God as artist-loving artist

Everyone is creative.

Do something. Draw something. Paint something. Cook something. Write something. Sing something. Say something. Dance something. Give something. Make something. Break something. Shout something. Demonstrate something. Carve something.

Kiss someone. Hug someone. Challenge someone. Help someone. Visit someone. Hear someone. Bless someone. Write someone. Call someone. Love someone.

Everyone is creative.

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36 Responses

  1. sam scoville says:

    kumbaya

  2. I actually like this one.

  3. Cynthia says:

    I could do without the beard and the halo but I like the concept. Actually it would have been interesting if the viewer had to discern which was God and which was the artist.

  4. Susanna K. says:

    A band I was in several years ago had a song with lyrics nearly identical to your blog post. I happen to still have the MP3: Do Something

    (Not the best performance ever, but we had fun doing it!)

  5. Connie says:

    I love this analogy or play in words.

    An artist can “pun” something…..

    Let’s have pun together! :)

  6. sam scoville says:

    PUN TOGETHER
    (my song)

    God sat next to me and approved
    as I created this pathetic lyric
    needs music: instrument of the
    7 strings, perhaps the peasle tree)

    I hate everybody & everyone and so
    I presume everyone hates everyone &
    everybody.

    Right there: a given.
    Call it original spin.

    That’s the explanation (apologetic)
    for all the discrepancies & resistances
    & curiosities & language “problems” we
    generate amongst our selves. Bumper cars:
    Beep & Beep. Traffic.

    But IT can’t be said.

    Can’t stand up in caucus and forum and
    church service & declare:

    Look: we all hate everybody and everyone
    and that explains our confusion & cover-up
    & hypocrisies & exclusivity & mis-
    communication & necessary deceptions &
    games-man-ship & why we are always having
    such a hard time getting on the same page
    so to speak let along Just Getting Along.

    Because we hate each other.
    Naturally.

    Go ahead: improve my terms, soften, euphemize – make it sound more acceptable to the post-modern mind, to Oprah and Dr. Phil & Ms.Bachman

    I’m just describing here. Not judging. The
    judgment rises out of the denial and cover-up.

    WHAT, hate YOU?
    Of course not.
    I love you.
    Well—like you a lot.
    A little. Somewhat

    (Got to: it’s politically correct.)

    Etc.

    Fool around with this notion and see if it
    don’t clarity a lot about communication &
    the play and problems of language. Our
    anguish. Our whine.

    It’s a profound truth: we hate each other,
    or put it in other words if you don’t like “hate” Too strong? Go for weak then: try “resist,” “antagonize” “block,” “separate” and also protect, cherish our individuality,
    uniqueness, all one-ness.

    Fundamental. Homeland security: no aliens,
    against others, anti-else’s & foreigners,
    no Not-I’s need apply.

    Neils Bohr (Nobel Physicist ) claims ”The opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth. “

    I love everybody and everyone
    and so I presume we love everyone
    and everybody.

    Right there: we like the sound of
    that profound truth much better.
    See—that’s the problem Accentuating
    the Ppositive. Bias toward community
    and Just Get Along at the expense of
    ME, MySELF & I.

    One truth we love. The other truth we hate.
    Can you see how this generates problems in
    communication? I’m just asking.

    Kumbaya

  7. Steve Martin says:

    God knows that He is a problem for us.

    He can’t just show up here in all His glory, or we’d be killed.

    So He sent His Son… to become one of us.

    __________________________

    Now, that’s creative!

  8. sam scoville says:

    Steve: and we nail him down every day, don’t we? Creatively.

  9. Jennifer F Moore says:

    I think this is my new favorite… I like the positiveness of it, the idea of “doing” is awesome. Sometimes it feels like so many words are spoken, but not much action is accomplished. Very cool,and I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t mean it…

  10. Doug Sloan says:

    God is transcendent and immanent

    – God is everywhere and in everything and in all that occurs.

