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drizabone
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« on: Aug 08, 2015, 03:38PM »

a thread where Christians can politely discuss matters relating to the various strands of christian understanding.
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John the Theologian
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« Reply #1 on: Aug 09, 2015, 06:35PM »

a thread where Christians can politely discuss matters relating to the various strands of christian understanding.

Martin, what topic did you have in mind to start off our discussion?
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 09, 2015, 06:37PM »

Why discuss matters pertaining to Christianity on a web forum for trombones?
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 09, 2015, 06:43PM »

Why discuss matters pertaining to Christianity on a web forum for trombones?

The Chit-Chat section is described as follows in the forum menu:
Lively discussions on topics which don't fit into any of the above categories; not necessarily related to music OR the trombone! New members, please introduce yourselves here.
 
Don't feel bad--a lot of people seem to be confused on that ... oddly repeatedly in some cases.
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 09, 2015, 08:26PM »

Martin, what topic did you have in mind to start off our discussion?

Maybe something on "How to winsomely engage your local atheists in a friendly discussion"
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 09, 2015, 08:36PM »

But don't we already have plenty of threads such as "Religion Matters", "Gay Marriage", and "Guns"?
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 09, 2015, 09:03PM »

But don't we already have plenty of threads such as "Religion Matters", "Gay Marriage", and "Guns"?
So?   Don't know
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 09, 2015, 09:07PM »

But don't we already have plenty of threads such as "Religion Matters", "Gay Marriage", and "Guns"?
"Religion Matters" : not any more
"Gay Marriage" : Gay marriage is about the Government affirming people's relationships not religion.
"Guns" : Gun's are about shooting things, not religion.

What's the problem? its not as though we're contributing to Global Warming or using up the universe's limited supply of unreplaceable threads.

But what would you like to know about Christianity or Jesus?


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« Reply #8 on: Aug 09, 2015, 10:40PM »

"Religion Matters" : not any more
"Gay Marriage" : Gay marriage is about the Government affirming people's relationships not religion.
"Guns" : Gun's are about shooting things, not religion.

What's the problem? its not as though we're contributing to Global Warming or using up the universe's limited supply of unreplaceable threads.

But what would you like to know about Christianity or Jesus?



I can see the trolls lining up.  Best of luck..........! 
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 10, 2015, 12:21AM »

I can see the trolls lining up.  Best of luck..........! 

thanks mate.  I'll have to think of something to discuss
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 10, 2015, 05:20AM »

But don't we already have plenty of threads such as "Religion Matters", "Gay Marriage", and "Guns"?

This is meant to be a less critical or contentious topic though--critical in terms of criticism, but hopefully not in terms of the quality of consideration or rigor ... when such things are in play anyway.
 
Also it appears that on OTF, at least for the time being, topics more generally/openly about religion that are critical in that they don't treat religion (or a particular religion) with kid gloves, are verboten (functionally if not actually by written policy).
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 10, 2015, 06:03AM »

Rather than get into the whole meta discussion mess again, how about proceed with religious topics as normal? Just create a topic when you have something to discuss, and discuss that topic there? The one long rambling thread concept has been a mess from the get go and largely served to troll. So when you have something to say, by all means say it. But if you don't, there's no need to say anything, and no need of a place to say nothing anyway.
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 10, 2015, 07:02AM »

Here is an old article that has some relevance.

http://www.stripes.com/news/online-christian-soldiers-1.80024

At the time I was an active participant in those forums, and know the people mentioned quite well.

AKO forums have since disappeared in entirety, and as far as I know you can't find anything archived.  That's too bad, there was one thread I would have liked to have downloaded, we put a lot of work into some Old Testament analysis. 
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 10, 2015, 08:11AM »

Just create a topic when you have something to discuss, and discuss that topic there?

I have a natural sympathy with this point. Keeping things neatly categorised is usually a good idea for clarity of thought. However, in this particular case, it's proven valuable over time to have a general topic into which free-associating conversation can be put. I've personally got a lot more out of that thread and its predecessor over the years than I feel that I would have got out of a series of specific topic headings. I wonder impishly if we might profitably consider inaugurating a similar thread on political positions...

The one long rambling thread concept has been a mess from the get go and largely served to troll.

But this is how it was brought low, and you well know how it was done. While it (and in that I include the predecessor thread as a continuous strand of debate) from the start had a propensity to be a bit edgy, it was never a trollfest. Until... well, how do I say this politely? Until you and ronkny decided that you wanted to troll it off the face of TTF for whatever personal reasons applied and were willing to devote years of your lives to doing so. None of your usual whataboutery regarding how Byron posts, please - even if I were to go so far as to accept your thesis that he's a naughty boy too, two wrongs famously do not make a right. Incidentally, touching on our previous conversation, there's an interesting inversion of our positions as you characterise them right there - you maintaining a relative moral stance, and me maintaining an absolute one.

Having noted my distaste at this piece of revisionism, I'd also like to place on record that I thought that we had lately turned matters around substantially. Sure, there was still snark, but it was an ingredient rather than the main dish, and I at least was getting things out of our recent conversations there, so abruptly terminated. The timing of the thread deletion is very peculiar.
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 10, 2015, 08:39AM »

Here is an old article that has some relevance.
 
http://www.stripes.com/news/online-christian-soldiers-1.80024
 
At the time I was an active participant in those forums, and know the people mentioned quite well.
 
AKO forums have since disappeared in entirety, and as far as I know you can't find anything archived.  That's too bad, there was one thread I would have liked to have downloaded, we put a lot of work into some Old Testament analysis.

Seems kinda like the one entrusted with its safekeeping burning a one-off book of collected contributions from all sorts of authors.
 
