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Burl

Pistis Christou

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I feel Christianity needs to concentrate on the present moment and if people want to be negative that is Okay because they can learn from it and get out of hell and since we can't see other people's thoughts we will have no need to condemn them and send them to hell. It will become a self created mental state and a place to start education.

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Another way to interpret "Pistis Christou" is to look at the genitive "Christou" as being a possessive -- which is, after all, one of the most common uses of the genitive declension in Koine.

 

So it would translate as "faith of Christ" or "Christ's faith," which turns the theology upside down and highlights what Jesus knew to be true: we're all children of God, we're all equally worthy of God's love and forgiveness (regardless of personal human belief systems), and, despite our human mistakes and misunderstandings, God has as much faith in our core ability to love as we have in God's. This core ability is intrinsic to the eternal soul, that is, the true self and lasting core consciousness of each of us.

 

Faith is a two-way street. In so far as Jesus taught others about how to live in a state of full relationship with God ("entering the Kingdom" and accepting God's faith in us), his teachings were a major departure from the Law and the Prophets.

 

To say that Christ has faith in us is a statement of universalism, inclusiveness, hope, healing, and relationship. It's a paradigm in which salvation isn't needed but love and trust most definitely are.

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Exactly! If we are saved (whatever that means) through Jesus' faith in God instead of through our faith in Jesus a much more universal picture appears.

 

I personally find the universalist arguments persuasive. I think it was what Jesus DID and WAS that was critical. His teachings are important, but secondary. Intellectual artifacts.

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My view is different Burl, i personally find the teachings most important (not secondary) since what he did or didn't do is beyond my scope of direct knowledge and experience. Yet i can test the teachings and find they either bring forth fruit or not.in my life. They are not just intellectual artifacts to me.

Joseph

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My view is different Burl, i personally find the teachings most important (not secondary) since what he did or didn't do is beyond my scope of direct knowledge and experience. Yet i can test the teachings and find they either bring forth fruit or not.in my life. They are not just intellectual artifacts to me.

Joseph

I do have direct knowledge and experience of Jesus' divinity, so his teachings are an important subset of Jesus' existence to me as well.

 

If one recognizes Jesus as God, one must recognize Jesus in everything. That includes Islam, Buddism, athiesm and Rom-eranianism.

 

I'm not diminishing the value of Jesus' teachings. I'm just putting them in a much larger context.

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My years of working with Jesus have brought me to an understanding of Jesus that's different from the understanding of most Christians. I know Jesus to be a soul who has a unique set of talents, and it's this unique set of talents that allowed him to develop his relationship with God in a way that few humans have ever done. But Jesus wasn't stingy with his skills. He did everything he could to share with others what he had learned about God.

 

So, for me, he's an important teacher and amazing healer. But he's still a child of God, a son of God, not THE son of God. I don't see Jesus in everything. I see God everywhere, but I see Jesus only in certain aspects that relate to his life: in his teachings and also in the wisdom of other human beings who have learned to connect with God in the same way Jesus did.

 

I think a lot of Christians are afraid that if they give up Paul's teachings about Jesus as the Messiah, and if they abandon later doctrinal teachings about the divine nature of Jesus, they'll be giving up the core of their faith. For me, the core of faith is relationship with God. It's what we long for, what guides us through our difficult lives. So if we're lucky enough to find spiritual and religious teachers who can show us how worthy we are in God's eyes (Jesus' view) as opposed to the much more common belief that we're somehow unworthy to know God except through restricted religious means (Paul's view), then we should consider ourselves blessed rather than diminished.

 

Jesus' teachings about God become even more inclusive and more healing and more relevant to our lives when we understand Jesus as a humble child of God who lived a life (or part of life, I should probably say) of pure faith -- faith in God, but also faith in his fellow human beings. If Jesus could do it without being the only Son of God -- and if God "allowed" him to do it even though Jesus wasn't God or the Messiah (despite what many schools of religious thought, both Christian and non-Christian, have taught about saviours and intermediaries) -- then the same possibility is clearly open to the rest of us. How amazing is that?!

