Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Shepherd/Shephard Murders

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=338038


Here is a story about a 2006 murder of a college student by a homosexual. I didn't hear about it except through the above link. It hasn't been on national news that I know of. Yet, who didn't hear about the murder of a homosexual named Matt Shepard --whose death inspired the "hate crimes bill," suggesting that penalties should be more severe if the crimes were motivated by bigotry toward a particular group, particularly homosexuals? Murder is murder and the same penalties should apply for all murderers. Both boys' deaths were equally tragic.





"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

57 comments:

Masoni said...

Well, just because a homosexual murdered someone, he didn't do it because the person was straight.

What happened with Shepherd - the original Shepherd - was a hate crime because he was killed because of his orientation.

Completely unrelated stories, Barb. Completely unrelated.

Masoni

Masoni said...

By the way, I commented back on your comment to my gay marriage post.

M.

Antipelagian said...

M,
I think the point Barb is making is that murder is murder.

A further point is made in the article concerning the facts surrounding Matthew Shepherd's murder. Unlike what it was trumped up as being (murder b/c Matthew was a homosexual), it turns out it was the result of a botched robbery. But that matters little to sodomite politics...if the victim is a homosexual, then clearly it's because the perpetrators are insensitive to sodomites...that's how sexual politics works.

There's no need to come up with hate crime legislation in regard to homocide...if someone murders another man because of *insert racial/sexual reason*, then that is *pre-meditated murder*. We already have criminal distinction when it comes to homocide...adding punative measures because the motivation to murder wasn't "PC enough" turns the rule of law on its head. Can you imagine a defendant having to answer to the thought police concering political correctness? Talk about triviality. Any time there is a murder, it is a *hate* crime...Christians have known this for years...it's why Jesus says if you hate someone, you're guilty of murder,according to the moral Law. So the issue isn't about PC "hate" propaganda, it should always be related to pre-meditation and intent.

Now, if sexual politickers want to be *consistent*, why could we not say that the murder in the Jason Shephard case is also linked to sexual orientation since it involves a sodomite?

Why the one way street? That's why it's annoying that sodomites highlight their "suffering" and gloss over crimes that members of their class of sexual deviancy perpetrate.

Masoni said...

@Antipelagian:

Your consistent use of "sodomite" is insensitive and offensive.

This didn't make news because it wasn't a hate crime, not because the media has some vendetta against heterosexuality. Laramie was a hate crime, it was widely publicized as such, and only recently have conservatives tried to smear the tragic murder as "a botched robbery."

I agree, murder is murder. But a hate crime is a hate crime, anti, and that's the distinction I make.

Yes, what the homosexual murderer did was wrong, but it's not a hate crime. And no one covered it because murders happen every day, but hate crimes on the scale of Laramie are big, big news. M.

Anton said...

I think we approach this from the wrong perspective. Everyone agrees that "murder is murder;" the question is whether or not the "hate" elements of a crime should be considered in the legal system.

Laws are not made to "punish" people; retribution is better left to a deity, if that be your philosophical persuasion. The legal system is designed to protect and deter. Incarceration will, we hope, fulfill the first obligation. What, then, of deterrence? Those actions which are illegal, and thus have legal consequences, are deterred. To mark an incident of hate, be it against a race, gender, faith, or sexual orientation as a crime is to mark it as something to be deterred. Disregarding differing ideological views on sexual orientation, we should all agree that it is not a good reason for violence, and that, insofar as it is a catalyst for violent action, "hate" should be deterred.

Barb said...

The law will never really deter hate. Hate is bound up in the heart. Everyone knows better --but it happens.

Any murder is motivated by hate/anger at the other person --or selfish and calloused disregard for the other person's right to life. Is one really any worse than the other? Murder is murder. A corpse is a corpse is a corpse.

Who knows the whole story of the 2006 murder of a straight man by a gay man twice his age? we would only have the murderer's version. I assume the straight man didn't want the attentions of the gay man and might prosecute him if he were raped and allowed to live--so the latter killed the former.

People on the left have already tried to label any speech against homosexuality as "hate speech." We don't need this distortion in the law.

Sodomite is an appropriate label for people who practice sodomy. The term is thousands of years old. It has a specific dictionary definition. There is nothing noble about unnatural sexual activities between same sex people--but if you think sodomy IS noble, then why object to the term? It is what it is. Just as marriage is what it is by definition--the union of a man with wife.

People of the same sex don't have to dishonor their bodies between themselves to have affection for and cameraderie with one another --to even live together, share expenses and life. The sexual union of 2 people of the same sex is simply as perverted as incest and as sinful as adultery, rape, pedophilia. (Yes, these aren't all mutually consensual, obviously--though pedophiles make the case in their defense that their activity sometimes is consensual. So far, society hasn't agreed that a youngster's consent is equal or informed.)

Obviously, the 2006 Shepherd murder wasn't about consensual sex since the victim was not considered homosexual himself. Doesn't really matter whether hate was the murderer's motive here or just the desire to protect himself from prosecution after a rape.

Many normal men do have a visceral reaction to men who try to tempt them into "feel good" gay activity --and some murders in the news occured because of that instinctive revulsion for someone trying to tempt one into abnormal activity --high risk activity for disease which also affects one's masculine self-image. Real men do not want anyone messing with their sexuality --trying to tempt or seduce through lust and flattery and pursuit of the straight guy.

Barb said...

Liked Antipelagian's comment here...

and others were thoughtful and you are welcome here with differing views --

Anton-- what I don't get is, should the punishment be worse if you can prove it was a group hate crime? hating someone for their religion or their sexual orientation?

I would normally agree with you in thinking that the Law can be a deterrent and a TEACHER --as abortion law has wrongly taught girls that abortion is legal, therefore not wrong.

but I don't think we can prosecute people for hating --but we can for murdering and other transgressions. God will prosecute for hatred --and we rightly teach the wrong of hatred --and promote love and kindness

as we do at this beautiful holiday season. All thanks to the Prince of Love Himself.

Jeanette said...

Masoni,

Read the linked article and you will see it was an investigation by ABC News, hardly a conservative bastion, that found the Matthew Shepherd murder was a botched robbery.

Either way, both men are dead and it doesn't matter to me the sexual orientation of the dead men or the ones who killed them. They are dead for no reason other than hate.

Every murder is a hate crime and how does anyone know what goes on in the mind of a murderer while he is committing his act? It's not exactly as though we can rewind the tape and see what the murderer was thinking, now is it?