I can't fathom doing something so ... unilaterally like that.
 
Good article! Had no idea such a forum existed. Were vets allowed?
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 10, 2015, 09:04AM »



 
Good article! Had no idea such a forum existed. Were vets allowed?

You had to have an account on AKO.  If you weren't working or somehow connected, there were ways to be sponsored, I think. 

My take on it, and this is pure speculation not having ever discussed it, is that the military realized the drive of the younger members for social media and decided to provide a way to do it from government computers which were subject to security regulations.  That produced AKO forums which were a great opportunity or a great time waster, depending on your point of view.  Since then AKO has dropped the forums section, and probably time and fashion had overtaken it. 

There was a long running thread called Read Da Book.  It was started by one of the resident outspoken atheists whose premise was that most of the Christians on the forum had never read the Bible themselves.  So we started at Genesis and each of us took one chapter, paraphrased it as reverently or irreverently as he pleased, asked a set of study questions, and then the group discussed.  We made it much of the way through the OT (lots of surprises - you would be amazed at the number of times somebody gets killed in one chapter, then again in the next, and is alive later to father some children.)  Some of the theologic points were interesting and in hindsight I wish I'd copied it.  We had a mix of fundagelic Christians, liberal Christians, atheists, and pagans. 
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 10, 2015, 09:22AM »

I wonder impishly if we might profitably consider inaugurating a similar thread on political positions...
Per Billy, that thread is locked, and so is any thread that starts similar.

Quote
But this is how it was brought low, and you well know how it was done. While it (and in that I include the predecessor thread as a continuous strand of debate) from the start had a propensity to be a bit edgy, it was never a trollfest. Until... well, how do I say this politely? Until you and ronkny decided that you wanted to troll it off the face of TTF for whatever personal reasons applied and were willing to devote years of your lives to doing so.
It was a troll fest well become I came around, and no, we were far from the only ones.

Seriously guys, Billy already issued that the other thread should not be resurrected. The rest of the forum works well on a topic/thread. Maybe give the old nonsense a break and try a new tactic before Billy locks this as well.
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« Reply #17 on: Aug 10, 2015, 09:37AM »

There was a long running thread called Read Da Book.  It was started by one of the resident outspoken atheists whose premise was that most of the Christians on the forum had never read the Bible themselves.  So we started at Genesis and each of us took one chapter, paraphrased it as reverently or irreverently as he pleased, asked a set of study questions, and then the group discussed.  We made it much of the way through the OT (lots of surprises - you would be amazed at the number of times somebody gets killed in one chapter, then again in the next, and is alive later to father some children.)  Some of the theologic points were interesting and in hindsight I wish I'd copied it.  We had a mix of fundagelic Christians, liberal Christians, atheists, and pagans.

Too cool man.
 
I'd expect that premise to be confirmed if tested, but that's to be expected of a society's default view, regardless (maybe not so in a N Korean equivalency though). I don't think I'd be interested in posting  summary in that kind of topic (maybe), but I'm sure many of them, from all sides, were very interesting. It may be way too ambitious/pie-in-the-sky, but I'd like to see something like that kinda thing happen here too (not necessarily here in this topic--that would be cool too--but I mean just here in this international community that is the OTF). Have you read Steven Pinker's summary of the Old Testament in the intro to The Better Angels of Our Nature? I'd be interested in your take on it.
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 10, 2015, 09:48AM »

It would be kind of cool to do the same, no?

No need to do it on TTF, I suppose, if TTF is getting chary of religion talk. Though it would be a real shame to lose the inclusiveness of it.
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« Reply #19 on: Aug 10, 2015, 10:04AM »

Someone mentioned Arianism awhile back. Their heresy was to take the "Jesus is true man thesis" too far. They pushed the limits of an essential Christian topic CHRISTOLOGY.

I think a good topic would be "how do you as a Christian sort this out?"
 In your personal theology how does "True man and true God" work for you?. If you run the clock of Jesus, true man, backwards from John and the Jordan you eventually get to one cell and then one sperm and one ova. So where does that leave "the immaculate conception"? Where does The Christ enter the picture? On the wings of a dove at the Jordan or as a preexisting person of the Trinity or both and together? If Jesus is " true man" did he have a sinful nature?

I think there's plenty to go on here for a Christian dialogue, especially if we keep it to sharing what works for us in daily practice. As for nonchristians I think Christology, The Trinity etc are often stumbling blocks keeping them from seeing Christianity as a viable spiritual practice.

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« Reply #20 on: Aug 10, 2015, 10:27AM »

I find the Christology topics problematic and probably would not contribute.

I've waded through a few texts from the church library, and I have problem with the approach.

We end up analyzing downstream implications of text.  But the starting point is an inspired, perfect text, where the individual word choices can be determinitive.  I don't buy that in Greek or Hebrew, let alone English;  there's just too much time passed, too many copies to work from, too much disagreement. 
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« Reply #21 on: Aug 10, 2015, 11:17AM »

It would be kind of cool to do the same, no?
The same what? Same type of thread as the last? Because it makes sense to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to differ?
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 10, 2015, 12:05PM »

I am going to approach this and all Christian faith related discussion from an entirely different direction to see if it might offer some insights into the discussion.

I spent the past weekend in a 3 day retreat of large group and small group spiritual direction.  We talked extensively about several spiritual practices that Christians can use to grow deeper in their relationship with God.  Things like The Examen, Silent Meditation, and a few other things (still used in the Roman Catholic tradition) - all practices to empty self and be open to the movement of God.  These practices are definitely things that the participants engaged as part of the time on retreat. 

