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#421 jfutral

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:07 AM


The reason I prefer to think about religion in terms of aesthetics, is that just like aesthetes often find themselves arguing about what is real beauty or what should be defined as art, so to do I find the religious mired in the same discussions, particularly about about Christianity.

Ah, but an argument about X should not be mistaken for X itself.

But that is the problem I have with much Christian religion. Some are mistaking the argument for what they are arguing about. They are much more concerned with creating a defensible position than just being a Christian. They are Roger Scruton arguing that only classical forms are beautiful and worth being called art.

To venture away from the aesthetics argument and be a bit more postmodern, to a certain degree, the systems created to support the arts are more important than the art they were created to support.

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#422 Stephen Lamb

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:22 AM


It's on the Internet. Of course it's nutty.

Speaking of nutty, check this out while you can. I am expecting MH lawyers to be all over Matthew Paul Turner very soon for unauthorized use of the MH logo. I do not wish to suggest that church discipline is a bad idea, but is this the form it should take?



Wow.... the follow up.


This is being discussed now on the Internet Monk blog (among many, many other places).

http://www.internetm...urch-discipline

#423 jfutral

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 10:11 AM

It certainly allows for the artist to be without the need to understand the aesthetics that may or may not describe what they are doing or creating.

Right. but of course one who neither does nor creates is not an artist, no matter how much he insists that he is; and one who does or creates is, in that sense, an artist, whether or not she wishes to be called one.

And an artist is an artist whether they know what an artist is or not.

I'm kind of less concerned about a non-Christian who has had a bad experience with religion than I am about a Christian who has had a bad experience with religion, although the end results are usually pretty similar. The non-Chrstian is usually not trying to make any pretense about being a Christian. What I mean is, if the non-Christian is sincerely searching to connect and have a relationship with God, the bad experience with religion or _a_ religion won't stop the search, just probably reframe the search. Obviously depending on the experience and what point of need is driving the search.

But if a Christian has a bad experience, especially with the religious practices they have adopted to have that relationship, it can be faith shattering.

Even if you say that religious practices are simply the conversation that allows the relationship, then what is the pipe? (Sorry, reference to the painting "This is not a pipe") What is the religion? The relationship? Or the means to the relationship?

We may say we can't have one without the other, but then why is it we seem so intent on making such a big deal about the means? You say:

"A useful working definition of "religion" could be "the things we do to respond to God's love and maintain a relationship with him." I think the dichotomy between "relationship" and "religion" is largely artificial."

But that in itself somewhat perpetuates the dichotomy. The things we do to respond to God's love is not itself love. The religion, in this definition (and I like this definition, mind you) may be the expression of that love/relationship, but it is not the love/relationship itself. I show my love for my daughter. I show my love for my wife. But my love is not that showing. My love prompts and urges the acts, but it is not the acts. Those acts those religious practices can even exist without love urging them. The acts don't define the love, the love defines the acts.

Joe

Edited by jfutral, 25 January 2012 - 10:12 AM.


#424 mrmando

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 12:30 PM

The acts don't define the love, the love defines the acts.

Precisely. It comes down to motivation. Am I responding to God out of a desire for self-justification? Then my motives are wrong and my religion is false. Am I responding out of love and gratitude? Then it's more likely that my religion is true. Without getting too personal, this exactly has been my lifelong struggle, coming as I do from a legalistic, near-fundamentalist background. To return to another example given by Jesus, the Pharisee and the tax collector performed the exact same religious action: prayer. It was their motives, and the content of their prayers, that set them apart.

Edited by mrmando, 25 January 2012 - 12:30 PM.


#425 mrmando

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 12:43 PM

So in Matthew 18, Jesus tells us to treat those under church discipline like tax collectors. And he shows us how to treat tax collectors by inviting them to be his disciples, by eating with them, by loving them just the same.

I'm not sure this clever bit of prooftexting would pass the scholarly sniff test, but it's pretty brilliant on its own terms! However, I think someone else noted that the parable of the unmerciful servant, which is all about forgiveness, comes right after the church discipline passage in Mt. 18.

The church discipline process at MH didn't seem at all redemptive or restorative; nor did it seem to provide, for the poor chap being disciplined, any sense of what his penance would accomplish.

Edited by mrmando, 25 January 2012 - 12:44 PM.


