Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Presbyterians Renewing Your Future



Thanks to Presby Bill for his Redneck Collection:






Bill also happened to include some pics of leaders of the various Presbyterian renewal movements.

Here is Rev. Billy Bob and Miss Sissy from the Presbyterian Coalition.

They work hard to keep Presbyterians safe from Gay Cooties.






The executive director of the LayMAN goes fishing for men.






Rev. Jimmy B. of the IRD and his kitty preparing for another trip to Louisville to uncover more of the PC(USA)'s sins.










55 comments:

  1. "The executive director of the LayMAN goes fishing for men."

    *ahem* Well these days such a revelation about someone that anti-gay doesn't even raise eyebrows, but I think they generally fish for men in airport bathrooms.

    What? Too on the mark? ;)

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  2. John, I've been reading your blog ever since you and Bob did your back and forth posts. Yeah, I'm evangelical... would like to think I'm open-minded, thoughtful, gracious, etc...

    What the heck? I get satire; I get comedy; I even get frustrated rants... but you're lowering yourself beneath those you are taking potshots at.

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  3. LOL!

    alan:
    I love you, man. ;)

    Robert:
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.


    Hey, John. Don't forget this one...
    IMAGE

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  4. It is cheeky fun (I've gotten these pictures forwarded by fellow Southerners, though just poking fun at rednecks in general), and considering how folks like the IRD and Presby Coalition always describe us with The Gay in ways that would make the Village People or Frankie Goes to Hollywood look like Johnny Cash or Tom Jones.

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  6. Lol, Fly....

    No doubt that by the time the manage to orate "The Gay" and finish trailing the "y", the next utterance will surely be something about us debauchin' Liberal Her-e-tics.

    We learn things from pictures like these. Useful, healthy things.
    Things like....

    1) I've been right all along about what kind of people shop at Mao-Mart.

    2) All things considered, the Confederate Flag looks a lot better flying over a state capital.

    3) Hey, even Laural Marina had to start small.

    4) I have a cat. Now I know where my brew disappears to.

    5) And of course, the pic I offered up is a vivid essay on the perils of voting Republican and swan diving in mud puddles.

    I feel a sense of enlightenment as we speak. ;)

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  7. I have been angry these last few days. I am realizing just how much. I make these cheeky posts (thanks for that word, FLY) because I don't have the language for what I really want to say.

    Last night I battled (very politely) through a three-hour presbytery council meeting. We have to deal with nonsense. People willing to waste all kinds of money and to bring the presbytery down so they can hassle our staff.

    Then this past the PJC hands down its ruling. The PJC could have done a lot of things. They could have. They are human beings. They decided we needed to fight some more.

    I didn't like the TTF report, but what else could that group have done? They tried. It was a godawful compromise, but that is what it was. A little leeway for ordaining bodies to make decisions.
    The idea was to move on with other things.

    But no, you right-wing bastards won't even allow a freaking scruple.

    Now it is war again. I tell you, if there was a proposal now that would remove G-6.0106b and the 1993 AI and allow congregations to leave with the denomination's property free of charge, I would be for it just to get rid of you SOBs.

    I feel no affection for you and your Taliban theology. You are destroying our denomination. I despise you today.

    But instead of writing how I feel, I posted a pic of a woman in a confederate bikini.

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  8. Frustrating, no?

    Now you know why Dick Ray retired with heart problems.

    Don't let them get to you, John. Laugh at them. They are, after all, clowns.

    They're scared little people. They fear the world and all who do not conform to their simplistic, singularly minded, "Talibanish" :)
    view of the Christian religion.

    Fear is their primal emotion. That's why you and I can't understand, we do not know fear like they do.
    One of the reasons they cling to virgin births and physical resurrection is because it makes it easier for them to die.
    That's what it's all about, fear of the unknown and even more alarming, fear of enlightenment.

    The pics are a good way to vent. I do it all the time. ;)

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  9. I thought for a minute that Monkey had taken over your blog for a day, John. Then I read the comments. I'm sorry this is happening to the PCUSA, but then again, growth is painful.

    By the way, TN420 - you crack me up. But, I have to say I don't think any self-loathing slash that I mean self-respecting GOPer would allow himself to have that much fun outside a public restroom.

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  10. John, tn420, all, if you knew Jesus Christ, allowed him Lordship of your lives he would forgive your sins with the bood he shed and you would not have to carry about so much hatred in your hearts. You would find forgiveness in him.

    "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which he lavished on us." (Eph 1:7-8b)

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  11. I can be a little ruthless when it comes to political commentary, snad. And when I am I mean what I write.

    A good friend and A-Team blogger (you'd know the name in an instant) told me that if I won't lighten up on the commentary, I should do my best to interject humor and occasionally blog about something other than politics and religion.

    So I try to put a smile on the face of at lest one person in the midst of my daily vitriolic nastiness.

    You'll do nicely. :)

    Keep on being a good person, Snad.
    You're good at it.

    PCUSA has survived far more ghoulish threats than the New Whinskins and their like. Someone like John who is so passionate about the lessons Jesus taught us and how they are the foundation of PCUSA is going to get seething mad every time he sees how they hide behind faith while furthering an un-Christlike agenda.
    What else can he do? Evil angered Jesus, if we're His it must anger us too.

    Fortunately, we have this new weapon called the internet. It destroys evil with truth. Combats ignorance with information.
    We wield it mightily, it is our double edged sword. And we will never, ever stop until the "lies and the lying liars that tell them" are fully exposed.
    Make no mistake, this is war.

    Every time I deliver or retrieve my mother from Sunday meeting at 1st Prez Bristol I see, walking through the parking lot, the people that stabbed my self and two dear friends in the back. strolling to their fancy cars, Bibles in hand, laughing with others and speaking of God...

    They smile and wave at me, "oh, we haven't seen you for a long time". "We're so proud of how you take care of your mother".

    They don't know that I know.

