God's Politics

God's Politics


Brian McLaren: Religion of Mass Distraction

posted by God's Politics

I was recently interviewed by a “secular” journalist who had read some of my books. He said, “Your religion doesn’t seem to keep you constantly dividing the world into us and them, in and out, good and bad. Is that legitimate, or is that compromise?”

I explained that as a follower of God in the way of Jesus, I am taught to see every person as my neighbor. The first thing I think upon meeting someone is not, “I wonder if she’s a Christian?” but “This is my neighbor. This is a beautiful person, a bearer of the image of God, someone I have the opportunity to know and appreciate and perhaps even serve in some way.” Seeing others this way isn’t a compromise of my Christian commitment; it’s an expression of it, I explained.

The reporter responded humorously, “What good is being religious if you can’t feel superior to anybody?” We both laughed, but after the interview, I couldn’t stop thinking about the serious point conveyed by his ironic comment.

What is religion for? Is it for creating an in-group that feels superior? Or is it for turning us into neighbors who want to appreciate, love, and serve one another?

Of course next to nobody would ever say overtly that the purpose of their religion is to feel superior. In fact, it just struck me that at this very moment, my act of writing, and your act of reading, could turn us into a kind of elite “in-group” who share the superiority of having one kind of religion over another.

The danger of in-grouping and out-grouping is, I think, subtle, inescapable, and universal, whatever the religion (or irreligion, or political party, or ideology) one holds. No wonder Jesus said, “A tree is known by its fruit;” Paul said, “If I don’t have love, I’m nothing;” James said, “Faith without works is dead;” and John said, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

Last time I checked, three of the top 10 “religious” books were in praise of atheism and against religion in all its forms. In these times of snarky religious cold wars in some quarters and hot religious violence in others, I’m not surprised. Those of us who see religion in a different light – who see religion as a powerful motivation to care for the widow and orphan, to seek justice and peace, to love our neighbors and our enemies – shouldn’t feel superior, but we should keep practicing, and preaching, with humility and focus. It’s so easy to get distracted, and a lot is at stake.


Brian McLaren (brianmclaren.net) is an author, speaker, Red Letter Christian, and serves as board chair for Sojourners/Call to Renewal. His most recent book is The Secret Message of Jesus, and his next book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, will be released later this year.



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Bill Garrett

posted January 22, 2007 at 4:23 pm


Some excellent thoughts. Reflecting on this, it makes a lot of sense considering that much of the Old Testament Law was about living in community, and even being inclusive of foreigners. Go ahead a couple centuries to the early Christians and we see many apologists who argued that being a Christian made a person a better Roman citizen. I guess the point of view changed to Christians were the only good Roman citizen once Christianity became the state religion. Thank you for that, Brian!>



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Anonymous

posted January 22, 2007 at 4:31 pm


The irony is that Mr. McLaren is tooting his own horn rather than remembering the innocent and helpless victims of the devastating decision that was handed down 34 years ago today.>



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butch

posted January 22, 2007 at 4:35 pm


Go visit any church you like and you will find a general uniform worn by most. Church is an exclusive group rather than an inclusive group. By their social structure they are creating in and out groups. This requires careful thinking to keep this from happening, the group will work to resist a leader that doesn’t tell them they are special.>



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Wolverine

posted January 22, 2007 at 5:00 pm


I’m just wondering where that poster came from. Is that something your graphics department came up with, or did it come from some fundy ministry way back when? If it’s real, it’s a hoot! Wolverine>



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butch

posted January 22, 2007 at 5:01 pm


My Methodist church has among other things Sunday school and what is often called the worship service. We study in Sunday school and we are taught by the pastor in church. We study to understand and we listen to the pastor to learn how to live. The next step is the problem for me, having studied we come to some conclusions, and then we tell other people how to live and act. That is God’s job, who is between you and your relationship with God? It is not our place to tell anyone else what to do in their private life. When your life crosses someone else’s life then bring your faith to your behavior and allow them to do the same.>



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nad2

posted January 22, 2007 at 5:03 pm


thank you brian, i heard marcus borg say in a sermon one time that we can sing our songs of praise for God and Jesus with wild abandonment without having to tell dirty stories about other religions. i very much appreciated that. richard rohr also recently said on ‘this i believe’ on npr that ‘People who have really met the Holy are always humble. It’s the people who don’t know who usually pretend that they do. People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind. It is a litmus test for authentic God experience, and is — quite sadly — absent from much of our religious conversation today.” i commend brian for bringing this back into the religious conversation today. may we all seek to be humbled by the mystery and empowered by it to love defiantly.>



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wayne

posted January 22, 2007 at 5:06 pm


I heard them argue if Christ could sin I heard them haggle election and choice Demanding to know who’s right As if God in answer might Determine on which hand they d sit. I asked in what realm do they fit And would Jesus even give a shit For our arguments and apologies Our deep thoughts and theologies Counting angels who sit on a pin I heard Him say, Father, forgive I saw Him cry for the poor with no voice I remember his call I wonder at His choice And if the truth be known I don t know why I believe I ve seen children with no virginity Thieves stole it when they were three Thefts no one wills to see But we will debate God s Sovereignty For blind we would rather be, Enlightened men of theology The wonder is not that He might choose The question is not if I can lose Free will is not one of these But whether I will choose to see Will Grace be allowed to work through me? Can God make me, the blinded, see? Who cares on which side I stand on things I can t comprehend Like, Why does God elect Any of our learned sects? Still, I heard Him pray, Forgive>



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butch

posted January 22, 2007 at 5:08 pm


Don’t take offense because it is so easy to do. “without having to tell dirty stories about other religions. i very much appreciated that.” Then you do it ever so gently. “and is — quite sadly — absent from much of our religious conversation today.”>



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Deryll

posted January 22, 2007 at 5:31 pm


[The danger of in-grouping and out-grouping is, I think, subtle, inescapable, and universal, whatever the religion (or irreligion, or political party, or ideology) one holds. No wonder Jesus said, "A tree is known by its fruit;" Paul said, "If I don't have love, I'm nothing;" James said, "Faith without works is dead;" and John said, "Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."] Thanks, Brian [The wonder is not that He might choose The question is not if I can lose Free will is not one of these But whether I will choose to see Will Grace be allowed to work through me? Can God make me, the blinded, see?] and thanks, wayne>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 22, 2007 at 5:39 pm


This reminds my of why I have pretty much left behind my Reformed upbringing — I still subscribe to most of the theology but in retrospect find the culture a but stifling in part because of what I believe its overemphasis on teaching theology. (Ironically, while I was in that church I was a “foreigner” but was reached out to.) But it seems to me that knowing Christ should make a profound difference in how we live, work, spend our money, regard others and the like. My pastor said, correctly, that if you “pray a prayer” but just keep on doing what you’re doing afterwards your confession might be and probably is false. I loved Ron Sider’s book “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience” because he pointed out that consequences of “cheap grace.”>



