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FireDragon76 last won the day on March 3 2015

FireDragon76 had the most liked content!

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About FireDragon76

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    500 years of posting stuff

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    Central Florida
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    theology, philosophy, caffeine and videogames

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  1. FireDragon76

    Mark 16:9-19 (Niv)

    While textual criticism can be helpful, it's good not to get stuck on its conclusions as the final word. It's possible the "older" manuscripts we have, simply have missing endings, and the original manuscript was similar to the one we now have. In Acts there is the story of Paul and his companion picking up a snake, being bitten, and not being harmed. Then the natives worship him as a god.
  2. FireDragon76

    Jesus's Third Way

    The quote "To escape sin may be the ultimate guilt" is attributed to Bonhoeffer. Peace churches are those churches that believe Christians are not free to participate in war or justified violence. Historically, most Christians have not held this ethical position. Augustine was probably the first to clearly articulate the argument that Christians could be soldiers in good conscience. Before then, many local bishops prohibited anyone who had killed, for any reason, from receiving the sacraments without penances. Christian realism is an outgrowth of neo-orthodox Reformed and Lutheran anthropology and social ethics. It's not cultural conservativism and quietism of the fundamentalists, but it's also critical of the utopianism and flawed anthropology of the Social Gospel movement. Even though Bonhoeffer did not identify himself as such, theologically he had more in common with Niebuhr than many of his liberal contemporaries.
  3. FireDragon76

    Jesus's Third Way

    Bonhoeffer and Niebhur are arguably among the greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th century. Bonhoeffer in particular was brilliant.
  4. FireDragon76

    Jesus's Third Way

    I'm more into Niebhur-style Christian realism or Bonhoeffer. I'm not really comfortable with peace-church pacifism where we stand back and merely let our lights shine. I'm more Augustinian: "to escape sin may be the ultimate guilt", something attributed to Bonhoeffer.
  5. FireDragon76

    How do you feel about abortion?

    My church has a nuanced position, despite the fact our conservative peers tend to say we are "pro-abortion". We don't really approve of it in general, for starters, but we aren't known for being overly judgmental. It's left up to the individual a great deal to decide what he or she should do in controversial matters, with the pastor and the religious community there to accompany them in that task. Our ethics is like that in alot of ways. We give guidelines more than rules. Some of us are pro-choice, others are pro-life. My pastor leans towards a more Catholic pro-life position but even he recognizes it is an area of ethical complexity and we should avoid trying to minimize that. That's more or less what I believe about the matter, too.
  6. Merton was drawing alot from Suzuki's take on Buddhism in trying to find analogies to speak to modern people. But in doing so, at times he has trouble speaking in a uniquely Christian way. It's sort of like how Paul Tillich's theology at times has little to do with the traditional symbols of the Christian faith, and more to do with existentialism. During Lent I made a practice of reading some Christian mystics, particularly Julian of Norwich. I found this lecture by Jonathan Freuhwirth, an Episcopalian and former monk, especially helpful in integrating the mystical/experiential and evangelical sides of the Christian faith. The dialectic is not between "true self / false self", but more like between suffering and compassion, expressed in Christianity as a dialectic between sin and grace.
  7. I can't conceive of the notion of being a Christian without Jesus as a divine figure. I'm not into nailing down divinity too tightly (I am still a bit of a mystic at heart), but I think a basic idea of divinity is ultimate significance and ultimate meaning. Divinity is a political and social claim, as much as a spiritual or metaphysical claim. Indeed, that is exactly how the Jewish and Greek listeners in Jesus day would have understood his divinity. And Christianity is unapologetically particular in this respect in insisting that God's ultimate self-revelation is in a person. We are particular, concrete beings, after all- we are individual persons (at least that's how we think of ourselves in western culture, for the most part). How can God truly relate to us in any other way than the particular? So, I'm unapologetically in the "Jesus fan club". If other people find peace and a meaningful life elsewhere other than in Jesus, that's great for them... but I don't see that as particularly "Christian". Being a Christian is more than simply having morals or "being the best you possible". (Indeed, the Lutheran in me shudders at the idea of morality and the Gospel being confused). For me a great deal of my growth away from mysticism and vaguery happened due to realizing that western Christian tradition was not all bad, that it wasn't so broken, that the 60's was not the "Year Zero" of a brave new world. So I learned to appreciate the received western Christian tradition for its fruits in the focus on objectivity, justice, and the dignity of the individual.
  8. FireDragon76

    hello again

    After looking over the site, I think I will stick to the Debate and Dialogue section. I don't think the typical ELCA Lutheran fits the 8 Points laid out as a guideline for Progressive Christianity. It is possible to find more progressive Lutherans, but we are still very much a religion shaped by tradition and shared confessions. We are influenced by liberal mainline Protestantism, and share similar "tools" that are used, without actually being part of it fully.
  9. FireDragon76

