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Messages - George Rahn

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1
Your Turn / Re: Atheist Chaplains
« on: September 01, 2021, 06:56:07 PM »
“Greg was the first choice of a committee that was made up of a Lutheran, a Christian Scientist, an evangelical Christian and a Bahá’í,” said the Rev. Kathleen Reed, a Lutheran chaplain who chaired the nominating committee. “We’re presenting to the university a vision of how the world could work when diverse traditions focus on how to be good humans and neighbors.”

https://dnyuz.com/2021/08/26/the-new-chief-chaplain-at-harvard-an-atheist/

A Lutheran, a Christian Scientist, an evangelical Christian, and a Baha'i walk into a committee room and nominate an atheist to be chaplain, and God says, "Is this some kind of a joke?"

Marshall Hahn

For Lutherans, this is a ecumenism at its worst.


It's not ecumenism. Ecumenism is defined as promoting unity among Christian churches. When non-Christians are involved, "ecumenism" is not the proper word.

I disagree.  If you are representing your confessional identity (as is the case here) you are in a sense practicing ecumenism.  Participation on a committee along with representatives of other Christian or otherwise does come with one’s accountability as to how the Christian faith is interpreted.  The best type of dialogue is when each participant is able to stand faithfully and give accurate voice to how their Christian group voices doctrinal (teaching) content.  This Lutheran participant failed at giving credence to confessional identity.

Or if the Lutheran gave a faithful and biblical witness, it was voted down.   I didn’t see that mentioned in the news release.

2
Your Turn / Re: Atheist Chaplains
« on: September 01, 2021, 11:37:24 AM »
“Greg was the first choice of a committee that was made up of a Lutheran, a Christian Scientist, an evangelical Christian and a Bahá’í,” said the Rev. Kathleen Reed, a Lutheran chaplain who chaired the nominating committee. “We’re presenting to the university a vision of how the world could work when diverse traditions focus on how to be good humans and neighbors.”

https://dnyuz.com/2021/08/26/the-new-chief-chaplain-at-harvard-an-atheist/

A Lutheran, a Christian Scientist, an evangelical Christian, and a Baha'i walk into a committee room and nominate an atheist to be chaplain, and God says, "Is this some kind of a joke?"

Marshall Hahn

For Lutherans, this is a ecumenism at its worst.

3
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: August 23, 2021, 06:28:50 PM »
Another area I'd like to hear some thoughts spun out when it comes to God's being "in, with and under" is the differentiation that begins with the random nature of pretty much everything.  Stuff happens.  Why would God know or care about the specific strand of the spider web outside my front door that I manage to run through my forehead every morning while picking up the paper?  That's on the one hand.  The other differentiated hand is sort of absolute determinism.  Every act of every creature/substance/breath or wind/explosion in a far corner of the universe at any and every blink of time is integral to God's plan, including every thought that pops into my head.  Or yours.  God, it turns out, does care about that strand of spider web, and maybe wants me to form a better alliance with the spider.

Pastorally, this comes into view when someone dies suddenly/tragically, say, and the liturgical response of some friends is "this was all in God's plan for Uncle Waldo,"  and the rejoinder is "Really?  God somehow wanted Waldo to be hit by that bus?"

Dave Benke


Wondering whether a distinction needs to be made first.  Has Uncle Waldo received the Christian sacrament of Holy Baptism?  Then as a Christian pastor I could plan the direction of my course for pastoral care according to the Hope within us.  We teach that baptism plants us together with Christ’s body along with all the narrative biblical that goes with it.  If Uncle Waldo is baptized, there is extreme hope to be planted within the hearts and ears of those who weep.  We believe that Christ is fully God and fully human bodily.  This remains so until the last day.  It also connects us to Christ as he is bodily for us now as the crucified-for-you Savior as well as the risen and living Savior since now death no longer has dominion over Christ.  Wow!  What a connection which Uncle Waldo has!