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nad2

posted January 22, 2007 at 6:14 pm


butch, no offense taken. what you have attributed to me was richard rohr, though i like to think it is consistent w/ what borg and mclauren are saying. for me, rorh or mclauren or anyone saying that the christian conversation today is impoverished of humility is not telling dirty stories on anyone, it is a challenge to all (selves included) to be ever-conscious our gaping lack of omnipotence. perhaps reading the whole article, it is very short and i thought very apropos, would be better than one quote, it is here: “>http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6631954>



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Payshun

posted January 22, 2007 at 6:29 pm


Amen. I don’t see Mclaren tooting his own horn. Quite the opposite actually. His article is focused purely on urging us Christians to love one another and others. His post ends w/ calling us (Christians) out into the world. p>



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butch

posted January 22, 2007 at 6:33 pm


nad2, sorry if it is necessary, my point is how easy it is to slip into such things. Which is back to my main point, to know that you/we are not God. Judging people or groups is God’s work.>



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Anonymous

posted January 22, 2007 at 8:38 pm


Butch, who are you to tell me who’s job that is? That’s not your job, it’s God’s. See the point?>



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kevin s.

posted January 22, 2007 at 8:50 pm


Rick, That was an awfully reformed sounding post… Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just sayin’.>



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butch

posted January 22, 2007 at 9:54 pm


anon, yes clear logic. I’m talking theory not action. When ever we act we are playing God posits my theory. I’m not telling you what to do only giving my theory. Now if you act on my theory then I’ve played God and will be judged.>



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nad2

posted January 22, 2007 at 10:17 pm


points well taken from everyone on whose job is what, but i refuse to apply legalisms on this or any thread. as an attorney i deal with it daily, and as a spiritual person, i find it utterly inadequate and unhelpful in trying to dig for spiritual truth and personal knowledge of God. law and logic are human creations that help enormously in daily living but fall way short in distinguishing the voice of God. Love, in every form, but especially in the radical form taught by Jesus, defies logic, yet it is the most wonderful thing in the world. i think this goes along w/ brain’s point, don’t do the ‘human thing’ and cave to your desires to feel superior or pass judgment on people and exclude them from you, try daily to move beyond that and do the ‘Godly thing’ – forgive gratuitously, love everyone in spite of themselves, and try to enact God’s grace and love to everyone on Earth. yes it’s impossible, but that’s why we must let go of logic on this because God tells us to try anyway.>



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butch

posted January 22, 2007 at 10:35 pm


My belief is that God created everything, and everything studied has rules that can be measured therefore I believe God is logic. A little strange but if I manage to understand any part of the real world, human behavior or social behavior then I know God. So, I look for understanding then let that understanding be my rules. Of course I don’t get it 100% but I want to celebrate the 60 or 70% when I’m right and not whine over the 30 or 40% I’m wrong. This is a constant journey. Scientist think they understand the part of the brain that leads to altruist behavior, another understanding of what God already knows. One rule is rest on Sunday; study has shown that if you don’t then you are less effective. God’s rules work and can be understood. Faith is a feeling, I say bring your intellect to inform your feelings.>



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butch

posted January 22, 2007 at 10:36 pm


nad2 what type of law do you practice and where? My sons are attornies and my wife is a court reporter. Nothing more important to me than the law.>



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butch

posted January 22, 2007 at 10:38 pm


Attorneys, clearly spelling is not that important!>



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Payshun

posted January 22, 2007 at 11:47 pm


Faith is not a feeling, its a trust. Science is also a trust neither can exist w/o the other. The problem is not that they need to be separated or ignored but they need to both be nurtured. If they are not we will continue to devalue western civilizaton. The ancients had it right. We should look at things wholistically and not worship one over the other. p>



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robstur

posted January 22, 2007 at 11:57 pm


I have never gone to a church were I was ask if I was superior or felt superior. My faith and church does not teach us that just because we are ‘Christians’ that we are better. I have been taught that now that I know the Good News it is my responsibility to share it with others. To show the love of God through His Son – Jesus the Christ so that all will come to the knowledge of Him who created us. I am not better – just forgiven. We sing songs like ‘Will you let me be your servant’ and ‘On Christ the solid rock I stand’. It is not so much a religion as a relationship. I would rather see a sermon than hear one. To show the freedom that one has in Christ rather than the ‘thou shall not’ of religion. Just my thoughts… .>



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butch

posted January 23, 2007 at 12:05 am


Rob, one of your best reasoned post!>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 23, 2007 at 12:48 am


Kevin — I did say I still consider myself Reformed. It’s just that I’ve always believed that getting “saved” isn’t the end — it’s only the beginning. Ninety percent of the Scriptures tell you what to do AFTER you get saved.>



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Bill Samuel

posted January 23, 2007 at 1:37 am


A lot of the misunderstanding that Brian has faced is rooted in not getting the message Brian gives here. This is fundamental to understanding who Brian is. It is what he seeks to live out. He fundamentally finds questionable the way we tend to leap to attack others. And in response to one commenter, Brian does not support abortion. Brian is an endorser of Consistent Life, which is “committed to the protection of life, which is threatened in today’s world by war, abortion, poverty, racism, capital punishment and euthanasia.”>



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James

posted January 23, 2007 at 1:40 am


Anonymous: The irony is that Mr. McLaren is tooting his own horn rather than remembering the innocent and helpless victims of the devastating decision that was handed down 34 years ago today. Anonymous Thank you for that gratuitous personal attack that had nothing to do with the content of the post, Anonymous. Are you always that witty and on point or is it just this one time event. James>



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Anonymous

posted January 23, 2007 at 2:37 am


Good poem dad.>



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butch

posted January 23, 2007 at 2:38 am


James, the attack has nothing to do with McLaren, he is an innocent bystander. A nut bag was shootinto into crowd waiting for a bus in front of an abortion clinic.>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 23, 2007 at 3:47 am


I can recall being taught in the late 40′s and throughout the 50′s that Christian Catholics had a special status with God. I can understand that perhaps the scriptural concept of salvation through Jesus has been used in ways that are offensive to persons who are not Christian. I think Brian McLaren is encouraging us to move on from that, while being mindful of the potential for insult to persons who are not Christian.>



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butch

posted January 23, 2007 at 4:36 am


I repeat every church is an exclusive self-righteous group, will always be so. We can only swim upstream and I do but the water is still going in the same direction. I accept McLaren s call and I will do the best I can but it will always be so. If Wallis s group gains great power like say the Catholic Church or some of the mega churches his organization will become the same, has always been so. Just watched a special about priest abuse in Boston. The only power such people have is what we give them. Power corrupts, think I heard that somewhere.>



