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God and Relationship

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  • Stephen Shields
    Connie, Thanks for your post! We look forward to hearing your other questions. As to
    Message 1 of 9 , May 14, 2000
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      Connie,

      Thanks for your post! We look forward to hearing your other questions. As
      to

      <<I think God wants relationship but what if he doesn't? Does that make
      my need for faith, my need for God any less? >>

      That was an intriguing question! It seems to me that our desire and
      capacity for rel is so vast that a relationalless God would be almost of a
      self-contradiction. But I'd be interested in hearing what might lead you to
      speculate that God might be like this....

      Stephen Shields
      Cedar Ridge Community Church
      stephens@...
      http://www.crcc.org
    • taxbill@wncol.net
      ... almost of a self-contradiction. But I d be interested in hearing what might lead you to speculate that God might be like this.... ... I guess it comes
      Message 2 of 9 , May 15, 2000
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        > That was an intriguing question! It seems to me that our desire and
        > capacity for rel is so vast that a relationalless God would be
        almost of a self-contradiction. But I'd be interested in hearing
        what might lead you to speculate that God might be like this....
        >
        > Stephen Shields
        > Cedar Ridge Community Church
        > stephens@c...
        > http://www.crcc.org

        I guess it comes from the tendency of the very legalistic persuation
        of the christian faith to a time present God as this person who is
        just looking for a way to throw us into hell. One strike your out!
        I was recently involved in a discussion at a bible study in exodus
        (parts about the temple) where the teacher was pointing out that in
        the OT God had a very specific way that he wanted to be approached
        and when people failed to do so properly at times it resulted in
        death (not sure if his emphasis was physical or spiritual death).
        He went on to say it is the same in the NT and that specific way is
        through Jesus. Ok so my question was what if you inadvertantly add
        to it? For example you get the idea that a true christian attends
        church and as long as you attend church you must in your mind be a
        christian well to me you have just inadvertantly added to Christ
        alone no matter how well intentioned. The teachers feeling was that
        if we turn to works at all then we make our faith worthless. My
        problem with this is that now faith has been turned into a perfect
        work. Round and round we go. I don't know maybe I am missing
        something in the thought process here what do you think? So does God
        want to be my friend and "walk with me and talk with me" or does he
        want to relate to me in a way so specific that it is nearly
        impossible for me to attain it?
        I really don't know. At this point my list of absolutes has
        dissolved to there is a God and I Need Him! Thus does good faith
        have to be relational? I would prefer it to be, and deep down I think
        I believe that it is but do I know?

        That's all for now
        Connie
      • Stephen Shields
        I wrote:
        Message 3 of 9 , May 17, 2000
        • 0 Attachment
          I wrote:

          <<That was an intriguing question! It seems to me that our desire and
          capacity for rel is so vast that a relationalless God would be
          almost of a self-contradiction. But I'd be interested in hearing
          what might lead you to speculate that God might be like this..>>

          and you wrote (among other things)

          <<I guess it comes from the tendency of the very legalistic persuation
          of the christian faith to a time present God as this person who is
          just looking for a way to throw us into hell. One strike your out!
          I was recently involved in a discussion at a bible study in exodus
          (parts about the temple) where the teacher was pointing out that in
          the OT God had a very specific way that he wanted to be approached
          and when people failed to do so properly at times it resulted in
          death (not sure if his emphasis was physical or spiritual death).
          He went on to say it is the same in the NT and that specific way is
          through Jesus. Ok so my question was what if you inadvertantly add
          to it? >>

          There's a couple of things that the first century leader Paul wrote one of
          his letters that has suggested to me part of what was going on in the OT
          with this kind of stuff: The "black and whiteness" of things in the OT,
          the "do it exactly in this way" part of the OT.
          One of those is a comment Paul makes in his letter to the church at Galatia
          where he writes:

          <<So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be
          justified by faith>>

          Galatians 3:24

          The other is a comment he makes later in the same correspondence when he
          writes:

          <<But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son....>>

          Galatians 4:4

          Gal 3:24 implies that the Law of the OT (all those rules) had a purpose to
          direct us to faith in Jesus. Gal 4:4 further informs us that there was a
          timing issue here as to exactly when Jesus would hit the scene. I believe
          that part of the timing was the maturing of the human race. There was a
          certain time when humankind would be first ready to understand the concept
          that God would forgive us of our sins if we believed, as Paul writes
          elsewhere "that Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3). What might
          be going on here is that grace and forgiveness can't really be appreciated
          until you understand sin (which I understand - at its core - as me putting
          myself at the center of the universe instead of God).

