CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES DON’T HAVE TO BE PUSHOVERS

Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance

Dominoes waiting to fall (from here (en.wikipedia.org))

It was no secret. For four long years certain groups had made their bitter hatred of President Donald Trump completely evident. They investigated Trump’s family and friends relentlessly. Without any supporting evidence, they raised accusations of collusion with the Russians to steal the 2016 election. The Democrat controlled House even impeached Trump using a phone call with the leader of the Ukraine as a lame excuse.

Still, except for increasing the evidence of irrational anger, nothing came of any of these investigations or charges. Instead, Democrats and the news media had lost a huge amount of credibility going into the 2020 election.

Nevertheless, the anger had, if anything, grown. Therefore, we had had riots, and we expected more riots if Trump won.

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33 thoughts on “CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES DON’T HAVE TO BE PUSHOVERS

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  1. Tom,

    Frankly, I do not know how practical it will be to investigate and prove millions of votes accuracy.

    In private industry, the are quality control methods of random number inspections to maintain quality standard to help guide inspectors.

    Trump is going to need lots of money to do what should have been done to prevent fraud in this election which is to ensure quality before rather than after.

    The margins in some States are less than one percent and Trump will probably focus on recounts in these States.

    This sad affair reminds me of the saying. “It isn’t over to the fat lady sings,” the National Anthem.

    Regards and good will blogging.

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    1. @Rudy

      Voter fraud was becoming an increasingly concerning problem long before Trump. He tried to tackle the issue of cleaning up the voter registration roles, and he could not get Democrat led states to cooperate. Not enough leverage.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. @tsalmon

      Assuming I am grieving, you may wish to think about who I am grieving. Trump is not dead. Who I have lost?

      In the grand scheme of things, why is this life important? God gives us families, churches, and a government. These institutions exist to help us work out our salvation. When we manage our families, our churches or our government poorly, that is a sign that as a family, congregation, or country we are not working out our salvation well.

      Is that cause for grief? Yes, but it doesn’t have much to do with your article. Read the Bible.

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      1. Read the Bible? Yes, always a good idea. But a better idea is to LIVE the Bible with a heart full of love. Live the Bible.

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          1. Tom,

            Not necessarily. Studying the Bible and about the Bible is wonderful, and I have been doing it my whole adult life. But rabbinical knowledge of the Bible is far less important than practicing Jesus’s message there in a loving relationship with Christ and with each other. I’ve read about plenty of false prophets who have read the Bible and plenty of saints who could not even read. Live the Bible.

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          2. @tsalmon.

            Meanwhile, he votes for a party that aborts babies, thinks sex is love, cannot tell the difference between a man and a woman, supports euthanasia, thinks transgendering children is good, …..

            You cannot live what you don’t know.

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          3. I think you may think the Bible is simply for judging other people. It’s about living a God of love. You’re right, you can’t live what you don’t know. Live the Bible.

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          4. @tsalmon

            Twisted! If someone robs banks, is it judging him or his conduct when we throw that man in jail?

            Jesus said that if we love Him we will obey His commands. If we want to find out what Jesus commanded — if we want to live the Bible as you put it — then we must read the Bible, not Psychology Today.

            If you are voting in support of conduct the Bible calls abominable, is it hateful to point that out? I don’t think so. You do. So, your typical “loving” response is a hate filled tirade against Trump and complaints about my psychological problems. That is the kind of scrap that led the USSR to throw its opponents in mental hospitals.

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          5. Jesus said if we love God we will love one another:

            “7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
            13This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
            19We love because he first loved us. 20Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.“
            1 John 4 International Version

            They will know we are Christians by our love. I am trying to vote for the candidates who most choose love over hate, hope over fear. This seems rather obvious to me and your words only makes the choice I made more clear. As the Bible says, our choice requires that we consider theirs and our own deepest motivations.

            Their is no real justice in Christ without first the motivation to love. The “abomination” is when we only judge, but we don’t love.

            The irony here is that that you are for judging and criminalizing what you perceive as the wrong choices of individuals on some things, but for absolute freedom to harm far more people when it comes to other choices, and then you want the Bible, misinterpreting the God of Love, to sacralize your hate.

