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Author Topic: Transcendental Awakening and Postcolonial blues  (Read 1233 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2014, 02:19:46 PM »

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The desire to remake the present order is prideful and misguided. The world is fallen, so we must reject it, not try to vainly fix it. In the end, Christ will come and renew the world and what we have to worry about is how we will be judged then. The world itself will be fixed without any effort on our part.
Sounds like Calvinism on a universal scale.  

Quote
This is not trying to say we should forget about charity and almsgiving, but to remind us what charity and almsgiving are for. They are for our own spiritual good.

We do these things not to gain merit or to improve ourselves, but rather to love as we have been loved.  The Kingdom of God is among us.  If we fail to love Christ in those around us, neither will we love Him when He comes in glory.  

I think we actually mean the same thing.

Quote
not so much because of anxiety for the poor but because I care for your souls. For they [the poor] will have some comfort, if not from you, yet from some other quarter; or even if they be not comforted, but perish by hunger, the harm to them will be no great matter. In what way did poverty and wasting by hunger injure Lazarus? But none can rescue you from hell, if you obtain not the help of the poor.

St John Chrysostom, Homilies on John, 37.3
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« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2014, 02:20:25 PM »

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Well in an ideal universe we'd have an Orthodox monarch enforcing distributist economic policies
it's not what i mean, but setting  standards so not of this world is just an excuse to accept the present order.

The desire to remake the present order is prideful and misguided. The world is fallen, so we must reject it, not try to vainly fix it. In the end, Christ will come and renew the world and what we have to worry about is how we will be judged then. The world itself will be fixed without any effort on our part.

This is not trying to say we should forget about charity and almsgiving, but to remind us what charity and almsgiving are for. They are for our own spiritual good.

Jonathan I appreciate your self awareness and honesty.

God have mercy on you.

Um, thanks?
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« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2014, 02:23:28 PM »

Quote
The desire to remake the present order is prideful and misguided. The world is fallen, so we must reject it, not try to vainly fix it. In the end, Christ will come and renew the world and what we have to worry about is how we will be judged then. The world itself will be fixed without any effort on our part.
Sounds like Calvinism on a universal scale.  

Quote
This is not trying to say we should forget about charity and almsgiving, but to remind us what charity and almsgiving are for. They are for our own spiritual good.

We do these things not to gain merit or to improve ourselves, but rather to love as we have been loved.  The Kingdom of God is among us.  If we fail to love Christ in those around us, neither will we love Him when He comes in glory.  

I think we actually mean the same thing.

Quote
not so much because of anxiety for the poor but because I care for your souls. For they [the poor] will have some comfort, if not from you, yet from some other quarter; or even if they be not comforted, but perish by hunger, the harm to them will be no great matter. In what way did poverty and wasting by hunger injure Lazarus? But none can rescue you from hell, if you obtain not the help of the poor.

St John Chrysostom, Homilies on John, 37.3

Upon further reflection I think you're right.  If only hierarchical disputes could be resolved so easily!

Id have to read the whole sermon.  But I don't think that the giving of alms without love is any good at all.  It is the motivation, rather than the thing, that counts.  See Paul, 1 Cor. 13.  
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« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2014, 02:32:41 PM »

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The desire to remake the present order is prideful and misguided. The world is fallen, so we must reject it, not try to vainly fix it. In the end, Christ will come and renew the world and what we have to worry about is how we will be judged then. The world itself will be fixed without any effort on our part.
Sounds like Calvinism on a universal scale.  

Quote
This is not trying to say we should forget about charity and almsgiving, but to remind us what charity and almsgiving are for. They are for our own spiritual good.

We do these things not to gain merit or to improve ourselves, but rather to love as we have been loved.  The Kingdom of God is among us.  If we fail to love Christ in those around us, neither will we love Him when He comes in glory.  

I think we actually mean the same thing.

