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thormas last won the day on July 14

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About thormas

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  1. I respect that, simply providing food for thought based on the expertise of others. I like and agree with much of John's (and others) theology, based on both experience and reason: oneness, forgiveness, judgment, and excusing, etc. I like both to understand the message and, if possible, know its (human) source. I think it is important to give credit, to simply thank the man or woman (even if they are unknown as is the gospel writer) because, as is evident in the world, it takes 'something' on the part of the person to hear and understand. And, perhaps, even more credit is due for the courage to live what is given and present it when and where it is not always welcomed or accepted. So too, it seems fine to be thankful to Jesus as his life and death is evidence of both the gift given and what it cost him to give it to others.
  2. Also, John is the most theological of the gospels and it is doubtful that the historical Jesus would have said what John has him say. This is not to take way form the points made, merely interesting to note that, seemingly, Jesus did not 'equate' himself with the Father, as later writers did for him.
  3. thormas

    Heathens! 2

    Would love to know if this is a family name or intended.
  4. So, Niagara Falls is both external and internal - and, as such, is also beyond or more or, perhaps, even other. Before there was electricity, there was the Falls. So too, I agree there is a both/and as opposed to an either/or: God for Christianity is both transcendent and immanent. John Macquarie calls this (recognition and balancing of seeming opposites) Dialectical theism, saying that at times, traditional theism leaned too far to transcendence while others lean too far to immanence.
  5. thormas

    Evolution and Original Sin

    Murmsk, I basically agree with your take on the bible. I also see how churches and Christianity itself used sin (I do believe, crazy as it sounds, that many actually believed they were doing God's work). Growing up Catholic, I always knew we could be forgiven for our sins (some of which were mistakes), I don't know if this was the Protestant experience. I do remember some of their church experiences seemed very different from mine when I was a kid, teenager and young adult. I also get, given your experience, your take on the meaninglessness of sin (it wasn't mine but I get it). The only place I differ is that all sins are merely mistakes: some perhaps but others simply seem to have more going for them than what is typically recognized as a mistake. Interesting take on original sin: part of me gets the 'tendency' but I also know that some people don't have such tendencies or very many of them.There seems to be a difference between a tendency and acting on it. I also get, in part, the leftovers along our path to where we are, but again, there are many people who are not gluttons, lustful in a bad ways (as certain lust - sometimes called desire -one would hope is good) or (overly) selfish. Simply, I have encountered too many who are just not all that selfish to make me think there are universal tendencies from our evolutionary past or, if there are, we can't be nurtured away from them - which gets us back to acting (or as you say fighting the urges) on tendencies.
  6. FD76, You really have to be more thoughtful and also read more carefully. Once again, you dodge and move to a new topic, now it's surrogacy - really? As should be obvious and from you own words, the point is exploitation of another (or self) and this, an expression of human self-centeredness, is present in prostitution, in some marriages for all the ignoble reasons you imagine and many other interactions. So, if we are talking about self-centeredness or (the original and only) sin, it is a sweeping, far-reaching reality. Now, surrogacy: so if someone hangs a sign outside their door, I would be suspect - however, it this falls under medical or psychological need and one even gets a referral from a doctor - we seem to have moved from exploitation to care (perhaps). However, if the 'patients' motives are suspect or the 'provider'' has his or her own issues we might be moving back to exploitation. Even you must recognize this. Finally we get somewhere: the church, your church, the Lutheran Church, the Christian church, is against certain actions (ex. prostitution, stealing, killing, adultery, etc.) and they look to individual moral agency - well, welcome to Christianity. As has been discussed, there are many reasons to engage in prostitution or solicit a prostitute - however, as the action by definition, exploits or uses another, it is simply a wrong action. As in our previous example, if a young woman, the only support for her child, no family or societal help, turns tricks or becomes a high class escort, we might be able to understand what drive her, however the reality still exists that 'mutual exploitation' is her and his (all the men and women who meet her) choice and something other than compassionate concern for our neighbor is unleashed and affirmed in the world: human selfishness is unleashed and given power in the world. Then, the issue is culpability for the action: I would still regard the moral responsibility of this woman to be 'less' than the pimp who lures, rapes, drugs and forces women into prostitution and engages with them, wouldn't you? However, the actions of both (to different degrees) affirms the exploitation of others. And your church doesn't take a conservative stance, it takes a stance based in love, in its Christ. And in all this, I have never advocated for coercive action by a Christian community (actually you are the one to introduce excommunication and ostracizing members), I have just been trying to get at what you seem to say about Lutheranism. If you can't see the whole picture, your naïveté (citing German legal prostitution and calling it 'sex work') provides support for the further exploitation of others in the world. Bravo Christian. I wonder if Christ would land in Germany today, see that prostitution is legal and turn on his heel and say, "we're good here, what's the next country on the itinerary?" Or perhaps, rather than saying "sin no more" he would simply say, "no problem, it's legal." What do you think, FD? I have been worried about the same thing about you: that you simply don't understand your own Lutheran church and rather than engage in a constructive discussion, you keep falling back on catch words with the continuing inability to explain what they mean. I actually have no problem with what you continually term as non-legalistic Christian ethics and have never been a legalist; I have simply been pressing you to explain what you say your profess. Oh well, it was worth a shot. I wish you well.