          My kids have convinced me of this. I have 3 girls under the age fo 5 and I
          have to give them very black and white instructions. (e.g. "No, you can't
          let go of my hand in the parking lot.") They don't understand the subtleties
          of why I expect various things. I suspect that mankind maturing is like
          humans maturing. We need to understand the basics ("Worship God in exactly
          this way very carefully") before we can understand the subtleties (e.g. "Yet
          a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the
          Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father
          seeks." John 4:23)

          <<At this point my list of absolutes has dissolved to there is a God and I
          Need Him! Thus does good faith
          have to be relational? I would prefer it to be, and deep down I think
          I believe that it is but do I know? >>

          I think your instincts are good here! Part of knowledge is your experience
          with a person (i.e. it can't be necessarily empirically proven). What about
          your experience of God has led you to think He might be relational?

          For what it's worth,


          Stephen Shields
          Cedar Ridge Community Church
          stephens@...
          http://www.crcc.org


          -----Original Message-----
          From: taxbill@... [mailto:taxbill@...]
          Sent: Monday, May 15, 2000 8:55 AM
          To: findingfaith@egroups.com
          Subject: Re: God and Relationship




          That was an intriguing question! It seems to me that our desire and
          capacity for rel is so vast that a relationalless God would be
          almost of a self-contradiction. But I'd be interested in hearing
          what might lead you to speculate that God might be like this....
          >
          > Stephen Shields
          > Cedar Ridge Community Church
          > stephens@c...
          > http://www.crcc.org

          I guess it comes from the tendency of the very legalistic persuation
          of the christian faith to a time present God as this person who is
          just looking for a way to throw us into hell. One strike your out!
          I was recently involved in a discussion at a bible study in exodus
          (parts about the temple) where the teacher was pointing out that in
          the OT God had a very specific way that he wanted to be approached
          and when people failed to do so properly at times it resulted in
          death (not sure if his emphasis was physical or spiritual death).
          He went on to say it is the same in the NT and that specific way is
          through Jesus. Ok so my question was what if you inadvertantly add
          to it? For example you get the idea that a true christian attends
          church and as long as you attend church you must in your mind be a
          christian well to me you have just inadvertantly added to Christ
          alone no matter how well intentioned. The teachers feeling was that
          if we turn to works at all then we make our faith worthless. My
          problem with this is that now faith has been turned into a perfect
          work. Round and round we go. I don't know maybe I am missing
          something in the thought process here what do you think? So does God
          want to be my friend and "walk with me and talk with me" or does he
          want to relate to me in a way so specific that it is nearly
          impossible for me to attain it?
          I really don't know. At this point my list of absolutes has
          dissolved to there is a God and I Need Him! Thus does good faith
          have to be relational? I would prefer it to be, and deep down I think
          I believe that it is but do I know?

          That's all for now
          Connie


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        • taxbill@wncol.net
          - You Wrote... ... one of ... the OT ... the OT, ... Galatia ... when he ... purpose to ... was a ... believe ... was a ... concept ... What might ...
          Message 4 of 9 , May 22, 2000
          • 0 Attachment
            -
            You Wrote...

            > There's a couple of things that the first century leader Paul wrote
            one of
            > his letters that has suggested to me part of what was going on in
            the OT
            > with this kind of stuff: The "black and whiteness" of things in
            the OT,
            > the "do it exactly in this way" part of the OT.
            > One of those is a comment Paul makes in his letter to the church at
            Galatia
            > where he writes:
            >
            > <<So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be
            > justified by faith>>
            >
            > Galatians 3:24
            > The other is a comment he makes later in the same correspondence
            when he
            > writes:
            >
            > <<But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son....>>
            >
            > Galatians 4:4
            >
            > Gal 3:24 implies that the Law of the OT (all those rules) had a
            purpose to
            > direct us to faith in Jesus. Gal 4:4 further informs us that there
            was a
            > timing issue here as to exactly when Jesus would hit the scene. I
            believe
            > that part of the timing was the maturing of the human race. There
            was a
            > certain time when humankind would be first ready to understand the
            concept
            > that God would forgive us of our sins if we believed, as Paul writes
            > elsewhere "that Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3).
            What might
            > be going on here is that grace and forgiveness can't really be
            appreciated
            > until you understand sin (which I understand - at its core - as me
            putting
            > myself at the center of the universe instead of God).
            >
            > My kids have convinced me of this. I have 3 girls under the age fo
            5 and I
            > have to give them very black and white instructions. (e.g. "No,
            you can't
            > let go of my hand in the parking lot.") They don't understand the
            subtleties
            > of why I expect various things. I suspect that mankind maturing is
            like
            > humans maturing. We need to understand the basics ("Worship God in
            exactly
            > this way very carefully") before we can understand the subtleties
            (e.g. "Yet
            > a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will
            worship the
            > Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the
            Father
            > seeks." John 4:23)

