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Five Solas

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About Five Solas

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    Separates Water & Dry Land

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  1. When I think about how the LDS Church & the attitudes of its membership have continued to change/evolve in the decade+ that I've been out of it--I think this is a powerful illustration of a big change, and one that I don't think has been given enough attention. I honestly don't recall anyone ever rubbishing an American institution like the NYT when I was LDS. To be sure, individual articles in the press were questioned and debated--but never like this. It's the largest circulation newspaper in our largest American city--and judging from the number of likes you got for you post--for many LDS it's now just an example of garbage in, garbage out. If you had told me 15 years ago that the LDS Church was going to part company with the Boy Scouts of America, that the US military ROTC programs were going to draw back from BYU, and that on public message boards LDS members would loudly denounce the NYT as corrupt and a source of "fake news"--I would have thought you were a false prophet if ever there was such a thing. In 50 years when interested students of Mormonism look back on the Thomas Monson years--they are without doubt going to see a period of retrenchment and retreat. In fairness to Monson, I think the LDS Church peaked before he took the helm and was already started down the other side of the growth curve. But it's difficult to see how his leadership accomplished anything but accelerate the trend. --Erik __________________________________________________________ Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove Dance me to the end of love --Leonard Cohen (1934 - 2016)
  2. Well, if I'm not meeting your expectations, at least one of us must be at fault. :0) Christian liberty is an interesting expression--derived from a number of passages in the New Testament. I never heard the phrase back when I was LDS. (And a quick reality-check using the search box on lds.org confirms that in this particular case--the fault is unlikely to have been mine.) Is it possible that coming from a religious background characterized by the absence of the notion--that I've overcompensated/overemphasized it here and now? I'll conceded the possibility, but I'll ask that you demonstrate my error with Scripture, Okrahomer. For those unfamiliar with the meaning of the expression, here's a quick primer: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/4-principles-exercise-christian-liberty/. And yes, Christians must sometimes restrain the exercise of their freedom. From the link I provided-- That does not mean that I must become the slave of another’s conscience. John Calvin puts the point well when he says that we restrain the exercise of our freedom for the sake of weak believers, but not when we are faced with Pharisees who demand that we conform to what is unscriptural. Where the gospel is at stake, liberty needs to be exercised; where the stability of a weak Christian is at stake, we need to restrain it. If you think you have a contradictory viewpoint from Piper, MacArthur, et al.--bring it. In fact, please consider this a CFR. Bring it or kindly retract your claim. When God revealed all of the animals to Peter in a vision (Acts 10, 11) and told him to rise, slaughter and eat--He didn't make an exception with beef for fear of offending Hindus. He didn't tell Peter to make an exception with pork because Islam would be invented & its adherents wouldn't appreciate that. Nor does God turn water into wine (John 2) only to tell believers they must abstain for fear of offending 20th century LDS. I mean to disparage no one with these comments, Okrahomer. It's my responsibility to be inclusive and to provide appropriate options for the people on my team, whether it's vegetarian options for those who think eating meat is wrong (or at least just not for them) or non-alcoholic beverages for those who don't wish to consume. If you believe my conduct and views as I've expressed them are inappropriate and unbiblical--again, don't just make assertions against me--bring your evidence from Scripture. --Erik _______________________________________ See the cowboys fat and reeling Dancing underneath the ceiling Leave the bar the theatre's closing Make a wall of your religion Imitation of Christ --The Psychedelic Furs, 1980
  3. I think you need to take a person's word on it, Okrahomer. That doesn't mean a suspension of all judgement/discernment of course. If someone tells you he or she doesn't have a problem and yet appears repeatedly out of control--then respond according to what you see, not what you hear. And if someone tells you he or she is a Christian and yet argues Jesus was a created being--then apply a little skepticism (apologies in advance to all the Jehovah's Witnesses I just threw under the bus). Does that answer your questions? And out of curiosity, what did you think I might say? Paul's message in the passages you cited previously isn't for believers to adopt the lowest common denominator at all times & in all cases in order to eliminate any possible risk of offense. If you go back and read them--you'll see it would be pretty crazy if that were supposed to be the case. --Erik __________________________________________ I build my canopy of steel It fulfills my sense of real A chrome protection --Catherine Wheel, 1993
  4. To be sure it is that, Scott. But the LDS Church doesn't exist in a vacuum. Please correct me if I'm wrong (and kindly furnish a corrective link or two if I am)--but I don't recall you've ever once objected to a thread about another religious leader/legacy "on the basis of relevance." Your words here may cause the board's readers to think there is something particularly irrelevant about Dr. King in the context of Mormonism. Is this really your point of view? Do you think the work & legacy of Dr. King has had zero effect on the LDS Church, its leaders, its membership, its teachings? --Erik
