So, by telos, we are drawn to consider end results or fruits, as Jesus put it. It is rising and being lifted up. It's inextricably light, purity, truth, and on and on.
I do agree with you that Jesus calls us to be Christlike.
So far, it is the exceedingly rare character who approaches perfection. However, we are in process. We are works in progress. We are called. We respond. We stay at it. We are chosen. Those who don't hear Jesus's call are hearing other voices. If we are silent, those who might otherwise even fairly readily hear, turn, and change, will remain lost for our own deficiency, indicating our own degree of being lost in the dark. The light compels us (coerces us) to magnify the light so more will be illuminated.
Of course, you will note my usage above concerning coercion. We are beaten by our consciences. I'm putting it this way so you will clearly see that I understand and appreciate the context in which coercion enters in.
Throughout our conversation, I had been using the term within another context. To be compelled by a righteous conscience is to be physically impacted by the spirit. Our brain matter literally changes via this. There is no doubt about it. However, the argument is not with a good conscience that shames us and makes us feel pain and suffering (even torture) at acknowledging our transgressions. It is not with a good conscience that the neocons wrote their legal memos at the U.S. Justice Department and White House telling CIA agents and private contractors that they will not be breaking the law when they torture others if they have a good faith belief that they are not actually torturing others. They had no shame. They haven't repented yet. They are still making excuses at best.
This is far from expressing my complete understanding of these matters.
When you say perfect people don't procreate, you are speaking, for one, about the male virgins of the Book of Revelation. It is also Gnostic. That doesn't mean we are Gnostics. It means Gnostics overlap with us. This is a good thing to understand. Is the flesh ultimately evil? It's a question that predates Christianity by that express historical name. I qualify it that way, because in truth, Christianity is from the beginning.
Jesus was and is flesh while also being fully spirit. Therefore, the flesh need not be evil. Jesus was "an hungered." He ate for the flesh. Sex is an appetite. Must it be evil? Is it inherently evil? Are all souls that are manifested in the flesh conceived in sin, as Moses taught? Appetite to devour is tied in with lust is tied in with covetousness (taking other people's land by violence for example), etc. Is sex always selfish? Bringing other souls into this plane of existence does subject them to all the temptations while they are ill-informed or not prepared for lack of conscious experience.
Do the unfallen have sex? Not according to Jesus they don't. However, we find ourselves here for whatever reason God the spirit has determined that is beyond our comprehension at this stage in our development except that we are to become perfected or fall further. We have been given the gift of the truly enlightened one who is Jesus. He says to us that we don't have to remain stuck as a world at our limited material level of perception.
I believe him. I believe that the more this is openly, honestly, and directly discussed, the more it will become something people are more commonly able to comprehend. I believe that it has been the suppression of this light that has kept it (us) down. Selfish souls have blocked the light. Unselfish souls need to shine through.
Take the stand with Jesus. The Gnostic text says that if you want to live forever, stop having children. Jesus talked about being a eunuch by, among other actions, choice. He doesn't though preclude the married from entering life. He doesn't preclude those with so-called biological offspring from entering life. I don't find that he said to his disciples that they may not "know" their wives again for fear of Hell. He does call husbands and wives one flesh (should be). I sense no evil in that. I sense rather a bonding that does not have to contain the unclean. What is in the heart toward the spouse? Was the Holy Spirit one flesh with Mary? The flesh Jesus was and is the result. He was and is though also from the beginning. This level of inquiry gives many a headache, but why?
Mary was or wasn't virgin. The atheist scientists say she couldn't have conceived Jesus without male sperm from a flesh male at the time (no god in a flying saucer either). They ask for proof but can't disprove to the satisfaction of believers either. What can God not do, some child's riddle about rock so big it can't be moved? That's a mere false paradox.
Who can be saved if one is to give all for the sake of those with the least and then follow? Is it asking too much? Is it asking what human beings cannot be given to do? I say no. It is a mindset that can be readily altered. Dwell on serving one another, and all will end up being put right. The pain and suffering will end. The conscience will be clear. Do people want the cure?
