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Everything posted by Paloma

  1. I find it interesting to hear these references to CARM and Recovery from Mormonism. When I was first coming online to learn more about LDS goings-on - especially after the last of the missionary connections I had left this area and I was left with only my affection and curiosity - I turned to the 2 websites I'd heard mentioned: FAIR and SHIELDS. I found FAIR very helpful for in-depth information. But I was looking for some 'real people' contact and interaction - and then I found SHIELDS with its forays into the interpersonal LDS Apologetics and Counter Apologetics world. After reading some of the letters there, I found that to be a turnoff! So much so that I had no appetite for delving into CARM. I think I took one peek and walked away! Reading SHIELDS gave me a big distaste for the apologists on both sides. I found the material there to contain sarcasm and veiled hostility unlike the straightforward and helpful content I found at FAIR. I followed the old FAIR board as well as Recovery from Mormonism for awhile because some of the missionaries I had befriended ended up on those sites. One missionary in particular was not treated well by a couple of LDS apologists on the FAIR board who castigated, demeaned and stalked this individual and IMO hastened this person's exit from the church. I still remember the shock and disappointment felt by this person. I also have to say that it was in those early days of my reading this board that I saw deep Christian faith that helped cement my understanding that we "all belong" to God's family. I myself was treated well. This individual (disaffected returned missionary) became part of the Recovery from Mormonism bulletin board community for a short while, and I was interested to learn more of that forum and its occupants. Smac, I think I remember you from there - an earnest, reasoned and respectful voice for defending the faith, as I recall. I also remember John Dehlin introducing himself as a student of people's behaviour in the church, wanting to gather their stories. Oh, how his own story has evolved since then! As I became aware of LDS defenders and various online communities of ex-Mormons, I was drawn to hearing from people who have lost their faith. So often they come across as raw - sometimes very angry and sometimes in deep pain. So understandable! I've always thought that defenders of the faith need to be especially patient and compassionate with those who are struggling with faith or with those who've walked away. Why on earth come across as mocking or “putting down” people who see things differently! Surely, if God is real He doesn’t need imperfect ‘defenders’ who are more likely to muddy the waters than provide pure light and love. For me, the Prodigal Son parable is the most compelling and promising example of who God is in all of Scripture.
  2. Sometimes I wonder how anyone could believe in God and the community of faith at all, when I think of church history, religious wars and even the uncharitable ways we can respond to each other! What a shameful history and what messed up people! (As you know, I come at this from a nonLDS Christian perspective - and there's not a lot of difference IMO when you think of all the horrific incidents and wars that come from 'religious' misplaced zeal and boundary maintenance throughout the centuries.) While I believe in the absolute value of the 'community of faith', it's probably because of my view of human frailty starting with myself and extending to church leadership that I'm not and can't see myself belonging to a church that has any kind of what I see as 'intermediary' role between the individual believer and God. (Having said that, please don't think I'm saying that you LDS believers don't have a strong direct faith and connection with God ... I see that you do!! I just can't believe that God has instituted an organization - or to put in another way - has organized an institution - that mediates our access and 'right relationship' with Him in any way.) I find myself wondering how the Crusades could have happened and been supported by beloved 'historic' saints like Bernard of Clarvaux (who wrote 'O Sacred Head now wounded'). That's just one example among so many of how God's people have had blinders on in terms of understanding God's mission in the world (and I recognize that's my view, and who am I to say?). We have biblical examples over and over again of how very flawed many of the Israelite kings, priests and prophets were. And then there are the New Testament disciples and leaders. Not hard to believe what we read over and over again "There is none righteous, no not one". I know that I've been heartbroken the last few years to see the sinful acts and brokenness of some of my favourite authors - Brennan Manning, Jean Vanier, Ravi Zacharias. I struggle with being tempted to just discount everything they've stood for and written (mostly depending on the nature of their "sin" and whether or not they've hurt vulnerable people other than themselves) - but then I remember that God really does work through very flawed people including myself and I look for His wisdom, discernment and compassion. Bottom line here ... for me, it's no wonder that people turn their backs on God if and when we see and judge Him through people - through those who claim to follow Him and represent Him.
