Privatized Religion

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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby JE Pettibone » Sat May 11, 2019 4:39 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:
Haruo wrote:What if any strictures were there on liturgical wine production, sale, and consumption?


Ed: The guide did not go into a lot of detail when asked about that but did say it was another way around the stated purpose of the prohibition law.



Ed: 5/11 additional note: Bourbon sold in the United States must be produced in America from at least 51% corn and stored in a new container of charred oak. Only that made in Kentucky may be labled bourbon.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby KeithE » Sat May 11, 2019 8:04 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:I have been thinking lately about a reality focused in my lifetime, the privatizing of religion and especially of Christianity in our US culture. As we have journeyed through the twentieth into the twenty-first century, it seems that our Christian faith has been transformed, often by Baptists, into what is regarded simply as a private concern. Earlier incarnations in this country of the Christian faith seem to have been focused much more on societal transformation like prohibition, abolition, dealing with, supporting, or fighting integration, working to further education, and investing worldwide in mission endeavors. During the last century, Christianity became more and more focused on a "personal relationship with Christ." It seems that this has come to mean having one's ticket punched for heaven, often meaning that the professed faith has little to do with anything beyond a place in eternity. Indeed, I wonder if we have transformed "eternal life" from being a present reality lived out in many way now and then continuing into eternity into "pie in the sky by and by when you die." What are the thoughts of others in the BL family?


Movement for me was from the personal to the social emphasis. Not that my journey is typical.

My earliest religious training (1950 -my birth- to 1976 - my marriage/move to WashDC ) was all about personal relationship with Christ in life and salvation after life and some theology study on the side (Fuller Seminary NT classes 1973-5). No efforts at any advocating for (or involvement in) any social transformations. (I’ll skip the traumatic times in college as unrelated to this subject). Introduced to “Faith at Action” in a Covenant Church (my home denomination) in Northern Virginia in 1976. That church immediately connected with me in that it was not all “me-centered" but focussed on the well being of all; theology/personal relation with Christ was secondary. We went into DC to bring food to the homeless and I saw a whole new world of real need and learned to not be afraid in doing so (as my upbringing suggested). When we moved to Orlando in 1977, we did not find a good church or social justice involvement - bad time for us religiously (it all became about work/golfing for me while my wife Ann struggled with estrangement from home and a miscarriage - but after experimental drugs we finally had a boy (Todd) six weeks before we moved to Huntsville in late 1979) . In Huntsville we quickly found a small family friendly church with people our age (young 30ish) which happened to be a very Calvinistic church (PCA denom). That led me into very serious theology study on my own (became an “Open View” believer in 1984) and the church tolerated me but not as a teacher. My wife loved her church friends there and they helped her out a lot (now she helps them out although we no longer go there). As our kids got older, she wanted larger programs for our kids and we found that at Weatherly Heights BC in 1986 as well as a congregation and ministers who believed more like me. This church centers on missions efforts (ESL, building homes for the poor, group prayer for the sick, knitting blankets, respite care, children homes, mental health, missions that help economically, ... (more than saving souls or discipleship). Lately (last 10 years) WHBC people have become more politically active (as members but not as a church). So for the last 30 years, my religiosity has been more about "bringing about the Kingdom" (iow more social justice emphasis) but not neglecting personal “life style evangelism” or spirituality (a discerning Holy Spirit listening). I’m still interested to theology but it is not spoken much at our church. My wife slowly grew into a more moderate/liberal faith (grew up in a fundamentalist church) and she is highly respected at WHBC. We have a very good “lunch bunch” that has comforted us through our family’s serious health issues (Todd, Brandy, me, Ann’s parents). But I will say Ann is particularly stressed right now with Brandy, her real father’s (87) health, me, and my very Calvinistic sister Carol who moved to Huntsville 3 years ago. Carol keeps trying to tell us to pray harder for health and to prod us to join her church. Her latest effort after the UMC issue is that Todd and his wife Christy {both UMC ministers} simply must change their ordination to her “Evangelical Presbyterian Church” denomination. She says she prays for all of our salvations everyday.

