Christians and the Eye of a Needle.

In Matthew 19:24, Jesus said it was harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

Here is a quiz: Which scripture have you heard quoted more in the past 12 months, this one about the eye of the needle or the one about gays being an abomination?  (Actually, don’t bother answering, I know already.)

My guess is, most people don’t like the “eye of the needle” passage.  It baffles people in the Western world because they are taught from day one success is measured by their stuff.  Both rich and poor try to accumulate wealth.

The branch of economics I like most is part of the behavioral sciences where it tries to find the driving forces in peoples’ behaviors.  It’s conclusion that people are preoccupied with money is not far from that of the Jesus character.

This was all brought to mind by a story today about the famous TV preacher, Robert Shueller.  He is now so broke he needed donations to fix his hot water heater.  His fall came from fights among family members over money.  I chatted with him here a few years ago.  He came in a private jet.

I’d like to do an experiment.  It would be for every preacher who is against gay marriage to drop that topic and talk about the “needle scripture”.  As often as he condemned gay marriage, he would condemn accumulating wealth.

Then, we would see how long preachers were employed.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/crystal-cathedral-founder-received-love-gift-to-fix-broken-heater-dishwasher-90508/

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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73 Responses to Christians and the Eye of a Needle.

  1. T says:

    I’ve often heard it justified that money itself is not the root off all evil, but the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. I believe this lets the money-hungry televangelists off the hook in their never-ending quest to line their pockets. They argue that God wants them to be wealthy because they have been so faithful. Matthew 19:24 clearly states that the wealthy, whether they love their money or not, are not getting into heaven. Followers of the so-called “prosperity gospel” are in direct violation of biblical scripture.

    • Henry says:

      T: “Matthew 19:24 clearly states that the wealthy, whether they love their money or not, are not getting into heaven.”

      Yes, it clearly does. Then read further on to verses 25 and 26. God’s work redeems us. And it is not just the “wealthy” or the “rich”. There is a laundry list. Again, the message of redemption for the sinner.
      1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV)
      9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
      10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
      11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

      It amazes me how the atheists focus on the negative of those verses, but always conveniently leave out the positive: the consideration of man’s redemption. Instead, they work on the other end of the equation, sometimes justifying sin, hopelessly placing their reliance into a work of man. It is all about their avoidance of Jesus Christ. Instead of Christos, a common theme for them.

  2. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    I got nothin’ to add. I’m just looking forward to the explanations of how you’ve misunderstood this piece of scripture and what it really means . . .

    • Henry says:

      From the standpoint of man’s works, it is impossible.

      However…..

      Mark 10:27
      And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

  3. Henry says:

    Jon: “In Matthew 19:24, Jesus said it was harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.”

    Jon: “Quoting the Bible is Useless.”
    http://redriverfreethinkers.areavoices.com/2013/02/22/quoting-the-bible-is-useless/

    Jon makes the exception for himself.

    • Stanta says:

      You will be able to use that for a LONG time.

    • entech says:

      Henry, by your exacting standards, the ones you use to attack anyone that does not agree with you, I must say that is a terrible exaggeration you are indulging yourself in.
      In Matthew 19:24, Jesus said it was harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle., merely a reference to one of the things Yeshua is supposed to have said – actually if you look to the Babylonian Talmud, it talks of an elephant, Israel had to pick the biggest animal it knew about.
      It does in fact prove the point that it is useless to quote the Bible, because most of it is just invention.

      • Henry says:

        Jon quoted scripture after saying it was useless to, and you are trying to soften the appearance of his hypocrisy.

        • entech says:

          No it is a reference to a quote, a quote would be:
          Matthew 19:24 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
          24″ Yes, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”
          or
          Matthew 19:24 King James Version (KJV)
          24 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

          Regardless of your interpretation to make your own case, since when has it been hypocrisy to say something useless, even knowing it is useless. How often do I try to point to the error of your thinking taking that old collections of books as true in all respects. I know that is useless but it is hardly hypocrisy, even though most of what comes out of the interpretation of that collection certainly is.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “How often do I try to point to the error of your thinking taking that old collections of books as true in all respects.”