            Yes I agree with this that the law was ment to guide us to Christ but
            I guess my question was more this If people inadvertantly add to
            Christ does this nulify their faith. For example I have a whole bunch
            of relatives that believe that we need faith in Jesus but in their
            opinion as person also NEEDS water baptism for salvation. I also
            have a bunch of Catholic friends who have faith in Christ but feel
            pretty dependent on the church for some aspect of their salvation.
            Although I'm not sure how all of it works for them they are from
            Mexico which puts a different slant on the catholic church. But my
            point here is that people add to their faith all the time not
            conciously thinking if I go church I will be saved or if I am
            involved in evangelism this will secure my salvation but feeling like
            if they don't do these things then they don't mesure up. I have a
            friend who pretty much left the church because of a hugh emphasis to
            participate in a particular form of evangelism and He just couldn't
            do it and it left him feeling so inadequate like he wasn't acceptable
            to God that he just left the whole thing and has not been back in
            years. So in some ways it seems to me that we add to faith (not
            intentionally) all the time by doing stuff that we think will make
            us feel adequate when supposedly Christ alone does this so in Gal 5:1-
            4 you get the impression that all this inadvertant adding to and
            some of it very intentional in the case of my catholic friends and
            relatives becomes a nullifier (Sp?) thus it seems to me making faith
            itself a perfect work. I think? Does that make sense?


            ]
            > <<At this point my list of absolutes has dissolved to there is a
            God and I
            > Need Him! Thus does good faith
            > have to be relational? I would prefer it to be, and deep down I
            think
            > I believe that it is but do I know? >>
            >
            > I think your instincts are good here! Part of knowledge is your
            experience
            > with a person (i.e. it can't be necessarily empirically proven).
            What about
            > your experience of God has led you to think He might be relational?

            You can learn alot about the artist by looking at his work and
            whoever made this world had relationship on the mind because it's
            whole existence is based on things and people relating. Maybe more
            on this later but now it's time for work.

            Connie
          • Stephen Shields
            You wrote:
            Message 5 of 9 , May 29, 2000
            • 0 Attachment
              You wrote:

              <<I guess my question was more this If people inadvertantly add to
              Christ does this nulify their faith. For example I have a whole bunch
              of relatives that believe that we need faith in Jesus but in their
              opinion as person also NEEDS water baptism for salvation. >>

              I don't believe that God requires perfect theology (otherwise I'm in big
              trouble). That being said, I do believe that the moment we put our heart's
              trust in anything other than the fact - as the first century church leader
              Paul writes - that "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3) that we
              are in danger of trusting in our own efforts for God to accept us (also see
              Ephesians 2:8-10 and the whole book of Galatians). If God's acceptance of
              me depends on what I do and how well I follow him, I'm in deep, deep
              trouble! If it depends on the fact that "God made him [Jesus]who had no sin
              to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God"
              [2 Corinthians 5:21] then I'm ok. God's righteousness is perfect and if
              that's on my account (to use one biblical metaphor) then I'm home free!

              HTH and please follow up with any other insights, questions, etc.

              Stephen Shields
              Cedar Ridge Community Church
              stephens@...
              http://www.crcc.org


              -----Original Message-----
              From: taxbill@... [mailto:taxbill@...]
              Sent: Monday, May 22, 2000 9:22 AM
              To: findingfaith@egroups.com
              Subject: Re: RE: God and Relationship


              -
              You Wrote...

