"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Pop Quiz

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pop Quiz

Can you guess who is being talked about here?
This is about conflict . . . with a fundamentally different view of the nature of truth . . . (they) believe they have the truth, that everybody who agrees with them is good, and everybody who doesn't is evil.
. . . nobody has the absolute truth . . . . we have the responsibilities of a free people because we believe that life is a journey, an effort to move closer and closer to the truth. But because we are finite, limited human beings, we never will achieve it.
. . . . we have very different views about the character of community. We believe we all do better when we work together. And all you have to do . . . is to accept the rules of engagement, our rules about everybody counting, everybody getting a voice . . . about showing up every day to do what is right. We have the freedom to celebrate our diversity because we are grounded in our common humanity. Their community is not united by common humanity. It is defined by what it is not.

Fanatics are defined by their hatreds; free people by their humanity.

Extra credit if you can identify the writer.


  1. It was Bill Clinton discussing bin Laden and the Islamist terrorists. As far as fundamentalism, the organizing elements are similar across religions, although the specific means of expression can vary.

  2. The mark of a free society is when religious groups like the Amish, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church CAN exist without the government saying they find certain of their tenants unsatisfactory to them and prohibits their rights to assemble freely. That is why I find the republicanism among many apostolic lutheran churches strange. I saw a posting a few years ago on ALC website that said something to the affect that "rejoice because we have a Godly man in the White House." Godly how? That we can justify an unjust war against the Iraqi people that has claimed countless American and Iraqi lives in pursuit of more control over Middle East oil? So we can prohibit gays from getting married because it somehow makes our apostolic lutheran marriages somehow void of context? I think not. So we can prohibit abortions just because we have decided when a fetus has become human begins at conception, when many others have indicated it might not be so black and white. As an unrepentant apostolic lutheran, the way I personally believe may be that abortion at any time is wrong and that homosexuality is against the Bible, I believe that prohibiting these things as such endangers us to a government that someday may decide we cannot practice our religion as freely as we have been able to today. I feel badly that so many apostolic lutherans aren't seeing the threat under our current political regime.

  3. Can any Republican do right - or is it only Democrats that do right. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on, you need to look at the politican, the circumstances, political agendas and who finances them to see who they realy are. To say that if you are Rebublican, you are wrong is disrespectful and degrading to our American way of life.
    BTW-There were many countries and intelligence agencies that determined that the evil dictatorship had to go. Why only pick on Bush? We are there - let's finish the job and show the extremists/terorists that we are proud and do not turn tail and run when the going gets tough.

  4. This is not a political forum. Take your political arguments elsewhere - Thank you.

  5. To "The mark of a free society..." above:

    Amen and again amen!

    And to the person above who doesn't like these "political arguments":
    Excuse me, but it seems that this current administration is making Very Sure that we tie together politics and religion, so I personally think this is a very good place to discuss these things. In the area where I live, I have spent the past five years listening to people wax poetic on this very subject and I have not had the nerve to speak up and say this is all wrong. I just pray for an end to this administration and hope God will not allow it to destroy this country.

  6. Please feel free to talk about anything you like. Given recent events, perhaps the human race is at a critical moment of change, like the one that preceded the Dark Ages -- or the one that launched the Enlightenment. We can't help but be political. This blog is, by its very existence, an exercise in free speech and tolerance. I welcome your ideas.

  7. A bad place for politics? The way OALC so tightly mixes relgion and politics, this is the perfect place, actually.

    In the OALC it is taught that people should vote for what's "best for the Christianity". They then wrongly think that since Bush claims to be Christian, he must be 'best for the Christianity".

    Freedom of worship is what is "best for Christianity". The mixing of State and Religion is the mixing of the state with a specific interpretation of a specific religion, one that is NOT that of the OALC.

    Bush's religion (if we cause Armageddon , Jesus will come early) is more of an insane blood-lust cult. He said God "instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did".

    Bush has said 3 times he wants to be dictator. He has been granted the powers of a dictator, with the ability to 'disappear' anybody simply on his say so, without due process. He has hired Markus Wolf,the man that effectively built the East German state intelligence operation’s internal directorate to spy on its own people. He is now pushing to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act, so he can freely use that military to disappear you after your new "internal directorate" fingers you for believing different than Them. After all, what are the Elders but an undermining Foreign Influence and impediment to the True American Christian Empire?

    "You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier." Describing what it's like to be governor of Texas.(Governing Magazine 7/98)
    -- From Paul Begala's "Is Our Children Learning?"

    "I told all four that there are going to be some times where we don't agree with each other, but that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator," Bush joked.
    -- CNN.com, December 18, 2000

    "A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it, " [Bush] said.
    -- Business Week, July 30, 2001

  8. Oh for pity's sake!! Why is it okay for the rest of the world to joke, but not the president???
    And also, many different Christian churches of different demoninations are giving thanks for a moral, decent president.
    How is this administration trying to tie together church and state? As far as I can see they are only trying to preserve what has been... such as "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
    Have any of you talked to a serviceman/woman coming back from Iraq? All that I have heard, say that the Iraqi people WANT us there, and are happy to have our help. Even if Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11, he wasn't following the guidelines set after Desert Storm, so.... Also started in much the same manner, getting rid of "undesireables" in his own country. Are we supposed to look the other way cuz they're not a Christian nation?
    Oh one more thing before I fall off my soap box :-)! How do you as Christians justify voting for someone who supports abortion or same gender marriages? Those aren't open for debate as far as the Bible goes are they? No, I don't think that people who have participated in either should be shunned or anything else, we're all sinners. But if I was to try to justify stealing or abusing my kids, or spouse, with an "I was born this way arguement, or whatever" that wouldn't be accepted in society.
    Hope that made some sense.