 

This, for me, is why Jesus' teachings continue to be so important.

Edited by Realspiritik

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Realspiritik, Thank you you expressed it so well.

 

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
John 14:12

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Personally i don't think it was meant to be complicated. It seems to me, Jesus did not feel the need to write anything himself other than to scribble in the sand once. It is my experience that we become aware of the connection with God not by complicated understandings of Bible writings but more by the simplicity that is in Christ and the basic teachings of Jesus that when put in practice bring about transformation.

 

Joseph

 

I would careful about making the claim that Jesus didn't feel the need to write anything himself. Although it's common today for us to assume that (1) Jesus spoke primarily Aramaic, (2) Jesus was illiterate, (3) Jesus was raised in the small rural town of Nazareth, (4) Jesus' teachings are simple and uncomplicated and unsophisticated (in a scholarly sense), there's considerable evidence to suggest exactly the opposite about Jesus and his teachings.

 

Another way to think about Jesus' teachings is to consider the possibility (indeed, I would argue, the certainty) that Jesus was raised by a wealthy, elite family with a priestly Jewish pedigree, and that a series of circumstances caused him to challenge everything he'd been taught about God.

 

Looking at Jesus through the lens of, say, a committed doctor with Medicins Sans Frontieres -- someone who's highly educated but willing to commit his life to helping others who are in pain -- then his journey as a human being of faith, courage, talent, and commitment takes on more relevance to us today.

 

If it were a simple thing to overturn a lifetime of religious and cultural teaching, to set aside a life of privilege for a life of hardship and rejection, to remain true to one's faith in God and not become a hypocrite, then I daresay we'd have a lot more people in the history of Christianity who could claim to understand what Jesus' parables meant.

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"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

John 14:12

 

Thanks, Soma. Yes, those who follow Jesus' example of how to be in relationship with our beloved God will find not only the peace they seek, but the courage and strength to make a difference in the world in their own unique way.

 

God bless,

Jen

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I would careful about making the claim that Jesus didn't feel the need to write anything himself. Although it's common today for us to assume that (1) Jesus spoke primarily Aramaic, (2) Jesus was illiterate, (3) Jesus was raised in the small rural town of Nazareth, (4) Jesus' teachings are simple and uncomplicated and unsophisticated (in a scholarly sense), there's considerable evidence to suggest exactly the opposite about Jesus and his

 

 

IF you are inferring that I am actually making some claim?? .... You might re-read my post and see I make no CLAIM. I made it clear that I am expressing my personal view and the way it seems to me. Perhaps i err in my view ? Others are free to express the way they see it. Yet a claim on what is true or not you will be hard pressed to find in my words.

Joseph

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IF you are inferring that I am actually making some claim?? .... You might re-read my post and see I make no CLAIM. I made it clear that I am expressing my personal view and the way it seems to me. Perhaps i err in my view ? Others are free to express the way they see it. Yet a claim on what is true or not you will be hard pressed to find in my words.

Joseph

 

Joseph, I read your post more than once before I wrote my response, and you clearly state that you believe "Jesus did not feel the need to write anything himself other than to scribble in the sand once." I challenged you on factual grounds because it's relevant to a discussion about Jesus' faith and teachings (which is what this thread is about).

 

I'm sorry, but I don't accept that facts should always be set aside in a discussion about faith and replaced with inviolable opinion. Opinion and belief are fine for many aspects about the journey of faith, but sometimes facts and reason are necessary, too.

 

Isn't Progressive Christianity a movement that values both faith and reason?

 

I'm not challenging your faith or your relationship with God (the important stuff, in other words!). But I am challenging a popular belief among today's Christians about Jesus' educational and linguistic skills (or lack thereof). If you hold those same beliefs about Jesus (and you seemed to indicate that you do) then I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree.

