Where I’m At…

I thought after my last post, I ought to follow it up so that the people who commented and follow along a bit will know where I have landed. July seemed a bit like hell on earth for my little family. I described it to a friend as something akin being thrown into a wood chipper. Didn’t see it coming. Didn’t expect it. But it happened. And now I’m here on the other side feeling like some of the baggage I was dragging around wouldn’t fit through the chipper so I find myself rid of it and feeling like I have a bit of a solid footing from which to catch the next wave (man do I love being out in the waves of the ocean with a surfboard).

So I’ll try to be brief. First off, I think I have gotten past the God question. It really comes down to a basic question that is more philosophical in nature than it is scientific. How did this world get here? There are only two real possibilities. It’s either by chance or it’s not. If it is by chance, then there is no reason to believe in a God. If it is not by chance, and by extension therefore purposeful, then there is great reason to believe in a God/Creator/Format/Etc. Some may inject a third possiblity here, that we were placed here by aliens of some sort, but that really just moves the location of the question because then one asks how the aliens came about. So without laying out a buch of detail as to why right now (I’ll do a bit of that further down), suffice it to say that it seems much more likely that we were created. And that is the point of faith. We all have to choose one direction on this question, and it takes faith to believe in your choice. There is not sufficient proof on either side to rule out the possibility of the other. And that is faith no matter how you look at it. I feel very comfortable with that.

I feel more comfortable believing in our purposeful existence for a handful of reasons, but soon after I came to a comfortable place at this point, I began reading a book called Chi Running in order to work on my running efficiency for my triathlon obsession/passion/dysfunction. Of course, there are introductory words about Tai Chi as a practice, what’s behind it, the history, the theories, the philosophies, and I find it fascinating, so much so that I believe this book will be significantly helpful to me across the breadth of my life actually, not just in running. Principles like centering one’s self really speak to me, especially after coming through the chipper, as I feel like prior to this experience, I was lost with all sorts of centers, none of which were receiving adequate attention. This side of it, I feel lean, and centered.

One of the principles I read about is that involving fundamental truths, universal laws, those things which have universal application at a deep, deep level across the board for the world and humanity. Call it a “format.” My friend John (TitForTat) bases his belief in a God on this format idea, and I think I am not far behind. There are things of this nature all over the place. The Chinese study of movement in Tai Chi. Newton and Einstein’s study of physics. Simple observations in nature such as palm trees not growing well in Kansas and polar bears not doing well in Arizona. When we go along with the order of nature and the universe, when we understand what these deep truths are and move with them instead of against them, we are centered and life goes much better for us as individuals and as a community. All of this order is unlikely to have come about by itself, and to me strongly points to the divine.

But I want to take it a bit of a step further. Danny Dreyer, the author of Chi Running, quotes Cecil B. DeMille on page 31:

“It is impossible for us to break the law ourselves. We can only break ourselves against the law.”

I’m not exactly certain what the circumstances of that statement were. And I think I may have even heard it or read it prior to this book. But I am understanding it in a different way today. Dreyer is using it, of course, to say that when we go against these fundamental truths, we are setting ourselves up against the way that it is best to live. Disharmony. We are making it difficult for ourselves and setting ourselves up for pain and injury and distress.

So the thought came to me that what if we looked at the bible this way in a certain sense. I have always looked at it as a book of rules, hoops to jump through, mistakes not to make. And that has had me looking at God as a cosmic law enforcer practically looking for reasons to strike me down. No wonder I have found myself trying to get out from under that sort of pressure by doubting God’s existence. But what if we look at the bible as the creator of the universe, the dude who knows all the fundamental truths, telling us the way it works best? What if it is God saying, “Hey, I made all this. I know how it works best. I know how to best be in harmony with it. And here it is.” I think maybe this is a much healthier and more centering way to view scripture.


45 responses to “Where I’m At…

  1. That sounds quite “biblical” :) Recall that the early label for Christ-followers was “the Way.” That was the meaning of the Hebrew “halakha” as “the way to go” – not commandments.That was the application of the 613 mitzot. Something simplified by Jesus in His “yoke” being easy.

    What translators (coming from the Western theological paradigm) call the Ten Commandments are in Hebrew Ten “Words” about living well in community.

    Wisdom in Proverbs etc. was given as advice to live well and not as rules by which we better live or suffer God’s displeasure. We like to make them into mini-contracts to obey and thus think we can force God to give us the blessing.

