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PostPosted: February 4 19, 12:48 pm 
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Tim wrote:
lukethedrifter wrote:
Again, you don’t just get to disavow a huge swath of America because they don’t meet your criteria. Not on the cultural scale we are talking about.

Maybe I’m not understanding what you’re getting at here.

I’m a Christian and I have major problems with how some prominent Christians treat other people, to the point that I question the sincerity of their Christianity and if they actually crack open a Bible.

I’m not allowed to do that?


I think you can do that, Tim, and every interaction I've found you to be decent and kind and intelligent and thoughtful and I don't think you're christian the way a discriminatory hatemonger like Kim Davis or a bald-faced liar like Applebees-Sanders are christian. I have no doubt folks like you and Strat and Tx are good christians.

However, you cannot ask people like me and Thrill and haltz to believe that christianity as a whole is a bunch of really good people. Demonstrably, by the political vote of christians/white catholics in America, their values are not in line with values "good people" have.

I think a lot of what we have when christians defend the whole body of christians as "good people" is an instinct to defend one's tribe. Cardinals fans will never cop to Cardinals fans being obnoxious, but we will say we hate Cubs fans who are just Cardinals fans one state over. In the #metoo movement, even a smart man with great intentions and something smart to say will face a large body of the feminist #metoo movement who wants that man to shut up and listen....to something he already believes in, a situation where those who never want to be mansplained to do some mansplaining out of their own personal defense mechanisms and prejudices. It's natural, when I say that organized religion is a cult and white christians are killing our country's politics, for a white christian to be like 'whoa, whoa, whoa.' But for real? White christian men are killing this country's politics, culture, chances for economic growth, chances for sociological growth, opportunities for betterment, opportunities for repairing what's wrong in our country. That is something not for me to understand. I've seen the numbers. And having someone tell me "nothing to see here, christianity in America is just fine, we're all good people" is, sorry to say, more insulting to my intelligence than I think it should be to a white christian's beliefs when I say christianity is in a bad state. All they have to do is ask "are these things good or bad" and then look at which party supports the bad things and what percent of Christians objectively vote for those bad things.


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PostPosted: February 4 19, 12:54 pm 
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33 I definitely agree and wouldn’t ask you or anyone else to believe that mainstream Christianity is a bunch of really good people because I loathe what mainstream Christianity has become.


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PostPosted: February 5 19, 3:20 pm 
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soapbox/

I don't mean to interrupt the "Christians are bad!", "But, not all Christians are bad, here's something good!" "Yes, that's great but the rest of the Christians are bad and you need to do something about all the bad Christians!" "Lots of Christians are trying!" "Well, try harder because all Christians are bad!" cycle that normally fills this thread. You can continue that to your heart's content!

But can I throw in something new? If you don't really know much about Christianity, then don't pretend like you know what you're talking about when you try to talk about Christianity.

For example:



What she said is not in the Bible. And certainly not in Isaiah. Though, Isaiah is in the Bible, so kudos to her on that! I know other politicians (fairly recently) who can't even get the book names right.

Frankly, lots of people have all kinds of opinions about Christians and what they should/should not be doing based upon what they think that Christians believe or what they think the Bible says, and Pelosi, God bless her lil' heart, pretty much sums up their actual knowledge on the subject right here. If you can't quote the scripture, don't read or study the Bible, don't examine Biblical commentaries, don't go to church, don't try to know or relate to a variety of Christians on a personal level, don't regularly listen to a variety of pastors/preachers/leaders from a variety of denominations, and don't regularly read up on Christian history/theology/philosophy/sociology then don't pretend like you have any clue what you're talking about when you try to talk about any of those things. Because, frankly, you don't. You just don't. You might think you do. But you are wrong. And you will only end up embarrassing yourself and have likely already shown yourself a fool with the things you've already said.

I'm not just talking about non-Christians here. My words apply equally. If you are a Christian who doesn't do at least some of those things listed above but still have plenty of opinions to offer about Christianity and Jesus and God and stuff, then you might want to shut your yapper. You're embarrassing yourself, too, and worse you're acting like a hypocrite. In doing so, you're making my job that much harder. And it's hard enough, thank you.

This is not in reference to anything said here, any posters here, or any specific thing from here. I just see it all the time and it gives me a headache.

Grace and peace,
Your local guitar playing pastor (Fat Strat).

/end soapbox.