            When we live the Bible, we try to live in love, seeking the justice even in what we perceive as harmful actions with a loving compassionate and empathetic heart. The love in the effort, not the devotion to some Pharisaic rules, determine if it actually comes from Christ. Always living he Word in this impossible mission to love one another with, in and through Christ distinguished us as Christians, not our ability to use scripture to idolize what is only our cruel judgment and hatred. If we love God we live His Word of Love. If we live in love we live the Bible. Live the Bible.

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          6. @tsalmon

            The Bible teaches us to love in Truth. When our love is bereft of wisdom — if we cannot tell the difference between good and evil — then we hurt those we supposedly love.

            What Jesus açcused the Pharisees of doing, BTW, is making up their own rules. That is what you are doing, using love as an excuse. Nothing noble in that. You claim to be living the Word, but you deny what it says.

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          7. “What Jesus açcused the Pharisees of doing, BTW, is making up their own rules.”

            No, the Pharisees were focused in their selfish pride on judging others based upon their own interpretation of the letter of the Law, but they did not live the spirit of the Law, which is love.

            Without this understanding of love as the basis of the Law, there is no meaning in the life, the sacrifice and the Word of Jesus. He would not be the Son of God bringing us ultimate salvation through love, but just another prophet chastising us on not following the Law as we should.

            If we do not realize the transformative, the transcendent and the dramatically epochal nature of Christ as the God of love modeling, characterizing and fulfilling the Law as love incarnate, then the Bible is meaningless, and Jesus did not and does not live. There simply is no Christianity, and there is only, possibly, another chapter with another prophet in the Old Testament.

            You know in your heart what I say is true.

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          8. @tsalmon

            Think! Love God above all and love your neighbor as you love yourself summarizes the Law; it does not replace the Law. We show our love for God and each other by obeying the Law.

            Can we obey the Law? No. We can try, but on our own we cannot perfectly obey the Law. That is why we must repent and turn to God. Repenting and turning to God is largely what it means to be born again.

            In their pride, the Pharisees misunderstood the Old Testament. They erred by believing they could save themselves through works. Instead of putting their faith in God, they put their faith in their works. Focused on their works, not God, they added to and subtracted from God’s Law. To the Bible they added their own traditions, and they made these traditions more important than God’s Law.

            Does it matter what I say about the Bible? It does to me, but you have to act based upon what you believe. I am just warning you that your interpretation of the Bible does not make any logical sense. You have taken one idea, the unselfish love God shows us, and you have ignored why Jesus had to die upon that cross.

            Because of the law, we know we are sinners. Because of death, we know God hates sin. Because Jesus redeemed us — paid the price for our sins — we know God loves us.

            We are saved by the grace and the mercy of God, not His love. Without His grace and His mercy, we would all die the second death.

            Did God’s love compel Him to show us mercy, withhold the punishment the Law requires. Did God’s love compel Him to show us grace, to give us the salvation we do not deserve? It would seem so. If that is so, then the proper response is to obey His Law as best we can.

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          9. “Think! Love God above all and love your neighbor as you love yourself summarizes the Law; it does not replace the Law.

            Yes. Who said otherwise?

            “We show our love for God and each other by obeying the Law.“

            No, we obey the Law in its fullest sense because we love God and each other as God commands. The purpose of the Law is God’s love, not the other way around. Otherwise we do what the Pharisees did and we place the Law on a pedestal instead of worshiping God in love.

            “In their pride, the Pharisees misunderstood the Old Testament. They erred by believing they could save themselves through works. Instead of putting their faith in God, they put their faith in their works. Focused on their works, not God, they added to and subtracted from God’s Law. To the Bible they added their own traditions, and they made these traditions more important than God’s Law.“

            Works verses faith is an old how-many-angels-on-a-pin chicken-verses-egg sophistry. If-someone has faith he will show his faith through love. The Pharisees worshiped the Law to the detriment of its purpose, love, and so, as Jesus tried to show them, the Pharisees neither had love nor did they practice the actual Law. Had the Pharisees actually practiced the law with love as is its purpose, they naturally would have practiced good works and in so doing demonstrated their faith in God simultaneously.

            As for the rest, WOW! If I felt that way, my heart would be a hollow thing to me. I could just cherry pick the Law to make it say whatever holes in my psyche I wanted it to fill, whatever shadows of self loathing that I wanted it to project on others. It makes me feel sad for you and whoever else feels that way about his/her faith. I don’t feel like some bug God in His mercy God deems not to step on – Hod loves me and cares about me, suffers with me and I love Him.

