God's Politics

God's Politics


Bob Francis: Your Comments on Dobson and Warming

posted by gp_intern

First of all, kudos to those who took the high road this week when commenting on our global warming posts. While there are still occasional exceptions, most of you displayed graciousness and civility, even in disagreement. And if I am not mistaken, I even glimpsed some mild apologies for misunderstandings and mischaracterizations. Maybe we really are learning from one another after all! And I wasn’t the only one to notice:

The best compliment may have come from TTT:

I am not a Christian and some of my beliefs are at odds with what I expect most of the evangelicals in this thread believe. However, I am very happy to see the open and straightforward way in which this issue is being discussed here, and how so far this thread has been almost totally free from projecting evil or dishonest motives onto others–which is typically where Internet discussions go downhill. You have handled it much better than most secular boards I have visited.

In the end, it is refreshing to see that most (if not all) seem to readily concede that the environment IS a matter of concern for Christians, regardless of political leanings. Hopefully this will counter Dobson’s concern that Cizik is not representative of evangelicals in his attention to the environment. Don wrote:

I would argue that caring for creation is part of defending human dignity, care for the poor, and other similar actions. Environmental degradation destroys human dignity and harms the poor more than it does the wealthy.

Your comments also reveal that even if people agree on the diagnosis, there will still be vast differences in how to address the problem. Whether the issue is poverty or the environment, well-meaning Christians differ on solutions. As Elmo concisely states:

Note that there is no one, conservative or otherwise, on this comment page saying we have no responsibility to the environment, the poor, or the oppressed. We all know that we do. We just have different ideas about how to go about it.

(For those interested in the role of government, be sure to check out articles on that topic in the April issue of Sojourners magazine.)

But we mustn’t lose focus on what prompted this week-long debate, namely the letter from Dobson and company criticizing Rich Cizik for his leadership on “creation care.” I think the motivations behind this letter are dubious at best and still require investigation. It is one thing to call for an open debate or discussion on an issue of concern, but it is quite another to call an environmental champion like Cizik “divisive and dangerous” and essentially demand he change or be fired. What is Dobson not telling us? Maybe he fears that his own accusations are true and that he no longer speaks as for all evangelicals as he once did. Christy proposes an appealing alternative to the wording of Dobson’s letter:

I would consider it refreshing and a step toward opening up some of the deep seated fundamentalist narrowmindedness [sic] if Dobson and Falwell and others like them could even bring themselves to say something like: While it is not part of the agenda of Focus on the Family or Liberty University to support issues concerning the environment, we recognize that God has called us to do his work by giving each of us a unique set of gifts and interests. If God has laid a heavy burden on the hearts of our Christian brothers and sisters at the NAE to speak out on the issue of the environment, then we support them with our prayers in that calling.

Bob Francis is the Policy and Organizing Assistant for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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jesse

posted March 9, 2007 at 8:42 pm


Your comments also reveal that even if people agree on the diagnosis, there will still be vast differences in how to address the problem. Whether the issue is poverty or the environment, well-meaning Christians differ on solutions. –Couldn’t agree more with you, Bob. If only your colleagues at Sojo shared this view and refrained from attacking the motives and faith of all who disagreed with them on policy issues. Doing so is Wallis’s chief M.O.In the end, it is refreshing to see that most (if not all) seem to readily concede that the environment IS a matter of concern for Christians, regardless of political leanings. Hopefully this will counter Dobson s concern that Cizik is not representative of evangelicals in his attention to the environment. –This, of course, is a mischaracterization of Dobson’s letter, which was not opposed to “creation care”, but simply stated that the leader of 30,000,000 evangelicals should avoid taking public policy stances that deeply divide the organization he represents. Nothing in the letter argued against the Christian responsibility to take care of the environment. Again, there are just policy differences here which Dobson acknowledges but Wallis and others arrogantly attribute to being either “pro- or anti-environment.” It’s hard for any meaningful dialogue to occur when you start out with this framing. That Dobson has been much more congenial and respectful than Wallis to those with whom he disagrees is telling.



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Will H.

posted March 9, 2007 at 9:02 pm


Bob, I totally agree with you about the civility of this board. It is nice to see a discussion that is not filled with hate, and disunity. I disagree a lot with a few people who post here quite often, but everyone tends to keep it civil. Tony Campolo used to have a T.V. show where he would discuss political issues with another guy who was a conservative. It was on awhile ago so I am shady on the details, but the cool thing about that show was when they talked about Jesus they would agree on almost everything. When they talked about politics they disagreed on almost everything. It was a good model for me to see as a young Christian of agreeing to disagree about issues. This board has been like that in the past. I have disagreed many times with Kevin S. but we had a great discussion about verse another time. That experience reminded me of Campolo’s show.



