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Erick Mead
07-26-2005, 11:21 AM
Budo -- Poor in Spirit
Relating Aikido and Christianity
(I wrote this for a more general audience, but it seems appropriate. It is what I have learned from those who have taught me, and I claim no merit of my own views.)


Budo, while a Japanese term, is a universal teaching in the martial way of life. Budo is often seen as somewhat mysterious. But this is only because budo is, in fact, based on an extremely simple truth.

Truth is beyond particular culture. We should hardly be surprised if we find truth wherever we look for it. Western minds like to break things apart to understand them. Simple things are hard to break because they have few parts. Wabi is Japanese word for simpleness, humble materials. Wabi is the spare, simple style of materials used in the training hall. Budo trains the body and mind in this simple spirit. Jesus Christ taught the virtues of this ideal state -- being poor in spirit.

A thing you are not prepared to lose can be made a weapon against you. It is done in this way. An enemy will threaten what you dare not lose. This disturbs your attention. Attention is focused upon it to the exclusion of other things within your awareness. If attention focuses on the one thing, attention is lessened elsewhere. Increased focus creates its unavoidable complement, a blind spot in your awareness.

The attacker exploits this opening, this blind spot. Disturbing your calm, fully aware mind, he grabs, concentrates and also limits your attention. Using this disturbance, he can strike where attention is thus weakened.

An opening is called suki. A warrior who is without suki is not invincible. But an attacker who strikes a person without suki cannot be successful without serious injury, and very likely, death.

The highest attainment of budo is to disregard the likelihood of one's own death in battle. This quality is positive, not negative. It is in fact an evidence of greater wholeness rather than nihilism. Nihilism is the desire for nothingness, and desire is the problem.

The warrior prepared to lose his own life has no suki. He has nothing he is not prepared to lose. There is not one opening through which his spirit may be disturbed.

No vulnerability, weakening or imbalance is created in his physical defenses by the disturbance of his mind. His enemy can succeed only at the same cost he is willing to suffer. He may be physically beaten or destroyed by overwhelming force. His spirit and intention cannot be defeated by this means. This was, in fact, the concrete example of Jesus Christ.

As with most great truths, budo is a paradox, an open secret. Plainly visible, it is yet not seen. The open secret of budo is the same peace in spiritual poverty taught by Jesus Christ. He said :

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." St. Matt., 10:34

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." St. John, 14:27

Understanding budo, one can understand the truth of these teachings -- a peace not found in material circumstance, not as the world gives peace. A peace of mind that must therefore be found anywhere one may seek it, even if it be in the very midst of the chaos of battle, a flowing fountain of fear.

In learning budo, to be without suki we accept that can own nothing we are not prepared to lose. The concentration and desire necessary to an effective attack is itself an imbalance that creates suki. Thus, in arts employing the aiki principle, we close even the suki inherent in attack. The pinnacle of this detachment must include dispensing with even the desire of aggression. Aiki-budo (or Takemusu Aiki) teaches that we do not even choose to attack, but join with our attacker in harmony with his intention. We learn to wait for our attacker's intention to form, and we join in turn in the manner that he chooses.

Budo is wabi, poverty of spirit, the awareness, even enjoyment of what immediately is, however unrefined, even if it is immediately fearful to us. If we have eyes, we must see. If we have ears, we must hear. To act, we must see what is -- not what we desire to be or to avoid. This desire is also attachment, imbalance, suki. Impoverishing our spirit in budo, accepting of the attacks upon us without fear or concern in the manner taught by O-Sensei, we can accept the meaning of the foremost blessings spoken of by Christ:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. … Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. … Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." St. Matthew, 5:3, 5, 7, 9

Cordially,
G.R. Erick Mead
Shodan

James Davis
07-26-2005, 04:38 PM
Erick,

Good stuff!! :D

Aikido taught me how to let go, how to choose not to be part of an argument- regardless of how "right" I am. It's made me better able to handle my worst days, and it's made me a better christian.

Great writing. ;)

mazmonsters
07-27-2005, 08:15 AM
Excellent! On Sundays, we conduct Bible study within our family, friends...small setting in my mom and dad's house. I was preparing a study on a topic called "Zen Christianity." This is a great article, and I am going to print it out and open with it, if it is alright with you, Erick.
Thanks so much,
Matt

MikeLogan
07-27-2005, 10:06 AM
A very worthwhile read, thank you. Certainly something to link to from future threads.

keep it up : )

michael.

Erick Mead
07-27-2005, 11:52 AM
Many thanks for all the kind comments.

There is an excellent book titled "Zen Christianity" by Dom Aelred Graham. He is a Christian theologian who gives an excellent and rigorous examination of similar issues from the more meditative perspective and in light of tradition scriptural teaching.

Another intersting perspective is Fr. Robert Kennedy, who is a Jesuit, a Catholic priest, and is also a holder of the dharma as a Zen roshi at Morning Star Zendo. He has written a book on Zen practice for Christians, which I sadly have not yet read.

Yamada Koun Roshi, Fr. Kennedy’s teacher in Zen reportedly instructed him that “ I am not trying to make you a Buddhist, but to empty you in imitation of your Lord Jesus Christ.”

spinecracker
07-27-2005, 12:42 PM
After doing a little research on zen christian websites, I do have a little question. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is, or was, a manifestation of the Buddha, or is a similar spiritual being? This is a part of the old argument of "how many different ways to get into heaven", and it does have, even if only indirectly, some connections with this topic. what are your opinions as Christians about this question?

mazmonsters
07-27-2005, 01:41 PM
Jesus Christ was and more importantly IS the Son of God. To believe in Christ means that you believe in his ressurection, and no mere man can raise himself from the dead. Zen is not a religion, or even a philosophy, in my opinion. It is a technique to empty yourself of attachment to things, ego, yourself. So to answer your question, no, Jesus is not a representation of the buddha...and I'm not sure what your interpretation of the buddha is. The buddha never died for anyone's sins. That's what Jesus did.
Just my beliefs,
Matt

Erick Mead
07-27-2005, 04:00 PM
As to Jesus and Gautama Buddha I will respond somewhat tangentially.

If one were to describe Aikido philosophically (and most budo, for that matter), it could accurately be called part of the branch of philosophical thinking known as phenomenology. It is quite different from the more common and familiar variations on Cartesianism, which are largely about what and how we believe things to be true "I think, therefore ... " etc.

The power of the phenomenological approach is that is not about thinking, but about acting. In this Aikido, Buddhism, and Christianity ( and many others) can meet on solidly common ground.

Aikido is emphatically not about what we think, or believe, it is about what we DO. The body in action and in moving relationship to another human being teaches the mind and the spirit truths that are difficult to perceive in other less concrete ways.

Buddhism is an avowedly practical system whose fundamental purpose is to relieve the causes of suffering for sentient beings.

Christianity is concerned with orienting the soul in right relation with God (as are its sister faiths among the Jews and Muslims), which is PRACTICED by love toward one's neighbor, and more importantly, for purposes of our discussion, toward one's enemy.
G.K. Chesterton once quipped that we are told to love our neighbor and our enemy "probably because they are the same person."

Aiki principles properly understood encounter no conflict because there is no conflict in the actions that are consistent with all these good principles.

