We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, February 24. 2009
Everyone has the choice of whether to live in Christ, or not to. I am grateful that I have the choice of whether to accept that offered gift, or to refuse it.
I once thought that living in Christ just sort-of happened when one deliberately accepted the gift, but I think differently now. I no longer think that I can be aligned with God on autopilot, as Augustine said he, or we, could. Maybe he could.
I need a discipline, both internal and external, to partake of the blessing of the Christian faith and of a life in Christ because sometimes I am there, but sometimes I am far away.
I have been thinking about the old-fashioned virtue of "self-command" recently, and about our cultural values - "authenticity," "genuineness," "follow your heart and emotions" and things like that. Why isn't "self-command" and "self-discpline" as much a part of our selves as anything else? Are our precious selves were so splendidly worthy and wonderful when on autopilot? If anybody is that wonderful, God bless 'em. I am not.
Internal discipline is about self-command. How good am I at commanding myself? And how often, like a bad parent, do I fail to be a good Chairman and CEO of myself and let things slide that should not slide, and permit leeway where there is no leeway? To let myself play in the street, as it were?
My discipline muscles need constant exercise. I have a few planned for this Lenten season.
Even the "best" Christians are sometimes prone to overlooking the beam in their own eye while noting the motes and beams in others'. We are taught to "hate the sin but to love the sinner." Readers know that I do not believe that Christianity is mainly about morality, but about faith. However, I believe that a deliberate living in Christ requires a discipline. Like when your Dad gives you a car for your birthday, the joy is contingent. Getting to that "life in abundance" isn't meant to be easy, but it is probably the definition of success that I value most highly for myself.
I judge others constantly, not from a high place but mainly for self-protection. I judge myself at least as judiciously, and likely far more harshly. Usually at 4:30 AM. The conscience I am stuck with tolerates little or no compromise with normal exigencies. At the same time, I know my conscience isn't necessarily God's voice. Sometimes it's my own, and some of it is my moral vanity.
In my mens' Bible study last week we wandered into a discussion of sexual temptation, and how we each deal with it. It's safe to say that each one of us has a deep appreciation for appealing females, and are fun-loving fellows who enjoy the pleasures of life. We aren't a "holy" bunch. We also agree that our word is our bond. It's discipline and self-command. Of course, anyone can make whatever choices one decides to, and live with that. That's fine, as long as you do not ask me to be responsible for guiding your choices.
I am meandering towards the subject of external discipline. If we are to enjoy the blessings of a life in Christ, most of us need that. I need my brethren to help keep me on track. Otherwise, I'll be off on my own track, and there is nothing too wonderful about that. "My track," I am ashamed to say, is probably all about me and all about gratification - and as instant as possible. OK, call me an obsessive if you want to: it's probably correct. I need and want to be judged. I do not want to be an animal.
Editor's note: I stumbled onto a sermon by Rev. Norman Koop, Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Woodstock, VT, yesterday. I thought it relevant to my "House Church" meeting on Sunday afternoon where the topic was confronting evil and sin (in self and others). Intolerance. Pastor Koop makes the case, via Paul, that it is our unpleasant duty to confront and address the sin of our church brethren because, as Congregational Church members, we have made a solemn committment to the well-being of eachothers' souls. Paul's letter was a tough message for the Corinthians - and we are the Corinthians. The sermon is here (try "Listen now using the flash player").
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Internal discipline is about self-command. How good am I at commanding myself?
A great question and challenge for a nation that has totally abused itself with the seven cardinal sins.
And too many of our population want all these super sized...ugh
"...it is our unpleasant duty to confront and address the sin of our church brethren because, as Congregational Church members, we have made a solemn committment to the well-being of each others' souls."
This is probably top-most on any atheist's list of why they scorn the church. I have reacted quite strongly to those so full of the fury of the justly righteous...... as if there is such a righteousness.
It seems to contradict something in the Bible about 'judge not lest thy be judged'?
Actually, no. Church brethren make a vow to protect one another from sin. That is part of membership in the family. There is no such duty for non-brethren.
BD is correct , believers are to hold each other accountable,
and not condemn .
Luke 6:37 Do not judge and you will not be judged.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6: 43 For a tree is know by it's fruit.
