The nature of salvation: 8-14-09
Racism and religion: 8-17-09

Identifying potential clergy: 8-15/16-09

No doubt partly because I'm currently serving on the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) of my church, I've been giving lots of thought lately to how communities of faith raise up leaders, especially people who become members of the clergy.


This is not a new subject for me. I've served on a PNC before and I've served on a committee of our regional Presbyterian governing body that oversees our seminary students.

But I'm not sure local churches do very well in identifying good candidates for ministry and helping them determine whether they might really have a call to ministry.

So I was glad to read about the Fund for Theological Education's upcoming October conference designed to help people identify and draw out clergy leadership.

It should be an excellent opportunity for learning how to get more people thinking about the development and calling of clergy. Besides, any conference at which one of the speakers is Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia, will be worth attending. He's a wonderful scholar and an excellent speaker.

In my experience, the clergy often attracts people I would call "wounded healers," which is to say people who have not resolved lots of things in their own lives and seek to do it while helping others. It's not a good approach to ministry and faith communities often suffer for it.

The difficulty is not just to tell someone like that "no" when she or he wants to become a member of the clergy, it's also to find an appropriate outlet for the person's legitimate desire to help others. A desire to help others is necessary but is far from the only requirement for becoming a member of the clergy. And it may be not even near the top of the list of requirements.

So, as I say, I'm glad the Fund for Theological Education is thinking about all this and trying to help.

* * *


There's another Bible-in-the-classroom fight going on. This one is in Idaho, and if this report is correct, it looks as if the people who run a charter school there are making proper use of the Bible as a teaching tool, meaning they're not using it to promote one or another religion in a public school. There's no reason the Bible can't -- and shouldn't -- be used in public schools as a teaching resource, as long as constitutional barriers are respected.


Red Biddy

Bishop Spong is certainly not an atheist.

He loves the religion, of which he is a leader, he just wants to rescue it from foolish simplistic fundamentalism.

I understand Bill's difficulty in finding mentally balanced people for the clergy. I am sure as Bill said, a lot of people who'd like to be clergy are just trying to work out their own problems on an unsuspecting congregation.

Let's face it there have been many well publicized incidents of preachers who have not practised what they preached.
I have a book called The Great Unfrocked:Two Thousand years of Church Scandal by Matthew Parris (a Times of London journalist) which contains an incredibly long list of "imaginative sinners" passing as parsons. Very funny !
Being an English journalist, Parris missed a few of our special cases like poor Ted Haggard who preached against homosexuality in the church he founded, while being gay himself but he did get the tearful Jimmy Swaggart nailed, and a few other American evangelists were included.
There were a couple of high church English clergyman who didn't get unfrocked though, in spite of their heretical stance. A Bishop of Southwark, stood up one Sunday morning and declared that God was just mathematics - a comment that didn't go down very well with the church hierarchy, but he kept his job !
Then we had the Red Dean of Canterbury with long white hair looking like Professor Dumbledore, who was a card carrying member of the Communist party, he kept his job too....
All churches seem to have their mavericks but then they are, when all said and done, human institutions like any other.

Will Graham

Iggy's 4:22 post is both amusing and fascinating.

It showcases the workings of a mind that is actually "out of equilibriam". Let me explain; Iggy knows that he has failed time after time in his projects, as the 10:53 a.m. post explains.

But he does not let this stop him! No sir! And, in a sense, that is an admirable quality. But in another sense, it is very unbalanced, almost child like. He simply hides in head in the sand an pretends like these failure never took place, and he thinks that by ignoring them no one will notice!

Morevoer, to build himself up, he tries to take credit for something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM...and that is the fact that on any blog posters come and posters go. In this particular case, there is the added fact that the Star dropped Bill's column, and this undoubtely had an effect. On some level, Iggy knows this, but on the highest, conscious, level he is in denial.

For a while even Iggy himself was scared; he claimed, I think, that he had many business projects going on. Maybe he did, or maybe they failed. That is not the point; he is around more now and trying to pump up his "accomplishments", and even recruited a couple of people some time ago to help him do battle.

