Monday, September 14, 2009

Church Experiment #37: Lifepoint Vineyard

LifePoint Vineyard is a fairly new church (around two years old at the time of my visit). As someone who helped start a church, I always find it interesting to check in on other church plants. From what I witnessed Sunday, business is booming in Monroe, Ohio.

This was the first weekend LifePoint hosted two services, so that’s a pretty clear sign of growth. At the 11:00 AM gathering, I estimated there were about two hundred people. LifePoint meets in an elementary school gymnasium, so we sat on folding chairs, but overall, it was quite a comfortable atmosphere. [Irony alert! From what I can tell, LifePoint Vineyard has closed its doors. Not sure when this happened, but it’s pretty common for church plants to fail, so it’s not surprising. Just odd in this case considering how well things seemed to be going during my visit. For the record, I do believe LifePoint’s lead pastor, Andy Ransdell, is an associate pastor at Four Corners Community Church and LifePoint’s associate pastor, Andy Rainey, is the lead pastor at Blue Ash Community Church, so perhaps LifePoint’s leadership team just felt like it was time to move on.]

To finish reading about this experience or any of the reflections from my 52 visits, please purchase the full book here.

49 comments:

Kelly said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

Ice cream in church. My disgust is total.
Dale Grubeck

Jamie said...

Great post. I'm glad you didn't give up because your journey makes a far greater impact than all of the Erics in the world.

Jon said...

Amen to Kelly's Amen.

I almost went to visit Lifepoint this weekend (my wife and son were out of town), but at the last minute a friend of mine needed support and I took him to VCC.

I love being a prodigal son. It's not an excuse to live by life's vices; it's a call to live your life to show others what Christ can do in their lives.

I love to meet people now and think about how much they could do with their lives if they fostered a healthy relationship with Christ. Telling them about his love and having them realize it...it's awesome.

Thanks for your frank and beautiful writing.

Justin Hall said...

Thanks for coming up, man. Nice stacked cone you got there. Tragedy that there's no orange soft serve in that pile, but hey.

DeborahB said...

"I don't care who you are, what you've done, who you voted for, how often you read the Bible, or what your political stance is on gay marriage or abortion. I don't care if you are gay, straight, or bisexual. I don't care if you've had sex with a thousand people or you're forty years old and saving yourself for marriage. I don't care if you are Methodist, Catholic, Muslim, or you sat next to me at the Church of Scientology. GOD LOVES YOU. Not because of what you can do for him, but because he's freaking God, so he doesn't need you to do a damn thing. He loves you because he made you. He created you to be the jacked up person you are, and he loves you in spite of your flaws. You're the Prodigal Son. So am I. And God is running toward us with open arms. Nothing else matters except his desire to welcome us back home. And he's waiting. Despite the thousands of rules Pharisees will lay on you to convince you that you're unworthy of God's love, God says you are worthy because of the sacrifice Jesus made two thousand years ago. Period. Bottom line. End of story."

That was perfect. Well said. I love your blog, can't wait till Monday to read it. Keep it up. And come to Faith Lutheran Church in Finneytown if you can. We have a kick-butt praise band too!

Ryan Hartsock said...

Thanks for your candid post. A breath of fresh air...Andy's a great guy!

Drop by 4 Corners Church (www.4cornerschurch.com) in West Chester sometime. I used to be on staff but moved on to another adventure. My family and I still go and volunteer.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. I started following your blog a few months ago. It has been a refreshing change of pace from what I am used to hearing and reading. I attended Bible College for two years and you said it best with ...

"And when you experience that kind of freedom, then your life is transformed to become more like Jesus. If you're trying to become more like Jesus without allowing him to free your heart from toxic religion, you'll always feel inadequate; you'll always feel separated from God's plan for your life, and you'll always feel like you're sitting outside a playground watching all the other kids have the time of their lives. And it makes you so bitter, and that bitterness seeps out of your pores."

Perfectly spoken. Thank you for your words and your time spent doing this. It has been validating and encouraging.

Katie said...