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D4P

posted March 10, 2007 at 12:03 am


the leader of 30,000,000 evangelicals should avoid taking public policy stances that deeply divide the organization he represents Hmmm…Would Dobson followers really be divided if Dobson were to take a public policy stance on climate change? Aren’t they generally of one mind on this issue?



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kevin s.

posted March 10, 2007 at 1:01 am


“Hmmm…Would Dobson followers really be divided if Dobson were to take a public policy stance on climate change? Aren’t they generally of one mind on this issue?” The 30,000,000 people refer to the NAE. I think there would be tremendous division. People are all over the place on what to do about global warming.



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D4P

posted March 10, 2007 at 1:56 am


If the possibility of division should be enough to suggest that Christian leaders not take policy positions, why is it OK for them to take positions on issues such as abortion and gay marriage? Doesn’t Dobson take positions on these issues?



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Joseph Tracy

posted March 10, 2007 at 6:01 am


So glad to see we’re discussing the death of a planet civilly. I’m sure the Good Lord in Heaven is smiling today. I hope you’re counting whose naughty and nice.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 10, 2007 at 2:41 pm


Some of the characterisations that Dobson uses are unfortunate, and yes I firmly believe that the Church (you and I and all the rest) could do a much better job as stewards of this planet. At the same time, most of the responses made to Dobson’s letter on this website have been just as guilty of jingoism as the conservative elements of the church have been.This debate over global warming, in spite of all the rhetoric, is far from over. The evidence presented on either side of the debate are far from conclusive. The steps we take today, without having all the information we need, could very well be disasterous environmnentally and economically for many generations to come.It is perhaps much easier for us in here in USAmerica (or Europe) to prescribe remedies for much of the world’s ills, now that we have the reserves of material abundance to “sacrifice”.



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kevin s.

posted March 10, 2007 at 9:12 pm


“If the possibility of division should be enough to suggest that Christian leaders not take policy positions, why is it OK for them to take positions on issues such as abortion and gay marriage? Doesn’t Dobson take positions on these issues?” As I’ve said before, I question the merits of having a VP of governmental affiars representing a church body for this reason. That said, within the NAE, there is far more consensus on the issues you mention.



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Pacific231

posted March 11, 2007 at 6:51 am


Dobson is too busy writing a book on child rearing to debate Jim Wallis (“cough cough *cow pucky* cough”): http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/la-na-evangelicals10mar10,1,5976802.story?page=1&ctrack=1&cset=true&coll=la-news-politics-national A Focus on the Family vice president, Tom Minnery, said he would be happy to take up that debate. Dobson himself, Minnery said, is busy writing a book on child rearing. Well, I’m sure that book will be a humdinger of a page turner (IIRC Dobson recommends physical punishment of children…I suppose this new book will put those feel-good librul types like Dr. T. Berry Brazelton in their place [end sarcasm]). And, no thanks, Tom Minnery. We don’t want the peon in charge as a stand-in. Ask your boss to pull himself away from his useless book, grow a pair and publicly debate Jim Wallis.



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kevin s.

posted March 11, 2007 at 9:00 pm


“IIRC Dobson recommends physical punishment of children..” IIRC, so does the Bible.



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Don

posted March 11, 2007 at 11:36 pm


FYI: The Dobson letter made Newsweek: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17553246/site/newsweek/from/RS.4/ Also, an interesting article on the projections of global warming. Note that the scientists think that changes are happening faster than predicted, and that the poor will be disproportionally effected. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17554963/ Peace,



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Ayla

posted March 12, 2007 at 12:35 am


Where does the Bible advocate the physical punishment of children?The “spare the rod and spoil the child” text has constantly been mis-interpreted as advocating physical punishment whereas “thy rod and staff comfort me” uses the imagery of the rod in a warm positive way.



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Pacific231

posted March 12, 2007 at 4:00 am


Kevin S.: The OT also proscribes stonings and killing in certain situations. Thanks for sharing. Now, back to the topic at hand: Dobson carted out his deputy peon to answer Wallis’ challenge to a debate. To anyone who buys his toadie’s excuse that he’s too busy writing a banal preach to the choir book on why Jesus wants you to apply physical punishment on your kids, have I got some dot-com stocks for you!



