The Theological Grill – BBQ Part 1

I got this idea from Recovering’s blog – to ask questions and see what people think on certain theological things…so I figure I will ask some questions to see what comes from it – and where the convo can lead.

1. Can the Christian faith adopt a country’s culture and allow it to find a place in the church?

2. Is Christianity more compatible with Capitalism or Socialism?

3. Sin seperates us from God – are we born into sin or not?

4. What makes one a Christian and one not a Christian?

5. Should it be alright for a Christian to own a handgun/weapon?

6. Who is your favorite biblical character and how are you similar?

If all goes as it should – we will have a great discussion about one or a few of these points – plus it’s always nice to see where people sit theologically on issues. So welcome to the grill, it’s a hot day in July, cool drinks in the shade, and some classic conversation pieces…enjoy.

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25 thoughts on “The Theological Grill – BBQ Part 1

  1. 1. Can the Christian faith adopt a country’s culture and allow it to find a place in the church?
    I think it does this all of the time. I just think the tendency is for those within the culture AND the religion to think that they are free from the elements of culture (MY church/religion is not dictated to by culture). But culture is where we swim, one way or another it gets in, over, and through us.

    2. Is Christianity more compatible with Capitalism or Socialism?
    I would tend to think that on paper, it is closer to socialism… or should be. The nature of capitalism is to acquire, acquire, acquire. My interpretation of scripture shows God not wanting us to be grasping as if in want, but to be aware of our abundance.

    3. Sin separates us from God – are we born into sin or not?
    Hmmm… to be honest, not sure. We all do bad stuff, so regardless of where we start our clothes are a little dirty by the end of the day.

    4. What makes one a Christian and one not a Christian? I think everyone defines (or does not) define that for themselves.

    5. Should it be alright for a Christian to own a handgun/weapon? I struggle with that, because although my heart is with the pacifist, I would probably shoot anyone who threatened harm to an innocent.

    6. Who is your favorite biblical character and how are you similar? I love Jacob. I love that he wrestled with God and was such an earthy fellow. I love the picture of the end of his life in Hebrews – he blessed each of Joseph’s sons (he threw off the favoritism that had been destructive in his family) and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff ( he seemed to still carry his wrestling wound).

  2. 1. Can the Christian faith adopt a country’s culture and allow it to find a place in the church?
    I’m not quite sure how to answer this one.

    2. Is Christianity more compatible with Capitalism or Socialism?
    In theory, socialism (see Acts 2:44-45). In practice, it’s more like capitalism…which can turn into greed, which is wrong.

    3. Sin seperates us from God – are we born into sin or not?
    I believe we are born into sin; but we didn’t have a choice in that.

    4. What makes one a Christian and one not a Christian?
    I think that’s something that should be defined by each individual.

    5. Should it be alright for a Christian to own a handgun/weapon?
    Personally, I don’t think I could ever own one; and I have my own views on the subject in regards to gun ownership (IMO, if you’re not in the military, if you’re not a gun collector or historian, if you’re not a hunter, or if you’re not in law enforcement, you don’t need to have a gun…Christian or not). At the same time…I don’t know.

    6. Who is your favorite biblical character and how are you similar?
    Oooh, this is something I’ve not thought of. There are several that I like — Queen Esther, Ruth, David (must be a musician thing, I suppose)…but, aside from David, I’m not sure how similar I am to the other two. *shrugs*

  3. Happy belated Canada Day to you,
    1. Can the Christian faith adopt a country’s culture and allow it to find a place in the church?

    No, in that it should not be conscious of the outside culture. The Christian faith is the glue that should bond all Christians together. I can read John Chrysostom’s sermons from the late 4th Century and feel I am hearing from a brother even though he comes from an ancient culture and a far-removed time.

    IOW, the culture is always subordinate to the Christian message. I just finished reading “The Elements of Style”, a book that guides writers through all the grammatical pitfalls that snare them. Underlying the book’s theme was this; make your meaning and grammar clear and correct, and your style will show through anyway. Culture can color the drawing but keep it inside the lines.