Sodomy is called that because these activities were carried out in the city of Sodom and the city was destroyed by God for that very reason, along with Gomorrah. I doubt God cares you are offended by a perfectly legitimate description of the act. It beats the heck out of gay. What's gay about homosexuality? When I was a girl gay meant happy; now it means someone who has sex with someone of the same sex.

I have seen a commercial where the actors are singing "Deck the Halls". The line that used to be "Dawn we now our gay apparel" has been changed to "Dawn we now our great apparel". That's not how the song was written and this PC has gone too far.

matthew said...

I'm in danger of boring you with my repetition. I know I've said this many times lately but...

Man cannot judge the heart. This is God's domain. Man, on the other hand, is commanded by God, to judge actions.

Murder is something we can see. Hate is not. We only see the effect of hate (things like assault and murder). God has given the state her authority to prosecute sinful actions, not sinful thoughts.

Think about how mixed up this is: We argue about special prosecution for crimes prompted by certain kinds of hate while we encourage mothers to murder the babies nestled inside them. We think it's worse to murder someone for his skin color than to murder someone because he's precious to God, made in His image. We think it's less hateful to murder our own offspring because we find them inconvenient than it is to murder a stranger because of a robbery gone bad.

What a mixed up world! Thanks be to God who is redeeming it.

Barb said...

Thank you Bloggers for good input.

Anonymous said...

God is redeeming the world? Hmmm. Start w/ a premise and ignore the evidence. It hardly seems rational.

Regards,

The Loop Garoo Kid

Anton said...

"God has given the state her authority to prosecute sinful actions."

Wow. I finally understand - we live in a theocracy. It makes total sense now.

Jeanette said...

We don't live in a theocracy, Anton, and you know it. But back as far as the Old Testament days God said a life for a life. We follow God and not necessarily the state. They are many times in conflict and if there is a conflict our duty is to follow the Most High and let Him be the judge of the soul of the person executed.

That doesn't mean we are eager for executions, but we are eager for those people to be saved from everlasting damnation. But, even if God forgives the sin, and He will if asked, man's law must also exact its punishment.

I actually think you are being contrary just to be contrary. You too TGLK. You are much more comfortable over at PP where you can discuss recipes and derriers with those who refuse to recognize they are sinners like all of us and in need of a Savior.

You seem to be an attorney and you seem very bright. How you fell in with that gang is a mystery to me, but how I participated there is also a mystery to me.

You do not believe in God, but one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The question is, will it be too late for you and you PP buddies? I pray not.

The day will come when you will see we have been telling you the truth and the truth will set you free, but you have rejected it. There's still time while you're alive. After that, there's no hope for you.

Masoni said...

Frankly I'd rather not involve myself in this dialogue because I know Anton has it covered.

However it should be known that Anton and I are not PP guys, but Masoni Raves About guys. Call us "MRA guys" if you want. Trying to avoid confusion. Thanks.

M.

matthew said...

Hmmm, I'm a little lost regarding the PP and MRA stuff.

What I do know is that God created everything and rules everything. This is not a theocracy but our civic leaders are where they are because God put them there and has given them the authority to enforce laws.

Like it or not, Jesus is your king.

Christian Apologist said...

Mathew, I've posted a Sermon by John Wesley on my blog and would like for you to read it as it is, in my opinion, a very good reducto ad absurdum argument against predestination.

Barb, sorry to get off topic.

Anton said...

"Like it or not, Jesus is your king."

Yes, this sentiment has been repeated in many different forms here. But where's the evidence?

matthew said...

Aaron,

It's too long. I don't have time to read it.

Plus, your skin is thin and you are too easily offended for me to communicate with you.

matthew said...

But where's the evidence?

Everywhere, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

I operate by faith anyway, though, and faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I know, I know... foolishness to you.

Christian Apologist said...

matthew said...
Aaron,

It's too long. I don't have time to read it.

Plus, your skin is thin and you are too easily offended for me to communicate with you.


Shame on you Matthew. You should find the time to read the thoughts of emminent preachers, especially when it concerns one of your core doctrines.

I do not ask you to engage in any conversation. Only read it and think about it.

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

Aaron,

Since, in times past, you've been able to peer into the cold and dark portions of my heart to discern my innermost thoughts I assumed you knew a little more about my schedule.

Shame on you for telling me what to do with my time. Do you know anything about me?

We're always better off making these suggestions to ourselves. So may I suggest you ask yourself: What am I doing with my time? In what ways am I serving my church? Should I spend less time debating people online and more time serving God?

I've read plenty of Wesleyan stuff over the years (maybe even the sermon you posted) and have happily moved on. John Wesley was a great gift to the church in many ways along with his brother. I understand his position on this particular issue, having read correspondence between him and his friend, George Whitefield (Whitefield took him to the woodshed in a very loving manner, by the way).

I'm glad you found the sermon helpful but it's simply not reasonable for you to spend thirty seconds copying and pasting then insist I make it a high priority.

I agree with you, though, that we should read sermons. They are exceedingly profitable. Much more so than philosophy and systematic theology. Have you read any of George Whitefield's sermons? Jonathan Edwards? Charles Spurgeon? John Calvin? Martyn Lloyd-Jones? Any of the Puritans? All of the above would be well worth your time. In fact, Edwards' classic collection of sermons, Charity and its Fruits is so good I'd be happy to send it to you as a Christmas gift.

crusader09 said...

"Laws are not made to "punish" people"

There are countless legal scholars who will disagree vehemently with this statement. Perhaps the legal system was, at one point, set up only to "protect and deter," but that can no longer be the case. The legal system is set up to "protect and punish." We use words like "deserve," and "justice," and ask questions like "What is a fair exchange for having taken a human life?" These are punishments. We hope that the threat of punishment will deter other potential criminals, but that is a mere byproduct of the the inherent violence in the "justice system." Incarceration serves the purpose of protection, as do many of our other laws. Incarceration also serves as punishment (and potential rehabilitation, in some cases) for those who have wronged society.

Let's just not be too idealistic about what our legal system does or does not (and should or should not) do.

Barb said...

Matthew --Masoni's reference to PP refers to the French blog that many readers lurking here belong to, where i used to participate in hopes of demonstrating Christian love and shedding some biblical light into biblically illiterate darkness --

France is a mission field, in that the bloggers said none of the people own Bibles --or have ever read them.

