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What is the "Word of God"?


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I've been looking at and asking myself the question; What is the "word of God" for sometime now.

I think I've pretty much come to the conclusion that the word or the ways of God are those ideas and insights,  thoughts and notions that are good and healthy,  positively intelligent and spiritually and physically beneficial to humanity as well as this earth and creation.

These ideas can be on the back of a box of teabags or in a major book or document or in a folk song or in one of the books that people have declared to be "holy".

They can come from a 5 year old or a 90 year old, or from a person of any gender or background .

What we need to do as people is fine tune, even hone, our discretion and discernment in deciding, each for oneself, which ideas are good and are at one with God.

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Ellen,

I think that your perception of the word of god is as good as any i have heard. What it is NOT seems to me to be easier to define.

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1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

I've been looking at and asking myself the question; What is the "word of God" for sometime now.

I think I've pretty much come to the conclusion that the word or the ways of God are those ideas and insights,  thoughts and notions that are good and healthy,  positively intelligent and spiritually and physically beneficial to humanity as well as this earth and creation.

These ideas can be on the back of a box of teabags or in a major book or document or in a folk song or in one of the books that people have declared to be "holy".

They can come from a 5 year old or a 90 year old, or from a person of any gender or background .

What we need to do as people is fine tune, even hone, our discretion and discernment in deciding, each for oneself, which ideas are good and are at one with God.

I like it with the caveat (for me) that our ideas and insights are insights into 'something that is Real.' I do like your side of fine tuning our discernment. Although I question whether it is 'each for oneself' since what truly benefits humanity and what is good is more than individual opinion but discernment of 'what is.'

Plus there is no greater wisdom that can be had than over a cup of tea :+}

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18 minutes ago, JosephM said:

 What it is NOT seems to me to be easier to define.

It may be "easier", but it is far less enjoyable, rewarding and insightful 

Thanks for your comment 🙂 

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8 minutes ago, thormas said:

I like it with the caveat (for me) that our ideas and insights are insights into 'something that is Real.' I do like your side of fine tuning our discernment. Although I question whether it is 'each for oneself' since what truly benefits humanity and what is good is more than individual opinion but discernment of 'what is.'

Plus there is no greater wisdom that can be had than over a cup of tea :+}

Nothing like that cup of tea 🙂 !

I agree it needs to be "something that is Real" and something that rings really true. I think we can discern it and know it when something "rings true" or even partially true. It depends on the purity or intensity of the "ring".

 

Of course it should be about what is good and what benefits humanity, but even here people have different ideas and opinions.

I've walked some ideas around the block for as much as two years, some as much as 20. Getting to what is true and right is the important thing.

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17 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Nothing like that cup of tea 🙂 !

I agree it needs to be "something that is Real" and something that rings really true. I think we can discern it and know it when something "rings true" or even partially true. It depends on the purity or intensity of the "ring".

What intrigues me is the question of immanence: is 'God' simply there to be discovered or is God 'active' in 'calling' to us and enabling us to live the truth we discern (which is not always easy or popular). It seems that in Christianity the tradition is that God is active.

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10 minutes ago, thormas said:

What intrigues me is the question of immanence: is 'God' simply there to be discovered or is God 'active' in 'calling' to us and enabling us to live the truth we discern (which is not always easy or popular). It seems that in Christianity the tradition is that God is active.

I myself don't really know what I think about this subject. In my own life I feel like I've been really actively searching and seeking. How much of this that has really done any good is another question. Often I feel like I need to "let go and let God". It may be a cliché expression, but sometimes even  clichés can have real meaning. 

On the other hand the quote from Jesus in the NT comes to mind that goes pretty much like: "seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you".

Maybe it's both aspects and ideas that are really happening?

I'm also thinking that God really wants us to come to Em through consent and choice, not through some forced or mandatory kind of behavior. Perhaps the only way we can fully realize this and be aware that it is truly and fully our own choice is if we ourselves do a lot of knocking and seeking.

