The Life of a Christian

I’m so glad you came in Polycarp. You know already my respect for you and yes,

You do.
I admit the “I come not to bring peace but a sword” scripture stated in that Pit thread is one of the reasons I wrote the OP. And once again I am grateful for your explanations.

Yes, yes, yes! That is an awesome point.

Those are some of the things I’ve learned here on the SDMB and from your examples. It’s not easy to respect all people, but to respect their dignity is definately something to strive for.

DREAMER, you rock. :slight_smile:

And JSPRINCETON, those links are really cool. Very educational. Thanks for posting them. :slight_smile:

It is interesting that there is nothing in that passage about striving or trying. It says “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” Must walk as Jesus did. Must. Whatever “walk” means in this context, it is still a tall order.

Loving seems to be a good definition. In most other ways people try to be like Jesus they fall short.

That is, of course, all of the apostles not named Iscariot. :slight_smile:

When I get discouraged, I always remember my favorite example of the Christian life is. It’s something that Jesus didn’t actually say, but that He did (in His life on Earth.)

Peter, when the chips were down, and Jesus was about to be put to death, denied knowing Christ three times in one evening. And God still forgave him! Not only that, but Peter got the keys to the proverbial “pearly gates.” Now if Peter, the ultimate symbol of the apostate, is designated the head of Christ’s church…well…it bodes well for the rest of us.

Now, all we need to do is to attempt to forgive all, do good to all, and have the aforementioned Singleness of Heart.

I’m curious, dreamer, are you criticizing the links I posted as being representative of groups that are boasting about their good deeds and not doing them quietly enough? If so, what makes you think such things about them?

Also, these groups aren’t simply “organizations”. These are all intentional communities. In effect, these groups I posted are not simply “doing good deeds” but living their entire lives in a sort of thumbing of the nose at Luther’s compartmentalized sensibility about life (work here, religion here, SDMB here, etc.). If you ask them what it means to be Christ-like, they probably would say that one had to live one’s entire life in utter consistency, regardless of the implications. Like the Hutterites or the Shakers or the Amish, these groups evince a strong “life” effort as being the model for following in the footsteps of the founder of their religion. You may reject their interpretations or their specific deeds, but they offer justification for just about everything they do from the perspective of their religion. This is far more consistent than any other approach to “alter-Christus” that I’ve come across.

If nothing else, I find these groups to be at the very least consistent in the application of their religion. Many of the more well-known “Christian” “organizations” seem to me to be much more guilty of “Pharasaic boasting” in one sense, or to be “empty clanging bells” to use the Paulian parlance.

Seems to me, “It’s not what you say; it’s what you do.”

Absolutely not! I was saying that in the context that I personally did not want to do that. Or else I would of included the things that I do. If you know what I mean?

Oh and btw Jodi, you’re quite the rocker yourself :slight_smile:

Is it possible to have any sort of Christian discussion on this board without someone popping in to tell us how stupid we are? John, if you have honest questions, then this might be a good place for them. Otherwise, doesn’t this lean toward the Pit or something?

A fundamental point of Christianity is that the people of this world, all of them, are inadequate practitioners of doing what they should be doing. John, let’s put it this way, would you like to know that the dorks on the street are not only attracted to your daughter, but imagining in vivid detail what they would do, given the chance? Why does avoiding doing this seem so offensively impossible? I know it’s very hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the goal. Another point is that Jesus isn’t asking people to do things on their own power, but with the Holy Spirit’s power that is working through them. I hope that doesn’t sound too B-movie mystical. I submit that I’ve had this happen on way more than one occasion.


it seems to me that there isn’t anything wrong with saying, "I think what you’re doing is wrong, and

here’s why, and you should stop". However, if you choose to give advice like that, I think your attitude is important.

Very good point. There are people at my church who would be very interested in talking to people involved in certain lifestyles, etc, because they have been there themselves, but about the most pushy they get is giving a business card. If the person doesn’t want to call them, they aren’t ready to be helped anyway.

I think the reactions to His4ever are often overdone around here, but then again, is she just jumping in and telling people things they’re not interested in hearing? I think if we look at Jesus’ ministry style, He tended very much to go to the people who were ready. In fact, he seemed to be somewhat pointedly obscure in some of His storytelling, which I’m guessing was to reach the people He wanted. Mind you, there was a good bit said or demonstrated boldly, but notice how He tries to avoid being a flavor-of-the-month celebrity or a healing vending machine?


