Pocket Full of Mumbles

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I would rather create than destroy, build up rather than tear down, move rather than sit, love rather than hate, live purposefully rather than meander, write rather than stare at an empty page...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Points, Pillars, Pearls and Lodestones

"...I want the ability to change to be a part of my personality. Can any of you Christian Conservatives say the same?..."

--BenT, previous post

In the context BenT himself presents, 'change' implies trading one previously held 'truth' for a newer, shinier, BETTER 'truth'. In terms of Christianity, what kind of fool trades a pearl for a piece of lodestone?

We can argue points-- which, ultimately, mean little in the grander scheme --but not pillars. Dan and ER in particular, and BenT to no small degree, all too often question the pillars. They're not interested in honest discussion with honest 'give and take', they want only to change MY mind... make ME capitulate. Dan especially seems to delight it the practice, while hiding behind the skirts of mutual disapprobation-- a clever ploy, which usually comes off, in my ears, as smug enlightened superiority... I get the same from BenT more often than not.

Is there any wonder why I'm bored to tears with all this?

As a Christian-- who is by no means perfect, nor claims to be --anyone who chooses to call me brother MUST accept the pillars. We can agree to disagree on the rest.

Not everyone (or organization) who calls himself 'Christian' is in fact Christian. There are certain things one MUST believe to be Christian. We've had this discussion here before and I won't engage in it again now. But BenT wants to know if I (and any other Conservative Christians out here in Blogland) am as mature and enlightened as he to ALSO "want the ability to change to be a part of my personality." Sounds like smug superiority to me, but I'll answer it.

If the ability to change means to compromise what I know, beyond any shadow of doubt, to be true, then I say, "No. Absolutely not.". But if that 'ability' means allowing the pillars to stand leaving all else subject to the aforementioned ability to 'change ones mind', then I say, "Sure, why not?"

But Dan, ER, and BenT don't want me stand for something as immutable as the pillars I am trying very hard to defend.

I've tried to stay out of this and other discussions here for reasons I've already stated. The previous post most certainly began an an elegy for what America no longer 'Is'. But I am not the one who injected politics-- I merely commented on it. But what, pray tell... what ideology/philosophy... is responsible for the sad state of modern America?

BenT, in a private discussion last week, seemed to think the United States constitution is a 'Guiding' document, but not to be taken literally today because it is outdated in that it's crafter's did not envision a world filled with modern technology and global-relativeness, which did not infect their primitive minds or social mores.

But you can't have it both ways. The Constitution is either written in stone on ALL issues, or it's a worthless scrap of 210+ year old parchment.... There is too much hypocrisy in this discussion as it currently stands... primarily on the Left, but Everyone's hands are dirty. Everyone.

My focus in turning to God is to find something better for myself, personally. Of course! But it doesn't end there-- and no one here seems to have caught on. Part and parcel with what I desire for myself is a need to tell anyone who will listen that it doesn't all go black when we die... there is something beyond this life, and no other 'deity' known to man has revealed Himself to the extent that God has. Because of that everyone has a choice to make, and it's the most important decision ANYONE will ever make.

As for what I stand for... to be my brother, you must accept these pillars:

1. Jesus is God in human flesh
2. He was born of a Virgin
3. He died a substitutionary death for all Mankind
4. He rose from the dead
5. He ascended into Heaven
6. He sits now at the right hand of God the Father
7. He is returning (Physically/Bodily/In the flesh) to establish His EARTHLY kingdom, which will last 1000 years.

The rest is negotiable. But don't ask me to trade these pearls for a pocket full of lodestones.

As to politics, for 'Leftists' who blindly, and hypocritically point their fingers at 'Rightists' I have only one thing to say....

....but then I've said it all before, haven't I? And not a bit of it has ever sunk in.


Blogger mom2 said...

After you talked about the book of Jude in your posts, it made me want to go back and reread it. What you have set your heart to do is what we are advised to do there in Jude.
Be encouraged. It is not easy to remain strong, when the world delights in berating us but it is to be expected.

