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Small-town Christian bookstore owners keep faith despite an uncertain future

Byron and Beth Borger have run their store, Hearts & Minds bookstore, since the 1980s in Dallastown, Pa. RNS photo by Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans

DALLASTOWN, Pa. (RNS) — The first book that Byron and Beth Borger sold at the Hearts & Minds bookstore was a copy of Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables.”

For the Borgers, it was a perfect fit.

But their customer was a bit perplexed since the book isn’t standard fare at Christian bookshops.

“The first customer asked, ‘What kind of bookstore carries Les Mis?’” said Byron Borger. “We said, ‘What kind of bookstore doesn’t?’”

Hearts & Minds has long been an anomaly in the world of Christian retail.

The Borgers, who previously worked for a Christian campus ministry group, launched their Dallastown store during the faith-based-bookstore boom times of the 1980s. They bucked evangelical conventions by including Catholic writers such as Thomas Merton, tackling topics like racial justice and featuring books by spiritual formation proponent Richard Foster, whose take on the Christian life was considered radical.

Back in the day, they faced boycotts, pickets and even death threats from the Ku Klux Klan over a display of books from Martin Luther King Jr., said Byron Borger. The store survived them all — and thrived for years, attracting fans among customers and authors.

Contemporary challenges are different — and perhaps more threatening.

With ongoing demise of Christian retail stores, consolidation in the Christian publishing industry and the continued dominance of online sellers such as Amazon, the future of this idiosyncratic venture is uncertain.

In recent years, the Borgers have cut back on staff and dipped into their savings to keep the story going.

“I’m not embarrassed to say that we have not been doing well,” said Borger. “We have not been self-sustaining.”

Despite the struggles, Hearts & Minds has a loyal following, readers who appreciate the couple’s wide-ranging knowledge of the Christian book scene.

The store appeals to mainline Protestants and what Beth Borger refers to as “thinking evangelicals” — Christians with traditional beliefs about theology whose faith prompts them to care about injustice. There are more than a few in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, where Hearts & Minds draws most of its support, said Beth Borger.

“Thinking evangelicals are one of our core customer-based groups and frankly, I think there are a lot of them around. I don’t feel like a lonely voice,” she said.

Attendees peruse book options at the annual clergy retreat conference of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. RNS photo by Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans

A third of the Borgers’ business involves traveling to conferences and other events, like the annual clergy retreat of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, where Byron Borger’s book recommendations at the speaker’s mike were a prominent part of the fare and the adjoining room became a pop-up retail venue.

But even those “fun” events mean that the pair must spend many hours on the road and cart books back and forth from their store to hotels and convention centers, he said.

They haven’t had the money to put their entire stock online and the point-of-sale software needed would require another full-time staffer.

“Our website is not what it should be,” he said.

The Borgers’ struggles come at a time of continued turmoil in the Christian retail world. In 2017, the nation’s largest Christian merchandise chain, Family Christian bookstores, went out of business, shuttering more than 240 stores across the country.

At the same time, said Publishers Weekly religion editor Emma Wenner, there’s an increased interest in books on religion and spirituality, including those for the so-called nones, people who may be looking for answers but don’t identify with a particular faith.

“Publishers are doing OK,” she added. “It’s the retailers who are really suffering. The retailers have to find the book buyers.”

That’s led to a kind of love-hate relationship between bookstores and publishers.

“It used to be that writers wrote books, publishers published them, and bookstores sold them,” said Byron Borger. “Now writers have to market their books and publishers sell them half-off.

“They are our friends one day, enemies the next.”

A Family Christian Store has a liquidation sale in Simi Valley, Calif., in April 2017. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

The challenges facing Christian retail extend beyond the relationship between authors, publishers and sellers. This past year saw the apparent failure of the Association for Christian Booksellers.

“The CBA board brought in someone they hoped had the key to developing greater business for Christian retailers,” wrote Christine Johnson, a managing editor at Charisma Media, in an email. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.”

A new group, the Christian Retail Association, formed last year, hopes to fill the void left by the CBA, according to industry veteran Bob Munce, the head of the Munce Group.

“We have two domestic trade shows a year and are the only other industry shows,” he said in an email. “One of our shows will now be the international show. I believe we have the backing of the industry to fulfill this need. We also plan to offer a set of services to the Christian book industry through CRA.”

Even given all the changes in an industry in flux, the picture for independent bookstores as a group is positive, according to Judith Rosen, a contributing editor at Publishers Weekly.

A recent report by the American Booksellers Association, the independent bookstore trade group, found that as mid-December, sales were up by around 5 percent over the previous year.

“Many stores are seeing an uptick in online sales,” said Rosen. “What they are finding, and what the ABA is stressing, is that pre-orders are really successful.”

A personal connection and the conviction that they are supporting a local business also appeal to buyers, Rosen said.

“A lot of independents have made the case to their readers — they need to support them,” she said. “Many independents are thriving — they find a way.”

Wenner agrees.

“People go to Christian retail stores and buy books to keep them in business,” Wenner said. “There is a great deal of customer loyalty to the bookstores themselves.”

Beth Borger adjusts inventory at the Hearts & Minds bookstore in Dallastown, Pa. RNS photo by Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans

That’s certainly true at Hearts & Minds, which has a loyal fan base both among book buyers and the authors who have developed personal connections with the Borgers.