4
Your Turn / Re: Heteroromantic
« on: August 23, 2021, 12:50:27 PM »
People outside this tightly wrapped theological community use “repentance“ in a different way. That’s all I am saying.
Let’s talk about repentance as saying “I’m sorry that my father‘s generation and my grandfather’s generation held these attitudes that did things to you.“
That of course does not solve the problem posed by other views present on this board, views held by people who believe that certain folks, especially sexual minorities, should have things done to them, because after all, the way they express their sexuality is sinful and “intrinsically evil.”
To do that, you must ascribe moral agency to identity groups and treat individuals according to their identity group membership. That is dehumanizing even as it tries to be nice.

Very true.  Shouldn’t legislate morality.  We’ll end up like the Taliban.  Not good in any way.  Lol

5
Your Turn / Re: Heteroromantic
« on: August 23, 2021, 12:41:52 PM »
But to continue to use the term repentance opens up so many possibilities for word slight of tongue. We begin by saying that here "repentance" means saying that we are sorry for what people who are in some ways like us (especially gender or skin color or religion, etc.) but not us did to them. From there it is just a short step to asserting that repentance that is just saying "Sorry" isn't enough. If one is truly repentant, then one needs to take responsibility for what was wrong and step up with compensation and change. And so repentance that started out meaning one thing shifts in meaning toward a more usual meaning that carries more freight.


Biblically, "repentance" (μετάνοια) is about a "changing in thinking" that should result in changes in behaviors. Has this discussion caused no changes in your thinking?

Repentance in general is far different from Christian repentance.  The opening chapters of Jesus’ ministry indicate that John the Baptist’s style of calling folks to repentance is different from Christ’s call to repent.  Calling to repentance has a different outcome between the two types of repentance “callers.”

6
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: August 21, 2021, 02:09:43 PM »
In terms of biblical creation, the preservation of creation calls for God to be clearly and constantly in, with and under His creation.  Isn’t the error of the Enlightenment making God to be far off leaving His creation for human stewarding alone?  The Deus ex machina observes what creatures do to either extend the creation or manage it irresponsibly b cause God has set the creation in stone and removed his myself from the creation.  So the concept goes.  Biblical creation, on the other hand, has God always around…in, with and under.  The problem arrives when the human goes about life without considering the fact that God truly and factually is around and since the Fall and Exile, is not happy with human act and intention.  In fact so since Eden God stresses the sinner’s irresponsibility

7
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: August 21, 2021, 01:18:31 PM »
Stromatolites are still around, though perhaps not as abundant as they once were. See link below.

https://www.newsweek.com/ancient-organism-life-earth-tasmania-stromatolites-715024#:~:text=Today%2C%20stromatolites%20are%20rare%2C%20mostly,when%20you%20think%20of%20life.

So my question is really a simple one: How does one determine the age of stromatolite fossils? They might be "old," they might be "young."  How does one know?

One uses the various tools available, including stratigraphy and radioisotopic dating. The bed i mentioned i believe is tied intobother geolic features that allow for the dating.

The problem with any kind of radiometric dating is that when the same sample is tested multiple times, you can often get wildly varying dates (i'm talking tens to hundreds of millions of years).  To then say that "sample X is 150 million years old" is disingenuous because you may only be getting an average of several numbers between 1 million and 500 million.  Radiometric dating, like many other aspects of geology today, have serious flaws in how they are presented.

And, if I could add though it is outside my expertise… Don’t any radio dating methods depend on the assumption that isotopes have always behaved the same way and under no circumstances would ever behave differently? I understand that assumption is necessary in order to make the effort at all, but doesn’t rigorous science demand we admit our results are only as strong as our weakest assumptions?

Yes.  I’m interested in an answer to this as well.  Are constants really that constant?

8
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: August 20, 2021, 09:10:53 PM »
I knew coming into the LCMS I would have to be a 6 Day Young Earth creationist. I couldn't lie.