    – God is more than everywhere and more than existence and more than what occurs.

    God is persistently pervasive and present.

    All that is wherever it is – is in God.

    As such, creation is continuous, not an incident. God is in the continuous process of creation and God is more than what is being created.

    As such, God does not intercede; God participates as an influence and a calling.

    God is always calling and encouraging us forward from where we are to be more than we are, to be closer to God and to be more like God. This is more than a singular relationship in the same way that creation is more than a singular occurrence. Through the continuous process of forging and nurturing a personal relationship with God, God calls us to expand that relationship and to be a loving community to all people and to be in loving community with all people – who, through unrestrained love and unconditional grace, are also in a continuous process of forging a relationship with an immediate and present boundless God.

    There is only God.

    There is no Satan, no demons, no angels.

    There is no heaven and hell. The only hell, that is – the only separation from God and the only source of evil, is in our free-willed refusal to seek and sense and hear and see and participate and grow in the loving relationship that God earnestly wants and yearns for with each of us.

    There is only the immediate pervasive presence of God that extends beyond existence and beyond all dimensions – beyond all we can sense and beyond all that we are.

    So, how do we share this Good News and invite others to participate in it?

    * By being more concerned with openly living the Good News than with preaching it;

    * By being the Kingdom of the God here and now;

    * By being the hands and arms and feet and legs and torso and sweat and exertion of Jesus, by being the body of Christ – by being the tangible and effective presence of God in the world;

    * By feeding, quenching, healing, clothing, housing, including and visiting – being here and now the unrestrained love and unconditional grace of God;

    * By enthusiastically and persistently advocating justice as restoration as a universal response to evil and compassion as a community norm and the practice of hospitality and generosity as a personal norm.

  11. Writer, Dorothy Sayers, once said that we are most like our creator when we create . . .
    Awesome cartoon, David!
    Blessings!

  12. Doug- again you are so off base. How do you arrive at the idea that there is no hell, or no Satan? Are you saying Jesus was a liar? Satan would like us to think that he doesn’t exist, it makes it easier for him to operate. You started out so well with this last post, but went downhill fast.

    David- I still really like this post and cartoon. I think it is the most healing, redemptive thing I have yet seen you write. Keep up the good work.

  13. Doug Sloan says:

    God has never been, at any time for any reason, a capricious God of death, war, destruction, murder, violence, oppression, retribution, vengeance, hate, or conditional acceptance.

    God has always been a consistent God of life, peace, creation, healing, reconciliation, liberation, resurrection, transformation, love, and grace.

    But if it is by grace,
    it is no longer on the basis of works,
    otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
    – NRSV Romans 11:6

    Yet we know that a person is justified
    not by the works of the law
    but through faith in Jesus Christ.
    And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus,
    so that we might be justified by faith in Christ,
    and not by doing the works of the law,
    because no one will be justified
    by the works of the law.
    – NRSV Galatians 2:16

    For by grace you have been saved through faith,
    and this is not your own doing;
    it is the gift of God – not the result of works,
    so that no one may boast.
    – NRSV Ephesians 2:8-9

    Grace is not awarded for the satisfactory completion of a spiritual check list – and grace is not earned for works or acts – and grace is not part of a quid pro quo arrangement or relationship – and grace is not a stipulation of a contract or covenant – and grace is not right thinking or thinking right or thinking good thoughts or having the right beliefs – and grace is not about rewards and punishments – and grace is not about later. Grace is not about heaven or a post-mortal existence or guaranteeing a future occurrence because grace is not about having an after-life insurance policy or hedging our spiritual bets. We live in, we exist in and have always existed in the grace of God. Grace is now – constantly present and immediately accessible. Grace is always freely available and freely supplied and supplied freely unconditionally and abundantly without exceptions and without restrictions and without qualifications. Grace and conditions are mutually exclusive, even oppositional. A faith full of grace has no conditions – meaning no qualifications and no requirements and, consequently, no exclusions and no differentiation. A faith with any condition or any qualification or any requirement or any exclusion or any differentiation has no grace. God requires nothing of us – this is grace.