These of PP followed Masoni to HIS blog to badmouth me dishonestly, recently.

MRA --stands for Masoni and Anton's blog: Masoni Raves About.... --it's linked on my blogroll.

Barb said...

I agree with you Crusader --didn't notice at first that Anton said laws were not made to punish people --I think law is to teach, deter, and punish. "just desserts.'

kateb said...

Masoni said "it was widely publicized as such, and only recently have conservatives tried to smear the tragic murder as "a botched robbery."


Not this conservative. No indeed.

People may not agree on these issues - but what happened in Laramie is horrid. You don't murder people you don't agree with.

Jesus never advocated violence against others. Never. How a follower in his name could justify murder is ridiculous. Can't be done.

Christian Apologist said...

Matthew. I would happily accept any book that might assist me in renewing my mind. However it will have to wait in line to be read. I am currently reading the works of John Wesley and plan on starting on Calvin's Institutes after that.

FYI I did not cut and paste the sermon. Although now that I think of it I probably could have found it online... I transcribed it from my book and typed it out myself so that I might remember it better.

matthew said...

Aaron,

You can't go wrong with Calvin's Institutes, either. I listed several pastors and recommended their sermon compilations since you were talking about the sermon by Wesley.

Even Jacob Arminius called Calvin the "prince of expositors". I wouldn't say his Institutes are light reading but they're not too difficult, either. Much easier than philosophy, for instance. Be sure you get the translation done by Battles. I'm told it's the best - not as "choppy" as the others. Enjoy.

Barb said...

I don't know anyone who justifies murder, Kateb --except in the case of those approving abortion. However, there is an intolerance of gays that does not come from religion --but from those who don't like anyone different from them, racially, ethnically, intellectually or in sexuality-- bullies who are not in the least motivated by religious teaching or preaching. however the religious conservatives are wrongly blamed for what happened to Matt Shephard --and I doubt very much that his killers had any ties with religious conservatives or any clue about the Bible's prohibition of certain acts.

As to what the murderers' motives were in either case, there was surely depraved indifference to lives of others and cruelty. One wonders if perps were drunk --as the first case involved people who met at a bar, didn't it? And we did hear that the intention was to rob --but i think they were drunk and yes, homophobic and bigoted. I also heard that one of them claimed that Matt tried to fondle him in some way --and he made a claim that this drove him to a point of rage. I'm not justifying that defense at all --just mentioning that it was part of their story.

But should the punishment be more because the killer was prejudiced against a group? that's preposterous. A death by murder is a death by murder. Death penalty or life imprisonment is just.

I'm shocked at some of the short sentences for murder that have been obtained by plea bargains. Can't think of any examples right now. I felt kind of bad for the kid who has a life sentence for his drunk driving that killed 5 --and then saw where someone else got 15 years or so for purposefully murdering someone with pre-meditation.

kateb said...

That's right Barb. It's frightening the bias and sweeping generalizations that some people think in, after things like Laramie - that is just the kind of bigoted thinking that caused that to happen. But some think it's ok when it comes to Christians.

I am surprised too at the light sentences people get for murder also. It seems that if you steal a life - yours would be forfeit. But they don't give out life sentences too much.

I think it just depends on the Judge. Some of them are really out there.

And I think when you've done something that is as bad as it can get - murder - then everything else is window dressing. But it should be an example how bigotry impacts life. Hitler started in Germany irritating existing bias against Jews during an economically trying time b/c the Jews were doing better economically. He worked on creating bigoted thinking and grouping people into classes.

It's scary.

Anonymous said...

Jeanette,

Thanks for the compliment, I think. Whatever caused you to conclude that I do not believe in God? Very, very muddy thinking on your part which casts grave doubts on your capacity to reason. Perhaps, I feel a need to Benjamin Disraeli and Judah P. Benjamin but no doubt you are familiar with the statements to which I refer.

As I just posted over on PP, I think you need to read J. Krishnamurti. Start with "Truth is a Pathless Land." Just Google it.

Meanwhile, trading recipes is rather a hallmark of culture, don't you think?

As for Jesus, I am quite certain that if we all practiced a little Christian charity, or even a lot, for its own sake, the world would spin a great deal easier than it does.

I will leave you w/ one sincere and solid piece of advice that you may take to the Bank of Knowledge:

If you see someone who proclaims or advertises themself as "a Christian Lawyer" run don't walk away as quickly as you can.

Regards,

The Loop Garoo Kid

Barb said...

Jeanette, what does TGLK stand for?

and I believe it's "don we now our gay (bright and happy) apparel" -for "put on...."

Just for your future reference...

The Christmas Caroler

Barb said...

Loop --Truth is a pathless land?

Jesus says "I am the way, the truth, and the life --no man comes to the father except by me."

And the Bible shows this path:

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against thee."

Jeanette said...

TGLK is the name of a poster who calls himself The Loop Garoo Kid. TGLK is the acronym.

Anonymous said...

Barb,

Let me direct you to an old joke circulationg the internet called "The Thermodynamics of Hell."

Secondly, whatever faith works for you is probably OK by me, however, to state the obvious, taking the position that "no man comes to the Father (be sure you capitalize "Father") except by me fails to account for all of those who lived b/f Jesus or lived after but b/f th eword could spread or to whom the word was bever spread.

Thirdly let me ask you this: How do you know that the person sitting next to you in church on Sunday experiences Jesus exactly as you do?

Open your mind to the possibilities.

Regards.

TLGK

Barb said...

Christian doctrine says Jesus is the judge on Judgment Day --the Creator at Creation --that He is the Word incarnate who was present in the beginning --before Creation.
He is the Divine Son of God.

So He will judge those who didn't know Him to believe in Him for salvation. God had mercy on certain individuals who found favor with Him befor Christ--it's not unreasonable to guess He might have mercy for some who never heard but had hearts of worship and a thirst for righteousness.

but Christ was a light to the World --Isaiah prophesied about the light who would come to illumine the darkness.

We who know about Christ and His teachings --who have the Word of God and try to live by it --who repent and follow --are miles ahead in victory over sin --and a sense of forgiveness and love that brings joy to the soul.

If it were as easy to be saved by God's mercy without knowledge of Christ in order to have faith in Him--then, He didn't need to come and die. He did die for the sins of the world, and we are to proclaim that message of good news --reconciliation with our Maker through Christ's death on the cross.