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kevin s.

posted January 23, 2007 at 5:21 am


“Kevin — I did say I still consider myself Reformed. It’s just that I’ve always believed that getting “saved” isn’t the end — it’s only the beginning. Ninety percent of the Scriptures tell you what to do AFTER you get saved.” Oh, i’m totally cool with all that. It’s just the “earned grace” stuff sounded, you know, Calvinist. You are one of the few who sits to the left of me politically, but to the right of me theologically. I respect that. I have strong sympathies to open theism, and find myself defending Greg Boyd as often as George Bush.>



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jesse

posted January 23, 2007 at 6:54 am


As much as we’d like to agree with McLaren about not thinking Christians are better than others, the truth is that “if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation”. He is an heir. A son of God. This is pretty special. Also, I’m sure I partly agree with McLaren’s point about not getting into the ingroup/outgroup stuff, but the New Testament includes many, many teachings which indicate that Christians are a people who are separate from the world (the above verses included). Though I disagree with a lot of McLaren’s theology, I still have to appreciate the fact that he seems to be the one poster on this blog who doesn’t feel compelled to bash conservative christians any chance he gets. I thank you for that!>



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Gloria

posted January 23, 2007 at 11:48 am


jesse, If one is a new creation, one does not think of one’s self as better than others. Jesus called us to come out of self. Jesus also called us to be inclusive, not exclusive. that was the point of his stories about Samaritans and Syro-Phoenicians and others whom the jews shunned.>



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robstur

posted January 23, 2007 at 1:11 pm


Gloria | 01.23.07 – 6:53 am | Maybe we need to define inclusive vs, exclusive. Inclusive – there is level ground at the cross for everyone. We all have the ability to become ‘children of God’ if we chooses to do so. We should show God’s love and kindness to all who are in need, regardless of their faith. It is by showing God’s love that some will come to faith in Christ. Exclusive – only those that confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead shall be saved from eternal separation from God in heaven. Hindus – Muslims – Atheists I believe will not be in paradise with the faithful. Be blessed… .>



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Donny

posted January 23, 2007 at 1:52 pm


It is the secular humanist that feels so utterly superior to the Christian. This “Jesus loves everybody and EVERYTHING is OK.” Just where is that found in the Gospels? The “sword” Jesus brought clearly was for seperating us and them. Like it or not. Christians are “The Called Out Ones.” Deal with it. Humbly, but, deal with it honestly. Seperating the wheat from the chaff. Dividing the sheep and and the goats. Allowing the weeds to exist with the wheat, only to be seperated at the end . . . The secularist knows he or she is the antagonist towards the Christian. Why lie about that? If there is nothing different between a Christian and a secularist, then there is nothing different between the two. Certainly not something taught in the Gospels. Progressives try so hard to luke warm the faith. Not a good “choice.”>



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Donny

posted January 23, 2007 at 1:53 pm


“Red Letter Christians?” Fundamentalists.>



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jesse

posted January 23, 2007 at 2:52 pm


Gloria, I agree with you that Christians shouldn’t think they are better than the others. But the Bible clearly states that we are better OFF than others. It also makes the ingroup/outgroup distinction again and again. Because McLaren believes people can be “christians” while remaining muslim or hindu, I believe he tends to disregard these teachings.>



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Donny

posted January 23, 2007 at 3:12 pm


McLaren, as a typical Progressive, disregards Jesus. His teachings (Jesus) and those of the New Testament church are discarded for a secular homogenization no different than that of pagan Rome that rejected the Christians then as Progressives do now. In exactly the same way I may add. Wasn’t it said by Romans that Christians were the enemies of the world? My, my, my. What goes around comes around. It would be interesting one day to see a Progressive just come out as what they truly are. They certainly have a different Jesus and a different Gospel. All this beating around the bush only makes them look bad. Why is it that people like McLaren and Wallis, think they can fool Christians? Most of us read a book or two oursleves. And NOT just from Christian book stores. They just can’t fool us for long anyway. Chaff is not tasty.>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 23, 2007 at 3:46 pm


“It would be interesting one day to see a Progressive just come out as what they truly are. They certainly have a different Jesus and a different Gospel.” Well, I’m a “progressive” in the strictest sense of the world yet still blatantly evangelical — what do you say about me? Do I subscribe to a “different gospel”? No one who knows me will tell you I do. This is the problem with you equate religious faith with a particular political ideology, which I refuse to do. Some of the people I associate with are Republican activists and we do talk politics, but the conversations are civil and respectful and we understand where the other is coming from. “There ain’t no good guy/There ain’t no bad guy/There’s only you and me and we just disagree.” — “We Just Disagree,” sung by Dave Mason>



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Anonymous

posted January 23, 2007 at 4:56 pm


“This is the problem with you equate religious faith with a particular political ideology, which I refuse to do.” If only Wallis and McLaren refused this as well!>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 23, 2007 at 5:10 pm


Anonymous — Trust me; they do or would like to. They won’t question someone’s faith because they believe differently, which is why Sojourners came up with the bumper sticker “God is NOT a Republican — or a Democrat” two years ago (I have one on my car). On the other hand, I was at a small group Bible study a few years ago and the leader misrepresented the views of Ron Sider (being a member of Evangelicals for Social Action since the 1980s, I tried to set him straight right then and there), but he continues to believe what he wants to despite my confrontation, which sabotaged the relationship. Thing is, social conservatives who are evangelical Christians barely note that we even exist and even then often only in disparaging terms. Eventually you have to give up and call a spade a spade.>



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chuck

posted January 23, 2007 at 5:22 pm


If your chosen belief structure does not make you know that you are superior to everyone who has a different belief structure then you need to get a new belief structure.>



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Donny

posted January 23, 2007 at 5:34 pm


Rick, You cannot square progressive theology with the New Testament record. What “you guys” do, is to reject what rejects you and come up with an alternative Gospel. take the civil rights for Blacks for example. Great issue to fight for within the framework of the New Testament record. Slave ownership for a Christian would be bizaare seeing that we are the same. BUT, “you guys” sneak in sexual perversion into the mix. Very sneaky, very anti-Christian. No where do “you guys” have even a shred of support for supporting abortion (a sexual freedom) and same-gender marriage (a sexual freedom). the New testament, from Gospel to Jude, rejects “you guys” and what you are trying to do. There are fundamentals of the faith, like the peace issue that “you guys” use to infiltrate decent Churches with, that must be adhered to. BUT, then you slip in perversion and hedonism. Which of course IS the secular world. We Christians come from that world. Why do you even think you can fool us with your peace for perversion doctrine? “You guys” are no different than the secular, godless, world. The one that a Christian is “called out” from. I do not have to apologize for asserting that Progressives have a different religion than the faith delivered only once to the saints. It is a fact. Peace does not mean communism/socialism, gay marriage and abortion. ALL three 100% Progressive doctrines. All three 100% Liberal Democrat platform issues. All three worldy and secular issues. A spade is a spade.>