August 28, 2007 8:56 PM  
Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

Now, EL, when have I ever tried to persuade you to abandon any of those pillars? I've expressed my own doubt about some of them, and I have, and do, and will, argue that one can have doubts, remain unconvinced, or even outright disbelieve some of them and still be a Christian.

I think that's all I've ever tried to persuade you or anybody else. BUt not even that that ofren, as I recall. Maybe I have.

If yer tired of it all, then by all means, retire from it. Say the word and I'll go away quietly.

But, I think thou doth protest a mite much!

August 28, 2007 9:34 PM  
Blogger ELAshley said...

Thanks for that trite and tired bit o' Shakespeare.

August 28, 2007 11:18 PM  
Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

Oh, OK, "Not my brother."

Here's some plain American prose:

I don't know why you're being such a jerk to me. You are one bitter man. Enjoy your bile, dude.

August 28, 2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger ELAshley said...

Thanks for heaping in on my plate, dude.

August 29, 2007 1:10 AM  
Blogger ELAshley said...

As to my Pillars: Convictions, not Opinions.

Anyone who has read the bible with an open heart should be able to see what I'm about to say......

As to historicity of Jesus: No one can claim Jesus did not exist, no one can claim that he did not die, and judging by facts of history and simple common logic no one can claim he did not get up out of that tomb on his own steam.

As to the pillars themselves:

1- Old Testament Scripture points solidly to Jesus, and the weight of all that evidentiary scripture, clearly points to his deity and oneness with God. Without it there is no salvation for anyone. Without full deity for Jesus Christ, there is no salvation for anyone.

2- Had Jesus been born by natural birth, his blood would have been tainted by sin, and therefore unqualified, and unable to pay anyones sin debt, let alone his own. Therefore, if anyone is made clean in God's eyes, Jesus must have been born of a virgin. Without his virgin birth, there is no salvation for anyone-- This particular Old Testament prophecy points to His deity as well.

3- Had he NOT died on the cross, the Old Testament would have been shown to be nothing more than a fascinating collection of Jewish history and lore. Had he not died no one today could hope to stand before God forgiven of their sin. Without his substitutionary death, there is no salvation for anyone.

4- Had he NOT risen from the dead, no one today would have any hope of standing before God forgiven of their sin. There would be no hope for any of us in seeing life beyond this one and ONLY life we're given. The fact that all historical evidence points to his resurrection further proves his deity. Without his resurrection there is no salvation for anyone.

5- Had he not ascended into Heaven he would then be a liar, and as such a sinner, and as such, unable to pay for anyones sin let alone his own, and as such, unable to rise from the dead, which historical evidence proves he has. Without his ascension there is no salvation for anyone.

6- Based on the previous 5, if he is not positioned at the right hand of God, Jesus is a liar, and as such a sinner, and as such, unable to pay for anyone's sin let alone his own, and as such, unable to rise from the dead, which historical evidence proves he has. Furthermore, Steven, then, apparently suffered a delirium brought on by the pain of stoning when he claimed to have seen Jesus standing on the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:56). Without Jesus standing or sitting at the right hand of God the Father there is no hope of salvation for anyone.

7- Throughout the Old Testament prophets and earlier, promises were made to the Jewish people of an EARTHLY kingdom wherein they would be the supreme people upon the earth, along with the promise that the throne of David would be given to the Holy One of Israel, the Messiah, which all evidence points to Jesus as being. All of which means, our salvation is dependent upon His return.

The best part of all I've just outlined is I don't have to prove a single point. As far as I'm concerned it's incumbent upon any nay-sayers to prove otherwise. Deny any one of these things and you deny the truth of God, and His only begotten son Jesus.

And, by the way, how many reading this understands what 'Only Begotten Son' means? What it implies? I wonder, yes I do, how many people realize that if we are genuinely saved, we died on that cross two-thousand years ago with Him? That when HE rose from the dead, we did too? Does anyone here really understand what it means to be free from the Law... to be 'Under' Grace?

For all our denominational differences, God sees only one Church. What? You mean there won't be separate departments in Heaven for Pentecostals? Baptists? Lutherans? Presbyterians? Nope. God sees one Church, and Jesus is not a polygamist-- he will marry ONE bride.

