Friday, May 12, 2006

Do as we say, not as we do

I don't mean to upset people, I really don't. And I'd never intentionally upset a guy like Eaglewood, who seems like an extraordinarily nice man, a loving husband and a good father.

But today, he holy-rolled his way off my blog in a righteous snit, claiming that I was attempting to portray him as a hypocrite.

For the record, I did not call Eaglewood a hypocrite and never would. I simply asked him a question:

If Christians are going to use a law from Leviticus to show that homosexuals are living in a state of sin inconsistent with a repentant Christian, how can they claim to be any different when Leviticus contains many other laws they admit to ignoring themselves?

Homosexuality is quite clearly forbidden under Levitical law. Here is the verse that Erik, another contributor, posted as proof that homosexuality is a sin:

"Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.Lev 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination"

You can't argue with that. Under Levitical law, two guys doing it is wrong as wrong can be.

But curiously enough, there are other laws in Leviticus, laws Christians never mention and certainly don't follow. Here are a few:

In the 12th chapter of Leviticus, a woman is considered unclean seven days after having a boy child, and fourteen days after having a girl child. (As an aside, I'd love it if one of you folks who so revere Leviticus can tell me why a woman is twice as "unclean" after bearing a daughter than a son, especially given that the process for birthing either is identical.)

In Leviticus 20, it say if a married couple has sex while a woman is menstruating, they must both be banished from the community. Leviticus 20 also calls for both parties in adultery to be executed.

I was surprised to learn that not only is homosexuality an abomonation, but so is the consumption of shellfish:

Leviticus 11:10 - 12 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you. They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Oh yes, my dumplings, it appears that there are enough Levitical laws to go around.

So I asked Eaglewood - since Christians often cite Levitical law to prove that homosexuality is a sin - whether he himself followed Levitical law. He said he doesn't on the grounds that it was "impossible." Besides, he said, as a born-again Christian, he's exempt from Levitical law.

That's where I get confused. Christians use the Levitical reference time and time again to back up the claim that gays are living in state of sin and are, therefore, not True Christians. But ask them if they follow Levitical laws themselves and - even as they admit they don't - they get offended if you ask them how this makes them any more Christian than the gays. After all, if the Christian takes his church group to the Red Lobster for the shrimp special, that's the Levitical equivelant of going in a bathhouse.

So really, unless True Christians are going to follow Levitical law themselves, they need to stop using Leviticus as an example when condemning homosexuality.

Now, the New Testament does address homosexuality. In Romans, Paul rebuked the practice of same sex activity. But there's some controversy about whether Paul was talking about homosexuality or binging Pagan temple sex rituals into God's house. I guess it depends on what you believe - or what you want to believe.

But the New Testament also contains a lot of obscure rules that Christians don't seem to talk about, and certainly don't seem interested in following.

First Corinthians 11 says if a woman enters church with her head uncovered, it must be shaved. First Corinthians 14 commands women to be silent in the church.

First Corinthians 7 says that if a man is single, he should stay single. If he's "loosed" from his wife, he shouldn't seek another.

These are inconvenient requirements, especially if you're a talkative woman who likes to show off her hair, or if you're divorced. Of course, Christians dodge these rules with the convenient cry of "They weren't meant for us! These rules are out of context!"

Others will say that since they live by grace, they laws aren't so important any more. But if grace covers a woman who continually refuses to cover her head, or a man who remarries after un-Biblically divorcing his wife for someone else, wouldn't it also cover two gay guys living together? Under that definition of grace, you can't say they are any less Christian, can you?

Wouldn't it be nice if , rather than applying Biblical rules to others while weaseling out of the ones we don't like, we could just try and love one another? That's the one commandment that everyone can understand. I can see studying the Bible and trying to live within the law yourself, but given that some of it is so open to inerpretation, it seems a fool's errand to rush to apply it to others.

I'm light years away from being as good as I'd like to be. But I'm working on it. I admire people who think they've spirutally arrived at a superior place from which they can coach others. I admit to not being there yet. I'm merely a traveler. But I rather like the view from my simple path. I feel far closer to God when listening for His voice than I ever could if I spent my time screaming in someone else's ear.

If I'm off base on this, and I may be, I'd love to hear your perspectives...

68 comments:

Billy D said...

(Tje first part I transferred from down there to up here)
Well, IMHO, again, what two people of age do, is up to them, and God.
Can someone be gay and still claim the Christianity mantle. Absolutely yes. Jesus didn't come here and hang with those who didn't need saving, did he? No. Theives and whores, the lowest of the low. (The "least of them")
Tp drive them away from "the church" is to attempt to cut them off from salvation. Jesus did NOT want that.
*Note - this does not infer any change in my opinion of gay marriage, or the "normalization" of homosexual practices in society. I just see nothing to gain by ostrasizing and belittling folks who happen to have a different type of sin than you or I.
Just keep it out of the schools. I won't tell your children what my wife and I do, and you don't tell mine what you and yours do. Deal?

Honestly, I think a lot of those laws were for the self protection of the folks living under them at the time. Shellfish and the like.

prettylady said...

I feel far closer to God when listening for His voice

Well, that's my perspective in a nutshell, dear!

Morgan said...

"Tp drive them away from "the church" is to attempt to cut them off from salvation. Jesus did NOT want that."

I agree. It does seem ridiculous to exclude people from fellowship based on "sin" if you're truly serious about winning them to Christ. It's especially ridiculous when you consider that the ones doing the excluding are equally guilty of sinning, only their sins don't get acknowledged.

"Honestly, I think a lot of those laws were for the self protection of the folks living under them at the time. Shellfish and the like."

Whatever works. I love shrimp. ;-)

Morgan said...

"Well, that's my perspective in a nutshell, dear!"

I know. That's just one of the reasons I'm a Pretty Lady Fan. :-)

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog a few days ago. If more people used their thinker and their heart the way you do, this world would be a much better place.

As I'm sure you know, having discussions like this with most True Christians is like playing a game of Monopoly with someone who changes the rules during the game: You're trumped every time, and you can't win.

When confronted with anything illogical or contradictory, the True Christian pulls whatever rabbit he needs to out of his hat (Sorry, Billy D), invokes the name of Jesus and voila!

Haven't read much of the Old Testament, but I've been through all of the New Testament a couple times. It seems to me the only people Jesus really had a problem with were the hypocritical authorities of the day. Beyond that, he was WAY more accepting and forgiving than most of his present followers seem to be.

This world doesn't need more bible thumpers and hate mongers, it needs more respect and tolerance.

Morgan said...

"When confronted with anything illogical or contradictory, the True Christian pulls whatever rabbit he needs to out of his hat (Sorry, Billy D), invokes the name of Jesus and voila!"

You are correct, anonymous, and what you said helped me solidify a few things that have been bouncing around in my head for the past few days.