“There are very few self-defined Christian bookstores like Hearts & Minds,” said Messiah College historian John Fea, author of “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.”

When Fea gave a book talk there last summer, “the place was packed,” he said, estimating a crowd of roughly 200 people came.

Fea appreciates that Hearts & Minds’ shelves are filled with books, rather than  a vast array of “kitschy” Christian products like figurines, diaries and framed Bible verses.

“It’s actually a bookstore because Byron’s theological conviction is that you can worship God with your mind,” he said.

Liberty University English professor Karen Swallow Prior said she first learned of Hearts & Minds when the Borgers agreed to stock her first book back in 2012.

“I’ve been a fan of theirs ever since,” she said. “They are rare in so many ways, a local store with a national presence.”

While serving Christian readers, their perspective is not confined to a narrow slice of that audience, she said.

“I would just encourage people to be more intentional about buying more books from brick-and-mortar stores,” said Prior.

Byron Borger still has a bucket list for the store. He’d love to share the couple’s love for Christian books with other independent booksellers.

“I wish we could take our curated stuff and go to the best bookstores in the country,” he said. “They really don’t understand Christian books, or they don’t care to.”

For now, the Borgers, who are both 64, plan to keep the store going. What else can they do, said Beth Borger.

“We can’t retire,” she said.

Her husband agreed.

“We’ve got no money, so we don’t know what to do with ourselves,” he said.

And they still love the work. Being “small-town is part of our charm,” he added. So are the email conversations they have with online book buyers.

That one-on-one interaction is time-consuming but rewarding, said Byron Borger. And it fits the store’s personality.

“Is there a way of being online and still being small-scale, inefficient almost on purpose?”

About the author

Elizabeth Evans

184 Comments

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  • There are two problems here. The first, for the Borgers, is that running any kind of independent bookstore is becoming more difficult, more marginal from a business perspective. The second problem is that American religion is now as polarized as our politics. This means that a Christian retailer is criticized by half the audience for carrying materials that appeal to the other half. It’s hard to know what to say except “thanks for trying to hold something together for well-meaning people”.

  • “At the same time, said Publishers Weekly religion editor Emma Wenner, there’s an increased interest in books on religion and spirituality, including those for the so-called nones, people who may be looking for answers but don’t identify with a particular faith.” The key is getting the right scripture to them

  • ” The second problem is that American religion is now as polarized as our politics”
    But, Christ and His are not polarized

  • I could be wrong, but I have this feeling you just arrived here to point out that you are, in fact, wedded to a different Christian world view from mine, that yours is correct and mine is not. Wild guess.

  • I think we can let Jesus speak for himself on this one: “Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

  • So you think He was referring to fighting? He was discussing believers vrs non believers. The sword is scripture Jeff.

  • or I was open for discussion……there isn’t a lot of leeway in Christianity – narrow is the gate

  • That’s what the “Every-Word-Of-This-Bible” folks often say when they are busy looking for ways to limit other people’s views and other people’s rights.

  • Just a tiny reminder for John Fea: Figurines are ART. Genuine art. Christian people appreciate Christian art.

    Art by which you can express a real relationship to others without breaking your piggybank.

    {Meanwhile, today’s fanatical Demmies do NOT want any “Pro-life Democrat” at all. No chance of being elected anything. This article was done the moment Lupfer ‘fessed up to that one fact.)

  • Excellent response from Mt 10:34-35. Jesus’ followers, i.e., his “family”, are polarized in their interpretation of the Gospel and its application to current events, for example, those Central American migrants who happen to cross our southern border illegally. For some Christians, it would appear that Jesus’ teaching in Mt 25:31-46 does not apply in dealing with these folks.

  • “[Jesus] was discussing believers vrs [sic] non believers.”

    Debatable. See my response to our fellow blogger above.

  • I suspect a lot of folks are “nones” because they not only have perused sacred scripture but also have seen the hypocrisy of “believers” in their interpretation and application of same to contemporary events.

  • While thinking that being Christian should make people perfect is an aberration dealt by satan, there is only One who is perfect, and if one is attending church to be with perfect people, rather than looking at, and emulating Christ, they will always be disappointed and using people as an excuse.

  • then, I would say that you need to read your Bible.

    Matthew 7:13-14 New International Version (NIV)
    The Narrow and Wide Gates
    13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
    that is why liberalism is a farce

  • Do you really intend the irony you are displaying by dwelling on verses 13 and 14, to the apparently-deliberate exclusion of verse 12 of Matthew 7 which is, in fact, the golden rule? (12) “Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets.”

    Most of what you call the farce of liberalism actually happens to be the attempted application of the golden rule, after all.

  • Yes, we know. MOST people are not too good at really doing the golden rule in our merely human natures. That’s why Jesus came to dwell on such matters as loving the neighbors, because religion before his arrival was stuck in other ditches. That’s why he warned that the way is narrow. We have to actually WANT the best for other people, and lots of folks will never get around to doing it. That’s what the “narrow” thing is.

  • Jesus first priority was to love God, and that entails following His commands, then loving one’s neighbour as themselves.

