prisonchaplain

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Everything posted by prisonchaplain

  1. In my new career as a secondary school teacher I spent my first year teaching Civics to 12th graders. I tried to stay as neutral and objective as possible, empowering these emerging adults in the development of their own views. However, since I work in a private school I did not have to teach the jaundiced view that America was never great or that its Constitution is just some outdated document drafted by white men. We hit the themes of freedom of speech and religion pretty hard. I enjoyed it much and hope the students left wiser and more confident than they came in. This year I will have 7th graders for U.S. History. Perhaps the influence will be even greater.
  2. Mea Culpa. I hadn't heard from/about him in awhile and assumed he'd retire. Now that I think about it...yeah...my wrong. Current Senator Romney...
  3. I generally watch Fox News Sunday and the George Stephenopolis (sp?) show, so I have a general idea of what media is perceiving the news to be. Imagine my surprise when I stumble upon an interview of former Sen. Romney by Bret Baire (sp?). It was nicely and respectfully done. People may have varying views on Romney's policies and success, but he got the relationship of church and state right. Further, one aspect of LDS doctrine I find attractive and intriguing is the belief that the U.S. Constitution is inspired.
  4. I don't believe this is true. It's a common joke--yeah, I'll just tell them I work law enforcement and they'll let me go! BUT, it's not actually a rule, to my knowledge.
  5. Part of the issue here may be faith. We all believe in God--Heavenly Father--Creator of all that is. How we understand this God differs, however. Did God form preexisting intelligence into what we now know as humanity or did He make us out of nothing? Traditional Christianity believes the latter--and it's part of our understanding of who God is--Alone in His eternal existence--the one from whom all matter comes into being. There is a classic joke that we find hilarious. A scientist cries out and says, "God, if your there and you are real, prove yourself or leave us alone!" Suddenly, the scientist finds himself in an empty void. A voice speaks and says, "Hello. I'm God." The scientist says, "OK, so you exist. It really doesn't matter. We can now create life, so you can go away." God responds, "Really? That's great. Show this to me and I'll leave forever." The scientist then looks around frantically. Finally, he sees a pile of dirt and starts heading towards it. God speaks. "Where are you going?" The scientist says, "I'm heading over to that pile of dirt so that I can create human life from it." The last words the scientist ever hears are, "Get your own dirt."
  6. You and I agree on this. However, I'm fairly certain that what you are calling predestination is what traditionalists consider foreknowledge. It's what I believe. Predestinationists contend that God, as Almighty Creator, has sovereign authority over His creation, and that He does indeed predestine souls to heaven or hell. They would argue that those who become believers were predestined--that for them grace was irresistible--the I in TULIP teaching.
  7. To paraphrase @Traveler's inquiry, how can a God who created us out of nothing (a traditional Christian understanding) have no responsibility for the bad choices (sinful--evil) of His creation? If they started from nothing and God made them, then God would seem to bare total responsibility for the results, wouldn't He? There are traditional Christians who subscribe to Predestination--the belief that God does choose sinners and saints. I'm not one of those. Like many traditionalists, I perceive the Bible to declare God's foreknowledge, while at the same time permitting us the capacity to choose our way, for good or ill. What God created in us is the capacity for great good or evil. It is totally on us which direction we go and whether or not we repent if we start out wrong. The Apostle Paul says we have no excuse for our sin (Romans 1). He also decries his own weakness in sinning when he does not want to do so and avoiding good when he wants to do it (Romans 7). Still, he ends well, saying towards the end of his life that he had run a good race and fought a good fight. Never does he suggest that God bare any blame. I believe it is James that tells us not to blame God when we are tempted. God cannot be tempted, nor does He tempt. Rather, we are tempted by our own evil desires. Perhaps you can argue that God did not create the sinful acts that are in our hearts. He did instill in us the capacity, though. There's no blame because that good/evil capacity is what makes us free.
