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no name joe

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Everything posted by no name joe

  1. The Bible tells us to meditate on Scripture. Meditation and contemplating and dwelling on the meaning of Scripture and allowing God to speak to your heart, identify areas in need of change, and allowing the peace of God to embrace you is quite amazing.
  2. The Republican party is in disarray and has been for some time. They need to get their people in line if they hope to regain control and move forward. There are serious factions in the party right now, which leads to a crippling effect. Some in the Republican party do not understand that compromise is party of politics. They all put on a show, compromise, give and take, and move forward. But now, some dig their heels in and refuse to offer any concessions. This leads to stalemate and locks up the entire system. Boehner has had prOBlems with it and I am sure is very frustrated.
  3. I honestly don't care what people do in their personal lives. I work with a gay man and it does not bother me at all, and we have developed a good friendship. He is an excellent lawyer, and I gladly work with him. I don't see whey this is a big deal either way. He is a gay man. He is a good football player. If he can do the jOB, then I am not sure why people are upset or jubilant about this. Media likes it because it is a splashy story. But in reality, if he is a good player, he will do well in the NFL. If he is not, then he will ultimately be cut, or placed on the practice squad. People are making much ado over nothing, really. Media likes it because it sells papers and drives traffic to their website. If it didn't, they wouldn't report it. But in the grand scheme of things, this is a man who was happy who expressed his joy with this significant other. Whether you agree with his lifestyle or not, it is his life and his choice, and it has no impact on anyone but himself. This won't make me watch the NFL, or follow a team, or not follow a team. It won't change my life at all. It is completely outside of my realm of influence or even outside of my realm of interest. Let's move on, shall we?
  4. Candlelight, I am sorry if I triggered some bad memories for you. That was not my intention. I just said a common saying that is filled with truth, and did not realize it would trigger negative thoughts. No, it is not word for word from the Bible, but each of the three statements is true.
  5. Candlelight: That saying is common to all Christian belief. It dates back centuries and centuries. Christians have been saying it from generation to generation. It is a tradition, yet it is well rooted in Scripture. It comes from Scripture. Not the exact wording, but the doctrine. It the essence of the Gospel. Christ has died. True? Yes. Christ has risen. True? Yes. Christ will come again. True? Yes. So what is wrong with saying it? Disclaimer: I attend an Anglican church, and we say this every week right before Communion, which I find to be a lovely reminder and reaffirmation of our faith. But we often said it in the last Baptist church I attended as well. I think it is said in most liturgical churches. Yes, it is said in Catholic churches, but I've heard it in Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican....I could go on. But it is an essential truth at the heart of Christianity.
  6. Wow. I've not read through all of this, but quite honestly, I don't bother myself with end times theology. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again. All else is just conjecture about what will likely happen long after we have passed from this earth. It is nothing to get worked up over. :-) What will come will come. We have no control and no input into the matter. All we can control is ourselves and our attitudes.
  7. Swath asked what repentance and faith means. Those are very good questions. One I am not sure I can answer. I have struggled with the meaning of these words in the context of salvation. Repentance. It means to turn around or to turn away. But how does one do that? What must we turn from? Does it mean turning away from a particular sin we struggle with? Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. Surely she still struggled with her sin after that. She was still tempted, I imagine, as we all are. I know I have an ongoing struggle. Always have and always will. So does repentance indicate I will never sin again? I don't think that is what it means. It means that my way of thought has changed. Instead of filling my mind with things that will "water seeds of evil" so to speak, I fill my mind with the teachings of Christ. My mind has turned. So instead of dwelling on thoughts of anger and bitterness, I dwell on thoughts of love and compassion. Instead of dwelling on lustful thoughts. I dwell on thoughts of love. I will always struggle with sin. There will always be seeds of sin within us that if given proper conditions will grow. There will also be seeds of good in us, that if watered will grow into the fruits of the Spirit. So I tend to believe repentance is a change of what our mind dwells on. When Jesus told the adulterous woman to go and sin no more, it was much deeper than the outward manifestation of sin. It was her heart. Before, she desired sex or companionship with one other than her husband. Now, she desires to learn the teachings of Christ and follow them. Paul struggled and indicated the things he does not want to do he does, and things he wants to do he does not do. Yet Paul had repented. So the struggle will persist, but it is about our minds and how we will water the seeds that are in our hearts. At our foundation, we have anger, laziness, greed, lust, impatience, selfishness, etc. Prior to Christ, we tend to create an atmosphere in which those things will flourish. Instead, we need to fill our minds to water the seeds of love, joy, peace patience, kindness that is within us. So I think that is what repentance means. Turning away and not filling our minds with things that will foster the growth of sin and harm, and filling our minds of things that will promote growth of fruits of the spirit. So what is faith? Is it mere belief? Is it academic assent? Does faith require action? I believe faith and action are intertwined. Faith goes to the core of our being. It is our philosophical outlook on life. It guides and dictates our actions. This goes back to repentance above. As we fill our minds with the teachings of Christ, our faith with grow. As our faith grows, our actions will reflect that through the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit. Salvation is a free gift. Yes. That is true. However, it is a costly gift as well. It changes us at the core of our being. It puts aside anger, selfishness, pride, lust, greed, etc. It kills those things which our in us. The seeds will still be there and attempt to grow back, thus the eternal struggle we have during our lives. It is also extraordinarily complex to describe what happens and how God accomplishes that work. A description is not necessary to experience it. Salvation is something we grow into. We start of as babies, and Paul puts it, and then grow as we learn and follow the teachings of Christ.
