Golden Rule & unintended consequences
I certainly support the Golden Rule, but if we open our doors to unlimited immigration, which would do the most good for the most people, how would we care for the millions who would want to come, including criminals and extremists?
In an ideal, sinless world, we could do that, but I think not in today’s sinful, selfish, greedy, grasping, mostly evil “get all you can for yourself” world.
Our immigration system is a mess. Surely, we ought to spend more effort on making legal immigration possible.
It is understandable that a few people, though not abandoning their faith, will leave the church in their declining years. Old age induces many structural changes. Better to lament that others do not evaluate and vacate. Their failure to do so means that churches are enclaves of those who:
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• Are content with easy ignorance—to be taught the Bible, but never taught about the Bible. Undernourished on a preacher pabulum of doctrinal repetition, denominational dogma, retold tales and speculation. But no scholarship—sources, dates, exaggerations, myths, symbolism, the lack of archaeological evidence. Critical analysis is hard.
• Tolerate unsophisticated pastors who disdain science and demand literal belief. Lexus lives entrusted to the tinkerings of spiritual shade-tree mechanics.
• Prefer circuses to services; do not expect spirituality to be a church distinctive. Require inside church to be the same as outside church.
• Overlook contradictions: Be the light of the world, but stay out of the world; give generously, but do not chase the almighty dollar; wait for Jesus to direct your life, but accept your responsibilities as an intelligent being.
• Submit to the pastor’s ploys—promises of blessings, and threats of wrath to consummate whatever “God has laid on his heart” for a given Sunday. It is more about money and his resumé; less about pleasing God with practical religion.
Baptist churches have become mere social clubs for insiders; affiliations unattractive to outsiders. Those who stay are more to be condemned than those who leave.
John V. Rutledge
Colorado Springs, Colo.