Bring Them In

In Sunday school many years ago, I heard the tales of the missionaries of olden days and my heart was awed by their bravery and their sacrifice. They suffered disease, famine, shipwreck, and death at very hands of the people they went to reach.

We were inspired. We were delighted. “Anywhere with Jesus,” we would sing, “I may safely go.”

Unless, of course, that place is Walmart in my hometown and I may see Syrian refugees there.

Here’s what confuses me to no end: when did American fundagelicals become so very timid in their faith that the prospect of importing an entire new mission field to evangelize in their own back yards is something to fear and dread? When did Bring them In turn to Please Keep them Out?

The Christian missionaries we revered went half a world away to reach these self-same souls. Perhaps the point all along was that these people were heroic in going out to save us the trouble of having the world come in instead.

Or darker yet, perhaps some people just aren’t considered to be worth saving.

385 thoughts on “Bring Them In”

    1. Sorry, but this “first” thing was funny in the beginning, but now it’s getting boring.

      I imagine that the majority of the readers are like me and would rather not have to see it every time.

      Thanks

        1. I’m sure it is fun for “we” – I’m speaking for all the other posters and readers who find it tiresome.

          Anyway, I thought this site was about ending cliques!

          Seriously though, it would be a courtesy to others if you guys could stop.

          Thanks!

        2. On my phone, I just give a quick extra scroll with my thumb and I’m passed it. Maybe you could try this? Let people have their fun. They’re not hurting you.

        3. Hey PeterC,

          First!
          Firsty!
          Firsty McFirsty!
          Mother Firster!
          “We have nothing to fear but first itself.”
          Q: What did Neal Armstrong really say when he stepped on the moon?
          A: First! you commie bastards.

        4. SFL is not about ending cliques. This is what SFL is about: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/about-2/comment-page-1/#comments

          I admit that when I found SFL, I was annoyed by the “first” silliness. But eventually I came to embrace it, even though I learned the cold, hard truth — there is no butt cushion. I’m entitled to several.

          This is the culture here. I hope you aren’t serious about asking us to stop just because you don’t like it. Our house, our rules. If it bothers you, scroll down.

        5. Dear rtgmath:

          You wrote: Is that what bugs you?

          I reply: No, it’s being ‘second’.

          Christian Socialist

      1. Peter, I think you lack imagination.

        This is one of the few places in the universe where God approves of the first being first. Like when the angel stirred the water at the Pool of Siloam, those of us who have been quick enough to be first have known the true joy it can bring. The occasional sour grapes chucked at us from the poolside will never be enough to deter us in our rush to the water.

        1. One idea to solve this would be if Darrell created a separate section where, each day at a random time, he could create a post called, say, “First Competition”. Then people could do their first stuff there, rather inflicting it on those who wish to go straight to the interesting points made in the “regular” topics.

          (Darrell – I’m sorry this would mean extra work for you, but it might be a good compromise way to cater for both groups. Thanks.)

        2. That would be”moving the ancient landmark” if I ever heard it. We stick with the old paths around here!

        3. PeterC isn’t easily disuaded, but as petruska points out the first will always be first around here, and it’s not “solvable” but enjoyable.

        4. Dear PeterC:

          Alternatively, you could hit ‘page down’ a time or so.

          Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

        5. Even if Darrel set up a special time and place for “firsts”, I don’t think that would stop anyone from saying it on the regular posts. We spent so long living our lives under strict rules and man-made (often meaningless) regulations, that I think many of us enjoy not having to follow them.

      2. Peter C–I am very sorry that your bored with the very first comment on every post. I am sorry that you cannot find your way past that post and some of the comments that joke about being first, second, fifth etc.
        But I do wonder why you feel everyone on this thread needs to bow to your likes and dislikes? Even if only one person likes to play that game–who the heck cares? Let them play.

        1. Leanne,

          I did think it was funny the first few times – it’ s just that it has gotten stale over time.

          Also, it’s basically just a handful of people doing it.

          What I suggested above, (i.e. a separate section) was a compromise.

          But if that doesn’t work, another idea is that maybe people could agree on a limit to, say, just two posts per thread that play the “first” game. However, the issue with this is that because of “simultaneous” posting issues, it might be difficult to achieve. Also, newcomers might not be aware of the agreement.

          Perhaps a more practical way is for Darrell to mark, say, one in every seven topics as “first eligible”. Then people would know that they could do the game on these threads – and other readers who do not want to read the comments would at least be warned.

          I realize these are not perfect solutions, but I would be open to any compromise suggestions you have.

          As you imply, we want to have a balance here so that we don’t have a handful of people on either side dictating things all one way or the other.

          I’m sure we can work something out together!

          Thanks again.

        2. So your compromise is to make Darrell do more work? It is still about what you like? When it is something simple like just scroll to the comments past the “first”? You are still asking others to cater to you. I think it is fine that you are over it. But I think it is somewhat pretentious to think everyone should cater to you or that even Darrell should add work to his blog for you.
          And it is not a compromise for Darrell to have another space for “firsts”. Its about being the first to comment on a new thread that no one else has seen. It doesn’t matter if he has another forum…the game continues here in this forum.

        3. Is PeterC a Poe perchance?
          If not, he sounds like the kids sports where they don’t keep score, and everyone gets a trophy.
          My 10- year old son came home from school the other day and told me he got 105% on a project about the languages of China I helped him with (he did ask the work, i only proofread and typed it). At first i was impressed. When he told me everyone had gotten a 105% (Kevin the girl who got chewed out for plagiarizing), I felt a little disappointed.
          Kind of like I would feel if I got first on a page that was just for claiming first!

      3. THAT’S what you got out of this post?!? If it truly bothers you that much, you can always scroll past the comments or you could find another blog that doesn’t embrace the “first” ideology.

        1. All this whining about the “first” game has made something that usually takes up only a few posts, and a little room on the page, take up several posts and several pages! Oh, and 157th.

      4. I think it is … funny isn’t the right word … entertaining … there.
        My only complaint is that I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, first. So, I’m just jealous (mildly).
        Lay off.

        1. It wasn’t meant to be entertaining.

          As Beth D rightly says, this whole conversation about “first” is now taking up room in front on an important discussion subject about the refuges.

          This is my whole point – it has become a distraction to the topics underneath.

        2. PeterC, it’s a distraction you created. It would have been long over otherwise. You really aren’t the one to be complaining about it… You’re making a far bigger deal out of it than any of those who normally play the game do.

      5. I don’t care. I will never be first, living on the West Coast. I think the whole thing is a little silly. But I also think charades and reality shows are silly. It doesn’t stop me from hanging out with people who play charades or watch Hells Kitchen. When reality shows pop up on my TV, I have this cool device that switches to a new channel. And when the First! game pops up on here, I have this nifty swiping motion I make to move to the meat of the thread.

      6. PeterC:
        You have got to be kidding me. If you aren’t Poeing us, then you’re a frickin idiot. I would venture to guess that almost no one who regularly reads here cares about your opinion of firsting, fisting or any other f ing thing. How bout you go start your own blog. You seriously think Darrell could do more work to make you happy? You can go fuck yourself.
        BTW……….FIRST.

        the Admiral

        1. Calm down please – you’ll give yourself a heart attack!

          I do think there are many more people than me who find this whole “first” thing rather stale.

          However, upon reflection, I do agree that we should be able to reach a compromise that does not involve any work for Darrell.

          One idea I mentioned was some type of “self-policing” whereby people limit it to two posts per thread. But I would appreciate any input thoughts you or others have about how exactly to do that, primarily because of the simultaneous posting issue.

        2. Why should we “police” ourselves to please you? The vast majority of responses to the blog are content-related. The only thing you show with your antipathy toward some members having a little fun with the blog is an incredibly thin skin and remarkable lack of humor. Neither of which speaks well of you, mind you.

          My suggestion is that you drop it. The most likely response to your suggestion, complaint, or whatever is that the next blog will be decidedly giddy with revelry over firsts, seconds, thirds and (hic) fifths. Do join in. I’m sure we can find a bottle, glass, or pint for you to have fun and make merry with us.

        3. Thinking about things some more, the type of forum that has a regular that says “go f*** yourself” to a new poster is not the sort of place I want to be.

          Goodbye.

        4. Goodbye, PeterC. Newbies who come into a forum with instructions on how to change it to their liking aren’t going to make themselves very welcome, either. Not that all of us would have said for you to eff yourself.

          Our forum is quite eclectic. Lots of personalities get along quite well here. Mostly. A pity you couldn’t. But then, that was your choice, wasn’t it?

        5. And good riddance. What kind of a jackass thinks it is ok on his very first post to tell people who have a vested interest in this blog how they should behave? This man is behaving as an obnoxious guest here and has no right to make such presumptious demands. If he talked to me or my wife that way in my living room he’d be shown the door. Moron.
          My apologies if my coarse language has been offensive.
          Sometimes you just have to say, “What the fuck!?”

          the Admiral

        6. Sorry rtgmath,
          Maybe I should have shut up and let you see him to the door. Apparently I have more of a temper than you.
          Your friend,

          the Admiral

        7. Oh, I don’t know. There are different kinds of tempers and they are useful for all kinds of things. I won’t criticize you. The gentleman in question was being more of an ass than a gentleman. He wasn’t even remotely interested in the topic at hand.

          Don’t be hard on yourself, my friend.

          So you are in Michigan? How close to South Bend, IN?

        8. Muskegon, just 3 hours up 31 from you. My wife and I (and 4 of the 7 kids) will be driving through SB Monday afternoon on our way to Rome, Georgia for the holiday. Sometime–like when coming through without the kids–I think it might be cool to stop for a cup of coffee with the teacher who likes to ruffle my feathers, but always has my back.

          the Admiral

        9. LOL a guy who comes and thinks we have to change everything to suit him then thinks that one adult commenter here is somehow “allowed” to post what he/she does – has PeterC grown up at all? Rules, rules, rules! How ridiculous!

    2. Carry your line of reasoning through to its logical conclusion.
      IF a ‘small percentage’ of Islamic are ‘fundamentalists’….and either terrorists or in agreement with that ideology, and IF your premise is correct, rather than mere rhetoric….then the most productive move would be to personally sponsor into your home and community…some of the most egregious of them. Just think of the lives you’ll be saving…not just theirs, but the many ‘infidels’ that they would otherwise slaughter!
      IF the government won’t allow you to sponsor the likes of these in…due no doubt to their myopic, short-sighted, Zenophobic shortsightedness/racism….then why not, like the missionaries of old, travel to Iraq and Syria (or even Saudi Arabia) YOURSELF and preach the ‘gospel’ to them…and ‘love them into the kingdom’?
      I’d really love to hear the results of such a trial…the “putting feet to your theories”, so to speak….the ultimate test of any rhetorical argument?
      Any takers?

      1. I like your line of thought. We are to affect those around us with the blessings and charity that that we believe God would want us to. We cannot, as individuals, save the world or eradicate the ills of this world which were brought on by the sin of mankind. If we have been called to reach out to others, then by all means, go, and minister to them; or at least fund it cheerfully on your own. (Not through some government jacking your pocket through taxation) This carefully crafted plan of having the “world” brought together to address “terrorism”, “refugees”, “security at all cost”, and supposed global environmental problems, is nothing less that the introduction of the “anti-Christ” to be ushered in to “save the planet”. He must have a “way” of amassing all the people of this globe so he can usher in his “peace”! It looks like it’s working very well….especially in this forum.

  1. Ahhhh, yes. The terrible “other.”

    American Fundamentalism is no longer Christian. Conservatism in even its most generous form is no longer based in Christianity — if one is so inclined to think that it ever was once Christian (Which I am not!).

    That all the attackers were European citizens and none were Syrian refugees makes no difference to these people. That Jesus was a refugee makes no difference. That the Scripture says to welcome the Stranger, and that Jesus died forgiving His murderers makes no difference.

    All these Fundamentalists have left is their hatred. They do not love God, for they do not love people. They have to reinvent God, make Him as hateful as they are. And God seems to let them speak as if they were giving God’s own talking points! Where is that Supreme Almighty when you need Him, anyway? Why can’t He put these idiots in their place? They need some fire and brimstone in their own lives, I think, before they will ever give grace to others!

    1. Yep. From my Facebook wall today: “My heart breaks for them… But that doesn’t mean they have to come here.”

      Yep, she said it. She’s a fundie, and grew up in my former fundie church.