              > There's a couple of things that the first century leader Paul wrote
              one of
              > his letters that has suggested to me part of what was going on in
              the OT
              > with this kind of stuff: The "black and whiteness" of things in
              the OT,
              > the "do it exactly in this way" part of the OT.
              > One of those is a comment Paul makes in his letter to the church at
              Galatia
              > where he writes:
              >
              > <<So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be
              > justified by faith>>
              >
              > Galatians 3:24
              > The other is a comment he makes later in the same correspondence
              when he
              > writes:
              >
              > <<But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son....>>
              >
              > Galatians 4:4
              >
              > Gal 3:24 implies that the Law of the OT (all those rules) had a
              purpose to
              > direct us to faith in Jesus. Gal 4:4 further informs us that there
              was a
              > timing issue here as to exactly when Jesus would hit the scene. I
              believe
              > that part of the timing was the maturing of the human race. There
              was a
              > certain time when humankind would be first ready to understand the
              concept
              > that God would forgive us of our sins if we believed, as Paul writes
              > elsewhere "that Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3).
              What might
              > be going on here is that grace and forgiveness can't really be
              appreciated
              > until you understand sin (which I understand - at its core - as me
              putting
              > myself at the center of the universe instead of God).
              >
              > My kids have convinced me of this. I have 3 girls under the age fo
              5 and I
              > have to give them very black and white instructions. (e.g. "No,
              you can't
              > let go of my hand in the parking lot.") They don't understand the
              subtleties
              > of why I expect various things. I suspect that mankind maturing is
              like
              > humans maturing. We need to understand the basics ("Worship God in
              exactly
              > this way very carefully") before we can understand the subtleties
              (e.g. "Yet
              > a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will
              worship the
              > Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the
              Father
              > seeks." John 4:23)

              Yes I agree with this that the law was ment to guide us to Christ but
              I guess my question was more this If people inadvertantly add to
              Christ does this nulify their faith. For example I have a whole bunch
              of relatives that believe that we need faith in Jesus but in their
              opinion as person also NEEDS water baptism for salvation. I also
              have a bunch of Catholic friends who have faith in Christ but feel
              pretty dependent on the church for some aspect of their salvation.
              Although I'm not sure how all of it works for them they are from
              Mexico which puts a different slant on the catholic church. But my
              point here is that people add to their faith all the time not
              conciously thinking if I go church I will be saved or if I am
              involved in evangelism this will secure my salvation but feeling like
              if they don't do these things then they don't mesure up. I have a
              friend who pretty much left the church because of a hugh emphasis to
              participate in a particular form of evangelism and He just couldn't
              do it and it left him feeling so inadequate like he wasn't acceptable
              to God that he just left the whole thing and has not been back in
              years. So in some ways it seems to me that we add to faith (not
              intentionally) all the time by doing stuff that we think will make
              us feel adequate when supposedly Christ alone does this so in Gal 5:1-
              4 you get the impression that all this inadvertant adding to and
              some of it very intentional in the case of my catholic friends and
              relatives becomes a nullifier (Sp?) thus it seems to me making faith
              itself a perfect work. I think? Does that make sense?


              ]
              > <<At this point my list of absolutes has dissolved to there is a
              God and I
              > Need Him! Thus does good faith
              > have to be relational? I would prefer it to be, and deep down I
              think
              > I believe that it is but do I know? >>
              >
              > I think your instincts are good here! Part of knowledge is your
              experience
              > with a person (i.e. it can't be necessarily empirically proven).
              What about
              > your experience of God has led you to think He might be relational?

              You can learn alot about the artist by looking at his work and
              whoever made this world had relationship on the mind because it's
              whole existence is based on things and people relating. Maybe more
              on this later but now it's time for work.

              Connie



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            • taxbill@wncol.net
              Hello, Well I was off line for a few days because we were getting our computer upgraded I am now running at 500mghz with more memory and happy to have a little
              Message 6 of 9 , May 30, 2000
              • 0 Attachment
                Hello,
                Well I was off line for a few days because we were getting our
                computer upgraded I am now running at 500mghz with more memory
                and happy to have a little faster machine

                > I don't believe that God requires perfect theology (otherwise I'm
                in big trouble).

                Me too big time trouble!!!

                That being said, I do believe that the moment we put our heart's
                > trust in anything other than the fact - as the first century church
                leader
                > Paul writes - that "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3)
                that we
                > are in danger of trusting in our own efforts for God to accept us
                (also see
                > Ephesians 2:8-10 and the whole book of Galatians).

                Yes, in danger "of trusting
                in our own efforts"
                but are we in danger
                of nullifying our faith?


                >If God's acceptance of
                > me depends on what I do and how well I follow him, I'm in deep, deep
                > trouble!
                >If it depends on the fact that "God made him [Jesus]who had no sin
                >to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness
                >of God"
                > [2 Corinthians 5:21] then I'm ok. God's righteousness is perfect
                and if
                > that's on my account (to use one biblical metaphor) then I'm home
                free!