So, in the sense that he is trying to ignore his failures, and that he is making preposterous claims, he is behaving Irrationally and not living in the "real world" he pretends to.

I am am going to be taking a psychology class, and I believe his blog postings will make for an interesting paper...names changed to protect privacy, of course.


For An Interesting Insight To Blog Dynamics email


It's not about loving religion - it's about loving God. Therefore, Bishop Spong MAY be an theist

Will Graham

By the way, I don't want to skip Iggy's statement that he is moral relativit...actually he is a nihilist, as in a post a couple of days ago he said we are living meaningless lives on this rock...but I will accept "relativist" for now.

Ironically, though he claims to be a relativist, he keeps making moral judgments about what people should or should not do. Susan does the same thing, and does not even believe in truth, although she tries to deny it. (Remember that she has said more than once that she could be wrong about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING...that is not the remark of someone who believes in truth.)

And yet, amazingly, Iggy really does not seem to realize it...although on one level he is running scared because, like a child, he runs away from the fact that his position is irrational.

He does this by ignoring refutations, just like he simply ignores his repeated failures. What is funny, is that he really seems to believe no one has noticed and that he is responsible for who posts and how doesn't. So, he is not only in denial, he is an arrogant posturer.

Will Graham

Interesting article on Spong; Jesus talked about "wolves in sheeps clothing" who would try and destroy the Church from within.

They will fail, but they wil do their best to destroy as much as they can.

Will Graham

Besides abortion at the rate of over a million a year, infanticide for the "unfit" and euthasia in practice if not publicly admitted, there is something else our Superior Secular Society has in store for you if it really hits the fan!




Started reading Luke this week.

Luke 1:5-6 "They [Zacharias and Elisabeth] were both righteous before God walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."

Has there ever been a righteous person? - NO
Isaiah 41:26
Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.
Isaiah 64:6
We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
Romans 3:10
There is none righteous, no, not one.

Does righteousness come from following the Law? - NO
Galatians 2:21
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

(Luke 1:15) "He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb." John the Baptist was "filled with the Holy Ghost" even as a fetus!

When was the Holy Ghost given?
John 7:39 The Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
Acts 2:1-4
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


Atheists attend Bible Study on the Book of "Revelation" - today, Sunday 6 p.m.

E-mail for information.

Dolores Lear

"OPEN YOUR BIBLES, CHILDREN - There's no reason the Bible can't -- and shouldn't -- be used in public schools as a teaching resource, as long as constitutional barriers are respected."

Religious Scriptures in the USA, will not be used in Federal or State Schools, until they are accepted as Writings about the History of a High Tech Society of Purebred Human Male and Female Clones, translated as a God/Us in our Image, in Holy Books.

When the USA began, people accepted that Religion and Civil Government was to be separate. During the 1800 and 1900s, the Christian Majority did get their Religious Icons, Prayers and Holidays in Government, and the USA became Known as Christian America.

Today, with our High Tech Science, Genesis can be translated, as the High Tech Colonization of our Home Planet. Earth was another Space Base for our High Tech Human Ancestors from Space.

Today we hope in time, to put a Space Base on our Moon, or on Mars, before Colonizing a Planet.

All of this past High Tech, was recorded by Natural Humans without High Tech Knowledge, and copied and made into many religions.

The Religious Creator God/Us, in the Bible, is also called the Lord God. This Creator One God, was Elohim, JHVH/Jehovah, Jupiter, Allah, etc. Many Trinity Gods were Created, including Osiris and Jesus.

Until the Humans on Earth accept, the Old Scriptures of all Religions is about the High Tech Human Race from another Planet, that Colonized Earth, there cannot be Unity and Peace on Earth.

All Humans, in many locations, have been raised as a child as their Religion is the correct one, and when they are adults they cannot change from it, and teach their Children.

So Wars and Rumors of Wars will contine, until our Home Planet accepts, a High Tech Translation of All Scripture and Myth as the Truth of Life as we Know it on Earth.