            God redeemed us because God loves us. His sacrifice was a loving sacrifice. His life was a model of love. Our salvation derives therefore in and from our love, not hate.

            The theology you present is simply mean and sad. If that is your logic, you can have it. Love is not always logical, but Love is, when it is of God, even in its suffering, beautiful.

            I ran eight miles down the storm washed beach today. The ospreys have returned to their hovering hunt for fish, as have reappeared the great blue herons and the great flocks of candy corn beaked shearwaters.

            The grain of the old live oak’s trunk and main branches twist as they grow fortifying them against the storm wind and water. Its end branches have evolved to break free rather pull down the main body of the tree. The live oak allows all its leaves to be stripped free and it will quickly grow them back. We can all learn much about resilience from the wisdom of God’s flora and fauna, don’t you think. We are surrounded everywhere by a prayer of love. Just open your heart and listen and you will hear it brother.

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          10. @tsalmon

            Since you don’t make much sense, I find it difficult to follow you. It seems you have made an idol out of love. If so, that is unwise. God is love, but love is not God. God is Truth. God is Justice. God is Grace and mercy.

            The point is that when we practice any virtue, wisdom requires us to model our Creator. Hence, even though we may wish show a sadistic killer mercy in love, justice may still require his execution. Therefore, all we can do in mercy is grant that killer a quick and painless death.

            You may say the death penalty is wrong, not loving. However, justice requires it, and the God who is love has commanded it.

            Genesis 9:5-6 English Standard Version
            5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

            6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
            by man shall his blood be shed,
            for God made man in his own image

            Therefore, we should ask ourselves some questions. If God is love, then is being unjust unloving? When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, was that unloving? If God had refused to punish Adam and Eve for breaking His Law, would that have been unloving, hateful perhaps?

            Love requires us be wise and to do good. When we are unjust, that is not good.

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          11. That’s easy – LOVE! It is His force that moves everything . . . and nothing, nothing I could say, nothing anyone could say, nothing but what Jesus said and did explains the profound power of it.

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          12. The Eden Story? That story is layered with several very profound explanations, of which the literalist’s interpretation involving two actual trees, amazingly fraught and magical edibles, a talking snake, an omnipotent God who doesn’t know what is going on in His own bucolic back yard, and a loss of innocence resulting in a birth into a cruel world is perhaps the most fantastic and the least interesting. You really do need to read something about human psychology Tom.

            “Let me rephrase the question. Love motivated Jesus, but what did Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection accomplish?“

            I don’t know completely and neither do you. There are theories which we both know about, but in my opinion, you are on the right track when you start with love.

            We can talk about this more sometime if you want, but right now Trump’s big legal eagle, Rudy, is holding press conferences in the back parking lot of a landscaping place across from a crematorium, next to the adult store (where they were having a dildo sale) and presenting a registered sex offender as his big witness who was denied polling place access. This whole voter fraud will probably involve talking snakes who vote before long.

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          13. @tsalmon

            My question is not that obscure, and the answer is fundamental to your assertions. If you cannot explain the significance of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, how do you know anything about Jesus? How do you know God loves you? How do you know who it is you love.

            Love is something we do. Would you turn it into an idol? Would you love or worship the idea of love?

            The Book of Romans provides an excellent answer to my question. Here is an excerpt.

            Romans 7:14-25 New American Standard Bible
            The Conflict of Serving Two Masters

            14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold [a]into bondage to sin. 15 For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good. 17 But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.

            21 I find then the [b]principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully agree with the law of God [c]in the inner person, 23 but I see a different law in [d]the parts of my body waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner [e]of the law of sin, the law which is in [f]my body’s parts. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from [g]the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

            Does love save us? By itself? No. It is not enough to love. We must also have faith. We must have enough faith in the capacity of Jesus to save us from our sinful nature. We must have faith in the One who can save us and make Him the hope of our salvation. That is why we must recognize our sinfulness, turn to God for salvation, and have faith in Him. This is why we must we born again in Jesus Christ. For unless the Father drags us to Him, we will not come to the Son.