  7. FD76, Who said anything about excommunication or ostracizing another? Dodge ball anyone? The point was that the Lutherans, hopefully, would act, that they would do...........something. And it's not about your ideals, it is the commandment (or if you prefer) the way of Jesus who Lutherans supposedly profess and follow. I actually can't believe that a Christian would prevaricate on this or similar issues. But you would be concerned about exploitation, well that is what prostitution involves so .............the concern would have to include the vehicle (i.e. prostitution) by which another is exploited or, simply, the lack of love for your neighbor via the vehicle (i.e. prostitution). But again you go to moral purity while I am simply talking about love of neighbor. Prostitution is legal in Germany, so Lutherans and Christians should bow to the state? What in the name of God was legal or condoned by the 'state' under Hitler? And people, who bowed to what was legal or acceptable then, were considered cowards and sympathizers. Prostitution (defined/discussed above), simply because it is legal in some places, is no longer a concern for the Lutheran, especially in Luther's home? It was also legal or acceptable to stone people in the time of Jesus: did he just say to the crowd, "it's legal, I don't want to ostracize anyone with a stone in their hand" or did he, knowing it was wrong, go against the norm, the legal, the expected and accepted and say, "he who is without sin..................?"
  8. No FD76 I am relying on you to explain Lutheranism - I have some of the video posts from you and others saved but my reading list is full for now. Thus, it is on you. Regardless, you have now offered more info and in response to the question, "who are we to judge" it appears, at least in part, the Lutheran community is. If the Church see or hears of one running a prostitution ring in town or turning tricks in the community room, apparently the Church, as it is in relationship with the individual, would make a judgment and 'say' something, probably even pass judgment and say this is not acceptable in our community or before God. Sure the individual bears responsibility (or blameworthiness) as in most churches and human situations but the Lutheran Church will weigh in. Thanks you! I thought you said, 'love becomes grounded in relationships with concrete others.' So this is done in the sacraments and the Eucharist but that is in community, isn't it expressed in the world also? And if this is how God shows his love for Lutherans, how do Lutherans show/express their love of God and neighbor: isn't it in community and in the world? Standing before God is not dependent on one's ability to love (like God loves?) in kind but it calls for us to love, love more, love again, love continually and not be selfish (i.e. sin). And, no one is talking about perfect actualization, just living the (2) commandments and truly loving - this seems to be our responsibilities as human beings before God. Love and forgiveness must be accepted: the Prodigal was forgiven and loved but he had to do something; he had to 'turn' and return to share the live of the Father (and this from Jesus). Well, yes and no. Yes, because it is not a question of whether or not we are loved or forgiven, we are; we are forgiven by God, no pre-conditions and it is pure grace. And no, because we, as the Prodigal, must turn, accept that love and forgiveness and share the life of the Father by loving (in kind if not degree). It is not a pre-condition, it is because we are loved, that we, in turn, can love and as such we (can) 'stand before God' as sons and daughters that share his life (again as in the Prodigal).