The presenters were quick to point out that Churches of the Reformation (as lead by Luther in response to his understanding of Works righteousness as he understood or experienced or perceived in the Roman Catholic church) were quick to move towards the faith as belief in Christ as understood thru Scripture to avoid the potential of making faith about individual works.

Taking that point further - When the move turned to belief then the push came to define the "right" beliefs and the "right" nature of scripture.  Today we stand formed by 500 years of identifying self against the other.  Luther said that he believed this and the RC church believed that.  Soon others followed suit and new denomination or even splinters within denominations took place.  (IMO - Luther over-corrected and went too far the other way but that is often debated)

The historian in me says that this desire for the "right" belief (as lead by Luther with the best of intentions) is the very root of the mess in the US political environment.  When personal beliefs and ideology become more important than community and relationship with others any group takes a dangerous wrong turn.  The sad truth is that both sides are guilty of this approach and both sides of the debate will be responsible for the results.  But instead of taking responsibility for self (individual or group), we blame someone else. Scapegoating is so much easier than taking responsibility for self. 

Those same patterns at work in the "hot topic" discussions on the board. 

The other sad truth is that the dynamics and attitudes at work in the religion discussions on this forum are exactly why we have people my age and younger are fed up with the institutional Church.

Mark Twain said it quite well, "Actions speak louder than words... but not nearly as often."


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« Reply #23 on: Aug 10, 2015, 12:17PM »

Well said, Travis.
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 10, 2015, 12:18PM »

How about we start a thread where someone wants to talk about a valid topic like Christianity and then we all fight when it should be a topic?

Oh wait.....
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« Reply #25 on: Aug 10, 2015, 12:34PM »

I am going to approach this and all Christian faith related discussion from an entirely different direction to see if it might offer some insights into the discussion.
 
I spent the past weekend in a 3 day retreat of large group and small group spiritual direction.  We talked extensively about several spiritual practices that Christians can use to grow deeper in their relationship with God.  Things like The Examen, Silent Meditation, and a few other things (still used in the Roman Catholic tradition) - all practices to empty self and be open to the movement of God.  These practices are definitely things that the participants engaged as part of the time on retreat. 
 
The presenters were quick to point out that Churches of the Reformation (as lead by Luther in response to his understanding of Works righteousness as he understood or experienced or perceived in the Roman Catholic church) were quick to move towards the faith as belief in Christ as understood thru Scripture to avoid the potential of making faith about individual works.
 
Taking that point further - When the move turned to belief then the push came to define the "right" beliefs and the "right" nature of scripture.  Today we stand formed by 500 years of identifying self against the other.  Luther said that he believed this and the RC church believed that.  Soon others followed suit and new denomination or even splinters within denominations took place.  (IMO - Luther over-corrected and went too far the other way but that is often debated)
 
The historian in me says that this desire for the "right" belief (as lead by Luther with the best of intentions) is the very root of the mess in the US political environment.  When personal beliefs and ideology become more important than community and relationship with others any group takes a dangerous wrong turn.  The sad truth is that both sides are guilty of this approach and both sides of the debate will be responsible for the results.  But instead of taking responsibility for self (individual or group), we blame someone else. Scapegoating is so much easier than taking responsibility for self. 
 
Those same patterns at work in the "hot topic" discussions on the board. 
 
The other sad truth is that the dynamics and attitudes at work in the religion discussions on this forum are exactly why we have people my age and younger are fed up with the institutional Church.
 
Mark Twain said it quite well, "Actions speak louder than words... but not nearly as often."

That's an excellent way to frame why I think the "right belief" angle (very closely connected with zealotry) is so self-absorbed and presumptuous. It's how a huge number of believers are trained/socialized to think about it though, so it's not necessarily an individual thing but rather the entire cultural system into which they were born (usually). I agree ... huge problem--probably the worst aspect is how extremely and deeply divisive it can be.
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« Reply #26 on: Aug 10, 2015, 12:45PM »

How about we start a thread where someone wants to talk about a valid topic like Christianity and then we all fight when it should be a topic?

Oh wait.....
Yup.

And so we head right back to "Religion Matters 6.0" at full speed. Because if the first 5 version screwed up, maybe the 6th time will somehow turn out better. I believe Einstein had a wonderful comment about activities like that.
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« Reply #27 on: Aug 10, 2015, 01:43PM »

I generally stay out of religious and political discussions online, but I recently read a book which provides some interesting insight into the origins of the Christian faith:

http://www.amazon.com/Zealot-Life-Times-Jesus-Nazareth/dp/0812981480/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

This book is written by a leading scholar on the subject, who also wrote a book on the origins of Islam, which I am currently reading. Essentially, the book points out the differences between mainstream Christian dogma and the actual historical facts as understood by biblical scholars. Chief among these include:

1.  It is almost certain that Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. There is no historical record of the census described in Luke.

2.  Jesus was seen by early followers as an apocalyptic prophet, not as the son of God.

3.  Jesus was likely only one of thousands of Jewish troublemakers crucified by the Romans. It is not likely that Pilate would have spent any time worrying about his case. The author states that the appearance of Jesus before Pilate was almost certainly fabricated by gospel writers.

4.  St. Paul never met Jesus and his view of Jesus as "The Christ" was opposed by Jesus' early followers, including his brother James. Paul was called on the carpet by James at least twice and admonished for his teachings.

5.  The reason that the Paulian  version of Christ survived and became accepted theology was the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and killed most of Jesus' remaining original followers about 70 CE. This was after the Jewish revolt of 66 CE.

6. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but by unnamed sources between 30 and 100 years after the events they describe.

There are too many other points to list here. The book is $9 on Kindle and I highly recommend it. Also, I have read several books by UNC professor Bart Ehrman, which offer additional insights into the early church.