            Is love important? Yes. To have faith in God we must accept His love for us and love Him in return. However, we cannot begin to understand just how much God loves us until we understand that He gave His life for us while we were still sinners, giving us salvation from our sins.

            Do I understand God? Do I exactly understand why Jesus had to die on that cross? No. I just know Jesus lived a perfect life, died for my sins, and rose from the dead. I just know He died for my sins.

            Go back and read the Apostle’s Creed. The Apostle’s Creed summarizes what God has done and will do for us. God expressed His love for us in His deeds.

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          14. Tom,

            Love as an idol? Well one could do worse. One could make hate his idol.

            You need not worry. I have put God very much at the center of my worship, my faith and my love.

            Why Jesus had to die is as I said and then as you said, a mystery. We just know He did. That it was and is God’s sustaining love that saved Paul and all the rest of us is a given.

            You want to act as if love and faith a separate things, but they go together:

            “1If I speak in the tongues a of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, b but do not have love, I gain nothing.

            4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

            8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

            13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.“
            1Corinthians13 New International Version

            Isn’t that a beautiful passage? And no, I do not always live up to it, but I try.

            Recognition of our sins? Yes, but self loathing is not the end in itself. Our hate does not save us. Our love saves us! We have a joyful faith!

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          15. @tsalmon

            Self loathing? You keep bringing that up. So, I suppose I should deal with it.

            We were made in the image and likeness of God. God loves us and chose to save us. So, why should anyone loathe someone whom God loves? Did the Apostle Paul hate himself? Did the man you just quoted, the man who also wrote about the importance of the Law hate himself? No. We do as God commands because we love Him. Obeying God is how we show our love. If we do not endeavor to express our love in word and deed — as our Lord did — then how real is it?

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          16. Yes, exactly what I have been saying.

            Now, back to the election. If we love God, then we follow His Commandments, but love comes first in importance, in simultaneously sustaining our faith and hope, and in ultimately realizing our salvation in Christ. We should remember that lying, or bearing false witness, is also one of those Commandments that we follow, not because it is a thing extant in and of itself but because its relevance to Christians is derivative – it is derived from love – God’s love for us and our love for Him.

            You have chastised Democrats repeatedly for alleging Trump corruption without what you consider sufficient evidence. Now, you have fomented various allegations that elections were stolen without any corroborating evidence that passes the slightest smell tests. Isn’t that bearing false witness? What makes this sin sacred only when Republicans do it?

            This is hurting one of our most cherished institutions of democracy. It’s time to quit promoting wild allegations and falsehoods. For the good of the nation, first Gore and then Hillary Clinton conceded their election on much, much smaller margins.

            If you believe all people are sinners, then your assumption that only Democrats commit the sins of fraud and lying is not only inconsistent with this sad cynicism, it is inconsistent with what you have just written about obeying God’s commandments.

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          17. @tsalmon

            Yes, exactly what I have been saying.

            No, it isn’t what you have been saying. If you had been, we would not been having this discussion. Love is not an excuse to twist God’s commandments, and that is what you are trying to justify.

            If we love God, then we follow His Commandments, but love comes first in importance, in simultaneously sustaining our faith and hope, and in ultimately realizing our salvation in Christ. We should remember that lying, or bearing false witness, is also one of those Commandments that we follow, not because it is a thing extant in and of itself but because its relevance to Christians is derivative – it is derived from love – God’s love for us and our love for Him.

            The commandments were not derived from love. Agape love involves an unselfish concern for the welfare of another, but the mere fact we care about someone does not make us wise. Wisdom gives us the ability to discern the difference between good and evil, not love. Love gives us an incentive to choose good.

            Without regard to wisdom, you use “love” as excuse to cherry-pick the Bible. Therefore, if you believe the Bible is the Word of God, you sure don’t act like it. It isn’t even clear you believe Jesus was God. All you are doing now is using the Bible as a tool to guilt me into shutting up.

            It is fairly obvious that Democrats do not revere our institutions or the Constitution. That includes you.

            Have I said the elections were stolen? In one sense I have. I have pointed out two things that amount to fraud.
            1. The bar for election integrity was set way too low. Ballot harvesting should be illegal, but it isn’t in some states. Mail-in balloting is inviting trouble. No voter ID? Seriously?
            2. The executive branches in critical states changed the rules using the COVID-19 “crisis” as an excuse. The state legislature makes the rules, not the executive branch. Local governments did not follow the rules set by the legislature. That includes allowing the poll observers to observe ballot counting.