  9. Gays and lesbians are not inflicting pain and suffering on others such as a thief or a child abuser, which by the way pedophilia is usually a man/underage girl thing predominantly. I'm not here to justify what the Bible defines as an immoral act, it is they who will have to do when they meet their maker. I was married in the apostolic lutheran church, and I believe that God sanctified my marriage. Does the civil marriage between two same-sex couples take anything away from this? I do NOT believe that their marriages are holy or sanctified. But I do believe that they are individuals who are worthy of love and respect. This is a secular nation which believes in the separation of church and state. Let me ask you this: If prayer is brought back in schools, which I believe George W. is all for and may eventually happen, will the apostolic lutherans let their children participate in such a prayer? I think not. I was told not to pray at other churches or at school when I was growing up. Then what happens when others notice the AL kids aren't praying and they get marked as dissenters? I wish someone would shake some sense into the elders/preachers. By voting on the basis of abortion and gay marriage, they may eventually lose their freedom to worship as they choose.

    Yes, Republicans do do some things right. Lincoln sure did.

  10. Just for the record, "under God" was ADDED to the pledge of allegiance during the McCarthy era. It is not original.

    Further, homosexuality has existed in humans and numerous other species for all recorded history. Yet it is only humans who have practiced slavery, something the authors of the Bible apparently condoned and Jesus never reportedly preached against.

    Was slavery right? Is homosexuality wrong? How about we humbly admit that the Bible is naturally a product of its time and that human ethics and knowledge have ADVANCED somewhat?

    Stealing and abuse hurt people. Homosexuality doesn't, and can hardly be compared. My marriage is not threatened in the least by gays . . . in fact, it is strengthened, like our liberty, when others can enjoy it.

    Does abortion hurt people? Only if you consider a fetus a human being. After viability (ability to live outside the womb), you may have an argument. But before the, what do you say about the significant number of pregnancies that self-terminate, or miscarry. Were those real people who died? Should we give death-benefits to women who miscarry? Let's be honest here. I myself hate abortion, because it is the end of a potential. But the best way to prevent it is not to criminalize it. We need to educate children in science and responsibility AND to require parents to be present in their children's lives. Girls who are close to their dads tend NOT to have unwanted pregnancies. Want to beat a drum? Go after deadbeat and/or distant fathers.

    Frankly, how can you support a president who started an unjustified war based on LIES that is continuing to kill ACTUAL people, with no end in sight? If you think Bush is a "godly" man, look at the photo online with him giving the camera the one-fingered salute. And a smirk.

    He stands for the wealthy and powerful. Exactly the opposite of Jesus.

    God help us.

  11. Dear Anonymous/Under God:

    I'll say again: Amen!
    It's good to see someone else who thinks like I do. I don't find that much around here.

    I was going to write and apologize for getting upset in my first response, but I see several others are even more so. I confess I find myself reading many of these comments through the sound of sanctimonious attitude, which, I guess, is how I often heard things growing up. And that's what bugs me, not the comments themselves.

    Free2bme, I totally agree with your comment about us perhaps being on the cusp of huge changes. I, too, have felt that way for some time now. I would love to sit and chat with you about all these things!

  12. Right now, I am in a place of choosing which church, if any, I would like to attend. It makes me uncomfortable and less likely to attend ALC churches when I can publicly hear God thanked that Bush won the last election. Looking through American history, we see that some churches fought to keep white male priviledge while others strove to open the door for all Americans. The conservative churches fought tooth and nail to prevent the abolition of slavery, giving women the right to vote and act as full citizens, and civil rights for minorities. Groups like the Quakers and United Church of Christ supported opening up these positive social changes. The same conservative churches who fought social progress in the past are now fighting the end of discrimination against gays and the rights of women to make their own reproductive choices. The progressive churches again are supporting the changes that widen opportunity for the parts of our society not in the white male clique.

    If Jesus came back, he'd be profiled as a Arab-looking socialist. Are you worshipping at the feet of Bush or of Jesus?

  13. Many Trails Home9/27/2005 08:24:00 PM

    Let's all go to Astoria, and we can do just that! MTH
    PS I'm impressed with the depth of thinking going on here, and the passion as well. And I am glad that you did not put the kaybosh on "politics" - there's more to politics than being for or against abortion; it truly does impact our very lives. Interesting that religion and politics are the two topics generally off-limits in genteel conversation and yet what else really matters, when you come down to it. Here's to spirited conversation, I say. MTH

  14. Many Trails Home9/27/2005 08:35:00 PM

    PS I was referring to Sisu. I think I pondered too long. Bill, you are right on, in my opinion. A speaker (preacher, priest) once said that if Jesus were to return, he would probably show up in a Twelve-Step Program. Ministering to the down-and-out. Not as likely to show up in the National Cathedral. MTH

  15. The Times (UK)

    Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'


    “In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

    “The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”

  16. The American Empire: An Unholy Alliance between Church and State


  17. Regarding the study about societies being worse off when God is on their side, I want to say be very careful about how you interpret this. The media tends to overhype studies like this and be inaccurate in reporting them. From what I know, this study claimed to see a correlation between variables, not a causation. Also realize that the politicized, closed-minded form of religion we see too often in the US is not true of all religion, especially outside the US.