It's because of Christians like you - not the Erics of the world - that I want to go back and find the faith I once had.

I have been reading your blog from the beginning, and this post just really spoke to me. So thank you. I'm glad you didn't give up!

Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!

The trouble is, people find it scary to live without rules, or do I mean they find a Christianity without rules scary, so they have to make up their rules to limit God's love to those they feel deserve it. Unfortunately, God doesn't agree with them.... as was once made very clear to me when I was praying for the people of the part of the great city in which I live, and God said, very gently, "I do know this, you know; I do know and love these people, too!" Oops....

Christine said...

I'm going to leave a couple little comments, that are mostly responses to past church experiment posts:

1) You said recently you'd like to look into church plants. So when I received a postcard from a Grace church in town with one of those God billboard-type signs: "I hear there's a new church in town. I think I'll show up"--well, I thought of you.

2) Since my daughter is studying American History this year, I thought I'd put a historical spin on the whole baby-adult baptism thing. Until the 1600s, most baptisms occurred at or near birth, especially in the Anglican and Catholic faiths (and, I think, some of the original protestant faiths, such as Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.). Ther reason was because so many people died at birth that they wanted to save the soul before they died. In the 1600s, one of the Puritan offshoots was the Baptist religion. The founder of this religion wanted to allow people to "know Christ" through Baptism rather than having to wait the numerous years it took for Puritans to undergo "conversion."

So, the churches that have adult baptism in this country all descended, in one form or another, from this original Baptist church.

DanThoms said...

Last weeks comments did take a tragic turn for the worst. That's too bad too because most people on here know how to talk logically and civilly to each other. I'm happy to hear that this weeks experience was so positive. Ice-cream at church, that's fantastic. I bet the early church would have ate ice-cream at church too if only that had known how to make it. They would be so jealous if only they knew.

DanThoms said...

ps. That's an interesting piece of history. I only researched the start of the practice in the 1300s and didn't look that far. Thanks Christian.

wendymhall said...

Steve,

Thank you, again, for a great post. freedom and love can be scary for people. rules can seem easier because they allow us to keep a "safe" distance, but, love compels us to engage.

It's great to experience this journey with you. Thank you for letting us travel alongside.

Alex Green said...

Actually, Steve, I think Eric might be a lovely person when he talks out of his mouth, instead of his... other hole, on the underside of him.

It's actually all of us far righties that tend toward protecting the child pornographers. He twisted it by saying you would make laws to protect the pedophiles, because you liberals do like your laws (tehe) but we on the right are the ones who want our privacy.

Privacy is good, I believe, but it does protect the creeps too. And he was bitching about world autonomy, but we on the right rely heavily on autonomy. I just wish I would've checked the comments last week!!!

Jeff said...

I was like you- moving from ministry to fried by the church when I came to Lifepoint when they first launched. The grace and encouragement brought me back from the brink of just walking away. The heart of what is happening here draws me back again and again. Sunday was fun, it is too bad you missed the worship though, our band really rocks.

Susan said...

Preach it, brother!

Sarah said...

GREAT post, Steve...I love it because I am coming to the same realizations you are stating in your posts--I used to think that only certain kinds of people were "real" or "good" Christians, and these certainly didn't include liberals, homosexuals, or anyone who thought differently than me...thank God (literally!)that my views on this have been drastically changing as of late...and your blog has helped me in this. "The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love..."

Jen - Mom of 4 said...

Steve,

This was a fabulous post! You were able to express what I've been trying to tell my atheist Husband for a year. And I hope you won't mind, but I'll be printing it out for him!

On a side note, I was raised Catholic and could never understand adult baptism. My understanding was as Christine explained it. I truly believed that our children would not be allowed into Heaven without being baptized first. It wasn't until I left the Catholic Church and found my new Church that I fully understand the scripture of baptism. While I was confirmed at 16 years old, I didn't really commit my life to the Lord until this past year. My oldest daughter and oldest son and I were all baptized together this summer. It was wonderful because it was all of our choices, not someone else.