    Since God is Love and Grace, there is no judgement, there is no hell.

  14. Doug Sloan says:

    Since God is Love and Grace, there is no condemnation, there is no destruction – never has been, never will be.

  15. LouiseM says:

    This one affirms and unsettles me. The different look at the verse makes me smile, while the two different sets of expressions on the characters faces and on their drawings leads to the discomfort of paradox.

    Both characters appear watchful. Are they drawing what they see or what they feel? Self portraits or pictures of each other?

  16. Steve Martin says:

    Right, Sam.

    We have Him all figured out :D

  17. Bliss Fish says:

    I have always felt an affinity with the divine when creating, whether it is sketching, singing, or writing. Call it flow or communion or prayer, it’s all the same. It’s awe-some. As is this sketch. Thanks. Peter

  18. shelly says:

    God has never been, at any time for any reason, a capricious God of death, war, destruction, murder, violence, oppression, retribution, vengeance, hate, or conditional acceptance.

    Explain these passages, then…

    “I form light and create darkness, make prosperity and create doom; I am the LORD, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7, Common English Bible)

    “However, for us believers, there is one God the Father. All things come from him, and we belong to him. And there is one Lord Jesus Christ. All things exist through him, and we live through him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6, CEB)

    “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all who is over all, through all, and in all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6)

    The only hell, that is – the only separation from God and the only source of evil, is in our free-willed refusal to seek and sense and hear and see and participate and grow in the loving relationship that God earnestly wants and yearns for with each of us.

    It is not free willed, though. If it were, God would not be sovereign over all; man would be more powerful. Not to mention the cross wouldn’t have saved anyone.

    It is God who grants belief to people (Romans 12:3). Plus, God provides opposition to his will to make himself known.

    Also see…
    * Exodus 10:1-2
    * Romans 9:16-18
    * Romans 11:7-8
    * Romans 11:30-32
    * Romans 8:19-21
    * Matthew 13:11
    * Matthew 11:25
    * Luke 19:42
    * Psalm 105:25

    Not to mention God creating some vessels for honour and some for dishonour (Romans 9:21).

    Oh, and there’s all the stuff we didn’t choose (hair colour, eye colour, skin colour, when we’d be born, where we’d be born, whether we’d be born into wealth or poverty, our parents, being born into sin). And, try as you might, I believe we can’t choose not to sin, either.

  19. Doug Sloan says:

    @shelly:

    God is not a dictator, puppet master, control-freak, or mechanic
    God is not micro-managing or fixing the universe
    God is not experimenting or playing with the universe

    God is Consistent
    God is not capricious
    God performs neither miracles nor acts of retribution
    God neither intervenes nor condemns

    excerpt from GOD IS – an update
    http://dmergent.org/2011/02/15/god-is-an-update/

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    The scripture was written to and written for and written by ancient people of an ancient culture living in an ancient time. The scripture was written as a metaphorical and thoughtful and faithful record and narrative and explanation. The scripture is how they perceived the presence and influence and actions of God in their lives and history, individually and communally. Those ancient people and that ancient culture and that ancient time are gone, never to return. It is impossible for that ancient culture and that ancient time to be recreated and it is impossible for us to be that ancient people or to live as did that ancient people. In the same way that we are ignorant of our distant future; they had no knowledge, no idea, no vision, no dream, no fantasy that two millennia hence there would be an increasingly global and interconnected culture and economy of 7 billion people, world wars and holocausts encompassing and killing and making refugees of millions, staggering accomplishments in medicine and engineering and transportation and communication, and the development of sciences and mathematics and technologies that did not and could not exist in their time and that they could not have comprehended. Because we have had these experiences and live with these developments and because these experiences and developments cannot be erased or quarantined from our perceptual and analytical processes, we are not capable of developing an adequate or reasonable comprehension of ancient times, cultures and people. We cannot understand an ancient existence devoid of our experiences and developments and knowledge and assumptions and expectations and view of reality and we will never be able to understand an ancient existence because we can neither interact with it nor live in it. Their ancient time and existence are irreconcilably separate from our contemporary time and existence and irreconcilably different than our time and existence. What is “ancient” and what is “contemporary” are mutually incomprehensible. In terms of the original ancient audience and the original ancient purpose and the original ancient usage, the scripture is not ours. The scripture was not written to us, the scripture was not written for us, the scripture was not written about us. Because the scripture is not ours, we are neither bound by it nor obligated by it. We can faithfully use the scripture as a source of inspiration and wisdom, as a way of connecting to or mediating the sacred, and it can become a path to spiritual revelation and epiphany that can be instructive, nurturing and transforming.