Despite these historical issues, the author expresses great admiration for the man Jesus of Nazareth.









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« Reply #28 on: Aug 10, 2015, 02:12PM »

Early historians recognize that Jesus existed, but noted that He was just a person. What else would you expect?

We have the same people today making the same claims.

Does the fact that early historians didn't claim Who He was make their claims more legitimate? Or, does it add more legitimacy that Jesus really did exist?
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« Reply #29 on: Aug 10, 2015, 02:34PM »

Does he interact with other scholars who disagree with his facts to explain why he's right and they're wrong?
I generally stay out of religious and political discussions online, but I recently read a book which provides some interesting insight into the origins of the Christian faith:

http://www.amazon.com/Zealot-Life-Times-Jesus-Nazareth/dp/0812981480/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

This book is written by a leading scholar on the subject, who also wrote a book on the origins of Islam, which I am currently reading. Essentially, the book points out the differences between mainstream Christian dogma and the actual historical facts as understood by biblical scholars. Chief among these include:

Hi Mike

Does he interact with other scholars who disagree with his facts to explain why he's right and they're wrong?

And I noticed that what he says are actual historical facts, while what he disagrees with is dogma.  Sounds like its a fair treatment. :rolls-eye:
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« Reply #30 on: Aug 10, 2015, 02:50PM »

I am just summarizing the book. Read it and draw your own conclusions.
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« Reply #31 on: Aug 10, 2015, 02:52PM »



There was a long running thread called Read Da Book.  It was started by one of the resident outspoken atheists whose premise was that most of the Christians on the forum had never read the Bible themselves.  So we started at Genesis and each of us took one chapter, paraphrased it as reverently or irreverently as he pleased, asked a set of study questions, and then the group discussed.  We made it much of the way through the OT (lots of surprises - you would be amazed at the number of times somebody gets killed in one chapter, then again in the next, and is alive later to father some children.)  Some of the theologic points were interesting and in hindsight I wish I'd copied it.  We had a mix of fundagelic Christians, liberal Christians, atheists, and pagans. 

I'd like to do that.  Do you want to start the thread Tim?

A couple of points.

- I've petitioned our moderator to allow us to have a religion thread with the tou that if someone gets too snarky they get sin-binned.  I don't know of that's feasible or if the mod's would allow that, or if they are interested

- what do you think about the idea of us regulars in this thread agreeing to our own standard of behaviour for religion threads.  I expect that they will allow robust discussion and be something like deal with the topic not the person - or just say what you think is wrong or right and explain why.  Is that possible or am I an naive idealist?  Got any better ideas?

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« Reply #32 on: Aug 10, 2015, 03:06PM »

Okay, so this isn't about that Swedish fellow?

Right.  Got it.  Carry on.
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« Reply #33 on: Aug 10, 2015, 04:34PM »

Okay, so this isn't about that Swedish fellow?

Right.  Got it.  Carry on.

Lindberg or Hans?
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« Reply #34 on: Aug 10, 2015, 05:03PM »

Pretty sure one of those is Danish, but what the hej? It's a regular smörgåsbord.

Seriously, I wasn't sure if it was about religion or titular cleverness until I checked it out.
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« Reply #35 on: Aug 10, 2015, 07:25PM »

I generally stay out of religious and political discussions online, but I recently read a book which provides some interesting insight into the origins of the Christian faith:

http://www.amazon.com/Zealot-Life-Times-Jesus-Nazareth/dp/0812981480/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

This book is written by a leading scholar on the subject, who also wrote a book on the origins of Islam, which I am currently reading. Essentially, the book points out the differences between mainstream Christian dogma and the actual historical facts as understood by biblical scholars. Chief among these include:

1.  It is almost certain that Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. There is no historical record of the census described in Luke.

2.  Jesus was seen by early followers as an apocalyptic prophet, not as the son of God.

3.  Jesus was likely only one of thousands of Jewish troublemakers crucified by the Romans. It is not likely that Pilate would have spent any time worrying about his case. The author states that the appearance of Jesus before Pilate was almost certainly fabricated by gospel writers.

4.  St. Paul never met Jesus and his view of Jesus as "The Christ" was opposed by Jesus' early followers, including his brother James. Paul was called on the carpet by James at least twice and admonished for his teachings.

5.  The reason that the Paulian  version of Christ survived and became accepted theology was the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and killed most of Jesus' remaining original followers about 70 CE. This was after the Jewish revolt of 66 CE.

6. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but by unnamed sources between 30 and 100 years after the events they describe.

There are too many other points to list here. The book is $9 on Kindle and I highly recommend it. Also, I have read several books by UNC professor Bart Ehrman, which offer additional insights into the early church.

Despite these historical issues, the author expresses great admiration for the man Jesus of Nazareth.





If you read the review linked below, by someone who genuinely is a serious New Testament scholar, you will find out some interesting things about Reza Aslan, who actually is a sociologist who now teachers creative writing, rather than a New Testament scholar.  As the reviewer points out, Aslan's thesis is actually one that was suggested a number of years ago and followed by only a tiny number of practicing New Testament scholars of various theological commitments.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/august-web-only/zealot-reza-aslan-tells-same-old-story-about-jesus.html?start=3
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« Reply #36 on: Aug 10, 2015, 10:25PM »

are we still switched on?
I find the Christology topics problematic and probably would not contribute.

I've waded through a few texts from the church library, and I have problem with the approach.