  • I made my point. I’ll repeat it here again for you:
    Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, 30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
John 14:15 – “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
    Narrow is the way. Liberalism endorses walking from God’s truth and doing what pleases oneself. If that is loving one’s neighbour, one must question how they think helping someone to choose Hell, is helpful

  • FYII (For Your Insult to Intelligence):

    According to Michael Lipka and David McClendon (in Pew Research Center, April 7, 2017, “Why people with no religion are projected to decline as a share of the world’s population”):

    “In coming decades, the global share of religiously unaffiliated people … which includes atheists, agnostics and those who do not identify with any religion in particular … is actually expected to fall, according to Pew Research Center’s new study on the future of world religions. … [Their] growth is projected to occur at the same time that other religious groups – and the global population overall – are growing even faster. … [And so] people with no religion will make up about 13% of the world’s population in 2060, down from roughly 16% as of 2015. This relative decline is largely attributable to the fact that religious ‘nones’ are, on average, older and have fewer children than people who are affiliated with a religion … [and because] the number of deaths will begin to exceed the number of births to unaffiliated mothers by 2030 [in Asia and] by 2035 … in Europe … [And because] the Christian population in China is rising while the religiously unaffiliated population is falling … – religious ‘nones’ could decline as a share of the world’s population even more than the Pew Research Center study projects.”

  • I suspect a lot of people are nones because they choose the way of the flesh; the ways of this world – right?
    Anyone who doesn’t believe in God because of perceived hypocrisy are weak souls indeed.
    People are nones because they are afraid of their consciences.

  • Sandi, there are a lot of ways to choose Hell. I do understand that you are aligned with church people who instinctively dwell on one imagined such hot button in particular—–the natural aversion to same-sex attraction which most people have by nature as a matter of being opposite-sex attracted. As an old man married to one woman 47 years, I share that with you. I do not share with you that this should have ever been written at all into religion. I do not buy, for one minute, that God wrote the story of Lot at Sodom—-BECAUSE—-when you read it, the utter disregard of Lot for his engaged daughters is just a piece of junk. God does not and never did relegate females to such a low status where he has a man say “Here you go, Angry Mob, take these betrothed virgins and do whatever you want with them.”

    The whole story is a myth, as is the tale of the Tower of Babel, and both are a slander on God. I don’t necessarily imagine you will agree with that anytime soon, but please don’t imagine that we, on a kinder side of religion, do not have a valid point. If we base and focus our faith rather exclusively on just trying to chase and marginalize the LGBT people, we are not fundamentally different from ISIS, the evil monsters who are happy to kill them in this day and age, just as demanded in the Old Testament. It’s just hate, nothing more.

  • On cue yet again with his Super-Lame Take The Matthew 25 Pledge of Sacrilegiance. It’s Joseph Jaglowicz’s trigger-word, MKUltra-like.

  • I CRACKED THE DA VINCI CODE:

    “Byron and Beth Borger … at the Hearts & Minds bookstore … bucked evangelical conventions … [and so] faced boycotts, pickets and even death threats from the Ku Klux Klan … The store appeals to … [no none-]’thinking evangelicals’ … whose faith [doesn’t] care about injustice.”

    WHAT A LOVELY EVANGELICAL-BASHING COUPLE.

    Kudos, Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans!

  • “I do not buy, for one minute, that God wrote the story of Lot at Sodom”

    Well, Jesus did tell us to remember it.

  • We are “nones” because we figured out christianity is just a myth, totally unsupported by evidence.

  • Where are the loving, selfless christians who are willing to build and donate a quality website to these nice people?

    I’m an atheist, but I admire people with open minds who welcome books with different views. I would buy a book from them if they still have secular offerings.

  • Don’t bear false witness. It makes Baby Jesus cry.

    People reject christianity because they realize it isn’t true and supernatural deities don’t exist. Period.

    Take a look around. Nobody needs to leave christianity to “sin.” In fact, given the cheap forgiveness offered by christianity, those who only want to sin would stay christian.

    Assault women? Rape children? Fondle your sisters? Just say how sorry you are and all is forgiven.

    Afraid of the consequences? What consequences? There are no consequences in the here and now. And just like you don’t lay awake nights worrying about the wrath of Quetzlcoatl, I couldn’t care less about the wrath of your imaginary friend.

  • Good try.

    You are kind and generous and humble. Self-appointed “True Christians” ™ like Sandy in Hell only want to dominate and hate and rejoice in the suffering of others.

    What does that tell you about christianity?

  • You don’t give people enough credit. Perhaps they don’t believe in the message being sold. I agree however, that because religious don’t always live up to the values they believe in that discredits the religious ideas behind them. Your last sentence may be true for some but not all and is a generalization.

  • Christianity is something that is just with us as a reality which holds influence and sway over us. It has a couple of billion or more people attached to it in some form. I’m for insisting that it be the KIND corner of religion which it should be and can be. These church folks who take “deep dives” into scripture and come up with little to nothing besides “standing against” other people are missing their own boats and always operating to sink the rest of our boats. There is nothing to do with religion but make it about kindness. Thank goodness Jesus left behind the words and the means by which we can insist on that.

  • Yeah, it was clearly in the story of the Good Samaritan as an exception or a deal-breaker in any happenstance that someone involved there is, uh, “different”——- right?

  • Friendly G – the same religion that produced your kindness produced Sandy from Hell’s hate. And there is no way to objectively determine who is right. Think on that when you’re ready.

    I have no desire to change your beliefs – the world needs kind people wherever they are found. But please, please be aware that “christian love’ is fragile and dependent upon compliance.