Dolores Lear


In Genesis God/Us did make the Female Human, from the Male Human's Rib. Today we know this is Cloning.

These Original Equal Male and Female Human Clone Colony, began Body Birth Reproduction of Children.

The rest of the Humans on Earth were born in Human Bondage. And are still looking for their Other Half, in Body Birth Mates. Not possible.

The Body Birth Inequality, Greed and Killing, Wars and Rumors of Wars will continue, until our Home Planet accepts, a High Tech Translation of All Scripture and Myth.

High Tech returned 100 years ago. Why not use this lost Information to translate all Supernatural Scripture and Myth. High Tech was on Earth at Colonization and during the Noah/Atlantis Society.

Today all our differences, Religious Humans, have Polluted our Planet with their Greed and Hate. Humans have put their Resources into temples made by Human Hands, instead of Sharing the Earth's Resources Equally with All Species. Why?

We have Nuclear Weapons on land and sea. Why?
For the Love of God? Does this sound familiar, for the reason for all the Hate of Brothers/Sisters of Life on Earth?

What happened to the Love for our Brothers/Sisters of Life? Is that reserved for Religious Life After Death in Heaven?

Today we have the High Tech to Know, the Universe and All Life is made from GODs Elements, Visible and Invisible.

When any Visible GOD Element Life dies, it returns to the Invisible God Elements. There is No Death to the Invisible Elements or Visible Life as we Know it, would Not Be Visible.

To Be or Not to Be, that is the Question for Humans on Earth today. All People on Earth should study Religious Scripture and Myth with High Tech Science.


Yesterday in his 10:41 AM post, adamh accused me of liking "to spam about Paul, quote mining and ignoring the parts where he told Husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, to honor and respect them, and Pauls letter to the Corintians, 13th chapter."

adamh, I have been explaining why I'm concerned about the insistence of some Christians that there are only two approaches to reading the Bible: either you accept it in its entirety as God's inerrant Word -- or else you dismiss the whole book and dismiss Christ in the process. I have said more than once, right here on this blog, that I believe God speaks to us through the Bible -- I just also believe that the writers have added in their own biases.

To make my point that it's harmful to accept it all as God's inerrant Word -- WHY ON EARTH would I cite, as my examples, I Corinthians 13, or the verse where Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church?

I keep saying that Paul has written many wonderful things: My concern is that ALL of his words have been cannonized to the point where there are actually preachers today preaching that women are more easily-deceived than men, and thus we always need a "male covering" for anything we try to do, and so on and so forth.

adamh, you keep picking out the most-objectionable things said by certain Atheists like Harris and Nietzsche -- and you seem to think that whatever they've said wrong totally-obliterates anything good they may have said. I.e., you criticize Cole for quoting some of the wise and sensible sayings of Nietzsche, even though Cole readily admits that Nietzsche was wrong about some things. (Continued)


Bill, to follow up on your Idaho story about teaching Bible in the charter school - looks like there will be no place for the Bible in it. The charter school commission of Idaho ruled against it - and

Charter schools are using "public" funds that are shifted from public schools into "charter/private" schools - the best that can be accomplished here would be to teach Bible as an elective of comparative religion class or literary work alongside other religions. You cannot just teach the Bible alone, you have to spread "the love" among other religions and perhpas even have a class on "cults" like Mormonism, Scientiology, David Koresh, Raelians, etc. This would be rational, logical, scientific and also "fair".

To me this is a fascinating case study... The Bible has no more 'wisdom' to offer than a Harry Potter book. If you choose to live your life according to the ramblings of Bronze Age sheep herders in a desert who thought slavery acceptable and offering their daughters to rapists noble then that's your prerogative. But to claim everyone should adhere to it as some source of great moral value is preposterous.

This other article deals with teachers facing jail time for violating court order not to promote religion in public schools. I cannot believe that in this day and age there are "Christian idiots" like this who cannot understand that teaching and promoting a form of fortune telling in public schools is "irrational" and "unlawful" - can't they just finally give to Caesar what's owed to him and just shut up and pray in the closet as Jesus said? Or there is another Biblical quote they will find?

