What If, Then What

What does Christ teach about the issues of life? Make sure you back up your opinions with scripture, and always be courteous and polite in talking with others.<P>Only Permanent and Native Residents may post here.

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Re: What If, Then What

Postby natman » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:54 pm

jasenj1 wrote:As the person who has freedom to do something we need to be wary of not stirring up trouble and causing strife.


I am not as certain about that, particularly considering Jesus' examples. Jesus openly harvested some wheat and ate it on the Sabbath. When approached by the Pharisees about His "working on the Sabbath", Jesus did not hesitate to point out His freedom to do so, indicating that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Mark 2:23-28 wrote:
23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

25He answered,
“Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?

26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

27Then he said to them,
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”



Jesus did not draw back from expressing His freedoms to do certain things, even when He knew they would cause a stir with the religious leaders. In fact, He was very bold in doing them.

As "Christians" I do not believe that God intends for us to remain "immature" in our faith. In fact, we are EXPECTED to constantly grow. As such, we are EXPECTED to grow out of fear of things such as eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols because we know that idols are nothing more than wood, stone or metal... they are nothing. Similarly, we should grow into the understanding that there is nothing sinful about the nude human body in and of itself, that we are all STILL created in the "Image and Likeness of God Himself", "naked and unashamed" and that is how we are SUPPOSED to be.

The bottom line is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "offensive" to the world at large, including and especially to those who would superimpose the worlds rules, including rules of dress, on top of Scripture.

This does not mean that we should use our freedom to be nude as an "affront" to purposely offend others. It means that we should go about our business and if someone is offended or asks us how we can justify being nude, we are prepared to give them an answer, with gentleness and kindness.


Petros wrote:And if I thought the local authorities would let me get away with it, I would be SORELY tempted to pull a St Francizs in the sanctuary as I leave.


Now this is what I am talking about. St Francis dropped his robes out of humility. Here, it sounds like you would be doing so out of contempt. I would have a problem with that.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Petros » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:45 pm

jochanaan - quite agree. Any leadership position [beyond the usher level] has a raised probability that views will become relevant and need to be opened. And of course, good luck with that.

natman - in the first place, we seem to have different takes on Francis. Based on my reading of his character [not that I doubt his humility], I take it as a severing of ties. His father has basically told him "My way or the highway." By his action, he declares, "So be it. If I am not to be your son, I should not take the wealth or the position - and herefore he clothes - that belong to your son."

If I were to do it [most unlikely, but you never know], it would not be contempt. It would be, if you will, an affirmation and a public notice: "You have the right to admit or exclude on whatsoever basis you choose. I will not be bound by your rulebook, and I will leave, which is the right thing to do. But I give notice that your rulebooks and your judgements are traditions of men, not the commandments of God."

I rarely show contempt, and when I do I do it very differently. I do not think in this case Paul's counsel to avoid offense applies; if this ever happened, I would already be an offense, and I would see it as a dust off the feet testimony.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Ramblinman » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:49 am

jochanaan wrote:Petros, I'm about where you are. If asked a direct question, I won't deny it, but my anti-nudist brothers and sisters don't need to have my different views rubbed in their faces until they're at least ready to listen and give me a fair hearing. Yet the musical gifts that God has given me, I would love to share with my brothers and sisters--but this leaves me much more vulnerable to a charge of "false pretenses" if I am found out. Therefore, I would not try to assume any position of leadership in a congregation without telling the pastor or worship leader about my tendencies.


Jochanaan,

The Bible teaches us that immature Christians are not ready for meat, but that does not mean that we leave them to starve!
They should be fed milk so to speak.

Also consider Isaiah 28:10-11:

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Bare_Truth » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:35 pm

In response to Johannan's comment about answering a direct question from a fellow congregation member about nudism Ramblinman wrote:The Bible teaches us that immature Christians are not ready for meat, but that does not mean that we leave them to starve!
They should be fed milk so to speak.

Also consider Isaiah 28:10-11:

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

Ramblingman,
Could you elaborate a bit on what you mean by giving those who directly ask if we are naturists, an answer that is "milk", and precept upon precept etc.

I do not see how anything but an honest straigh forward answer or simple silence can be ones proper response, but your assertion about milk rather than meat and about precepts seems to imply that you see a third option, and I would like to understand what that is, if in fact that is what you meant.

If a deacon comes up to you and asks you, "Are you a nudist!", you could say:
A. Yes because within his understanding of the terms that is how he would classify you.
B. You could say "no" because you classify your self as a "Christian Naturist" and that has a different denotation to you than the term "Nudist", However he would likely consider that dissimulation[1].
C. You could answer the question with a question such as who has told you something that has caused you to ask that and what did they tell you?
D. You could say, "That is an unexpected question. We need to talk about this.".
E. You could say, "That question sounds accusatory, I am concerned to know who is accusing me of what and we need to address this accusation properly.
Etc.