 

What you wrote sounded to me like a claim, but if you insist otherwise, Joseph, then okay. You can have the last word on it and it won't ruin my day!

 

God bless,

Jen

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Hey, Joseph. I was making dinner just now (baked buttercup squash - yum!) and it occurred to me that you'd taken offense because I claimed you had made a claim. And I was wondering . . . would it really be such an awful thing if you had made a claim? Because, from my perspective, it's impossible to be a human being and not make claims of some sort. I mean, Jesus made tons of claims. Even the claim that one doesn't make any sort of claim is, in itself, a claim.

 

But, again, if say you didn't make a claim, then so be it.

 

Back to making dinner . . .

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I'm not challenging your faith or your relationship with God (the important stuff, in other words!). But I am challenging a popular belief among today's Christians about Jesus' educational and linguistic skills (or lack thereof). If you hold those same beliefs about Jesus (and you seemed to indicate that you do) then I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree.

 

 

It seems obvious that no one knows what Jesus 'felt' about about the need to write (or not to write) and it also seems obvious that, given the historical evidence available to critical biblical scholars and historians, that he did not write anything. Is there evidence to the contrary? Also, I thought Joseph was just making a comment.

 

As for the assumptions: Jesus was a 1C CE citizen of his hometown, his language was Aramaic and the probably was educated in the synagogue - are they wrong? Was he raised somewhere else, was he fluent in other languages (such as Latin and Greek), was he literate? I think the 'assumption' for the first two is no and it might be up for grabs about the literacy. If this is not the case, what is the critical scholarly research and historical evidence that shows otherwise?

Edited by thormas

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Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack. The gospels are not comprehensive, and state many additional books could be written about Jesus.

 

But the conversation is drifting off topic, which is that is a well-accepted (but minority) Christian interpretation that we are not saved by believing Jesus is God ourselves, but rather the entire world was redeemed by the strength of Jesus' faith.

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Hi, Thormas. You raise some important points -- points that have been debated by biblical scholars and historians with no clear consensus. There are many clues in the gospel accounts of Jesus' life that indicate he was not the simple Aramaic-speaking carpenter from Galilee that we've been told to see. Paul, of course, is of no help when it comes to the life of the historical Jesus.

 

The Gospel of Mark is especially rich in small details that aren't obvious to us today, but no doubt were obvious to the audience for whom Mark wrote. Authorship and dating of all the gospels is also not as clear as we might like, but I find the evidence for an early date for Mark -- early to mid 60's -- compelling.

 

In Mark, we have Jesus described in two ways: as a physician (Mark 2:17) and as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Theologians have chosen to see the second reference as a literal description and the first reference as a symbolic description. But are you certain the theologians are correct? If the theologians are correct, then how do they account for the family of Jesus described in Mark 6:1-5? A first century Jewish family with four surviving sons, an unknown number of sisters, and a widowed mother who had not remarried almost certainly describes a wealthy family with resources and good nutrition, since the average lifespan of a 1st century Mediterranean male was about 35 years, many children were lost to death or slavery early in life, and there was tremendous pressure of Jewish widows to remarry unless they were fortunate enough to have personal means, societal influence, and the protection of Augustus' marriage law reforms (which were all too brief).

 

This is just one example. There are other examples which, when added together, imply that Jesus was born into an educated, wealthy family -- in which case, he almost certainly was literate. Who do we imagine wrote the parables? These are short but brilliant works of literature that demonstrate an in-depth understanding of both Jewish and Hellenistic rhetorical devices.

 

It cannot be stated that Jesus didn't write anything down. Many assume Jesus was only the carpenter and not the physician (though I don't see any reason why he couldn't have been both). The case for Jesus' having been exactly what Mark said he was -- a physician -- increases the likelihood that Jesus was both educated and literate.

