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November 28, 2006

Comments

Zossima

Greg, you ought to get some advertising going at the parish. All the fundies---Hell, you might even get a mention on Ingrid's radio show---could score you a little money to buy booze and smoke with.

Jzzbassman

Wow, these folk make the ones I've met in Mississippi seem like raving liberals.

Take heart Greg. At least in OK you can get your beloved Schneider Aventinus. Mississippi is such a Baptist state (no offence to Baptists entended; just the phrase used out here) you can't buy any beer over 6% ABV. I miss that which was brewed and blessed by monks.....my kingdom for a Rochefort 10.

I went to the den of lunacy you mention. I do find it appalling that the former GS and son associate with you; make sure and tell Jon he needs to get thee away from your evil self.

Blessings Man, and I miss all of you.

T.J.

Hey Greg, I have no problem with you. And I don't mind posting here. I've had a field day at the Jay Bakker site (Revolution Church, NYC) as well. It really doesseem that there has been a shift in CHristianity in AMerica. Like I said on Jay's blog (as they tried to defend all their swearing as okay)...to cuss or not to cuss isn't an issue in CHina. The true church is underground, persecuted and running for their lives.
They're not sitting around in Starbucks debating "fundies" who say cussing is bad. That's the problem in American churches, we're so lukewarm and bored we yak and yak and yak about stupid stuff. Basics....repent....change....the old man is buried and the old things have passed away...walk in NEWNESS of Life....used to talk like a trucker...CHANGE....you used to be a Lola loose girl....CHANGE.....(I did)
used to fry your brain in booze and drugs...Change.....
But what I see is a lost and stumbling post modern brand of "christians" who do not know if God's word is true. What this nation needs is persecution to break out..yeah....who's on the Lord's side? well CHOOSE....don't be mamby pamby . That is what bugs me about emergents...they ask questions but they don't seem to want answers.....to just talk..talk....talk...talk....like one long cell phone conversation..you talk and hang up and can't even remember what you talked about....solomon said it was all meaningless....I agree....without absolute truth...it's ALL MEANINGLESS

Adam

oh greg that's just the lunesta talking...now go and have a glass of wine and have a pillow fight with casper the friendly ghost.

Zossima

T.J., the criticism of "emergents" is tired. First of all, what is an "emergent"? Even they don't know. It's just a convenient label, like "liberal" and "postmodern", both words that don't really have a definition except that it's THEM, not you.

Second, why focus on "emergents"? I see a church that isn't much different from "the world" (in more ways than I can count). A lot of whatever "emergent" is certainly derives from the failings of the "modern" church. "Whoever causes one of these to stumble"... Maybe a little humility is in order from those of you who think you no better.

Third, it's nice to talk about "absolute truth", but show me yours and I'll show you ten other people who believe "inerrancy" and "absolute truth" who have significant disagreements about what salvation is, grace versus works, end times, the nature of the Trinity, and on and on. By your theology, what one believes about those thing isn't trivial---rather, it could have eternal consequences! Either God is playing games with you all, or it's not as simple as you'd like it to be when you're lecturing us.

Really, "absolute truth" is just a hot-button that says, "I'm right, you're wrong, and since I called 'absolute truth' (or 'inerrancy' or 'literal interpretation') first, there's nothing you can do about it." It's the theological equivalent of OJ playing the 'race card'.

Beyond that, the christian version of "absolute truth" just doesn't hold water. It's a very failed attempt to gain currency via Western-rational methods of proof. The problem is, it's all based on an illogical and false assumption, inerrancy. You can't reason with people when the ultimate basis of the reasoning is unreasonable. Ultimately, if one part of the Bible can be proved wrong, your entire belief system will collapse. That's why fundies bury their heads in the sand to keep believing lunacy like "literal" interpretations of Genesis (for example).

I don't need Genesis to be "literally" true to believe in Jesus. The Bible points to him as the risen God and as the archetype of a new humanity. It is a witness to which I assign authority, as is the witness of saints throughout the centuries.