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Daniel

posted January 23, 2007 at 5:37 pm


This recalls to mind Jesus’ interesting inversion from Mark 9:40: He that is not against us is for us.>



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kevin s.

posted January 23, 2007 at 5:51 pm


“I agree with you that Christians shouldn’t think they are better than the others. But the Bible clearly states that we are better OFF than others.” This is a good way of putting it.>



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Anonymous

posted January 23, 2007 at 5:59 pm


Can a Cuban Communist be a Christian? Might I still be a Christian even if I don’t label myself ‘Christian?” Are there those who call themselves Christians who really aren’t?>



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Carl Copas

posted January 23, 2007 at 6:26 pm


Kevin S. you mentioned Greg Boyd and open theology. I think Boyd is absolutely brilliant, though not sure I understand open theology very well. Are there particular writings of Boyd that you would esp. recommend? Thanks in advance.>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 23, 2007 at 6:44 pm


“Take the civil rights for Blacks for example. Great issue to fight for within the framework of the New Testament record. Slave ownership for a Christian would be bizaare seeing that we are the same. BUT, ‘you guys’ sneak in sexual perversion into the mix. Very sneaky, very anti-Christian. No where do ‘you guys’ have even a shred of support for supporting abortion (a sexual freedom) and same-gender marriage (a sexual freedom). the New testament, from Gospel to Jude, rejects ‘you guys’ and what you are trying to do. Donny — First of all, the same people who opposed gay marriage and abortion also opposed civil rights for blacks, and that’s how the former two got tacked onto the “progressive agenda” in the first place (and BTW, I don’t support them myself). Second, there are also issues surrounding the environment, economic justice and care for “widows and orphans” that also are part of the progressive agenda that we believe are indeed congruent with Scripture. But so-called “conservatives” oppose them because, frankly, they fear losing their authority. Now, you’re trying to lump us all into one pot and saying that “we’re ruining things.” We could very easily say the same about you but would prefer not to.>



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Anonymous

posted January 23, 2007 at 6:51 pm


“Anonymous — Trust me; they do or would like to. They won’t question someone’s faith because they believe differently, which is why Sojourners came up with the bumper sticker “God is NOT a Republican — or a Democrat” two years ago (I have one on my car).” Rick, Wallis and the rest of the progressives on this blog consistently disparage the positions of conservative Christians. Yeah, they made up the bumper sticker you have on your car, and though God may not be aligned with a particular party, Jesus was a social progressive according to Jim Wallis, and if you are not a social progressive, you are not a real follower of Jesus. You said: “Thing is, social conservatives who are evangelical Christians barely note that we even exist and even then often only in disparaging terms.” The exact same could be said for Jim Wallis and this blog. Conservative views are (almost) never taken seriously yet often mocked and dismissed! “Eventually you have to give up and call a spade a spade.” Which is why I consider Jim Wallis the leader of the evangelical left. He denies the label, but a spade is a spade, right?>



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Anonymous

posted January 23, 2007 at 6:53 pm


Second, there are also issues surrounding the environment, economic justice and care for “widows and orphans” that also are part of the progressive agenda that we believe are indeed congruent with Scripture. But so-called “conservatives” oppose them because, frankly, they fear losing their authority. Now, you’re trying to lump us all into one pot and saying that “we’re ruining things.” We could very easily say the same about you but would prefer not to. Though you just did by implying that so-called “conservatives” oppose those things.>



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James

posted January 23, 2007 at 7:02 pm


Donny: The “sword” Jesus brought clearly was for seperating us and them. Like it or not. Christians are “The Called Out Ones.” Donny, I prefer to let God do the separating as you ignore the part of the gospels that talks about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies. Your post reveals a preference for the separatist, militant passages which have been used to justify all sorts of evil done by Christians in the past. If Christianity is to mean anything to me, it will get beyond this “us” versus “them” mentality you seem to “humbly” espouse. If that is what your Jesus and religion is about, then I would want no part of it. If that makes me non-christian so be it. Better a non-christian than what you’re espousing. James>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 23, 2007 at 8:04 pm


“The exact same could be said for Jim Wallis and this blog. Conservative views are (almost) never taken seriously yet often mocked and dismissed!” You know that’s just plain false. The truth is that almost everyone participating on this blog knows conservative positions very well but feel they have the right to critique them, and that’s where we’ve gotten slammed by the conservatives, who in our experience are so thin-skinned they can’t hear that they might be wrong. “Which is why I consider Jim Wallis the leader of the evangelical left. He denies the label, but a spade is a spade, right?” Not exactly. If you read “God’s Politics” you would remember a story about his reconcilation with Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright, with whom he feuded in the 1970s for ideological reasons. The day Bright died Wallis received a check from him for $1,000, Bright adding a note, “I wish I had the means to add at least three more zeros [sic].” That for me was the best part of the book. I attend a church where all those divisions — race, class, ideologies — are being broken down by our common faith in Christ. Would the same happen here, but folks have to admit they exist in the first place.>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 23, 2007 at 8:18 pm


Donny, “The ‘sword’ Jesus brought clearly was for seperating us and them. Like it or not. Christians are ‘The Called Out Ones.’” Don’t take that out of context, however. God called originally Israel out of Egypt for the express purpose of worshipping Him and no other reason; later when He laid down His Law it was to build an alternative community “the way it was supposed to be.” Of course, Israel slipped. The church is to be the same thing. It’s not a matter of “law” or “morality”; we are called to do things and act differently from the rest of the world because doing so glorifies Him. Now, when you start calling people names on this blog you actually give ammunition to those who hate religion in general and Christianity in particular. Because you are acting no differently that the people you criticize.>



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Daniel

posted January 23, 2007 at 9:19 pm


Jesus also said, “Those who live by the sword will surely die by the sword.” Context matters.>



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Daniel

posted January 23, 2007 at 9:21 pm


Sorry, I should have identified that my post above was addressed to Donny, in support of Rick and James. I should have added that the “not peace but a sword” passage is most often interpreted not to be literal but to be a statement about cleaving away at our Egocentric, sinful selves.>



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Anonymous

posted January 23, 2007 at 9:40 pm


“You know that’s just plain false. The truth is that almost everyone participating on this blog knows conservative positions very well but feel they have the right to critique them, and that’s where we’ve gotten slammed by the conservatives, who in our experience are so thin-skinned they can’t hear that they might be wrong.” No, Rick. That’s not “just plain false.” All the progressives on this blog merely think that they know the conservative positions very well, but they frequently attack straw men! It’s you, Rick, who cannot hear that you might be wrong about conservative positions. You, in this very thread, have broad-brushed conservatives to imply that all of us “oppose” environmental health, “economic justice,” and “care for ‘widows and orphans’”! Couldn’t it be that we do care about these things but merely disagree with how to address them? You don’t even consider that! No, you are content to get out your broad brush and paint conservatives according to the failings of a select few of us!>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 23, 2007 at 11:03 pm


