Thursday, February 15, 2007


GloriaWilliams whacks ER (and feels better)


Is this true?

GloriaWilliams said...

And who called you to that, Redneck? (The Spirit of Christ calls me to oppose all forms of Fundamentalism.) It sure wasn't God despite all your bellowing about your special personal relationship to Him. (Bellowing? I hide neither my faith nor my sins on this blog). You go around telling people to not judge when you do it everytime you comment anywhere. You go on about love but can't show it anyone who disagrees with you. (Sometimes this is true, but rarely, actually, in the overall scheme of things.) As always, I find myself descending to your level. What a talent that must be to drag someone down. Do you notice that Slim -- an openly gay man -- doesn't say the world should be filled with more Christians like you? Despite the fact you use your blog to defend his lifestyle every chance you get. (This is not what Slim said. And I have said virtually nothing about "lifestyle."). Why is that? (Ask Slim.) And yes, I consider his lifestyle wrong, but I don't force my view on him or ask him to change, believing that God and true Christians (!!!) like Tech will help him grow spiritually.

I'm sorry, Tech. I knew better than to comment on this thread as soon as I saw his name. You probably will want to delete this and please do if you think it best. I feel better for having said what I've said even though I know my words mean less than spit to him. (Bitter and untrue).

I won't read this thread again, Tech. I think I'd better stay away from the blog for a time. This is certainly not good for my peace of mind or my walk with God.

Wed Feb 14, 11:16:00 PM CST

WTH? I think Gloria has embarrassed herself.

Here's the post, from TECH, that started it.

It was a very interesting, and civil, thread, right up until Gloria freaked out and jumped ugly on me.

And in case Gloria or TECH deletes her comment, or TECH disables the post, the whole thing is in the first comment.




THIS JUST IN, posted at Tech's joint:

GloriaWilliams said...
I want to apologize to Tech and to the other readers of this blog. I let my personal dislike for Redneck push me into being rude to him. Unfortunately I did it in front of all of you. A moment ago, I got off the phone with Tech who assures me that Redneck has many good qualities. Perhaps so. I can't see them, but it's not my place to judge him, either. I apologize to him for attacking him and hope that both of us will continue to grow in the Lord's wisdom.

Thu Feb 15, 12:43:00 PM CST

Erudite Redneck said...

Me, too.

I have no personal dislike of you Gloria, BTW. And aside from one personal and mean encounter with you two years ago, I have no idea why you would personally dislike me. But hey, we each have our burdens.


Thu Feb 15, 12:54:00 PM CST


Labels: , ,

This comment has been removed by the author.
Yes, it's true. I wish it wasn't. I've been your friend for more years than I care to remember and I've seen you change. You're mean to people who disagree with you. You're depressed. You drink too much. You're not happy. And those are what what I read on your blog. I keep thinking about the man you used to be back in college. Is he still in there? I hope so.
It is amazing - I am still flabbergasted by Gloria's attack. Had I been you, I honestly would have been verklempt, and asked "Where exactly did that come from?"
I just hope she never wanders over to my blog. I even cuss.
Keep the faith, ER, even as it keeps you.
OK this commenting back and forth on two blogs is wierd.
ER, think on this:
1. My comment to Tech:
Most outstanding post Tech.
Especially loved your phrase "rock bottom certainty".
Most creeks, streams, or rivers do run over rock outcrops and you look for that rock bottom to ford them. But I was raise in the land of the Red River and the Canadian River and they have no "rock bottoms". So out here when you cross over the rivers (except of course on a bridge) even at the best of fords there is a degree of uncertainty the permeates your thinking. So you go slow and easy and skeptical hopeing not to hit the quicksand.
My view of heaven is tempered in that way. Heaven is the prescence of God. That's all I can distill my belief down to. I think that we will only be able to experience heaven to the degree we are prepared. Each will experience God differently and in differently quantities. Thus "heaven" will be an individual thing, just as life is here. For only "now" will ever touch eternity.

2.Comment to ER: Based only only your blog it is obvious that "strain" is your middle name these days. I see a man feeling his mortality because of his mother's time of life and trouble from that. I see a man, perch on the cusp of decision; shall I squat here and make the most of it?
Shall I load up the wagon andhead down the trail? Shall I chop this same cotton or shall I plant new and different crop somewhere else.
Shall I move out and experiment and trust or hold steady and wait for serendipity to provide me with change?
I think this fits in the "mid-life crisis" mode, although that stereotype is somwhat over used.
Lashing out is normal behavior in this mode, but not all that productive.
My susgestion, in the short term, is adopt a stray and kick him when you feel the need.

