gag order

Gags are the only way to keep people quiet. Real or imagined.

I frequently get complaints that I’m too critical of the church. I find this interesting because when we have people critiquing, say, politics, nothing is said about those critics being too negative.

The main reason, I believe, that some people are uncomfortable with critiquing the church is because they believe I am touching something sacred and holy.

Crapola!

The church, above all, must submit itself to criticism and judgment. I am a firm believer in that. There is so much abuse, manipulation, coercion and other inhumane behavior that goes unquestioned. Someone must speak up.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been warned, “Thou shalt not touch God’s anointed!” This has often been used as a way to allow authority and power and leadership to continue unchecked while good people suffer.

I personally know the cost of opening my mouth to question authority in the church.

I encourage people to open their mouths and speak the truth when they feel they are being manipulated, controlled, coerced or abused. For God’s sake and yours, say something! The rest will take care of itself.

But do you know what is more difficult than this? Getting some people to actually notice and recognize that they are in fact suffering these things. That’s always the hardest step but the most important first one: admitting it is happening. For many it is just impossible for them to admit because the church is the last place on earth where they would expect this to occur. It is plain and simply denial.

Would I do anything differently? Not at all. I have my freedom. I may be as messed up as Israel was wandering in the wilderness after years of bondage in Egypt.

But at least I’m free! And you can be too.

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PLEASE NOTE: THE COMMENTS DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT OR EXPRESS THE OPINION OF THIS BLOG, NAKEDPASTOR, OR THE WRITER, DAVID HAYWARD, BUT ARE SOLELY THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY THE WRITER OF THE COMMENT.

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90 Responses

  1. Bill Kinnon says:

    Press on, brudda, press on.

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  2. nakedpastor says:

    thanks brudda bill!

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  3. Bill Kinnon says:

    Big hugs.

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  4. nakedpastor says:

    and kisses ;)

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  5. David, I'm sorry you paid such a price for speaking out, but you did the right thing. I've often been outspoken in church, but since I did not work for the church, nor was I clergy, the most I've had to put up with was a temporary shunning of sorts.

    I'm interested in ordering one of your Sophia drawing prints, but what is Etsy that I'm asked to join before I order?

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  6. Jody Kragt says:

    It takes strength and courage to speak the truth. So don't stop. I know it can get lonely in the wilderness, but being free of the bondage is wonderful!

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  7. nakedpastor says:

    Etsy is like ebay. Sort of. You can just tell me which print you want and I can invoice you through Paypal.

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  8. Steve Martin says:

    There’s plenty to criticize about the church. Plenty.

    But there are also good things about the church.

    That the church is where God’s Word is proclaimed and the forgiveness of sins announced to sinners.

    That the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper is administered in accordance with the pure gospel.

    That hurting people can gather together to comfort each other and encourage each other in Christ.

    That there is a place of sanctuary for those who are being called by the Holy Spirit to hear His Word and be brought to faith and kept in faith.

    These are very good things that happen in churches all over the world. This does not happen at the shopping mall or movie theatre.

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  9. Steve Martin says:

    We have a church council at our church with 10 voting members, elected by the congregation. The pastor is not in chrage. He or she has input and influence, no doubt, but we have a voice and we exercise it.

    There is a call process to get a new pastor and there are processes in place to get rid of them, as well.

    People ought check out churches with this type of arrangement if they are worried about not having a voice.

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  10. nakedpastor says:

    I guess I need to remind you again Steve that I've worked in Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Vineyard and Independent churches with a vast array of polities. It don't matter none!

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  11. Jeff Shurow says:

    You are one exciting right on dude. I'm thankful for ya everyday. Wish mans' church would wake up!

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  12. Jeff Shurow says:

    To Steve Martin's quote I have to say a big AMEN to you nakedpastor, not Steve

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  13. I am in church most Sundays, because I find value in worshiping God in a community of believers of one sort or another. We don't always agree or even like each other very much, but we are committed to the gathering, and I find praying with the community of help to me in trying to live my life throughout the rest of the week more or less in tune with the Gospel.

