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August 22, 2005



Thanks! I'll check out your blog yet this evening!


Sorry if I'm overloading you, Chuck...

I wanted to agree with you about what you call "holistic"
reading of scripture, and comment on that point as briefly
as I can...

I am a computer scientist - logic is the hard science of
my professional discipline. I had a graduate minor in
mathematical logic, among others. (Logic and rhetoric, though
both very important, are different things with different
purposes; what we are doing here is not logic, but rhetoric.)

Logicians have notions about logical "correctness", expressed
at least partly in the ideas of "completeness" and "consistency."
Completeness is about the scope of applicability of an assertion
or theory. Consistency is about the presence or absence of

1 John 4:1 cautions us to "test the spirits"; I take this more
seriously than I can tell you in short order. I have read the
Bible cover to cover, in fact, looking simply to see if there
is possibly a reading which is first of all consistent (I find
that there is), and second of all looking to see how the scope
might be most broad. That was an academic exercise of sorts
(I actually did it during my first year of graduate school),
but it has colored my perceptions ever since.

AI researchers I've known talk about how many different ways
there are to interpret the simple statement "Time flies like
an arrow." That exercise makes it obvious how difficult it
is to deal with the gross ambiquity of human language.

But I know now, after all these years, that the role of the
Holy Spirit is a fundamental one in the process of coming to
an understanding of the "mind of Christ." And I believe that
it's not as hard as we sometimes make it, but maybe that's
just me...

Nowadays, I literally have what I consider "conversations with
God." I can't begin to tell you how much revelation I've gotten
this way, some exactingly technical and specific (my entire
doctoral dissertation came this way). I find the challenge has
become how to keep myself out of the way, in order to distinguish
those ideas that I know are not original to me, and then to do
the testing that 1 John 4:1 calls for.

I'm thinking about writing a book, in fact. I could use a
collaborator, if you're interested...


Interesting proposal. Can you send me more details?

m f law

This very issue has come up a lot in our family, as I suppose it has in many families throughout the US, due to the fact that some family members support Bush, some of us are against him, and individuals on both sides are Christian.

It is with a heavy heart that I write that in my opinion the actual problem is that most people who claim to be Christian, whether or not they actively participate in the church, are not actually good Christians at all. Attending services is easy, paying lip-service to biblical teachings and/or being a generally good person is not too hard either, but actually following the example set by Jesus is terribly difficult. Right off the bat it virtually guarantees that you will never be fantastically rich, which goes almost directly against the American dream. It also requires patience, wisdom, and a willingness to listen to other people and try to see their points of view - all of which are also extremely difficult.

As such, I feel that there is still hope for bringing some of the Christians in the US to an anti-Bush stance based on their religious beliefs, and this is a very worthwhile goal. But many, many self-proclaimed "Christians" are not only not particularly Christian, but don't particularly care, and the first step would be to convert them to a Christianity actually based on the words and actions of Jesus.



There's a deeply subtle but important point you're getting at
in your response to me.

I agree with you; but I'm not talking about what's acceptable
to God, at least not directly. God loves all of us. I'm talking
about what's acceptable to men, really.

I had a near-death experience; it was what eventually shook me
out of my atheism. Long story short, I learned a very simple
lesson: love is the meaning of life.

There is the notion (from Jesus himself, and Hebrews, possibly
elsewhere) of the unforgivable sin. I have a theory about that.
It has to do with whether or not someone will, at the appropriate
time, accept God's offer of love. I think the New Testament
hints at what might lead to a person's inability to accept love
from God (which by implication means an inability to respect it
in others as well). There is a hardening of the heart, a
stiffening of the neck, a closing of the mind, that if it occurs
_after_ a person knows the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit Himself
might not be able to talk someone out of. Sins then become
unforgivable, because forgiveness will not be sought - self-
righteousness will have set in and made it improbable if not

I find in some ways that some of my atheists friends are closer
to God in a 1 John 4 sense than is anyone, anyone, I know who is
aligned with the religious right. I don't condemn any of them.