“All the progressives on this blog merely think that they know the conservative positions very well, but they frequently attack straw men! It’s you, Rick, who cannot hear that you might be wrong about conservative positions. You, in this very thread, have broad-brushed conservatives to imply that all of us ‘oppose’ environmental health, ‘economic justice,’ and “care for ‘widows and orphans’”!” Only since 2005 have I seen conservatives actively doing so at all, and having dealt directly with the political right since the 1980s, both Christian and secular (and at times being targeted by it), I stand by my comments and will continue to do so unless and until I see serious change. One of the major funding sources for conservatism, mostly secular, actually lives in my city, and several months ago the right-wing newspaper in my city actually slammed a conservative activist and overt Christian for saying that the Bible was “pro-immigrant.” Furthermore, you need to go back and read some history of the conservative movement. Way back in the 1960s activists attempted to forge alliances with business and, later, conservative churches, basically to push “do-gooders” out of power. Over the years they have denounced environmental activists as idolaters, civil rights activists as, among other things, “race-hustling poverty pimps” and those who argue for more political power for the poor as “socialists” — and this still goes on (Jim Wallis probably knows this better than I do). The legacy of modern conservatism is fairly clear to those of us who don’t subscribe to it, and it is up to you, not me, to repudiate it.>



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Anonymous

posted January 24, 2007 at 12:03 am


In other words, as a conservative, I don’t care for the poor until I can prove to you that I do? What a crock!>



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nad2

posted January 24, 2007 at 12:11 am


and here we are back to the point of brian’s post with what purpose furthered other than showing the need for such a post? everyone take a deep breath. as hegel says, “If one says: I feel such and such and so and so, then one has secluded himself in himself. Everyone else has the same right to say: I don t feel it that way. And hence one has retreated from the common soil of understanding.” this forum all to often is a place to signal retreat from our common soil of understanding rather than a place to try to embrace what unites us or least engage in civil discourse on disagreements. true, there are differences in how people see almost every aspect of this faith, to the point that people have suggested we have (at least) two different religions (using the same language very differently), but there is also an immense amount christians of most all stripes have in common. in my personal journey i have swum the great divide from one side to the other, denouncing the opposite side each time, all the time arrogantly believing i knew all the answers and others were simply wrong, and all the time missing innumerable opportunities to find common ground and practice a generous faith in spite of myself and others. it is easier to act uncivilly on a blog because of the mask of anonymity (no matter how much you disclose about yourself, you are still much more anonymous to me than the guy down the street), but we need to remember that we are still speaking directly to other human beings. this is not the sean hannity or randi rhodes(a liberal for those who don’t know) show, it is a christian blog. if you need to vent about something or rail in general terms about a group that is not your own, try hannity or rhodes or some place that is designed for that. you may disagree with the original post or a comment made by someone else, it is inevitable you will, but please bring the better angels of your nature and faith with you when you respond.>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 24, 2007 at 12:24 am


“In other words, as a conservative, I don’t care for the poor until I can prove to you that I do? What a crock!” Didn’t say that. But it’s up to the poor themselves, not their “benefactors,” to determine what they need and not have so-called solutions forced upon them that focus upon mere stopgap charity rather than true Biblical justice. At least “liberals” understand this.>



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Gloria

posted January 24, 2007 at 1:40 pm


robstur and jesse: You reject what Jesus said. Read again the parables of the weeds and the wheat and the sheep and the goats. They say excatly what I am saying. We are to be inclusive , not exclusive. I agree with you about being a red letter Christian. I have a problem with discarding the rest of the Bible. But the rest of the Bible cannot trump what Jesus said.>



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jesse

posted January 24, 2007 at 3:48 pm


Gloria, Not rejecting Jesus’s words at all. In fact, Jesus clearly distinguishes in the wheat and weeds parable between the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one. This is an ingroup/outgroup distinction by any other name. Of course, I’m not saying Christians should separate themselves from unbelievers. Most of my friends are unbelievers and I love them very much. But the Bible also clearly distinguishes between the Christian and unbeliever. Even saying that “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1John 5:12 McLaren tends to gloss over these distinctions (made by Jesus and by John).>



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robstur

posted January 24, 2007 at 4:15 pm


Gloria | 01.24.07 – 8:45 am | I am more of an ‘Inclusive’ person than an ‘Exclusive’. I perfer to look at the Bible as a ‘whole’ and view the OT with NT eyes. I don’t see where the ‘red’ letters conflict with the ‘black’ ones. Blessings. .>



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James

posted January 24, 2007 at 4:56 pm


“But the Bible also clearly distinguishes between the Christian and unbeliever. Even saying that “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1John 5:12 McLaren tends to gloss over these distinctions (made by Jesus and by John).” Jesse, I can see where you’re coming from but I submit to you that even 1 John 5: 2 can be interpreted to be inclusive. What does “having the son” mean? Could it be like Ghandi who had a picture of Jesus amongst his personal belongings and tried to live a non-violent life as best as he could or is it by saying the sinner’s prayer at a Billy Graham crusade and then doing nothing else? I prefer to let God do the separating in his good time. If that makes me less of a christian or not a christian at all in the eyes of some, I can live with that. After all, it’s only God’s opinion of who is a christian or not that counts. Not yours or mine. Peace, James>



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robstur

posted January 24, 2007 at 6:32 pm


James | 01.24.07 – 12:01 pm | “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1John 5:12 – touch – .>



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James

posted January 24, 2007 at 7:01 pm


Robstur, This verse is not self-interpreting. It does not say what “have the Son of God” means. Jesus himself stated that it is not those who call him “Lord, Lord” are his rather those who do the will of his father. I think that what McLaren is getting at is that things are not so quite as black and white as some may think. I agree with him. Instead of arguing about who is saved, why don’t we get about God’s business of loving and helping others and let God take the rest of it. What do you mean by touche? If you mean that that verse settles the point, I don’t see it that way. A signficant number of other Christians don’t see it that way either. Jim>



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robstur

posted January 24, 2007 at 7:21 pm


James | 01.24.07 – 2:06 pm | why don’t we get about God’s business of loving and helping others and let God take the rest of it. this is true – but don’t we have some responsibility as believer and with the command to ‘do the work of an evangelist’ to be some-what discerning about our fellowman and say something when they are in error. Yes – let us remember the ‘speck and the log’ but to just go about ‘loving’ and not verbalizing – are we doing all that God requires of us? If we are to keep our mouths shut – why say anything at all and just let everyone do what ever ‘feels good’ to them. Blessings! .>



