Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Dear God: On Humility of the Right Kind

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God,
In Luke 19:10-14, Jesus told this parable of the healthcare insurance representative, I mean tax collector and the Pharisee, who we already know is going to be the bad guy based on all of Jesus’ other stories:

Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.”
But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

God, I find your parable simultaneously upsetting and consoling, if that’s at all possible, and you know it is in the mind of a manic-depressive. Because my head houses both the healthcare insurance representative, I mean tax collector, and the Pharisee. It just depends on my mood: hypomanic, or depressed.


When I was ten, and my twin sister and I would stay up talking all night, until our mom heard us, she would often say to me, “I’m scared that I’m going to go to hell.”
To which I would respond, “You’ve made an intelligent observation.”
I know, I know, I know, that was totally cruel and judgmental. But come on, you know the kind of crap she pulled. ALL the time. And I was sick of always bailing her out. It got old, being an enabler, even at 10.
“You’re going to heaven,” she’d say.
“Yep,” I replied. “Beatific vision, here I come!”
Now every once in awhile, when I’m on the phone with someone at PayFirst CareLast (the health insurance company), I devolve into that arrogant and self-righteous Pharisee. “Well, you’re obviously going to hell,” I’ll say to myself (about the representative, NOT ME), “because you are stealing money from people too sick to fight back.”
In reality I don’t anything about the woman on the other end of the phone, except that her boss and the company shareholders are Satan’s best friends. She may be a single mom whose husband just ran out on her after sleeping with her best friend, and left behind the disabled teenager she has to feed with absolutely no money in the banking account.
Is that my codependency talking or an attempt at compassion? I think I’ve been hanging out, drinking double espressos, in the self-help aisle of Hard Bean and Books for too long, because it’s hard for me to tell anymore.
At any rate, it’s wrong to judge people. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. And I do it all the time. Sorry.
BUT more times than not, I’m the depressive, i.e. the tax collector, who feels unworthy to call out to you because I’m not grateful enough, I don’t give enough time and money to charities, and, in general, I tend to get things wrong more often than right.
Is that low self-esteem or humility? Again, my head is buried in too many my-six-steps-will-transform-your pathetic-world-into-my beautiful-one books written by, of course, a team of Pharisees and their editors.
My patron saint, St. Therese of Lisieux, wrote often of humility. She wanted nothing more than to become little and ordinary in order to love you fully. By little sacrifices—unnoticed actions and words—she intended in her short life to “scatter flowers, perfuming the divine throne with their fragrance.”
In The Story of a Soul, she writes:

I am too little to have any vanity, I am also too little to know how to turn beautiful phrases so as to make it appear that I have a great deal of humility. I prefer to acknowledge simply that “He that is might has done great things to me” (Luke 1:49), and the greatest is His having shown me my littleness, my powerlessness for all good.

And in a letter to her sister, Pauline, she associates holiness with humility:

Holiness does not consist in this or that practice. It consists in a disposition of the heart, which makes us always humble and little in the arms of God, well aware of our feebleness, but boldly confident in the Father’s goodness.

If the Little Flower is right then true humility goes back to what you told the apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, when he was whining about that bothersome thorn in his flesh: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
It doesn’t matter if I’m feeling manic, superior, and grandiose while I’m yelling at Tina from PayFirst CareLast about the $25,000 her boss in the red suit with thorns stole from us, or if I’m standing at the back of St. Mary’s church because I’m quite positive you don’t want to see my face so early on your day off (Sunday), feeling horribly inferior, depressed, and bereft of self-confidence. Or even on those days that I’m renting noggin space to BOTH the Pharisee and the healthcare insurance representative, I mean tax collector. I’m going to cover all my bases and ask you to help me to remember the following on ALL days and in ALL moods: I am little, and you are big. But that I am made bigger and stronger with your grace: in and for and because of you.
Amen.