    It could be that the increasing inequality within US society is the cause of both increased religious observance and some of the negative variables seen in that study.

    Nontheless, the burden of proof is on those who claim that religion is needed for a strong, healthy society.

  18. Regarding what the Bible says about homosexuality - it says it "is an abomination." I ran a search through the online version of the King James Bible and looked for other places where the Bible described something as an "abomination."

    Among other things, the Bible says that eating osprey and eagle is an abomination:

    Leviticus Chapter 11 says (emphasis mine):

    009 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath
    fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall
    ye eat.
    010 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the
    rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in
    the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
    011 They shall be even an ABOMINATION unto you; ye shall not eat of
    their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in ABOMINATION.
    012 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an
    ABOMINATION unto you.
    013 And these are they which ye shall have in ABOMINATION among the
    fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an ABOMINATION: the eagle, and the
    ossifrage, and the ospray,
    014 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
    015 Every raven after his kind;
    016 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after
    his kind,
    017 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
    018 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
    019 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the
    020 All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an ABOMINATION
    unto you.

    Further in the same Chapter:

    041 And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an
    ABOMINATION; it shall not be eaten.
    042 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all
    four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep
    upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an ABOMINATION.
    043 Ye shall not make yourselves ABOMINABLE with any creeping thing
    that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye
    should be defiled thereby.
    044 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves,
    and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves
    with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    045 For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to
    be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
    046 This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living
    creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth
    upon the earth:
    047 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between
    the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.

    So, I don't know. I think it is interesting that people no longer think a lot of these things are an abomination to eat or touch - even though the Lord gave these rules.

    Where am I going with this? It seems that sometimes we follow biblical teachings and sometimes those teachings are ignored. I don't know of anyone who fully follows the Bible's teachings. They may say they do, but really they are focusing on a few parts of the Bible (eg. women covering their heads when they pray) - Do you eat shellfish? They don't have fins, etc.

    So when the Bible says homosexuality is abominable, what does that really mean? Why do people focus so much on this particular part of the Bible, when they may also eat shellfish or more exotic birds, etc. and don't consider that a sin, although the Bible says this is abominable?

  19. LLLreader sez: What I think is so interesting is how the Republicans have gotten to be the ones "with God on their side", when it has been the Democrats who have historically been the ones to look out for the poor and disfranchised. A reporter asked Bush if he ever spent time late at night walking around the White House, looking at the portraits of past presidents and reflecting on the decisions they had made (like either Clinton or Kennedy did-I can't remember which). He actually scoffed and said he didn't have time to do that kind of stuff, he has work to do. Maybe that's what's wrong with the man--he doesn't take time for reflection.

  20. In the old testament many of those rules were necessary to keep the people healthy. Many of the meats mentioned would have carried disease without proper cooking. Same as with se xual sins, they spread disease, just as they do today. (Which is one reason to not condone that lifestyle along with and promescuity.)
    1Tim. 1:10 For mongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.
    1 Corinth. 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor erers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    Nor theives, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    My thoughts on slavery... In Biblical times, it was a way of life. Sometimes people were slaves, but the tables might turn, and then they would no longer be enslaved, but have their own. Slavery in the US was completely different. Those people had NO way out. Maybe that is splitting hairs, I don't know. Also God allowed the Civil War for a reason obviously, but one could certainly look at that as His way of ending slavery.

    The modern Democrats, don't help the poor. They sound like they are, but how is it helping them to continueously spoon feed them? (And I'm not talking about those who are old, infirmed etc).

  21. My Bible verses are missing part of the words because my filter takes them out when I try to post. Sorry.

  22. "they spread disease, just as they do today. (Which is one reason to not condone that lifestyle along with and promescuity.)"

    This argument is just used as an excuse and a rationalization for homophobia. Lesbians have lower incidences of diseases like AIDS than heterosexuals. So should we condemn the heterosexual lifestyle because it spreads disease?

    The thing is this: it's not your business to regulate how others choose to live their lives. As long as they aren't hurting others (and I mean specifically show how they are hurting others, not just some vague hypotheses), it should rightly be between them and God what they do. If you want to deprive gays of their rights just because the Bible says so, you're asking to live in a theocracy. Don't turn America into Iran.

  23. I want to clarify one thing: in the last paragraph of my last comment, "you" is meant to be interpreted as a general "you" referring to everyone, not to one particular commenter.


  24. I have les bian neighbors. They are very nice people and good neighbors to have. I haven't said anything to them about their lifestyle and won't unless they ask my opinion, or until I feel God is showing the way. Their boys are friends with my boys. That being said, I don't feel that it is homophobic to want to preserve marriage as a union between man and women.
    What sort of stands are Christians supposed to take for God?

  25. I hope most of you agree with me. It is wrong to judge a republican because he is a republican or a democrat because they are a democrat. To truly know if the politician speaks HIS heart, do some research on who funds this guys elections. Many of our politicians are bought out and must answer to the MONEY. I personally am a independant as I swing either way based on the politician, not the party. I voted for Bush because at the time, he appeared to be the better candidate. Now he is turning for the worse. However, I hope you all agree that turning tail and running is not in our national interest. We are involved in a war that was justified at the time with many intelligence agencies and governments. We can dwell on the past and past mistakes all day long but it is to the future we need to look to. The glass is half full... I find most liberals are very negative and never have a nice thing to say about anything. It also does not help our country's moral having the liberal media America bashing. This I am sure gives our enemies and people who want to kill innocents a morale boost. I miss the happy positive era as today, nothing is right! I can tell you that this is the best country in the world to live in but yet no one has a good thing to say. Aren't christians supposed to be positve and upbeat! BTW Calling yourself a christian does not mean you are saved. There are many "sunday" christians who do good on sunday but the rest of the week...