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  14. marcie says:

    Are you serious it is because in their hearts they are unsure and scared shitless to confront it.

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  15. Christine says:

    @Steve Martin: sometimes these things DO happen outside the church. But, yes, there is a benefit in having a group you know you can go to.

    But you act like it somehow balances it out, like it makes in ok. As in: "It's sad that he hits his wife, but he does do a lot of nice things for her, too, so we shouldn't be too critical."

    That fact that church is nearly the only place where these things typically happen makes it *all the more important* that it isn't abusive.

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  16. marcie says:

    PS like I say not every step in a mine field will kill you either. Is this really how it is supposed to be. Really?

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  17. Mike Bravener says:

    What we call church and what the NT calls church are two different organizations. The NT calls and define's church as a people called out of darkness, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Church today is people with tax breaks.

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  18. What Christine said really resonated with me. I've worked for evangelical organizations for over half my life, and one thing I have learned is several gallons of whitewash will not cover dryrot for long.

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  19. Jim Wright says:

    My story of exposing graft and corruption and armed guards at the church house doors:

    http://crossroadjunction.com/2009/06/30/enablers/

    I may not agree with everything in all your sketches, but I applaud your courage and value your much needed voice against the insanity of the institutional "church".

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  20. Christine says:

    Thanks, Brian. The wife-beater analogy was introduced here awhile back. (so, total plagiarism.) I think it makes a lot of sense when people want to weigh-scale the issue and try to tally-up the churches' or christianty's pros and cons. The good matters, but it doesn't change the need to address the bad. It's not a free pass.

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  21. Steve Martin says:

    Christine,

    The benefits of a church where God's law and gospel are preached and the sacraments are administered in accordance with the pure gospel, FAR outweigh any problems in those churches. Not to minimize whatever problems there might be.

    But the stakes are too high to let the squabbles of sinners rip someone away from the church.

    If the problems are beyond those (squabbles and minor fights) then maybe it's time not to leave the church altogether, but to look for a new one.

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  22. For God's sake, Steve, don't give me God's law unless you mean the two great commandments that Jesus taught: to love God and love our neighbor.

    And what do you mean by the 'pure Gospel'?

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  23. marcie says:

    Steve really. Hope you get it someday.

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  24. Gary says:

    Steve you said...

    "The benefits of a church where God’s law and gospel are preached and the sacraments are administered in accordance with the pure gospel, FAR outweigh any problems in those churches. Not to minimize whatever problems there might be."

    I can't continue on. This blind allegiance type of thinking is so disgusting to me. And "the sacraments are administered in accordance with the pure gospel"...makes me actually puke a little bit in my mouth just repeating it.

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  25. Michael says:

    As followers of Yeshua we do not "go to church" or "do church"; we are the church, the manifest presence of Christ's body on Earth. The problem is is that institutions and orginizations ( what I call "The Religious Matrix") can provide a place for all sort of misuse and abuse to take place, much like damp and dark provide the ideal conditions for mold to grow. As I have said before; Misuse and abuse do not negate original intent. "Church" can and does happen anywhere, both within and outside any formal structure. Critique is essential and misuse/abuse must be pointed out, whether "inside" or "outside". When we do so we will experience being misunderstood - - - and worse. It is sad and I wish it were not so, but none of us exit this play without a few scars. For those here who enjoy a vibrant and healthy Faith Community, no matter it's form or structure; I rejoice for you. For those who do so outside any form or structure, likewise. For all who bear battle scars in tangling with the RM ( which I believe we all have) my cry is "Lord have mercy!". Keep up the fight for you are not alone in the battle. Preachin' ended. ( I'm a recovering preacher and confess I have added to the mess).

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  26. Jennifer Pollard says:

    Doesn't criticism of the established church/tremble make up a sizable chunk of Christ's message?

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  27. Renny says:

    Hooray for those who ask those in power challenging questions, such as you, oh ye little shit disturber David.