Anonymous said...
Actually it sounds like what I believe. I'm not too good about the reading once a day but do try to spend time talking (praying) to god often, not for a set time but when ever I can even if it is a short thanks for the sun or moisture or whatever

Thu Feb 08, 10:53:00 AM CST
TECH said...
Talking to him is good thing, Roen.

It always surprises -- and dismays -- me that when I discuss religious matters, comments are few. I don't know why that is. It's almost like people are shamed by their beliefs. Or perhaps I simply overwhelm them with my writing ... But for some reason, I doubt the latter!

Thu Feb 08, 07:57:00 PM CST
Rowan Asterion said...
I think sometimes people are nervous about examining/rejoicing (in) what they believe. They parrot "I believe in God and Jesus," but they don't want to delve any deeper because, frankly, that well is pretty deep. I know that pride is one of my failings. When I start delving into what I believe, I start to worry about "total submission to God's will." I'm afraid of it, but I think in my deepest soul that it's really pride that's going to keep me from total submission to God's will and it worries me. Will I be left behind because I was too proud to bend my knees?

Anyway, to answer your question, I think heaven could be similar to what you describe. It will be wonderful beyond our wildest imaginings and it may be different for different people. I pray small prayers--giving thanks for things--throughout the day. I don't read the Bible as much as I should, but when I do, it's really amazing. I try to remind myself to be humble. I pray for it.

Thu Feb 08, 09:02:00 PM CST
Michelle said...
I think, you are dead on with that email. And if you don't mind, I'd like to "parrot" that to someone.

It's a hard thing to explain absolute Faith. And the story and exact place in the Bible eludes me at the moment, but the man who wanted complete truth and wisdom in all things turned out to be the loneliest man and so tried to find fullness in empty pleasures? He knew of Everything and so it left him with no hope or desire to seek. I believe God wants us to seek Him. To know more, to be better and to serve with that in mind. Without a goal, how can we achieve?

Thanks Tech. Great post. :)

Fri Feb 09, 08:31:00 AM CST
Gloria said...
A minister at my church once said that he believed in the streets of gold and gates of pearl because God wanted to show how little He thought of what we consider precious down here. He uses our earthly wealth as building materials. The minister said that it would be what was in heaven that was important, not what it was made of. I thought there was a lot of wisdom in that.

Fri Feb 09, 09:26:00 AM CST
FrenziedFeline said...
Good post. I think we're all going to be surprised by what we see.

Fri Feb 09, 02:28:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
Woo hoo. Thanks for the plug. :-) But there's no link! Harrumph!

Heaven: close relationship with God, in some unfathomable way.

Hell: apartness from God.

That's what I think.

I don't adhere as closely to the notion of me-standing-alone-before-God idea of judgment as I used to. The medieval church more or less taught that entire families, and even wider communities, *were* saved by the faith of one or a few. That doedn't mean that one can hitch a ride on another's faith. I just believe that anyone who wants a relationship with the Creator *has* one, whether or not he-she is as aware of it as others are -- and, I beleive that, as members of the Body of Christ, singular, some of us are stronger than others. Just like my four strong toes on my left foot carries my weak pinky toe; they're all toes. :-)

That whole me-alone-before-God kind of judgment, I think, is as much a product of individualistic Western culture as anything. IMHO.

Fri Feb 09, 03:57:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
I'm just dang near a universalist, but not quite because I do think common sense requires that we let people who systematically, repeatedly and selfishly reject any notion of God and Grace go their own way.

But then, there's this (and I realize there is an opposing view with Scriptures to back it, as well):

Fri Feb 09, 04:07:00 PM CST
TECH said...
Interesting, Rowan, the idea of different heavens for different people.

Michelle, of course you can parrot it. :)

That's an excellent sermon, Gloria.

FF, probably we will be.

ER, and when was the last time you plugged my blog or linked me? :) I'm curious as to what you think judgment after death will be or if you think there will be one. I, of course, do think there will be one, and also believe that learned religious thought throughout the centuries as well as the Bible support my viewpoint on that. My Christianity still has some fire and brimstone in it.

Fri Feb 09, 04:30:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
Judgment? Yes. But I think good-evil, saved-lost, etc., puts too fine of a point on it. Life is much more complicated than that. To think the afterlife is simpler seems wrong.

I would think God would be fair, if nothing else. Someone explain to me how it's fair to base ETERNITY on decisions we bags of meat try to make in this blip of a life, especially since it's such a hostile environment. It's overkill. Like capital punishment for people caught speeding. Unfair by definition.

My Christianity is now almost devoid of fire and brimstone.