  26. Dear Independent who posted at 9:22,

    You have WAY too many generalizations in your posting.
    1. The Republicans bashed Clinton for 8 yrs. Were you complaining then? I didn't see a lot of happy, supportive Republicans during that time. In fact, I recall one of my students commenting that the best thing for this country would be for Clinton to be assassinated. This was from an eighth grader.
    2. We DID know our reasons for going to war were false. Too many Americans chose to ignore the facts and support a President who was determined to have his war.
    3. The media ia NOT liberal. Do your homework: most of it is owned by a dozen or so very conservative corporations. I find that people will say media is liberal when it either tells both sides of the story or tries to question the status quo, which, by the way, didn't happen for the first 4-5 yrs of this administration. It was so refreshing to see reporters finally getting some backbone during Katrina.

  27. Anonymous,

    Spend some time overseas, like I have. It's an eye-opening experience to find how much of the world HATES us. These days you practically have to bow and scrape and say, "I'm an American, don't hate me, please just me as an individual, not because of my country." Sort of what you are asking us to think about republicans. Then think about WHY that would be.

    There are some theories that it has to do with envy. I would refute that, because there was probably no time that we had the world's envy more than the 1950's, which was one of the most prosperous times in US history. Finland and Sweden, incidentally, have a whole culture of people who follow 50's car culture. They idolize everything 1950's

    Overseas, most people idolized Clinton. And they still do. I can't tell you how many people from other countries have told me that.

    Now ask, why, why why would that be.

    This site has asked people to start seeing Christianity as a larger group of people than simply the branch of apostolic lutherans in which you were raised. It seems nearly everyone has arose to the challenge.

    Today, let's expand this a little wider, and consider the whole WORLD.

  28. Hi everyone. When i first saw this this political thread starting i told my-self I would post on it. Whoops---but i have to cover this. I'm still not going to talk politics, but i would like to respond to mplsllc post regarding Liviticus.

    I take the Word of God very literally. When i find the Bible saying that a particular act is sin, I believe it is sin, and how evolved a society might be doesn't change that. To borrow words from the LLC- The Word of God is true yesterday, today, and forever.

    It is interesting that the -don't eat unclean meat- scripture was brought up. I have spent hours and hours studying that subject, and i find it fascinating. Mplsllc- read Acts 10-11. I'll summarize it, but i encourage you to read it for yourself.

    Peter was on his roof praying. He was hungry and was waiting for dinner to be ready. He had a vision. He saw all the animals that where considered unclean coming from the heavens and he heard the voice of God commanding him to kill and eat. Peter said to God, no, this is unclean. God said, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times before the vision ended.

    It was against the law for jews to mingle with gentiles. Peter tells us that the vision had a double meaning. Jesus Dyed on the cross to make what was once impure, now clean. Gentiles had been considered impure, but now they could be considered believers also.

    Christains don't have a problem eating meat because God told Peter that he had made them clean. Jews don't think the New Testiment is the Word of God, so they still abide by the food rules in Livitcus. READ IT YOURSELF.

  29. ah, exLLC,

    I appreciate that you take the Bible literally, but what does that really mean? No matter how literally one thinks they take the Bible, they still must interpret what they read. What you take literally is your interpretation, because it's obvious the Bible has many different genres, from poetry to history to prophesy. Nobody honestly believes that the Psalmist was LITERALLY talking about God leading him by still waters.

    Further, our interpretations of the Bible DO change to fit our evolving cultures. The Bible doesn't condemn slavery and in many parts, can be solidly interpreted to condone some forms of the practice. Southern preachers of the ante-bellum period used the Bible to defend slavery, and the reason the Southern Baptist Convention exists is because it split with its ante-bellum counterpart over the issue of slavery. In the Civil Rights era, protestors marched the streets with signs like "Keep Segregation: The Bible says so!"

    Today, Christians stand united against the abuses their forefathers used the Bible to defend. Likewise, what people today defend with the Bible, their children will apologize for and renounce as being unChristian. We cannot use the Bible as an excuse for maintaining our natural tendencies toward bigotry.

  30. Many Trails Home10/01/2005 07:09:00 PM

    I would like to give another example of how difficult/impossible it is to take the Bible literally even if we want to. Sometimes we completely misunderstand what is being said. For instance: The comment that "it is as difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," when taken literally, would suggest that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a rich man to enter as it is impossible for a camel to go through a sewing-needle eye. But there was a very low gate through the wall into Jerusalem that was so low, a camel had to get down on its knees to get through. It was difficult, but it could get through. If we don't know about this gate, how are we to correctly INTERPRET this passage? An analogy could be made to the Seattle Space Needle. Suppose 2000 years from now someone is reading about the Space Needle, literally interpreting it to mean some needle fell out of space or whatever. Obviously ridiculous.

    We can interpret the Bible literally if we want to, but what parts? Clearly not all of them, as some quite undeniably conflict. Closemindedness, self-righteousness, and bigotry result from "literal" interpretation, in my opinion, not wisdom. Jesus himself was quite against literal iterpretation of the Scriptures of the Jews of his time. I think we should consider following HIS EXAMPLE, not follow to the letter a document 2000 years old, not even written by him.
    Many blessings to you all. MTH

  31. Many Trails Home10/02/2005 10:48:00 AM

    Dear exLLC, I feel inspired to write to you again, in what I consider an "educational" vein, coming from my "grandmotherly" perspective (in age if not in fact). You are a dear soul and will find your way; this is only offered for you to contemplate in a broader vein if you wish.
    This parable is one of my favorites, but one I never heard from the pulpit in the OALC, probably for two reasons: (1) there is something wrong with it and (2) it flies in the face of the groveling humility that seemed to be encouraged when I was growing up.