    Who, what, when, where and why.
    I know all (Thanx to one genuine, signed, sealed, and sanctified Christian on the session).
    I allow the game to continue. I smile back and wave, all the while wanting to expose them right there in front of everyone so bad it makes me want to explode.
    These people are diabolical liars and hypocrites. They have destroyed others for the want of money and social status. They have bore false witness against myself and others.
    And I have proof conclusive.

    As long as people like these infest PCUSA and especially 1st Bristol, I will always be here railing, against their kind if I can't mention names, and I will never let up.

    One day I will expose them individually. But only to protect others, like John. Not for my own pleasure.
    You see, I'm not the hypocrite they are. I have forgiven them for what they did to me. But for what these did to ones I love, and for what their ilk do to my church and the Presbytery in general, I remain forever their nemesis. We will be rid of them one day.

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  12. Viola...

    You have no clue what's in my heart.

    Save your verse quoting for those that haven't been studying the Bible for forty years.

    We're under no spiritual obligation to embrace evil.

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  13. I'm totally in the dark, here. What is 2010GA, and why is everyone totally riled up??

    God have mercy!!

    Tn420, if these folks have stabbed you in the back, and are hypocrites, then they need to be confronted about this personally for the sake of their own ministry and relationship with the Lord. (I don't know what the issue is at hand.)

    But, I think you are not doing them a kindness, Tn420.

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  14. Also, what is the 1993AL, and G-6.0106b.

    We need a translator to interpret Presbyspeak. :)

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  15. Viola, I do trust in Christ as the Lord of my life (I find the "allowed him Lordship" to be creepily un-Presbyterian), and yet I am being treated as a second-class citizen and prevented from serving the church. That. Is. Wrong.

    tn420, you're lucky. At the church where my sister and I grew up, where my dad was on the Session for 25 years, where my mom was Sunday School Superintendent, we were advised "to be pastored to somewhere else" after they found out I was gay and neither my parents nor I were particularly interested in the ex-gay quackery. My dad resigned from the Session in protest, and heard from exactly one fellow elder. We stopped attending entirely, and no one asked what was going on (aside from a note from the Pastor--not the Clerk of Session--telling us we were now on the inactive roll). The three of us have since transferred to my current church, and today I wish I had done so sooner. My parents live 5 minutes from that old church, and I drive past it every time I visit them. No one there seems particularly bothered that our family left.

    Grace, GA refers to General Assembly, which is like the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly on steroids. It is at this national level that individual presbyteries (regional bodies) can make "overtures" to amend the church constitution. The last one was in Birmingham in 2006. Starting in 2004, we have GA every two years. The next is this June in San Jose. The one after that is in 2010 in Minneapolis. What John is suggesting is that if we don't get this resolved this year, then next time, throw down the gauntlet and make the schismatics put their money where their mouths are.

    Very briefly, the fight is over G-6.0106b of the Book of Order (half of our church's constitution). It was added in 1997 to say that officers in the church (Deacons, Elders, Ministers of Word & Sacrament) must either be in a faithful marriage between a man and a woman or "chastity in singleness". The recent judicial ruling basically says that if you disagree with this, you are automatically unqualified to be an officer. It essentially codified a 1993 AI (Authoritative Interpretation), which is like a signing statement. It's the GA's way of telling the presbyteries how they read the constitution.

    In 2004, a Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the church began a lengthy process of discernment and decided that the best compromise would be to dust off the concept of "scruples", first described in the 1700s. It allows a candidate for ministry to declare a scruple (personal reservation) about something in the church constitution and allow the governing body to decide whether or not it was a serious departure from the essential tenets of the Reformed faith. Por ejemplo, a candidate in the 1770s or 80s might declare a scruple against the Westminster Confession's assertion that the civil magistrate (i.e., King George III) was selected by God. The idea is that when the examining body (Session for Elders & Deacons, Presbytery for Ministers) is questioning the candidate, they can decide whether the difference of opinion was serious enough to prevent the candidate from becoming ordained. Disagree with the "civil magistrate" bits of Westminster, probably no big deal. Disagree with the statement the "Jesus is Lord", probably a very big deal.

    This all just went out the window.

    Grace, the problem is that the people who are shunning people like me and tn420 and John and trying to destroy the denomination are convinced in a quixotic way that they are right, that these actions further their ministry and relationship with God. It's hard to reach out to fanatics.

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  16. I understand better Flycandler. Thanks!

    Viola, are the conservatives concerned that this whole concept of "scruples" may open the door to candidates who have left the central tenets of the Christian faith?

    Or is the concern just more for the sexuality issue? Would the conservatives be open to this if "scruples" would be more narrowly defined?

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  17. viola writes, "all, if you knew Jesus Christ, allowed him Lordship of your lives he would forgive your sins with the bood he shed and you would not have to carry about so much hatred in your hearts."

    Well, I suppose I'm included in "all". Listen kitten, don't presume to know my heart, so drop the phony piety. I don't hate you or anyone else on the other side.

    Angry? Yup, definitely angry. Is that a sin? Nope. Hate? Nope, don't feel that at all.

    I don't hate you.

    I feel sorry for you.

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  18. Grace,
    The orthodox, that is, those who hold to the traditional tenets of the faith, the Holy Scripture and the Confessions of the Church, are concerned about all the indispensable beliefs of Christianity; that is, such teachings as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, the atonement brought about by Jesus death on the cross. They are also concerned about sexual sin. And that is more than just homosexuality.

    However, at this point in our Church history there are, as I see it, a three pronged assault on our Church. One is on the unique Lordship of Jesus Christ, that is, is he the only Savior. The second is on the atonement of Jesus Christ and the third is the attempt to redefine sexual sin.

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  19. Grace,

    Don't let the rhetoric and code-words fool you. For some folks "orthodox" means "people who think homosexuality is an abomination." Period.

