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Out with the new, in with the ancient

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  • Curtis and Rachel Ramer
    Brian and Stephen, I m in about chapter 4 of A New Kind of Christian. I m so glad Neo er, Brian, is drawing so much from C. S. Lewis. He has been my mentor
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 10, 2001
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      Brian and Stephen,
       
      I'm in about chapter 4 of A New Kind of Christian.  I'm so glad Neo er, Brian, is drawing so much from C. S. Lewis. He has been my "mentor" ever since his book Mere Christianity rescued me from...well, I'm not sure what, when I was a teenager. I have not heard of The Discarded Image and hope I can find it at the library.
       
      I have been reading some stuff from modern day atheists and their criticisms of Christianity. I have also been reading the responses of J. P. Holding at www.tektonics.org/rogue.html    and from his work understand that much of the criticisms made of the Bible come from a faulty modern reading, and an ignoring of the ancient culture.  It's interesting to me that many of these critics, such as preacher turned atheist Dan Barker, come from a fundamentalist background. Have you read any of their criticisms and Holding's responses?  What do you think of it all?
       
      Rachel
    • Stephen Shields
      Hi Rachel, I took a look at the Rogue s Gallary on Tektonics and I hadn t read it before. Perhaps others on here have read it and can respond. However, some
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 11, 2001
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        Hi Rachel,
         
        I took a look at the Rogue's Gallary on Tektonics and I hadn't read it before.  Perhaps others on here have read it and can respond.  However, some of us I know have read in the area of atheist's objections to Christianity and various types of responses.  If you'd wish to pose a specific question, we'd be happy to give it a shot!

        Stephen Shields
        sshields@...
        http://www.faithmaps.org
        -----Original Message-----
        From: sentto-1145832-66-994822208-stephen=shieldsplace.org@... [mailto:sentto-1145832-66-994822208-stephen=shieldsplace.org@...]On Behalf Of Curtis and Rachel Ramer
        Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 11:47 PM
        To: Finding Faith
        Subject: Out with the new, in with the ancient

        Brian and Stephen,
         
        I'm in about chapter 4 of A New Kind of Christian.  I'm so glad Neo er, Brian, is drawing so much from C. S. Lewis. He has been my "mentor" ever since his book Mere Christianity rescued me from...well, I'm not sure what, when I was a teenager. I have not heard of The Discarded Image and hope I can find it at the library.
         
        I have been reading some stuff from modern day atheists and their criticisms of Christianity. I have also been reading the responses of J. P. Holding at www.tektonics.org/rogue.html    and from his work understand that much of the criticisms made of the Bible come from a faulty modern reading, and an ignoring of the ancient culture.  It's interesting to me that many of these critics, such as preacher turned atheist Dan Barker, come from a fundamentalist background. Have you read any of their criticisms and Holding's responses?  What do you think of it all?
         
        Rachel

        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
      • Chris G Criminger
        Hi Rachel, I am going to jump in the conversation and hopefully add only one possible insight. Maybe the problem is not as much of being caught in the thralls
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 11, 2001
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          Hi Rachel,
          I am going to jump in the conversation and hopefully add only one
          possible insight. Maybe the problem is not as much of being caught in
          the thralls of modernity as some of us are caught in a kind of
          schizophrenia (a modern side and a postmodern side that collide into each
          other all the time). I am almost forty and was educated in a modern
          context and now trying to do ministry in a postmodern one. This alone
          can drive some of us insane in holding these kind of tensions together.

          Grace and peace - Chris Criminger
          Vallonia Indiana


          *******************************************
          On Wed, 11 Jul 2001 11:02:05 -0500 "Curtis and Rachel Ramer"
          <crramer@...> writes:
          > Stephen,
          >
          > >However, some of us I know have read in the area of atheist's
          > objections to Christianity and various types of responses. If you'd
          > wish to pose a specific question, we'd be happy to give it a shot!
          >
          > Thanks. I wasn't thinking of a specific question at this time
          > (although I could pose some to see what you think). Rather, I am
          > trying to mesh the two concepts between those of you who are looking
          > at ministry in the postmodern context, and those like Holding who
          > are giving apologetics a new twist. For example, you seem to focus
          > on not having all the answers. I don't disagree with that. Holding
          > is focusing on the fact that there ARE often answers that need to be
          > presented, IF we look at the Bible in a certain way. Both approaches
          > recognize the problem of the modern view of Scripture, however, the
          > responses seem to be different. Unless I'm misunderstanding, which
          > is very likely.
          >
          > For me, the postmodern ministry, such as yours, is difficult to pin
          > down. You (collectively) aren't this, and you aren't that, but when
          > Dan Poole tries to pin Neo down, well, there seems to be a lot of
          > room for misunderstandings. The reason it feels like heresy to some
          > moderns is because moderns have seen a lot of heresy. It's
          > understandable that moderns want answers, want to categorize, etc.
          > On the other hand, I very much appreciate the boarder view that
          > isn't rooted in the modern mindset. I think that is needed to face
          > the challenges of our world today, and the criticisms of the Bible
          > (and our faulty modern understandings of the Bible) in particular.
          > I'm excited about both aspects, but I can't seem to bring them
          > together in my mind. But I have a feeling you will tell me that's a
          > MODERN problem that I have. That just frustrates me further. See the
          > dilemma?
          >
          > Rachel
          >
          >
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: Stephen Shields
          > To: findingfaith@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2001 9:04 AM
          > Subject: RE: Out with the new, in with the ancient
          >
          >
          > Hi Rachel,
          >
          > I took a look at the Rogue's Gallary on Tektonics and I hadn't
          > read it before. Perhaps others on here have read it and can
          > respond. However, some of us I know have read in the area of
          > atheist's objections to Christianity and various types of responses.
          > If you'd wish to pose a specific question, we'd be happy to give it
          > a shot!
          >
          > Stephen Shields
          > sshields@...
          > http://www.faithmaps.org
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From:
          >
          sentto-1145832-66-994822208-stephen=shieldsplace.org@...
          >
          [mailto:sentto-1145832-66-994822208-stephen=shieldsplace.org@...
          ist.com]On
          > Behalf Of Curtis and Rachel Ramer
          > Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 11:47 PM
          > To: Finding Faith
          > Subject: Out with the new, in with the ancient
          >
          >
          > Brian and Stephen,
          >
          > I'm in about chapter 4 of A New Kind of Christian. I'm so glad
          > Neo er, Brian, is drawing so much from C. S. Lewis. He has been my
          > "mentor" ever since his book Mere Christianity rescued me
          > from...well, I'm not sure what, when I was a teenager. I have not
          > heard of The Discarded Image and hope I can find it at the library.
          >
          > I have been reading some stuff from modern day atheists and
          > their criticisms of Christianity. I have also been reading the
          > responses of J. P. Holding at www.tektonics.org/rogue.html and
          > from his work understand that much of the criticisms made of the
          > Bible come from a faulty modern reading, and an ignoring of the
          > ancient culture. It's interesting to me that many of these critics,
          > such as preacher turned atheist Dan Barker, come from a
          > fundamentalist background. Have you read any of their criticisms and
          > Holding's responses? What do you think of it all?
          >
          > Rachel
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
          > Service.
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
          > Service.
          >

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        • Curtis and Rachel Ramer
          Stephen, ... Thanks. I wasn t thinking of a specific question at this time (although I could pose some to see what you think). Rather, I am trying to mesh the
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 11, 2001
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            Stephen,
             
            >However, some of us I know have read in the area of atheist's objections to Christianity and various types of responses.  If you'd wish to pose a specific question, we'd be happy to give it a shot!
             
            Thanks. I wasn't thinking of a specific question at this time (although I could pose some to see what you think). Rather, I am trying to mesh the two concepts between those of you who are looking at ministry in the postmodern context, and those like Holding who are giving apologetics a new twist. For example, you seem to focus on not having all the answers. I don't disagree with that.  Holding is focusing on the fact that there ARE often answers that need to be presented, IF we look at the Bible in a certain way. Both approaches recognize the problem of the modern view of Scripture, however, the responses seem to be different.  Unless I'm misunderstanding, which is very likely.
             
            For me, the postmodern ministry, such as yours, is difficult to pin down.  You (collectively) aren't this, and you aren't that, but when Dan Poole tries to pin Neo down, well, there seems to be a lot of room for misunderstandings.  The reason it feels like heresy to some moderns is because moderns have seen a lot of heresy.  It's understandable that moderns want answers, want to categorize, etc. On the other hand, I very much appreciate the boarder view that isn't rooted in the modern mindset.  I think that is needed to face the challenges of our world today, and the criticisms of the Bible (and our faulty modern understandings of the Bible) in particular. I'm excited about both aspects, but I can't seem to bring them together in my mind. But I have a feeling you will tell me that's a MODERN problem that I have. That just frustrates me further. See the dilemma?
             
            Rachel

             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2001 9:04 AM
            Subject: RE: Out with the new, in with the ancient

            Hi Rachel,
             
            I took a look at the Rogue's Gallary on Tektonics and I hadn't read it before.  Perhaps others on here have read it and can respond.  However, some of us I know have read in the area of atheist's objections to Christianity and various types of responses.  If you'd wish to pose a specific question, we'd be happy to give it a shot!

