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What is the "Word of God"?


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3 minutes ago, thormas said:
 

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).

This includes I suppose the "action" of disagreeing with and having a different opinion from someone, in a nice and polite and considerate and loving way. ? . 

It's something that I myself am thinking we could all work on a bit more, even here on this forum/website. 🙂 ... just saying ... 🙂 ... & myself included I'm sure. . . 

14 minutes ago, thormas said:

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.

I've got to say that the term "Man Becoming God" kind of frightens me. At the same time, I do kind of get it. It's a big topic and again, it's possibly for another thread.

Your last sentence there, which I'll quote again:

"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."

I myself would say that God also calls and speaks to us through a kind of silence and inner and outer light, and through leaving a mental, psychological, spiritual door open to us,... this being different it coming through others, including parents, friends, acquaintances and relatives. I guess I'm also saying that God can reach us and "relate" to us directly with out there being an intermediary person, book, or object or other thing. 

Thanks again for reading

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9 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

This includes I suppose the "action" of disagreeing with and having a different opinion from someone, in a nice and polite and considerate and loving way. ? . 

It's something that I myself am thinking we could all work on a bit more, even here on this forum/website. 🙂 ... just saying ... 🙂 ... & myself included I'm sure. . . 

 

You lost me.............

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8 minutes ago, thormas said:
 

You lost me.............

I'm saying that when we disagree with each other we should do it nicely and in a polite and loving way. If we can't do that we should at least do it in a way that is not harsh or negative or harmful.

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10 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I myself would say that God also calls and speaks to us through a kind of silence and inner and outer light, and through leaving a mental, psychological, spiritual door open to us,... this being different it coming through others, including parents, friends, acquaintances and relatives. I guess I'm also saying that God can reach us and "relate" to us directly with out there being an intermediary person, book, or object or other thing. 

I'm just not sure how that works. Silence I get but I just don't connect to the 'doors' you mentioned as (for me) it sounds too magical and too individual.

In my understanding, God is always embodied in the human, in creation or, to reverse it, God is immanent in humanity/creation and this is his way to 'reach' us. I simply believe that God is always incarnate, his presence hidden, subtle so we are not overwhelmed. This also enables me to understand the role of Jesus: I accept him as a human being and in/through this human being, the Word (that is usually 'hidden' when uttered in the words of others) is 'shouted' in Jesus.

I don't really buy into 'direct' communication with God - God is always mediated (acting through/in, not direct) in/through creation.

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3 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I'm saying that when we disagree with each other we should do it nicely and in a polite and loving way. If we can't do that we should at least do it in a way that is not harsh or negative or harmful.

Was this not done?

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18 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

Yeah, but first do no harm. 

That's what I take out of it and for me, doing no harm doesn't mean only leaving others alone or not being active because indeed, failing to be active in itself can cause harm.  Some might like to quibble over the precise words (and after all the song is largely about smoking weed) but the words themselves speak to me of actions such as not judging others.  Not judging others is no action, and action, at the same time.

 

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18 hours 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.

Personally, I read the Golden Rule in the context of the opening verses where it is found in Matthew 7 - "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye".

So when in verse 12 I read Jesus as saying "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets", I hear him calling one to action in a sense that he is saying "respect differences, love one another, get along, take a chill pill, nobody has all the answers".  Now he might not have meant that (who knows if he even said it) but I think that is a good way to be.

For me, Ben Harper's words sum it up nicely and for me possibly approaches it better because I don't think his words make people think they have to take action a certain way, because to me he is saying live and let live, love everyone for who they are, don't judge,". 

It's funny how it makes you sad but makes me feel happy.  Each to their own I guess.

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21 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

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.

It's called "Burn One Down" but it is a song about smoking drugs.  I can only say the words speak to me as they do, even if I am taking them out of context.

Elen, I'm 52 and I still harm myself and others around me in many ways to this day! :)

I think doing 'no' harm is an ideal, something to aim for, but also something to be a little relaxed about to some extent depending on what sort of harm we are discussing (drinking a little too much - okay, murdering others - not so okay, etc).  Clearly harm to ourselves, to others, to our community, sits on a continuum that most will have a degree of difference on.  

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

Personally, I read the Golden Rule in the context of the opening verses where it is found in Matthew 7 - "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye".

So when in verse 12 I read Jesus as saying "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets", I hear him calling one to action in a sense that he is saying "respect differences, love one another, get along, take a chill pill, nobody has all the answers".  Now he might not have meant that (who knows if he even said it) but I think that is a good way to be.