Edited by Realspiritik

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But the conversation is drifting off topic, which is that is a well-accepted (but minority) Christian interpretation that we are not saved by believing Jesus is God ourselves, but rather the entire world was redeemed by the strength of Jesus' faith.

 

Hi Burl,

 

How do you see the strength of Jesus' faith in relation to timelines, especially with regard to the many years and eras of geological time that came before Jesus' life? I know this is a question many theologians (including Paul) have wrestled with. Do you have any thoughts on the timeline question?

Edited by Realspiritik

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Hi, Thormas. You raise some important points -- points that have been debated by biblical scholars and historians with no clear consensus. There are many clues in the gospel accounts of Jesus' life that indicate he was not the simple Aramaic-speaking carpenter from Galilee that we've been told to see. Paul, of course, is of no help when it comes to the life of the historical Jesus.

 

The Gospel of Mark is especially rich in small details that aren't obvious to us today, but no doubt were obvious to the audience for whom Mark wrote. Authorship and dating of all the gospels is also not as clear as we might like, but I find the evidence for an early date for Mark -- early to mid 60's -- compelling.

 

In Mark, we have Jesus described in two ways: as a physician (Mark 2:17) and as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Theologians have chosen to see the second reference as a literal description and the first reference as a symbolic description. But are you certain the theologians are correct? If the theologians are correct, then how do they account for the family of Jesus described in Mark 6:1-5? A first century Jewish family with four surviving sons, an unknown number of sisters, and a widowed mother who had not remarried almost certainly describes a wealthy family with resources and good nutrition, since the average lifespan of a 1st century Mediterranean male was about 35 years, many children were lost to death or slavery early in life, and there was tremendous pressure of Jewish widows to remarry unless they were fortunate enough to have personal means, societal influence, and the protection of Augustus' marriage law reforms (which were all too brief).

 

This is just one example. There are other examples which, when added together, imply that Jesus was born into an educated, wealthy family -- in which case, he almost certainly was literate. Who do we imagine wrote the parables? These are short but brilliant works of literature that demonstrate an in-depth understanding of both Jewish and Hellenistic rhetorical devices.

 

It cannot be stated that Jesus didn't write anything down. Many assume Jesus was only the carpenter and not the physician (though I don't see any reason why he couldn't have been both). The case for Jesus' having been exactly what Mark said he was -- a physician -- increases the likelihood that Jesus was both educated and literate.

Yes. Interesting that the parables are not at all like Jewish parables but much more like Sufi teaching stories.

 

Also interesting that the Greek 'tekton' has a wider semantic range than just 'carpenter'. It can apply to anyone who works with their hands. The only true carpenter reference I remember is in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas where Joseph cuts a board too short and Jesus miraculously stretches the board to the proper length.

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Hi Burl,

 

How do you see the strength of Jesus' faith in relation to timelines, especially with regard to the many years and eras of geological time that came before Jesus' life? I know this is a question many theologians (including Paul) have wrestled with. Do you have any thoughts on the timeline question?

My favorite train of thought revolves around Hebrews 5-7 and Jesus as King Melchizedek of Genesis 14, the priest/king/prophet of Salem who blessed Abraham. I had a very nice post because I know not everyone here is a biblehead but I lost it and now I am too frustrated to redo it.

 

I will try again tomorrow.

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Hi, Thormas. You raise some important points -- points that have been debated by biblical scholars and historians with no clear consensus. There are many clues in the gospel accounts of Jesus' life that indicate he was not the simple Aramaic-speaking carpenter from Galilee that we've been told to see. Paul, of course, is of no help when it comes to the life of the historical Jesus.

 

The Gospel of Mark is especially rich in small details that aren't obvious to us today, but no doubt were obvious to the audience for whom Mark wrote. Authorship and dating of all the gospels is also not as clear as we might like, but I find the evidence for an early date for Mark -- early to mid 60's -- compelling.