The T'ang Chinese emperor in approving of the Syriac Christian Church establishment in China in the seventh and eighth centuries published an edict carved on a stone tablet in what is now Xian, China. His statement could be more broadly applied in addressing questions of this kind. He said,

"Right principles have no invariable name, holy men have no invariable station; instruction is established in accordance with the locality, with the object of benefiting the people at large. ...
Having examined the principles of this religion, we find them to be purely excellent and natural; investigating its originating source, we find it has taken its rise from the establishment of important truths; its ritual is free from perplexing expressions, its principles will survive when the framework is forgot; it is beneficial to all creatures; it is advantageous to mankind."

Cordially,
G.R. Erick Mead
Shodan

spinecracker
07-27-2005, 04:59 PM
[QUOTE=Robert Fox]Do you believe that Jesus Christ is, or was, a manifestation of the Buddha, or is a similar spiritual being? QUOTE]

Never thought I'd ever quote myself :D

The purpose of asking this question was to clarify who people actually think Jesus Christ was and is. There seems to be as many opinions as there are people. There are plenty of people who are under the impression that Jesus was one of many 'messiahs' and 'christs' that have revealed themselves to mankind through history. Their are people out there who think that Jesus was never a physical entity, but was purely a spiritual being manifest on Earth. There are many people who think that Christians serve the same God as the god of Islam (this is being discussed on a different thread on aikiweb). There are plenty of people out there who call themselves Christians, and yet have never repented of their sins and given themselves up to Jesus.

Jesus is the Son of God, and is the ONLY way that you can get into heaven. It's in the Bible - in his own words. So, if Christianity is a complete 'system' for salvation through repentance, do you actually need anything else? If you do, is that because Christianity is lacking, or are you?

I suppose my point is that for me, as a Christian, my aikido practice is an opportunity to praise God. I'm not using aikido to improve my life as a Christian, but the humility (hopefully - still way too proud for my own good) and desire to serve, being gifts of the Holy Spirit, aid my aikido practice and my interaction with other students. I don't need zen, buddhism or even starbucks to understand my faith - I just need the Bible (and a heavy bout of the Holy Spirit :D ).

By the way, Matthew 5 through 7, which includes Jesus' sermon on the Mount (AKA Beatitudes), describes the character and traits that we, as Christians, should follow and have in our lives. Matt 6:24 is clear on also warning us about dividing our time and efforts away from following Him "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other;or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
As Christians, the way is 'narrow' for us, the 'broad' way leading to 'destruction'.

mazmonsters
07-28-2005, 07:56 AM
Jesus is the only way to heaven. Christianity does not teach us to get in harmony with God's spirit by loving our neighbour as ourselves...that is what Jesus does through us, without us even realizing it. What Christianity teaches us is that with Christ is the only way to get in harmony with God's Spirit. Because as human beings, we can never please God, because he requires perfection and holiness...not good works or being nice. Since we are NOT perfect, we need someone who is...that is Jesus. The Zen practice through Aikido or meditation or whatever, can teach you how to empty your worldy mind and become attached to nothing here. Your mind becomes in harmony with God's nature. This, however, has NOTHING to do with your salvation. Salvation is only achieved by accepting the free gift given by God in his Son, Jesus. There are many christians who are not happy here on earth, and that is because their minds are clouded...this is how a zen type of thing can help them to be clear. But, if they believe in Jesus, their eternal souls are secured. They might be miserable here on earth, but it's only because of their flesh getting the best of them.

Dirk Hanss
07-28-2005, 08:33 AM
Jesus is the only way to heaven. Christianity does not teach us to get in harmony with God's spirit by loving our neighbour as ourselves...that is what Jesus does through us, without us even realizing it. What Christianity teaches us is that with Christ is the only way to get in harmony with God's Spirit. (...)

Oh, yes "without even realizing it" is good. What if you might meet even those fellows, who did not even realize that there was a guy called Jesus?

In Matthew 7,21 Jesus says: "Not everyone calling me: Lord, Lord! will reach heaven.." And in Matthew 25, 31 through 46 you can read that it is your behaviour to other human beings, that decides if you will get ethernal life or damnation.
In the end Jesus died, and thus released all mankind from their sins. So while I accept to "meet" a lot of mafiosi and other criminal in heaven, just by them being Christian, why shouldn't I find Mahathma Ghandi there, who did well know about Christianity and still stayed Hindu, or some jungle born men and women, who did never hear about Jesus Christ or God, Jahwe, Allah, but live a life as peaceful as we ever can think about?

Or do you really think, Augustinus was right to torture people for baptism just to save their souls - and have many of them killed afterwards so that they could not review and deny? That would be the logical result of misinterpreting your first sentence.

Dirk

mazmonsters
07-28-2005, 10:01 AM
My dear mislead Dirk. You have no idea what I am talking about, I see. To "know" Jesus is to believe in him, confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the only way to salvation. Not your "good works." For God looks upon good works alone as filthy rags. Your "goodness" will not get you into heaven. The bible says that He will give EVERYONE a chance to know Him. I know there are people who may have never heard the name Jesus Christ, but if they are chosen, God has already placed them in the heavenly realms.
John 15:18-20
18"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.'[a] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
Ephesians 1:10-12
11In him we were also chosen,[a] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Erick Mead
07-28-2005, 10:13 AM
Thanks again for continuing the discussion.

Usually, when the subject of Christiantiy comes up in this context I find that we tend to get wrapped up in a naming problem. For this reason it is important to distinguish the things we affirm by naming them correctly and things we affirm by doing them correctly. Affirmance is the key, not the mode or means of its expression.

Names, like so many things, have an omote (front) side and an ura (back or hidden) side. Names are powerful, and for this reason we have to be very careful. Names are troubling because they often hide as much as they reveal. Names are not the reality that they point to.

I affirm orthodox understandings of the requirements of salvation. But the line of discussion about identifying names, classifying their power and meaning is the Cartesian mode. Aikido is a different mode of understanding and of expression of that understanding, not necessarily better or worse, but different.

In a Cartesian mode we deal with what we consciously affirm in our thoughts and statements to the exclusion of other aspects of human existence and comprehension.

But thinking is not doing, and doing is important.

What we do is as much an expression of our belief as what we think or say. This is not to say that works have salvific merit in and of themselves themselves, but that actions are as expressive, perhaps more so, of true belief than mere thoughts or statements. Matt. 7:21-22 is a good starting point on that line of inquiry.

Aikido is not explicitly about salvation, but about peace. However it may be understood by Christians, I have attempted to assess the common ground of understanding about how we may usefully act in this world toward one another, for which Aikido teaches much practical, as well as spiritual wisdom.

Put in more orthodox terms, Aikido is not the Peace of Christ, it is a vessel that God's grace has called into being, in which we are able to receive and store up that peace He has poured out for us, and to enable us to pass that peace on to others in turn.

The power of understanding in action rather than in thought is to dispense with names. Whether we name it in Christian orthodox terms or not, as above or otherwise, that wisdom exists in this world. It is equally available according to the names that God's grace has given them to understand for devout Christians, whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or othwerwise, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or anyone else for that matter.