    Here is the parable: There is a knock on the door late at night; visitors have arrived. The man is in bed with his children and has nothing to feed the guests. He goes to the neighbor, bangs on the door, and says, "Give me some bread, please. I have guests and have nothing to offer them." The neighbor says, "Go away. I'm asleep with my children." The host refuses to give up and continues to bang on the door until the neighbor gives up, gets up and gives him some bread.

    This should be called "The Parable of the Importunate Housewife." What is wrong with it is that the "host" should be the "hostess." In those times (as now), men did not sleep with their children. In those times, women did. And men certainly did not serve guests, otherwise the "Mary and Martha" story would be "John and Peter."

    Secondly, I think the encouragement to be "importunate" is fabulous. Be bold and strong; ask for what we need and ask again until we get it; insist, demand, knock and knock again. "Lord, give me strength NOW." "Lord, help me to understand; give me wisdom. Is what she says true or not? Not my intellect but your wisdom, dear Lord. Answer me NOW." I would suggest that demanding something rather trivial like a Corvette might not be appropriate, but you could do it anyway. Just be prepared for whatever lessons come along with the package for free (we often get MORE than we asked for, unwittingly).
    May you continue to be strong, and "grow in wisdom" as the Old Testament writer says.
    As always, many blessings. MTH

  32. Regarding Apostolics and Republicanism.. to me, the litmus test is a political party's platform on abortion, national security, personal responsibility, the size and role of government and free enterprise. Someone posted articles from the Times UK and Sierra Times.. hmmm, not exactly unbiased reports coming from those two publications! lol. The fact is, Christianized nations have been MORE supportive of individual rights, the value and preservation of human life, education for all, democracy, and more. Look at the African nations of Liberia, Nigeria and others.. as well as Iraq.. once centers of learning with universities, free enterprise, and freedom.. now in chaos under totalitarian regimes and anarchy, the result of Marxist and Muslim rejection of the principles of liberty..which are derived from the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.

    That said, YES - true Christianity is radical! It does not follow the world's standard of justice.. it shows love to the unlovable, mercy to the unmerciful, and grace to the ungrateful. It calls us to walk on a different kind of path.. to "come out" from among them, and be salt and light in the world. In Matthew, Jesus says he who would be great would be the servant of all .. and THAT is the true purpose of government, as well! IMHO :-)

  33. Great post! Anon 5:11pm

  34. OK, 5:11, if you believe in smaller government, which I assume you mean Republican principles, why do Republican administrations spend more money, balloon a debt, and let all their business friends feed at the trough, calling it "Free Enterprise". I'm not just referring to the current administration. Do some research on this and get back to me.
    Also, if you want our great government to be the servant of all, then we should take as much care of "the poorest of these" as we do all the privileged corporations, and, frankly, I don't see that attitude at present. I don't see humility either, which is implied in your statement.
    How do you justify supporting the current admininstration, which it sounds like you do, when your beliefs seem to be at odds with it?

  35. Sisu - you've made some great points there -- no, I don't think we see smaller government, or less spending, or less debt with either political party. But the social issues such as abortion and other life issues are very important to me. Sadly, we don't see pro-life support in both parties. Politically, more libertarian..I'm for empowerment of the individual.. whatever empowers us to self-determination (politically speaking) is good, as long as the right to life is also protected.

    re: Government as servant.. if you think about conditions at the time Jesus spoke those words in Matthew.. most people were quite powerless, and have been through much of the world's history. Jesus' words turned 'the system' of the time upside down. It was not the rulers who would be served, rather they would be the servants.. No wonder they hated him! What this means in practice is for us to debate and determine for ourselves. This is the foundation of our freedoms.

    AnonyMouse 5:11

  36. Dear AnonyMouse,
    I SO agree with you about government being the servant. The problem develops when we ask, Serve which group or what people? That becomes the debate, and, I agree, the foundation of our freedoms.
    Although I don't SUPPORT abortion, I'm very concerned that so many people use that as the sole criteria for determining whom to back potitcally, even if it helps some group destroy this nation. I feel that's short-sighted thinking, and I'm sure those in power are Very Very aware of this and have used it to their advantage.

  37. Hi Sisu,

    I don't agree with being a single-issue voter, but look to see which party seems to reflect my values more than the other... Yes, the parties sometimes appear to be a 'big tent' to appeal to many different people in order to build their base. Can you imagine what would happen if the Democrats decided to make the prolife position part of their platform?? Interesting concept!! And one that would truly make them a party of the 'little people'!