  3. Tacenda, I watched this video and agree it's worth watching! Lots to think about. There's a lot there in terms of how inclusive we can be while holding on to what we ourselves believe to be true. I like that Tim Keller said the important thing is how we treat each other. I also liked his short discussion on being self-centred vs. God-centred. It's always good to see thoughtful, respectful dialogue like this between people who have differences but work hard at understanding each other.
  4. Poptart, this is so good! I see why you like this priest!!
  5. Tacenda, thank you! And I liked hearing what you said about "mustard seed faith". I tend to think that God is thrilled with whatever we're able to offer at any time. I've been so interested in hearing you talk about your spiritual journey and sometimes I think that being in a state of watching and waiting (in a liminal state) is a good place to be - especially for someone like you who is so honest and full of integrity about being your authentic self. I understand what a turnoff it can be to hear teaching and preaching that excludes and discriminates and marginalizes and frightens. It can be so strident and ugly and can even sound hateful!) I want to say "Don't let people sway your belief in God" - but I realize how that can sound so wrong. What are people seeking God or open to the possibility of His reality supposed to do? What are people looking for a reason to believe or not believe supposed to do? Aren't these Christian teachers and preachers representing God? I think it's the most natural thing for all of us to be positively or negatively influenced by people - especially those who claim to speak for God. This all gives me a big heartache. I don't want to be making excuses for people - for Christian leaders - saying they're "all too human" and "full of biases" - even if that's the truth! But then I think about my own all too real failings and my own biases. And then I do know that people who've been on this Christian path for a long time (I'm 75!) can be and absolutely are so messed up!
  6. Blue Dreams, thanks for this clarification (I like to understand correctly! ...nuances, right?) where I said "the core of you being divine in God" and you explain that it's more "to God and through God my (ie your) divine potential is fully realized." I am so interested in how you describe this and resonate a lot with what you say. I love how you say "The more I trusted God, the more me I truly became". Yes! I so identify with this! I also love what you say about curiosity and being a naturally curious person at your core. I identify with that a lot too! You express yourself so beautifully as you look within yourself and then describe what's there. I'm in awe of your way with words and ability to create pictures for others to understand. I love what you say about bringing your innate curiosity to your job. I can only imagine how safe and valued everyone must feel in your accepting, non-anxious presence. And to see the divine goodness in everyone ... that's something I aspire to as well. It's one thing to have that inclination and another to have the aptitude and skill to work with people and help them access the goodness and potential for healing within - and I think you have that in spades! I love this quote from C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory that's somewhat relevant here: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
  7. Your words that I bolded above are some of the most beautiful words I've seen on this board. Kindness is so key to our humanity - in both gentle and powerful ways. I think of that expression - "People will forget what we told them but they'll always remember how we made them feel." I'm remembering a time when an African pastor's wife and I were having a conversation in my home on the mission station where we lived. She was evidently troubled and I asked her what was on her heart. She said to me that a certain missionary sister among us was not a Christian. When I asked her to explain further, she said that this particular woman was not kind and loving. (Sure enough, this woman missionary had a quick temper and could be dismissive of people who angered her, though she repented and tried to make amends afterwards.) I didn't know what to say because all I could think of were the words in John 13: 35: "By this everyone will know if you are my disciples, that you love one another". I'm sure our conversation continued and I tried to intercede for this fellow missionary ... but I was taken aback. And I was even more aware than I'd been before, of how people are always watching and evaluating our faith by how we act - and by how we make them feel. (Mfbukowski, how beautifully kind you are in this post I quoted above!)
  8. Never been there, but you inspired me to look at pictures. Wow! Yes, amazing! Thank you!!
  9. Just want to clarify that we nonLDS Christians believe as you do that everything in Hebrews 1: 1-3 was just as true about Christ during the OT as in the NT and after the Atonement was completed. He was the Saviour of the world and Prophet, Priest and King before the foundation of the world and throughout eternity. I think we're in agreement here or perhaps there's some disconnect that I'm not quite comprehending. And I think that I may not have expressed what I intended clearly enough ... oh for the luxury of long, deep, drawn out conversations that escape our grasp here and now!