  8. Ok. I'll leave the topic of same sex marriage and how the church should respond. But in my follow up question, if a husband marries his mistress, has children by wife 1, and children by wife 2, that is a very toxic situation for the children. Wife 1 will always be hurt and struggle with anger, rejection, etc. Does God honor the second marriage? Does the Bible not say that if one divorces, they should not remarry? I need to pull out the reference. If so, isn't the husband continuing to live in an adulterous relationship with his mistress? If wife 1 wants to reconcile and husband ignores her and divorces and marries wife 2, then has children with her, what is repentance? What does it require? What if husband and wife 2 want to joint the same church as wife 1? Which must stay and which must go? Wife 1 will be sick seeing her husband and mistress in church every week. It is a terrible, terrible situation that seems to me must be dealt with in some manner. Does the husband repent by not going back to wife 1?
  9. Mikado. I have no DNA in common with my mother and father. I am the product of a teenager having sex and getting pregnant at the age of 15. My mother and father adopted me. Legally, I am seen no differently then a biological child. That is the beauty of adoption. Though genetically unrelated, legally, I have full rights and am fully recognized as their child. They had me together. They decided together they wanted a child and adopted me. No different that God adopts us as his children. Same-sex couples can legally adopt. They are recognized as the parents under the law. Both of them. They committed together to having a child. They have the same rights, duties and OBligations to that child. They love the child no differently than my parents loved me. I'm have no agenda. I'm discussing how churches should deal with these legally binding relationships. There are legal realities and spiritual realities. I'm discussing how the church should deal with these legal realities when there are children involved.
  10. And this brings me back to my original question. Where the legal reality in our society is that same-sex couple are married, and adopt children, what does repentance mean? I think this is the last I will say on the topic because we are going in circles now. But I tend to think celibacy in those cases is the way to go. I cannot fathom God wanting to break up that family. I think the church should be loving to such families and welcome them to participate. If they have made a vow of celibacy, I would not have a prOBlem with membership. Surely, where God can work all things together for good, can work good out of a same-sex family who wants to follow him and is trying to do so. Is the situation ideal? No it isn't, but neither are many family situations. Yet when people turn to God, listen, and begin to follow him, God can work in the situation they are in. If my same-sex couple friends asked if they could come to church with me, I would say absolutely. I'd make no judgments on them, and allow God to speak to them as he sees fit. I'd love them and their children, and talk to them about the love of Christ. God is big enough that I just have to speak the love of Christ, and he can speak to them. Again, I brought this up because we have legal realities. I think the church really needs to think about this and decide how it will reach and include these couples when they couples may express an interest in spiritual matters.
  11. And yes, same sex couples have children together. I have worked with clients who have committed to having children together, gone to a sperm bank, conceived through in vitro, and are raising children together today. The non-biological mother has now officially adopted her children. Legally, they are recognized as the children of both. I am adopted. My mother did not conceive me. Yet she is my mother. It is no different. A parent is the person who loves you unconditionally and has committed their life to raising you and providing for you. My mother and father are not biological, but they are my mother and father. Legally and emotionally. Children of same-sex couples are no different. I know several same-sex families who are much stronger than heterosexual families I have come across who do not provide or love their children, and are so terrible that I'm not certain I would call them parents at all. It is inconceivable to me that someone would want to take a child away from a same-sex couple who has been excellent parents to that child. That is why I think adoption is so important in same-sex couples cases. If the biological mother dies, a family who does not approve could try to take the child away from the other mother. Legal adoption is tremendously important in those cases.
  12. I know several same-sex couples who are very healthy families. One couple I knew raised children together and were committed for 40 years before her partner died. Their children are productive, healthy, happy people today. Another couple has a son in my daughter's class. One of the strongest families I know. One mother a doctor, the other a stay at home mother, and the child is very intelligent, well rounded, kind, and loving. I'm not saying starting a family like that is right. But where there is a family, there God can and does work through those situations. I don't see it any differently than where there was an affair. It is a broken, situation. But there is room for the healing and grace of God to work therein without causing more pain and tearing apart a family. All I am saying is we will see families like this. My question is how the church should reach them. I do not think the answer is to merely exclude and reject them until they separate.