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PostPosted: February 5 19, 3:43 pm 
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Let's say someone is raised in the Methodist church and goes to church every Sunday and choir practice on Wednesday night and Bible study on Tuesday night and week-long Bible schools in the summer, and is basically raised by a mother who believes really hard and immerses her children in the church and the Bible, and dad is kind of an abusive alcoholic dickweed and mom dies young of cancer but before dying young is really very convinced that church and god and stuff are going to give her salvation from both an awful marriage and the illness that will take her and when the writing is on the wall in the end she tells her teenage son and her pre-teen daughter who will go through a very rough patch soon without her mother that "It's ok I'm going to a better place" and then she's gone and all the church people come to the house with deli trays and [expletive] and actually say to the now-motherless teenagers "It's ok she's in a better place".

Cool, then, if that person is kind of like "F church" or do they just need to be more experienced with and educated in the reality of that whole big cult?


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PostPosted: February 5 19, 4:17 pm 
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A few things. First, I love Relevant. Fat, I’m interested in your podcast playlist. I’m a sucker for Francis Chan (to the point I have to worship the message more and messenger less), Matt chandler is good and I like The Bible Project. Not a fan of Steven Furtick

33, I’ll defer to the expert Fat on that one, but my initial thought if I were confronted by someone who had that experience would be to do everything I could to empathize with that person, knowing I’m ill-equipped to do so. I can’t imagibe many things worse than going through something like that and receiving rather hollow words of encouragement that do very little practically speaking. And without trying to sound incredibly callous and broaching this with trepidation, acknowledging the horrific experience in that situation doesn’t exactly give one a PhD in biblical studies, but certainly entitles that person to their opinion on that experience. I would never try to diminish one’s feelings or opinions after experiencing something like that, but do my best to exhibit perhaps a different, more practical way that Jesus calls us to bless those that mourn


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PostPosted: February 5 19, 5:14 pm 
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Fat Strat wrote:
I don't mean to interrupt the "Christians are bad!", "But, not all Christians are bad, here's something good!" "Yes, that's great but the rest of the Christians are bad and you need to do something about all the bad Christians!" "Lots of Christians are trying!" "Well, try harder because all Christians are bad!" cycle that normally fills this thread. You can continue that to your heart's content!

But can I throw in something new? If you don't really know much about Christianity, then don't pretend like you know what you're talking about when you try to talk about Christianity.

...

If you can't quote the scripture, don't read or study the Bible, don't examine Biblical commentaries, don't go to church, don't try to know or relate to a variety of Christians on a personal level, don't regularly listen to a variety of pastors/preachers/leaders from a variety of denominations, and don't regularly read up on Christian history/theology/philosophy/sociology then don't pretend like you have any clue what you're talking about when you try to talk about any of those things. Because, frankly, you don't. You just don't. You might think you do. But you are wrong. And you will only end up embarrassing yourself and have likely already shown yourself a fool with the things you've already said.

Completely agree that this cycle of "discussion" is pointless. Don't agree that you must immerse yourself in Christianity to comment on it. The correct conclusion is to recognize your own blind spots and listen/adjust accordingly.

Independent of this specific example, it is often the case that insiders who are objectively more informed believe based on this that they can dismiss the criticism of outsiders. But the outsiders are not infrequently actually correct as they able to see what the insiders buried in the day to day do not. The example I have in mind here is actually national security matters where secret information is the norm thus making the insiders' immunity to outside comment extremely powerful, but the point applies generally. To give a personal example, at work, people often give what on the surface is easy to take as incoherent complaints with prominent inaccuracies, but if I am able to fight through that (I'm not too tired, etc), there's frequently something useful buried inside I'd be mistaken not to hear. On the other hand, outsiders sometimes just say 100% ignorant nonsense too.

What's the conclusion? Probably something banal about the need to actually listen.

I guess I also don't understand what we're doing here sometimes. Trying to decide if American Christianity is "bad"? Is that just to justify a need to do condemnations and therefor reinforce our group identity? Will establishing this through a strategy of stridency and doing owns lead people away? Maybe, but it feels to have hit diminishing returns at this point, and I'm not even sure it's correct.


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PostPosted: February 5 19, 6:34 pm 
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33anda3rd wrote:
Let's say someone is raised in the Methodist church and goes to church every Sunday and choir practice on Wednesday night and Bible study on Tuesday night and week-long Bible schools in the summer, and is basically raised by a mother who believes really hard and immerses her children in the church and the Bible, and dad is kind of an abusive alcoholic dickweed and mom dies young of cancer but before dying young is really very convinced that church and god and stuff are going to give her salvation from both an awful marriage and the illness that will take her and when the writing is on the wall in the end she tells her teenage son and her pre-teen daughter who will go through a very rough patch soon without her mother that "It's ok I'm going to a better place" and then she's gone and all the church people come to the house with deli trays and [expletive] and actually say to the now-motherless teenagers "It's ok she's in a better place".