If you hang around greg's forum long enough, you'll see that most of us aren't "relativists" (another pejorative term the foundationalist crowd is taught to use). It's not a binary choice: Either believe God put guys into a trance to take dictation or believe that anything goes. Many of us don't believe that truth is propositional. We believe truth is relational (which includes interpersonal and linguistic) and that Truth is a person, Jesus Christ. We're nowhere near the ballpark in which you play out that false binary choice.

Finally, I don't think anyone who posts here considers themselves part of the "emergent conversation".

T.J.

well, it saddens me that the church is weak and impotent in America...ifwe can'tlead by example, who will? doctrines have been fought over forever but truth is a PERSON....Jesus...THE WAY....THE TRUTH....THE LIFE.....exclusive, yes....divisive, yes....but knowing Him has changed my life...

Leighton

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."
--2 Cor 5.17, NIV

"Everything human has been purged. I created pure and blessed Dalek."
--'Parting of the Ways', 1x13

Language is such a versatile thing.

Rich Schmidt

I've tried to post two comments over on Ingrid's blog yesterday. Both were simple, kind, and straightforward, with no swearing or belligerence... and so far, they haven't shown up.

It's odd, really, because I've posted on that blog in the past... so the whole "If this is your first time" moderation delay shouldn't apply to me anyway...

Trav the Okie Vegan

Greg,

Your friend Ingrid is also blasting Rick Warren. You may have already seen this link at Jesus Politics: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/secure/cwnetwork/article.php?&ArticleID=1296.

Given your distaste for megachurches (which I also share), it's rather ironic that you and Warren have been made strange bedfellows in being attacked by Ingrid.

Peace.

Jeff

According to one commenter there, Greg was picked up from a crack house and given a pulpit. So everyone who swears and smokes flavored tobacco is also a user of hard drugs.

Which is worse...the horrible logic or the character defamation?

greg

Jeff,

You weren't really expecting logic from a fundy site, were you? You needn't answer. I know you really weren't. I just wanted to needle the fundy invaders. People who feel like the gospel should make a difference in what we eat and drink and smoke and not in what we buy, who we hurt, and how we participate in the fallen powers really won't get much of a response from me.

Mr. T

I pity this fundie FOOLS. Wit all dier jibba jabba. Liven' like Jesus ain't a suggestion its a rule fool.

"Prof Marty"

If you go to www.gizoogle.com and type in the URL for Ingrid's site - it really spruces it up! Here is a quote from her gizoogle'd site: "like Brian McClaren, gang bangin' tha atonement."

T.J.

atonement? the latest new age fad is : at-one-ment....how's that for a switch-a-roo? The shed bled of Christ ATONEMENT...is replaced by looking within, listening to the silence and becoming at-ONE-ment with yourself. This is what "fundies" are talking about....you change the words around and something so life changing as the atonement for our sins becomes man's quest for his own godhood as he becomes "One" with the universe around him. No thanks...I'll take truth!

T.J.

the blood of Christ and His atonement for our sins: that is our only hope....or is that too fundamental for this blog?

Zossima

TJ, are you capable of serious theological discussion? Or do you just have an arsenal of judgmental, reductionist cliches that you trot out? And have you read anything on this blog other than the infamous lunesta post? Or do you just assume that we're all incense-sniffing "at-one-ment"s, or whatever the hell you learned from Ingrid's radio show?

Well, apparently you have the "truth" and we don't. So please go off with your truth and leave us to our hookah and booze.

jamie

Whew! I miss a day and there's some fun reading over here. Can someone pass the pipe?

T.J.

I don't listen to Ingrid's radio show. I travel around to many sites. SLice is one of them. theological discussions? I thought mega churches disdained them and just focused on the love of Jesus. I'm way off the lunesta thread and really wondering what the people on this blog believe? A christian world view or a world view of moral relativism? Huge difference when thinking and seeing the world around us.
We could start with the atonement since it was mentioned first by someone other than myself. What do ya think of the Blood of Christ? Important or not?

alex

tj, seriously.

