The New Christians

The New Christians


Ending Christian Euphemisms: A Challenge

posted by Tony Jones

According to Wikipedia,

A euphemism is a substitution of an agreeable or less
offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest
something unpleasant to the listener, or in the case of Doublespeak,
to make it less troublesome for the speaker. The deployment of
euphemisms is a central aspect within the public application of political correctness.

It also may be a substitution of a description of something or
someone rather than the name, to avoid revealing secret, holy, or
sacred names to the uninitiated, or to obscure the identity of the
subject of a conversation from potential eavesdroppers. Some euphemisms
are intended to amuse.

I think that Christians, in our desire not to offend (either God or one another), are more heavily reliant upon euphemisms than many other people in our society.  And yet euphemisms don’t serve us well.  They push us toward at least convoluted communication, and at worst passive-aggressive communication.  They also tend toward “insider speak,” which works against our call to be missional.

So, please, help me stamp out Christian euphemisms by posting your (least) favorites in the comments below, and I’ll start posting them.

Only YOU can stop Christian euphemism!



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Rob

posted October 7, 2009 at 8:17 am


What I call the “God card”. When someone is seeking advice about something, and they hear something they don’t want to hear or receive from you, they pull the “God card”….”Well, God told me to do thus and so, so….”. How can you argue with that??
Another one….”we’ll have to agree to disagree”. Usually means I don’t feel like engaging with you and seeing where this could lead(one or both of us changing our views).



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Mike Stavlund

posted October 7, 2009 at 9:07 am


“the man upstairs”
or
“the big guy upstairs”



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Josh Linton

posted October 7, 2009 at 9:22 am


I have recently thought about my use of “fundamentalist” when I simply mean “jerk.” I know their is a place for the label of fundamentalist but often I’ve used it as a replacement for a person who manipulates and oppresses people with an ignorant understanding of Scripture… a jerk.
You asked.



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brgulker

posted October 7, 2009 at 9:29 am


“I’ll be praying for you…”
1) (If said to another Christian) Sounds like a tough situation, but since I don’t want to really help, I’ll offer some hollow words of comfort.
2) (If said to a non-Christian) I don’t really understand you or why you think what you think or believe what you believe, and since I don’t really want to bother trying, I’ll offer some hollow words of patronization.



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KC

posted October 7, 2009 at 10:10 am


How about: “When I get to heaven…”



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Ann

posted October 7, 2009 at 10:35 am


“It’s God’s will”



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nathan

posted October 7, 2009 at 11:35 am


a.
“annointed” when what is really meant is “I really, really like that.”
or
b.
“unbiblical” when what the situation really is is “I really, really DON’T like that” OR “I disagree” OR “Your words challenge my deepest held idolatries posing as genuine Christian faith”.



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Larry

posted October 7, 2009 at 12:02 pm


How about the various ways we speak of Hell, in an attempt to hide its true nature and what it reveals about the nature of God and Christianity. Some of the ways of speaking of Hell make it sound like a tropical resort!



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Blake Huggins

posted October 7, 2009 at 1:07 pm


Well, I particularly detest how Romans 8:28 has been euphemized and is now tantamount to saying “Just trust in the Lord.” Which means what? Hope that no matter what someone out there is amorally (it has to be, right?) controlling everything so we don’t have to do anything ourselves? Lame!



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Chris Enstad

posted October 7, 2009 at 2:21 pm


“The Lord laid it on my heart…”



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angie

posted October 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm


Well, I am currently looking for a youth ministry job.
And I *love* the rejection letters I get that say they have not chosen me for the next round, but then they say something about “God is the one that ultimately chooses, so it is not decided until they hire someone.” Just tell me I’m not a fit! Don’t try to temper it!
I see this is a lot of areas of live. people doing something (usually something that will disappoint the other party) and then playing the God card, not being straight, and pinning it on God.



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Lainie Petersen

posted October 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm


The word “just”, as in “Lord, we just come to you in prayer. . .” or “Lord, we just ask. . .”. I think that it is often used as a buffer between ourselves and our requests, a “minimizer” if you will, of our needs/desires. It’s “just” not transparent.



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panthera

posted October 7, 2009 at 4:25 pm


‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ is a euphemism for: I hate you and I hope God sends you straight to hell.
‘No, I don’t hate gays. I love you’ is a euphemism for: If I could, I would torture you to death and I hope God sends you to hell.
‘I will pray for you that God will open your eyes to your sins’ is a euphemism for: I will pray to God that He might send you to eternal damnation or at least smite you with Aids.
‘Gays who are abstinent are welcome in our church’ is a euphemism for: We get to look down upon you for being a filthy sinner and we get to enjoy feeling better than you because we know that God considers homosexuality the worst sin of all.
‘But gays can marry, they just can’t marry each other’ and ‘There is no constitutionally guaranteed right to marriage’ are euphemisms for: I reject the separation of church and state, this country should be a monotheistic dictatorship, that is a Southern Baptist or Mormon or Opus Dei run dictatorship.
‘Gays can not be Christian’ is a euphemism for: If I recognized your status as a Christian, I would have to deal with my own sinful nature, so I, not God, get to decide who is a Christian and who is not.
‘Pray the gay away’ is a euphemism for: I cherry pick the natural sciences and only believe what’s convenient for me to believe.
‘Gays are just in rebellion against God’ is a euphemism for: This why it is OK to torture you homosexuals. Literally.
‘Defense of Marriage’ is a euphemism for: Like all good, upstanding Republicans, I like to have sex with cheap hookers and good looking men’ but my wife must never know.
‘Evangelical or fundamentalist or literalistic or conservative Christian’ is a euphemism for: hate-filled person who wishes the Nazis had succeeded, but since they didn’t are giving it their best Bob Jones try.
I can’t think of any other minority groups in 21st century America which are treated as sub-humans as are gays and the transgender .