Quote
not so much because of anxiety for the poor but because I care for your souls. For they [the poor] will have some comfort, if not from you, yet from some other quarter; or even if they be not comforted, but perish by hunger, the harm to them will be no great matter. In what way did poverty and wasting by hunger injure Lazarus? But none can rescue you from hell, if you obtain not the help of the poor.

St John Chrysostom, Homilies on John, 37.3

Upon further reflection I think you're right.  If only hierarchical disputes could be resolved so easily!

Id have to read the whole sermon.  But I don't think that the giving of alms without love is any good at all.  It is the motivation, rather than the thing, that counts.  See Paul, 1 Cor. 13.  

Actually check out this whole essay:

http://www.incommunion.org/2007/05/09/st-john-chrysostom-and-the-problem-of-wealth/

Sometimes I think St John does sound almost revolutionary, e.g. here:

Quote
Let us therefore, both poor and rich, cease from taking the property of others. For my present discourse is not only to the rich, but to the poor also. For they too rob those who are poorer than themselves. And artisans who are better off, and more powerful, outsell the poorer and more distressed, tradesmen outsell tradesmen, and so all who are engaged in the market-place. So that I wish from every side to take away injustice.

But he seems to be not only saying that the marketplace promotes an evil love of money, but also that this evil permeates all who participate. I.e. it is not the typical Marxist vision of an oppressive capitalist class and an innocent working class, but everyone is corrupted.

I suppose the real thing I'm concerned about is making excuses for ourselves. Rich people like to talk about how they earned their wealth through hard work and use it as an excuse to avoid giving freely, while poor people out of envy for the wealth of others talk loftily of social justice and redistribution. In either case, we see people making excuses for their passions.
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« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2014, 02:32:54 PM »


The point is to see that:

1. Those living in third world countries, and many people even in our own, are circumscribed by circumstances vastly worse than ours, which are largely out of each individual's control (and historical background as to why this is so is helpful).
2. That, following the teachings our our Church, as well as common decency, those of us who, by divine providence working through evil regimes and systems, have come to be in positions of relatively more wealth and freedom, owe as due honor to mankind and God, to seek to alleviate such circumstances where possible; not merely through individual acts, not merely through local (political) acts, but even through cosmopolitical acts.


Is the bolded portion of your statement an explicit teaching or, more specifically, an explicit focus of the Church's teaching?

My question doesn't judge whether it is or isn't a focus, but it does imply that the answer, at least to me, is not as readily apparent as your statement claims.  Could you provide examples or explanations of this portion of the teaching on this?
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« Reply #50 on: January 29, 2014, 02:58:55 PM »


Actually check out this whole essay:

http://www.incommunion.org/2007/05/09/st-john-chrysostom-and-the-problem-of-wealth/

Sometimes I think St John does sound almost revolutionary, e.g. here:

Quote
Let us therefore, both poor and rich, cease from taking the property of others. For my present discourse is not only to the rich, but to the poor also. For they too rob those who are poorer than themselves. And artisans who are better off, and more powerful, outsell the poorer and more distressed, tradesmen outsell tradesmen, and so all who are engaged in the market-place. So that I wish from every side to take away injustice.

But he seems to be not only saying that the marketplace promotes an evil love of money, but also that this evil permeates all who participate. I.e. it is not the typical Marxist vision of an oppressive capitalist class and an innocent working class, but everyone is corrupted.

I suppose the real thing I'm concerned about is making excuses for ourselves. Rich people like to talk about how they earned their wealth through hard work and use it as an excuse to avoid giving freely, while poor people out of envy for the wealth of others talk loftily of social justice and redistribution. In either case, we see people making excuses for their passions.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

It is so easy to misread the Holy Scripture to justify our own world views. That is why we need the Church to guide us.