We end up analyzing downstream implications of text.  But the starting point is an inspired, perfect text, where the individual word choices can be determinitive.  I don't buy that in Greek or Hebrew, let alone English;  there's just too much time passed, too many copies to work from, too much disagreement. 
Hi Tim,

(just seeing if we're still online)
From a conservative point of view we understand the original text to be "perfect" whereas the texts that we have now are the results of copying, which aren't perfect.  But comparing all those copies we can tell what hasn't been copied reliably and what has.  For most of the errors its obvious what the correct text should have been or where there have been additions (only a few instances).  There are apparently some passages where the original text is still disputed but these are not significant in the sense that no critical teaching relies on them.  So ISTM you can feel free to nitpick over the meaning of actual words.  And anyway, isn't the 1611 KJV directly word for word inspired?  Evil

Or are you aware of any disputed passages that would affect any critical  teachings?
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« Reply #37 on: Aug 11, 2015, 04:28AM »

I'd like to do that.  Do you want to start the thread Tim?

A couple of points.

- I've petitioned our moderator to allow us to have a religion thread with the tou that if someone gets too snarky they get sin-binned.  I don't know of that's feasible or if the mod's would allow that, or if they are interested

- what do you think about the idea of us regulars in this thread agreeing to our own standard of behaviour for religion threads.  I expect that they will allow robust discussion and be something like deal with the topic not the person - or just say what you think is wrong or right and explain why.  Is that possible or am I an naive idealist?  Got any better ideas?

Please take in mind, the moderators volunteer their time and effort for this forum, and often get fussed at in return for their efforts.

Also take in mind, in the old thread, every single regular has trolled at multiple points. I have, as has Byron, Tim, PM, Dusty, Ronkny, the list goes on and on. Mostly that meant that the moderators had to step in an issue a thread of locking about once a month. And for every item of questionable behavior, there was always someone for it. Byron's comics for example basically mock religion and did so often on poor points, they added nothing to the conversation, and he was asked repeatedly by a number of people to stop posting them mindlessly as they came out. He never did.

So I have to ask, after seeing more then a decade of this crap devolve into trolling and personal attacks, what would make this thread different, and how would it be different? It already seems to be going right along the path of the previous ones?

As the other question, why is it so difficult to have a thread per topic? In the other threads mentioned, guns, wake up america, and so on, the contributors seem to stagnate. They are almost always the same people with almost always the same points. They often limit the conversations and devolve easier into outbreaks of ad hominems or distractions.
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« Reply #38 on: Aug 11, 2015, 04:37AM »

previous   to the invention of god 
preachers  had a hard time  getting gas for their  lincolns
------
and muslims  were pretty  much  mum
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« Reply #39 on: Aug 11, 2015, 05:22AM »

Hey DJ, nice of you to drop in.

I think God is under the impression that he invented us.  Maybe you could sort it out between you and let us know what you both decide
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« Reply #40 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:07AM »


Like I said before, read it and draw your own conclusions. Most of what is in this book is supported by other scholars. He has simply taken a boatload of academia and made it more accessible for the casual reader with an interest in the subject. Much of the book deals the the history of the Roman occupation and of the various Jewish factions that were present at the time. It turns out that the Romans were not very nice people to anyone who dared challenge their rule. Thousands of people were crucified, not just Jesus. I am not asking anyone here to change their beliefs, only to understand the historical origin of those beliefs.
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« Reply #41 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:07AM »

As much as Christians claim that God created us in God's image (as understood thru the lens of Genesis 1) there are those who would argue that humanity created God in our image, or at least we make a good attempt at limiting God to our own individual agendas.  God's self-revelation and our interpretation of God's self-revelation are two VERY different things.  Look at the language of the two dominant voices of Christianity in the US or the dominant voices of Islam around the world and my point is made.  That being said, when it comes to God, believers want to be on the "right" side but we neglect the other possibility that we all could have it wrong.   The more I study the Christian faith and Christian theology, I am convinced there is more truth in these observations than Christians (or Muslims) want to believe. 

I also think this Jesus guy was onto something when he invited or called us to "love" each other. 

By the way, this love Jesus calls his followers to embrace is "agape" and the force and consequences of this kind of love is lost in translation to English.  Do I need to teach some Greek words to TTF?
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« Reply #42 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:28AM »

Some of us are familiar with the connotations of agape, but, yes, a refresher might help.

...the two dominant voices of Christianity in the US

Who do you mean?
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« Reply #43 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:32AM »

Some of us are familiar with the connotations of agape, but, yes, a refresher might help.

Who do you mean?

Evangelical/Fundamentalist and the Mainstream Protestants as well as some Roman Catholics.
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« Reply #44 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:34AM »

Like I said before, read it and draw your own conclusions. Most of what is in this book is supported by other scholars. He has simply taken a boatload of academia and made it more accessible for the casual reader with an interest in the subject. Much of the book deals the the history of the Roman occupation and of the various Jewish factions that were present at the time. It turns out that the Romans were not very nice people to anyone who dared challenge their rule. Thousands of people were crucified, not just Jesus. I am not asking anyone here to change their beliefs, only to understand the historical origin of those beliefs.

My point is that is if you read this book, you should also read a book or books by serious NT scholars.  As the review points out, Aslan makes a number of serious historical errors that should have been caught and while he does quote a number of NT scholars, he combs the literature for the most radical point of view on each issue and then combines them in his book.  It's as if someone had sifted all the posts here on TTF and found the most controversial statements made here and then combined them in a book and claimed that the positions were verified by actual trombonists.  Most of us would recognize that the positions were way out of the mainstream. That's what Aslan has done.
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« Reply #45 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:40AM »

Evangelical/Fundamentalist and the Mainstream Protestants as well as some Roman Catholics.

Thanks.