    I, for one, am proof that one can, in fact, have genuinely orthodox views of the infallible and unique authority of Scripture, the incarnation, the Trinity, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, etc., and can, through devout prayer and detailed study using completely "orthodox", Reformed methods of Biblical interpretation, come to the opposite conclusion about sexual orientation, the ordination of LGBT people, and same-sex marriage.

    However, at this point (as at every point) in our Church history there is a three-pronged assault on our Church. One is the fundamentalist notion that, in the name of protecting Scripture (as if we could, and as if we even need to) we should create an idol out of extra-Scriptural, human-created doctrines and demand people kneel to those doctrines. The second, is the institution of a blatantly Catholic notion of clericalism. The third is an attempt to rule by fear and intimidation, rather than serve with grace and peace.

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  20. Thanks, Alan. That was perfectly stated.

    As for the lovely Viola, no, I don't hate you phony, hypocritical, pious, ignorant bastards. You just tick me off, some days more than others.

    Relating to you is kind of like fighting with my brother growing up. I love him more than I despised him, but when I despised him, I meant it.

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  21. Thanks John. Let's go with "well stated" rather than "perfectly stated" though. ;) My parents would be happy to know that, occasionally, I can put that expensive Calvin College education to good use once in a while -- at least more than just being able to quote the college motto in Latin. :)

    Speaking of hate...

    I find it ironic that, whenever we liberals accuse the fundies of hating the gays, we get the "Oh, no we don't hate them! We're trying to tell them the truth in love!" Yet those very same fundies turn around and accuse us of hate.

    I guess it's easier to figure out those sorts of contradictions if you're used to talking out of both sides of your mouth. I guess I don't have much experience at that.

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  22. Thanks Alan, and Viola.

    Viola, I can see just from your blog that you're a caring and godly woman, my sister in Christ.

    But, is it wise to put such issues as the atonement of the Lord, and the unique Lordship of Christ on the same level as this whole sexuality issue?

    The work of the cross is central to Christian faith, but as Alan has shared equally orthodox Christians may disagree concerning the interpretation of the Scripture relating to sexual orientation.

    Have you been able to check out some websites such as "Evangelicals Concerned," or "Inclusive Orthodoxy?"

    Why not agree to disagree concerning this matter, and stress our oneness in Christ, around the gospel?

    Do you think it's possible, Viola, that you and some other conservatives in the church may be wrong in this whole thing?

    Respectfully..
    Grace.

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  23. Great post John!

    Having 4 brothers I can relate to that. I posted this on Viala's blog yesterday. You might like it, she didn't.

    “Reformers who are obsessed with purity and cannot see that their obsession is impure.”
    E. M. Forster

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  24. Grace,
    I was gone most of the day to meetings. Sorry to take so long on this. You wrote:
    “Why not agree to disagree concerning this matter, and stress our oneness in Christ, around the gospel?”

    My reply is that Jesus Christ died to give us new life in him. In union with Him, bearing his righteousness, we are called to walk according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4 speaks of how Christ has set us free so we are no longer under condemnation. Romans 8:5-8 speaks of how this separates those who have their mind set on the flesh and not on the Spirit. “For those who are according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Paul goes on to say that “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot even please God.” You should go on and read the rest which is too long to put here but Paul emphasizes that we who belong to Jesus Christ are “obligated” as Paul puts it “under obligation not to live to the flesh.”

    Living to the flesh includes all kinds of sin: greed, sexual sins including homosexuality, slander, insulting brothers and sisters, murder, etc. So God has called us to a holy life. And although we sin, if Jesus Christ is Lord, we are in a great battle to keep living, striving, to live the life Christ has called us to knowing at the same time that He is our righteousness.

    Also, James in his letter, writes, “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20.) And Jude warns of those who follow after their own lusts, but reminds the believer to, “have mercy on some who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” (23)

    We have not been called to just get along but to stand for Jesus Christ and his truth. Our unity is in Jesus Christ but that means following him. Yes, there will be insults and all kinds of persecution but joy in the Lord.

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  25. There ya go, Grace.

    You just can't argue with the Bible. Now, I wonder if Viola wears pants.

    Deut. 22:5 "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."

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  26. "Yes, there will be insults and all kinds of persecution but joy in the Lord."

    Indeed. One wonders then when Viola and her cohort are going to stop with the insults and persecution.

    I won't hold my breath.

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  27. Hi, Viola,

    That's ok. My day got pretty hectic too. I work with needy kids at a residential school.

    With the miserable weather we've been having everyone is getting a little stir-crazy, unlike those lucky folks who live in the South where spring is just around the corner. :)

    We are still in the thick of winter!!

    Anyway, Viola, I just couldn't agree with you more relating to our union with Jesus, and walking in the spirit. It's not about cheap grace. We are called to stand for truth, walk in newness of life, and also to lovingly contend for the faith.

    But, you see, I sincerely feel that the Scripture is not addressing the issue of sexual orientation at all, people who are constitutionally gay in committed, loving relationships.

    I guess it would be pretty difficult to have an extensive talk here. But, I'll try to share an example of what I mean.

    Consider Rom. I. Here in this Scripture, Paul is talking about folks who have totally given up the knowledge of God, and fallen into pagan idolotry. I think he is talking about heterosexual people who have exchanged their natural sex roles in the worship of idols.

    This was actually a typical practice in the ancient world among adherents of the fertility cults. This all involved sexual orgies among priestesses and between men and enuch prostitutes such as served Aphrodite at Corinth. Paul would have known of these practices.

    I fully affirm the inspiration and authority of Scripture for the faith and practice of the church. But, I think it's important to also understand the cultural context, and to come to a right interpretation and application of God's word.

    If there's real and honest doubt, then I think we need to agree to disagree, and to trust God. Our unity is in Jesus, around the gospel.

    Both those websites that I mentioned before, Viola, have Bible studies relating to this whole issue. If you have time to check them out, I would very much like to hear your opinion.

    I'm especially concerned about this issue because I very much care about evangelical outreach to the gay and lesbian community, and to show the love of Christ. And, I don't want to be a stumbling block to a brother or sister's faith in the Lord.

