Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Songs In The Key of Adolescence. . . Which One's Best? . . .

So I had this great little conversation with my nephew yesterday. We were sitting by the pool with a 60s/70s station providing our Fourth of July soundtrack. The little game of "Name the Artist" I was playing with my brother-in-laws was fun. Fully expecting to get some push-back, I asked my nephew - a big music fan - for his opinion on what might have been the best era for pop music based on relevance, quality, depth, etc. I was surprised when he quickly agreed that the music on the station entertaining us was representative of the best. Debate avoided. Then I asked him why he thought it was the best. He went right to the lyrics. Sure, there was some pretty goofy stuff out there at the time ("And they called it Puppy Love. . . ", anything by Barry Manilow, etc.). But there was some depth and thoughtfulness that isn't always there anymore. . . at least it seems that way to me. That's the reason my car's satellite radio usually finds itself on stations that play music from that era.

While driving alone the other day, one of those station's played a song I hadn't heard in awhile. It's one of those songs that captures the heart of adolescent angst and the realities of life as a teenager. Janis Ian's "At Seventeen" won the Best Pop Vocal Performance Grammy in 1975. It's a heart-breaker that fuels - or should fuel - compassion for kids.

I met Janis Ian in 1983. I talked to her briefly about her song and the realities it reflected. She impressed me as a serious, thoughtful, and somewhat sad figure. "At Seventeen" wasn't just a song. It was Janis Ian.

What songs of the last fifty or so years are the best songs about the adolescent experience? I think "At Seventeen" has to rank fairly high. Is there a song in your memory vault from your own adolescent years that should be on a list of the best? Are there songs that are new, newer, not so old, and old that you would play for someone to give them a better sense of what it means to be a teenager in today's world?

God has given us an amazing gift in music. We should treasure music that tells the truth. . . even if that truth reflects brokenness that's ugly. What songs should be on the list? And why?


KTElltt said...

Hi, Walt. I'm going to have to go with Creep by Radiohead. I am 31 and it was our anthem as older teens. I think it reflects the awkwardness and aloneness that almost all teens feel to some extent, and now, as a mom and a believer, I see the irony and bittersweetness of the line "I don't belong here." I know what York means by it, but I also know that this truly is not my home...

SoupDaddy said...

I have always thought that Hoobastank's "Crawling in the Dark" captured the hunger-filled, skeptical drive for life I see in teens.

Ralph said...

“We should treasure music that tells the truth…”, you say.
Then,“Give Me Everything” posted below, belongs on this list. We must “treasure music that tells the truth”, whether it is or is not the truth as we want it to be.

“You just don’t get it”, as our youth, say. One must realize that a religious attempt to inflict guilt and repress one’s sexuality, prior to marriage, is doomed to fail among society’s growing segment of marriage postponing and enlightened youth. They are not getting married as young as we used to, and they want rational and sensible explanations attached to their given rules of behavior. What we are seeing and hearing in music is the fruit of that repression and inflicted guilt, absent rationality. Sexuality, prior to marriage, will be expressed healthfully, inappropriately, or perversely, but it will be expressed. Count on it!

Sexuality is every species, including Homo sapiens, strongest instinct - the instinct to propagate.

God purposefully did not give us the gift of sexual feelings after we become married, rather He purposefully gave us these feelings at a very early age, prior to marriage, to enjoy, and not repress, totally absent the slightest commitment to another person, other than treating that other person as we would want to be treated; with honesty, respect and understanding (Matthew 22: 39, and Luke 6: 31). Not even one word of God or Jesus, in the entire Bible, is devoted to condemning sex prior to marriage.

I challenge anyone to find such.

Thanks for your appreciation Sandy Seegrist.
July 5, 2011 3:00 PM

Anonymous said...

For me personally, it's the song "Battles" by Axe, a hard rock band from Gainesville, FL. They didn't know they were writing my bio when I was in & fresh out of HS (graduated in 77). Plus, the smoking guitar solo @ the end helps too. *smile*
A 2nd choice for this old-schooler would be Chicago's "Searchin'"
Thankfully, neither is descriptive of me now!
FWIW, Mike

SoupDaddy said...