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kevin s.

posted October 7, 2009 at 5:54 pm


Social Justice, which simply means advocating the Democratic party platform.
Missional, which means, I dunno, good, I guess.
Narrative, which usually simply refers to ones own interpretation of verses.
Testimony, which refers to a story, preferably involving sex and drugs, about a person’s life up until the moment he or she has become a Christian.
Authentic. Authentic people are usually self loathing, or full of crap. Really authentic people are never described as authentic.
Intellectually compelling. Meaning something I agree with.



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nathan

posted October 7, 2009 at 7:37 pm


“postmodern” as a pejorative…usually wielded in the hands of people with a third-grade understanding of the word or working on whatever their pastor has told them it means…nevermind said pastor has never picked up and read any of the work by “postmodern” thinkers and therefore has NO GRASP of what the postmodern project was concerned with/trying to avoid in the abuses of modernism.



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nathan

posted October 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm


“Social Justice” as a pejorative wherein it’s points of congruence with Democratic party are used as an excuse to keep ignoring what is regularly ignored/lived with by a christian culture overwhelmingly in bed with that “other party”.
“Justice” addendum:
Pitting Social Justice against “Divine Justice” (as done on a notorious group blog that embodies some of the worst things the “christian” world has to offer).
As if it’s a given that a reasoned theological position on “social justice” somehow is contrary to God’s heart demonstrated throughout the Scriptures…precisely because it will, at certain points, share some similarities with a political party you don’t like.
“missional” as some sort of ambiguous term and therefore problematic when there is a clear ton of info/work done on the term out there by people who really care about the Gospel.
“narrative” (see missional), there’s a ton of serious theological reflection on the texts that take the Bible seriously that deploy a “narrative hermeneutic”.



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panthera

posted October 7, 2009 at 8:44 pm


‘God said it, the Bible wrote it, I believe it’ euphemism for: I have cherry-picked the Bible until I found a verse that supports the view I want it to.
‘Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’ euphemism for: I am too intellectually lazy to consider the question: If this creation story is to be taken literally, where did the others come from?
‘David and Jonathon were just friends, look – they even traded clothes’ euphemism for: I only read the Bible literally when it agrees with my world view, otherwise I interpret to make it suit my needs.
‘Gays are going straight to hell, it says so in the Bible’ euphemism for: I’m afraid that long-haired, sandal-wearing Jewish Rabi might have meant it when He said redemption was available to everyone, so maybe if I scream it loud enough and long enough, He will see the error of His ways and send you off to eternal pain and suffering. At least I hope He will.



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Your Name

posted October 7, 2009 at 8:51 pm


“same-sex attractions” or “someone who suffers from same-sex attractions”



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panthera

posted October 7, 2009 at 8:59 pm


Good one, ‘Your Name’. May God forefend that they actually recognize our existence.
‘Heretical’ or ‘non-traditional Christian belief’ euphemism for: This statement is not in alignment with conservative American Christianity so it can’t possibly be Christian.
I can think of quite a few euphemisms relating to oppression of dark skinned people used by Christians today, but am not going to list them. Gay bashing on beliefnet.com is bad enough, but now that racists are permitted and encouraged (see Crunchycon) I think I’ll just skip that whole group. Except, maybe to note:
‘Permit a wide range of views’ eupemism for: I am a racist dressed up as a conservative Christian.



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Peter Carey+

posted October 8, 2009 at 12:02 am


“Passing Away”…instead of Death



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isaac

posted October 8, 2009 at 2:45 am


is “saved” to obvious?



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Matybigfro

posted October 8, 2009 at 4:45 am


‘Progressive’ – better than you
‘Emergent’ – Cooler than you
‘Contemporary’ – Trendier and often better looking than you



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kevin s.

posted October 8, 2009 at 10:55 am


I do find it ironic that the euphemism discussion descended into precisely the sort of passive-aggressive argument Tony decries.
Nathan, yes, some people use “social justice” pejoratively, for the precise reason that it has become an agreeable term representing controversial ideas. That’s the very definition of a euphemism, and that’s why we shouldn’t use them.



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nathan

posted October 8, 2009 at 11:53 am


@kevin s.
but that presumes that “social justice” must always necessarily be “an agreeable term representing controversial ideas”.
it’s incumbent on people, if they are being fair, honest and loving, to ask questions to inquire as to how the phrase is being used.
classic example, the “emergent” critique above.
i’ve been around the conversation for a long time. i’ve never seen or heard anyone say that “emergent” is about a “style” or being “cool”.
that’s a critique raised by people who don’t want to grapple with the questions the conversation raised.
that specific complaint rises not from anything claimed or portrayed by those in the conversation. it’s a complaint that seeks to avoid substance.
an outworking of this is the subtitle to that horrific “Why we’re not emergent” book…the one that claims they are two guys who should be.
in all my years, i never heard a claim implicit or otherwise that people “should be” emergent.
emergent is a network of relationships.
i only heard a welcome to all to become a friend and join the conversation.
i never heard anyone say anyone had to be a friend.
then again, these complaints that persist do partially arise from Tony’s admission about not doing better “brand management”.
regardless, the fact that they do persist say more about those complaining and their perceptions of culture/social class/etc. than really anything substantive about emergent.