There is a flourishing Antiochian Orthodox community around where I live. Don't know much about their theology, but their liturgical chant is an interesting sound.
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« Reply #46 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:45AM »


By the way, this love Jesus calls his followers to embrace is "agape" and the force and consequences of this kind of love is lost in translation to English.  Do I need to teach some Greek words to TTF?

Agape love is not the pop culture love that was started back in the days of the hippies. Just saying......
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« Reply #47 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:56AM »

Thanks.

There is a flourishing Antiochian Orthodox community around where I live. Don't know much about their theology, but their liturgical chant is an interesting sound.

I love the traditional liturgies of the Orthodox communities as they open up a new "space" for me.  Perhaps that is because of the chant, perhaps it is because the Spirit is at work, or might be both.


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« Reply #48 on: Aug 11, 2015, 08:51AM »

My point is that is if you read this book, you should also read a book or books by serious NT scholars.  As the review points out, Aslan makes a number of serious historical errors that should have been caught and while he does quote a number of NT scholars,

I haven't read the Aslan book - probably, anyway, I might have and forgotten it - but I've seen him on television several times.  I came away not being a fan. 

However Mike's description sounds somewhat similar to writers like Ehrmann or Pagel, neither of which are anywhere near radical. 
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« Reply #49 on: Aug 11, 2015, 02:34PM »

I haven't read the Aslan book - probably, anyway, I might have and forgotten it - but I've seen him on television several times.  I came away not being a fan. 

However Mike's description sounds somewhat similar to writers like Ehrmann or Pagel, neither of which are anywhere near radical. 

So Aslan makes serious errors and you think that he sounds somewhat similar to Ehrmann and Pagel.  I can live with that comparison  Evil

And ironically Ehrmann and Pagal are much more "mainstream" than John. 

Aren't words and labels fun.
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« Reply #50 on: Aug 11, 2015, 03:21PM »

So Aslan makes serious errors and you think that he sounds somewhat similar to Ehrmann and Pagel.  I can live with that comparison  Evil


Dang, I swore I would never get involved in a religious debate online, but I can't help myself. Please tell us what "serious errors" he has made in this book.
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« Reply #51 on: Aug 11, 2015, 03:58PM »

Dang, I swore I would never get involved in a religious debate online, but I can't help myself. Please tell us what "serious errors" he has made in this book.

Mike, the reviewer, Craig Evans, has listed several of them-- mostly historical. Check it out for the specifics.

Here is a bio sketch of Craig Evans, the reviewer.

http://www.craigaevans.com/

What Evans has pointed out is that Aslan has essentially resurrected the "Jesus, the Zealot" point of view that S.G.F. Brandon put forth a number of years ago--1967.  Brandon's main thesis has not been followed by anything but a tiny minority of NT scholars.  It's likely that there is some resemblance between Aslan and scholars such as Ehrman and Pagels.  I would argue that Ehrman is not a centrist scholar.  From what I've read of him, he almost always takes the more radical POV whenever he has the option.  His handling of textual criticism overlooks a lot of evidence that does not fit with his POV-- F.F. Bruce's approach is still sounder-- again see his classic little book:

http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Testament-Documents-Reliable/dp/0802822193.

I don't have as much knowledge of Pagels, but I do know that her use of the Gnostic documents to explain nearly everything in early Christianity is problematic in my opinion.
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« Reply #52 on: Aug 11, 2015, 05:08PM »

Dang, I swore I would never get involved in a religious debate online, but I can't help myself. Please tell us what "serious errors" he has made in this book.

Mike,  I wasn't attacking Aslan so much as taking  Tim's quote of what John said and comparing that with what Tim said and jumping to a conclusion that I knew Tim wouldn't have meant.

And I'm glad to have you drop in and hope you stay.  I'm guessing that you are "liberalish" like Tim and would value another representative of that view.  Although I will disagree with a lot of "liberal" approaches, I think it does have some good insights and find it worthwhile to test my ideas against them.  I might even agree with you sometimes.
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« Reply #53 on: Aug 11, 2015, 06:23PM »

I would guess that the truth is that, as the events in question happened over 2,000 years ago and the only written documentation of them are the gospels, which were cobbled together by people who never met Jesus, from oral traditions passed down over 40-100 years, no one can really be an authority on the life of Jesus. So there is bound to be difference of opinion. I do not claim to be an authority on the matter, but have just read a few books on the historical Jesus and the beginnings of the Christian church.
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« Reply #54 on: Aug 11, 2015, 07:55PM »

I would guess that the truth is that, as the events in question happened over 2,000 years ago and the only written documentation of them are the gospels, which were cobbled together by people who never met Jesus, from oral traditions passed down over 40-100 years, no one can really be an authority on the life of Jesus. So there is bound to be difference of opinion. I do not claim to be an authority on the matter, but have just read a few books on the historical Jesus and the beginnings of the Christian church.

But if your supposition that "the only written documentation of them are the gospels, which were cobbled together by people who never met Jesus, from oral traditions passed down over 40-100 years" is incorrect then your conclusion does not have much support.  And as you have only read a few books that were cobbled together by people that had never met Jesus or the people that wrote the gospels I'd recommend that you keep an open mind on the subject.
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« Reply #55 on: Aug 11, 2015, 08:20PM »

So Aslan makes serious errors and you think that he sounds somewhat similar to Ehrmann and Pagel.  I can live with that comparison  Evil

And ironically Ehrmann and Pagal are much more "mainstream" than John. 

Aren't words and labels fun.

That's fair, I guess.  I don't know about Aslan's errors.  I know I didn't like his presentation style on TV.

I do like Ehrman and Pagels.  They may occasionally push the envelope but the bulk of what they say is mainstream and acceptable to all but the most conservative theologians - and of course unknown to the average parishioner. 