            Too often.

            I would point you to Aristotle’s dictum, “The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, and not arrogated by the critic to himself.”

            This is one of your errors. You are in good company, though. Dr. Darth Errman is in your same leaky boat. He as well sets aside this well accepted dictum in pursuit of his own agenda.

          • entech says:

            “Darth ” Erhman, :roll: I had hoped that as you returned to print you may have given up on the stupidity of deliberate misspelling, it does not make you appear smart or witty, merely ignorant.

            Part of Aristotles though from the same dictum, originally written about literary criticism, mainly poetry, well accepted in extension by Christian apologists, few others:
            The contradictions found in the poet’s language one should first test as one does an opponent’s confutation in a dialectal argument, so as to see whether he means the same thing, in the same relation, and in the same sense, before admitting that he has contradicted either something he has said himself or what a man of sound sense assumes as true. But there is no possible apology for improbability of Plot

            He also said a couple of things that should be considered relevant:
            “If at first the idea is absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
            “To Thales the primary question was not what do we know, but how do we know it.”

            To answer Thales question, we know the book is true because the book says so. I think Aristotle had something to say about that line of reasoning as well.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “But there is no possible apology for improbability of Plot … “

            And apparently from your perspective, even if (one of) your brother(s) came back to warn you, you would still not believe. I do not believe the Bible will ever move beyond improbable for you.

            Dr. Errman indeed earns the nickname “Darth”. His mishandling of scripture has earned that.

          • Henry says:

            The concept is neither as narrow as you make it out to be. Benefit of doubt is not limited to the circles of poetry, being as well a fundamental legal concept.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 2:15 “Benefit of the doubt..a fundamental legal concept.”

            Does that mean elephants really can fly? Just hasn’t happened yet?

            The modern concept is crtical thinking. Asking questions, seeking evidence.

          • entech says:

            Henry, 2:04 your cupidity knows no bounds, a bound mind is a different matter.

            The last shall be the first (guess I am one of the few) but referring to your post.

            I have never heard anyone but you use that nickname.

            That is a gross insult, if anyone came back I would have no choice to believe, any form of definitive proof is all that should be required. In my case a friend/brother/acquaintance died (real not temporary stopping of the heart, been there myself it does not count) and returned I would embrace him and start a dramatic rethink of my entire philosophy. However, from your perspective, from the arrogance of total conviction, if someone “came back” claiming Islam really was “the way” you would immediately start looking for arguments against it, the work of the devil for a start.
            You are right though, most likely scenario is that the Bible will remain “improbable”, that does not exclude possible just makes it unlikely. In your case any doubt must remain uncontemplated, the possibility that you are not the special product of a special creation is beyond your acceptance.

          • Henry says:

            Jon: “The modern concept is crtical thinking. Asking questions, seeking evidence.”

            Wouldn’t that be nice if it were actually so?

          • Henry says:

            entech: “That is a gross insult, if anyone came back I would have no choice to believe, any form of definitive proof is all that should be required.”

            I don’t believe that would actually be the case. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man indicates otherwise, which I was alluding to, but didn’t reference. You already have the info available. More info would not change.

            If you were insulted, my apologies.

          • entech says:

            Deary, Deary me; as my old Grandma used to say when I was being particularly obtuse as a child.

            Me @12:30 How often do I try to point to the error of your thinking taking that old collections of books as true in all respects.
            U @ 12:50 Too often.

            This epitomises the sub-topic you and I have been pursuing.

            Fascinating that you would say that even a return from the grave would not convince me. When I objected, saying I would have no choice but to believe, you come back with “Lazarus”.
            Henry, stop a moment, think the whole argument is that the Bible is not true from my viewpoint, then you make Biblical references to prove me wrong. This is the other aspect of Aristotles thinking that I was referring to @ 1:23, it is called circular reasoning an invalidates any argument you may make.

