Just came off of a lengthy Skype conversation

Just came off of a lengthy Skype conversation

Joined: December 8th, 2003, 1:16 am

February 27th, 2010, 2:14 am #1

... with my former-pastor friend in another city. It was a really "close" talk for a change. We normally don't talk about Christian or spiritual matters anymore because he doesn't want to ... but today we got into it a bit again.

Now, as I mentioned before, this fellow went through his own personal faith crisis period around 10 years ago, actually putting us on opposite poles of where we're at today. He was doubting the whole Christian thing and pointing at inconsistencies in the Bible .... and I was "holding my peace" on those things and just trying to encourage him to stay with the faith. Gradually, it was like a teeter-totter tipping over where ... I'd gotten him to be interested again and me .... I was beginning to "fall off".~

Well, today he doesn't want to review his past doubts anymore ... which is ok by me. Alternately, he isn't trying to get ME back on track either ... because he understands all too well, where I'm at in my own thinking.

But today we got into a spiritual discussion once more. Amazingly, we came out of it, BOTH feeling quite "blessed"!

I made it clear to him that I had no agenda or intention to DESTROY anyone's belief in Jesus Christ. I said, "we ALL need a focus on SOMETHING that's outside of our own self. Something higher, something much greater than just "me." It seems to be built into most human beings that we look for such a figure to give meaning to life. If that's Jesus ... that's fine. Where I OPPOSE Christian believers is when they use the Bible as their sacred club to try dictating to others, how others MUST believe ... or be damned."

He agreed with me and said that when HE was being asked or came into a situation where someone wanted to know ... he would tell them that he couldn't say for SURE whether Jesus was a real person or if he was God etc. but for HIM .... believing in Jesus meant a meaningful life that he wouldn't have without that belief.

And I think that's totally ok. I think we ALL have a particular focus that we consider to be the "meaning of life". We all live to serve some purpose which we perceive as being greater than ourselves. There is always something that's "important" to us, which we perceive as necessary and will continue after we die.

Without such a focus, life becomes essentially meaningless. It's this channeling of our energy in connection with a greater whole, which essentially defines our perception of God.

It's interesting too, that the Bible itself touches on this...

[ 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. ]

Who is a "brother"? Is it someone who's a professed Christian only? Or is he simply one's fellow man?

I think one thing is quite clear and that is ....

God is CONNECTION. We kid ourselves if we think we can have our own private connection with God and hate the whole world. "Just me and God... that's it." It doesn't work that way. If we actually DO love God ...we will will also be feeling empathy for others.

-Vince


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Joined: November 4th, 2006, 5:18 pm

February 27th, 2010, 2:37 am #2

Vince, you said
"God is CONNECTION. We kid ourselves if we think we can have our own private connection with God and hate the whole world. "Just me and God... that's it." It doesn't work that way. If we actually DO love God ...we will will also be feeling empathy for others. "

I absolutely agree
The two great commandments

Love God
Love your neighbour as yourself

They are the same.








"Error does not become Truth because it is widely accepted; Truth does not become error, even when it stands alone!" <i>
(Thanks Kristy)
</i>
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Joined: January 13th, 2010, 2:50 pm

February 27th, 2010, 2:45 am #3

... with my former-pastor friend in another city. It was a really "close" talk for a change. We normally don't talk about Christian or spiritual matters anymore because he doesn't want to ... but today we got into it a bit again.

Now, as I mentioned before, this fellow went through his own personal faith crisis period around 10 years ago, actually putting us on opposite poles of where we're at today. He was doubting the whole Christian thing and pointing at inconsistencies in the Bible .... and I was "holding my peace" on those things and just trying to encourage him to stay with the faith. Gradually, it was like a teeter-totter tipping over where ... I'd gotten him to be interested again and me .... I was beginning to "fall off".~

Well, today he doesn't want to review his past doubts anymore ... which is ok by me. Alternately, he isn't trying to get ME back on track either ... because he understands all too well, where I'm at in my own thinking.

But today we got into a spiritual discussion once more. Amazingly, we came out of it, BOTH feeling quite "blessed"!

I made it clear to him that I had no agenda or intention to DESTROY anyone's belief in Jesus Christ. I said, "we ALL need a focus on SOMETHING that's outside of our own self. Something higher, something much greater than just "me." It seems to be built into most human beings that we look for such a figure to give meaning to life. If that's Jesus ... that's fine. Where I OPPOSE Christian believers is when they use the Bible as their sacred club to try dictating to others, how others MUST believe ... or be damned."

He agreed with me and said that when HE was being asked or came into a situation where someone wanted to know ... he would tell them that he couldn't say for SURE whether Jesus was a real person or if he was God etc. but for HIM .... believing in Jesus meant a meaningful life that he wouldn't have without that belief.

And I think that's totally ok. I think we ALL have a particular focus that we consider to be the "meaning of life". We all live to serve some purpose which we perceive as being greater than ourselves. There is always something that's "important" to us, which we perceive as necessary and will continue after we die.

Without such a focus, life becomes essentially meaningless. It's this channeling of our energy in connection with a greater whole, which essentially defines our perception of God.