                So then what is the requirement
                for me to have God's righteousness?
                You have made it clear that
                it is not works. Is there
                then no requirement? Or is the
                requirement faith? perfect
                faith with nothing attached
                purposely or unintentionally?
                Is imperfect falliable faith
                good enough? I guess it's a
                stupid question because
                if it's not then we are all
                doomed because all that God
                is gonna get from imperfect
                falliable humans is imperfect
                falliable faith. What do you think?

                > HTH and please follow up with any other insights, questions, etc.

                What is HTH? Sorry there
                are alot of these abrev.
                that I am not familiar with.
                Thanks for your thoughts and
                insights. I appreciate it!

                Connie
              • Stephen Shields
                You wrote:
                Message 7 of 9 , May 31, 2000
                • 0 Attachment
                  You wrote:

                  <<So then what is the requirement
                  for me to have God's righteousness?
                  You have made it clear that
                  it is not works. Is there
                  then no requirement? Or is the
                  requirement faith? perfect
                  faith with nothing attached
                  purposely or unintentionally?
                  Is imperfect falliable faith
                  good enough? I guess it's a
                  stupid question because
                  if it's not then we are all
                  doomed because all that God
                  is gonna get from imperfect
                  falliable humans is imperfect
                  falliable faith. What do you think?>>

                  There are two passages I like from the Gospels that encourage me that Jesus
                  definitely accepts our faith even when it's imperfect.

                  One is Matthew 13:55-58

                  Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and
                  they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous
                  powers?" they asked.
                  "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't
                  his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
                  Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these
                  things?"
                  And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown
                  and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
                  And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

                  Here we see that Jesus seems to limit what he does depending on whether or
                  not he see faith.

                  But compare this passage with

                  Mark 9:14-25

                  When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them
                  and the teachers of the law arguing with them.
                  As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and
                  ran to greet him.
                  "What are you arguing with them about?" he asked.
                  A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is
                  possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.
                  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth,
                  gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the
                  spirit, but they could not."
                  "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you?
                  How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
                  So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy
                  into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the
                  mouth.
                  Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From
                  childhood," he answered.
                  "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do
                  anything, take pity on us and help us."
                  "`If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
                  Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my
                  unbelief!"
                  When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil
                  [1] spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of
                  him and never enter him again."

                  The thing that is striking here is that even though Jesus seemed to limit
                  what he would do if he saw no faith, he also would respond to imperfect or
                  struggling faith!

                  See also Matthew 11:1-11

                  After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from
                  there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. [1]
                  When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples
                  to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone
                  else?"
                  Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
                  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy [2] are
                  cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to
                  the poor.
                  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."
                  As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about
                  John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the
                  wind?
                  If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those
                  who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces.
                  Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a
                  prophet.
                  This is the one about whom it is written: "`I will send my messenger ahead
                  of you, who will prepare your way before you.' [3]
                  I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone
                  greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven
                  is greater than he.

                  What seems to be happening is that John while in prison is doubting whether
                  Jesus is the promised Messiah. Jesus - thru John's messengers - assures him
                  that he is the Messiah. And then as Jesus sends them he away, he turns
                  right around and begins to praise John as the greatest of all those born of
                  women!

                  I like to say that faith is binary. It's either there or it isn't, it's on
                  or it's off, it's a 0 or it's a 1. Sometimes I suspect that this is what
                  Jesus was talking about when he talked about Mustard Seed Faith (very small)
                  accomplishing great things (see Matthew 17:20). We either act as if
                  something is true or we act as if something is false. The man with the
                  disturbed son chose to go to Jesus or he could have stayed home. John could
                  have chosen to worry away in prison or he could have chosen to send someone
                  to talk to Jesus. For these men, faith had legs. It reflected a choice to
                  move toward Jesus.

                  Perhaps the doubt that's best expressed is expressed to Jesus Himself!
                  Doubt wins when it paralyzes and we do nothing. Faith might as well be 0 in
                  that case.

                  <<What is HTH?>>

                  Sorry! It means "Hope this Helps!"

                  For a list of other common internet abbreviations, look at

                  http://netforbeginners.about.com/internet/netforbeginners/library/weekly/aa0
                  63099.htm?rnk=r8&terms=Internet+Abbreviations

                  HTH (Hope this helps)! Feel free to keep the dialogue going!

                  Stephen Shields
                  Cedar Ridge Community Church
                  stephens@...
                  http://www.crcc.org
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