            Stephen Shields
            sshields@...
            http://www.faithmaps.org
            -----Original Message-----
            From: sentto-1145832-66-994822208-stephen=shieldsplace.org@... [mailto:sentto-1145832-66-994822208-stephen=shieldsplace.org@...]On Behalf Of Curtis and Rachel Ramer
            Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 11:47 PM
            To: Finding Faith
            Subject: Out with the new, in with the ancient

            Brian and Stephen,
             
            I'm in about chapter 4 of A New Kind of Christian.  I'm so glad Neo er, Brian, is drawing so much from C. S. Lewis. He has been my "mentor" ever since his book Mere Christianity rescued me from...well, I'm not sure what, when I was a teenager. I have not heard of The Discarded Image and hope I can find it at the library.
             
            I have been reading some stuff from modern day atheists and their criticisms of Christianity. I have also been reading the responses of J. P. Holding at www.tektonics.org/rogue.html    and from his work understand that much of the criticisms made of the Bible come from a faulty modern reading, and an ignoring of the ancient culture.  It's interesting to me that many of these critics, such as preacher turned atheist Dan Barker, come from a fundamentalist background. Have you read any of their criticisms and Holding's responses?  What do you think of it all?
             
            Rachel

            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
          • Stephen Shields
            Rachel wrote: Rather, I am trying to mesh the two concepts between those of you who are looking at ministry in the postmodern context, and those like Holding
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 11, 2001
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              Rachel wrote:
               
              "Rather, I am trying to mesh the two concepts between those of you who are looking at ministry in the postmodern context, and those like Holding who are giving apologetics a new twist. "
               
              Somewhere on the postmodern/philosophy article page on fm, I link to a Christianity Today article that criticizes the major apologetics sites on the web as being irrelevant to postmoderns.  Do you feel that Holding is filling that niche?  If so that is pretty exciting.  I am a member of a number of apologetics discussion groups and I've been considering trying to stir things up a bit and see what kind of response I get. 
               
              "For example, you seem to focus on not having all the answers. I don't disagree with that.  Holding is focusing on the fact that there ARE often answers that need to be presented, IF we look at the Bible in a certain way. Both approaches recognize the problem of the modern view of Scripture, however, the responses seem to be different.  Unless I'm misunderstanding, which is very likely. "
               
              In the faithmaps metaphor I'm trying to strongly affirm two things:  1) that we can't know many things simply because of God's infinity and our finitude.  2) that God has spoken and that therefore we can know some things.  To my evangelical friends, I probably emphasize #1 more.  To my other friends, I probably emphasize #2 more, except to those friends who's exposure to Christians is limited to those who are might be extreme on what I'm trying address with #1!  I detail this to excruciating detail in the Delights and Dangers articles on faithmaps.org.   
               
              "For me, the postmodern ministry, such as yours, is difficult to pin down.  You (collectively) aren't this, and you aren't that, but when Dan Poole tries to pin Neo down, well, there seems to be a lot of room for misunderstandings.  "
               
              Well, yes.
               
              "I'm excited about both aspects, but I can't seem to bring them together in my mind. But I have a feeling you will tell me that's a MODERN problem that I have. That just frustrates me further. See the dilemma?"
               
              In the last Dangers and Delights article, I suggest that it might be more helpful for us to consider modernism and postmodernism as *complimentary* impulses rather than competing perspectives.  If we take that view, the desire to "nail things down" would be reflective of a modern desire to seek answers and would be helpful.  I think it's only unhelpful when we either relentlessly strive to nail it *all* down or if we believe we are able to do so.  I do believe that God put us here to figure some things out! 
               
              But I have to tell you that one of the best things I ever read in theology was a passage maybe 20 years ago or so in J Oliver Buswell's A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion where he talks about things in Christianity that he is puzzled by.  He uses the picture of putting these puzzles into cold storage until he's able to bring them out again to be resolved.  The postmodern would say that he's grown comfortable with cognitive dissonance. 
               
              I have learned to be comfortable with what I can't figure out and what seems contradictory to me.  These data give me evidence that Christianity isn't something man created but is revealed.  I tell my students that the moment that I explain the Trinity to them so that they go, "Ok, I get it; that makes *perfect* sense,"  that is the moment when they can be *certain* that I have no idea what I'm talking about.  Hopefully my comfort hasn't debilitated into complacency!
               
              So I guess part of me wants to help you figure out the dilemma, part of me wants to say, "Hey, what do you expect?  We are talking about God here?"  and part of me wants to help you get comfortable with dilemma! 
               
              In many, many ways, I'm afraid it's intrinsic to the human condition.  And I'm quite certain I won't be pulling all of my puzzles out of cold storage until I do finally shuffle off the earthly coil and "know as I'm known."
               
              Hope this helps!
               

              Stephen Shields
              sshields@...
              http://www.faithmaps.org

               
            • Curtis and Rachel Ramer
              Rachel wrote: Rather, I am trying to mesh the two concepts between those of you who are looking at ministry in the postmodern context, and those like Holding
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 11, 2001
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                Rachel wrote:
                 
                "Rather, I am trying to mesh the two concepts between those of you who are looking at ministry in the postmodern context, and those like Holding who are giving apologetics a new twist. "
                 
                Somewhere on the postmodern/philosophy article page on fm, I link to a Christianity Today article that criticizes the major apologetics sites on the web as being irrelevant to postmoderns.  Do you feel that Holding is filling that niche?  If so that is pretty exciting.  I am a member of a number of apologetics discussion groups and I've been considering trying to stir things up a bit and see what kind of response I get. 
                 
                Stephen,
                Yes, I read that article from your website that was in Christianity Today.  I thought it had some good insight, but was inaccurate on a couple of counts.  I don't think the author has spent a lot of time on these apologetic sites.  For example, he criticized (lightly, to be sure) Glenn Miller's site at Christian-Think Tank (Unravelling Wittgenstein's Net) and I find Glenn's site to be one of the most respectful and insightful in addressing the questions of seekers today. I believe the author of the article focused solely on the question of whether or not these sites had articles about tolerance.  Glenn's site is FULL of articles that address this indirectly. The site he did praise for having such articles is rather a lightweight  in apologetic content, however still good.
                 
                I see Holding's site as going hand in hand with Miller's.  (In fact they are friends.) Many will find Holding offensive, and recoil at his approach.  (He's really very nice.) However, I see him as doing the research that needs to be done to answer the questions for those who are losing their faith because of how the secular web has ripped up the Bible--in the modern mindset way. (Hope I'm making sense here.) So I don't necessarily think he's filling the niche in the way you mean it, but that he's filling a niche that has been created by the modern mindset.
                 
                , I suggest that it might be more helpful for us to consider modernism and postmodernism as *complimentary* impulses rather than competing perspectives.  If we take that view, the desire to "nail things down" would be reflective of a modern desire to seek answers and would be helpful.  I think it's only unhelpful when we either relentlessly strive to nail it *all* down or if we believe we are able to do so.  I do believe that God put us here to figure some things out! 
                 
                Okay, I like this, and can agree with it.
                 
                But I have to tell you that one of the best things I ever read in theology was a passage maybe 20 years ago or so in J Oliver Buswell's A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion where he talks about things in Christianity that he is puzzled by.  He uses the picture of putting these puzzles into cold storage until he's able to bring them out again to be resolved.  The postmodern would say that he's grown comfortable with cognitive dissonance. 
                 
                It's interesting that you say this, because I went through a terrible struggle with doubts that began in my teens and lasted for about ten years.  A very wise Bible teacher told me that some of my questions needed to go into a deep freeze.  So I put them there, and many have been answered for me over time.
                 
                 I have learned to be comfortable with what I can't figure out and what seems contradictory to me.
                 
                Where the modern apologist has a problem with this (as you probably know) is that with this it is difficult to address such things as cults and other religions. If you are comfortable with what you can't figure out and what seems contradictory, why not be a Jehovah's Witness or a Muslim? If fact, an ex-JW told me once that he felt so much cognitive dissonance (yes, he used exactly that term) as a JW that he became an alcoholic. So just how much cognitive dissonance or we willing to bear before we say, ENOUGH, I'm out of here.  That's what I was referring to before about the people I know who were Christians and have left Christianity.
                 
                Well, I've probably really talked too much here. I hope I'm making some sense.
                 
                Rachel
              • Stephen Shields
                Rachel wrote: Yes, I read that article from your website that was in Christianity Today. I thought it had some good insight, but was inaccurate on a couple of
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 12, 2001
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                  Rachel wrote:
                   
                  "Yes, I read that article from your website that was in Christianity Today.  I thought it had some good insight, but was inaccurate on a couple of counts.  I don't think the author has spent a lot of time on these apologetic sites.  For example, he criticized (lightly, to be sure) Glenn Miller's site at Christian-Think Tank (Unravelling Wittgenstein's Net) and I find Glenn's site to be one of the most respectful and insightful in addressing the questions of seekers today. I believe the author of the article focused solely on the question of whether or not these sites had articles about tolerance.  Glenn's site is FULL of articles that address this indirectly. The site he did praise for having such articles is rather a lightweight  in apologetic content, however still good."
                   
                  Hey Rachel!  That's some good analysis and very helpful!  Thank you!!  I really haven't spent a lot of time on Miller's site, so I genuinely appreciate your insight on this. 
                   
                  and she wrote:
                   
                  "It's interesting that you say this, because I went through a terrible struggle with doubts that began in my teens and lasted for about ten years.  A very wise Bible teacher told me that some of my questions needed to go into a deep freeze.  So I put them there, and many have been answered for me over time."
                   
                  I can relate to this.  For the first 8 years or so of my spiritual pilgrimage it would not be an overstatement to say that I was paralyzed by crippling doubt.  It was just horrible. 
                   