      Your heart doesn’t break, honey. If it was broken you’d be out hunting down ways to help, not finding reasons why you shouldn’t have to.

      1. At least she said her heart breaks. One facebook commenter said basically “screw the kids, they grow up to be terrorists too.”

        Just about burst a blood vessel.

        1. That commentator doesn’t realise the part that he is playing, in determining how those kids grow up…..

        2. Actually, I find it almost worse. Pretending to some form of empathy but then following it up with “but they don’t have to come here” just… It’s super hypocritical.

    2. Ezekiel 16:49
      Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

      1. I only bring this verse up, because of the obsession that fundies have for using Sodom as an example when they whine about the state of our country.

      2. I just recently used this verse on my Fundy brother when he was ranting about how the state of the country. He didn’t appreciate that I know the bible better than him.

    3. Dear rtgmath:

      The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church Gregory A. Boyd

      Boyd is the guy believers in the US should hear. Find his book on Amazon. See video [Part I of III].

      Christian Socialist

      http://tinyurl.com/nbhzpsv

      1. It’s been going on a lot longer than that. I spent a few years inside one of the engines of the religious right and once they’re behind closed doors they don’t even pretend any of it is for moral reasons. The truth is that in the late 70s/early 80s Republicans realized they were losing the base and hit upon Fundies as a new target population because many of the things Fundies hated were relief programs and subsidies aimed at “sinners” and the GOP was totally behind getting rid of those, too. This match made in the bowels of hell meant Fundies got a well-funded, organized political machine, and the GOP got a set of principles that they don’t have to justify because they can claim they’re based in religion and most people are polite enough to let religious beliefs slide where secular reasons would get torn to shreds.

        And now I’m watching incredulously as people on my Facebook page twist themselves into knots trying to pretend voting for Trump is a moral stance.

  2. Yeah, well said rtgmath, and when did gun-toting, border-patrolling swagger replace humility and compassion as the definition of Christian?

    1. Around the time church folk stopped listening to Moody Radio for six hours a day and started listening to Laura Ingraham and Glenn Beck six hours a day.

      1. Ah, Moody Radio. That brings back memories of sitting in my dorm room, forcibly listening to Jack Hyles. Was that a local station or part of the Moody network?

        1. You shoulda been out winning souls instead of sitting around your dorm room listening to the radio 🙂

        2. TILS,

          Do remember being forced to listen to him on the radio while in class? Ah the memories of his delightful, mirthful chuckle– heh, heh, heh. 😉

  3. Those who pretend to study & follow the scriptures can’t seem to find the proper response to a refugee crisis in the book. It makes you wonder what they are doing in those houses of “worship”. It doesn’t seem to be related to anything in Scripture.

        1. PS, I don’t have the reference in the Koran, but similarly is adamant & thorough on how to treat displaced & foreign people in need.

        2. REALLY? you mentioned above that you are at least passingly familiar with Lone Survivor/Marcus Luttrell (SP?)? They specifically & fairly emphatically demonstrate pashtunwali and/or wali in the book & film. You just missed that?

        3. RobM, Pashtunwali is a tradition of treating strangers that is a unique deep-rooted part of the to the culture of the Pashtun/Pathan people’s that probably existed long before they became Muslim. I doubt if USIS would share them.

        1. Partly I was being sarcastic and partly wondering who much of Fundamentalist Christianity is based on the NEW testament as opposed to the Old..

      1. Dear Paul Best:

        Abram [Ge 12:1], Jacob [Ac 7:15], Moses [Deu 26:5], Jesus [Mt 8:20/Lu 9:58].

        Blessings!

        Christian Socialist

        1. Does the Average Fundamentalist, or even the Average Right-Wing Evangelical , believe those verses can actually be applied to 21-century *Christian* America?

        2. Dear Paul Best:

          I can’t say with certainty that the average Christagelical Evanjihadist believes much of anything…

          Christian Socialist

  4. I think some of it goes back to the prejudices of the Christian church in the South-we’ll send missionaries to Africa, but we won’t have them in our churches! Then, the problems with jobs going overseas and the fact that so many Christians, Fundies in particular, are stuck competing for the low-wage jobs that are left (I know many new jobs have been created as well, but Fundy U doesn’t prepare you for them). Put that together with an apocalyptic mindset, and you have a recipe for fearing everyone who is different. As for me, I think we should bring Syrian refugees here, fully vetted, of course. And, I for one, will welcome them.

  5. Just another thought, even in my current evangelical church, where many of the people are college-educated professionals, I run into this crazy thinking. Also, bow down and worship Ben Carson. I respect him as a physician, but he is no more presidential material than I am!

    1. Ben Carson should have stuck to the operating room instead of the political stage. His legacy and reputation would have fared much better had he gone that route instead of making a fool of himself on national TV.

      Then again, just cuz he’s got “Doctor” as his title doesn’t mean he’s intelligent. My husband used to refer to my OB/GYN as “Dr. Dipshit” whenever we’d go to see him for my prenatal appointments cuz the man would regurgitate the stuff he heard on right wing talk radio about how dangerous diet pop was and that Obama was the Antichrist while he was taking my vitals and measurements.

      Needless to say, I found somebody else after I gave birth and got the all-clear at my 6-week checkup.

      1. Carson is going down.
        He just can’t stop lying.
        And you have to wonder why.
        His real achievements are impressive: He studied hard, did well in school, graduated medical school, and became a successful surgeon.
        But he insists on telling tall tales that make him God’s favorite. He has been retailing these demonstrably false tales for decades with his autobiographical writings and public speeches.
        He looks more and more like some kind of sociopath.

        This is the best take on it I’ve heard yet:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22ZOuq-uRQc

        1. I think this is apt. Carson is every racist’s dream just as the ideal fundie woman is every misogynist’s dream: politely confirming what they want to believe and making up a personal narrative to back up that belief.

          For the misogynist, it’s the narrative that the independent career woman is never truly happy and fulfilled until a man saves her, sweeps her off her feet, and carries her home to his castle where she is now queen of the kitchen and constantly pregnant, bearing him heirs and making him four-course meals while sweetly nodding along to everything he says. The fundie woman nods along and confirms that yes, that was ever her only dream in life and women are truly miserable without a male authority to guide them.

          For racists, it’s the idea of the violent black kid saved by Jesus, confirming their idea that all black people are a threat and only a miracle can possibly change them into decent people.

        2. Ouch! I have experienced the same Response among my fellow Protestants, here in Northern Ireland, when a well known Catholic member of a Paramilitary organisation got saved.

      2. You should have just told that OB/GYN to do his job and shut up, or you would report him to the state medical ethics board.

        1. Unfortunately, people like that ob/gyn are the price you often have to pay for Freedom Of Speech? (A *high* price….)

        2. Paul, that is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Freedom of Speech. The 1st Amendment specifically says ‘Congress shall make no law’- and the courts have confirmed that this extends to govt agencies, not just Congress per se. But this means govt- not the general public. You can stand on the courthouse lawn and say whatever you please. But if you stand on my lawn, no. I am under no obligation to let you say what you want, and you have no protection from any consequences if I don’t like what you’re saying.

          So you’re within your rights to fire a doctor if he is blathering along and offends you- the 1st Amendment does not apply. But if he is working for the county clinic, they cannot penalize him for blathering, because they are govt.

        3. Actually, it didn’t really bug me that much cuz it was trolling fodder for my husband.

          Yes, my husband would troll my doctor to his face and the man never even knew what hit him

        4. I drink tea, but have never drunk coffee. Just can’t swallow the stuff. A good friend of mine from many years ago – unfortunately we lost contact – used to drink coffee. By the gallon. He didn’t think it was a good cup of coffee unless he could stand a spoon up in it. I saw him do it. The guy was hyper all the time – I wonder why…

        1. … and some people smoke like chimneys all their lives and don’t suffer for it. Still doesn’t mean it’s good for them, or that the science behind saying it’s bad is wrong.

        2. Lots of people have unhealthy habits and don’t die from them– at least, not immediately, and in many cases not for decades. That doesn’t mean that smoking, taking heroin, or weighing 300 pounds and getting no exercise is good for you.

        3. I don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol except for the rare taste, and don’t drink coffee. Diet Coke is my bad habit.

        4. I used to drink a lot of tea, but I’m trying to cut down. Firstly, I was finding it difficult to sleep at night, something to do with accumulating levels if blood in my caffeine system. Secondly there is tannin in tea and the amount I was imbibing was badly affecting my stomach.

  6. “Bring them in” not “Keep them Out” very powerful quote, Darr-El.

    On my profile, I blogged about something very similar. I think American Christianity is afraid to follow Christ’s tenets of the Gospel. It’s too scary and makes them too vulnerable.

    1. I think of G.K. Chesterton’s claim that “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

      1. Yes, obesity is now the #1 killer of Americans. It’s a growing problem in many other countries, too, as people worldwide increasingly eat industrialized diets similar to ours.

  7. If they hear not Moses & the prophets (and the Gospels and the Epistles) they will not be persuaded though one were to rise from the dead.

      1. Thank you to both you & BG. I debated whether I should capitalize One there. In the Parable one is referring to Moses or any one of the prophets. I of course was referring to the One who did rise, and is not believed or trusted by those who refuse refuge to those in need (at least that’s what Scripture teaches).

        1. Isn’t the hypothetical “one” in the parable the rich man who begged Abraham to send him back from the dead to warn his brothers? (But it also implies Jesus, of course.)

        2. BG is right. I checked the source and it was a request for Lazarus to return from the grave and testify to his brothers. My mistake. Point still stands, I had the pronoun wrong.

        3. I, too, got it wrong, then. The rich man’s request was for Lazarus, not himself, to go back to the land of the living and warn the rich man’s brothers.
          So the “one” was Lazarus.

  8. Thinking about the Evangelical reaction to the Syrian refugees brings to mind Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden”. It resonates on a few levels.

  9. I really think it’s because Obama’s FOR bringing in the refugees. It’s a left vs right thing; some conservatives, religious and not, are smart enough to see through it, but a lot aren’t.

        1. Yes, it’s scary.
          But 4 out of 10 getting the right answer is better than Americans do on many other general knowledge questions.
          Questions like “What is the capital of Florida?” and “How many voting members are in the House of Representatives?”

          I’ve about given up on trying to figure out why Americans believe what they believe and why so many are happy being ignorant and/or wrong.

        2. How many Americans know where Afghanistan is?
          (One story circulating this side of the Atlantic was that 30% of Americans thought it was in Sourh America)

        3. The woman who cuts my hair (a very good hairstylist, by the way, and not dumb in most respects) told me she was looking forward to visiting Argentina during her upcoming vacation in Europe.

    1. There is definitely an obstructionist bent to the Republican reaction. John Boehner admitted as much before he stepped down that the Republicans were under orders from their extremist elements to oppose anything Obama did, even if it would hurt the country in the long run, just cuz of who Obama is (Democrat, president, etc)

      1. Actually, Boehner and other top Republicans said within weeks of Obama’s 2008 election that total obstructionism would be their strategy. And I guess it has worked for them, sort of, because Republicans regained control of Congress. Perhaps that’s why they just elected one of their most obstructionist members as the new Speaker of the House.

  10. Canada plans to take in 25,000 Syrians in the next year. For America to equal Canada’s effort on a per capita basis, it would have to take in roughly 250,000.

    But Canada is a much more secular and less Godly nation, you know.

    1. Yeah. Tell that to my aunties. 8 of my cousins are missionaries. 2 are pastors. Some still Mennonite, some Alliance. Mind, most of them are in conservative Manitoba. But not all…

      1. The Mennonites here in SK don’t want the Syrian refugees. I live in one of SK’s bible belts, in a Menonnite-dominated town, and they are generally racist, homophobic assholes, just in a subtle, passive aggressive way. My kids have been bullied through school for years and years by Menonnites. They smile and look nice, but promote the same YEC, conservative politcs etc here like the SBC etc does down south. They were part of Harper’s core constituency.

        Do not be fooled by Mennonites.

  11. I guess the key phrase is “in their own back yards” ?
    Maybe they know the chances are slim these people will be taking advantage of the bus ministry or the KJV?
    Maybe they see them as more of a competition than a mission field?

  12. Few issues are ever as simple as the matter of the Syrian refugees.
    We should bring them here. All of them. Now.

    Both the Old and New Testaments are emphatic about the duties to welcome the stranger and to care for the widow and the orphan. Almost no other duties receive as much stress in the Scriptures. There’s no wiggle room there.