St. John and St. Paul are indeed revolutionary. Their teachings continue to stir the consciences of men and women if they are open to the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2014, 03:10:05 PM »


Actually check out this whole essay:

http://www.incommunion.org/2007/05/09/st-john-chrysostom-and-the-problem-of-wealth/

Sometimes I think St John does sound almost revolutionary, e.g. here:

Quote
Let us therefore, both poor and rich, cease from taking the property of others. For my present discourse is not only to the rich, but to the poor also. For they too rob those who are poorer than themselves. And artisans who are better off, and more powerful, outsell the poorer and more distressed, tradesmen outsell tradesmen, and so all who are engaged in the market-place. So that I wish from every side to take away injustice.

But he seems to be not only saying that the marketplace promotes an evil love of money, but also that this evil permeates all who participate. I.e. it is not the typical Marxist vision of an oppressive capitalist class and an innocent working class, but everyone is corrupted.

I suppose the real thing I'm concerned about is making excuses for ourselves. Rich people like to talk about how they earned their wealth through hard work and use it as an excuse to avoid giving freely, while poor people out of envy for the wealth of others talk loftily of social justice and redistribution. In either case, we see people making excuses for their passions.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

It is so easy to misread the Holy Scripture to justify our own world views. That is why we need the Church to guide us.

St. John and St. Paul are indeed revolutionary. Their teachings continue to stir the consciences of men and women if they are open to the Holy Spirit.

Is this where I am not allowed to bring up that some people appealing to the Church are in fact outside it to show the formal argument they are using is fallacious?

We used to be able to do such things, I have no idea now.
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« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2014, 03:28:20 PM »

how the bourgeois love charity. like soup kitchens . but they hate redistribution or justice.

i agree with this!
(slightly shocked about that)
 Wink

if you look at how rich west european countries are benefitting from poor east european migrant labour, i think this is a clear example of what you describe.
(have decided not to totally derail the thread by talking about the huge topic of theology in migration)

Would be better if we worried more about adequately paying our own workers and then keeping cheap labour out.  I have no problem with hanging those who hire foreign labour when local could have done the job.  Or, at the very least, dispossessing them.
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« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2014, 08:37:49 PM »

The desire to remake the present order is prideful and misguided. The world is fallen, so we must reject it, not try to vainly fix it. In the end, Christ will come and renew the world and what we have to worry about is how we will be judged then.
Whatever truth is done on the earth today, whatever justice is done on the earth today, and whatever mercy is done on the earth today, will shine perpetually from the New Jerusalem. Nothing worthy is lost.

St. Paul said, whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do, do it to the Glory of God. There are no exceptions. There is no realm of Caesar, or the physical world, or business, or secularism, or the privacy of one's own home, or far off country, or any such manichean ordering of our reality such that pockets of impenetrable forsakenness are permitted to exist, and must be avoided as if they were somehow sacred.
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« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2014, 10:03:14 PM »

Well in an ideal universe we'd have an Orthodox monarch

Lord, forbid!
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« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2014, 08:36:16 AM »

The desire to remake the present order is prideful and misguided. The world is fallen, so we must reject it, not try to vainly fix it. In the end, Christ will come and renew the world and what we have to worry about is how we will be judged then.
Whatever truth is done on the earth today, whatever justice is done on the earth today, and whatever mercy is done on the earth today, will shine perpetually from the New Jerusalem. Nothing worthy is lost.

St. Paul said, whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do, do it to the Glory of God. There are no exceptions. There is no realm of Caesar, or the physical world, or business, or secularism, or the privacy of one's own home, or far off country, or any such manichean ordering of our reality such that pockets of impenetrable forsakenness are permitted to exist, and must be avoided as if they were somehow sacred.