            Do we have proof that Democrats cheated, other than violating Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution (Which is no big deal?). What you call cheating is showing that Democrats actually added ballots illegally to the count. When the illegal ballots have already been added to the count and mixed in with legal ballots, how do we distinguish the legal from the illegal. We get the people who committed the fraud to testify against themselves? Since when do thieves do that?

            One of the reasons I despise the news media is that it is so difficult to keep them from controlling the narrative. In any sensible world, if someone breaks the rules, they lose. Here we have to prove that one of the contestants in a marathon that everyone saw riding a bicycle actually gained an advantage from riding that bicycle for a half hour. Riding the bicycle at all should be a disqualification. Dumb!

            Why did H. Clinton concede? She and the rest of the Democratic Party believed their own propaganda. They were so sure they would win they were not prepared to cheat.

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          18. Tom,

            You present a number of issues here, but you begin, typically, by trying to impugn my Christianity. Apparently, your absolute authority on all matters, whether you actually understand them or not, cannot be disagreed with without impugning even the legitimacy of those who disagree. You do this over and over again.

            Fortunately, the legitimacy of my standing on legal and constitutional issues, and particularly on my membership in The Body if Christ simply does not depend upon your approval, and neither does yours depend upon mine. If you feel “guilt”, then sorry, I cannot be responsible for your feelings.

            I’ve made an argument that I believe that the basis of our salvation is love (“agape” love being only one type of linguistic love that scripture describes and Jesus models – when we are limited by language, we look to scripture’s metaphors for even greater comprehension), and that love supersedes and works with faith and hope in necessity.

            I have pointed out that all of the Commandments (and all the Prophets as well) derive (or “hang” if you like) on love. I have given you scriptural authority for what I believe to be true. Forgive me for assuming that you seemed to agree, but then you have the temerity to say that I don’t believe in the Bible and that I am basically not a Christian.

            Really? And that is how you advocate for Christianity? By hostility and exclusion? My faith is that the message of the Good News of Christ incarnate in the universe is one of joy and celebration. If you have to act as the enforcer at an exclusive club of YOUR narrow ideology on obviously mysterious concerns, then that says more about the obvious limitations of your faith than it does mine, don’t you think? Jesus sells Himself to the broken and the lost – He doesn’t need YOU to shoot His crippled and lost lambs, even if they are wrong. Jesus doesn’t need you to judge who is best following HIS Commandments and whether their motivations are ideologically within your parameters for Right Think.

            As for Wisdom, consider these two quotes:

            James 3:17
            But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

            James 3:15
            This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.

            Actual Wisdom comes from the discernment of the patient, compromising kind. Good and evil are rarely just black and white choices, as you seem to represent literally everything.

            Yes, Wisdom most often comes from discerning the better choice in a sea of grays. Wisdom comes from experience and knowledge in the exceedingly ambiguous practice of virtue over time. Virtue comes from the faithful practice of selflessly in balancing between our vices in a fallen, sensual and sometimes demonic world where we learn from are losses as much or more than our wins. And selflessness comes from love.

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          19. @tsalmon

            I don’t know what you believe about the Bible. You have reduced it to a four-letter word that allows you to believe whatever you want. Am I wrong?

            What I do know is that I long ago lost count of your angry tirades against Trump. I voted for the man. He is not a saint, but neither are you. You are not fit to criticize him that way.

            I also know you support a political party that is engaged in trying to force its beliefs upon everyone else using love, not hate, as a hypocritical excuse. What Democrats believe is Pagan and vile, not Biblical at all.

            Consider a small example. Think about that idiot expression, “hate crime”. What crime is not hateful? Your racist party is so busy calling everyone racists you cannot see your own racism when you practice identity politics. A murder is worse because the hate was politically incorrect?

            What about the way I practice Christianity? Am I being too hateful when I don’t agree with everything you say and shut up? Read 1 – 3 John. I have suggested it before, but I see no evidence you have read those short little chapters.

            Scattered throughout the Bible there are passages where men of God and even Jesus spoke the harsh Truth. The Bible says what it says about sin, and it is uncompromising. So, I cannot compromise and call a sin good because “love” excuses it.