I want to portray the love of Christ in the best way possible. I just want to make sure that I’m doing

it for him and that I’m not compromising because I might be afraid of what someone else might say. I mean he also said they will hate you for your beliefs, so what does that mean? Will you hate me for my beliefs, or for me telling you my beliefs?

My take on this is that you can be bold with the people who want to hear what you have to say. Just to make an example, you wouldn’t be offended at hearing a bold, um, Muslim message if you’d turned up at a mosque, and you wouldn’t be offended if your good friend had a discussion with you about it in a respectful way.

The problem is that the church often reinforces the idea that the “stars” are the ones who make the biggest noise, regardless of the effectiveness or the appropriateness.

I was even recently writing an email along these lines:

"Some people are honestly very concerned with being as “into” the Lord as possible, but they, and some others who just feel the social pressure around them, then try to show how close to the Lord they are by bashing things that they are told are antithetical to Christian ideals.

This happens in the church, in unions, and in any group that is defined by the belief system of the group members. The more passionately you express your enthusiasm, the more cachet you have with the rest of the group, regardless of whether you make actual sense or not. Maxine Waters then is a great spokeswoman for black people, Jerry Falwell is a better Bible-believer than you, and the union president cares more about the working class than you, simply because they yell louder and act crazier in their defense of the ideals of the group. Mind you, this almost surely then means that they aren’t acting in the group’s best interest, and probably are not even on the same page as the original intent of the group, but because they’re more passionate, they supposedly should be the ones who get to be the leaders. By virtue of “caring more”, they stake claim to the moral high ground and convince many in the group that they are the go-to people."

In regards to things like the table throwing in the temple courts, as I stated in another thread kind of recently, ever notice that the people Jesus gets mad at are either being opportunist in the name of God, or being so blind/hypocritical when they really should know better that He just can’t stand it?

Sorry about the coding. I spell-checked it in Word, which for some reason removed some of the tags.

Funny, I came across something somewhat relevant to this last night. The Episocopal Church puts out a book of daily devotionals called Forward Day By Day which has been my bedtime reading for some years now. Last night’s meditation touched upon the different traditions of Christianity and our unity. The full text can be found here (you will have to click on “Today’s Meditation” then select the archive for Sept. 6), but, to quote from it,

To give you my take on how to act like a Christian, it has very little to do with obvious outward displays. I probably do more witnessing on this board than anywhere else, but that’s because questions keep coming up. In real life, I try to treat all human beings with decency, love, and courtesy. I believe that if I have to tell you I’m a Christian, I’m doing a lousy job of it, not because I say “Jesus” every other word, but because my actions should reflect the two greatest commandments according to Christ, specifically, the ones about loving God and loving one’s neighbor.

dreamer, you mentioned the verse about coming with a sword. I’m not above doing so, and not just at fencing practice. When I do so, it’s to defend someone who’s being attacked. To give you an example, I used to ride the bus with a fellow who I think may have been somewhat retarded and who talked loudly enough to be heard throughout the bus at rush hour. One morning, after he got off, another passenger started making rude remarks about him. I spoke up and said I didn’t appreciate his behaviour. He grumbled, but, AFAIK, he didn’t do so again. As luck would have it, I mentioned this incident to my company’s receptionist, and she asked if I wasn’t afraid I’d be attacked (I’m a short woman). I replied that if I did, God would protect me, as would the police and my friends (not to mention I’ve been fighting bullies since kindergarten). If you will take up the sword, do so by speaking up when you see injustice, when you see someone being treated unfairly because of who they are, but also pray that those inflicting the injustice will reform.

The world will tell you one person cannot make a difference. Those of us who are Christians know that we are not one person, that (and I can hear the atheists starting up now!) we have God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit on our side. I think I quoted this hymn to you once before, but I’ll do so again. This is the last line, in response to the question of what God requires of us (I’m not sure the moderators will allow me to quote the entire first verse) “Do justice; love mercy; walk humbly with your God.”


John, I believe Jesus had all the same feelings and urges we do. He just had so much knowledge and love from his Father, that that was his power over falling into sin.