    If you should lose your faith while active in a church, especially an evangelical one, church members turn vicious quickly when their myths are challenged. Make sure your housing, finances and social structure are not dependent upon christians or your church before you let anyone know about loss of faith. All that “you will know us by our love stuff” is for show.

  • No aversion to homosexuals but I have a great desire for the to be in a right relationship with Jesus, rather than on the road to Hell, which the world directs them to, to satisfy their political correct desires.
    As far as God being responsible for the Bible:
    “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” 2 Timothy 3:16
    The particular OT condemnation of immorality: ” And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules[a] and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18
    You consider yourself a” kinder side of religion” says you have no respect for Christ and what He taught.
    When one thinks they know more than Christ, they don’t know how lost they are
    Telling homosexuals what pleases the Lord and how to be in a right relationship with Him is not marginalizing them, and if you think such, how many have you directed on their way to Hell? You are right, you are hating them.

  • We ditched Church about 25 years ago, after 40 years (including childhood) of being in and around several different Protestant varieties. This decision was after experiencing (repeatedly) some of the problems you describe. For me, Christianity is not about church at all. People are better off knowing Jesus than knowing Church and they can do that in any quiet corner. This may be related to the fact that you can search in the Bible and find very few instances of Jesus quoted using the word “church” at all. I am firmly convinced that the incorporated showrooms we now see and know were never intended to exist at all as they presently do.

  • I hate to see businesses fail whether it be Sears or these folk but sometimes there are new writings on the wall and it is then time to change course. For the Borgers, they failed to recognize the effects of the historic Jesus movement which has led to updated prayers/creeds like the following:

    The Apostles’Creed 2019: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen:

    Based on this update and analogous ones, they could then change the name of their store to “Hearts and Minds and a New Beginning” with the works of all the historic Jesus exegetes being added to their inventory.

    Maybe it is not too late:

    Some suggestions on recommended books can be found at at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html by clicking on the exegete’s name.

  • Sorry, no sale here. You can’t make me into the hater for actually having and practicing the discernment we are suppose to have. I’m going to be for the golden rule side of Christianity. You’re free to minister in whatever style you want, but you’re not free to just run over everyone who does not agree with you.

  • Not selling anything – just telling you the truth. If you were using discernment and not following the politically correct crowd, you would know that Christ denounced homosexuality, as did His apostles – so He didn’t retract on S&G. He obviously did not support the sin.
    I don’t “run over everyone”. I just tell it like it is.
    I’m sorry for you that the truth offends you

  • I also don’t accept the idea of burying the golden rule under a blanket disdain for the “politically correct crowd”. If you are in a church where that phrase is ever mentioned, (and where else would you get it?) you need to move to one where it isn’t. There is no truth in the counter implication that you are really CALLED to literally argue for and support everything that is politically INCORRECT. That just does not make any sense. This is another of those discernment things. It’s like people who frequently type in “LOL” to tell others they are laughing out loud—–when they never are. Claiming you are against a “crowd” which is trying to be “correct” in “political” matters is just a sign that someone did a brainwash on you while you weren’t looking.

  • If you look to where I quoted what Jesus taught – the two commandments – He also stated there are none greater than those.
    Again Friendly, your argument is with Christ

  • Plenty of evidence.
    Your limited capacity of understanding is all that is in the way.
    Sad really.

  • I wish you all the best.

    FYI. According to my teen, GOAT stands for Greatest Of All Time and is a high compliment. (I learned this after he called me “the Goat.” ☺)

    Cheers

  • Hmmm…I just went to Christianbook.com and searched for three titles I found in the Borger’s store. Not available on Christianbook.com. And when you are wrestling with a complex topic and looking for ideas on books to read, who do you talk to in person at Christianbook.com who is a scholar and theologian like Byron Borger? Yes, Christianbook.com is good, but the role the Borger’s play is invaluable.

  • LOL. It’s right in front of your face.

    That’s what they call not seeing the forest for the trees.

  • Fine. Show me.

    But you can’t. You can only deflect and toss insults. Keep up the good work. Everyone can see you’ve got nothing.

  • Look around.
    Look in your heart.
    Your arrogance prevents you from seeing.
    Are you of the mind of a 5 year old that you have to touch in order to understand?
    I’ll tell you what – since you need proof; why don’t you just ask God if he exists!
    Seriously.
    For a month – just ask.

  • No, it was in the Mount Olivet discourse as a prophetic of the evil the Church could expect to see more and more of in the future.

  • Thanks. I only call myself FriendlyGoat because my wife and I have some real pet goats who are friendly. Off to feed them now.

  • A stretch way too far, Shawnee. We are simply not called to run around quoting stories in scripture that did not actually happen and then justifying them on weak threads. The dialogue of Lot at Sodom is not a God thing. It is made-up Man thing. Ditto the dialogue at the Tower of Babel.

  • I beg your pardon…Jesus quoted the Sodom story. And His take on Sodom is as much a “Jesus thing” as anything else He is recorded as saying. A stretch too far is somehow claiming it isn’t.

  • Jesus most certainly is not recorded as quoting the dialogue of Lot at Sodom. He did not go about suggesting that men toss their daughters out to mobs of men. It is extremely important to pay attention to these kinds of details.