  10. Tacenda, I for one always appreciate people's honest expression of what they think. I tend to think that Christians, of all people, should be able to handle that! Certainly, I think God handles it just fine. I'm sure He's not insecure! And having said that, I'm perfectly comfortable with people saying "I don't think I even believe in God" or "I think your belief in God is ridiculous". I get it ... I could easily think that myself, but it just happens I'm me seeing things as I do ... and that's okay too. You are a breath of fresh air! 😀
  11. Blue Dreams, I thoroughly appreciate your last post here for all the thoughtfulness you brought into the conversation between Brad and Steve, and for interacting with my comments about it. I had thought of responding to you section by section (trying to, as Calm gave me a clue as to how to even do that!!). But I think it would be better just now for me to not chop up the conversation like that but work my way through various topics you raised in your post. I have them before me here and I'll try to be as clear and concise as possible. Yes, I like you would have preferred a more equitable back and forth dialogue between Brad and Steve. I thought they did a good job of neither appearing to have an upper hand even as the event seemed geared toward Brad explaining LDS beliefs. I am so glad that Brad felt "safe" in that environment as anything less I would have a problem with! You mentioned Brad having a less academic and nuanced style than you prefer. Blue Dreams, I so often think that when I hear my Christian colleagues speak! I think we're soul sisters! (And Navidad, if you happen to be reading ... I really like the way you express yourself - often all I could have hoped for and more!) When I think of what Steve said throughout the video, most of the time there wasn't enough for me to think deeply about, though I did, as I said, love his Hebrews 1: 1-2 reference. More on that later! Both you and Tacenda have reacted to Steve's remark about finding the possibility of salvation after death "scary". I reacted much the same as you two. How could you find that scary?! - though I think that lots of Evangelical Christians would find it so. And I think that a big part of the reason is that "It doesn't fit my theology" ..."It's outside the bounds". I fully recognize that 'comfortable' way of thinking about Christian faith in the Protestant Evangelical community. When people think they "know", there's comfort (even the potential for smugness and judgmentalism) in that. When I was doing my Masters of Theology, I took several courses in Systematic Theology. That kind of trying to understand God and God's way with people can lend itself to putting everything into boxes and then living out of those boxes, as we bring our best historical and current understanding to subjects like Humanity, Sin, the Trinity, Christology, Salvation, Sanctification, Ecclesiology, etc. etc. etc. I am thankful for wise and humble professors who started the courses with warnings about "boxes" and closed systems. One of my professors said the first day of class: "We're all filled with biases and heresies. Let's recognize that and go from there with a spirit of humility." I also took courses in Biblical Theology which differs from Systematic Theology in that we don't start with categories like the Trinity but we look at Books and passages in the Bible and see what we learn about God through them, not concerned about mysteries and paradoxes to be solved or reconciled but simply see what's there. Back to Steve ... I'm wondering if he's uncomfortable with the unknown or with the thought that his assumptions/beliefs could be shaken. I think that a lot of nonLDS Christians wouId feel that their whole basis for preaching and evangelizing would be questioned if the possibility of second chances after death were entertained. I can't know and don't want to speculate but I can say for myself that I love to look at everything with an open mind. (One professor wondered how open I could be without losing myself but I am pretty grounded!) I find nothing scary about thinking God's love, mercy and compassion extend beyond a cutoff point at death! And I believe that the closer I get to the heart of God, the more I sense His heart is far more inclusive, loving and merciful than I could imagine. (This is somewhat similar to your own statement, Blue Dreams, that "the more I've grown in my own faith the less anxious I've come with people's spiritual development and bringing people to Christ ...tied more and more with a transformation via God's love in my life".) You talked about the core of you being divine in God (and I'm sorry I'm jumping ahead in your post here, and leaving out a lot of wonderful things you said). I also feel this in some way - otherwise, what could it possibly mean that I have God's Spirit in me. 