It's not for us to worry about the fate of those who died in the past --we have enough responsibility to proclaim the Gospel to those who are alive now.

We aren't to judge the spiritual experience of our Christian brethren --though the Bible says they will be known by their fruits --whether they manifest the fruits of the Spirit or not --whether they are truthful, loving, forgiving or not.

The Bible does say to worship in Spirit and Truth --bad doctrine is just that --there are fundamentals of the Chrsitian faith--though we don't agree about all of them in all denominations. I believe there is a limit to how much we can torture scripture and doctrine and still call ourselves Christian. We are not to live in sin and justify that sin.

Barb said...

Thanks, J, for that emailed post you made and sent to me. I am not at my computer and don't know how to access my email to write you from here.

Rob R said...

TLGK,

The historic and orthodox faith of Christianity is not united in the claim that anyone who has not heard of the historic gospel will be damned and it is not clearly the testimony of scripture.

Damnation is the result of evil and rebellion from God and a rejection Jesus and God's grace. But there has always been a strain within orthodox Christianity where those who have not heard the historic gospel still exhibit evidence of responding positively to God's grace that is available to them.

In Romans, Paul notes that many of the gentiles (without knowledge of the law) still lived lives that evidenced that they had the law written on their hearts.

In Acts, Peter is given a vision to go and preach the gospel to a gentile by the name of cornelius who pleased God who said that the prayers and almsgiving of Cornelius rose before Him as a memoral. This was before Peter said he spoke words to Cornelius "by which he would be saved". And yet many Christians, even John Calvin who notoriously held this view that anyone who hadn't heard the gospel was gauranteed damnation, recognized that Cornelius, prior to meeting Peter was NOT hellbound.

Later in Acts, Paul with the Athenians said that their alter to the unknown God was really an alter to the God of the Jews. He claimed some of the statements of Cleanthes hymn to Zeuss and applied them to Yahweh.

He later said that God determined the times and places of the nations so that they would search for and find God.

It just is not the clear scriptural testimony that anyone who hasn't heard the gospel is automatically damned, it is not a teaching the church is unified on even down to conservative evangelicals today.

One problem is the shallow view of salvation by many christians that is this all or nothing deal focussed on simply keeping people out of hell. We have a deeper conception of salvation that allows for this view (and it's not pluralism which is the view I'm geussing you may be promoting though I don't know that you know that view has this name). Salvation is about a fuller relationship with God. Relationships come in degrees. Just because someone hasn't fully been made aware of God doesn't mean that they have no relationship with him and even one that pleases God to some extent. But God wants the best for us and that's why the gospel still needs to be preached. But it's not such a necessity such that God has not cared for all of mankind enough to take care of their spiritual well being and eternal future to some extent to give everyone a chance. Everyone is responsible. everyone has a chance because that is what true love by God demands. And everyone is responsible to follow the best form of grace available to them and whereever the gospel is preached and the holy spirit illuminates the heart to that messege, that best form of grace is the content of the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Well Rob let me ask you a simple question inasmuch as I was not contemplating damnation but knowing God.

In your philosophy--the one to which you adhere--can one know God without knowing Jesus?

Regards.

TLGK

Christian Apologist said...

Well Rob let me ask you a simple question inasmuch as I was not contemplating damnation but knowing God.

In your philosophy--the one to which you adhere--can one know God without knowing Jesus?

Regards.

TLGK


I know you are adressing Rob here but I hope you'll allow me to answer. Humans beings can know God in two ways. They can know him through general revelation; that is by the created world his power and majesty is displayed. This knowledge is very basic and primitive and not very indepth. We can also know him through special revelation; which is the Bible wherein God describes himself more fully and talks about himself. In fact Jesus proclaims that anyone who knows him has known the father because he and the father are one. Therefore everything important for us to know about God is given in scripture.

But I think what you are really getting at is that it is offensive to you that the christian religion proclaims that there is only one way to salvation. However this should not be surprising as Truth is always exclusive. Something cannot be contradictory to itself and still be true.

Barb said...

Good posts, Gentlemen.

You can most fully be said to Know god through His Spirit --bearing witness with your spirit.

Jesus said God is most willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

There is an experience to have with God --Jesus called it being "born again." Born of the Spirit. It really does give you victory over your natural, sin-bent nature, self-focused personality, to be born again and filled with the Spirit. Jesus Himself said, "Seek and you will find." "Ask and it shall be given unto you."

Barb said...

Jesus will be the judge --just as He is the only way--to the Father --He will save anyone He wants whether or not they are ignorant of Him.

Rob R said...

TLGK,

thank you for highlighting the difference, because there are two seperate but highly related issues here. I hold to two different positions in both of these fields both of which are called inclusivism. Both positions represent sort of a middle ground.

By the way, I'm not dancing arounnd the question, I will answer you directly, but I'm just first going to clarify and expand the context here and give you more than you asked for.

There is inclusivism of salvation which says that one can escape damnation without explicit knowledge of Jesus, but one can still be damned for consciously rejecting Jesus who has been reveled by the Holy spirit. It's the middle ground between restricitivism which says that all are damned without knowing and following Jesus and universalism which says no one will be lost.

So your asking the question of religion and here inclusivism is a name for a position between the two extremes of exclusivism which says that only one religion has all the truth or all the essential truth and Pluralism which suggests that all religions are roughly equal in their claims toward truth and there is no privileged religious perspective.

Actually, let me be very direct here and say yes and no to your question and my answer will flesh that out. You can know God without knowing that God has come in the flesh. You can know God without knowing that God is a complex triune being who embodies love by being a personal unified being that is also a loving community of persons. But you wouldn't know him as well as he wants you to know him.


So as a Christian, I already believe that people did know God without knowing him in this way. They were the Jews of the Old testament. And of course the Old Testament has many characters beyond that who knew God who were not even in that covenant relationship. Examples are those such as Jethro, Moses' father in law, and Melchizedek who was the Priest King of Salem (which later became Jerusalem). I believe it is in the book of Hebrews that highlights that this Pagan priest who's priesthood is the model upon which Jesus' priesthood is based as Jesus is both our Priest and King.

The thing is, the reason that God has not universally revealed himself to all peoples at all times that he is this truine person is precisely because he is the embodyment of personhood and personhood is revealed through relationship, history, specificity, and loving familial interaction are how personhood is most intimately revealed and that is why God started in a specific time and place and why God's primary vehicle for spreading this is through the church.