Great post, great discussion. I just hope that Eric and Christian from last week realize that their views are the very one's Jesus choose to "fight" against when he was here.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I have never heard of you. I didn't take the time to read all of your blogs and intros. I only read the Lifepoint entry and tried to catch what "Eric" said in a previous entry b/c it seemed to hit a nerve with you. I am not trying to be critical but I cannot help but say that I feel you are misguided. I think too that you are in conflict. Andy Ransdell himself said that you cannot live with one foot in the world and one foot in the church. You are either in or out. Personally, I am glad that we have forward moving churches these days. The old, steeped in legalism and tradition types are dying off w/their old, legalistic members. They are not gaining young people. However... if you are writing or speaking in or about the church I care what you think about gay marriage b/c it is not of God. I think some get confused by "rules and legalism" and commandments. God speaks very clearly and the Bible holds all the answers and if you are a true believer you cannot dispute it. Please do not think that I think I am better, holier than thou, etc. I am far from it. I was overjoyed one day when someone told me that there was no such thing as a perfect Christian. It really set me free. Not in the sense that I could do whatever I wanted but a burden of guilt was lifted b/c my old legalistic church created that belief. I guess I could go on and on but, it never came from God. I really do feel that you have some soul related issues to work out. I don't read many blogs. Like emails, you don't hear the tone in which someone is speaking - there is no emotion. In your Lifepoint entry all I "heard" was alot of anger. I was very disturbed that you felt the need to share that you had urinated on the side of the pastor's house and used the word "bull**&%" - is that really necessary, but even worse, would you talk that way with Jesus? What if his wife and kids had been home b/c one of them was ill and walked around the side of the house and saw you urinating? I would have been mortified - not b/c I'm a prude but I would truly wonder what kind of person you were and the last thing that would cross my mind is that you were on your way to church to evaluate/speak or whatever it is you do. Lastly, why would you let a comment keep you from going to church or falling away from your belief system? Are you looking for a way out? You open the door for people when you blog. Social networking is taking away our ability to converse naturallly w/one another. Yes, I like email, FB and searching things on the internet and I text sometimes but God wants us to be in relationships w/people and relying so much on technology is not the way to do it. Yes, it's a way to reach people but it's not the best way. So... whoever you are and whatever you do, I really do hope you have been able to read this in the tone that it was written in - compassion. I seriously would not go anywhere that you were speaking b/c I do not believe you are in a place in your spiritual walk that you need to be and certainly not in a position of influence. I know it sounds like I'm judging, I am not. I simply felt I should suggest you search your heart and soul to determine what it is you really believe and who you really believe in. The one good thing I read and will encourage you to do is read your bible - like I said before, you will find all of your answers there. All the best to you on your journey.

Steve Fuller said...

Anonymous,

You seriously think I actually urinated on Andy's house?

Not to pick on you, but I have been laughing about that for the last ten minutes.

We just simply disagree on much of what you said. I don't believe the Bible is clear about gay marriage. If you think it is, you are adding your own interpretations to the text. There is no commandment that says, "Thou shall not marry someone of the same sex."

I feel this journey is meaningful, and if you can't gather that other people are benefitting from our shared experiences on this blog, then you are simply not paying attention.

I think everyone has a story to tell and wisdom to contribute, so the fact that you view people like me as "misguided," and I'm not "in a place in my spiritual walk that I need to be and certainly not in a position of influence," is kinda sad. I hope you are willing to learn from people who aren't exactly like you, because that is how we all grow.

I learn from everyone who comments on this blog, especially the Erics of the world. I will consider your words and learn from them as well. Thanks for the comment.

Michelle said...

This past Sunday we had a guest pastor who said something that has stuck with me.

"God spoke and the world and everything in it was created. But, God formed man with his own hands."

Steve, everyone has an opinion. Just keep your faith in God and not in man.

Micah said...

I wish my church gave away free ice cream.

Jon said...