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kevin s.

posted March 12, 2007 at 4:33 am


“Kevin S.: The OT also proscribes stonings and killing in certain situations. Thanks for sharing.” Oh, well that ends that debate, doesn’t it?



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Don

posted March 12, 2007 at 12:48 pm


NBC posted a video clip of their report on the evangelical global warming debate. javascript:msnvDwd(’00’,’b5b6afb3-46fb-45d4-bdea-45070c2de9ea’,’us’,’Source_Nightly News’,’c24′,’msnbc’,”,’17569024′,’Global warming becomes wedge for evangelicals’)



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Don

posted March 12, 2007 at 12:51 pm


Well, It doesn’t appear that the “link” I posted above will take anyone there. Try this. Go to: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ Then find the link under “NBC News Highlights.”



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carl copas

posted March 12, 2007 at 8:16 pm


What does “IIRC” stand for? Thanks in advance.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 12, 2007 at 9:18 pm


Ayla, “Where does the Bible advocate the physical punishment of children?” Leviticus tells us to put disobedient children to DEATH. A bit harsh, but punishment nonetheless. If you didn’t know that, you’re gonna get leabelled ‘selective’ at the very least. But thanx 4 askin’.



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kevin s.

posted March 12, 2007 at 10:29 pm


“What does “IIRC” stand for? Thanks in advance.” If I Recall Correctly



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Mark P

posted March 13, 2007 at 1:23 am


Oh my. The rod. The rod is ABSOLUTELY a disciplinary image, and the in passage in question is clearly a reference to physical corporal punishment. Anything else is wishful thinking (Biblical support soon). One thing to first note is that the rod and the staff in Psalm 23 are not synonymous and would create two different images in the Jesus mind: (a) The rod is an image rebuke, which keeps you in line. I’d rather the rod of my Father than the fires of hell, eh? An INCREDIBLE comfort to know that Father God has promised to keep me in line, even though it hurts. The loving and incredibly harsh reproof of God is an amazing blessing. This is the rod, as opposed to the staff (b) The staff is a defensive tool against [wild animals, etc], and thus the protection against enemies. Another comfort from exterior danger. There is a huge amount of Scriptural support for the image of a disciplinary rod and virtually none (except wishful thinking) for yours… try to keep up: 2 Samuel 7:14-15 (God’s covenant with David): “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.” Job 9: 32-34 (Job is overcome by the direct proximity of God): For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, That we may go to court together. There is no umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both. Let Him remove His rod from me, And let not dread of Him terrify me.Job 21:7-9 (Job bemoans his own state in light of God not punishing the wicked yet [later clarifying that punishment will happen): “Why do the wicked still live, Continue on, also become very powerful? Their descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes, Their houses are safe from fear, And the rod of God is not on them.Psalm 2:8-10 (prophecy; God speaking to Christ):Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware. Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.Psalm 89:29-33 (the Psalmist version of God s covenant with David): So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven. If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments, If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.



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Mark P

posted March 13, 2007 at 1:24 am


Part 2 (it gets even better!) Proverbs 10:13-14 On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding. Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.Proverbs 13:24 (only a mind decided in advance could possibly see this as anything but discipline, and I don t think the rod is a metaphor): He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.The best for last, the undeniable, THE KICKER: Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.



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Dave B.

posted March 13, 2007 at 7:00 pm


It’s funny how the Liberal “Evangelicals” always find that the non-believers like TTT are the voice of reason on almost any matter. Did Bob Francis take the time and care to mention to TTT that, until he excepts Christ as his Savior, Global Warming is the least of his worries. You see, that’s what Evangelicals do. Or is Francis more concerned about self promotion and appeasement to the Hollywood crowd like Jim Wallis.



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Another nonymous

posted March 13, 2007 at 8:44 pm


I am struck (pun perhaps intended) by the almost gleeful eagerness of some contributors to this thread to establish that punishing your children physically is required by a careful reading of the Bible. Is it being disloyal to the Old Testament to read the word “rod” differently in light of Jesus’s teachings and example? I hope not, because I’m an orthodox Christian and I would never consider striking my children with a physical rod, any more than I would consider backing down on my responsibility to discipline them in more creative ways. This may seem like a distraction from the main discussion here, but maybe it isn’t. Finding creative ways to care for Creation is what we’re talking about.