    2. Is Christianity more compatible with Capitalism or Socialism?
    Neither. Capital is the god of capitalism and the State is the god of Socialism. When are Christians going to open their eyes on this point?

    3. Sin separates us from God – are we born into sin or not?
    We are born into sin. As soon as we become conscious of ourselves, we place our own self at the center of our universe, which is sin.

    4. What makes one a Christian and one not a Christian?
    Read John 3.

    5. Should it be alright for a Christian to own a handgun/weapon?
    Yes, as long as they don’t murder anyone with it.

    6. Who is your favorite biblical character and how are you similar?
    Jesus Christ is my favorite biblical character….and I am not similar. If you meant the biblical character that reminds me of myself, I think of Samson, wise yet weak, knowing what he was supposed to do all along, and finally doing the right thing at a far greater cost to himself.

    Hope those answers help, particularly #2.

  4. **1) Can the Christian faith adopt a country’s culture and allow it to find a place in the church?**
    It would greatly depend on the culture itself. If the cutlure is dependent on a version of God incompatible with Christianity, then no. However, if we’re just going based on morals, and the morals are compatible with Christianity, then it would be easier.

    **2. Is Christianity more compatible with Capitalism or Socialism?**

    In going with a dictionary definition of Socialism, in which there’s collective or governmental ownership of all property, and so it’s distributed accordingly, and that there is no private property, I can see inklings of Christianity in this, in that God holds the ownership and distributes accordingly, thus making everything equal.

    Capitalism is very “works-driven” and you are made or broken based on your efforts and your contributions. If you invent something and it makes millions, you are entitled to those millions. Which is the opposite of the idea that no one earns salvation, but it is an unearned/undeserved gift.

    **3. Sin seperates us from God – are we born into sin or not?**

    I find the idea of Original Sin to hold complications, because of the aspect of God as Creator. One analogy I’ve seen is that we are to God as paintings are to painters, and so just as a painter has the right to do whatever s/he wants with the painting, so does God have that same right in regards to us. God was in complete, 100% control of our creation, based on that analogy.

    Okay. So wouldn’t that mean that God had complete control as to “installing” that sin nature in us? And yet no Christian I know would say that God is responsible for putting the sin nature into each and every person born into this world.

    It also means that God allowed each and every one of us to be created tainted, and He did so deliberatly. I just have a hard time picturing an all-good, all-perfect God creating in such a manner.

    **4. What makes one a Christian and one not a Christian?**
    Isn’t that a loaded question. The answer to this is very much in the “eye of the beholder,” but I do think if one is going to claim the word Christian for him/herself, Jesus Christ has to factor in somehow. It can even be the idea of “I follow Jesus and worship the God of Jesus.”

    **5. Should it be alright for a Christian to own a handgun/weapon?**
    I would say no, but I see those types of weapons as violence, and symbolize violence. Even if it’s only used for self-defense, violence is still used in that defense, and that’s exactly what you’re not suppose to use as a Christian. But as Andrew says, what about the innocent who need defending? If someone threatens your child, and the only way you have to keep your child safe is to shoot the attacker, what then?

    **6. Who is your favorite biblical character and how are you similar?**
    At the moment, I don’t think I have a favorite character.

  5. 1. Yes

    2. Either, my take on Christianity is that its flexible

    3. I believe that Sin actually makes us aware of God, so maybe were born into the need for seeing God.

    4. Christian was first used as a slur. I think maybe a better term for all of us would be children of God.

    5. yes

    6.Benaiah……..I made it out of the pit.

  6. 1. Can the Christian faith adopt a country’s culture and allow it to find a place in the church?
    there is no such thing as secular. there are prohibitions in John of not letting the group become “of the world” written at a time when christians were getting killed. however we also run the risk of becoming stale and not doing the job the church was built for, for the sake of being ‘respectable’. it’s a tension we must be conscious of to keep the church relevant and doing the good works Jesus calls us to do.