Sat Feb 10, 10:13:00 AM CST
TECH said...
ER, perhaps you've been seduced by gray. I can certainly understand it. I myself want to reject the notion of justice. I want there to be a sliding scale. I'd like circumstances to make a difference. I want my idea of a wise and loving New Testament God to replace the Old Testament God who sent the Hebrews to exterminate the heathen to the last man, woman and child. However ... what I want will not change what is. I am not vain enough to think that God will remake the universe at my request. The fire and brimstone are part and parcel of the love and mercy. My finite mind cannot contain these two infinite opposites so I acknowledge that they exist and continue to make my way with prayer and faith, believing that the answers are there and that one day His plan and my place in it will be clear.

Sat Feb 10, 10:51:00 AM CST
FrenziedFeline said...
It sure sounds like you and ER would enjoy a conversation with the Mormon missionaries on the "levels" of the hereafter. ;)

Sat Feb 10, 11:05:00 AM CST
TECH said...
FF, I've had that conversation a couple of times. Not enough to be an expert on your theology, of course, but enough that I understood your comment. I don't know if ER has taken the discussions with the missionaries or not.

Sat Feb 10, 11:10:00 AM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
I think the OT is best seen as humankind's attempt to explain its evolving awareness and consciousness of God. And I think that people of faith are past that now -- or should be.

I cannot fathom how the God that Jesus points is supposed to have been so capricious and to have committed genocide ijn the OT. I just don't buy it -- which is one of the reasons I say I take the Bible seriously, but I do not take all of it literally.

Seduced by gray? No, seduced by Grace of Jesus, which cannot be reconciled with the angry, jealous, murderous tribal God depicted in the Old Testament.

Sat Feb 10, 11:40:00 AM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
On the other hand, I think the Christian life is one of both faith AND works -- not either-or-- that is, if we want to have the abundant life (NOTHING to do with material prosperity!) that Jesus promised.

Which is why I was shocked and pleassed to learn the other day that the church I grew up in is putting in a free clinic! Right there in the church building! Awesome. I'll bet some members quit over that. Good, I say.

Sat Feb 10, 12:14:00 PM CST
Rowan Asterion said...
I've still got some fire and brimstone also. I don't believe God wants us to be lukewarm. I can't remember the verse exactly, but He does say be hot or cold otherwise He will spat us out. There's no riding the fence with God! There will be a one on one judgement for each of us and we will be held accountable-not only for what we did do, but for what we neglected to do. Only Jesus knows what will happen.

Sat Feb 10, 02:56:00 PM CST
TECH said...
It's true that it is difficult or even impossible to understand how one being can contain the pure fire of justice and the comforting mantle of love. That is part of the mystery and wonder of the Bible. To explain it away as a teaching myth or flawed history strikes at the very core of faith and reduces miracles to folklore and forgiveness to a philosophy. And I will not do that. I will embrace the wonder and mystery and admit my inability to understand. I will approach the throne of God with humility, awe and joy. I am comforted by the thought that I am not required to understand God. And I won’t waste time in attempting to do so. There is plenty of work to be done here that requires our attention. Those Change the World links on my blog are not there because they’re politically correct. They’re there because our contributions –- however small -- matter. We are God's tools on earth, and we are supposed to be doing His work. What higher thing could we aspire to?

Sat Feb 10, 10:52:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
Ah, but that's the point. Where's the justice in condemning for eternity those whose biggest mistake was being born into the fleeting blink of earthly existence, under the alleged Curse of Adam, burdened with the tendency to sin? Yes, that's what Jesus saves us from. And I say He saves as many people who unwittingly receive His grace as those who think they consciously have struck some kind of bargain with God. No bargains. Grace is greater than not only my sin -- but all sin. IMHO.

I disagree with the following:

"strikes at the very core of faith ..."

No. Strikes at the center of Bibliolatry.

"and reduces miracles to folklore ..."

No. I said nothing about miracles.

"and forgiveness to a philosophy."

Uhh, I don't know what you mean.


My favorite verse is John 3:17, and that ain't a typo.

Sun Feb 11, 05:27:00 PM CST
TECH said...
I cannot understand, ER, why you think you can understand God or that He is going to conform to any human idea of justice. The parts of the Bible that you dislike, you decide aren't truly God's will. I truly am unable to see how anyone is capable of doing so without being accused of hubris. If I had my druthers, I'd rewrite the Bible a bit myself, but I don't. Neither does anyone else.

I think that there can be no bridge between our two positions. I find yours unacceptable while I believe you find mine equally so. Isn't it curious that two of us who came from the same place, who attended many of the same churches and who are products of many of the same influences have drawn different conclusions regarding the Bible and its place in our lives? Life is funny.

Even though I’ve come to the conclusion that we are too apart in this, don’t think I haven’t enjoyed the exchange of views. It has been interesting.