    I am a human being first and an American second. One’s first duty is always to the human race.
    Our Syrian sisters and brothers need help. We know this, and we know where they are, and we know how to help them, and we as a nation have the means to do it. There’s no ambiguity there. They belong here, with the other immigrants, exiles, refugees, and outcasts who made this country, and who are making it still.

    Perhaps it would cost us something to bring them here and help them get a new start. What of it? Is anyone really so crass as to give that as a reason not to do it?

    Keep your flag. Keep your guns. Keep your jingoism. I’ll take the refugees.

    1. “Is anyone really so crass as to give that as a reason not to do it?”

      All over my Facebook page today, yes, yes they are. Christians mostly. My atheist and agnostic friends are all appalled and angered by the Christian response. They see it as yet another proof that Christians are terrible, unloving hypocrites who cherry pick their Bible to only follow the truths they want to follow when it suits them.

      I’m so angry. I’m angry that the compassionate people on my page–the atheists, the gays, the one stoner, and yes, a few Christians–are literally standing against the tsunami of Christian hatred and fear and suspicion and frankly unmitigated selfishness. It makes me ill.

    2. Dear Big Gary, Doctor of Perambulation:

      I am profoundly humbled by what I have found, not only in your post but in those that followed it. As I see it, you are 100% correct that we ought to take the refugees — yes, all of them. But I didn’t say this because I expected that a firestorm of criticism would follow. I am humbled by your courage, and ask for forgiveness from other forum participants for not expecting better than I did. I ought to have.

      Difficult as this is for the US to acknowledge, this refugee crisis — 60 million worldwide — is to a very large extent the result of United States foreign policy. We set Sunni and Shiites against each other as a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. We weaken states and get them to destroy themselves. The carnage we instigate is then exploited to rationalize wars in resource rich regions. We destroy infrastructure and make conditions unlivable. People risk life and limb to flee and we resort to a fortress strategy. One socialist writer put it this way — with one eye we weep, and with the other we aim the machine gun.

      Our politicians are exploiting the Paris attacks to promote xenophobia. Trump has said that closure of mosques needs seriously consideration. Christie would refuse all refugees, including orphans under five years old. Cruz would ban Syrian Muslims from entering the US period. Gov. Jindal has ordered state police to track Syrian refugees in Louisiana. David Bowers, Mayor of Roanoke, Virginia noted with approval that we interned Japanese Americans during WW II.

      Attacks bring the worst out of people, and the Paris attacks show that more than we care to admit, our political class is drawn from the very worst in the land. President Obama intones that Republican candidates go too far, etc. Yet his administration is under serious, sustained international criticism for our extremely restrictive policy on Syrian refugees. War has killed 200,000, made 4.2 million refugees, and internally displaced 7.6 million. Our policy has been to admit only 1,500, and even now that is being raised only to a paltry 10,000. And meanwhile, the US and France intensify their bombing of Syria and expand their efforts to control the ME by military power.

      At some point, we have to come to terms with the reality that no less than others which we condemn for this reason, we are governed by a criminal class and a criminal government. And whatever else happens in 2016, there will be no opportunity to vote for righteous policies.

      It is curious that when domestic spying is near universal, when democracy collapses and civil liberties are curtailed — in France, Germany, the US, etc. — the very people who cried for years that President Obama is taking away our freedoms give such ‘reforms’ full-throated support. People can never be ‘free’ when they can be manipulated as easily as a young child.

      I see I veered off course considerably. But Big Gary — today you are a big man in my eyes. Your post is among the finest I have found on the internet. Ever.

      Blessings!

      Christian Socialist

      Christian Socialist

      1. Christian Socialist,

        Well said my friend. Well said. Eisenhower warned of the military machine when he left office. The U.S. ignored the warning. Since then the U.S. has actively sought out conflicts that serve only the interests of the bureaucrats and not the U.S. population and certainly not the world’s population. The U.S. creates the mess and then wants to turn a blind eye to the consequences.

      2. It’s not like these exact same idiots grandstanding on Syrian refugees in 2015 didn’t grandstand (and were proven wrong) on Ebola victims in 2014, grandstand on Guatemalan refugees (and were proven wrong) in 2013, etc.. It would seem to me just another manifestation of W’s post truth politics wherein the truth is irrelevant and noone is ever held accountable for being wrong, in fact are often rewarded for being wrong and the more wrong the more reward.

    3. “Keep your flag. Keep your guns. Keep your jingoism. I’ll take the refugees.”

      As wonderful as that ‘jingo’ sounds, Big Gary…the problem is that none of us live in a vacuum….so YOUR choice has potential repercussions for all…including the majority who disagree with your pollyanish view of reality.

      How about looking at those countries that HAVE “taken the refugees’…to see how it’s worked out for THEM? How about actually listening to what the rank and file Muslims REALLY believe? (hint…it closely resembles the basic beliefs espoused by the so-called radicals, except they, so far, haven’t acted on those beliefs. Look at how other so-called ‘refugees’ have assimilated into the Netherlands, Germany, France, the Scandinavian countries, etc, especially when their population percentage increases above 2%….and then to around 6% and up…and how their actions and activities morph as they grow increasingly more numerous…as they seek to fulfill their ‘divine mandate’ to bring ‘peace’ to the world….by bringing the whole world into submission to ‘allah’, by any means necessary, including z!

      Muslims have reached the 3.1 (ish)% of Canadian population….and we’ve already had agitation for Sharia law…and a recent court case involved a woman insisting on wearing a full niqab during her citizenship swearing in ceremony. (I can’t even walk into my bank wearing my motorcycle helmet with the visor OPEN…and can’t even wear a cap or prescription glasses when taking Dr Lic or passport photos, yet they demand the right to remain unidentifiable in court, during a traffic stop, or when becoming a citizen?)

      Yet, historically, this is nothing compared to what we can expect as their percentage rises.

      Why has nobody questioned the disproportionate percentage of those forcing their way into Europe who are able-bodied males between 18-40 or so?
      Why has nobody questioned the response (or lack thereof) of the oil-rich Islamic Gulf states…to the plight of their ‘brothers and sisters’?

      As to Gary’s attempt to utilize Scripture (non-contextually) to support his views….well, I read nothing in Scripture that tells us to go to the other side of the globe, and pay to import people to our shores who believe that their ‘god’ has commanded them to forcibly convert every religion into Islamistsn pain of death…or, if fortunate….to accept a 2nd class treatment, a position of servitude if you refuse to abandon your faith.
      Seems to me that the OT is replete with the responsibility of rulers to protect their people….to attack and eradicate enemies, (and enslave the survivors), and even to practice genocide in certain circumstances. In other words….his reference to the OT and the NY simply is NOT ELEGANT to the discussion.

      1. Here’s how it’s worked out in Germany, a country that has taken many Muslim refugees over the years.

        (BTW, are you a Muslim expert? Most Muslims are nominal; they are Muslim because they were born Muslim. They don’t espouse the ideas in the Koran. They can’t even understand the Koran because they must read it in Arabic, a language most do not speak. Once the Koran is translated, it is no longer holy.)

        Here is what my Muslim extended family is doing to spread terror in Germany:

        “It was chaos in the house. Nephews and nieces running around, several extras in the crowd. His family has taken in a few who needed a place to get on their feet and they are busy settling refugees and helping out as best they can. The family has always been involved in taking in children injured in the war over the last twenty years, visiting them in the hospitals, translating, and sending them home. They have always been involved in helping others settle, being calm intermediates in disputes, and working with widows and orphans. Right now, they are just run off their feet, but I hear the sound of children’s laughter and voices talking. His mom is beginning to slip into dementia, so his sister cares for her as well as checking on several elderly German neighbors that she has befriended over the years they have lived in the village. I’m proud of Germany today. This country that once committed horrific atrocities in the name of racism, has faced who it was and is now actively and vocally in support of those fleeing terrorism. Germany took in my [extended] family thirty years ago, and the positive impact that family has had in their neighborhood is huge. One is a doctor now, one a lawyer, another a mechanic. Any of them will drop what they are doing and help out a neighbor. His father, for years, grew a huge garden and shared his vegetables among the village, especially with the elderly. In his 60’s he joined the chess club and spent hours beating local champions all with a quiet smile. His mom joined the local church women who knit for the children in Romanian orphanages. She doesn’t knit anymore because her arthritis is too bad, but when she walks the streets, people nod and smile to her and she waves happily back. When the family throws a party, every knows they can come and be welcomed with a big hug and a plate full of food. We have to be careful in taking in refugees because we might get more families like these.”

  13. These people CANNOT be reached with the gospel. I mean, they took my tract and threw it down!! And they won’t come to church with me, or Sunday School. I just can’t think of anything else to try. My hands are washed clean of their blood.

    1. Ah the old “well, I threw a tract at them, so I’m absolved of their blood on my hands”. Mmmm. Ok. So if they starve to death, and you know about it, you’re all good because you left a tract in a bathroom stall/on a grocery store shelf/in another random location? Ok. Good luck with that.

  14. Matthew 25:35-36 USAV
    For I was hungry, in spite of the fact I have always worked hard at my job and I’m not one of those lazy good for nothing welfare queens, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, through no fault of my own of course, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger, white, speaking English without an accent, and you invited me in, I needed clothes, though I was not immodest in any way, and you clothed me, I was sick with a non-contagious illness, and you looked after me, I was in prison for white collar crime of refusing to issue marriage licenses to lesbians and you came to visit me.

      1. Go for it!
        I posted it on a missionary kid site. Missionary kids, of all people!, should understand compassion toward the world. But I was shouted down and told how stupid and naive I am, how uncaring I am that these people would blow up my children.
        In light of the need, yes, I am uncaring of the danger to my own family. My children understand that we care for the hurting, even at great personal cost. We do foster care; we understand loving those who hate and seek to destroy us. The Syrians will be far more grateful than 12-year-old fosters!

        1. I’m sure you’re right, but of course (as I’m sure you’ll agree), the point of helping people isn’t to receive gratitude or thanks. The point is that God suffers with those who suffer, so when we do something to alleviate suffering, it is an act of worship.

        2. Yes, of course! My point is that truly the preteen foster kids are more hate-filled (understandably so) than any refugee I’ve ever known.

        3. No doubt. Life has given those foster kids a lot of reasons to be both angry and confused.

        4. Jesus healed hundreds of people, maybe thousands. Not all of them followed him (eg 10 Lepers) he knew that would happen but he healed them anyway. It might even be possible that a few may have been in the crowd calling for his crucifixion. Maybe not shouting but not stopping them. And yes, maybe even shouting…..

  15. I put some liberal bumper stickers on my car after my brief stint in fundyland. It was a hair flip at them, and the turmoil they caused. I wanted them to be behind me in traffic and see my liberal bumper stickers and recognize me in my car blasting my Michael Jackson (or maybe some Gorillaz) and say “Redgrosbeak sure isn’t right with God!”

    It backfired on me. I now embrace my liberal bumper stickers, and their liberal ideas. I could give two $hit$ less what the fundies might think if they saw them.

    So SHAME on them, those hypocrites. The congregation at my former fundy church were majority non-Native Americans. Not to make this totally about race, but my ancestors came here either by a land bridge or by a boat. Just cause we have been here a few generations longer than any new refugees, it doesn’t make ME special. I don’t have a right to tell any person that they don’t belong here. I just want to exist peacefully. And save the planet by recycling, if judged by my bumper stickers.

    I don’t have a point, really.

    1. I have lots of liberal bumper stickers, including ‘Jesus was a Liberal’. And funnily enough, it affects my driving- I don’t want people to see me driving stupid, and blame liberals, you know? Good witness and all that.

      (I’m also the only person I know with a ‘Hwæt!’ sticker on the back of my car…)

  16. I also have seen so many examples of Christians who refuse to consider taking these refugees into our country.

    Some make all kinds of excuses, including the fact our nation has not reached debt free Utopia and have yet to solve our veteran and homeless problems first.

    Most are not really interested in what the Bible has to say about helping folks like this, They rationalize that all Muslims are the same – all programmed by their Quran to kill us. That no peaceful, moderate Muslims exist. Even when you try to explain that nutjobs like Steve Anderson do not represent Christianity, just like ISIS (Daesh) does not represent all Muslims – they flat out reject that reasoning.