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nathan

posted October 8, 2009 at 11:55 am


@kevin s.
but that presumes that “social justice” must always necessarily be “an agreeable term representing controversial ideas”.
it’s incumbent on people, if they are being fair, honest and loving, to ask questions to inquire as to how the phrase is being used.
classic example, the “emergent” critique above.
i’ve been around the conversation for a long time. i’ve never seen or heard anyone say that “emergent” is about a “style” or being “cool”.
that’s a critique raised by people who don’t want to grapple with the questions the conversation raised.
that specific complaint rises not from anything claimed or portrayed by those in the conversation. it’s a complaint that seeks to avoid substance.
an outworking of this is the subtitle to that horrific “Why we’re not emergent” book…the one that claims they are two guys who should be.
in all my years, i never heard a claim implicit or otherwise that people “should be” emergent.
emergent is a network of relationships.
i only heard a welcome to all to become a friend and join the conversation.
i never heard anyone say anyone had to be a friend.
then again, these complaints that persist do partially arise from Tony’s admission about not doing better “brand management”.
regardless, the fact that they do persist say more about those complaining and their perceptions of culture/social class/etc. than really anything substantive about emergent.



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nathan

posted October 8, 2009 at 11:56 am


argh…stupid beliefnet captchas



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kevin s.

posted October 8, 2009 at 1:05 pm


Anyone who thinks “emergent” is a euphemism for “cool” doesn’t know what a euphemism is.
As for “social justice”, I agree that we should ask how phrases are being used. With respect to this term, this question is nearly always answered in accordance with liberal ideology and theology. The term has its rooting in the social gospel movement, and is one of the tenets of the green party platform, so it obviously has connotations beyond simply hoping for a just society.



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kevin s.

posted October 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm


“in all my years, i never heard a claim implicit or otherwise that people “should be” emergent. ”
Really? How is that not implicit in a sentence like the below from Mike Clawson?
“Call me crazy, but I actually believe in the message and values of the emerging church, and I believe that the things we are talking about and discovering together about theology, about worship, about the church, and all the rest, are important and needed in the whole body of Christ… I’m not content to do our own little thing, to be exclusive or unengaged with the rest of the church.”
Mike is either saying that:
a) The rest of the church should become emergent.
or
b) That the rest of the church simply emerge by adopting the values of the emergent movement, which alone will do the thinking on behalf of the church.



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nathan

posted October 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm


or could it be:
c. he’s saying that he believes the particular witness that rises from the conversation is important and he sees its value for the Church? He’s offering his desire for emergent to not be some “we four and no more” thing, but to be true to its witness to “deep ecclesiology” (i.e. an embrace and celebration of the multiple streams of Christian expression.)
i don’t see a single thing there that says that emergent represents the totality of the Christian life…or is the be all and end all for all Christian expressions of faith.
what attracted me to the conversation was the celebration of and affirmation of the need for local communities to reflect their particular zipcode as they engage their context with the message of Jesus.
That inherently means a plurality of expressions, of difference, of “not same-ness”.
that’s not a call to be absorbed into some non-existent monolithic conception of what being “emergent” is.
again, all i see from Clawson is a confidence in the value of the particular witness of the conversation…not some advocacy for domination over the ways the Church expresses itself…
in fact, i see a real love for the Church, a desire to contribute and build it up…not some hatred for it (yet another charge leveled against emergent.)



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nathan

posted October 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm


“As for “social justice”, I agree that we should ask how phrases are being used. With respect to this term, this question is nearly always answered in accordance with liberal ideology and theology. The term has its rooting in the social gospel movement, and is one of the tenets of the green party platform, so it obviously has connotations beyond simply hoping for a just society.”
so are you saying that a faithful Christian witness can never have any confluence with ideas/positions that are traditionally held to by “the left” in the political/cultural sphere?
i think a faithful Christian witness will have confluence with both sides…depending on the issues….
just my 2 cents.



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panthera

posted October 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm


I do not understand this overwhelming need to force all of us to adhere to exactly the same mentality and participate in exactly the same form of church which so characterizes the conservative Christians in the United States.
Where we live in Europe, we have several churches relatively close to each other, all close enough that one can walk from one to another in less than 15 minutes. And walk we do – meaning I know people quite well and they know me from meeting on the sidewalk instead of just driving past each other. This, I think is a major part of the foreignness and alienation between the various Christian groupings in the US.
When I get blasted here for ‘living the gay lifestyle’ by some Bible-thumping red-neck who attends a Mega-Church it is easy to see that he has never in his life actually met a monogamous gay couple. Where he assumes I am out on the crawl every night, no doubt wearing tight jeans and leather (or at least it seems like that’s the preference for all those call-boys all those Republicans are constantly being caught in bed with) I am, indeed wearing blue jeans. Mucking out the barn or holding a bit che’s paw whose having a tough labor or reading another ‘book for the blind’ in our native tongue.
But how would he know? All he knows is the nasty lies his Mega-Church preacher tells him. And, after all, God said it, the Bible wrote it and I believe it, closed mind, closed case.
At least here, people who don’t agree with my gay marriage know that we are a devoted couple (privacy in a small European town in non-existent, I’ve had people tell me about what my gre-gre-gre—-ver, the mad Baron did back in the 18th century as if it were yesterday – and folks here know of our attempts at good works and helping others in the community.
As long as the conservative Christians in America insist that their brand of Christianity is the only ‘real’ version, as long as the isolation from others persists, we will never see a meeting of minds.
Frankly, the conversation which LDS involvement in stripping us of human status in California triggered within Mormon enclaves is more productive and much more Christian in community than this ‘we’re right, you’re going to hell, ha, ha’ mentality which comes across on Beliefnet all too often.