Thanks for reading

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2 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I myself don't really know what I think about this subject. In my own life I feel like I've been really actively searching and seeking. How much of this that has really done any good is another question. Often I feel like I need to "let go and let God". It may be a cliché expression, but sometimes even  clichés can have real meaning. 

On the other hand the quote from Jesus in the NT comes to mind that goes pretty much like: "seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you".

Maybe it's both aspects and ideas that are really happening?

I'm also thinking that God really wants us to come to Em through consent and choice, not through some forced or mandatory kind of behavior. Perhaps the only way we can fully realize this and be aware that it is truly and fully our own choice is if we ourselves do a lot of knocking and seeking.

Thanks for reading

Nicely stated.

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13 hours ago, thormas said:

I'm also thinking that God really wants us to come to Em through consent and choice, not through some forced or mandatory kind of behavior. Perhaps the only way we can fully realize this and be aware that it is truly and fully our own choice is if we ourselves do a lot of knocking and seeking.

 

I read Harold Kushner's 'Why Bad Things Happen to Good People' decades ago and I was not satisfied with his conclusion - that perhaps God is all good but not all powerful. Then I began to appreciate the difference between coercive and persuasive power and realized that, as you have said in your way, that God's power (which truly is power) is persuasive: it calls to us and 'depends' on us for a response.

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12 hours ago, thormas said:

I read Harold Kushner's 'Why Bad Things Happen to Good People' decades ago and I was not satisfied with his conclusion - that perhaps God is all good but not all powerful. Then I began to appreciate the difference between coercive and persuasive power and realized that, as you have said in your way, that God's power (which truly is power) is persuasive: it calls to us and 'depends' on us for a response.

I'm looking at your last comment box and wondering why it comes up as if you said what I said. It says:

On 7/19/2020 at 7:45 PM, thormas said:

I'm also thinking that God really wants us to come to Em through consent and choice, not through some forced or mandatory kind of behavior. Perhaps the only way we can fully realize this and be aware that it is truly and fully our own choice is if we ourselves do a lot of knocking and seeking.

That's clearly my comment. Funny and interesting 🙂 

----------------------------

Concerning the idea that you mention about God being, or not being, "all powerful". I've run into this/these concepts myself a good deal in the past decade or so. I myself have come to the conclusion, that at least in terms of eternity, (that is in terms of eternal life and our entering into eternity), God Is all powerful.

Why bad things happen to good people and visa versa, and why bad things happen at all, is another matter. What I've been thinking lately, is that perhaps we humans have been given so much influence on this earth, (& perhaps our moon) that perhaps there are things that we are doing that are causing some bad things to happen, and it may be on us and up to us more than we really realize. I still don't know what I think on this, and it's still something that I'm working on, but it is something that I have been thinking about.

-------------------------------

Where you mention that God's power is "persuasive", I'm thinking that I myself might choose to use a different word.

My relationship with God has sometimes felt something like this:

I'm like, I'm starving, I'm dying of thirst

God's like (or at least seems to be like), Here's a glass of water

I'm like I really want that glass of water, and it really, really looks good,... but I'm like, where's that string attached, or where's the hook, line and sinker that goes along with that glass of water. . .  .

Perhaps this sort of explains why I myself wouldn't use the word "persuasive". - I've been walking around that glass of water for sometime now and haven't dared to take a sip.

- Funny coincidence, I have a glass of water and a glass of tea sitting on my table here as I'm writing this. I've just chosen to drink some of the water. I generally hate water and think it's just on the table because I needed to take some vitamins earlier. Ha-ha, now I've finished the whole cup of H2O. 🙂 

I hope you think this is all kind of funny and don't think I'm too foolish. I'm obviously working something out for myself here.

Thanks again for reading all this. I'm thinking I might be a bit concerned about running out of comments again so I might be writing too much. Thanks again.

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On 7/20/2020 at 2:49 AM, Elen1107 said:

I've been looking at and asking myself the question; What is the "word of God" for sometime now.