Andre Nocquet, a prominent Shihan in Europe, whom I have earlier quoted in another thread here, recounted his time as uchi deshi with O Sensei in the 50's and this discussion when Nocquet explicitly questioned his Christian faith:


"Ueshiba Sensei had a great deal of respect for Christ. I was living in a four-mat room in the dojo and he would knock on the door and enter. He would sit down beside me and there was a portrait of Jesus Christ. He would place his hands together in a gesture of respect."

" I asked him one day if there wasn't a similarity between his prophecies and those of Christ. He answered, "Yes, because Jesus said his technique was love and I, Morihei, also say that my technique is love. Jesus created a religion, but I didn't. Aikido is an art rather than a religion. But if you practice my Aikido a great deal you will be a better Christian."

"Then I asked, "Sensei should I remain a Christian?" He replied,
"Yes, absolutely. You were raised as a Christian in France. Remain a Christian." If he had told me to stop being a Christian and become a Buddhist, I would have been lost."

Cordially,

G.R. Erick Mead
Shodan

mazmonsters
07-28-2005, 10:49 AM
Erick, I must respectfully disagree with you here
You said "The power of understanding in action rather than in thought is to dispense with names. Whether we name it in Christian orthodox terms or not, as above or otherwise, that wisdom exists in this world. It is equally available according to the names that God's grace has given them to understand for devout Christians, whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or othwerwise, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or anyone else for that matter."
This physically is impossible, because Jesus himself stated that He is the only way to get to the Father. If Jesus is the only way, then it must make Muhammad a liar, along with anyone else who does not believe that Christ is the Truth. Either that, or Jesus was a liar, and all other's can be true. The Jews do not credit Jesus as being the Son of God, and neither do Muslims, or Buddhists. Jesus was born of a virgin, he also healed people, walked on water, turned water into wine, and then he raised himself up from the dead...no one else has ever done that, so what's the deal? Either Jesus was a liar and full of demonic powers, or He was and is the Son of God, making Him the One Truth that all people really seek when they seek the truth.
Other than that, I do like what you have to say.
Take care,
Matt

mazmonsters
07-28-2005, 10:52 AM
And O'Sensei was wrong about Jesus. He did not start a religion. Religions are man made and full of rules and regulations. Jesus took the sins of man upon him and then died for them, raised himself up after 3 days, then after 40 days here on earth, ascended into heaven. He told his disciples to go out into the world and baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He never said to start building places of worship, and to set rules and regulations up...He just said "Go."

spinecracker
07-28-2005, 01:14 PM
Ok, time to put my foot in it again ....... :D


Usually, when the subject of Christiantiy comes up in this context I find that we tend to get wrapped up in a naming problem. For this reason it is important to distinguish the things we affirm by naming them correctly and things we affirm by doing them correctly. Affirmance is the key, not the mode or means of its expression.

Names, like so many things, have an omote (front) side and an ura (back or hidden) side. Names are powerful, and for this reason we have to be very careful. Names are troubling because they often hide as much as they reveal. Names are not the reality that they point to.

I affirm orthodox understandings of the requirements of salvation. But the line of discussion about identifying names, classifying their power and meaning is the Cartesian mode. Aikido is a different mode of understanding and of expression of that understanding, not necessarily better or worse, but different.



In Matthew 7,21 Jesus says: "Not everyone calling me: Lord, Lord! will reach heaven.." And in Matthew 25, 31 through 46 you can read that it is your behaviour to other human beings, that decides if you will get ethernal life or damnation.


I fully agree that any discussion regarding Christianity can end up being a naming issue, but there is a very good reason for this. As previously pointed out, there are a ridiculous number of definitions of who Jesus was (and is). There are plenty of people who want to use the name of Jesus without getting involved with all this salvation lark, etc, and there are warnings regarding this, as mentioned by Dirk. This warning in Matthew is regarding those of us who try to use Jesus for our own self betterment and selfishness without taking on the responsibility of repentence and the leading of a Christian life as described in Matthew 5 to 7. Dirk's understanding is somewhat skewed, but it is a difficult concept to grasp.

It has been a very common practice for words to be borrowed from one belief system by another, have their meanings modified, and put back into circulation - this is extremely well covered by the Bible, especially with the warning at the end of Revelation (and other places). In the early Church, pagan terms were borrowed and reused with a Christian tint, thus enabling the conversion of pagans (it's so much easier when we all speak the same language! - then again, remember what happened at Babel). Now, the same thing is happening with New Age belief systems taking Christian terms and twisting them to match the ideology and theology of these other belief systems. The 'Christ Consciousness' is one that springs to mind, where esoteric Eastern religious and philosophical practices are mingled with pseudochristian dogma. Many New Agers think that Jesus was a form of Buddha or other enlightened 'spirit'. Others think that Jesus and Lucifer (Satan) are just different manifestations of the same spiritual being. We end up thinking that we are talking about the same thing as we use the same words, but we are miles apart. No wonder we Christians spend most of our time trying to get at the meaning of the word! The use of a Cartesian methodology ends up being vital as otherwise there is no way to even understand the viewpoints of others. "Aikido is a different mode of understanding and of expression of that understanding,..." but we still use words to communicate understanding and expression - without a baseline understanding of what the other person means, then communication becomes useless. That's why we have concordances.

Just my opinion on the topic. I Might be totally off, but that is how we learn.

mazmonsters
07-28-2005, 01:19 PM
Robert, I agree with you, sir. You make sense, and clearly articulate yourself. Well said. I, on the other hand, have a hard time articulating my thoughts, and usually I go over them a few times, backspace over them and re-type what I "really meant to say," then come back an hour later, look at what I wrote and think, "hmm...I hope that makes sense." haha...oh well.
God bless,
Matt

Erick Mead
07-28-2005, 01:47 PM
C.S. Lewis said it best : "Lunatic, Liar or Lord?"

I am not talking about salvation nor of its requirements, nor stating that aikido is a way to heaven or that any other belief is such. I am orthodox in my beliefs in this regard, and can teach nothing to the contrary. However, it is practice and its understanding we are discussing, for Aikido is nothing if not practice.

I am talking about actions taken in this world, their consequences, and and the giifts of the Spirit that are revealed in practice. Those GIfts are are not exclusive to Christians. If they were then seeds of the Word in other cultures could not awaken the truth of the Gospel wherever it is preached.

Paul preached to the Athenians through the image of the "unknown God" whose statue stood at the gates of the city. If I am to witness, I must be as flexible in my selection of medium as Paul was. It is the reality of Christ that matters, not the language (or other more concrete expression) used to point to Him.

Aikido, on the other hand ... well, one good iriminage finished to a tanto-dori pin will generally get the point across in a more direct manner.

I daresay Saul of Tarsus was intellectually well-versed in the teachings of the Jewish heretics he was busy rounding up and dispatching. That teaching of words and names did not reach him. A good smack up side the head, knocking him off his ass (as in donkey) and blinding him, did seem to get his attention.

Among the traditional seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, fortitude and wisdom, non-verbal understanding and knowledge are among those most nobly displayed in good aikido practice. Counsel, piety and fear of the Lord I leave for your own consideration. Some are called to teach, some are called to labor, and some are called to find conflict and spread peace. (As for me, I hope I am called to dinner.)

