Kiln blog: One Big Happy Family

(This is reposted in full for reasons that should be obvious; original post.)

The Old Testament provides a wealth of imagery for describing our virtual congregation.

The background of the Bible presumes that humans are wired for ANE feudalism. Thus, this blog is a virtual feudal grant from God and I am the clan chief who leads a family. I am responsible to God for how I exercise dominion here.

Everyone is welcome. There is a covenant of faith in force here that guides what I write and what comments I permit through moderation. Aside from the obvious references to the Radix Fidem meta-religion outline posted here on our parish parlor blog (see the tab above), our covenant recognizes two primary marks of the Spirit’s Presence in your life: penitent humility and not disputing against Scripture. If we can see those two marks, we will assume you are brothers and sisters in this covenant of faith.

If you can’t embrace all that stuff, but still want to be friends, you will be regarded as resident aliens. You aren’t part of that family of faith covenant, but we offer another covenant of alliance, the one symbolized by sharing a meal in the Old Testament. I’m still your pastor/elder.

Enemies can post so long as it’s on-topic and seems to address something of substance. You’ll have to understand that I will seek to use hostile comments as opportunities to teach those who are not so hostile. It’s like a grant of safe passage for mutual benefit or maybe humanitarian reasons. I’ll pray for anybody.

I don’t take myself that seriously, so poking at me is not in itself a violation of protocol. I delete comments that serve no discernible purpose in what we do here, just like spam.

What’s different is that I don’t measure these things merely by intellect and reason. It’s not a question of rational categories. The boundaries aren’t precise and static, but alive. As with biblical language, I don’t define; I indicate. Context is everything in this world when bringing to bear the moral truth of God, which is rooted outside this world. I don’t mind trying to explain, but there are some things not open to debate.

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About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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10 Responses to Kiln blog: One Big Happy Family

  1. steven says:

    Am I still welcomed here? No hard feelings I hope. That said, I want to clarify some points:
    1. I’m not a sociopath. I self-diagnosed just because I thought it would make me look cool. A sociopath wouldn’t care for the wellbeing of children. Sociopaths only care for themselves.
    2. The actual reason I was a bit rude is that I wished to test my reasonement against a smart, conservative theologian like you. Maybe I should have been more diplomatic.
    3. I made a gramatical mistake: when I wrote “If you weren’t raised by” I intended to say “Have you not been raised by”.
    4. Your Radix Fidem is too ambiguous. You should clarify that you regard Predestination, literal inerrancy, prison slavery, corporal punishment and familism as essentials of the faith.

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  2. Ed Hurst says:

    I’m answering both of your comments here. Re: Radix Fidem — It’s ambiguous intentionally. There is a very functional difference between communion over a kind of religious approach versus my personal applications. I’ve written repeatedly that theology is just one person’s mental organization of broader truths that cannot be put into words. A fundamental element I’ve restated here a hundred times is the vast difference between the intellectual assumptions of the West and those of the Bible. The Western idea of language is descriptive and analytical; in the Bible it’s indicative and symbolic. Words do not carry truth in the Bible; they are signposts for exploration, as words cannot contain the truth of God. I encourage all my readers to come up with their own peculiar theological answers, but offer the framework of Radix Fidem as a guide to understanding my basic assumptions so that fellowship is possible.

    So your labels are inaccurate. I’ve often specifically denied “literal inerrancy” because there is no such thing as propositional truth. I deny the typical fundamentalist statement that “words mean things.” Those are statements reflecting Aristotle’s approach to things, and the Bible is not Aristotelian; it’s mystical. Further, it’s a peculiar brand of Ancient Near Eastern mysticism, well established and well understood among biblical scholars. Yet the vast majority of the Western churches ignore all of that and promote a position that arises from the Western Church’s compromise with, first Greco-Roman thinking, and then with Germanic Tribal mythology. The result is the Enlightenment, the fundamental approach of almost all Western Christianity. I have studied all of that and consciously rejected it. So I don’t qualify for the labels that fit them.

    What I object to is how you continue trying to shove me into that corner. Your comments always miss the point and you keep insisting that I stick with an Aristotelian approach. When I tell you that’s not how I do it, you ignore that and keep pushing on the same track to nowhere. Aristotle is roasting in Hell — that in itself is just an expression with no literal meaning — because he had plenty of chances to learn the truth from visiting Jewish scholars, but openly rejected mysticism. Mysticism is how God intends us to understand His Creation. God didn’t just choose the Hebrew people and their culture; He built it specifically as the one best way to communicate His revelation. Revelation includes the packaging of Hebrew mystical thinking; you don’t have a revelation without it. But the only way we can know that revelation is the record in Scripture. His Son made that point several times, so it’s hard to argue without rejecting the Son. But His Son also strove to drag His people back to the ancient Hebrew mystical approach because that’s part of revelation. My commitment is to do my best to stick with that whole package, and I make it a point to often note that nothing is binding on my readers. They are free to ignore.