  5. When you use the language-- The NYT editorial board, and their defenders, are stunningly lacking in self-awareness when they try to spin this as just the type of objective, journalistic obituary that they do all the time. It's painfully obvious to everyone. We're no longer talking about a couple of obituaries, rongo. We don't need to debate Castro vs. Monson because you've made this much bigger--you're challenging the integrity of the institution as a whole. And you're being pretty mild compared to some of your compatriots on the thread. But it's really not helping any of you. If our largest circulation newspaper in our largest city is chronically biased and lacking integrity--well, what does that say about the city and the people who sustain it? It rubbishes them, doesn't it? Trust me--what is clear to you is not "painfully obvious to everyone." But what is obvious is that you and the NYT's patrons in that great city (and across the globe for that matter) can't both be right--and you've forced your reader to make a choice. Now can you see your mistake? --Erik
  6. It's a really good question, Okrahomer. In both of those chapters, Paul is writing to believers. He doesn't want believers to divide over a number of different questions, including what they eat and drink and whether they regard the sabbath day above the others in the week or whether they hold every day alike. But it has no bearing for those outside the Christian Faith who worship a different god/gods and follow other commands. Here's where Paul's words have practical effect for me. My wife and I host a church small group/bible study Wednesday evenings at our home. I will often serve beer, wine or cider with dinner to those of legal age who wish to have one. But if we had a Christian brother or sister who was recovering from addiction and this presented a difficulty--then we should not and would not be serving to anyone. And this actually did happen for a couple of years in our small group. That's where the rubber meets the road with those passages. But that said, please go back and review what I wrote at the beginning (page 1) of this thread. I have a responsibility to be inclusive and to ensure non-alcoholic beverages are available for those who choose not to drink alcohol (for whatever good reasons they may have). And it's a responsibility I take seriously. --Erik
  7. We've discussed religious leaders and their legacies in the past on the board. Late last year we had a couple of threads on Martin Luther, recognizing the 500 year anniversary of the Ninety-Five Theses. A lot of Luther's beliefs/Protestant doctrines make LDS uncomfortable (and I should know, my user name has repeatedly proved to be a lightning rod around here). But it didn't stop us from having some discussion. Yet Luther's namesake, a man who drew insight and inspiration from Scripture, the founder and president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference--you want him/his legacy to be out-of-bounds? Sincere, non-rhetorical question here: On the basis of what, Scott? (You can answer it too, kiwi--since you gave Scott a 'like' for his curious opinion.) Confident I'm not the only reader wondering. --Erik __________________________ Southern man better keep your head Don't forget what your good book said --Neil Young, 1970
  8. [In this new creation all distinctions vanish.] There is no room for and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, [nor difference between nations whether alien] barbarians or Scythians [who are the most savage of all], nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all [everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction of person]. --Colossians 3:11, Amplified Bible I read the “Amplified” translation of the New Testament back when I was still LDS. And the rendering of this passage has long stuck with me. The words in []’s are the “amplifications” intended for greater context and understanding of the thought being communicated. And they are sometimes quite beautifully composed, In this new creation all distinctions vanish. I like to think about that. Today is the day we honor Dr. King and his legacy. It means as a practical matter, I’ll be spending the afternoon riding bikes with my kids, instead of them at school and me at work. It also means they are sleeping in and I have a few minutes to enter my thoughts into the keyboard (while I fast walk on my treadmill). But it’s also a moment for reflection. If I want to see a direct result of King and his legacy, I find it in the attitude of my kids toward various persons of color. Influenced as they are by so many things that were influenced by him, such as our public schools--and yes, even our churches. And I will readily admit their attitudes are healthier than mine were at their age. I’m interested in folks' thoughts on Dr. King and his legacy here. Once upon a time predominately LDS Utah held out against his holiday, and if memory serves was the very last state in our Union to recognize it. Would that be a source of pride, embarrassment, or maybe just a shrug and a 'who cares'? All thoughts welcome. --Erik PS. If you have Netflix, David Letterman’s recent interview with Barack Obama is well worth an hour (watched it with my wife after the kids were in bed last night). And very much on the topic.
  9. You, cdowis, stargazer, and others--please take all the pot shots at the New York Times you want. It has the largest circulation in our nation's largest city--and indeed, ranks 18th in the world by circulation, according to Wikipedia. It is the very definition of mainstream. So if you're just itching to prove fringe, cult bonafides--this is sure a great way to do it. Make mine a double! ;0) --Erik PS. But I honestly don't get it. Have you ever bought a Sunday edition of the NYT and read the "Arts & Leisure" section? Or "Travel & Vacations?" Or the real estate section? Have you not heard about the 1 percent? Sorry to break it to all you haters out there--but it ain't exactly Mother Jones.