    The only Cristian purpose of the “word of God” (Scripture) is to point to the Son as the Word of God. If God dictated a memo for distribution we’d put trust in the memo’s accuracy and not the Authors.

    Oops, we’ve already done that :)

  2. That’s the way I look at Scripture. It’s most basic message is how to know God; how to be at peace with him. But from Him come the fundamental principles of life and reality. So Scripture is the message of life and the Spirit of life.

  3. OK. I agree with you to a certain extent. But what about the threats in the bible?
    It’s one thing to say “I’m the dude who created the universe. This is the best way to live”.
    It’s another to say, “If you don’t live this way you will be cast out, where there is weeping and nashing of teeth.” I still can’t get past the thought of my loved ones going to hell. So I have a hard time wanting to read the bible. It’s too depressing for me because I get confronted with the worst case scenario every time.
    So I’m still thrashing about in the surf. Don’t come back out though! I’m glad you are feeling happier.

  4. Doug, I don’t want to subvert your blog but hope that Julia (and others) might be open to a way of re-reading Scripture that offers a different interpretative lens than what she has been given.

    I am working on some format (? blog, teleclass, etc.) to coach people who want to read Scripture outside of the lens where Jesus is portrayed as trying to save us from God but can’t get it accomplished without our being good, moral, obedient enough to complete the transaction. [I know that will sound like an exaggeration to some].

    I don’t have the format yet but I will be announcing it on my blog http://www.graceconnexion.org and my Facebook page (drpaulfitzgerald) and to followers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/drpaul).

    In the meantime, some might find a series of posts on my blog titled “Jesus and the Undoing of Adam.”

  5. I was encouraged to become a believer on the basis that following Jesus is the better way. Not on the basis of fearing hell or punishment. It was not until later in my journey when I got involved with other believers that focused on God as the administer of justice that I became lost in my journey. I eventually broke away from those believers. I has been a long journey back to where I was when I first believe. I have stopped reading the bible and there has been more peace and freedom in my life. When I do read it, it is The Message. I now view God as wanting the best for me. Looking at what I want for my children has really helped me in moving in this direction.

  6. Dr. Paul. That sure is interesting to hear you say that it sounds biblical. I am growing to understand that they I have come to understand scripture in the culture of the Nazarene church is just downright screwed up. And if that can happen to someone like me with my history there and family heritage, I can only imagine what others have experienced. Probably the church government would mostly blame me for my dysfunction because of course I haven’t read my bible enough, been to enough youth camps, followed “The Daily Bread,” etc. But maybe not. Maybe they would have compassion for me althougth they may not have much time for me. Your words are reassuring to me.

  7. Well, as is probably obvious from my dysfunction, I have not viewed scripture like that. I feel that the culture of the church taught me to fear God and look at the bible as a roadmap to heaven. That makes it a bit hard to have a meaningful relationship with a God whom you are continually trying to please.

  8. I agree with the concept that the world was created and didn’t spontaneously occur. I’m sorry your month was bad. Mine was as well…I was hoping the beginning of August would result in some kind of change, but apparently not.

    A long time ago, I went to a pentacostal church that had a variety of views that now make my faith in God a challenge instead of one of the best things in my life.

    Aside from the doctrine, I saw many odd physical ‘manifestations’, and associated these powerful looking things as proof of God’s acceptance in the beliefs of the church and of the pastor. If it wasn’t God, what was it?

    However, my heart now disagrees strongly with much of what I was taught by the church at that point in my life. The rest of me is still scared that I could be wrong and the church could be right.

  9. love it dude! love read’n about where you’re at…

    to join in this awesome conversation i’ll start with Corinthians 5:21. “He made him who knew no sin to become sin for our sakes. . . .” The job is done. The church doesn’t preach that, though. It’s always saying the job is done; but then it insists you have to cooperate with that job before it will be done for you. Wrong! It is done for you. It has been done for you. It’s all done for you. Trust it. i seems to me that we’re too hung up on trying to get ppl to fear hell to become Christian. this is the wrong step! it is the joy of being Christian that inspires conversion, not the fear of hell yet every preacher i hear seems to be SOOOO hung up on hell and salvation, describing the levels of hell in great detail “as if they spent several years in that commonwealth” (Erasmus). Jesus gave no systematic or geographical map of hell. so forget what you know about this as this is not the Good News.