I think I've pretty much come to the conclusion that the word or the ways of God are those ideas and insights,  thoughts and notions that are good and healthy,  positively intelligent and spiritually and physically beneficial to humanity as well as this earth and creation.

These ideas can be on the back of a box of teabags or in a major book or document or in a folk song or in one of the books that people have declared to be "holy".

They can come from a 5 year old or a 90 year old, or from a person of any gender or background .

What we need to do as people is fine tune, even hone, our discretion and discernment in deciding, each for oneself, which ideas are good and are at one with God.

I like that Ellen.  For me, I think any 'word of God' can be summed up in the lyrics of my favorite Ben Harper song:

My choice is what I choose to do
And if I'm causing no harm
It shouldn't bother you
Your choice is who you choose to be
And if your causin' no harm
Then you're alright with me

I can't imagine this being any less pure than the 'Golden Rule'.  

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10 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

That's clearly my comment. Funny and interesting 🙂 

I've run into that problem also when it credits someone else for a quote - glitch in the system? Don't know.

10 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

Perhaps this sort of explains why I myself wouldn't use the word "persuasive". - I've been walking around that glass of water for sometime now and haven't dared to take a sip.

I hope you think this is all kind of funny and don't think I'm too foolish. I'm obviously working something out for myself here.

I never think you are being foolish and I appreciate the reality of working something out.

I have grown to like the word persuasive realizing that if 'God' persuades or calls it is we who have the choice to respond. I have also come to realize that true freedom isn't choosing this or that but in choosing 'correctly' one become truly free - in this case, free to be or become Human or a 'child of God.' 

Finally, the way I think of it: in all relationships, in all love, there are 'responsibilities' or simply there is always 'more' to do - but I never thought of them as strings or a hook. So too God (for me).

 

 

Edited by thormas
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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

I like that Ellen.  For me, I think any 'word of God' can be summed up in the lyrics of my favorite Ben Harper song:

My choice is what I choose to do
And if I'm causing no harm
It shouldn't bother you
Your choice is who you choose to be
And if your causin' no harm
Then you're alright with me

I can't imagine this being any less pure than the 'Golden Rule'.  

Went and looked up Ben Harper. Do you know the title of the song? I'd like to hear/get the lyrics to the whole thing. Thanks

For me, in my lifetime, the question has been what is really doing "no harm" either to myself or to others. Back somewhat close to 4 decades ago, I came to a point in my life, where I felt like some of the attitudes that I had towards life, that I truly thought were doing "no harm", maybe really were doing some kind of harm, perhaps mostly to myself, but also to others, if for no other reason than that I was being a not so good example. I was right at that age when one steps from being a young person to being an example or a role model, if for no other reason than by virtue of my age.

Sorry about that long sentence there. 

There is a verse or two in the NT that pretty much states that God favors what people do and that they are kind more than that they sing Es praises or even really "know" or are aware of Em. It's one of my most loved and favorite ideas from the NT. The verses that you've posted have brought that outlook and thought to mind for me. Thanks . . . & Thanks again for reading.

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3 hours ago, thormas said:

I never think you are being foolish and I appreciate the reality of working something out.

 

Thanks for saying so, and thanks for being a person who can appreciate the reality of working something out.

3 hours ago, thormas said:

I have grown to like the word persuasive realizing that if 'God' persuades or calls it is we who have the choice to respond. I have also come to realize that true freedom isn't choosing this or that but in choosing 'correctly' one become truly free - in this case, free to be or become Human or a 'child of God.' 

 

I'm thinking that for myself it feels more like God is leaving the way or even sky open for me, rather than being persuasive. I feel like E, God, even understands where I'm at and what I'm going through. (perhaps I should look at Em as being a really good and refined example in patience, with understanding in this). (don't mean to be being overly presumptuous or vain  in saying that I know and know for sure the mind of God, or this little piece of the mind of God, it just really feels that way to me and it's the best I can figure with my perceptions of this sort of thing and with where I'm at in my head and thinking).