I think we're talking past each other. What I'm talking about is this kind of "tikkun olam" notion of us being needed to save the world ourselves. What this does in practical spiritual terms is deflect the goal of our good deeds from humbly following Christ's commandments to a very prideful and self-exalted vision of ourselves as the world's saviors, without Christ.
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« Reply #56 on: January 30, 2014, 01:10:32 PM »


I think we're talking past each other. What I'm talking about is this kind of "tikkun olam" notion of us being needed to save the world ourselves. What this does in practical spiritual terms is deflect the goal of our good deeds from humbly following Christ's commandments to a very prideful and self-exalted vision of ourselves as the world's saviors, without Christ.
I don't know why you'd bring up something that nobody has thus far mentioned.
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« Reply #57 on: January 30, 2014, 02:05:40 PM »


I think we're talking past each other. What I'm talking about is this kind of "tikkun olam" notion of us being needed to save the world ourselves. What this does in practical spiritual terms is deflect the goal of our good deeds from humbly following Christ's commandments to a very prideful and self-exalted vision of ourselves as the world's saviors, without Christ.
I don't know why you'd bring up something that nobody has thus far mentioned.

augustin said something about the need to challenge the present order or something along those lines. I was cautioning against a revolutionary interpretation, which I think is related to the popular notion in progressive and Kabbalistic strands of modern Judaism of "redeeming the world".
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« Reply #58 on: January 30, 2014, 07:16:19 PM »

I think we're talking past each other. What I'm talking about is this kind of "tikkun olam" notion of us being needed to save the world ourselves.

Well who else is going to do it? God gave us the ability to fix it so why not actually do something? Sounds like Calvinism not to.

Quote
What this does in practical spiritual terms is deflect the goal of our good deeds from humbly following Christ's commandments


No it doesn't. Ever think that perhaps Christ's commandments consists in doing good and helping the world around us? Ever read the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus? You're setting up a false dichotomy of "works" or "following Christ's commandments" which IMHO echoes Protestant thought.

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...to a very prideful and self-exalted vision of ourselves as the world's saviors, without Christ.

No one ever said anything about isolating Christ out of it. I'd glorify Christ through helping the world.

Your nonchalant, quasi-Stoic attitude toward suffering is something that disturbs me greatly. I don't see what better way to serve Christ than by helping to save the world around us. This should be our ultimate goal--not merely the pick-n-choose religious-right goal of giving to charity when we feel like it because it gives us a giddy feeling inside--but our true goal, to save the world around us through Christ.
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« Reply #59 on: January 30, 2014, 07:27:33 PM »

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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #60 on: January 30, 2014, 07:41:02 PM »

This should be our ultimate goal--not merely the pick-n-choose religious-right goal of giving to charity when we feel like it because it gives us a giddy feeling inside--but our true goal, to save the world around us through Christ.

I posed a similar question to Nick, but is this an explicit teaching of the Church, or is this an interpretation?  Where does this come from?
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« Reply #61 on: January 30, 2014, 07:42:20 PM »

This should be our ultimate goal--not merely the pick-n-choose religious-right goal of giving to charity when we feel like it because it gives us a giddy feeling inside--but our true goal, to save the world around us through Christ.

I posed a similar question to Nick, but is this an explicit teaching of the Church, or is this an interpretation?  Where does this come from?

The commandment to love one another as Christ loved us. How can you love the world if you let it remain a dump?
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« Reply #62 on: January 30, 2014, 08:03:49 PM »

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the teachings our our Church...to seek to alleviate such circumstances...even through cosmopolitical acts.

Is the bolded portion of your statement an explicit teaching or, more specifically, an explicit focus of the Church's teaching?

My question doesn't judge whether it is or isn't a focus, but it does imply that the answer, at least to me, is not as readily apparent as your statement claims.  Could you provide examples or explanations of this portion of the teaching on this?

Cognomen,

Sorry I didn't see your post earlier. By "our Church's teaching", what I mean is the following:

1. It is the teachings of the Scriptures
2. As interpreted and expounded upon by certain Fathers (e.g. Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, among others) who exhorted the people to act accordingly.
3. Has impacted societies in which the Church was a significant influence to varying degrees; on an individual level, on the level of of a larger political entity, and between political entities.
4. Should impact societies in which the Church is a significant influence to varying degrees; on an individual level, on the level of of a larger political entity, and between political entities.