As a Catholic, I was free to use my education. After all, having essentially invented science, it is not seen as something to be feared. Near my parents house there is a stromatolite bed that is half a billion years old. I used to love taking off my shoes and standing barefoot on a reef that was 200 million years old when dinosaurs first appeared. I love deep time. As a Catholic i have a less cramped understanding of the 1st use of the Law. YMMV

How do you know those stromatolites are half a billion years old?

Because either the God given faculty of reason that exists in me and others, following the evidence of what we could call in general, science is true, or God's a total dick who likes pranking people. If I cannot trust him in this little matter, why would I trust Him on ultimate issues?

Once again, the false dichotomy, here stated rather profanely, that either the world is extremely old or else God is a trickster. Is it really so very hard for people to see a third option here?

And again, as I had to ask with Pastor Austin, if you are confident in your position, why the need to go on the offensive?

This illustrates the difference (and I believe the unresolved and unresolvable issue) between the Lutheran vs. RC understanding of how the imago dei operates within the individual sinner.  Both churches believe that at the creation of the human being God produced the image of God (ebenbild) in the person.  However after the fall although that image is intact it has been altered, destroyed or disturbed because of sin.  At this point the churches Lutheran and Roman Catholicism diverge in what remains of the image.  Reason as faculty remains intact but each confessional church defines how reason is defined after the fall.  RCism believes that grace can perfect reason.  Lutherans reject that for the claim that sin obscures the accuracy of reason even after both the fall as well as after redemption.  Forgiveness of sins does not change the quality of reasoning so as to invite the sinner to reach and receive a more refined and subsequently more accurate resolve accompanied with growth in grace.  Lutherans admit that reason is always working within the limited nature of our sight and reach.  RCism tends to believe in the perfection of nature via grace.

Well said George. The understanding is that Grace does not eradicate nature, but builds or perfects it.

My point was to show the disparity between the two views.  I fall (sic) on the side of the Lutherans because they seem more inclined to be honest about how radically off reason is indubitably.  Christ’s redemption in the cross and resurrection is the promise fulfilled.  Human reason is not to forgotten by God.  This side of the resurrection though reason has no chance for improvement via grace.  Grace isn’t a substance administered, but a Person who is active in sinners’ lives.  God promises full pardon and peace on the Last Day reason included.  Trusting in God’s promises in Christ seems more biblical than grace perfecting nature.  That is my two cents on the matter.

9
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: August 20, 2021, 03:14:33 PM »
I knew coming into the LCMS I would have to be a 6 Day Young Earth creationist. I couldn't lie.

As a Catholic, I was free to use my education. After all, having essentially invented science, it is not seen as something to be feared. Near my parents house there is a stromatolite bed that is half a billion years old. I used to love taking off my shoes and standing barefoot on a reef that was 200 million years old when dinosaurs first appeared. I love deep time. As a Catholic i have a less cramped understanding of the 1st use of the Law. YMMV

How do you know those stromatolites are half a billion years old?

Because either the God given faculty of reason that exists in me and others, following the evidence of what we could call in general, science is true, or God's a total dick who likes pranking people. If I cannot trust him in this little matter, why would I trust Him on ultimate issues?

Once again, the false dichotomy, here stated rather profanely, that either the world is extremely old or else God is a trickster. Is it really so very hard for people to see a third option here?

And again, as I had to ask with Pastor Austin, if you are confident in your position, why the need to go on the offensive?

This illustrates the difference (and I believe the unresolved and unresolvable issue) between the Lutheran vs. RC understanding of how the imago dei operates within the individual sinner.  Both churches believe that at the creation of the human being God produced the image of God (ebenbild) in the person.  However after the fall although that image is intact it has been altered, destroyed or disturbed because of sin.  At this point the churches Lutheran and Roman Catholicism diverge in what remains of the image.  Reason as faculty remains intact but each confessional church defines how reason is defined after the fall.  RCism believes that grace can perfect reason.  Lutherans reject that for the claim that sin obscures the accuracy of reason even after both the fall as well as after redemption.  Forgiveness of sins does not change the quality of reasoning so as to invite the sinner to reach and receive a more refined and subsequently more accurate resolve accompanied with growth in grace.  Lutherans admit that reason is always working within the limited nature of our sight and reach.  RCism tends to believe in the perfection of nature via grace.