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nathan

posted October 8, 2009 at 2:45 pm


what i don’t understand is the level of anger…
the derision, the insistence on fixating on things like “eye glasses”, personal style choices, and things like drinking coffee and liking gadgets.
these things have nothing to do with the merit (or lack of merit) in what the emerging church has to offer.
who knew a friendship/network of relationships could be such a threat?



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panthera

posted October 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm


Actually, I do get the anger.
I lived for 14 wonderful years with a wolf-hybrid. When we changed the bedding to reflect the season of the year (I don’t mean just the sheets for those living in centrally heated/airconditioned homes, I mean down comforters for silk sommer duvets, etc.) she would have a conniption fit. She’d pull out the just cleaned and retired bedding the moment it was back in the chest, drag the fresh from the bed and pull it out into the hallway.
If we left a book open on a sofa or chair, in the morning it would be closed.
This need was so strong for her, she could not otherwise.
And that is how fundamentalist-conservative-evangelical-literalistic Christians are. They have no faith, thus everything must be nailed down exactly and any deviation, no matter how slight is equated with the worst heresy. Just look at how often one of them will be quite furious with me here on this forum and explain in great detail how they are ‘conservative’ but not ‘Bible-thumping’ and absolutely not fundamentalist.
Sort of like all those conservatives who aren’t Republicans, but never vote for anybody else…
This anger is rooted in a deeply felt need to control and dominate everything.
I’ll never forget the shocked expression on the face of a conservative Evangelical who came out to ‘save us’ one day. He’d been warned we were gay, so he spent quite a bit of the afternoon wandering around the place trying to find the nelly queens. That two guys well over six foot and built like brick, er, out-buildings, could possibly lie together was beyond him.
We put him out of his misery with a freshly baked strawberry shortcake. That we could cook and bake reassured him enough to be able to ‘witness’ to us.
Sigh.
I was going to skip the social justice discussion, but seeing the cold hardheartedness of the senate Republicans towards the 45 million Americans without health care on exhibit right this moment: Social justice is exactly what Jesus meant when he said:
Matthew 25:34-46
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Of course, that was only that long-haired sandal-wearing Jewish Rabi speaking, nobody important like Paul, so I guess it is safe to ignore His words, right?



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kevin s.

posted October 8, 2009 at 3:54 pm


“i don’t see a single thing there that says that emergent represents the totality of the Christian life…or is the be all and end all for all Christian expressions of faith.”
I didn’t see anything in there that said that either. I was responding to your comment that you have never heard anyone imply that Christians “should be” emergent. Clawson certainly implies that when he says that the church needs to embrace the emergent approach.
“so are you saying that a faithful Christian witness can never have any confluence with ideas/positions that are traditionally held to by “the left” in the political/cultural sphere?”
If that’s what I was saying, that’s what I would have said. What I am saying is that “Social Justice”, in common usage, only recognizes the leftward confluence.
The comments about eyewear etc… Are in response to some of the petty criticisms that have come from the emergent movement.



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Panthera

posted October 8, 2009 at 4:09 pm


Since the vast majority of the ‘right’ wing among us Christians (especially in the US) hates gays, reduces women to the level of not-quite-adult and routinely opposes any social activity except unconstitutional wars (which they support because of the opportunity to torture and exact revenge), is it any surprise that nearly all social justice workis left to those of us on the left?



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nathan

posted October 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm


@kevin
1. you’ve failed to demonstrate that that’s what Clawson is saying. you just haven’t shown that that’s what Clawson is claiming.
A confidence in ones contribution to the life of Church is not an assertion of the necessity of conformity and sameness.
it just ain’t…
now the sad thing is that, in my experience, confidence in the position of many of emergent’s critics does end up being explicitly about “sameness”….as in, “if you emergents say things the way I say things, then we’ll be ok.”
this demand for “conformity” is not an emergent problem, but it is a problem that emergent rightly raises in their critiques of the Church that we love, build and serve in.
2. even if the common useage recognizes “leftward” issues…why should that be a point of criticism? If something is true and needed, then who cares where it lands on the spectrum?
Hasn’t a ton of work been done about the issue of abortion, etc. etc? Isn’t there a ton of advocacy for issues on the “right” that represent the dominant evangelical view? what’s wrong with advocating for everything that’s needed? the corrective for evangelicalism is going to come from the left on certain issues. let’s just embrace truth, if we say we love it so much, regardless of where it’s perceived to rise from.
3. “petty criticisms”…like what? it probably doesn’t really matter…”tit for tat” is something that should be regarded as beneath us.
hear me, friend.
I’m not saying that “emergent” or anyone who has a public voice in it is the picture of perfection, etc.
i’m just saying that many times the criticisms i hear leveled against this community, of which i’d say i’m a part, just don’t compute with my experience and knowledge of the people involved.
the motives, intentions, etc. that get assigned to it are not reflective of first hand experience.
i don’t doubt that there are immature people who have been untoward or lacked circumspection…not because of anything inherently “postmodern” or “emergent” but because of their humanity…
i just don’t see that as representative of the people on the ground, the cohorts, the good folk from across a wide spectrum of practices and styles and backgrounds.
what a lot of the reaction to emergent comes across as is resentment about dirty laundry that still remains unwashed.
why can’t we, as christians, just address our failings head on and see the points of protest in the conversation as learning opportunities?
so much of the reaction i see just reinforces my experience of growing up in evangelicalism that was really good at pointing fingers at the world, but never wanted to be honest about ourselves.
that allergy to honesty really undermines our credibility…