  • Goodness no. I spend more time now actually thinking through religious matters than I ever was permitted by time or Church(es) to do in earlier life. What I now know is that religion is about kindness—–or—–it’s trouble on a stick. Jesus is the one highlight in all of it which makes possible any sensible doctrine. That is done by an endless loop of us all trying to act out life as The Good Samaritan, as though we really were walking around listening to a Holy Spirit. None of the rest is remotely positive.

  • Neither did the writer of Genesis suggest that men should do so. It was a recounting of events. Events which Jesus affirmed were historical.

  • Is my heart is evidence of a deity? Really? Which one? Quetzlcoatl? Thor? Ba’al?

    The ocean is pretty. I guess that proves Neptune is real. The sun rises every day, so I guess Apollo is proven.

    “Look around” is not evidence of a deity. Yours or any other.

    God is welcome to show up. I was a christian for decades, he had years to show up. Never heard a peep. Not then, not now.

    So since you claim this deity is real, how about you share your evidence that (a) any supernatural deity existsmuch or (b) that your chosen deity is the one.

  • Christians should be kind, but, you don’t seem to think telling some
    one that they are sinning is “nice” when Christ taught:
    “16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, ” 2 Timothy 3:16
    “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” 2 Timothy4:2
    and…
    “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19
    So, your idea of “kindness” and Christs seem to be at odds,
    No one should degrade and abuse homosexuals, I’m sure we agree on that, but, we are also not to let anyone walk on scripture declaring it an un-sin without a knowledgeable reply.
    Scripture is the best resource.
    We are not to emulate the “Good Samaritan” – we are to emulate Christ.

  • Good story.
    Like I said – just ask.
    The only thing standing in the way is yourself.
    BTW – Christian for decades? What specifically caused you to leave?

  • Let’s see you do it, (and report back), not just say it.

    Plus, why are you UN-willing to buy a decent book from them if they’ve accidentally run out of secular offerings? Do you not sincerely admire them for their open-mindedness? Did you not sincerely want to support them?

  • My point is that the details of it are so fantastical and utterly reprehensible that it is a slander on both God and readers’ sense for anyone to continue claiming that it either actually happened as reported or that God wrote the book reporting it.

  • What? Can’t find “Les Mis” or other secular works at Christianbook.com? Sure, okay. But meanwhile, at CBD you ARE likely to find the entire NICNT and NICOT at huge sale prices. No small development.

    Meanwhile, I agree with you that CBD is “good” — actually very good, especially for lower-income Christian folks who live in the many towns with no seminaries and no seminary libraries (and I’m one of them.) This isn’t about attacking the Borgers (may they prosper in their business ’cause times are tough), it’s about Christians having broad access to some really good, high-quality, biblically-based tools, regardless of one’s zip code or income bracket.

    Simply try Amazon or Barnes & Noble for your other stuff, although THEY are the real source of the jeopardy that the Borgers’ and other bookstores may be facing. (But I’ve bought books from Amazon too, so I’m not really attacking them.)

  • Our country is hardly in any kind of “agreement” that “no one should degrade and abuse” homosexuals and/or transgender people. This is one of the many subjects of the polarization in religion of which I first spoke. Although some of us do believe in treating these folks exactly equal to everyone else, there is a TON of religion-rooted support for bullying and marginalizing them in every possible way. Who do you think passes the bathroom bills in red states? Who do you think fails to include sexual orientation as a subject of state non-discrimination laws? Who do you think is having the conniption fit about gay marriage?

    As for “walking on scripture”, I would remind you that insulting Muhammad or his sayings is an offense for which they will kill people in some Muslim places where they have Religion Gone Wild. But in the United States of America, the Bible is only a book, the opinions of all persons concerning it are all equally valid, and there is absolutely no governmental respect paid to it. By extension, you and I have absolutely no authority for declaring anyone else’s love relationship a “sin”. Not here. Not out in the real land of the Red, White and Blue.

    As for “emulating Christ, not The Good Samaritan”, you’re joking, right? Christ is the teacher, the savior, the crucified, the risen. We don’t sensibly play like we are Him. We are absolutely supposed to be behaving in accordance with the story he specifically gave to illustrate loving our neighbors. That means we are to do Christianity more than we are to preach.

  • Well then, you’ve just disposed of the Pentateuch and all the major prophets (which Jesus called the words and commands of God), and the synoptic gospels themselves.

    Might as well dispose of the Good Samaritan and the golden rule too, while you’re at it.

  • I don’t have the skills to build a website. Wish I did.

    Why would I or anyone else be expected to buy a book they aren’t interested in reading? That’s silly. It seems like there might be a reasonable overlap between books I would like to read and books they stock. Win Win

  • I started paying attention to the claims of christianity compared to reality. Specifically, a number of different situations and events made me realize that christians committed to Jesus and surrounded by prayer are exactly like all other humans. No better.
    No worse. There was zero special power or insight or love or integrity.

    This made me read the bible more carefully, and pay attention to what it says.

    Over a period of a year or more, I came to realize that the reason the claims of don’t add up is because christianity is make believe. I had always thought blood sacrifice by Aztecs and other human groups was absurd. One day it clicked that the bible, OT and NT, was about blood sacrifice. It was over. No anger or any strong emotion. I just felt a little silly for having believed nonsense for so long.