It's interesting too, that the Bible itself touches on this...

[ 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. ]

Who is a "brother"? Is it someone who's a professed Christian only? Or is he simply one's fellow man?

I think one thing is quite clear and that is ....

God is CONNECTION. We kid ourselves if we think we can have our own private connection with God and hate the whole world. "Just me and God... that's it." It doesn't work that way. If we actually DO love God ...we will will also be feeling empathy for others.

-Vince

Years ago someone once said to me "If you want to know God and know how he operates, look at your relationships with other people."

That thought has stuck with me ever since.

Last edited by ever-a-newbie on February 27th, 2010, 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: November 4th, 2006, 5:18 pm

February 27th, 2010, 3:02 am #4

A poem in keeping with that themne

ABOU BEN ADHEM

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?" The Vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest!

JAMES HENRY LEIGH HUNT




"Error does not become Truth because it is widely accepted; Truth does not become error, even when it stands alone!" <i>
(Thanks Kristy)
</i>
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Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

February 27th, 2010, 4:01 am #5

... with my former-pastor friend in another city. It was a really "close" talk for a change. We normally don't talk about Christian or spiritual matters anymore because he doesn't want to ... but today we got into it a bit again.

Now, as I mentioned before, this fellow went through his own personal faith crisis period around 10 years ago, actually putting us on opposite poles of where we're at today. He was doubting the whole Christian thing and pointing at inconsistencies in the Bible .... and I was "holding my peace" on those things and just trying to encourage him to stay with the faith. Gradually, it was like a teeter-totter tipping over where ... I'd gotten him to be interested again and me .... I was beginning to "fall off".~

Well, today he doesn't want to review his past doubts anymore ... which is ok by me. Alternately, he isn't trying to get ME back on track either ... because he understands all too well, where I'm at in my own thinking.

But today we got into a spiritual discussion once more. Amazingly, we came out of it, BOTH feeling quite "blessed"!

I made it clear to him that I had no agenda or intention to DESTROY anyone's belief in Jesus Christ. I said, "we ALL need a focus on SOMETHING that's outside of our own self. Something higher, something much greater than just "me." It seems to be built into most human beings that we look for such a figure to give meaning to life. If that's Jesus ... that's fine. Where I OPPOSE Christian believers is when they use the Bible as their sacred club to try dictating to others, how others MUST believe ... or be damned."

He agreed with me and said that when HE was being asked or came into a situation where someone wanted to know ... he would tell them that he couldn't say for SURE whether Jesus was a real person or if he was God etc. but for HIM .... believing in Jesus meant a meaningful life that he wouldn't have without that belief.

And I think that's totally ok. I think we ALL have a particular focus that we consider to be the "meaning of life". We all live to serve some purpose which we perceive as being greater than ourselves. There is always something that's "important" to us, which we perceive as necessary and will continue after we die.

Without such a focus, life becomes essentially meaningless. It's this channeling of our energy in connection with a greater whole, which essentially defines our perception of God.

It's interesting too, that the Bible itself touches on this...

[ 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. ]

Who is a "brother"? Is it someone who's a professed Christian only? Or is he simply one's fellow man?

I think one thing is quite clear and that is ....

God is CONNECTION. We kid ourselves if we think we can have our own private connection with God and hate the whole world. "Just me and God... that's it." It doesn't work that way. If we actually DO love God ...we will will also be feeling empathy for others.

-Vince

The blessing is now shared.

When we attended the United Church for a while, the Pastor said "For us, the path is Jesus." And that's just it. Whatever works for you, whatever you need.

For me at this point in my life, I realize that what I believe does not matter. Whatever is, is. Whatever am, am.

Like my sig says:
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
~ Gensha
I had a "revelation", very similar to an NDE, and the message I got was just to go back and live my life and everything was going to be alright.

Thanks again Vince.




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Joined: November 4th, 2006, 5:18 pm

February 27th, 2010, 4:04 am #6

Go Canada!





"Error does not become Truth because it is widely accepted; Truth does not become error, even when it stands alone!" <i>
(Thanks Kristy)
</i>
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Joined: December 8th, 2003, 1:16 am

February 27th, 2010, 7:22 am #7

Years ago someone once said to me "If you want to know God and know how he operates, look at your relationships with other people."

That thought has stuck with me ever since.
I've always been an "introvert/extrovert." Years ago, I took these lengthy tests for a company that was into "marketing". I had no idea what that word meant but I took their test anyway.~

The interviewer told me that I was quite fitted for their needs. My tests showed that I was a person who liked to be by myself to hash out ideas and/but, enjoyed going out and presenting myself too ... with relative ease.

But, I had no idea what "marketing" meant and I didn't want to get involved with something I didn't understand. LOL.

I've thought about that test many times since. It's really true. I AM a loner to a point ... but ... then I like to get into the company of people and enjoy the company of people too. I go both ways.

And yet .... what about my relationships?