  38. Both parties are far from perfect, but to me, Republicans still stand for more individual freedoms. Especially in the area I live in with private land issues, moratoriums etc. In our area they are also the ones supporting family values and issues. Maybe it's different elsewhere, I don't know. The state I grew up in, and the present one are both very liberal, so maybe that's one reason Republicans seem to be the better choice, the differences are more pronounced.
    Democrats also seem to be heading the way of socialism. The "sure you have to pay more taxes, but look what we'll give you" platform. Sorry, I would rather trust private companies.
    Just my "after taxes .05 cents worth"

  39. Dear Last Two Writers:

    You both seem to be supporting platitudes instead of looking at the facts. Are you even AWARE of how much the Republicans spend compared to Democrats? Why do you suppose we are SO far in debt now after the Clinton Administration had us in the black big time? Do some research on the difference spent per capita by Red States and Ble States.
    What is more "into" personal affairs than putting their noses in someone else's bedroom?
    Of course we end up paying more taxes during Democratic administrations: SOMEONE has to take responsibility and get debts paid! If Republicans are so supportive of The Little Guy, why are they the ones backing the right of Big Business to take your property, no right of you to fight it, to build a mall or office building? And here you are, talking about supporting individual rights. Personally, I think being allowed to hang on to land I've paid for is a BIG individual right, unless, of course, I use it to the detriment of Everything Sacred. Then I think I should have to answer for that.
    And, 7:31, your "after taxes" comment seems to imply that you feel you have the right to live in this country without having any responsibility. I don't agree with you, and, believe me, my husband and I pay our fair share of taxes!! As a wise person once told me, taxes are the rent we pay for the privilege of living in this country (with all its abundance and advantages and freedoms).
    Democrats DO support the little people: who do you suppose wants a living wage for families, decent health care and education for the children. In other words, which party is more supportive of children AFTER they arrive on this planet? To me, THAT'S the litmus test and not these hollow platitudes about the sanctity of life, etc. Please note, as I stated in some other posting, I am not SUPPORTIVE of abortion, and I DO think we should be concerned with their welfare once they are here. But unless you are willing to step up to the plate with me, I don't feel you have the right to condemn those who may choose abortion because they don't see another way out.
    That is just MY 2 cents worth....

  40. Sisu, please don't think of these comments as hollow platitudes.. speaking for myself at least, these are pretty deep convictions. The land use issue is also very important.. for example, the Bush administration opening up public lands to logging and other uses.. where the previous administration set aside more and more land to be untouched. There is much more to the issue of whether or not the debt really was lower during those years also. I don't think anyone's mind is going to be changed here, and I respect your views.. mine are different, that's all. God bless, AnonyMouse

  41. Dear AnonyMouse,
    I'm sorry, I didn't mean that YOUR beliefs are hollow platitudes. I think you have deeply held convictions, and that's important. I was referring to elected officials who put on a cloak of piety so that certain groups will support them which then give them license to do whatever they please. I think it's important to question: that's why I left the Republican Party at about the same time as I left the OALC.
    We are all a product of our times but also our locations. That's why my feelings about trees, for instance, are different than yours. Let's keep the dialogue going. I'll try my best not to get catty! (I have a tendancy toward that but, really, I am a nice person.)

  42. I like you Sisu! You have SISU! :-) Sure, let's keep the dialogue going.. it's interesting!


  43. Dear AnonyMouse,

    You have been writing many comments on several of these posts. Would you mind sharing with me: what group are/were you associated with? Your responses sound masculine...are you a male?

    I like you, too!

  44. Hi Sisu,

    LOL! NO I'm not male, just a normal runofthemill smalltown Midwest menopausal ALC housewife at the moment, with a bit too much time on my hands.. and who loves politics, religion, and reading just about everything that comes my way. And someone who would have LOVED a site like this 25-30 years ago when I had LOTS of questions and frustrations. I certainly do give you all credit, and I encourage you all to not be afraid to search and seek. That is so much better than 'dying on the vine'. Our churches don't have to be afraid of seekers, either! In fact, all of our churches will be much better when the people in them KNOW what they believe and WHY they believe it. IMHO!!


  45. Dear AnonyMouse,

    I agree with your last comment. At least on this site, we all can discuss and question, and that is a GOOD thing.

    You must be about my age, maybe a bit younger. I enjoy our conversations.
    Many Blessings,

  46. Hi Sisu ~ I understand taxes are necessary. But there are some things that I don't think the gov't should be responsible for. Healthcare being one of them. It would be better to keep ridiculous lawsuits from bankrupting the system, thus pushing prices out of reach for many Americans. I also realize that's not the "whole" of the issue, but it is a large part.
    How does the gov't define "living wage" when it's going to be different in every part of the country? Ever notic when the minimum wage is increased that prices go up too? So where's the gain?
    I'm not saying people don't need help at times. But it should be there to help the truly needy, not there in place of what used to be privately run/owned etc.
    I was just thinking... We probably agree on what and where the problems are, but just don't agree on the fix.
    And as Anonymouse said, we most likely won't change anyones mind, will we?
    Take care and God Bless You.

  47. many trails home10/27/2005 12:43:00 PM

    Hi Anonymous above, I couldn't help responding to your "healthcare" comment. I'm a physician and Lord knows I've had a good life. But something or somebody has got to take over the healthcare, as it is generally a failure when provided as a commercially-driven system. As a money-making venture, it leads to (1) many with no health care at all; (2) risk of bankrupting "the system" ie lack of affordability for many companies and organizations. You must be one of the lucky ones, with good health insurance provided by your employer, or you would not have made that comment. MTH

  48. Dear Anonymous 9:44,

    Your comment about health care saddened me because your other points seem to show you as a kind and caring person. So many people, including many who live in my area (the conservative buckle of the Bible Belt), have the attitude that "I have mine and I don't want others to have what I have". I don't see that as Christian.
    I have grown through experience (working with the homeless and working poor) and through knowledge (a LOT of reading). One quote that I've added to my credo is: Charity sees the need and not the cause. It seems like it's so much easier to be hard-hearted when the poor are "a long way off". Not so when they have a name and face.
    I wonder why so many people are so afraid someone might "get something for nothing" or might "get what I have"?
    There will always be someone who will take advantage of the system. I think those percentages are small and we shouldn't kill a program because of some small abuse. Take, for instance, the story of one Katrina victim who used her voucher to buy a Luis Vuitton bag. The media certainly picked up on that one! One person out of how many tens of thousands? So letters to the editor cried out for revenge or justice or whatever: why help those ungrateful people! That is the kind of story that makes me sad. It allows people who are predisposed to miserliness and meanness to justify their beliefs that others don't deserve our help. I think there is a fair amount of that type of attitude out there. I'm trying to make a change in my own small way by helping where I am able.