I’m aware of the social justice movements in churches in the 20th century (e.g. Rauschenbush, Twentieth-Century Shapers of Baptist Social Ethics) , but I was not involved until 1976 and increasingly so since.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby JE Pettibone » Sun May 12, 2019 11:13 am

Ed: I am not sure if it was Robert or Dave who said "The only distilled beverage native to the United States is bourbon."

However, for the sake of accuracy, searching for an authoritative reply I find, " Distilled spirit | alcoholic beverage | Britannica.com
https://www.britannica.com/topic/distilled-spirit

Distilled spirit, also called distilled liquor, alcoholic beverage (such as brandy, whisky, rum, or arrack) that is obtained by distillation from wine or other fermented fruit or plant juice or from a starchy material (such as various grains) that has first been brewed."


Bourbon is a unique in that, by law it must contain at least 51% corn and must only be stored prior to being bottled, in new charred barrels
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Rvaughn » Mon May 13, 2019 10:46 am

JE Pettibone wrote:Ed: I am not sure if it was Robert or Dave who said "The only distilled beverage native to the United States is bourbon."

However, for the sake of accuracy, searching for an authoritative reply I find, " Distilled spirit | alcoholic beverage | Britannica.com
https://www.britannica.com/topic/distilled-spirit
That was me, Ed, based on some research I did on Elijah Craig. It may or may not be true, but I don't really understand your clarification. I think all that was meant by the claim is that the specific style (or whatever might be the right term) of whiskey called bourbon was created by someone in the United States, but that distilled beverages in general (including whiskey) were much older than that. Anyway, I am not sure what clarification you are making. Thanks.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Haruo » Mon May 13, 2019 11:54 am

I was wondering the same thing.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby KeithE » Mon May 13, 2019 1:18 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:I have been thinking lately about a reality focused in my lifetime, the privatizing of religion and especially of Christianity in our US culture. As we have journeyed through the twentieth into the twenty-first century, it seems that our Christian faith has been transformed, often by Baptists, into what is regarded simply as a private concern. Earlier incarnations in this country of the Christian faith seem to have been focused much more on societal transformation like prohibition, abolition, dealing with, supporting, or fighting integration, working to further education, and investing worldwide in mission endeavors. During the last century, Christianity became more and more focused on a "personal relationship with Christ." It seems that this has come to mean having one's ticket punched for heaven, often meaning that the professed faith has little to do with anything beyond a place in eternity. Indeed, I wonder if we have transformed "eternal life" from being a present reality lived out in many way now and then continuing into eternity into "pie in the sky by and by when you die." What are the thoughts of others in the BL family?

(underlines mine)

Dave Roberts wrote:While I am concerned about many social causes, what I really questioned in starting this thread is whether church still has the corporate levels on involvement and inter-relatedness that has been our historic norm. Are we simply purveyors of a commodity, salvation, rather than a set of relationships in which we share the "new life in Christ?”

(underlines mine)

Seems like two different subjects in Dave’s posts above.

My post above (Sat night) was treating the first subject (church involvement in social causes) from my own very limited perspective. Interesting thread drift into bourbon/dry counties.

As for the second subject (personal inter-relatedness), I also can only give my limited perspective (no DATA wink) into the trends over recent decades. In whatever church I’ve been in, it was mostly up to me to have personal relationships to the degree I wanted. I don’t think I would stay in church where those relationships could not happen. That said, I sense that church used to be (60’s/70’s) the place where most inter-relatedness happened; while today (2000’s) there are more outside arenas for relationships (more work/civil/recreational/workouts related social activities). Just my impressions.

In my present church we seem to have closest friends tied to what social missions we are involved in. A sort of mission related cliches.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed May 15, 2019 6:37 am

I was involved in a workshop this week where the subject of evangelism frequently came up and the consensus among participants seems to be that the narrowing of our focus to private religion is part of what is producing for the church the "dones" as well as the 'nones" in response to organized religion whether that religious group is focused on getting you into heaven or getting you into a social ministry to get at society's ills. The response of young people seems often, "I am a Christian, but belong to church? You're kidding." They are quite willing to join causes, but not to engage with churches. What does this say about the future of our corporate groupings?