Your last sentence reminds me of a quote made by the New York Governor during one of his Corona virus briefings, on April 22nd of this year. He was quoting from a book by Edith Hamilton and Edward Gibbon called "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire':

"When the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then [they] ceased to be free"

I wish I could send you the screen shot that I took of him presenting the quote, but this forum only allows me .02MB files and the file is bigger than that. I've sent it to some else recently, so it's pretty close to the front of my mind and thinking nower days.

 

 

3 hours ago, thormas said:

Finally, the way I think of it: in all relationships, in all love, there are 'responsibilities' or simply there is always 'more' to do - but I never thought of them as strings or a hook. So too God (for me).

 

Well, here's where I get tangled up. Yes there are "responsibilities" and obligations,... But I myself feel a lot better when I can do things from a glad heart and an open mind and a happy singing glad spirit, rather from a sense of responsibility, or obligation, or because something or someone says so, or whatever. Then I have the obligation or responsibility to get myself in a space where I have a glad heart, open spirit, etc. 🙂 It feels a bit like there's no end to this 🙂 I tend to futz over details, but that's me, and sometimes I really do feel that it's important and something that I do need to do.

Thanks for reading again

Edited by Elen1107
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43 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I'm thinking that for myself it feels more like God is leaving the way or even sky open for me, rather than being persuasive.

I should be more clear in that (I believe) God persuades in the most subtle of ways through creation and specifically through humanity: we are 'called and encouraged' through and by other human beings (and through creation itself) 'to grow into ourselves' or to become 'fully Human.' This is even done when others are not consciously intending (or realizing they are doing) to do this. It is, if you will, 'natural' and the religious or spiritual person believes that there is 'more' going on than meets the eye: i.e. God.

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45 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Well, here's where I get tangled up. Yes there are "responsibilities" and obligations,... But I myself feel a lot better when I can do things from a glad heart and an open mind and a happy singing glad spirit, rather from a sense of responsibility, or obligation, or because something or someone says so, or whatever. Then I have the obligation or responsibility to get myself in a space where I have a glad heart, open spirit, etc. 🙂 It feels a bit like there's no end to this 🙂 I tend to futz over details, but that's me, and sometimes I really do feel that it's important and something that I do need to do.

For me the responsibilities and obligations are one with a glad heart, open mind and happy spirit. In my understanding, Christian love is not done out of obligation - it is (becomes) a natural movement to be, to have compassion for others. 

If you're talking about the giving of love, there is no end: this is what one is and does, this is what God IS (and in this there is oneness).

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8 minutes ago, thormas said:

I should be more clear in that (I believe) God persuades in the most subtle of ways through creation and specifically through humanity: we are 'called and encouraged' through and by other human beings (and through creation itself) 'to grow into ourselves' or to become 'fully Human.' This is even done when others are not consciously intending (or realizing they are doing) to do this. It is, if you will, 'natural' and the religious or spiritual person believes that there is 'more' going on than meets the eye: i.e. God.

I like what you've said and like what you've said in particular about, "to grow into ourselves". I've been into 'true self' philosophy for along time, even before I became a believer and a believer in JC. Perhaps it is one of the things that brought me to Him/Them.

I've found the video where the NY Governor quoted that quote. It's at 25:50 in the video. Right now I'm wishing that more people could see what New York went through and how NY stopped the spread, bent the curve and saved many, many lives. It's breaking my heart what this country is going through. I'm hoping that people can see that there is a clean and solid way out of this. It's been done, and it's been done in New York.

 

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5 hours ago, PaulS said:

I like that Ellen.  For me, I think any 'word of God' can be summed up in the lyrics of my favorite Ben Harper song:

My choice is what I choose to do
And if I'm causing no harm
It shouldn't bother you
Your choice is who you choose to be
And if your causin' no harm
Then you're alright with me

I can't imagine this being any less pure than the 'Golden Rule'.  

Really?   The Golden Rule is about people helping each other.  It is a call to action.

