Faith Will Not Forget You

Faith has not been forgotten while I devote so much time to recovering from surgery. And you can be sure faith has not forgotten me, because recovery would not be possible without it.

If you want some religion chatter you can go back to my post A Word for Men and check out the lively exchange of comments between Steven and I. He’s Eastern Orthodox, and if that sounds interesting, he offers a couple of links. It’s not for me, but that should hinder no one who feels drawn to it. Being familiar with the early history of how that branch of Christianity came into existence, the theological disputes from that period were enough to turn me away from it. I can’t summarize it here, but if you read explanations of their unique beliefs, you’ll see why I say it’s too cerebral for me. It reminds me of the difference between Western mysticism versus ANE, because Greek thought (wedded to Greek language) is where Western thought started.

But while this blog seems rather silent, I can assure you that my faith is working hard carrying me forward. Sometimes there isn’t a lot of energy left to ponder things I might say because I’m pondering what I need to do. It’s not so much the physical therapy stuff and trying to move the leg as much as it can take, but exercising faith during this silence while the City considers my claim along with all the other crap they have to do.

I still believe someone out there with a higher public profile will be drawn to our parish. I still believe mainstream Christian religion is headed for a major problem like never before, with some level of exodus from the membership. I’m still certain America as we know it is doomed under God’s wrath, and it will most certainly affect other countries. And I still believe it was God’s requirement of me to let the City of OKC have a chance to do what’s right. I am convinced I’ll still be out there riding and taking pictures for the glory of God, once this recovery has taken its course.

Faith is an adventure like nothing else.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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11 Responses to Faith Will Not Forget You

  1. Pingback: Kiln blog: Faith Will Not Forget You | Do What's Right

  2. Mr. T. says:

    “A Word for Men” and annihilationism/universalism/hell: I have no firm opinion, but I think that having children would be incredibly risky and perhaps even totally unethical if some kind of medieval “eternal torture with demons in Hell” doctrine were to be true. But that’s me of course; in reality opinions can vary a lot (like with everything else).

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  3. Mr. T. says:

    I wonder if you could create some kind of “meta Christianity” with probabilities and a range of measurable theological opinions? Or a measurement tool/questionnaire? (This was partly humor.)

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  4. Mr. T. says:

    Opinions on this (a bit long, though)? “Jesus’ Teaching on Hell”: http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/documents/death/jesus-teaching-on-hell.php

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  5. pastor says:

    I think that having children would be incredibly risky and perhaps even totally unethical if some kind of medieval “eternal torture with demons in Hell” doctrine were to be true.

    The problem is that so very many people come to this with that Medieval image, instead of an image that is more consistent with Scripture. ANE slavery was a wholly different kind of thing, and it’s exceedingly difficult to find a fair portrayal in Western literature or movies. On top of that, Death and Hell are destined for the Eternal Lake of Fire (whatever that means).

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  6. pastor says:

    I wonder if you could create some kind of “meta Christianity”

    Yes, Mr. T; you would think of that 😉

    I’m sure someone else has already done that, but I’m not really interested.

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  7. pastor says:

    Opinions on this (a bit long, though)? “Jesus’ Teaching on Hell”

    The author at that link almost immediately discards the whole range of scholarly information about how Hebrew words are used, and how they relate to the broader ANE background. He plunges head first down the path of legalistic analysis of the terms without a hint of the lyrical nature of Hebrew writing.

    The problem we have on this blog is that, no matter what words I use, someone is going to bring the wrong baggage into the discussion. It’s not possible to forestall all the false images people want to paint on the word “Hell” regardless of my efforts to brush them aside beforehand. It’s a very Western problem that Jesus didn’t have to deal with nearly so often as I do. He used the Valley of Hinnom where Jerusalem burned their garbage as a symbol of dying while outside God’s favor. Do you know why they chose that area for trash burning? It was to desecrate the place that had previously been used as for ritual worship of Molech and burning infants alive to the bronze oven god. Yet I consistently see scholars (of whatever stripe or grade) passing over the importance of the image of desecration in what Jesus taught.

    Instead, I work harder at equating Hell with its function: A status outside God’s favor. Alive, that means you are a slave to Satan, passing all your blessings over to him. In death, it means whatever you want to make of it because nobody has been there and come back to talk about it. And if they had, what they say about it would be constrained by their lack of spiritual understanding. So I just leave it hanging and warn that whatever it is can’t be nice. And it’s not eternal, but only until the Final Day of Judgment. Words cannot describe what any of that really means for us here and now.

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  8. steven says:

    Maybe I should clarify that when I said I’m Eastern Orthodox, I intended to mean that I have adopted the Eastern Orthodox views about God and afterlife, since my previous half-gnostic, half-calvinistic theology could’t solve the Problem of Hell. I don’t attend any church, neither I agree with anything the Orthodox Church teaches (ex. Orthodoxy is very harsh on suicide, refusing to bury those who commit it, while I don’t even believe that suicide is a sin).