When asked directly who He was Jesus usually redirected the question "Who do you say that I am?" When a wannabe disciple asked him "Where do you dwell?" He said "Come, and see ..." His truth is not a truth to grasped merely by being told, it must be experienced and found as the treasure hidden in the field. This only comes by grace, but we must be prepared to receive it.

If I am to imitate Christ, here and now, I must be as careful with the power of names and words as He was. Jesus was careful not to employ names when their meaning was liable to be misunderstood by those hearing him. The doctrine of parables exists for this reason. Matt. 13:10-13, 34-35.

Jesus was very careful not to allow the omote and the ura aspects of His message to become confused in the minds of those He taught. Many Aikidoka at early stages have this problem in their training. They enter to apply a technique that is neither omote nor ura but parts of both. They only learn the difference when the follow-up strike is delivered to point out the open line of attack.

Omote and ura are equally true as technique, and neither is complete alone. Appropriate technique does not exist in isolation from an attacker (uke) whom we as nage (thrower) do not control. To know, I must do; to express my belief, I must act and I must willing suffer being acted upon.

This is the point of Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16 when speaking of the gifts of the Spirit in their practical consequence, in their role as a teaching of the body (physical and mystical), and alerting us to the dangers of nominal language as a sole guide to truth:

"And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;
so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love."

Cordially,

G.R. Erick Mead
Shodan

spinecracker
07-28-2005, 01:52 PM
No problem, Matt :)

I like responding to these posts for several reasons:

1. It challenges my own beliefs, forcing me to study and understand why I believe the things that I do

2. It makes me challenge the Bible, leading me into deeper study of the scripture

3. This leads me into a better, stronger relationship with Jesus

4. It helps spread the Gospel (those who have heard the Gospel and denied it.....well, that is their problem)

5. it annoys other people (only joking!)

I also look at my posts again later and often ask myself if I was actually awake when I constructed these arguments?

Getting back onto the main topic, I sincerely believe that, as a Christian, all you should need is the Bible, the Holy Spirit and walking daily with Jesus. Everything else is window dressing and can lead to distractions away from your Christian life. The Bible is actually specific about not being involved with ANY activity that leaves you open to "possession by unclean spirits", using such terms as 'enchantment', 'divination', and 'sorcery' (I have the scripture references if you want to look them up). This includes certain practices such as Zen meditation. (I know that Zen is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, but the concept regarding the practices is).

Dirk's comment regarding Augustinus is interesting, and might fall under the subject covered by Matthew 7:21, but he did miss out the important second half of that scripture "...but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." I don't know what Augustinus was up to (am going to start research right now.......), but when a Christian's words and deeds do not match scripture, then we have a duty, as clearly defined in 2 Timothy 3:16 and other places, to reprove, correct and instruct that individual, using scripture only, and not our own inflated opinions and egos. as Augustinus is long gone, then all we have left is instruction for ourselves and others in how to avoid the same pitfalls that he may have fallen into.

Now to get to work on Augustinus......

Erick Mead
07-28-2005, 02:03 PM
And O'Sensei was wrong about Jesus. He did not start a religion. Religions are man made and full of rules and regulations. Jesus took the sins of man upon him and then died for them, raised himself up after 3 days, then after 40 days here on earth, ascended into heaven. He told his disciples to go out into the world and baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He never said to start building places of worship, and to set rules and regulations up...He just said "Go."

As Jesus was both man and God acording to orthodoxy, it would be true what you say, but to leave it at that impliedly denies His humanity, as much as you would have O-Sensei avoid impledly denying His divinity.

Since, being both God and man it would, however, also be true that Jesus did create a religion, a Church, man-made as it is. So O-Sensei was correct in what he actually said.

It is the imlication to which your real argument is directed. The further statement regarding divinity, O-Sensei did not make, which you feel the need to complete. This I understand.

That issue was not the point of his statement in context, however. O-Sensei was not debating Christology, but helping a troubled student reconcile his spirit in a correctly ordered manner. There is nothing incorrect about O-Sensei's ordering of these matters.

Aikido and those who practice it are plainly intended to be servants of larger ends, and not an end in itself. A more Christian attitude of humility in respect of the marvelous life's work that he made of Aikido, I cannot imagine.

The denial that you perceive, he did not actually say, nor should it be implied in the context it was made.

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Sanshouaikikai
07-28-2005, 02:33 PM
Mr. Fox...what church do you go to? I like what you say...you're totally right on the money on everything! It would be really cool to talk to you and get to know you better as brothers in Christ. Feel free to PM me or e-mail me at irockloud@yahoo.com. Theology and Martial Arts (and music...I play guitar too!) are all I think about and talk about...as well as politics...but that's a whole different story, LOL!

mazmonsters
07-28-2005, 02:44 PM
To Erick and Robert:
Gentlemen, thank you so much for your thoughts and opinions. I see now more clearly where you are coming from, Erick, and I would agree with you on most of your thoughts. The reason that I felt inclined to remark about O'Sensei's thoughts on Jesus is because I hear so many people of false religions always speak of Jesus with "admiration" and "great respect." Well, to be perfectly blunt, who cares? To admire and respect Christ but still not believe that He is God's Son is no more than the demons belief in God. I see what you mean though about the context of what O'Sensei was speaking.
I do believe that Aikido is a direct manifestation of the workings of God. I believe that is what seperates Aikido from all other martial arts, and how it can be treated with so many different views. It's like the parable of the 4 seeds. One seed fell on good soil and blossomed. One seed fell on good soil but was strangled by thorns. One seed fell to the ground and a bird came to devour it, and one seed fell on dry ground with no hope of ever growing. Some folk see aikido and think, "bah! I don't believe it!" Some see it and try but quickly leave. Others see it and stay for a while, but eventually get corrupted because of it's awesome power, and a seldom few ever reach the higher levels of what it was inteded to be.
To Robert I say this:
You are correct in your statements, except, in my opinion, about zen. The reason I think this way is because with The Spirit of Christ living and residing in your soul, you should always be perfect, just like Jesus is...because that's His domain now. But why aren't we (Christians)? Because of our flesh that our souls are still residing in. The concept of zen is not bound to Eastern philosphies, as the Isrealites practiced zazen meditaition. With the zen concept, you are allowing your true self (which is Christ- Galations 20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.) to manifest itself through your body, your thoughts, your actions...instead of having "worldy thoughts." Your struggles with sin become less of a struggle, because your selfish natural mind is no longer selfish...because it is not you who is living at all. It's Jesus! This can be a very touchy and dangerous concept for those who do not know the Lord personally, as it can leave them wide open for demonic influences...but when Jesus lives in you, you are empty-ing what has already been crucified- the flesh!
Just my thoughts...anxious to hear yours :)
-Matt

Erick Mead
07-28-2005, 03:55 PM
Getting back onto the main topic, I sincerely believe that, as a Christian, all you should need is the Bible, the Holy Spirit and walking daily with Jesus. Everything else is window dressing and can lead to distractions away from your Christian life. The Bible is actually specific about not being involved with ANY activity that leaves you open to "possession by unclean spirits", using such terms as 'enchantment', 'divination', and 'sorcery' (I have the scripture references if you want to look them up). This includes certain practices such as Zen meditation. (I know that Zen is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, but the concept regarding the practices is).
.


