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Old 09-02-2007, 10:01 AM   #31
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I have met or exchanged with many Christians who have bettered my world and pushed me to think out of my box. I have met or exchanged with many nonbelievers or believers in other religions who have done the same. I don't want to judge a religious philosophy by some of its practitioners anymore. I just look at the people. Do I admire their behavior or am I repulsed by it? Their religion doesn't enter into it too much for me. But, yeah, if I see a glimmer of Christ in someone who calls himself a Christian, I will give them time. If I don't, I won't.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:07 AM   #32
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But, yeah, if I see a glimmer of Christ in someone who calls himself a Christian, I will give them time. If I don't, I won't.
BonosSaint -- From a Christian's perspective (mine), that kind of proselytizing is exactly what Christians need to do, not the preaching stuff.... and most certainly not the stuff you see on TV -- the many forms of poison -- health and wealth stuff.
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Old 09-02-2007, 04:38 PM   #33
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I don't mean to steer this off the direction it was going, so feel free to continue that. I did want to ask, however, about something I've been noticing lately. I'd be curious as to some non-Christians (and Christians who'd like to add) perspectives on the new "methods" of evangelizing. By that I mean, the edgy, hip, ministries such as Stephen Baldwin's extreme sports for Jesus ( there's many other ministries like his; I just wanted one to attach a name too), Ron Luce's "Battlecry For A Generation"/"Acquire The Fire" ministries (you can Google him/them if you're not familiar with them) etc. All of them are boasting about having teenagers "on fire for Jesus!!" etc. However, what I see is people trying to make Jesus "cool" and "edgy" and "hip" I am all for using these methods of relevance in today's culture. However, most of these people are trying so hard to make Jesus relevant, they end up making themselves and Christianity seem hollow and fake. If they used them to simply present the bare message of Jesus, "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself." Christianity would probably have a much better face in the world. However, too many of these ministries are teaching "Jesus+ Kick-Ass Morality Guyz!!111"
Most of the time, it's centered on the morality issue. I have nothing against morality or trying to prevent young people from drinking too young or too much, trying to prevent drug use, promiscuity etc. Yet, it's touted as the cure for whatever ails you, and it's just not. For example, I could never have sex until I get married, never taste a sip of alcohol, never let another swear word pass my lips; and still be broken, miserable, judgemental, intolerant, self-righteous, and an all-around jerk. That's what so many of these "on fire for Jesus" teens are. Their hearts may be in the right place, but they're so wrong. They hold impossible standards for themselves and others and they can't handle it if they or others make those mistakes. They don't know how to relate to anyone outside the little Christian club, and they make everyone around them feel bad for being the way they are. How do I feel qualified to make these observations? It's because up until about a year and a half ago, I was one of those people I just described. Thankfully, God used people like Bono, Brennnan Manning, Jay Bakker, and numerous others along with His own voice to reach into my heart and grip it with grace. It's a stunning, yet painful thing to realize that, pardon the expression, "everything you know is wrong." All I'd been taught about God, being a good Christian was simply...wrong. Now, my heart breaks every time I see another Christian judging, and trampling, and hurting people. I used to be that person, and that's who Non-Christians thought Jesus was. I want them to see the real Jesus in me; the Jesus who loves them just the way they are, and has no ulterior motives, except to love them unconditionally forever.
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Old 09-02-2007, 04:45 PM   #34
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it's a pleasure to read these posts, U2isthebest -- you're thoughtful, articulate, considerate, and have an expansive worldview. you've become a true credit to your religion.

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Old 09-02-2007, 04:48 PM   #35
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it's a pleasure to read these posts, U2isthebest -- you're thoughtful, articulate, considerate, and have an expansive worldview. you've become a true credit to your religion.