If he had the same biological sexual urges, then this is something he considered sin, did he not? If he had lust after some woman he already committed adultery in his heart. If it is a sin for us; is it not for him? I think it was important enough for him to suggest we become eunuchs for kingdom’s sake. “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” If somehow Jesus was given more knowledge and love for his Father to where he wasn’t able to even have lust; then again, it isn’t a fair comparison if he didn’t even experience lust, and God didn’t give us an equal amount of the same knowledge and love we would have for Him to where we too would not even have lust, if this is something that is so important to Him.

So those Christians are “fortunate” because they don’t do these things? Why would you be put into a mental asylum if you did not copulate, and you did tithe and you did turn the other cheek, and you did love your enemies and give to people who ask?

Yes, I would say these Christians are fortunate, as opposed, to “self-castrating” themselves; hating their mother, father, children, and even one’s own life; being pro-slavery; not giving anything that someone would ask of you; not turning the other cheek or loving Saddam Hussein or others one would consider your enemy. If all were to emulate Jesus’ celibate lifestyle, we would have died out several thousands years ago if one truly wanted to follow him as example. If we were to ever turn the other cheek, and love our enemy; we, as a nation would be no more either.

Do the Christians you know at least give it some effort?

As to the above? No, thank goodness.


Are biological sexual urges the same as lust? Or is lust something else?

That depends on what way we are supposed to be like him. No where does it say that a Christian is to be like Jesus in every respect.

So, dreamer, I am at a loss… why are the links I posted representative of simply “organizations” that do “good deeds” to you? Or is it that the radical lifestyle change they advocate is too far overboard?

Sorry about the extended nature of the hijack, I just am genuinely curious as to why you do not feel such groups are germane to the discussion. They offer their take on “testimony” just as much as Christian folk on this board are doing.

But perhaps I am reading too much into your responses. Perhaps I should ask it this way, “What are these groups doing that you find objectionable in that you yourself would not want to do them?” Since they seem to struggle with the very question you are posing (although maybe on a slightly more global scale than simply a message board), I just thought it might offer an interesting perspective.

By the way here is yet another similar group. Or you can wade through a list of intentional Christian communities on the webhere.

You seem to be equating lust with biological urges, which are not the same thing. IANAMale, but when I see a guy that I’m attracted to, I can either let it be i.e., huh, he’s attractive, or I can imagine us having hot wild monkey sex. I think MLK said something to the effect “Bad thoughts are like birds; you can’t keep them from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.” The Bible says (somewhere) that Jesus was tempted in all things, yet remained without sin. Message: temptation =/= sin

JS Princeton, I honestly have no idea where you’re coming from here. Where did I say anything about these organizations? The comment I made to your post was this

Where did I say that??

I think so.

Oops…I forgot to add the quote from my previous post.

Lust: 1. Intense or unrestrained sexual craving.
a. An overwhelming desire or craving: a lust for power.

The point is that you’ve misdefined the word. Lust is not desire.

No, He did not consider sexual desire in itself to be sin. I don’t know how you can get that from what has been said here, or what is written in the Bible. He never once condemned people for having kids or having sexual desire in general.

Here are the verses you’re refering to, from the Amplified Bible:

Matthew 19:
10The disciples said to Him, If the case of a man with his wife is like this, it is neither profitable nor advisable to marry.
11But He said to them, Not all men can accept this saying, but it is for those to whom [the capacity to receive] it has been given.
12For there are eunuchs who have been born incapable of marriage; and there are eunuchs who have been made so by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves incapable of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let him who is able to accept this accept it.

The point seems to me to be that if you can accept not being concerned with a family so that you can have more time for service, then do that.

Again, He didn’t, but this is different than thinking some woman is cute and desirable in the general sense. So, Christians are NOT saying that Jesus had a different amount of leading and love available, but that He availed Himself of more of it than the rest of us.

Again, just for starters, you do realize that if the Christians crashed all the psuedo-atheistic thread around here like this, they’d be pilloried.

Please, please get some actual appreciation of the real points of Christianity before going off on the rants. Everything said here frankly betrays a lack of research on the subject.

In order:

  1. “self-castrating” themselves

This could only be in the most figurative sense, in the sense of avoiding lust, the definition of which, see above.

2.hating their mother, father, children, and even one’s own life

Again, this is not showing much knowledge of every interpretation I’ve ever heard of this passage: The feeling for God should be so great that by comparison, other attachments feel like hate.