  • Lynn

    I don’t remember which bible verse these are, or if I am qouteing them exactly but these two have always brought me comfort. I am that person in this world who roots always for the underdog. ” The meek shall inherit the earth” ” the first shall be last and the last shall be first” I believe the good lord wanted us to use the gifts he gave us to help those of us who cannot help themselves. I have always believed that it is our responsibility to help others. And in turn I believe it is our responsibility to accept help in the areas that we need it from others who are sharing their gifts. We are all imperfect for a reason, I believe this world was meant to be a co-operative effort, not a get as much for myself and forget the rest of you kind of society.Perhaps abundence means something else besides, money and stuff. Perhaps the world has lost sight of the real meaning of abundence. Those Tax collectors are taxing the wrong thing, the really good stuff might just be free. :)

  • Larry Parker

    I’m glad you cited 2 Corinthians 12 in Sister Therese’s weekly homily today (which I must enjoy — even if I didn’t know it from your many books, clearly you have a strong theological education …). You’ve certainly got this skeptic reading his Bible more than he has in a long time …
    But first to Luke 18:10-14 (that’s the correct cite, BTW, for anyone looking it up). Yes, Jesus reproaches the Pharisee and forgives the tax collector. But the moral picture is much more mixed — which means, as you said, the real lesson is not to judge people (too much) based on their appearances, and to keep CONTEXT in mind.
    That said, I’m going to say some negative things, first.
    One of the things that drives me from organized Christian religion is the Pharisaic nature of many of its current leaders — particularly with an undertone of hypocrisy. (Ahem, James Dobson, dachshund torturer — wait, did I say that out loud?)
    Likewise, we must remember (like every priest who has ever given this homily has told me in the pews) that a tax collector wasn’t an IRS agent in the Roman Empire — he was more like one of Tony Soprano’s henchmen who says, “Give me what I want or I’ll break your legs, and a few other things.”
    At the same time, while the Pharisees constantly questioned and even derided Jesus, a careful reading of the Gospels indicated Jesus was also impressed with their purity and piety — he just thought it went too far in a “holier than thou” vein, as with their condemnation of the tax collector. Likewise, Jesus believed the tax collector and forgave him — perhaps because, in his G-dly knowledge, Jesus knew somewhere back in time the hapless man became a tax collector because a Roman centurion broke in to his humble dwelling and said, “Become a tax collector or I’ll break your legs, and a few other things.”
    One can carry being non-judgmental TOO far, of course, just as Jesus illustrated one can be too judgmental. If I had a chance to save Jews in the Holocaust, would I have said, “Well, maybe this ‘ethnic cleansing’ thing isn’t the worst thing in the world — and besides, I don’t want the Nazis to kill me too”? I hope not — but who can say whether one has the moral strength unless it is put to the test?
    Speaking of which … that brings me to 2 Corinthians 12.
    I’ve been meditating (praying) a lot over this reading since August (when I posted in the BB comboxes about it). The more I read it, the more it profoundly disturbs me.
    Paul makes clear that the “thorn in his side” (it is never made clear whether it is an illness or an enemy persecuting him) is from the devil. When Paul asks for it to be removed three times (presumably an analog to Peter denying Jesus three times), G-d refuses. He says it is necessary for Paul to be weak to show G-d’s glory. Not much of a bargain there!
    It’s the devil’s role, though, that recalls the Book of Job, and G-d and the devil’s spiritual warfare over Job (and, by inference, Paul). When I read the first chapters of the Book of Job, I keep imagining G-d and the devil going to some ancient version of Las Vegas and saying, “Hey, how about a friendly game of craps or roulette?” in discussing Job. (With the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” screaming in the background.) Yecch.
    The lesson I keep reading that we should take from both the Book of Job and 2 Corinthians 12 is that for all of Paul’s zeal in his conversion, and for all of Job’s endless patience in G-d (sorely, literally, tested), both Paul and Job needed to be reminded of the sin of pride. Surely, though, it doesn’t take G-d wielding a big stick like Tony Soprano’s henchmen or a Roman tax collector to break our legs (or, with this disease, our spirit) to teach us that lesson.
    Of course, maybe the lesson today is that I/we shouldn’t judge G-d too harshly; that He has a purpose in all this, even if we (like Job; Paul seemed to accept G-d’s answer) can’t see it. But both the Book of Job and 2 Corinthians 12 tell us G-d’s purpose ultimately had very little to do with Job and Paul; rather, they were innocent victims in His spiritual warfare with the devil. We are not allowed to put G-d to the test — Jesus makes that clear — but G-d is most certainly allowed to put us to the test, for whatever purpose He desires. And perhaps for something far more nebulous and incomprehensible, and less immediate, than saving Holocaust or other genocide victims.
    Alas, if this is what G-d did to two of his most faithful servants ever, in the Old and New Testaments respectively — one of whom suffered his fate AFTER the New Covenant of Jesus — what chance on earth do **we** have in a cruel world?