Yesterday, another minister and I were riding home from the conference discussing the closing of a prominent church a couple of weeks ago. This morning, I heard the announcement of the closing of another church in the same city (different denomination) closing in two more weeks. I guess I'm toying with how the current state of our Christianity figures into this including our privatizing of Christianity into a commodity rather than a set of relationships that engage us in a disciple making community.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed May 15, 2019 10:20 am

Dave Roberts wrote: When the only goal is "going to heaven," why bother with church?


Great question Dave! While an emphasis on becoming a Christian is important, some churches don't have a lot of emphasis being conversion. OK, I'm a Christian, so now what? And if becoming a Christian is the only goal, as you say, why church?
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed May 15, 2019 10:22 am

JE Pettibone wrote:

Ed: 5/11 additional note: Bourbon sold in the United States must be produced in America from at least 51% corn and stored in a new container of charred oak. Only that made in Kentucky may be labled bourbon.


Which is why Jack Daniels is not listed as "bourbon" as it is a product of Tennessee. I am confused how a discussion on whiskey ended up in a privatized religion discussion? Is that because of prohibition??
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed May 15, 2019 3:02 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote: When the only goal is "going to heaven," why bother with church?


Great question Dave! While an emphasis on becoming a Christian is important, some churches don't have a lot of emphasis being conversion. OK, I'm a Christian, so now what? And if becoming a Christian is the only goal, as you say, why church?


I am reminded of a statement from Dr. Frank Stagg at SBTS. He said, "Some Christians are just so heavenly minded, they are no earthly good."
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed May 15, 2019 3:42 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
I am reminded of a statement from Dr. Frank Stagg at SBTS. He said, "Some Christians are just so heavenly minded, they are no earthly good."


Good quote from Dr. Stagg.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu May 16, 2019 9:01 am

Tim Bonney wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:

Ed: 5/11 additional note: Bourbon sold in the United States must be produced in America from at least 51% corn and stored in a new container of charred oak. Only that made in Kentucky may be labled bourbon.


Which is why Jack Daniels is not listed as "bourbon" as it is a product of Tennessee. I am confused how a discussion on whiskey ended up in a privatized religion discussion? Is that because of prohibition??



Ed: Yep Tim, that is how the second topic evolved. But Back to the original, has any one here ofered a definition of "privatized religion" ?
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu May 16, 2019 9:07 am

JE Pettibone wrote:
Ed: Yep Tim, that is how the second topic evolved. But Back to the original, has any one here ofered a definition of "privatized religion" ?


I’ve not seen a definition Ed. My understanding of “privatized religion” is religion that only benefits me personally but doesn’t cause me to live out my life in such a way that my faith benefits the world. To me one of the most extreme examples from Baptist history are the Primitive Baptists who didn’t believe in evangelism, Sunday School, or any kind of missionary endeavor because if people were going to come to Jesus they were predestined to do it all on their own.

In our current culture I would say that you could point people claiming Christ but, as far as you can tell from lifestyle, politics, or behavior it doesn’t effect the way they interact with the world.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Rvaughn » Thu May 16, 2019 9:16 am

JE Pettibone wrote:...Back to the original, has any one here offered a definition of "privatized religion"?
Dave Roberts started the thread, and he didn't specifically offer it in the form of a definition, but he wrote:
...our Christian faith has been transformed, often by Baptists, into what is regarded simply as a private concern

During the last century, Christianity became more and more focused on a "personal relationship with Christ"

...this has come to mean having one's ticket punched for heaven, often meaning that the professed faith has little to do with anything beyond a place in eternity

"pie in the sky by and by when you die"

So it seems Dave had in mind religion that is mainly about personal salvation for eternity.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu May 16, 2019 11:53 am

Rvaughn wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:...Back to the original, has any one here offered a definition of "privatized religion"?
Dave Roberts started the thread, and he didn't specifically offer it in the form of a definition, but he wrote:
...our Christian faith has been transformed, often by Baptists, into what is regarded simply as a private concern

During the last century, Christianity became more and more focused on a "personal relationship with Christ"

...this has come to mean having one's ticket punched for heaven, often meaning that the professed faith has little to do with anything beyond a place in eternity

"pie in the sky by and by when you die"

So it seems Dave had in mind religion that is mainly about personal salvation for eternity.


