Pithy quotes from our current reading which give us pause to reflect

Can anyone ever be dunked enough?

Once is supposed to be enough.
However, there are people who wrestle with doubts, and then think, “Well, maybe I didn’t believe enough, when I was baptized the first time, and need to do it again.” You mentioned elsewhere, that it would be good to have to do some study before just being able to join up. THis is one area where your wisdom clearly demonstrates itself.
Did you have someone in mind, who has been rebaptized?

No I just thought some might find it exhilarating in the way amusement park rides are or used to be before aches and pains didn’t wait for an excess to announce their presence.

Is spiritual thrill seeking a thing?

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There is always somebody. Although i had a related but different question when I visited Israel with a group from church. It is sort of a custom for many to want to get baptized in the Jordan river a’ la Jesus. It is sort of big business for a tourist place there. Anyway, I decided to not participate as I considered my first baptism to be real, and this would be sorta fake, though I understand and did not criticize those who did, and took pictures for them to document their dunking.

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There is definitely emotional manipulation by some ‘evangelists’ and I’m not at all sure it doesn’t happen with some who participate in the CCM (contemporary Christian music) scene.

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I hadn’t thought of a water park baptism. Like @jpm mentioned, some people feel their baptism is special because it took place somewhere unique, not at the font or in the baptismal at church.

As far as spiritual thrill seeking goes, I would direct your attention to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, CA. To be clear, in my opinion, this is a cult (Big flashing red letters) that uses Christian vocabulary and concepts and then has riffed on those until the original is barely recognizable. If the theological differences are not of interest, then just look around online for unauthorized info about the school.

I have two cousins from Wales, who went there. I don’t discuss their time there with them. And whatever their hopes and dreams were for “ministry” afterward, they are both drifting right now, in their 30s.

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Just to be clear … I don’t intend any of my contributions here to be “homework assignments” - much less then having any kind of “due date” after which you must apologize for not getting to it in time.

I’ve got a day job myself - though mine does have generous “flex” time in the summer months. But even so - You can take or leave anything you want here. So I’m impressed at your ambition to “tackle Job”.

A bit later perhaps, I’ll see if I can search up our prior discussions of it on the forum, which will have been years ago probably, and buried in some thread that wasn’t at all about Job - or that necessarily hinted that way in its title. (and here we see the disadvantage of off-topic tangents that so many of us and especially me are guilty of.)

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And now that I did a forum search for the word: “Elihu”, I see that a good number of those long-ago results have to do specifically with 37:18 and our infamous forum food-fights about whether or not the raqia should be interpreted as a “solid” dome. So on first glance, maybe it isn’t that we’ve discussed the entire book of Job for its own sake so much as drawn from it for other subjects.

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Thanks, Merv. I thought your question was interesting and a good opportunity (maybe even justification to spend the time in my office at my desk doing something I enjoy that takes a chunk of time). I have maybe more flexible time in my life than I deserve, so that wasn’t a problem. Sometimes other claims and demands in my time can be reasonably set aside so that mom actually gets to engage with her own brain alone for a while, especially at this point in my family’s history. But strike, while the iron is hot, or the destractions will bury the opportunity.
My quick and dirty contribution took a good chunk of time overall, but was good for me, whether it has any value outside my head or not.
I grasp that it wasn’t homework, but rather an opportunity. Thanks for it.

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Picked up a book - Meghan O’Gieblyn’s Technology, Metaphor and the search for Meaning: God, Human, Animal,Machine- I can’t recall putting on hold and have no idea why I did so. When you’re young being precocious is a good thing. Nearer to senility, not so much.

Regardless of how I find some of the things she says ridiculous on the face of it she is a good enough writer to be personally disclosive in a way that disinclined me to the mockery it initially provoked in me. She comes from an evangelical background and studied theology at what she now describes as a fundamentalist college. So I begin to see her through some of you here and imagine how her disillusionment might affect you. That inclines me to see her as floundering but not irredeemably corrupted. Her case might be instructive.

Got to go now but will be back to share quotes.

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Read around a bit about her. Moody Bible Institute is a biggie in Chicago. Well-respected or loathed, depending on one’s perspective. I can imagine someone with big questions having a hard time there, but I only know the school third hand.
Looking at chapter titles alone in this book and Interior States she seems perhaps both appropriately critical and bitter. I’ll be interested to see what you highlight.

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Mostly she talks sbout embracing being a soulless materialist. I have to think there will be further development and revisions to her positions.

Sorry. NBA finals are demanding my attention.

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I believed in the soul longer, and more literally, than most people do in our day and age. At the fundamentalist college where I studied theology, I had pinned above my desk Gerard Manley Hopkin’s poem “God’s Grandeur”, which imagines the BBC world illuminated from within by the divine spirit. The world is charged with the grandeur of God. To live in such a world is to see all things as sacred. It is to believe that the universe is guided by an eternal order, that each and every object has purpose And telos. I believed for many years - well into adulthood- that I was part of this illuminated order, that I possessed an immortal soul that would one day be true item with God. It was a small school in the middle of a large city, and I would sometimes walk the streets dog downtown, trying to perceive this divine light in each person, as C. S. Lewis once advised. I was not aware at the time, I don’t think, that this was a basically medieval worldview. My theology courses were devoted to the kinds of questions that have not been taken seriously since the days of Scholastic philosophy: How is the soul connected to the body? Does God’s sovereignty leave any room for free will? What is our relationship as humans to the rest of the created order?