- Sometimes we are fruit inspectors-
We are brothers in Christ... don't 'ya think,
maybe you should cut back on the gambling and
buy some groceries for your kids .
If you need help, I'll be here for you ..
I know you'll be here when I stumble
"That is part of membership in the family."
Is this like a private Christian club? Who is a 'non-brethren'? A Catholic? A Presbyterian? A Lutheran? An Episcopalian?
So, your job in this snap club of Christians is to look out for, spy on, reprimand, your own to the exclusion of everyone else?
I think I'm missing something. Christians are good Samaritans who help everyone. sigh.... Can you just say it out, "Unless you are a brethren, you ain't s-it. You are not worthy, by god!" What else could you possibly be saying?
"So, your job in this snap club of Christians is to look out for, spy on, reprimand, your own to the exclusion of everyone else?"
Umm, "spy on"? Maybe reading into it a bit there.
Think rather what a loving family does when one of their own is being rude. Some people might not confront in a way you would prefer, but that doesn't mean you dump your family. Key word being family.
"Unless you are a brethren, you ain't s-it. You are not worthy, by god!" What else could you possibly be saying?"
Who said that? Reading into it again. If I don't hold the kids on the street to the same standards I hold my children, does that mean I think the neighbors are worth less? Maybe it just means that they aren't mine and I don't have the right or the responsibility.
Brethren are your fellow members of your church. Nothing more than that.
Sheesh. At least my typo wasn't Woodstock, NY.
Been there, done that.
"Like when your Dad gives you a car for your birthday"
Hahahahhehehheeheeheehahahaha...That would have been the day. My dad giving me a car just because it was the anniversary of the day I was born? Hell, Mom did all the work. A bike one year, yes, and even a good kick in the ass. And I'm proud to say I deserved both. A car? I've often heard of such things, but I never actually knew anyone who grew up in a normal home AND who turned out normal who got one for their birthday. But maybe my experience was...ummm...different? But then maybe that's why I don't rely on my brethren to keep me on track. Must be something else...hmmm...what could it be?
"I think I'm missing something."
You'll never know, toots. You're not worth wasting breath on.
Hahaha... I'm sorry to laugh. But you've just unwittingly summed up a bunch of overdone talk. In the line of two thousand years of history and damn you to hell if you don't agree with us... that's a long run, by any measure. But longevity doesn't equal validity in this instance.
""Unless you are a brethren, you ain't s-it. You are not worthy, by god!""
You'll never know, toots. You're not worth wasting breath on.
#5 ahem on 2009-02-24 20:34
Well dang, ahem.... Thanks for proving my case. ha ha ha.
Praise the Lord.... "toots'.... Yo, toots! Jesus hates you!
'scuse me , don't we all need , to turnit up
What's this, the new RickRoll? I was 'spectin somethin' by Toots and the Maytals. Not sure what tho...
I write in riddles at times.
But let me be succinct.
Ahem... that was a hateful, childish and most unchristian remark you made.
I suggest you relive your life.
Thank you, Luther, but that's okay. Ahem is a coward and this is not the first time 'it' has hidden in order to insult me. 'It' has a bad case of unChristian charity for me.
Besides, what a testament to 'its' stupidity to 'waste breath' to tell me I'm not worth wasting breath on. I wonder if 'it' is a brethren looking at me as if I'm a slumdog street kid not worth God's notice - bein' as God only notices brethren. hmmm...
hmmmm.... So, as a Presbyterian, I am shunned by other Christians..... Judging by what the club members say.
I give up. No more Christianity for me. If I can't be in the club, then why am I wasting my prayers? Someone has lied to me.
I am offended also by his comment.
Was waaay out of line and not appreciated.
5.2.1 was for you to view and, be of happy heart.
Off with his head, have the trial later.
You're a Presbyterian?! No soup for you! (Most Christians denominations deplore Presbyterians, mostly because they can't spell it).
correction...most Christians hate Presbyterians because
their service ends earlier and are in line at the cafeteria
ahead of everybody else.
On the other hand... Mr. B. I admire your effort to put yourself out there. Even if under an assumed name. It is good that we talk about and explore each others thoughts. There is a need to find some common ground that will unite us and not divide us. We all value this country... we just have different ways in which to express that sentiment.