                  I wouldn't be surprised if your Bible teacher got his counsel directly from Buswell as I think he originally published in the 60's!
                   
                  "Where the modern apologist has a problem with this (as you probably know) is that with this it is difficult to address such things as cults and other religions. If you are comfortable with what you can't figure out and what seems contradictory, why not be a Jehovah's Witness or a Muslim? If fact, an ex-JW told me once that he felt so much cognitive dissonance (yes, he used exactly that term) as a JW that he became an alcoholic. So just how much cognitive dissonance or we willing to bear before we say, ENOUGH, I'm out of here.  That's what I was referring to before about the people I know who were Christians and have left Christianity."
                   
                  Hmmm.....  I think I see your point and I probably need to meditate on this.  I think I mentioned I'm on vacation at the beach.  One of the books I brought with me to work thru is W Jay Wood's work on epistemology.  He spends a good portion of his book focusing on intellectual virtues.  It occurs to me that it is intellectually responsible and perhaps obligatory that we attempt to resolve the antinomies (apparent contradictions) that precipitate cognitive dissonance.  And we could also subsume this under the modern impulse that we earlier discussed.  Rachel, do you think that it would be fair to say that after exercising due diligence that that would be the point at which we would say with Deuteronomy "the secret things belong to God?"   I, in fact, believe that when a limited rational being is confronted with an unlimited rational being that antinomies are far more likely.  Mystery would necessarily result from the fact that we lack data and intelligence to understand the unlimited rational being. 
                   
                  If you've read my Delights and Dangers articles, please forgive me for being repetitive, but there I tell about my friend who has 9 kids who decided that one of his girls, after she had disobeyed at one point, was mentally ready to be corporally punished (I trust that anyone's objection to corporal punishment will not inhibit them from being able to see the point here).  He began to spank her and she was terrorized.  Not scared, not upset, but confusedly horrified.  He stopped immediately.  She was too young and he realized he had misjudged.  She knew two things to be true at that moment:  1) Daddy loves me; 2) Daddy is intentionally hurting me.  And she was horrified because in her little universe those two facts could not both be true.  In her dad's mind, of course, those two facts were entirely consistent.  So if such a confusion exists between man and daughter separated by scant decades, imagine the amount of data that would be antinomous between us and the Divine. 
                   
                  Now regarding cults.  My concern about evangelicalism is that some put God in a box.  Many years ago I noticed that a feature of cults is that this characteristic is exaggerated.  In other words, *everything* is answered, including whom I should marry, what college I should send my daughter to, etc.  Perhaps you've seen one of the treatments of stages of spiritual growth.  Typically the first stage is the stage of black and white.  In the area of behavior, for example, something is either absolutely right or absolutely wrong.  Maturity brings an appreciation of the gray.  It's my opinion that cults thrive on the black and white stage.  This would mean that they must define or prescribe away *all* cognitive dissonance.    This will necessarily drive the thoughtful spiritual person to frustration and dissatisfaction with the cult.  This is very difficult for the adherent because they then have the challenging process ahead of them of throwing out bathwater while retaining baby.  It becomes easier then to just say, "Forget it" and opt out of the spiritual game, or opt into a minimalistic spirituality or a spirituality of the lowest common denominator.  Or, sadly, as your friend, to switch fields and go the sensuality route (drugs, sex, alcohol) or find some alternative means of fulfillment (career, knowledge, friendships, sports, tv, etc). 
                   
                  then Rachel wrote:
                   
                  "Well, I've probably really talked too much here. I hope I'm making some sense."
                   
                  Oh, I fear I've become more qualified to make such a statement!!  :)

                  Stephen Shields
                  sshields@...
                  http://www.faithmaps.org

                   
                • Curtis and Rachel Ramer
                  Stephen, Here you are on vacation, and the board starts hoppin ! Please feel free to delay your response. Hey Rachel! That s some good analysis and very
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 12, 2001
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                    Stephen,
                     
                    Here you are on vacation, and the board starts hoppin'!  Please feel free to delay your response.
                     
                    Hey Rachel!  That's some good analysis and very helpful!  Thank you!!  I really haven't spent a lot of time on Miller's site, so I genuinely appreciate your insight on this. 
                     
                    The only drawback I see with Miller's site is that he is so thorough, his articles are extremely long. But IMO he's an "apologist" with long thought out answers (not in the dogmatic way some have ANSWERS) but who also has heart. Ü When you get the time, check out the way he sorts through the problems and possible answers, and let me know what you think. I would be interested if you think he addresses the postmodern mind--not directly as I said--but in a way that they can stomach. For those of you who want to check it out, it's www.christian-thinktank.com
                     
                     
                    I can relate to this.  For the first 8 years or so of my spiritual pilgrimage it would not be an overstatement to say that I was paralyzed by crippling doubt.  It was just horrible. 
                     
                    Yes, that's exactly what I felt.  Perhaps that was the beginning of postmodern thought for us?? (See, I still want to categorize and make it all fit.)
                     
                     
                    If you've read my Delights and Dangers articles, please forgive me for being repetitive, but there I tell about my friend who has 9 kids who decided that one of his girls, after she had disobeyed at one point, was mentally ready to be corporally punished (I trust that anyone's objection to corporal punishment will not inhibit them from being able to see the point here).  He began to spank her and she was terrorized.  Not scared, not upset, but confusedly horrified.  He stopped immediately.  She was too young and he realized he had misjudged.  She knew two things to be true at that moment:  1) Daddy loves me; 2) Daddy is intentionally hurting me.  And she was horrified because in her little universe those two facts could not both be true.  In her dad's mind, of course, those two facts were entirely consistent.  So if such a confusion exists between man and daughter separated by scant decades, imagine the amount of data that would be antinomous between us and the Divine. 
                     
                    I don't mind at all you being repetitive. Yes, I read this example on your site. I think it's a very good one! I like it very much, and it's one way to help resolve the dissonance--to accept that there will be some.  And there certainly is some with our relationship with God.
                     
                    Let me add this and see what you think.  Take the OT command from God for the Israelites to wipe out other nations, including innocent children. To the modern mind, this can cause quite a bit of dissonance--today we could say they were acting like Hitler.  In fact, this very thing contributed to the rejection of Christianity for those I referred to earlier. Okay so there are varied responses we can give to this:
                     
                    1. The "heartless" apologist (grin) might say something like, well the children were not really innocent. We are all fallen, and God knew that they would reject Him anyway. God has a right to send us all to hell anyway. The modern mind would respond, "WHAT!?!" That response causes MORE dissonance! The Israelite children were also "fallen" in this way, so why aren't they being killed as well? And how can we say God is no respecter of persons with this scenario??
                     
                    2. The apologist with more heart would explain how the other nations had attacked the Israelites first, and that they were responding the same way we responded as a nation in WWII. This is half the answer, in my view, and works quite nicely for all but the innocent children part.  We would not intentionally spear innocent children in WWII.  So it doesn't go far enough.
                     
                    3. Those ministering to the postmodern mind (forgive me if I misrepresent here, I'm trying to be accurate) would say, well that does cause a lot of dissonance, to be sure, but we can't fully understand God, so we will have to put that in the deep freeze for awhile.  The modern mind (and perhaps the postmodern mind) would respond, NO WAY, with all the options for God to choose from today, I will NOT choose this gory version!  That's enough to reject the Bible. (And I'm saying, some have done just that.)
                     
                    4. The thorough apologist (with a heart Ü)  would say that none of the above work well.  But with a little inductive logic we can come to realize that God CAN order this and STILL be loving/just and worthy of worship. It's a matter of shaking us up a bit in our wooden (modern) concept of morality, and our wooden (modern) reading of the Bible, but it can be done. (Please don't ask me to do it here Ü)
                     
                    I guess what I'm saying is that I AGREE that the apologist with the answers needs to be tempered with the reality that dissonance is something to be recognized and not just brushed aside with in-your-face answers.  However, it seems to me that too much dissonance, and not enough rigor in our responses leaves us hanging. A little more rigor in our thoughts can produce a certain amount of peace with issues like the above.
                     
                    We probably aren't disagreeing at all, really.  And I appreciate being able to hash this out with you.
                     
                     My concern about evangelicalism is that some put God in a box.  Many years ago I noticed that a feature of cults is that this characteristic is exaggerated.
                     
                    Yes, I agree with both of these statements. Very good insight!
                     
                    Perhaps you've seen one of the treatments of stages of spiritual growth. 
                     
                    Yes, I read this in Finding Faith, and it was one of my favorite parts of the book. I can see this progression in my own life, and in the lives of others.
                     
                     Typically the first stage is the stage of black and white.  In the area of behavior, for example, something is either absolutely right or absolutely wrong.  Maturity brings an appreciation of the gray. 
                     
                    Yes, and I see your point that the apologist can fall into this same trap that the cults are in!  I see it!!  Too much is black and white and pinned down.  But I am making a distinction between what I referred to as the "heartless" apologist--for lack of a better term, and the apologist with the heart who has gone through the stages at least to some extent and can deal with the grey--but who can STILL say that enough of the dissonance can be dealt with to come to a peace.
                     
                    Please feel free to disagree or point out where I am off track or still stuck.
                     
                      This is very difficult for the adherent because they then have the challenging process ahead of them of throwing out bathwater while retaining baby.  It becomes easier then to just say, "Forget it" and opt out of the spiritual game
                     
                    I see you point here as well, and I think you have a very good one.  I think you are saying, that instead of driving people away with answers that don't really work (like the heartless apologist) accept the dissonance. I can see that in many cases this could be the better option.  I'm just saying that too much dissonance (and how do we know how much is too much for each person--that's another issue) will also cause relationship with God to collapse.
                     