It's always puzzled me why fundamentalist Christians seem so intent on control, and I've come to the conclusion that it's their flailing attempt to *really* get that personal relationship with Christ they claim is possible.

But the sad fact is, religion is different that spirituality, and an unchurched, spiritual person is able to have the walk with God that eludes strictly religious people.

That's because spiritual people are wrapped up in God's love, while religious people are wrapped up in God's *rules*. They see God as a god of rules first and a God of love second. If you doubt me, ask some fundamentalists and many will paint a picture of Jesus as an angry, punisher first and a loving shepherd second (if at all.)

So while the spiritual person truly bonds with God, the religious person seeks to form a bond with is maker by *acting* like God. He studies the rules of the playbook and runs around trying to enforce them. This is the religious man's way of identifying with God. It's the closest he can get.

And as you point out, if he's backed into a corner, he merely modifies God's rules. The religious man will not admit to being wrong. If he's wrong about the rules, he may be wrong about his place with God. That won't do.

But even with all this the religious man often realizes something is lacking. That makes him angry, and it explains why *some* Christians are so hateful. You see this with Christians as they get even further from God. Those are the ones who lose it, and tell you how God hates blacks, Jews, Buddhists, gays, etc.

But what really pisses him off are happy, spiritual people, so he starts looking in the rulebook to tell them why they shouldn't be happy. Or why their happiness is sinful. People who don't obsess over rules are particularly offensive to the religious man. He has a special word for those spiritual types: Liberals. ;-)

Thanks, anonymous, for your kind comments. I really appreciate them. And I appreciate your helping me to think through this a little better.

El Borak said...

Morgan said, "It does seem ridiculous to exclude people from fellowship based on 'sin' if you're truly serious about winning them to Christ."

And it is, but that's not the whole story. In 1Cor 5, there was a case of sexual sin (incest) and Paul says that such a person should be excluded. But then he makes the point that while we are not to hang out with the sexually sinful, that *only* includes those who claim to be Christians (v9-11).

In other words, a Christian should hold a sexual standard, but we are not to force that standard on the world. How can we? So I'll agree with Billy D there, so long as we remember that as Christians we have an obligation to live to a higher standard than the world.

But what's the standard? That's where I have a problem with both Leviticus-quoters and those who say that since Jesus never condemned Adam and Steve, we don't have to worry about standards.

To Jesus, the standard was what I call the Creation Principle. Men and women were created a certain way, and to act in another way is outside God's will and therefore a sin. God created them male and female to be joined permanently from two incomplete sexual creatures into one (Matt 19) - that's built into us from the beginning - and demands that we conduct ourselves in that manner.

So what about the gay Christian? I don't see it as any different than a Christian who has a temptation to any other sin, which is where I disagree with Billy. It's certianly a horrible bondage - sexual sins are possibly the most powerful this side of pride - but it is bondage nonetheless. God calls us out of bondage into freedom, out of law and into grace, out of condemnation and into life. The gay christian is no better and no worse than the adulterous Christian, or the thieving Christian or the arrogant one. We would be better served as a church to concentrate on teh last three, because that's where our real problem is.

On gay marriage, I consider it a non-issue. If it's not male/female, it's not marriage, which is before the state and above it, defined by God for his own purposes. Whatever the world chooses to call its arrangements is of no consequence to me; my saviour has overcome the world.

El Borak said...

Morgan said, "It does seem ridiculous to exclude people from fellowship based on 'sin' if you're truly serious about winning them to Christ."

And it is, but that's not the whole story. In 1Cor 5, there was a case of sexual sin (incest) and Paul says that such a person should be excluded. But then he makes the point that while we are not to hang out with the sexually sinful, that *only* includes those who claim to be Christians (v9-11).

In other words, a Christian should hold a sexual standard, but we are not to force that standard on the world. How can we? So I'll agree with Billy D there, so long as we remember that as Christians we have an obligation to live to a higher standard than the world.

But what's the standard? That's where I have a problem with both Leviticus-quoters and those who say that since Jesus never condemned Adam and Steve, we don't have to worry about standards.

To Jesus, the standard was what I call the Creation Principle. Men and women were created a certain way, and to act in another way is outside God's will and therefore a sin. God created them male and female to be joined permanently from two incomplete sexual creatures into one (Matt 19) - that's built into us from the beginning - and demands that we conduct ourselves in that manner.

So what about the gay Christian? I don't see it as any different than a Christian who has a temptation to any other sin, which is where I disagree with Billy. It's certianly a horrible bondage - sexual sins are possibly the most powerful this side of pride - but it is bondage nonetheless. God calls us out of bondage into freedom, out of law and into grace, out of condemnation and into life. The gay christian is no better and no worse than the adulterous Christian, or the thieving Christian or the arrogant one. We would be better served as a church to concentrate on teh last three, because that's where our real problem is.

On gay marriage, I consider it a non-issue. If it's not male/female, it's not marriage, which is before the state and above it, defined by God for his own purposes. Whatever the world chooses to call its arrangements is of no consequence to me; my saviour has overcome the world.

El Borak said...

Sorry about the double post...my browser got hung up. Technology! Sheesh!

way2much said...

I've read your debate and had no idea what type comment to add, so I left it alone.

Now I feel compelled to comment! I am a Catholic, a Christian. I even teach Religious Education to the second graders receiving First Holy Communion. I do not feel worthy at all to take on this task but each week I greet the children and we review our lessons. Sometimes I get so consumed about finishing the text that I forget to just "talk".
That is a shame, because we can all learn from these simple 7 year olds. They are so full of love and innocence (most not all - mind you!)
I was beginning to get offended reading some of the comments made about Christians, until I realized I am not the Christian you are describing. You are describing all the Christians my husband despises - the hypocrites, as you stated. Those that see blacks, gays, alcoholics, etc. as sinners just for being who they are.
I am not a liberal in the political sense. Although I am tiring of the other side as well. So I see myself somewhere in between. I do not cast stones, well, I try not to anyway.
I agree that we should all work on ourselves and stop judging and condemning others. Save ourselves, love one another and lead by example - but never be condescending to others.

As a Catholic (12 years of Catholic education) I am very unfamiliar with the Bible believe it or not. We learned about the first 5 books in the Old Testament and the Gospels in the New. That is basically it. We were told it was a guide, the Old Testament being a story, and the New Testament about the teachings of Jesus - mainly Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
I was beginning to feel a little envious of the other Christians that knew the Bible so well, but now I am thinking, perhaps that isn't such a great thing. God did not write the Bible - man did.
All I can do is love one another and treat others as I would like to be treated. If everyone follows this or at least tries to - this world would be a better place.

Morgan - you are an inspiration - and the land you live on seems to be a bit of heaven on earth.

God bless you and yours!

Janet said...

"Wouldn't it be nice if, rather than applying Biblical rules to others while weaseling out of the ones we don't like, we could just try and love one another? That's the one commandment that everyone can understand. I can see studying the Bible and trying to live within the law yourself, but given that some of it is so open to inerpretation, it seems a fool's errand to rush to apply it to others."