    I too have heard to "not touch god's anointed." Looking back, I can't believe I subscribed to that for a short while.

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  28. Jennifer Pollard says:

    Doesn't criticism of the established church/temple make up a sizable chunk of Christ's message... "you vipers"

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  29. Gary says:

    Michael,

    I too am a recovering preacher who has also added to the mess. Bless you.

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  30. Christine says:

    Steve: So a church that talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk is worth being abused for? (Squabbles are another conversation. That isn't at issue here.)

    And don't you think attending another church is exactly the first thing everyone tries?!! But SYSTEMIC means it's pretty much everywhere.

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  31. LouiseM says:

    I read the following today, and thought to add it to the Love Trap comments, but it fits better here.

    It seems that until you are excluded from any system, you are not able to recognize the idolatries, lies and shadow side of that system. It is the privileged "knowledge of the victim". It opens up the playing field, granting equal access to all, if they want it, because it is no longer a winner's script, which the ego prefers to make it, but actually a life script that now includes these so-called losers.

    There seems to be a "structural blindness" for people who are content and satisfied on the inside of groups. The do not realize that it is largely a belonging system that they have created for themselves.

    It is important to know that people can be personally well-intentioned and sincere, but structurally they cannot see certain things. Jesus quotes the call of Isaiah to describe this socially blind position: "You will hear and hear again, and not understand, see and see again and not perceive..." He uses it, interestingly enough, as his preface to teaching through parables. Insiders are by nature dualistic, because they divide themselves from the so-called outsiders. R. Rohr/Things Hidden

    Speaking truthfully about the lies, manipulations and hurt involved with our leaving church has been difficult. David's cartoons and commentary have helped put words and pictures to the depth of loss, grief confusion and anger we experienced. This week I was surprised to find the Easter story still had something for me when I realized MaryM almost missed what was happening in front of her eyes (two men in white and a gardener) because she was so intent on finding the dead body of something/someone that had been such a vital part of her past. She had to turn and turn again and hear her name before she could finally recognize and see with opened eyes what she could no longer touch or "hold on to".

    One of the positive results of the betrayal and loss we experienced has been the freedom of new awareness. The Christ I knew moved out of the box to become the One who now shows up unexpectedly in strange places, most recognizable through open eyes and ears and a burning heart.

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  32. Mar says:

     
    If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more.  Harriet Tubman 1822-1913

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  33. Mar says:

    Louise, I found your entire comment profound and helpful ... Thank you.

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  34. Ruthie says:

    So true! Touch not God's anointed is the most used verse to keep people silent and abuse in the church and they say it as though the people in leadership are the only ones anointed. The lay people are not anointed. Don't ya love that term - lay people. You might not get laid in church but you'll get well and truly screwed!

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  35. Helen says:

    I'm going to say it. Steve Martin, I'm disappointed in you. Profoundly sad actually. No hyperbole. I found your comments a complete wet blanket over what David has said today.

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  36. Godfrey Rust says:

    Reading and viewing David's graffiti from the UK, all of the issues he targets are familiar, but to a lesser extent. I think one reason is that churches here have a lot less money and power than in the US, both of which seem to corrupt proportionately. They don't always do so, thank God, but the more "successful" that a church becomes, the harder it is for it to be Christlike. The same seems to apply to a person - camels and needle's eyes.

    @Steve - I can't work out whether you're faithful and courageous or merely masochistic, or whether you don't really exist and you're actually David's alter ego, which he plants here as part of a controlling and manipulative strategy to remind all of us regularly of what it is we're trying to escape.

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  37. shelly says:

    The benefits of a church where God’s law and gospel are preached and the sacraments are administered in accordance with the pure gospel, FAR outweigh any problems in those churches. (SM)

    Bullshit.