I suspect, Robert, that you have a third-hand report of Zen practice rather than seeing or doing it. Zen is nothing more than learning to leave your every day mind alone and not to burden it with attachments or the imposition of desires.

I need not look too far for a problem with unclean spirits, of course, since, as a sinner, I am one. So if I deal effectively with the one immediately here by such grace, I trust I ought to be pretty efffectively dealing with those more remote.

Zen would express this differently, of course with the same effect. Even relatively noble attachments can be seductions from truth, and in some cases more powerfully seductive. "If you meet the Buddha on the road -- kill him." I trust it would deal less kindly with the odd demon.

As Saito Shihan once said of certain seemingly esoteric effects of aikido on his uke, "It's not magic, it's technique." The same is true of Zen, as well as the Shinto practices of chinkon kishin, its related misogi, and kotodama, which O Sensei actively practiced.

Cordially,

Erick Mead

spinecracker
07-28-2005, 05:02 PM
Erick, my experience with Zen is partially second hand, and partially third hand, but I did, in my youth, spend much time reading and learning some basic aspects of Zen to assist my martial art training. I'm definitely no expert on Zen, and I'm afraid that my attempts at Christian apologetics may do more harm than good :) I'm rather glad for the chance to debate these kinds of issues with individuals who are more versed in the topics discussed.

Thanks for a good debate and an opportunity to learn.

Alan, as for the church I attend, it is Calvary Chapel - great pastors, caring people, and a strong, Bible based teaching (none of this seeker friendly nightmare that is destroying so many churches out there). I will keep in touch.

Dirk Hanss
07-28-2005, 06:43 PM
@ Matthew Materazzi:

Dear Matthew,
you are taking bits and pieces out of context to prove that I am wrong but you ignore those passages, I quoted. If you want to take the bible literally, don't miss any word. Otherwise it would be you to decide when Jesus said the truth, and when he lied. And there are contradictions.

Well I did more or less the same. I had some kind of illumination that raised my believes. But I do not expect an objective truth in the bible, I take it as essays written by men (and probably women) for men and women as a guideline. If there are passages that are contrary to my opinion, I take them as challenges. If I find profound support, it is even better. And I do not believe at all, that my goodness will provide me salvation, but only and exclusive the love of God. And as He loves all mankind (or Jesus died for the salvation of all mankind) we are all blessed by God and will receive - or already have received "eternal life", not only a few chosen ones. My religion does only help me in seeing this.
And the support, I told about, I got by a well educated catholic monk, although I am Protestant.
On my own I would probably be lost in a "quoting duel", or we would quote all the holy book up and down (unfortunately I have only three different German versions) and we would both have our opinions.

Yours mislead Dirk

@Robert Fox
Yes, what I wrote is somewhat skewed, and I abbreviated a lot, as this is not my theological "masterpiece". But you can either take Christianity simple, taking what you have believed as a child and do not think too much about it, or it is somewhat skewed.
And Augustinus was just an example I got in mind to illustrate that if you want to take the bible literally, you will get into trouble. You cannot read everything out of it but so many different things, and some passages might be good but can be totally misinterpreted especially if taken out of context. And if you go beyond bible, it will get even worse. San Francesco from Assisi talked to animals. Well, everybody may talk to his pets and other animals, but if a priest would do it nowadays as San Francesco did, he would be taken as ill, or even banned from preaching, I guess. Just another simple example.

Kind regards Dirk

Sanshouaikikai
07-28-2005, 10:14 PM
Mr. Fox,
Calvary Chapel is great! I love watching those Harvest Crusades and hearing that guy...Greg Laurie...good guy. I have a friend that goes to a Calvary Chapel church. But yeah...keep in touch. By the way...your apologetics is great!

mazmonsters
07-29-2005, 07:12 AM
Dear Dirk,
Here's what you said "In Matthew 7,21 Jesus says: "Not everyone calling me: Lord, Lord! will reach heaven.." And in Matthew 25, 31 through 46 you can read that it is your behaviour to other human beings, that decides if you will get ethernal life or damnation." Now, this is the exact reason for why I believe the way I do. I could break this down verse for verse and discuss the meanings of the "sheep" and "goats," but since I do not really feel like writing on here for hours on end, I will try my best to sum up how I see it, but as you know I am just a man with wrong interpretations and some right ones too...(I once heard a story of how a man died and saw Jesus and asked him all sorts of questions, one being, "Is the Bible true?" And Jesus replied, "Well, they got most of it right.") I see this passage as clearly one of chosen vs. un-chosen people. The chosen are the sheep, the un-chosen, the goats. Why did Jesus pick sheep to represent the chosen ones? Look at the characteristics of sheep. They are actually very dumb animals, who are TOTALLY lost without their shepherd. This to me sums it up pretty clear. The ones who Jesus will say, "Depart from me, ye cursed..." are the ones who don't need Jesus, or they think they don't...they are relying not on His sufficient sacrifice alone as the one and only final payment for their way into Heaven, but they think they have to do things to make thier way on their own. "Thieves," Jesus calls they who try to get to heaven by some other means. What kind of people call Jesus, "Lord, Lord?" Christians do! So, when He said, "Not everyone calling me: Lord, Lord! will reach heaven.." I believe that He is talking about those "Christians" who build huge churches "In His name" but are really doing it for their own glory...thinking "Look at what I did for you, Lord!" That's ridiculous. Why would God, the all powerful, all knowing, almighty creator of the universe ever NEED anything from us? He doesn't. We need HIM! Also, in verse 46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." How does God credit someone as being righteous? By faith.
Galatians 3:11:
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."
Romans 1:17:
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
Hebrews 10:38
But my righteous one[a] will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."

We could go on, but that's how I see it. And no man can choose God, because man in his sinful state actually despises who God is...but God can and does choose men to be called to His good purpose. The sheep and the goats are the chosen and the un-chosen.
Take care,
Matt

mazmonsters
07-29-2005, 07:34 AM
Dirk, one quick thing,
you said you see it as behaviour towards other humans that will decide whether you get eternal life or damnation...here's how I see it:
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
As chosen christians, our behaviour automatically is counted dead, because it is no longer we who live, but Christ living in us. When we "feed the hungry, clothe the poor," it's Jesus doing it through us, so that He gets all the credit, all the glory. And of course, this does not mean for us to shut out people and treat them like crap, but if we do, it's our flesh getting the upper hand...if you are truly saved. You are not going to be perfect, and you're not supposed to be. This is why the whole zen topic is interesting to me, because I know when I was started to try it for myself last year, I didn't sit around and worship myself or some idol or false god. I just was becoming less concerned with my own welfare ad more concerned with other people. I was "empty-ing out" my fleshly mind, so that it was almost silent, and non-existent. Then, I stopped doing it, and my mind eventually got clouded again, and I actually struggle moreso now with treating people with kindness and mercy.
Take care,
Matt

Dirk Hanss
07-29-2005, 08:15 AM
Dirk, one quick thing,
you said you see it as behaviour towards other humans that will decide whether you get eternal life or damnation...here's how I see it:

No Matt, I didn't say that, I just quoted Jesus.
So obviously you try to prove him a liar, don't you?