    On the bright side, I have seen some prominent Christians step outside of politics and see a different perspective:

    “We shut ourselves off so that we only hear voices from a narrow slice of the political spectrum, and then we listen to these voices day after day and week after week, so that they begin to shape our thinking in profound ways.”

    http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/building-his-church-in-a-refugee-crisis

    1. When it comes to Steven Andrson, I have yet to hear any of the BIG names in Fundystan openly and unequivocally condemn him for his statements, and tell him “we don’t agree with you, and, for the sake of the Gospel, keep you big mouth shut!” Maybe some has said that, but I doubt it. I certainly missed it.

      1. Lots of conservatives, most of them Christians, have been demanding that all Muslims must denounce and separate themselves from extremist Muslims and those who advocate violence. Many of these same conservatives insisted that Obama wasn’t to be trusted until he publicly separated from his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright (who was left-ish but didn’t advocate violence).
        Yet few or none of these purists have publicly denounced violence-advocating Christian extremists such as Steven Anderson, Chuck Phelps, Tony Hutson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, etc., etc.

        1. Dear Big Gary, Doctor of Perambulation:

          Jeremiah Wright committed the ultimate, political sin. He spoke more truth than American ears are wont to hear…

          Christian Socialist

        2. Big Gary, I have had similar thoughts myself. It may not change the goofy things some Christians say, but maybe others will see that there are still some good Christians who put truth above wielding power.

        3. You still haven’t really answered my question. I want *names* of Fundamentalists who have spoken up against Stevie-boy’s anti-gay bigotry. Makes me wonder if fundamentalists really do regard him as an extremist…

        4. There may be some Fundamentalists who have called out Steven Anderson for his promotion of hatred and violence, but I don’t know of any.
          I know of some who have criticized him, but it was for not being extreme enough for them, or not having the same kind of extremism that they favored.

    1. The governor of Texas actually said that’s the reason Texas can’t take refugees. Their toys are too dangerous for furriners to play with, apparently.

  17. Serious post time. From what I have seen/heard and read in the comments is that conservative Christians are failing at being Christians or even decent human beings.

    I am not sure if you are familiar with book/movie “Lone Survivor”. It is the story of Marcus Luttrell. He was a Navy SEAL that was a mission in Afghanistan with 3 other SEALs. Spoiler alert, his 3 buddies are killed in a massive firefight with the Taliban and he is wounded badly. The main reason he survived is that a local Afghan and fellow villagers took him into their village to care for him even though the Taliban were in pursuit. The villagers were following a tradition called “Pashtunwali” which one of the tenants is to care for visitors regardless of race, religion, nationality etc. They fought off the Taliban and sent for U.S. help.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Marcus and hearing him speak at a sales conference a couple of years ago. He told this story to us before the movie came out. His personal account of the story still gives me the chills. The movie was not nearly as gory as Marcus telling us the injuries he suffered. There were not many dry eyes in the room.

    And to think that the leader of the GOP is there because his main platform is building a wall. Forget God bless America. How about God forgive America.

    1. Loved Lone Survivor! I loved that Marcus’ story powerfully demonstrated desirable traits (i.e. shared) in a foreign culture that Americans would easily mistake for being incompatible with their own in every way.

      But I want to ask about the wall comment.

      Is it just me or does it bother anyone else that people who are all in favor of Legal Immigration in the USA are accused of being racist and anti-any-immigration?

      If you don’t like the current immigration policy, you live in a country blessed with the founding principle of “consent of the governed”. If the immigration quotas or policies strike you as unfair or immoral, there’s a legal method of changing them.

      Or you can just make an executive order and see if it will withstand review by the legislative branch.

      I’m USA expat living in a country that gives away a boatload of Free Stuff like education and health care, and I’m constantly dealing with different visa classifications and whether or not my or our visitors’ activities are legally permissible.

      If I or many illegal immigrants in the USA tried the same types of shenanigans in just about any other country in the world, we’d be paying hefty fines and then “repatriated.”

      Doesn’t have Anything to do with race, religion or who the president happens to be at the time. It’s the law and whether or not local authorities are permitted to enforce the law.

      Do some people make it about race? Of course–there are always ignorant types around. Some are xenophobes. Some unfairly characterize those who just try to follow current law as xenophobic.

      1. The fact is that it’s virtually impossible for most people to immigrate legally to the U.S. It would be a very lengthy treatise if I went into all the reasons for this (i.e., the screwed-upness of our immigration laws), but anyhow, I’m disinclined to condemn people who are in breach of the immigration law until there is some practical way they and their families can follow the law.

        As an immigration paralegal (which I was for about 10 years), I actually read and dealt with the 800-page Immigration and Nationality Act (U.S. Code § 8), and many of the 1600 or so pages of federal regulations on implementation and enforcement of the Act, and some of the umpteen-thousand pages of court decisions, agency opinions, and official guidance on interpretation of the Act. I suspect that most people commenting on immigration these days have not (quite understandably so). Many of them assume that immigrating legally is a simple matter of filling out a form and sending it in with some cereal boxtops (or something like that). Guess again.

        People have been saying our immigration law needs to be reformed for my whole adult life. But no one has done so in any major way since 1986, and the 1986 changes were a mixture of good and bad provisions. The current Congress is unable to pass much of any law about much of anything, so the chances are nil of it approving an immigration law that provides for orderly legal immigration from abroad or for an earned path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented people now here.

        Meanwhile, we deal with things as they are, not as they ought to be.

        1. And the Spanish congregation I work with suffers because of all the chaos: legal and undocumented in the same home, many awaiting hearings for years, hanging on for the sake of the kids…it’s a mess, and I deal with them all the time by translating letters and making referrals. I’m a volunteer, and I could do it full time!

    2. Dear Scorpio:

      Yesterday, a Lutheran pastor I know told me of a significant study [taken from around the world and presumably involving multiple religions] indicated that religious believers are less charitable than their agnostic and/or atheist neighbors.

      Christian Socialist

      PS: I’d be happy if America started blessing God instead of acting like jerks and leaving God to explain the mess they made.

        1. Dear Jay Croft:

          Passing along what was mentioned by another party. Myself, I haven’t looked into it. I can’t even tell you the name. Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

      1. If that is so, then why are there so many religious charities? And here in Michigan, the biggest organizations that partner with the DHS for foster care and adoption are religious charities. And most refugees here in Michigan are sponsored by religious organizations.

        the Admiral

        1. What seems to be the issue here is the lack of information as to how those who conducted the study defined and measured “charity.”

        2. There are considerably more religious people than atheists, your Admiralship, Sir. And even atheists, and many of us not-quite atheists who despise fundamentalism still will support “religious” charities if we find their good works to be effective and less judgmental.

          And religious folk do tend to want to control the objects of their generosity, don’t they? That makes their generosity considerably less, uhh, generous.

          I have no trouble believing that religious folk are generous, especially to those they think they have some hope of really influencing. But I have seen fundamentalist generosity turn into something ugly when the families they helped wanted some say as to how to manage the help (and the time and commitment they were expected to give to the church in return).

        3. Dear the Admiral:

          The operation of religious charities does not argue for or against the proposition that agnostics/atheists are more charitable than believers. As for the word ‘significant,’ I was thinking of the number of countries from which data was reportedly collected. Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

  18. As a missionary in the jungle giving my life to people of cultures radically different from the one I grew up in, and as one who deals with constant (mostly blind) racism from nationals toward those of minority tribal cultures, let me play at advocate of a different side just for the sake of discussion.

    Boiled way down I’m hearing many arguments essentially corresponding to “I think Jesus would do XYZ, therefore XYZ is what USA government policy should be toward the refugees.”

    Isn’t conflating ‘Merica and Christianity something we get mad at Fundies for?

    Or am I reading you wrong?

    1. The problem is that the xenophobic, anti-immigration statements are largely coming from “Christian” politicians…people whose schtick is talking about their faith (e.g., Ben “Dr. Stabby” Carson.) They are the ones conflating their faith with America–then are espousing fear and veiled hatred of “the other”.

    2. Uh oh, Velho Teimoso, you articulated a logical perspective from personal experience pointing to the hypocrisy of the “left-wing” residents. Might want to armor up.

      1. The ones proposing to block all refugees or only allow “verified Christian refugess” in, are the power hungry ones worshipping civic religion. Holding immoral governors & representatives and movements up as the morally bankrupt beliefs that they are is absolutely the role of a Christ follower.

        1. Ebola. I remember the good old days when that was the Fox News boogeyman of the month. We were all going to be dead by now.
          Now they are back to their old standby boogeyman – brown people from a different country.

        2. Someone in the forum predicted 3 billion dead from Ebola by last December. No apology, no correction, etc. Others went on long tirades about how the administration was lying about how contagious it was. Many jumped on the Ebola Czar wasn’t a medical doctor etc. To my knowledge no one ever ack’d they were wrong or the administration did an effective job in spite of them at containing a dangerous situation. Ditto on the latin american refugee children, etc etc. Just rinse & repeat on the same BS.

        3. Scorpio, on Fox News and talk radio and the like, “Ebola” was, of course, a dog whistle for “black people from another country.”

      1. I don’t agree that the government’s #1 duty is to protect the citizens.

        The government’s duties (stated in the Preamble to the Constitution) are to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” “Defence” is not privileged above the other goals in the Constitution. There are very good reasons the Department of War (name later changed by spin doctors to “Department of Defense”) was not made one of the three Branches of Government. The whole Constitution has rather few mentions of the “defence” function of government, and most of those are restrictions on the government’s war powers.

        1. Beyond that, though, the presumption that we are somehow in danger from refugees (more so than from natural-born U.S. citizens) is simply false.
          On the balance, refugees who resettled in the U.S. have been a tremendous boon to U.S. society and have contributed mightily to our culture and economy.

        2. Here in San Jose, CA, the Vietnamese refugee community totally revitalized some of the lowest income areas of the city. They’re also great neighbors!

        3. Weren’t a lot if the first settlers to America (read .”white men”) refugees in a sense? seeking relief from religious oppression? (At least from their point of view)

    3. My main issue is that we *are* getting refugees. It’s happening. And the statements from many of my friends, fundie and otherwise, have been “nope, not here! Not in MY BACKYARD.” It’s not an issue of whether the US is getting them or not; it’s the issue of our attitude as Christians toward the whole process. If they’re coming, then my response to that arrival, biblically, is clear. I don’t get to choose that. If they’re not coming, then my response is to see what help I can send to them.

      Plus, there’s a difference between a government that enforces Christian morals and a government that acts in a universally morally acceptable way: I.e. Helping the oppressed and defending the weak, which I would call a societally recognized virtue, not something strictly religious or biblical. It’s mostly my atheist friends who are eager to allow refugees anyway.

      1. The concepts of providing asylum and of protecting universal human rights are recognized by almost all religions and by ethical atheists and agnostics, and are also legal obligations the U.S. has under numerous international treaties. Treaties ratified by Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land,” according to Article VI of our Constitution (the same Article that “but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”).

  19. One’s faith system is part of who they are. I don’t care if you are an atheist (yes, it’s a faith system. Faith that there truly is no greater authority than human authority), Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu… it’s part of who you are.

    I don’t understand the logic behind “put your faith on the shelf when you become a politician”. It’s the basis for what you personally believe is right or wrong.

    Let’s take the most basic moral element that most people can agree on. It’s wrong to kill another human being. Why? Because it hurts them and other people who love them. What’s wrong with hurting other people? Well, it’s not nice. Why should I be nice? Well, because the world will be a nasty place if people aren’t nice. Who cares if the world is a nasty place? Well, I do. Why should I base my behavior on your opinion? Well, because I want you to.

    There MUST be an objective base for right and wrong. Therefore, one CAN’T put their faith system on the shelf when they become a government official.

    1. “Therefore, one CAN’T put their faith system on the shelf when they become a government official.”

      Actually the Constitution of the United States says otherwise. But you have never let facts get in your way before.

      1. In the first century (when, according to the Fundies, the Church was Pure.. oops, wrong, that was the 1950’s) did the Christians demand that the Roman Empire become Christian? Did Jesus demand the overthrow of the Romans? Was it FAITH that motivated Constantine to make Christianity an unifying force in the Empire? Or was it POLITICS? Or a cynical mixture of both?We seem to have a lot of constantines vying for power in the Pseudo-Roman Empire that is called America…

        1. America is *very* different from Europe, In a lot of Europlean countries, you *Are* expected to put your faith in the shelf when you enter politics. Better still, keep your faith confined to a building for a couple of hours in a Sunday, the bury it for the rest of the week.ant politician who lets his faith dictate I’d views on certain issues, or let’s it influence his decisions in a way that might affect others, tends not to last very long as a serious force in the political arena

    2. They can and they should. Its not too hard, actually. You step back, say “Well, my faith says that X is wrong, but does that give me the right to prohibit it? Well, done responsibly, it’s not hurting anybody. Probably not. Ok, they can do it.” Therefore, fundies cannot make laws against people drinking or having sex outside of marriage, and that’s why we don’t have laws prohibiting those activities anymore.