'He in me and I in Him' is very much what I believe, along with all or most nonLDS Christians. I think many of us don't think about this nearly enough - probably because we live in a materialistic world where we don't understand spiritual reality very well. (I learned a lot during my many years in Africa, because Africans are so much wiser and so rich in experience when it comes to the spiritual realm.) On to Hebrews 1: 1-2. I'm so glad you picked up on what I said. I really love the book of Hebrews because it's all about how Jesus has fulfilled every different "way" of saving grace and access to Himself that God has provided through human history. Hebrews shows that Jesus is greater than angels, greater than Moses and the prophets, greater than Aaron and Levi and the whole priestly sacrificial system, "having made sacrifice for sin and sat down at the right hand of God" Heb. 1:3. The implication here is that Jesus, "heir" to the throne is now reigning with the Father. So that's where I see Jesus "supremely alone as Prophet, Priest and King". Over and over in the Book of Hebrews, the writer talks about Jesus accomplishing what He did "once and for all". I see this theme throughout the Bible. In the New Testament, I see it most clearly in Colossians and Hebrews. The phrase means to me that there is no one to come after Jesus because all of salvation history was leading up to Him and He has fulfilled all of the roles - prophet (God's mouthpiece to and for us); priest (our conduit to God whereby God sees our repentance, obedience and longing for Him) and King (He holds all authority). I do see Him inviting us into these roles as He gives us spiritual gifts - part of "He in us and we in Him". That's all for now, as I need to prepare for a Healing Care course I'm helping to facilitate in just over an hour.
  12. I've now listened to the entire hour and a half of that 2017 conversation between Brad and his Evangelical counterpart, Steve. I'm going to write out some comments as a whole before responding a little more specifically to points you had raised, Blue Dreams. I see a very likeable Brad in this video - engaging, authentic, humourous, respectful ... among other good qualities. I like how Steve comes across too, and continue to see him as more of a respectful listener trying to understand the LDS faith than intent on communicating his own faith (though there are times when that comes out). There continue to be times when Brad comes out with what I think of as stereotypes of non-LDS Christian faith such as "their salvation is just getting back into heaven, a 'get out of jail free card'" that Steve doesn't comment on but 'let's go' because it's said in passing in a long explanation of LDS faith offered by Brad. In that part of the conversation, I really appreciated and agreed with Brad's conviction that salvation is much more than 'getting into heaven'. It's about how we live here and now. It's about transformation, as he said. I just wish Brad knew that was true for our understanding of salvation, as well. It seemed to me that when Brad talked about exaltation in terms of 'more and more' and of continual learning, he thought that was completely different from how other Christians view eternity, but that's not so. I think that Steve said something (not a lot, though) about how we're always learning and becoming more like Christ. Certainly, at the end of the video Steve talked more emphatically about each of them (Brad and Steve) being on a journey of learning. (I realize that Brad's talk of more and more was in the vein of the LDS church having more light and truth, but I thought both men were very gracious and as respectful and inclusive of each other as was possible.) Around the 54 minute mark, Brad said to Steve: "I compliment you ... you're respectful and that makes me feel safe". (I wish Brad remembered and applied that in all of his teaching and conversations!) Steve responded with "I want to know what you believe and why you believe". He mentioned he wanted to hear about LDS beliefs from the source and not through reading materials. I appreciated this in Steve. At minute 58, some faulty mics were replaced, and Brad said with a smile, "Let's start over." I smiled to myself and thought "How appropriate for right now!! When Brad talked about the Bible being one part of the standard works and being for a previous dispensation (around the 1:03 mark), he mentioned that the living prophets are a vital part of the standards for LDS Christians. I was really glad that Steve tried to make clear that we nonLDS Christians also have a living prophet when he quoted Hebrews 1:1-2: "Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days , He has spoken to us through His Son." This is a bedrock Scripture for me in understanding and even claiming authority from Jesus