  • I’ll decline the invitation to get rid of the few good things which supersede and fix the rest of the mess. You see, you “Every Word Of The Bible” church people have to jump every which way with mental gymnastics to live down the justifications you retain in scripture for slavery, for plural marriage (including concubines), for commandments utterly unconstitutional in a free country, for a literal creation story everyone knows is false, for the nutty idea of the divine right of kings, and even for claims that people should be stoned to death on orders from religious leaders. We Golden Rule Christians are not obligated to do any such dance. For us, all of that junk is ruled out from the get-go as obvious matters of the conscience. Simple, and elegant too.

  • So, the only-begotten, crucified and risen Son of God only had “a few good things” to contribute while the rest is “mess”?

    And these “every word of the bible” church people… you mean something like a guy whose favorite prelude to a lesson was “it is written,” and chased off the devil himself with the declaration that we are to live by “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God?”

    There is no need for any “gymnastics” whatsoever. Jesus performed no gymnastics when He stated quite plainly that certain things were tolerated for a time due to the hardness of man’s evil heart and the absence of the Holy Spirit in human interactions, and that greater holiness in accordance with His original creation design is now expected of those called by Him.

    He did, however, have some particularly harsh words for those who would not heed the messengers He sent and dismissed their words as “mess.” John 5:46-47, Luke 16:29.

  • get real . you have the right to be snide continuously but no one else does ?

    your blocking, which you do frequently, is a blessing . don’t undo it this time .

  • “Sexual ‘orientation'” should not be included in anything. It just furthers their fantasy that what they are doing is correct, when immorality is not correct, in any means. You are showing no one mercy in upholding sin – in fact that hurts people – the sinner and vulnerable onlookers.
    No….all opinions about the Bible are not equally valid if you want people to have a good relationship with Jesus. The gate is narrow – as I have shown already.
    Emulating Christ –

    Ephesians 5:1 English Standard Version (ESV) Walk in Love
    5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

    1 John 2:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
    6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

    1 Thessalonians 1:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
    6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

    Luke 6:40 English Standard Version (ESV)
    40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
    Christ taught: “Follow me”
    I’m not seeing a lot of scriptural opinions from you Friendly.

  • Now I understand….I suggest you learn the Biblewww.Biblehub.com has a button. Click on “comment”, put some scripture in and it will tell you what the best minds think of that scripture. You aren’t helping anyone – including yourself Blessings.

  • But, but, BUT if it’s because “[Byron and Beth Borger … at … Hearts & Minds] cater to ‘Thinking’ Evangelicals … not a very large market, [that] they are struggling” – will fortune come their way once they entice Ex-“‘Thinking’ Evangelicals” into the bookstore? You should know, right? Because:

    “Dick Hertzer 4 months ago [confessed] I’m a former evangelical. Yep, 30 years of not seeing one prayer answered usually does the trick.”

    Wait, what? For “30 years”?! Just what were you “not seeing one prayer answered” for, exactly? For, for … “a very large market”, is it now – DICK?!

    What were you “Thinking”?!

  • I’m not the one who suggested getting rid of the Golden Rule and the Good Samaritan, remember?. I’m the one who just wishes religious people were not so obligated to so much fibbing. The Bible is a collection of writings by men, some good, quite a bit not. Everybody, including theologians especially, is aware of these problems. My recommendation to them is that being honest about Genesis is the route to being honest about American health insurance and climate change. Similarly, fibbing about one subject has led to a great deal of fibbing from church about many other things. You START with, yeah, a lot of it was a mess. Were that not true, we would all be Jewish.

  • “The Encyclopædia Britannica [2013]”: “2% of the world’s population self-identify as atheists and the average annual global change for atheism from 2000 to 2010 was −0.17%”!

    BWA-HA-HAppy New Year, Ashiest!

  • Actually, Honey was in church for 40 years and got out as the deterioration progressed from spiritual leadership there by Reagan to that of Bushes, Limbaugh and now Trump.
    Honey also has a wife who would probably be willing to break your keyboard over your head.

  • Among those “Nones”-sensicals, only 4 are Irreligious Eggnog-shticks, only 4 are Irreligious Ashiests, but 15 are all Religious Backsliders!

    And you of the merely 4 boast, “We are ‘nones””?! Why are you hanging out & chillin’ with your Ideological Enemies?!

    What a bunch of Losers!

  • So you left “a church” because of Ronald regan and Donald Trump.
    The wife must’ve broke the keyboard over your head a few times then….

  • EXCELLENT DECISION. In light of “The 2015 Pew Religious Landscape survey”, that is:

    “Of the American population … atheists made up 3.1%”!

    Oh lookee, 100 Americans over there. And 1 of just 3 of them, all Ashiests-like, is … wait for it … tada! – YOU. Expressing “no anger or any strong emotion.” WHOOYAKEEDING.

  • Who suggested getting rid of the Golden Rule and the Good Samaritan? Not me, for I accept the gospels. But there is not a bit more support for their authenticity than the Sodom account. If you disregard the latter you might just as well disregard the former.

    “My recommendation to them is that being honest about Genesis is the route to being honest about American health insurance and climate change.”

    Here is Jesus’ “honesty” about Genesis: “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what God said to you: ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matt.22:32)

    IOW, all of the patriarchs of Genesis were not only real people, but they are alive right now in the presence of God.