    2. Is Christianity more compatible with Capitalism or Socialism?
    socialism.

    3. Sin seperates us from God – are we born into sin or not?
    we are not born into sin. we are born into limitation which can lead to sin, but one is not enmeshed in the other.

    4. What makes one a Christian and one not a Christian?
    whether one bothers to call oneself one or not. i’ve met christians who called themselves agnostic or atheist but lived the life and i’ve also met christians who called themselves that but led an entirely different lifestyle of hate and judgement.

    5. Should it be alright for a Christian to own a handgun/weapon?
    i don’t think so.. but peter did have a sword, John 18:10–11, so who knows.

    6. Who is your favorite biblical character and how are you similar?
    Jonah.. because sometimes i can’t believe who God loves. http://toothface.blogspot.com/2008/06/eeyore-goes-to-tehran.html

  7. “But culture is where we swim, one way or another it gets in, over, and through us.” (Andrew)

    I agree. I also think culture is not a bad thing – I tend to view it as God created. For me, culture and faith can co-exist and need to. I don’t think someone Irish should have to reserve their culture to have faith – nor should I (being a First Nations person).

    The question is a tough one – since in cultures there are ritual aspects that the church usually outright condemns. For me, I think the ritual aspects can also be useful in the faith – if given meaning and seen from a theological perspective that allows them to be used.

    I notice Jim said no on this question and OSS had some reservations – and I think that is fair. But I would contend the church is accultured – since Christianity was orginally from the Jewish culture and reflects none of that now. Just what culture does the church in general reflect – Britian? France? America? Italy? Spain? Very often, I have found the church reflects cultures of older times more than modern times – and claim to have nothing to do with culture in general – but sometimes when you look hard enough you see the church has become it’s own little culture club for some people.

    “In theory, socialism (see Acts 2:44-45). In practice, it’s more like capitalism…which can turn into greed, which is wrong.” (Shelly)

    Most people tend to see this view in the Acts passage – including myself – this communalism that seemed to exist at one point. It had a governing body and had shared everything with one another. I think in practical terms – this is how a church should function…all for one and one for all.

    That being said, there are also aspects of the ‘protestant work ethic’ in the scriptures and the ideas like ‘don’t work – don’t eat’. There is a respect for being a hard worker and the idea of responsibility in the teachings – so there has to be some balance. I am pretty much an anti-capitalist in general – but I have to admit working for one’s stuff and then sharing it makes a lot of sense.

    That all being said, I am not a fan of political systems anyways. Those systems have more than proven their separate flaws and ways they can be abused. I lean towards socialist ideals but I am also a capitalist in some regards (ie: I own a home, work a job 5 days a week, own a computer, etc). I tend to find Capitalism is to ‘me focused’ – and I feel greedy sometimes in this system (like I have too much?). But I like responsibility and feel great for others that succeed – so I am not even sure where I stand on this one. I just know – life would be awesome if we all could just share.

    “It also means that God allowed each and every one of us to be created tainted, and He did so deliberatly. I just have a hard time picturing an all-good, all-perfect God creating in such a manner.” (OSS)

    I think about this issue the odd time and I tend to agree – God must not have created us tainted. I think God created us with free will – and we have been given the beauty of choice – at least that’s what I see in the Adam and Eve story. Paul would not have made this theological point in his letters – mainly because he seems to get into pre-ordained ideas and events. But one could just as easily say – the pre-ordained event was God created us with freedom to make choices – and regardless of what God knew would happen – He saw that ‘this was good’.

    Obviously ‘sin’ is not good but this is a choice we have to make – tree of life or tree of evil (or at least the knowledge of good and evil). But nonetheless, choice was apparent in that story just like choice is apparent for us – in every situation we end up in – we can choose good or evil endeavours to fulfill the situations mandate. That’s what I see in the tree scenario in the Garden of Eden. Jesus actually uses this in an analogy in Matthew 7 about false prophets – and the fruit of the tree defines the tree.