Sun Feb 11, 05:44:00 PM CST
GloriaWilliams said...
It is impossible to build a bridge between those who believe the Bible is the infallible Word of The Most High God and those who believes it's a nice book of suggestions that can be adapted to modern life by diluting its message. It makes me think of that story of teaching a pig to fly. It wastes your time and annoys the pig! :)

Sun Feb 11, 07:05:00 PM CST
TECH said...
Gloria, I don't think ER holds the attitude that you're attributing to him. But I don't actually know how he regards the Bible overall. ER, would you like to clarify?

Sun Feb 11, 08:06:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
well, i certainly don't think it's merely a "nice book of suggestions."

But, i think to accept it wholly as THE "infallible" "Word of God" is a form of idolatry. It's worshiping part of the creation rather than the Creator.

I don't "pick and choose" what to believe in the Bible. I believe the collection of writings that we now call the Bible in a totally different way. I do NOT read it as a literal "instruction book" or a "letter" to us today to be taken at face value without serious thought, meditation and prayer.

Sun Feb 11, 09:05:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
This helps explain what I think. In a nutshell, the Bible points to the Word of God, which is the Logos, that is, Jesus. The need for "infallibility" or "inerrancy" is borne of the need for certitude, which, I think, is something short of faith and is foreign to the earliest Christians:

"The United Church of Christ embraces a theological heritage that affirms the Bible as the authoritative witness to the Word of God, the creeds of the ecumenical councils, and the confessions of the Reformation. The UCC has roots in the 'covenantal' tradition -— meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members. Christ alone is Head of the church. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith."

Also, I have totally separated myself from my Southern Baptist upbringing, specifically the fundamentalist aspects of it.So, that's how we can spring from the same root, Tech, but now be so different in our thinking.

Oh, and no, Tech, I don't find your views unacceptable -- not for you! They are just not my views. I feel no need to convince you that my way is right and yours is wrong!

That's another thing I've deliberately cast aside: The idea that there is a list of doctrinal ideas that Christians must adhere to to be considered Christians. Following Jesus? Or at least trying? That was good enough for Jesus. It's good enough for me.

Sun Feb 11, 09:24:00 PM CST
TECH said...
To believe the Bible is the Word of God is not idolatry. That's catchy, but it's incorrect and dismissive. I don't worship the Bible, I don’t pray to it, I don’t expect it to grant me grace, I don’t give tithes to it, it didn’t create the universe, etc. It is not my idol. What it is, however, is the God message to us. And thus, I respect it much more than I do humanity’s sophistry.

I’m not much of a doctrinal person since I believe Christians can be found everywhere – Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, Assembly of God, Church of Christ, but there are some basic tenets that being a Christian requires. Such as, believing Jesus is the Son of God, accepting Him as your personal savior, etc. Those are not so much doctrinal as they are fundamental to salvation.

Mon Feb 12, 09:47:00 AM CST
Slim said...
The nice thing about being an atheist is that I don't have to worry about any of that! :)

Mon Feb 12, 11:11:00 AM CST
GloriaWilliams said...
Well, Silm, you don't have to worry about it --- yet! :)

Mon Feb 12, 12:25:00 PM CST
JKC said...
I don't see how anyone who rejects the Bible or lessens its place can be a true Christian. I'm sure that seems harsh to the readers of this blog but that's how I and most of the organized churches see it. You might as well deny the virgin birth or the resurrection!

Mon Feb 12, 12:29:00 PM CST
TECH said...
JKC, I don't think any of us can know what is in another person's heart or what their true relationship with God is. Those judgement calls are best left to the Big Guy. I do understand where you're coming from, but I'm not sure it's productive.

Mon Feb 12, 12:50:00 PM CST
GloriaWilliams said...
Tech, there's a lot to be said for calling a spade a spade. I worry that by not calling sin into question, we are silently giving approval to it. We're not supposed to be judges, but we can use common sense when dealing with the world, which may claim they're Christians but don't follow Christ's teachings.

Mon Feb 12, 02:16:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
Christ's teachings are summed thusly:

Love God. Love your neighbor.

Anything else is adding on.

I think the big issue here is that most people loook at "the Bible" as a single piece of writing, which it is not, which is, to borrow your word, Tech, sophistry; a lesser issue but the one that gets people fire up, is the idea that "it" is "God's revelation to man" when it is better seen, and interpreted, as man's attempt to understand and explain God.

The obvious contradictions and limitations of the words themselves should be enough for anyone to be wary of basing their faith on the Bible and their interpretation of it rather than in God Himself as revealed through Jesus and believed by the Churcfh through the ages -- whether everyday believers HAD the Scriptures in hand or NOT, he said, noting that for most of the past 2,000 years, everyday believers did NOT have the Scriptures in hand, which is why this kind of argument didn't even happen until lately.