    i was too hung up on this issue of damnation and think i drove too many from the faith when i was younger.. now i understand the WAY.. namely Christ. How did Jesus act? what did he do? did he run around saying “you’re all gonna burn?” NO! There are some harsh words, but they are directed at those who think they have a handle on who is in and who is out. When Jesus told his parables to the people, his disciples asked, why do you talk to them in riddles? And his answer was: “So they won’t catch on. Because anything they could catch on to would be the wrong thing. As Isaiah said, seeing they don’t see and hearing they don’t hear, neither do they understand [Matthew 13:10-17]. That’s why I talk to them like this: because I don’t want them to have little lights go on in their heads. I want to put out all the lights they’ve got, so that in the darkness they can listen to me”

    “The rest of me is still scared that I could be wrong and the church could be right.” well at my church.. you’d be right. and so would the others…. RAWK!

  10. Lenny. Good to hear from you. I understand the scenario that you lay out and am glad to hear you returning to a place of peace with a different understanding. I am in a significantly more peaceful place today than a month ago. I am far from having many answers but don’t feel the need to get everything answered. I do have a sense that God is not angry with me. Thanks for following along.

  11. “Hey, I made all this. I know how it works best. I know how to best be in harmony with it. And here it is.” — that pretty much sounds like the view I’ve been coming to as well. I like the way it was said in church Saturday night: we are being invited to participate in the restoration of the universe. God is about creating, not destroying — although some destruction is necessary to the process of creating. (For instance, in creating light it might be said that God “destroyed” some of the darkness.)

    I think we struggle to understand this world, not because God is hiding things from us, but because He and His creation are too much for our small eyes to see. We long to understand it all, but some of it always eludes us. Faith operates in the elusive places — but let us continue to struggle to understand what we can.

  12. Luke. I want to get to the place where you are on this. And I’m close. At this point I’m working on trying to re-read scripture without all the baggage I’ve collected over the years. And that’s a challenge. Thanks, man.

  13. Brian. That’s good stuff, especially the destroying darkness. That’s an interesting way to look at and one that I haven’t heard nor considered. I like it and will have to appy it to some of the more difficult things, like destroying cities and races of people, and see if it fits. Interesting.

  14. Dr Paul
    Sound interesting!

  15. amigo. don’t get to the place where i am, get to the place where you need to be ;-)

    although it is my job to go out and make as many mini-mes in faith as possible.. but it’s your job to resist and question this at all costs.

    that being said.. here’s a synchronicity for the day! http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2009/08/preach-your-doubts.html

    love the last question!

  16. “What if it is God saying, “Hey, I made all this. I know how it works best. I know how to best be in harmony with it. And here it is.” I think maybe this is a much healthier and more centering way to view scripture.” (Doug)

    So there is another way to view scripture! Literalists will not like you but oh well – they have that market cornered anyways…we need new breath to life.

    Like you – I see scripture along these same lines – as ‘gracious’ – as something that can help direct my life into a better ‘way’ than having none. I think this was the point of recording scripture and writing it down…to help guide – not condemn us.

    What John calls a ‘format’ I call a ‘paradigm’ – which is essentially a spin-off on the idea in that parable from Matthew about the rock and the sand ‘foundations’. Meaning – we need a foundational view to view the scriptures or we will basically be living a life in such drama. We are people of ‘order’ – and we need this to help put what we learn in the scriptures into fitting categories we can build on.

    For example, I started off believing forgiveness was due all – without any questions asked (because God forgives me). That’s a good basis to start at – but we also need to develop it further – because not all forgiveness is the same (ie: murder compared to lying). So we see Jesus discussing forgiving someone 70 times in a day – meaning – this just may be a ‘process’ (when dealing with one another and faults against one another). Believe me – I learned this the hard way – my January was a rough one and I won’t go into details but it challenged me to re-learn ‘forgiveness’ and ‘atonement’. But the point is – we start somewhere (a foundation) then we build each of these ideas as we live.

    You has a rough month – hopefully it’s getting better.

  17. God is about creating, not destroying — although some destruction is necessary to the process of creating. (For instance, in creating light it might be said that God “destroyed” some of the (2reasons)

    Maybe “Recycling” would be a better way to look at it. ;)

  18. Some of the Old Testament material is a mystery to me, too. Some of the events I don’t like very well. And I can’t fully explain the violence. I try to remember that the world and the culture was very different then from now. There were large city/states. Empires were built by the one who could conquer the most other people. Every city had its gods. God was trying to build a distinctive people through whom He could give a message of himself to the world. He did it by building up Abraham’s family and enabling them to thrive in a violent and war-like world. They had to be able to conquer other city/states who believed their gods were the strongest and greatest. I don’t know if that helps any. However, remember that in the Bible, the last word about God is Jesus. And the most complete word about God is Jesus. He is the personification of love itself.