 

In Mark, we have Jesus described in two ways: as a physician (Mark 2:17) and as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Theologians have chosen to see the second reference as a literal description and the first reference as a symbolic description. But are you certain the theologians are correct? If the theologians are correct, then how do they account for the family of Jesus described in Mark 6:1-5? A first century Jewish family with four surviving sons, an unknown number of sisters, and a widowed mother who had not remarried almost certainly describes a wealthy family with resources and good nutrition, since the average lifespan of a 1st century Mediterranean male was about 35 years, many children were lost to death or slavery early in life, and there was tremendous pressure of Jewish widows to remarry unless they were fortunate enough to have personal means, societal influence, and the protection of Augustus' marriage law reforms (which were all too brief).

 

This is just one example. There are other examples which, when added together, imply that Jesus was born into an educated, wealthy family -- in which case, he almost certainly was literate. Who do we imagine wrote the parables? These are short but brilliant works of literature that demonstrate an in-depth understanding of both Jewish and Hellenistic rhetorical devices.

 

It cannot be stated that Jesus didn't write anything down. Many assume Jesus was only the carpenter and not the physician (though I don't see any reason why he couldn't have been both). The case for Jesus' having been exactly what Mark said he was -- a physician -- increases the likelihood that Jesus was both educated and literate.

 

Jen,

Mark 2:17 - this is not a question of a Markan passage not being 'obvious' to modern people, it is a misunderstanding of the text: Jesus is not self identifying as a physician, it is about who 'He' comes for: sinners. I have actually never heard this interpretation by anyone, but especially not by critical biblical scholars. When talking about the bible, I am not referring to theologians but biblical scholars and there is no reasonable choice here, it is evident in reading the passage. This seems comparable to the Prodigals Son: the good son is already 'with the Father,' but it is the sinner, the prodigal for whom the Father (comes) waits and celebrates upon his return. So on this, I side with the scholars.

 

If Jesus was wealthy, what was his or the family business that produced the wealth? What is the source for the answer? If Jesus, the physician, was the breadwinner, why would the family risk everything by turning on him? Then how would that same family survive the loss of his income? He certainly wasn't working during his ministry - anywhere from 1-3 years according to the gospels.

 

As for the family of Jesus, your description does not automatically point to a wealthy family and 'almost certainly' is a guess not based on reliable evidence. What are the sources and supporting independent evidence in the NT or the writings of Josephus or others to support this suggestion that such a family - if accurately described - would need to be wealthy to survive? We don't know how many sisters, we know of other NT brothers who made a living as fisherman and were not rich (and don't know if they came from large family also), we don't know when Joseph died or when the other sisters or brothers were married, thus shrinking the size of the family.

 

This is not an example, it is guess work, and I doubt there are other examples that are reliable. Guesses are fine and your right, but these are not based on dependable research or an understanding of the history of the region during the time of Jesus. Who was invading Roman territory to take people as slaves? And the Romans would leave people alone unless they were regarded as troublemakers (evident in treatment of the Zealots, Jesus himself as a 'rival king" and the execution of other 'messiahs' and the Jewish population during the Jewish Wars). This simply does not ring true.

 

As for Jesus being literate, perhaps, but the odds were against it. However, this is not to say he was not a very bright, even a brilliant?, insightful man, steeped in the faith of his people and standing on the shoulders of those who came before him. As to who wrote the parables, the only ones we have are found in the NT so, the gospel writers. However, I believe scholars trace them and/or there use back to Jesus.

 

I refer you to Bart Ehrman's blog and this posting on literacy: https://ehrmanblog.org/who-could-read-and-write-a-blast-from-the-past/. He refers to a full length study, Jewish Literacy in Roman Palestine: total literacy in Palestine was probably around 3%; those who were literate were largely located in urban areas; some villages and towns had literacy rates of lower than 1%.