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panthera

posted October 8, 2009 at 5:00 pm


nathan said:
“so much of the reaction i see just reinforces my experience of growing up in evangelicalism that was really good at pointing fingers at the world, but never wanted to be honest about ourselves.”
Very true, indeed. It is always, always easier to focus on that mote in our brother’s eye than on the 400 foot tall and 50 foot wide beam in our own.
How anyone can claim to know God’s mind is truly beyond me. Especially when they base such claims on the Bible. The most we can hope for is to find the strength to keep on trying when we fail, again and again at charity. Goodness, even Paul made a big deal about charity. That ought to tell us something.
Instead, we have conservative Christians absolutely delighting in terrorizing gays, bearing false witness in Maine (outright, demonstrable lies) and abusing the tax-free status of our Christian institutions so blatantly, that it is only a matter of time before a non-Republican-non-Fundamentalist government oversight committee says: Enough!
The emergent church is, well, emergent. The more I learn of the movement, the more good and also the more unfinished (sometimes just plain immature) nature of it I see. That is fine. After all, the early Christians would be condemned as communists, socialists, sexual perverts, heretics and definitely non-Christian by the standards of today’s conservative American Christians. Lord have mercy on their souls, they actually sought be Christlike in their dealings among themselves and with others.



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kevin s.

posted October 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm


“A confidence in ones contribution to the life of Church is not an assertion of the necessity of conformity and sameness. ”
Clawson is advocating using the emergent movement to compel the church to emerge. Emerge into what? Something that is unlike the emergent church? Is it the case that any emergence will do? That doesn’t make any sense.
He says he wants the movement to be unified around a set of purposes, and to take on more shape and structure. There is nothing wrong with this, as such a trend typifies every movement, religious or no.
To read his statement and decide that he doesn’t think people should be emergent is ridiculous.
“even if the common useage recognizes “leftward” issues…why should that be a point of criticism? If something is true and needed, then who cares where it lands on the spectrum?”
The challenge wasn’t to demonstrate whether a concept is right or needed. It was to locate euphemisms. Social Justice refers to the advocacy of left leaning causes, so why not just say you advocate left leaning causes?
“Hasn’t a ton of work been done about the issue of abortion, etc. etc? Isn’t there a ton of advocacy for issues on the “right” that represent the dominant evangelical view?”
Yep, and they are often called “family values”, or “moral values” which is a euphemism for right-leaning political advocacy. Do you see why this is problematic?
“i’m just saying that many times the criticisms i hear leveled against this community, of which i’d say i’m a part, just don’t compute with my experience and knowledge of the people involved.”
Same goes for those who are constantly criticized here and elsewhere by the more prominent members of the emergent church. Remember Tony’s pie chart on closeted homosexuals? Anyone who posts something like that (and any movement that elevates him) had better be ready to deal with some comments about eye-wear without a whimper.
Brian McLaren has spent years criticizing Christian music. When he writes his own music (which is just abysmal), he gets made fun of. Is that the right thing to do? I dunno. I’m just explaining the phenomenon.
But yes, a movement is going to be judged by its most vocal leadership, and in turn the emergent movement judges other movements by its most vocal leadership.
As far as the conformity question goes, I don’t see a lot of public disagreement. It could be that, in order to be well-regarded within the emergent movement, you have to speak and vote a certain way, at least in public. The times I went to Solomon’s Porch years back don’t really square with much that Tony (or Doug Pagitt) has said publicly.
But, again, I don’t think the emergent church is a euphemism for anything, and I have never accused it as such.



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Daniel

posted October 9, 2009 at 2:31 am


I think that the continued call for a “civil discourse” oft turns out to be a euphemism for “If you disagree with my position you’re a hate-monger!”
And it seems that being “civil” means at least not sharing my convictions if not giving them up all together in the name of civility…
The hypocritical call for civility is most clearly illustrated in the political arena where one side was calling the previous administration every name and epithet known to man, but when someone notices similarities in the current administrations policies to the policies of pre-WW2 germany all of the sudden cries of civility abound!
But hey…I’ve noticed civility isn’t necessary around this blog…as evident by the fact that some commenter’s can label the oppositions as hateful bigots. Not great for intelligent debate, but wonderful blog fodder. :-)



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panthera

posted October 9, 2009 at 6:15 am


Well, Daniel,
it certainly is interesting that you choose just the left to pick on. Considering that it is the ‘right’ side of the debate which, here on this blog, has:
*called me a pedophile
*called for my torture (as in what your belovéd Bush#43 did)
*stated my marriage was worse than incest
*stated they would dissolve my marriage if they could
*misquoted from the Bible (false witness can also be through omission)
*advocated for a return of slavery
*demanded that our children be taken from us
and
worse of all:
Stated we could not be Christians
I dare say we are being quite civil, indeed, in even talking to ‘your’ side, at all.