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James

posted January 24, 2007 at 8:21 pm


Robstur, If doing the work of an evangelist means getting people to say the magic words “I accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and I repent” and then we feel good about ourselves because we were instrumental in saving another soul, I think that that theology is shallow and weak at best. I don’t want to engage in this debate in this forum. I recognize that your views are held by many if not most evangelicals. I just don’t buy them anymore. I guess I’ve seen far too many “christians” get others to buy into their program only to later ignore them or mistreat them after their fabulous “victory for Christ” in getting another soul saved. I guess that I’m not there anymore. James>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 24, 2007 at 8:31 pm


“If we are to keep our mouths shut — why say anything at all and just let everyone do what ever ‘feels good’ to them.” It’s important to remember the context in which all this occurs. God has always called His people, whether in ancient Israel or the modern church, to live separate lives from the world, not so much physically but psychically, and not to do the same things for the same reasons as everyone else. To wit, where He does call us to enter the “world system” it is to subvert it and to show just how it’s “supposed to be.” Once we do that we’ve solved 90 percent of our problems with evangelism.>



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robstur

posted January 24, 2007 at 9:08 pm


James | 01.24.07 – 3:26 pm | “…say the magic words…” There are no magic words – please. But there comes a time in the faith walk where they come to a realization of who they are and who Christ is in their live. I worked for a well known evangelist for several years and understand ‘decision theology’ and this person asked people to ‘surrender’ their lives or will to an all loving God. That they become God’s Children. The words were not so important as much as the person s heart/soul. Be Blessed. .>



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wayne

posted January 24, 2007 at 9:15 pm


The Apostle Paul before his conversion was doing what felt good to him and Jesus had to stop him. In his mercy he did that through conversion and that conversion was begun with a question, “Why are you persecuting me?”. I think we are allowed to do the same. The problem is that we always seem, like Paul, to be looking for those who we think are morally inferior so we can tell them off, or worse actually persecute for their thoughts and actions. I do not think Jesus had to bring a sword for us to be able to do this, it comes quite naturally. Therefore the meaning of that verse must be something different. Perhaps I made a mistake in the poem. Instead of writing For blind we would rather be, Enlightened men of theology I should have written For blind, we would rather be Enlightened men of theology. If our thinking about each other’s faults only leads us to self righteousness what good is there in being “Reformed” or any thing else? I would rather just be happy to be forgiven and try to convey what that means. I have many problems with all the cultural and sexual realities of today. I see many who are making shipwreck of their lives and hurting others in their wake. I think you or I can stand in front of an abortion clinic and ask “Why are you doing this?” I also think it behooves us to at least in part answer our own question. Why are women aborting their children? Is it just because they don’t care? Why are people so afraid of immigrants? Is it only because they are prejudiced, cultural bigots? Why do people call us self righteous religious fundamentalists? Is it because we are right? Wherever Jesus went the one thing that was always true is sinners knew He loved them. They might also have known he didn’t like what they were doing but they definately knew He loved them. We, His church, have seldom been able to repeat that effect.>



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James

posted January 24, 2007 at 9:40 pm


“…say the magic words…” There are no magic words – please. Robstur: Thank you. Now on to the many evangelicals who reduce it to just that- magic words. “I worked for a well known evangelist for several years and understand ‘decision theology’” Robstur, I am sure you do. No need to be defensive. This is my last post on this. I am not going to convince you and you won’t convince me. But that is okay. We can still be brothers. Peace, James Jim>



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robstur

posted January 24, 2007 at 9:48 pm


wayne | 01.24.07 – 4:20 pm | Some churches and believers have been able to show people that they love them even when we have not agreed with what they were doing. ‘…for while we were yet sinner – Christ died for us.’ Why are people so afraid of immigrants? I don’t think that we are afraid of them – we just want them to come here ‘legally’. The great Cuban Flotilla during the Carter years – Castro dumped a lot of his prisoners on us. Not the ‘white collar’ one the really disgusting ones. Legal Immigration is fine and supported. righteous religious fundamentalists But we are not out there strapping TNT or C4 to our bodies and blowing women and children up with us. It is OK to be ‘righteous’ and ‘religious’ and ‘fundamentalists’ as long as you are not killing people in the process with bombs and AK47′s. Have a great day! .>



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robstur

posted January 24, 2007 at 9:52 pm


James | 01.24.07 – 4:45 pm | We will always be brothers! We are to make a good ‘defense’ for the gospel and should never be ‘offensive’ in our desire to share the good news. I think we are more on the same page – just the terminology is tripping us up a little. Be blessed – always. .>



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James

posted January 25, 2007 at 1:00 am


Robstur: I don’t think that we are afraid of them – we just want them to come here ‘legally’. Ever been to Mexico, Robstur? No work. Abject poverty. Of course they’re going to come here legally or illegally. A father or mother who cannot feed their family in Mexico or many other latin american countries for that matter feel that they have no choice but come here. I wonder what all of us would do given their set of circumstances? Jim>



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robstur

posted January 25, 2007 at 3:08 am


Rick Nowlin | 01.24.07 – 5:47 pm | In many ways that is why 3 of my 4 great grandparents came here to the US. There was no work of future for them in their country of origin. The fourth was Swedish aristocracy. But we came here ‘legally’. Our system can not assimilate everyone – the way things are currently going not sure that any benefits for my children after working their whole lives and I’m counting on my benefits will be diminished greatly. I believe this because Kennedy and Co. will be offering benefits to all the illegal s so to garner the votes and taking that money from me who paid in all my live. We need to do something about the ‘anchor babies’ and what that can and will do to our country. I would rather assist Mexico in developing their economy so that it can support their population. NAFTA was to do some of the – where did the money go? Blessings – .>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 25, 2007 at 5:18 am


“I would rather assist Mexico in developing their economy so that it can support their population. NAFTA was to do some of the – where did the money go?” Where it always goes — to the well-connected.>



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robstur

posted January 25, 2007 at 1:37 pm


Rick Nowlin | 01.25.07 – 12:23 am | So now we the US have to be the guardians of finance for the Mexican people too? Let the Mexicans clean up their own mess in gov’t. Are we (the US) to do something in Darfur and now in Mexico – I can not keep up with everything that the ‘blue’ people deem we need to be involved with. Blessings on you. .>