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Mark P

posted March 14, 2007 at 1:02 am


“I am struck (pun perhaps intended) by the almost gleeful eagerness of some contributors to this thread to establish that punishing your children physically is required by a careful reading of the Bible.” -I’m gleeful to establish a proper exegesis rather than allowing a blatant “I wish it was this way” twisting of Scripture stand. “Is it being disloyal to the Old Testament to read the word “rod” differently in light of Jesus’s teachings and example?” -Could you relate some passages where Christ could be taken to be saying, “Don’t use physical punishment with your children”? -I don’t recall Him having kids outside the Gospel of (Thomas?Judas?), so I’m not sure He offered a parenting example. He is the Son after all. -And yes, it is wrong to massively alter the original meaning to fit something you’re more comfortable with. -Unfortunately, Biblical teaching is clear on the matter and there is no valid interpretation to support the reinterpretation of those passages. -A Biblical parent will, upon occasion, employ corporal punishment. I believe the strong move away from it reflects two things: 1. How incredibly unpleasant it is to inflict pain on people you love and cherish. 2. A loss in true leadership. True love and Scripture requires the parent to sometimes do things that will cause pain for their child, because we know that pain is far from the worst possibility.



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Another nonymous

posted March 14, 2007 at 1:32 am


Mark – Yes, it’s incredibly unpleasant to inflict pain on people you love and cherish. It’s also unChristian. If you don’t understand that, I’m afraid there’s nothing for us to discuss.



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Payshun

posted March 14, 2007 at 1:57 am


Mark – Yes, it’s incredibly unpleasant to inflict pain on people you love and cherish. It’s also unChristian. If you don’t understand that, I’m afraid there’s nothing for us to discuss. Another nonymous pmUnfortunately I have to disagree w/ this sentiment and it has nothing to do w/ sadism. I think of Job and the horror of that book, I think of the prophets and their suffering and other mystics that suffered and I have come to the conclusion that suffering is necessary for growth. Is it heinous? Sure, it is wrong and should not be there, yah that’s true too. But it really does depend on how the person responds to it. p



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Another nonymous

posted March 14, 2007 at 2:23 am


Of course everybody suffers; that’s a given. It’s one thing, though, to respond spiritually to the suffering in your own life, and it’s quite another to inflict physical pain on others: especially your own children. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done things to discipline my children that they haven’t liked. There is simply no need, though, to defend (or proof-text) a reading of the New Testament as commending non-violence. That reading is well-established and has been around since the very earliest days of Christianity. The burden has always been on those, like Luther, who have sought to reconcile the use of violence with Christian faith. Luther’s analogy to the doctor who removes a limb to save the patient’s life at least makes sense. A literal reading of the Old Testament “rod” texts doesn’t make sense to me, especially in view of the fact, already pointed out by somebody here, that the OT commands that disobedient children be killed. If saying that I’m not about to stone my children to death amounts to altering the original meaning to fit something I’m more comfortable with, I plead guilty. I also have no choice.



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Mark P

posted March 14, 2007 at 3:29 am


Another nonymous, “Yes, it’s incredibly unpleasant to inflict pain on people you love and cherish. It’s also unChristian. If you don’t understand that, I’m afraid there’s nothing for us to discuss.” -I’m afraid you’ve bought into the completely false Eastern idea that pain is the worst possible thing. Have you ever had to tell someone the truth when you knew that doing so would be very painful for them? Apparently that’s a sin. “That doesn’t mean I haven’t done things to discipline my children that they haven’t liked.” -And that isn’t inflicting pain? “There is simply no need, though, to defend (or proof-text) a reading of the New Testament as commending non-violence” -There is a need to defend a reading that states that any sort of physical violence is the worst possible option in any given situation. Obviously, the New Testament recommends a non-violent course. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.” But it doesn’t mean non-violence at all costs — that is a presumption not based on Scripture. “That reading is well-established” -Your take on that reading, however, is absolutely not a given. You can’t simply claim a massively controversial position without any defense. “A literal reading of the Old Testament “rod” texts doesn’t make sense to me, especially in view of the fact, already pointed out by somebody here, that the OT commands that disobedient children be killed.” -No, it demands that obstinately rebellious children be killed, for starters. And that was a literal command, yes? So, rather than ASSUMING that it is irrelevant, the burden is to prove WHY the text is no longer relevant. At one point in time, God LITERALLY commanded that children be put to death. If you’re going to say that is no longer in force, you have to make the argument with Biblical support. I FIRMLY believe that THAT argument can be made; yours (deciding arbitrarily that a CLEARLY literal text is metaphorical) has no argument. “If saying that I’m not about to stone my children to death amounts to altering the original meaning to fit something I’m more comfortable with, I plead guilty.” -Again, there is a good argument to be made that this command of the law NO LONGER condemns us (note that it’s not that the law passed away ["not one jot or tittle" after all], but that by the blood of Christ we no longer stand condemned by it) and we are no longer compelled. I don’t believe that the texts about child-rearing have changed. I gave you the exegesis; I gave you loads of Scriptural support. You rejected it because you’ve decided inflicting pain is the worst possible option in any situation. Until you can prove otherwise, you seem pretty guilty of an arbitrary, selective reading of Scripture.