  • Lynn

    Could the lesson learned from, Job and Paul be the simple( maybe not so simple)lesson of acceptance. Could accepting bring us to a new level of enlightenment? Could the price for this enlightenment be humility? The proud believe they are great, the humble know that their pridefulness prevents them from ever seeing their failings, making them unable to gain the wisdom that is derived from overcoming these failings. the humble are mindful of all things, their personal awarness and their accepting of their failings can only lift them up not bring them down. Humility creates awareness, being accepting then allowes us to grow and opens us up to new ideas and new solutions, new ways of thinking.???????????????:)

  • Larry Parker

    But what are Paul and Job accepting? G-d’s cruelty? Nihilism?
    As I said, I don’t think it’s just needing to learn humility. Even if they had a sin of pride, G-d venerated them both as holy men. To punish them for that would therefore be to expect mere perfection, which is impossible on this earth.
    And if it’s a matter of humility … there are easier ways to teach that lesson, at least it would sure seem (yes, I know, I’m not supposed to assume G-d’s stance, but still …) than to try to crush someone’s body and spirit.
    We pray to G-d to heal our bodies and spirits when they are weak. Not all of our prayers are answered, of course, but in these cases, G-d in fact did the **opposite** — he specifically afflicted, or at least allowed the devil to afflict, Paul and Job. And it was Job’s and Paul’s stubbornness in believing anyway — an entirely human and somewhat double-edged virtue, IMHO — that allowed them to deal with such setbacks.
    I doubt Job, BTW, entirely “accepted” his fate — even if he got 10 new kids and a prosperous ranch, did he just forget about the loved ones killed in the beginning? — but he was somehow able to trudge forward, never knowing G-d’s true role in his nightmare, even after G-d spoke to him. Though G-d sure as heck implied it in Job 41 … “Hey Job, get this — I could have had a Leviathan (crocodile) kill you instead! How ’bout them apples!”
    Paul’s situation, granted, was a bit different, because the beginning of 2 Corinthians 12 tells us G-d gave him a glimpse of Heaven, which perhaps fortified him to deal with G-d later denying him relief from his “thorn” three separate times. (We have no such glimpse, of course.)
    In the end, it could well be that we are supposed to believe DESPITE G-d rather than believe BECAUSE OF G-d. But that’s an awfully tough thing to ask, IMHO.

  • Lynn

    They were to simply accept their trials and in doing so they then moved forward in spite of them. they had to give their suffering over to the higher power. The suffering does not go away , you become more able to function within it’s limitations. if you can admit your powerless, then you are able then to be more open to what comes after, good or bad. Acceptance for example, your in water over your head(fact)now what do you do, sink or swim? either answer will bring you to another place(moving forward)Swim,your on shore, sink, where ever you end up, there you are. onward to what comes next. God wasn’t punishing them because they were holy, the trials were to make them stronger for what was to come? would not relief, be the accepting of the thorn? It’s there , it’s not going away ,now what? I suppose it depends on where you (free will ) want to go. stand still with the thorn or move forward with the thorn in place. Again Free will. I am not saying that these illnesses are not horrible, they are. We can deny there is a problem do nothing about it or accept the problem exists, how can the situation be made better within the confines of the illness or the thorn. What comes after is a whole other thing. Could be good , could be bad. What comes after is a seperate issue. As for god allowing the devil to do anything, I think perhaps job or paul left some room for the devil to find his own way in(They were holy , but human).

  • Lynn

    As for being weak to glorify god,the word weak may not be the correct one, or maybe it is, in weakness we must ask for help ( be humbled) , again, accept that we cannot do something, we are in fact glorifying someone elses strengths( Gods Glory). They are more able to help us. The help may not always be a big hug maybe it is a big kick in the behind. we need to trust who we ask for help( in god we trust).It is not what we want but maybe what we need?

  • Larry Parker

    “We can deny there is a problem do nothing about it or accept the problem exists …”
    There’s another alternative, of course — fight like h*ll against it.
    And G-d kicking the sick in the behind — even if we have no choice but to accept it — is, IMHO, well, sick.