But unless we can "hold up a mirror" for ourselves and others,
we do no one any favors.

Again, I believe that _awareness_ is an essential idea in any
discussion of love. Paul said as much very poetically, in 1
Corinthians 13. We have to understand these kinds of things.
And if you don't agree, why bother posting things to blogs like

All that said, would it be "judgemental" to observe that Christians
and Muslims have different core beliefs? That Christians and
Buddhists have different core beliefs? To analyze how the ideas
of the KKK, which considers itself a Christian demonination of
sorts, are not ideologically consistent with the words of Jesus?

I trust you know who Jim Jones was (Guyana; poison Kool-Aid...).
He used to guest-preach at the church I "grew up" in, across the
street from my house, literally. I have to tell you, I know this
is not an easy thing to deal with, but I also know, from years and
years of agonizing over the direction of the church, how prophetically
important the subject is.

There is a point, suggested in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, at which things
must be _revealed_. Not necessarily judged; I'm not talking about
that - I'm talking about revealing things, things that are truth
and things that are not. That's what I'm talking about here; I think
that's what you're talking about as well.



I don't read or study much outside my discipline, and I don't envision
ever having the time to gain the kind of research grounding in theological
writings and such that you clearly have.

But I guess I'm kinda on a mission. My near-death was very similar
to what Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 12. I've also gotten
that I'm one of "two witnesses" (not necessarily one of _those_ two);
I just don't know who the other one is, and I haven't been all that
successful in getting my revelation out without help - the kind of
help someone like you might provide.

I would like to start a more private email thread with you. Is there
an easy way to do that (without me posting my own email address)?

Boyd Collins

The silence in the face of the crimes and mistakes which you so eloquently list is the silence of complicity. We don't want to admit these crimes because our silence and tolerance of a corporate media that veils them behind noise and nonsense is a part of them. Emotionally, we can't adjust to the dissonance that has grown between what was the winning ideology and the real grief that our actions have caused. How often have we preferred to be entertained by the nightly news? How much have we really cared about the blood on our hands?

Like Bonhoeffer in the 1930's, we may soon have to make a choice. For him, "the time is very near when we shall have to make a choice between National Socialism and Christianity." For us, the choice between following Jesus and allowing this administration to drag the noble name of "evangelical" through the blood of a 100,000 Iraqis may be as stark.


Brother Law:>),
I hear what you are saying and I agree with you on the worthwhile nature of the project. Some have argued that the church ought always be an "out of power" critic of those in power. An interesting thought and it requires us to be vigilant of the extent to which both sides miss God's intentions.
If you roll the cursor over my name, do you get my email address? On your first post, yes, I think we are saying similar things.
Great to have you back! Been missing you, guy:>) Did you get my last email? If so, let me know, I need to ask you a thing or two.


Mr. Gutenson you have created a laundry list for treason and impeachment. Congratulations! Maybe the Christian right can get behind that and put an end to the hypocrisy amongst is associates. The Jesus Christ I know would not support any of this! I don't know what God GW prays to but it can't be the real God of unconditional love, tolerance and wisdom. The opposite of love is fear, that is what GW stands for!


Maybe he prays to God, but doesn't listen too well.


Somehow time I climbed on is not present and, asking questions, found interesting and not so interesting answers. One of which was - « FailureAccident on the Chernobyl atomic power station, 4 power unit ». I became interesting and thumbing through sites was simply horrified. One I the fellow worker, in the past the meter man, has told about the friend which was the liquidator of consequences of this failureaccident, the truth or not I do not know. But spoke that - « firemen which extinguished a fire there, by turns washed in a showersoul groups, and muzhiks because of an irradiation were shone in darkness, but to live ithim remains few hours ».


Heh.. I want make the best use of my sketchy fire I have a fresh joke for you) What time is it when the clock strikes 13? Time to get the clock fixed.


You can be lucky!!!

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