    If we are born with sin – then there is the issue with kids who pass away. People say ‘well they didn’t have the ability to choose’ – but that does not line up with reality – it’s good in theory but it just isn’t true. Kids from as young as you can find them are making choices or are trying hone that skill. 2 year olds throw tantrums like crazy – not because they seen this demonstrated or were taught it – but because they are dealing with mini emotions and the desire to want something – and a tantrum seems to get them closer to their ‘want’. Kids can and do make choices. Are they born into sin? I think as much as they are born into choice they are also born with the ability to sin.

    “Christian was first used as a slur. I think maybe a better term for all of us would be children of God.” (John)

    Perhaps – good point though. I think Christian has come to mean a set of people that hold this set of beliefs – and people expect to see a group of people that all believe the same exact things. Fact is, most Christians I know all hold varying views on most any theological issue – I think most of Christianity stays close to orthodox beliefs that have been passed down – but there are a lot of variances. So maybe, Christian is not the best term (also I think that term is starting to live up to it’s original intention – a slur).

    For me, a child of God is someone that wants to emulate the things God values. I don’t think faith is about holding some form of correct beliefs – but about what you are living. The child of God would in essence follow the idea ‘treat others how you want to be treated’…and beyond that the rest is going to be commentary on modern living and faith – how they blend and how that looks.

    I would suspect one has to believe there is a God – but even this I question. I know of many people who claim atheism and yet live very moral lives. For me, faith is defined by one’s morals – the dividing line between godly and ungodly (for me) is the way one acts and treats others. How can I say this? The bible points to this but so also does reality.

    We love having people around us that are productive members of society and we do not like having – oh lets say – someone who just robbed your neighbors home around us. When you think about it – the dividing line between the friends close to you and those you leave at arm’s length – really comes down to their moral functionality. The better a person is (or more kind they are) – usually the closer they are to you…the more questionable one’s character is – the further away they usually remain. I say this but it is all dependant on something else: it all depends on if one themselves wants to be ‘moral’.

    People don’t like being around someone that might murder someone else in front of them – it bothers our very core sensitivites. I have the chance to be around people that practice immorality all the time – some of them are even childhood friends – some of them I just meet and talk with. Were talking drug dealers, people that practice violence against others (and some enjoy it), domestic abusers, people that break and enter into homes or businesses, etc. These same people, although they may be friends, are not people that I hang with on a daily basis – they are more acquaintaces. Misery loves company – and criminals also do to – more people to share in on the fun of being an idiot and to take away from the guilt of what they do (mob mentality).

    For me, immorality – and I mean real sin that hurts other people (not like masturbation or something) – is the dividing line for what I would claim as getting to know God and seperating yourself from God. The basic test I use is ‘if this will hurt another person in some malovelant way – then it is immoral’. I also notice that if we hurt others we actually start to lose our sense of humanity and self – or at least – the lines get blurred and we are not very sure who we are anymore.

    “I love Jacob. I love that he wrestled with God and was such an earthy fellow” (Andrew)

    I love Jacob too. I like the fact he was quite the trickster and did some very questionable things – and yet God saw fit to use him for some good things – and he becomes Israel. He seems to make mistakes and yet seems to make some of the smartest choices also. He is such a weird dude – but he is fully human and it shows through. Yet, God was with him…and he seems to represent the battle in the human to live faith in a real world (applying it and sometimes mis-applying it).

  8. 1. Can the Christian faith adopt a country’s culture and allow it to find a place in the church?
    – Yes, it has in the past, it is currently happening and it will in the future.

    2. Is Christianity more compatible with Capitalism or Socialism?
    – socialism, look out for the weaker amongst you. Capitalism exploits the weaker. Socialism at least in theory wants to help the weaker.

    3. Sin seperates us from God – are we born into sin or not?
    – No, you are only born. that’s it. are we good or bad, only time will tell. All people have the same potential for making good things our of their lives as well as bad. All people have the chance to redeem themselves or end up being sh*thead. pardon my french.