    excerpt from RECLAIMING SCRIPTURE
    http://dmergent.org/2011/02/18/reclaiming-scripture/

  20. nakedpastor says:

    wow doug you sure do write a lot lol

  21. sam scoville says:

    Don’t these varied voices reveal? Every thread: the back & forth of belief, bias, prejudice, conviction, commitment, affirmation, disagreement, insistence, questioning. Points of viewing. Perspectives. Ways of Talking. Like the blind wise men around the elephant in the room. Each one holding on to the truth-of-where-I-stand. Is it possible to listen to all the others? Their truths so radically different than mine/ (The elephant is like a tree, for crying out loud: how can I relinquish my own sense experience and consider that feel babbling about a whisk broom, a fire hose? MAP WARS. We all know the map is not the territory, true? The representation is not the thing represented. How we say what we see is always a reduction. Partial. Not whole or holy except by acclimation and convention and convenience. Does God have a beard and a halo? Do we draw near to Him? In manners of speaking, so to speak. How do you like to represent? Do you like to roll your own holy smokes or buy them pre-packaged and cellophane wrapped off the shelf. Either way: thru a glass darkly as it were. Not vis-a-vis.

  22. Shelly- Doug is blind to anything that doesn’t go along with his errant view of God and the scriptures. When somebody points something out to him, he just closes up and repeats the same information that he already gave. It tells me that he has chosen to believe a certain path, but is not well enough versed in it to defend it. He has come up with his own definition of what the Bible is good for and what it is not. He decries that it was not written for us or to us, but then tries to use it to defend his views. He is a very mixed up person and I suggest we pray for him.

  23. nakedpastor says:

    Dr.: you really come across as arrogant sometimes.

  24. David, First of all I appreciate the difference of being called arrogant, and that I sometimes come across as arrogant. I will readily admit that I am not a post-modern style speaker or writer. I know what I believe, why I believe it, and have seen it proven true in my life over and over for over 50 years now. I apologize if that offends.
    There are two things in this type of setting that offend me, and get my “dander up”. The first is refusing to engage in intelligent conversation. For instance- I have little problem with TGM. He at least presents a reasoned and thoughtful approach. I don’t agree with everything he says, but at least it appears that he has thought it through. Doug clearly has not done that. When presented with new information, he insults our intelligence by simply brushing it off and repeating his quotes from some book.
    The second thing that upsets me is when those that profess to be Christians refuse to defend their faith. I am not speaking of defending the church. I understand that there are problems in the church. I travel the country working with churches because of that very issue. I understand not defending the church. But I do not understand not defending Christianity. Doug’s hypothesis’ are direct affronts to Christianity itself. This should be defended by all who profess the name of Christ. Where Doug merely “writes a lot”, I “come across as arrogant”. Hmmm- I can say that everytime I write on your blog I see the guy in the balcony with his rifle. I guess freedom to express yourself isn’t limited to some churches.

