scripture discussion

Friend* I’m still reading Ecclesiastes and I have come upon something I had not yet read when I posted before. If the opportunity arises, will you find out what your teacher says about this passage, "I cast about in my mind to know and survey and discover wisdom and the reason of things, finding that wickedness is folly and folly madness; and I discovered something, something more bitter even than death–the woman who entangles men, whose heart is a net, whose clasp is a chain [[A man by God's good favour shall escape her, but she will snare a
sinner]]. Vainly have I sought over and again the truth of things, putting together this and that; but here is what I have found, says the Speaker: one true man in a thousand, but never a true woman!"

Does this mean what it sounds like it means? That there are no good women?

*me*

I generally use the King James Version published by Nelson company. My Bible says 1972. I also enjoy reading the New International Version or the Holman Version which are written in normal speak.

The scripture you quoted in my Bible is Chapter 7 verse 25 and following.

I understand the section to mean that the preacher isn’t stating a universal truth regarding ALL women, but a figure of speech representing foolishness, sin or folly as the Bible often calls it.

We also have to take into consideration the context in which the writer writes. Given most people believe it was Solomon who wrote Ecc., and Solomon had many wives and concubines and most of them led him down the path to sinful behaviors…I would imagine (and this is just my thinking) that Solomon used the term woman to signify the sinfulness of mankind based on his experience with women. Also notice in that section of scripture than even in 1000 men he only found one good one…even though he found NO good woman. So the man/men weren’t much better off. πŸ™‚

But that is how mankind is…they turn to their own ways disregarding the things of God.

*my friend* Thank you, Klara. I am so appreciative when my questions of a religious nature are taken seriously. So many people assume that because I don’t have a strong spiritual nature I am not interested in learning about the Bible or other holy books. They think I have a hidden agenda when I ask questions and they write me off or ignore me. You always answer me and I appreciate it so much.

If Solomon is writing this (and I wondered about that–throughout Ecclesiastes it refers to the writer as ‘the Speaker’ in the version I’m reading, but it never identifies the speaker) then I would, if I were there, argue with him. If he keeps taking concubines because he can’t satisfy his sex drive, what does he expect? That the women are nothing more than vessels for his seed? That when the women who attracted him sexually had arguments with one another or jostled for position or wealth that meant they were no good in the eyes of God? Phooey on him! I bet if you asked those women they would say they could find a good woman out of every 1000 but they have yet to see a decent man. And yet we are to hold Solomon’s word as holy and something to follow for eternity while we never get to hear Concubine #12’s side of the story. That’s what I don’t like. And to me that’s a reasonable cause to question. It sounds as if I am kidding, but I am not. These types of things always bothered me and made me question.

Me* These are all good questions and things I have pondered before myself. I do know that Solomon, according to history, did accumulate all these wives and concubines. Solomon was a great foreign diplomat, I guess we’d call him and it was customary for the lesser king to give the greater king a wife or concubine to show respect. It was this way that Solomon accumulated a lot of the women; women from foreign lands who worshipped other gods and also led Solomon down the wrong path. That old sex drive has caused problems from the beginning.

I think the way some things are recorded in the Bible and some things are left out gives rise to so many believing the Bible to racist, chauvinistic and legalistic. And they could very well be correct.

I choose to take the whole thing in and see these things that are not the best as far as Christianity is concerned as good object lessons in what NOT to be, what NOT to do. I also believe that the inclusion of some of the bad stuff proves that God can use all types of people; that one doesn’t have to be Mr. NeverHave Sinned, or Ms. GoodyTwo Shoes in order to be used of God. Even alanon teaches me that some people are a perfect example of what NOT to do or be and so I see the Bible the same way.

I will never understand everything that was chosen to be included in the Bible. Some things I question still today and that’s ok. I know that our Baptist doctrine teaches the inerrency of Scripture that all scripture is God breathed, profitable for instructions for righteousness….(paraphrased) And maybe this was true of the original manuscripts, but then again maybe it wasn’t. i don’t know. I do know that when human translators got hold of it things could have changed as far as wording goes.

Given all that, I still choose to believe the basic tenets of the Bible which are concentrated into those 12 easy Steps of Al-anon…steps which are so easy to read, so easy to remember and yet so hard to live out. I believe that any of us who allow the truths of those 12 steps to guide our life will be good, upright and spiritual people.

As for …do I see you as Satan………..no way, no ma’am, no how…NO< NO< NO.