  • Wisdum

    What most people miss in the Bible, is all the metaphor/parable. Yeshuah, was Himself, a metaphor for Peace and Sacrifice (in the name of Love) He would continually teach non-judgement, and Uncompromising, Unconditional Love, and a lot of His parables were to show how He felt about the self-righteous (especially church authority, and there’s a great example of being pissed off at them, when He drove the money lenders out of the Temple…you ALL know the priests had a high percentage of the take there, maybe 50% or more … right !). If in Truth, His sacrifice paid for all our sins, then, according to that, ain’t nobody goin to Hell … And that presents a serious problem for the self-righteous and religious authority (listen, you can’t teach that all your sins are forgiven, and you can do any dam thing you want in this Life and still go to Heaven. I’m not sure how that would work out . . . on the other hand, how good is it working out now !)
    Morality breeds immorality !
    The Parable of the Workers in the Vinyard, also suggests the answer for the End Times … “Everybody gets paid the same !” Not many people know the meaning of the word “Prodigal” either. That means to get rid of, to drive away. That suggests that either the father or brother drove that kid out of the family (there is no mention of a mother). There is a good idea that it was the brother and sibling rivalry … On the other hand a lot of sibling rivalry is rooted in the father’s behavior (or mother) and the “favored one”. I’m sure we can ALL relate to that !
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Frank

    My hot button just got punched. JeeZZZ! Since dealing with health care and insurance is part of the cross we must bear, it does seem like it’s one of those lessons God uses to teach us something – patience? humility? anger management? And at the end of the day, when I want to practice voodoo and stab pins into an electronic doll that looks like the computer that writes me the rejection notice when my claim has been denied – I think it’s gonna take a lot of love to get me over the hump. And it’s prescriptions too – my insurance coverage calls some prescriptions unnecessary – not because they don’t serve a useful purpose – but because they’re pricey. The frustration that stems from this kind of callous treatment is 180 degrees out of sync with grace and love AND forgiveness.
    Unconditional love – now there’s a great concept. I’m afraid that my love is probably always pretty doggoned conditional. I remember someone telling me that if I’d pray for my enemies they would quickly cease being my enemies. That makes good sense. So, I’m willing to give that a try. I just went out and re-read the prayer of St. Francis to redirect my thoughts. Let me sow love…
    Frank,

  • teri

    The pain of depression is unbelievabl for those lucky ones who have not experienced it, you cannot imagine it. And if it goes on for years, it becomes close to unbearable. You know your friends and family are tired are tired of hearing about it.And you have no one else to turn to. Your brain is so scrambled, counseling doesn’t seem to cross your mind.Paul’s “thorn” has been described as many things; diabetes,depression,etc. yet he went on “by the Grace of GOD”. Today by the Grace of God, we have medications that help us out of depression, bipolar states,etc. Acceptance of our situation has to come first, before we accept treatment for our “thorn”. I know once I accepted the fact that I was bipolar (for months I denied it,until my life became totally out of control and became suicidal) Peace finally arrived. Acceptance, new prayer life, humility, and belly laughs like I’ve never experienced since I was a kid. I feel wonderful.Finally.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    The part that’s hardest for me is differentiating between the kind of judgment we’re supposed to leave to God and the kind we’re directed by Paul to use in Corinthians to keep the body (of the church)on track and free from the kinds of sins that open it up to the judgment of non believers. I think its in II. Corinthians chapter 6. In Matthew we’re also admonished to confront our sinning brother/sister in an attempt to reconcile them to the church which implies judging them as first. Maybe the key is in the old saw about loving the sinner but hating and not accepting the sin itself as acceptable?
    It’s interesting,(and helpful) T, to hear you attribute the two different attitudes to the different polaraties of our unique make up (the Pharasie as manic and the publican as depressive; it helps me put it all into a different perspective. I’ve never wanted to be self-righteous, since that is the trait which used to drive me away from organized religions, and yet when my ex-husnabd was commiting adultery(with someone in the congregation who got pregnant by him, no less!) and I went for help to the church leadership as we’re told to do, that’s exactly what I was told I was being! Sometimes this whole “Christianity thing” is bipolar!(IMHO) Thank you for another wonderful, right-on-the-money post. I haven’t seen any for a couple of days, and I missed them!