    All of our Lord's blessing.

    Sincerely,
    Grace.

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  28. Grace, I am wondering if you would like to discuss this question personally via e-mail. My e-mail can be found on my web site under contact. The web site is www.naminggrace.org.

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  29. Sure, Viola, no problem.

    I'll try and e-mail you tommorrow.

    Grace.

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  30. Watch it, Grace! It is a trap. Viola will lure you over to her place with her wiles. It is tempting fruit, but it is devilish, I say, devilish!

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  31. Grace,
    I have presbytery meeting this Saturday, but I will get back to you by Monday.

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  32. Grace,

    If Viola is wearing pink pants when you get to her place -
    RUN!!!!!!!!!!

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  33. Sounds, good, Viola.

    ((John)) ((Snad)))

    Viola is sweet. I'll be in good hands. But, you all should run if you see me in pink pants. (laughing)

    Grace.

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  34. Hi, again, Viola,

    For some reason, my e-mail to you won't go through.

    Could you try to e-mail me instead at:

    romebecky@yahoo.com

    Then I'll reply. Hopefully things will work ok this way.

    Thanks, Viola.

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  35. I realize that we disagree about many things (you will know this when you realize that I am Jim Berkley's wife). However, I am hoping this can be set aside so that Alan can answer a question for me.

    After reading all the comments in which Viola has been insulted, some of them in vulgar language, and noticing that Viola has only responded graciously, how, Alan, could you then say "One wonders then when Viola and her cohort are going to stop with the insults"? Are you reading the same comments I'm reading? I'd truly like to know how your reasoning went on that.

    Thanks.

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  36. Debbie, sorry I didn't answer sooner, I thought this post was dead.

    Viola wrote, "John, tn420, all, if you knew Jesus Christ, allowed him Lordship of your lives he would forgive your sins with the bood he shed and you would not have to carry about so much hatred in your hearts. You would find forgiveness in him. "

    As I said, I'm assuming that she's including me in that "all." If you cannot see how someone implying that I do not know Christ is insulting, if you cannot see how someone not just implying but outright saying that I "carry about so much hate" in my heart is insulting, then I'm sure you wouldn't understand my reasoning. Insults come in a lot of different flavors. Some of them are just names, some of them, like those statements by Viola, are statements which are outright lies. Frankly I find someone, whom I've never met, who attempts to judge the faith of my heart and finds it lacking, to be quite insulting. I find someone, whom I've never met, assuming that because I disagree with her I must be hateful, to be insulting as well.

    I also find it insulting for someone to clearly imply that, because I disagree with her about homosexuality, I therefore do not "hold to the traditional tenets of the faith, the Holy Scripture and the Confessions of the Church", that I am not "concerned about all the indispensable beliefs of Christianity; that is, such teachings as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, the atonement brought about by Jesus death on the cross" and that I am not "also concerned about sexual sin."

    So, when I said, "One wonders then when Viola and her cohort are going to stop with the insults", those were the specific insults from Viola to which I was referring. More generally, her cohorts have used words like "abomination", "pervert", "apostate", and "heretic" to describe me and/or gay people in their blog posts and comments. They have also implied that I am not a Christian. I don't think I'm being overly sensitive by believing those are also insults as well. No one, not one person has ever chastised anyone for using those words.

    Now, I've got a pretty thick skin, so I can't say that I really give two hoots about all that. I have, when it has happened, called the person on their rhetoric, and to a person, no one from your side, including your husband, has ever called them on it.

    Now, unlike your husband and friends, I don't hold all people on "the other side" responsible for the words of a few people.

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  38. "By the way Debbie, not sure you're going to come back and comment here, but just in case you do, I took a little walk over to your husband's blog and here's a comment I found there:

    "That should tell you all you need to know about his [John Shuck's] moral and mental derangement. "

    Mentally deranged? Morally deranged? You don't consider those insults? Are you going to call that commenter out?

    How about this ... "By and large, like attracts like. having given this question some thought, I think Shuck has a particularly nasty way of expressing himself that attracts some unsavory camp followers."

    So since I comment here, whether I agree with all, or most, or even some of John's theology, I get lumped in with everyone else? Isn't that a bit of an overgeneralization? Are you going to call that commenter out for that, or just let it slide? Or, will you rationalize the statement in such a way so that you don't have to call him out?

    By the way, why is it appropriate for your husband to hurl insults (childish, juvenile, etc.) at John? Isn't it rather hypocritical to write an entire post lamenting being called names, while all he's name-calling as well?

    Finally, you wrote, "I realize that we disagree about many things ..." Like what? And what is that opinion based on? Because I'm gay, I must disagree with you about many other things? It's fabricated overgeneralizations like that, based on zero evidence (since you don't know me, Debbie) that I don't really find all that helpful in these discussions. And I'd say they are at least as unhelpful as throwing insults around, eh?

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  39. Alan, I can understand that when Viola inferred that you had hatred in your heart, that that would feel like an insult. Thanks for explaining that to me. I admit that I was focused on the foul language and didn't think about something like that.

    Knowing Viola, I know that she didn't mean it as an insult, but I will discuss it with her so that she can be more effective and helpful in her communication.

    As for the other things that you perceive as insults, I think that it is something that, since we have theological disputes in this church, you will have to learn to take not as insults, but as part of the world that we're living in. I am constantly told by progressives (not necessarily you) that my theology is stupid, or hateful, or immature, or conformist to the 50's, or any number of other things. This is just part of what happens when ideas are debated. I often wish that they would trouble to know more about me and how I got my ideas, or even what they are, before they make their judgments, but I don't consider them to hate me until I have actual evidence of that.

    As for you, I did not base my statement of disagreeing you on any assumptions. I read what you had written in other comments and I saw that there were points where we disagreed.

