for letting me participate in this healthy discussion!

In Him,
Ron

rich said...

Ron, if most of the verses are out of context, which ones and how so? The “against us… for us” quotes were deliberately out of context to show that we can’t take every word as the literal truth. But it looks like everyone here agrees on that. So we have to look at the big picture to see what it means. Different people will see different meanings. Some better than others. Some think women should cover their hair in church – Fine, but not for me. Others think True Christians should juggle poisonous snakes – Nut jobs who must be stopped. So I’m not saying all interpretations are ok, I’m just saying we all interpret.

As for Matthew 5:18, we’re both saying the same thing, Jesus isn’t speaking against following the law. The rules are still there, we just have grace. I don’t see how it is out of context.

In regards to slavery, please explain how it is a stretch. The New Testament says repeatedly that slavery is ok; more than it mentions Sodomites. But it is not ok; it’s wrong. Slaves should not obey their masters. Running away from a southern slave owner was not a sin - even though it was exactly the opposite of what the Bible said.

I don’t want to seem anti Christian (maybe Elena is, you’ll have to ask her), Most Christians are good people doing the best they can. I’m just looking for a group of them to join that are willing to admit that we’re still just looking at the “poor reflection” (I Corinthians 13:12). I haven’t found it yet but I’m still hopeful.

Werns Bro said...

Rich,

Yes, I was referring to the "for us...against us" being out of context and general priniciples of the Law vs Grace. I see now it was intentional.

The law reveals sin...we are in bondage to sin until we accept Christ by Grace through Faith.

This bondage to sin is what I was referring to when I said "The whole slavery argument comparison with gay lifestyle choices is a major stretch. But, a comparison with sin to slavery is valid".
Regarding Ephesians 6:5 and the rest...
Both the OT and NT included regulations for societal situations such as slavery, hats for ladies and divorce which were the results of hardness of hearts (Matthew 19:8). Such regulations did not encourage or condone such situations but were divinely-given, practical ways of dealing with the realaties of the day.

I encourage you to press forward on your journey of faith to find a loving Christ-like congregation of belivers to surround you and your family.

God Bless!
Ron

Werns Bro said...

Elena,

How can this be...the Bible fiction?

Anti-Christian as Rich eludes?

I Corinthians 1:20 "Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Jack Welch (GE) when asked: "what is the hardest question you have ever been asked" replied: "If I will go to heaven". What an example of the wise being foolish.

It's simple...even a child can understand it? You either believe in Christ or you don't...you don't get to be neutral. Although Satan prefers neutrality.

What about all the good that has done by Christians (Samaritan's Purse, Habitat for humanity,etc) in Christ's name?

Have you read "In Defense of Isreal"? Laura may want comment here...

PS. I'm Anti-Soccer... so maybe, were even as this seems to the Fouge's religion...just kidding! At least Ginger likes hockey..go girl!

Love,
Ron

Wern's Sis said...

Rich and Ginger,

Thanks for your posts. I can see what special and smart people you are and truly Ron and I have enjoyed blogging with you this week.

Faith is a journey, for sure. Ron and I have been where you are at - - hurt by church - - questioning some of the injustices and seeming inconsistencies. That hurt was complex and real and took us years to work through. At times we still work through it -- that is part of what is meant by sanctification.

I guess we just had to come to the point where we realized that being at church is really about worshipping the Lord, trying to grow in Him, and helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others. It is not about following all the rules or doing something that is contrary to what we believe the Lord has called us to do.

There are still those people around us in that environment that drive us nuts, are closed minded on some issues, and say rude things. And your comment on the gossip thing - - ARGH!!! That drives me nuts too. BUT the thing is, they are all people, just like us, prone to sin.

A perfect church environment does not exist this side of heaven.

On my myspace page I say "Cave Spring Baptist Church is my home away from home." That is true, I love my church, the pastor, the people in it, singing there, etc.
But just like when I am visiting my parents for a week or so, there sometimes is conflict and disagreement. (just ask my dad next time you see him.) :-)

Sanctification in the faith is really about growing in your faith and working through that stuff.

We have found that true spiritual growth comes from spending time working through these faith issues with other believers. The level of trust it takes to open up in those environments does take time and at times is a struggle. But the rewards are: long lasting friendships - - people that are there to support you on such a deep spiritual level - - people who support you in crisis - - growth in understanding the Bible -there is also power in corporate worship - etc.

Something so funny happened last weekend. We were at a wedding reception for this couple from church that got married. We were sitting with other members of our church sunday school class, when one of the couples all of a sudden declared to us "my candidate is no longer in the race...I loved Hilary....we are democrats!" After my Sunday School teacher got over his coronary attack :-).....

...it was one of the most awesome discussions I have ever had. We laughed, loved on each other, and discussed our differences. I patted the husband on the back and said "you know, this is really good! This is going to be great for David (our Sunday School teacher.)

I can honestly, with all that is within me, tell you, I have so much respect for that couple for opening up to our group the way they did, expressing their opinions (and funny thing was, they brought up the issue of homosexuality - - again, no cosmic accident IMO)

God is first of all interested in our justification - - realizing there is no way we can earn our way to heaven - - even one little sin separates us from the Holy God. So we need to believe in our hearts that what Jesus did on the cross builds that bridge to the Father and make that divine exchange our sin for His holiness. In doing that, the Holy Spirit enters our life and sanctification can truly take place.

Elena said...
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