    4. What makes one a Christian and one not a Christian?
    – A christian is a follower of Christ. But the label is irrelevant. You will know people by the way they live their lifes. It takes a long time to get to get to know someone. You will never know a person is a christian until you have known them for a while.

    5. Should it be alright for a Christian to own a handgun/weapon?
    – Yes. If it is the law of the country, why not? Pacifism is a weak moral position. Its a cowards position. A man breaks into my home, he is going to get hurt. Why? Becuase I have a moral duty to protect my family which out weighs my moral duty to not harm a burglar.

    6. Who is your favorite biblical character and how are you similar?
    – Judas – Here is my logic. He was made by G-d to betray Jesus. isn’t he then just fulfilling his life purpose? So then he should be going to heaven for doing G-d’s will. Not every will of G-d is sunshine and roses, sometimes you have to be the bad karma to set things right. Think of that time you cut someone off in traffic or said that cruel thing which hurt someone’s feelings. You were doing them a favor. Humbling them. Slowing them down from getting into an accident.

  9. Time to take my own brother to task (lol)…Wilf you’re going down man! Good to see you in the convo’s – this is some fun stuff to do.

    “You will never know a person is a christian until you have known them for a while.” ( Wolf)

    I like that actually – I think it is spot on.

    “Pacifism is a weak moral position. Its a cowards position” (Wolf)

    I wouldn’t describe non-violence as a weak moral position – but as the highest norm for righteous humanity (actually the opposite of the weakest). That being said, we don’t live in some righteous humanity but one with theives and other immoral activities happening all around us – so the need to call for balance.

    I think it is a moral imperitave to keep your family safe – agreed – but to have to do that someone literally has to be breaking the law in order for your family’s safety to be jeopardized (ie: immorality) or compromised. The law exists as the highest standard and to bring justice to the law breaker…one could say the situation is not the ideal for humanity but happened as someone transgressed the law. Basically, the ideal for humanity was broken and stepped over – thus the reaction back will be the same (ie: defense of self).

    That’s why I say non violence is the highest ideal – or maybe just the actual ideal or intent of the basics of law (living peacefully). Because in order for some person to harm your safety they have to be betraying what it means to be a valued human and taking their human form to new lows – it’s not that human standard we expect from others around us – nor should we…immorality sucks. But the premise of any human civilization – if it is to run effectively – is one without immorality – where people can live in safety one with another – to one another’s benefit. That’s actually a pacifist society in some senses and based on it’s premises for peace (which I think we all hope for).

    As for defending yourself – and that positon – if it so good – then so is war. War is that ideal on a larger scale – nation to nation. Some country got proverbially pimp slapped and didn’t like it – so the bombs began raining down – or worse – they were defending an ideal/sensitivities they think was crossed (ie: safety). Where does an ideal like what you mention actually stop? What is it’s boundary?

    It is much easier to say the aggression for defending your family was not the highest ideal (nor the norm) but one that needed to be followed as the situation demanded at the time. Basically, the action was a step down from the most just position a person could use – but was demanded of the person for the sake of protection from the immoral behavior. Basically, immorality spoils virtue – sometimes for both sides.

    “Not every will of G-d is sunshine and roses, sometimes you have to be the bad karma to set things right” (Wolf)

    Interesting position – there is some validity in it – not one I would go about practicing but I can see what you are saying. So our evil can be used for good? That’s a very tricky position to take – one could say – it lets the definer get away with almost anything concerning their behavior if they can justify the ‘evil act’ as one with ‘righteous consequences’. That’s a slippery slope in my opinion.

    I could literally beat my wife and say it was for her benefit – because she was deserving of the punishment for her actions of inconsistency. I could say ‘I was only trying to teach her a lesson’ and now she will never do that again. I have justified something I consider evil (violence against another) with something I consider good (learning and setting boundaries). Basically, I am saying – even my evil is good. That’s the slippery slope explained in a nutshell where the definer is the ‘just’ one.