  1. being pro-slavery

You really are stretching with this one. First, you have to say that Jesus was coming to right every wrong in the world in the three year span of His ministry. First, there’s the practical point that being a slave revolutionary leader would have caused such political problems that He would probably have been arrested and gotten nothing else done. Then there’s the point that slavery at the time was not much like the American version at all. People often sold themselves into slavery to pay off debts, or to have a secure job. The Jews were explicitly directed to release their slaves on a schedule, and to treat them well.

  1. not giving anything that someone would ask of you; not turning the other cheek or loving Saddam Hussein or others one would consider your enemy. If all were to emulate Jesus’ celibate lifestyle, we would have died out several thousands years ago if one truly wanted to follow him as example. If we were to ever turn the other cheek, and love our enemy; we, as a nation would be no more either

First, I don’t think many people at all would say that this instruction is for the national scale. Even besides that, the real point here I think is not to be resentful and to be the kind of person who can bear unjust persecution without insisting on the “eye-for-an-eye” retribution. Self defense is another issue all together.

Here’s where it all began:

I read this and I mistakenly interpretted, “Thanks, but this isn’t interesting me or salient to the question because it doesn’t address MY life.” I think right now that you didn’t intend that particular interpretation. I’d like to know what you did intend, then.

To offer some degree of explanation, I ran a bit far with the ball out-of-bounds. What I wanted to know was,

a) WHY weren’t these groups salient to your life?


b) WHY you think I was simply talking about “good deeds” when I was talking about those groups who live consistently with their religion? (what I, perhaps mistakenly, thought the original intent of the OP was).

Now I see that the former question (a) probably doesn’t apply here. The latter (b) I still would like an answer to.

It seems to me you may be saying that these groups aren’t really addressing the question you bring up. There are two possibilities, then, in my mind: that you either

  1. find something objectionable about the way these groups approach the subject


  1. don’t see these groups approaching the subject at all.

I doubt now that it is the former (1) because you stated (again I may be reading into your statements, if I am mistaken, please explain to me how I am mistaken) that you didn’t find anything objectionable. So I now conclude that you don’t see these groups I linked to approaching the subject. So my question is then, WHAT should they do differently in order to answer your question?

This perhaps has gone on too long and may be tiring for you. I am simply a student of religious experiences and was intrigued by the response you gave above. (It was a response I don’t quite understand, I think.)

I reread the conversation and I think, dreamer, that the problem lies in this: you thought that the links I was providing were showing corporal acts of mercy and social justice groups that were activists. This is not altogether a bad interpretation; except that wasn’t really my motivation for posting the links. Indeed, what I thought you wanted was a description of “how to” live daily life, and I was attempting to provide you with that. These people LIVE their daily lives as evidenced from their websites.

Ah! But I can understand why you viewed these groups this way. They are very activist in their publications (which include websites). It’s the group BEHIND the publications I was trying to get you to consider NOT the publications or the “good deeds” themselves.

This is the other side to these sites. They are all intentional communities. This means the people live together, eat together, work together, and make decisions together as a group devoted to the principles of their commonly-held religion. In effect, they are attempting to LIVE the very life you are asking about, emulating Christ, much more radically than any traditional “church” does and perhaps in a different way than your OP was intending. After all, you’re trying to apply it to your own life, and you aren’t about to go and join an intentional community (I think).

I think from observing your posts that you are basically satisfied with where you are in your faith journey and community. This is perfectly reasonable… most people find themselves in similar situations. However, I took your OP to be a question about alternative interpretations of what the model of “living like Christ” entails. My response to you was, “have you considered what various intentional communities do as a way to spark some neurons?” I’m sorry if I was obtuse or obscure in my references. I’m simply trying to provide you with an alternative viewpoint (in many cases VERY alternative… these groups basically do not live in a “normal” society that the rest of the Western Internetted World is used to, nor do they act or preach like most Christians do).

Hopes this clears things up.

In that vein, I’d like to offer

JPUSA is probably the last surviving commune from the Jesus People hippies in the early 70s. Guess what the JP in the name is?

Many of them live in the same building in downtown Chicago. They run various ministries from there, and host the Cornerstone alternative music festival over the July 4 holiday every year. This is the one that will never have Amy Grant performing. I’ve wanted to go for about 13 years.