    Deleting 'god'

    I think this definition of a non-theistic Christianity is hard for me to wrap my head around as a Lutheran. It's sort of a non-sequitur for us. I guess the typical ELCA Lutheran doesn't fit easily with conservative evangelical protestants, but most of us have a "selective" liberalism and we are a bit more practical minded and not so introspective or mystical.
  10. FireDragon76

    Hope For Eternal Life - Why?

    I think the appeal for many Christians is the possibility of continuity of relationships. It's not so individualistic as worrying about "where I go when I die". I see this particularly emphasized in the Orthodox Church and their communion with the departed through prayer and in the liturgy. But you can even hear it in classic Gospel music. It is a denial of the finality of death, not necessarily a denial of death itself. And for the early church, that was a definite emphasis as well. "Where oh Death is thy sting?"
  11. FireDragon76

    Jesus's Third Way

    The Sermon on the Mount is not about pragmatism or utilitarianism. Jesus isn't laying down a realistic political or social ethic.
  12. FireDragon76

    Intercessory Prayer

    Prayer is not magic. It's a dialogue or a petition. Focusing on manipulating a definite result in my mind draws away from that. It's also highly personal. There's nothing wrong with praying without knowing God's will. If it's lawful and desired, that is sufficient reason to pray. Intercessory prayer is not a dominant part of my prayer life as a Lutheran. It's not the be-all or end-all of ones spiritual life necessarily.
  13. FireDragon76

    hello again

    I notice your profile says you live in Central Florida. I live in east Orlando. The church I go to is Reformation ELCA, which is in the south downtown area.
  14. FireDragon76

    hello again

    It has been a long time since I posted on this site. I am a former Eastern Orthodox Christian that has been on a long religious journey. I was raised in Methodism, then became agnostic for many years. Then I practiced Buddhism for a few years. I went to a conservative Anglican church for many years before becoming an Eastern Orthodox catechumen, and this was the first religion I really felt I could call home. Sadly, my priest gave me a very hard time for years, and my parish was overall quite conservative and pietistic. I left the faith after I had a spiritual/mental health crisis and became searching. First at a conservative Episcopalian church, and then finally I found a small ELCA Lutheran congregation that I am now a member of. I would describe myself as not easily fitting into a particular religious box. Though I don't seem to get along well with conservative evangelicals, I would not describe myself necessarily as totally on board with Protestant liberalism, and of course my background is not Protestant. I'm not perfectly aligned with the "typical Lutheran", but it seems as close as I can get to a safe church that believes all the essentials, and they just don't seem like very judgmental people, though I find a surprising number of ELCA Lutherans that have a narrow religious perspective in their own way. They can be socially liberal but theologically very stuffy and wooden. Our church does have a conservative wing that is not insubstantial, as well. My own pastor is from that conservative confessional tradition though in my dialogues with him I have helped him broaden his perspective.
  15. FireDragon76

    Conservative Bashing Hurting The Pc Church

    I have similar issues. I am formerly Eastern Orthodox (I left for pastoral reasons) and I just can't find a Protestant mainline church I fit into. Eastern Orthodoxy is hard to pidgeonhole as "conservative" or "liberal", because it comes from a completely different culture. I'm disabled and I've just never really identified with the surrounding culture, that's an issue too. IT was easy to be an outsider in Eastern Orthodoxy because I was among other outsiders. There is something very homogenous about most mainline Protestant churches that is not truly diverse, that reflects a lot of white, middle-class, liberal cultural values. Being "Nice" is valued way to much, and being "real" about life is actually one of those things not high on the list. And I know nothing about non-denoms or non-mainline churches to go "church shopping".