I really don't have any. I have one good friend but he lives in a different city. We communicate daily by email and Skype and phone. Otherwise, most people are more like acquaintances. I have 2 brothers with whom I enjoy "visiting" but we don't really get together all that much either. I feel no animosity or have any grudges against any siblings. I find the brothers-in-laws hard to tolerate but I do my best not to make enemies or show any disdain toward them.

I'm kind of like .... if/when I engage with people, I like to make it worthwhile and have a good time. I like to "facilitate" HAVING a good time, as much as possible wherever I am and whomever I'm with.

But I hate bullshit and I hate pretending. I find so much social interaction to be little more than bullshit. That may be just me.

For years I felt guilty about being such a loner. If I loved God, shouldn't I SHOW that by doing regular associations with others? I don't know. I just don't beat myself up about it anymore. It seems to me that extending good will and co-operation and tolerance is possibly the heart of the matter. Being at peace with one's self is quite a large part of the equation too.

-Vince
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Joined: December 8th, 2003, 1:16 am

February 27th, 2010, 7:25 am #8

The blessing is now shared.

When we attended the United Church for a while, the Pastor said "For us, the path is Jesus." And that's just it. Whatever works for you, whatever you need.

For me at this point in my life, I realize that what I believe does not matter. Whatever is, is. Whatever am, am.

Like my sig says:
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
~ Gensha
I had a "revelation", very similar to an NDE, and the message I got was just to go back and live my life and everything was going to be alright.

Thanks again Vince.



If I had that, I would do some things she likes to do. I did that once upon a time, even when I didn't much feel like it. Today I don't anymore. I've found that it only makes things worse if I do. But I wouldn't mind doing it if I got equal reciprocation.

-Vince
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Joined: February 16th, 2010, 8:01 pm

February 27th, 2010, 6:39 pm #9

... with my former-pastor friend in another city. It was a really "close" talk for a change. We normally don't talk about Christian or spiritual matters anymore because he doesn't want to ... but today we got into it a bit again.

Now, as I mentioned before, this fellow went through his own personal faith crisis period around 10 years ago, actually putting us on opposite poles of where we're at today. He was doubting the whole Christian thing and pointing at inconsistencies in the Bible .... and I was "holding my peace" on those things and just trying to encourage him to stay with the faith. Gradually, it was like a teeter-totter tipping over where ... I'd gotten him to be interested again and me .... I was beginning to "fall off".~

Well, today he doesn't want to review his past doubts anymore ... which is ok by me. Alternately, he isn't trying to get ME back on track either ... because he understands all too well, where I'm at in my own thinking.

But today we got into a spiritual discussion once more. Amazingly, we came out of it, BOTH feeling quite "blessed"!

I made it clear to him that I had no agenda or intention to DESTROY anyone's belief in Jesus Christ. I said, "we ALL need a focus on SOMETHING that's outside of our own self. Something higher, something much greater than just "me." It seems to be built into most human beings that we look for such a figure to give meaning to life. If that's Jesus ... that's fine. Where I OPPOSE Christian believers is when they use the Bible as their sacred club to try dictating to others, how others MUST believe ... or be damned."

He agreed with me and said that when HE was being asked or came into a situation where someone wanted to know ... he would tell them that he couldn't say for SURE whether Jesus was a real person or if he was God etc. but for HIM .... believing in Jesus meant a meaningful life that he wouldn't have without that belief.

And I think that's totally ok. I think we ALL have a particular focus that we consider to be the "meaning of life". We all live to serve some purpose which we perceive as being greater than ourselves. There is always something that's "important" to us, which we perceive as necessary and will continue after we die.

Without such a focus, life becomes essentially meaningless. It's this channeling of our energy in connection with a greater whole, which essentially defines our perception of God.

It's interesting too, that the Bible itself touches on this...

[ 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. ]

Who is a "brother"? Is it someone who's a professed Christian only? Or is he simply one's fellow man?

I think one thing is quite clear and that is ....

God is CONNECTION. We kid ourselves if we think we can have our own private connection with God and hate the whole world. "Just me and God... that's it." It doesn't work that way. If we actually DO love God ...we will will also be feeling empathy for others.

-Vince

I have many Christian friends, and I would never think of attempting to deconvert them. They are who they are because of their faith, and in most cases that is a good thing. There are many Christians who, if they lost their faith would take a very low road.
The reason that I labeled this forum as "Wide Open", was to warn off those who's faith could not take the battering of such bible discussion. It is also the reason that I stay away from church forums, where I feel that I have no business.



"Rebut or retract!!!"
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Joined: December 8th, 2003, 1:16 am

February 27th, 2010, 10:01 pm #10

Dear God,

I'm really glad TS set up this forum with such noble intentions and agenda. I'm quite blown away by that. I never suspected it for a minute! Wow. I love surprises!

Now I wonder ... did YOU perhaps have a hand in that? In steering him that way, I mean? He doesn't believe in you, he says. Only you knows for sure. I suppose it doesn't really matter, one way or another; he's simply another human being whom I imagine you created the same as me.

Well anyway, he's got some pretty "interesting" ideas about the Bible and what it all means. I've learned a fair amount because of him ... even if not intended from either party.

You work in mysterious ways, God. Keep up the good work!

-Vince
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