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Another nonymous

posted March 14, 2007 at 4:42 am


Mark – And isn’t it arbitrary simply to ignore all those OT texts that talk about beating swords into plowshares, lions lying down with lambs, etc? Isn’t it arbitrary to say that we are no longer condemned and then insist that we live under parenting rules that were formulated before that condemnation was removed? Yes, you gave me lots of Scripture. I’m trying to resist the temptation to proof-text you back, but if you want to talk about exegesis, please remember that it involves going beyond quoting texts and assumes that you are interpreting them as well. I read your determination to find scriptural support for physical discipline as a highly selective interpretation of certain highly specific texts. I admit that I’m also reading selectively. I don’t think either of us is going to convince the other. And I’m sorry if that “unChristian” comment was a bit over the edge, but frankly, I was mad. Now that I’ve calmed down, I’m willing to call a truce. I acknowledge that you’re writing in good faith, have agonized over these issues, and believe fervently in what you are advocating. Will you acknowledge the same about me, even though I read the same texts and come to different conclusions? And, to redirect things back to the original topic, is it possible that those who see Wallis, McLaren et al. as extremists on global warming (and other issues) can acknowledge this as well? These are not johnny-come-latelys who are trying to sidetrack Christianity for a half-baked agenda whose implications they haven’t thought through. They are responding in good faith to a situation that they believe challenges us in unprecedented ways.



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Mark P

posted March 14, 2007 at 6:20 am


“And isn’t it arbitrary simply to ignore all those OT texts that talk about beating swords into plowshares, lions lying down with lambs, etc?” -What does this have to do with corporal punishment? “Isn’t it arbitrary to say that we are no longer condemned and then insist that we live under parenting rules that were formulated before that condemnation was removed?” -Again, it’s your burden to argue why that parenting admonition should change. Remember that it had nothing to do with the old law (these aren’t law texts, so the concept of not living under the condemnation of the old law is irrelevant to this matter). “if you want to talk about exegesis, please remember that it involves going beyond quoting texts and assumes that you are interpreting them as well.” -Yes. And I’m interested to find out exactly which interpretation means that “Do not hold back discipline from the child; although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol” doesn’t advise corporal punishment. It would be an interesting exegesis. “I read your determination to find scriptural support for physical discipline as a highly selective interpretation of certain highly specific texts.” -I selected ten texts that dealt with the rod in a manner appropriate to “spare the rod” context. If you’d like to provide other Scriptures regarding the rod to prove my selectivity, be my guest. I honestly don’t believe that there is any Scripture that creates any serious questions about whether the “spare the rod” statement refers to physical punishment. “Will you acknowledge the same about me” -I believe that you have done so regarding your non-violent stance, and I respect that. I’ve read Shane Claiborne’s “The Irresistible Revolution,” and he makes a strong case for pacifism. However, it does not seem to me in this specific issue (the rod and corporal punishment for children) that your position has much ground. I don’t mean that as a jerk thing; I just don’t see any Scriptural backing for it, and I don’t think that this has to do with selective reading or particular interpretation. It’s just one of those things that I don’t think you can avoid, Biblically. -I will acknowledge that my knowledge is limited and generally little, so I should say that it is very possible I am missing something, but as it seems extremely clear to me in what I do know, I would like to see a counter-argument. Feel free to refer me to [book/website/article/whatever] if you have one easily on hand. -I do believe that Wallis/McLaren/et al are responding genuinely, and are certainly not idiots. However, I don’t think it is possible for any human, at least at this point, to grasp the implications of some of the proposed policies. It’s nothing against them…



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Another nonymous

posted March 14, 2007 at 6:45 am


“And isn’t it arbitrary simply to ignore all those OT texts that talk about beating swords into plowshares, lions lying down with lambs, etc?” -What does this have to do with corporal punishment? Well, if you understand a sword as roughly analogous to a rod, only sharper, then the vision of a world where such instruments no longer need to be used applies to both. I find it inspiring: much more so than “you shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.” But since you asked, please read “Ten Reasons I Can’t Spank, a Catholic Counselor’s Critical Examination of Corporal Punishment” by Gregory K. Popcak at http://www.nospank.net/popcak.htm. I think you’ll find just about every one of the issues you raised addressed.