Re, "there are some basic tenets that being a Christian requires ..."

Yes, but believing that the Bible is the "infallible, innerrant" "Word of God is not one of them.

"believing Jesus is the Son of God ..."

Christians have disagreed as to the metaphysics of the exact relationship of Jesus of Nazareth to God the Father for 2,000 years. So, while the majority of modern Christianity would agree with that, not all of Christianity would.

"Accepting Him as your personal savior ..."

Many of us would say that the above phrase, as beloved to me, Tech, as it is to you, is either 1., the start, not the summation of our relationship with God. and-or, 2., something that comes from the habit of trying to follow Jesus, and not always, or even necesarrily, a conscious, deliberate, DECISION, as it were, which smells like a bargain again: If I deign to accept God's grace, then He will save me. Better: Jesus saves us! Let's ALL rejoice in His grace.

Y'all who want to make Christianity such an EXCLUSIVE club, when Jesus Himself was so radically INCLUSIVE, well, you can keep that kind of Christianity. Because Christianity is one thing, the bureaucracy that's grown up around the legacy of Jesus; life, and it more abundantly, which comes from trying to follow Jesus, is another thing.

Mon Feb 12, 02:54:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
Oh, and I agree with this, but I haven't said anything at all about sin:

"I worry that by not calling sin into question, we are silently giving approval to it."


Mon Feb 12, 03:08:00 PM CST
TECH said...
Why, yes, it is an exclusive club that anyone, absolutely anyone, can join by acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God and accepting Him as their personal savior. (Yes, the Christian life starts after that, but that's between God and them.) But if someone doesn’t accept Christ, then they’re not Christians. That’s how it works. I do know that basing your Christianity mostly on personal revelation is dangerous. Anyone remember Jonestown? A person can be sincerely wrong. When Saul was stoning Christians, he sincerely believed he was right, but he wasn’t. Something he learned when a burning light took his sight on a dusty road. We now know him. of course, as Paul.

Mon Feb 12, 03:45:00 PM CST
TECH said...
Yes, Gloria, I know you think I'm too accepting in where I find Christians and that I don't preach at the sinners as I should. :) I just haven't noticed that beating people worked all that well.

Mon Feb 12, 03:47:00 PM CST
TECH said...
Slim, you've never explained why you think there's no God. If you feel comfortable with sharing your thoughts, I'd be interested.

Mon Feb 12, 03:48:00 PM CST
Rowan Asterion said...
"Christians have disagreed as to the metaphysics of the exact relationship of Jesus of Nazareth to God the Father for 2,000 years. So, while the majority of modern Christianity would agree with that, not all of Christianity would."
No offense, E.R. but the definition of Christian is not a mutable thing depending on which religion a person is. There are standards handed down from the first Christians (starting with the Apostles and the brand new converts to the Word of Christ)that define a Christian. You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. That He is both God and Man. You must believe that the Holy Spirit is also God. In short, the Trinity. This is basic to calling oneself Christian. During the Protestant Reformation in the 1600's, they still believed these things even when they disagreed with the Catholic church on other things. Christ's teachings were about loving one another, but that wasn't the only thing He talked about!
Anyway, this really isn't a good forum for a discussion like this. Explanations are necessarily brief and sometimes cause major misunderstandings! Hopefully, no one will get their dander up by what anyone says. :)

Mon Feb 12, 07:11:00 PM CST
TECH said...
Well said, Rowan.

Thanks to everyone who shared! It was interesting.

Wed Feb 14, 10:22:00 AM CST
Slim said...
I don't know why I don't believe in god, tech. I never have. Even when I was younger and prayed there was a big nothing. I admire your stance and the way you stay open to people. If more christians were like you the world would be a better place. But most of them arent'.

Wed Feb 14, 12:21:00 PM CST
GloriaWilliams said...
Now Tech, I'm not saying you should beat on the sinners! :) But I worry that your openness can be taken that you approve of lifestyles that aren't Christian.

I agree with Slim that you're special in this world but I think more Christians are like you than aren't. Maybe Slim ran into a bad batch of them!

And Rowan is exactly right in this: "Christ's teachings were about loving one another, but that wasn't the only thing He talked about!" You go girl! :)

Slim, I pray that God opens your heart to Him. He loves you whether you believe in Him or not and I hope one day soon you will feel His love.

Wed Feb 14, 12:32:00 PM CST
JKC said...
Ditto Gloria! :)

Wed Feb 14, 02:28:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
Slim, here's an experiment.