    If there's systemic abuse and manipulation going on, it doesn't matter how pious a church looks; it doesn't matter if they teach scripture; it doesn't matter if they serve communion/Eucharist/the sacraments every Sunday morning. It's still a place where abuse is allowed to happen; it is NOT a healthy place to be. And if you think that's okay and/or you sit and let it happen, then you're an enabler. Church is supposed to be a safe place. (And please do not qualify that with "unless you're a sinner"; IMO, that's bullshit, too, because everyone is a sinner.)

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  38. nakedpastor says:

    shelly: yep.

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  39. nakedpastor says:

    godfrey: you're not the first who's thought that "steve" was a fictional character I created to rouse things.

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  40. Bridget Buchan says:

    Further to Louise and Mary Magdalene in the garden, I have been pondering the disciples' fishing trip. Confused,unable to assimilate Jesus death and resurrection, or to wait trustingly and patiently to see what would unfold, they went back to the familiar old ways. Which didn't work for them any more. They could have thought, when Jesus said 'cast the nets on the other side', 'what does HE know, we are the fishermen!'. It's too easy for us to think that those in authority know what they are doing, and not listen for Jesus voice ourselves, or doubt it when we hear it.
    Is 'Steve' extremely evangelical,extremely reformed or extremely catholic? Does is matter?!!

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  41. Susanna K. says:

    What are the Epistles but criticism of the early church? I guess it's instructive to remember that Paul wrote a lot of those letters from prison - no one likes a critic.

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  42. Gary says:

    Yes some of them Susanna. And some of those attributed to him were not written by him at all but rather an impostor using his name.

    Just throwing that out there to muddy the waters for those who hold such blind allegiance to ALL the church teaches.

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  43. marcie says:

    godfrey if you click on his name it will direct you to Steve Martins blog.=)

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  44. john says:

    Absolutely awesome post. I am posting something very similar to this today. would love to talk with you about this type of thing if you're available.

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  45. Steve Martin says:

    Christine,

    No church 'walks the walk'. Churches are people.

    To hear all this utopian talk, you'd think people would flee from their own families, because there too, reside broken people.

    ______

    Godfrey,

    Just trying to defend the institution that Jesus ordained to carry out His work and proclaim His Word.

    I'm a realist. I know there are no perfect churches or perfect people or perfect human interaction. Just trying to remind people of that fact.

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  46. Christine says:

    "No church 'walks the walk''."

    Wow. And if the reasoning is that churches are people, then I guess no people walk the walk either. And this is just the way it is. Doomed all of us to be abusive, remorseless hypocrites. You know, like Jesus taught us to be...

    What were you saying about your church being a wonderful place....? Yikes.

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  47. Christine says:

    Jesus did NOT ordain an institution! Where do your even get that?

    No one is expecting perfect. There is a lot between perfection and systematic abuse.

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  48. Godfrey Rust says:

    Thanks marcie - I did that and randomly found myself reading a post where Steve laments the fact that only three people turned up for bible studies on Revelation at his church, so I now realise that he is both faithful and courageous and a masochist and I'm much more sympathetic. I'm still not convinced he's real, though.

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  49. Godfrey Rust says:

    Steve - just saw your response. I appreciate your good intent. As I read the Gospels though, I find that the one group of people Jesus attacked vociferously were those in the religious institution(s) that grew from his Father's earlier commissioning, who were doing just the same things that David and others are commenting here. The church as I understand it is the human body of Christ, which is not at all the same thing as the human institutions with which it partially overlaps. I think those of us who choose to stay within such an institution, as you and I do, should listen very carefully to those who have run bleeding from it, as Jesus did, =not run after them shouting that they've got it all wrong.

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  50. Steve Martin says:

    Once one can past the fact that people are sinners and will remain sinners throughout their lives, then one can give up on the utopian dream of Heaven on earth.

    I love my family even though we don't always see eye to eye, and even though we sometimes hurt each other. But, we forgive each other and continue in love.

    That's how it is in my church, as well.

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  51. nakedpastor says:

    sure. i talk with people.