  49. Hi Sisu and MTH ~ So MTH you don't think that health care USED to work under a comercially driven system? Before lawsuits made insurance companies raise prices, scared doctors into not offering high risk services because their ins was too high too, etc?
    Yes right now we have health ins. provided by my husband's work. BUT that's only in the last 5 yrs. Before that it came out of our own pocket. Which wasn't pleasant, but neither did it feel right to apply for state ins., when I know there were many others much more needy.
    Sisu....Like I said, I think we need programs for the truly needy. And I can see how health ins. is outrageously expensive and healthcare is too for many people, not just the poor. But I just don't think having the gov't provide for the bulk of society is the answer. I think it would be more productive to fix the underlying cause of the outrageous prices. Otherwise, we're just buckling under to greedy, selfish, lawsuits. Maybe I'm stuck on lawsuits, but they seem to be a big part of the problem.
    I DO agree that we have a problem. And I don't for a minute think that others shouldn't have what I have. I just don't trust the gov't to effectively run a nat'l healthcare system.

  50. many trails home10/27/2005 05:12:00 PM

    Hi Anon, you may notice that I did not actually propose a solution! I'm not too keen on gov't providing answers, as it is generally inefficient.
    Insurance companies are a convenient villain. As an MD, I pay about $25,000 per year in malpractice ins. and in some states they pay much more. Not trivial. But what is inexorably driving up the cost of care is technology: when every sore shoulder has an MRI at $1000-1500; when everyone gets the latest, most expensive medication; when the average ER visit in our area probably costs in the thousands; when everyone with chest pain gets cathed; when every obese person has access to GI bypass and the follow-up tests alone cost $800 every 3 months . . . well, obviously I could go on and on, but we as a country simply cannot afford it. Engineers stay up nights trying to find something to invent that will make their fortunes (one actually admitted as much). It is not really need based but profit based. Unsustainable, just like our agricultural system, our energy system, our water systems, etc, etc.
    I'll get off my soap box now. The problem is obviously much bigger than any of us, but insurance is just one (substantial) element. MTH

  51. I don't necessarily blame insurance, though they definately play a part, I think it's still lawsuits, and people's greed. Whether in the form frivilous suits, or expecting an enormous amount for "pain and suffering".
    I can see where the technology plays a part. Hadn't really thought of it. Unfortunately Drs end up taking the blame for the ins. cos and the things you mentioned.
    So.... You're a dr. any ideas? Regulate lawsuits, insurance, and technology and costs?? I don't like that either really. Seems like as long as these companies aren't monopolies, shouldn't the capitalist system be enough? You mentioned engineers simply trying to get rich, does that mean no one else can manufacture a similar product? So there is competition?
    I suppose an argument for gov't running it, is that they wouldn't be trying to necessarily make a profit. But it seems like everything they do costs more than it does for the average citizen to do the same thing.
    Just thinking here....

  52. Tragic that our so-called Christian nation cannot guarantee healthcare for its children. Even when its people want it.

    At the beginning of Bush's first term, 75% of Americans told a Harris poll that they do not get the health and medical care they need. By 2003, 79% said in a Washington Post/ABC News poll they support healthcare coverage for everyone even if meant raising taxes.

    The poll asked, ''Which would you prefer: The current insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance, OR, a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that's run by the government and financed by taxpayers?"

    Universal healthcare won, 62 percent to 33 percent.

    Getting even more specific, a 2003 Pew poll asked people if they favored the government ''guaranteeing health insurance for all citizens, even if it means repealing most of the recent tax cuts."

    Universal healthcare won, 67 percent to 26 percent.

  53. many trails home10/28/2005 01:22:00 PM

    Hi Anon "Just Thinking" and Free: First, malpractice suits are onerous, expensive, etc and contribute a huge chunk to the expense of running a practice. They are very visible and often result in fortunes to (undeserving) attorneys, but they are still a rather small part of the overall cost of care. The cost of drs. is also only a small part of care. For instance, a patient sees a dr. who charges $150, orders $300 in blood tests plus a $1500 MRI. I see an OB pt for 9 mos., get paid $2000 say, if I end up doing a C/S, the anesthesiologist who gives the epidural gets at least that much (I think more), and the hospital bill can easily cost $20,000 where I live (I heard of a $40,000 bill for a C/S where the pt had to stay extra day or 2 due to infection, nothing complicated). A sick premie can easily run up a tab for $150-200,000. How many monthly insurance payments of $500 would that soak up? An elderly pt of mine had constipation neglected, ruptured her colon, spent a month in the ICU, survived and the bill from the hospital alone was ONE MILLION DOLLARS (the drs bills probably totaled under $10,000 including surgery). Who paid for that? MediCare. That's just a bit of what I observe in our little 100,000 population community.
    I don't like regulation. I don't like attorneys. I don't trust capitalism to justly administer medical care. But I don't trust govt to, either.
    One thing we as a people will have to accept before we get anywhere is RATIONING of care. We ration it now. The halfway-poor get next to none. And we absolutely cannot have national "insurance" that will provide all care to all people. Pie in the sky. But we as "Americans" expect to have it all, and have it our way, and nobody is going to say that I can't have my XYZ procedure or that I should personally have to pay for it.
    I'm sorry, folks, but it's a huge, unjust, expensive mess. And we are not about to make the changes necessary to "fix" it because it would take an organic change, maybe an enormous crisis (like Avian Flu) before we would be willing to think differently and change our priorities. MTH