"A christian world view or a world view of moral relativism?"

cute. worldview weekend is applauding in the background.
stop the pre-formed one liners, give us something real...give us a WHY? tell us, why you think the church is so weak in america?...does it need to be strong? why? why does public education seem to ruin so many christians?

since it seems so objective to you, what exactly is a 'christian worldview'?

sheesha smokin, hippie-ass love and peace.

Dallas Tim

TJ,

I am a inerrantist. I am a 5 point Calvanist. I believe in the substitutionary atonement of Christ. I take the Bible literally from cover to cover, some language is symbolic, but I do read Scripture as God-breathed, and infallible. I believe in a real Devil, a real place called Hell and in a real thing called sin.

This means that I am different in my beliefs from most of the "regulars" on this blog. I'm not saying we disagree about everything, but we disagree about alot.

We've argued about texts, meanings, fact vs. myth, truth vs. interpretation, and a little mixture of everything in between.

Yes, I think Greg has missed the fact the God has expressed Himself in a living document that either validates or invalidates everything it talks about by either being reliable or unreliable. I think Zossima has missed the fact that Jesus referred to Scripture as coming from the mouth of God and if any of Scripture is unreliable, then Jesus is unreliable as well.

I could go on, but just wanted to point out (in case you haven't read much on this blog) some specific debates that I've had here.

Having said all that, I also know that Greg will not refuse to post this comment. He is more than willing to dialogue. He'll stand his ground and defend his position, but he allows me to do the same (and he reserves the right to occasionally poke fun of my "fundamentality.")

Jesus didn't run around throwing out judgement. Yes, he did to the Pharisees, but the Pharisees didn't go around just dialoging with people. They meted out false judgement, claimed to be God's sole representatives, were arrogantly hypocritical and according to Jesus "Children of the Devil." I don't quite see Greg that way at all. I may view his take as wrong, but he doesn't claim to be the bearer of God's judgement on my family because I don't agree with him.

I do see Jesus getting to know people. I mean really know people. Why did they believe that way? Had they ever condsidered another view? We're talking about the Son of God here and He was composed enough to say "Hey, let's have some dinner tonight and talk."

If you really want to test you commitment to Christ, try this. Before you ever pronounce judgement or assign criticism, first try to get to know the other person. Let them sharpen you. Let them force you to learn how to respond in a calm, rational way.

Obviously, if this blog was intended to discuss various forms of smoking crack, or how to pick up prostitutes, then I wouldn't want to participate at all. It isn't. It's a place where you will be challenged to explain "why?" That should only scare or upset people who can't explain why they believe what they believe.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have God all figured out, but I can discuss and repsond to questions about what and why I am confident in what I believe. I have developed some of that on this blog and I am thankful to Greg and Zoss (and others) who will debate with me and keep it friendly as long as I am willing to do the same.

I think I've learned that God is less impressed with my trying to humiliate someone into seeing things my way and more impressed with my ability to speak the Truth is such a way that those who disagree would still want to be my friend.

True Christianity isn't about "winning the argument." It's more along the lines of others seeing the "real" us by our love.

jamie

(applause for Dallas Tim)

zookeeper

I'm no Slice apologist, having first found it when some friends of mine met with intense, inaccurate criticism from the Slice crowd. I've been reading Slice even since, partly for the entertainment value of some of the more extreme posts. But I've found that the response on this blog (with a couple of exceptions) hasn't been much better. Some of you who object to name calling and stereotyping have no problem broadbrushing the "fundies", do you? If you believe the isues raised about Greg's blog have no merit then you have a couple of great options - ignore them, or respond graciously. One of my friends, a lovely Catholic gentleman, was accused of being a warlock on Slice. He responded by gently explaining his position on the issue at hand. It may have fallen on deaf ears - in fact, I'm sure for the most part that it did - but it impressed the heck out of me and seemed to suck a lot of the life out of the thread. Even at Slice a gentle answer can turn away wrath. And whether it does or not, it seems more a reflection of the character of Christ than the fundy-nutbag-pathological-clutches type of response. Just some thoughts from a fellow Nazarene who has also been ripped a new one on Slice in the past. And props to Dallas Tim for demonstrating the irenic spirit in action.

