From: Jim Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Mar 18 2003 - 22:06:22 EST
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
> In a message dated 3/18/03 12:38:13 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> email@example.com writes:
>> On the recent discussions about Ken Ham & AIG.
>> Paul Masson wrote an open letter to Ham two or three years ago
>> 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?
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