This song is just about everybody leaving each other alone.  Kinda sad imo.

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30 minutes ago, thormas said:

I should be more clear in that (I believe) God persuades in the most subtle of ways through creation and specifically through humanity: we are 'called and encouraged' through and by other human beings (and through creation itself) 'to grow into ourselves' or to become 'fully Human.' This is even done when others are not consciously intending (or realizing they are doing) to do this. It is, if you will, 'natural' and the religious or spiritual person believes that there is 'more' going on than meets the eye: i.e. God.

John Wesley called this prevenient grace.

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26 minutes ago, thormas said:

For me the responsibilities and obligations are one with a glad heart, open mind and happy spirit. In my understanding, Christian love is not done out of obligation - it is (becomes) a natural movement to be, to have compassion for others. 

If you're talking about the giving of love, there is no end: this is what one is and does, this is what God IS (and in this there is oneness).

I'm thinking that you are further ahead of me on this track of understanding. I grew up with a lot of "we said so"'s as the only reason for doing somethings, with none of the good reasons mentioned whatsoever, so words like obligation and responsibility don't click too well for me. This is perhaps a topic for another discussion.

Your last sentence there is well said.

-----------------------------------

If folks don't see or believe what I've said about New York in my last post, take a good thoughtful look at this. At 2:23 in the previous video that I posted, it shows where New York was at in relation to the virus on April 22nd, 2020.

1:22 in this video shows where New York is at this week. I so much don't want to see the whole country to go through what New York went through in the past 5 months. Please take a look and share it if you can and think it's worthwhile. Thanks

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Burl said:

John Wesley called this prevenient grace.

I (just researched it a bit and I) like it: prevenient or enabling (empowering?) grace: God shows (gives) love to an individual at a certain point in his lifetime.

For Gregory Baum in his book 'Man Becoming' God does this in the ordinary, everyday moment of life. God calls, challenges and judges us in and through the words spoken to us from the beginning and throughout life (by Mother, Father and others) and loves us in and through the love given/gifted by others which gives us the courage (empowers/enables us) to respond to the word and grow. 

Back in the early 80s I used Baum's book as the text for a high school senior's course called Christian Anthropology.

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11 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I'm thinking that you are further ahead of me on this track of understanding. I grew up with a lot of "we said so"'s as the only reason for doing somethings, with none of the good reasons mentioned whatsoever, so words like obligation and responsibility don't click too well for me. This is perhaps a topic for another discussion.

A difference experience: I was a bit lucky in that I had very few "we said so" in life.  

Agreed, another time, another discussion.

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24 minutes ago, Burl said:

Really?   The Golden Rule is about people helping each other.  It is a call to action.

This song is just about everybody leaving each other alone.  Kinda sad imo.

Yeah, but first do no harm. 

If people really can't get along or be on the same page, the least they can do is leave each other alone, this sometimes in and of itself can be a good thing.

22 minutes ago, Burl said:

John Wesley called this prevenient grace.

The term "prevenient grace" is new to me, so I looked it up. There's a lot on the subject and what it means. Myself it will take sometime before I understand what it means and how different people use the term. Thanks for posting it and introducing me to the term, it looks really interesting.

& yes, John Wesley did use the term

Here's a link to my bing-search for anyone who is interested:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=prevenient+grace&form=ANNTH1&refig=f174d755d2714c979c7e3a9ca6561e31&sp=1&qs=LS&pq=prevenient+&sk=PRES1&sc=8-11&cvid=f174d755d2714c979c7e3a9ca6561e31

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Just now, Elen1107 said:

Yeah, but first do no harm. 

If people really can't get along or be on the same page, the least they can do is leave each other alone, this sometimes in and of itself can be a good thing.

 

If I understand him correctly, I agree with Burl: do no harm is fine but the Golden Rule is proactive and calls for man/woman to do/to act, i.e. to love (compassionate concern/agape) one's neighbor. The Rule calls not first to do no harm but to first (and always) to love (and in that there is no harm).

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