Why do so many people feel the need to hide behind "Anonymous"? If you truly believe what you believe that strongly, stand up and be heard, but don't do so standing behind a curtain. It's easy to sling accusations and judgements (no matter how much qualifying you may have done beforehand) when no one knows who you are.

ylmurph said...

probably my favorite so far...well said fella

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I'm a long time attendee of LifePoint Vineyard and want to say thanks for the great review. Hope you liked us for more than just the ice cream! I confess we don't have The Cone come every Sunday...

LifePoint started holding Sunday morning celebrations in January of 2007. As you noted this past Sunday was our first for two celebrations - 9:30am and 11:00am. And you were right - it takes a lot of volunteers! Last I heard we had an 83% volunteer rate, meaning about 5 of every 6 people volunteers to make LPV happen.

Your story about ending up at Ransdell's house is hilarious! I'm sorry if some people thought you actually peed on the side of it. Most of us realized you were joking. It is unfortunate you missed most of the worship - our band absolutely rocks week in and week out. And being in a school gymnasium always makes you feel you're right on top of the action - it's intense!

If anybody reading this is looking for a place to come and praise God please come check us out! LifePoint is a church full of real people, with real lives and real problems. Instead of focusing on ourselves we know the way to spread God's love is with outreach. And Andy's messages are always relevant and show that he too is just a regular guy.

Thanks for the all the blog entries you've done - they're very entertaining!

DRG said...

WFWJE? What flavor would Jesus eat? - The question of the century.

Last year, my wife and I visited 26 churches in 26 weeks. It was like "The Gong Show".

We had to settle down at LPV before we lost our religion.

Hang in there Steve!

Anonymous said...

I really needed to hear this. Thank you.

purchased said...

Hey Steve! Cool blog. It wasn't till I came to Cincy that I experienced cofee drinking in Church..that's still very new to me. Assuming you've read Blue Like Jazz?

andyransdell said...

Steve,
So that explains the smell in my yard. Thanks for acknowledging the effort our teams. We truly have a great group of folks.

Anonymous said...

I am reading Blue Like Jazz again right now and it definitely resonates with what you said. thanks for sharing and for letting us see how God is shaping you. Keep it coming!

Lydia said...

I have been following your blog for a while now. I am so glad that you are getting back to the Word. You know, it really doesn't matter what a man says, they can talk from the heart or from their butt (ha) it is what God says that counts.

As Joyce Meyer has said for so many years, He loves us just the way we are, but He loves us enough that He won't leave us that way.

I am so glad we can grow in Christ. If I stayed how I was, I am sure I would be dead today. He has delivered me, and made a life for me, and I am SO grateful.

Anonymous said...

AMEN! Very well written. May God continue blessing you on your spiritual journey.

Alli G said...

I just wanted to let you know, I posted the latter portion of this blogpost on facebook- and it's spreading like wildfire among my friends- Christian and not. (Of course, credit was given and I asked others re-posting to do the same.)

What you're taking the time to share with people is truly something that needs to be put in the spotlight. Faith is never simple, and religion is even worse! I thank the Lord every day when someone with a different perspective crosses my path; the Lord never ceases to teach me something new. And it never hurts to run across someone like yourself, who can take what many people are thinking and put it into words we can all share and build from.

Thank you for doing His work throughout your self-exploration!

Anonymous said...

Steve,

In regards to your statement about supporting homosexuality, the Bible is very clear about NOT supporting immoral acts - let me first point out that homosexuality is no ‘worse’ a sin than fornication or any of the other acts of immorality.

I am not picking on homosexuals.

I am simply saying that as Christians, we are not suppose to support acts of immorality, regardless that we live in a free and open society.

In Corinthians 1 chapter 5 verses 9-13, Paul is referring to a previous letter where he told the Corinthians to avoid sexually immoral people.

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.

Then he goes on to explain (in verses 10-13) that he did not mean Christians were not to interact with immoral people in the outside world in the course of their everyday life. He meant we are not to tolerate immoral activities of people within the church. We are to leave God to judge non-Christians, but as a church, we are responsible to remind and hold our brothers to the Christian moral teachings. This is not to punish the immoral person, but to wake them up to the error of their ways, and to keep them from corrupting us and the doctrine of the church.

Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

And for brevity, I skip to Chapter 6 versus 8-11, where Paul lists many immoral acts that we, Christians, are to hold our Christian brethren accountable for. He provides a long list of sins that we may have been guilty of before we became Christians, but are unacceptable as Christians. Note that there are many sins listed. Homosexuality is not alone.

No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

My points are:

1. As Christians, the Bible is very clear about us NOT supporting immoral acts. Supporting legislation that legalizes immoral acts that the Bible specifically rebukes as immoral in several sections of the Bible lists is not ok. (and, again, I stress that I do not only mean homosexuality)

2. We should not judge any one sin as being worse than any other sin, and God knows, I am guilty of many sins. I am guilty of many, many sins. However, as a Christian, I am striving to live my life without sin (I fail many times), and as a Christian, I ‘ve come to know that I cannot support individual freedoms the violate Biblical truths. Whereas, I might be forced to tolerate it, if our democracy legalizes it, as a Christian, I cannot support it.

Anonymous said...

3. I have felt about Pharisaical Christians much as you do. I am leery of anyone who judges others with an air of superiority . The Bible condemns men from judging other men. Unfortunately, I find that I am guilty of judging the judgers rather harshly. There’s irony in this truth. I still struggle with it frequently, but the truth is, I am learning that even the cruelest judgers need love and support and mercy, too.

I have also learned that not everyone who disagrees with me or corrects me is judging me. When I am secure in my beliefs, Biblically based beliefs, I do not get angry with others who disagree.

I simply, patiently, explain the Bible teachings - and if I learn that I am wrong, then I am even more grateful for the discussion.


4. I have wrestled with my faith much as you. I have been very angry and I’ve even been driven from God and Jesus because of my anger against the ‘judgers’. But I have finally, though ever so slowly, begun to learn and accept, that by judging the judgers and condemning the church because of their perceived hypocritical persecution, that I have allowed myself to become as guilty as they are. And far worse, I have let it impair my relationship with God.


5. The difference between the Pharisaical type of judgment and the Christian correction that Paul discusses in the New Testament is significant. The primary difference is the heart and spirit of the correction. You know the saying: condemn the sin without condemning the sinner.

Paul is saying that correcting our brethren (fellow Christians), even when it embarrasses us or makes us uncomfortable, is an act of christianly love. Correcting, not judging.


6. In conclusion, what Paul is saying in the verse you posted and what I believe you are taking from the verse are not the same thing. Paul is only talking about Christians’ freedom from accepting and subjecting ourselves to Pharisaical-type rules and rituals (e.g. circumcision) that to do not further the spirit of Christianity.

But he is not saying that Christians are free to allow other Christians ‘to live and let live’ – in complete disregard of morality.

If you wish to pursue this discussion further, please direct your disagreements at the specific Biblical scriptures provided with other Biblical scriptures. I will gladly explore and review Biblical interpretation within Biblical context. However, I do not and will not participate in a dialog that is reduced to name calling and bad feelings.

I hope you receive these points as I have intended them – in Christianly love.

Alex Green said...

Anon 1:42 & 1:48.

Your argument implies we should be making legislation to stop people from commissioning paintings of themselves and erecting them in their living rooms or making monuments to men or getting too involoved with their favorite sports team because all of those things border on idolatry.

It also implies that we should be regulating how much booze a person has in their home (drunkards)and that design magazines should be outlawed because it very seriously encourages people to covet.

Homosexuality gets singled out of this group every time. Every time they shouldn't be allowed to marry but I should be allowed to chase as many material things as I want. It is... a joke.

Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

Steve I do hope you don't mind, but I'm going to quote part of this in my sermon this coming Sunday, because it says exactly what I want to say, only in much better words! I will, of course, link to this site when I publish the sermon to my own blog on Sunday afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Alex,

I was neither arguing about nor implying anything. I specifically stated that the Bible is clear that Christians are not to support acts of immorality.