@ Ralph (or is it Sandy Seegrist?): I only pray that my children never come anywhere under your misunderstood concept of God’s intension for our sexuality. I also pray they never date anyone who has been shaped by your teaching.

This is my first-ever response to a blog comment. I was compelled to respond because I have had a “lump in my stomach” ever since reading you comments on premarital sexual relations yesterday.

Regarding not one scripture prohibiting sex outside of marriage, I would point you to Hebrews 13:4. In his sermon “Let Marriage be Held in Honor Among All,” John Piper gives a clear biblical explanation of this passage and the widely held understanding of the word translated as “sexual immoral” or “fornicators” in most modern translations.

From a biblical perspective, our drive to procreate, which in your view seems to be only a heightened animal instinct, is a product of God’s design which bring both joy to those who employ it and glory to the One who designed us only when it is expressed in response to His mandate in Gen. 1 to “be fruitful and increase in number.” Gen. 2 secures this mandate within the context of marriage as a man leaving his father and mother and being united to his wife as one flesh.

The Fall of mankind and the entrance of sin into our world has corrupted every natural and God-given desire each of us feels, sexual desires being only one example. I agree with you that “sexuality, prior to marriage, will be expressed…Count on it!”
The fact that it will be expressed is not evidence that it is God-honoring. It is evidence that sin has universally corrupted all of us.

If I am interpreting your understanding incorrectly, please forgive me, but it seems that you are positing that if sex prior to marriage happens in a respectful, loving, and honest way then it is O.K. I think that could not be further from the truth of God’s perfect design and intention for us. Sexual intercourse, as it was intended and designed by God, is the ultimate expression of connectedness in a permanent covenantal relationship. It brings joy to the man and woman and glory to God when expressed in this way.

Our culture has turned sex into the ultimate test of relational compatibility. Unfortunately, this is one type of test that our young people are more than happy to take. I would strongly urge you to be careful where you cast your “pearls of wisdom” lest they lead somebody down a path in search for biblical, God-honoring premarital sex. That is an impossible quest because it does not exist.

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

SoupDaddy, even though you are in complete disagreement with me and loathe my feelings on this subject, I fully respect and admire your passion. I will admire wrongly (in my opinion) placed passion, over apathy any day.

Yes it is I, and not Sandy Seegrist, that wrote the above comment. I was thanking Sandy as she had previously commented that she liked my submissions (along with several others) on this site.

I have finally acquired the strength to reveal my identity. The reason I previously thought it best not to, was that I was asked to leave my former church due to my belief in evolution. I can now accept being asked to leave my present church for my views on sex. I do tremendously enjoy worshiping and fellowshipping with my fellow church brethren. To just seek out another church is not that easy, as I do not own an automobile, I bicycle. I’ve come to realize that if I am asked to leave this church, then I have been worshipping in the wrong place.

I do not write to upset anyone. That is not my intent. My intent is hopefully to make others realize that they can never be 100% positive about any of their beliefs, but always open to considering other points of view. Being 100% certain provides no reason to consider other’s beliefs or opinions. No matter how certain one is about anything, including our religious beliefs, it should not be 100%, 99.99999% ok, but never 100%. As a society we should never want to go down that road. I don’t even see Walt with his extensive education, believing 100% in his religious beliefs, including that Jesus is the Son of God.

Although I wish we could clone Walt, I soon realized in reading his posts, that some of his followers were more “sheeple” than people. This I consider to be extremely dangerous in a society. It is also a reason that non-Christians view us with distrust and see us trying to force our agenda on the entire country. Unfortunately they have a good case to make.

In response to your comment SoupDaddy, I will copy a format successfully used by another commenter in responding to those who comment on her comments. I will respond to your exact words on each of the points you attempt to make.