    I am not a big fan of the idea evil sets wrongs back to right – hasn’t been something I seen to work all that often – but if I am wrong then I am wrong for the best of intentions. I will proclaim 2 evils do not make one wrong right again.

    Example: Someone cuts you off in traffic – to teach you a lesson. So to return that great favor they did – you cut them off (or someone else) at the next set of lights – to slow them down. What exactly do you think will be the outcome of this perceived road rage incident? If you guessed ‘it will amp up’ – you likely are close to the truth.

    Example: Someone calls you a ‘fat pig’ and you notice you have gained a few pounds – so you percieve they are doing this to humble you. You then go home and see that your girlfriend has gained some weight also – so you call her a ‘fat pig’ for her own well being. What happens next? If you guessed ‘living in the doghouse’ you are very close to the truth.

    I am just saying, things don’t work that way – evil done for evil’s sake does not always bring about good – and sometimes even destroys relations.

  10. I do believe I punched an old lady in Extra Foods for cutting me off in the 12 items or less lane also the other day – that sure taught her (I think). 😉

  11. “Basically, immorality spoils virtue – sometimes for both sides.” – Societyvs

    – True. I agree with you about your argument for pacifism. It seems to me you used common sense, but the bible doesn’t promote G-d as a pacifist.

    The god of the bible uses violence quite frequently in response to a lot of petty things. That god says “vengence is mine, I will repay”.

    That god kills King David’s child for the king’s adultery. Was this justified? Read 2 Kings 2:23-25, Elisha calls on a bear to maul and kill some youth who called him bald. And it goes on like that in the Old Testament. SO let’s move on the the new testament

    In the book of Acts , the god of the bible kills two liars who held back some money. Then that god kills King herod for being proud. In revelations, pestilence, war and famine are some things that “god” will spill on the earth soon.

    The god of the bible uses some pretty extreme forms of violence to humble and teach and for just plain fun it seems to me.

    Someone might say “G-d’s ways are higher than our ways.” But I don’t think so. In my way of doing things, I don’t think I would kill just because someone made fun of my hair or lack of it. Yet the god of the bible side with Elisha who does. That’s immoral.

    I am a pacifist in the same sense Malcolm X was a pacifist. “I will be peaceful to those who are peaceful to me.”

    To clarify some points about me. I am not a biblical Christian. I use the bible as a guideline, but when the guidelines are archaic and contradictory to common sense. I will be a common sense Christian. I believe in G-d, but not the god of the bible who seems angry, petty, given to passions and down right less than human. If I have a higher standard of morality than the bible, I will reject the bible.

    “I do believe I punched an old lady in Extra Foods for cutting me off in the 12 items or less lane also the other day – that sure taught her (I think). ” – Societyvs

    I had to laugh when I read this. It’s pure evil 🙂

  12. But I guess my question about Judas is this? If he was fulfilling the will of G-d to betray Jesus, then didn’t he do his job? Doesn’t he deserve heaven? Isn’t he a hero? He had to be stronger than the rest of the disciples because he listens to Jesus day in and out. He even believes. If I thought for one second that I betrayed the only person on earth who could save it. I would feel like sh*t. Actually probably less than that. Then after he kills Jesus, what does he do to repent of his crime for killing G-d? THe only repentance he can, he hangs himself. His hanging shows the sign of someone deep in misery about his life and what he has done. Well that’s my take on Judas, and why I like him. He is a hero to me.

    I brought up the “bad karma” as a joke, but semi-serious. Someone has to be the person who deals out your “come-uppins” when you stray off track (whether it is to be the police or vigilanty justice, who am I to know or judge that.) It just seems to me that the person who gives you what you had coming, isn’t evil or bad, just a vessel to deliver your just desserts. 🙂

  13. To get back to a different question, Is war ever justified?

    This is a tough question. I would have to say yes. not that I want the burden of that decision on me. But when I think of the holocaust, and other more recent genocides and atrocities. I think humans have to fight to stop this kind of evil spreading over the whole world.