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  52. marcie says:

    Steve I just don't get your obsession with the word sinner. Christ won the victory over sin and death and yet by your words focused on sin, and sinners you return to it power denying the cross. Kind of sick looking at it from this end

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  53. Gary says:

    Indeed Marcie. I dealt with the self loathing pride in my last two churches heavily. It literally becomes a matter conceit to brag about how unworthy a person is. The more self flagellation we engage in...the more spiritual we believe we present ourselves to others.

    The sad part off that whole messed up doctrine is that it denies the love God has for us and the victory of the cross. Sin...literally no longer matters.

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  54. marcie says:

    Indeed my dear new comrade Gary... Tis sickening self inflicted do I look righteous bull shit! The really great news is it is finished and we, you and I serve a victorious god!

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  55. Brigitte says:

    It would be so nice to see some self-flagellation from some people here, Gary.

    "And don’t you think attending another church is exactly the first thing everyone tries?!! But SYSTEMIC means it’s pretty much everywhere." -- Quote from this thread.

    I see it says only "pretty much" everywhere. So that's moderate, we could say.

    There is something that so stinks about the we are so loving and you are so bad line which is continuous here, that people are accustomed to it. It is the continuous smell under the nose that we don't smell anymore. We have the victory! We have the love! Everywhere else there is nothing but abuse (let's not call it "sin", though). We don't sin anymore. We are the real followers of Jesus.

    What makes someone the Pharisee that Jesus hissed at? The attitude of I am better than you and the ears plugged. Each one check himself for that.

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  56. Gary says:

    Brigitte - You asked me a couple posts back why I would make a statement that we are so far apart theologically without elaborating on it. Well perhaps because I can not put into words our differences any more clearly than you just did.

    I have rejected your brand of faith. I walk free in the love my Lord provided on Calvary. I do not embrace my sin...I rejoice in the cleansing He provided and seek to serve Him in love. I have had my fill of the putrid stench of those who embrace their sinful natures and act accordingly.

    If that means leaving the broken institution of the church...than I will follow my Lord right out the door into the wild and free fellowship of believers who have come to recognize the true nature of the church. (Hint...it does not involve buildings, or programs, or sacraments) And I may also try to help a few other walking wounded I meet along the way find the very same type of victorious freedom I have.

    The very fact that you believe hearing self flagellation from others would be "nice" illustrates the chasm between us better than anything else I could say.

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  57. marcie says:

    Brigitte, that is sad... Who are you to suggest that we the sons of god bought with a price should once again be put in chains of self loathing. Disgusting and abusive. This is what is written of man, when god created man god said it is good!!!! It is said we were mindfully made by the potter himself a unique piece of art molded in gods very image, also we have need to be taught of no man but have everything we need for life and godliness, we are wonderfully and beautifully made!!!

    By saying we need to self loath you rob Christ of his victory. It is this kind of abuse that keeps the sons of god in chains!

    I love me and believe all god has said about me to be true. I am never going to bury my talents again but use them that god will multiply what was given.

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  58. Christine says:

    Again, Gary, so glad you're here. Just couldn't respond to this today.

    So, instead I'll be ranting about the blogosphere on my own blog today. Hopefully, it will be cleansing.

    David - Will be linking to this thread and talking you up. :) My advertising for you is long overdue.

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  59. nakedpastor says:

    Hey Christine. Thanks! I love listening in. I wish I could participate more but my job prohibits me right now.

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  60. Brigitte says:

    Gary, "I do not embrace my sin…I rejoice in the cleansing He provided and seek to serve Him in love. I have had my fill of the putrid stench of those who embrace their sinful natures and act accordingly."

    Rejoicing in the cleansing is exactly great, but there actually is a "cleansing", a washing, and not just once--but every day--of the dirt that keeps on coming. I am close to those spiritually who are willing and content to admit their sinfulness, because, indeed, we also know this "cleansing", but it has to come from way below. This joy comes welling up from a humility. I want to be there with the rest of the sinners. From on our knees. We are never done asking for forgiveness and getting it afresh. Then we are on the same level.