I fall outside most ‘religious’ folks belief in how I view those who don’t follow the same spiritual path as I. While I believe certain religions are cults, I also believe there are some spiritual paths that are simply different and fit what that person needs. I do believe in a personal walk with God, faith in Jesus, salvation….and here is where I take a different path…while I believe that for myself and as a whole, I do realize that I, along with millions of others, could be wrong. Oh I know, you’ll never get many main stream christians to admit that, but it’s how I think. So with that in mind, and I’ve always felt this way, even before al-anon, I choose to let others follow their own spiritual path. I am very open to sharing what I believe, or I think I am, and explaining it to the best of my ability; but I have never wanted to shove my belief down any one’s throat.

Pastors in the past and I have butted heads over how we treat the lost. When we wrecked and Terry had broken vertabrae, one of the church members sent her gay daughter over every day for 2 weeks to help me at the nursery. Angela is about my age, has led a rough life filled with addictions and wrecks and all sorts of horror stories, but we’ve always gotten along. She has been clean and sober and celibate for a number of years. Well old JJ comes by one day and offers to help and when I tell him Angela has been helping he begins this conversation…
JJ…has she denounced her sinful lifestyle
me…I don’t know, that topic hasn’t come up
JJ…then as a Christian I don’t think we should associate with her until she has denounced her sinful lifestyle
me…excuse me. did I understand you correctly? We are to NOT have ANYTHING to do with people who haven’t publically denounced their sinful lifestyle?
JJ…that’s right. We could be led into sin; others could see us with that person and our witness would be tarnished.
me…But how would I witness to them, how can I be-friend them, how can I be an example of God’s love if I shun them, refuse to have anything to do with them
JJ….our only contact with such people should be to present them the gospel, not be friends with them
me…I totally disagree with that thinking. Even Jesus ate with the publicans and sinners
JJ…but he witnessed to them
me…yes He did and I have witnessed to Angela. However, I don’t plan to brow beat her into salvation
JJ…you just shouldn’t spend a lot of time with her as long as she is in her sinful lifestyle
me…Look, she is helping me at the nursery, something none of the church folks have offered to do…her mother sending her over here has the been IT as far as help from church. We talk about any and everything. I am not going out to gay bars with her, we don’t share a lifestyle, we don’t party…we are just two women trying to get the work done here at the nursery. HOWEVER, in the past she, Terry and I have spent time together shopping and such and enjoyed her company. If that is a problem with you, then maybe YOU have the problem and not Terry and I.

With that he got all puffed up like a toad frog and honestly, didn’t have anything to do with me after that. I didn’t care. I didn’t like him either and he couldn’t preach worth a hoot.

my friend* Good morning, Klara. You have written such a thoughtful and articulate response. As usual, there is so much to learn from you. Thank you.

First, I am glad you responded to the pastor the way you did. You stayed true to yourself and spoke your truth. Sometimes that’s not easy to do but you always seem to manage it.

Second, I am glad to hear you and Jan both say you don’t think I represent Satan. Until a few years ago it never occurred to me that anyone would think I represent Satan, but then that woman at Al-Anon said as much and it made me wonder how many others perceive me that way. I appreciate very much that you and Jan stay true to your faith but do not proselytize and are open-minded enough to be friends with people outside the fold.

You are a good teacher of the Bible. I have always appreciated the holy books of the religions of the world because they contain so much wisdom, and are often so spot on when it comes to age-old human behaviors. Some things never change–every generation since the beginning of recorded time has had to deal with such primal issues as sex, jealousy, greed, and hedonistic behavior in general. Not much good comes from any of it but the pleasure principle is always there, always has been, and always will be. It’s good that there are holy books that help us try to get a handle on it all.

I agree with you that much (if not all) that is in the Bible is subject to interpretation–which is why, I suppose, there are so many faiths even among Protestants.

Al was so anti-religion and so ignorant of anything in the Bible that he would not tolerate any conversation about it unless it reinforced his atheism. During the years I was with him, I learned to suppress any discussion about the Bible or any sort of spirituality. I so appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions with such thoughtfulness. Thank you.

*me* , thank you for your receptiveness to what I think and for your respect. Any time you have questions, feel free to ask. If I can help, I will.

I’d like to share another story that came to mind when you mentioned that some people might see you as Satan. It’s not exactly like that, but still…

Brenda’s husband, Bobby was a rough and rowdy man. He lived life to the fullest, drank hearty and loved deeply and not just Brenda, I am sad to say. But even though he was as opinionated as they come, very bigoted toward the blacks, otherwise, he had a heart of gold. If you were a widow woman he would do anything you needed done and you didn’t even have to be young and pretty. πŸ˜€ If you had a need, he helped. He always carried turkeys or ham to the shut ins at Christmas, always helped anyone who needed help but he never went to church. In fact, he said he had been too bad for God to save him.