  25. nakedpastor says:

    Dr.: maybe not everyone feels the necessity to defend their faith. maybe some don’t have faith as you define it. and you know you are free to express your opinions here and others feel free to challenge your attitude or opinion. that’s real dialog. there’s no gun here to take you out. people have been on this blog for years who are at totally different ends of the spectrum. from atheist to fundamentalist christian. muslims and buddhists too. whatever… and i think if you knew Doug and some of his story you might have a different slant on him. as for responding to your every thought… i am a cartoonist and a bit of a writer. i don’t have time to respond to everything except when i feel it is urgently necessary. you might notice that others write on my blog more than i do! lol.

  26. Dr.: many people equate Christianity with the church. Sometimes it’s hard to seperate them. I don’t have time to defend Christianity- it would take a year just to come up with a definition we could all agree on. As a result, many of us try to simply promote Jesus.

  27. Doug Sloan says:

    If a quote is cited as from Dmergent.org without a stated author, the writing is mine. I will be more explicit about that in the future.

    Theological concepts like “substitutionary sacrifice” and “original sin” appeared centuries after Jesus and the Disciples and Paul. Which means that when reading the scripture, those concepts are not in there.

    I feel safe in saying that Jesus and the Disciples never read the New Testament. The same would have been mostly true for Paul – he would have been familiar only with his own letters. The true letters of Paul are the oldest New Testament documents (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Phillipians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon). The not-written-by-Paul anti-Paul letters should be removed from the canon (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). The other letters were probably largely or completely not written by Paul. They were written by other authors in an attempt to make Paul’s radical theology more compatible with the culture and theology of the Roman Empire.

    The theology of Jesus and the Disciples and Paul and the way they lived their lives was Jewish. So, theological concepts like “substitutionary sacrifice” and “original sin” would have been foreign, even repulsive to them because those concepts do not exist in Jewish theology.

    There are those on here who have wholly adopted such new fangled Catholic theology. They are welcome to do so – although, they should realize that such theology is less than, even contrary to the the Good News message preached, taught and lived by Jesus.

  28. LouiseM says:

    Don’t these varied voices reveal?

    Yes, they do! The cartoon and words invite, using the same tools of parable and paradox the Good Teacher excelled in using to invite and reveal truth and grace.

    I’m still wondering what caused the two characters to draw different pictures as they “drew close” to each other. I also am not settled as to which character represents God.

    What if the intent, watchful one on the right sees a halo of self righteousness about the head of the one on the left, and feels love and sadness over the truth and grace missing when he draws close and encounters a publicly presented picture of “happy face”?

  29. David, thank you for the invitation to stay, don’t worry I’ll be around as time permits. I have no problem with people challenging my thoughts. As I said, I know what I believe and why. I guess one of my biggest concerns is that you profess to be a Christian, yet you come down hardest on those attempting to defend it. I believe the biggest problem in the church today is not authoritarianism, but are those who by their silence let those who attack the fundamentals of faith believe we agree with them.(Oh yes they do feel that way.) Many of these people on these posts are staunch followers of yours (something I noticed right away.) What you say carries a lot more weight than anyone else. They will say anything to defend you (i.e. Bill’s remarks after yours) (By the way I would accept his definition of Christianity for us to rally around for purposes of these discussions.) So I just feel that your comments to others- whenever you choose to reply- should at least reflect the faith you say you hold. It will make a difference to a lot of people. As for Doug, if I knew him, I might feel differently, feel free to enlighten me privately some time, but I find his comments way out there, and don’t really believe he totally even understands what he is saying.