Spong (who I think has some very good things to say but I acknowledge is not anywhere near as mainstream) thinks that part of the job of a pastor is to educate his flock (or her flock, we Episcopals are equal opportunity hirers) in some of this history.  I personally don't see the point.  I see the value of the flock in the fellowship rather than the brain trust.  In this I think I may align with Travis. 

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« Reply #56 on: Aug 12, 2015, 03:59PM »

IF you have a couple of hours to kill, this is an interesting video with Dr Ehrman and Christian apologist Mike R. Licona.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi1eWhzxja0

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« Reply #57 on: Aug 12, 2015, 04:04PM »

IF you have a couple of hours to kill, this is an interesting video with Dr Ehrman and Christian apologist Mike R. Licona.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi1eWhzxja0

Thank you!  I will check that one out.
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« Reply #58 on: Aug 12, 2015, 04:28PM »

I won't post on this thread because at the request of the OP it's about Christianity, for Christian posters, and I'm not one. I'm posting now just to follow it.

I do want to defend the idea of the 'catch-all' religious topics. While there have been some severely injured dead horses in the previous thread, there have also been some fascinating side topics. The discussion of the relativity of non-religious-based morality was a good one, and punctures some liberal verities, and the explanation about the various natures of Jesus' teachings (variously fulfilling his role as a proponent of Jewish law and in revealing himself as the Christ) are just two of many really good rabbit holes we went down, and they were in response to other, related topics. I can't imagine anyone suddenly starting a thread on any of these.

So the format works pretty well, in this and the religion matters thread (that thread was becoming lively and we now know that it was deleted by accident and not for cause). There are many people enjoying the discussion, and they vary from relatively conservative and orthodox Christians to liberal Christians to non-believers, and the exchange of ideas is profitable, in my view.

There are people who don't enjoy these threads, and the obvious solution is for them not to participate rather than constantly trying to ruin them for everyone else.

Back to lurking...
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« Reply #59 on: Aug 12, 2015, 04:42PM »

I won't post on this thread because at the request of the OP it's about Christianity, for Christian posters, and I'm not one. I'm posting now just to follow it.
 
 ...
I don't think it's meant to be exclusive, but I agree with the sentiment. I didn't think I'd be participating much in here, and that may turn out to be true, but that may just turn out to mean taking a more passive tack regarding whatever's on the table--like if you were in a Sunday school class--like when I go to church with my wife. I'd comment or ask questions I don't in that setting, because sometimes they're too off track.
 
...
 
So the format works pretty well, in this and the religion matters thread (that thread was becoming lively and we now know that it was deleted by accident and not for cause). There are many people enjoying the discussion, and they vary from relatively conservative and orthodox Christians to liberal Christians to non-believers, and the exchange of ideas is profitable, in my view.
Couldn't agree more.
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« Reply #60 on: Aug 12, 2015, 05:41PM »


   
Christian Matters
« on: Aug 08, 2015, 03:38PM »
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a thread where Christians can politely discuss matters relating to the various strands of christian understanding.
« Last Edit: Aug 08, 2015, 11:22PM by drizabone »
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« Reply #61 on: Aug 13, 2015, 09:06AM »

This article speaks to a greater reality in the Christian landscape of our culture.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-m-shaw/mean-christians-in-the-di_b_7965676.html?ir=Religion%3Fncid%3Dnewsltushpmg00000003&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000051

Before you discount the article because it comes from the Huff Post consider these words from the author.

Quote
I spent five and a half years in a Baptist seminary discussing all kinds of biblical, theological and ethical issues. Usually the discussions were heated but respectful--although one time a fellow student did shout at me that I needed to get out of Christianity because of a theological question I raised (and I did witness the ugly side of disagreement as I watched the Southern Baptist Convention fracture, but that's another blog for another day). On the whole, however, at the seminary I learned processes of lively theological discussion and disagreement, and these were the processes I hoped to engage through social media.

I'm sure some of you digital natives and longtime users of social media are already chuckling at my naiveté. In only a few weeks I've been shocked at the rude comments, name-calling and insults that are posted as responses to the arguments and evidence that are offered to encourage critical thinking and different perspectives. What's most surprising--and disappointing--is how many of those insults come from people who identify as Christian. One person said that as someone who went to a Baptist seminary I should "know better" and asked, "What happened to you?" as if only some horrible trauma could have led me to make the arguments I did.

I've noticed a disturbing pattern of some commenters attacking the writer rather than engaging the ideas. Certainly, a great deal of scholarship has noted how the anonymity of the internet seems to encourage people to behave badly toward others in ways they likely would not in person. And what we witness in the media among politicians is often more "gotcha" than any real willingness to delve deeply into authentic conversations over points of disagreement.

What baffles me most is how some Christians participate in online meanness and incivility. I'm not sure how people whose identifying characteristic is supposed to be love justify treating others with contempt because they disagree with them (Granted, church history is dotted all along the way with mean Christians, but I keep hoping we'll learn to do better).

In my own writing, I do try to be provocative with ideas, but I do not want to target other people with insults and name-calling. In fact, when I teach other faculty members how to facilitate difficult conversations, I tell them that when someone makes an inappropriate or offensive comment they should take the spotlight off the person who made the comment and turn the group's attention to the comment itself so they can examine it without attacking the person who said it.

Personal attacks do not further analysis; rather they impede or shut down deliberation. Maybe that's the idea. Maybe those Christians who attack writers personally are simply trying to shut down the conversation rather than examine ideas that are different from their own.