greg

zoo

Nice thoughts. Wish they were true. But you don't get to wander over and complain about the tone of my response, especially when your friend accomplished exactly zero by being irenic and kind. Fundies is not meant as an insult; it's just shorter than typing fundamentalists every time. Nutbag, however, is an insult. And I meant it. It takes about five minutes on Ingrid's site to figure out that she is completely detached from reality. I make no apologies for that response. And I think pathological is a reasonable description of the way many of these folks interact with life, others, and reality. Call it unkind if you like; I think it's accurate. If you know anyone who has survived the types of churches these folks attend, you know how destructive and evil this kind of faith can be.

Rich Schmidt

FWIW, I still can't get a comment through Ingrid's moderation. But I'd like to think it was my repeated requests for her to change the original post that led to her calling Greg a "Christian" instead of "pastor." I'm a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene, and people are making all kinds of assumptions about this denomination now because for several days Ingrid's post was calling Greg a Nazarene pastor.

Thanks, Greg, for allowing conversations to be more open here. :)

Jason

"I'm .... really wondering what the people on this blog believe? A christian world view or a world view of moral relativism? .... We could start with the atonement ...."

Last I checked, there were a couple years' worth of archived posts easily accessible from any page on the blog. Since atonement has been discussed in depth several times in the past 6 months, if you think that's a good place to start, Googling "atonement" is, well, probably a good place to start.

I don't think that you'll endear yourself much by throwing around phrases like "moral relativism," though, or assuming that "christian worldview" has a generally accepted defintion.

zookeeper

Greg,
Which part of my comments do you consider to be untrue? And do you feel it's equally inappropriate for some of the folks who know you to have "wandered over" to Slice and complained about the tone there? As for my friend, I disagree that he accomplished nothing. I think our every action contributes to the sum total of good or evin in the world. The attack on him was evil. His response was good - an all-by-itself, without any other justification necessary, good. I do know how evil and dangerous the hyper-legalistic, fundamentalist movement can be. I've seen it first many times in the course of my life (especially having grown up as a pk). But I also know how dangerous it is when we start to take their slash and burn approach as our own.

And that's enough from me. I'll wander back on out of here, since I seem to have offended you further.

zookeeper

that should, of course, have been "the sum total of good or EVIL" in my last post. Though my brother-in-law Evin might enjoy the other statement more.

T.J.

Thanks for a great post Dallas Tim. Sorry Jason...about the Christian worldview , I just meant most people have the Creationism/Christian world view (God, Jesus, the Bible,the source of viewing life around us) or the evolutionary world view....If we were "created" we view life different than if we just evolved.

Zoo, good posts as well. I get tired of being called a fundy but I look around at world events and belive CHrist is going to return in my lifetime. Even saying that puts me in the "wacko" category for many. But look at Achmidenijab from Iran. This guy is a total islamic fundamentalist. He's preparing his people for the return of the 12th imam...(mahdi)......this guy is suppossed to come "out of the desert". Jesus told us that people would say..."there he is in the desert."......do not believe he is the Christ.....

So I just have strong convictions because I see bible prophecy lining up...apostacy sweeping the church....a body of Christ that looks more like the world than a Bride without spot or wrinkle, and I just speak up about it all!

T.J.

alex,
Public education ruins many christians because it shames their faith, mocks them, destroys their hope and reduces them to "duped, uneducated, sheep"....oh really?