  9. Actually, I never said anything close to that. I am, and have been, trying to get some clarification and explanation of what you, a representative of Lutheranism, has been saying is Lutheran belief/practice. However, by your definition, it must be possible for some individual Lutherans to oppose love because you said, "it's ultimately up to the individual ....... to judge matters of ethical importance." So, technically, one could judge matters and oppose love. Or, is it not up to the individual? No, it is not that prostitution may not measure up to some people's ideals, it is that prostitution, the treatment, giving, selling, buying of another human being for one's self, knowing that other person is not valued in her/himself but as a thing to be used and is interchangeable with another 'thing'- is not loving; it is ignoring both the commandments of loving God and loving the other, your neighbor, wherever, whoever, whenever they are. Don't conflate it by dodging to another topic, address it in itself. We have already said there are different reasons for both the prostitute and the client and those reasons differ greatly. However, we can still say the idea, the action, the concrete reality of prostitution is wrong. Can't you? The reasons are one thing but although the reasons may mitigate blameworthiness, it does not change the reality that the concrete act of prostitution (as defined above) is................wrong; it is not an act of love, it is not an act of compassion concern for another human being. Do you think it is? Does Lutheranism think it is? Is it up to the individual? We all know some people marry for ignoble reasons and that some of those reasons are more ignoble than some reason for prostitution. That does not change the reality of prostitution. Who are we to judge? We are the ones who supposedly follow the Christ and make important to us what was important to him: Love - as expressed in the two great commandments, as portrayed in parables, as preached, as signified in his miracles, as lived in his life, as evident on his cross, as held up and lived by his first followers in the aftermath of the resurrection. Who are we? We are (to be) the ones in whom love becomes grounded: If love of neighbor is not embodied, not incarnated in us - how will love ever become "grounded in concrete relationships with others." And what is to be done if another does not understand (or misunderstands) Love and does not live it with (concrete) others? Are we to do nothing? Did the man, Jesus, do nothing?
  10. Fine, but no one here, including me, is advocating Divine Command Theory (is this really a thing?) or anything close to it.
  11. What does this even mean? Do you know? Why do you see a difference between divine 'command' and human compassion? Again with the moralism and legalism, catch words - but no attempt to respond from the heart. There is no moralism or legalism in my words, nor is there anything but love grounded in relationships with others (if not concrete what are they?). I have no issue with you or anyone not being, as you indicated earlier, a PhD in religion (there are probably none here) but I did expect someone who willingly came to this (or any such) site and presented opinion in a debate and dialogue section, to be able to elaborate on that opinion or belief to some degree and not simply trot out the same catch words again and again and again.
  12. I was talking about both: prostitution involves the prostitute and the one who pays for the 'services.' There are many reasons for both parties, no one is denying that - but who is saying they are excluded from God's kingdom? My point was that merely because there is no lecture by Jesus on prostitution (or prostitutes) does not mean that the great commandments do not cover it. You appear to be saying just that: he didn't preach about it so...........He also didn't preach about tax evasion...........so what? Further, the discussion is not on homosexuality but no one is saying those in a gay marriage are excluded from God or his Kingdom. However, if a man is involved in gay prostitution, again for many possible reasons, and we recognize there is no preaching from Jesus about it - are you saying it isn't covered by the commandment of love? You are totally missing the point(s) of the discussion. Your example of those who pass up the man in the tale of the Good Samaritan makes the point that Jesus made: the law was/is made for man and the heart of that law is to love. If I remember correctly (because this is something, since I am not Jewish, I have no real interest in) there is the Law of God and then there are the laws of men which have the good intention of protecting the Law and making sure, that the Jews don't break it - even accidentally. This is where Jesus said, enough. It is not these man made laws he came to fulfill; the only Law that truly counts, the Law he fulfills (meaning, it is realized, it lived in him) is (the Commandments of God reduced to just two) Love. I have no problem agreeing that, in the history of Christianity, 'the point of Jesus' has been missed and some interpretations in his name have been abusive and inhuman. However, that is not what is going on here. However, Lutheranism, at least as you are presenting it, seems to go in the opposite direction: that "it's ultimately up to the individual in their relationship with God and their neighbor to judge matters of ethical importance." Well, no that is not the point of Jesus either. The Pharisees and Scribes, the Levite and the pharisees (who pass by the man), the rich man, those who are ready to stone the woman, the good son who in the Prodigal and on and on, are 'judging matter of ethical importance" based on their relationship with, their understanding of God and man - and they are wrong! There is a 'standard of biblical morality' and it is, as Jesus preached, Love. All these biblical instances, were men and women whose judgment of ethical importance were found wanting and they were called on it: their actions were judged to be off and either directly or in his overall preaching, they were called to love. The challenge for Christianity (for all religions, for all people) and the hard part is that it now falls on us. What is right, how ought we to live, when it come to the prostitute, gay marriage, Catholicism's prohibition agains women as priests, divorce, fornication, tax evasion, bullying, and on and on. And the answer is based on the only ethic preached and incarnated in Jesus: love. So, what is love in each of these examples and all such examples? When we know and live that - then the Kingdom is both present and closer to fulfillment.