    The West is a faustian cocktail (christianity + hellenism + roman caesarism + germanic matriarchy). Orthodoxy has no germanic influx. Orthodox scholars treat “franks” (a pejorative term which means “germanic brutes unable to grasp the subtleties of roman (“byzantine”) theology”) with utter contempt, mocking germanic claims of “nobility of descent” and “life is war” attitude. Orthodoxy rejects the hellenistic pagan cosmology (a self-existent, immortal universe, an impersonal deity (Nature) who rules over personal gods…) which permeates western theology, so the hellenistic influx is dubious. Yet, Orthodoxy has roman influx. Byzantine and russian caesaropapism proved disastrous when Peter I forced the westernization of Russia, unknowingly preparing the way for the rise of bolshevism.

    If hellenism is linked to greek language, and only hebrew can communicate ANE thought, why the Gift of Tongues? Why the Apostles don’t taught hebrew to the gentiles? Why Jesus preached in aramaic? You de facto make hebrew a sacred language, something neither the Holy Spirit, nor the Apostles, nor Jesus Christ did.

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  9. steven says:

    I agree with you, Mr. T. I would rather self-castrate than beget children if the fire and brimstone hell were true. As John Stott said ““Emotionally, I find the concept [of eternal conscious torment] intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain”.

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  10. pastor says:

    Steven asked: If hellenism is linked to greek language, and only hebrew can communicate ANE thought, why the Gift of Tongues?

    Complex question. My comment was aimed at what you already noted in the smug arrogance that infects every formal institutional religion. The Orthodox folks I’ve encountered in the past seemed to think God would have preferred Israel speak Greek and sent Alexander Great to fix that problem. It’s the same stuff you get from the Germanic KJV-only crowd, who believe that their favorite translation corrects the Bible. Anglo-Saxon intellectual arrogance is hard to exaggerate. It’s not that Greek prevents thought outside Hellenism, it’s the problem of wallowing in the language as the answer to all human ills. Since I have no significant experience with the various Slavic Orthodox churches, I can’t address whether they suffer from any similar problems.

    You see what resulted from mixing Greek thought into Hebrew language? Mysticism collapsed into legalism. What happens when you put Hebrew thoughts in Greek language? That’s the New Testament. It’s not the language itself, but the heart (or lack of heart) in the people using it. Hellenism shares with Anglo culture the assertive denial of the heart. The “language” of the heart (and of the Spirit) exceeds words. Language is a problem for the brain as it seeks to handle the imperatives of the heart. If your brain is smug about Hellenistic forms of thought, you’ll struggle mightily trying to force revelation to fit your thoughts. Shall we talk about the massive theological vocabulary of Orthodoxy? It’s as murky as the Latin version. Both arose from squelching the heart. Maybe God can still work with those churches, but it ensures a measure of alienation from other believers.

    The Mediterranean Basin in New Testament times saw a vast array of Eastern religious shrines scattered every where. Generally speaking, Hellenized folks were familiar with that brand of ANE mysticism. We also know that they struggled a bit here and there, but on a purely intellectual level could manage it if they chose. Even Aristotle was acquainted with Hebrew and other Eastern intellectual traditions; it was part of the academic atmosphere. But he seems to have consciously rejected that whole mystical approach and formalized a system in opposition to what he knew of it. But very few Greeks in that time were truly Aristotelian. The question of Aristotle is not so much what he taught as the influence his teaching had, regardless whether it accurately reflected his thought.

    But the question is not having a sacred language, but learning to avoid the trap of language in the first place. For someone seeking to teach the Bible, it seems the simplest path for me is disrupting the trap of English by presenting a Hebraic mode of thought. Not the language of the Hebrew people (which actually varied quite a bit over time), but the particular mode of parabolic (“of parables”) or symbolic logic so foreign to folks pickled in abstract rational thought. I talk about how Hebrew is indicative versus descriptive, so the net result is to draw you up into a higher realm of awareness. Leave the language behind if you can.

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  11. pastor says:

    Steven said: I agree with you, Mr. T. I would rather self-castrate than beget children if the fire and brimstone hell were true.

    Just a note in passing: I find Stott’s comment assumes too much about what part of the human soul will survive into eternity. If the full range of our humanity sans flesh crosses over, he would be right, but I am utterly certain it’s not that way. Nobody can tell you precisely because it’s not revealed that way. Still, our sense of time-space awareness belongs to this realm of existence, for example, and it will not follow us beyond death. But, I also deny that even the raw descriptions in Scripture (without Dante’s mythology) have any literal meaning, so it all remains a matter of trust in God. It serves functionally as a warning not to die before making peace with God.

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