School administrators face jail for endorsing religion in public schools


(Continued) adamh, I think you have criticized Nietzsche, and some other Atheists you don't like, way more harshly than I have ever criticized Paul. You accuse me of ignoring historical context, even though I keep saying that I'm not demonizing Paul, because I realize he couldn't help being influenced by his culture.

But whereas Cole readily admits that some of Nietzsche's and Darwin's writings were wrong, I've never heard you admit that some of Paul's writings were wrong. Could it be that you feel it's sacriledge to dismiss some of Paul's assessments as wrong?

Whereas scientists and philosophers believe we can improve upon the theories of the scientists and philosophers who went before, many religious people do indeed seem to see it as sacriledge for anyone to "presume" that humans today can improve upon some of the ideas expressed in our ancient sacred texts.

This leads to some really convoluted reasoning, since it means Scriptural literalists have to figure out a way to "explain away" some of the more barbaric things that were written, while still upholding these statements as a part of God's inerrant Word. Thus your rationale that the whole reason Paul wanted women to keep silent in church was to protect them from arrest and persecution (actually "protection" has been cited as the reason behind many discriminatory practices against women and girls throught history).

The protection argument might have worked as an explanation for Paul's rules, if Paul hadn't so openly shared his reasoning that women needed to keep silent because it was shameful (not dangerous -- SHAMEFUL) for a woman to speak in church, as well as his reasoning that women shouldn't teach or exercise authority over men because man was made first, and woman was the one who got deceived and fell into sin. (Continued)


This is a much more detailed article form Washington Post on the Florida principle going to trial on federal charges of violating a court order on prayer in school - facing up to 6 months in jail. Ouch!

It's tough to be stupid - especially if you are a Baptist minister and principle of a public school.

ACLU filed suit against the school last year for a Establishment Clause violations, teachers leading prayers at school events, school-planned services and events held at churches.

Even after a federal judge issued an order against such practices and the school entered into a consent decree promising not to do them, the school still continued to engage in these practices. And now the judge is demanding some answers.

There are 2 pages to this article.


(Continued) The really sad thing is that both Christianity and Islam ORIGINALLY resulted in an elevated status for women, and a definite move towards equality. In a time and place where many men viewed women as dumb beasts who didn't even have a soul like men did, it was truly radical for a Church leader to say that women were equal heirs in the Kingdom of God.

And it probably turned men's brains upside-down and inside-out, when they pondered the admonition that they needed to be careful how they treated their wives, lest their own prayers be blocked.

This must also be considered when looking at the issue of male-male love, and how it was referred to in Scripture. In some of the cultures in Biblical times (i.e. Greek culture), male-male love was glorified as being superior to between love between a man and a woman -- because women were viewed as being so far beneath men in intelligence and spirituality, that a man could only have true fellowship with another man.

Women were property to be used like livestock -- they gave men children, and cared for them and did the menial work, which freed men (in some cultures) to enjoy intellectual, spiritual, and sexual discourse with their male "soul-mates."

I saw remnants of this attitude when reading the more recently-written "homosexual manifesto." Misogyny (hatred of women) is an ugly thing no matter who is promoting it. And women can hate women, too. To me, the problem here is hatred and dismissal of one group of people -- the problem is NOT the fact that some people are attracted to the same sex. And given the fact that so many gay men have close women friends, I don't think the majority of gay men today are misogynistic. (Continued)


(Continued) But I'd been meaning to talk more about how Christianity and Islam started out as beacon-lights for women's rights in the cultures they were born in. I've already talked some about Christianity.

Islam, born about 500 years later, went way beyond Christianity and Judaism in its assertion that women had rights to their own property (and didn't lose it after marriage), and also in its assertion that women had the right to divorce. And of course, the ability to retain their own property after marriage made it easier for women in bad marriages to leave without becoming destitute.