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James

posted January 25, 2007 at 1:44 pm


Robstur: But we came here ‘legally’. Response: My ancestors too came legally. At the turn of the century people could come here much more easily in a legal manner. Now if a poor Mexican attempts to get a visa to come here legally, he or she is denied the visa. The statement that our ancestors came here legally connotes an attitude of superiority that somehow our grandparents were more virtuous than those who swim across. It is simply untrue. If the door to legal immigration had not been open to our ancestors, I would guess that they would have come illegally. Robstur: I believe this because Kennedy and Co. will be offering benefits to all the illegal s so to garner the votes and taking that money from me who paid in all my live.” The US children of illegal immigrants can get some welfare benefits because they are born here. Otherwise NO public benefits are available to undocumented immigrants. Based on your past posts, I see no love has been lost between you and Senator Kennedy. The fact is that there is broad support across the political spectrum for fair and equitable immigration reform. Based on your past posts, it is evident that you take the scriptures very seriously and literally. Well, what about the verse where it says that you are treat the aliens in your land fairly? Is that trumped by your fear that they will take something away from your children? Love casts out all fear. And regarding NAFTA- It was NOT designed to aid Mexico. It was designed so that there would be free trade between the US, Mexico and Canada. Illegal immigration has greatly increased since NAFTA started. Why? Because now the US can sell its subsidized agricultural goods in Mexico. This has eliminated many jobs in the Mexican agricultural sector so they have come north. Also, do you know what the factories pay in a Mexican worker for a week’s work? $40 US dollars. Wow- go take a Cancun vacation that!- NOT!! You may be saying to yourself that food and shelter is cheaper in Mexico so people can live on that amount of money. I have shopped in Mexico. Food is not cheaper. Shelter is not much cheaper unless live in tin hut hovel. So before you go disparaging Kennedy (an imperfect man like all others) for trying to do something good to help people, maybe you will want to consider the facts that I just gave you. We live in a hard and harsh world. I keep getting this line that we should not judge Bush’s character, just stick to discussing the policy. Then Kennedy does something to help the undocumented workers and oh boy, there’s an ulterior motive there. Well so be it! Maybe there is! But at least he is doing something good for what might be a bad motive. It still is superior to doing something bad for a bad motive, like starting a war for oil! Oh did I disparage Bush’s character in saying that? Yep I did.>



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robstur

posted January 25, 2007 at 1:50 pm


Rick Nowlin | 01.24.07 – 3:36 pm | And this works when you are dealing with rational people that have the ability to live together and support the differences in their community. I believe that this goes on each and everyday in the US and many other countries in the world. The radicals in the Mideast do not and will not support this. Their objective is world domination and they will not listen to the world community. Case in point…the Buddha s that we carved on the side of the mountain. The radicals saw them as offensive and over the objections of almost the entire world – blew them off the mountain and into history. If they can be that insensitive over a couple of statues – you really think that they are going to respect other individuals and their life-styles and religious preferences? In the words of the esteemed theologian, Borat – NOT! (still can’t believe that I saw the stupid movie…) Have a blessed day! .>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 25, 2007 at 2:03 pm


“If they can be that insensitive over a couple of statues – you really think that they are going to respect other individuals and their life-styles and religious preferences?” This should never be the Christian’s concern. We’re supposed to be different from the rest of the world, remember; taking the fight to them as you suggest is giving them exactly what they want. Do you think that Osama bin Laden didn’t know what he was doing when he masterminded 9/11? For an example, just look at ancient Rome. Christians were a minority even among the monotheists of that day and yet they eventually conquered — not by going to war against Rome but by subverting it and watching it slowly disintegrate. Eventually its failure was exposed. See, the problem is that we American Christians are still so tied up in the world’s system that we’re concerned primarily about “our way of life.” But the Constitution is not ultimately responsible for our freedom; Jesus is. Let’s start acting like it and thus show the Islamists just where they’re really headed.>



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robstur

posted January 25, 2007 at 2:29 pm


James | 01.25.07 – 8:49 am | ‘…connotes an attitude of superiority…’ No – I am not superior ‘…NO public benefits are available to undocumented immigrants…’ I do not believe that is the story in CA and there are some on capital hill that are talking about giving them benefits. ‘…has been lost between you and Senator Kennedy…’ Teddy is one piece of work. He has no memory prior to the last babe he bedded and no forward planning other than his next drink. ‘…fair and equitable immigration reform.’ I support immigration reform just maybe a little tighter than some would reform it. ‘…treat the aliens in your land fairly…’ But it does not address residency or offering them citizenship. ‘But at least he is doing something good for what might be a bad motive.’ so it is OK to screw the American people so that you can remain in office – not sure about this one. ‘Oh did I disparage Bush’s character in saying that? Yep I did.’ You can say what you want – you have that right and I can ‘respectfully’ disagree with you. Have a great day. .>



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robstur

posted January 25, 2007 at 7:03 pm


Rick Nowlin | 01.25.07 – 9:08 am | For an example, just look at ancient Rome. But there was a lot more that contributed to the fall of Rome. The oppression of the Christians was done by a gov’t that was corrupt and indifferent to many of its citizens, not just Christians. Here we have a radical fraction of another religion attacking the west. I do not see this as ‘Christianity vs. Islam ; it is more like Mideast fundamentalist radicals attacking the capitalist democracies. You talk about American Christians – what about American Buddhist – Hindus – Atheists. Aren’t you imposing your standards when they don’t want to die or be martyred by the Mideast extremists? Have a great day. .>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 25, 2007 at 8:21 pm


“But there was a lot more that contributed to the fall of Rome. The oppression of the Christians was done by a gov’t that was corrupt and indifferent to many of its citizens, not just Christians.” Granted. But Christianity was the the one force that eventually caused the admittedly already disintegrating Roman culture to expose itself for what it was. And it did so not by fighting Rome directly but by living out the Gospel and showing the world, “We have a better idea.” After over 2,000 years no one has stood against it yet. What then is Islam, in the sight of our God? I’m saying that God will give us the strength to outlast our enemies if He needs to do that. “You talk about American Christians – what about American Buddhist – Hindus – Atheists. Aren’t you imposing your standards when they don’t want to die or be martyred by the Mideast extremists?” By your own admissions they’re not Christians, so in that context they don’t apply to what I’m talking about. Christianity, as you know and I have said, ought to operate on a totally different level from those other religions (which you and I both believe to be false). We should be willing to die for our beliefs, and only in that should we have anything in common with the Islamists. Remember, Christianity is ultimately about God, not this “world.”>