            Is there any point in calling someone a Christian when they deny certain fundamental truths? No. We can accept minor differences. The Apostle Paul said as much, but the tenets of the faith, though small in number have eternal significance.

            Look at the passages you cherry picked from James 3 in context. Where does wisdom come from, God or man? What is meekness? Is it being weak or self controlled?

            Am I jealous of you or ambitious? No. This blog is not going to make me famous. I miss that opportunity years ago when blogs were still new and reporters wanted to interview and probably embarrass Conservatives. I refused the interviews. Don’t have the gift of gab, and I am now too old to work the hours ambition requires.

            Have I refused to learn from you? No. When you insist the Bible says things it clearly does not say, I must disagree. Love is important, but the Truth is more important.

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          20. “I don’t know what you believe about the Bible. You have reduced it to a four-letter word that allows you to believe whatever you want. Am I wrong?”

            Yes.

            Tom,

            Let me begin with what I like about you:

            1. I enjoy your earnestness. I don’t honestly think that there is a duplicitous bone in your body. Everything is on the surface and what you see is what you get.

            2. I admire your study of scripture over the past many years. You have a formidable intellect and when you focus it on anything it is bound result in meticulous learning.

            3. You have a deeply logical mind which tends you toward a literalism that’s as endearing as it is sometimes frustrating to me.

            That said, please read carefully what you just wrote and I ask you to look at how many times it has a tribal us-against-them demonizing quality.

            Second, take note of the tone of your argument. Seriously, don’t you even recognize the condescending and patronizing quality of it?

            I have been a faithful believer all of my adult life. I was studying religion in a Catholic College long before you even considered yourself a Christian. My faith has changed dramatically and grown substantially over the years, as has yours, but I have never stopped studying.

            My nature makes me tend to learn by starting with the big picture big and move toward specifics. This tends to make me more of a generalist and universalist especially in my beliefs, whereas you seem to almost ideologically laser focusEd. I have never stopped studying, however, never.

            I am constantly learning and through the grace of God, changing so that at this point, as a lifelong Catholic, my faith is fairly orthodox, at least by our current papal standards.

            You keep asking me about The Apostle’s Creed. I have studied the history of this quite a bit over the years, but as I have told you a few times before and you either don’t listen to me or believe me, with regard to the current version we recite every week in Mass, I have come to accept on faith every word of it. In so far as God has given me the grace to understand the deep mysteries contained in the Creed, I affirm them, and in so far as the Holy Spirit has not so blessed me with perfect comprehension, I try to keep an open and contrite heart.

            Notice that I said “heart” as that is where the spirit lives and moves when we are talking about us fathomless mysteries. You can pretend that these mysteries are resolved by the determinist logic of ideological dogmas all you want, but when we are talking about cosmological metaphors like talking snakes, cosmic sacrifices, and miracles like the Resurrection, then the heart, not the head, is the only place we can find grace out of our faith.

            When you talk about the tenants of faith having eternal significance, I agree, but the Holy Spirit provides them to me, not anyone’s logic or dogma. Maybe it works differently for you, and I can accept that, but we should, hopefully, basically end up in the same place.

            Finally on theology, yes I have read The Epistles of John many times (is this a trick?) and I don’t think I am the one who is cherry picking. The two John books (supposedly not the same person) are arguably the most spiritual and mystical of the books on the Bible. The Gospel of John is definitely the most spiritual of the Gospels. How many times is love mentioned in John’s Gospel? How many times in John’s Epistles? How many times is hate mentioned in either? What is the context of the battle between the two spheres?

            As I said, I tend to go from the general to the specific for context and meaning. I think it is impossible to capture the general meaning of John’s Gospel or John’s Epistles, and for that matter the whole of the New Testament, and not see love as the moving spirit.

            Lastly this:

            “What I do know is that I long ago lost count of your angry tirades against Trump. I voted for the man. He is not a saint, but neither are you. You are not fit to criticize him that way.“

            And yet you feel “fit” to harangue in the worst possible demonizing terms against every Democrat and fellow Republican that you don’t agree with based upon the flimsiest of evidence. Hypocrisy!