  19. Dude. I get that. I want to be where I need to be. It’s just good to have people along the path to help point to a way that may be productive. Thanks for providing some of that.

  20. I understand that the last word about God is Jesus. But, God is who he is. He is not a different God post-Jesus than he was when he destroyed Sodom. Don’t the post-Jesus and pre-Jesus God have to reconcile somehow?

  21. Don’t the post-Jesus and pre-Jesus God have to reconcile somehow?(Doug)

    Doug, isnt the better question, “Can they be reconciled”.

  22. Remember that it would be reconciling OT perceptions from their experience of God with what is testified to about Jesus. Matt 11:27 is key- no one (not Abraham, Moses, etc.) knows the Father as the Son and those to whom He reveals Father. Combine that with “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen Father” and anything in OT not consistent with Jesus is suspect in it’s attribution to being accurate about God.

    Remember than Irael was a wild and woolly nomadic tribe among others who praticed human sacriice. Israel had a political agenda as well and we all know the tendency of politicians to say that “God told them to ….” So don’t blame God for all that’s attributed to Him. What’s surprising in OT and NT is how many stories are included that a spin doctor would have left out as too embarrassing.
    Israel was being shaped and formed through its long history into a cradle so the Incarnation had a context that made sense and the truth about God could be communicated.

  23. John. That is a good point, especially in light of Dr Paul’s input here. I have just been so conditioned to looking at the bible as the “dictated” word of God for the most part, and it is really difficult to get out of that mindset and instead view it for what it is, that being a book about how people have experienced God. I wonder, and have wondered for some time, if other ancient scriptural books are also books about how people have experienced this same God?

  24. I know that God is what he is. But Jesus is the most authorative word from God about himself. All previous words about him are less complete. In the NT he is described as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort…”

    No other word about God has the accuracy of what is seen in Jesus.

  25. Nice to be written right out of our own God.

  26. Hi Dr Paul,
    So what do I do with Jesus’ threats?

  27. No other word about God has the accuracy of what is seen in Jesus(Larry)

    And here are words that can start a war. Larry, maybe next time preface it with “I believe or I think”, it is more genteel that way.

    Nice to be written right out of our own God(Yael)

    Yael, Funny how they totally miss that point.

    So what do I do with Jesus’ threats?(Julia)

    The same thing I tell my daughter when she thinks there is a green monster under her bed. Realize its just make believe.

    “The mind is its own place, and in it self
    Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”
    ~John Milton, Paradise Lost

  28. That is part of the “scandel of particularity.”

    Yael, that particularity was attached to being Jewish as well.The Samaritan women Jesus encountered carried that same “written out” feeling. A more modern expression came from the poetry of Ogden, “How odd of God to choose the Jews.”

    Acutally it seems it is some part a “literal view the OT” that makes what I said sound more like exclusion than inclusion. Paul’s declaration of the breaking down of divisions (Jew vs Gentile, male vs female, slave vs free) can sound romantically great but only if our fundamental identity is based on one of those particular divisions.

    My view is not about God in and through Christ writing anyone out but writing everyone in.
    Of course that position about universal atonement gets me “written out” by everyone whose cherished particularity is threatened. Even here I feel the need to hasten and add that while I have a hopeful universalist view, I am not an unconditional universalist.

    The human challenge is then not being moral, good or obedient enough to change God’s mind about us (or to keep it positive) but to change our mind about God. Our preference for religion of all stripes is that it gives us something to do to change God/universe in our favor and compare ourselves to others. Where the issue with universal atonement is that there’s nothing to do “to be enough.” The challenge is in accepting it as good news and whatever we do to express love is just a response to it being given. We seem to prefer to paint an angry face on God and/or an unworthy face on ourselves and argue about whose got the right franchise to distribute grace.