      That doesn’t mean you abandon your faith. And your faith should inform how you do your job: say, with honesty and integrity and a high personal standard. Cruz pretty much is beginning to come across as a terrible person and Carson as a pathological liar. Maybe their Christianity should make them compassionate and honest, not just anti-abortion and anti-gay-marriage. When they start telling the truth and being decent human beings, they might have room to talk about their faith influencing their public service.

      You need to live a life of personal unprightness before you go around telling others what to do.

    3. How exactly would one’s faith lead someone to suggesting a ban on all Syrian refugees applications, or suggesting that we somehow develop a test for true Christianity an use that to filter who to grant refugee status to?

      1. Oh, but it does. Not faith in God, of course, but faith in their own short-term self interest, narrowly defined.

  20. Parallel with this thread–

    Mainline churches that have food pantries or soup kitchens very seldom invite the recipients to church services.

    1. I can’t speak for all mainline churches with food pantries or soup kitchens, but I’ve worked with several of them, and all the ones in my experience did invite aid recipients to church, and were delighted on the infrequent occasions when one of them did come to church services.

      1. On the other hand, none of them made attending church services a precondition for getting help (as I’ve heard that some Fundy churches do).

    2. Very possibly because we think of evangelism differently than fundamentalists.

      We serve the community. If we do a good job and people in the community notice, those whom the Lord urges may come to join us. In any case, we are to serve without judging those we serve. And telling people that coming to *our* services would better their lives would be more than a little judgmental, don’t you think? Or perhaps indicate we think very highly of ourselves?

      In any case, we don’t have to twist their arms. And maybe there is another place for them to serve. We don’t know how what we do now will help others later.

  21. Everyone wants to call Jesus “Lord” until they realize just how risky His teachings can be.

    Everyone likes “take up your cross and follow me” when it is simply about bearing the minor uncomfortable stares or comments of someone who disagrees with you, or the tough relationship, or its about bearing a scary diagnosis from the doctor. But when “take up your cross and follow me” implies loving enemies and neighbors who are not like us—and that cross really becomes a possible tool of execution for us–well that cannot be what Jesus meant.

    Calling ourselves Christians is easy until Jesus calls us to follow to crucify our own fears and vulnerability, and risk our own manner of living and life.

    1. That’s why the Gospel, which is “good news to the poor,” often looks like bad news to those who feel comfortable and safe where they are– to those who “don’t know they are poor,” as one of my spiritual advisers once put it.

    1. I would posit that the key word here is “seems “. My guess is that the NAoC reflects the views of the majority of evangelicals. Probably, as usual, the negative attitudes are more vocal than the positive
      the Admiral

        1. “Carson later praised the House for passing a bill that could limit the intake of Syrian refugees, calling it a positive step.

          ‘”The Paris terrorist attacks have demonstrated that terrorists will pose as refugees to enter our land.”‘

          Here again we have Carson’s penchant for making stuff up. NONE of the Paris conspirators identified so far were admitted to France as refugees. None of them. Zero. Zippo. Zilch. All of the ones named up to now were citizens of France or other EU countries.

    1. Gross. “Syrian refugees are dogs. Stray ones. They might or might not be safe and so should be treated as such by us. If I’m not sure, it’s best to leave them outside, cold, hungry, and homeless than to take the tiny risk that they could hurt my kids. They can’t speak for themselves, are possibly diseased. They’re definitely not human.”

    2. I’m not really opposed to the sentiment, barring the always-dubious choice to compare people to dogs. The thing is, WE DO THAT. There *is* a vetting process for refugees. No one has ever suggested resettling refugees without basic precautions being taken for security reasons. The reality is that the vast, vast majority of these refugees will pass that vetting process easily.

  22. If God thought like these people, I imagine the conversation between him and Jesus on who to let into his kingdom going something like this:
    “So, Father, who is going to be in this new kingdom? I love the idea! I sure hope we can let a lot of them in.”
    “Well, of course there are the Jews. They should really get first notice; after all, we did promise you were coming to them.”
    “Makes sense. Who else?”
    “Well, I don’t know. We need a vetting process.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “Well, we don’t want people who don’t fully appreciate what you’re going to do. They probably need to be individuals who work hard and have themselves experienced great sacrifice.”
    “But aren’t we all about grace and mercy? I mean isn’t that the point?”
    “Of course. But we need to be careful. If we let in the wrong people it could ruin everything.”
    “Like?”
    “Well, if we let in the poor, then they won’t be able to give properly. If we let in non-Jewish people they won’t get all the cultural references and they’re bound to make mistakes. If we let in other cultures they’ll change the feel of the church. If you let in sinners… Well, you see the problems.”
    “So what exactly am I dying for again?”

      1. I don’t know if I dare. My Facebook isn’t the most friendly place right now… Most of my friends are being pretty good about this thing but there are the few, the vocal, uncharitable few…

  23. Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty,” and then don’t give him clothes or food, what good does that do?

  24. A Fundy on my FB was telling all her Fundy friends to call their state reps and say no to the Syrian refugees. I sarcastically commented that Jesus agreed with her loving words and then quoted Matthew 25:35-40. Her reply was she didn’t care, she was going to protect her family from the “terrorist,” as she called them. I asked her to put herself in their shoes, to think of them as human beings like her. I mentioned Aylan Kurdi and the SS St. Louis, but I doubt anything I say, including Jesus quotes about how she supposed to treat ALL people, will get through her indoctrinated mind.

    1. Can she not tell the difference between a hen and a fox?
      The refugees are the people running away from the murderers. They aren’t the murderers.

  25. Irony is when PeterC (see top of page) suggests as a new person something he believed would be an improvement, to be met with many defensive and aggressive “good residence” types of comments.
    All the while the topic of this post is suggesting we welcome in those who are outside.
    Just an observation… no need to burn me in the town square.

    1. I wasn’t one of those who criticized Pete (until now), but it *is* rather poor etiquette, as a first-time visitor to someone’s house, to say “Wow, your living-room couch is ugly. Why don’t you get a new one? And by the way, you need to lose weight.”

      1. Except, Big Gary, this isn’t anyone’s house. It would be more like someone coming into your favorite coffee shop for the first time and saying, “How can you like coming here? The chairs are so hard”.

        1. Exactly Norm. That would be a great opening line. And then “we” would say, “thank you for the astute observation. We decided many years ago that the hard chairs are an indispensable part of the antique feel of this place, so we have agreed to keep them around. We hope you will come visit again despite the uncomfortably hard chairs. ” At which point the newcomer would politely respond, “thanks for the explanation. While it seems you have come to a rather odd consensus, I can see how happy you all are here, so I’ll certainly be dropping in again, although I probably won’t sit quite as long as I might have otherwise. ” If however, the newcomer proceeded to argue the merits of hard chairs vs. updated softer ones, he would first be met with patient restatement of the aforementioned consensus, and no doubt eventually someone with a short temper would blow his top and tell the arrogant prick to shut the fuck up or get the fuck out.

          The above is what happened. This annoying dimwit is as clueless and presumptious as Michael in The Office.

          And yes, I see the irony of the correlation between the subject of this post and this situation.

          the Admiral

  26. I got a little exhausted after all of the first nonsense, but as much as I tried to filter through all of these comments, I did not see any legitimate alternatives presented other than “Welcome. The Christian thing is to welcome you and just write off casualties to the small percentage of you who are going to shove a bomb up some of our butts. No questions asked…..cause there is no way to verify your answers anyway.”

    Look, I love compassion. But I have to be intellectually honest and say that there is far more to be afraid of in fundamentalist Islam than there is from the IFB. I would rather be Jack Hyles deacon than an aid worker or journalist in ISIS hands.

    So peeps, what’s the solution and who is going to pay for it? I was thinking the Danish people had a good solution with sending them to Greenland. At least secure them for a decent period of time away from population centers, to conduct evaluations and interviews, giving a cool down period for anybody with any bad ideas.

    The real security risk isn’t even the Syrians; its the fact that terrorists from all sorts of countries are blending in and using the migratory routes to western Europe and relying on the fact that the governments cannot verify their illegitimacy. “I know you just came off a raft from a war torn country with crap for infrastructure, but can you please provide me a legitimate passport, birth records, and other evidence of identity?” These are real problems.

    Don’t have to be a fundy to reject the bleeding heart stuff at the price of ignorance. Bill Maher and Sam Harris are quite frank about what they think.

    1. The danger is not real. Refugees have lower rates of crime than American-born people have.

      Yes, the answer is “Welcome.” That is the only answer for people of faith.

      What kind of “vetting” did Jesus and the Apostles do?

      1. I see many, many people using what Jesus would do as a way of supporting bringing refugees into the U.S.

        I wonder how many of us, yes us, me included, use what Jesus would do as a way of deciding other things?

        Like us men not looking at women with a “mmmm, the things I would do with her” mentality. Like not flipping the bird and cussing someone who cuts us off in traffic. Like visiting widows in the nursing home. Like not wanting to do things our way all the time. These are just a few “daily life” things. It’s easy to hit a big, hot topic, current head-line with “well, JESUS would blah, blah, blah”. Not so easy when a fine woman walks past with those gorgeous tan legs slipping out from underneath a mini skirt.

        Just wondering.

        1. In response, some men actually see women as people and don’t think that way all the time.

          And the people who are saying “bring them here” are some of the most charitable, kind, generous people I know. My aunt, probably an agnostic but supportive of my faith and life journey, crochets a thousand baby hats a year for the local hospital. Others work with special needs children, etc. Most try very hard to emulate Christ’s compassion and charity in everyday life. My own personal life motto has become “do no violence, and love everyone”. Do I live up to it? Not all the time. But I’m always trying to do better.

          I can’t answer for others. But the fact is, if a person who has some serious personal failings suddenly finds his calling and steps up to help the oppressed in this situation, I’m not going to knock it because maybe he cussed out someone in traffic the other day.

        2. I fail to see how any of those are related to the other, and am not sure if the point of this was just “we should all be as savage as possible” or what exactly?

        3. Rob, I doubt it’s even worth explaining myself to you, but I’ll do it anyhow.

          The point is that it’s easy to play the “Jesus card” on something like allowing Syrian refugees into the country. In all reality even if 100,000 are allowed in, the odds of it directly effecting any our lives are slim. There are 319 million U.S. citizens. 100,000 is 3 hundredths of 1 percent of that. So it’s easy to say “Jesus wouldn’t vet them, let them in” when you have a .03 percent chance of it even remotely effecting your life.

          It’s a lot harder to play the “Jesus card” on things that effect your life every single day (which are some of the things I listed). So the point is not we should all live as savagely as possible, but in fact, the exact opposite.

          I’ll list something that I’m struggling with right now. Jesus said to love my neighbor. Even the one that constantly contradicts everything I say. Which means to be patient and kind and all that stuff listed in I Corinthians 13. I’m finding it real hard to be patient and kind as I type this reply. But if I play the “Jesus card”, I’ll succeed.

        4. Norm, what is the difference, as you see it, between “playing the Jesus card” (as you call it) and simply trying to live out one’s faith in God?
          And are you really arguing that no one who isn’t perfect every moment of every day should ever argue for doing the right thing?
          Your approach puzzles me?

      2. I see no difference between “playing the Jesus card” and trying to live out one’s faith in God.

        No I am not arguing that imperfect people should not try to do the right thing.

        Your confusion puzzles me?

        1. Your confusion puzzles me because I really don’t know if your are intentionally twisting what I said to make it sound so off the wall. Arguing that imperfect people should not try to do the right thing would be, literally, crazy.

          So I don’t know if you really misunderstood, or if I failed to communicate on such a large scale.

      3. I assure you sir, living here in Belgium, the danger is real. All statistics can be skewed to make you feel like the threat is insignificant compared to say, having a heart attack. But tell that to people who are gunned down or blown up. It is real, and whether it is a real refugee or a homegrown terrorist who uses the migratory routes to move freely, I still see no legitimate call for anything other than unrestrained altruism.