    Jim called John childish and juvenile because to him, John's behavior in this blog posting was childish and juvenile. I agree with you that it might have been more helpful to have phrased it a little more temperately. Believe it or not, this is a discussion that Jim and I have had over the decades; he uses more forceful language than I think he ought to. However, he does have some evidence for childish and juvenile behavior in what John did. If John gave him an explanation of why, when he did that, he had no feelings of "ha, ha, I'll get them", and why what he did in this post was helpful according to his view, perhaps he might see that he should not have used those adjectives. That would be similar to my argument that the adjective "evil" should not be used of evangelicals after they have explained their motives.

    Debbie

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  40. "However, he does have some evidence for childish and juvenile behavior in what John did."

    So, using that same reasoning, you would agree that there are times when it would be appropriate for a "progressive" to call certain people bigots, or homophobes, when there is evidence that a particular person is indeed bigoted or homophobic? Because based on the discussion over on your husband's blog it seems clear that anytime any progressive has ever used the word "bigot" you all see that as a direct slap in the face, whether it was directed specifically at you or not, and thus you all seem to label any progressive "hateful." (Yet you give no evidence of that "hate".)

    As a matter of fact, just the other day, on another Presbyterian blog, I was called "hateful." Again, no evidence was presented for that assertion. And, it was done publicly, instead of the person simply sending me a personal email. And you know what, Debbie, not a single solitary conservative said anything against that action...in fact they cheered it on!

    (By the way, I've been reading some of these PCUSA blogs for a long time, and I cannot remember a time when I've seen anyone say to anyone else that their "theology is stupid, or hateful, or immature, or conformist to the 50's, or any number of other things." I'm not saying you don't experience that ... but "constantly"? Really? I haven't said that even once, so I think that's a bit hyperbolic, don't you?)

    So, it seems to me that you all are outraged that some progressives throw the word "hateful" around so much, and yet your only response (including yourself!) is to do precisely the same thing!

    Is it also possible that pointing out another person's bigotry and homophobia is the only *loving* response? Why do you instantly assume that anyone that calls homosexuality a sin is doing so out of love, but anyone who calls being a bigot a sin is doing so out of hate? The bigot not only does harm to themselves because of their irrationally hateful attitudes toward someone who isn't like them, but if they're Christian, they also become a stumbling block to others. Thus, is it not the case that it can be loving (both for that person and the unfortunate people with whom they may come in contact) to point out that person's sin?

    "That would be similar to my argument that the adjective "evil" should not be used of evangelicals after they have explained their motives."

    So you appear to believe that telling someone that they are living a sinful "lifestyle" is loving. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but that's what I'm reading here. Can you imagine a situation in which those words would not appear loving to a person who doesn't believe they're living a sinful lifestyle? You give the analogy of parents and children. But that analogy doesn't really work does it? As a 36 year old man, I find it rather patronizing that some complete strangers think they can be my "parent." You see, my parents EARNED the right to chastise me. They're not just some random stranger on some blog comment who thinks they know me better than I know myself. So can you imagine that attitude sounds not just a little patronizing towards those of us who are, quite frankly, grown adults?

    In addition, just because you say you're feeling loving, doesn't mean your actions are actually loving, right? That is, you say you love that person, what if they really would be quite happy not being on the receiving end of that love, given that the consequences are actually the denial of their lives?

    Let me clarify what I mean by that. If this were just about some people saying "hey, you're a sinner." that would be one thing. But you all follow up that statement with efforts to deny people basic human rights -- no marriage, no health care benefits, no hate-crimes legislation. Your "side" is actually against people being able to visit their spouses in the hospital, rights that would come with legal recognition of our relationships. Can you imagine that it is pretty difficult to see such actions as "loving"?

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  41. Mark, I'll respond tonight; I've taken too much of my employer's time for today already.

    Debbie Berkley

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  42. However, before I get back to work, out of fairness to Viola, to whom I just mentioned how you felt about her remarks, I do want to point out that that is quite a bit different from what John was saying about her:

    "As for the lovely Viola, no, I don't hate you phony, hypocritical, pious, ignorant bastards."

    Also, you said she had "phony piety", and John started a mocking thread about her in the comments referring to some nonsense about women wearing pants.

    She was insulted and mocked in this thread. Not very welcomed, that's for sure.

    Now I am really going back to work.

    Debbie

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  43. "Also, you said she had "phony piety","

    Yup, I did. Her comment was a clearly pious, "Hey, I've got the love of Jesus right here, too bad you don't have it!" I called it phony piety because it was based on the assumption that she could read my heart and see that I'm not a Christian, even though I've never met her, and I AM a Christian. That's phony. You disagree? How is her assumption that I do not know Jesus backed up by the evidence? Sounds like a phony assertion to me.

    She asserts that IF I knew Jesus then I would find forgiveness in Him for my hatred. Well, there's so much wrong with that I don't know where to begin. First of all, theologically speaking, her position is called the heresy of Pelagius. We do not *earn* our forgiveness by believing in Christ. Our faith is a gift of God's Grace, and our salvation is also a gift of His Grace. So here's a person, who doesn't even know the basics of Reformed theology telling me that I need to know Jesus? Come on. I find that rather insulting. Second of all, I do know Jesus. And the assumption that I don't is also rather insulting. Third of all, my heart is not full of hatred, and the statement that it is is not only a lie, but also an insult.

    I do not believe I"m being overly sensitive here, because you'll notice another commenter, tn420 interpreted her comment in exactly the same way.

    You asked me why I felt insulted. I gave you an answer. I called her on her assumptions, she didn't respond, nor apologize. Yet she continued to comment here, thus clearly ignoring my comment that she'd insulted me.

    I will always take responsibility for anything I have written here, and I sign my name to everything I write. I will not take responsibility for things other people write, however. I'm not the boss of them; this isn't my blog. It is up to the blog owner to moderate comments. If you don't like how that's done here, then you should take it up with John, not me. But I'm beginning to be annoyed with your continued implication that I should somehow run this blog for John. I've got my own blog and I run that the way I see fit. If you've got a problem with that, then that is my responsibility. But I'm not about to moderate comments on someone else's blog.