Ed: Thanks Robert, I will be interested in Dave's reaction to your interpretation of his comments. But honestly I am not aware of a religion that teaches that only salvation for eternity is important. I am however aware of religions which teach that salvation is a pipe dream, and that this life is all there is. I have heard preacher condemning "Fire Insurance preaching for as long as I can recall. As I read the quotes attributed to Dave I think his "our Christian faith has been transformed, often by Baptists, into what is regarded simply as a private concern" comes closes to defining privation of religion. However I do not believe it is a Baptist distinctive. My personal opinion is that those claiming a private religion are either too uninformed or too lazy or perhaps giving then the benefit of doubt too busy to engage in support of their faith. Or perhaps those writing about the so called privatization of religion are attempting to find a scape goat for their failure to engage society in respect for and allegiance to The Creator.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Rvaughn » Thu May 16, 2019 12:13 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:But honestly I am not aware of a religion that teaches that only salvation for eternity is important.
No, I don't think you'll find anyone who teaches that in so many words. Going into a little more detail, it seems to me that Dave is saying they over-emphasize eternal salvation while de-emphasizing the social implications of the Christian faith. I too will look forward to his corrections, clarifications, and/or additions.

I looked at privatization of religion online, and think it looks like a term that different people use in different ways. Here are three that I found:
https://www.str.org/articles/the-privatization-of-faith
https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/bq/38-3_128.pdf
http://www.teachingtheword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=64834
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu May 16, 2019 12:32 pm

Rvaughn wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:But honestly I am not aware of a religion that teaches that only salvation for eternity is important.
No, I don't think you'll find anyone who teaches that in so many words. Going into a little more detail, it seems to me that Dave is saying they over-emphasize eternal salvation while de-emphasizing the social implications of the Christian faith. I too will look forward to his corrections, clarifications, and/or additions.

I look of privatization of religion online, and think it looks like a term that different people use in different ways. Here are three that I found:
https://www.str.org/articles/the-privatization-of-faith
https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/bq/38-3_128.pdf
http://www.teachingtheword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=64834



Ed: I had similar results with online searces, therefore I hope to avoid use of the term.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu May 16, 2019 1:28 pm

Rvaughn wrote:So it seems Dave had in mind religion that is mainly about personal salvation for eternity.


Or as I sometimes say about this kind of theology, just saving my own skin.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu May 16, 2019 1:31 pm

Rvaughn wrote: Going into a little more detail, it seems to me that Dave is saying they over-emphasize eternal salvation while de-emphasizing the social implications of the Christian faith.


I think that is what happens. It isn't that anyone preaches that doing good in the name of Jesus is wrong. It is that some neglect to teach/preach on the social implications of the gospel leaving people to assume it is just about me and no one else.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu May 16, 2019 1:33 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:
Ed: I had similar results with online searces, therefore I hope to avoid use of the term.


I can see why you would. But if you are going to avoid theological terms that don't have a precise definition that doesn't leave many theological terms left. <VBG>

Seldom do Christians agree on precise definitions and, when they do, that is usually confined to one group/denomination/faction within the Church universal.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu May 16, 2019 6:09 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:
Ed: I had similar results with online searces, therefore I hope to avoid use of the term.


I can see why you would. But if you are going to avoid theological terms that don't have a precise definition that doesn't leave many theological terms left. <VBG>

Seldom do Christians agree on precise definitions and, when they do, that is usually confined to one group/denomination/faction within the Church universal.