Christ alone who has fulfilled all of the prophetic and priestly requirements revealed in the Bible, and who stands supremely alone as Prophet, Priest and King. Amongst the respectful disagreement, there was a lot of common ground and mutually edifying statements between Brad and Steve. One conversation that you specifically mentioned, Blue Dreams, was where Brad said "this life isn't the last chance", and Steve replies "that scares us to death". I don't identify with Steve in this and I'll explain why in a moment. First, I have to say that I was really impressed with the way that Brad expressed appreciation for Steve's stance here (ie. no second chance after death) - saying he understands Steve's sense of urgency because of this belief he has. Thus he sees the Evangelical desire to preach and "save people" as motivated by love. I admit that most non-LDS Protestant Christians would probably agree with this "no second chance" belief. But I do not and I know many Christians who are like me. I began to question my own "no second chance" inclination after reading C.S. Lewis' book, The Great Divorce - probably at least 40 years ago! Then years after that, when I was teaching a curriculum at a Bible school in Africa, the notes included this "no second chance" teaching, with a number of supportive Scriptural references attached. I checked and double checked every reference (as was my practice) and concluded that none of them clearly and categorically stated "no second chance". Two of the references I remember were "Today is the day of salvation: (found in Isaiah and 1 Corinthians). I thought yes, I see a possible inference, but highlighting the urgency is not the same thing as what I'm expected to teach here. Another reference was Hebrews 9:27: "It is appointed unto men to die once, and after this the judgment". Neither does that speak directly to "no second chance" and I wasn't about to use prooftexts unless the meaning was unmistakably clear. Thankfully, I was surrounded by Christians who agreed with me that rather than being dogmatic about something that's not perfectly clear and that we can't know for certain this side of heaven, we are free to go with our own personal inspiration, praying and trusting that God's Spirit is our Guide. Back to the video ... At the very end, Brad and Steve reached a beautiful accord. Brad said about the "core" of faith they share: "At that core, there's not a thing that you've said that I wouldn't say. Because of that, I feel that connection with you. Because I know you, I love you (referring to a song by _______ Perry". Brad also invited Steve to "see us Mormons as having a little 'more'". Steve replied with "we're both on a journey for truth". I would wish that both of them would continue to display this respectful and gracious approach to each other's faith.
  13. My last reply to you was based on your longer post just previous to this. In response to what you've said here, I'm very aware that I've only listened to the first 40 minutes of the whole, while you've listened to the entire video. My impression may well change upon watching and listening to more!
  14. Oh wow, Blue Dreams, now I'm really inspired to listen to the rest of the conversation in that video between Brad and Steve. And I want to read and reflect on your post more fully too, as there's so much there! So I'll definitely be getting back to you when I've had more time to listen and reflect!
  15. Thank you for this openness to understanding, Teancum. I see this openness and generosity of spirit in many people on this forum. I don't have a problem with LDS believers believing their faith is the best. And, while it's uncomfortable and sometimes even painful for 'other Christians', I can understand their thinking it's the "only" true church. When one is committed to understanding the distinctive beliefs of a faith, I think we have to accept that's where the individual believers find themselves. I am thankful for the openness, humility and respect that I see in so many here - in a sense, despite the 'onlyism' that I think is inherent in their beliefs. And I don't see that as in any way betraying or going against their devotion to their own faith. I see it as a deeper form of Christlikeness where God's heart reveals and inspires an inclusiveness born of love, hope and grace.
  16. By the way, when Brad said "You're saying 'there's so much space between God and me'", he wasn't repeating anything Steve had said. Brad was actually misrepresenting the non-LDS Christian position in my view, but Steve didn't interrupt or correct him. I thought this often as I watched the video (that I've only partially watched so far). While I was sensing Brad's misapprehension of our beliefs, I also understood Steve's focus on listening rather than correcting. I probably would have done the same as Steve.
