Grace - Long Initial Post

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Tom Haws
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Tom Haws » 27 Feb 2009, 12:40

Ray Degraw wrote:I absolutely LOVE that, Tom.
You are very, very kind, Ray. Of course you can quote me or outdo me.
katielangston wrote:Could you explain to me what you mean by "Christianity has preserved a Father who has some undesirable characteristics that are resolved only by the Son"?
Based on the experience of my second conversion, I would feel very irreverent and blasphemous to suggest that the Father needs any excuse to extend grace and mercy to His children. But our (distorted?) Pauline conception of the Father has Him demanding payment before opening the pearly gates. That's why I say that a flaw in our conception (though it's probably very useful in some ways and minds and times) is that we require the Son to make the Father complete. This thread is profoundly meaningful and true, but its meanings are vivid to me (even more clear and real, I'd say) without the classic Justice and Mercy theology of Paul, Alma, and others.
Ray Degraw wrote:Those who have not accepted Christ will be judged by their own works alone, ....
Wow!
By "Christ" here, you mean grace, love, and onement?
By "be judged by" here, you mean reap?
If so, could I say "Those who have not accepted grace, love, and onement will reap their own works alone"? Very scary, since my works could put me in eternal despair when I view the pain they caused. But if, on the other hand, I accept Christ (grace, love, and onement), I am, can, and will be rescued and brought from despair/darkness to joy/light.
katielangston wrote:our BECOMING doesn't happen on its own; it doesn't happen through sheer willpower, grit, and determination; it happens through our surrendering to God
This, to me, is the miracle. By simply believing that this Lover truly Loves me (and glimpsing just what that means to Him in terms of forgiveness, sacrifice, proxy suffering, etc.), I become softer, more loving, more perfect. Back to Ray's opening Amazement. See also the book "The Peacegiver".

----

Finally, I appreciate the recent wonderfully merciful and generous thoughts on rewards.

Tom
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
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Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Feb 2009, 13:23

Katie, by "hedging about the law" I meant the ancient rabbinical tradition of adding extra rules around the basic commandments in order to keep people from even getting close to breaking the foundation commandments. It bothers me when rules and regulations get so numerous that obeying God starts to resemble memorizing the modern tax code.

Tom, by "judged by their own works" I just meant that those who "know not Christ" won't be judged by the same standards as those who "know Christ" - like not being condemned for not being baptized, or not being "sexually chaste" in a sexually promiscuous society, or any number of other possibilities. Grace covers actions of ignorance that otherwise would be considered sins. Iow, grace covers transgressions of ignorance - allowing people to be judged solely on their acceptance of what "truth" they have and understand - and their sincere efforts to live according to it.

Katie, to follow-up on Tom's comment about the Father and Son, we have inherited an outlook of a "just Father" (i.e., a punishing, vengeful, OT God) and a "merciful Son" (i.w., a loving, forgiving, gracious NT God) - and I think that is one of the most basic abominations of the apostasy.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Feb 2009, 13:25

Katie, there is a post called "temple stuff" where we talked a bit about the temple being symbolic. I will make a quick comment ("This is the temple thread.") on it to bring it to the top of the "view active topics" list.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

LadyWisdom
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by LadyWisdom » 27 Feb 2009, 20:13

Amen and Amen. Thanks for this discussion thread, maybe it is worth Staying LDS as there are some really good discussions here. This is top notch. Thanks everyone for your input! It is so tempting to resign at times, but this site gives me some hope. Has anyone listened to the Bushman interviews? Christfollower at NOM recommended them to me, so I am going to start them tonight. Trying to do all I can to hang on.

katielangston
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by katielangston » 28 Feb 2009, 01:07

Based on the experience of my second conversion, I would feel very irreverent and blasphemous to suggest that the Father needs any excuse to extend grace and mercy to His
Katie, to follow-up on Tom's comment about the Father and Son, we have inherited an outlook of a "just Father" (i.e., a punishing, vengeful, OT God) and a "merciful Son" (i.w., a loving, forgiving, gracious NT God) - and I think that is one of the most basic abominations of the apostasy.
Okay, so you guys are saying that the idea that the Father is any LESS loving or merciful than the Son is the abomination? That the Father is every bit as loving and forgiving? I agree, that is problematic, though I haven't ever considered the question in this light before.

I do think one of the results of LDS teaching on God is that we lose his "oneness." In other words, our very literal, physical interpretation of God as three separate, independent, autonomous humanlike Beings may make it difficult for us to comprehend of a God who is truly whole and complete. In fact, though the scriptures tell us that that three ARE one God, we rarely use that terminology, speaking instead of a "godhead," and on some level, maybe even relating to God as we would a bishopbric or stake presidency.