I was clear that homosexuality is but only one of the listed immoral acts. Let me say this again, homosexuality is but only one of the listed immoral acts .

As humans, 99.9% of us have been guilty of one immoral act or another. The fact that homosexuality appears to be single out or persecuted, does not preclude its inclusion with the other immoral acts.

I have nothing against homosexuals. I have homosexual friends that I pray for, and I have several fornicating friends (I used to be a fornicator, too) that I pray for as well. None of these friends professes to be Christian, but they definitely know my Christian views, and yet, since we are all well mannered individuals, we have managed to remain friends for decades.

They just understand not to ever expect me to be standing with them on a picket line pushing for legislation the allows homosexual marriages or fortification on public benches. They also understand that I love them – not their sins – them. And they love me despite that fact that I love them despite their sins – if you get my meaning. They even love me enough to tolerate me trying to convert them because I love them.

I am a specific person who deals in Biblical principles.

I am asking you to please refrain from putting words in my mouth, to please refrain from inferring my thinking in all other matters and to please refrain from derisively responding to a well-meaning, thought-out post.

I also ask you, to please find scripture that supports your attacking me regarding these issues.

I ask you to find scripture that supports Christians supporting acts of immorality.

And one more time, let me stress, that I am not condemning the sinners. I am addressing Christian responsibilities according to scripture.

Alex Green said...

Anon,

You're right. My bad. I have no idea if you're on other blogs, talking about your views on the college bar scene and why we need to not allow that to go on. I don't know anything about you other than you feel strongly enough to come on here and tout verses that I just used when I posted about how we're all such jerks that we talk about this issue while completely ignoring all of our own sin.

I heard you talk about how we're all sinners and how all sin is equal but you're saying that we should make laws to forbid them from marrying. (which is what we have to do since, constitutionally, they should be allowed so please don't accuse me of putting words in your mouth again.) but maybe somewhere on the ether you've mentioned our need to outlaw extra-marital affairs and premarital sex.

Those verses talk about who will and will not inherit the kingdom of God, not who cannot be accepted as they are by a worldly, hierarchal system. Which is what the government of the United States is.

I'm sorry that you feel completely attacked. But I'm tired of us talking about laws that support a man's right to marry a man and we aren't talking about the fact that all of us as Christians are out there perpetuating slave-labor everytime we buy a new pair of shoes or coffee or anything. I think this is the last issue we all need to be confronting. Starting with me. So I'll shut up about it now. Sorry that I offended you. Truly. Thanks for calling me on it.

Anonymous said...

Alex,

Thank you for apologizing. I appreciate it very much.

Regarding you comment – “Those verses talk about who will and will not inherit the kingdom of God, not who cannot be accepted as they are by a worldly, hierarchal system. Which is what the government of the United States is.”

That is a fine example of what Paul was talking about when he said leave the outside world to God's judgment.

Christ said in Luke 20:25 ‘Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.’ Of course, He was specifically talking about fidelity (and taxes) to the government you live under, but the concept is the same. Give to the government what is due the government, but please do not do it at the expense of God.

We must not apply wordly standards to Christian standards. Tolerance of wordly sins is not the same as supporting them.


And as Christians, we are supposed to worry about who will and will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I want everyone to inherit the kingdom of God, everyone.


So, if we know that an act is immoral and it will cause people to ‘not inherit the kingdom of God’ as the Bible says, why would we, as Christians, support legalizing something that can cost others their salvation?

What a price we pay to be accepted by the ‘worldy, hierarchal system’ if the Kingdom of God then rejects us.

Again, I ask you to show me where you have found scripture that suggests Christians should or may support acts of immorality.

Let’s let the issue of homosexuality pass for the moment and address all acts of immorality in one lump.

If you have used these verses from Corinthians to say something different from what I have said here, I would appreciate it if you would please share with me your interpretation of those versus.

I am asking sincerely. I sense that you are very angry regarding these subjects. So please accept my promise that I will not attack you, and that I would truly like to understand your take on these scriptures.