Are you reading my mind? All day I have been thinking about this. Really, all week. I inspired someone to write on their blog about how I just didn't "get" the Bible because I didn't believe in "man in charge" as a God inspired time enduring law. And this quote puts my thoughts nicely into words. These same types of people don't follow a lot of _New Testament_ "commands" except the ones we have been culturally trained to obey. So its not just Old Testament... oh no.... its no wonder I don't even feel like being a Christian anymore. That being said, I need to go to sleep so I can go to church twice tomorrow and once on Sunday.

Janet said...

way2much:
God did not write the Bible - man did.
All I can do is love one another and treat others as I would like to be treated. If everyone follows this or at least tries to - this world would be a better place.
-----

I completely agree.

El Borak said...

"These same types of people don't follow a lot of _New Testament_ 'commands' except the ones we have been culturally trained to obey."

Yeah, but. Lest we forget, the Bible is not simply a book of rules. It's a book of history, erotic poetry (mentioned that one just for Morgan ;) theology, prophesy, prose, praise, rhetoric, and exhortation. It was written to real people who lived in real cultures, which means a lot of the 'commands' *are* simply cultural. They dealt with specific issues that we may or may not have to deal with.

The biggest problem with Christians today in regards to the Bible is that they do not respect it for what it is nor take the time to find out. They rush through it looking for verses with which to hit their neighbors, ignoring both the literary and the cultural context of those segments they so freely wield.

And while that may (emphasize 'may') make them wrong, it does not mean we ought to simply write them off. The Christian is called to real standards and is given real commands, and while we may not ever fully agree on what they are, if it was a simple as "love your neighbor" (How? Who's my neighbor? Does that mean I shouldn't stop him from killing my kids?) it would have been engraved on a set of chopsticks rather than recorded and passed down in 66 (or more, for way2much) books.

Gene said...

A friend visited today, telling personal details of a stabbing that took place in our small community recently, and I thought of you, Morgan.

The victims were his cousin and uncle. They had walked into the path of an oncoming motorist who, as told to police by his passenger and girl friend, was on his way to commit a murder. In his rage, he stopped his vehicle and stabbed my friend's relatives instead.

The stabbing occured 700 yards from a hospital, the uncle was squirting blood. Had their steps been off by two strides in either direction, the originally intended victim would be dead.

The two relatives have recovered from their wounds and the vendetta has been dropped.

What an opportunity to come closer to God, when you are used for the greater good as these stabbing victims were. The once violently angry man will serve a much smaller sentence and the life of the intended victim was spared. This was a beating for all four men, but to miss this as God coming for them as a bridegroom comes for his bride, striking them as a sculptor strikes the mable till it is perfected, is to miss the blessing.

Whom God Chooses
by Henry F. Lyte

When God wants to drill a man,
and thrill a man, and skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man,
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man,
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch his methods; watch His ways.
How He ruthlessly perfects
When He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay
Which only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying,
And He lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When His good He undertakes.
How He uses whom he chooses,
And with every purpose fuses him;
But every act induces him
To try His splendor out --
God knows what He's about!

Roland said...

Morgan - "But what really pisses him off are happy, spiritual people, so he starts looking in the rulebook to tell them why they shouldn't be happy. Or why their happiness is sinful. People who don't obsess over rules are particularly offensive to the religious man. He has a special word for those spiritual types: Liberals."

I took out the smiley face. It is all too true. And not very funny either.


El Borak - "On gay marriage, I consider it a non-issue. If it's not male/female, it's not marriage, which is before the state and above it, defined by God for his own purposes."

That was the answer to a question I posed in the last post. "Who decides?"

El Borak - "if it was a simple as "love your neighbor" (How? Who's my neighbor? Does that mean I shouldn't stop him from killing my kids?) it would have been engraved on a set of chopsticks rather than recorded and passed down in 66 (or more, for way2much) books"

Man, I hate to pick on this answer. Mostly because I agree with it a lot.
But, it wouldn't have worked on just the set of chopsticks. It didn't work with "But the fruit of the tree of good and evil, thou shalt not eat." It wouldn't have worked even though one rose from the dead.
Fortunately, once you realize He is really there and in charge (and not just 'cause he wants to order you around, but 'cause He really cares) "Love you neighbor" is what works.

I will not quote, but reference, Galatians chapter 5. It says that if you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law.

The Bible is a great book.
I draw encouragement from it.
It shows me many others that have also suffered in Christ's name.
But it isn't the "rules" I live by.

I "live" by God's grace and nothing more. How can I not tell other's about that?

Janet said...

Elborak: "It was written to real people who lived in real cultures, which means a lot of the 'commands' *are* simply cultural. They dealt with specific issues that we may or may not have to deal with."

Exactly! I believe it is far more cultural than some would lead me to believe. Which leads to another quote I like....

Morgan: "But what really pisses him off are happy, spiritual people, so he starts looking in the rulebook to tell them why they shouldn't be happy. Or why their happiness is sinful. People who don't obsess over rules are particularly offensive to the religious man. He has a special word for those spiritual types: Liberals."

Yeah.... I get attacked a lot for that. I would say this is the main reason I have stepped back from Christianity. People get really mad that I am happy with my marriage just the way it is. When the Bible talks about man as a dictator to his wife it doesn't offend me-- I just find it culturally dated. There are other issues too, but that is an example of one I get trampled about the most, and I am happy about my decisions on these matters. That makes the TrueChristians even more mad. How can I have peace when I am in "sin" they obsess, they growl, they hold grudges.....

Janet said...

elborak: "The Christian is called to real standards and is given real commands, and while we may not ever fully agree on what they are, if it was a simple as "love your neighbor"

Its funny you should say that since Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40.

;)

Janet said...

Gene, I don't understand what your story has to do with anything? Maybe you can bring it home for simple minds such as myself. ;)

Gene said...

Janet, You are not simple; life is complex. Morgan had said something about God being about love. She is right; their is the love that is kind and gentle.

This was an example of the kind of love that is painfull and changes one's heart. God wants us to love and to be loved and he wants a relationship with us. He hurts us, like a sculptor perfecting a statue, blow by painful blow, to make us more lovable.

C.S. Lewis, played by Anthony Hopkins, talks about this in the film "Shadowlands", a biography of his time with "Joy" played by Deborah Winger, who was his dying wife. If you can find the film, it is very beautiful and moving.

Gene said...

Janet, I received this story in an email a while back, explaining God's love in painful lessons:

"Some time ago, a few people met to study the scriptures. While reading the third chapter of Malachi, they came upon a reMarkable expression in the third verse: "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Malachi 3:3

One lady proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them on what he said about the subject. She went accordingly, and without telling the object of her errand, begged the silversmith to tell her about the process of refining silver.