It takes critical thinking to connect the dots, make a point and still defend your cause. Many in public education have totally been numbed and dumbed down. Throw in culture rot from most media outlets and you've got a controllable population. My latest beef with it all:
vehicles that are now TELLING YOU WHERE TO DRIVE.....LOL....I think it is quite insane...under the guise of "getting directions from on-star".....it's actually programming the masses to do (and drive) exactly what they're told.....
wouldn't surpise me if the earpieces people are yakking on soon tell them where to walk, what to say and whether or not they should leave their homes....ha ha..
and the big screen TV's...maybe orwell had it right....they may take up our whole wall one day....(not mine...but maybe yours)

ninjanun

It's called confirmation bias, and most people do it to one degree or another.

Leighton

Zookeeper, here's the thing.

Language isn't just about communication, it's about influencing and/or controlling things--whether the world around us, or people's behavior, or the way people are inclined to see things (which has implications for how they process new and existing information, and feel, and behave toward the world and other people around them).

This notion rarely gets airtime outside linguistic and anthropological circles, but it has profound implications for how we understand the consequences of speech intended to persuade. Mature, grounded people with reasonable amounts of stress in their lives are (hopefully) going to be able to view the kind of rigidly authoritarian dialogue common to most flavors of fundamentalism calmly, and they have a choice as to whether or not to respond harshly. However, people who have "recently" escaped from environments where their thoughts and emotions were rigidly controlled and coerced in unhealthy ways are going to process fundamentalist speech differently; it's a bit like waving a bottle of beer in front of a recovering alcoholic while talking about how nice it is to get buzzed. It makes it harder for them to maintain the emotional boundaries that allow them to make their own good choices, rather than submitting their hearts and minds and wills to the governance of other deeply flawed, fallible human beings.

Most people here tend to err on the side of speaking out against fundamentalist speech for the sake of those lurkers who are recovering from their addiction to human authority. From time to time this necessarily involves speech that is properly interpreted as less than kind, but I tend to think the tradeoff is worth it, particularly considering that no speech aimed toward persuasion is free from relatively dark consequences at some level.

Jay Buenoman

"Zoo, good posts as well. I get tired of being called a fundy but I look around at world events and belive CHrist is going to return in my lifetime. Even saying that puts me in the "wacko" category for many. But look at Achmidenijab from Iran. This guy is a total islamic fundamentalist. He's preparing his people for the return of the 12th imam...(mahdi)......this guy is suppossed to come "out of the desert". Jesus told us that people would say..."there he is in the desert."......do not believe he is the Christ.....

So I just have strong convictions because I see bible prophecy lining up...apostacy sweeping the church....a body of Christ that looks more like the world than a Bride without spot or wrinkle, and I just speak up about it all!"

Oh, brother. I'm trying not be to mean, but you do sound like a wacko talking like that.


alex

T.J. again, you've given me rhetoric. i genuinely want to know some more specific "why's" behind your thinking.

i grew up going to private, generally baptist, schools; and i tend to think that they try their damndest to ruin anyone who walks in their doors.

i have an understanding, but in all my time, i never asked "why?". please, give me a line of logic to follow...if not for me, than for your own sake; more people here than just me are wondering "why?"

Phil

Greg - I know you like to keep things heavy and deep on this blog...but....couldn't we talk about beer or something once in a while. I'd like to get your opinion on Dogfish Head Brewery stuff. It's my new fav.

Jzzbassman

Phil, I'll bet Greg hasn't been able to get his hands on much of Dogfish Head unless during travels, as they don't distribute to OK, but I'll bite.

The 90 minute IPA is great on tap. Overall, DFH makes some interesting stuff, although as they have gotten bigger, the need for consistently has led to a slight quality decline, particularly because they don't bottle condition. By filtering the crap out of everything, it is easier for QC, but I haven't had anything just mind blowing from them in the last 3 years.

Contrast that to Jolly Pumpkin, a Belgian Style brewer out of Michigan. JP does a lot of stuff like introducing Brettomyacenes and spontaneous fermentation, which is much harder to control. Some Jolly Pumpkin stuff is otherworldly good, and some might be a drain pour if the sourness gets out of hand.