    Not that long ago I had a dear visitor from my last choir, an inter-faith choir, which meant mostly it was formed from the United Church and the Anglican Church, to neither of which I belonged and so did not understand the temperament of the congregations. I had been to some Good Friday walks of the cross, and found that the Anglican priest usually preached a nice gospel-centered message, but the United Church minister did something creative which ran counter to what the text is really saying. There was some kind of social gospel in her message, basically we need to change society.

    So, ok, this lady was over, a very dear, committed soul belonging to the United Church, organist and the rest of it. We had a lovely visit till we got to theology. Basically, she said to me: "Why is it that if Jesus came and he really was God, that the world is still so bad? He could not have been God and the Bible is all forged anyhow..." (Parroting Erdmann) Later on she said that she wasn't really sinning. I tried to talk to her about that. She said: "oh, yea, well that; but I wouldn't call that sin."

    You know this just kills me: Jesus is not God. The Bible sucks. The world is bad but I am good.

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  61. marcie says:

    Puked in my mouth a bit.

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  62. Gary says:

    Wow Brigitte...you dredge up a story about some lady who has lost her faith and somehow believe THAT is the ONLY alternative to YOUR version of Christianity???

    There is no point in talking to you.

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  63. Christine says:

    Ah, yes, the binary world. I wonder if they will find neurologically speaking that our brains are just wired for it. That they instinctively only get us/them. Evolutionary biology would already take that explanation.

    One person is bitter after leaving fundamentalism. I don't want to be like that, so I better learn to toe the line. I wouldn't want the relationship that lesbian couple has, so I better figure out how to be straight. Oh, that divorced person looks so unhappy, I'm better off staying in my abusive marriage. That overweight person is all alone, I better stop eating until I get a boyfriend.

    Yup, it's everywhere. The need not only to binary, but to compare ourselves to everyone else. Other people become our measuring stick, instead of what bears good fruit in our own lives.

    But, maybe Brigitte was just giving us an illustration? Brigitte - You get this is a spectrum, right? It's not that people only think they are pure sin or never sin. Sometimes, people try to see what is both good and bad about themselves, the right and wrong that they do, and attempt to be honest about that makes them better or worse people.

    You see, I find your version remarkably similar to that woman's. She didn't feel the need to address anything harmful or wrong she might have done, but you don't seem to need that either. You accept you will always be full of sin, so what's the point right? You both have found a way to ignore as insignificant the wrong you do and absolve your guilt without having to carefully examine yourself. Are you really so different from that woman?

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  64. Christine says:

    I get the concept that people will never be free from sin - i.e. they will never be perfect, flawless. I think just about all sane people would easy admit that no one's perfect.

    Why does the religios idea that we will all always be FULL of sin come from, or that we can never be better, improve? That we shouldn't even try?

    And by "pretty much everywhere", I'm just leaving room for the possibility that some place are not, or at least not always, like that. But they may be so few and far between that some never find them, that giving the potential for hurt, that the search may not be even worth undertaking. I would not call that moderate.

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  65. Gary says:

    As always Christine...excellent!!

    And I do think Brigitte was just giving us an illustration. But it is the very illustration she chose to address her disagreement with us that is the issue here. This very much proves your point of binary thinking.

    And to add to your discussion just a bit. Of course I like you recognize that I still struggle with sin. Though not all do recognize this. In fact some denominations fully embrace the illusion (my bias there) of reaching a state sinless perfection in one's Christian walk. In fact some in my own family believe this.

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  66. Gary says:

    Oh and I do want a brief follow up Brigitte. Your sideline comment about "Parroting Erdmann" is very revealing.

    If you would have ever taken the time to actually read BART ERHMAN you would not only get his name right...you would also know that the statement you quote would not really be parroting his work at all.

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  67. Christine says:

    Thanks, Gary. I've known some who believe they are at once perfect and sinful. It's pure dualism, despite whatever they do here on earth, despite self-admitted sin, there is some "deeper reality" and "greater truth" that they are sinless. This mostly translated into a pastor being able to wail with false humility from the pulpit and still demand unquestioned allegiance in the boardroom. So, a rather suspiciously convenient duality.