This is, of course, the contested belief of my faction; which, by my understanding, is true.
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« Reply #63 on: January 30, 2014, 09:15:06 PM »

The commandment to love one another as Christ loved us. How can you love the world if you let it remain a dump?

I'm familiar with the commandment.  The Church seems to have specific focuses on how we are to do this though, and I have not encountered "saving the world" as part of this.  I think I understand what you mean, but responding to what you've written, we aren't supposed to love the world.
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« Reply #64 on: January 30, 2014, 09:29:57 PM »

I think I understand what you mean, but responding to what you've written, we aren't supposed to love the world.
On my understanding, that world is the cosmos, the order of things, belonging to this age.

So an exhortation to deny the world and bear witness to the Kingdom of God, can be interpreted to mean that we should practice the cosmos of the Kingdom of God over-and-against the order of things as we have received them in this age.

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« Reply #65 on: January 30, 2014, 09:35:13 PM »

Quote
the teachings our our Church...to seek to alleviate such circumstances...even through cosmopolitical acts.

Is the bolded portion of your statement an explicit teaching or, more specifically, an explicit focus of the Church's teaching?

My question doesn't judge whether it is or isn't a focus, but it does imply that the answer, at least to me, is not as readily apparent as your statement claims.  Could you provide examples or explanations of this portion of the teaching on this?

Cognomen,

Sorry I didn't see your post earlier. By "our Church's teaching", what I mean is the following:

Thanks for the response; I figured you just missed it.

Quote
1. It is the teachings of the Scriptures

Would you mind directing me to references exhorting us to act cosmopolitically?

Quote
2. As interpreted and expounded upon by certain Fathers (e.g. Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, among others) who exhorted the people to act accordingly.

I'm familiar with some of their writings on the subject, particularly St. John Chrysostom's, but I don't recall the more political side of things.  I'll have to revisit.

Quote
3. Has impacted societies in which the Church was a significant influence to varying degrees; on an individual level, on the level of of a larger political entity, and between political entities.
4. Should impact societies in which the Church is a significant influence to varying degrees; on an individual level, on the level of of a larger political entity, and between political entities.

If we can attribute these two points to the first two, then I have little reservation about them.  I'm not sure I'm able to make the connection yet.  And while I agree with you from the "common decency" and sense of utilitarian benefit perspective, I still have a difficult time concluding this is an explicit teaching of the Church.

Perhaps I'm reading too much into what you meant by cosmopolitical.  But if I accurately judged what you meant by it, I don't see that call as being readily apparent in Scriptures, hymnology, prayers, etc.  Instead, it seems to be something of a take on the Social Gospel (minus the clearly odd teaching about preparing for the Second Coming bit).  Not that I disagree that there was a social message to Christ and the Church's teaching, but I'm uncomfortable with labeling inferences and interpretations as Church teaching.  I'm not accusing you of doing this, just trying to get more information about this perspective.

Quote
This is, of course, the contested belief of my faction; which, by my understanding, is true.

How do you mean "faction" in this case?
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« Reply #66 on: January 30, 2014, 09:41:52 PM »

I think I understand what you mean, but responding to what you've written, we aren't supposed to love the world.
On my understanding, that world is the cosmos, the order of things, belonging to this age.

So an exhortation to deny the world and bear witness to the Kingdom of God, can be interpreted to mean that we should practice the cosmos of the Kingdom of God over-and-against the order of things as we have received them in this age.


Ok, I think I understand.  Can it not easily become a mass of confusion, with various interpretations of how to go over-and-against the order of things, and what those things are, though (I suppose that can be asked about almost everything related to broader Xtianity)?
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« Reply #67 on: January 31, 2014, 08:57:15 AM »

I think we're talking past each other. What I'm talking about is this kind of "tikkun olam" notion of us being needed to save the world ourselves.