After he had fully described it to her, she asked, "But, Sir, do you sit while the work of refining is going on?" "Oh, yes, madam," replied the silversmith. "I must sit with my eyes steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort, too, of the expression, "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." God sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for us. Our trials do not come at random, and He will not let us be tested beyond what we can endure.

Before she left, the lady asked one final question, "When do you know the process is complete?" "Why, that is quite simple," replied the silversmith. "When I can see my own image in the silver, the refining process is finished."

God Bless You as you hear His words and follow His leading."

When one has painful events, if they focus on the gift of growth, it strengthens their relationship with God.

Janet said...

Ahh gene, I like those two posts. Pain has made me a more lovable being I am sure. I am not always excited about this transformation, but it continues to work.

Gene said...

Janet, You sound like you have a very tender heart and that is a beautiful trait indeed.

Back on topic, the difficulty for Christians in sharing their faith comes when they lose their patients they become obnoxious. We are proud to share what we have mastered and are embarrased about those traits that need work, so maybe loss of patients is to be expected. Give us time; I actually have 2 or 3 traits almost nailed but have a few hundred to go. Really?...No shell fish??? Dang.

thimscool said...

Gene,

Your posts in this thread have added much dignity to your position.

I think I see better where you are comming from.

Just remember that not all of your life is a trial. And there is much to learn from the joys in your life as well as the pain.

Happy Mothers Day.

-Luke

Roland said...

I like all the comments.

But when Janet wrote this, it tells the story:

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments

Two commandments which can fit on the chopsticks. Yet, we can never seem to see it clearly without out many different perspectives.

And, "Happy Mother's Day"

mitzibel said...

Indeed, Happy Mother's Day, Morgan. I'm glad my children will be sharing a world with yours :)

way2much said...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MORGAN and to all the moms reading!

El Borak said...

Janet wrote: "Its funny you should say that since Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

All the law and prophets hang on them, but the law and the prophets still exist.

There are two errors the Chrsitian can fall into here. The first is the Deuteronomy quoters, who bandy about laws without knowledge. But the second is the oversimplifiers, who miss the forest because there is one tree they really, really like looking at. It's big and pretty and inoffensive - after all, who could possibly object to love? - but it's still just one tree.

But the Gospel is a stumblingblock to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. Does that mean Jews are offended by love? Do the Greeks think love is silly? Or is there perhaps something more to the cross and the gospel than simply esteeming your fellow men with unconditional positive regard?

Morgan said...

Oh my! I take a couple of days away and come back to find so many wonderful comments!

To Gene, that is truly and inspirational story. Yes, God does indeed teach us through hardships. Some of the most wonderful blessings I've had in my life came from events that - at the time - I considered disappointing at best and tragic at worst.

But when I spoke of a God of love, I never excluded these sort of situations from His loving lessons.

I think what I took issue with was your prior comments that God had "beat" you and "kicked your ass."

It's all a matter of perspective. Even disappointing or tragic situations in my life have never been viewed as a "beating" or an "ass kicking." They were simply events that I recognized - either at the time they occurred or later - as meant to teach.

As was said in the movie "Cool Hand Luke," I think what we have here is a failure to communicate, and possibly a difference in how we view God.

Yes, sometimes lessons can be painful. As a parent, I've had to disappoint my children, by either denying something they wanted or challenging them in a way they didn't want to be challenged. But it was never a "beat down" or an "ass kicking" and as a parent I'd be sorely disappointed if their view of me was such that they saw it that way.

And Luke is right. Not all of life is a trial. Please don't see God as such a harsh being that you overlook the fact that the majority of his gifts - from those daily moments with your children to those flowers in your garden - are lessons to appreciate his Wonderful Love.

Morgan said...

And a wonderful, HAPPY Mother's Day to all of you as well!

Roland said...

Love is not one tree.

Love is the forest.

Gene said...

Well stated Roland.

Dave said...

Y'all are like one big happy family here. It's obvious that all you need is love, love, love. Good thing you don't actually have to live together.

I'm not going to argue that love is not essential to life, but I would like to add a footnote about what I think love means.

In my experience, it is not love to let a daughter sleep with every pot-smoking loser on the block, hoping every time for a bigger thrill until she finds one who beats her enough to keep her from getting away. It is not love to let a son disrespect his parents as a child until he gets out into the world, where he gets fired from every job for being argumentative and snotty. It is not love to tell an ADHD child that he doesn't really need to learn to read if he doesn't like doing it, so that after he drops out of high school he ends up homeless and drunk all the time. It is not love to let a child with a congenital illness avoid treatment just because she doesn't like it, so that she ends up with an IQ of 70 and a malnourished body.

All these things happened in my family, except the last one. The last one isn't going to turn out that way because my wife loves her daughter enough to make her do what she has to do, no matter how much she cries and whines about it.

This, to me, is like God's love. He didn't set up a bunch of laws as a cruel test for the Israelites to see whether they would be good enough to merit His love. He saved them first, and then gave them the laws they needed in order to survive as a society. They defied Him and corrupted everything He gave them, so they were disciplined by losing their nation. If they return to Him, He'll take them back.

Likewise, Jesus didn't set up a church in order to find out whether people would deserve God's love. He died for us first, then his followers set up a church to try and help others follow his example of compassion and sacrifice. "Church people" since then have defied Him and corrupted everything He gave them. Some are still being disciplined for their arrogance and self-righteousness. If they would humble themselves and try to listen to Him, He would take them back.

Morgan said...

Love is not the forest. Love is the soil from which the forest grows.

Morgan said...

"Church people" since then have defied Him and corrupted everything He gave them. Some are still being disciplined for their arrogance and self-righteousness. If they would humble themselves and try to listen to Him, He would take them back."

Amen and amen. You are so right.

eaglewood said...

“But today, he holy-rolled his way off my blog in a righteous snit, claiming that I was attempting to portray him as a hypocrite.

For the record, I did not call Eaglewood a hypocrite and never would. I simply asked him a question:

If Christians are going to use a law from Leviticus to show that homosexuals are living in a state of sin inconsistent with a repentant Christian, how can they claim to be any different when Leviticus contains many other laws they admit to ignoring themselves?”

You know Morgan I was more mad at myself for walking into the trap with my eyes wide open, knowing exactly what you were going to say, but some small part of me believing that you were some one who belived in the message of salvation by grace would see what I was saying and not be looking for the “gotcha”. I was wrong.

There are several instances in the New Testament, such as Peter being given a vision from G_d telling him not to concern himself with the dietary restrictions of the Hebrews in order to reach the gentiles, where the followers of Christ were shown that they were no longer required to follow the Law because Christ fulfilled that Law. On the other hand I get the feeling you are a lot like the believers that Paul admonished when asked if they should continue in their sin so that grace may abound.

I think that El Borak made my case better than I could so I will not try to mangle what he has already said eloquently.

Gene said...