I think Bono (yes, the U2 frontman) gets at that in this quote:

"The idea that God, if there is a force of Love and Lovig in the universe, that it would seek to esplain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in [crap] and straw...a child...I just thought: "Wow!" Just the poetry...Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it's not that it hadn't struck me before, but tears came down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this. Because...love needs to find a form, intimacy needs to be whispered. To me, it makes sense. It's actually logical. It's pure logic. Essence has to manifest itself. It's inevitable. Love has to become action or something concrete. It would have to happen. There must be an incarnation. Love must be made flesh."

-from "Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas"

Anonymous said...

Christian Apologist,

Sorry to be blunt but it appears to me that your software has imprinted or even coorupted your hardware. Truth isn't exclusive. Language is exclusive. I will not seek a discussion w/ you on this point as it would be like attempting to discuss the various shades of blue to someone is completely color blind.

Rob,

Your position is better considered. I have only read it twice and will come back to it, but it is very plain that it shares one fundamental aspect w/ CA's crude version.

It starts w/ a conclusion and works backwards.

Consider Gautama; consider Lao Tse; consider Krishnamurti for that matter.

Consider that we all arrive at the city of God, but some by different gates.

Regards.

The Loop Garoo Kid

Barb said...

Loop Garoo --why is it necessary for people to evaluate each other's reasoning--why not just address the points of interest from the various bloggers? IF someone doesn't challenge you --or you want to disagree, why not just do it without attempting to belittle???

What does civility really look like in the blogosphere? I think we would focus on the points of agreement and disagreement.

Is it something about men that they always think they are on a sports field and have to slug it out? putting each other down in order to elevate ourselves?

Barb said...

On the original thread, a question for Masoni: Are you aware of how many of the mass murderers of history were homosexually inclined?
And that the percentage of sex crimes perpetrated by hoomosexuals greatly exceeds their percentage of the population?

Rob R said...

This isn't an exercise in formal logic Loop Garoo. Nothing wrong in first stating what one believes and then explaining why. If we've made fallacies, explain that for us.

As for what you want to me consider, it's really quite a general suggestion. I have at one point looked over many of the highlights of what Gautama had to say (and I'm far from well read here) and I'll tell you, some of his epistemic claims I think have some of the problematic claims of some modern epistemologies. Gautama was very anti-traditional, but the fact is, if you want progress, a tradition has to be established or else you are always starting from the beginning. Tradition and progress are two sides of the same coin. Tradition without progress is stagnant and irrational and progress without tradition never gets anywhere. And many in the Buddhist tradition recognize that the anti authoritarianism (which wouldn't work with science by the way) and antitraditionalism of Gautama have this conflict and therefore consider his teachings as suggestions, such as in the Mahayana tradition which actually emphasizes the example of Gautama's life to be more important than some of his core teachings, in that he sacrificially stayed behind to help his fellow humans rather than enter nirvana (which is why they pray to Buddha).

He made some good critiques of Hinduism and was an egalitarian and I know that many in the Buddhist tradition are compassionate evidencing a response to God's grace. Of course the self sacrifice of the Bodhisattva can be viewed as a way of understanding Jesus, though I think if I were to try to describe Jesus in Buddhist terms, I would say he was nirvana incarnate. (not as if this would be a smooth and clean conceptual marriage, but it wasn't that way when Christianity was wed to greek philosophy either(which happened to be both a source of problems and also great strengths in Christian theism)).

A general encouragement to consider them, well, it's just to general to really be of help and I have considered them. I'm no expert and I'm happy to learn more though it's just one of many things on my to do list. But of course I will consider them through the lenses of thought that I have already developed as I should. Starting from scratch, well that's a modernist myth that anyone can really do that... if that's what you had in mind, but it's real hard to tell.

As for CA's post, I agree with what he said and general revelation is important for both inclusivism of religion and inclusivism of salvation. I agree with his statement on truth being exclusive but that's not to say that means that exclusivism, that only Christianity has any truth is correct. Why? because all religions say many many things and they have common ground. But here is the minimum that is required for what CA said; when two different religious perspectives say contradictory things, they cannot both be right, and if they can, and if the rules of logic don't apply, well, there's no point in the discussion since there is no rationality. And contrary to popular religion, it's not the common ground that is the only important consideration.

Anonymous said...

Rob,

Of course this is an exercise in formal logic. Otheriwise we are in Wonderland with the Queen of Hearts' edict: "Sentence first--verdict afterwards."

I largely agree w/ your comments regarding tradition but I will remind you that w/ respect to being anti authoritarianism, Jesus is in the upper pantheon. Jesus was crucified, on truMped up charges, because of the perceived threat he posed to the established civil order. One can only consider his teachings to be revolutionary in the context of his time, perhaps any time.

Meanwhile, epistemology is an interesting topic, reminding me of two statements. One from the Tao Te Ching which is: "The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao," although "true" has also been written as 'eternal" or "ineffable," inter alia.

Secondly, I am reminded of a statement by Krishnamurt in "The Flight of the Eagle." W/ respect to himself, the speaker, he said: "It is like the telephone. You do not obey what the telephone says. It has no authority but you listen to it."

Ultimately, enlightenment is a personal experience. Whereas I am the last person to deny that a personal relationship w/ Jesus allows one to achieve that end, to suggest it is the only way flies in the face of empirical evidence.

I will leave the discussion of the origins of the New Testament for another day.

Meanwhile, as final comment to Barb. By final, I mean ultimate as there wwill be no more. I was not belittling CA. I merely want him to know and you to know that for me there is no point is attempting to discuss anything w/ you, unless of course, you wish to trade recipes.

I think I appreciate all of the people from Porquois Pas and its connections, although I take a different tact.

It is rather sad, I think. You have a message that you beleive is important and yet you are utterly incapable of effective prostylization. I suggest that this fault lies does not lie in the message.

Regards.

The Loop Garoo Kid

Barb said...

Loop Garoo, if you are popular over there at PP, you are no Christ-figure to them. To hang out with them IS a Christ-like thing, in that He was accused of hanging out with winebibbers and harlots --but no one could accuse Him of sinning with any. He would have spoken the wisdom of God --and those who had ears to hear --were transformed. Others crucified Him --the masses demanded his death.

I did not preach a language of condemnation to PP --I was biblical in context of religious discussions, telling how Jesus said "all have sinned and come short of God's glory" --that we are all equal at the foot of His cross.