        For nations that are welcoming more liberties for homosexuals, it is quite interesting that we don’t think twice about importing people who, in large, do not hold those values, treat their women like crap, and as Pew Forum on Religion would indicate, probably still support stoning people for adultery. Long term cultural suicide…..because as the alarming amount of these terrorists who are European born shows, there is a freakin real problem with societal integration.

        I’m not saying not to help. I’m saying give real solutions.

        1. There are a lot more people here than there are refugees. Make the laws clear. And statistically, there is less trouble from refugees than from home grown extremists. And here in America, there are IFB pastors who support the death penalty for adultery so long as they think they won’t get c

        2. Even Christians in America -and much of Europe seem to think the only way to find a Terrorist Needle in the Muslim Haystack in to burn down the Haystack.

          Incidentally, growing up in Northern Ireland I discovered that the definition of “Terrorist” depends on perspective. one person’s Terrorist is some else’s Freedom Fighter. Many people in America were open in support of the Irish Republican Army who caused so much havoc against my Protestant community in Northern Ireland and within their own community too. I knew one of their victims. Maybe America’s War Against Terror should have started with them.

    2. If they’re planning to commit terrorist acts, they’re going to…get on a boat with nothing but a backpack and…use whatever is in the backpack? Which is presumably searched at least once? Or if it isn’t–what, this guy’s got super-explosives in the backpack? Which he probably has to sleep on for at least one night to keep it from being stolen?

      It’s like people think that terrorism is an invisible superpower like X-ray vision.

      1. A terrorist in this hypothetical instance would not ostensibly be bringing the terror materials across the border. In this scenario the person comes into the country, but procurs bomb making materials or guns in the U.S.

        1. Yup. Guns are easy to get and no background checks. Or else easily avoided. The NRA doesn’t want the rights of domestic terrorists to be infringed.

    3. Have you even READ the articles in several places, like CNN.com, that say the refugees ARE vetted? I’ve read several articles that say if a terrorist wanted to come over here, trying to slip in with the refugees would be the most difficult way to do it!

      1. That’s sort of the joke part of it.
        Getting in as a refugee is nearly the hardest (and slowest) way to enter this country.
        That would be a really feckless terrorist plot.

    4. And also: If you are a refugee, you go to whichever country will take you. Not the country you choose. The country that agrees to take you in.

      If you go to the U.S., you stay where they put you, with the threat of deportation on short notice hanging over your head, while the State Department combs through your past, your friends’ pasts, your family’s past, and so on for as long as three years. Then you may–may–be allowed to move freely about the country.

      It’s the most Rube Goldberg way to commit a terrrorist act I can think of!

    5. Personally, I would rather be an aid worker in ISIS hands than an assistant to a corrupt “Christian” leader. At least with ISIS you know where you stand. And God’s vilest judgment is not for those who behead others (“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. “), but for those who lead people astray in the name of Christ (“It would be better for him that a millstone be hung around his neck, and he be cast into the sea.”).

      I suppose it all depends on whether you believe in only this life or in the next.

      1. My original response was to say this: “I get your point, and I do think that ‘Christian’ leaders who misuse the Scriptures are viewed VERY severely by God, but, honestly, I would a thousand times over rather be in an IFB church than in the hands of ISIS.”

        Then I started thinking more about it and realized that being a deacon in Hyles’ church means (presumably) seeing and knowing the corruption of the Gospel and not doing anything about it, perhaps even HELPING it continue. And, no, I would not ever want to do that; I would never want to contribute to that sort of twisted hypocrisy of Christ’s message. A swift beheading WOULD be better. That said, however, being beheaded would be a mercy compared to what ISIS can do to captives.

    6. Dear Larry:

      As I see it, ‘terrorism’ isn’t a critical problem for the ruling elite. President Obama disclosed that his closest military and civilian advisors say that sending tens of thousands of troops into Syria isn’t worth the effort.

      Aimed at Washington’s enemies, terror has a positive effect. If it hits the US/allies, that’s part of the cost of doing business. From a US military/intelligence perspective, ‘terrorism’ is a useful tactic to be exploited as a pretext for further militarism and suppressing political opposition.

      Two weeks ago, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter affirmed that Russia and China, not ISIS or terrorism, are the main threat to Washington’s interests. Driven by its insoluble crisis and contradictions, US imperialism has bigger things in mind. It is preparing for the greatest act of mass terror in human history: World War Three.

      Christian Socialist

      1. Well, the great majority of cyber attacks on US concerns are coming from China. Including those aimed at US defense systems. I think that is perhaps a bigger fish to fry than Ahmed With a Bad Attitude.

    1. Fundamentalism is full of fear – fear of being a bad testimony, fear of disappointing God, fear of not saving people, fear of being seen as disobedient, fear of being contaminated by the world. That fear can be manifested in many ways.

      1. It’s crippling, that fear.
        It’s freeing to realize that you’re a total failure anyways and you can’t do anything to make it better or worse! 😀

  27. True confession time:
    My extended family includes many Muslim refugees from Afghanistan. Several were young men, ages 18-30 at the time of their flight. They have infiltrated a number of European countries, as well as the US and Canada. Oddly enough, in the 30+ years I’ve known them, not one has blown anybody up.

    1. They’re just trying to lull you into a false sense of confidence by acting like respectable people for the last 30 years. They’ll strike when you least expect it!

      😉

  28. If I wasn’t #Done before all this, when I stopped regularly going to any church a year ago…I’m done now.

    I can’t believe what’s happening.

    And yet. I can. I can all too well.

    1. Dear StuartB,
      IF there is a devil (and I have my doubts) this may be his best scheme yet. Conflate hateful politics and religion to drive those who have ethics away from the church.

      However, I am with you. I haven’t gone to church for 8 years and I believe that I’ve grown into a more spiritual, yet much more doubting, person. I hold to little with any certainty. An old friend asked me if I could attest to the Bob Jones Univ creed. I re-read it and told him No. Hell no.

      I’m learning to live more comfortably with doubt, with the unknown. I am very comfortable holding fast to the knowable things–like the importance of helping the poor and outcast, and yes, those without a country.
      Regards,
      BJg

      1. Stick with the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds.

        Bob Jones is a newbie.

        (By the way, my neighbor one house over is actually named Bob Jones! He’s a very nice guy.)

        1. Well, Jesus would have talked in a way the people would understand. God allowed Abraham to keep his misconceptions about God’s nature in Genesis 18. So I can’t say Jesus “believed” in the Devil the way you think He did.

        2. Paul, I no longer consider the Bible to be inerrant. You may disagree. I have my reasons. To quickly name one, consider Matthew as he connected a prophesy in Jeremiah with Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. The problem is that Matthew played fast and loose with Jeremiah, who was in no way talking about slaughter of infants, but of the people going into captivity. Matthew took one verse entirely out of context and created a prophesy of a disaster out of whole cloth. Furthermore, there are no historical sources found to validate this killing of the innocents, and there would have been, without question, had Herod done such a thing. We know a lot about Herod from other sources, but nothing about this. See Matthew 2:16-18 and Jeremiah 31:10-17.

          That is one reason. There are others and lots of them.

          So, while I haven’t completely figured out what I think about Jesus’ Wilderness experience, I do note that John completely leaves it out. In fact, there is no place in John’s chronology for 40 days of wilderness after Jesus’ baptism. None. So that presents one problem.

          Another problem. The devil takes Jesus to a high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. Matthew 4:8. Really? That would posit either the devil doing a miracle or a flat earth.

          The highest mountain in the area is Mount Hermon. I did some figuring some years back. The furthest that could be shown with the curvature of the earth would be Egypt and Syria. Rome? Nope. China? Not a chance. There is no way a high mountain could have provided that vantage point.

          That the writer of Scripture did not know this is to be expected. A round, spherical earth was known to some, but it was not Hebrew or Jewish cosmology. Even so, the geometry needed to know this kind of distance would have been available to the Greeks, with some difficulty, but not the Jews. Jews were notoriously bad with math. They didn’t care. After all, they were God’s chosen people. Why did they need to know such things?

          To the Jews, and to the writers of Scripture, the idea that you could see forever from the top of a mountain seemed reasonable, even though almost none of them would have climbed up to the top of the mountain to find out. What would be the point? They weren’t scientifically minded or naturally curious.

          But if it wasn’t the height of the mountain, then the devil did a miracle. Are you ready to go there? Can the devil do miracles? If this was a miracle, what was the point of the high mountain? If it wasn’t a miracle, remember, the high mountain wouldn’t cut it.

          So, though I cannot tell you everything about the temptation in the wilderness, I can point out certain, uhh, difficulties that force me to have second thoughts.

          And it isn’t as if I have to see the story as literally true or true in all detail to find value in it. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin. I certainly have never been tempted to make such a spectacle of myself as Jesus would have been in casting himself from the pinnacle of the temple, and I have never been tempted with rulership of all the kingdoms of the world. I have been tempted otherwise, and that Jesus knows my own struggles and shares them with me is enough.

          I don’t fault you for believing why you do.

          But I discovered that the Devil as the archenemy of God is found nowhere in the Old Testament. Nowhere. Demons and demon possession likewise. Isaiah giving God’s Words clearly says that supernatural forces other than His Own do not exist. Satan as an entity appears in Job, but not as God’s enemy. Rather, he appears as something of a court official, as Oriental Kings would have advisors and officials they would consult and argue with as they formulated policy, gave rewards or issued punishments. God never warned about Satan in the Old Testament. He never warned about Hell, either.

          We do know that the Jews picked up a lot of errant theology from their time in captivity. Zoroastrianism posited a deadly war between light and dark forces nearly equal in strength. Hell was a Persian/Greek construct that replaced the Hebrew/Jewish belief of “dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.”

          We spend precious little time investigating how our Bible was written/compiled, the cultural backgrounds it was written in and the world-view of those for whom it was written. Or rather, given as oral tradition. Most Jews were illiterate.

          Please forgive my rambling here. And I don’t expect to have changed your mind. If I spur you to investigate more for yourself, well and good. But my voice isn’t sufficient for you to change a long-held belief, nor should it be. My own journey has been a long one, rather complicated.

          My regards to you, Paul. Be well.

        3. Are you trying to destroy the Gospel, or simply trying to rewrite it?
          Are you trying to tell God how He should be a good God in the 21st century?
          Maybe you should go the whole hog and declare yourself an Atheist. It might not be a big step.

        4. Destroy the gospel? How, forevermore?

          I am not denying my personal sin, need of a Savior, Christ’s sacrifice and atoning work.

          Noting that there are problems in the text can only be a problem if you think you need a perfect Bible without human influence.

          So I think you are overreacting.

          On the other hand, if my reasoning is in error, perhaps you can explain the difficulties I am finding? So far, no one I tell about them does anything other than call me names or talk nasty. That tells me they can’t explain the discrepancies either.

        5. Paul, I didn’t mean to spark such an antagonistic reaction. I’m sorry I offended you.

          But the points I raised are valid ones, I think, and telling me I should just be an atheist doesn’t make them go away.

          I am not an atheist, but I admit to struggling with the inconsistencies. Would you believe the world is flat if someone or some book told you God decreed it was flat? I couldn’t. God or not, punishment or not, I want the truth and I want it to be consistent.

        6. If you have so many doubts about the accuracy of the bible how can you be sure that the accounts of The death of Jesus are even true? After all they are inconsistant, so did it happen? I suppose if you undermine the foundations of an edifice, eventually it will crumble. I don’t like to admit it but you may, inadvertently or not,be giving a very strong argent in favor of Atheism.

        7. If “Jesus died to save you from hell and Satan” is the gospel, then the gospel is a lie. An utter, absolute, worthless lie.

          Satan, and hell, are not real. Are not and have never been.

          So, the gospel, if that’s how it’s defined, is truly a lie.

          But guess what?

          That’s not the gospel.

          Amen.

        8. Rtgmath:
          You have once again found a logical problem with a Biblical text which I do not see at all. I think there is a 3rd option to the choices of flat earth or devil performing miracles. The text says, all the kingdoms of the earth. Have you ever been to the top of a mountain? It can feel as if you can see the whole world. I don’t think the writer had to mean that literally for it to be a true story. Jesus could have gone to the top of a mountain and seen enough of the world that it would represent “all the kingdoms.” It would serve the purpose of this story. Just because the author had a limited understanding of the extent of the world doesn’t create an insurmountable logical fallacy. The story can be literally true even though some details are metaphor or exaggeration. If I went on a fishing trip and caught a truly enormous fish and came back and told you I caught the biggest fish ever, that doesn’t make me a liar, just a good storyteller. It would simply mean that I was truly impressed by the size of my ginormous fish and I’m sure you would be as well.