  13. This is like dodge ball. That he accepted people is not the issue: that is accepted. That he called and admonished those people to repent, to not sin, to love (and was rather pissed at some people like the Scribes and Pharisees) is the point. Isn't there a hierarchy is everyday human life? Or do you equate the child who copied homework to the man who rapes children? Is the teenage mother, with no high school education, abandoned by her christian family, the only support for her child who makes good money as an escort not different than the pimp who waits for teenagers getting off buses in NYC bus terminal, gets them hooked on drugs, rapes them and forces them into prostitution (sometimes beating, continually raping and even killing some of his workers)? Good god, there is a hierarchy that exists both in the world and within each of us: some sins are small, while others put us, put our humanity in mortal danger. And what is proper repentance? What are you talking about? Seemingly, Jesus recognized a 'hierarchy' in that he was much harder on the Scribes and Pharisees than on the tax collector, more demanding of the rich man than of the adulteress. Is it that 'we want' or that we recognize that there is a hierarchy of sin: that there are levels and depths of selfishness/sin in the world, in human beings? Not how your church does things? But it is you, representing your church, who has continually dismissed and disparaged other christian communities. Unless your church is free from sin, by your words, you judge the sins of other churches to be greater (higher on the hierarchy).
  14. Agreed. And, as previously said, it seems obvious that Jesus knew that sin isn't just outward behaviors. And, FD76, there is no serious biblical scholar who interprets "sin no more: as stay out of trouble" - the latter is something your grandmother might have said to you as a little kid, the equivalent of "be a good boy." Jesus appears to be about something more. Actually, if Jesus expected the Kingdom to come 'soon' he might have been (probably was) calling for moral purity, properly understood (there was no time for anything else, no time could be wasted, one must repent, change, be different - because the Kingdom was to begin and one must chose a side). Seemingly, moral purity was seen in this Beatitude: Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. This is not a 'law' it is the way to be, it is the way of living. You're mincing words: the 'ethic' of Jesus is the Way of God; it is was articulated in the two great commandments, the ethic was Love. Is this not the ethic - the way of being, living and behaving he articulated? This was was both more and less than what his opponents thought was important. Are you actually suggesting that because Jesus didn't preach a lecture specifically on prostitution, that the commandment of Love doesn't cover it? If prostitution is the use of another human being, as a thing, for one's own pleasure (and allowing yourself to be used as a thing) - where is the love of neighbor, where is the love of God? And, as he didn't come to abolish the law, he accepted Jewish law and seemingly there was no need to hit every possible 'sin' because he knew he was talking to Jews: therefore he emphasizes the true heart of the law, or better, the true heart of God. As to sexual morality - see the above, isn't everything covered by the great commandments? Therefore the dictum: love........and do what you will (for what the one who loves wills - is love).
  15. Well I wish you well but on this line we disagree: doesn't have to be set in stone for there to be right and wrong. When dealing with the future and how the present impacts it, is a crap shoot and we do the best we can. It seems 'natural' that many people would feel fear (and perhaps humiliation) when bullied or threatened physically - however that doesn't make it right and the degree of humiliation that you indicated your son absorbs seems to be too much for a kid and, possibly, unhealthy. You seem to be saying your son is feeling what is natural (which I take as a 'moment' or short span of time) but is also absorbing that feeling (which seems to be long term); the former is natural, the latter shouldn't be. All we know ofJesus (including when he 'took up the cross') is when he was a grown man who chose his path in life, we have no idea what his childhood was like, whether he was ever intimated, fought, was mocked, etc. Interestingly, as a man we see Jesus in anger, going after Scribes and Pharisees (snakes, brood of vipers) whose words, actions and demands 'hurt' the people. I'm all for teaching the example of Jesus and following it but I'm also on the side of the anger (doing something) when he saw others being hurt or being made to feel sinful (fear and humiliation) because of some guys interpretation of the law. Your son is not a grown man. A fall, cuts, broken bones, broken hearts because of love, illness, disease - these are things we would like to avoid but throughout life deal with, avoid or respond to as best we can. Violence and degradation at the hands of others are different and the first response should not be "withstanding them to a much higher degree than we often choose to." A slight from the girl (or boy) that doesn't respond as you would hope, a joke at your expense, not always being included and similar rebuffs by others is one thing, physical abuse, taunting another to destroy them and the like is not. Perhaps it is not as bad as I first thought when I read your last post but if it is (and I appreciate the tough situation of a parents in the same school), your husband had an answer - he pushed back (there are degree of pushing back but sometimes it seems, he fought). Even Jesus didn't take the full weight of the cross; he had help carrying it.