Morgan said...
Love is not the forest. Love is the soil from which the forest grows.
***
Morgan; I heard someone say that trust was the foundation for love. How does love and trust go together? Should they be separate?

Morgan said...

"You know Morgan I was more mad at myself for walking into the trap with my eyes wide open, knowing exactly what you were going to say, but some small part of me believing that you were some one who belived in the message of salvation by grace would see what I was saying and not be looking for the “gotcha”. I was wrong."

Eaglewood, I was in no way looking for a gotcha. Neither pride nor paranoia suit you. Does it not occur to you, friend, that people can challenge one another without motive? Are you really that suspicious?

Gene, I think trust and love can be separate. I have friends I dearly love, but in whom I don't confide because they have a weakness for gossip.

Love is my undercurrent, but it's tempered with common sense, where people are concerned.

As for El Borak's comments, I quite liked them. But he missed the point. I understand God had reasons for implementing laws. My point is that they should not be selectively applied by some groups to illustrate the sin of others unless they themselves plan to adhere to them.

Again, Eaglewood, try to read my questions with an open mind, not through the prism of arrogance.

No one can know everything. I certainly don't, and I don't think God considers us sinful if we have to stop and think for ourselves once in a while.

eaglewood said...

Morgan,
It was not the question. It was the answer. Maybe your question was an honest one, but too many times I have seen questions like that one where people have been looking for the ability to discredit the one questioned. Because I am not your typical hard line conservative Christian, I get it from both sides. It does tend to make one look for the sucker punch so to speak.

I will say that I do take a hard line on sin, but so did Christ. He was very consistent in telling people to go and sin no more. I tend to take the same approach with those who have found that saving grace with Jesus. It does not matter to me what sin it is that they are caught up in the question remains the same. Do you love Jesus more than the sin you are in. I do want to make it clear though that being gay, or a kleptomaniac, or a drug addict is not a sin, what is are the acts involved, having homosexual sex, stealing, or shooting up mind altering drugs (sorcery). These are a sample and not meant to be a complete list. In the case of homosexual sex it is no different than someone who is heterosexual having sex outside of marriage. For some people it will be harder than others to let go of their sin, but as you pointed out all things are possible with G_d, so I see no reason why G_d could not help a person that has a particular bent toward homosexual sex to be freed from the temptation to commit that sin.

I know that on some level you do not agree with me, but in all of my reading of the Word I have not found anything different than what I have said. I know it is not popular to discuss if someone is committing a sin. It is just not “tolerant” or “loving”. I would submit that not confronting the sins of our brethren in Christ would be an act of love but of disdain and contempt. Love is an action. Sometimes that action involves lovingly correcting those who have lost their way.

To be honest I did not stay away from here all this time because I was angry. I got home and because it was the first Friday I could remember that I was not working at night Birdie kidnapped me. The rest of the weekend was spent doing things with the family that kept me away from the computer and blogging.

Morgan said...

"Because I am not your typical hard line conservative Christian, I get it from both sides. It does tend to make one look for the sucker punch so to speak."

Being challenged shouldn't be considered a "sucker punch," Eaglewood. If I cross swords with you, it is in sport. I am not your enemy.

"Do you love Jesus more than the sin you are in?"

Do any of us? We all sin, Eaglewood. Not a day goes by that we don't. We sin even when we *know* we're going to sin, but make the conscious choice to do it anyway, whether it's through impure throught, gluttony, pride or anger.

"I know that on some level you do not agree with me, but in all of my reading of the Word I have not found anything different than what I have said. I know it is not popular to discuss if someone is committing a sin. It is just not “tolerant” or “loving”."

Do we have to agree? I don't require your agreement to enjoy your presence or your viewpoints. I rather like a good conversation.

But you've missed something by implying that I don't criticize sin, or find Jesus tolerant of those who do.

How many times have I mentioned His commandment to us,in John 13:34: I give you a new commandment: 12 "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another."

It is simple. So simple we cannot argue with it, or twist it, or interpret it in a way that exempts us.

And yet...and yet....the world gives us ample excuses to ignore it. The biggest one: That person is different. That person doesn't look like you. That person doesn't think like you. That person is wrong. How can you love them? You can't. Don't even try.

Oh, yes, Eaglewood. I do lament sin. I lament the worst kind and believe if one thing stretches Jesus' tolerance it's having such a simple order so profoundly denied.

As for lovingly correcting those who've lost their way, take heed to keep your eye on your own path, my friend.

"To be honest I did not stay away from here all this time because I was angry."

I'm glad to hear that. How silly would that have been? To be angry over a simple theological disagreement. I knew you were just kidding when you said that. ;-)

eaglewood said...

“How many times have I mentioned His commandment to us,in John 13:34: I give you a new commandment: 12 "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another."”

So the question is how did Jesus show His love to others. He did so in a number of ways. I would submit that it would behoove us all to study His examples in all of their complexity. Love is more complex than simply being accepting or tolerant.

“As for lovingly correcting those who've lost their way, take heed to keep your eye on your own path, my friend.”

My comments were in regard to the unrepentant in the flock. You yourself have lamented the fact that some sins seem to be ignored by the leadership of the church and it members. I would submit that it is indeed part of our duty to correct those who have lost their way in sin. I say this as there is a method proscribed in the Word to do just this. This too is love, it is the hard side of love, but is love nonetheless. I would expect no less from my Christian brothers and sisters if I were in a position of unrepentant sin.

Gene said...

"You know Morgan I was more mad at myself for walking into the trap with my eyes wide open, knowing exactly what you were going to say, but some small part of me believing that you were some one who belived in the message of salvation by grace would see what I was saying and not be looking for the “gotcha”. I was wrong."
***
Eaglewood, Isn't Morgan the queen of "gotcha". Here I go following in your footsteps. Morgan is going to get me on this one but I want to hear what she has to say anyway.



As for lovingly correcting those who've lost their way, take heed to keep your eye on your own path, my friend.
***
I don't know Morgan; you let me know when you think I am on the wrong path and I don't consider your tactics very "gentle". It was more like being luered into a strange area, then jumped. Some of your readers even suggested a little mercy on my behalf.

I am very upset with a friend who blindly let another friend mess up really bad while they idley sat by and let the tradgedy unfold. The friend might never recover.

I have also kept quiet in the past and caused irreversible harm by not speaking up.

I have also been harmed because so-called friends saw impending danger and did not warn me that trouble was looming in my life.

I also did not listen to my Mother when I should have. Had I been a better Christian, I may have been able to hear what she was trying to tell me, but culture had convinced me that "old people" and "parents" knew nothing. In hind site, my mother was 100% correct, and culture was wrong.


There are some good proverbs on this point: http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=618. Proverbs 9:7-8 says: Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you, Reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Eaglewood, feel free to speak up with me; I would love to know when I am messing up.

Morgan said...