    And further: “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad…Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I AM” (John 8:56-58). Claiming as His own the very identity of the God who originally gave the “mess” to Moses.

    “a lot of it was a mess. Were that not true, we would all be Jewish.” Being Jewish or not is about descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It’s not about how you feel about the “mess” that Jesus taught from.

  • “Authenticity” is about good fruit and bad fruit. Much in the latter portion of the Bible has resulted in people deciding to be better than they were. Lack of “authenticity” is insisting that people rely on that which makes them worse than they otherwise would have been because they have to force themselves to defend the indefensible. Not for me, Shawnie. We can live with Noah as a legend. We cannot live with the reality of species which do not fit on a boat or are not in proximity to be gathered onto a boat, with a flood story in proportions for which no water exists, with a timeline off by millions of years. Knowing the difference about these things may be a latter-day burden for would-be Biblicists, but it is what it is. Let’s stop lying to the kids.

  • I was part of a Catholic bookstore in Portland, Oregon during the 70s. We carried Protestant books as well as general books. The store was part of a Catholic store that carried liturgical products as well as superior artwork. We were subsidized by the general success of the store. Small religious books stores as FriendlyGoad below notes have problems. Like that responder I say thank you to the Brogers.

  • I feel for the Borgers. It can’t be easy to face such challenges at their stage of life. However, I have the feeling that these good and courageous people are caught up in an overwhelming change: the contemporary “long withdrawing roar” of faith.

    Only time will tell whether they and their business will be able to survive this challenging time.

  • So I reread your post.
    You are the second or third athiest that I have spoken to that mentions that their disappointment in a fellow christian (or group of Christians) turned them away from God.
    I simply do not understand that thought process. Nowhere does it say that if you are Christian; you are/will be better than your fellow man.
    Why would you place so much merit in broken human beings?

  • He was discussing believers v nonbelievers. Some religions like Jehovah’s Witnesses really fragment families when not all convert or one gets excommunicated. I lived it and got cut by that sword.

  • That’s a lot of dancing for someone who supposedly doesn’t want to dance.

    Nobody decides to be “better than they are.” We decide to receive Christ — all of Him. Transformation is the subsequent work of the Spirit.

    Much of the difficulty with the Noah narrative is owing to the mistranslation of the phrase “kol eretz,” a commonly-used phrase in the scriptures which almost always refers to land (not the planet) and the people thereof.

    “Let’s stop lying to the kids.” Don’t tell me, tell Jesus. He’s the one you’re accusing of lying.

  • No. The behavior of christians did not turn me away from christianity.

    The behavior of christians, and some other things, made me pay attention to what the bible says and compare that to reality.

    Don’t move the goalposts. There are dozens upon dozens of claims and promises in the bible about new creations, being born again, the fruit of the spirit, the power of prayer, yada yada. I know, because I memorized hundreds of these verses. Christians are said to be filled with the Holy Spirit, God Himself.

    I figured that ought to produce a noticeable difference somewhere.

    What finally struck me is that christianity simply makes no difference. Christians individually and as a group are exactly like everybody else. No better. No worse. This started me thinking – Why?. And when I began paying attention to the actual text of the bible outside of the pretty soundbites, I saw the absurdities and the cruelties and the sheer nonsense I had ignored for so long.

    I was not disappointed by people. I realized I had wasted decades believing sheer nonsense.

  • your point ?

    “You DO have a right to be dead wrong, and you exercise it all the time.
    “You do realize I am about to block you, right?
    “You really don’t have much to say of import, do you?”

    is your sum total input to an article about a religious bookstore . so no i haven’t yet, and neither have you .

  • It depends on the meaning of “believers v nonbelievers”. In the USCCB commentary, a cross-reference for Mt 10:34-35 is made to Lk 12:49-53: “Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom is a refining and purifying fire. His message that meets with acceptance or rejection will be a source of conflict and dissension even within families.” As I’ve noted below in response to Jeffrey, conflict among believers themselves can arise in their different interpretations and applications of scripture. This is why self-identifying Christians, even within the same denomination, can disagree on a passage’s meaning and application, for example, to our handling of migrants who illegally cross the border into the U.S. Differences arise even among believers who will challenge the Christian identity of fellow Christians. In such a scenario, some folks will be portrayed as nonbelievers — and perhaps rightly so!

  • Only God is perfect. That said, Jesus says, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). The USCCB commentary, regarding the term ‘perfect’, states, “[I]n the gospels this word occurs only in Matthew, here and in Mt 19:21. The Lucan parallel (Lk 6:36) demands that the disciples be merciful.”

    The “nones” can rightfully point to the hypocrisy of self-professed “Christians” who fail to live up to the challenges of the Gospel. Four years ago, the LOS ANGELES TIMES published “How secular family values stack up”, which is available now only to subscribers. The Google search description gives a thumbnail summary: “The vast majority [of nonbelievers] appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”

  • I would say then that you failed to listen. I suggest that you try reading scripture and start in the book of John. Blessings to you honey,

  • the digital equivalent of ‘i’m not playing with you anymore : i’m taking my ball and going home’ .

  • Joseph Jaglowicz, 8 hours ago: “I most certainly do (know my Bible).”

    HpO: Yup. In parenthesis. You only “know” it “parenthetically”!