            Now if you had used the statement that from my perspective the Bible would remain improbable you would be correct, I could in this case be convinced to reconsider the possibility of an afterlife, it would take a lot to convince me that this afterlife was your Biblical one, especially as it was just as likely that the returnee would be from Islam, Hindu, Buddhist or but you get the idea, I return to the idea it may be so but it does not have to be your idea that is true.

            Not interpreted in the sense of a personal insult, it is an insult to intelligence and logic that you perpetrated, but that is not unusual.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “Fascinating that you would say that even a return from the grave would not convince me.”

            I personally don’t think it would. One can even see basis in the OT for this with some of the examples of unbelief.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “it is called circular reasoning an invalidates any argument you may make.”

            You are reliant on reasoning created by man. Good for you. Keep perpetuating it.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “Henry, stop a moment, think the whole argument is that the Bible is not true from my viewpoint, then you make Biblical references to prove me wrong.”

            A trace of narcissism. Entech, to Jon’s credit, this blog is bigger than you. Not everything is always crafted towards your benefit.

          • entech says:

            Henry @5:07 Not surprised that you “personally’ don’t think I would be convinced by real, true and actual events.
            Your continual reference to an ancient collection of books, and thinking of them as a real and true history of the universe must affect your perception of reality. I will grant that whoever assembled the collection had had some experience of the world even if they did write a distorted view of it, some observations from experience are clear, One can even see basis in the OT for this with some of the examples of unbelief. they must have masses of experience of not being believed, they developed a whole technique of threats and god given rules and punishments to frighten the populace into fearful submission. So effective that it is still working on a lot of people thousands of years later.

            Unlike you I try to see things through the filter of reality, and am continually testing and refining that filter, not always correct but keep trying. You, as you have said, see things through the filter of scripture, that is through a (very) dark glass.

          • entech says:

            @ 5:18 Narcissism? That you should come to that is “A trace of desperation”.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “That you should come to that is “A trace of desperation”.”

            Not so. It wouldn’t make sense to have continuing conversation with you on biblical matters if you were the sole recipient. But you aren’t.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 12:07 “Jon quoted scripture after saying it was useless to…”

          I referred to it as coming from “the Jesus character”, trying to avoid the implication we are certain there was a Jesus that really said these things. But, you are right, I did quote scripture after saying it was useless. I should have qualified may statement it is useless by saying sometimes it is entertaining to quote it, when used for this purpose it is not useless.

          • entech says:

            All I can think of here is that if anyone can decide if a touch of humour and entertainment can be introduced, and is appropriate in a given context, you would have a good claim on being the decision maker.

  4. Henry says:

    Jon: “Here is a quiz: Which scripture have you heard quoted more in the past 12 months, this one about the eye of the needle or the one about gays being an abomination?

    This is a slick one. First, Jon has posted blog after blog article about gays. Then, he rhetorically wonders why scripture about homosexuals gets quoted on this blog more than the “eye of the needle”. Slick. Create the issue. Then blame the resulting effects and reactions on others.

    • entech says:

      Henry you are being very subtile here, show me in the topic where it rhetorically wonders why scripture about homosexuals gets quoted on this blog more than the “eye of the needle”. I have read it a few times and I thought it was supposed to be in general not in the particular case of this blog. Didn’t take long for you to return to your subtile and sophisticated ways.
      The thing that I notice is that the topics that get the most interest and responses are those involving “SIN”, that was until the record breaking posts on guns.
      Probably just the meanderings of an aging foreign mind but it does make me wonder why guns and gays are required for all you Macho types over there.

      • Stanta says:

        Concerning the gun part, have you ever been told you are going to die by someone who just fired off 7-8 rounds into the house next door, the. After the threat, shot it out and was shot by the police (survived by the way). Then after testifying for the prosecution hear he made terroristic threats against the judge, prosecutor, his own lawyer AND the jury?