                    Whew, I'm getting long-winded.  Hope you can enjoy your vacation!!
                     
                    Rachel
                  • Chris G Criminger
                    Wow Carl, I find your post to be a very postmodern one as you unpack your ideas about the Bible and corporal discipline. As the resident schizophrenic one, my
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 12, 2001
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                      Wow Carl,
                      I find your post to be a very postmodern one as you unpack your ideas
                      about the Bible and corporal discipline. As the resident schizophrenic
                      one, my postmodern side agrees that God endorsing any kind of violence is
                      evil and should especially not be used in any sense for Christians today
                      to commit violence (much less genocide). Of course my modern side says
                      God created us and can do any damn thing God pleases (there are lots of
                      references of God killing people in the Bible). If anyone can give life
                      and take it away it is God. So how do I work out these tensions, I
                      don't! I struggle, pray, hope, and walk through the dark nights and
                      those moments where there seems to be many rays of light. Faith is
                      neither easy nor starry eyed but often haunted by the many varied
                      experiences of life.

                      Grace and peace - Chris Criminger


                      ******************************************
                      On Thu, 12 Jul 2001 14:56:35 -0700 (PDT) Carl Bergstrom
                      <carlpb92111@...> writes:
                      > I've just stumbled onto this discussion group in the
                      > past few days; and I'm reading with fascination,
                      > confusion, questions and a bit of horror. So this is
                      > how enlightened Christians think.
                      >
                      > I'm not a theologian, nor do I know much about post
                      > modernism, apologetics, etc. And I cannot even figure
                      > out exactly whose comments are whose. But in
                      > reference to the ones below about "Take the OT command
                      > from God for the Israelites to wipe out other nations,
                      > including innocent children." In all due respect to
                      > your learned comments about modern vs. post modern,
                      > did it ever occur to you that whoever wrote the words
                      > in the OT was just plain wrong? That he probably
                      > thought that's what God wanted---just as throughout
                      > the ages people have done things "in God's name"---but
                      > that wasn't really right? And what we're suppposed to
                      > understand today, be it modern or post modern, is that
                      > there is a danger in thinking we have the only and
                      > correct pipeline to God. And that we can use that
                      > fallacy to justify all kinds of horrible treatment to
                      > other of God's children?
                      >
                      > I thought the "post modern" reading was supposed to
                      > see things in their proper context? Is this heresy?
                      >
                      > And while I'm at it in my ranting and raving, yes, I
                      > do react to someone with 9 kids beating (forget the
                      > word "spanking" and recognize child abuse for what it
                      > is, and don't cop out by quoting "spare the rod and
                      > spoil the child") his child. This seems so
                      > stereotypical of groups (fundamentalist christians,
                      > mormons) who believe they are "right": over-population
                      > is justified since I'm producing more of my ilk. No
                      > wonder this person cannot think of a better way to
                      > teach a little child than too beat her, he has too
                      > many kids!!!
                      >
                      > Carl Bergstrom
                      >
                      >
                      > and Rachel Ramer <crramer@...> wrote:
                      > > Stephen,
                      > >
                      > > Here you are on vacation, and the board starts
                      > > hoppin'! Please feel free to delay your response.
                      > >
                      > > Hey Rachel! That's some good analysis and very
                      > > helpful! Thank you!! I really haven't spent a lot
                      > > of time on Miller's site, so I genuinely appreciate
                      > > your insight on this.
                      > >
                      > > The only drawback I see with Miller's site is that
                      > > he is so thorough, his articles are extremely long.
                      > > But IMO he's an "apologist" with long thought out
                      > > answers (not in the dogmatic way some have ANSWERS)
                      > > but who also has heart. � When you get the time,
                      > > check out the way he sorts through the problems and
                      > > possible answers, and let me know what you think. I
                      > > would be interested if you think he addresses the
                      > > postmodern mind--not directly as I said--but in a
                      > > way that they can stomach. For those of you who want
                      > > to check it out, it's www.christian-thinktank.com
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > I can relate to this. For the first 8 years or so
                      > > of my spiritual pilgrimage it would not be an
                      > > overstatement to say that I was paralyzed by
                      > > crippling doubt. It was just horrible.
                      > >
                      > > Yes, that's exactly what I felt. Perhaps that was
                      > > the beginning of postmodern thought for us?? (See, I
                      > > still want to categorize and make it all fit.)
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > If you've read my Delights and Dangers articles,
                      > > please forgive me for being repetitive, but there I
                      > > tell about my friend who has 9 kids who decided that
                      > > one of his girls, after she had disobeyed at one
                      > > point, was mentally ready to be corporally punished
                      > > (I trust that anyone's objection to corporal
                      > > punishment will not inhibit them from being able to
                      > > see the point here). He began to spank her and she
                      > > was terrorized. Not scared, not upset, but
                      > > confusedly horrified. He stopped immediately. She
                      > > was too young and he realized he had misjudged. She
                      > > knew two things to be true at that moment: 1) Daddy
                      > > loves me; 2) Daddy is intentionally hurting me. And
                      > > she was horrified because in her little universe
                      > > those two facts could not both be true. In her
                      > > dad's mind, of course, those two facts were entirely
                      > > consistent. So if such a confusion exists between
                      > > man and daughter separated by scant decades, imagine
                      > > the amount of data that would be antinomous between
                      > > us and the Divine.
                      > >
                      > > I don't mind at all you being repetitive. Yes, I
                      > > read this example on your site. I think it's a very
                      > > good one! I like it very much, and it's one way to
                      > > help resolve the dissonance--to accept that there
                      > > will be some. And there certainly is some with our
                      > > relationship with God.
                      > >
                      > > Let me add this and see what you think. Take the
                      > > OT command from God for the Israelites to wipe out
                      > > other nations, including innocent children. To the
                      > > modern mind, this can cause quite a bit of
                      > > dissonance--today we could say they were acting like
                      > > Hitler. In fact, this very thing contributed to the
                      > > rejection of Christianity for those I referred to
                      > > earlier. Okay so there are varied responses we can
                      > > give to this:
                      > >
                      > > 1. The "heartless" apologist (grin) might say
                      > > something like, well the children were not really
                      > > innocent. We are all fallen, and God knew that they
                      > > would reject Him anyway. God has a right to send us
                      > > all to hell anyway. The modern mind would respond,
                      > > "WHAT!?!" That response causes MORE dissonance! The
                      > > Israelite children were also "fallen" in this way,
                      > > so why aren't they being killed as well? And how can
                      > > we say God is no respecter of persons with this
                      > > scenario??
                      > >
                      > > 2. The apologist with more heart would explain how
                      > > the other nations had attacked the Israelites first,
                      > > and that they were responding the same way we
                      > > responded as a nation in WWII. This is half the
                      > > answer, in my view, and works quite nicely for all
                      > > but the innocent children part. We would not
                      > > intentionally spear innocent children in WWII. So
                      > > it doesn't go far enough.
                      > >
                      > > 3. Those ministering to the postmodern mind
                      > > (forgive me if I misrepresent here, I'm trying to be
                      > > accurate) would say, well that does cause a lot of
                      > > dissonance, to be sure, but we can't fully
                      > > understand God, so we will have to put that in the
                      > > deep freeze for awhile. The modern mind (and
                      > > perhaps the postmodern mind) would respond, NO WAY,
                      > > with all the options for God to choose from today, I
                      > > will NOT choose this gory version! That's enough to
                      > > reject the Bible. (And I'm saying, some have done
                      > > just that.)
                      > >
                      > > 4. The thorough apologist (with a heart �) would
                      > > say that none of the above work well. But with a
                      > > little inductive logic we can come to realize that
                      > > God CAN order this and STILL be loving/just and
                      > > worthy of worship. It's a matter of shaking us up a
                      > > bit in our wooden (modern) concept of morality, and
                      > > our wooden (modern) reading of the Bible, but it can
                      > > be done. (Please don't ask me to do it here �)
                      > >
                      > > I guess what I'm saying is that I AGREE that the
                      > > apologist with the answers needs to be tempered with
                      > > the reality that dissonance is something to be
                      > > recognized and not just brushed aside with
                      > > in-your-face answers. However, it seems to me that
                      > > too much dissonance, and not enough rigor in our
                      > > responses leaves us hanging. A little more rigor in
                      > > our thoughts can produce a certain amount of peace
                      > > with issues like the above.
                      > >
                      > > We probably aren't disagreeing at all, really.
                      > > And I appreciate being able to hash this out with
                      > > you.
                      > >
                      > > My concern about evangelicalism is that some put
                      > > God in a box. Many years ago I noticed that a
                      > > feature of cults is that this characteristic is
                      > > exaggerated.
                      > >
                      > > Yes, I agree with both of these statements. Very
                      > > good insight!
                      > >
                      > > Perhaps you've seen one of the treatments of
                      > > stages of spiritual growth.
                      > >
                      > > Yes, I read this in Finding Faith, and it was one
                      > > of my favorite parts of the book. I can see this
                      > > progression in my own life, and in the lives of
                      > > others.
                      > >
                      > > Typically the first stage is the stage of black
                      > > and white. In the area of behavior, for example,
                      > > something is either absolutely right or absolutely
                      > > wrong. Maturity brings an appreciation of the gray.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Yes, and I see your point that the apologist can
                      > > fall into this same trap that the cults are in! I
                      > > see it!! Too much is black and white and pinned
                      > > down. But I am making a distinction between what I
                      > > referred to as the "heartless" apologist--for lack
                      > > of a better term, and the apologist with the heart
                      > > who has gone through the stages at least to some
                      > > extent and can deal with the grey--but who can STILL
                      > > say that enough of the dissonance can be dealt with
                      > > to come to a peace.
                      > >
                      > > Please feel free to disagree or point out where I
                      > > am off track or still stuck.
                      > >
                      > > This is very difficult for the adherent because
                      > > they then have the challenging process ahead of them
                      > > of throwing out bathwater while retaining baby. It
                      > > becomes easier then to just say, "Forget it" and opt
                      > > out of the spiritual game
                      > >
                      > > I see you point here as well, and I think you have
                      > > a very good one. I think you are saying, that
                      > > instead of driving people away with answers that
                      > > don't really work (like the heartless apologist)
                      > > accept the dissonance. I can see that in many cases
                      > > this could be the better option. I'm just saying
                      > > that too much dissonance (and how do we know how
                      > > much is too much for each person--that's another
                      > > issue) will also cause relationship with God to
                      > > collapse.
                      > >
                      > > Whew, I'm getting long-winded. Hope you can enjoy
                      > > your vacation!!
                      > >
                      > > Rachel
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      > __________________________________________________
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                      >