Some of those sorts of responses could fall into what you are calling milk I suppose, but I though it better to make this post and get your take on what you are referring to when you cite "milk" and "precept upon precept". Could you please elaborate.

-----------------------
[1]
dis·sim·u·late
verb (used without object)
2.
to conceal one's true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby jasenj1 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:33 pm

natman wrote:
jasenj1 wrote:As the person who has freedom to do something we need to be wary of not stirring up trouble and causing strife.


I am not as certain about that, particularly considering Jesus' examples. Jesus openly harvested some wheat and ate it on the Sabbath. When approached by the Pharisees about His "working on the Sabbath", Jesus did not hesitate to point out His freedom to do so, indicating that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

I somewhat agree. But we must be careful. Jesus was Jesus. We are not. If we see error being clearly taught, we should confront it - see Paul. (Or Joel Osteen.)


Paul also admonishes us to love one another, not get caught up in disputable doctrines, etc.


Jesus did not draw back from expressing His freedoms to do certain things, even when He knew they would cause a stir with the religious leaders. In fact, He was very bold in doing them.

Agreed. Again, Jesus is God. I think the rules are different for Him.

As "Christians" I do not believe that God intends for us to remain "immature" in our faith. In fact, we are EXPECTED to constantly grow. As such, we are EXPECTED to grow out of fear of things such as eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols because we know that idols are nothing more than wood, stone or metal... they are nothing. Similarly, we should grow into the understanding that there is nothing sinful about the nude human body in and of itself, that we are all STILL created in the "Image and Likeness of God Himself", "naked and unashamed" and that is how we are SUPPOSED to be.

I will not disagree. But I will not agree, either. If you feel it is your duty to enlighten and mature others by teaching them the proper perspective on social nudity, go for it. But there are a myriad of other cultural things that are arbitrary and you're going to find it hard to tell people that every one of them is wrong - e.g. hair length, clothing styles, "curse" words, etc.

The bottom line is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "offensive" to the world at large, including and especially to those who would superimpose the worlds rules, including rules of dress, on top of Scripture.

This does not mean that we should use our freedom to be nude as an "affront" to purposely offend others. It means that we should go about our business and if someone is offended or asks us how we can justify being nude, we are prepared to give them an answer, with gentleness and kindness.


That I will agree with. And I further think we can choose to limit our social nudity in the name of harmony & unity. We can also do as you propose and be more open about it.

There are many doctrines denominations disagree on - baptism, speaking in tongues, female clergy, etc. We can point out each other's faults or concentrate on feeding the poor, visiting orphans & widows, etc.

I'll agree that it's a difficult line to walk.

- Jasen.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Ramblinman » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:46 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:...(snip)...Some of those sorts of responses could fall into what you are calling milk I suppose, but I though it better to make this post and get your take on what you are referring to when you cite "milk" and "precept upon precept". Could you please elaborate.

-----------------------
[1]
dis·sim·u·late
verb (used without object)
2.
to conceal one's true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.


Consider the context of my remark...
it was in part a gentle disagreement with jasenj1's remark, " So the burden falls on us to keep quiet as much as we are able". and even more directed at Jochanaan's comment, " If asked a direct question, I won't deny it, but my anti-nudist brothers and sisters don't need to have my different views rubbed in their faces until they're at least ready to listen and give me a fair hearing".

I was not suggesting that we be evasive in the face of specific questions.
But a succinct answer may be worse than no answer at all.

As you suspected, there is another way, neither keeping our brothers and sisters in ignorance, nor blundering into a pastor's office with some terminology that is sure to go right over most pastor's heads and surely most of the congregation.

The third way is focusing on systematically laying down the precepts that led us to where we are.
Not to everyone of course. I am supposing that most of us are mature men in various positions of leadership within our families and local churches. As our teaching turns toward theology of the body, the concept of being created in the image of God (including but not limited to our corporeal being), we will find plenty of opportunity to begin correcting some of the common pitfalls in interpreting scripture, helping create a self-awareness of cultural bias that predispose us to certain erroneous notions and some practical advise about keeping our way holy in a very unholy society. You may notice I have said nothing about naturism and nothing directly about nudity.

In the contemporary American church, the precept building I outlined is an absolute necessity before we can begin to consider discussing social nudity.

Our church is a revolving door with newcomers, prudes, libertines, and a few seasoned Christians who are trained to think outside the box. And to be honest, naturism is so often badly misunderstood, the Bible and the culture of Bible days so poorly understood that we would be fools if we used terms such as "nudist" and "naturist" without regard for the personal consequences of being misunderstood and condemned.