  5. entech says:

    The eye of the needle. That takes me back to school, at that time questions were always being asked about the literal flood and similar outrageous (to a child’s mind) inventions. The eye of the needle parable was the victim of attempts to make things reasonable by treating so much as metaphor and allegory as recommended by Augustine of Hippo.
    The story that was popular was to do with the shape of the little entrance gates to the cities of the time and the need to unload the camel before it could enter the city through the gateway, the eye of the needle. Turns out no explanation is needed a quite literal and straightforward telling of the difficulty in an easy comparison of the size of the hole in a needle and the size of a camel.
    Not surprising that doubt is increasing, even the simple parables fall into the need for stories just as the outlandish ones do, the entire basis is hard to comprehend.

    • Henry says:

      entech: “the entire basis is hard to comprehend.”

      No doubt. Without Jesus Christ (from your presumed perspective), it wouldn’t make sense, an impossibility.

      • entech says:

        You hit it dead centre, from my perspective there may be a monotheistic God of the Jews: more likely a deist God, as Marcion so correctly believed, the god of Abraham was a cruel and emotional entity, jealous to a fault: I can’t imagine the complications added by Marcion’s pleroma. So it must be a creation followed by a sit back and watch approach, if at all. But you are right about “Without Jesus Christ”, Yeshua the Rabbi, the itinerant preacher most certainly, you idea of the “Son of God” certainly impossible.
        But more likely, none of it.

        • Henry says:

          Just a curiousity. Why are you, like Errman, drawn to the texts of the gnostics? It seems very strange when they have scant documentation as compared to the more familiar works. Perhaps scant documentation gives them more credence in Errman’s eyes (and yours). Less possibility of copy errors and with less variation in style. Therefore, supposedly more credible.

          • entech says:

            Not especially the Gnostics, just any variation, anything that could have been the dominant idea now, there were many contenders in the first few hundred years.
            Frankly the hierarchy of Gods and aeons and what ever else is more ridiculous than your trinitarian godhead.
            The reason for the scant documentation is simple, the winners burnt it all. Very little survived the heresy hunters, fascinating really that most of the information comes from the writings of the heresy hunters. But they did not all die out even today there is a church calling itself “The Holy Catholic Church of Arian Catholicism”.

            The attraction for me, I am sure Bart has a more serious reason, is that I can almost feel the apoplectic rage of some believers when it is suggested that they are not necessarily the keepers of the one and only true doctrine, that there are others very close in belief but not quite, that other possibilities even exist. From what I see “the Atheist” fades into insignificance compared to the JW.

            As I never tire of saying there are many variations on the God theme, they are often contradictory and often mutually exclusive; they can’t all be right but they can all be wrong; even non believers can be wrong. How can anyone be so certain that they are right and the rest of the universe is wrong?

          • entech says:

            IF there is a God, why does it have to be yours? And YOU have the chutzpah to call an atheist arrogant :lol: :roll:

          • Henry says:

            entech: “Very little survived the heresy hunters, fascinating really that most of the information comes from the writings of the heresy hunters.”

            Nothing to hide and not conspiratorial.

            entech: “The attraction for me, I am sure Bart has a more serious reason, is that I can almost feel the apoplectic rage of some believers”

            Yes, as I thought. It is not necessarily about what is right. It is about how much you can bend a person’s nose out of joint. An anti. Your position exists soley because of what you don’t believe in more than what you believe in. Instead of Christos.

            entech: “How can anyone be so certain that they are right and the rest of the universe is wrong?”

            Because the heavens do declare.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “And YOU have the chutzpah to call an atheist arrogant”

            Please cite.

          • entech says:

            An anti. what is that old saying? It takes one to know one!
            Since when has motivation had any relevance to truth?