On the flip side of Bobby was Al, mother’s 2nd husband. He was tight fisted, tight lipped, heartless when it came to the suffering of those less fortunate. He would blame the sufferer rather than feel compassion. He was one of those people that my mama always said..*wouldn’t spit on you if your guts were on fire*. Now in my mind, that was as low as one can get.

One day mother got to harping on the fact that Bobby didn’t attend church. I listened and would point out that still he was a good man, he did good for others, he had settled down and didn’t mistreat Brenda any more…and on and on I extolled his many virtues.

Yet like a broken record mother always came back to the fact that he didn’t attend church and didn’t admit to being saved.

Finally in total frustration I said…mother, it’s none of our business whether he’s saved or not. That is between him and God. We’ve all witnessed to him, we’ve all lived our lives before him. Let it go. Besides…in my book he is more Christian than Al who is there every time the door opens on the church house and wouldn’t help you if you were broken down on the side of the road. Makes no difference whether you darken the door of the church, it’s what is on the inside that counts in the end.

And I truly believe that. Yes, I believe personally in salvation. But I also believe that this is a personal, very personal thing between each person and God. I believe that there are many very good people in the world and Pam, my friend, you are one of those good people, just as Bobby was a very good person.

*my friend*

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I AM

How often do we use that phrase? I am tired. I am sick. I am going. I am not going. I am, I am, I am.

How often do we think about these same words as they are used in the Bible? God told Moses to tell the people I am the I am, signifying there are no words, no names to define God. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. Not just the way, but THE way, THE truth and THE light.

I thought about all the times I say I am as I listened to the young man preach this sermon on Sunday.

You see, we (the pastor search committee) had traveled approximately 200 miles to Sterlington, La to listen to a young man named Doug Hughes preach. The pastor of the church his sister attends graciously allowed him to fill the pulpit for our hearing enjoyment.

The morning worship began at 10. There was a praise group of 2 women and 2 men who led the congregation in worship. We sang praise songs and traditional hymns.Then Bro. Dough preached his message. Another thing that impressed me was that he shared that normally he prepares his message a certain way and this time was no different. However, during the song service God had impressed upon him to toss that sermon and preach the one on I AM.

The ‘funny’ thing about hearing this sermon was the things that had occurred Friday and Saturday in my life in which the ‘I Am’ was a prominent theme.

God sure does work in mysterious and wondrous ways.

The Prom that won’t be

Hmmm, Ana wants to go to the Pre-Prom they have at school. Saturday we go to Columbia and Dirt Cheap. What fun she had trying on dresses. Because Stacie had gone off with Jamie, I took Shandi to and let her try on dresses.
We came home with 3…beautiful dresses for beautiful girls.

Now they say they won’t get to go because Mom and Jamie have plans for them that day.
Sigh.

I am through being

To carry on with my thoughts on I Am….I am through being taken advantage of by my ex-SIL. There is some warped thought patterns this man grew with, one of which is that if a person doesn’t jump when he hollers frog, then the person not jumping doesn’t like him.
Through the years he has been associated with our family…5 years of marriage to my daughter and the following 8 of their divorce I am been blamed for the break up of their marriage because I didn’t like him. I’m to blame that his 13 year old will have nothing to do with him. His lack of fathering, his absence from her life, his always handing her off to his most recent girlfriend had nothing to do with the conclusion she has come to…I don’t like him so i turned her away from him.

Back at Christmas he called from Missoula, WY, wanting us to drive up there and hook to his camper and drag him and it home; a trip which would have cost us close to a thousand dollars. A thousand dollars we didn’t have and even if I had it, I wouldn’t want to spend it on him given he doesn’t have a good track record of paying his debts. But when we said no, he turned around and called my daughter and said he knew I wouldn’t let paw come get him because I didn’t like him.

So Friday when he called and wanted me to buy him a bus ticket home I told him that I had to discuss it with Terry. I told him that should the answer be no, I did not want to hear of him even breathing the thought that I didn’t like him. I told him a number of other things including the fact that when it came to like or dislike, I really didn’t give a hoot; but as a Christian I did love him as God would have me love him—-I wanted what was best for him. I shared that I thought God’s best for him would be to get honest with himself and become a father to the girls rather than a skirt chasing, irresponsible dad.

A few hours later he called back to let me know he might have a sale for his trailer and if he did he would have the money to buy his own ticket home. In the meantime I have noticed he has become ‘friends’ with several new women on Facebook, leaving me to believe that rather than sell his trailer he has found yet another woman or two to enable him in his life style of using and losing.

However, as for me and mine, I am through not speaking my truth to him as kindly as I am capable of doing, but speaking it never the less.

Redneck Discussion

This morning one of the first things I read was this from a friend in our mom group. From here on the discussion follows and I will separate the responders by me, A, J and P.