    But I haven't come access any of just think that sin, or their sin,doesn't exist. I can even relate to people saying they don't commit egregious acts generally and are more compassionate, but once you also take into consideration sins of omission... well, the gulf is obvious. Maybe the whole not sinning anymore concept just comes from losing perspective entirely on what perfection might look like? Resisting the urge to even want to exact revenge is a huge, positive step, for instance... but you make a major sacrifice for that person's good, something that really costs?

    I'm a strong proponent of building people put and giving them well-deserved pats on the back for moving in the right direction, for really trying. Now, Brigitte and likely Steve are going to rant about how we don't earn righteousness in our own strength. And I think they are absolutely right, but on taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions, I have two reason why the objection is plain irrelevant. The first the that there are still many passages that talk about salvation bearing good fruit. Better actions can't lead to justification, but justification should lead to better actions. The second is, who said that God had to be eliminated from that process? For all the talk of the presence of the Holy Spirit and it's fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, etc. etc.), they act like this jisn't likely Tom have any influence on people's character.

    Now, I don't want to say nor a moment that self improvement is limited to Christians, but I do find the notion that it could be omitted from Christianity, by either the sin-wallowers or the sin-deniers, to be quite mind boggling.

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  68. Brigitte says:

    Sorry, Christine and Gary, I don't want to hit and run, but maybe you can just plainly say what you think is wrong with what I said, not what you think I said. Sorry about misspelling Ehrman. I don't have any books by him, but recently watched a whole slew of Youtube videos involving debates with him and problems with what he says.

    I guess in the meantime I could just ask you, and marcie, too, (if she has recovered from her puking), if you are still "sinners" in the good old-fashioned meaning of the word, or not. Thanks. Curious about how you would describe yourselves, your thoughts, your actions, your struggles.

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  69. Gary says:

    Sorry Brigitte but if you had actually read my posts you would know that I already answered the question as to whether or not I am a sinner. You speak (as has already been pointed out) in binary terms. You have no interest in what I actully believe except where you can show it is wrong just like you have no interest in Ehrman's work other than what you are told to believe about it.

    Think for yourself Brigitte...you seem to be a smart enough gal who should not need your handlers to do all your thinking for you.

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  70. Brigitte says:

    Had to laugh, there. Thanks, Gary. But I really don't think I understand your position or your beef.

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  71. Brigitte says:

    Gary, this is one of the video's I watched. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-1hdqNDQ9E&feature=related

    I think Ehrman's "scholarship" is corrupt and many of the questions he raises are red herrings.

    Some of the rebuttals are below. I don't like the hairdo of one of the guys in it, but...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftHecLxquCg&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5u1dKk_sVM&feature=related

    Another thing someone brought to my attention the other day was an article in the reputable international magazine "Der Spiegel" which dealt with the Samaritan pentateuch and worship on Mount Gerazim.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,827144,00.html

    The gentleman who sent me this is a vigorous atheist but so unfamiliar with the Bible that he did not even know that Jesus deals with this in John 4. But anyhow. We can scientifically, archeologically, etc. work on whether or not this bit about Gerizim was left out on purpose. But what hit me, besides the point that Jesus said not to worry so much about the mountain but your own repentence (!) (he first of all brought the woman around to it, she thinks he is a prophet), ... what hit me was that the copying had been done so carefully that this is the only significant difference that was found. So we cannot just simply assume or say that through much copying, sacred texts have been changed in so many ways.

    Anyhow, that's what my visitor thought and had learned from her pastor that the Bible is just this unreliable hodgepodge. In my opinion she is the one with the "handler".

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  72. Gary says:

    Brigitte said - "Had to laugh, there. Thanks, Gary. But I really don’t think I understand your position or your beef."