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                    • Carl Bergstrom
                      I ve just stumbled onto this discussion group in the past few days; and I m reading with fascination, confusion, questions and a bit of horror. So this is how
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 12, 2001
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                        I've just stumbled onto this discussion group in the
                        past few days; and I'm reading with fascination,
                        confusion, questions and a bit of horror. So this is
                        how enlightened Christians think.

                        I'm not a theologian, nor do I know much about post
                        modernism, apologetics, etc. And I cannot even figure
                        out exactly whose comments are whose. But in
                        reference to the ones below about "Take the OT command
                        from God for the Israelites to wipe out other nations,
                        including innocent children." In all due respect to
                        your learned comments about modern vs. post modern,
                        did it ever occur to you that whoever wrote the words
                        in the OT was just plain wrong? That he probably
                        thought that's what God wanted---just as throughout
                        the ages people have done things "in God's name"---but
                        that wasn't really right? And what we're suppposed to
                        understand today, be it modern or post modern, is that
                        there is a danger in thinking we have the only and
                        correct pipeline to God. And that we can use that
                        fallacy to justify all kinds of horrible treatment to
                        other of God's children?

                        I thought the "post modern" reading was supposed to
                        see things in their proper context? Is this heresy?

                        And while I'm at it in my ranting and raving, yes, I
                        do react to someone with 9 kids beating (forget the
                        word "spanking" and recognize child abuse for what it
                        is, and don't cop out by quoting "spare the rod and
                        spoil the child") his child. This seems so
                        stereotypical of groups (fundamentalist christians,
                        mormons) who believe they are "right": over-population
                        is justified since I'm producing more of my ilk. No
                        wonder this person cannot think of a better way to
                        teach a little child than too beat her, he has too
                        many kids!!!

                        Carl Bergstrom


                        and Rachel Ramer <crramer@...> wrote:
                        > Stephen,
                        >
                        > Here you are on vacation, and the board starts
                        > hoppin'! Please feel free to delay your response.
                        >
                        > Hey Rachel! That's some good analysis and very
                        > helpful! Thank you!! I really haven't spent a lot
                        > of time on Miller's site, so I genuinely appreciate
                        > your insight on this.
                        >
                        > The only drawback I see with Miller's site is that
                        > he is so thorough, his articles are extremely long.
                        > But IMO he's an "apologist" with long thought out
                        > answers (not in the dogmatic way some have ANSWERS)
                        > but who also has heart. � When you get the time,
                        > check out the way he sorts through the problems and
                        > possible answers, and let me know what you think. I
                        > would be interested if you think he addresses the
                        > postmodern mind--not directly as I said--but in a
                        > way that they can stomach. For those of you who want
                        > to check it out, it's www.christian-thinktank.com
                        >
                        >
                        > I can relate to this. For the first 8 years or so
                        > of my spiritual pilgrimage it would not be an
                        > overstatement to say that I was paralyzed by
                        > crippling doubt. It was just horrible.
                        >
                        > Yes, that's exactly what I felt. Perhaps that was
                        > the beginning of postmodern thought for us?? (See, I
                        > still want to categorize and make it all fit.)
                        >
                        >
                        > If you've read my Delights and Dangers articles,
                        > please forgive me for being repetitive, but there I
                        > tell about my friend who has 9 kids who decided that
                        > one of his girls, after she had disobeyed at one
                        > point, was mentally ready to be corporally punished
                        > (I trust that anyone's objection to corporal
                        > punishment will not inhibit them from being able to
                        > see the point here). He began to spank her and she
                        > was terrorized. Not scared, not upset, but
                        > confusedly horrified. He stopped immediately. She
                        > was too young and he realized he had misjudged. She
                        > knew two things to be true at that moment: 1) Daddy
                        > loves me; 2) Daddy is intentionally hurting me. And
                        > she was horrified because in her little universe
                        > those two facts could not both be true. In her
                        > dad's mind, of course, those two facts were entirely
                        > consistent. So if such a confusion exists between
                        > man and daughter separated by scant decades, imagine
                        > the amount of data that would be antinomous between
                        > us and the Divine.
                        >
                        > I don't mind at all you being repetitive. Yes, I
                        > read this example on your site. I think it's a very
                        > good one! I like it very much, and it's one way to
                        > help resolve the dissonance--to accept that there
                        > will be some. And there certainly is some with our
                        > relationship with God.
                        >
                        > Let me add this and see what you think. Take the
                        > OT command from God for the Israelites to wipe out
                        > other nations, including innocent children. To the
                        > modern mind, this can cause quite a bit of
                        > dissonance--today we could say they were acting like
                        > Hitler. In fact, this very thing contributed to the
                        > rejection of Christianity for those I referred to
                        > earlier. Okay so there are varied responses we can
                        > give to this:
                        >
                        > 1. The "heartless" apologist (grin) might say
                        > something like, well the children were not really
                        > innocent. We are all fallen, and God knew that they
                        > would reject Him anyway. God has a right to send us
                        > all to hell anyway. The modern mind would respond,
                        > "WHAT!?!" That response causes MORE dissonance! The
                        > Israelite children were also "fallen" in this way,
                        > so why aren't they being killed as well? And how can
                        > we say God is no respecter of persons with this
                        > scenario??
                        >
                        > 2. The apologist with more heart would explain how
                        > the other nations had attacked the Israelites first,
                        > and that they were responding the same way we
                        > responded as a nation in WWII. This is half the
                        > answer, in my view, and works quite nicely for all
                        > but the innocent children part. We would not
                        > intentionally spear innocent children in WWII. So
                        > it doesn't go far enough.
                        >
                        > 3. Those ministering to the postmodern mind
                        > (forgive me if I misrepresent here, I'm trying to be
                        > accurate) would say, well that does cause a lot of
                        > dissonance, to be sure, but we can't fully
                        > understand God, so we will have to put that in the
                        > deep freeze for awhile. The modern mind (and
                        > perhaps the postmodern mind) would respond, NO WAY,
                        > with all the options for God to choose from today, I
                        > will NOT choose this gory version! That's enough to
                        > reject the Bible. (And I'm saying, some have done
                        > just that.)
                        >
                        > 4. The thorough apologist (with a heart �) would
                        > say that none of the above work well. But with a
                        > little inductive logic we can come to realize that
                        > God CAN order this and STILL be loving/just and
                        > worthy of worship. It's a matter of shaking us up a
                        > bit in our wooden (modern) concept of morality, and
                        > our wooden (modern) reading of the Bible, but it can
                        > be done. (Please don't ask me to do it here �)
                        >
                        > I guess what I'm saying is that I AGREE that the
                        > apologist with the answers needs to be tempered with
                        > the reality that dissonance is something to be
                        > recognized and not just brushed aside with
                        > in-your-face answers. However, it seems to me that
                        > too much dissonance, and not enough rigor in our
                        > responses leaves us hanging. A little more rigor in
                        > our thoughts can produce a certain amount of peace
                        > with issues like the above.
                        >
                        > We probably aren't disagreeing at all, really.
                        > And I appreciate being able to hash this out with
                        > you.
                        >
                        > My concern about evangelicalism is that some put
                        > God in a box. Many years ago I noticed that a
                        > feature of cults is that this characteristic is
                        > exaggerated.
                        >
                        > Yes, I agree with both of these statements. Very
                        > good insight!
                        >
                        > Perhaps you've seen one of the treatments of
                        > stages of spiritual growth.
                        >
                        > Yes, I read this in Finding Faith, and it was one
                        > of my favorite parts of the book. I can see this
                        > progression in my own life, and in the lives of
                        > others.
                        >
                        > Typically the first stage is the stage of black
                        > and white. In the area of behavior, for example,
                        > something is either absolutely right or absolutely
                        > wrong. Maturity brings an appreciation of the gray.
                        >
                        >
                        > Yes, and I see your point that the apologist can
                        > fall into this same trap that the cults are in! I
                        > see it!! Too much is black and white and pinned
                        > down. But I am making a distinction between what I
                        > referred to as the "heartless" apologist--for lack
                        > of a better term, and the apologist with the heart
                        > who has gone through the stages at least to some
                        > extent and can deal with the grey--but who can STILL
                        > say that enough of the dissonance can be dealt with
                        > to come to a peace.
                        >
                        > Please feel free to disagree or point out where I
                        > am off track or still stuck.
                        >
                        > This is very difficult for the adherent because
                        > they then have the challenging process ahead of them
                        > of throwing out bathwater while retaining baby. It
                        > becomes easier then to just say, "Forget it" and opt
                        > out of the spiritual game
                        >
                        > I see you point here as well, and I think you have
                        > a very good one. I think you are saying, that
                        > instead of driving people away with answers that
                        > don't really work (like the heartless apologist)
                        > accept the dissonance. I can see that in many cases
                        > this could be the better option. I'm just saying
                        > that too much dissonance (and how do we know how
                        > much is too much for each person--that's another
                        > issue) will also cause relationship with God to
                        > collapse.
                        >
                        > Whew, I'm getting long-winded. Hope you can enjoy
                        > your vacation!!
                        >
                        > Rachel
                        >


