Re: Coercion

From: Josh Bembenek <>
Date: Thu Apr 22 2004 - 11:15:55 EDT

Howard wrote:

You aptly use the anchor metaphor here. But remember what an anchor does --
it holds you in one place. If you never lift the anchor, you will stay in
the same place forever. The cruise and shipping industries would come to a
complete halt. Progress to a new place would be impossible. Being anchored
in one port may be good as something that precedes a journey, but keeping
the anchor on the same sandy bottom forever means stagnation. No journey. No
exploration. No progress. If that were done in science, we would still be
quoting Aristotle.

My response:

I hate to even attempt to discuss issues that border on the philosophy of
science/religion as I am a complete novice. However, I would like to point
out that there is not progress, development, or otherwise change in the
holiness of God's character and his theological characterization (from my
worldview), thus if the bible were indeed an accurate account of "The
Sacred," we have no use for progress. The same argument cannot be made for
aristotle's account of nature. This is perhaps the fundamental issue,
perhaps you believe that ancient Hebrews weren't capable of conceiving an
accurate picture of the sacred that was recorded and handed down in the

And I think you know that the bible describes in the fullest sense that life
is indeed a journey. The bible, in my opinion, is best thought of as a
road-map through spiritual life, thus your analogy reflects a
mischaracterization of the bible's message and content (and abuse of the
analogy as a way of relating your argument.)

Howard Wrote:

Remember what I said earlier:

What the biblical text gives us is a sampling of how the ancient Hebrew and
early Christian communities responded to their authentic experience of the
Sacred. I feel no responsibility to _say what they said_ (repeat their words
of response, translated into our language and our time), Instead, I feel
called to _do what they did_ (experience God_s sacred presence and respond
in my language and my time).

So, in honor of the writers of the biblical text, my commitment is to
"journey as they journeyed," and to speak freely of what I see on the
journey of life in the ubiquitous presence of the Sacred.

My response:

I surely applaud this effort and believe that this is what the bible calls
us to do. Remember I did say I was putting in 2 cents and that I did not
have exceeding context of the discussion. However, we must trust in the
accuracy of the understanding of those portrayed in the bible, and we must
also fully understand and know what they relate to us in terms of what it
means to travel with the sacred (if we believe that is what they were doing
and accurately recorded), in order to be fully capable of "doing what they
did." If we feel they were inaccurate or mislead in certain places, why
trust them (or want to "do what they did?") My point was to call for more
trust in the authority of the bible. The second point I made, you may not
have got, was that the bible also calls us to use our mental faculties to
"test and approve" so this isn't a mindless process of dogmatic adherence to
doctrinal truth and regurgitation of biblical content. Thus I will ignore
your final comments (and note that I believe you are more of a gentlemen
than that.)

Graham Wrote:

"It seems to me that both Josh and Howard have an anchor. What the anchor
does for Josh, the anchor also does for Howard. The anchor allows for a
journey between birth and death. Some get a longer anchor chain and some get
a shorter one. But both share some limits and some restrictions because of
the chain. The anchor of course is God - Creator and Redeemer. The question
is, has The Sacred spoken, lisped, only from a distance (transcendent) or
also as a human being (immanent) The Sacred with us - as Jesus of Nazareth?
There is no logic that rules out, somewhere along the journey between life
and death, giving an affirmative answer to the claims of Jesus as understood
by a specific historically developing community. And there is no logic that
prevents that affirmation from being wonderfully freeing rather than
narrowly stagnating. And yes, I did "heighten" Josh's metaphor."

My response:

Just to clarify, this analogy was used some time ago by George in a dialogue
between him and Howard that I thought was quite appropriate and thus latched
onto it.

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Received on Thu Apr 22 11:16:27 2004

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