            @7:16 I can’t cite any particular occasion, could be more hyperbole from me, in defense I would say you have called atheists practically everything else.
            But you neglect the main question. I really must remember not to give you these little detour possibilities, you have very sharp little eyes. The question is IF there is a God, why does it have to be yours?.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “IF there is a God, why does it have to be yours?.”

            Because I was bought with a price, a get-out-of-jail-free card on Someone else’s back. For me, that is why He has to be mine (as you phrased it) or more accurately, I am His.

            You can feel free to carry on with your god. Then it can be yours.

          • entech says:

            Yes you are right to point out that I phrased that a little badly when I said “Your God”. There are so many possibilities what makes you so certain that you have made the right choice? Did you “choose” of your own “free will”, perhaps your will is “bound” as Luther would have it, or does determinism play a part does the whole of your life have a bearing on your ultimate choice?
            In different circumstances you could just as well have chosen Allah or Brahman, or did you just choose to be bought by the highest bidder? No one else offers the same “get out of Jail Free” option or makes such an extreme counter offer – believe or burn?
            But wait on, did you say you escaped on Someone else’s back ? That one goes back to the early tribal days, did you saddle up a scapegoat and ride off into the sunset?
            Reminds me of an old joke, Ok with the promise of “Eternal Paradise”, how about “a decent life instead of a miserable one”, in the end the punch line was, “we have established what you are, just haggling on the price”.

            I am afraid I can’t carry on with “my” god, I don’t seem to have one anymore, doesn’t mean there isn’t one but the fact that I can’t find one, or one doesn’t want to make himself known to me indicates a very high likelihood that there is not one, as the London buses advertise “relax”. Actually I was given a god as a child, taught all about him at school, every day and twice on Sunday, not sure if it was the same version as you have, I seem to recall mine was the King James Version. He even had his own book, with the same name, in ten years or more I never could quite work out if he actually wrote it, inspired it, recited it (or perhaps the recitation was a different version), the first bit was a bit confusing two Adams created in different ways, an unchangeable creator changing his mind and deciding to drown his creation, a very inept creator going by the demonstrable failure of the flood – if he could create it with a word why not just retract that word and end it? (purely rhetorical question, obviously then there would be no one to ask the question, we wouldn’t be here). Perhaps whatever it was that “bound” me was not strong enough and I let him escape. Or perhaps I am simply not for sale, I am no Faustus.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “I am afraid I can’t carry on with “my” god, I don’t seem to have one anymore, doesn’t mean there isn’t one but the fact that I can’t find one”

            You do. It is too late for you to recognize though. Your idolatry is there.

          • entech says:

            Idolatry is essentially a religious concept. I know you will say not having a religion is in itself a religion, you repeat so many similar lies ‘ad nauseam’, I say lies because I know you are too intelligent to actually believe that in effect “rejection is actually acceptance”

            No sale.

          • Henry says:

            I told you recognition would not happen.

          • Stanta says:

            Idolatry is secular also Entech, in fact Jon’s quote from the Bible points it out. Love/worshipping money more then anything else is greed. Greed hurts others.

          • entech says:

            Santa, it can be secular, at a pinch, but Henry was quite specific in his usage.

          • entech says:

            Sorry, I really did mean to type Stanta, really need to be more careful with the word checker. To say Santa would be equivalent to Henry deliberately saying stupid and deliberate mistakes in an effort to denigrate. it would put me firmly in the Hypocrisy mold that has just been discussed.

          • Henry says:

            entech: To say Santa would be equivalent to Henry deliberately saying stupid and deliberate mistakes in an effort to denigrate.

            That really bothers you. It is a cultural matter for me. My family has nicknames of affection, some from birth. Our dog has nicknames. When checking our ancestry records back six generations, I discovered the census records listed different names for the same 18 member family over a ten year period. It made tracing ancestry difficult as we thought we had the wrong clan. It turns out some of the kids were given nicknames.

