August 16, 2006

Spiritual Paths

Is there only one? Is the one you follow the correct one?

Does your faith call upon you to separate yourself from those who follow different paths, lest you endorse their principles? Is this wise?

If you are a Christian, how do you handle this difficult issue? On the one hand, the Lord hung out with sinners. On the other, hanging out with sinners can subject you to temptation.

If you're a Twelve-Stepper, how do you function in slippery places (e.g., bars, Grateful Dead concerts, pastry shops, gift stores—whatever)?

Posted by Attila Girl at August 16, 2006 12:45 PM | TrackBack

"in...but not of..."

I know someone may pipe up and claim it doesn't actually say that. But in so many words, it does. It depends upon how you define fellowship. And that may be something each individual believer has to discern for him/herself.

If you find yourself following after the way of the world, in violation of what you know or perceive to be your biblical/spiritual values, then it may be time to take stock and reasess how your relationships may be corrupting your walk.

There are lots of spiritual paths. Not all go where they claim to, and they're not all the same in the end. Obviously one ought to be confident that the one followed is the correct one. But what one does after that is the difference.

Me, I'm perfectly content to let someone go to hell-in-a-handbasket after I've made my requisite appeal to the Way. After all, I could be completely full of shit and my only afterlife will be spent in the alimentary tract of an earthworm. In the final analysis my trust in Jesus Christ as the only one capable of saving me out of death into life is not shaken by whether anyone around me has come to the same faith.

I kinda like you all though, and I'd really hate any of you to suffer the fate prepared first and foremost for the Enemy. Although my basic misanthropy does tend to temper my enthusiasm for zealous proselytization. That and the fact that I have realized that it is not so much me doing/saying anything, as it is a work of the Holy Spirit. It's my job to remain sensitive to his movings and to move accordingly.

Posted by: Desert Cat at August 16, 2006 04:49 PM

I always make sure I'm twelve steps from a Krispy Kreme.

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at August 16, 2006 07:22 PM

Sean: you're an APOSTATE LUTHERAN! Repent! Lacking that, admit that you're POWERLESS OVER DOUGHNUTS! Or be prepared to be cast into the lake of fire.

I'm serious, Bro . . .

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 17, 2006 12:35 AM

DC: I think you're a phenomenal witness for the Lord, partly because you're not wasting energy living up to other people's role expectations for what a Christian ought to be.

I do happen to think you're right in something you mentioned a year ago: when the joint came round, Jesus would have taken a hit--at least at 70s potencies (the current stuff is stronger). He wouldn't have gotten wasted, but He would have been one with the sinners he ministered to, and participated (somewhat) in their customs. Without getting fucked up or using His Spidey powers.

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 17, 2006 12:38 AM

Not wanting to get too off-topic, but the potency thing is a red herring of the anti-drug hyperventilators. All that means is it takes far less to get where one wants to be, and also there's far less tar, CO and other crap to take in. Healthy choice!

It's self regulating. Think of it like this: no one would drink three full cups of espresso like they would three cups of regular coffee. When you've had enough you stop.

He drank wine. Not just a sip or two, but as much as the regular folk of his day did. A glass was part of any meal. And the Pharisees accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard. He was not, of course, but it serves to illustrate that he did not abstain, and that it was not "grape juice".

He came to teach one thing, that all of God's will could be summed up in a single word: Love. Everything else, all the rules and regulations that the Pharisees had added to God's word, were peripheral and were distractions to the central message: "Love the Lord your God with all heart and soul and mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." Everything else is the "how", not the "what".

For example, it's not love to drink in front of a recovering alcoholic or to offer him some. "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.", and one measure of that "profitable" is that if you love your neighbor as yourself, what you do in your own freedom that negatively impacts your neighbor, is not love. And since the sum of the law and the prophets is Love, in that circumstance it is therefore not lawful.

In that same vein, appearing to condone that which is contrary to the love of God, might also apply as a lack of love to one's neighbor. Perhaps this is where I slip sometimes.

Gotta run to work. L8r

Posted by: Desert Cat at August 17, 2006 07:23 AM

I'm sure, though, that the "appearing to condone"/"suspension of judgment" gives you awesome opportunities to witness to others.

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 17, 2006 12:03 PM

I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school thru college. Later became a self-proclaimed agnositc, then discovered Christian Science, and metaphysics in general. (No, I *don't* mean channeling dolphins or ETs.) From where I stand, it's about mind creating our environments thru multiple means - our choices to act being the most likely.

That said, I've learned to look for *similarities* in faiths, not so much differences. If metaphysics (as ever so briefly described above) works, then one can 'judge a tree by its fruits'. It doesn't seem to matter what the nurturing faith might be.

Posted by: leelu at August 17, 2006 12:06 PM

My faith doesn't so much separate me from other people don't things I don't approve of as much as my conscience and my fear of getting caught do. Few believe I've never touched an illegal drug. I have never been offered any either, not even in college. Sure, I went to plenty of college parties where it was happening, but I avoided the temptation and the potential for getting caught.

Attila, did you temporarily take in the Martin Luther's spirit? You sounded like it.

P.S. Put a dozen, warm original Krispy Kremes in front of me and I'm conquered.

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at August 17, 2006 03:28 PM

Yeah--the girls tell me margaritas work, too . . . could be just a rumor, though.

Sean, is there a distinction to be drawn between faith and conscience? Or is conscience socialized, and faith something one acquires later on?

Re: Martin Luther--nope. He was anti-Semitic ;)

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 17, 2006 05:19 PM

Rumor has it I can be conquered by margaritas too.

Faith I'm sure influences conscience along with socialization and if your parents happen to beat you into acting properly. For me, I feared doing something that would make my mother tell me she was "disappointed in me."

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at August 17, 2006 10:33 PM

Hm. Any feedback on your earring?

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 18, 2006 12:29 AM

Hanging out with sinners may involve temptation, but their is nothing inherently wrong with hanging with sinners only giving into the temptation.

Posted by: the Pirate at August 18, 2006 12:36 PM

The earring appeared in sophomore year of college. I heard nothing negative from the parents. Now, if I had tried that in high school...

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at August 18, 2006 11:41 PM


Pharisees and Fundamentalists feel differently, as I understand it.

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 19, 2006 12:12 AM

12 steppers aren't supposed to hang out in "slippery places." If you hang around the barber shop, sooner or later you are going to get a hair cut.

I don't tell people what I believe because it usually upsets them.

When I want to rattle someone's cage, I usually try to get them to explain why they believe what they believe. Having studied some philosophy in college - that included the Skeptics - it really isn't a fair fight.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at August 20, 2006 03:52 AM

Actually, Z.D., there is a passage in the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous that discusses the notion of going to a bar, and states that it hinges on your motivations for being there: if there is a "legitimate social or business reason," then it's okay. But one has to know one's own mind.

As a matter of fact, the Wharf Rats started as a group of sober people who liked to attend Grateful Dead concerts. It was all about, "how can I go there and listen to the music without it turning into a self-destructive thing?"

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 20, 2006 01:22 PM

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