Whereas in our own Judeo-Christian culture, up until fairly recently (historically speaking -- Colonial times), women lost all property upon marriage, and men were legally in a position where they could divorce their lives and leave them and their children destitute, and keep all the property and move on and start a new family with no obligation to the old.

I'm not saying this was socially-acceptable or that the majority of men did this -- but it was LEGAL for the men who were selfish enough to do it. A woman could actually be somewhat wealthy going into a marriage, and be left in poverty if her husband decided to dump her and keep everything for himself.

So Islam was more advanced than early American society, originally -- but now a strict adherance to their ancient Scriptures, seems to be leading men in the most fundamentalist sects into tyrannizing their women. Sadly, the same can be said about some fundamentalist/literalist Christian sects.



Some more "freethinking" ideas for you as a Christian about women and the Bible.

Jesus says that divorce is permissible when the wife is guilty of fornication. But what if the husband is unfaithful? Jesus doesn't seem to care about that. Matthew 5:32, 19:9

Abandon your wife and children for Jesus and he'll give you a big reward. Matthew 19:29

"Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days." Why? Does God especially hate pregnant and nursing women? Matthew 24:19

In the last days God will make things especially rough on pregnant women. Mark 13:17

Even Mary had to be "purified" after giving birth to Jesus. Was she defiled by giving birth to the Son of God? Luke 2:22

Males are holy to God, not females. Luke 2:23

Jesus, when told that his mother and brothers want to see him, ignores and insults them by saying that his mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. Luke 8:20-21

Just for this Jesus should have been stoned as an "unruly child". If I were a god fearing Jew at that time I would be the first one to follow god's law and stone Jesus - I mean if I were a "crazy" Jew like there are "crazy" Christians today.




To the best of my knowledge only religious crazies in America kill their children following the word of god. This is an audio of the "Non Prophets" below - the same folks who run "Atheist Experience" TV show in Austin. Brace yourself for some harsh language - otherwise, it's a great piece... Where are American atheists who drown their children for darwin, cut their legs and arms off, kill them with non prayer and neglect? - this would be all over American news.

To me it is a pretty simple conclusion - religion in America makes people do irrational things. Is there anywhere an American atheist who did anyting like this to their children based on "Darwin's natural selection theory?" - surival of the fittests? - so, let's deny medical treatment to my kid.

The most remarkable thing - the mother still believes her daughter who died from diabetes will be resurrected. The jury disagreed with her and her hsuband - both in separate trials have been found gilty and facing up to 25 years in jail.

Now, I am for punishment of these Christains by the governemtn! 100% - they just being punished for being "criminally negligent" - may I add "stupid" while being "Christian".

Audio - Part 1
Audio - Part 2

Will Graham

Iggy asks if there is anywhere an American atheist does anything to children based on "Dawrwin's Natural Selection Theory"? Or, "Survival of the fittest?" Or denying medical treatment.

Yes indeed there are.

One of the key arguments for Abortion On Demand, almost universally advocated by atheists, is that the genetically "unfit" can be spared a "poor quality of life" fact, any life at all for that matter. Further, the Atheist Professor of Ethics at Princeton, Peter Singer, advocated infanticide for children with "genetic defect" who are less than 30 days old if the parents request it.

And I am amused that Iggy supports punishment of Christians for "criminal negligence" while he EXCUSES the doctors who commit malpractice routinely, killing well over 100,000 people a year.

So, Igor, you can ignore it, and stamp your feet, and brag about your guns and "sharp knives", but you ain't gonna shut me up.

Because, like Susan, you are a moral relativist who makes up the rules as he goes along, as you admitted to us in a email.

Will Graham

Susan, if you are trying to say that Paul advocated treating women like livestock, you are going beyond "interpreting" and just lying.

Just like your buddies Cole and Iggy, who can't seem to help lying about believers. The local atheists LOVE Nietzsche, they don't just say he was "wrong about some things". They love him because he HATED CHRISTIANS AND JEWS. Reading some of The AntiChrist is like reading a speech by Hitler.