          So I’m not convinced there is any reason to doubt that this event actually took place.

          the Admiral

        9. Interesting. You want it to be literally true by allowing it to not be literally true.

          Holy exaggeration, Batman!

          Would this be like the miracle of Jesus making grape juice. They only thought it was wine?

          Really now. Though you may wish to quibble and allow metaphor or exaggerated language here, you wouldn’t allow it elsewhere.

          Now I am perfectly willing to receive the story as not literal if you might be willing to concede a not-literal devil, too? Or maybe it is a figurative mountain, more of a hill. Just make sure you have a feeling of “mountain-ness” to it! I guess what I’m saying is that you can’t claim literal accuracy and sacrifice it at the same time.

          When I talk with fundamentalists, I try to force them to use the rules of interpreting they claim to have. I am comfortable seeing the passage as not having to be literally true. I know Jesus was tempted like we are and didn’t sin.

          But try to use the passage to prove a literal devil and you are literally bound by it. That was (and is) my point. Scripture is not inerrant.

          So I’m fine with your proposal so long as you recognize you can’t prove anything with it.

        10. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

        11. Rtgmath :
          I agree with your final point. I’m not suggesting that my supposition means that the devil is proven to be real. I was simply saying that the story does not have the inexplicable inconsistencies that you were indicating. My explanation is a reasonable one. In fact, my explanation agrees with that of various sources from a simple Google search. And my idea was off the cuff. It wasn’t researched. It was just one logical explanation that anyone could come up with. After a simple reading of this account, my explanation seems more plausible than saying the devil doesn’t exist.

          All that being said, it wasn’t my intention to get into an argument with you. I know from much experience that I wouldn’t win. I am just saying (as I have before ) that I don’t see the inconsistencies in this story that you do.
          Maybe you are simply a more skeptical person than I am. I think I am more likely to take things at face value and you are more likely to question whether things are what they seem. I think compared to the average person I am more skeptical, but you are not the average person. If I had to label you, I would call you an extreme skeptic. That isn’t intended to be insulting, but it is just my observation.

          the Admiral

        12. Maybe you are simply a more skeptical person than I am. I think I am more likely to take things at face value and you are more likely to question whether things are what they seem. I think compared to the average person I am more skeptical, but you are not the average person. If I had to label you, I would call you an extreme skeptic. That isn’t intended to be insulting, but it is just my observation.

          And you know, I think you are right. It isn’t how I was raised. But my analytics got kicked into overdrive at being lied to far too often. I hate being lied to.

          And no, I don’t think you lied to me. I wouldn’t think you would deliberately do that. I see you as far too honorable. But that you might have swallowed a lie? Yes, I can see that, having done it too often myself.

          As for winning or not winning, I apologize for flooding the verbal “battlefield” with missiles and countermeasures in preemptive strikes. I don’t mean such things personally. My mind just goes a long way in examining different positions and it all just comes out. Well, sort of. But instead of encouraging discussion I wind up stifling it. For that I am sorry.

          I am sure your suggestion has more merit than I can assess, at least at the moment. But even if I can’t give it the consideration it deserves, let me thank you for giving it, for trying to engage me when I’d gotten riled up.

        13. Rtgmath :
          And why would it make a difference whether water was turned into grape juice or wine?
          Either would be an astounding miracle.

          The Admiral

        14. That probably has its origins in a stray comment somewhere in which a fundy was doing his best to ignore the clarity of the text in favor of his prejudices.

          As you said, I am likely an extreme skeptic. With enough irritation that I won’t allow someone to violate their own rules, but will force them to stick with them even when doing so upends everything. Including the rules themselves.

          I’m not particularly proud of that. But it serves as a measure of how angry I have gotten at fundamentalists over the years. I look at the carnage fundamentalism has wrought in my own family and I, well ….

          Each new piece of information requires integration and balancing. Sorry for being so public about it.

        15. Rtgmath,
          It’s pretty late to be arriving to this theological discussion, nevertheless I do think the temptation of Christ in which the devil offered Him the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worship involved a miracle. The account in Luke 4:8 states that the devil showed Christ, “… all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” I think this particular account is most easily understood if the temptation involved some sort of supernatural vision.

          That the devil has the power to perform miracles (to the extent that God permits) is, I think, pretty clear. Beginning in the book of Genesis, we see that the magicians were able to imitate some of the miracles God performed through Moses. If we take the position that what the magicians did involved more than just “magic tricks,” then the “miraculous” is the only explanation. That the devil was the source of the power behind the magicians is a given. Furthermore, it would be difficult to read the book of Job, or the Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John, and come away believing that the human authors of those books did not believe that Satan had any sort of supernatural powers.

          As to the point of the high mountain, I would point out the following: among other references, God gave Moses the law on Mount Sinai, Jesus was revealed in His glory on The Mount of Transfiguration, and the psalmist speaks of, “Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” The devil has long wanted to be “like The Most High,” so perhaps that was the reason for the choice of that location.

          Finally, regarding what seem to some to be discrepancies between varying gospel accounts, maybe it would be helpful to remember that the different writers were emphasizing different things about Messiah Jesus and His ministry. This is just an illustration, but we wouldn’t expect photographs taken from four sides of the same house to appear identical.

          In any case, it’s late and that’s enough for now. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

          BP

        16. Ben, nice to hear from you.

          Regarding the magicians in Egypt, there is no context in the Pentateuch that would have them being aligned with a spiritual entity. The whole point of the Judgments on “the gods of Egypt” was to demonstrate they didn’t even exist. The magicians used tricks, and in those parts today charmers perform impressive tricks – which might seem miraculous to the ignorant, but was only a parlor trick. Shoot! Today we have stage magicians that seem to do miraculous things.

          So, while I appreciate the attempt, I am unconvinced. My skepticism doesn’t have to be yours.

          As for the Book of Job, well, I’m not sure completely what to say about that except that it frankly sickened me to think that God used and killed Job’s children and servants to set the stage for a cosmic bet. Before I deal with Satan in that text I need to deal with the concept of God in the text. That will require more study.

          You are right that the gospels present different pictures of Jesus and His ministry. Still, I can’t dismiss the obvious time discrepancies between John and the Synoptics that easily. I went through and noted in John what happened immediately after Jesus’ baptism, and there is no room for a 40-day wilderness adventure. John is quite specific in his “the next day” and other time language. Now I concede that John might be using inaccurate time references, but then that would violate inerrancy principles, wouldn’t it?

          I came to the conclusion some time ago that Davies’ “Harmony of the Gospels” wasn’t reliable. The gospels present a consistent internal story in each one, but not together. I am dealing with this as something of a minor issue while others take precedence at the moment. I want to study these things more.

          But I am not really prepared to say that Satan can work miracles. “Who can do miracles, but God only?” the people asked, regarding Jesus. That seems to be a reasonable question.

          Thanks for bringing these considerations to the discussion. At some point I might think differently again.

          I intend to enjoy my family, and hope you have a happy time with yours.

        17. A word of thanksgiving :
          I thank our God for this safe place where friends can gather and wrestle with the questions we find important to us. And I thank Him for the many friends I have found in this place that Darrell created for our enjoyment and renewal.

          A happy Thanksgiving to all who have taken refuge here. May you all love your friends and family today and eat a bit too much and find peace resting in the love of our God.

          the Admiral

      2. In other words why believe any of it? I was beginning to have my own doubts. My antagonistic reaction was because I didn’t like the idea I might be living a lie. I don’t know.

        1. Okay, Paul. I hear your concern. I’ve been living it for some time. And our mutual fears that somehow we have believed a lie or are basing our faith on untruths is caused by the way we were taught to believe in the first place.

          “It all has to be true or none of it is” is a pretty silly standard, don’t you think? If you ever told a lie would you want people saying everything you said was a lie? Or a typo in an engineering text turned into the assertion that all engineering is a lie out of the fires of hell?

          So why should I hold the Scriptures to that standard when that standard never existed until modern day fundamentalism came along? Inerrancy wasn’t even a doctrine until 1978 when a conference of fundamentalists, unhappy with the doctrine of inspiration, decided it had to be harder, concrete and unassailable by the forces of modernism and science. You don’t apply that reasoning to anything else but the Bible. You only do it because you were taught to.

          But any well-balanced study of how the authors of Scripture treated Scripture would surprise and shock you, I’d bet. Or how the Church Fathers looked at doctrine, or even how we got our Bible.

          Some things have to be taken on faith. That doesn’t mean to ignore obvious truths. And awkward moments and thoughts will come, I assure you.

          God should be Big Enough to ask questions of, don’t you think? So I ask! Maybe I get to focus on the big picture instead of the minutiae. Maybe the context is worth more than this single word found in this text. And maybe I don’t have to think people who don’t believe everything I do are going to hell. Maybe the one with blinders on is me.

          But if I ask the questions, maybe I will get real answers. Maybe I can figure out why people believed in demons when today we have medicines to control epilepsy. Maybe it isn’t about a specific miracle, but a response of the heart.

          I’m a seeker. That is annoying to those who want to think they’ve got the only treasure there is. I have to look past the distractions.

        2. A typo in an engineering manual, depending on what it is and where, can have consequences. Ask any engineer.

        3. Yep. But it doesn’t make everything false. And you want an engineer good enough to spot the errors, don’t you? Rather than one who trusts the manual without question?

        4. An engineering manual is not much use if it is full of mistakes and contradictory instructions. Depends how many there are. Too many and the person is going to junk the appliance and buy a different brand.

        5. Don’t conflate your interpretation with “the accuracy of the Bible”, Paul. What rtgmath and myself and others are doing is discovering what the Bible actually is accurate about. But it often gets in the way of some traditional interpretations because they were based on inaccurate understandings and thoughts about the Bible.

          So, is the Bible true. Absolutely not. It’s just a book. It has true and false things inside it. Just like any other book. And the cool thing to me is that by faith I know that was by design by God.

        6. My antagonistic reaction was because I didn’t like the idea I might be living a lie. I don’t know.

          And that’s the realization I’ve had multiple times in my life. From finding out dispensationalism was made up, to young earth creationism was made up, to inerrancy being made up, to the modern pro-life movement and our current biblical support for it being made up, to hell and satan himself being made up…all lies. Falsehoods told by good well meaning people to me.

          While deceiving me that those who ‘disagree’ are damned and going to hell, anyone from any other denomination other than IFB and later evangelicalism, let alone those outright godless liberal atheists who SECRETLY know the truth but deny it to just Choose To Sin (TM).

          All lies.

          And guess what? I lived those lies. And I’m confronting them and learning day by day, with each passing moment, to find the strength to forgive myself and walk away from an entire worldview of deception I was raised in and still kneejerk revert back to. I’m free, I’m bitter, I’m not keeping quiet, and these lies and deception and this movement will be exposed.

        7. By “this movement” do you mean the IFB and fundamentalism, or do also mean Evangelical Christianity and/or *any* form of Christianity? Please clarify.

        8. Paul, an awful lot of the “doctrines” in modern day fundamentalism are of very recent historical origin, not held at all by the early church. There are too many for me to name, but it includes the “biblical prophecy” stuff and a host of others. I’d say that most of the doctrines making up the culture wars are “made up,” but I haven’t catalogued them as such.

          Not that this is new. Even Jesus condemned the Pharisees for teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Jesus also drove out the money changers from the temple. “Follow the money” seems to be good advice to finding corruption.

          So I am trying to find out where these traps are. I won’t get it all right. But then, who does?

      3. The sceptic would say “how do we know that is any more true than, say, the “fictional” encounter with Satan? Apart from citing personal experience if the power of God in my life, I’m no longer sure I can give a satisfactory answer…

        1. Sorry, george is being a real pain… that was a comment on Rtgmath’s reply to the question I asked Stuart about his opinion of the gospel…

        2. Well, you have asked a good question. Is the Gospel really “good news”? Is there any real power to it?

          So think about all these fundy MoGs who have relished their power, committed outrageous acts, abused children, told countless lies — and yet they enthusiastically recite, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believeth.”

          Pray tell, what have they been saved from? There is really no evidence of God’s power in their lives, and if they truly think there is, they are classic examples of self-delusion.

          If I were to take the position that the whole of the Scriptures is untrustworthy because scholars can point out difficulties in the text, then I’d never read them again. I’d have to reject Christianity as a whole. Then again, if I took this position in life, I’d starve to death because some food is bad, so no food should be eaten. I’d never go into a building because every building has structural problems. And I’d never make any friends because friends will act unfriendly at times.