 

We have nothing Jesus wrote, so we cannot prove he did (or didn't) write anything but given the literacy rate, the odds are against it. I think, even if he could, he was too busy especially if his ministry was only 1 year.

Edited by thormas

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Joseph, I read your post more than once before I wrote my response, and you clearly state that you believe "Jesus did not feel the need to write anything himself other than to scribble in the sand once." I challenged you on factual grounds because it's relevant to a discussion about Jesus' faith and teachings (which is what this thread is about).

 

I'm sorry, but I don't accept that facts should always be set aside in a discussion about faith and replaced with inviolable opinion. Opinion and belief are fine for many aspects about the journey of faith, but sometimes facts and reason are necessary, too.

 

Isn't Progressive Christianity a movement that values both faith and reason?

 

 

God bless,

Jen

Actually Jen,

This is not the area to challenge views. Read the guidelines for this Progressive Christianity sub forum. I'm not looking nor was looking for agreement or disagreement , just expressing how " it seems to me ". If you have a different view, you are free to express it without challenging or making a claim that you are correct and another is wrong. The debate forum is and has been the appropriate place for such language or challenges.

Respectfully, Joseph

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Actually Jen,

This is not the area to challenge views. Read the guidelines for this Progressive Christianity sub forum. I'm not looking nor was looking for agreement or disagreement , just expressing how " it seems to me ". If you have a different view, you are free to express it without challenging or making a claim that you are correct and another is wrong. The debate forum is and has been the appropriate place for such language or challenges.

Respectfully, Joseph

 

Thank you, Joseph. I apologize for any offense I caused you. I reiterate that I was not challenging your personal journey or your personal relationship with God (which I have never done on this site) but was challenging only an interpretation of certain facts about the historical Jesus, an interpretation which has come to be accepted as truth.

 

There is a vast difference between challenging an interpretation of some facts (which is what I did) and challenging another person's core worthiness as a child of God (which is what I did not do).

 

I'd like to point out that you have many times allowed Christians to be attacked at a deep core level (not at the level of facts, but at the level of faith and relationship with God) on this very forum (that is, on the Progressive Christianity forum, as opposed to the Debate forum). This is one of the reasons why, despite being a member of TCPC for 12 years, I have felt uncomfortable posting regularly.

 

I wish you well, Joseph.

Edited by Realspiritik

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Dear Thormas,

 

Just to be clear so you know where I'm coming from in my statements about the historical Jesus . . . please don't feel you need to point out to me the difference between biblical scholars and theologians. I have a recent Masters degree in theological studies from a reputable Canadian university, and my bookshelves are groaning with biblical studies texts (including many of Ehrmans's), as well as theology tomes, ancient history texts, the entire 2014 5-volume New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis, many issues of Biblical Archaeology Review (which is the only magazine I subscribe to!), and right now I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery of wonderful next book about the history of ancient Samaria. (I hope it arrives today!)

 

My statements above are not guesswork. They're based on solid socio-historical research. You may not agree with my interpretation of the information available to us at this time, but I'm not going to worry too much about that, since no one interpretation can be said to be "the one correct truth."

 

I won't go into the other points you raise because Joseph does not want any discussion or debate to held about the historical Jesus.

 

I do agree with you, however, when you say that Jesus was "a very bright, even a brilliant?, insightful man, steeped in the faith of his people and standing on the shoulders of those who came before him."

 

Absolutely.

Edited by Realspiritik

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I had a very nice post because I know not everyone here is a biblehead but I lost it and now I am too frustrated to redo it.

 

I will try again tomorrow.

 

I know that feeling. It's very frustrating. :(

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Jen,

 

I will move this to the Debate section. I guess I didn't realize there were rules governing the Discussion areas especially since some of those discussions have been disagreements and I never saw a difference from one area to another.

 

I did what Burl did and lost the post I originally placed her. I will redo it a bit later and create a new topic under Debate, perhaps called Pistis Christou II.

Edited by thormas

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