And yet the local atheist praise him on their radio program on Sunday mornings, with not a hint that he was "wrong about some things".

I know you are bitter towards us...we GET IT! And we know whose side you are on. We GET THAT TOO!

I wish you would just come out with it.

But you constant passing of judgment on Paul is irrational considering your own MORAL RELATIVISM. You don't beleiive in truth Susan, you only believe what fits your views of what you "feel" with your "whole being". After all, you have repeatedly said that you could be wrong about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

So, I think you are wrong about Paul, and you are right, I don't believe he was wrong; you continue to try and deny that they Christians were living under a totalitarian occupation force, and could be picked off at any time.

Iggy is unbalanced, he was raised in a state educational system that was based on atheistic hatred of all religion. As one Community of Reason person said, he was like some others they had seen coming out of eastern europe wanting to "bash Christians."

One of his carry overs of that attitude was that he used to imply that the POLICE ARE WATCHING THIS BLOG and could shut us up, but, not being a citizen, he did not understand the Constitution.

But at least he has an excuse. Whats yours?

Will Graham

By the way, Susan, did you know that "Greek love" you are praising included sex with children?

And killing outright any baby that did not meet their standards.

They were perverts, even by our standards.


Will, which one of your strawmen do I pick off first? How about I start off by challenging you to prove your accusation that I am "praising" Greek love?

Second, where did I say that Paul advocated treating women like livestock? I actually made the point that in the midst of cultures where the men viewed women as property/livestock, Paul introduced the concept that women were equal heirs with men to the Kingdom of God. How many times do we have to say, "Reading comprehension problem!"

Third, I have NEVER denied that the early Church was under tremendous persecution. And adamh might have had a case for saying Paul's limits were just an attempt to protect women from arrest --

EXCEPT that Paul quite clearly stated his view that it was shameful (not dangerous -- SHAMEFUL) for a woman to speak in church, and also his view that a woman shouldn't be allowed to teach or exercise authority over a man because of man being made first, and woman being the one who was deceived and fell into sin.

So, Will, since you admit that you don't think Paul was wrong, does this mean you agree with his pronouncement that it's shameful for a woman to speak in church, and also that women shouldn't teach or have positions of authority (except for maybe over other women or children) in the church, because of man being made first and woman being the one who got deceived into sin?

You say you think I'm wrong about Paul -- so maybe you think I'M the one with the reading comprehension problem, and I'm just not "getting" the deeper meaning behind Paul's words -- if I were spiritual enough, I'd recognize that "It's shameful for a woman to speak in church" is really code-language for "Dear sisters, please keep quiet so you don't get arrested!"??? By all means, Will (or adamh, Jim C., PreacherDJ, DW, or anyone else who feels led) -- enlighten me and tell me how I should really read it!

Will Graham

Susan, befoe you pick the strawman out of my eye, pick the STAWMEN out of your own eyes first.

You are a MORAL RELATIVIST. Your standard of right and wrong is what you "feel" "with your whole being"; and you use a Double Standard writing style to try and hide it.

Yes Susan, Paul was correct in the situation the church found itself in, at the time. That is how I read it. If you don't like it, tough cookies, as Iggy like to say. And Paul never said that man didn't sin; in fact, when you think about it, the woman was deceived but man sinned deliberately.

And as to "Greek Love" you speak favorably of male-male love (your 11:33 a.m. post...go ahead and explain it away, maybe I didn't INTERPRET YOU CORRECTLY! LOL!); the same with women being treated as livestock. The problem isn't reading comprehension, its the DOUBLE STANDARD writing style that you use to push your MORAL RELATIVISM.

So Susan (or "Cole", Iggy, Red Biddy/Theo, fnu or anyone else who feels led) enlighten me on what the truth is and how you know it beyond simply asserting your morally relativistic positions.


Has anyone seen the Monty Python movie where there is duel between two knights? One of them is being cut to pieces, losing an arm, the other arm, both legs etc. all the while claiming his victory in vanquishing his foe who is cutting him to ribbons.

Remind you of anyone here?

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