    It's called personal responsibility.

    Again, it's simple... I was insulted, I told her why, and was clear about it. She didn't respond. Period. And before yet another person accuses me of hate, I'll say for the eleventy-billionth time, I don't hate her for her comment, or anyone else for that matter.

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  44. Mark, it's interesting to hear you say that salvation by faith is equivalent to the heresy of Pelagius and that it's also equivalent to earning one's salvation. I've only heard that once before, from a very hardline rightwing fundamentalist. Generally I believe Reformed theology holds to the doctrine put forth in Romans, that salvation comes by faith in Christ, and that that faith does not amount to earning one's salvation.

    But I'm not a theologian, and I don't want to argue theology.

    I would like to point out the accuracy of a few of the things you're saying; perhaps you haven't read things well or don't remember them well.

    First, you say of your interaction with Viola that "I was insulted, I told her why, and was clear about it. She didn't respond. Period." I looked back over the comments, and all I see you saying about it is "One wonders then when Viola and her cohort are going to stop with the insults and persecution." That is not clear, and it wasn't said directly to her.

    In addition, you say that I am implying that you should run John Shuck's blog. I have never implied that. I asked you a question about one of your comments, and this whole conversation between us, from my point of view, was how you could logically make that comment, given what had been going on in the conversation earlier. The comments on the blog are part of the environment in which you made your comment, and so I use them as evidence, but I have not been asking you to moderate them. I merely cite them as background. And the most recent time I mentioned them was to contrast the level at which you might have felt insulted by Viola (which, again, I know she did not intend) with the level of intentional insults that were flung at her.

    All this was part of clarifying the situation we were discussing, and not in any sense a suggestion that you should moderate someone else's blog.

    I sense that you are angry about all of this and not taking the time to think through the logic behind what I am saying, but instead just reacting emotionally. If that is not true, please let me know. It would be more helpful to think through things logically (even if you still disagree.)

    In rereading the comments just now I noticed that in one of them, you talked about "fundamentalists" and "fundies", and people who want to rule by fear and intimidation. Who are you referring to exactly?

    Debbie

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  45. Sorry, that last comment should have been addressed to Alan.

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  46. Sorry, Alan, I am responding to your comments in the wrong order, I think; I hope I'm not too confusing.

    Yes, I would agree that there are times when it's appropriate to call an evanglelical a bigot, when there truly is evidence. One might also run into a bigoted progressive. What I object to is the assumption that evangelicals are bigoted as a group.

    I would have to see what actually happened on the other blog you refer to in order to know how I would perceive what happened there.

    You are right, my use of the word "constantly" was probably a bit hyperbolic. But let me draw your attention to a few things you said:

    - "your only response (including yourself!) is to do precisely the same thing"

    Really? My ONLY response?

    - "Why do you instantly assume that anyone that calls homosexuality a sin is doing so out of love, but anyone who calls being a bigot a sin is doing so out of hate?"

    Instantly?

    So, you see, we both do it.

    Thanks for the analogy of the possibility of correcting people from bigotry out of love.

    As far as the comparison with parents and children goes, I was not suggesting that complete strangers should be parents to gays and lesbians. I wasn't even suggesting that there is a parent-child relationship at all anywhere in the picture. I was only illustrating that it is possible to say that someone's behavior is wrong without hating that person; a parent and child is a well-known example of that.

    And yes, I completely understand that it would not work well to go up to someone and say, "Your lifestyle is sinful," which is why I never do that. However, what we are defending is not doing that, but rather arguing for our theological point of view in the church, which has been called hateful; we are explaining why it is not a hateful doctrine, but rather a loving one.

    I have already mentioned that progressives might believe that although we do not feel hatred, yet the effect of our beliefs and actions might feel hateful to the people involved, which I think addresses the end of your comment. I will only add that we do not believe that people's current feelings about their situation are always the best indicators of their ultimate welfare. And don't get all scared like I'm suggesting some sort of Big Brother thing there; I'm just saying that's why the argument that some people don't immediately feel loved by our point of view does not distress us as much as you might think it would.

    Debbie

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  47. I am going to have to cut off my postings now; I did not spend enough time on my job today, and I also have things I need to get done at home.

    Alan, about the question I asked: if you were referring to Presbyterian evangelicals when you spoke of "fundamentalists" and "fundies", you should now that evangelicals and fundamentalists are not at all the same thing. There are very few fundamentalists in the PCUSA, and we are not among them.

    Moreover, we do not want to rule by intimidation and fear. We do not necessarily even want to rule. We just want to see what we believe to be Biblical theology upheld in the church.

    May God's Holy Spirit lead us all to God's truth.

    Debbie

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  48. "salvation by faith is equivalent to the heresy of Pelagius and that it's also equivalent to earning one's salvation."

    That isn't what I said. I said that one does not earn their salvation by making a man-made, conscious choice, without God's Grace, to believe, which is what Viola's comment implied. That is indeed the heresy of Pelagius. In contrast, what I believe, and what orthodox Reformed Christians believe is that we are saved by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in Scripture alone, not through our own doing. The contrary position, that we do something through action or belief to earn our faith is clearly not a traditional, orthodox, Reformed way of seeing salvation. I hold to the orthodox belief, others apparently do not.

    "If that is not true, please let me know."

    Nope, not true.

    I stated the reasons I was insulted by Viola clearly. I also stated why I felt an apology was in order, which I made that clear as well, and that none was forthcoming. Period. No emotion there, just the facts. You seem to be trying to rationalize away why I might have been insulted, even though, as I pointed out, other people interpreted her comment in the same way I did. Now, I'm not going to guess as to your feelings or motivations for why you appear to want to rationalize away that insult. I'm simply stating that every time you bring it up you make some excuse either 1) it wasn't as bad of an insult as the insults Viola received, or 2) it's my fault because I didn't state my offense clearly enough, etc.