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Daniel

posted October 9, 2009 at 12:40 pm


Panthera
It is quite regrettable that some on the so-called right side spew forth hate and vitriol. However that doesn’t mean that all, or even a majority do so.
I’ll go through your arguments briefly:
*called me a pedophile
I don’t know how anyone would know that…poor debate techniques there for sure – but such stupid name-calling doesn’t negate logical and/or biblical arguments.
*called for my torture (as in what your belovéd Bush#43 did)
Wow…that’s extreme! I don’t recall the legislation that Bush passed…nor do I understand how you would know that Bush was my “beloved” president.
*stated my marriage was worse than incest
Biblically speaking (you know, the hateful literal type of interpretation) it’s not worse. But, if a person comes to a conviction that homosexual marriage is wrong – that doesn’t necessarily make them hateful or uncivil.
*stated they would dissolve my marriage if they could
They can’t…so what’s the problem. Plus IF God doesn’t recognize homosexual marriage…there’s nothing to be dissolved…and IF he does…can a man dissolve such marriage?
*misquoted from the Bible (false witness can also be through omission)
Not knowing the specifics I’d just mention that just because someone comes to different (and maybe orthodox) conclusions from the Bible doesn’t mean they’re misquoting. There are close to 2000 years of Christian orthodoxy that have tested all types of Biblical interpretation.
*advocated for a return of slavery
I’ve seen this “trump card” played…and still don’t get it. It seems like more of a distraction technique than anything else. But even so…if a person is wrong in one area, does it make them wrong in every area?
*demanded that our children be taken from us
I suppose we could look for a distinction between “demanding” that your children be taken away and logically and/or biblically arguing that the children might be in an unhealthy environment.
and
worse of all:
Stated we could not be Christians
The word “could” is key. Any person who says a person “could” not be saved isn’t reading his Bible. Any person who says any person “should” not be saved might be closer to the truth ONLY in the sense that no person deserves to be saved. However God’s grace is just that…undeserved.
Of course, I ask this question again:
Could you love a God that thinks that homosexual behavior is sin?



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panthera

posted October 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm


Ah, that Daniel.
Sigh.
Since we both love the same God, the father of Jesus, and since he does not consider homosexuality to be a sin, I refuse to break the first and second commandments. Since you conservative Christians don’t care much about anything not written by Paul, I suppose you might not be familiar with them. Take a look. Happy to post them for you, if needs be.
Oh, and I wasn’t clear. It was not Bush, it was one of the many fellow conservative Christians of yours here who advocated for our torture.
If you truly believed in the Bible, exactly as written, you would have to defend slavery. Must I quote you the New Testament verses alongside the 10 commandments?
As for the pedophile (I’m not), bestiality, bad parents nonsense – science and medicine as well as jurisprudence have all rejected these arguments.
Look, believe any nonsense in your version of Christianity you like. But get out of the secular rule of this country. That is what is needed.
We have separation of church and state for good reason. You benefit from it, too – after all, there is more rational basis for enacting my loving branch of Christianity than your hate filled branch. Neither, however, should have the right to determine secular law.



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NC77

posted October 9, 2009 at 3:15 pm


Panthera?
Why do you believe God does not consider homosexuality a sin? Please do post the oommandments that state God approves of homosexuality.
Thanks



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panthera

posted October 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm


NC77,
Well, no, I am not aware of any commandments demanding we all have gay sex.
Try again, this time casting your sentence in English.
Or, better yet, look – we both know how this ends. Let’s not ruin this thread of Tony’s with it, ok?
I reject your literal interpretation of the Bible, you ‘know’ my marriage isn’t a marriage and my husband and I aren’t real Christians and we are both going to hell.
Yee-haw.
There.
We just saved countless thousands of words of argument. The next time Tony runs a thread on homosexuality, feel free to ask again. Well, feel free to ask again about Bible verses, not commandments. For now, tho’, just drop it. I won’t respond to any further comments on this on this thread.



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panthera

posted October 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm


OH, joy, looks like the gotcha! ate my post.
In simple terms, NC77, this is not a thread about homosexuality per se. I am not going to derail it with a fruitless discussion with you.
Me: God loves homosexuals and my husband and I are devout Christians.
You: No, God hates you, you aren’t married and you aren’t Christians and you are going to hell!
There.
All we have to say to each other condensed. By the way, no, you are quite right, I am aware of no oomandments to have gay sex. I can think of one about loving God with all one’s heart and loving ones neighbors…but since that one is from that strange Jewish rabi who went around wearing sandals and forgiving people and not from Paul, the real spiritual authority for conservative Christians, I don’t suppose His words counts with you.
Now, should Tony bravely (if recklessly) venture another comment on Gay Christians again in the future, be happy to do the long version of the above with you. Have the same results, tho’. If you lost your hatred of gays, you’d lose your faith because your faith is defined by your hatred of the Other, not by love of God.



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panthera

posted October 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm


Not eaten. Or maybe it was and spat back out.
Conservative Christian: Euphemism for someone who puts the law above God.



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Daniel

posted October 9, 2009 at 8:20 pm


Apparently I must be that Daniel.
Anyway…
“Since you conservative Christians don’t care much about anything not written by Paul, I suppose you might not be familiar with them.”
Nice to know conservatives don’t have a monopoly on the ridiculous ad hominem argument.
“Since we both love the same God”
Hmmm…so…if a person said “I really love Panthera” but refused to acknowledge specific defining facts about you, would the person that person loves truly be Panthera…or his own made up idea of who Panthera is?
The same goes with the “hate card” too. As I read your posts I can see that the person you “hate” isn’t me because your statements, like the ad homimen mentioned above, don’t describe me. I am trying disparately not to do the same thing though I’m sure I fall short at times and don’t mind being called out if I do stoop to the ad hominem.