    So I’ll be glad to explain how I get my statements, and I try to indicate where I get my vocabulary. However, I see no reason to defend what I already left behind. There are millions of people who either are, or are familiar with, the Southern Baptists out of which I come. Their expressions are not foreign to most readers, so it’s safe. Part of my mission is speaking to those who understand that kind of vocabulary, but I’ve often pointed out that I am not bound by that vocabulary. It’s nothing more than speaking their language to point out how that language has become a trap. But by no means will I defend my positions on anything, because there’s no point in it. There’s nothing to defend; it’s just the way I do things. Somehow it seems to help the 800 or so subscribers to this blog. I use my personal faith and religion (two different things) to illustrate how others could approach the whole question of coming to terms with God.

    And if you keep misusing labels to characterize my positions, you’ll get some of it back and there will be no dialog, no comparing of notes. As long as you keep playing that silly game, I’ll offer a very limited response in kind and then point out to others how you keep missing the whole point of this blog. I’m quite willing to let the readers decide what they think, but the rhetorical attacks on me personally do get tiresome.

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  3. Ed Hurst says:

    Steven, it’s not mere diplomacy. The net effect of your comments betrays not a hint of compassion. How can we fellowship when you maintain that adversarial tone?

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  4. steven says:

    Maybe I was wrong about “literal inerrancy”. My apologies. That said:

    “Your comments always miss the point and you keep insisting that I stick with an Aristotelian approach”

    You misperceive me. I think you SOMETIMES use a Mystical (NON-Aristotelian) approach to endorse some ideas which are AlSO advocated by some Scholastics/Aristotelians. You didn’t come to believe in Predestination through Scholasticism as Calvin did, but you agree with Calvin on Theodicy (with the picture of God this implies). Its a very obvious and significative coincidence you cannot negate. Likewise, you endorse the child rearing philosophy (corporal punishment) advocated by Southern Baptists and Calvinists. More coincidences:
    -You believe parents should be allowed to abuse their children to death. This was called Patria Potestas in Ancient Rome. I call it Familism.
    -Prison Slavery, which you picture as “ANE” and “Anti-Western” is allowed in USA:
    “Penal labor in the United States, when intended as a form of slavery or involuntary servitude, is explicitly allowed by the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution”, “Some states require, as with Arizona, all able-bodied inmates to work”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penal_labor_in_the_United_States

    “But the only way we can know that revelation is the record in Scripture”

    Scripture itself is just a record of individual mystical revelations. That my exegesis differs from yours sometimes does NOT invalidate my faith, as I’m a male Joan of Arc (God Himself anoited me as a mystic as prophesied in Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17).

    “Part of my mission is speaking to those who understand that kind of vocabulary”

    This may explain why we tend to misunderstand each other. I’m not a native Anglophone. My parents are “suburbanites” (small bourgeoisie).

    “but the rhetorical attacks on me personally do get tiresome”

    I NEVER attacked you personally (i.e. ad hominem). Anyway, you seem to need some positive feedback:

    1. I respect you as a smart, cultured theologian.
    2. I trust you when you claim to be a mystic who can talk with trees.
    3. I appreciate your effort to grasp the worldview of Ancient Hebrews.
    4. I endorse your rejection of chivalry as Protofeministic Germanic Paganism in disguise.
    5. I endorse your rejection of Aristotle/Scholasticism.
    6. I endorse your criticism of neocons and liberals (I’m a libertarian).

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  5. steven says:

    I called you “brother” despite our theological differences. Thats compassion. Do you still regard me as a friend?
    Criticism is NOT hostility. How can I express disagreement without an “adversarial tone”?

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  6. Ed Hurst says:

    I suppose you could find a way to soften to tone? Notice the way I use words to suggest, not poke. You may have trouble picking that up, so I’ll just leave it alone.

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  7. Ed Hurst says:

    “Abuse children to death” — In wider comments I suggest that it’s simply no one else’s business, not that it’s an acceptable outcome. In the Bible, the household is a petty kingdom in God’s eyes, and retains far more freedom than would ever be acceptable in any Western society. See my latest post for a little more on that.

    Regarding prison and/or slavery, it would take a book to lay out all the differences between ANE and Western ways on that issue. For example, the US approach was never intended to help the prisoner. It’s wholly adversarial and the system fights hard against measures that recognize prisoners who are ready to try again. In the Bible, slavery is one thing; restitution and justice is entirely separate. Slavery then might be used only as a means of restitution to the victim/offended party. And the element of mercy is the starting point for punishment. In the US, “mercy” is just a cover word for cold and heartless economic considerations. I’ve worked close to the US “justice system” and know it intimately. It’s based entirely on hatred and a faux personal grudge, taking all mistakes as a personal insult.