  8. Those that wish to see @Traveler's arguments should refer to his OP--they are classic, and the issue has remained contentious for centuries. Those of us who believe that God created us out of nothing also believe that we were created capable of sin--not necessarily predetermined to do so. God knew we would, but he created us with choice. Once Adam & Eve sinned, the gravity in our decision-making did lean toward sin. Still, it was/is choice. Thus, Jesus said wide is the way that leads to destruction, narrow the way that leads to eternal life (paraphrase). Paul also told us (Romans 1) that we are without excuse--that we know right from wrong--that we could see God if we were willing to. And, of course, the Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon all contain promises that if God is sought He will be found. And so, how can I say God is good if he allows us to sin against ourselves, each other, and Him? One argument is that slavery is worse--having no choice. Another, that the safer we are made (whether by God or government) the less free we are. A third, that the Bible says God is good--especially as reflected in His original creation. The fourth, we have our testimonies--I KNOW that God is good because of the goodness He's extended to me. I readily confess that non of my reasons are fail proof. Thus, the discussion continues.
  9. IMHO Heavenly Father's foreknowledge of our choices to sin does not make HIm culpable.
  10. Mental Health Awareness and Overdose Awareness--two causes that came onto my radar with the death of a great-niece. At 20 Fetinol took her life. She believed there is a God, and in some ways showed openness--though she never agreed with "religion." What we can agree on is that she now sees much more than she did. She now knows God the Father is real and that Jesus is the way to reconcile with Him. This story might cause some here to renew their dedication to Baptisms for the Dead. For me, it is a reminder that life is short and our love must be intentional and out loud.
  11. We could both be right. After all, God's people have and are facing horrific persecution. Brothers/sisters in N. Korea can go to prison for merely having handwritten Bible verses in the house. Ukraine is one of the most Christian countries in the region. Even in our beloved land believers are learning that this is not our home. So, there certainly will be troubles for God's people, whether the Rapture is biblical or not.
  12. Perhaps it's because I am in the uber-liberal, "anti-Bible-belt" Pacific NW, but it's not conservative parents who are raising kids to stick it to the system, or to act out because public schools are ungodly. More often than not the worst-behaved kids come from homes where the parents don't parent. Sometimes poor associates creates peer pressure. Then again, the Seattle City Council has no Republicans. The two parties here are Democrats and Socialist Alternative. The latter call the former corporate sell-outs. So, I don't argue with the OP--I just can't relate.
  13. A couple of clarifications: 1. The type of loan forgiveness @Just_A_Guy refers to is legitimate, IMHO. My wife got loan forgiveness due to her teaching in Title 1 schools, Special Education. She is a hero and more than earned her forgiveness. Likewise with Teach Grants. What I am hearing now is broad forgiveness based simply on the fact that college grads carry difficult debt. 2. Many state-level free college schemes are for public schools only. As it stands now, my daughter went to a private, Christian university for pretty close (within 10%) of what she would have paid to attend a local public university (cheaper than the UW). If public schools become "free" (totally taxpayer-funded), private schools will find it much harder to recruit. BTW, if some type of free tuition scheme is enacted, I wonder if the church will subsidize BYU even more, making it free for members?
  14. I imagine that the BYU system is subsidized by the church. This means that leadership and members believe that a faith-promoting higher education is worth investing in--even worth putting some of the Lord's money into. As a result, I imagine that most graduate from BYU schools with little-to-no debt. Similarly, my oldest chose a Christian college with relatively low costs and high scholarships. All three daughters are working during their university years, and during the summers. Now we're hearing that the feds are considering student loan forgiveness. Am I wrong in thinking this is welfare for the upper middle class--paid for by lower-income, less educated workers? Another matter is that free or subsidized college is often secular. For example, in California junior college is free. So, 4-year religious colleges often recruit out of state to fill their freshman and sophomore ranks. Whether those proposing these schemes intend to harm religious schools (which may be perceived as anti-LGBT) remains an open question. Maybe I'm just a wing nut, but I find these types of programs underhanded, anti-religious, and certainly rewarding of the irresponsible and the expense of the most responsible.