As I told you before, we could end up sending quote by quote, but that would not help for this forum. If you want to help me, just tell me how you understand the chapter of Matthew 25: 31-46. When one will face Jesus at the end, he will believe. And Jesus said, it does not matter, when you start to believe, so there are good reasons for telling people, they should not stop believing in Jesus. But I am not the one to damn anybody for his believes, non-believes or mis-believes, and I doubt that God as I know him would do so.

It is much eaasier to believe that He would damn the really bad ones. But there is another question, I cannot solve. I know that me and most of us are not able to only be good, but where is the border-line?

There will be a time when the truth will be absolutely obvious. I am lookuing forward to meet you all then and have a chat about what we were thinkining about it all life.

God bless you

Dirk

Erick Mead
07-29-2005, 08:44 AM
As a Westerner, I find one of the advantages of aikido (and many other forms of wisdom developed in China and Japan) is that its system of cultural referents are markedly different. This makes me work harder to see truth for what it is, rather than what I have come merely to assume it to be.

By studying an approach to the expression in this world of love towards others, even in situations of conflict, and which springs from a more alien root, it is easier to step beyond names and thoughts ingrained in my cultural habits. Not that I do not appreciate and enjoy the richness of colors and rhythms that exist in my own culture, as well as those of China and Japan.

This allows me to seek for the objective elements of truth, less colored by the accretions of my particular culture. All the while, I must also acknowledge that truth is equally subjective as it is objective. That distinction itself is a false category if we are to love one another.

At the same time, a key advantage of Aikido is that the internal debates of Christian division matter far less when trying to relate its fundamental truths and the truths and value taught by O Sensei's eminently practical, but yet highly spiritual, art. In this sense, Aikido can also be a tool to harmony in such conflicts.

Debating continuing revelation and apostolic succession versus sola sciptura and primacy of conscience as validating revealed truth are endlessly fun, of course. Neither is complete without the other, in my view. Having said that, there are aspects of those issues and other hot button topics in apologetics in which aiki and budo make for interesting contributions to the conversation.

But the more intense such discussions become, they tend to close off the conversation into a more specialized field that others are less inclined to join. This is especially so in these days when attention to rigorous theological education and the history of its development, whatever your particular position may be, is sadly lacking in the population at large.

For this reason I seldom join discussions on the relative performance of different geometries for signal waveguide channels. Although, I am sure there must be some interesting applications in that arena to relate to kotodama theory. Oh, Google, where art thou, my Google?

Cordially,
Erick Mead

mazmonsters
07-29-2005, 09:39 AM
Dirk:
No, I am not trying to prove Jesus a liar...if that were the case, then I would not believe He is the perfect Son of God, being God Himself as the Word of God. Here is your quote: "In Matthew 7,21 Jesus says: "Not everyone calling me: Lord, Lord! will reach heaven.." And in Matthew 25, 31 through 46 you can read that it is your behaviour to other human beings, that decides if you will get ethernal life or damnation." Now, I believe that it is not your behaviour as human beings. This is my interpretation of what Jesus was saying here. I believe that it is Jesus' way of seperating the sheep from the goats. [/I]Your[I] interpretation sees it in the literal sense of feeding every single hungry person that you meet, clothing every one in need that comes your way, visiting those in prison...well, I have done these things, as most of us Christians have...but I also have seen a person who had a sign "Homeless Veteran, Needs Money." And I felt the Spirit of God told me NOT to give to him, so I didn't. Does this mean I will spend eternity in hell for that? By no means, for if that were the case, none of us would ever get there.
Here's a great article on this parable...Enjoy and God bless :)

The Division of the Sheep and the Goats
This final parable in Jesus' final sermon in Matthew brings home the reality of judgment. As the missionaries from Matthew's churches spread the good news of the kingdom both among fellow Jews and among Gentiles, they faced hostility as well as welcome. This parable brings together some themes from the rest of the Gospel: Christ, like the kingdom, had been present in a hidden way (compare chap. 13), and one's response to his agents represented one's response to him (chap. 10).

Jesus is the judge on the day of judgment. The parable assumes Jesus' deity. Whereas others sometimes fill the role of final judge in Jewish tradition (as in Test. Ab. 13A; 11B), the central biblical and Jewish role of final judge that Jesus here assumes normally belongs to God himself (see, for example, 1 Enoch 9:4; 60:2). As noted earlier, the king in rabbinic parables is nearly always God. Likewise, coming with all the angels (Mt 25:31; compare 13:41; 16:27; 24:31; 2 Thess 1:7) alludes to various versions of Zechariah 14:5 (see Gundry 1982:511), where God is in view. Further, Jesus' claim that whatever others have done to his servants they have done to him fits a rabbinic perspective about God (Smith 1951:154). Finally, although shepherds could represent Moses, David and others in biblical and Jewish tradition, the chief shepherd remained God himself (as in Ps 23:1-4; 74:1-2; Is 40:11; Ezek 34:11-17; Zech 10:3; Sirach 18:13; 1 Enoch 89:18; Ps-Philo 28.5; 30.5). Jesus is both judge and the focus of the final judgment, spelling disaster to those who ignored him on this side of that day.



The nations will be judged according to how they respond to the gospel and its messengers. The nations or "Gentiles" in Jewish literature would be judged according to how they treated Israel (4 Ezra 7:37; Klausner 1979:200). As in other parables, here they are gathered (compare 13:40; Is 2:4; Rev 16:16) and separated (Mt 13:30, 49), in this instance the way a shepherd would separate sheep from goats (compare Ezek 34:17), to keep the goats warm at night while keeping the sheep in open air as they preferred (Jeremias 1972:206). Sheep cost more than goats (Jeremias 1972:206) and because of their greater utility and value were nearly always more numerous on a farm (N. Lewis 1983:131-32).

The older dispensational scheme viewed this passage as the judgment of the nations based on their treatment of Israel. This suggestion could fit Jewish perceptions of the judgment, as noted above (compare Manson 1979:249-50). But this suggestion does not fit well Jesus' own designation of his brothers in the Gospels elsewhere (Mt 12:50; 28:10; see below). Because the passage explicitly declares that this judgment determines people's eternal destinies (25:46), it cannot refer to a judgment concerning who will enter the millennium, as in some older dispensational schemes (Ladd 1977:38; compare Ladd 1978b:98-102).

Nor is the popular view that this text refers to treatment of the poor or those in need (as in Gross 1964; Hare 1967:124; Catchpole 1979; Feuillet 1980a) exegetically compelling, although on other grounds it would be entirely consonant with the Jesus tradition (such as Mk 10:21; Lk 16:19-25) and biblical ethics as a whole (for example, Ex 22:22-27; Prov 19:17; 21:13). Jewish lists of loving works include showing hospitality and visiting the sick, though not visiting prisoners; such acts were found praiseworthy in the day of judgment (2 Enoch 63:1-2; Jeremias 1972:207-8; compare Bonsirven 1964:151-52).