#426 jfutral

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 12:56 PM

And if we are to treat the disciplined as a tax collector, and we use Jesus and how he treated tax collectors as the example of how to treat a tax collector, where does that leave us? Didn't he hang out with the tax collectors?

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#427 mrmando

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:00 PM

"Hang out with"? No.

Offer redemptive grace to, as an essential part of his ministry, to the point of inviting one of them to be his disciple? Yes.

#428 Attica

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 03:22 PM


So in Matthew 18, Jesus tells us to treat those under church discipline like tax collectors. And he shows us how to treat tax collectors by inviting them to be his disciples, by eating with them, by loving them just the same.

I'm not sure this clever bit of prooftexting would pass the scholarly sniff test, but it's pretty brilliant on its own terms! However, I think someone else noted that the parable of the unmerciful servant, which is all about forgiveness, comes right after the church discipline passage in Mt. 18.

The church discipline process at MH didn't seem at all redemptive or restorative; nor did it seem to provide, for the poor chap being disciplined, any sense of what his penance would accomplish.



Yeah I had thought something similar about that Matthew 18, and how it all comes down to the context of how it was spoken. I just thought I would throw it up here because it did strike me as a fascinating comment.


Another thing I was thinking about the church's discipline process, is that it doesn't really leave much room for the restoration to happen naturally, in it's own time (or maybe better God's timing). I mean sometimes working through various issues, especially dealing with the hurts caused to others, and also caused by them, can take years for people with the help of God's spirit working to sort it all out. This idea of just going up to people and repenting isn't always that simple.

They seem to be trying to solve a problem that is very relational, between the person and himself, the person and God, and the person and those who were hurt........ into something that is more or less formula. Not to mention all of the other possible aspects to the situation. Like for instance, maybe some people need to repent to Andrew, because they saw what was happening, or about to happen, and didn't help him in it...... or possibly even encouraged him in it.

Who knows, maybe the fiance was originally the instigator and he was trying to pull back.


See that leads to something that people commenting on this do not seem to be touching on...... all of this response by the church isn't just bringing pain, condemnation, and shame on to Andrew, but I would suspect also his fiance, and those close to her. I mean it's all publically set up against Andrew, but the public that is involved in this knows darn well who the fiance is, and she basically did all of the same things that Andrew is accused of, being the original covering up of what they were doing, ect. Anybody that stops and thinks about the issue can see that she, although more behind the scenes, would be observing the whole fiasco, knowing, that people are connecting Andrew to her in their understanding of this.

Plus another big problem with the situation is that a couple who was preparing for marriage, has broken apart through him surely going to far with another girl.... but not "all of the way". Their relationship is probably not beyond restoration, but there is no indication that this is a large part of the Church's agenda.

Edited by Attica, 25 January 2012 - 05:17 PM.


#429 Attica

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 03:30 PM

"Hang out with"? No.

Offer redemptive grace to, as an essential part of his ministry, to the point of inviting one of them to be his disciple? Yes.



Well. He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting. But hanging out with in the sense of enabling their sin, Um, not likely. Although Jesus did turn water into wine at a Jewish wedding feast where in all likelyhood there were some people who would have had a little to much of the drink. I mean, I know the liquour content of their wine wasn't as much as ours is...... but people could have just drank that much more.

Edited by Attica, 25 January 2012 - 05:15 PM.


#430 Stephen Lamb

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:21 PM

I have some further thoughts on this issue here, for those interested: http://t.co/p6dJ0br2

#431 jfutral

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:06 PM


"Hang out with"? No.

Offer redemptive grace to, as an essential part of his ministry, to the point of inviting one of them to be his disciple? Yes.



Well. He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting. But hanging out with in the sense of enabling their sin, Um, not likely. Although Jesus did turn water into wine at a Jewish wedding feast where in all likelyhood there were some people who would have had a little to much of the drink. I mean, I know the liquour content of their wine wasn't as much as ours is...... but people could have just drank that much more.


I'm afraid to ask what you guys think hangin' out means or what you think I mean by hangin' out. But if someone is not ditchin' me, I'm not ditchin' them. I don't see how in the world anyone can be restored or asked to follow someone sans relationship. And if anyone thinks that's what 'church discipline' means, they can keep their church and their discipline and good luck with that. I'll just go hang out at Johnny's Cafe or Denny's instead. (HT to days LONG gone by)

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#432 mrmando

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 11:42 PM

Bonus points for Johnny's Cafe!