August 29, 2007 2:02 AM  
Anonymous BenT - the Unbeliever said...

Are the works of Newton and Aristotle just so much worthless scraps of parchments? Even though today we know that their conclusions were wrong? Of course not! Their work and ideas paved the way for later thinkers. Newton said "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." (That quote itself seems to have been inspired by earlier authors and thinkers.)

You ask what ideology is responsible for the sad state of America? I think the answer has to be a harkening back to a golden age that never existed. This country has never been the pure soul that you cherish in your ideals.

In each decade and time frame there was dissension, moral depravity and social injustice. When we look back today the problems of the 40's and 50's they seem easier and simpler because for us those problems have already been solved. In the 40's and 50's people were looking back to the 1890's and 1900's and pining for those days of wonder. I expect 40 years from now people will look back and long for the easy times of the early 2000's.

August 29, 2007 4:52 AM  
Anonymous BenT - the Unbeliever said...

When I wrote that sentence I was specifically thinking about the kind of empathetic changes that can happen though dialog with others. I have very few "pillars" in my life. The ones that I do have deal not with revealed truths, but instead with empathetic revelations I've had through my life.

1. Each person/life is just as valuable as another.
2. Each individual sees himself as the hero/in the right.
3. If I can't understand someone the failing is often with me and not the other.
4. What I believe is not always right and true.

I've tried in all my posts here not to directly criticize your beliefs. Instead I've tried to concentrate on how you enact your beliefs in relation to others, who do not share your pillars. Sometimes I've succeeded, sometimes I've failed.

You have every right to believe what you want. What you don't have the right to do is persecute me because I don't share your viewpoints. when you try to translate your spiritual beliefs into political goals and programs, then you violate my beliefs.

August 29, 2007 5:08 AM  
Blogger D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

BenT, you're cold, cold heart...betrays your soul.

Do you think it is possible that EL...has experienced something in his life that is absolutely unmistakeable that seals the faith he expresses here?

Would you allow that it is possible that there is a Holy Spirit that others HAVE experienced when you have not?

I wonder...If YOU would conform to your own declaration that EL quotes and whichj is the subject of this post if YOU were blessed with an encounter with the Holy Spirit?

No...you just dismiss our testimony as false.

But WE have experienced something you CLEARLY have not.

In other words...you're ignorant of the subject.

I've always heard that if you don't know much about a subject, SHUT-UP ABOUT IT!

Great advice. Don't 'cha think?

Would you give us that, BenT? Or is your faith in your own intel;lect preventing you from allowing us to experience anything of substance?

Elitist know-it-all.

August 29, 2007 7:53 AM  
Blogger D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

I've never been to the Grand Canyon.

I'm pretty dang sure it exists, though.

I've seen photos. Millions of other people around the world have seen the geologic feature. I've heard their testimony. But I've never been there. Never felt the rush that others say you get when you lean out over the precipice.

Millions of people around you, BenT have experienced the grace offered by Christ. They have experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit of the Most High in their lives. They KNOW that God exists...they KNOW it beyond doubt...because they have EXPERIENCED Him.

But you don't believe it, do you?

Who's the fool......fool?

August 29, 2007 8:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

great evangelism, d. You've won me over...

August 29, 2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous BenT - the Unbeliever said...

What were you reading D.Dad because I didn't say anything about the value of experience. I just barely touched on religion. And I'm sure you didn't read my pillars three and four. Otherwise you wouldn't have gone off on a rant about my supposed "elitism". Check your meds. You're hallucinating.

August 29, 2007 10:19 AM  
Blogger D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

Dan...you've already been won over. I'm not trying to convert you...I think it is a lost cause to think I could do so.

BenT, I'd like to know how you have been persecuted.

No one here has EVER said you don't have the right to not believe in God.

Then I'd like you to list your own persecution against those who do not agree with you.

You, BenT have made it a mission to redicule the beliefs that EL and other Christians hold and have expressed on this site.

Dan has made it his mission to imply that the Christian Right is evil.

Your own words betray you both.

August 29, 2007 11:58 AM  
Blogger ELAshley said...