Cheers, and we now return to your regularly scheduled program.

Tim Sean

Jolly Pumpkin? How would one residing in OKlahoma get their hands on it? Help! Sounds yummy.

bobstevens

Slice of Laodicea is interesting. I wonder how they feel about Chick tracts.

As much as I feel that posting an attack on an entire group of people by posting an attack on a single person and then not allowing dialogue on the issue is kind of stupid, at least whoever this Ingrid person is wasn't thinking clearly enough to put a link to the actual blog post in her rant. As such, there is rebuttal immediately when one clicks on the link. I like it.

As for theology, I still consider myself kind of fundie, but I'm thankful that I was never the aggressively ignorant, mean-spirited fundie that seems to want to attack people in the name of Christ. And for the record, when I say "aggressively ignorant", I'm not talking about the T.J. posting in this thread.

Matt (aka Kabul Kid)

I have NEVER seen such a reaction to a hookah. Where I live they are called qailoon. Oh yeah, and I have one in my office, at work. Which I smoke with my employees at least once a week... and WHAT?!! It's a way to build relationships and trust?! rather than looking down my nose at the "sinner" locals? Wow, never knew leaving America could be such a GOOD THING!! I may be about to be blown up, robbed, or shot, but at least the animosity is blatant instead of covered in a veneer of "loving, truth telling" that sounds more like a cat getting vivisected!! I guess they've still got the air of self-righteousness to make me feel at home though. Thanks Taliban for that!

yeah, I posted it twice... I like to be heard

greg

No Dogfish head around here. Someone passing through could bring me a couple. I'll fire up the hookah for any such thoughtful person. Or maybe I could just go to Dallas and hang out with the Keiths and drink good beer. Hmm...

Matt,

Glad to hear from you. Hope things are well. Let me know when you get your kabul-blog going.

skays

Dogfish Head might distribute to your local Whole Foods. I found some at the Whole Foods in Dallas. Whole Foods also distributes Victory Brewing, which is from PA. If anyone can get your hands on any of their beer, it is well worth your time.

greg

No Whole Foods in OKC yet. Another thing to lament about this corner of hell.

Bob

It's been widely observed on political blogs (sorry, too tired to hunt up a link) that liberal blogs have a, well, liberal policy on comments, and lots of conservative blogs don't even allow comments at all. I'm sure someone with more background in the subject than my one intro to psych class 30 years ago can explain why, but I see it as the "la la la...I can't hear you...la la la" reaction. This is the only way to prevent doubts from wearing away the carefully constructed so-called Christian worldview.

Instead, lots (most?) of us Christians accept doubt as the flip side of faith, and embrace it. This frees us up to tolerate, listen to and consider all the contrarian views, and grow in our faith in the process.

But...the one thing that always pisses me off (and it seems Greg and others here as well) are people that violate the norm of respectful listening and debate. So we go off the deep end against commenters trying to shut down any possibility of discussion by imposing their one true view of Christianity.

My point is, there really is not an equivalency between the negative tone on Slice and the negative tone here. Over there, it's meant to close down a journey to discover God for ourselves. Here, it's meant to keep that process open.

Matt (aka Kabul Kid)

Hey Greg,

Sorry, got the blog up about a month (2?) ago...

it's at:
www.erroscallidus.blogspot.com

Anybody is welcome, even Taliban! :)

T.J.

If you accept doubt as the flip side of faith then you'll doubt everything. You'll question God..His word..His ways..without faith it is impossible to please God...when Christ returns will He find faith in the earth?I guess not as many fall away bogged down mired under doubt.

I look at Job...this guy was doing well and he was a righteous man....satan thought he could get Job to curse God, become plagued with doubt about God's love and faithfulness and he'd reject God. Job had the highs and lows and the questions but at the end he said ....(And I love,. this and have said it myself in the middle of the floor with my bible open and a page ripped out, as I cried and screamed WHY..and WHERE ARE YOU GOD !!!)