But given enough time, some of the people in our inner circle will be ready for a candid discussion about social nudity.

So far I have not even attempted to answer your question about being asked "out of the blue" regarding nudism or naturism, much less answering whether we are involved in it. But it is time to give it some thought...

How can there be one pat answer to people with varying degrees of trustworthiness, varying degrees of maturity and knowledge?

I must say, I think some of your proposed responses to direct questions are in general, a very good beginning to dialog.


So what is the context of this hypothetical deacon you asked about?
Are we close friends? Do we barely know one another?
Did he collar me in the hallway on the way to a worship service?
Or are we in a private setting where we will have the privacy and time to clarify terminology.
If we are not even ascribing the same concept to the word "nudist", we would be talking past one another.

Reminds me of the story about the actress who told a shocked acquaintance that she was a thespian.

Or perhaps you remember the old Abbott and Costello routine, "Who's on first?". One of the best themes in comedy is to see how long two people can misunderstand one another.

Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear:

Jeremiah 5:21
This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. Matthew 13:13

Jesus was not trying to be evasive. He was dealing with the limitations of foolish hard-hearted people.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby jasenj1 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:52 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:I do not see how anything but an honest straigh forward answer or simple silence can be ones proper response, but your assertion about milk rather than meat and about precepts seems to imply that you see a third option, and I would like to understand what that is, if in fact that is what you meant.

If a deacon comes up to you and asks you, "Are you a nudist!", you could say:


I'd likely answer with "What do you mean by the term 'nudist'?" And then drive for a private conversation.

It would be a tough situation knowing what could be at stake. I would answer carefully and truthfully and entrust the outcome to God. Rom. 8:28 (Been there. Done that.)

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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Petros » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:15 am

My sister - had a chat with her thisd evening - is a case in point.

She has ears to catch vibration, but does not have the processor cap[acity to hear, in many areas.

I have often [well, often for me, translate that as about once every two years] told her this or that. In most cases she simply lets it slide off the duck's back. About once everfy
six years I say something she finds disturbing. Unlike my brother, she has not rejected and disowned me - she just makes it clear she s NOT going to hear it and would prefer I not say it. My suggestion that she needs the Lord was one of those.

Tonight she told me of her creaky neck and bad knees [she is seriously overweight] and recently diagnosed pinched spinal nerve. I felt a duty, though I knew the outcome. Lena, says I, you ought to see a chiropractor. She agreed that our niece had told her the same thing. We all of uds know - it will never happen.

If I ever discussed naturism with her, if I hinted that I have been known to be nude outside the bathtub, she would not reject me. She WOULD be perturbed, and if I kept talking she would move out of range.

In such a case, or the case of my brother who rejects me because any Christian is the crazed fanatical threat to his belief in evolution - sometimes there may be a reason, a call, an obligation. But - possibly because of the "not without honor" principle - the best I dare hope is that someday the Lord will send a messenger they cannot doubt or deny, and maybe then will remember I said something about it.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby jochanaan » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:32 am

Here is the trouble with the "gradual" approach you mentioned, Ramblinman: Most if not all of us can give an eloquent defense of our views, citing Bible passages, common sense and even a few research studies--if we are given a fair hearing. Yet far too often, we are not given that hearing! People are so convinced that "the Bible forbids it" when it does no such thing, that they will either shut us off or condemn us as heretics--without listening to the evidence we can bring.

I do not know how to solve this difficulty, but it is a difficulty.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby jasenj1 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:20 am

jochanaan wrote:Here is the trouble with the "gradual" approach you mentioned, Ramblinman: Most if not all of us can give an eloquent defense of our views, citing Bible passages, common sense and even a few research studies--if we are given a fair hearing. Yet far too often, we are not given that hearing! People are so convinced that "the Bible forbids it" when it does no such thing, that they will either shut us off or condemn us as heretics--without listening to the evidence we can bring.

I do not know how to solve this difficulty, but it is a difficulty.


I completely agree.
And let me say clearly: I do not believe there is One Right Way to handle the situation. We all have discernment and convictions. Beyond being truthful, loving, etc. each person has to handle the confrontation with wisdom.
The outcome may be that you are kicked out of the hypothetical church - and that could be a good thing. Or it could be that you educate someone in an area they'd never thought through before - and that would be a good thing.

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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Petros » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:08 am

There are, as I see it, two poles, ans an infinity of slots between, and where we go depends on who we are and how we are called.

We knew one guy - strong Christian. He could not hold a job for more thazn a month or so - as soon as he was hired, he would start speaking out on topics from salvation to the assignment of tasks in the shop. The family survived [turmoil and unertainty that would seriously mess me up] and I do not doubt some seed was planted and something grew out of it. But he did a lot of preach / prophesy and a lot of dust off the feert shaking.