You state,
“Regarding not one scripture prohibiting sex outside of marriage, I would point you
to Hebrews 13:4.”

Ok, a couple of things here. First, re-read my comment. I state nowhere in the Bible does GOD OR JESUS condemn pre-marital sex. The book of Hebrews is Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews, not God or Jesus’.

Second, Hebrews 13: 4 reads, “Marriage is honourable… but adulterers God will judge.” (KJV) Fine, but this in no way can be interpreted as marriage having anything to do with sex. Their is no connection whatsoever in this verse. It does not say, “Only sex within the confines of marriage is honorable.” Your implied connection is as irrational as stating this verse means that, “ Only going to an amusement park, within the confines of a marriage is honorable”. Think about it. There is absolutely no mention of sex or amusement parks in that verse. You are making a totally groundless assumption. Again, nowhere in the Bible does God or Jesus equate having sex only within marriage as being acceptable. And just as important, is that the Bible never even defines the word “marriage”.

Third, it is so telling that you feel so strongly about your erroneous interpretation of this verse, and give no weight to the end of that verse – “… but adulterers God will judge.” Please explain why you place so much emphasis on this verse supposedly condemning pre-marital sex, which Jesus never even mentions one word about, yet, I can safely assume you are not nearly as vociferous in condemning adultery, which God found so abominable that He forbade it in the 7th Commandment.

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

If you were forced to choose one, which would you choose – to have your child engage in extensive pre-marital safe sex, or marry a wonderful, loving, attentive, but divorced soul mate, and thus be guilty of committing adultery every single day of his/her blissful life? Keep in mind that one choice is in direct violation of Jesus’ teaching (marrying a divorcee is committing adultery) and God’s Commandment, while the other is never even mentioned by them. Would an unmarried teenage couple with three children, all with different fathers, be as welcomed in your front church pew as the church secretary married to the divorced Deacon?

FOURTH, I find it disingenuous that you cherry-pick Paul’s words. Do you teach your son that it is best that he never touch a woman (I Corinthians7: 1), and your daughter that she would be conspiring against Paul’s teaching if she ever allowed a man to touch her? Are you blind to the fact that Paul directly contradicts God’s edict to go forth and multiply? Are you aware that following Paul’s advice would lead to the extinction of God’s creation? Sure doesn’t sound like someone who is inspired by God to me. The harsh fact is that Jesus never once mentioned or even implied that even one person, let alone Paul, was an inspired scribe of His Father. Sounds more like Paul was a latter-day TD Jakes, Rod Parsley. Peter Popoff, Creflo Dollar, Ken Hagin, Ken Copeland, or Harold Camping. Perhaps Paul had his own sexual hang-ups with women, or perhaps he might even have been gay.

You state,
“… our drive to procreate…brings joy to those who employ it…ONLY (my capitalization) when it is expressed in response to His mandate in Gen.1 to ‘be fruitful and increase in number’”

This is an erroneous,unconscionable and Neanderthalic interpretation of Gen.1, that couples will “ONLY” find joy in procreative sex.

You state,
"The Fall of mankind and the entrance of sin into our world has corrupted EVERY (my capitalization) natural and God-given desire each of us feels, sexual desires being only one example."

Conveniently you fail to cite even one biblical verse supporting this blatantly false statement. Adam eating a piece of fruit in no way or sense “has corrupted my natural and God-given desire” to sing, dance, or paint. What biblical verse do you base that statement on?

You state,
“I agree with you that ‘sexuality, prior to marriage, will be expressed…Count on it!’”

How in the world can you take such a morally indefensible position? Since you are so obstinate against pre-marital sex, and follow Evangelical teachings, I can safely assume that you vehemently disapprove of safe sex education in our schools. In agreeing with me that teens sexuality will definitely be expressed, you are showing not a wit of care for these kids in wanting to deny them the necessary education to prevent having unwanted children, abortions, diseases, and possibly contracting AIDS. Also, you are then agreeing with the overwhelming social science research that confirms that abstinence teaching alone, does not work, which is going against the teaching of your church. I commend you for taking that stand at least.