  10. Our God turned water into wine, Hamba Tuhan. And in your previous post, you appeared to equate fermented beverages with sexual pornography. You asked how one differs from the other in the context of an after-hours work social. And called out on it--you made no attempt to clarify or walk it back. Instead you doubled-down, here asking me to explain how there could be a problem. Because you *honestly* can't see it yourself, and you *genuinely* want to understand my point of view. Be flattered by my incredulity--it means I think you're a good deal more sophisticated than this. But the ends don't justify the means, Hamba Tuhan. And in your case, the means is blasphemy. --Erik
  11. It takes a certain humility to recognize this--that sometimes your absence serves better than your presence. It's very true. :0) --Erik
  12. By God's grace, my life isn't some rudderless thing carried by the currents of expediency, Hamba Tuhan. Scripture informs my values first and foremost. And there are things that are clearly out of bounds. Your example doesn't cause me a moment's hesitation. That you appear to equate sexual pornography with fermented/distilled drinks--well, let's just say I'd enjoy reading your argument, using the Bible as your point of reference. I've good reason to think you've read a few of my posts and have some sense of what I'm about. "I don't know yet what your objection to strip clubs may be"--forgive me for saying so, but this feels a bit sly on your part. You can feign surprise and ask me why I think that, but the conversation will be at an end if you try to play that game. I won't have the patience. --Erik
  13. I would have walked out. For the same reason I don't patronize strip clubs (even though I know some people, happily a small minority where I work, do). Having a drink & conversation in a bar or restaurant is an altogether different thing than the group titillation described in your example. I don't subscribe to, "When in Rome..." That this was your personal experience notwithstanding, you introduced an edge case that isn't terribly helpful to the topic at hand. --Erik ______________________________________________________ You're surrounded by the bitter and the boring And you wonder if you're on the turn And again you get hurt when they're dishing the dirt Is it me that's feeling insecure? --Soft Cell, 1981
  14. This mirrors my own experience to a great extent. I too was LDS for the first ~ decade of my career, and while I sometimes attended the optional social events (and occasionally served as designated driver)--I never made it a priority. I believed that if I just focused on my client deliverables, worked long & hard that the cosmic forces would ensure I got what I deserved and my career would take care of itself. Suffice it to say I got stalled at the senior manager level and couldn't diagnose the problem. I just thought certain people were against me, for whatever undisclosed reasons they had. I had a weird thing about alcohol back then, and I'll share a story that is going to seem pretty odd to some. Shortly after I was baptized LDS (I would have been in the second grade living in Renton WA), I was at a friend's house. We were in his basement and he found a bottle of wine. He proceeded to open it and pour a few drops into the bottle cap (obviously it wasn't expensive wine). He stuck his finger in it for a taste--and wanted me to do the same. I *knew* in my 8 year-old heart that this was wrong. But I did it anyway. Willfully, purposefully, wickedly. Some of you will roll your eyes at this, but I felt incredible guilt for years afterward, a guilt that was only alleviated by doing something even worse (by LDS standards) when I was ~ 12. It seared into my brain that this could never happen again. And even though I wasn't a great Latter-Day Saint, I was utterly invincible to peer pressure to try a beer or anything else alcoholic. There was no history of alcoholism in my family, I didn't know any alcoholics, none of the usual reasons folks choose to abstain applied to me. It was just that singular moment in the second grade that I never forgot, and probably never will. It was six months after I became a Christian, by then in my mid 30's - that I had my first "adult beverage" (since the second grade). A Pyramid Hefeweizen (a wheat beer) served with a little slice of lemon at Costa's Restaurant in the U-District - and I won't likely forget that either, because it was amazing. A few months after that I changed jobs, but now my attitude was 180 degrees different. I wanted to hang out with people after hours and get to know them. I was still single (my inability to get a temple recommend had helped with that) and so I had plenty of time to pursue my socially inclined colleagues. And I've built a number of enduring relationships in the decade+ since. And has it paid off for my career? Absolutely, my responsibilities have dramatically expanded, income and equity have followed. But more than financial rewards, I have a lot more fun than I ever did before. Now with a family, I don't have the same flexibility I had back when I pressed the reset button--but I still make it a point to do at least one happy hour or dinner a week. My wife understand and encourages me. It's an investment in people--and the return is incalculable. Could someone achieve all this and more while abstaining from alcohol? I'm sure they can and do. But could I have done so? I think not. I think the lesson my inner 8 year-old learned needed to be shattered, and by God's grace--it was. --Erik ________________________________________________________________ When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. --John 2:9-11
  15. Again, I appreciate the reply. And I can relate a bit, especially the sports part. There was an interesting TED Talk that made use of that example in corporate America. I'm guessing you and I would probably get along pretty well if we shared the same firm & industry. And you might even like our socials - I call us "the black sheep squadron"--and yes, I'm kinda proud of it. Raise a glass to Rain, for such an interesting & provocative thread. :0) --Erik