  • Wisdum

    Re – Margaret Balyeat | October 30, 2007 12:15 PM
    The part that’s hardest for me is differentiating between the kind of judgment we’re supposed to leave to God and the kind we’re directed by Paul to use in Corinthians to keep the body (of the church)on track and free from the kinds of sins that open it up to the judgment of non believers.
    ** The problem with leaving judgement to God is there is no instant retribution and or gratification. On top of that, God gave everybody freewill … God does not discriminate … If you get it …everybody gets it ! . . .All the evil in the world, is absolute proof that God gave everybody freewill !
    I think its in II. Corinthians chapter 6.
    ** Just so you know, Paul (the Roman) is the guy who corrupted Christianity after it was arrested from the Ju(dah)’s. Everything he writes has a disclaimer in it . . . like “Do as I say, not as I do !” (which has been the mainstay for Christian priests and ministers for centuries !)
    In Matthew we’re also admonished to confront our sinning brother/sister in an attempt to reconcile them to the church which implies judging them as first.
    ** Methinks you need to get a copy of a “Red Letter Bible” (all that Yeshuah said in red !) or the Book of Q (Quotes by Yeshuah/Jesus) anything after that is all mis-interpretation, mis-translation, and slanted agenda !
    Maybe the key is in the old saw about loving the sinner but hating and not accepting the sin itself as acceptable?
    ** If you call yourself a Christian, then you must abide to what Yeshuah/Jesus abides by . . .and that is “My command to you is this, Love one another, as I have Loved you” . . .That’s Uncompromising, Unconditional Love ! Everybody else is looking for (and finding) loopholes not to Love.
    I’ve never wanted to be self-righteous, since that is the trait which used to drive me away from organized religions, and yet when my ex-husnabd was commiting adultery(with someone in the congregation who got pregnant by him, no less!) and I went for help to the church leadership as we’re told to do, that’s exactly what I was told I was being!
    ** Here’s the question, you need to ask yourself . . . Am I a sinner ? Have I sinned ? Are my sins more or less grievous that anybody else’s. This is probably the most important thing I learned as a parent (or is that apparent !) “It is not alWays good, to be right !”
    Sometimes this whole “Christianity thing” is bipolar!(IMHO)
    ** It’s worse than that . . It’s multi-polar ! . . .”FREEWILL” is a b*tch !
    LUV 2 U /LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Larry Parker

    Teri:
    I accept my situation. I don’t go around acting manic because I don’t take medication, don’t exercise and don’t work with a therapist.
    That’s a lot different than peace, IMHO.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    re:Wisdum:
    I am aware that Christ’s words hold more weight than those of Paul, Peter or any of the apostles, but if we believe that ALL scripture is inspired by God, we cannot just dismiss the words of the epistles out of hand. I also realize that Paul was a Roman abd spent most of the time prior to his epiphany on the road to Damascus persecuting Christians, but I guess I take exception to your comment that he “corrupted” the church. He dedicated the rest of his life to spreading the gospel and establishing churches in the “outer boundaries” of the world as it was known back then (Greece,Macedonia and the like) He eventually found HIMSELF persecuted because of this acceptance of Christianity, but as you’re obviously well versed in the bible, you already know that.
    And YES, I too am a sinner, as “…All have fallen short” and I am well aware (TOO aware, some would say) of my sins. As one who has lived her adult life in major defiance of society’s belief systems (My ex-husband is black and my son biracial) I am cognizant of free will as well.(Just ask my father!) And OFCOURSE my sins are as grievious as any one else’s (I don’t believe that sin has a ranking systen; sin is sin!) That said, my confusion remains. I guess (IMHO) pastors, which my exhusband was are held to a higher standard, however because we look to them as leaders and allow them to minister to us at the most difficult times in ur lives. and listen to them each sunday morning when they expound on the Word. I guess it makes it more frightening when one of them chooses to practice the opposite of what they preach; it’s kind of like watching your parent on an obnoxious drunk! It may not sound like it, but I’ve spent a great deal of time in prayer asking God to help me forgive my ex and his current wife for the pain they caused, but forgiveness doesn’t wipe out the deep hurt and betrayal. Only God Himself is capable of forgetting as a byproduct of forgiveness; we mere mortals aren’t capable of that (againIMHO)