  30. Well Doug you did it. You said something I agree with. Jesus never read the New Testament. He was crucified long before the first book of the NT was written. But before we throw a party, let’s look at the rest of what you said. Your statements are contradictory as to whether Jesus lived the life of a Jew and thus did not understand certain subjects, or as to whether He lived the life of the Good News. To suggest that Jesus, being God, didn’t understand certain concepts because they were not a part of the Jewish teaching would again deny His divinity.
    I also disagree with your conclusion about Paul’s writings. Being an avid student and teacher of Paul’s writings, I am fully convinced that all those attributed to Paul (except Hebrews) were indeed written by the apostle himself. It has only been in recent times that the authorship of these books has even been questioned seriously. There is much evidence to indicate they are Paul’s. Maybe some day we could discuss this orally.
    Again I find your analysis about substitutionary sacrifice, and original sin to be faulty. The terminology may not have apppeared until later, but the concepts are there in scripture. For instance Paul speaks of original sin in both Romans 5 and 7 among other places. Jesus, himself knew that he was the substitutionary sacrifice even though he may not have used the term.
    Doug, please consider that these new “scholars” are not always right. Don’t buy into everything they write. It isn’t always true.

  31. Lydia Penner says:

    I’ve recently discovered your comics and LOVE them. Thank you for your service to the world. Today I used the God as artist one in my blog where I write about where I found God every week (or where he finds me!). Thank you again.

  32. Doug Sloan says:

    SPEAKING CHRISTIAN
    Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power -
    AND HOW THEY CAN BE RESTORED
    by Marcus J. Borg
    HarperOne (c) 2011

    Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. He was Hundre Chair of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University until his retirement in 2007. Borg is the author of nineteen books, including the bestselling “The Heart of Christianity”, “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time”, “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time”, and the novel “Putting Away Childish Things.”

    - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    Christian language has become a stumbling block in our time. Much of its basic vacabulary is seriously misunderstood. Big words like “salvation”, “save”, sacrifice”, “redeemer”, “redemption”, “righteousness”, “repentence”, “mercy”, “sin”, “forgiveness”, “born again”, “second coming”, “God”, “Jesus”, and “Bible” and collections of words like “the creeds”, “Lord’s Prayer”, and “liturgies” have acquired meanings that are serious distortions of their biblical and traditional meanings.

    The misunderstandings flow from two major causes shaping the way Christian language is heard. The first is the literalization of language in the modern period. The second is the interpretation of Christian language within a common framework that I call “heaven and hell” Christianity. When this is the primary framework for understanding Christianity, it diminishes and distorts the meaning of Christian language.

    This book’s purpose is to exposit an alternative understanding, one that draws on the Bible and premodern Christian tradition. Again and again, it compares and contrasts the contemporary meanings of Christian language with their often very different and traditional meanings. Again and again, it names the effects that literalization and the heaven-and-hell framework have had upon the meanings of Christian language. Again and again, it reveals the more ancient and authentic meaning of “speaking Christian” and tries to connect these reinvigorated meanings to the realities we face in the twenty-first century.

    This book’s purpose is to redeem or reclaim Christian language in all of its richness and wisdom.

    This book’s purpose is to help us to read, hear, and inwardly digest Christian language without preconceived understandings getting in the way. It is about learning to read and hear the language of our faith again.

    pp. 1-3

    The heaven-and-hell framework has four central elements: the afterlife, sin and forgiveness, Jesus’s dying for our sins, and believing.

    1. THE AFTERLIFE: Heaven is the reason for being Christian.

    2. SIN AND FORGIVENESS: Sin is the central issue in our life with God, Forgiveness is the solution. Because we are sinners, we deserve to be punished.

    3. JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS: What is most important about Jesus is his death. He died for our sins in our place, paid the price of our disobedience, and thereby made our forgiveness possible.

    4. BELIEVING: Affirming a core set of statements to be true. Believing or “having faith,” is what God wants from us and what makes it possible to go to heaven. For about half of Protestants, this means not only believing that Jesus died for our sins, but much more, including that the Bible is the inerrant revelation of God, literally and absolutely true. There is common agreement that affirming a set of beliefs matters. For many, this has become the primary meaning of “faith.”