But I no longer believe in God. I have not for some time. I now live with the rest of modernity in a world that is “disenchanted”. The word is often attributed to Max Weber, who argued that before the Enlightenment and Western secularization, the world was “a great enchanted garden”, a place much like the illuminated world, faith was not opposed to knowledge, nor myth to reason. The realm of spirit and matter were porous and not easily distinguishable from o be another. Then came the dawn of modern science, which turned the world into a subject of investigation. Nature was no longer a source of wonder but a force to be mastered, a system to be figured out. At its root, disenchantment describes the fact that everything in modern life, from our minds to the rotation of the planets, can be reduced to the causal mechanism of physical laws. In place of pneuma, the spirit-force that once infused and unified all living things, we are left with an empty carapace of gears and levers - or, as Weber put it, “the mechanism of a world robbed of gods.”

There is much more I’m struck by her desire to justify her failed attempt at faith and excessively conceding much more than necessary. Many more things to say but this finals game isnt going to watch itself. Would love to see @jstump interview her.

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You’ll be finding more quotes from this book peppered here. This one seemed particularly relevant as of late:

Job’s gospel saved my faith because it taught me to stop trying to convince myself I don’t have doubts and start telling the truth about them. It taught me that I don’t have to fear my doubts. They are not a virtue or a vice, they’re not something to be proud of ashamed of, and they don’t make me a saint or a sinner. Job taught me to take my doubts and tell the truth because that is the first step toward being faithful with them. Telling the truth about them means you take God too seriously to let doubt fester and rot you from the inside.

From Faith in the Shadows by Austin Fisher
Chapter Three: “How to Survive a Hurricane: Doubting with Job”
(Bookshare epub ebook location 20%)

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A few of us have been reading and swapping quotes from Austin Fisher’s encouraging book, Faith in the Shadows. Fisher was clearly not writing with the intent of providing compact, pithy quotes, but the book is highly quotable. I’ve tried to pare this one down to expose the core without changing the substance. I hope I’ve been successful.
In regard to doubt, Fisher writes:

Maybe it’s the evil or the silence or the science or the stuff or some combination thereof or something else altogether,…and you’re such a mess you begin to wonder if Judas’s betraying blood runs through your veins. …What do we do then?

In 1 Corinthians 13:2, Paul says, “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” …Because it’s possible to have all the faith in the world and still be nothing.

Paul makes an analogy that effectively calls the Corinthians’ knowledge, gifts, and faith childish and immature. Why? Because they aren’t eternal; they will not last. … Then comes Paul’s famous triad of faith, hope, and love, which he uses throughout his letters to describe the essence of Christian living.

When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus did not say it was to have faith so as to move mountains without the slightest shred of doubt. No, Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God and love neighbor…The ultimate remedy for doubt is neither perfect, doubtless faith nor being honest about not having much faith. The ultimate remedy for doubt is love because love creates faith.

So when doubt gets down in your bones and skepticism feels terminal, do what you can to make sense of it. Slug it out with the thorny questions, be as skeptical of your skepticism as your skepticism is of everything else, and mine for good answers. But eventually you have to stop sitting around, wishing and hoping and thinking and praying for more faith, get up off your butt, and go love somebody. After all, the greatest person in the eyes of God is not the one with the most faith but the one with the most love. And when all is said and done and we stand before the great white throne, I reckon the question we will be asked is not “Did you doubt?” but “Did you love?”

Fisher, Austin. Faith in the Shadows: Finding Christ in the Midst of Doubt. Bookshare ed., Intervarsity Press, 2018, Loc. 70%-76%.

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Nice. I agree but I’ve cut one word off the end because I don’t think it has to be love of a person. Love of nature, love of beauty or goodness and noble action can all help. But treating others with charity as in the benefit of the doubt and a sensitivity to differences in circumstances and ready kindness is just a matter of common decency. No one tribe owns that patent.

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No tribe owns that patent.

Absolutely. I’m sorry this quote gave you such an impression. I don’t think that is at all the point of the section in the book. Rather that dealing with doubts related to faith are not best handled by focusing endlessly on the doubt, but rather by involving oneself in loving service to others.
I do think loving people over all the other wonderful things you mentioned is most valuable. People can be hard to love, much harder than wonderful things that more naturally draw us. I’ve never been wounded, confounded, swindled or angered by nature. People can just be harder to love. For those who seek a way to deal with spiritual doubts, loving people actively can simply be a more fruitful path.
But the action of loving and loving well is something I see all sorts of people doing. As you said no tribe has this patent, especially mine, I will add.

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Oh no. That isn’t my take away. Just a cast off addendum. I’ve been impressed with all the quotes from that book which have been shared. Hey, if Randy. Merv and you all sign off on it I’m sure it would be a good read.

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Christians, feed your faith, don’t poison it – be careful what you read.


        J&S

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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