    “When the Nazis came for Communists I remained silent, because I was not a Communist; When they locked up Social Democrats, I remained silent because I was not a Social Democrat; When they came for trade unionists, I did not speak up because I was not a trade unionist. When they came for Jews, I did not speak out because I was not a Jew and when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.” – Martin Niemoller

  14. “The god of the bible uses some pretty extreme forms of violence to humble and teach and for just plain fun it seems to me.” (Wolf)

    See, this all depends on how you want to read the bible – as people writing as inspired or as people writing on literal events? I would also say, as a precautionary measure and for further clarity, maybe you should ask a rabbi or seek out rabbinical writings on the actual strength of the Tanakh (OT)…I think your view is too literal and may be missing the point of some of these outrageous stories. I am just saying, Jewish people read these books and look at their faith – a lot of the times they are the one’s supporting the most pacisfistic eneavors. Somehow, I think your literalism on those texts is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    “I don’t think I would kill just because someone made fun of my hair or lack of it. Yet the god of the bible side with Elisha who does. That’s immoral.” (Wolf)

    I ran into this same problem also with the bible – then I turned to a Jewish lady for further guidance (Yael). Reason I did this was because how can Jewish people have such a great faith when those teachings are in there? I was quite surprised at what they talk about in regards to certain scenario’s (ie: Dathans death and Abe sacrificing Isaac). They really get into that stuff and debate it very closely…even to the point of arguing with God about it…and a whole theology behind that.

    I would suggest reading some of Yael’s stuff (Torah is her delight blog) – you get a different view of this God of the Tanakh afterwards. I also think it is fair for a Jewish person to speak on their scriptures and make the best calls of what is in their interpretive tradition…and yes sometimes we get into rough terrirtory – but I am not going to approach those passages when I am not a rabbi nor studied extensively in those passages. Call it wisdom.

    To make a decision based on less than the whole story – is to make a decision in haste and become un-even.

    I do agree the God of the bible can read in some very weird lights – and for good cause – He’s a mystery of sorts and we write as we think sometimes. I look at those passages and see people writing during their era and what they perceived about God – and yes – it is going to look a lot more different than our current views. We have to remember we are not talking about the 2000’s era – we might be talking about a 2000 BC era – I am guessing cultures were a lot different then…actually I am sure of it. How many of us sacrifice babies to Gods of fire? Yeah, those were weird times compared to now.

  15. “I am not a biblical Christian. I use the bible as a guideline, but when the guidelines are archaic and contradictory to common sense. I will be a common sense Christian. ” (Wilfred B)

    That comment made a whole lot of sense to me and I wanted to acknowledge the wisdom of it.

    “I do believe I punched an old lady in Extra Foods for cutting me off in the 12 items or less lane also the other day – that sure taught her (I think). ” – Societyvs

    That was your mom and she’s still cutting off people, but only in the 8 items or less aisles now, so lesson learned I guess. 🙂

    You can just call me the “definer” from now on.

  16. 1. Can the Christian faith adopt a country’s culture and allow it to find a place in the church?

    I’m not sure if I fully understood the question, but here’s my take on the Christianity and culture topic. For me, one of the most beautiful aspects of Christianity is its ability to adapt to any culture. I don’t think Christianity was meant to be a tool to overthrow a culture, is it has been historically used. I think it was meant to be an avenue to facilitate relationship between God and a people group.

    Had missionaries been able to do the honorable thing and just present the good news of Jesus to a people group and then leave, to let them figure out how to apply it, we would probably have some dynamic, life giving, life changing, faith communities.

    2. Is Christianity more compatible with Capitalism or Socialism?

    A credible argument can be made for both or neither. We live in a capitalist society and so we are very familiar with the failings and corruption that exists in our society. We may see it as being incompatible with Christianity. However, if we had been born into a socialist society, I think we would see the failings and corruption of socialism and think Christianity was incompatible with socialism. Theologically both views can be supported.