You state,
“ The fact that it (sex) will be expressed is not evidence that it is God-honoring.”

I never said that it was evidence, or is God-honoring. Sex like numerous other enjoyable healthy activities – biking, hiking, swimming, has absolutely nothing to do with honoring or dishonoring God, and never once does God or His Son ever mention pre-marital sex in “honoring” terms.


Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

You state,
“It (pre-marital sex) is evidence that sin has universally corrupted all of us.”

That makes as much sense as me saying,“Pre-marital sex is evidence that its virtue has universally glorified all of us”. You provide no reasoning or documentation to support that statement, nor do I mine.

You state,
“Gen. 2 secures this mandate (Be fruitful and multiply) within the context of marriage as a man leaving his father and mother and being united to his wife as one flesh.”

“Within the context of marriage” is NEVER mentioned in Gen 2. In Gen.2, the reason God created a “woman”, (not a “wife”), was to help Adam tend the garden. Gen. 2’s creation of a woman has absolutely nothing to do with being fruitful and multiplying, and marriage is never even mentioned. Please read Genesis 2 again, slowly.

Now lets deal with the second part of the verse you are referring to. Your use of certain words makes me believe you are quoting from the New International Version (NIV), so let’s use that.

In Gen 2: 24 Moses says,
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

Here Moses is erroneously extrapolating on what Adam says in the preceding 23rd verse, which is,

“This is now bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.”

Any elementary school English teacher would tell you that it is totally inappropriate for Moses to presume that Adam’s words mean, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife as one flesh.” The only correct interpretation of Adam’s words, the English teacher would tell you, is for verse 24 to read, “ And that is why a woman is called a woman”. Moses has no basis to extrapolate from Adam’s words, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife as one flesh.” Moses’ second mistake is using the term “wife”. God used the word “helper’, not ‘wife”, and Adam said ‘woman’, not “wife”, big difference.

Adam’s words have nothing to do with becoming one flesh. Perhaps Arnold also misinterpreted this verse, that a man is supposed to unite and become one flesh with a “helper”? Also, how can Moses quote anyone, or describe anything, when he was not even there?

You state,
“… it seems you are positing that if sex prior to marriage happens in a respectful, loving and honest way then it is O.K. I think that could not be further from the truth of God’s perfect design and intention for us.”

You want “further from the truth” than respect, loving, and honest sex? How about engaging in pre-marital sex through intimidation, deceit, monetary payment, unprotected, or date rape?

You state,
“Sexual intercourse, as it was intended and designed by God, is the ultimate expression of connectedness in a permanent, covenantal relationship. It brings joy to the man and woman and glory to God when expressed in this way.”

Here we go again. First, “as it was intended and designed by God”. NOWHERE in the bible does it state where God expresses the intended way to have sexual intercourse. Among the myriad number of positions one can have “sexual intercourse”, which ones did God intend? Is the proverbial “hanging from the chandeliers”, acceptable? If not, please cite the applicable scripture. Also, again you fail to cite even one verse where God or Jesus designed sex to occur only in a “permanent covenantal relationship”, or that it “brings Him glory”. That is only your assumption, and is not supported by the words of God or Jesus.

You state,
“Sexual intercourse… is the ultimate expression of connectedness”

Again, NOWHERE in the Bible does it state this; this is only your biblically unsupported assumption. And speak for yourself. I’ve read and heard about and from many women and men who consider kissing to be a much more “expression of connectedness”. It is much more intimate they say. I agree.


Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

Second, I couldn’t disagree with you more that sexual intercourse is the “ultimate expression of connectedness”. The ultimate expression of connectedness is feeling totally comfortable in having full and unwavering TRUST in another; that true feelings and emotions will be shared and not hidden or denied; that your weaknesses and sensitivities will never be used to manipulate you; that a loved one will never forsake you; that your loved one will always have your best interests at heart; that they will not only allow you to grow, but also contribute to your growth… Trust is what makes each other soul mates so to speak. I realize that the term “soul mate” has become quite the cliché, but for anyone who has experienced it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Sexual intercourse comes nowhere near trust in providing “the “ultimate expression of connectedness”. To further support the importance of trust being the ultimate expression of connectedness, and not sexual intercourse, is that it has been shown over and over that a woman would much rather discover her husband had a one-night stand, than to discover e-mails on her husband’s computer expressing love for another woman over a period of months or even years.

I feel SoupDaddy that you make way too much of the physical and far too little of the emotional, in your ascertaining the ultimate connectedness.

You state,
“I would strongly urge you to be more careful where you cast your ‘pearls of wisdom’…”

I never inferred that they were “pearls of wisdom”. I present them only as rational and thought provoking concepts that one should consider in determining their beliefs.

You state,
“…be careful where you cast your ‘pearls of wisdom’ lest they lead somebody down a path in search for biblical, God-honoring premarital sex. That is an impossible quest because it does not exist.”

I never intended, nor can you find a single word I wrote, that pre-marital sex honors God, and that it was a quest of mine to prove such. My proposition, which you have inadvertently confirmed, is that there is absolutely no condemnation of pre-marital sex spoken by neither God nor Jesus. Condemnation of pre-marital sex is a man-made concept that causes tremendous pain, children estranged from parents, monumental guilt, lying and deceit between parent-child, and couples. This condemnation also results in eliminating safe-sex education that then results in abortion, unwanted and unloved children, disease, and yes, even death.

In ending, you state,
“That (proving pre-marital sex is God-honoring) is an impossible task because it does not exist.”

Let me remind you, “The burden of proof rests upon the person who hypothesizes.”
I never hypothesized that pre-marital sex is god honoring, but rather it was you who hypothesized that pre-marital sex, is dishonoring God. You have provided no biblical substantiation whatsoever in your attempt. Your one and ONLY surprisingly weak biblical attempt at substantiation was to quote Paul in Hebrews 13:4, and we saw how well that worked out.

PB said...

@Ralph - if you're truly interested in that answer, prayerfully read the entire Law of God. There is so much about sexual relationships - all that require commitment on the man's part. For instance, Exodus 22:16: "If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price and she shall be his wife." In the breaking of this or any one of these laws, you have broken the whole law and are an enemy of God deserving death. It is for this reason that Jesus died on the cross - to reconcile you (if you accept His payment for your sins) to God.

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

Walt, now that I’ve seen two comments that were posted after mine was submitted, don’t you think my submission at least warranted a statement such as, “Rafael, your comment was deleted due to finding it highly offensive. Feel free to submit an edited version”. Keep in mind that I was only defending my position against a very strongly worded comment that was directed towards me, which by the way I was not offended by, as it did not emanate from hate and bigotry.

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

PB thanks for your well-meaning response. I was in total agreement with your comment in the immediate preceding post, but this comment really shocked me. Exodus 22:16 is treating a woman like chattel. For a woman to have to marry a man who seduces her is totally reprehensible and gives the woman no recognition as a human being, who most likely would find marrying this man to be totally repulsive.

What really scares me about your statement is how you believe that, “In the breaking of this or any of his laws, you have broken the whole law and are an ENEMY of God deserving of DEATH.” Don’t you see how absolutely terrifying this mode of thinking is? Right now there are billions of fundamental Islamists who believe we (Christians) should be put to death for our failure to believe that their Mohammed is a prophet. This type of thinking cannot pervade Christianity.

In all of law, those laws (commandments) that are given at a later date pertaining to the same subject, supercede the laws given at an earlier date. Such is the case with Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:37-40.

Walt, don’t you see the absolute danger in this mindset? I know you are not intentionally perpetuating this type of interpretation, but I plead to you, please examine if somehow you are accidentally promoting this mindset. It is in total opposition to Jesus’ teachings, and morally horrifying.

Anonymous said...