  13. But does God recognize a second marriage where husband has affair, leaves his wife, and remarries the woman he had an affair with? I she conceived, it is no different than same sex marriage. A family was established through sinful behavior. How does one in this situation repent? Must husband leave wife 2 and go back to wife 1? Stay with wife 2 and the child? How does the grace of God work in this situation? I believe it does, but it takes time to heal. For one, I think what is done is done and the husband must go forward with wife 2. I think it would cause more pain to divorce a second time. But this is no different than a same-sex couple who have conceived through artificial insemination or committed to raising children together through adoption. A family was born out of sinful actions. So how can the family be preserved, and God work in their lives? I believe he does and he can. Knowing children who have same-sex parents, I cannot fathom that God would want that family broken apart. I tend to think that God may call them to celibacy and complete the task for raising the children. Them separating is akin to divorce and would be very painful to the children involved.
  14. I believe comparing same-sex marriage with many second marriages is a very good comparison. Husband has an affair. Leaves wife. Remarries. Husband and new wife come to church and try to join. What does repentance mean in that situation? What if husband and new wife have a child together? Must husband leave second wife and return to his first wife, who is innocent int he matter? Does God recognize the second marriage? What if husband a year or two later recognizes he was wrong and asks God to forgive him? What does repentance mean in that situation? Leaving and divorcing wife 2 and returning to wife 1? Or staying with Wife 2? What if husband had affair with wife 2, she got pregnant, then he left wife 1 and married wife 2? The situation is no different than same-sex marriage. Especially if children are involved. A family was established as a result of sinful behavior. If the parties seek to follow God, the question becomes how does God want to work in the midst of their situation? What does repentance mean? How does God's grace work and create something good out of what was made from sinful actions? These things happen folks. God's grace has to be present in some way for those who seek to follow him. What does repentance mean in these situations and how is God's grace present?
  15. Follow up question: I understand everyone here says that a same-sex couple should not be allowed to join the church unless they separated. It would not be enough for them to remain celibate. My question is, do you apply the same line of logic to other sins involving families? Example: Husband was unfaithful years ago. Husband and wife divorce. Husband has remarried. They come to your church and want to join. Do you require that they separate? Do you consider that Husband and new wife are married according to the God? Same issues are involved here as the same-sex couple. How do you handle this? Is the husband living in sin because he remarried? If they had a child together to you require them to separate before joining? Does it matter why the first divorce occurred? If a divorced woman and her children start attending and want to join, do you ask her why she got a divorce? Is that relevant? What if she left because he beat her or was unfaithful. These seem to be the same types of issues with same-sex couples. I'm curious as if you see them the same or differently.
  16. Prophet1. That does not answer my question. I agree with what you posted. But what about the same-sex couple who is celibate? What do you do with them? How do you counsel them? Are they homosexual, since they are celibate? Do you take their word for it? Do you tell them they must not live together? Some would say two men living together and doing everything together as a couple, even if there is no physical relationship, is the appearance of sin. It might be. This is what I am getting at. What of the gay couple who comes to know Christ. Other then telling them to stop having sex, what else must they do about their lives. Or the lives of their children they have committed to raise together. Or division of their assets. Or should they just live together as roommates with no sexual contact? What I they are living together and are not "practicing unnatural sexually relationships?" My best friend from high school identifies as a gay Christian and is in this very situation. He and his partner are celibate, but continue to live together and raise an adopted daughter together.
  17. Prophet. That makes sense, and I understand why your church did so. But being a lawyer, I have to ask, what does the term "homosexual" mean? Is a person who is attracted to a person of the same gender a homosexual? Just those who engage in homosexual sex? What about those who identify as gay but have chosen to remain celibate (I have talked to a few people in this category, they have same-sex attraction, and therefore identify as gay, but as they believe homosexual sex is wrong, chosen to remain celibate). Do you exclude a person like that? What if that person has a friend/companion but they have taken vows of celibacy and live as roommates? It seems, in my reading of the Bible, homosexuality is defined by the sexual act. So I do not think it necessarily covers same sex attraction where that person is celibate. But those people today identify as gay. But if you define as merely a sexual act, then what do you do with a same-sex couple who are honestly celibate? Are they homosexuals, or merely friends who have decided to walk through life together? What if they do not live together, but do everything else together....eat meals, go everywhere, and share life? I am not trying to be OBnoxious or make excuses for sin. I'm asking legitimate questions.