To me, "hanging out" implies leisure time, and I think the time Jesus spent reaching out to sinners was far too important to be categorized as a mere leisure activity.

I've also heard people try to extend the metaphor even beyond Johnny's Cafe ... to suggest that Jesus would frequent the red light district, or go to bars ... just to find sinners to hang out with. Many Christian ministries today are doing just that. And if that's what they need to do in order to find sinners, then more power to 'em. But ...

The "hung out with sinners" meme comes almost entirely from Jesus' dinner at Matthew's house, which appears in all three of the Synoptics (Mk. 2, Mt. 9, Lk. 5). If we read the texts carefully, we see that Jesus didn't have to go seek out sinners ... rather, they came to Matthew's house to seek him out. Mark even says the tax collectors and sinners were among Jesus' followers.

So if we have to hunt sinners down in order to hang out with them, rather than being able to make sinners want to hang out with us ... is there something Jesus knew or did that we are not knowing or doing?

He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting.

FWIW, he also ate with a Pharisee (Luke 7).

Edited by mrmando, 25 January 2012 - 11:55 PM.


#433 mrmando

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 11:48 PM

I have some further thoughts on this issue here, for those interested: http://t.co/p6dJ0br2

Wow. Thanks very much for sharing.

So ... um ... you all know that before he got involved with Pixar, Brad Bird made a wonderful animated kids' movie called The Iron Giant. But what's on my mind right now is The Giant Irony.

Doesn't abusive, nonredemptive, unforgiving church discipline look a lot like "religion" in the worst, pejorative, Archie Comics/Jeff Bethke sense of the term?

If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?

And if Jesus came to abolish "religion" ... where might you suggest that he begin?

Edited by mrmando, 25 January 2012 - 11:56 PM.


#434 Attica

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 01:04 AM


I have some further thoughts on this issue here, for those interested: http://t.co/p6dJ0br2

Wow. Thanks very much for sharing.

So ... um ... you all know that before he got involved with Pixar, Brad Bird made a wonderful animated kids' movie called The Iron Giant. But what's on my mind right now is The Giant Irony.

Doesn't abusive, nonredemptive, unforgiving church discipline look a lot like "religion" in the worst, pejorative, Archie Comics/Jeff Bethke sense of the term?

If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?

And if Jesus came to abolish "religion" ... where might you suggest that he begin?



I agree Stephen. That was a very good article and I enjoyed reading about your journey described in it. To my mind it's a journey out of darkness. :)


mrmando, what your saying here is some good stuff. I'd say that when someone doesn't understand how gracious and merciful God's character is they might change the forms of their Christianity, to what they consider a "non religious" form...... but the core problem is still there.

Edited by Attica, 26 January 2012 - 01:26 AM.


#435 Attica

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 01:23 AM



"Hang out with"? No.

Offer redemptive grace to, as an essential part of his ministry, to the point of inviting one of them to be his disciple? Yes.



Well. He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting. But hanging out with in the sense of enabling their sin, Um, not likely. Although Jesus did turn water into wine at a Jewish wedding feast where in all likelyhood there were some people who would have had a little to much of the drink. I mean, I know the liquour content of their wine wasn't as much as ours is...... but people could have just drank that much more.


I'm afraid to ask what you guys think hangin' out means or what you think I mean by hangin' out. But if someone is not ditchin' me, I'm not ditchin' them. I don't see how in the world anyone can be restored or asked to follow someone sans relationship. And if anyone thinks that's what 'church discipline' means, they can keep their church and their discipline and good luck with that. I'll just go hang out at Johnny's Cafe or Denny's instead. (HT to days LONG gone by)

Joe



I agree with what your saying in principle about not ditchin' people, but sometimes there is a time to move on. It's all about healthy boundaries, in which parameters are different with each person. An example which fits in with my understanding of hanging out.... I've gone to blues bars ect. and had a beer with my friends one time I even ended up talking about Christ, but I'm certainly not going to go have a beer with someone who is struggling with alcoholism. I have some old High School friends who like to smoke pot, who I hang out and chat with on various different occassion, and have a great time with, but I'm probably not going to hang out with them when they smoke joints and watch movies in their house.