    The framework created by these four elements decisively shapes the meaning of many “big” Christian words, giving them meaning very different from their biblical and ancient Christian ones. To illustrate:

    SALVATION:
    *now refers to life after death; it is about going to heaven.
    *But in the Bible, it is seldom about an afterlife; rather, it is about transformation this side of death.

    SAVED:
    * now means to be saved from our sins.
    * But in the Bible, it is about much more than this, and often not about sin at all.

    SAVIOR:
    * now refers to Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins.
    * But in the Bible, “savior” is used long before Jesus and most often has nothing to do with being saved from sin.

    SACRIFICE:
    * now refers to Jesus’s death on the cross as payment for our sins.
    * But in the Bible, sacrifice is never about substitutionary payment for sin.

    GOD:
    * now refers to a personlike being separate from the universe. God’s character is both loving and punitive. God loves us enough to send Jesus to die for us, but God will also judge and punish those who don’t believe or behavve as they ought.
    * But the Bible also contains a very different understanding of God, both of what the word refers to and of God’s character.

    MERCY:
    * is now about God forgiving us, even though we are sinful and deserve to be punished.
    * But in the Bible, the ancient words translated into English as “mercy” often do not mean what “mercy” means in modern English.

    REPENTANCE:
    * is now remorse for sin and resolving to live a better life.
    * But in the Bible, its meanings are quite different: to return from exile and “to go beyond the mind we have.”

    REDEEMER, REDEEM, and REDEMPTION (like SAVIOR, SAVE, and SALVATION):
    * now refer to Jesus as the redeemer who redeems us from our sins and brings about our redemption.
    * But in the Bible, these words are not about being saved from sin, but about being set free from slavery.

    RIGHTEOUSNESS:
    * is now primarily about individual virtue – about being a righteous person.
    * But in the Bible, it is often a collective or social virtue. It is about justice and whether societies are just or unjust.

    PEACE:
    * is now primarily understood as an individual internal state – peace of mind and being at peace with God. But in the Bible, peace is more than internal peace. It is a major part of God’s dream for the world, a world of nonviolence and the end of war.

    FAITH:
    * now means believing a set of statements about God, Jesus, and the Bible to be true, often literally true.
    * But in the Bible and premodern Christianity, faith and believing are not about affirming the truth of statements. Rather, they are about commitment, loyalty, and allegiance, and not to a set of statements, but to God as known especially in Jesus. Perhaps the best single synonym for “to believe” is “to belove.”

    The point is that the common heaven-and-hell framework is like a black hole that sucks the meaning of Christian language into it, changing and distorting it.

    pp. 11-16

  33. Doug- I am confused. Is this post in response to our discussion that has transcended two posts, or is this a completely new line of thought?

  34. Doug Sloan says:

    Robert – part of our differences (a substantial part?) is the vocabulary we use – same words, dramatically different meanings. While this will do little to lessen the differences, it will add some transparency to how the vocabulary is being used.

  35. sam scoville says:

    Doug: I like your approach. For me IT is always a language problem at base (fundamental)–and how words are smoothed &/or stigmatized to serve our collecdtive cultural uses and abuses. As long as you are citing “original” meanings- “sin” comes from I.E. es, esse: “essence” “being” – which makes original sin a redundancy and the notion that we’re are all sinners descriptive rather than judgmental (it’s the denial and cover-up that generates the judgment, yes?). “evil” – from I.E. upos: up from below, and don’t all things aspire? “suffer”: to bear up, stand up under. “repentance” : to turn back. “religion”: to be ligamented back. Hosing off the connotations that have accrued to xtian language is a good move, but impossible to foist on anyone. The real fundamental reasons for “our differences”? IE kad – care, sorrow, grief, hate, hatred–call it personal Homeland Insecurity if you want to update the language. A given. Our original & ongoing spin.It’s the denial and cover-up that raise the bozone level.

  36. Doug- Although I didn’t feel our discussion differences were over semantics, I appreciate any attempt at clarification. I will keep these definitions in mind as you share your answers to the questions I previously posed to you.

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