10
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: August 19, 2021, 04:43:16 PM »
I knew coming into the LCMS I would have to be a 6 Day Young Earth creationist. I couldn't lie.

As a Catholic, I was free to use my education. After all, having essentially invented science, it is not seen as something to be feared. Near my parents house there is a stromatolite bed that is half a billion years old. I used to love taking off my shoes and standing barefoot on a reef that was 200 million years old when dinosaurs first appeared. I love deep time. As a Catholic i have a less cramped understanding of the 1st use of the Law. YMMV

How do you know those stromatolites are half a billion years old?

Nice.  I'd like to know that as well.  Would carbon-dating or whatever source of measurement used be sufficient for a solid conclusion on the date as assessed?

I think, George, that carbon dating is used for testing more recent materials, which is why it appears in archaeological research so often. A common test for rocks thought to be especially old might be potassium argon dating, if memory serves. I was wondering what method(s) were used for the stromatolites mentioned.

Ok.  I believe that there is a relativity issue here regarding how sufficient are standards of measurement of any type in determining conclusions based on ascertainment of time and date like in the example above.  Are any reliable?

11
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: August 19, 2021, 03:26:50 PM »
I knew coming into the LCMS I would have to be a 6 Day Young Earth creationist. I couldn't lie.

As a Catholic, I was free to use my education. After all, having essentially invented science, it is not seen as something to be feared. Near my parents house there is a stromatolite bed that is half a billion years old. I used to love taking off my shoes and standing barefoot on a reef that was 200 million years old when dinosaurs first appeared. I love deep time. As a Catholic i have a less cramped understanding of the 1st use of the Law. YMMV

How do you know those stromatolites are half a billion years old?

Nice.  I'd like to know that as well.  Would carbon-dating or whatever source of measurement used be sufficient for a solid conclusion on the date as assessed?

12
Your Turn / Re: God and Time
« on: August 19, 2021, 03:21:08 PM »
We may be discussing different matters and the poverty of language and expression are hampering dialog here.  I was simply confining my remarks to the English words and meanings conveyed by those terms, everlasting and eternal.  Both are not of the same definition.  Each term expresses a different issue about time.
In my posts, I am using the terms "eternal" and "everlasting" not necessarily in their usual everyday English senses but as philosophical technical terms to refer to specific theories as to the relationship between God and Time. Those terms came to be used in this not entirely arbitrarily, their common English meanings do fit with the theories that they are used to label. In my discussions I find it handier to use the technical terms than a sentence or paragraph to spell out the theory each time I want to refer to it.

got it.   :)

13
Your Turn / Re: God and Time
« on: August 19, 2021, 03:08:52 PM »
God-creates-time is not a far-fetched matter.  If we stick to the understanding that God is both creator and author of existence, then time goes along with it.  This, since the day Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden.  Prior to that is the subject of "events" pre-Fall and thus we witness this in Genesis 1 and 2.  I think as sinners we are time-bound and as creatures under the Creator's creating, preserving and judging, we are subject to God's established time:  ie. history.

14
Your Turn / Re: God and Time
« on: August 19, 2021, 03:01:31 PM »
Staying within the bounds of the English, the word everlasting seems to be about the continuation of time forever.  In contrast, the term eternal calls to mind "events" beyond the time-continuum.  If God is the creator, God is the creator of time as well.  Both everlasting matters and eternal matters abide in Him.  If God is source and creator God remains who God is and time-bound creatures, ie. humans cannot conceive or represent who God is technically without inserting human projection into God.  God can never be an object for humans to conceive or manipulate.  That would be blasphemy.
I'm not sure what your objection is here. Philosophy of religion attempts to take what we know about God, specifically from religious texts within a specific religion, and put them within a coherent mental framework. It is not specifically theology which does much the same thing but derives doctrine. If you consider it blasphemous to think about God and try to construct a coherent mental picture of what God is like, then I cannot help you. It is important that we realize that God is not obliged to fit into our ideas about Him or act in accordance to them. I find this to be an interesting and occasionally helpful exercise.