  54. MTH, thanks for the tales from the trenches. I'm getting a better sense of the complexities of this issue. Re: rationing, just this week my family had a series of x-rays: me for a post-crash assessment by a chiropracter. My husband for a persistent cough that might be pneumonia. Our son for a mysteriously sore knee joint. Were those x-rays necessary? Well . . . not really. Should we have refused them? Do consumers have a responsibility to self-ration?

  55. Many Trails Home10/28/2005 09:08:00 PM

    And x-rays are relatively cheap! I'm surprised your son didn't have an MRI. Here, he certainly would have, probably followed by arthroscopy. Self-ration? We won't, until we have to pay for it ourselves. The only thing we Americans seem to understand is our pocketbooks. It reminds me of a visit I made to Finland 30 years ago (I stayed with "Christians"): Tarja said that the only thing Americans ("Christians") talk about is what things cost.
    I'm sure glad that's not what this blog is about. Bless you. MTH

  56. How do we know though what should be rationed? I suppose I unknowingly ration, because Dr. visits are somewhat of a hassle. So I usually watch and wait for a day.... when the kids have an earache, or fever or such. And most times it didn't need a dr. visit. BUT... a friend recently went to a chiropractor for a pain in her rib area... they couldn't find anything, and sent her to a dr.... long story short, she has colon and liver cancer. So... good thing she didn't just wait.

    MTH... do mri's and such things have to be that expensive? I mean to justify the cost of equipment and such?

    Still thinking...

  57. Many Trails Home10/30/2005 09:39:00 PM

    To Anonymous "still thinking:" It is certainly good to ponder these things, as we need to find a better way. I think there are very few who feel this system is fine as is. What should be rationed? Good question; no ready answer; has to be group decision, preferably consensus (we don't know "consensus").
    Re MRIs: yes, to support the cost of the equipment. Most hospitals initially shared them, now I think we lease our own. And here's a little known "fact": we have to do lots of unnecessary MRIs to make the necessary ones affordable. This is not conscious, but it is how it evolves. Who would pay $10,000 or $20,000 for an MRI? But if 9 people have one unnecessarily, the 10th who needs it will get it for $1000. It always, always escalates. Human nature? Business? Final question: Will we pay "whatever it takes" even if we can't afford to buy cars and heat our homes? Call it distribution of limited resources, not rationing, if you prefer. Tough or not, we have to tackle it; we will be forced to, eventually. MTH

  58. MTH ~ In some ways, it boils down to... how much are we willing to pay for our health?... How much is a cure worth? And since humans have a will to live, its not hardly possible to put a price on it is it? Ask a child, or spouse what is too expensive, when a loved one needs those expensive MRIs and other tests and medication.
    Is it even possible, if we want the continued technology and cures, to keep the costs down??
    Just still thinking....

  59. Many Trails Home10/31/2005 04:26:00 PM

    To "Just Thinking:" Looked at that way, it is not possible to control costs. But I would like to share a little secret: As a "for profit" system, lots of tests are done for marginal indications, such as (1) Avoid lawsuit for missing something, even tho the likelihood is remote; (2) Scare the pt into thinking he/she could have a problem (or better yet, his beloved family member), and test to prove they don't; (3) "Income generation" which is usually the reason for #2; (4) Training at a big med center where everybody is over-tested for educational purposes and cost is no object to anyone: it's hard to buck your training.

    WITHIN the medical system, there is little to no incentive to be efficient and cost effective. Period. No different than construction, funerals, etc. Charge what the market will bear. Encourage people to be generous with their expenditures: surely YOUR HEALTH is worth it; surely you would not want to put YOUR CHILD (PARENT / SPOUSE) at risk.

    What we REALLY should be doing is drinking clean water, breathing clean air, eating healthy, naturally-grown foods, exercising in nature, engaging in mutually-supportive relationships (like extoots!! and COYC = church of your choice), and having creative, productive, purposeful work/activity in our lives.
    I'm off my soap-box now. Pollyanna-ish, maybe, but why should that be so hard, when we can invent magical devices like lasers, MRIs, and cell phones that take photographs. What's wrong with our priorities? MTH

  60. Lets see.... Lazy?! The grass is always greener with new technology? We like fast, convenient foods, which unfortunately are cheaper than good, wholesome ones. Makes it difficult, especially for those families who are low income.... have large med. bills etc. Looks like a vicious circle doesn't it?? But, God didn't say that we wouldn't have suffering did he??
    Pollyanna-ish.... No not really. I wouldn't mind having enough room to grow a veggie garden, and have room for my kids to have tree forts etc. But I don't, so I make the best with what I do have.

  61. Hi Anon 6:27, I like what you said here about making the best with what you do have. That's what life is all about, eh?

    and MTH, good thoughts about priorities.. not Pollyanna-ish at all. Many good thoughts there.