    Julia, part of my answer to hearing what Jesus is saying starts with seeing the Incarnation as universal atonement and the challenges of accepting being loved. When we live as if unloved we grasp and grab what we think will make us “enough” and create our own little hells on earth where we feel alienated and painful consequences. I assume we can do that into an eternity but the hell of it that we’ll do it in the midst of acceptance. An example is the Elder Bro who refuses to come into Father’s party because it’s too inclusive but the Father does not send him away – just let’s him be with his preferred story in earshot of the music.

    Doug, let me know if I’m throwing too nuch in on your party.

  29. Thanks for your responses TitforTat and Dr Paul. The only view that brings me joy is Universalism. Surely the Elder Brother wouldn’t want to stay outside the party forever when he can hear the music?

  30. John,
    And obviously the point is still totally missed.

  31. “Remember that it would be reconciling OT perceptions from their experience of God with what is testified to about Jesus” (Paul)

    Hi Paul, I think Yael is referring to this little sentence you make – about Jesus being referred to in the Tanakh. One needs to remember – if Jesus was 100% Jewish – he’s never saw himself as ‘God’…that’s a fact – only Christians do those spiritual mind-tricks. It’s also very hard to believe Jesus is seen in the Tanakh – unless we are dealing with the ‘messiah’ ideology alone…but as God…I doubt that claim altogther.

    Fact is, Christianity borrowed from Judaism – then re-wrote it from a Gentile viewpoint – and this is known because Judaism and Christianity share very little similarities. And when they do their is some Christian twist to the event (ie: Adam and original sin or One meaning Three). Nothing alike when compared.

    So maybe Christianity it in it egotistical wisdom – is trying to write Jewish people out of their own stories and teachings (ie: Torah and Prophets). And why…because Christians have a huge over-hyped fear of the law.

  32. Reading this feels so frustrating to me.

    Admittedly, I am no braniac, but if a person has all this head knowledge, the correct belief about God, or the market cornered on who is/was chosen and yet continue to live a life of bitterness, defensiveness, and without joy or purpose, what good is all the head knowledge?

    If this doesn’t translate into a life or lives changed, why keep it up? Are relationships better? Is life richer? Are you loved? And loving deeply in return? No matter what you think of God, it seems like such a squandered life to not let it affect your circumstances.

    I don’t know everyone’s situation and it seems quite possible that some if not all are, in fact, living lives beyond survival. I also know that people come to heart changes in a lot of different ways. Wrestling with our beliefs is one of those ways. I just wonder if people ever get stuck wrestling…..like….forever.

  33. I just wonder if people ever get stuck wrestling…..like….forever.(Karmen)

    Yeah, but when you wrestle you getting sweaty and stick together. ;)

  34. That sounds gross. Thanks, John for drawing that mental picture.

  35. Yes Societyvs, I do get that distinction in points of view. It is one that is larger than either of us have much option to solve except to respect each others story and live out the love of God, each other and ourselves (as part of loving all creation). In fact, it seems unsolvable since changing either story would require giving up essential parts of the narratives that would destroy it.

    The universal atonement, that I see in the way I read the NT, takes the issue of atonement out of having to choose the “absolute right story.” That challenge divides Protestant denominations and the Protestant from Roman Catholics let alone from other faiths). The choice (within whatever faith/unfaith story) to be one of living loved and loving. I don’t have to live loved or love others but that will have it’s own consequences. I can do it imperfectly and the failure of not being perfect is not about atonement but my experience of grace.

    I hope that comes through as respectful and gracious as I feel.

  36. It sounds gracious and respectful to me, but then again I know you. I know you to be one of the most accepting and gracious people I know.

    I also know that some people won’t ever people satisfied…..even with gracious responses. Maybe that has to do with their choice of ‘living loved and loving?’

  37. Well, well. I guess I better weigh in before it gets out of hand. I have been busy in the endoscopy suite at the hospital this morning so haven’t been keeping up until now. I’ll try to stay up with it today.

    Dr Paul, you and everyone else has every right to throw anything they want on this party at any time. My blog is open to the public, and I want it to be a forum for discussion of all points of view. I want us all to be able to share our truths and learn new truths from each other.

    I agree with Karmen about Dr. Paul. I know him, and I know what’s in his heart. His words come from a place of grace like few others that I have known. If we were all at the same table, we would all leave feeling some sense of validation by him about our particular faiths and their nuances, including Yael. I think it difficult to pick that up with only words on a screen.

    But I also understand the idea which is offensive to the Jewish community even when Christians talk about a universal atonement. Even under such an idea, Christianity still makes it all about Jesus in the end. And that is offensive to Jews because by their faith, which is also growing and changing and being reworked, they don’t need Jesus.