One aspect that I think will be generally helpful about this exercise is that we all think about God in certain ways and believe that God will act in certain ways. This mental image we have about God (and everybody who thinks about God in any way does so with mental images) has usually been haphazardly constructed from what we have read in Scripture, experienced in our life, been taught by parents, teachers, pastors, professors, popular media, etc. People usually operate with a number of unexpressed premises that may even be contradictory and may not accurately what their particular theology expresses. By making a conscious effort to examine our assumptions and try to draw them into a coherent whole, we are less likely to make unconscious theological errors, or push conclusions based not on what our church teaches but half remembered Sunday School lessons and childhood speculations.


Let's also not forget our tendency to take over-simplified, labels, definitions, and theological slogans and absolutize them as the definitive teaching into which all other teachings, Scripture passages, and observations must be crammed Procrustean fashion.

We may be discussing different matters and the poverty of language and expression are hampering dialog here.  I was simply confining my remarks to the English words and meanings conveyed by those terms, everlasting and eternal.  Both are not of the same definition.  Each term expresses a different issue about time.

15
Your Turn / Re: God and Time
« on: August 19, 2021, 12:46:10 PM »
An important question in the philosophy of religion and Christian theology is the relationship of God to time. On the basis of the Biblical witness, it has been commonly asserted that God exists throughout time. There never was a time before God existed and will not be a time after God ceases to exist. But within that understanding, there exists two different concepts of how God relates to time. One asserts that God experiences time as we do, He remembers the past, anticipates the future and exists in the present. He simply exists throughout time. This understanding is conventionally referred to as God Everlasting.
 
The other understanding of God and time holds that God does not experience time as we do but exists outside of time and experiences all time in His eternal present. For God there is no past, present, or future since all time is one for Him. This is the classic position of Christian theology and is conventionally referred to as God Eternal.


I don't think that scriptures makes such a distinction. "Everlasting" and "eternal" are both ways of translating αἰώνιος. It's a word that refers to "an unlimited duration of time."


A image I've used is a straight time line, which can represent a person's life span or the beginning and ending of earth (or the universe). As the time-line shows a beginning and an end, God's view is like a large arch over the time-line. God is not bound by the flow of time. God sees the beginning and the end all at once. So, even before creation happened, God saw the disobedience of the first humans, of David, of Peter, of us. God saw the birth, death, resurrection, return of Jesus, and the coming of the new heaven and earth.


God knows our decisions before we make them. God doesn't determine our decisions. God knew that Mary would accept her calling to be the "Mother of God." God knew Judas would put into play the actions that would bring about the crucifixion. Etc.
Quite true, the "eternal"/"everlasting" distinction is an artificial philosophical distinction used as technical terms within the field of philosophy of religion as a short hand designation for two different ways of understanding God's relationship to time. The Bible does not exactly explore or explicate how God relates to time.


The image that you describe as using to understand how God views time is basically another way to describe the God is Eternal philosophical position, just not using that technical term.

Staying within the bounds of the English, the word everlasting seems to be about the continuation of time forever.  In contrast, the term eternal calls to mind "events" beyond the time-continuum.  If God is the creator, God is the creator of time as well.  Both everlasting matters and eternal matters abide in Him.  If God is source and creator God remains who God is and time-bound creatures, ie. humans cannot conceive or represent who God is technically without inserting human projection into God.  God can never be an object for humans to conceive or manipulate.  That would be blasphemy.

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