  15. "It is what it is." This is usually said with such a profound undertone, when it actually means nothing. Perhaps it means we should just accept things as they are, but if so, how defeatist is that? Ah well...I guess it's good enough for government work (another gem).
  16. Logic fails us on both sides of this discussion. Yes, it's commonly thought that God is omnipresent, so hell would offer no escape from God's presence. On the other hand, can God exist where there is constant evil? Do good and evil truly co-exist eternally--in hell? Satan is not the ruler of hell, and that place is for punishment, not as an atheistic paradise. On the other hand, what makes it horrible could well be that God chooses not to be present there--in any way. There may be wailing and gnashing of teeth at the reality of God's absence, but those who oppose Him might find it even worse if He were there, always to see, always to breathe in, always to sense. Perhaps it is God's mercy that He chooses to not be in this one place.
  17. It may well be speculation on my part that God absents Himself from hell. I have always thought so.
  18. This sounds like Ray Comfort (he has quite a few witnessing videos on Youtube, and this is his standard approach). The idea is that IF one believes that obeying the 10 Commandments will get one to heaven then it is incredibly easy to show that we all fail (as the Bible says--all have fallen short...there is none righteous). So, instead of relying on good works, which are never enough to repay for our commandment-breaking, turn to Jesus and accept His free gift of mercy and forgiveness. That's his point. My point is that opponents of God would hate to live forever in heaven given that God was everywhere, always.
  19. That may well be true--at least often. However, sometimes hypocrisy can dishearten the potential seeker. There are a few skeptics who will never be persuaded. Then there are the ready-made converts that just need to be asked. What of those in the messy middle? For them, a believer walking in holiness, under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, might well make the difference.
  20. Yeah...if I tried to figure out the balance myself it would be a quick fall off that rope. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit goes before, Jesus walks beside us, and the Father has our backs. 😉
  21. I think you do--at least in the way I do. If non-believers reject faith because there are pretenders in the midst of Christianity, that's not good. That's condemnation and judgment. However, if non-believers hope we mean what we say and say what we mean, and actually find hope (and perhaps spiritual curiosity) when we live up to our pronouncements, then perhaps my coattails will be long after all. Perhaps holiness is that kind of aggressiveness folks like @Godless want. If so, "Yes and amen."
  22. In the historic churches, and perhaps in Catholicism, there is the belief that Christians must be "salt and light"--preparing the world for Christ's return. We are to make the world more and more Christian and godly. In the last 10-years a subsection of Evangelicals turned to "Kingdom Now" teachings. We must take over the reigns of power and return the world--especially America--to God. Traditionally, Evangelicals--especially those of us who subscribe to belief in an imminent rapture--reject this teaching. The world will not improve. It will continue to descend morally and spiritually, until God takes his church away and then brings a season of judgment. As a result, historically, our churches have avoided politics and social programs, in favor of efforts to win converts and build strong churches worldwide. The 'culture wars' of the last 50 years--especially surrounding the issue of abortion--have muddied the waters considerably. However, our default inclinations remain--we don't believe we're preparing the world for the return of Christ. Rather, we're trying to take as many with us as we can.
  23. Thank you. I agree. Non-believers, most anyway, want Christians of all stripes (especially us 'far right' folk) to succeed at our religion--to actually be Christian--or 'be Christ' as we like to say. Done right, our lives can engender a 'holy envy.' Great reminder!
  24. If you are asking my view on the Millenial Reign, the Bible tells us very little. There is some interesting speculative fiction, suggesting that Jesus will set up a reign that will be righteous, but will be under strong regulation. So, perhaps there will be limitations. However, I'm not sure we can call any restrictions from Jesus censorship, since He is always right.
  25. A similar discussion takes place over the doctrine of hell (or outer darkness). Some, myself included, believe that as terrible as hell would seem to be, for those against God heaven would be worse. Imagine being opposed to someone and then having to live an eternity in a place where that person's presence provides the light and permeates every breath. It's the one existence that might be worse than hell for some.