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Panthera

posted October 9, 2009 at 11:10 pm


Ah, but Daniel, it’s not ad hominem when it’s true. We just went through that delightful little instruction this week on the floor of the House when the Honorable Representative from Texas protested against protecting gays and transgender under hate crimes legislation because then good Christians couldn’t call for our murder anymore from the pulpit.
And your postings on this topic over time have clearly shown that you focus exclusively on verses from Paul, ignoring Jesus thoroughly on homosexuality. Given your track record on false witness (cherry picking the Bible and choosing translations which pervert the original texts) I do have reason to doubt your familiarity with the commandments. They’re not really ranked by order, you know…
You show me where Jesus condemned my loving, monogamous, faithful and true marriage of nearly five years and partnership of 25 and then we can talk about it. Oh, right…you can’t.
But keep it up, I am still waiting to hear why you reject the Bible’s clear mandate for slavery.



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Daniel

posted October 10, 2009 at 1:03 am


“Ah, but Daniel, it’s not ad hominem when it’s true.”
But not if you have no ability to know if it’s true. Plus I have never heard anyone outside of the horrific pastor at Westborough ever call for the murder of gay’s. Maybe I’m missed the news story…if you could send me the link I’d be interested to see these pastors that are advocating murder.
“And your postings on this topic over time have clearly shown that you focus exclusively on verses from Paul, ignoring Jesus thoroughly on homosexuality.”
1st….isn’t it a bummer that God in his sovereign wisdom allowed all of that Pauline error to slip into the one book that He used to reveal himself to us. 2nd…Paul quoted extensively from the Old Testament and if his writings disagreed with Christ’s teachings they would have been excluded from the Canon. 3rd…Christ deals with all sexual sin, mine included. You might think that I single out homosexuality, but I cannot discuss it without understanding that any lustful thought that I’ve had is ultimately just as wicked as any other sexual sin because it’s an affront to God’s Holy standard.
“Given your track record on false witness”
Boy, that’s a serious charge…one that I’ll do everything possible to avoid and hope that I can stand with a clear conscious before a Holy God for it’s His judgment that counts. (oh wait…I think Paul said that so it must not be right :-) )
“They’re not really ranked by order”
No….really!?!?! doh…there goes my whole belief system.
“You show me where Jesus condemned my loving, monogamous, faithful and true marriage of nearly five years and partnership of 25 and then we can talk about it.”
IF it is sin, and that’s obviously where the crux of the matter lies, then that’s where Jesus condemns it as sin just like selfishness, greed, hate, murder, adultery, lying, etc…and all covered by the blood of Christ! I might add that it’s something to note your commitment for 25 years. In an age where commitment is lacking all over the place you are to be commended.
“But keep it up, I am still waiting to hear why you reject the Bible’s clear mandate for slavery.”
I don’t. I don’t see it as a mandate, but I do see God placing very stringent guidelines on it. The slavery in Scripture looked nothing like the slavery of the 17th-19th century. The slaves and especially the bondslaves in OT law were better off than the average minimum wage earner today. Unfortunately our concept of slavery today has been skewed by the extremely sinful practices of recent history. To put it another way – I’d rather be a bondslave underneath the O.T. law than be a slave to the modern corporate machine.



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panthera

posted October 10, 2009 at 5:28 am


Daniel said:
I don’t. I don’t see it as a mandate, but I do see God placing very stringent guidelines on it. The slavery in Scripture looked nothing like the slavery of the 17th-19th century. The slaves and especially the bondslaves in OT law were better off than the average minimum wage earner today. Unfortunately our concept of slavery today has been skewed by the extremely sinful practices of recent history. To put it another way – I’d rather be a bondslave underneath the O.T. law than be a slave to the modern corporate machine.
endquote
Well, Daniel, at last some agreement there – I would rather be such a slave, too. I like working for myself and would never agree to tenure because that would mean I could no longer limit my teaching hours to fit the needs of my animals…
There is, however, an element of flexibility in your analysis which shocks me. If you are willing to allow that the Bible does not throw the weight of God’s permission around all forms of slavery qua slavery, then perhaps you might be willing to consider that when Paul rails against unnatural acts (he never once discusses ‘homosexuality’, the word not yet being invented) may he not have been referring to the, in those days very popular, idolatrous religious which included sexual free-for-alls in their program and not against my monogamous marriage?
Therein lies the crux of our disagreement. Science and medicine have colored your views on slavery – even the nastiest racist today (not saying you are one) knows that his belief that his race is superior is not based on scientific fact. And the same holds true for homosexuality. Apart from conservative Christians masquerading as scientists, there is virtually no medical group, no scientific study to support the argument homosexuality is an unnatural form of love or sex for those who are born that way.
I won’t bother pointing out the increasing number of studies showing the evolutionary advantages which a 3-10% level of gay men in a population bring.
I don’t, by the way, reject Pauline Christianity out of hand. I note, however, that it is just as much an interpretation as any other belief system arising unreflected from the Bible.
In all seriousness, we are blowing a thread out of the water here which has nothing to do with this topic. I don’t mind discussing, but shouldn’t we perhaps table this for a time when Tony has raised it specifically? Neither of us is going to change his views and the number of nasty, useless comments which inevitable follow these discussions always put an end to the genuine topic. Which is euphemisms.



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Daniel

posted October 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm


Thanks for that reply! And I agree, we should return the thread back to euphemisms.
Like..”I’m praying for you” which many times can mean – I’ll probably forget but it makes me sound concerned…or…
I have a prayer request about so-and-so which many times can mean: I want to share some juicy gossip.
(quick off-topic question…what kind of animals?)