Your absolutely right though that people cannot be impacted without relationship. I've observed the concept of shunning where it has even gone farther than this. Ya know shunning a Christian because they wear jeans and not dresses, or wear makeup, or dance. It can get really nuts, and it's dark. I have friends who have grown up in this kind of crap, and I can tell you for certain that they've all had to go through some sort of healing.

Edited by Attica, 26 January 2012 - 01:35 AM.


#436 jfutral

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 01:25 AM

The "hung out with sinners" meme comes almost entirely from Jesus' dinner at Matthew's house, which appears in all three of the Synoptics (Mk. 2, Mt. 9, Lk. 5). If we read the texts carefully, we see that Jesus didn't have to go seek out sinners ... rather, they came to Matthew's house to seek him out. Mark even says the tax collectors and sinners were among Jesus' followers.

So if we have to hunt sinners down in order to hang out with them, rather than being able to make sinners want to hang out with us ... is there something Jesus knew or did that we are not knowing or doing?

Celebrity? ;-)

Yes. Jesus also seemed to have a knack for being where people were going to be hanging out already. He did a lot of "going to" to make himself available to be approached, no doubt. His story doesn't seem to keep him stationary and everyone came to him on the mountain top.

I happen to believe leisure time is the most important time to be around people. Guards are down and real relationship foundations and trust get built when someone doesn't think they are your pet project and outside a "Christian" setting. Doesn't mean you hide who you are or try to fit in by joining questionable behaviour. I have a hard time believing the gospel accounts are exhaustive enough that there was no leisure time for Jesus to spend with the disciples and others he came across and that it wasn't important. It is not difficult for me to imagine many of the parables being derived from some activity they could witness or maybe some discussion they had during their leisure time. I am also not entirely sure some of the stories themselves were not actually when one could consider leisure time. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. I've never read or studied from that perspective before, but it might make for an interesting study.

So Jesus goes to a tax collector's house to hang out (and obviously "hang out" has more meaning to me than you). And then he tells his followers that if someone refuses to hear the whole church (did they really think in terms of "church" at this time?), they should treat them as a tax collector.

Regardless of what we define as leisure time or how accurate our version of hanging out is to what Jesus did. I think Jesus actions are pretty clear. However you think Jesus treated tax collectors and pagans, that is how we should treat the disciplined. We should be someone not only to hang out with, but to also listen and be heard. We should be approachable. I don't see some "cut them off and turn our backs to them" kind of approach in any of Jesus' dealings with people. No "de-friending".

This:
"If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?"

But then this, too?:

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you."

"But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."

Joe

#437 Attica

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 01:37 AM

I happen to believe leisure time is the most important time to be around people. Guards are down and real relationship foundations and trust get built when someone doesn't think they are your pet project and outside a "Christian" setting. Doesn't mean you hide who you are or try to fit in by joining questionable behaviour. I have a hard time believing the gospel accounts are exhaustive enough that there was no leisure time for Jesus to spend with the disciples and others he came across and that it wasn't important.


That works for me. :D

Edited by Attica, 26 January 2012 - 01:37 AM.


#438 Thom Wade

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:24 PM

Who knows, maybe the fiance was originally the instigator and he was trying to pull back.


See that leads to something that people commenting on this do not seem to be touching on...... all of this response by the church isn't just bringing pain, condemnation, and shame on to Andrew, but I would suspect also his fiance, and those close to her. I mean it's all publically set up against Andrew, but the public that is involved in this knows darn well who the fiance is, and she basically did all of the same things that Andrew is accused of, being the original covering up of what they were doing, ect. Anybody that stops and thinks about the issue can see that she, although more behind the scenes, would be observing the whole fiasco, knowing, that people are connecting Andrew to her in their understanding of this.


Well, the problem is, she is viewed as a victim of Andrews. They teach that the woman is the weaker vessel and so even if she was the instigator, it was all his fault for not "leading her to righteousness".

#439 mrmando

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 02:30 PM

So Jesus goes to a tax collector's house to hang out (and obviously "hang out" has more meaning to me than you).

Interesting ... to me the term "hang out" has a slightly negative connotation ... just a step away from "loiter." To you it apparently means something quite different.

#440 David Smedberg

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 02:59 PM

Interesting ... to me the term "hang out" has a slightly negative connotation ... just a step away from "loiter." To you it apparently means something quite different.

Hang out is something I do. Loiter is something someone else does.