Daddio... Brother... I understand and share your frustration, but how you choose to express your frustration does the cause of Christ no favors. Moses may have "smote the water with a two-by-four," but he didn't smote any heads... he allowed God that task. Sometimes I feel like saying very much the same things, but what kind of testimony would that leave me? Wouldn't BenT and Dan and ER be justified in calling me a bile-filled bitter jerk?

I think we can defend ourselves and our faith without resorting to "fool"

August 29, 2007 12:56 PM  
Blogger ELAshley said...

BenT is right in terms of how we look back and see brighter, more idyllic times... every generation thinks like this. But it is undeniable that the moral fiber of this nation is drastically changed from what it was, just as our system of government has drastically changed from what the Constitution described.

...More than 50 million abortions in this nation since Roe

...The breakdown of the nuclear family

...An entire culture inured to violence; rape, murder, robbery

...And a culture of castes almost as pernicious as that of India (or rather, India's not so distant past)

What I lament is the America that once was. What I lament is a Congress (House AND Senate) that represent themselves and their own interests over those of their constituents. I lament are the 16th & 17th Amendments, and the wholesale theft of powers by the federal government from the individual states.

The Constitution cannot be mutable, nor can implied rights be read into it, for the sole benefit of one political party. The right to privacy, while certainly, implied within the body of the Constitution, does not confer the right of to murder unborn children upon a soulless conscience-bereft populace.

It's not about religion. It's about the hypocrisy of the Left who demand 'their rights and the rights of the American people to have an abortion' in one breath while demanding their be a separation of Church and State (which the constitution DOES NOT imply).

Where have all the Americans gone? Gobbled up by Leftists one by one...

August 29, 2007 1:16 PM  
Blogger ELAshley said...

On this I also agree... In what way have you been persecuted, BenT? You have expressed your opinions here almost without moderation. I give you more leeway that anyone else primarily because we work together.

August 29, 2007 1:18 PM  
Anonymous BenT - the Unbeliever said...

Recently Enterprise, AL had a tornado come through and devastate the town. To celebrate the beginning of a new school year they held a prayer walk and christian concert. I didn't get a chance to go because I had to work, but if I had I would have felt entirely uncomfortable being there. (Presumably the Christian God sent/allowed the tornado to kill 9 people. I never heard if any of the pastors at the rally addressed that point.)

For Memorial Day I went to the service at my local American Legion post. The service opened with a christian prayer and several of the speeches were loaded with christian thought. The impression was that you couldn't honor our servicemen if you weren't Christian.

The company Christmas party..., I had to mold my behavior around others' religious beliefs. This happens dozens of times per week. Christian rituals and ideals dominate America and I have to change to fit in.

It isn't the social ostracism that blacks faced before the civil rights revolution, but I still am persecuted for my beliefs.

August 29, 2007 4:42 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

"Check your meds. You're hallucinating." If I'm NOT hallucinating, I've got the wrong meds.

"You mean there won't be separate departments in Heaven for Pentecostals? Baptists? Lutherans? Presbyterians? Nope." Except for that one locked door. It's for the Catholics. They like to think they're the only ones there. (I love that joke.)

All seriousness aside:


Imagine how you'd feel in Saudi Arabia! Truth to tell, if you're amongst ANY group that is different or distinct from you, you'd feel the same way. It's hardly persecution. But if while amongst them, you act in a manner considered by the improper, of course you'll take some heat. Heck, if you're on a bowling league and act in a manner the bowlers dislike, you'll take heat! The idea is, that when you're amongst ANY group, either willingly or by force, you adhere to the majority's beliefs regarding behavior. It's a consideration thing. At the same time, if there's one major item that really hacks you off, they might relent if you bring it up respectfully. In any case, it doesn't hurt to ask. You can't really expect them all to change for one guy, do you? They can't make you pray with them, but you probably should keep quiet if you can't leave the room. It's simple consideration. I know I'd certainly feel as you do if I were amongst Muslims. I'd leave the room if they prayed or I'd keep quiet. I'd be hacked if their was no bacon for my cheeseburger, but I'd have to deal. It's just the way it is. They aren't persecuting as much as you're expectations of them are a bit much. Just my opinion.

August 31, 2007 1:14 AM  

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