            I guess if you push this much further, I may have to start thinking you are biggoted against my culture.

          • entech says:

            My family has nicknames of affection, once again of you go on a tangent and being deliberately obtuse, if your Granma called you Henny Penny as a pet name when you were little I think that is lovely. That you and your wife have little names for each, as my wife and I did, then they are personal and affectionate.

            On the other hand, there is no affection in some of the deliberate and insulting mis-names you tend to use here:
            Obamba, don’t you know his actual name?
            Darth, doesn’t even relate to Bart, well, vaguely with a couple of letters in the centre, first and last sounds are the important things.

            Nothing against your use of friendly, familiar, personal and affectionate nicknames in a family context, I think it is lovely and in my experience a widespread means of expressing affection.
            To compare all this to my objection to your deliberate distortions to form insults is in itself a deliberate distortion, and to suggest even as a possibility that it relates to some form of bigotry on my part is a deliberate insult.

          • Henry says:

            I think you are a little up-tight on an informal blog. Loosen up a bit. You may enjoy life.

          • entech says:

            @ 5:21, Sorry didn’t mean to appear uptight, actually I was trying to be friendly and helpful, stop you making yourself look stupid when I know that you are not.

            Anyway nearly midnight there, time for bed for you, late afternoon here time for a nap for me.

  6. Barbara says:

    Jon, you were reading my mind when you posted this topic! For days I’ve been thinking about how most sermons (in church and the media) address “sins” such as homosexuality (the flavor of the month), but are very rarely about greed. It’s not too hard to figure out why that subject is avoided!

    • Henry says:

      Barb: “For days I’ve been thinking about how most sermons (in church and the media) address “sins” such as homosexuality”

      You must apprently be going to the wrong church. I haven’t heard a sermon on homos for awhile, maybe even a few years. Your generalization isn’t accurate.

      • Stanta says:

        I would like to know WHERE they are hearing these sermons. How often are they actually going into churches. Are they working from memory? Having been a Lutheran and now a Catholic the minister or priest in normally restricted to the daily reading for sermon material. Now an inventive speaker MAY be able to twist that to what ever subject he wants, in this day of short attention spans how long do you think he could hold a congregation?

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Henry 4:47 “You must apparently be going to the wrong church. I haven’t heard a sermon on homos for awhile, maybe even a few years.”

        Maybe you missed the Pope’s Christmas Eve message. And, you have missed Albert Mohler’s sermons and blogs, Southern Baptist Convention. Perhaps you were not aware of several Lutheran groups splitting off. Of counse, it’s fashionable now days for the groups splitting off from Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutheran, etc. to use euphemistic language, “We follow the teachings of the Bible”, or, “We are a Bible-centered group”.

        • Henry says:

          There is not much discussion on homos in my church. Certainly not much at all in the sermons. It would be like trying to preach and preach to convince people burgularly or hetero adultery is a sin. That does not have to be done in our church.

          Other churches have had this struggle with protracted debates and conversation about homos. They fell for the distraction. Then eventually, they arrogate and modify items that are God’s law to their own law that suits their personal wants. i.e. ELCA and PCUSA.

    • Stanta says:

      Never been in our church the more then several times a year when stewardship or missionary support is addressed in the sermon. Funny how charitable giving has been proven to be much higher among the religious right then on the left. During the last election it was reported Romney’s charitable contributions to all sources was in the millions of dollars, Biden’s significantly less in proportion to yearly earnings.

  7. Brad says:

    This is why it is so crucial to be selective when reading the Bible. We can’t talk about the verses that speak out against being rich and loving money because that exposes the right-wing Christians for the hypocritical frauds that they are.

  8. Stanta says:

    Just a quick poll here, when is the last time you went to a burch service that wasn’t wedding, funeral, Christmas or Easter related. For further study how many times per year do you do that? Are you commenting from current knowledge, memory, supposition, or just guessing when it comes to sermon topics? Be honest now.