My approach was not "holier than thou" -but I think they are troubled by a lot of unrelieved guilt --but won't heed the Truth to do something about it.

My message there was consistent, that Christ had tender mercy and a plan for the salvation of all us sinners who recognize that we are sinners.

I got a lot of angry response against religion, the Bible, God.

I realized that several had never had a BIble, much less read it or been taught any of the stories.
At different points, I posted the Scripture about the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, the Good Samaritan, the 99 and the one sheep, the one who washed Christ's feet with her hair, various of His teachings --and when their scorn became excessive, I did post what Jesus said about His followers being hated as He was hated.

These were usually stories rich in inspiration and God's love --but they seemed to fall on deaf ears --though one can never tell who is reading and what their response really is --because of the juvenile peer pressure there.

The Word of God has its own power --and it made them furious --though they generally never argued about the content.

I was never saying I was better than they or condemning them. They just wanted to rail about the fact that they couldn't believe in a God who allowed suffering, etc. and I got the impression that everybody's suffering in the world was the fault of God and/or the reglious right and that I was evil for not agreeing.

Socially chatting, I told them about a trouble-frought vacation at our cottage and they jumped all over me about being rich and trying to make them jealous that I owned a 2nd house when they (in their better-than-U.S. France) had small apartments. Everything wrong in the world is the fault of the well-to-do, the Americans, and the GOP.

Loop, you wrote You have a message that you beleive is important and yet you are utterly incapable of effective prostylization. I suggest that this fault lies does not lie in the message.

Judge not, lest ye be judged, Loop--let me know when you have your first convert--and I truly hope you do. Although, I guess you are not saying that you have any message...and your witness is not clear here. I can't tell if you believe in the message of God through Christ or not by what you have written here. We Christians hope that on Judgment Day there IS evidence to convict us of being Christians.

Remember, Christ's message was rewarded by crucifixion. Do we think that everyone will love the effective proselytizer and that acceptance will prove his effectiveness? Not even Jesus found this true for Himself.

But that doesn't mean I would disagree with you that my efforts were ineffective --I just question whether ANYONE'S efforts will be effective with those who refuse to hear and weigh the truth claims of Jesus. Actually, some sow the seed --and others reap the harvest. Perhaps there will be a harvest someday. I feel sure that the anger at PP, the scorn, is partly the conviction of the Holy Spirit, made evident through truthful witness and Scriptural posts, that they cannot keep going as they are and expect to attain heaven.

Jeanette poured love into people there -- especially to Whynot --spending hours in conversation by Skype with him and was disappointed, I believe, in his persistent hard-heartedness and disrespect for God and Christ. the crucifixion picture of me for which he was responsible, i believe, was so blasphemous that she gave up, for the time being, at least.

I say, Paul went back where he was unwelcome--but he did have some in his audience with ears to hear -- and that's the issue with blogging--you never know when there are ears to hear on a blog that professes disrespect for faith/God, etc. a blog that blasphemes, lies, scorns, crucifies, ridicules and simply hates --anyone bearing the name or message of Christ.

Furthermore, Loop --your disrespect for me and CA is just an effort to elevate yourself by looking down at others. Oneupmanship.

Ultimately, enlightenment is a personal experience. Whereas I am the last person to deny that a personal relationship w/ Jesus allows one to achieve that end, to suggest it is the only way flies in the face of empirical evidence.

I certainly believe in letting God be God, saving any He wants, any way He wants. But what is this undeniable empirical evidence you have that others really can achieve personal enlightenment without a relationship to Christ?

He is the only way to the Father by His statement--He is the only resurrected Miracle-Worker that really existed and did what Scripture claims. He may save someone who did not know Him --because His blood atones for all our sins --but that will be His decision of Grace --and not anything we can count on.

what we CAN count on, is that He promised to save and have relationship with all who bow the knee to Him, confess their sins and need for salvation, and believe on Him as God's only Son.

Barb said...

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock--if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, i will enter in and fellowship with him."

"Seek and you will find."

kateb said...

I disagree, respectfully, in that Christ did not 'hang out' where his teachings were not wanted and his message was heard and rejected.

There are far too many fertile places to spend that same time and too many people hungry for the word.

Fertile or fallow. As Jeanette said and I believe that to be very true.

We do have a limited amount of time - as did Jesus, on earth. Why would we throw pearls before swine when there are those who go without?

If they hear the word and reject it - this is their decision. We should move on to fertile ground.

Just a thought.

kateb said...

Barb, you asked this, "why not just do it without attempting to belittle???"

Only those insecure in their own positions stoop to such tactics.

And I feel sorry for people who don't really know what they believe in. It's got to be a very unsettling feeling.

Christian Apologist said...

Of course this is an exercise in formal logic. Otheriwise we are in Wonderland with the Queen of Hearts' edict: "Sentence first--verdict afterwards."

Which is precisely why I brought up the law of non-contradiction. Not all religions can be correct because each one in its own way makes exclusivity claims.

I largely agree w/ your comments regarding tradition but I will remind you that w/ respect to being anti authoritarianism, Jesus is in the upper pantheon. Jesus was crucified, on truMped up charges, because of the perceived threat he posed to the established civil order. One can only consider his teachings to be revolutionary in the context of his time, perhaps any time.

Revolutionary?? Was it not Christ who said "render unto Ceasar what is Ceasars." and had Peter pay the two drachma temple tax for himself and Peter? Was it not Christ who willingly went to the cross in obedience to the father despite being completely innocent of the crimes charged against him? Was it not Christs apostle to the gentiles who made the statement "Submit to rulers and authorities becase all authority has been established by God."

Meanwhile, epistemology is an interesting topic, reminding me of two statements. One from the Tao Te Ching which is: "The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao," although "true" has also been written as 'eternal" or "ineffable," inter alia.

Secondly, I am reminded of a statement by Krishnamurt in "The Flight of the Eagle." W/ respect to himself, the speaker, he said: "It is like the telephone. You do not obey what the telephone says. It has no authority but you listen to it."

Ultimately, enlightenment is a personal experience. Whereas I am the last person to deny that a personal relationship w/ Jesus allows one to achieve that end, to suggest it is the only way flies in the face of empirical evidence.