Thank you! Your posts are definitely something that always give me something to think about. I've learned a lot from you! Btw, I just found out about what happened to you in the pool accident, and I'm so sorry. Thank God, you're alright. I was reading the stories in your journal, and it sounds horrifying! I hope you're feeling a LOT better now!
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Old 09-02-2007, 06:03 PM   #36
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They hold impossible standards for themselves and others and they can't handle it if they or others make those mistakes. They don't know how to relate to anyone outside the little Christian club, and they make everyone around them feel bad for being the way they are.
I worry about these kids too. Being human and all, they're going to fail at meeting those unrealistic standards, and then where do they go? Their "perfect" friends won't know what to do, and won't be able to help them in any way. And, when they do fall, they fall all the way. It's all or nothing with those kids. That's no way to live.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:18 PM   #37
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I worry about these kids too. Being human and all, they're going to fail at meeting those unrealistic standards, and then where do they go? Their "perfect" friends won't know what to do, and won't be able to help them in any way. And, when they do fall, they fall all the way. It's all or nothing with those kids. That's no way to live.
I've seen it in my own life. My cousin is going to a Bible college and is heavily involved as a leader in a church youth group there. One of the girls in the youth group just got pregnant. Obviously, I'm not going to stand up and cheer for a teenage pregnancy. However, my cousin acted as though the world has just crashed to pieces. She was moaning how this girl's entire future was ruined and implied that there was no way God could ever use her. (Apparently, this girl had felt as though God had called her to ministry). The girl's life is going to change in a major way, and some of her plans may be on hold. Yet, God isn't done with her because she made a mistake. As you said, Martha, this all or nothing mentality that so many Christians have ruins more lives than it helps.
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Old 09-02-2007, 11:21 PM   #38
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A favorite saying of mine, from someone prominent in my "church" is: It's easy to know God's Will. It's what happens!

For your cousin to assume to know God's Will for this girl is really assuming one whole lot, isn't it.
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Old 09-02-2007, 11:32 PM   #39
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A favorite saying of mine, from someone prominent in my "church" is: It's easy to know God's Will. It's what happens!

For your cousin to assume to know God's Will for this girl is really assuming one whole lot, isn't it.
I don't think my cousin was assuming God's Will for said girl. I might have phrased that wrong! She was, however, telling me what this girl had told her what she thought God's plan was for her life. I just didn't appreciate how my cousin acted as though her future was now set in stone and basically ruined and changed irreparably.
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Old 09-05-2007, 01:59 PM   #40
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I think people have to remember that, Christian or not, they /are/ teenagers, and teenagers don't always have a handle on life experience. Adults tend to expect teenagers to know what adults know, and to do things the way adults do it. On the other hand, you have those adults who will always hold a teenager's perceived lack of experience against them - often in the same sentence or lecture.

As far as those 'edgy, hip, cool' clubs and whatnot - I don't know, they sound a lot more interesting than the usual run of drudgery that churches often offer to kids: sugary, stifling, sucking the life and craziness of kids right out of them. Truthfully, even at 31, I'm far more likely to attend an extreme sports club than a regular church event.

Well, that, and people forget that Jesus was rather an edgy man - he hung out with the people the churched often see as beneath them: prostitutes, Samaritans, Gentiles, Jews..criminals..you know, the dirty peons of the world.
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:57 PM   #41
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When Jesus lived there was no way he couldn't "hang out" with Jews.
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Old 09-05-2007, 03:06 PM   #42
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I'm an Irish Catholic Christian. I essentially believe that religion at its core is about believing in love. Anything after that is the spin and politics of those involved in religions over the centuries. I believe that the Bible, for the most part, is a politically written book that takes God's word and gives it some bias. I'm not going to take a book written by humans like me and assume that God wrote it, because it would be a flat-out stupid assumption to make. I feel very, very comfortable with my beliefs, and saying that I'm a Catholic. I don't agree with everything about Catholicism, but most of my beefs are with the people in it. At its core, I think its beliefs are right in line with my own.

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This piece makes no sense. If you're not a Christian, you do not truly know what it is like to live as one in the United States, so the above has no backup or support.