                        __________________________________________________
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                        Get personalized email addresses from Yahoo! Mail
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                      • Caroline Wong
                        ... That s quite a dilemna. If we assume the writer of Joshua is wrong about what God really wanted (No, you idiots! I said make peace, not war!) then what
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 12, 2001
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                          Carl Bergstrom wrote:

                          > But in
                          > reference to the ones below about "Take the OT command
                          > from God for the Israelites to wipe out other nations,
                          > including innocent children." In all due respect to
                          > your learned comments about modern vs. post modern,
                          > did it ever occur to you that whoever wrote the words
                          > in the OT was just plain wrong? That he probably
                          > thought that's what God wanted---just as throughout
                          > the ages people have done things "in God's name"---but
                          > that wasn't really right?

                          That's quite a dilemna. If we assume the writer of Joshua is wrong about
                          what God really wanted (No, you idiots! I said make peace, not war!) then
                          what can we really say about what is true and what is not. We can't believe
                          God would order Joshua to annihilate the Canaanites because we believe He is
                          a good, loving and just God. And we believe He is a good, loving and just
                          God because the Bible says so.

                          Other religions believe their gods are capricious and sometimes malicious.
                          Christianity would not have this cognitive dissonance if we didn't insist on
                          Yahweh being good AND sovereign.

                          >And what we're suppposed to
                          > understand today, be it modern or post modern, is that
                          > there is a danger in thinking we have the only and
                          > correct pipeline to God. And that we can use that
                          > fallacy to justify all kinds of horrible treatment to
                          > other of God's children?
                          >
                          That raises another interesting question. How do we know that we're hearing
                          and seeing God correctly? Odd that we can so quickly say so-and-so who
                          thinks he's hearing God correctly but so-and-so is clearly out to lunch. By
                          what standard do we make those judgements? And how did we come by those
                          standards??

                          > I thought the "post modern" reading was supposed to
                          > see things in their proper context? Is this heresy?
                          >
                          The Joshua story can be read in several ways. My current way of seeing it
                          is as a spiritual allegory. I'm suppose to possess my promised land (the Me
                          that God has always wanted) and like Joshua, God has given me a strategy to
                          take over hostile territory. First, I'm suppose to capture the heart of the
                          land (Jericho) and then branch out from there.

                          Actually, Joshua and his crew did not annihilate all the Canaanites and take
                          over as they were commanded to. They thought it was too difficult, or they
                          thought they could subjugate the Canaanites or they thought they could live
                          with them. One only have to open the next book, the book of Judges to read
                          about all the troubles the Israelites had with trying to live with the
                          Canaanites.

                          That addendum to Joshua's story would still be a spiritual allegory of me
                          trying to remove evil from my life :)

                          Yeah, yeah, I know it's a bit of a cop out to read a story that's held to be
                          historical as an allegory. It's something that I've had to put into deep
                          freeze for a while. BTW, what Joshua was called to do was more humane than
                          what was actually done in his time. All battles had religious overtones to
                          them. Torture, rape and brutality was common. So was the idea of
                          sacrificing all living things (yup, babies too) to the gods if the gods
                          would grant the army victory. Since most battles resulted in one victorious
                          army and one defeated army, there was a lot of sacrificing, er, dedications,
                          going on.

                          Curious question: If you were God, how would you clear up land for your
                          chosen people? Drought? Plague? Loud rock music? Battle under a chosen
                          leader?

                          Caroline
                        • Curtis and Rachel Ramer
                          Carl, Thanks for your comments. So this is ... Um, I don t see myself as enlightened. I see myself as struggling forward and occasionally getting rays of
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jul 12, 2001
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Carl,

                            Thanks for your comments.

                            So this is
                            > how enlightened Christians think.

                            Um, I don't see myself as enlightened. I see myself as struggling forward
                            and occasionally getting rays of light through my darkness. :0)

                            In all due respect to
                            > your learned comments about modern vs. post modern,
                            > did it ever occur to you that whoever wrote the words
                            > in the OT was just plain wrong?

                            Oh yes, that has certainly occurred to me! I shared earlier that I went
                            through a long period of doubts about Christianity and the Bible. What I
                            discovered through that was that while accepting the Bible caused quite a
                            bit of "cognitive dissonance", rejecting it caused even MORE. You may not
                            understand what I mean by that, but the description of God in the Bible
                            seems to me to be the best description of what a God of this universe would
                            be like--in other aspects, not this passage in particular. While I struggle
                            with these difficult passages of the Bible, other passages shine through
                            gloriously with meaning that I find nowhere else. I'm not very good at
                            putting this into words, I know. Jesus stands out as true from its pages,
                            and He was able to somehow hold this together in His mind.

                            That he probably
                            > thought that's what God wanted---just as throughout
                            > the ages people have done things "in God's name"---but
                            > that wasn't really right? And what we're supposed to
                            > understand today, be it modern or post modern, is that
                            > there is a danger in thinking we have the only and
                            > correct pipeline to God. And that we can use that
                            > fallacy to justify all kinds of horrible treatment to
                            > other of God's children?

                            Yes, I agree that this is extremely dangerous!! God help us.

                            As I said, Glenn Miller has addressed quite a few difficult issues. You may
                            not find it helpful, but you could check out his site and see what is up
                            there. www.christian-thinktank.com For example, you might want to check out
                            his Objection Index, and his Hallway of Questions.

                            Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

                            Rachel
                          • Stephen Shields
                            Hi Carl, You wrote: And I cannot even figure out exactly whose comments are whose. I can empathize! I m on a number of yahoogroups and I subscribe to them
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jul 13, 2001
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Hi Carl,

                              You wrote:

                              "And I cannot even figure
                              out exactly whose comments are whose."

                              I can empathize! I'm on a number of yahoogroups and I subscribe to them in
                              digest form. Sometimes it's very hard to discern the threads!

                              "But in reference to the ones below about "Take the OT command
                              from God for the Israelites to wipe out other nations,
                              including innocent children." In all due respect to
                              your learned comments about modern vs. post modern,
                              did it ever occur to you that whoever wrote the words
                              in the OT was just plain wrong? That he probably
                              thought that's what God wanted---just as throughout
                              the ages people have done things "in God's name"---but
                              that wasn't really right? "

                              I'm not remembering who wrote that on this list but those passages are the
                              most disturbing ones that I find in the Scriptures. I don't get them. To
                              be honest with you, Carl, with respect, I'm not comfortable with how you've
                              reconciled yourself to those passages - that approach creates other problems
                              for me - , but - on the other hand - I don't feel that I have an alternative
                              explanation that I could give you that would make you go, "Oh, ok, *that*
                              makes perfect sense."

                              Yesterday one of the networks ran a story about the fact that 4-5 children
                              have died in the last few days from people leaving them in hot cars. I saw
                              a gripping scene of a group of cops trying to free 2 kids from a Dodge
                              Caravan when a mother walked up. One of the cops pointed at this woman and
                              demanded, "Are you the mom??" Yesterday here in Va Beach a car careened out
                              of control and snuffed out the life of a 2 year old boy who was being walked
                              by his mom in a stroller. I also don't understand why God lets this stuff
                              happen. It's one of the most difficult aspects of my faithmap and I don't
                              have a good, satisfying explanation.

                              For what it's worth, when I was a small child and had somehow gotten an idea
                              of my father's hourly wage, I also could not for the life of me understand
                              why he did not buy me more of the little $1.39 toys that hung from the
                              little metal bars on those circular toy racks that used to be in grocery
                              stores. It didn't make any sense at all to me. I simply did not have all
                              the information and wisdom at that time to make an informed judgment on the
                              matter. That is what I feel about myself now with these issues. I just
                              don't think my brain is big enough or informed enough to get it.

                              The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would expect that if
                              God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would make perfect
                              sense that there would be things that he would do that would leave me
                              scratching my head. If I completely understood him, that would be
                              indication that the human mind created Him rather than the reverse. But I'm
                              not writing this to make you go, "Oh, ok, I'm all fine then" !

                              And regarding spanking, there are many Christians who agree with you. I'll
                              have to consider whether using that story as an example is too much of a
                              distraction in future contexts.

                              Anyway, Carl, thanks for being honest and open with us here. I think you
                              are expressing the kinds of feelings that many of us have had.

                              Stephen Shields
                              sshields@...
                              http://www.faithmaps.org
                            • Stephen Shields
                              addition in ** ** s For The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would expect that if God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jul 13, 2001
                              • 0 Attachment
                                addition in ** **'s
                                 
                                For
                                 
                                The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would expect that if
                                God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would make perfect
                                sense that there would be things that he would do that would leave me
                                scratching my head. 
                                 