For me, Ben Harper's words sum it up nicely and for me possibly approaches it better because I don't think his words make people think they have to take action a certain way, because to me he is saying live and let live, love everyone for who they are, don't judge,". 

It's funny how it makes you sad but makes me feel happy.  Each to their own I guess.

The reason it’s a bit sad is because it says that the rock bottom humanist ethos is sufficient.  

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15 minutes ago, thormas said:

Great point!

It also ignores the fact that life is interdependent and connected.  Tolerance is good starting point, but little more than that.

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I've looked up "humanist ethos"

I don't agree with everything it stands for, but I do feel that it is and does much more good than harm, and sometimes even more good than certain "religious" organizations do.

I very much like it, though as I say, I don't agree with all it's outlooks and standpoints.

Humanism's ethos

The worldwide Humanist Declaration - its moral and ethical code is what we're all about, as adopted at the tri-annual World Humanist Congress in the Netherlands in 2002 CE. The 2014 Congress in Oxford – England, reaffirmed its currency.

Humanism, the outcome of a long tradition of free thought has inspired many of the world's great thinkers and creative artists and gave rise to science itself.  The decrees of modern Humanism are as follows :

https://www.humanisminscotland.org/philosophy/humanisms-ethos/

The link to the website goes on to list the decrees and ideas.

I myself find it quite good and quite interesting

 

Edited by Elen1107
added the last 2 sentences
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1 hour ago, Burl said:

It also ignores the fact that life is interdependent and connected.  Tolerance is good starting point, but little more than that.

But there is also room for independence. One doesn't have to go along with a group-think and go along with what everyone else thinks and does.

Sometimes when people think and do things differently the best that people can basically do is tolerate them and leave them alone. Even saying something to them can make things worse, sometimes much worse. 

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7 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

But there is also room for independence. One doesn't have to go along with a group-think and go along with what everyone else thinks and does.

Most are not talking about an older view of religion and church when there was group think. Seemingly many liberal and/or progressive Christians left group-think behind and are independent thinkers.

Not sure what you mean by 'doing things differently' .............

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On 7/21/2020 at 2:01 PM, thormas said:

I'm just not sure how that works. Silence I get but I just don't connect to the 'doors' you mentioned as (for me) it sounds too magical and too individual.

In my understanding, God is always embodied in the human, in creation or, to reverse it, God is immanent in humanity/creation and this is his way to 'reach' us. I simply believe that God is always incarnate, his presence hidden, subtle so we are not overwhelmed. This also enables me to understand the role of Jesus: I accept him as a human being and in/through this human being, the Word (that is usually 'hidden' when uttered in the words of others) is 'shouted' in Jesus.

I don't really buy into 'direct' communication with God - God is always mediated (acting through/in, not direct) in/through creation.

Perhaps the best way I can explain this is what people call "a personal relationship with God and or Christ". It's kind of a cute, over used statement, but at it's root it does have some real meaning.

Myself I've found that humans, though they can be helpful, can and do fall short of reflecting God sometimes. We can't allow 'people' or persons to replace God or Christ in our lives.

I think that God "communicates" to us by letting ideas or answers surface up from within us, as well as making them come available from other sources that are outside of ourselves.

On 7/21/2020 at 2:02 PM, thormas said:

Was this not done?

No. I don't think it is done as well or as often as it could be done.

21 minutes ago, thormas said:

Most are not talking about an older view of religion and church when there was group think. Seemingly many liberal and/or progressive Christians left group-think behind and are independent thinkers.

Not sure what you mean by 'doing things differently' .............

I try to avoid both the left and the right group-thinks. I really try to take each issue, idea, or set of ideas one at a time. I really seems to work a lot better for me.

By "doing things differently" a case in point might be the topic being discussed on another thread right now: Whether women should be church leaders or even speak in church. A good number of people have found that if they say something about this and say that women should be allowed to do these things, that things get worse, sometimes much worse. 

Edited by Elen1107
added the words 'God often enough' - 2nd edit> changed 'often enough' to 'sometimes'
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6 hours ago, PaulS said:

It's called "Burn One Down" but it is a song about smoking drugs.  I can only say the words speak to me as they do, even if I am taking them out of context.

Elen, I'm 52 and I still harm myself and others around me in many ways to this day! :)

I think doing 'no' harm is an ideal, something to aim for, but also something to be a little relaxed about to some extent depending on what sort of harm we are discussing (drinking a little too much - okay, murdering others - not so okay, etc).  Clearly harm to ourselves, to others, to our community, sits on a continuum that most will have a degree of difference on.  