Marriage is irrelevant to the calling. Are you concerned with the "forsaking" family aspect? The genetic family and spiritual family need not be different. Jesus is both your genetic brother and your spiritual brother if you will accept it. I do.
Is Jesus far too Manichean to you? What part of the difference between light and dark bothers you? I'm not a disciple of Manes. I read him (what's there) and concluded he didn't get it: Jesus. Jesus is flesh right now even as he is spirit right now. Manes didn't hold with that. He was hung trying to workout a shortcoming: His paradox.
"Capitalism is evil, but the State is not." The right state is not. State, per se, is not. The state that takes one shaft of wheat with the tares is wrong. George W. Bush is wrong therefore. At the final harvest, truth does the sorting. It is not for you to do and fail and remain the real state. The real state makes no mistakes. It is perfect. What we call the worldly state is not perfect. It errs. It does not follow Jesus. We as Christians are to not partake. We are outside of that proverbial herd of goats. Do you not agree?
Pacifism is harmless. Real peace harms no one. If everyone were to keep the peace, there would be no human-on-human violence. Did Jesus harm anyone when he turned over the tables in the temple? Did he do violence on any body, even animal? He cursed the fig tree. Well, the fig tree cursed itself by withholding the faith and the rightful inheritance. Jesus simply spoke truth as a warning against evil. The fig tree sinned and suffered the consequences. Who devoured the fig tree? Who is death? Jesus is not death but life.
How can we hold with turning the other cheek, while we hold that Jesus retaliated in violence against the moneychangers for offending God and him, Jesus? If we hold that way, we hold Jesus a hypocrite and render him less than divine, in which case, Christianity would not be the one and only path to salvation and God in the highest. To put Jesus in the position of hypocrite is an indication that something is lacking in our own understanding else we must abandon Christianity.
Rebuking people is not necessarily coercive or violent. Jesus's cleansing of the temple was in very fact, healing. Do you agree? It is healing me.
Submitting to coercion and being coercive are not the same thing. Jesus paid the tax. He also said that by rights, he didn't have to. He paid it, because they couldn't comprehend and would never were he to have failed and been taken for tax evasion. He had to go to the cross for the reasons that he did, which didn't include mundane, mammon-tax evasion to the self-authorized tenant farmers who decided that they could just kill the heir when he came to collect his inheritance. Caesar was just such a tenant, only hugely self-aggrandized. Caesar was the epitome of the one claiming the mundane state's right to punish and his own divinity. It was blasphemy, because he was in error. Jesus is divine, because he is not in error.
As for those born into the Christian Commons, people leave the garden on account of error. It is not error to be born into it under righteous souls. It is error to leave. It is error to be misled into misleading others. It is error not to return. The prodigal returned. Do you equate being born into Eden with being coerced? I do not.
Why do the different nation-states have their own rules within while the Christian Commons is not afforded the same? How does the ideology of democracy spread while the calling of Jesus is not allowed? How does the Christian Commons survive without violence, is that the question?
"...just any great concentration of resources on a cathedral is not decadent because the money should have instead all been given to the poor. The benefits of good religious art are immeasurable." So long as you are maintaining the proper perspective, weight of matters, priorities, I won't begrudge you. However, if all the art in the world were to disappear, there would still be the truth. The benefits of good religious art are immeasurable to you. You have your conception of what is truly beneficial. You have your conception of what constitutes the good. You combine those as priceless. I don't put those material objects (even as considered divinely inspired) on the priceless level of the treasure in the heart that brings forth the feeding of the flesh bodies of the flock. They can't eat the art. Yes, man does not live by bread alone, but he does live by it in conjunction with. Yes, art can speak to this. In as much as it does, it is good. However, it can be a graven image too that misleads and lends itself to souls falling short. Just to be clear here, I'm not holding with the Old Testament about what constitutes a graven image. Not every painting or statue of Christ is automatically evil. One can carry that to such extremes that even all writing would be seen as an evil thing. The word itself would be evil and never should have been spoken by God Most High at the beginning of eternity. Of course, some think so, but he said "love."
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)