I also appreciate Hoobastank, and "The Reason" gets me every time. Minus a few words that apply to a person, it's kind of my anthem to God - I love Him because He first loved me. He's the reason I hate my sin; He's the reason I want to change and grow. I know I've hurt Him in the past, and I know that He will help me to start over new!

And FYI, "Ralph," I saved my sexual expressions for marriage and I wasn't deluded or repressed - I was kept pure and undefiled. I thank God that He allowed me to fully enjoy His gift within an amazing marriage. I'm sorry that the enemy has urged you to believe this way, and I pray you find the Truth.

Jason said...

As a child of the post-80's excess, bands like Nirvana spoke to the restlessness of the youth of my generation. For that, 'SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT' pretty much summed up in one line what was to come:

"Here we are now/entertain us"

Shortly thereafter, Dave Matthews Band released 'TOO MUCH' which articulated the not so subtle realization that no matter what we have, we will always want, well...too much:

"I'm no crazy creep, I've got it coming/To me because I'm not satisfied/The hunger keeps on growing/I eat too much/I drink too much/I want too much/Too much"

PB said...

Ralph - You are offended that sin brings death? How do you think Jesus feels about sin? Jesus gave up everything to come to earth and live life as a human. He lived a perfect life, never rebelling against God, never sinning at all. Yet He died the most horrific death in order to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28). Jesus explained that His body would be broken and His blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Matt 26:28). Do you think Jesus, God as man, thought it unjust that His death was required for the forgiveness of sins? Rather, He understood justice much better than we do. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that all who believe would NOT perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (Jn 3:16-17). Jesus was obedient to His Father even unto death to pay the ransom - the price necessary - for our sins. Praise God Jesus lives! He was raised from the dead to show that God accepted His sacrifice as payment for our sins. Because He lives, we, too, can live like Him and with Him for eternity, if we accept that His death paid the price due for our sins! That's the Good News of God's story told from Genesis to Revelation!

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

PB, thanks for your well-intentioned response, but you glaringly failed to address your use of the word "ENEMY", and "these laws", plus my denouncement of your biblical documentation condemning pre-marital sex.

You state,
“In the breaking of this or any one of these laws, you have broken the whole law and are an ENEMY of God deserving DEATH.”

Could you please enumerate “these laws”? Perhaps I can help.

1) One should be stoned to death if caught working on the Sabbath. Numbers 15:32-36
2) A virgin wife (?) should be stoned to death if she does not cry out while being raped, provided the rape occurs in the city, not the countryside. Deuteronomy 22:23-24
3) A man who is wounded in the stones or has his privy member cut off shall not enter the Church of the Lord. Deuteronomy 23:1
4) If a man commits adultery with a married woman, both of them shall die. Deuteronomy 22:22
5) A man should rule over his wife. Genesis 3:16 and many other verses
6) A man shall not trim his beard. Leviticus 19:27
7) Homosexuals should be put to death. Leviticus 20:13

Also your reply conspicuously fails to address your use of the word "ENEMY".

Let me add that even if my own children violated ALL of my laws, they would never ever be considered as my “ENEMY”.

What also conspicuously stands out in your reply is that you fail, once again, to provide any biblical documentation condemning pre-marital sex. Your only previous attempt was to quote Exodus 22:16, which I showed in my previous comment, to be patently absurd.

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

Anonymous, thanks for your response.

You say, “I pray you find the truth”. Are you really praying that I find the truth, or as many do, you say it as a trite colloquialism? If so, I don’t believe the concept of prayer should ever be used this way.

The fact that you saved your sexual expressions for marriage is great if that is what worked for you. All I’m saying is that there is not one word of valid condemnation for pre-marital sex in the Bible, thus condemning this incredibly strong drive is unconscionable.

I do disagree with your choice of words. By stating that in waiting until marriage to have sex, you kept yourself “pure and undefiled”, you conversely imply that a person having pre-marital sex is polluted and defiled. I find it cruel, arrogant, pretentious and degrading, for you to stigmatize one as such.

