I too have been a greeter at church. All too many greeters, however, seem content to sit at the door and say, “Good morning.” I rather enjoyed engaging with new attenders – the “newbies”. I sense we have something in common here and would absolutely agree that words of affirmation – such as you used with those teenage girls are huge. In fact, that’s one of the types of love languages that Gary Chapman talks about in his book The Five Love Languages.
As best as I’m able to comprehend, I try to live my life by the precepts within the Bible. It’s just easier. And, no guilt! Doesn’t mean I’m perfect. And, thank God, I don’t feel the need that I have to be perfect. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing – both in the giving and the receiving of it. Sadly, I am certainly more skilled in the receiving of forgiveness.
I appreciate the compliment regarding my analogy of the petri dish. Analogies eventually break down. But for now, that’s the best way to understand what you’ve stated to me as to God’s application of his sovereignty over man. That said, I have never before considered your perspective that the reason God ‘sovereignly does’ all this stuff is to prepare for what he has planned in heaven. I’ll admit, the thought is intriguing. But, at this point I’m inclined not agree. Perhaps the notion is still too much of a fatalistic position for me to swallow. The nature and character of God, as I understand him, isn’t at all fatalistic. Perhaps in my ignorance I could agree that in the OT God had things planned out much more so. But within the NT, I see Jesus with the woman at the well, bringing sight to the blind, feeding many, calling out the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, reasoning and helping his disciples to understand that he is indeed the Messiah. He came that we might have life. He loves all and wants none to perish. Perhaps it’s along the lines of in the OT God treated people like children. However, in the NT, I sense that God is much more so treating people like adults. Whatever …. minor ramblings. Sorry.
You and I will certainly disagree on the interpretation of any number of verses and how they may, or may not help justify Calvinistic doctrines. In part, that is why I used the analogy of the petri dish. Perhaps other analogies might work better. But this one seems to make sense – at least to me. If I may, allow me to toss out another analogy on how I see the application of Calvinism in general and unconditional election in particular.
Much as my own son has disowned me, I will always hope that he’ll change or otherwise, as it were, return much like the prodigal son. To which, I simply can’t image a father ever turning away from one of his own kids. I suspect that both you and I would be reviled at a father returning home from the hospital with his newborn twins – one of whom he favored over the other. The father made his determination long before the twins were born. The favored child received his father’s love and attention. He was given the best of everything. No benefit was withheld. The father even changed his will so that everything would be given to the favored child. All the while, the not-favored child was left wanting, not cared for, and would have to live in the garage. Further, there would be no interaction with his father.
Truly, Jim, I would welcome your thoughts on how this analogy is not a natural outcome or construct of Calvinism. I’ll look forward to your response.