In response to that, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a Christian in the United States and to live out my beliefs the way I wish, and unless you are one, you cannot say otherwise, so don't bother. It is difficult to be a Christian anywhere in the world. I'll never forget what one of my professors said last year. He said that in one country (I think in the middle east, I wish I could remember) if I was to go over there, walk down the middle of the street and say "I'm a Christian!", I would be shot on the spot. And as a formal military man and police officer, I believe him. Tell me that's not persecution. Last time I checked, we don't do that to Muslims here in the states.
I am a Christian, so I can say otherwise. This is an absolute bullshit statement. You are the one who stated that you, as a conservative American Christian, receive an equal amount of oppression as do homosexuals, right? Give me a break. Ridiculous. The biggest problem with America right now when it comes to moral issues are the religious people who use religion to hate, for the most part conservatives. Christianity is the most common religion in this country, for Christ's sake! How can you have difficulty living as the majority? For the most part, conservatives favor the majority!

And what does a Middle Eastern country have to do with the discussion at all? Yes, there are problems in the Middle East with acceptance. We know. It doesn't make your life here in America anymore difficult. Your only difficulties come from the fact that anyone who points out flaws in your outdated and borderline stupid ideology is "trying to oppress you." When they call you on it, you might as well stick your fingers and your ears and say "Na na na na na" because that's the maturity level of stating that Christianity is hard to live with. You think that because we don't murder Muslims in the streets here, that their life is easy? No! There's plenty of religious bigotry in this country! Just because we aren't killing them doesn't mean that there aren't people hating them and making their lives actually difficult. A white, conservative, Christian, American male doesn't have difficulties based on those things, especially when you look at other groups of people who do.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:31 PM   #43
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When Jesus lived there was no way he couldn't "hang out" with Jews.
True, true.
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:55 AM   #44
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I think one of the problems I have with how some people practice Christianity (and other religions) is the misuse of it often enough to SANCTIFY how you are, believe, behave anyway. Other than finetuning a few external behaviors or mouthings for appearance's sake, you really don't have to change much to think well of yourself and to look down on somebody else. You will always be able to find some text that will justify your behavior. Maybe even celebrate your behavior.

I think it is that sanctification that is dangerous.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:48 AM   #45
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not to be flip, but i think i can say this: Jesus Was A Cool Guy.

after that, well, Christianity and Christians are just like any other group with a central self-identity, and are a part of identity politics just like any other group (blacks, jews, gays, etc.) there's good people and bad people, smart people and unthinking people, some who do wonderful things in the name of their religion, and some who do terrible things in the name of their religion.

i am appaled at the work done by Falwell, Dobson, and others, but i am inspired by the day-to-day incremental charitable work done by individuals working through their church.

i don't understand how people can center their lives and identity around something that is, to me, as subjective and ephermeal as religion, but i know that people do. i don't know how people can spend their lives obsessing over the supernatural when the natural and real is so wonderous, but i know that people do. i don't know why people spend their time analyzing a 2,000 year old text written decades after the fact and treat it like a science textbook, but i know that people do.

ultimately, none of the above activities bother me too much, so long as none of the above activities result in a redution of my personal freedoms.

i don't understand the obsession with being "saved," nor do i understand where the conclusion that all others are going to hell, or at least not going to be with God, when they die. i see religion as an extention of culture, and if there is a God, doesn't it make sense that he'd present himself in a manner that was understandable to all cultures? it's the chauvinism and, yes, colonialism embedded in the evangelizing/missionizing that i find incredibly distasteful.

but other than that, yeah, i'll say it again: Jesus Was A Cool Guy.

no question about that.

and, like all religions, Christianity is the ultimate justifier for good, as well as evil. if God is telling you to do something, then you'll do anything. because if all that there is (this earth, this life) is nothing compared to the afterlife, and if your life on earth is spent preparing for the afterlife, then what's to stop you from destroying life here if it doesn't matter at all?
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