Also, I want to share with you that I do not accept my own sin.

I. Do. Not. Accept. My. Own. sin.

I fight against it ever single day, and I am sure I will do so until the day that die.

But despite that, I do agree that we are all jerks.

Thank God, God loves us, anyway.

Alex Green said...

Anon,

This is absolutely not the forum for me to really discuss this at length with you. Send me an email if you'd like but it's going to take a lot more dialogue than I want to do in Steve's comments. And if I'm going to justify all of this, I want to know who I am talking to.

I will say this, I don't think anywhere in the Bible there is a verse saying we should support immoral behavior. But the U.S. government doesn't opperate within the bounds of enforcing Biblical truths. And I doubt you and I would define homosexuality the same so it's going to open up a whole other side of the debate.

Seriously, if you're up for it, send me an email. I'm more open to changing my mind than I come off.

Anonymous said...

Alex,

I am happy that you have an open mind and you are interested in pursuing this discussion. I will strive to remain solely within Biblical definitions, scriptures, and teachings.

However, like most, I am not infallible, and I still work at understanding some (many) Biblical concepts.

Therefore, I always appreciate the opportunity to continue learning and searching for understanding with other Christians, who are also searching.

But I have a little dilemma: I clicked on your profile’s email link and got an error message about the default email client not being properly installed. I will work on this problem in the next couple of days, and I will email you when this is resolved so we can take this conversation offline.

Have a good night.

Alex Green said...

Anon,

Excellent. Then, after you figure that out you could walk me through it? I suddenly have the same problem.

Cheers.

Alex Green said...

Well, Anon, if you check this again, you can just email me @

alex.t.girl
@
gmail.com

Sorry I didn't do that sooner.

Kate said...

This weeks post moved me to tears (in a good way). Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Alex,

I am glad I came back to look. I will email you tomorrow.

Thank you.

A Modern Ancient said...

Dan, so sorry to leave one last thing about the whole baptism thing but I felt compelled.

You rightly point out that it was the Council of Ravenna in 1311 that added the practice of infant baptism as defined practice. However, your implication that it was here that it became permissible is incorrect. Church councils are called to respond to situations. The reason the church decided to say it was okay was because there were heresies (their words not mine) that condemned the practice. So, the church met and said the practice was legitimate. Not because it wasn't before, but because it was and had always been... they simply had no reason to say it in a council previously.

I only point this out because many protestants don't really "get" that about the Roman Catholic church and the historical councils. Another example is the fact that, though for all intents and purposes the canon of scripture was closed, no council officially closed it until Trent and that was in response to the Reformers questioning the canon. All councils are a response and they tend to affirm beliefs and practices against attacks rather than introduce new beliefs and practices.

A Modern Ancient said...

Anon,

I think the problem is that you are using a translation that did not get the intended meaning of the word correct. Technically, homosexual can be used but not in the way we understand it today. The word literally refers to the man/boy relationship very common in the Greek schools. Paul is condemning teachers who take sexual advantage of their students. Furthermore, the word they translate as "sodomites" refers to the students who seek to use sexual favors to discredit/gain power over their teachers since usually the man/boy or teacher/student relationship simply (sorry to get technical here) meant the teacher would fondle his student. The student allowed it because the teacher had power over them, but penetration was a no-no in Greek society and the students would know this. This is a condemnation of abuse of power for sexual gains or by sexual gains and NOT a condemnation of two consenting adults who enter into a committed, covenantal relationship. We also have to understand that Paul could not comprehend homosexuality as anything but a choice. Today, we know that it is not a choice. I am not saying it is genetic (because that has yet to be proven) but it have incontrovertibly been shown to occur prior to a person's ability to choose. So, if it is not a choice, we have to assume it comes from God, and because we know God's nature to be one that desires for humans to be in fulfilling, committed relationships with each other, and that those relationships will lead to sex (in most cases), can't we conclude that the scripture is not referring to what we know as homosexuality but rather unhealthy sexual acts such as rape, molestation, abuse of power, etc.?