I think I'll avoid the drug issue for right now. A bit of drink or mj might be ok, even beneficial, but excessive use can really be harmful. I've had some neighbors and old classmates who went that way, and some of the stories I could tell you are beyond tragic and terrible.

What you've said calls to mind what Jesus is quoted as saying in the NT, "You shall answer for every careless word you ever speak". . . . I'm like ok, but how much and with what?  Going to hell fire for one careless word seems a bit too much for me.

I'm all for when if I, or someone, says something careless or harmful, that they should apologize and make up for it, and perhaps work on doing things better in the future. But hell fire for one careless word doesn't sound like a christ or god that I would want to believe in.

Edited by Elen1107
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32 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Perhaps the best way I can explain this is what people call "a personal relationship with God and or Christ". It's kind of a cute, over used statement, but at it's root it does have some real meaning.

Myself I've found that humans, though they can be helpful, can and do fall short of reflecting God often enough. We can't allow 'people' or persons to replace God or Christ in our lives.

I think that God "communicates" to us by letting ideas or answers surface up from within us, as well as making them come available from other sources that are outside of ourselves.

My take:

I understand someone who develops a 'personal relationships' with God just not one-on-one revelations with or contact from God.

Humans do not 'replace' God/Christ, rather they are the means by which and through which God is present in the ordinary, everyday life of men and women. The point is simply that God's modus operandi is incarnation: he presents Himself 'in' the words of men and women and in the love that we give to others.

Seemingly there is nothing 'within' - we cannot even develop language or become part of the world without first being addressed (called) by other human beings. 

Ideas don't/can't surface up 'within' without our first interacting in the world and with others.

Edited by thormas
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33 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I try to avoid both the left and the right group-thinks. I really try to take each issue, idea, or set of ideas one at a time. I really seems to work a lot better for me.

By "doing things differently" a case in point might be the topic being discussed on another thread right now: Whether women should be church leaders or even speak in church. A good number of people have found that if they say something about this and say that women should be allowed to do these things, that things get worse, sometimes much worse. 

My take:

My point was not left or right groups but group think as part of a church or religious organization and I was simply saying that it seems that many PCs are independent thinkers and don't get caught up in group think.

With your example of women - again I get that in a traditional religious setting but I simply don't see that in progressive expressions of Christianity. I don't think that many progressives 'go along with what everyone else thinks and does' and, for some, that is why they have been attracted to PC.

Edited by thormas
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7 hours ago, Burl said:

The reason it’s a bit sad is because it says that the rock bottom humanist ethos is sufficient.  

I think your stretching a bit in your negativity toward the verses, but if that's what floats your boat.  I don't see how the golden rule expresses anything more about the human ethos - do unto others (as a human) as you would like them to do unto you (as a human).  Can you demonstrate how the sentence of the Golden Rule demonstrates anything more than the human ethos of treating each other how we would like to be treated?

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4 hours ago, thormas said:

Great point!

Gee, its a tough crowd that want so much out of a verse.  I guess the question goes to you Thormas then - how does the Golden Rule (please stick to the sentence that is the Golden Rule) express more than the human ethos of treating others how you want to be treated?  Or don't - it just seems you were excited about Ben Harper's words not matching the Golden Rule too, but I'm not sure how you or Burl could read so much more into the Golden Rule, as it stands, than Harper's words.  

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

My take:

I understand someone who develops a 'personal relationships' with God just not one-on-one revelations with or contact from God.

Humans do not 'replace' God/Christ, rather they are the means by which and through which God is present in the ordinary, everyday life of men and women. The point is simply that God's modus operandi is incarnation: he presents Himself 'in' the words of men and women and in the love that we give to others.

Seemingly there is nothing 'within' - we cannot even develop language or become part of the world without first being addressed (called) by other human beings. 

Ideas don't/can't surface up 'within' without our first interacting in the world and with others.

I agree with most of what you've said except that a person can have one-to-one contact with God. Yes one can actually know God, or at least a part of God, as much as God chooses to show them, and or as much they can handle. Jesus certainly had and did this. There are verses in the NT that clearly indicate that this is available to all of us. There are even songs and hymns that speak about this kind of experience.

I don't know who or what contacts us first in our life experience. Is it God or people or both, and does it sometimes differ for different people? I'm thinking that people might have different experiences in this regard. For myself, and many others that I've communicated with, people have either tended to be too fundamentalistic, or they don't do spirituality or religion at all. These people like myself have had to find a different route to understanding and experiencing God.

