Statesboro, GA, USA
But I will state one more time, for the record, that I do not believe that people, who are human and prone to error, ought to go around attempting to "convert" each other.
By saying so, and especially by using the word "ought", aren't you also trying to "convert" others to your view of the nature of God and fallible human beings? I could try and show from a Biblical perspective how God has chosen to involve imperfect human beings in bringing about his purposes. But before doing so, I would want to ask whether your view is also a kind of dogma which you feel compelled (at least on occasion) to communicate to others?
If one has total faith in an omnipotent, omnipresent deity, then why would such a deity need the fallible human being to "reach" other fallible human beings?
From a Christian perspective, God chooses or wills to involve us (and you must admit that there are many Biblical passages, such as the "Great Commission" in Matthew 28:16-20 which demonstrate this). We could ask why, being omnipotent and omniscient, he would do such a thing. I can think of reasons that relate to human nature. For one, human beings are relational. We need each other in a variety of ways. I don't think the spiritual dimension should be any different, though our efforts are not "perfect", as you've pointed out. Secondly, it is sometimes easier to listen to someone who has fallen themselves and is not above spiritual struggle. Nothing demonstrates the mercy of God more than this. And for some, seeing this in others gives them the feeling that they too may have good hope and reason to get closer to God.
No offense meant to you, either. I am not accusing you of such behavior--I am simply trying to make you understand why I find this stuff annoying.
Karen, there is much that is done and said that annoys me as much as you. It annoyed me before I was a Christian and has not ceased to do so after. So I understand more than you might think. But my source of annoyance was different then than it is now. Now I am annoyed that common courtesy is sometimes ignored, meaningful relationship is overlooked, and arrogance or just plain kookyness (for lack of a better word) is displayed. Back then (pre-conversion) I was of course annoyed by all these things too. But there was also an annoyance at the possiblity and implications of those people being generally right about what they were saying. There was good reason enough to be annoyed at the ineptitude, but I think I often amplified those reasons in my own mind to drown out the still small voice saying much the same thing (though of course without the questionable agendas sometimes 'attached' to the gospel) only better. Honestly, I didn't want to face the fact that I was sinful enough that someone should have to die for me. But eventually the love that I saw in the person of Christ drew me, and I was able to forgive and forget all the bumbling attempts of people who tried to show me. I even came to feel that a person who shared "The Gospel" in an annoying way might be better off than myself who simply denied it. There were, thankfully, other efforts too that seemed more reaching and sincere, that I am greatly appreciative of. There were other writings too that helped me along as well. Anyway for what its worth, that's my personal experience, which is not altogether foreign from yours (which is what I wanted to say).
So a long time ago, I decided that I do indeed love you my brother, but that perhaps we should discuss hotsauce, or poetry, music, or just say "Hi, how's the family?"
Hi! How is the family?
Karen, I appreciate your warmth. The love is mutual. The bottom line is that we can discuss whatever you wish. The family is doing well, though they are growing up way too fast! (And ... so am I!)
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (05-26-2009 09:47 AM).]