In the context of Jesus' teachings, especially in the context of Matthew (as opposed to Luke), this parable addresses not serving all the poor but receiving the gospel's messengers. Elsewhere in Matthew, disciples are Jesus' brothers (12:50; 28:10; compare also the least--5:19; 11:11; 18:3-6, 10-14). Likewise, one treats Jesus as one treats his representatives (10:40-42), who should be received with hospitality, food and drink (10:8-13, 42). Imprisonment could refer to detention until trial before magistrates (10:18-19), and sickness to physical conditions brought on by the hardship of the mission (compare Phil 2:27-30; perhaps Gal 4:13-14; 2 Tim 4:20). Being poorly clothed appears in Pauline lists of sufferings (Rom 8:35), including specifically apostolic sufferings (1 Cor 4:11). The King thus judges the nations based on how they have responded to the gospel of the kingdom already preached to them before the time of his kingdom (Mt 24:14; 28:19-20). The passage thus also implies that true messengers of the gospel will successfully evangelize the world only if they can also embrace poverty and suffering for Christ's name (compare Matthey 1980).

The stakes involved in our witness are eternal. The horrifying conclusion (25:46) is the damnation of people who did not actively embrace messengers of the gospel but nevertheless were oblivious to how they had offended God. The goats thus depart (7:23) into eternal fire (the worst possible conception of hell; see comment on 3:8, 10, 12), but tragically, God had not originally created them for the fire or the fire for them (compare 4 Ezra 8:59-60). Rather, it had been prepared (compare Mt 25:34) by God for the devil and his angels (compare 2 Pet 2:4; 1QM 13.11-12).

We too must "receive" one another with grace. In the context of the surrounding parables, welcoming Christ's messengers probably involves more than only initially embracing the message of the kingdom: it means treating one's fellow servants properly (24:45-49). Unless we "receive" one another in God's household, we in some way reject Christ whose representatives our fellow disciples are (18:5-6, 28-29). Paul likewise reminds the Corinthians that to be reconciled to him is to be reconciled to God himself (2 Cor 5:11--7:1).

spinecracker
07-29-2005, 12:18 PM
Dirk,

I agree with you when you say that a person's interpretation of the Bible is based on who they believe is the author of the Bible (ok, I extrapolated that a bit, but I think I got it right). If the authors of the Bible were men and women, and the Bible is more of a guideline than any objective truth, then I can see your position. I have no intention of ending up in "scripture quotation" fisticuffs as I am a poor theologian (hey, I'm still new to being a Christian!). Debating these issues is actually helping my faith, so you are actually blessing me, and I thank you, and the others contributing to this thread, for that. As for me, I am stuck in the moral dilemma of either accepting that the Bible was indeed given by inspiration of God ("God-breathed" may be a closer translation, but I'd have to check my notes :) ), and that acceptance has to be total (i.e. to believe that the Bible is true, and factual, in all regards), or believing that the Bible was written by man, for man, and that it holds no more value than any other moral guideline out there. If the latter is the case, then it is no big deal to take what you want out of it and chuck the rest. As for believing as a child in Jesus and His holy Bible, Jesus did say that we should come to him as children (dang, gonna have to quote scripture - Matt 18:3), without preconceived ideas about who He is or what His message is.

I don't read any more into the Bible than what is already there (I hope!). I'm not smart enough to get involved in any great theological discussions regarding the validity of the Bible or the diety of Christ. I cannot judge the actions of others, except where they conflict with the interpretation if the Bible that, hopefully, the Holy Spirit has put in my heart (again, getting back into 2 Timothy 3:16 and others). I could list a whole bunch of individuals, some of them serial killers, who said that they were doing God's work - does that mean they were truly servants of Jesus? That is between them and God who will judge them. For me, taking the whole Bible literally is a statement of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, believing that He is true and faithful, and that He would not be involved in any falsehood. Am I going to go round talking to animals? I don't think I have anything they want to hear :) (I do sometimes shout at my cats, but that's only after they've shredded the carpet or missed the kitty litter box, again - dang!). What I will do is tell others of the Gospel, and try to lead my life as closely as I can to Jesus' requirements - no more, no less.

Thank you for a most stimulating, rational discussion, and I hope we will have many others.

spinecracker
07-29-2005, 02:07 PM
Setting beliefs aside, I would be grateful if the Christians reading this thread could pray for the swift recovery of my sister-in-law. I just found out that she was in a car crash last night, and received multiple fractures, but we do not yet know the full extent of her injuries as we are still waiting to speak with a doctor. Please pray for her,

Thank you,

Robert

Sanshouaikikai
07-29-2005, 09:12 PM
No problem, Mr. Fox...that is what I'll do and I'm sure the other Christians on here would do the same! God Bless you!

mazmonsters
07-30-2005, 01:56 PM
Robert,
first let me say that I know that the Lord has a plan for your sister in law, and may His will be done in her situation.
I just wanted to say congratulations on your new found faith as a christian. I have been a believer all my life, so I am blessed with the luxery of deeply devoted studies in Scripture for many years of my life. You are a baby right now, in the Lord, which is a wonderful stage to be in. You need milk, not steak and potatoes- which is adult food. The milk I am talking about is the simplicity of the Scriptures- just believe in Jesus. That is the core belief of all who are chosen. As you grow in your faith, you will eventually be ready for the "meat and potatoes" of the Word, and you can never fully understand- even then- exactly how deep it can take you. I think of God's infinite knowledge as the ocean. Say the average person has 10 droplettes of water from that ocean, and a really smart person has 12 droplettes, and a genius has like 14 or 15...well it's all NOTHING compare to the ocean that is God's knowledge. You know what I'm saying? WE can study for ever and still only grasp a tiny glimpse of God's infinite plan/thought/love...but our best and closest example is Christ, our Lord. He is what God is like. Full of love and compassion, mercy and kindess, forgiveness and grace. He is Love, after all. After all my short 27 years here on earth of learning of the Word, I believe that yes, the Bible is God-breathed, but God did not write it Himself...He wrote it through men...and men, though inspired by God, can often write their own "take" on what they think God is speaking to them. In the Old Testament, God actually did speak with men, to men, just as we can speak to each other. When Jesus came, God was here, speaking to men like never before- in the form of a man! Then, once Jesus left, God didn't speak to men like that anymore...He sent His Holy Spirit to them. So this makes the New Testament NOT Scripture...because the apostles didn't know someone would collect their notes to the chruches and put them in the Bible and call them the New Testament. The Scriptures are all the books of the Bible up until Matthew- then everything else are the notes of the Gospels, the notes of Paul, John, Peter, and James. I'm not saying by any means that the New Testament isn't a great source to study or learn from- what I'm saying is that you have to look at the context of the words, the letters...who were these written to? There are things said to the churches that were meant for them, not for us. Remember that Paul was setting up new churches, and in these churches, the congregation was made up of lots of foriegners, who were not accustomed to Jewish studies, or God's ways. There was a lot of freedom that was being taken for granted, or out of context, rather...and Paul had to tell them that their pagean rituals needed to stop. I suggest that you get some books by William Barclay- mainly his Gospels of Matthew-John. He does a wonderful job of giving you the rich history of these books, and really paints a realisticly beautiful picture of what was going on, and how things relate to each other. I also recommend the book "A Scandelous Freedom- the Radical Nature of the Gospel" by Steve Brown. You can also listen to him speak online at Key Life Ministries.
At any rate, always remember this :
Jesus came to set us free. He did not intend for us to live a life of slavery. He came to fulfill the law, so that we would not be bound to it anylonger.
Romans 7:4-6
So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