The reason there is no biblical condemnation of pre-marital sex is because it is a totally man-made concept. Let me explain.

Isn’t it interesting that we always label a virgin female as “pure and undefiled”, but never use those terms to describe a virgin male? Isn’t it interesting the term “virgin” invariably and unequivocally, conjures up thoughts of a female, and not that of a male? Could this possibly be due to the historically hidden fear of men;being compared with a woman’s previous lover’s techniques and size?

In effect then, this may well be the reasoning for stressing the virginity of the female, and condemning her for having pre-marital sex. Think of the many derogatory terms men attach to a sexually active unmarried woman:fallen woman, harlot, bimbo, nympho, floozy, tramp, whore, slut, skank, pig, and worse. What are the terms used for a sexually active unmarried male:playboy, stud, ladies' man, score man, Don Juan, Prince Charming, Lover boy, a real Romeo, smooth talker, make-out artist, and “that’s my boy”. Ladies liberate yourselves! Do not be victims of men’s insecurities and misogyny.

Now, two concerns in regard to you saying, “ I’m sorry the enemy has urged you to think this way”. First, no one has “urged” me to think this way. My thoughts only developed after studying the Bible and applying rational, reasonable, and sensible interpretations. I started this quest when first asked why I believed what I did, out of the numerous other religions and beliefs. I then realized that the only reason that I held my beliefs was that I was taught them, but then realized that just being taught something does not make it right.

Second, the use of the word “enemy” has got to be examined, and STOPPED! It is this very word that made it so easy for Christians to burn alive at the stake, millions of people whose only crime was that they had different beliefs than the Christians (the Inquisition, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, etc.). The word also allowed German Christians to turn their heads during the Holocaust.

Just because someone does not share your beliefs does not make them “THE ENEMY”!

PB said...

Dear Ralph,

When I first surrendered to Christ I asked Him for help in understanding the truth of His word because there has been, as you point out, so much wrong done in His name and taught in the church. I struggled over the laws that you listed – I remember really not understanding how God gave Moses the law then immediately, because of Israelite’s idol worship, ordered Moses to kill. I asked God – how can this be? You say “do not murder”, now “go and kill?” Scripture can be very confusing but God is not a God of confusion and to those who really want the truth – He opens your eyes to Who He is and what He’s doing. God was able to tell Moses to kill (and some of the laws you cited in your post also required death) because He is God. He is Judge. He gets to decide what deserves death and He gets to administer that punishment according to His will. Has man done wrong assuming it was their responsibility? Yes. But that doesn’t change Who God is or what He requires. We cannot look past the fact that God requires death for sins. You don’t like this, you are offended by it, you don’t want to believe it. But, you have clearly read scripture and heard the truth and rejected it. You have rejected all scripture that has been quoted to you out of your own reasoning. You are not looking for answers, but are seeking someone to say “you’re right.” But, you’re not. You are deceived. And, as Christ’s followers we must speak the truth and then leave you to do with it what you will. In your rejection of God’s word you are not my enemy, you are not rejecting me, but you are rejecting God - your issue is with Him, not me. So, my final scripture, because you asked for it, is from Jesus to the Pharisees –the ones who thought that above all others they had it right:

John 8:42-47: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

In Matthew 13, Jesus refers to the devil being the enemy. Here, in John 8, Jesus tells the most religious of the day that they are not only NOT children of God but are children of the devil – the enemy.

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

Thank you for you tremendously sincere and sensitive response,it is very much appreciated.

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

Reprinted from AP Press,July 23, 2011.

"OSLO — The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a 32-year-old man, whom they identified as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing connections, over the bombing of a government center here and a shooting attack on a nearby island that together left at least 91 people dead."

This is why it is so important not to label those with different beliefs as "the enemy".

You Walt, more than any other fundamentalist I know, have NOT contributed to this stigmatization, and purposefully extend yourself to allow differences of beliefs to be expressed.

Don't ever doubt your intrinsic "goodness" Walt. May God truly bless you.