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« Reply #62 on: Aug 13, 2015, 12:05PM »

You know, we see regular odd complaints about people wanting things better. The odd thing? They want change to happen but aren't willing to make it themselves. Maybe someone else can change. Maybe someone else can improve things. My point in saying it is worth an attempt to actually break away into a separate topic when you have something to discuss is an idea of change. Now... I fully understand people don't like change and are resistant to it. Even something as simple as attempting to focus on a specific area instead of rambling and trolling and such. But that said, if you aren't willing to change, then you can't reasonably expect whatever it is to do the changing for you.

So that said, PM et al, if you don't like it... there are a couple options: first, you can always take your own advice and not participate. Second, you can attempt to try a different approach then what has been routinely tried and failed for a decade. Or third, keep going the same ol same ol, fussing the same about the same old problems and wondering why they never improve and chances are they never will.
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« Reply #63 on: Aug 13, 2015, 02:23PM »

that's what PM said he'd do.

And I'm the one asking for change here.

I'd appreciate it if we could stick to discussing christian ideas and issues. One of which would be dealing with our own planks before we worry about other's splinters. Another would be how we could encourage each other to fill our conversations with grace (Col 4:6) so that all those uncouth atheists might actually listen to us when we tell them about the gospel.
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« Reply #64 on: Aug 13, 2015, 02:26PM »

... One of which would be dealing with our own planks before we worry about other's splinters. Another would be how we could encourage each other to fill our conversations with grace (Col 4:6) so that all those uncouth atheists might actually listen to us when we tell them about the gospel.


I'm up for this. I'm TDY at the moment, so basically checking in so I'll see new message alerts. I'll try to think of a topic in my down time.
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« Reply #65 on: Aug 13, 2015, 03:49PM »

that's what PM said he'd do.

And I'm the one asking for change here.

I'd appreciate it if we could stick to discussing christian ideas and issues. One of which would be dealing with our own planks before we worry about other's splinters. Another would be how we could encourage each other to fill our conversations with grace (Col 4:6) so that all those uncouth atheists might actually listen to us when we tell them about the gospel.

Wise counsel, indeed.   
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« Reply #66 on: Aug 14, 2015, 02:36AM »

Hear, hear.

[Takes my heathen posterior off back to lurk]
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« Reply #67 on: Aug 14, 2015, 03:21AM »

that's what PM said he'd do. and I'm the one asking for change here.
It wasn't only directed at PM, though he was a recent case that went against what he said he would do even just by saying it.

So to you as well, how are you wanting change if you want to proceed down the same road as before?

Quote
I'd appreciate it if we could stick to discussing christian ideas and issues. One of which would be dealing with our own planks before we worry about other's splinters. Another would be how we could encourage each other to fill our conversations with grace (Col 4:6) so that all those uncouth atheists might actually listen to us when we tell them about the gospel.
Speaking of discussing issues, those are fine for topics to lecture others about as is already being tried (and very much part of that old road), but is there anything even to discuss? Seems like there has yet to be a real topic.
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« Reply #68 on: Aug 14, 2015, 05:55AM »

Was Jesus the Son of God?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-d-tabor/was-jesus-the-son-of-god-_b_7976430.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

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« Reply #69 on: Aug 14, 2015, 06:13AM »

It wasn't only directed at PM, though he was a recent case that went against what he said he would do even just by saying it.

So to you as well, how are you wanting change if you want to proceed down the same road as before?
Speaking of discussing issues, those are fine for topics to lecture others about as is already being tried (and very much part of that old road), but is there anything even to discuss? Seems like there has yet to be a real topic.

Those are great topics to discuss, encouraging each other, rather than lecturing though.  I'm going through 1 Peter at the moment and that has a lot of challenging stuff to say on the issue.

How are we to proceed?  With gentleness and grace, taking the same attitude as Jesus, who suffered on the cross, the innocent for the guilty. The challenge for us is to be like-minded and be prepared to suffer.  Not that we're innocent of course.  And I don't want to sound as though I'm lecturing from a holier than thou angelic position. But we're asked to encourage each other to he holy, and that's what I'm trying to do and to encourage.

PS. I hadn't realised how much 1 Peter is like Paul.    
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« Reply #70 on: Aug 14, 2015, 09:48AM »

Those are great topics to discuss, encouraging each other, rather than lecturing though.  I'm going through 1 Peter at the moment and that has a lot of challenging stuff to say on the issue.

And I don't want to sound as though I'm lecturing from a holier than thou angelic position. But we're asked to encourage each other to he holy, and that's what I'm trying to do and to encourage.

With few few exceptions, it is almost impossible to tell others how much humility they should or should not have without in turn coming across as lecturing or condescending.
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« Reply #71 on: Aug 14, 2015, 10:16AM »


That's a good article, more in depth than I expected.

It does miss an idea or two, but it includes more of a description of what some people mean by the phrase. 
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« Reply #72 on: Aug 20, 2015, 09:13AM »

I think I lost the bubble.... where is the chapter by chapter discussion happening?
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« Reply #73 on: Aug 20, 2015, 12:43PM »

Did you really think that the chapter by chapter analysis would happen on this forum?
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« Reply #74 on: Aug 20, 2015, 02:14PM »

I think I lost the bubble.... where is the chapter by chapter discussion happening?

We're going to kick it off next week, and I expect that it will have its own thread.  Possible called Read da Book.  Dave posted on it in the Religion Matters thread.
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« Reply #75 on: Aug 21, 2015, 02:50PM »

Did you really think that the chapter by chapter analysis would happen on this forum?

Thanks for the helpful reply.
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« Reply #76 on: Aug 23, 2015, 10:03AM »

I'm back now!

Just launched the thread, which may be found here...
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