Act as if you believe. No, I don't mean go around talking God talk and going to church and pretending. I mean: If there is any good in you, then share it, keeping in mind that, despite arguments over doctrine and theology, that *was* Jesus's main message! Love God, love your neighbor as yourself. I predict that as you love your neighbor, and by that I mean striving to empty yourself of yourself for the good of others, then you will find that the Spirit of the Living God fill the space that is left. No mental tricks can make you believe. And I, for one, would not try to trick you. Seek, and you will find -- but often that has nothing to do with what you *think.*

Wed Feb 14, 06:20:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
BTW, this kind of lamnguage cracks me up:

"lifestyles that aren't Christian"

By that, I'm sure, is meant ...

Fat people who ignore the call to treat the body as the temple of God -- their own genetic propensity to obesity be damned.

Smart people who can't help but doubt, and question, and cling to their faith with their heart while letting their mind run free.

Plain ol' ignorant people who experience in life has not put them in a position to learn.

... I could go on but I'm tired, but I consider it my calling -- and I'm dead serious -- to tear down such artifice.

Judge not means one thing: Judge not. Repent means: Turn to God. That means: Turn yourself. Jesus saves. Let Him.

Wed Feb 14, 09:43:00 PM CST
GloriaWillians said...
And who called you to that, Redneck? It sure wasn't God despite all your bellowing about your special personal relationship to Him. You go around telling people to not judge when you do it everytime you comment anywhere. You go on about love but can't show it anyone who disagrees with you. As always, I find myself descending to your level. What a talent that must be to drag someone down. Do you notice that Slim-an openly gay man-doesn't say the world should be filled with more Christians like you? Despite the fact you use your blog to defend his lifestyle every chance you get. Why is that? And yes, I consider his lifestyle wrong, but I don't force my view on him or ask him to change, believing that God and true Christians like Tech will help him grow spiritually.

I'm sorry, Tech. I knew better than to comment on this thread as soon as I saw his name. You probably will want to delete this and please do if you think it best. I feel better for having said what I've said even though I know my words mean less than spit to him.

I won't read this thread again, Tech. I think I'd better stay away from the blog for a time. This is certainly not good for my peace of mind or my walk with God.

Wed Feb 14, 11:16:00 PM CST
Erudite Redneck said...
Gloria, I don't know what to say other than you're wrong about me, and you have an extrmemely limited, but very typical, concept of grace. Oh, and that was an especially vicious comment, and uncalled for. And I don't care whether Tech deletes these comments or not.

Slim, I don't blame you for not wanting the God that Gloria and I both profess. Thank God, so to speak, that He is bigger than any of us.

Come to my place, Slim, and see where this conversation goes. Gloria's words are a *great* premise for the next level.

Thu Feb 15, 01:42:00 AM CST
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OK, ER, I have read the original post, the comments, your post, and the comments from Anonymous (sigh) and drlobojo, neither of which I understand, just in terms of relevance, not to mention actual content. I am still a bit fuzzled - you and TECH had a nice, lively, stimulating conversation, and you are attacked, psychoanalyzed, and your current behavior is called in to question (supposedly by someone you know, but who decided to post anonymously so how can we check it out?).
You know, I have it easy. I have one or two consistent commenters, and even when things get heated, we still respect each other and continue to talk. Keep the faith, man, even as it keeps you.
Thanks, Geoffrey.

Yeah, that first Anonymous comment up there was a real chicken-shit thing to do.

For the record:

I *have* changed my thinking, for the better.

The only person I've smacked down lately is Mark, but he does revel in his ignorance and he actively disdains education, and I confess that I can't help myself. He's a jerk. I can be a jerk, too. Sue me.

I *have* been depressed. I *have* had reasons to be lately. Get off me.

Yes, I probably do drink too much. Pretty forward thing for anyone who knows me to say anonymously in this venue, though.

Happiness is overrated. I'm content most of the time. Not lately. See reefer to depression above; read Mama ER-related posts on this blog, since late November. I do need to decompress -- in fact, I *am* decompressing. Get off me again.
This whole conversation reminds me on one I had with my college roommate. It ended with the observation that we make god fit our image of god. Not quite we make god in our image, but close.

I tend to stay away from conversations like this because I think faith is such a personal thing. We all have our own experience with organized religion and personal religion. These experiences have shaped the way we believe. ER: I tend to believe like you do, and maybe for similar reasons, and maybe not.

Ps. Hope the decompression goes well.
It's no wonder that I choose to be anonymous when you lash out like that at anyone who crosses you. You must be hell to live with. Thank god I don't have to.
Anon, copy and paste where I lashed out at Gloria! Put up or hush. Oh, if you mean, "Get off me!" That's in self-defense. And grow some, wouldya?