Even tho' He slay me..yet will I trust Him...TRUST....in God's ways that are not our ways and are much higher than our ways.....when it all boils down...I'm Gonna trust GOD...HIS WORD...HIS WAYS>>>because I KNOW...He is working ALL THINGS together for My good...He is SHAPING ME AND MOLDING ME and as I DIE TO SELF....I gain more of Him in my life....As Christ wrestled in the garden....NOT MY WILL...BUT YOURS BE DONE, OH LORD>..

and that is hard to type and hard to belive when your world has been blown to bits....but that is the Christian world view...no matter WHAT...God loves me and is in CONTROL...and I am not...I SURRENDER ALL....to HIM....

Bob

Wow, sorry TJ...seems I've hit a nerve. But then that kind of proves my point.

Doubt is not the opposite of faith. It is a requirement for faith, since embracing our doubts is what leads us to faith. The opposite of faith is indifference.

skays

Greg,
Sorry there isn't any Whole Foods in your area. One day I will make it to OKC and bring you some Dogfish Head, Victory Brewery, and some of my home brewing.
Take Care.

T.J.

most christians seem to be indifferent then, Bob. Where is the passion? for the lost? for the truth? for proclaming His return?

It's comedy nights and cafe's with hot java....how about Hot prayer...hot word of God...hot truth where it is like FIRE shut up in your bones and you must release the word of the Lord?

doubt was what Zechariah had and the angel closed his speech . Faith is what Mary had . Even though she did not understand all of what was about to happen to her...she was a yielded and surrendered vessel. Oh if we could but yield to Jesus!!

Rich Schmidt

I know this has been over and done with for a while, but for some reason it popped up as new in Bloglines...

I'm glad TJ brought up Job. That book does a great job of contrasting two perspectives: that of Job's friends and that of Job.

For Job's friends, it was all very clear: obey God, and you will prosper; disobey God, and you will suffer. Their theology was buttoned up tight. It was even biblical (see Deuteronomy). So all they had to do was look at Job's suffering, and they could draw their conclusions without any need for conversation: surely he had sinned, and if he would just repent, God would have mercy.

For Job the lines were much less clear. Yes, he trusted God. He refused to "curse God and die." But why was God doing this to him? Why wouldn't God answer? Why was God being so unfair? He gave full voice to his questions, his anger, his doubt... and in doing so, he kept his faith, because he was addressing it all to God. He remained in conversation with God and wouldn't let him off the hook, because what he was experiencing wasn't lining up with the accepted understanding of what God was supposed to be up to in the world. In other words, his theology was clashing with his experience, and he refused to discount either but let them challenge each other. He lived in the tension.

I don't see how anyone can come away from the book of Job thinking it supports a fundamentalist perspective.

joe

I have come to find the Book of Job to be a nicely written satire of those who hold God to a traditional model.

Spencer Pitman

"Doubt is not the opposite of faith. It is a requirement for faith, since embracing our doubts is what leads us to faith. The opposite of faith is indifference."

Spot on Bob. And Rick Schmidt also makes an excellent point.

"If you accept doubt as the flip side of faith then you'll doubt everything. You'll question God..His word..His ways..without faith it is impossible to please God...when Christ returns will He find faith in the earth?I guess not as many fall away bogged down mired under doubt."

Um, I don't know about anyone else on here, but questioning God has been a huge part of my journey of faith. I find myself challenging God quite often, which usually leads to a humble admission that He, in his infinite wisdom, knew what was best for me all along. Jacob did it, Moses did it, and Job did it...is it wrong then to look to the heavens and wonder "what the hell is going on?" I think of C.S. Lewis talking about how of course God (in this case Aslan the lion) knows the answer and could provide it without prompt, but that he "has a feeling that he sort of likes to be asked..."

My twopence

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