"I am very upset with a friend who blindly let another friend mess up really bad while they idley sat by and let the tradgedy unfold. The friend might never recover."

Ah, but there's the rub. I'm all for helping someone who's going down the wrong path. What bothers me is when fellow travelers appoint themselves professional, fulltime guides and forget that they're fellow travelers as well. It's especially interesting when you hear someone pleading for you to get back on the path and look up to see that the voice is coming from someone stuck in a thicket.

Of course we should help, but in the spirit of help. Not in the spirit of arrogant self-righteousness. True Christians™ are fond of doing this. Jimmy Swaggart preached morality in between visits to a hooker. Bill Bennett, who wrote the Book of Virtues, had a gambling vice of his own. It's easy to overlook everyone else's sins when you have an obsession with others.

Gene, as far your acting wounded goes, I think you need to grow up a bit. If you recall, you brought up my erotica several times at VP on posts *not even* related to the topic. You were rubbing your pious little hands in glee over it, hoping to garner paybacks over a previous dust-up we've had. Of course, you were ignored until I acknowledged you and drew you into debate that continued here. It turned out to be very beneficial to me, as these things often do. So thank you. And try taking responsibility for your actions rather than playing the martyr. You had your own part to play in this that was less than noble. If you don't someone to punch you, don't hit them first.

"Eaglewood, feel free to speak up with me; I would love to know when I am messing up."

I'm glad you'll be looking to Eaglewood for guidance. But don't discount that Holy Spirit, Gene. It's supposed to be within you, right. If you're doing wrong, you don't really *need* Eaglewood to tell you. The still small voice inside should be doing that. If it's there.

Gene said...

I'm glad you'll be looking to Eaglewood for guidance. But don't discount that Holy Spirit,
***
While taking an acting class; the instructor mentioned that it is difficult, if not impossible to see ourselves and his job was to hold up a mirror for us.

I found this to be so true. I like Eaglewood's mirror. Your mirror is helpful too Morgan, it is just a little rough and sometimes warped.

Morgan said...

Hey, baby, I don't mind it being warped and rough as long as it helps. If we can see ourselves in a rough and warped mirror it's because we're all a little warped and rough ourselves. But that's OK. It's what makes us human.

Gene said...

As I type, I wonder why I visit this blog. I think it is because I seek coherence and Morgan, you give me answers I would never expect.

What I used to think was "maturity", I have found out is "Christianity". Is what you see as "Christianity" what you would call "immaturity"? Almost the opposite?

Ravi Zacharias, who speaks on Christian Apologetics for the thinker and skeptic, on University campuses such as Harvard, Princton, and Yale tells an interesting story on this. It is like he goes into these secular institutions with a huge target painted on his chest.

While lecturing at a crowded, standing room only, university presentation, an angry student screams out; "Who told you life had to be coherent?"

After taking a moment to consider the question, he said, "Before I answer, let me ask you a question; Do you want my answer to be coherent or incoherent."

Morgan said...

"What I used to think was "maturity", I have found out is "Christianity". Is what you see as "Christianity" what you would call "immaturity"? Almost the opposite?"


Would it be that once a person accepted Christ they attained Instant Enlightenment, that would be wonderful. Then there would be no hypocrites, would there?

But it's not the case. One is merely forgiven, not imbued with Instant Maturity. Your plea to Eaglewood to tell you what you're doing wrong is a perfect example. How can you claim to be "mature," when you're so obviously insecure in your walk?

Do you consider everyone who claims to be a Christian to be "mature"?

That said, I do know plenty of mature Christians, humble people who are honest about their struggles and assess their own walk daily before looking beyond to scrutinize the actions of others. They possess a quiet dignity, and something I see lacking in angry, judgemental Christians: JOY.

So, I do not think that immaturity is the opposite of Christianity. But I don't think that all Christians are mature. Thank goodness there are those who are, though. They give us something to aspire to!

And thanks for yet another quote from Ravi Zacharias. I regret to inform you that your listing his credentials does nothing to impress me.

I'm a simple person, after all, and am far more impressed with brothers and sisters who think for themselves, rather than grasping for direction from others.

Again, Gene, pay more attention to that voice inside you. It's the voice of God. What can Ravi or Eaglewood tell you that God cannot?

Gene said...

Your plea to Eaglewood to tell you what you're doing wrong is a perfect example.
***
Yes, A perfect example of "warp". It wasn't a "plea" to Eaglewood; it was "friendly banter". "Feel free" does not equal "plea". "Please, I beg of you" equals "plea"

Morgan said...

I'll concede you didn't "plea." You invited. Yes, there is a difference. But the invitation puzzles me. Are you incapable of knowing when you screw up, Gene? Don't you hear the voice inside you when you do? If it's there, how can you not?

Do you believe a person can trust the Holy Spirit alone to guide them? Personally, I trust it above any man, whether it's a fellow blogger or someone who speaks at Princeton.

What are your thoughts on this?

Morgan said...

And Gene, I can see the need now more than ever for you to hone in on my faults. If you can discredit me, you can ignore my message which is: think for yourself. It's easier, I know, to invite others to tell you where you're wrong. Or to quote people you believe possess higher knowlege. But if you search, you'll find that knowledge may be a lot closer to home than you realized. :-)

Morgan said...

"This too is love, it is the hard side of love, but is love nonetheless. I would expect no less from my Christian brothers and sisters if I were in a position of unrepentant sin."

Sorry to be late in responding, Eaglewood. That was such an excellent post. I completely agree with what you say.

I think my biggest problem is that this sort of "tough love" should be tempered with humility. I think we've all experienced Christians who are obsessed with "helping" otherss when they have their own obvious issues.

It's hard to take guidance from a hypocrite.

For instance, if a person is an obvious racist who can't disguise their distaste for people of color, then I'm going to have a hard time listening to their "guidance."

Again, it comes back to love. God is love, and God commands us to love. That is my prerequisite when discering the fruits of my brother or sister. If they lack that, then I have to wonder why they are showing up at my door with a broom when their own house is filthy.

Generally, people who are obsessed with the sins of others are that way because they don't want to face their own. Those comfortable with their lives and decisions have no problem helping others, but they don't sniff out sins like a bunch of self-righteous bloodhounds.

Gene said...

How can you claim to be "mature,"
***
I didn't mean to "claim" to be mature. What I thought was "mature" was knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing the right thing and avoiding the wrong thing was "mature". Choosing the wrong thing, "immature". Perfection in this pattern, non sequitur.

I was unaware, people varied on what they thought was right and wrong; I thought it was obvious and consistent and some people chose to be bad.

I was brought up that there is right and wrong. Didn't think much of it till recently, I noticed, that everything I was taught, matched Christianity. I have also noticed the people who do not agree with these standards, that I thought were basic, also call Christians hypocrits or Nazis.

I still cannot figure out why anyone would fault someone for trying to do the right thing most of the time and trying to avoid distructive behavior. Calling one a hypocrit is like demanding perfection. Perfection isn't going to happen so that makes no sense to me either.