Ed: Note Tim, I said I will try to avoid use of the term, not that I will ignore it. If and when I come across something on this matter that resonates with my own life experiance and accumulated understanding of Theology gained through the several academically and spiritually astute men and women with whom I have had the privilege of worshiping and studying, I will make a decision as to how far to follow it.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri May 17, 2019 9:56 am

I have been reading with interest the responses of late to this thread. Let me respond as best I can. First, I do not think we can overemphasize a personal relationship with God. That is the bedrock of what defines who a Christian is--a person who has repented of his or her sin and has begun to follow Jesus. The reality is, IMHO, that we have often transformed this from a lifestyle, aka "following Jesus," to an assent to a proposition--to "believe" in Jesus.

Second, I believe the privatization of the Christian faith has led us to an underemphasis on discipleship. Jesus never told us to go get assent to a proposition but to "go and make disciples." That means more than just agreeing to the importance of Jesus or giving assent to a propositional "faith statement."

Third, I believe we have de-emphasized the kingdom of God. Christianity is not a democracy in which we can accept what we want and dismiss what we don't want. It is a radical relationship in which God rules. In that way, we are to be growing in our obedience, in our love for our fellow believers, in love for our neighbor, and in love for our enemies, in order that the world may be transformed by our presence.

Fourth, again in my opinion, dispensational premillennialism has produced this individual otherworldly emphasis that basically says, pardoning the borrowing of song lyrics, "Show me the way to get out of this world, Cause that's where everything is." We want to be taken "up" in a rapture rather than serving here to fulfill what Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

There is a lot I left unsaid, including that I believe that "faith" is a verb in its New Testament sense, not a noun as rendered in most English translations of scripture and in a lot of "statements of faith."
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby James » Sat May 25, 2019 5:27 pm

Random Thoughts.

I was raised in one of the most mod/lib churches in the state of GA (1942-1964). We did not focus on any one sin or any one virtue. We tried individually and collectively to live by the Golden Rule. My current church, Hampton Baptist (VA), is the most liberal Baptist church in southeastern VA. I got a large dose of fundamental evangelical Christianity at Knight's Missionary Baptist Church in Plant City, FL. I sang in the choir Knights and preached my first sermon there, but I could not take communion there.

I agree with Dave and those of you who think that church growth has been influenced by the "personal matter" characterization of faith and religion. Fundamentalist Evangelicalism tries to do it all. They preach salvation from the TV screen and practice hatred on the evening news. We have all heard the phrase "hate the sin; love the sinner." I think this phrase has been turned around in the 21st century. Now it is "love the sin because it gives us an excuse to hate the sinner." Kill the abortionists and the desperately pregnant women: the homosexuals and other sexually confused, the homeless, the huddled masses yearning to be free, the blacks, the Jews, the native Americans, etc. How could anyone want to be associated with these people? We need a label to distinguish us from them. Why is it that Christians hate each other so much?

At HBC we have chosen two issues or causes as ministries to the least of these. Both have cost us money and members. The first and least troublesome internally are our homeless and ill fed. We cooperate with other Hampton churches to provide a warm sleeping space during the cold months and, on Mondays a free hot meal, a hug, clean and repaired (if necessary), a place to shower and a washer and dryer for their laundry. Our new building was designed for this. The other issue is that of sexual orientation. Two young ladies were married in our sanctuary. They are both Christians and have become good friends.

With all of this going on, how are we to identify ourselves to either the unchurched or the unsaved. Forty years ago I could identify myself as a Christian and everyone born in the South would immediately know a lot about me. Today, if I tell someone I am a Christian, I have to carefully explain what I mean by that statement. Of all the groups of people in this country, I fear most the Christians who spin much of their time hating others-including me.
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby JE Pettibone » Sat May 25, 2019 10:11 pm

Ed: James.it has been ages, every once in awhile I have thought of you and wondered if you where still alive, I am glad to know you are. There are really not a lot of people that I hate but there are people who practice behaviors that I can not endorse. If that means we cant be best friends so be it. Friendship requires a good bit of energy and every year I find it necessary be more and more selective in how
I expend energy. :)
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Re: Privatized Religion

Postby Haruo » Sun May 26, 2019 1:10 am

James, see my post about gender identity issues in the Baptist Faith and Practice forum.
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