  17. Blue Dreams, after reading your post here I've re-listened to some of what I heard last night. Again, I was struck by the earnestness in Brad's manner and the impassioned way he presented his beliefs and wanted Steve to understand his beliefs and his heart. Yes, I certainly did see mutual respect around the 29 minute mark where Brad said to Steve: "Yes, your belief in God is core to you, as mine is. Please don't say we believe in a different God, a different Jesus. ... We may see Him differently." In those words, I see a plea for understanding, especially when Brad goes on to explain the LDS concept that God is one of many Gods but He is the 'only' God for him (and for all Latter-day Saints) and will be so eternally. It seems to me in what I've watched so far that Steve is more intent on getting an accurate understanding of the LDS faith than in professing and explaining his own Evangelical faith. At around 30 minutes and following, Brad says, "I'm seeing Him through what I consider a bigger window. Your frame is the Bible. My frame is much larger". Here, I appreciate that Brad couches his words in some humility when he says "what I consider ...". In the later video I watched where he's speaking to an LDS audience, he says "Many Christians follow Christ and they follow Him very sincerely but we are the only Christians on this planet who are led by Jesus Christ. It's one thing to follow Him; it's another thing to be led by Him. ... you have to see Christ through a pretty small window when stuck with just reading the Bible." I see such a difference in the way he spoke with Steve and in the way he spoke about Steve's faith when Steve wasn't there. In this segment in the second video, I sensed a tinge of mocking and a definite sense of pitying in his tone. And I wanted to say: "How can we live out the oneness in Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, the Sermon on the Mount, the love described in Corinthians 13 without being led by Christ? Yes, we definitely are led ... by Christ, by His Spirit." And if I were with Brad, I would make an impassioned plea for him to understand our common core but different beliefs as he is making in the first video with Steve. In the first video, Brad says, "We see the same God. We see the same Jesus. We see Him from a little different angle". There, I see respect and gentleness. After minute 37 in the first video, Brad says: "You're saying 'there's so much space between God and me'. But for me, God is very close and personal. His love is so real and so tangible. We are nurtured by God and nurtured by Christ in a very real way. For me, God is not so far out there that He's not close enough to give me a hug". Here, I would say to Brad: "Amen! For me and for all of us non-LDS Christians, it's both/and. Everything you've said is true for me except the implication that seeing God as infinite, above and beyond, immeasurably more than we can understand, negates a close and personal relationship with Him. It does not negate in the slightest the reality of an intimate relationship with Him as our heavenly Father. We have intimacy with Jesus and we have His Spirit within us - "I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ lives in me (I could add 'by His Spirit'). Gal. 2: 20-22. At about minute 39 in the first video, Brad says: "My suggestion for Evangelicals who are trying to understand Mormons is just think of it as becoming Christlike". (See his plea for compassionate understanding?) Again, I say, "Amen, Brad. Let us all become more Christlike."
  18. Bonaventure, I will eternally be thankful for everything that you described and that I've bolded above. These have been a gift in my life. While in university, I would often spend time in a very beautiful Gothic cathedral nestled within our large campus where I would find peace. I had a quickening sense of my relationship with God and an increase of wisdom, understanding and compassion for others and even for myself. I particularly like what you said about the main doors representing Christ being "the gate". That's a new thought to me and it's now opened my eyes to something 'more'. How I appreciate that we're always learning! I also love that the stations of the cross encircle the nave. I have had this realization in the past and I've sat in the middle of the nave feeling "held" by Jesus' love sacrifice. I've contemplated His finished work on the cross and what that means for my present sense of shalom and well-being, as well as for my future life and security with God. Because of these experiences I've had, I think I have at least some sense of what my Latter-day Saint friends mean when they talk about their experiences in the Temple. One of my friends who has left the LDS church still laments that she misses what she experienced in the Temple, and I understand that too.
  19. I just had to respond to this, having recently torn out our old kitchen and we're almost finished constructing an IKEA kitchen. IKEA is great, but we've spent hours with those small pieces you're talking about, Rain! And pulling off the protective shrink wrap from all the cupboard doors! That was one of my tasks, seeing I'm not very much oriented toward knowing how to fit things together! Right now we're trying to find the misplaced screws that will hold our range hood in place!
  20. I've been in Latter-day Saint churches 10-12 times in my life, including the chapel, Relief Society Room, basketball hall (for a wedding reception), and baptismal room (which I'm thinking may have been part of another larger room, made small by moveable dividers?). My visits have been to at least 5 different church buildings. My overall impression as a visitor included these: 1) the Relief Society Room was like the 'heart' of the building with its warm colours, piano, comfortable furniture, paintings on the wall, etc.; 2) the chapels were very stark, but also very functional when filled with people. One Sunday morning I experienced more than a couple of different 'events' there that included adult Sunday school (I think it was that rather than Gospel Doctrines)and Sacrament meeting followed by what I think of as 'music and talks' (between Sacrament meeting and 'music and talks' people would move around either out of the room or to different seats, so these events seem separated in my mind, but they're probably not meant to be); 3) and the hallways were full of mostly purposeful activity. Most people seemed to be on a mission either headed somewhere in the building or the exact opposite with a few people (mostly men, I think) sitting on benches with a very 'I'm here but checked-out' demeanour. While I liked the activity and it spoke strongly of "community", I remember thinking that it wasn't very conducive to welcoming visitors - something we continually try to bring more awareness and improvement into, within the churches where I've attended regularly. Having said that, I was always with at least one missionary sister or a couple of missionary elders, so I may not have an accurate read on whether visitors are 'seen' and welcomed, as I was in good hands already!