    Which brings up another point. Frankly I think this conversation would be more productive if you were to stop guessing at my motives and my feelings. You don't know me, nor do you know anything about me. It might be easier if you simply read the words I write, rather than guessing about what I'm not saying. That is, as I've said, what I'm trying to do as well.

    You cannot, on the one hand, complain about the level of discourse here, and then on the other hand apparently discount the fact that I was insulted. Well, I suppose you can, but it isn't very rational. Now, as an example of what I wrote above, if I were to attempt to guess at your motivation, I might suggest that perhaps a friendship with Viola is coloring your perception of the exchange. You likely don't think that is true. See how guessing at motives and feelings is not useful here? It spins the discussion from the real issue onto the other person themselves. That is why I am not guessing. I'm simply reading the words you write.

    "And the most recent time I mentioned them was to contrast the level at which you might have felt insulted by Viola (which, again, I know she did not intend) with the level of intentional insults that were flung at her."

    That's a matter of perception I suppose. Quite frankly, I would rather be called every four-letter name in the book, than have someone suggest that I am not a Christian, or that I do not believe in Jesus Christ.

    "I would like to point out the accuracy of a few of the things you're saying; perhaps you haven't read things well or don't remember them well."

    I am just as able as you are to use the scroll bars and look over my own comments. I believe that my comment, "One wonders then when Viola and her cohort are going to stop with the insults and persecution" was indeed clear. I mentioned her by name. I point out that she has insulted me, which I I believe that it was also far more polite than shouting "I demand an apology from you Viola!" I think that comment combined with my response to her, after her insult, clearly shows that I was insulted. Two other commenters said almost precisely the same thing that I did, that we do indeed know the love of Jesus Christ and that she should stop making such assumptions. It is up to her to decide if an apology is in order. She apparently decided one was not necessary. Again, I am not going to guess at her feelings or motivations, nor yours. I'm simply stating what clearly happened, as is recorded here in the comments.

    "if you were referring to Presbyterian evangelicals when you spoke of "fundamentalists" and "fundies", you should now that evangelicals and fundamentalists are not at all the same thing. There are very few fundamentalists in the PCUSA, and we are not among them."

    I do not use the two words interchangeably. When I use the term fundamentalist, I use it as it has historically been used, not as a pejorative, but to describe a person who believes in the 5 Fundamentals, vis a vis the fundamentalist/modernist controversies of the 1920's in the Presbyterian church. I also believe there are many differences between fundamentalism and orthodox Reformed theology.

    However, I also believe that there are some people who call themselves evangelical who are misusing that term, and when one talks to them one realizes that the evidence clearly shows that they are actually fundamentalists.

    "your only response (including yourself!) is to do precisely the same thing"

    Really? My ONLY response?"

    The point remains, hyperbole aside, that it is clearly the predominant response, to accuse progressives of hatred, while at the same time defending your position as one of love. I think that appears to be hypocritical and uncharitable.

    "I'm just saying that's why the argument that some people don't immediately feel loved by our point of view does not distress us as much as you might think it would."

    And that is truly a pity.

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  49. Alan, your comment about Viola stopping her insults was quite separated in space (several comments intervened) by your saying you didn't like to be told you had hatred in your heart, and it was hard to discern that the two comments were connected, since the subject of the comments in general was about 4-letter word insults; it was not clear that you were referring to her earlier comment as an insult, as you say it was. I doubt Viola made the connection any more than I did. Moreover, our definition of insult is different from yours, although now I understand your definition better, thanks to your explanations. Viola is not neglecting apologizing to you, because she doesn't realize that you have asked for one.

    I have not tried to guess your motives. I thought perhaps you had become angry, but I told you to tell me if I was wrong. You did so; thank you. Now I know that you are not angry. I said nothing at all about your motives at any point.

    I am sure that what Viola said about salvation meant the same thing that you meant. You are reading something into it that was not there.

    The predominant response of evangelicals to progressives is not to accuse progressives of hatred, and it is certainly not my predominant response. This subject that we are discussing came up due to a comment that someone made on my husband's blog, analyzing what might cause a disconnect in communication between progressives and evangelicals. I was responding to an aspect of that analysis. I never said it was the only characteristic of what progressives say and do with respect to evangelicals.

    End of comments. If you continue to interpret me incorrectly, I'm just going to live with that.

    Debbie

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. "it was not clear that you were referring to her earlier comment as an insult, as you say it was. I doubt Viola made the connection any more than I did. "

    Again, I see this as simply more rationalizations about why I shouldn't be offended. You call my statements misinterpretations, and I acknowledge that's possible. But can you understand that it appears to me that every time I make a point about Viola's insult, you make an excuse for it? You blame me for not being clear enough (even though I mentioned her by name), you blame me for misinterpreting it (even though other people interpreted it the same way), you even blame me for actually being insulted by her insinuation in the first place!

    "Moreover, our definition of insult is different from yours,"

    I'm very confused about this statement. Viola accuses me of not knowing Jesus, and carrying hate around in my heart. However, one of the very things you and are are currently discussing is how insulted your side is by progressives labeling you "hateful." So clearly you do have a problem with that, just as I do. And yet, now you appear to be making excuses for Viola doing precisely that.

    Well, we disagree about what constitutes an insult, I suppose. But I suspect that if I were to claim you're not a Christian or that you don't know Jesus, you'd probably take offense. Perhaps I'm wrong about that, but I, for one, take my faith very seriously and don't appreciate having it maligned. I guess we just disagree about that.

    "Viola is not neglecting apologizing to you, because she doesn't realize that you have asked for one."

    Again, that is apparently my fault too? So it's my fault that I feel insulted and it's my fault that she didn't apologize?