I think you should count yourself as really blessed that you've had people in your life that really did reflect the light of God. I doesn't always happen for everyone.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

In general or in these recent discussions? 

Both

1 hour ago, thormas said:

My take:

My point was not left or right groups but group think as part of a church or religious organization and I was simply saying that it seems that many PCs are independent thinkers and don't get caught up in group think.

With your example of women - again I get that in a traditional religious setting but I simply don't see that in progressive expressions of Christianity. I don't think that many progressives 'go along with what everyone else thinks and does' and, for some, that is why they have been attracted to PC.

I'm thinking you are right. Most PCs are looking for common ground rather than getting caught up in a group-think. They don't seem to get all caught up in who's idea a thing is either. They are more concerned if something is a good idea or a true idea or not.

Another example of that might be what J.S. Spong has gone through. He's written several best selling books that contest fundamentalism and hyper-biblical-literalism. He, himself has gotten death threats for doing this, (all of them from people who call themselves "Christians"), as well as a lot of negative mail and press. Among PCs he's celebrated and acclaimed. Not so with other people and groups.

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1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

I think I'll avoid the drug issue for right now. A bit of drink or mj might be ok, even beneficial, but excessive use can really be harmful. I've had some neighbors and old classmates who went that way, and some of the stories I could tell you are beyond tragic and terrible.

I'm not promoting drug use, just saying that's what the song is about.  Probably like many Christians with the bible, I'm cherry picking words from the song and applying my own meaning and purpose to them irrespective if that's what the author intended.

1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

What you've said calls to mind what Jesus is quoted as saying in the NT, "You shall answer for every careless word you ever speak". . . . I'm like ok, but how much and with what?  Going to hell fire for one careless word seems a bit too much for me.

Ha! Yeah, a bit much.  

 

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8 minutes ago, PaulS said:

I'm not promoting drug use, just saying that's what the song is about.  Probably like many Christians with the bible, I'm cherry picking words from the song and applying my own meaning and purpose to them irrespective if that's what the author intended.

Ha! Yeah, a bit much.  

 

I've been looking at the verses that you posted. You weren't saying that they were the 'same' as the Golden Rule, you were saying that they were as "pure". To me this means they are of good value. Also the song doesn't say "do nothing" whatsoever whenever, what it says is if someone is doing "no harm" then that shouldn't "bother" anyone.

So you've found a bit of the word of God in part of a Ben Harper song. I can apricate and have a smile about that. 🙂 

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1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

I agree with most of what you've said except that a person can have one-to-one contact with God. Yes one can actually know God, or at least a part of God, as much as God chooses to show them, and or as much they can handle. Jesus certainly had and did this. There are verses in the NT that clearly indicate that this is available to all of us. There are even songs and hymns that speak about this kind of experience.

I don't know who or what contacts us first in our life experience. Is it God or people or both, and does it sometimes differ for different people? I'm thinking that people might have different experiences in this regard. For myself, and many others that I've communicated with, people have either tended to be too fundamentalistic, or they don't do spirituality or religion at all. These people like myself have had to find a different route to understanding and experiencing God.

I think you should count yourself as really blessed that you've had people in your life that really did reflect the light of God. I doesn't always happen for everyone.

 

We disagree on one-to-one contact with God (although I do believe one can have a personal relationship with God) as I simply don't think God works that way or is exclusive if indeed the rain falls on all. And I do think one can 'know' God (depending on what is meant by know).

As for the Bible, it depends on how one interprets it: for me the songs, hymns and many of the verses are not to be taken literally. I agree that Jesus 'knew' God, addressed God as Abba and spoke to God (prayer) but I also believe that Jesus stood on the shoulders of his fellow Jews (and his parents) and came to know God through them which resulted in a unique understanding/insight that the man Jesus developed or grew into. I don't accept that God miraculously came to Jesus in a way that was different than how he comes to us all. I do believe that Jesus was unique in his insights on what had already existed: the Jewish relationship/covenant with God and the Law.

I think the contact is both: God in man. I think the only difference is due to luck/happenstance: the good or bad fortune of the parents/family/community you are born into and/or the good or bad fortune of others significant influences in/throughout one's life. Thus, we carry an awesome responsibility and we are essential, we are the co-creators and if we don't do it................? We are the 2nd coming and the (present) body of the Christ.

 

Edited by thormas
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