          We have to deal with imperfect knowledge, imperfect people, imperfect systems. Get over it. Do you think God owes us perfection in anything? Even if He did, would He deliver? Does a problem in one area of Scripture mean a problem in every area? Should I reject “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” because I see Matthew misusing Jeremiah to create a nonexistent prophesy?

          Like anything else, you are going to get out of your Bible study what you put into it. Put in ignorance and you get nonsense. Put in blind faith and you will fall into a ditch. Put in legalism and you will get an angry, vengeful god. Put in honest inquiry and you may not know what you will find, but at least you are being honest.

          “Ask and it shall be given. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.” I haven’t abandoned hope. I am trying to abandon lies. And anyone who says that lies haven’t been attached to how we are taught to read the Bible is selling something. If they did it in Jesus’ day, why is it any surprise they are doing it now?

          Paul, my advice is to stop expecting absolute perfection where there is none. Salvation is not in the Bible. Salvation is found in Jesus. I do not worship the Bible. I worship Jesus.

          And if I doubt, I figure He is patient enough to wait for me. If I stray, I hope He will bring me back. In any case, every relationship among people differs, so why shouldn’t my relationship with God differ from yours? Why can’t people be at different places, have different understandings, have different strengths and weaknesses? Why the idea that everything has to be the same thing for everyone?

          Fundamentalism not only puts God in a Box, it puts everyone in a box and wants to keep you there. I refuse.

          My doubts and uncertainties tend to make me more willing to listen to the way other people think. And I have been listening. Not necessarily agreeing, but listening, trying to understand perspectives, reasons behind the way people think, and trying to find answers. Maybe there are no answers. That doesn’t mean I am going to give up.

          I don’t have to believe in a Devil to believe in Jesus. For thousands of years the children of Israel believed in God only, no devil, no demons, no demigods. Or at least that is what they were told they should believe. I don’t have to believe in a literal Adam and Eve to believe I am a sinner and in need of a savior. I have some very personal experience there! I don’t have to believe in Inerrancy to realize the Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. Before the 1970s, there was no doctrine of inerrancy! I don’t have to believe in “Biblical Prophesy” as defined by the hugely conflicting offerings at the Christian Book Stores and pulpits in order to affirm, “Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will Come Again.”

          If all a little child needs to be saved is to believe that Jesus died for them and rose again, then that is all I need, too.

    2. Rtgmath,
      Maybe a more clear definition of the word miracle is in order. The crowds were no doubt correct when they asked the rhetorical question regarding whether or not a devil could open the eyes of one born blind. The obvious answer is, I think, “No!” and all of the devil’s “miracles” directly or indirectly cause sickness, destruction, and death. In order to sound a little less like a pre-modern throwback, however; I think skepticism is generally healthy, and do not think the primary cause of spoiled food is “malevolent spirits.” I may even have to re-think that letter to Ted Cruz I was planning to write about hanging Penn and Teller for witchcraft once he becomes president.

      Getting back to being serious, as a larger issue, we still need to face the question as to whether or not the scriptures are (or at least contain) direct revelation from an omniscient and omnipotent being, or if they are merely the writings of ignorant and superstitious, ancient peoples struggling to find purpose and meaning where none may exist. It probably won’t help to point out that the verse spoken of in the book of Jeremiah as being a prophetic reference, yet which does not appear to be speaking about “the slaughter of the innocents,” is not unique. Forgive any misquotes, but verses such as, “He shall be called a Nazarite,” and “The Lord shall come suddenly into his temple,” would have been unlikely to have appeared to be Messianic prophecies to earlier hearers. It even seemed necessary for the writer to point out that the statement of the high priest prior to the crucifixion was prophetic. For whatever reason the scriptures contain statements that use allegory and metaphor (Jesus even spoke in parables) and frequently are not as unambiguous as the statements contained in a mathematical proof. As much as we might wish things were otherwise at times, to use Heisenberg’s comment to Einstein on a question of physics, maybe we should “stop telling God what to do.” Anyway, wasn’t it Karl Barth, who when asked what was the most profound theological truth he had ever discovered, responded by softly singing, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so…”? Maybe that’s a good point to start when dealing with our doubts.

      Sorry for the long, rambling response. On an unrelated note, I believe I experience the same extreme difficulty in forgiving those in Fundamentalism who have harmed me that you do. I try to forgive them, but when I remember, I still feel a deep anger. Maybe that’s because the damage they caused is still present and it will never be completely repaired. Anyhow, apologies for whining.

      Peace and blessings, my friend,
      BP

      1. You aren’t whining. At least, not that I perceive.

        Sometimes injustices have to be pointed out. The only ones perceiving such enlightenment as “whining” are the perpetrators or supporters of injustice.

        And of course, having pointed out the problems, those who have experienced the problems need to divide to do something to correct things. The persons causing the problems need to be invited to help make corrections, but they must not be allowed to set the conditions. Otherwise injustices will only persist.

        If that sounds like a revolutionary mindset, I will gladly affirm that it is.

        Is the Scripture direct revelation from God? I used to think so. But not even the Scriptures themselves give themselves that much elevation. It has always been men who elevate them that much.

        When the New Testament writers were talking about Scripture, they were pretty much exclusively talking about Old Testament. The Law and the Prophets. But they didn’t quote things exactly. They sometimes miscredited sources. And as you affirmed, they pulled quote snippets out of the oddest places to attach some “prophetic” or spiritual meaning to, quite apart from the context those quotes were taken from. And in fact, some “quotes” really don’t appear at all. They just can’t be found!

        Now if the Scriptures were actually God-dictated, direct revelation or anything close, I rather doubt such errors (and yes, I will call them that!) would exist.

        So what are the Scriptures? God directly revealing Himself and His Ways to us? Or men revealing their encounters with God? Frankly, I vote for door number two.

        After all, if Jesus and Paul both point out that the Law is Imperfect, catering to the hardness of men’s hearts, then was it really divine?

        Then, too, there is the problem of the messiness of the process by which we got our Bible, Old and New Testaments. Grief, an honest study of the first three centuries of Christian thought and actions and infightings and murders are enough to turn the stomach. None of our precious “doctrines” were ever just acknowledged or obvious. They were debated, fought, contradicted, folded, spindled and mutilated.

        God could have made the process so much easier. Here is the Word. Nice. Neat. Miraculous packaging. Everyone sees how true it must be because you all love each other so much and agree on the same things. The passage on How You Get Saved is on page 365. The Doctrine of the Deity of Christ is fully explained on page 187.

        No. But God has to use people to write it, claim authorship for it, contradict each other, and then the original manuscripts are as lost as Joseph Smith’s Golden Tablets. All you have left are pieces you put together. They mostly agree, but not quite. It is a puzzle people have to figure out. Oh, and you have to actually translate it into other languages.

        Am I trying to tell God what to do? Maybe God didn’t do anything here? Maybe God didn’t direct the writers to use this word or phrase it that way. Maybe inspiration is useful, but not precise; gentle but not direct. “God breathed.” Well, God “breathed” into man the breath of life, so we are “inspired of God” too. And not perfect in any means!

        Perhaps God realized we could never correctly understand a book of rules and regulations on how to have a relationship with Him. Maybe there are no rules and regulations in that regard. Maybe salvation is in a Person, not in a Book.

        I know the Fundy part of me wishes the Bible were Inerrant. And for myself, I can move forward knowing it isn’t. But I am angry over the damage, the time lost, the problems such teachings have caused in my family and others. Escaping from Fundamentalism could actually cost me my family. I hope not, but it is a distinct possibility, as I get reminded from time to time.

        I don’t think I’m whining. I think horrible things are being done in the name of God — in “Christian” fundamentalism. It is going to take time for me to be able to think about these things without anger.

        Thanks, Ben.

  29. IRONY ALERT!
    How may people have friends who are decended from people came to America, fleeing Europe in the wake of both Wars? Could we call them refugees? How many on this list are decended from them. how many of the were actually agents of the enemy, pretending to be refugees, but actually coming over to kill, bomb and spread their evil Doctrines?

  30. First as Christians we should love and help and share the gospel with all those we come into contact with. Our Government, on the other hand, has a different role……Governments, in the bible, are never told to forgive or turn the other cheek, in fact, the government in the bible is described as being “God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (Rom 13:4) and as regards borders….they aren’t anti-biblical….”from one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” (Acts 17:26) So just remember the next time some liberal, or in this case Darrel, tries to guilt you into supporting our Govt bringing in tens of thousands of refugees….remember our individual Christian responsibilities are not the same as those of our government.

    1. What about Christians who are in government? Could there not be a “conflict of interest”? Maybe not just in this kind of issue, but many others?

      1. I was in government, (retired now) and as much as I would have often liked to impose my beliefs on others…..I could not and would not….That was not my role!

        Had I happened into a situation that was diametrically opposed to my Christian beliefs, I would have had to quit, but fortunately that never happened.

    2. Our government has already decided to bring them in. The argument now is over whether or not each state will accept them and whether individuals will make them welcome. As Christians, our only option is to accept them with love and care for them as our neighbors. Turning them away is not an option for a true believer.

      1. Our Government has decided to bring them in? ….You are either not keeping up with the news, or you don’t understand what “government” means!

        1. You know the quota for refugees is already set for the year. It’s set every year. Every year refugees apply for asylum and those accepted are assigned a country to immigrate to. This is how it works and how it has always worked.

        2. Also the word “leaders” did not insert where I put it in my sentence.

          My point still stands. Government will do what it will do. All governments are corrupt and can be only minimally influenced by the wishes of the people.

          Our job is still to welcome, house, feed, and clothe the stranger. You can’t argue with that. Unless you don’t follow Scripture.

        3. I find it fascinating. When governments do things that benefit the poor, the helpless, or the needy fundamentalists are almost entirely opposed to those things. When governments do things that harm others, such as making war, refusing to care for veterans, refusing to help the suffering, fundamentalists are almost entirely in agreement.

          Jesus said, “In as much as you have done that to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.” I think fundamentalists hate Jesus.

      2. Maybe the misunderstand Him. Maybe they miss the point. Or… yeah, maybe they won’t admit they often hate Him because He won’t play by *their* rules….

        1. Maybe, Greg. Maybe. But unless you try reasonably to show me my error, I could conclude I was right, you are wrong and have nothing to reason with against what I say!

          That might not be nice of me, though. Still, there’s the thought.

          So please, sir. Explain. Elucidate. Make clear my error. I am willing to listen to reason.

        2. Whether or not you agree with it, there ARE refugees living among you now, rather a lot of them, and they seem likely to remain living among you for some time. In the light of that undeniable fact, What is the Christian response going to be? Or rather what is a Christ-like response going to be? (Big difference?)

        3. “I think fundamentalists hate Jesus.”

          While not endorsing the above as a blanket statement, rtgmath, tragically, there is truth there. There were among the Pharisees those who hated Christ and would never trust Him. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of their day and the Fundamentalists are the Pharisees of ours.

        4. “I think fundamentalists hate Jesus”
          Maybe they don’t think it really *is* Jesus – or the Holy Spirit – when He decides to do something doesn’t tie in with their particular theology. Or they twist the scriptures to make them fit. A silly example. The marriage at Cana. I read one exposition on that miracle that said that Jesus turned the water into unfermented grape juice, because – and I quote – “to turn it into alcohol would be to go against his divine nature.” Really?

  31. Rtgmath, Wven though I sometimes doubt the power of prayer, I will pray you will get some answers and that you will become more like Christ,
    (Strange thing, though, I have heard Christians – not just Fundies- say “I’ll pray for you” and it has sounded like a threat…)

      1. Even if it was a threat, please go right ahead and pray! I can always use them. Besides, I don’t think God is going to be more likely to smack me because somebody prays for that then he would be if somebody wasn’t praying for it. That kind of depends on me I think.

        And “more like Jesus”? I’ll take that! That’s a good prayer.

  32. Though I am no doubt in the minority on this subject, I too find all of these “first” comments boring and so I scroll quickly down until I actually reach the comments that are relevant to the original post. Its really no big deal, other than in my zeal to reach the substantive comments, I’m sure the fast scrolling causes me to miss some that I should have read. This is one of several blogs that I try to catch up on at least a couple times a week. so I’m not likely to ever land on a “virgin post.” If perchance I did, I’d cede that “honor” to #2.

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