Cool, then, if that person is kind of like "F church" or do they just need to be more experienced with and educated in the reality of that whole big cult?


Ok, so, I am very confused as to what that has to do with what I was saying. But, trying to address it...

The mom lived out her faith to the very end and then passed on, even tragically or pre-maturely, but with an apparent witness of satisfaction, faith, hope, and peace. And other people came and tried to surround the surviving family in a difficult situation with some measure of hope and peace... and that’s somehow really bad? That’s a cult?

As far as the teenagers, they are choosing their path based on a variety of familial, social, cultural and experiential factors and expectations that have formed and shaped their personal faith, values and course of direction. It would not be strange at all for them to say to well-intended advice-givers “don’t tell me how I am supposed to feel about my mom, my dad, my faith because you didn’t live what I lived.”

Those teens might have a lot to say about faith and scripture, theology in practice, etc. based on their knowledge and experience and their voices would be worth listening to.

But, if the same two teens wanted to give their opinion on the migration of African honey bees to South America, I don’t know that I would care to listen, if I was an expert in entomology.


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PostPosted: February 5 19, 6:48 pm 
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Arthur Dent wrote:
Don't agree that you must immerse yourself in Christianity to comment on it. The correct conclusion is to recognize your own blind spots and listen/adjust accordingly....

What's the conclusion? Probably something banal about the need to actually listen.


I am not saying you need to immerse yourself in any subject before commenting on it. I am saying that if you comment on something without bothering to learn about it, don’t be surprised if you are totally wrong. I do completely agree with the second part of what you are saying. We are moving closer and closer as a society to instant-expert status in everything. Because we have watched a YouTube video or read the headline of an article in a Tweet then we know everything about something. We convince ourselves that we know the truth and then not even an actual expert in the subject can shake us from that belief. Take global warming or vaccines for example. Or in my world, basic Christian theology like grace, sin, or faith.

That is miles different from open dialogue and conversation. Listening and an attitude of learning. I think I have written here recently about the increase in scholarly dialogue that is developing between scientists, social scientists, and theologians because those groups have stopped assuming they can describe the world and its people without the help of a multi-disciplined approach. I welcome that on any level. But it digs under the sin when someone says, “the Bible isn’t true because science and dinosaurs” and really believes it. As I am sure it does when someone says to you, “science isn’t true because of the Bible and dinosaurs.”


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PostPosted: February 5 19, 7:39 pm 
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Fat Strat wrote:
33anda3rd wrote:
Let's say someone is raised in the Methodist church and goes to church every Sunday and choir practice on Wednesday night and Bible study on Tuesday night and week-long Bible schools in the summer, and is basically raised by a mother who believes really hard and immerses her children in the church and the Bible, and dad is kind of an abusive alcoholic dickweed and mom dies young of cancer but before dying young is really very convinced that church and god and stuff are going to give her salvation from both an awful marriage and the illness that will take her and when the writing is on the wall in the end she tells her teenage son and her pre-teen daughter who will go through a very rough patch soon without her mother that "It's ok I'm going to a better place" and then she's gone and all the church people come to the house with deli trays and [expletive] and actually say to the now-motherless teenagers "It's ok she's in a better place".

Cool, then, if that person is kind of like "F church" or do they just need to be more experienced with and educated in the reality of that whole big cult?


Ok, so, I am very confused as to what that has to do with what I was saying. But, trying to address it...


That's my childhood, and I assume you're addressing me. So it's to say when you're saying that I need to be able to quote the Bible (I can't) to talk about christians, you're wrong. Because "christians" are the people who call themselves that, they are not the text in a book from centuries ago. I can make judgments--accurate ones--about the immoral nature of police randomly killing black guys without being to cite the policeman's manual. Sometimes common sense and simple data give us the easy, true, uncomplicated truth. Christians and white catholics express their values via voting in a way that shows they have lousy values as a group. Sorry, Strat, I know those are not your values. But in the modern world they are the group you are stuck with, kind of like the truly good cop who is looked at suspiciously after yet another incident of a policeman killing an innocent black person. It sucks, but that's where you're stuck until the church and the body of christians/white catholics is overhauled dramatically.


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PostPosted: February 5 19, 10:17 pm 
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33anda3rd wrote:
That's my childhood, and I assume you're addressing me.

Nah, he's too passive-aggressive to do that.


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