    Don’t mistake the appearance of coincidence for approval. I was educated by Baptists (which is largely no longer Calvinist these days in the US). But because I was so deep in their stuff, I can tell you that there is a very significant difference between theirs and my approach. I went way outside their circles to complete my education and rejected their fundamental assumptions, largely because I could identify the huge flaws that troubled my heart from the beginning. They would never let me in the door any more; they’ve repeatedly run me off. There is a fundamental difference that might be hard to see from outside. A great many other American Christians use the same religious language they do, and my calling is to prophesy against their peculiar spiritual failures. If some of my writing appeals to folks outside the US, it’s their choice to join this virtual parish. My ministry is aimed at Americans.

    At any rate, this is pointless; I seem unable to explain to your satisfaction the differences I have with them. Move on to some fresh objections, please. Let’s agree to disagree like friends.

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  8. steven says:

    Thank you Ed. I will try to be more nice, but I’m just an autistic young man, so the next time I cross the line please give me a clear warning before you “bellow and intimidate”. Pretending to be a sociopath despite my obvious sensitivity was just an act of teenage bravado: it seems that I’m a CLOWN, which is a good thing by your standards. I admit my brutal honesty was brutal even by aspie standards in our last debate, but I needed to be sure that my anti-spanking exegesis is reliable, as God wants me to use my novel to prophesy against the Cult of Moloch (Sadism).

    Lets me make a last attempt to understand (understand, NOT criticize) your position, please. If I can’t get it right this time I won’t talk about it again intentionally (its a PROMISE. Aspies never lie):

    In Positions you wrote “Abortion is a sin, but the Bible says the mother is accountable to God first, and then her immediate blood kin. Agitating to make it illegal is evil”. Likewise, you believe abuse is a sin, but agitating to make it illegal is evil. This Buddhist-like detachment strikes me as de facto neutrality, like Swiss in WW2.

    Regarding slavery/prison, USA takes a Retributive approach while Western Europe (specially Norway) takes a Restorative approach. You seem to favor Restoration over Retribution. What would you advise to avoid being prison raped in US prisons?

    I acknowledge the differences. Like Jesus, you believe “children are innocent”, unlike Calvinists who heretically teach “children are young vipers”. Likewise, you reject the literalistic picture of Hell as physical torture in a literal lake of fire, unlike Calvinists who follow Dante with their “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Do you believe in free will?

    P.S. Could you inform your readers that you befriended me again? I fear that after what you said about me in “Whats going on 03” your readers may think of me as a brat at best, as an infiltrator at worst.

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  9. Ed Hurst says:

    We can be friends, and I’ll let the world know that I so regard you.

    Molech was a forerunner of the modern secular State. The question of abortion in my comments is mostly about keeping the state out family business. You have to keep in background that I assert the extended family household — whether a DNA clan or a covenant association, and preferably both — is God’s provision for government on this earth. I don’t support secular laws against abortion because it will never work out as most Christian Crusaders think it would. Abortion is one step removed from murder, but the State is not a victim of this crime. Nor is a democratic community much of a good substitute for a tribe, so while it’s not a bad idea that a local community might ostracize someone who aborts or abuses their children, it’s the worst form of oppression to let hired thugs (police, courts, officials, etc.) pretend they can assess proper punishment based on some bogus “objective ideals”. I realize that my teaching is unlikely to change what actually happens in the real world, but I register my dissent and ask my fellow Christians to consider whether it provokes a spiritual response in their souls.

    And I do prefer the Western European restorative approach to criminal justice. No, it’s not perfect, but it is a lot better than what the US does. There are no good answers for Americans on this, but until God sees fit to destroy this country (maybe sooner than later), there are just a few things a man might do to be in a better position to survive in prison. It happens they are the same things I’d suggest without that threat. It’s covered under the broad writing of restoring manhood and a deep faith in God. I won’t pretend that every man is cut out for it, but the Bible promotes the image of men being at least capable and willing to fight, not so much as a threat to everyone, but someone who makes predators think twice. It’s not just physical development, nor some kind of swagger in public, but a collection of factors that project to others you aren’t an easy victim. There’s not enough room here to summarize the whole picture, but it requires knowing what actually works to project that image, which does not overlap much with social mythology. It’s worth taking the time to read about the experiences men have had in prison to see what kind of world it is, and how to understand the psychology. But in the final analysis, it’s really a matter of trusting God and obeying your heart’s guidance to fit yourself for your mission in life.

    The question of “free will” is full of land mines. I make distinctions that aren’t generally recognized by Western theologians, largely because I reject their epistemology. The debate between Calvinist and Armenian rests too firmly on mere human reason, while I make no effort to make my position fit into that structure. And I’m perfectly willing to let some issues dangle in the wind or speculation. On the one hand, our eternal destiny is entirely a matter of God’s initiative. There is an indefinable meeting point between God and humans that includes a matter of human volition, but we cannot comprehend it with our minds. Once we are past that point, there is a whole range of variables that are entirely personal between you and God. You’ll have volition in some ways, in some things, but He will also limit you. It is entirely wrong to focus in this life on gaining eternal salvation; seize it as a gift you alone can know you have. Work out from there what God offers you as your unique heritage as His child.

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  10. Pingback: Rapprochment | Do What's Right

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