  • Wisdum

    RE – Margaret Balyeat | October 31, 2007 5:13 AM
    if we believe that ALL scripture is inspired by God, we cannot just dismiss the words of the epistles out of hand.
    ** Of course not ! But you have to realize that the Bible is the History of Mankind/Womankind . . . ALL that we have done good and also ALL that we had done wrong and bad ! (it all ties to freewill in the face of Love” Inspired does not mean written by God, it also does not mean that that God forced anybody to write that. It is as it says “Word of God” It is the same as you writing a poem inspired by a sunny day (or is that Sonie Day ?) You wrote of what inspired you, the sunny day did not dictate the inspiration !
    I also realize that Paul was a Roman abd spent most of the time prior to his epiphany on the road to Damascus persecuting Christians
    ** It was not Christians he was feeding to the Lions . . . It was the Chosen/Ju(dah)’s . . . What you are reading into the Word is just so much Roman Paulist Theology, which is a far cry from what Christian really is. Most so called Christians are not Christians at all ! They are Roman Paulists. If you do not believe as Yeshuah believed, you are not a Christian !
    He dedicated the rest of his life to spreading the gospel
    ** Gospel means – Good News . . .How much Good News, do you figure Paul and the Romans/Greeks spread ? . . .”If it ain’t Good News . . it ain’t the Gospel !”
    and establishing churches in the “outer boundaries” of the world
    ** . . . where they kept all the wealth and plunder for the “Holey Roman Catholic Church” . . .You are aware that there are two Catholic rites, the Eastern and the Western Rites. The Eastern Rite was the one established by the Apostles and the Westen was ripped off by the Romans/Paulists . . . By the Way, His name was not Jesus. That is a Greek name . . What do you figure the odds are that this Ju-ish boy had a Greek name ? You think the Romans were trying to put distance between the Chosen and the Roman ? How do you worship a Messiah/Son of God, and don’t even have enough respect for Him to use His right name ?
    (My ex-husband is black and my son biracial)
    ** I too am a multi-breed . . .By the Way, there is no such thing as a Black or White Race . . .I defy you to show me one (just one !) black or white person !
    (I don’t believe that sin has a ranking systen; sin is sin!)
    ** BINGO ! . . .Wait a minute . . didn’t the Roman/Paulists “inspire” that also ?
    I guess (IMHO) pastors, which my exhusband was are held to a higher standard
    ** Nope ! Same standard as ALL of us . . .God does not discriminate !
    . . . one of them chooses to practice the opposite of what they preach;
    Yeah ! Just like Paul
    forgiveness doesn’t wipe out the deep hurt and betrayal.
    ** Exactly ! Forgiveness is forgiveness. The highest level of Love, is Forgiveness . . .”Forgive them Father, for they haven’t got a clue . . . as to what in the Hell they do !” If the Father accepted the sacrifice (as ALL us Christians hope and pray for) we ALL got it made . . you think ?
    Only God Himself is capable of forgetting as a byproduct of forgiveness; we mere mortals aren’t capable of that (againIMHO)
    ** (That’s more Paulist BS !) . . . You underestimate the Power of Your Love ! . . .More Power/Love/God to you ! “I AM in you, and you are in ME. Without Me you can do nothing” … “And with Me, ALL things are possible !”
    LUV 2 U / LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Wisdum:
    just to set the record straight, i am not now nor have I ever been a Catholic. I assume that’s what you’re referring to as Roman’Paulist B.S. I was raised in the Methodist chutch and baptized into the church of Christ as an adult shortly after I met my exhusband.
    And if we’re going to debate names, the church of christ puts great stock in the fact that they “wear” Christ’s name as his bride. Also, the angel Gabriel told Mary when he appeared to hear that she would bear a son who was to be called “Emanuel”, which is also a Greek name. I’m uncertain of where the name Yeshua comes from, nor have I ever seen it in the Bible.
    And Paul did indeed spread the :Good News”; it was he who took it to the Gentiles and helped them found churches after imersing them in baptism in Christ’s name. As a matter of fact, that was what created the rift between him and Preter if I recall correctly; the whole issue of circumcision and dietary laws which only the Jews practiced at the time because they still were attemptinf to live under the laws of Moses rather than under the new covenant of grace purchased bt Christ’s great sacrifice. I find that particularly interesting since the term “scapegoat comes from the early jewish practice of sacrificing a goat to pay for their sins.

