Re: Ken Ham

From: Jim Armstrong (
Date: Tue Mar 18 2003 - 22:06:22 EST

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    I'm sorry, but I have a bit of a problem with this response. I'll state
    at the outset that what follows is my perspective, and it's under
    construction in this area.

    I know some of these folks. My sense is that people abandon Christianity
    for one of two reasons: it has just somehow become irrelevant to them,
    or it has become aversive to them (something bad happened, or the
    expression of Christianity they are associated with no longer reflects
    their sense of what Jesus was/is and did/does).

    With respect to the latter, there are in our time undeniably strident
    Christian voices whose very public utterings are uninformed in some
    respects (e.g., science) and/or whose speech and actions are
    inconsistent with emulation of the one whose name their bear. Sadly,
    these voices contribute materially to the definition of a stereotype of
    Christianity that is unattractive, and in the worst case aversive to
    many - Christian and non-Christian alike. They also unfortunately also
    define to some extent what is off-limits to discuss freely in the church
    environment, and even what can be spoken from the pulpit. When people
    find themselves feeling that the Christ they know in their hearts and
    the freedoms he brings are reflected with insufficient fidelity in their
    particular church, some folks just express their discontent with their feet.

    I am afraid that the "Levitical prohibitions" and some modes of defense
    of morality may even be one of the contributing problems, especially
    when it appears self-righteous and particularly when it seems
    hypocritical. It sure seems to me that one of the clear reasons for
    Jesus' walk among us was to help us move from reacting to, judging
    under, and enforcing law to understanding the spirit of the Law ... its
    underlying principles ... and thereafter expressing grace and mercy out
    of humility and great debt.

    Morality doesn't need to be defended in the face of science! Gracious,
    science is not the adversary!! Worse yet, there are some pretty clear
    instances where "defending" has turned into "offending" (e.g.,
    creationism whose militant advocacy has not been well responded to with
    equal vigor by the rest of the Christian community). I am not even sure
    that the game is in "defending", but more in being leavening and/or salt
    and pepper in the world. There are increasing numbers of challenging
    issues where opinion in the community, nation, or world is split right
    down the middle. This is true for many issues of import to Christians.
    Let's get our thinking hat on and face this fact: there is no way to win
    in all too many of these contests. But, ...there are ways to lose! We
    can compromise our ability to communicate our case, rationale, and
    influence through a suboptimal process for advancing our position.
    Wisdom and influence and example and congruity in all! Those are the
    real defenses! ... following the example of Jesus.

    The life and teachings of Jesus were certainly in part to move our frame
    of reference from law to principal, modeled for us (to help us "get
    it"!) in the life and actions of Jesus. We find a lot of things to do in
    the cause of Christ, but I am reminded of a New Testament passage that
    reads, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto
    you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
    brethren, ye have done it unto me." In the Old Testament, "He hath
    shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of
    thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy
    God?" Alas we seem to put a lot of energy into other stuff - with the
    best of intentions - but achieving a less than optimal expression of
    Christ's residual presence - and mission - on this small planet.

    Regard - Jim Armstrong wrote:

    > In a message dated 3/18/03 12:38:13 PM Eastern Standard Time,
    > writes:
    >> On the recent discussions about Ken Ham & AIG.
    >> Paul Masson wrote an open letter to Ham two or three years ago
    >> addressing
    >> his errors.
    > Ham is wrong about science but right about morality - people are
    > abandoning Christianity altogether and the Levitical prohibitions St.
    > Paul maintained for us and we are being "spewed out of the land." Who
    > is to defend morality in the face of science if Ham doesn't?
    > rich

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