Jim, ha! One of the best friendships I had in college was with an agnostic, or maybe an atheist, I forget. It started with me walking down the dorm hall in front of his open door, with an open Bible, muttering in discovery: "Jesus ... was a communist!"

And Jim re: "Not quite we make god in our image, but close." YES.
Oh, and yes, I am hell to live with.
Oh again, and if you mean the "chicken-shot" remark ... well, don't be a chickenshit. If you know me in the RW, or used to, e-mail me and say what you have to say to my ... interface.
Dang it: "shot" = "shit."
Peace, please! I beg you all to remember the whole point of the discussion in the first place! The discussion was about Heaven, and look what's happened. How many people, in Christ's name and in the pursuit of Heaven, have been hurling attacks, profanity and just plain ugly at one another? How in the world does this fighting line up with any Christian's beliefs? How well does this advance the Christian's calling, however that may be apparent in our lives?

Recently I had a discussion with my associate minister after Saddam's hanging about the concept of Hell. She had some interesting thoughts on it which has challenged my thinking on both Heaven and Hell. The question is, is there a Hell? Did Saddam go to Hell?

The second question involves what happened between the crucifixion and Easter morning, when Jesus conquered the power of death. Might that mean that Christ sealed the doors of Hell?

Thirdly, might it be that God loves us so much that His efforts to reclaim us don't end at our earthly death? Would not the creator of all have the power to continue to pursue us and love us even after we leave this life?

Does He not continue to say "I love you. I want you back with me."

We KNOW that He continues to seek us during this lifetime. Most of those arguing here and at Tech's profess a faith -- and our faith may look different from each of our vantage points. Isn't that fight a bit cheeky when we think of the Creator God who sent His son Jesus to show us the way home? If Daddy loves me, and Daddy loves you, who has the right to say "Daddy loves me best."

Please, all, consider just stepping back into prayer and contemplation, and leave the fight on the floor. Daddy loves us ALL but He gets real tired of the bickering. And He WILL turn this car around and go right back home if we don't settle down!
Waaaaaah! Gloria hit me first! Waaaaah!

Umm, the personality stuff doesn't really interest me since I don't have much of one myself, but to the underlying argument in the original exchange, I can only say: Nominalists lived in vain.

Well, no, that's not all - I can also say one can see whom R.A. Lafferty was mocking with "Salvation is better than smart answers."

I know I'm a different person than I was in college, for good and for bad.

Over the last 20-plus years since your college days, life has changed you. That's good and bad.

You are a true friend, though you and I disagree on things. You know, as I know, it's OK to disagree. I've never questioned our friendship.

Sometimes I wonder about whether I should come back. Comments made -- and sometimes comments not made -- seem to indicate I shouldn't be here at times.

But then I come back to that statement: I've never questioned your friendship.

It's been a while since we chatted in the newsroom or visited over the phone. Truth is, I also come back here because I miss my friend.
TStock, I loves it when you send me to the books -- or, actually, my notes from the class in the Reformation I took 2 years ago.

From my note card:

Separates god from creation
Faith & Reason need not coinside
Wm. of Ockham's 2 ides of knowledge: intuitive, identifies; abstractive, classifies, show srelationships
Practical app. Penance is one thing; god's will is another (Luther's).

My answer to question 4 of my blue book exam on Sept. 29, 2004, which was good for 9 points out of a possible 10:

"Nominalism. This philosophy drew a sharp distinction between God and creation. Faith and reason need not coincide at 'truth.' Wm. of Ockham was a leading nominalist who saw two kinds of knowledge: intuitive, which identified, and abstractive, which classified and showed relationships. A practical effect of this philosophy was on the understanding of penance in the Reformation: Man's acts of charity were one thing, but God's will was another. God's sovereignty was not changed by man's actions -- a plank of Luther's theology."

Yes, I am a sicko. I have every notebook and card from my master's. Hey, I have a fantasy of going on for the pee aytch dee in history. :-)
Oh, Teditor! You *are* my friend. I've been remiss in tending to our friendship if you've ever thought otherwise. Call me tomorrow morning at work!
You haven't been remiss, my friend. Do not fret
I beleive in the Old Testament God Fire, brimstone and all. I thank him daily for putting His Son and Grace between me and the eternal asskicking I deserve.

Ronholio, I absolutely am with you on that last part! "I thank him daily for putting His Son and Grace between me and the eternal asskicking I deserve."
Here is a late footnote to a long intercourse of flaming on this particular blog session: the online disinhibition effect.

Flame First, Think Later: New Clues to E-Mail Misbehavior

Published: February 20, 2007
Jett Lucas, a 14-year-old friend, tells me the kids in his middle school send one other a steady stream of instant messages through the day. But there’s a problem.