                                read
                                 
                                The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would expect that if
                                God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would make perfect
                                sense that there would be things that he would do **or allow to be done** that would leave me
                                scratching my head. 
                                 

                                Stephen Shields
                                sshields@...
                                http://www.faithmaps.org

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: sentto-1145832-95-995020618-stephen=shieldsplace.org@... [mailto:sentto-1145832-95-995020618-stephen=shieldsplace.org@...]On Behalf Of Stephen Shields
                                Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 6:40 AM
                                To: findingfaith@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: RE: Out with the new, in with the ancient

                                Hi Carl,

                                You wrote:

                                "And I cannot even figure
                                out exactly whose comments are whose."

                                I can empathize!  I'm on a number of yahoogroups and I subscribe to them in
                                digest form.  Sometimes it's very hard to discern the threads!

                                "But in reference to the ones below about "Take the OT command
                                from God for the Israelites to wipe out other nations,
                                including innocent children."  In all due respect to
                                your learned comments about modern vs. post modern,
                                did it ever occur to you that whoever wrote the words
                                in the OT was just plain wrong?  That he probably
                                thought that's what God wanted---just as throughout
                                the ages people have done things "in God's name"---but
                                that wasn't really right? "

                                I'm not remembering who wrote that on this list but those passages are the
                                most disturbing ones that I find in the Scriptures.  I don't get them.  To
                                be honest with you, Carl, with respect, I'm not comfortable with how you've
                                reconciled yourself to those passages - that approach creates other problems
                                for me - , but - on the other hand - I don't feel that I have an alternative
                                explanation that I could give you that would make you go, "Oh, ok, *that*
                                makes perfect sense."

                                Yesterday one of the networks ran a story about the fact that 4-5 children
                                have died in the last few days from people leaving them in hot cars.  I saw
                                a gripping scene of a group of cops trying to free 2 kids from a Dodge
                                Caravan when a mother walked up.  One of the cops pointed at this woman and
                                demanded, "Are you the mom??"  Yesterday here in Va Beach a car careened out
                                of control and snuffed out the life of a 2 year old boy who was being walked
                                by his mom in a stroller.  I also don't understand why God lets this stuff
                                happen.  It's one of the most difficult aspects of my faithmap and I don't
                                have a good, satisfying explanation.

                                For what it's worth, when I was a small child and had somehow gotten an idea
                                of my father's hourly wage, I also could not for the life of me understand
                                why he did not buy me more of the little $1.39 toys that hung from the
                                little metal bars on those circular toy racks that used to be in grocery
                                stores.  It didn't make any sense at all to me.  I simply did not have all
                                the information and wisdom at that time to make an informed judgment on the
                                matter.  That is what I feel about myself now with these issues.  I just
                                don't think my brain is big enough or informed enough to get it.

                                The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would expect that if
                                God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would make perfect
                                sense that there would be things that he would do that would leave me
                                scratching my head.  If I completely understood him, that would be
                                indication that the human mind created Him rather than the reverse.  But I'm
                                not writing this to make you go, "Oh, ok, I'm all fine then" !

                                And regarding spanking, there are many Christians who agree with you.  I'll
                                have to consider whether using that story as an example is too much of a
                                distraction in future contexts.

                                Anyway, Carl, thanks for being honest and open with us here.  I think you
                                are expressing the kinds of feelings that many of us have had.

                                Stephen Shields
                                sshields@...
                                http://www.faithmaps.org



                                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                              • carlpb92111@yahoo.com
                                Hi Stephen--- I appreciate your kindness and gentleness in your remarks. If I remember my scripture correctly, when Jesus was asked what were the two greatest
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jul 13, 2001
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Hi Stephen---

                                  I appreciate your kindness and gentleness in your remarks. If I
                                  remember my scripture correctly, when Jesus was asked what were the
                                  two greatest commandments, he said "To love the Lord your god with
                                  all your heart, soul and mind; and the second is a lot like the
                                  first: to love your neighbor as yourself." And if Christians believe
                                  Jesus was God's son, come to save the world, and certainly help us
                                  better understand God, then why wouldn't we assume God is the love
                                  Jesus expressed? And hence God would not command someone to "wipe
                                  out children." It always seems to me that we pick and choose what we
                                  want to use from scripture to support our particular point---I just
                                  did it. There is such a danger in that.

                                  Another point, all behavior is so culturally relative. I watched a
                                  PBS TV show about this recently; and just about any human behavior,
                                  no matter how repulsive we might find it, has been acceptable by some
                                  group at some time. I think this is an important consideration when
                                  reading the Bible. And for reacting to these times: an example is
                                  the stem cell research. How were the early organ transplants viewed
                                  by society? Today, just about anyone accept a Christian Scientist
                                  would probably consider this procedure, or some type of artificial
                                  implant. 10 years from now we'll probably all embrace harvesting and
                                  using organs from stem cell factories.

                                  Also, regarding the spanking comment and the large family, I'm the
                                  5th of 10; and my father whipped me with a leather razor strap many,
                                  many times. He was a devout Christian, always justifying his actions
                                  with some Biblical quote. My father is long dead, and I'm 58 with 3
                                  grown children (and four grandchildren) and I think I've forgiven my
                                  father. But I still react to some of the old tapes.

                                  Also, I'm not a Christian, not by any fundamentalist definition. I
                                  am a Christian by upbringing, by baptism, by confirmation, etc., but
                                  it just isn't my belief---so I know I see scripture differently than
                                  Christians. But the first 15 years of my life I went to church,
                                  Sunday school, Sunday night service, Wednesday night prayer meeting,
                                  youth groups; and heard my father daily read the Bible, pray, give
                                  homilies as we worked on our 80 acre vegetable farm, ad nauseum. And
                                  I spent about 15 years as an adult involved in churches that were
                                  more middle of the road, i.e., Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian. So
                                  the old tapes there die hard, too; and apparently I'm drawn back to
                                  Christianity by the very fact that I'm writing this when I have other
                                  work to do to wind up my week. Incidentally, I ordered the other two
                                  McLaren books, "Finding Faith" and "Church on the Other Side";
                                  started reading COS.

                                  Peace and love---
                                  Carl Bergstrom



                                  --- In findingfaith@y..., "Stephen Shields" <sshields@f...> wrote:
                                  > addition in ** **'s
                                  >
                                  > For
                                  >
                                  > The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would
                                  expect that if
                                  > God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would make
                                  perfect
                                  > sense that there would be things that he would do that would leave
                                  me
                                  > scratching my head.
                                  >
                                  > read
                                  >
                                  > The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would
                                  expect that if
                                  > God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would make
                                  perfect
                                  > sense that there would be things that he would do **or allow to be
                                  done**
                                  > that would leave me
                                  > scratching my head.
                                  >
                                  > Stephen Shields
                                  > sshields@f...
                                  > http://www.faithmaps.org
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > -----Original Message-----
                                  > From:
                                  > sentto-1145832-95-995020618-stephen=shieldsplace.org@r...
                                  > [mailto:sentto-1145832-95-995020618-stephen=shieldsplace.org@r...
                                  > .com]On Behalf Of Stephen Shields
                                  > Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 6:40 AM
                                  > To: findingfaith@y...
                                  > Subject: RE: Out with the new, in with the ancient
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Hi Carl,
                                  >
                                  > You wrote:
                                  >
                                  > "And I cannot even figure
                                  > out exactly whose comments are whose."
                                  >
                                  > I can empathize! I'm on a number of yahoogroups and I subscribe
                                  to them
                                  > in
                                  > digest form. Sometimes it's very hard to discern the threads!
                                  >
                                  > "But in reference to the ones below about "Take the OT command
                                  > from God for the Israelites to wipe out other nations,
                                  > including innocent children." In all due respect to
                                  > your learned comments about modern vs. post modern,
                                  > did it ever occur to you that whoever wrote the words
                                  > in the OT was just plain wrong? That he probably
                                  > thought that's what God wanted---just as throughout
                                  > the ages people have done things "in God's name"---but
                                  > that wasn't really right? "
                                  >
                                  > I'm not remembering who wrote that on this list but those
                                  passages are the
                                  > most disturbing ones that I find in the Scriptures. I don't get
                                  them. To
                                  > be honest with you, Carl, with respect, I'm not comfortable with
                                  how
                                  > you've
                                  > reconciled yourself to those passages - that approach creates
                                  other
                                  > problems
                                  > for me - , but - on the other hand - I don't feel that I have an
                                  > alternative
                                  > explanation that I could give you that would make you go, "Oh,
                                  ok, *that*
                                  > makes perfect sense."
                                  >
                                  > Yesterday one of the networks ran a story about the fact that 4-5
                                  children
                                  > have died in the last few days from people leaving them in hot
                                  cars. I
                                  > saw
                                  > a gripping scene of a group of cops trying to free 2 kids from a
                                  Dodge
                                  > Caravan when a mother walked up. One of the cops pointed at this
                                  woman
                                  > and
                                  > demanded, "Are you the mom??" Yesterday here in Va Beach a car
                                  careened
                                  > out
                                  > of control and snuffed out the life of a 2 year old boy who was
                                  being
                                  > walked
                                  > by his mom in a stroller. I also don't understand why God lets
                                  this stuff
                                  > happen. It's one of the most difficult aspects of my faithmap
                                  and I don't
                                  > have a good, satisfying explanation.
                                  >
                                  > For what it's worth, when I was a small child and had somehow
                                  gotten an
                                  > idea
                                  > of my father's hourly wage, I also could not for the life of me
                                  understand
                                  > why he did not buy me more of the little $1.39 toys that hung
                                  from the
                                  > little metal bars on those circular toy racks that used to be in
                                  grocery
                                  > stores. It didn't make any sense at all to me. I simply did not
                                  have all
                                  > the information and wisdom at that time to make an informed
                                  judgment on
                                  > the
                                  > matter. That is what I feel about myself now with these issues.
                                  I just
                                  > don't think my brain is big enough or informed enough to get it.
                                  >
                                  > The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would
                                  expect that
                                  > if
                                  > God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would
                                  make perfect
                                  > sense that there would be things that he would do that would
                                  leave me
                                  > scratching my head. If I completely understood him, that would be
                                  > indication that the human mind created Him rather than the
                                  reverse. But
                                  > I'm
                                  > not writing this to make you go, "Oh, ok, I'm all fine then" !
                                  >
                                  > And regarding spanking, there are many Christians who agree with
                                  you.
                                  > I'll
                                  > have to consider whether using that story as an example is too
                                  much of a
                                  > distraction in future contexts.
                                  >
                                  > Anyway, Carl, thanks for being honest and open with us here. I
                                  think you
                                  > are expressing the kinds of feelings that many of us have had.
                                  >
                                  > Stephen Shields
                                  > sshields@f...
                                  > http://www.faithmaps.org
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                                  Service.
                                • Stephen Shields
                                  Thanks Carl. Here s to your search for new CDs and to mine. Stephen Shields sshields@faithmaps.org http://www.faithmaps.org ... From:
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jul 13, 2001
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Thanks Carl.  Here's to your search for new CDs and to mine.