    And this kind of silliness is why we're pretty much done here Brigitte...LOL

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  73. Gary says:

    Oh and Brigitte...if you had ever studied the issues yourself you would realize that these rebuttals you quote (seemingly your ONLY source of information hence you're being "handled") are not only biased...but quite false. Even the scholars that disagree with Erhman's conclusions do not make up silly propaganda like this to attack him. But then...real scholars never do.

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  74. Brigitte says:

    Gary, why don't you explain instead of fume?

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  75. Gary says:

    Fume...LOL.

    You really crack me up sometimes.

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  76. Christine says:

    Brigitte: I can't know what you said apart from what I think you said. Either way, I thought I was fairly clear about what I thought was wrong about it. I don't really have a view on Erhman, so I won't weigh in on that part at this point.

    As to your question, I can't possibly know what you mean by "good old-fashioned meaning of the word". I doubt there are many theological concepts that we have a common understanding of. But I'll make an attempt: I consider myself a sinner insofar as I sin, sin being simply to do wrong. I do, at times, do wrong, and in that sense am a wrong-doer. If you want to make it more compicated than that, then I'd have to look at your definition to see if I would still use your version to describe myself.

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  77. Christine says:

    Watched the first two videos. Thanks for the Erhman link. I really enjoyed it.

    The second was a little frustrating for two reasons:

    First, the two scholars (on the left) were accusing Erhman of doing things he blatantly did not do in the video. Maybe he did in his book, I haven't read it. But all three scholars, those two guys and Erhman, were all saying the same things. There are hundreds of thousands of variations, the vast majority of which are unimportant, but still leaving hundreds that, large and small, have some impact on the meaning of the text, but not enough that it would likely alter core Christian doctrine (but I got the sense here that "core" were include only a small number of tenets - like things all denominations agree on...).

    Second, the host was extremely annoying, clearly trying to put a spin on what the scholars said and kept throwing out misleading numbers. I loved the part where the first scholar tries to correct him and tell him his numbers are completely wrong, and he just waves him off and doesn't care at all whether there any truth or accurancy in what he is saying.

    Anyways, the very best part was when I saw the name of said first scholar: Danial B. Wallace! The very same guy Cindy mentions above who says that that part of John and the end of Mark were not in the original gospel!

    So, even the guy you found to refute Erhman verifies what Gary said above!

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  78. Christine says:

    Whoops, that conversation between Gary and Cindy happened on another thread. It's on "i think i'm gay" if you want to read it.

    Anyways, sufficed to say here that even the scholar refuting Erhman believes those "viable" 1% of variations are significant, including adding up to a dozen new versus to the text.

    My mistake made me wonder, though, how we ever got on to Erhman on this thread... then I remembered.

    Brigitte: That woman was NOT parroting Erhman. Either she didn't understand him or you don't.

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  79. Renny says:

    Brigitte, Gary, Christine. Could you argue on some other website about your - what you think is important - issues?! You all make me puke.

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  80. nakedpastor says:

    Actually Renny I invite theological debate on my blog.

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  81. Gary says:

    I'm curious Renny...What purpose do you imagine inspires David to have a blog full of thought provoking and challenging posts and art if not to inspire illuminating discussion and debate?

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  82. marcie says:

    Disagreements are awesome! Stir the waters, give an opportunity to build bridges of understanding.

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  83. Christine says:

    I was wondering what the original cartoon was that Renny thought we were so off-topic. Then I looked up. LOL! Oh, the irony.

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  84. Gary says:

    Oh wow Christine, I missed the significance before.

    Now that is funny as hell.

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  85. marcie says:

    Yah put a sock in it you two blah ha ha

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  86. Gary says:

    hehehe

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  87. Renny says:

    Next time I will not click on the button where I authorize to receive all the after-comments after my own comments. You all have been clogging up my email, that's all. Now go get a room ;)

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  88. Matt says:

    Hey, I can relate to this post. Thanks for sharing this. I too am on a journey.

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  89. nakedpastor says:

    thanks matt

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  90. Bart Breen says:

    More of Jim's Story that he doesn't include in his recounting.

    www.jimcwright.com

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