I have noticed people get mad at someone for correcting them; even my kids. When I was caught and corrected as a child; my only thought was oops and sorry. I never got mad at the authority figure. Is this unusual?

thimscool said...

"my message which is: think for yourself."

Yes Morgan. We must all learn to think for ourselves.

Tell us more...

;)

Morgan said...

"I was unaware, people varied on what they thought was right and wrong; I thought it was obvious and consistent and some people chose to be bad."

People do vary on what is right and wrong, Gene. There is a tendency for some - and a self-interest - to define morality for others in terms of absolutes. But I think that you and I represent the tendency to dispute what is right and wrong. For instance, I find stereotyping poeple on skin color alone disturbing. You seem to have no problem judging people by the color of their skin.
On the other hand, you find erotica sinful. I do not.
We've outlined our reasoning for why we think the way we do, and defended our viewpoints. And yet we do not agree and probably never will.

The difference is you would like to be able to define morality for me and for others. I don't have any interest in defining it for you. While I don't agree with your stance on some things, I'm far too busy with my own walk to obsess over yours or spend a whole lot of time convincing you that you are wrong. Once I have had my say, I can only leave you to yourself. That's all anyone can do.


"I still cannot figure out why anyone would fault someone for trying to do the right thing most of the time and trying to avoid distructive behavior. Calling one a hypocrit is like demanding perfection. Perfection isn't going to happen so that makes no sense to me either."

Gene, cut the passive aggressive nonseense. No one is demanding perfection, and you know it. All reasonable people expect is that a person look to their own hearts first before picking apart the hearts of others.

To grossly simplify this for you, I'm going to present an analogy that you can't possibly misinterpret:

Suppose I came to your home tomorrow and started berating your housekeeping skills. Suppose I criticized the dust on your coffee table, the toys on the floor and the way you lined up the books on your shelves. Suppose I sat down and offered to give you housekeeping tips.

Suppose now that you come to my house that same afternoon to find my trashcan overflowing, dirty dishes on the counter and a layer of dust so thick on the furniture you could write your name in it.
Suppose you asked me what in the world I was doing giving housekeeping advice when my own house was so filthy.

Suppose I looked at you and said, "How dare you call me a bad housekeeper!! What do you expect? Perfection?"

Here's what you'd think: "No, I don't expect perfection, but I sure expect someone with such obvious issues to clean their own house before worrying so much about mine."

Now consider that we're talking about spirits, rather than houses.

That's how I feel when you criticize me. I see you as a nice person, but also as someone who finds it easier to criticize my dusty countertops when she should be home, dusting her own.

The biggest indicator, Gene, that you might need to pull out a mop, is the angry sanctimony in almost every one of your posts. You seem almost desperate to put yourself in a place of moral superiority.

I have to wonder why. Why would someone who is truly happy - someone who has the joy of Christ -need anything more to make them feel good about themselves. Why do they need to elevate themselves above other people.

If you are indeed a Christian, Gene, and I have no good reason to doubt that you are, it seems sad that you would rob yourself of the joy that comes through being humble in Christ.

It's a large world, and a big life if you'll live it. Find your place. And be *happy!*

Morgan said...

Thimscool, there is a Zen saying that is one of my all time favorites:

"The only Truth you find on the top of the mountain is the Truth you brought with you."

Morgan said...

Thimscool, that's pretty much the extent of my "lesson."
;-)

thimscool said...

"I never got mad at the authority figure. Is this unusual?"

For me it is. "Don't tread on me" has a nice ring to it.

I accept certain limitations to my freedom that must be imposed to make society work at all. But those limitations should be minimized.

Authority figures are necessary, but there is no authority without respect. That is where the issue of hypocracy comes in.

Someone who has 'sinned' may speak with authority against that sin or others without being a hypocrite. It comes first from acknowledging their own weakness, thereby feeling the empathy for their student, and then summoning courage for both to overcome the barrier.

But what is sin, again? Being far from God is a little vague. But it seems that a literal translationof Leviticus might be a tad zealous.

Did anyone think about my comment that these laws were meant to apply to Jews and not gentiles?

Gene said...

What are your thoughts on this?
***
I have blind spots; big ones. How did I miss the entire "Christianity" thing for so many years .... sheesh!

As you pointed out earlier; there are things in the Bible many have no idea exists. I am still trying to figure out the shell fish thing.

Morgan said...

"Did anyone think about my comment that these laws were meant to apply to Jews and not gentiles?"

Yes, I did, Thimscool, and apologize for not commenting. I think that is very interesting, and throws an interesting twist in the debate. I often wonder if people even think about scriptural context before quoting verses to instruct others how to live.

I agree with you. I also find it rather unusual that Gene never got irritated with an authority figure.

Gene, obedience without question seems ingrained in you. That can be admirable in some situations, but dangerous in others.

People who are so overly respectful of authority either had obedience beaten into them or were so neglected that they hunger for the comforts of external limits.

The problem, though, is that an overly obedient person may find that they lack the resolve to question those in authority, or put authority up on such a pedestal that they are blind to its faults.

Gene, if you'd feel like sharing, I'd love to know a little more about how you came to be so obedient, and whether you feel a person can be too obedient.

I too, admit to blind spots, and vast stretches of wonder and awe over what I don't understand about God and the Bible. But to me, not knowing makes the journey all the more interesting.

Think about it: life is like one big classroom, especially one's spiritual life. There really is nothing to do but grow, no place to go but up. Isn't that a type of joy? To know that every day there's an opportunity to learn something new?

Gene said...

Gene, if you'd feel like sharing, I'd love to know a little more about how you came to be so obedient, and whether you feel a person can be too obedient.
***
Thank you for the thoughtful question. Not sure, but I have a several theories.

I know my siblings and I were all off the bottle and out of diapers by 18 months. I don't know how my mother achieved this but she was very proud of it.

Equal and swift punishment for transgressions committed with, or without mallice, intended or accidental.

Another theory is that my mother found out my toddler sister was dying and that she found out she was pregnant with me in the same week. She was already living in poverty and separated from my father. The stress may have affected her body chemistry while pregnant and affected her mothering instincts as well. I suspect I was left to cry most of the time, without comfort.

"the unmothered child is specially equipped with intuition, coping skills and defensive mechanisms which can shape an artistic and intellectual life (as well as drive one into a bad or destructive relationship). In short, there are gifts and blessings of the unmothered child, as well as the handicaps." - "Warming the stone child"

Another theory is that I was from a long line a protestants and the parenting may have been very Biblical. My mother lost her father as a child, so her training may have been truncated, therefore, I only received part of the message: Christian ethics without the Christian message and meaning.

As far as being too obedient, Ella Enchanted was a disturbing movie. Most obedient Christians wouldn't commit a crime out of "obedience" unless it was like Bonhoffer plotting against Hitler.