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm


My parents, who live in the US have a small working farm. Since my parents’ health no longer permits them to work it, we were faced with selling a few years back.
This would, my husband and I firmly believed, kill them. Their doctors agreed that it would be better if they stayed in their established community.
Since then, we split our time between home in Europe where our marriage and life is accepted in our little village and the Deep South where life is anything but easy. One of us is always with my parents and usually it’s my husband. I had just signed a long/term contract with clients when things went to hell, and, were I to just leave, their business would go under. We’re on track to be on the farm full time in 2010…with frequent breaks in a sane country where we are human, not sub-human.
Had some pretty fierce battles with red nex family members who hoped to make out like bandits from the land sale…and whose fundamentalist Christianity led them to put us both in the hospital…there’s good reason for me to distrust conservative American Christians…
So, let’s see. A few horses for fun. I’m am awful rider, but horses like me and if you know anything at all, you know that a horse who likes you can seat anybody and make them look good.
Dawgs and hounds. Cats, including my 35 pound ‘coon who runs the place (like who is going to argue with her?) Hens, pigs, the usual.
The day after my parents die, the ‘coon, our dawgs and both of us will be on the plane back home to Europe for good. Of all these wonderfully Christian relations, the only one of eleven kids and grand-kids who ever helps my folks is the only one to convert to Catholicism, has five kids, works full time and is a vet. The rest never have time for the people who gave them life…and lots of money.
No church in this part of Georgia wants gays, so we drive a few hours every other Sunday or so to Atlanta. In fact, the only church to even make an effort here is the poor as dirt AME down the way. We support them quietly and I am glad to see their pastor visit my folks regularly. Am so not going to upset that with the battle which would inevitably ensue.
When his folks were ill in Ireland ten years ago and we went to help, every single one of their children pitched in…no fundamentalist, evangelical Christians among them, just good Catholics. Nobody physically attacked us, nobody tried to force the old folks off their place to make money, just family working together.



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panthera

posted October 11, 2009 at 10:47 am


DADT: If you won’t put out, we will call you a lesbian and ruin your life.
Of all the monstrosities arising from fundamentalist-evangelical-conservative-literalistic-right-wing-Christianity in America, this DADT is one of the worst.
Especially if you belong to the groups which like to say ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ I urge you to read the link.
That is what Christianity in the US has become for homosexuals…and the damage this version of Christianity has done to this country.



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Jfox1

posted October 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm


“Male headship in marriage is God’s order of creation” is a euphemism for I’m a male chauvinist who wants to keep women in their place as second-class citizens or worse.



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nathan

posted October 11, 2009 at 10:08 pm


oh, no that’s called “biblical manhood”. just ask Mark Driscoll



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Your Name

posted October 11, 2009 at 11:16 pm


Some of the Euphemisms I personally remember, “Disruptor of the Brethren”, “weaker brother”, “spiritual abortion”, “compromiser”, “saved as through the fire” (translation nothing I do can possibly be God honoring so I will be saved but only as one through the fire). Some of the not so euphemistic, “spiritual whore”, “apostate”, “satanic”, “Possessed”, “vile”, “dog returning to its vomit”, “pathetic” etc.



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panthera

posted October 12, 2009 at 3:47 am


How fundamentalists go Galatians Chapter 3, verse 28: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus….’ to ‘God placed man in charge and the rest are to be under his jackboot’ is truly a work of self-serving interpretation.
I think a lot of the hatred towards gay men (and the invisibility of lesbians) is rooted in this uncharitable and non-Biblical assumption that men are superior and women inferior.



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panthera

posted October 12, 2009 at 3:49 am


Make that: Go from Galatians3…to.
Sorry.



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Edward Green

posted October 12, 2009 at 8:44 am


I find the whole ‘christian culture’ language game makes me wince. Whichever Christian culture it is related too. It is prevalent amongst emergents, evangelicals, alt.worshipers, radically-orthodox, and so on.
Yes even I do it. Slap me every time I shoe-horn tradition into an argument by calling it the ‘ongoing christian narrative’!
The most damaging however you have identified, and they are about control and making people feel pushed out. Reading Lewis’ depiction of NICE in ‘That Hideous Strength’ is an insight as to how language and perceptions of others can be used to manipulate and control.
So my vote is for ‘in Leadership’. What does it mean when we are ‘in Leadership’. Is it a secret club (sometimes)? Is it a magical ontological state of grace that some can enter or are even born with?
Even Quaker’s in the UK have ‘Weighty Friends’. And ‘True Ministry’. Makes people calling me Father (which is part of the Anglican tradition) seem fairly mild. In the CofE the culture is not so much ‘Father/Mother’ knows best, but rather ‘Father/Mother’ ought to do that. Which is doubly dis-empowering.
A Reformed Catholic understanding of leadership is representative. Of People. Of Church. Of Christ. Anyone can do so. And particular people are set apart to do so in a specific functional sense. It starts with the Basin and Towel.



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Your Name

posted October 14, 2009 at 4:03 pm


“The BLOOD of Jesus” is a very difficult hurdle to get over with uninitiated people. And I think my least favorite is “just believe” as these days “believing” has so much more to do with mental assent to certain propositions intimating cognitive acceptance as opposed to simple trust in what it appears Jesus was really most concerned about; living here on earth today with our primary focus being both individual and communal transformatoin into the likeness of God which most seem to think is best manifested in love toward God, others, self, and creation.



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Ann

posted October 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm


“Waiting on the Lord”



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tylerpriest

posted October 30, 2009 at 12:37 pm


“The Bible says”



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