The christian revelation has nothing to do with the Buddhist concept of enlightenment. Enlightenment seeks to conform the whole body to the nothingness that one who is dead in their sin finds in their inmost being. The disciple of Christ has had that inmost being born anew and dies to themselves that Christ, the creator and sustainer of the universe, might live through us. These are two contradictory ideas about the ultimate goal of life, and they cannot both be right.

I will leave the discussion of the origins of the New Testament for another day.

Meanwhile, as final comment to Barb. By final, I mean ultimate as there wwill be no more. I was not belittling CA. I merely want him to know and you to know that for me there is no point is attempting to discuss anything w/ you, unless of course, you wish to trade recipes.


I did not feel belittled in any way.

Microwave on high 3 minutes. Remove cover and microwave for 2 more minutes. Thats my favorite recipe.

I think I appreciate all of the people from Porquois Pas and its connections, although I take a different tact.

It is rather sad, I think. You have a message that you beleive is important and yet you are utterly incapable of effective prostylization. I suggest that this fault lies does not lie in the message.

Regards.

The Loop Garoo Kid


Actually the christian is promised in scripture that unbeleivers will not listen to us. In several places it talks about. Having ears they do not hear, and having eyes they do not see. It says of Christ "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." And the prophet Simeon speaking at the infant Christs presentation at the temple. "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." And from the Apostle John "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood."

If you really seek to understand the christian revelation you must first repent of your sins, Make Christ the Lord of your life and you will be born anew and have the rich life of love in him. Then your eyes will be opened and your ears unplugged and the glorious symophony of the universe will be heard and understood.

Barb said...

good post and use of scripture, CA --Loop Garoo did belittle you and me unnecessarily with his remark that he would discuss recipes but nothing else with you or me. Fine, that you don't take offense --NOT so fine that he, despite his probable belief in political correctness, intended to offend. On the other hand, now you have been mildly "persecuted" and for that there is reward.

I will persist in challenging the tendency by people who claim to believe in egalitarian principles and free speech --to 1. put down others regarding their Christianity --including when they are also Christians --or 2. put them down re: their intellect--here at my blog.

"It's my blog and I'll protest if I want to...." (think of the song, "It's my party...." )

Kateb, I think Jesus engaged people anywhere --enemies and critics came to him and taunted Him-- he was in public places for much, not all, of his teaching. And yes, he didn't stick around long for persecution because his time for crucifixion had not yet come.

Seems to me, when you teach, you go where people are ignorant. IN blogs, you don't know who is fertile soil and who isn't. Where do you have a chance to teach more than on the internet? Neighborhood Bible studies with people who aren't sure what they believe, who are not committed to Christ would be a good use of time --if you could get people to come. Teaching in church is a good use of time --I have 2 kids' classes now. There used to be a lot of these in neighborhoods and we need to try to revive them again--but can people get their unsaved friends to come?

In blogville, preaching to the choir is not my preference. Just arguing with the redeemed on various points doesn't seem to be the best form of witness either --as when the Calvinists start slugging it out with the Arminians--with all their "I'll not dignify that with a response" rhetoric--all that "my brain and my Biblical interp are better than your brain and your Biblical interp." I do think that discussing differences, however, can be instructive to unsaved blog-lurkers --when we demonstrate Christian kindness in our disagreements --instead of US shouting, "APOSTATE! hYPOCRITE!"

You never know who is reading a blog --what questions you are answering that are valid, sincere questions of confused, biblically illiterate people, which questions really do have good Biblical answers--including philosophical answers for the philosophy literates.

If you never go where angels fear to tread, tell me where the fertile ground is? Where are the blogs where you know unsaved people are wanting to know about Christ --and do not yet know Him? Because I would go there --to the clearly fertile blog-ground --fertile for witness.

Today's non-Christians aren't groping --they are resisting. Jesus talked about a time when faith would be rare and rebellion abundant, didn't He?

If they've never read a Bible, never heard the stories, never understood how Christians really think and what they really believe, as Valerie claimed about the French, who will tell them?

Will the missionaries be persecuted?

Mark 13:13 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Luke 21: 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17All men will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish.

Matt. 5:
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


As I said elsewhere, and maybe you didn't see those comments, Kateb, St. Paul went back to Lystra where they nearly stoned him to death --and went back to Iconium and Derbe where hostile Jews came from, who had followed him to Lystra to stir up people against him. Right back into the dangerous places --yes, he knew there were ears to hear there. On blogs, we don't know who has the ears to hear. I know that not everyone at PP joined in with the nastiness. I had a fertile respectful conversation with at least one there, on matters of faith, that I recall.

Free speech and open-mindedness and tolerance and eagerness to understand different cultures and religions --americans and Europeans supposedly believe in these as values. But when it comes to Jesus Christ, they do not want to hear that He is the only way to the Father, that He is the only Savior, that we need to bow the knee to Him if we would be saved. Tolerance to them means that "anything goes." Tolerance to us means that we can peacefully co-exist and be Christianly kind to those who refuse our message.

But shaking the dust off --that's one instruction for when Jesus sent people on a specific missionary journey. Going back into the persecution zone is another response to unbelievers that both Jesus and Paul demonstrated.

So, let each do as he feels in his heart that God is guiding him to do --motivated by love. We ought not try to restrain each other but just do as we feel led of the Lord.

I will grant you that my self-defense at PP and re: Mudrake seem totally ineffective with people who spread lies and distortions and want others to believe them --but I do that in the interest of truth. When people have no alternative but to believe the lies and distortions about my witness--I think Truth also NEEDS to be on record --for the sake of the Gospel.

there were instances of self-defense by Jesus and Paul.

If someone says of you that you did so and so --and you just smile weakly --won't they think the lie is truth? There was a time for Jesus to be dumb like a sheep before the slaughter --but there were times of His Truth proclamations about Himself, also. Same with Paul.

Rob R said...

Of course this is an exercise in formal logic. Otheriwise we are in Wonderland with the Queen of Hearts' edict: "Sentence first--verdict afterwards."

I don't know what you are speaking of when you use the term, “formal logic” but when I use it, I'm speaking of something that professional philosophers and logicians would recognize under that term, which has premises, the interaction of the premises according to explicitely stated logical rules and then a conclusion, and all of this is organized into explicit obvious steps, and the steps are usually numbered.

The analogy of a court (with the example of a flawed judge in the queen of hearts) just doesn't apply to us. The judge and jury are supposed to start from a relatively epistemic ally neutral place and are to be lead to a conclusion by the argumentation . I'm not starting from any such place and neither are you. We both believe that we know the truth of our respective positions. That doesn't mean we can't make logical arguments in the slightest.