Well who else is going to do it? God gave us the ability to fix it so why not actually do something? Sounds like Calvinism not to.

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What this does in practical spiritual terms is deflect the goal of our good deeds from humbly following Christ's commandments


No it doesn't. Ever think that perhaps Christ's commandments consists in doing good and helping the world around us? Ever read the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus? You're setting up a false dichotomy of "works" or "following Christ's commandments" which IMHO echoes Protestant thought.

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...to a very prideful and self-exalted vision of ourselves as the world's saviors, without Christ.

No one ever said anything about isolating Christ out of it. I'd glorify Christ through helping the world.

Your nonchalant, quasi-Stoic attitude toward suffering is something that disturbs me greatly. I don't see what better way to serve Christ than by helping to save the world around us. This should be our ultimate goal--not merely the pick-n-choose religious-right goal of giving to charity when we feel like it because it gives us a giddy feeling inside--but our true goal, to save the world around us through Christ.

As Mor once said, you're cute when you try to do theology.

Seriously, though, this is about the internal motivations for following Christ's commandments, not whether or not you should follow His commandments and love your neighbor and care for the poor. If your internal motivations are skewed, your good deeds have no salvific value, so you'd better be sure your motivations are correct.

We have prophecies in Revelation and the saints that basically tell us the world will get worse and worse and more and more sinful and further from God. This kind of indicates that nothing you personally do is going to fix this cosmic situation; only Christ at His Second Coming will fix it. All you can do is work out your own salvation by battling against the temptations of the world. Part of that involves battling avarice by giving freely of your wealth and possessions; part of that involves battling envy by not desiring the wealth and good fortune of others. If you can save yourself, that's really the best you can hope for. Don't get self-important, prideful ideas that you are going to be responsible for fixing the world's ills, ideas which harm rather than help the goal of salvation.

NM has a point that in truly Christian societies of the past, like Byzantium or Russia during certain periods of history, you could observe a real world effect of everyone struggling to live according to Christ's commandments. You did start to see improvements in society and how people in general treated each other and themselves, not to mention the increase in piety and love of God. But even then they didn't exactly perfect the world, and those periods were short-lived. And we only observe those effects because each individual Christian was struggling to work out his own salvation, and moreover they had a Christian ruler who was obedient to the Church's teaching.
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JamesR
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« Reply #68 on: January 31, 2014, 08:16:21 PM »

Seriously, though, this is about the internal motivations for following Christ's commandments, not whether or not you should follow His commandments and love your neighbor and care for the poor. If your internal motivations are skewed, your good deeds have no salvific value, so you'd better be sure your motivations are correct.

So you think that wanting to respect God's Creation--His other Icons made in His image and likeness--as my internal disposition is a really incorrect motivation?

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We have prophecies in Revelation and the saints that basically tell us the world will get worse and worse and more and more sinful and further from God. This kind of indicates that nothing you personally do is going to fix this cosmic situation; only Christ at His Second Coming will fix it.

Doesn't mean we still shouldn't try to fix it. I don't believe that our world is doomed because to believe so IMHO seems anti-Incarnational--denying that Christ redeemed the world. Besides, even if we fail, we still should try to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. Period. Most of us will probably remain unsaved yet God still came to us. We ought to repeat the same thing.

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All you can do is work out your own salvation by battling against the temptations of the world.

Part of working out our own Salvation consists in helping to fix the world around us, which, IMHO, isn't as dark and twisted as you and the Calvinists make it out to be. Whatever has been assumed has been saved.

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If you can save yourself, that's really the best you can hope for.

That's entirely opposed to the message of the Gospel and Christ's ultimate commandment to love one another, to the point of laying down your own life for them.

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Don't get self-important, prideful ideas that you are going to be responsible for fixing the world's ills

Well who else is going to do it if no one else acts?

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...ideas which harm rather than help the goal of salvation.

Capitalist propoganda?
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
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