A: Good morning, Ladies. We were thinking of going to the State Fair today but the Tampa Tribune headlines read – Now You Can Pack Heat At The Fair. The idea of getting in a crowd that large with a bunch of rednecks packing heat sounds less than fun. Maybe we will go to the Y instead.

Me: What is your definition of a redneck?
I’ve always wondered where that word came from. I’ve heard lots of versions. I think I will look it up.
Still, am curious as to other people’s idea of what a redneck is.

J: I think of the white midwesterners and westerners who are involved in ranching, thus the β€œred neck” and typically are prejudiced against other people not like them? I come from Nebraska farming community – my relatives are proud to be rednecks. I do think of guns too, my dad and brother, my uncle and cousins, all have extensive gun collections and shoot for sport/hunt for food and sport. My dad has an astonishing collection of cowboy boots. And he does not own any other slacks besides blue jeans.

A: Make that people born AND raised in the south. I have a GRITS T-shirt – girls raised in the south

P: You think everyone born in the South is a redneck? That’s pretty broad! That would include Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Courtney Cox, Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Condoleeza Rice, Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Al Gore, E.O. Wilson–goodness, the list is endless. I don’t consider any of those people rednecks!

I think there’s a friendly connotation and a bad connotation to the term redneck. A lot of folks who were born and raised in rural areas and know how to fend for themselves proudly refer to themselves as rednecks and make themselves lovable when they do. That comedian, Jeff Foxworthy, has made it a fun thing. When it’s used derogatorily it generally refers to white Southerners who have narrow, racist views that extend to other ethnicities and gender orientation. I would not be afraid of a ‘gun-totin’ redneck’ who likes people and loves to hunt and fish and work the land. I might be afraid of a ‘gun-totin’ redneck’ who was a mean drunk with a chip on his shoulder.

Me: I don’t believe that all who are at the fair and packing heat will be rednecks. Maybe some of them are corporate paronoid schizos. :))

In fact, to follow my ‘judgmental’ thought on down the line, I would never think of anyone in Fla as being remotely close to being a redneck. I see/think of Floridians as beach loving, condo living, happy souls who seldom have to deal with the cold us old Mississippians deal with, or the Ohioans? (sp) LOL

Anyway, I want to think more on how I form my mental images of people, places and things

A: If you called me a rednck I would take it as an endearing term from one redneck to another. When Allen calls me a redneck I bristle a bit. Maybe it is like the N word.

Yes, mainly 3 groups of people go to the state fair. Kids, yankees down here for the winter and red necks. If you would take a gun to the fair then I meant to insult you.

Me: Ok, so going to fair is a sign one is a redneck?
Are there any rednecks who don’t go to the fair?

But why would you want to insult me….hypothetically.
Because I carried a gun to the fair?

A: Only those that can’t afford it. It is very expensive to go to the fair. You will drop $50 just parking, getting in and having a hot dog. The fair was always for us rednecks when I was growing up then when it got more and more for everyone else and got crowded the Strawberry Festival was started in Plant City – about 20 miles from Tampa – and we started going there instead. It had all the country stuff we loved. Now it has gotten even more crowded that the State Fair so I do believe that everybody is a little bit country at heart no matter where they are born.

Absolutely. I believe that only mentally unstable people would carry a gun to the fair. Allen’s brother, Gary, is as left wing as one can get but he carries a gun in his pocket everywhere he goes. He is just itching to shoot a Republican. He doesn’t need a gun. There are too many like him on both sides of the aisle and putting guns in their hands is just asking for somebody to get killed sooner or later. I refuse to go anywhere with him.

I think lack of education is a big factor in the redneck handle.

P: Could be and it’s often a factor but there are so many good people who lack education that it’s not a defining factor. Lack of compassion, maybe? Lack of good sense? Lack of tolerance? What do they call the equivalent of a redneck who lives in the North–like maybe those Jersey Shore people or people in the Bronx or Brooklyn who say ‘youse guys’ and tote guns? Do people from Brooklyn tote? I think they ‘carry’ but they don’t say specifically what they are carrying–it’s understood, as in, "Careful…that dude’s carryin’.

Me: LMAO, I think us southerners are the only toters…every one else has better English.
Some of them pack rather than tote or carry though, don’t they? Maybe it’s their crotch that is packed??????

Seriously though, the info I read this morning said that the term redneck was first used as an insult. Maybe some Baptist or Pentecostal preacher who became angry with an uneducated, tobacco dipping, crack showing farm boy used the term rather than simply call him an asshole, or more specifically a butt crack!!!! πŸ˜€

When I use a derogatory term for another person it is because I am angry, frustrated or otherwise upset and am trying to express fully just how upset I am.
Why can I not simply say, you piss the hell out of me?
Why must we add insult to injury?
Stoop to their level?