                                    Stephen Shields
                                    sshields@...
                                    http://www.faithmaps.org

                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: sentto-1145832-101-995061376-sshields=faithmaps.org@... [mailto:sentto-1145832-101-995061376-sshields=faithmaps.org@...]On Behalf Of carlpb92111@...
                                    Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 5:56 PM
                                    To: findingfaith@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: edit

                                    Hi Stephen---

                                    I appreciate your kindness and gentleness in your remarks.  If I
                                    remember my scripture correctly, when Jesus was asked what were the
                                    two greatest commandments, he said "To love the Lord your god with
                                    all your heart, soul and mind; and the second is a lot like the
                                    first: to love your neighbor as yourself."  And if Christians believe
                                    Jesus was God's son, come to save the world, and certainly help us
                                    better understand God, then why wouldn't we assume God is the love
                                    Jesus expressed?  And hence God would not command someone to "wipe
                                    out children."  It always seems to me that we pick and choose what we
                                    want to use from scripture to support our particular point---I just
                                    did it.  There is such a danger in that.

                                    Another point, all behavior is so culturally relative.  I watched a
                                    PBS TV show about this recently; and just about any human behavior,
                                    no matter how repulsive we might find it, has been acceptable by some
                                    group at some time.  I think this is an important consideration when
                                    reading the Bible.  And for reacting to these times: an example is
                                    the stem cell research.  How were the early organ transplants viewed
                                    by society?  Today, just about anyone accept a Christian Scientist
                                    would probably  consider this procedure, or some type of artificial
                                    implant.  10 years from now we'll probably all embrace harvesting and
                                    using organs from stem cell factories.

                                    Also, regarding the spanking comment and the large family, I'm the
                                    5th of 10; and my father whipped me with a leather razor strap many,
                                    many times.  He was a devout Christian, always justifying his actions
                                    with some Biblical quote.  My father is long dead, and I'm 58 with 3
                                    grown children (and four grandchildren) and I think I've forgiven my
                                    father.  But I still react to some of the old tapes.

                                    Also, I'm not a Christian, not by any fundamentalist definition.  I
                                    am a Christian by upbringing, by baptism, by confirmation, etc., but
                                    it just isn't my belief---so I know I see scripture differently than
                                    Christians.  But the first 15 years of my life I went to church,
                                    Sunday school, Sunday night service, Wednesday night prayer meeting,
                                    youth groups; and heard my father daily read the Bible, pray, give
                                    homilies as we worked on our 80 acre vegetable farm, ad nauseum.  And
                                    I spent about 15 years as an adult involved in churches that were
                                    more middle of the road, i.e., Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian.  So
                                    the old tapes there die hard, too; and apparently I'm drawn back to
                                    Christianity by the very fact that I'm writing this when I have other
                                    work to do to wind up my week.  Incidentally, I ordered the other two
                                    McLaren books, "Finding Faith" and "Church on the Other Side";
                                    started reading COS.

                                    Peace and love---
                                    Carl Bergstrom



                                    --- In findingfaith@y..., "Stephen Shields" <sshields@f...> wrote:
                                    > addition in ** **'s
                                    >
                                    > For
                                    >
                                    > The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would
                                    expect that if
                                    > God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would make
                                    perfect
                                    > sense that there would be things that he would do that would leave
                                    me
                                    > scratching my head.
                                    >
                                    > read
                                    >
                                    > The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would
                                    expect that if
                                    > God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would make
                                    perfect
                                    > sense that there would be things that he would do **or allow to be
                                    done**
                                    > that would leave me
                                    > scratching my head.
                                    >
                                    > Stephen Shields
                                    > sshields@f...
                                    > http://www.faithmaps.org
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >   -----Original Message-----
                                    >   From:
                                    > sentto-1145832-95-995020618-stephen=shieldsplace.org@r...
                                    > [mailto:sentto-1145832-95-995020618-stephen=shieldsplace.org@r...
                                    > .com]On Behalf Of Stephen Shields
                                    >   Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 6:40 AM
                                    >   To: findingfaith@y...
                                    >   Subject: RE: Out with the new, in with the ancient
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >   Hi Carl,
                                    >
                                    >   You wrote:
                                    >
                                    >   "And I cannot even figure
                                    >   out exactly whose comments are whose."
                                    >
                                    >   I can empathize!  I'm on a number of yahoogroups and I subscribe
                                    to them
                                    > in
                                    >   digest form.  Sometimes it's very hard to discern the threads!
                                    >
                                    >   "But in reference to the ones below about "Take the OT command
                                    >   from God for the Israelites to wipe out other nations,
                                    >   including innocent children."  In all due respect to
                                    >   your learned comments about modern vs. post modern,
                                    >   did it ever occur to you that whoever wrote the words
                                    >   in the OT was just plain wrong?  That he probably
                                    >   thought that's what God wanted---just as throughout
                                    >   the ages people have done things "in God's name"---but
                                    >   that wasn't really right? "
                                    >
                                    >   I'm not remembering who wrote that on this list but those
                                    passages are the
                                    >   most disturbing ones that I find in the Scriptures.  I don't get
                                    them.  To
                                    >   be honest with you, Carl, with respect, I'm not comfortable with
                                    how
                                    > you've
                                    >   reconciled yourself to those passages - that approach creates
                                    other
                                    > problems
                                    >   for me - , but - on the other hand - I don't feel that I have an
                                    > alternative
                                    >   explanation that I could give you that would make you go, "Oh,
                                    ok, *that*
                                    >   makes perfect sense."
                                    >
                                    >   Yesterday one of the networks ran a story about the fact that 4-5
                                    children
                                    >   have died in the last few days from people leaving them in hot
                                    cars.  I
                                    > saw
                                    >   a gripping scene of a group of cops trying to free 2 kids from a
                                    Dodge
                                    >   Caravan when a mother walked up.  One of the cops pointed at this
                                    woman
                                    > and
                                    >   demanded, "Are you the mom??"  Yesterday here in Va Beach a car
                                    careened
                                    > out
                                    >   of control and snuffed out the life of a 2 year old boy who was
                                    being
                                    > walked
                                    >   by his mom in a stroller.  I also don't understand why God lets
                                    this stuff
                                    >   happen.  It's one of the most difficult aspects of my faithmap
                                    and I don't
                                    >   have a good, satisfying explanation.
                                    >
                                    >   For what it's worth, when I was a small child and had somehow
                                    gotten an
                                    > idea
                                    >   of my father's hourly wage, I also could not for the life of me
                                    understand
                                    >   why he did not buy me more of the little $1.39 toys that hung
                                    from the
                                    >   little metal bars on those circular toy racks that used to be in
                                    grocery
                                    >   stores.  It didn't make any sense at all to me.  I simply did not
                                    have all
                                    >   the information and wisdom at that time to make an informed
                                    judgment on
                                    > the
                                    >   matter.  That is what I feel about myself now with these issues. 
                                    I just
                                    >   don't think my brain is big enough or informed enough to get it.
                                    >
                                    >   The only comfort I do get from such questions is that I would
                                    expect that
                                    > if
                                    >   God really does know everything and have all wisdom, it would
                                    make perfect
                                    >   sense that there would be things that he would do that would
                                    leave me
                                    >   scratching my head.  If I completely understood him, that would be
                                    >   indication that the human mind created Him rather than the
                                    reverse.  But
                                    > I'm
                                    >   not writing this to make you go, "Oh, ok, I'm all fine then" !
                                    >
                                    >   And regarding spanking, there are many Christians who agree with
                                    you.
                                    > I'll
                                    >   have to consider whether using that story as an example is too
                                    much of a
                                    >   distraction in future contexts.
                                    >
                                    >   Anyway, Carl, thanks for being honest and open with us here.  I
                                    think you
                                    >   are expressing the kinds of feelings that many of us have had.
                                    >
                                    >   Stephen Shields
                                    >   sshields@f...
                                    >   http://www.faithmaps.org
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
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