  21. I too love the architecture of Catholic churches and cathedrals. I've also been in many beautiful historic Anglican, United Church, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, etc. church buildings. High ceilings, stained glass windows and other features of beautifully designed and appointed churches fulfil their intended purpose of lifting my soul to God. I also appreciate the idea of the church or ecclesia being God's people and wherever people gather, there is God in the midst of them, as in the house churches of Acts 2. If there's opportunity when I travel, I like to spend time in cathedrals. Thankfully, my patient husband indulges me in this pastime. Perhaps he'd much rather see me spending hours in beautiful churches than in the shops!
  22. I started listening to this 2017 video as I wanted to get a more complete and nuanced sense of Brad Wilcox. He comes across as congenial and respectful in this conversational forum, from what I've seen and heard so far. At about the 40 minute mark which is as far as I got and as much as I'll cover tonight, Brad seems to me to be asking for a compassionate understanding of his faith. I found this poignant, as I'm not at all sure about his desire to compassionately assess the faith of others. Brad has professed a deep, personal and intimate faith in God as Father that I take at face value. I believe he is sincere and passionate in his faith. I found myself talking silently to him saying "I believe you. I just wish you could know that other Christians - for instance, I myself - also have this deeply personal intimate relationship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." The teaching in Scripture about our being united with Christ - He in us and we in Him - such as we find in John 17 and in Colossians - is real for us. We too feel that internal witness of God's love that's as real as our next breath - as a hug, as Brad says. I delight to hear these words of Brad. I believe them. I rejoice in his deep relationship with the Father. But I'm also recognizing that he (and perhaps he'd admit this himself) like so many of us, has a long way to go in living out the fruit of God's Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22).
  23. Ah... so reasonable in your assessment, Smac. I knew I wrote hastily, and I agree with much of what you said. Yes, misogynistic is too strong. Yes, I too am offering unsolicited commentary (kind of, as I'm responding to your invitation for feedback, Smac! 😉). Especially since this was a Christian pastor from outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I wanted to give a "gut reaction" kind of response. And at least part of my haste was because I'm preoccupied with family health issues here at home. Thanks for graciously listening and being so thought provoking in a good way!
  24. As a woman and as a Christian, I find this pastor's online comment very inappropriate and offensive. Many of my reasons would be similar to those I've read in responses to this thread, though I've not read everything. I know I'm being largely repetitive here of what's already been said, but these are my initial thoughts: He comes across as misogynistic because he is addressing women only as a man without any acknowledgment that modesty works cross-gender. He presumes to speak authoritatively rather than expressing his opinion. It is particularly objectionable - just so wrong! - that he presumes to know what is or isn't appropriate concerning health issues specific to women. His pontification isn't wanted or needed in this open online venue. It's just common decency to not give uninvited and unasked for advice. Scripturally, if he wants to hold someone to account, he would do well to use the model in Matthew 18: 15-17 of first speaking privately to the individual. This pastor is out of bounds. Random women online are not within his pastoral charge and he is not proceeding with gentle respect and love. I don't know if he wrote what he did simply as a man or as a man who is a pastor, but both are inappropriate. If the latter is true and he assumed some kind of pastoral mantle as he wrote, it makes it even worse in my view as he is not following Scriptural principles and he inevitably does harm to the role and reputation of what it means to be a pastor. Edited to add: I admit that I was very hasty in my perusal of the link attached that showed the pastor's comments in question. If I have missed some context in that link and/or in posts on this thread, I will gladly take any correction needed.
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