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Mark P

posted March 14, 2007 at 2:43 pm


“Well, if you understand a sword as roughly analogous to a rod, only sharper, then the vision of a world where such instruments no longer need to be used applies to both.” -It’s not analogous at all — or, at least, no more so than the staff and rod… they are distinctly different images implying distinctly different things. The rod is a tool of discipline generally (though not always) depicting an image of bringing back to a right state. The sword is a cutting tool, and generally the recipients are enemies rather than loved ones (though the recipients of the rod are sometimes enemies too). -Significantly, the sword most often implies violence, division, and discord, while the rod implies maintenance of discipline and order. -I will read your article sometime. I’m leaving for Europe today and will not be back until the 26th, so I’m not sure I’ll get to it before then…. So look for a post in about a week and a half, if I don’t get to it before :) “I find it inspiring” -I find the image of a God who would rather inflict pain for the moment than see my soul rot very inspiring. I thank God for His violent grace, and His example of what it looks like to be a loving Father.



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jerry

posted March 14, 2007 at 6:23 pm


isn’t it interesting that the wordsmiths have turned francis’ comments into a rehash of child disipline. and isn’t it interesting that francis has spun his comments into his support of global warming. sojo is soooooo liberal leaning that all things MUST come up politically correct and there is practically no room for differing views. what exactly is this call to renewal?



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 14, 2007 at 8:44 pm


Another nonymous, “some contributors to this thread … establish that punishing your children physically is required by a careful reading of the Bible” Not a “careful” reading. A LITERAL reading. “Is it being disloyal to the Old Testament to read the word “rod” differently” Yes it IS, if one is a Biblical literalist. And they are legion, apparently. Seems they’ve never ever heard of a metaphor.



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Another nonymous

posted March 15, 2007 at 1:52 am


Curiouser – You’re right, of course. And if anyone else is still reading this, here are some hard facts, courtesy of the Popcak article I cited earlier. Children who are spanked are more likely than other children to engage in oppositioinal behaviors and violence, and to bully others. Children who are spanked are less likely to be able to say no to drugs and sex. Children who are spanked are less likely to take healthy and appropriate risks, yet more likely to take inappropriate risks and to end up in abusive marriages. Adults who wre spanked as children are more likely than others to reject the religion of their parents. All of these conclusions are well documented. It doesn’t sound like that literal rod is saving many souls. Of course, it’s easy to challenge these conclusions or just refuse to believe in them. I’m more interested to know if there are any people who believe in the literal rod who would be willing to stipulate, hypothetically, the validity of these results, and tell me if this would make any difference in their openness to a metaphorical interpretation.



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John Modra

posted March 24, 2007 at 5:46 am


On differing opinions amongst christains . As an active scientist planner , effective landuse change agent and keen christian, I will take Sojourners position of stewardship and environment more seriuosly when they show more respect, in their publications for those who “study to show themselves approved” on those subjects . Blurring the lines between disciplines of the mind is not true discipleship- in my book :( productionecologists.blogspot.com )



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When I tell people that I work on immigration reform, they usually laugh or say, "way to pick an easy topic." Everyday it feels like there is more fear, more hate. Raids are picking up in Nevada, California, and New York. A number of senators who supported comprehensive reform only a few months ago

posted 12:30:52pm Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Audio: Jim Wallis on "Value Voters" on The Tavis Smiley Show
Last week Jim was on The Tavis Smiley Show and talked about how the changing political landscape will affect the upcoming '08 election. Jim and Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, debated and discussed both the impact of "value voters" on the election and what those values entail. + Down

posted 10:11:56am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Verse of the Day: 'peace to the far and the near'
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss u

posted 9:35:01am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Daily News Digest (by Duane Shank)
the latest news on Mideast, Iran, Romney-Religious right, Blog action day, Turkey, SCHIP, Iran, Aids-Africa, India, Budget, Brownback-slavery apology, Canada, and selected op-eds. Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail » Blog action day. Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green

posted 9:31:25am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »




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