This particular rock is getting like a hard place...

b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk
Sun Feb 18 02:08:11 EST 2001


Dear Friends,
             Most of what I've read about the conflicting evangelical Christian 
and neutralist stances tends to confirm what I wrote which can be expressed as 
follows (and here I also applaud Jonathan Safen's attempts to bring sanity):

1] Can we please avoid aggressive application of a strict Christian historicism 
which denies that it is so?  Christianity is one interpretation of the Hebrew 
Bible, and it is not acceptable in an open list to pretend otherwise. I'd like 
to suggest, too, that using (B)CE and HB would not bust anyone's membership of 
the evangelical Christian brotherhood, just indicate a willingness to be meek.

As I recall, that is something Moses and Jesus are supposed to have in common.

2] The recent fortified theological aggressiveness, for example, has to my mind 
strengthened the view that Christians 'in the flesh' are intimidating specimens 
for others to cope with.  One is reminded of a man loudly bricking himself in, 
and inviting silenced neighbours to suffocate with him. Do I hear: 'No thanks'?

Personally, I think it's time we faced the fact we ARE different in perspective 
by having the courtesy to use neutral terms. We all know what we believe anyway 
but there are ways of showing that incidentally so as to learn from each other.

I have heard the Holy Spirit referred to familiarly, even possessively, but the 
shekinah, in Jewish and Christians traditions, brings unity, wisdom and peace, 
and none of us should ever be so very definite that we forget how small we are.

Is it possible, dear Christians, to remember God's love for his ancient people, 
on the one hand, and, on the other, that all people are made in God's image, so 
refraining from the bruising, dismissive comment that insists on its own way?

I am a Christian. Actually, a 'born-again' one, but I grew out of the fear of 
being overwhelmed by others into a more humble awareness of God's love for all.

Are we going to grieve the Spirit by aggressive insistence, or choose peace and 
mutual respect? We can still all think what we think, but we need not rub each 
other's noses in the differences. That's precisely why I use (B)CE and HB terms.

However, if others choose not to do that, I'll weather it, so long as there is 
a clear understanding that world-views are there for challenging. I may win my 
brother by argument, but may not close off his options and enforce acquiescence.

Shalom.

Bruce.






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