Obedience can be misread if a married couple is not the same religion. When a Protestent practices obedience, I have often heard someone who didn't understand that level of "accountability" say "you think you are so perfect, don't you". I didn't understand this reaction to "accountability" till recently.

Again, I thought that level of accountability (doing what needs to be done weather you like it or not and putting off pleasure till after completion) was "maturity".

Morgan said...

Thanks, Gene. Your history helps me see where you are coming from. I think you've put God in place of the strict parent, which gives you comfort. You've made him what you need Him to be - a stern guardian who keeps you on the straight and narrow.

But I'd urge you to understand that not everyone needs to see God that way. Plenty of people are able to set their own limits without the threat of eternal punishment. I'm good not because I fear God, but because I want to be good. I'd sumbit to you that it's much more rewarding to the something because it's right, rather than because you fear the consequences.

"Again, I thought that level of accountability (doing what needs to be done weather you like it or not and putting off pleasure till after completion) was "maturity".

I think my take on this is different, again, in that I find joy in everything I do, because my path has taught me to find joy in every moment and not see pleasure as something separate and apart from my daily life, whether it's doing the gardening or the dishes or whatever.

I think it's a far greater measure of emotional security to find pleasure in each moment God gives you, than to view pleasure as something separate and apart.

Too many Christians view life as the trial and Heaven as the gift, forgetting that each day, each breath is a gift within itself.

To realize that...that is maturity.

At least to me.

Gene said...

I think my take on this is different, again, in that I find joy in everything I do, because my path has taught me to find joy in every moment and not see pleasure as something separate and apart from my daily life, whether it's doing the gardening or the dishes or whatever.
***
That does make sense when you put it that way Morgan. Maybe I should have used the word "reward".

I do enjoy cleaning my house, (short term), but as soon as it is clean, I get to decorate it, which is long term, and I enjoy it more. If I keep stopping to go to the mall, which is even more enjoyable, a short term "reward", and not really necessary, I will never get to the goal of decorating.

As fas as obedience goes, I have been accused of the "fear" thing before. It may look like fear to others who don't understand the mental muscle restrait builds, but this has been my modus operandi for so long that it does not feel like fear to me. It gives me a feeling of competence. I was proud to not click on your spicy links; it made me feel "in control".

I look at life more like a chess game. I see restraint against blatant biblical sin as a "good move", that keeps my position strong in the game; not really a move based on fear.

In my life game of "chess", since some people who are as good as Bobby Fisher (a chess master) are my opponents, knowing I could be blindsided at any moment, I do look when others are compelled to point things out. If they didn't feel a move or a warning was important, for reasons I may be unaware of; they wouldn't say anything. I also consider the source combined with the urgency of their input.

This recent disaster I have endured was from me listening to culture and secularism, and not listening to my mother or the Bible. Both warned me.

Ravi Zacharias talks about how you can see in every tradgedy that the Bible has been proven accurate. How true that is in my life; every time.

Morgan said...

"I do enjoy cleaning my house, (short term), but as soon as it is clean, I get to decorate it, which is long term, and I enjoy it more. If I keep stopping to go to the mall, which is even more enjoyable, a short term "reward", and not really necessary, I will never get to the goal of decorating."

Lord, girl, we are different. I'd rather clean my house than shop. I'm not a shopper.
I see no distinction between "reward" and "pleasure." Don't you find doing everyday things a reward into itself? I have fun feeding the chickens! I think that's what I mean about joy in every moment.

"I look at life more like a chess game. I see restraint against blatant biblical sin as a "good move", that keeps my position strong in the game; not really a move based on fear."

That makes me sad, Gene. If life is a game, what are you playing to win? Heaven? Have you ever considered doing good because it's right? It should be easy for you, as a Christian. You shouldn't have to battle yourself; the spirit should whisper to you, and the right things should come automatically most of the time. I find myself wanting to get irritated in traffic or whatever and I hear a voice saying, "Hey, Morgan. It's no big deal. Slow down. Be safe." It's like that. It's easy. There's no self-congratulations. No pride on my part. It's not me entirely who's responsible for the restraint. It's God within me.

"Ravi Zacharias talks about how you can see in every tradgedy that the Bible has been proven accurate. How true that is in my life; every time."

I'm glad you have people to refer to who you consider good spiritual guides, but Gene....listen to God more. He's there.

You make me so sad for you sometimes. It's easy to be good and happy.

Gene said...

If life is a game, what are you playing to win?
***
That is a very good question; I am not quite sure. I do feel better lately when I am able to shed light on even a small thing for someone else. This is my new game, I guess, for recovery.

I met a woman whose husband was murdered less than a year prior. I was amazed at her strength; she was quite the Christian. Made my sorry ass wake up and take notice.

Thanks so much Morgan for holding up a mirror for me. You help me exercise my patience and you give me a lot of things to think about that I would have missed without you.

Even though everyone calls me the victim in my tradgedy, I didn't listen to my mother, therefore, I am also at fault. It actually makes me feel better, and more empowered, to take some of the blame rather than drowning in helplessness.

Ravi Zacharias recites this poem often:

He came to my desk with a quivering lip,

the lesson was done.

‘Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher?

I’ve spoiled this one.’

I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted

and gave him a new one all unspotted.

And into his tired heart I cried,

‘Do better now, my child.’



I went to the throne with a trembling heart,

the day was done.

‘Have you a new day for, dear Master?

I’ve spoiled this one.’

He took my day, all soiled and blotted

and gave me a new one all unspotted.

And into my tired heart He cried,

‘Do better now, my child.’

Morgan said...

Gene,
I've consistently asked you one question that you've consistently ignored, and there's no point in continuing if we're going to talk past each other.
Do you feel an inner guidance from God? Or do you still feel alone and searching for Him?

Gene said...

Do you feel an inner guidance from God? Or do you still feel alone and searching for Him?
***
I think I feel inner guidance. I don't feel alone. I just never know where the next gem is coming from, so I keep my eyes open.

Gene said...

talk past each other.
***
I wonder if this is a California thing. I see people do this all the time. Standard stuff here.

Morgan said...

"I wonder if this is a California thing. I see people do this all the time. Standard stuff here."

Actually it isn't Gene. There have been some wide-ranging discussions here. It's a challenge talking to you because you'd so often quote other people rather than use your own words. You seem to have a lot of self-doubt and fear to speak for yourself or decide on your own what's right and what's wrong.

"I think I feel inner guidance. I don't feel alone. I just never know where the next gem is coming from, so I keep my eyes open."

It's not always external, Gene. God speaks from within. You don't always need to look for *signs* or wisdom in Ravi's words to help you decide what to do. Instead of *looking*, try *listening.*

Morgan said...

"I think I feel inner guidance."

Gene, if the spirit of God dwells within you, you don't *think* you feel it. You *know*. There should not be an ounce of doubt.