Finally, for me to tell you where I am headed is not out of bounds of even stringent academic argumentation considering that it is normal to start an argumentation or research paper with a thesis statement that one intends to support.

This is not an exercise in formal logic, it is informal and that doesn't mean that the rules of logic and rationality do not apply in the slightest, but only that a formal way of presenting our ideas need not operate. I'm trained well enough to recognize it and deal with it, but not well enough to present my every thought in that format, nor do I need to since professional philosophers don't see the need nor the practicality in doing this.

I largely agree w/ your comments regarding tradition but I will remind you that w/ respect to being anti authoritarianism, Jesus is in the upper pantheon. One can only consider his teachings to be revolutionary in the context of his time, perhaps any time.


I'm glad you agree but as the evidence CA presented demonstrates, it's not exactly accurate and it is perhaps oversimplified to merely consider Jesus as anti authoritarian. Another example was in his statement that people should obey the corrupt religious leaders but they were not to be emulated. He certainly was a revolutionary who brought a revolution that the world never saw coming and won't be the same once it has completely run it's course climaxing in his return.

The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao," although "true" has also been written as 'eternal" or "ineffable," inter alia.

Almost all traditions have an ineffability tradition even in Christianity. I'm not a huge fan of where it's usually taken as stating that the truest things of the existence, God, “tao”, and so on are beyond words and thus it swallows whole valuable truths and makes them inaccessible except to the priviledged, the choosen or the elite. I think what is in order here is to point out the basic everyday place that the ineffable has in our mundane ordinary experiences. If I were to ask you to describe blue, you might say it's a cool color, a primary color, what the clear daylight sky and so on looks like and so on. But what if you had to describe it so that I blind man from birth who was going to have his sight restored could recognize it immeadiately without any arbitrary references such as saying it will be the color of the sky or your pants or whatever. Can you describe it in and of itself? no. It can't be done. But it's something that is a normal and common aspect of our existence. And for so many of our other subjective experiences, they are similarly ineffable, but once you describe their relatedness, you may not be able to describe them, but boy do you have a lot of substantial and deep things to say about them. God, smart person he is gave us the conceptual and linguistic ability to know and describe much of the world by the intricate interrelatedness of things, which includes himself.

Ultimately, enlightenment is a personal experience.

Do you mean individualistic? If so, I'd say enlightenment has little to do with us humans because we are no less communal than individual. Or more accurately, any enlightenment that doesn't involve the corporate and communal nature of people I would say is very incomplete. No man's an island.

to suggest it is the only way flies in the face of empirical evidence.

Empirical evidence must be interpreted and I don't agree with your interpretation. On a related note, though not to overemphasize this and confuse Christianity with a death cult that has little to do with life here and now, it should be pointed out that the empirical evidence apart from revelation doesn't extend to the other side of death, nor for most of humanity alive today and certainly not for all individuals.

Barb said...

wow, Rob --I had to read it slowly and aloud 3 times --so i wouldn't skim --and then I understood it all and--I think this is brilliant! and so you must be! I still say you are missing your calling, Prof. Rob! Work on a book!

this is said, of course, without a shred of prejudice --just objective observation.

You spoke of corporate revelation--and the fact that none of us has seen the other side of death; it is Biblical revelation that tells us what to expect, a resurrected Savior who promises resurrection and salvation for us who believe. No other religion can make this promise on its own merits. We take the Bible's prediction on faith --having faith in the Resurrection of Christ and the disciples who were so convinced that they gave their lives for the message of "Christ, crucified, risen and coming again."

As I have said before, if Christ had not resurrected, Christianity would have been something else --about His teachings only. The religion was jump-started by miracles and victory over the grave. No other religion has any strength in similar claims regarding the after-life.

You spoke of individual vs. corporate revelation and experience with God. In Christian community we describe our spiritual experiences to each other, we tell of the ways God has communicated His grace, his miracles, blessings, His VERY PRESENCE at times --and yes, conviction in our lives. We encourage one another and pray in each other's behalf --hopefully. We remind each other of the scriptures we use to direct or justify a course we have taken or a doctrinal position we hold; we listen to teachers and ministers who probably study more than we

And most challenging of all within Christian community, we confront and forgive --and sometimes have to agree to disagree. If we fail here --and many do --we really damage the fellowship and the testimony of our group.

Forgiveness comes most readily when we realize that we have to be forgiven by others as well as God. That none of us is perfect in our personalities, tempers or approaches to problems--and we are probably not infallible in our Biblical interp--though some issues are made very plain to us who have ears to hear.

We are challenged always to have a lot of confidence and hope in our brethren (fellow believers) --applying the Golden Rule and forgiveness principles --GRACE (undeserved favor) to all.

Jesus said we must forgive to be forgiven.

I have seen temper ruin a ministry --I have seen the insistance on one's own way for no good reasons, for minor concerns --take people out of a church without reconciling. I have seen snobbery and cliqueishness adversely affect a fellowship.

I'm not speaking of sincerely-held doctrinal convictions here which do lead to different denominations at times.

Jesus has shown us the way, and He said the world would know we were Christians by our love for each other in the Body. A challenge that I think my present church is living up to these days more than in all our 34 years previous. (that's how long we've been there.) We are a little smaller than before for doctrinal divisions --but we are a more homogenous group in our understanding of what it is to be Christian--in the importance of love and forgiveness --in the importance of not thinking of ourselves as "holier than thou" and "in honor preferring one another."

We had way too much of that in some groups --spiritual pride in legalism --in claims to revelation beyond others -- in aspirations to lead --just like JEsus' 12 who wanted to know who would be greatest among them in the Kingdom.

A critical, anxious spirit is still manifest by a very few who need to have more confidence in what God can do with people and situations.

Finally, the Church is not a sports team where we are trying to be recognized for more spirituality than others --but the Christian life is likened to a race --which we should all persevere to finish --as a cloud of witnesses who've gone before us watch and cheer us on in the amphitheater of life.

Barb said...

another tho't --the presence of God is experienced in our worship services --as we worship with beautiful music "in Spirit and in Truth." The hearts and minds are stirred by sound, Biblical preaching.

All of this may explain why, overall, Christian people may actually enjoy longer life and are happier than the average. We are social creatures and we still need people in a time when families are falling apart. The Church is a family which reinforces family.