    • Brad says:

      Well, here is my honest answer: I have a basic belief in a higher power, but I do not attend church. I tried organized religion for 7 years, got intimately involved, was on the church council, taught Sunday school, etc, etc. But due to the burden of brutal self-honesty, I realized that it was doing me more harm than good, and I had to ask myself why, other than the societal guilt trip I was subject to, do I need to put myself through something that makes no sense to me?

      I have been to enough church services of enough different denominations to know it doesn’t work for me, and I do attend enough funerals and weddings to be constantly reminded why I withdrew from organized religion. I would be willing to try the Unitarian church, but we don’t have one where I live.

      • Stanta says:

        I went through the brutal self honesty part to, tore me up until I understood Grace. Sin is no longer something I obsess over, mine or anyone else’s unless someone else begins the conversation. I do witness to my sinful life before Grace and admit to still being a sinner, all though we all are and will be short of the grave, I have made great improvements.

        From experience I do understand that living life without Having found and understanding Grace, but being reminded of our short comings is sometimes crushing.

        • Brad says:

          My self-honesty was really my conscience speaking to me. I found that I could no longer sit through something that didn’t make any sense. I try to take a “live and let live” approach to faith, to each their own.

          What works for me is a spiritual self-help group that is not affiliated with any particular religion. But other people find it in other ways.

          In short, I believe in spirituality as opposed to religion.

    • Stanta says:

      As I figured, the hearing of sermons is strictly hearsay and speculation by 90% of the readers here.

  9. Michael Ross says:

    “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” (Luke 6:24-25)

    I believe this and the verse you cited are not so much a condemnation but a warning of the pitfalls of wealth and success. If the system has done well for you you may not see its demise coming. Those profiting from the housing bubble in 2006 thought it would last forever but as the sub prime market collapsed in 2007 they realized that wealth in the world’s system is often an illusion. Religious scammers like Shueller and Olsteen who live lavish lifestyles and fly around the country in private jets while many in their church have lost their jobs and homes are condemned by James 5:1-4:

    “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabbath.”

    Shueller has had a taste of this principle. When the California economy was strong donations poured in. He never saw its demise coming and did not warn his congregation. California is now in depression and the state is running a $19 billion deficit. Shueller and his ministry went down with the economy, his “faith” and “positive thinking” message not withstanding.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 5:44 “He never saw its deminse coming and did not warn his congregation.”

      How Schuller’s church fell is not all that important, but I have read all kinds of stuff about it. It was doing OK until he went into semi retirement. Then, one son stepped in and became the face of the church, preaching, etc. But, another son and a daughter or two wanted a more flamboyant look and removed the preacher son. They started paying big salaries, 100K “housing allowances”, put on hugely expensive productions and spent lavishally. The deposed son warned them they were outrunning the cash flow, but they warning fell on deaf ears.

      It appears all of them could have continued with reasonably good salaries and a successful enterprise, but greed took over their heads.

      • Michael Ross says:

        Glitz and glamour was the theme of Shueller’s ministry. Celebrity evangelism attracts many shallow followers. When that drys up so does the support. I believe it is a bad testimony for Christ and the Christian faith.

  10. Stanta says:

    Entech, Stanta, Santa, Stan, Stanley, Steve or hey you makes no difference as long as I know it’s me. My name is Stan and I AM a professional Santa, friends and enemies call me Stanta. Doesn’t matter to me, the childeran all know who I really am all year long, short beard or long.

    • entech says:

      Stan and Stanta are the two names you sign, they are the ones I would try and use. Santa is often used by some as part of something derogatory about someones beliefs, I hope I rarely drop to that. My whole purpose is to point out that because it is believed does not make it true, that there are often more than one or two possibilities, that must include my own beliefs or lack of.

      Henry does tend to do such things deliberately and I would prefer not to be associated (although I did join in a bit of mutual affection calling him hindwrech in response to endwreck for a while)

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