            No, I have never felt the need to judge Trump’s soul, but Trump was a politician running for re-election. His character was on the ballot. It was not only that Trump had vices (corrupt practices, endless lying, etc. etc.), it was that Trump’s whole life is one long example of PROMOTING VICES. You’ve never had an answer to that basic criticism of his fitness for leadership. But now Trump has lost based on that lack of character.

            Once you get through all the stages of grief, I predict that you will realize this, whether you ever admit it or not.

            Have the last word brother. I need a break for a while. Love to you and yours.

            Like

          21. @tsalmon

            When we don’t understand something about scripture, the best thing to do is to see another part of scripture that addresses the same topic.

            Am I being patronizing? I suppose it seems that way, but that is because your argument is untenable. It is laughable because it is laughable.

            What I think it comes down to is that you want to believe nonsense such as God approves of same-sex “marriage” because of love, love, love. He does not, and the Bible is unambiguous.

            Is tribalism bad? Anything can be abused, but I think you have tribalism confused with factionalism because Democrats don’t like the institution of the family.

            I am against what the Democratic Party stands for, and I make no apologies for it. They are clearly determined to implement certain policies that are immoral. When I believe some politicians want to use our government to impose their beliefs on everyone else, establish a soft tyranny at first, there is no reason to sugar coat the problem. That just makes it more difficult to make the case.

            Do I attack Democrats? Personally? Not often. I called Biden a liar, for example, because it is easy to show he is one. Mostly, I just pointed out that except for the fact you don’t like Trump you had no reason to vote for him. That is your assessment, not mine. Then, I pointed to the fact you believe lies the news media has propagated.

            Like

  2. Sounds like you are going through the seven stages of grief. It is tough to lose when you feel that winning is so important.

    Let me know when you are solidly at acceptance, and we’ll talk about the big picture. Until then, I’ll pray for you to get through this and come back in your usual form, I mean that brother. ❤️

    Like

    1. @tsalmon

      How do you react when you suspect you have been cheated? Grief? I suspect there is a bit of that. There is sadness when someone violates our trust, but seven stages of it?

      You are speaking for your own benefit, not mine. Kind of like Biden calling for unity. Posturing. Not sincere.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Tom,

        If Biden is sincere, what would he sound like that he doesn’t sound like now? Assuming Biden is the good man that he appears to be and that he has a long reputation for being, a devout practicing Catholic, what would he say that is different than what he is saying now?

        Have you considered that you may be conflating the basic decency of a person with his simple political disagreement with you? If I disagree with you on some things, am I basically indecent? Have you considered that you are doing with Biden what you have accused me of doing with Trump all these years, and based on far less evidence? If you consider me a hateful person for supposedly prejudging Trump’s character, what does that make your reaction here?

        As far as the seven stages of grief, you should look at them more carefully. The Trumpublican Party right now seems to be slowly moving from denial to anger and guilt – Trump began a childish unprecedented angry purge by firing his Defense Secretary (by tweet of course). This is just the beginning of a Trump blame game. GA Republican Runoff Candidates are asking the Republican GA Secretary of State to resign, why is not clear, but presumably only because he did not manage to suppress the African American vote enough. A circular firing squad is already forming, and mark my words, it won’t be long before all of you will be training your fire where it perhaps most belongs, on the flawed character of Donald J. Trump.

        And yes, I am speaking for your benefit because I love you, and I am speaking for the benefit of my Republican friends here, and I am speaking for the good of all Americans who share far more in common at heart than all this Trumped up tribal polarization we have now would indicate. When you get to the “acceptance” stage, which will happen quicker than you think, then it will be time for some much needed introspection, introspection that Trump’s daily chaos never left any time for.

        You may want to count your blessings some. You had a record turnout. The Democrats just had a bigger one, going on 5 million votes more. At this point, it looks like your Party has retained Senate control (which should give Biden need to compromise), and you won back some seats in the House. (And the Democrats seem to already have their own interior recriminations and infighting over that which may, strangely, move the Party more to center). See, silver linings everywhere!⛅️

        Like

        1. @tsalmon

          Psychologist. Yep! That’s your expertise.

          Biden does lack credibility because of what h is saying now. He lacks credibility because of what he said BEFORE election day. His career is a trail of lies and more lies. He has not given anyone any reason to trust him. You are trusting appearances.

          Like

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