    The question then becomes what am I more compatible with and how does that affect my Christianity?

    3. Sin separates us from God – are we born into sin or not?

    We probably are. Nobody has to train us to sin, it seems to just come naturally.

    4. What makes one a Christian and one not a Christian?

    Faith in God, that there is a God, that He interacts with people, the lifestyle of morality, and a belief in Christ seem to be the main pre-requisites.

    5. Should it be alright for a Christian to own a handgun/weapon?

    That’s a tough one. The handgun thing is more of a USA question and really doesn’t apply to me. Being on the outside and not living in or being from the US, I tend to think that handgun ownership is an unnecessary thing for anybody, especially Christians. But it’s probably different for an American.

    As for weapons, I personally don’t own any thing I could call a weapon, but I do own a few bats and have knives in the kitchen drawers that could be used as weapons.

    6. Who is your favorite biblical character and how are you similar?

    John the Baptist is an individual that I identify with. His story is where “The Voice in the Wilderness” got its inspiration. He strikes me as a guy that was alone on a lot of occasions, mostly because of what he believed and was called to do. Sometimes I feel like that kind of a “preacher”. Proclaiming a message that no one really wants to hear, or can hear, because I’m just a lone voice out in the wilderness.

  17. LOL…………..I just mentioned to my wife how I missed my Brother(hes dead too), but then she reminded me of how he used to kick the sh.t out of me, so I guess I dont really miss him that much. ;)………..you guys are priceless though.

  18. Society,
    Thanks for recommending my Torah blog. However…..my blogs are no longer available for public viewing. In fact, you’re the only one who can still see them. I have enjoyed blogging for just over 2 years now, but it’s time for me to stop. I will no doubt still do an occasional guest post here and there, but other than that, I’ll leave the blogging to others. I’m free!

  19. “LOL…………..I just mentioned to my wife how I missed my Brother(hes dead too)” (John)

    Sorry to hear about that – yet another thing we have in common. I lost an older brother to cancer when he was 25 – I think I was 20 at the time. It was a truly a tough time for me – changed a lot of my scope on life.

    “I have enjoyed blogging for just over 2 years now, but it’s time for me to stop.” (Yael)

    You’re going to stop – dang…and you’re the one that talked to me about leadership…are you still going to post so I can continue to learn?

  20. “I lost an older brother to cancer when he was 25 – I think I was 20 at the time.”(Jason)

    Wow. Talk about some similarities. My brother committed suicide at 25, I was 23. Definately a life changing event. I think I might take a road trip this summer. Got any room in that new house of yours lol.

    John

  21. Yael

    Youre an interesting woman. you shouldnt stop blogging. Mind you, you will have to give me the access code 😉

    John T.

  22. John T,
    Well, thank you sir. I’ll have to think about the access thing.

    I also belong to the dead siblings club. My sister died of a heart attack the day before her 50th birthday, not as young as yours died but certainly still much too young. That’s when I started blogging.

    Society,
    Different places in life, man. You’re not going to make me feel guilty! I have to spend more time on conversational Hebrew and less time pondering the mysteries of the universe. Once I become fluent enough to take classes taught totally in Hebrew I’ll be able to go back to pondering those mysteries, but in two languages instead of just one. May that day arrive speedily!

    I imagine I’ll still put something on my Torah blog every week. I can only do so much language learning. Watch for a post on Pinchas coming up next week. I am curious for your reaction in light of your many interactions on the net.

    OK, so I’ve tried to resist answering but…..John T says I’m an interesting woman so I have to tell him that my first thought as to what Biblical character I relate to was Balaam’s donkey. Hey, I’ve been called an ass enough in my life! Besides, the image amuses me. No matter how much good old Balaam beat her, she wouldn’t go the way he thought she should go because she saw what he could not see. 8)

    And there’s also the person for whom I am named, Yael. She is one tough gal. Mess with her and you might end up with a tent stake through your skull. 😛

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