  18. I have in no way promoted anything ungodly. I am sorry you feel that way. I have simply asked a question. This is something that churches will have to address and deal with more and more in coming years. I think this is an important discussion to have. I have neighbors in this situation. I have had a couple with children visit a church I attended at one point. I am not promoting anything, and I have not attempted to argue homosexual sex is not sinful. I believe it is. I have simply asked how should we counsel people in these situations? Should we say it is ok for them to be a family since they have made commitments, but remain celibate? Should we reject them entirely and not try to reach them? Should we make our churches unwelcoming to them? What should we do? That is my question. If you cannot see the legitimacy of that question, then I don't know what to do. Most have given honest and good responses as to their thoughts. I would like to see a bit more discussion, but if no one has anything else to add, that is fine. I will add that never have I posted anything disrespectful to anyone, even with those I disagree with. I am respectful and am wiling to listen to all viewpoints, and engage in thoughtful conversation. I have not posted this or any other item that has promoted anything sinful or attempting to disparage the beliefs of those here, but to ask questions and learn about the beliefs and thoughts of others. This particular question seems to be an important one in light of what is going on in our culture today. There are same-sex couples in your community who are legally married. In mine too. If we want to reach them for Christ, we must be prepared to answer tough questions I raise in this thread. Because they will ask them.
  19. I think it would be very hurtful if you skipped the wedding festivities. However, there is nothing wrong with not partaking in the alcohol or not dancing. Just go enjoy. Visit with people. Enjoy an iced tea or cold Coca-Cola. Celebrate this big day with your son and daughter-in-law. Failing to do so could potentially damage your relationship with them very deeply. If there is a toast, simply toast with your glass of water, tea or cola. Or simply don't toast. But by all means go to your son's wedding.
  20. I can see not letting them join. What policy should a church have as to their involvement if they choose to keep their family together? Should their children be allowed to take part on children activities? Should they, as a couple, be permitted to help out in the children's area? Help prepare snacks for VBS? Should they be allowed to volunteer in other roles in the church? Or should they just be allowed to attend and not participate in anything?
  21. Sword. I see what you are saying, but what does that mean in this scenario? Does it mean that the couple should separate? If so, who decides how to divide their bank account? Who keeps the house they purchased? What if one was an income earner such as a doctor and the other a stay at home mother? Should the doctor pay alimony to the stay at home mother? Who decides which spouse keeps the children? Who decides visitation rights? How should the church answer all of these questions? If the church say the couple must split and divorce, then it seems to me the church needs to have answers to these questions.
  22. I am not trying to debate here whether or not homosexuality is sinful. I believe homosexual sex is sinful. My question is what do we do with people and how do we bring Christ to them and what does that mean for their legal marriages and families?
  23. And what about it do you find vile and wicked? I presented a very real scenario. One that I have seen occur in the last church I was a part of. One that I have encountered with some neighbors on my street. I am sorry if you find it vile. But this is the real world. These are real scenarios that the church needs to be prepared to address. There are same sex couple who are legally married. Everywhere. My neighbors were legally married in Vermont and have three children. I described a situation. One that will occur with more and more frequency in the coming years. The church must have answers. To date they do not.
  24. How do you know they are having sex? What if they have made a vow of celibacy?
  25. Very real scenario: Two women have lived together for 12 years in a same-sex relationship. They have gone to another state to get legally married and now reside in your state. Through in vitro fertilization and an anonymous sperm donor through a sperm bank, they have conceived and are raising three children, ages 6, 4 and 6 months. They come to your church and would like to join. What do you do? What do you tell them? What position should the church take on this? This puts two sins in at odds. Homosexuality and divorce. Maybe. Perhaps they have decided to remain celibate. No one has ever asked my wife and I about our sex lives, so should we ask about theirs? I am curious to know what your advice would be. Here we have three children who are well cared for, love their mothers, and are excelling in every area of life. If you advise them to separate and "divorce" (that is what would occur, no matter what you call it), the children would be harmed. If you advise them to stay together, do you tell them they have to be celibate? How should the church address same-sex families in these situations? How can the church possibly reach them if we advocate tearing their family apart? I am friends with a couple in this very situation. I never hear Christians talk about the realities, and am curious as to your thoughts: 1. How do you know this couple is having sex, which is prohibited in the Bible? If they are celibate, are they still sinning? 2. When children and assets are involved, and breaking them up, if you say that is what they must do, how do you decide who gets custody of children? Who gets the house? Who gets money in the bank account? I'm not interested in a debate as the morality or immorality of same-sex sex. I am interested in the realities of people who are living as families and are legally married, and how the church should address these situations. Do we just turn them away? Do we maintain and respect their families and tell them to abstain from sex?
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