    Let's hypothetically turn this around for a second and see if what I'm saying makes more sense that way. Given all the excuses you seem to be making for Viola, you apparently believe it is my fault that I feel insulted. Should I then say that perhaps she shouldn't be so thin skinned and feel insulted at the other comments made here? Did she ask for an apology? Did she do so clearly? No? Well, then perhaps that's why she didn't get one. (Now I don't believe that, I'm just using your reasoning.)

    Now please understand, I'm not saying you're responsible for Viola's insults, any more than I'm responsible for John's. But it seems a bit hypocritical for folks on your side to expect people to call John out for his insults when you refuse to do the same. As I've pointed out there are plenty of insults on your husband's blog, both from him and from other commenters, and we have Viola's insult here. Yet no one seems to be calling these people on their behavior.

    On the other issue, you wrote, "The predominant response of evangelicals to progressives is not to accuse progressives of hatred..."

    I respectfully disagree, Debbie. I think the evidence is against you. Here, for example are several quotes, from several different people, contained in only one comment thread on your husband's blog:

    "Almost all conservatives I meet believe that liberals are wrong, but well intentioned. Most liberals I meet don't believe conservatives are well intentioned. To them we're just greedy or self serving or homophobic, etc."

    "So within the PCUSA, we conservatives are bigoted, homophobic, ignorant oppressors who want to control the church to the full measure of our intolerance. "

    "Conservatives think liberals are fools. Liberals think conservatives are evil!"

    "Apparently one can be as mean and hateful and intemperate and undisciplined and abusive as one cares to be, as long as one espouses a progressive political line and directs the hatefulness at conservatives."

    "But here is what bothers me: why do progressives continue to insist on calling evangelicals evil people? "

    And then there's this comment from this thread, "if you knew Jesus Christ, allowed him Lordship of your lives he would forgive your sins with the bood he shed and you would not have to carry about so much hatred in your hearts." [emphasis mine.]

    So, I think we can see that the predominant attitude of those commenters at least, is to accuse progressives of hatred. The comments are made generally, no specifics are given. When progressives respond over there that this goes both ways and that there are some in your camp who do similar things, we just see more rationalization for bad behavior on the part of conservatives.

    "If you continue to interpret me incorrectly, I'm just going to live with that."

    I'm not sure what I interpreted incorrectly. I'm doing my best to read what you're writing. Do you think I am not? As you argue, apparently even my clear suggestion that Viola had insulted me can be misinterpreted. You also seem to have initially misinterpreted my comment about the Pelagianism, so perhaps we're both not doing a great job at interpreting each others' words? (Though I believe we're both trying hard to do so.)

    I'm trying to be civil here, and I think I'm succeeding. Perhaps you disagree. I'll also say that this has been one of only three, yes three, pleasant, respectful and considerate exchanges I've ever had on a blog with someone from "your camp" (for lack of a better term.) That, I think, is sad. The rest of the time I've been the recipient of insults, a LOT of sarcasm, a TON of snottiness, and insinuation, either from the blog host, and/or their commenters. Now I don't expect you to defend those experiences, I'm just pleased that someone from "your camp" has the ability to speak reasonably. Perhaps you should start your own blog! :)

    Perhaps you've had similar experiences with folks from my side. It's too bad, whichever side one is on. However, the apparent allegation that it's all our camp ("Conservatives think liberals are fools. Liberals think conservatives are evil!") is clearly mistaken.

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  52. Forgot that I needed to reply to this one (I haven't read any later comments.)

    -----------------
    "I'm just saying that's why the argument that some people don't immediately feel loved by our point of view does not distress us as much as you might think it would."

    And that is truly a pity.
    -----------------

    What is meant here is similar (and again, I'm not suggesting that evangelicals feel like parents to people who are engaging in any kind of sin; I'm just giving an example of a situation where a person might not be distressed by the feelings of the other person) to when a parent needs to deny something to a child or prohibit a child from doing something, and the child feels very sad and even, perhaps, unloved because of this. The parent is not as distressed as the child might expect, because the parent knows that what is happening is better for the child in the long run.

    So I meant that, believing that the things we are advocating are better for people in the long run, we are not as distressed by people's unhappy feelings about them as you might expect, that is, their unhappy feelings are not enough to motivate us to want to change what we advocate.

    I did not mean we have no compassion. We hate the thought that people suffer in these unhappy situations.

    Debbie

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  53. Alan, I did just read your last comment, and I see one place where we're miscommunicating. You did clearly communicate that you believed that Viola made insults. What was not clear in the first thing you wrote (that you think Viola is ignoring) was that she directed them at you. It seemed like a general statement.

    And I do have a blog: www.takingthering.blogspot.com

    Debbie

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  54. "The parent is not as distressed as the child might expect, because the parent knows that what is happening is better for the child in the long run."

    Yup, except the parent has that ability, having lived longer, seen more, had that experience.

    You haven't.

    And let's not forget that there is a time when a parent needs to let go, pray that what they've done as a parent is good enough, and continue to be there and love the grown child, even when they make mistakes.

    But we're talking about sin, Biblical interpretation, and the fact that Total Depravity means you folks should be significantly more hesitant in what you believe is best for everyone.

    And of course, this analogy goes both ways. I don't want you folks to be so mislead and wrong about LGBT people. I wish I could spare you from the hurt and anguish that is coming, when all is revealed in the last days and you see how hurtful you've been. I wish I could do more to help you see the truth. Alas, kids can be stubborn and sometimes just have to learn for themselves the hard way. In the meantime, like any good mother, I'm not about to let you get by without a good dose of guilt. ;)

    "And I do have a blog..."

    Excellent, I may stop by, though I won't comment. I've had more than enough of the snotty comments & insults from conservatives. I'm not talking about you, but those who may also comment on your blog. I. Am. So. Over. It.

    Again, thank you for a surprisingly pleasant conversation. I hope, though I do tend to present my ideas forcefully (and sometimes in a rather roundabout academic fashion) that you've taken my comments to be a sincere desire to understand what you're saying. And, I hope you have appreciated the pleasant tone as much as I have, and haven't found it too frustrating.

    Peace.

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