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James

posted January 25, 2007 at 9:39 pm


Robstur: “so it is OK to screw the American people so that you can remain in office – not sure about this one.” I guess that if your view of screwing the American people is letting some poor immigrants live a normal life in this country without having to fear being deported, we don’t agree on much. You didn’t even address the root causes of their coming here- poverty aggravated by NAFTA (at least for Mexicans, aggravated by NAFTA). The public assistance that the right wing has been screaming about is emergency care at hospitals (it kinds of seems unethical to me turn sick and dying people away from a hospital) and public assistance grants where ONLY the US citizen children are on the grant. (Oh those pesky details and facts that get in the way of those conservative slogans and demagoguery!) The media has hyped up this thing about illegal immigrants getting all kind of welfare but rarely enters into details as to how and why. They leave that for the public to figure out. Robstur: “Are we (the US) to do something in Darfur and now in Mexico – I can not keep up with everything that the ‘blue’ people deem we need to be involved with.” Well at least we “blues” (i guess as opposed to “red” Republican people) want to provide humanitarian help and not start an unjustified, unjust war. Robstur:”We should show God’s love and kindness to all who are in need, regardless of their faith. It is by showing God’s love that some will come to faith in Christ.” Commendable statement. Maybe you could apply it to the “least among these”- the undocumented alien who can’t even vote.>



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robstur

posted January 26, 2007 at 2:52 am


James | 01.25.07 – 4:44 pm | of their coming here- poverty aggravated by NAFTA There is poverty all over the world – are we to deal with it by bringing all of them over here and providing them benefits. If that is the case the moment we have the gov’t take over health care we are doomed. We can not solve all the worlds ills by bring them here – we need to encourage their gov’ts to make things happen in their country. (the two biggest industries in Mexico are dealing drugs and Mexicans sending money from the US to families in their country.) Well at least we “blues” (i guess as opposed to “red” Republican people) want to provide humanitarian help and not start an unjustified, unjust war. I believe that most people would like to provide humanitarian help. Just how do you plan on distributing it and paying for it? My concern is that the ‘blue’ talk a good game but fail to deliver in most cases. Once you get the jaw-jacking done – you move on to the next cause celeb and then the next and the next. All the while the people wait and die while you keep talking. ‘…media has hyped up this thing about illegal immigrants getting all kind of welfare but rarely enters into details…’ Oh the details are there. The dem congresswoman that wants to give illegal s a college education – free. (my son in paying $24,000 a year) They are illegal immigrants…OK let leave off the illegal word. They are immigrants – not yet citizens and therefore not entitled to benefits yet. If we had just enforced the laws that were on the books to being with we would not be in this mess. ‘…apply it to the “least among these”-…’ I do but I see no benefit to bring the least of these all to the US. We will never be able to sustain them and then what do we do? Why can’t we assist them in their countries and make life better for them there and in the long run life better for all. It is cheaper to support one of them over in their country than here – so we can do a lot more there than we can here for the same amount of money. Blessings. .>



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robstur

posted January 26, 2007 at 3:00 am


Rick Nowlin | 01.25.07 – 3:26 pm | I would die for one of my family I would risk my life and just in a river to save a person from drowning. I am willing to run into a burning building to save the trapped person on the inside. I am even willing to confront a hi-jacker and attempt to take back the plane so that all might live. I am not willing to stand idly by and let some misguided radical mideast person put a bullet in the back of my head or someone else. I see no where in scripture where we are asked to do this. Have a great day. .>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 26, 2007 at 3:56 am


“I am not willing to stand idly by and let some misguided radical mideast person put a bullet in the back of my head or someone else. I see nowhere in scripture where we are asked to do this.” Fine, be that way. Be advised, however, that that kind of misguided attitude, masked in “self-defense,” represents a self-fulfilling prophecy because that’s exactly what that hypothetical “mideast radical person” wants — because that’s how HE feels. Playing the victim, or a potential one, is no solution.>



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James

posted January 26, 2007 at 8:56 am


Robstur: “My concern is that the ‘blue’ talk a good game but fail to deliver in most cases. Once you get the jaw-jacking done – you move on to the next cause celeb and then the next and the next. All the while the people wait and die while you keep talking.” Good one Rob. You said it all. Nothing further to discuss. “Touche” as you would put it. Don’t bother posting a reply because I won’t respond. “Blessings” as you would say. Jim>



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James

posted January 26, 2007 at 10:58 am


Robstur, My previous post to you was too harsh. Please accept my apologies. Jim>



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robstur

posted January 26, 2007 at 2:10 pm


James | 01.26.07 – 6:03 am | Accepted – but no appology needed. You have never attacked me personally and I believe that we could come to concenous given enough time. Be passionate about what you believe in – it will serve you well in the future. Have a great day. .>



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robstur

posted January 26, 2007 at 2:19 pm


Rick Nowlin | 01.25.07 – 11:01 pm | Playing the victim, or a potential one, is no solution. BUT – I am not the victim. I do not wish to end his life or the lives of others. I believe that HE should be able to live in peace and practice his religion freely. BUT – HE is the one that is attacking others. (not just Christians) HE wants the end of western civilization as WE know it because HE sees it as immoral. (I agree that some of it is – I would like to talk with them about it – HE is more interested in blowing it off the face of the earth) HE desires that Islam be ‘the’ religion of the world and will obtain that goal by any means – even death and terrorism. I desire that all come to the saving knowledge of JC and show them the freedom in the Christian Faith. IF – HE would lay down his weapons – I will never have to take up mine. Have a great day. .>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 26, 2007 at 3:05 pm


“HE desires that Islam be ‘the’ religion of the world and will obtain that goal by any means – even death and terrorism. I desire that all come to the saving knowledge of JC and show them the freedom in the Christian Faith.” Again you miss the point, and in fact you do see yourself as a potential victim. His actions should have nothing to do with your faith — your focus on him necessarily takes the focus off Christ. You are not responsible for what he does but how you respond to it, and if you do so wrongly you sabotage the very faith you say you hold dearly. “Getting him before he gets you” is not only not a Christian way of thinking but it’s also precisely what that hypothetical Muslim terrorist is about.>



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robstur

posted January 26, 2007 at 7:22 pm


Rick Nowlin | 01.26.07 – 10:10 am | ‘…precisely what that hypothetical Muslim terrorist is about.’ hypothetical – not sure that this is the word that I would use. I see nothing ‘hypothetical’ about them. I support your ideas – I just do not read that we are to do nothing in defending those that can not defend themselves or ourselves. You have framed it as Christianity vs. Islam to a certain extent. I believe it is more Islam and the West or the ‘Rest of the world. When God referred to us as ‘sheep’ it was a great example. He is the good shepherd and he protects his flock. David killed the lion and the bear protecting his flock. We should be willing to do the same for we are his representatives here on earth. If we do not protect them – what other option do we or anyone else have but to die or convert to Islam. Be blessed. .>



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Rick Nowlin

posted January 27, 2007 at 12:54 am


“I believe it is more Islam and the West or the ‘Rest of the world.” And therein lies the fatal flaw in your argument. And in truth we’ve seen this before: Last century it was the Masons, then the Catholics, then the Jews, then the Communists, then blacks, then the liberals who were the threat of the day. When does targeting people for defeat end? It sounds to me as though you’re not willing to die for Christ — at least I hope that I am.>



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