In His Name,
Matthew

Sanshouaikikai
07-30-2005, 06:25 PM
Hey, Matt...it sounds good and all until you said these 2 things; "I am blessed with the luxery of deeply devoted studies in Scripture for many years of my life. You are a baby right now, in the Lord..." That attitude is what makes a lot of new Christians leave the church and 2...when he said that he's a new Christian...maybe he meant that he's been one for a couple of years now. In fact...it seems to me that he as a lot of in depth knowledge...so far at least. Also...if he's a baby Christian and you're not 'cause you've been one for awhile then...I'm more knowledgable than the both of you 'cause not only have I been a Christian all my life...my dad is a pastor! I spend all my time online (when I'm not on aikiweb) reading Christian theological literature and essays and stuff....and when I'm not online I'm reading concordances, commentaries, etc. as well as reading the Bible first and foremost! I'm not saying I'm better than you or anything...but...doesn't what I say sound a little inappropriate? Even though it's true and all...but still....I dunno...maybe it's just me. Also...the second thing you said that wasn't right was; "God didn't speak to men like that anymore...He sent His Holy Spirit to them. So this makes the New Testament NOT Scripture" Of course He did!!!! What are you going to tell me about the Book of Acts and Revelation as well as all the Pauline epistles and the epistles of the other apostles....who do you think told them what to say to all those churches? Was it their conscience? NO! It was God. Another thing...if you don't believe that the whole entire Bible is Canononical then...you cannot call yourself a true Christian. Call yourself something else if you want but a Christian you shall not. Anyway...I will pray that the Holy Spirit convicts you and opens your eyes to the truth of His word. Other than that though...it was pretty good! God bless you!

mazmonsters
07-31-2005, 03:23 PM
Alex,
First let me say thank you for your thoughts :)
Second let me say that this will be my last post on the subject. :)
Third, when I said a "Baby Christian" what I meant was a babe in the Lord, which is probably the first 5 years of being saved. This is not making me to be condensending...if anything, I long for those days, because those were the best! And usually, my friend, it's pastor's kids who are the most screwed up, hypocritical ones of all. Don't ever tell me or anyone else who you want to respect you that they "shall not" call themselves a Christian, because to me what I am is between me and the Lord, not you. This puts you on a higher plane and makes you seem as if you are better than someone else. God does not speak to men anymore like He did in the "old days." It was finished when Revelations was written. That you are right about, and I didn't clarify my thinking. However, I am firm in my beliefs that what Paul wrote to the churches was meant for the churches, when it came to the law. The law is for sinners to hear, not people who are saved, you see. We have the message of Grace, not condemnation. It is ABSOLUTELY necessary that we understand this, or we would always be "trying" to please God with our behaviour, and this is IMPOSSIBLE. God is already pleased with us, because when He looks at me, He sees NOT what I used to be, but He sees Jesus. If He saw us, then He would NOT be pleased with us. It is impossible to please God without Faith, and this is not from ourselves, but the free gift from Him, from above. You see, the Holy Spirit already does convict me and guide me- because I know who I am in Christ. I am no longer bound to the law, but set free by Grace.
In HIs Name,
Matthew

Sanshouaikikai
07-31-2005, 11:26 PM
So...you don't believe that God speaks to people? If this were true then...what reason is there to be a Christian if God doesn't want to or can't speak to me? I think it's flat out wrong on your part or whoever is the one that taught you this. It's wrong. God speaks to me all the time. He speaks to my dad, my mum, as well as millions of other devout Christians who truly seek after His heart. He may even speak to you...you probably just don't listen hard enough...I don't know...I don't doubt that you're a Christian or that you're saved....but...you do have that bit of mislead information. Also...I'm a pastor's kid...and...I don't know what pastor's children you may know...but...I'm not screwed up in the sense that you were implying. Though...I know you were not really saying that towards me or anything...but still...I love the Lord with all that is within me and I don't hang around with "bad influences" whoever or whatever and wherever they may be. I don't do that because my parents taught me or told me not to do so...but because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit in my life. Well...anywho...God bless you!

Sanshouaikikai
07-31-2005, 11:36 PM
Don't ever tell me or anyone else who you want to respect you that they "shall not" call themselves a Christian, because to me what I am is between me and the Lord, not you. This puts you on a higher plane and makes you seem as if you are better than someone else

Matt....in case you didn't know...Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses as well as other false cults go around telling people that they're Christians and that they believe in Jesus. Of course...they don't tell you their true beliefs "straight up" until you go to one of their churches or Kingdom Halls. Heck...there's this supposedly Baptist preacher out in Kansas who goes around saying that God hates people...in particular gay people. Now...me and you both know what the Bible says about Homosexuality and everyother sin out there....God hates the sin...not the individual who commits the sin. However...this guy preaches all this hate and calls himself a Christian. So...the point I'm trying to make is this...if what you or anyone else for that matter is saying something contrary to what the Bible says or contrary to the context of which the Bible is saying it and you're saying it's true or whatever...then...I as well as every other Christian who is well informed on true orthodox Christian doctrines and theology as well as being truly saved and having a relationship with Christ, have the right and responsibility to say...that you one can believe what they want...but...if it's contrary to Scripture...then...do not call it Christianity, you know what I mean? I don't think that in me saying that I'm saying that I'm better than anyone or smarter than anyone. It's just the truth...sometimes it hurts at first...but once you accept it...it's the most amazing thing ever.

Aiki Teacher
08-01-2005, 11:52 AM
Matthew,
You say that the new testament is not Scripture. However in II Peter, 3:14-18, Peter equates Paul's writings as being misused along with the other scriptures. Even when you look at the original greek text, the reference to other clearly is tied back to the reference to Paul's writings. Therefore Peter views at least Paul's writings as being scripture.

Chuck.Gordon
08-01-2005, 01:53 PM
Relating Aikido and Christianity ...

Is like relating bananas and baseballs.

Any questions?

Chuck

Kevin Leavitt
08-02-2005, 02:05 PM
Chuck,

I ate a banana at a baseball game once...does that count?

Seriously, you can relate just about anything your want or find meaning in it, revise it, or reframe it.

If aikido helps you with your spirituality or religion then I see no problem with that. If your religion helps you with aikido then I also see no problem with that.

If in the end it leads to a greater appreciation and understanding between humans and the world we live in and creates cooperation, harmony, and love...which leads to peace and happiness..then I am all for it!

spinecracker
08-02-2005, 02:55 PM
Well, this is my last post on on this thread, so here goes.....

Thank you for your kind comments and your prayers regarding my sister-in-law. She is healing physically, and I pray that this will lead to her repentance and salvation.

As for the posts on this thread regarding the validity of calling the New Testament scipture, whether God speaks to His followers in these last days and whether or not one Christian can state that someone else isn't a Christian, my knowledge on these matters is nowhere near as authorative as many of the other posters on this thread - I do have my opinions, but they are for discussion elsewhere. I will say that this thread has deviated significantly from it's main topic, and that further discussion on Christian doctrine and theology may be better accomplished via private messaging or using another, preferably Christian-based, forum.