“Kids will say things to each other in their messages that are too embarrassing to say in person,” Jett tells me. “Then when they actually meet up, they are too shy to bring up what they said in the message. It makes things tense.”

Jett’s complaint seems to be part of a larger pattern plaguing the world of virtual communications, a problem recognized since the earliest days of the Internet: flaming, or sending a message that is taken as offensive, embarrassing or downright rude.

The hallmark of the flame is precisely what Jett lamented: thoughts expressed while sitting alone at the keyboard would be put more diplomatically — or go unmentioned — face to face.

Flaming has a technical name, the “online disinhibition effect,” which psychologists apply to the many ways people behave with less restraint in cyberspace.

In a 2004 article in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior, John Suler, a psychologist at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., suggested that several psychological factors lead to online disinhibition: the anonymity of a Web pseudonym; invisibility to others; the time lag between sending an e-mail message and getting feedback; the exaggerated sense of self from being alone; and the lack of any online authority figure. Dr. Suler notes that disinhibition can be either benign — when a shy person feels free to open up online — or toxic, as in flaming.

The emerging field of social neuroscience, the study of what goes on in the brains and bodies of two interacting people, offers clues into the neural mechanics behind flaming.

This work points to a design flaw inherent in the interface between the brain’s social circuitry and the online world. In face-to-face interaction, the brain reads a continual cascade of emotional signs and social cues, instantaneously using them to guide our next move so that the encounter goes well. Much of this social guidance occurs in circuitry centered on the orbitofrontal cortex, a center for empathy. This cortex uses that social scan to help make sure that what we do next will keep the interaction on track.

Research by Jennifer Beer, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, finds that this face-to-face guidance system inhibits impulses for actions that would upset the other person or otherwise throw the interaction off. Neurological patients with a damaged orbitofrontal cortex lose the ability to modulate the amygdala, a source of unruly impulses; like small children, they commit mortifying social gaffes like kissing a complete stranger, blithely unaware that they are doing anything untoward.

Socially artful responses emerge largely in the neural chatter between the orbitofrontal cortex and emotional centers like the amygdala that generate impulsivity. But the cortex needs social information — a change in tone of voice, say — to know how to select and channel our impulses. And in e-mail there are no channels for voice, facial expression or other cues from the person who will receive what we say.

True, there are those cute, if somewhat lame, emoticons that cleverly arrange punctuation marks to signify an emotion. The e-mail equivalent of a mood ring, they surely lack the neural impact of an actual smile or frown. Without the raised eyebrow that signals irony, say, or the tone of voice that signals delight, the orbitofrontal cortex has little to go on. Lacking real-time cues, we can easily misread the printed words in an e-mail message, taking them the wrong way.

And if we are typing while agitated, the absence of information on how the other person is responding makes the prefrontal circuitry for discretion more likely to fail. Our emotional impulses disinhibited, we type some infelicitous message and hit “send” before a more sober second thought leads us to hit “discard.” We flame.

Flaming can be induced in some people with alarming ease. Consider an experiment, reported in 2002 in The Journal of Language and Social Psychology, in which pairs of college students — strangers — were put in separate booths to get to know each other better by exchanging messages in a simulated online chat room.

While coming and going into the lab, the students were well behaved. But the experimenter was stunned to see the messages many of the students sent. About 20 percent of the e-mail conversations immediately became outrageously lewd or simply rude.

And now, the online equivalent of road rage has joined the list of Internet dangers. Last October, in what The Times of London described as “Britain’s first ‘Web rage’ attack,” a 47-year-old Londoner was convicted of assault on a man with whom he had traded insults in a chat room. He and a friend tracked down the man and attacked him with a pickax handle and a knife.

One proposed solution to flaming is replacing typed messages with video. The assumption is that getting a message along with its emotional nuances might help us dampen the impulse to flame.

All this reminds me of a poster on the wall of classrooms I once visited in New Haven public schools. The poster, part of a program in social development that has lowered rates of violence in schools there, shows a stoplight. It says that when students feel upset, they should remember that the red light means to stop, calm down and think before they act. The yellow light prompts them to weigh a range of responses, and their consequences. The green light urges them to try the best response.

Not a bad idea. Until the day e-mail comes in video form, I may just paste one of those stoplights next to my monitor.

Daniel Goleman is the author of “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.”
I have considered Web rage myself, I mean driving to another state and acting on it. Not really, but the thought has, in fact, crossed my mind.

The same editor who christened me an "erudite redneck" also tried, with limited success, to get me to employ the 5-second rule with instant messages and e-mails.
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