I think the unity of God is probably much deeper than that.

(Seriously not trying to get all Trinitarian here and I'm not talking about egg yolks, whites, and shells. :) Just pointing out that the [inappropriate?] distinction between a just Father and a merciful Son may be exacerbated somewhat within an LDS theology that emphasizes God's "threeness" over his "oneness.")

Tom, I am intrigued by your concept of God without the constraints of justice/mercy theology. I have never even thought to question that justice is one of God's eternal characteristics. But if there is no justice--and no law--can good truly exist? Perhaps that's not what you're saying. Would like to understand this better.

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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Feb 2009, 07:10

Katie, I'm dashing out in a minute, but consider this:

Maybe how people see God is in whatever makes sense for their particular worldview in mortality.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Orson » 28 Feb 2009, 13:42

Great post Ray!

katielangston wrote:...it literally drives people into depression and anxiety when they realize how perfect God's standard is and how they will never be able to attain it on their own...
I love to put the "be ye therefore perfect" quote in its proper context. Jesus was talking about LOVE. Start at the paragraph beginning, Matthew 5:43 - "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt Love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, LOVE your enemies, bless them that curse you..." He continues to explain that ANYONE can love those who love them back, but to truly be the children of our father we will love EVERYONE regardless of who they are or what they do. This is the standard of perfection - Perfect LOVE. It's all about BECOMING in this way the 'true' children of our father. Christ's sacrifice helps us do this (or should help us - if we understand it).

I love what Ray says at the end of his post about repentance becoming an exciting forward looking activity. Personally I prefer to think in terms of Becoming. Repentance should be a synonym to becoming. Looking backward and focusing on ourselves is counter productive. Looking forward and focusing outward is how we "become", it is how we "grow the love", in my mind it is what the gospel is all about. Love, charity, service, selflessness -- this is pure religion, this is how we become, this is how we gain our [eternal?] life by losing it. On a practical level if we can help transform the world with love we may actually contribute to its "salvation."
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Tom Haws » 28 Feb 2009, 16:44

katielangston wrote:But if there is no justice--and no law--can good truly exist? Perhaps that's not what you're saying. Would like to understand this better.
You know that old quote that "Righteousness is its own reward and sin is its own punishment"? Consider that seriously for a moment. Consider the Law of the Harvest: "You reap what you sow". Think about the Becoming we've been talking about. In the end, you are what you are, regardless of the perfection of the Holy One. If you respond to that perfect Love (nod to Orson), you can move from hell to heaven, from darkness to light.

Example 1: I, the Dad, don't have to be mean and demanding and just for the Law to apply. It just applies. And the way I see it, He, the Source, doesn't have to be a punishing, vengeful, OT God (nod to Valoel) for the Law to apply. It just applies.

How does it work? How does the sorting happen? I can only guess. Perhaps the Highest and all the Holy Angels, due to their supreme intelligence (about what really matters) and power (over own interior sin and temptation), can be (probably naturally/automatically since they aren't petty) in places/planes/existences that the less holy simply can't access. Example 2: Consider yourself at a party, having a good time. Suddenly the entire party simply disappears except for the host's aged mother. You turn to her questioningly and she simply says, "They moved on."

"Where?" you beg.

"I can't really say. But they know."

Tom
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Feb 2010, 11:10

I am bumping up this thread, since Cadence posted questions about grace. Please read the comments and add to this thread.

Thanks!
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Heber13 » 01 Mar 2010, 15:24

All Knowing Ray wrote:2 Nephi 25:23 is the most quoted verse about grace in Mormondom. It says, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” Many people believe that this means we are only saved if we do all that we can do - if we obey every commandment to the best of our ability. That simply isn't in line with the rest of our scriptures and, more importantly, it leads to unnecessary stress and anxiety about whether or not "I am doing enough."
This part really struck me, Ray.

I think this is often misunderstood, and then the feeling is that I know I am not doing all I could...I could be better if I was stronger or tried harder or never rested...or never made mistakes.

And then, since I know I haven't done "all I could have" - I don't qualify for Grace and it is not worth it to keep trying.

I think that can be a temptation to become defeated ... when the message is really "Do you Believe Christ" not just believe IN Christ? If you Believe Him...his Grace is sufficient despite all my weaknesses. And internalizing that helps keep me motivated to keep trying.

I think Grace is under-appreciated in our church, and works are over-emphasized.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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