  • Wisdum

    Re -Margaret Balyeat | October 31, 2007 11:14 PM
    ** I was raised Catholic, all my Life, and am still Catholic, not in the religious sense, but in the exact meaning of the Word. Catholic means -“universal”, or as the Chosen/Ju(dah) originally meant it to be, Monotheism, or there is only One God. In their theology, that comes down to, if there is only One god, then everybody’s God is the same God. We don’t have many gods, only multiple perceptions of the same God. This allowed the Chosen to have respect and acceptance for all God’s children. Unfortunately to this day, the rest of the world does not reciprocate !
    they “wear” Christ’s name as his bride.
    ** The “church” in general is referred to as the “Bride of Christ” By the Way, church is not a religion. or a building, it is people…ALL people as in “We are many parts, we are ALL, One body !” Besides, Christianity is not a religion, it is a Way of Life , and comes down to “What are you willing to sacrifice in the name of Love/God”
    bear a son who was to be called “Emanuel”
    ** Have we witnessed any Son of David called “Emanuel” yet … Greek or anything else ?
    I’m uncertain of where the name Yeshua comes from, nor have I ever seen it in the Bible.
    ** Bear in mind that Hebrew and or Aramaic, is a symbolic language, and also is read from right to left. The words as we know them, translated from all the different languages, back and forth, is obviously corrupted. The name of Jesus, was actually Joshuah, or in English, pronounced Yeshuah (in Hebrew). A perfect example of corruption through translation is also Armageddon (the Roman pronunciation) as opposed to Har Meggido (in Hebrew). I’m sure you have experienced, often humorous, pronunciations from language to language. Unfortunately as far as religion is concerned, it can become deadly unfunny !
    And Paul did indeed spread the :Good News”; it was he who took it to the Gentiles and helped them found churches after imersing them in baptism in Christ’s name.
    ** Just so you know the facts, 85% of Christianity is based upon what Paul said … 5% upon what Yeshuah/Joshuah/Jesus said, and 10% upon what the Apostles and everybody else said . . . What’s wrong with this picture ? Also bear in mind that the whole story of “sacrifice in the name of Love” may not have been what actually happened at all! Everything that the Chosen passed on to Catholicisn, is what they wanted them to know… Everything that was passed on to the Protestants is what the Catholics what you to know. Martin Luther was well aware of the corruption in the Roman Catholic church, and that’s what led to his excommunication (he was a priest, and left the church and married a nun) There are many,many religions that have grown out of the same tree that the Chosen/ Ju(dah) instituted, and although Christianity is deeply rooted in Judahism, there is all kinds of anti-Semitism out there ! What kind of Good News is that ?
    what created the rift between him and Preter
    ** Exactly, right off the top, he started with the corruption (by the Way, there is an Eastern and Western right of Catholicism . . .the Romans versus the Apostles)
    the new covenant of grace purchased bt Christ’s great sacrifice.
    ** That, of course is a matter of faith, and has been debated for over 2,000 years now . . . Don’t you think it is time to weed out all the corruption and get back to the root of ALL our faith? Blind faith is no faith to me . . . half truth is no Truth to me either !
    I find that particularly interesting since the term “scapegoat comes from the early jewish practice of sacrificing a goat to pay for their sins.
    ** That was why Yeshuah, went ballistic in the Temple courtyard ! He wasn’t against the merchants making a meager living, He was against the “Church Authority” charging to worship God (and pocketing most of the money!) . . . “My house is a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves !” . . . Hasn’t changed too much, even today . . has it ? . . . God is a God of Living, not a God of death ! . . . Or a God of Money . . “Lust for money, is the root of ALL evil !”
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Larry Parker

    I just wanted to say to everyone in BB that my meditation upon/contemplation of this very dialogue — and realizing I was perhaps mistaken or at least simplistic about some things, while also continuing to hold the same interpretation of Scripture for other areas — has really helped me deal with my personal struggle this week (moving and transitions).
    So I wanted to thank everyone for the Socratic dialogue. You truly gave me some peace of mind (not just “even,” but **especially**, those questioning me) at a time when I desperately need it.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    One final note, Wisdum. As a teacher, i taught the reformation movement in eUROPE and how it lead to all forms of Protestantism. so I am quite famuiliar with Martin Luther’s life and the list of grievances which he nailed to the door of the cathedral leading to his excommunication. You’re absolutely correct in that most off his complaints had to do with corruption by $. One of his BIGGEST disagreements had to do with the purchase of “omdulgences”, a practice quite popular in his time whereby members could pay for special intercessions of their priests in order to ocassionally indulge themselves in some of the wordly pleasures the church denied them. He also questioned the practice of individuals paying for special requiems to be said after a looved one had died in order to shorten their stay in “purgatory. We are also in agreement in terms of our outlook on what the church truly is…not the building, denomination..or other trappinhs, but rather the group of PEOPLE who have obeyed the plan of salvation, been buried in baptism with Christ abd become a new creature. It’s interesting to me that you quoted the passage about money. One of my personal pet peeves is that the secular world usually mis quotes that admonition, stating simply that ”

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