    But, that does not mean that Christians are improper in holding that view. Christians have every right to think, according to the NT, that it is in the end all about Jesus. There is much good to be said of that. But also much bad. The problem, as Dr. Paul points out, comes when we start to believe that our “particularity” is the end all of truth and that everyone else has to accept this fact too in order to be “saved.”

    Instead, the goal should be to love and in turn be loved. To validate and in turn be validated. To all sit at the table and earnestly “seek to understand before we seek to be understood” as Steven Covey would say. That is the way we are truly going to benefit from all the wrestling (which I love by the way), all the truth seeking. As soon as we feel the need to tell each other where we are wrong, the value and truth exit and it becomes a big cat fight. Christianity especially has spent way too much time with a cat in that fight. I intentionally use cats instead of dogs because cats seem way more subversive and evil than dogs who just overpower and yell louder. The subversive way with misplaced motives and stereotypical judgments are the way in which is the way this fight typically seems to go.

    I like what we are doing here. I like the talk about a universalist view. I like the talk about grace. I like the talk about inclusion and everyone having an equal seat at the table. Let’s keep it up.

  38. I wanted to comment on Karmen’s point here separately because it is so good. She reminds me often that if I have all this knowledge in my head but do nothing with it, what good is it. While the pursuit of knowledge is a noble endeavor in and of itself, it we keep it all inside, in the end, we are being selfish. But if we do the work, the wrestling, the discovery, and then share it, let it change us, let it pass through us, we improve both ourselves and humanity. I think that is very important. We are not in this game, on this path, just to fight to end and survive. We are in this game to thrive and to help each other along the way. I hope we always keep that in mind. Well said, Karmelita.

  39. For a period of my journey I lived working on getting “head knowledge” about God and truth to be “heart knowledge” so I could feel like I was a good Christian. In the last year or so I have heard this problem described in a different way. Growth in faith is more about getting the head to accept what is already in the heart. To live loved is to live from our heart. For the longest time I had no idea what that meant. How do I do that? My counselor and I were talking about this issue. He suggested that I give thought to that living from my heart means to follow my instincts. That it is ok to trust myself and my beliefs and that God is big enough to get me out of any situation that I may find myself in. This does not give me license to go off “half cocked” and do whatever I want and say “God get me out of this”. God wants us to be responsible for our lives and trust his guidance.

    Living from the heart is being who God made me to be with all of strengths, faults, talents and weaknesses. God is not disillusioned with me because he had no illusions about me.

  40. That’s good, Lenny.

  41. wow this discussion has taken off! i agree with you better half! and lenny as well.. i read a quote somewhere that our life mostly consists our head trying to figure out and articulate what our heart already knows.

    seems like the best of us have both heart and mind in balance.

  42. Thanks for the caution, John. I stand duly corrected and I apologize for stating my thought in a way that was offensive for some others. I violated the very spirit of love I try to live. I have no intention of offending anyone. I’m only trying to add thought. I apologize to those who found my comment offensive.

  43. Thanks Larry

    I actually like your input, no harm, no foul with me.

  44. With me offensive is the wrong word. Disheartening is more like it. To see the very things that give a person’s life meaning, to see the people who are most important in a person’s life, all dismissed as nothing with just a few words is tough to see. I know I should be used to it by now, that it goes with the territory and I need to learn to just blow it off, but I’m not there yet. And since you are also a religious person I have little doubt that you know what I’m saying since the same thing has probably happened to you many times at the hands of other religious people.

    My reaction is not bitterness or anger; that is ever the simple accusation thrown at the one who stands out from the crowd. It’s not about refusing to join some party because we’re pissed off someone else gets to celebrate. I don’t get why there’s only one party allowed. I know what your sacred texts state but I also know what mine state as well. If mine can be reinterpreted because we understand they are a record of a people’s understanding of God I don’t know why yours cannot as well so that your Jesus can be meaningful to you without requiring him to be anything at all, both now and at some future date, to me.

    If we knew each other in person, Larry, I have no doubt we could have many interesting conversations; not arguments but instead conversations. We wouldn’t agree on much but we would find a common ground somewhere because the reality is, we both care about all this, perhaps too much, but it is who we are.

    I appreciate your conciliatory comment; let’s part in peace.

  45. Yaelj………..as always your words resonate.

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