Then I have known several - strong Christians - who never said word one about Chris, the gospel, their faith. They were just there beinbg who they were. And that, for me, was a very clear, if silent, prophetic preaching. Seed was planted, whatever I may be I was one seed that grew.

Jesus has all sdorts of wauys to treat blind eyes. He doesn't give us any fixed techniques to apply across the board.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Ramblinman » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:30 am

jochanaan wrote:Here is the trouble with the "gradual" approach you mentioned, Ramblinman: Most if not all of us can give an eloquent defense of our views, citing Bible passages, common sense and even a few research studies--if we are given a fair hearing. Yet far too often, we are not given that hearing! People are so convinced that "the Bible forbids it" when it does no such thing, that they will either shut us off or condemn us as heretics--without listening to the evidence we can bring.

I do not know how to solve this difficulty, but it is a difficulty.


Jochanaan,

You are making my point for me!
Can't you see that the root problem is not antagonism to nudism but a much deeper problem that needs treatment first? It doesn't even have to be nudism we are talking about.

Not everyone needs an attitude adjustment.
In my case, I agreed with nudism in theory (though I would not have called it that), but for a long time I assumed that nudists were a bit like unicorns and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: the stuff of urban legends, jokes that are in poor taste.
When I saw an ad for a campground in a counterculture newspaper, I was in college and wrote to express interest. (The public Internet was just getting underway and there weren't a lot of online resources in those days).
So most of what I learned was from the brochure they mailed and word of mouth from a girl from work and one of my house mates.

I certainly agree that there are almost as many approaches to guiding people in your care as there are people in the world. Let the Holy Spirit lead.

If naturism/nudism were only a very comfortable way to enjoy a day at the beach, I'd say, "Why bother? The textile beach is closer and you would get less backlash from misguided religious people". (although a few hard shells forbid all mixed gender swimming no matter how much you wear).

So I suppose some people don't need to start at the very beginning, let's say "Body Attitudes 101".
Again, let the Holy Spirit guide you.

But I am baffled when I read stories of Christian naturists who manage to keep naturist beliefs and practice secret from their kids and everyone they know, not even teaching the concepts underlying it, and then remark wistfully "I wish there were more Christians who didn't oppose naturism".

I don't think most of us want to be a pariah in our family, church and community, but in some parts of the world, even becoming a Christian engenders far more hostility.

I don't think I would ever make it a point of dogma to say that every Christian must go to a nudist resort every summer. But the mindset that gives us the liberty to do so is priceless and should be inseparable from what we teach those under our watch care.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Ramblinman » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:52 pm

jasenj1 wrote:...The outcome may be that you are kicked out of the hypothetical church - and that could be a good thing. Or it could be that you educate someone in an area they'd never thought through before - and that would be a good thing.

- Jasen.


Right! While we do not seek it, neither should we tell ourselves that we must do whatever it takes not to be kicked out of church. Instead, we must do whatever God puts on our heart, come what may.

Painful, of course! But God can bring good from this.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:26 pm

Seeking further clarification of my scenario, Ramblingman wrote:So what is the context of this hypothetical deacon you asked about?
, Well I was a little vague, but somewhat on purpose, since one does not always know what sort of mindset they are dealing with when confronted with such a question. However I suppose I had in mind the diligent sort of faithful dependable servant to the congregation who gets things done, and manages several tasks, but is not necessarily the sharpest theological knife in the drawer. I left the scenario a little vague because one often does not know what the deacon is like and there is a risk that if he would take such a direct approach based on what he has heard and has not placed the matter in the pastor's hands that he is in over his head and a bit hasty having found such an heretic in the congregation. However, one might be approached with such a question from a deacon who happens to be a closet naturist :fantastic:

However my encounters with Deacons, especially those not into or beyond late middle age has been with the sort who might just show you to the door on their own initiative and tell you to contact the pastor before returning, then they would go tell the pastor what an obstinate heretic you were.

Johanaan was on the mark with respect to what your chances might be to get a fair hearing and I think that Jon Marc may have some personal experience to offer.
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Re: What If, Then What

Postby Ramblinman » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:28 pm

No one in my church has ever asked me what I think of nudists, ever!

That said, if some deacon approached me in a hallway, asking such questions, it would mean that has deduced from online posts who I am or perhaps someone saw me at a nudist event and told him.

It would strike me as wrong in so many ways to bring up such accusations in a public place.
Even in private, someone I don't know beyond mere acquaintance has not earned the right to discuss private matters with me.

I don't attend the sort of church that condones this sort of inquisition for one thing.

Lastly, Jochanaan discussed the possibility of admitting to social nudity in a very public setting.
I have proposed nothing of the kind.

My church remains tolerant and deliberately silent on matters that cannot be directly proved from scripture.
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