  • the mentions that jesus made of sodom and gomorrah were to say that those opposed his reforms and those who did evil in his day would have it worse than those in the stories of old . there is no evidence that jesus meant more by that than he meant in his parables . he was making a point . not teaching history .

  • And born-from-above, fired-up and die-hard followers of THE Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles and revelation all go, “WHAT ‘contemporary “long withdrawing roar” of faith’?! And which, anyway? Latin Catholic Church? Eastern Catholic Churches? Historical Protestantism? Modern Protestantism? Messianic Judaism? Eastern Orthodox Church? Oriental Orthodoxy? Independent Catholicism? Must be Mglass’ very own version of The O Ye of Little Faith, then!”

  • I listened until you went completely out of your place with what is either intended belittlement or the awkward advances of a crazy woman. Who knows which it is? Either way, I don’t permit people to harass me online. You are now blocked from my view and will need to find someone else you can pretend to pester. I won’t be seeing another word you ever write. Think of it as sort of like a restraining order.

  • So those who oppose Him won’t really have it worse than Sodom and Gomorrah — who had no “worse” at all?

    Pfft. Why do you libs want so badly to make a liar out of Jesus?

    Those who opposed Him lived to see the actual, physical destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the massacre and scattering of the people — and if they were here they would assure you that there was nothing metaphorical about it (according to Josephus, there was hardly enough land for all the crosses to stand on). We can safely assume that the event He compared it to was just as actual and physical.

    There is absolutely no justification for making Lot mythical and Abraham historical — and Jesus clearly stated that Abraham was alive in God’s presence and had seen the coming of the Kingdom of God.

  • There is no mistranslation of the Noah narrative. What it purports to relate is perfectly clear, just completely false. I don’t blame Jesus for this. He didn’t write it and had no reason to know it was false. But today’s Bible people do know, and they must be held to account if they seek to ruin religion (and countries) with continued insistence on “ministering” in bad faith. It is not fundamentally different from the worldwide problem we have with Islam. Bad stuff happens when bad information is passed off as valid.

  • “There is no mistranslation of the Noah narrative.” So the whole planet (kol eretz) went to Egypt to buy grain during the famine of Joseph’s day (Gen.13:9)? And the shofar is heard all over the planet (kol eretz) on the day of atonement (Lev. 25:9)? Seriously?

    “He didn’t write it…” He said that He did. He called the Pentateuch the words and commands of God and claimed to BE that God.

    “…and had no reason to know it was false.” The second person of the Trinity, the Son of the Living God, had no reason to know that what He pronounced to be God’s word was false? Quite an ineffective god you have.

    Jesus summed it up far better than I can: “If you had believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

  • christ is the reason that you and have our faith . and in the abundance of blessing that god, and the christ in god, has given us, the liberalism of our political system allows us the openness and ease of public embrace of that faith .

    our religion occurs in a political environment . it did not happen without the secular hands off development of our political forefathers and mothers .

  • I put “know my Bible” in parentheses to clarify my response to someone who perhaps would not understand “I most certainly do.” It appears I was right. Thanks for confirming my suspicion about your inability to comprehend what is written by someone else.

  • HpO, I was alluding to Matthew Arnold’s famous poem, Dover Beach. It says (in part)

    “The Sea of Faith
    Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
    Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
    But now I only hear
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
    Retreating, to the breath
    Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
    And naked shingles of the world.”

    Now go and troll someone else.

  • Then, to PROVE – NOT ASSERT – YOUR BIBLE KNOWLEDGE ISN’T PARENTHETICAL, what did Luke mean:

    (1) by account (διήγησιν and λόγον, respectively) in Luke 1:1 and Acts 1:1, respectively; and

    (2) by proofs (τεκμηρίοις and πίστιν, respectively) in Acts 1:2-3 and Acts 17:30-31, respectively.

    Go ahead. You have 48 hours to prove, instead of just assert, “I most certainly do (know my Bible).” Ready, set, GO.

  • So this Judasian Dudester, Matthew Arnold, validated your own version of The O Me of Little Faith, you’re saying. But in which religious tradition, though? Latin Catholic Church? Eastern Catholic Churches? Historical Protestantism? Modern Protestantism? Messianic Judaism? Eastern Orthodox Church? Oriental Orthodoxy? Independent Catholicism? But what of it? Because, in the absence of the context of your original statement, born-from-above, fired-up and die-hard followers of THE Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles and revelation, all still go – IN YOUR FACE, LIKE – “WHAT ‘contemporary “long withdrawing roar” of faith’?!”

    What? What? LOUDER, please. They & I still can’t hear you.

  • Ironic that Arnold wrote that snippet on the very eve of the greatest era of missionary activity the world has ever seen.

  • One way to look at this is the patent unlikelihood that God writes the scripture and allows on purpose for it to be mistranslated to most of the people who will ever read or know about it. Insisting on this view is another slander on God as being a capricious trickster who doesn’t like any people except those who spend their lives trying to unravel ancient linguistic mysteries set up by God himself to be stumbling blocks for men and women.

  • If there is any place that folks can find common ground, it should be among Christians. Wesley coined the phrase, “…agree to disagree”. We could add “agreeably”. I am a United Methodist, Republican and Trump supporter…try to rationalize that in today’s logic. Our Bishop says that Trump isn’t fit for the presidency. That does not cause me to think her spiritual mind is therefore suspect. Far from it. If there is no consensus on anything forthcoming, the thieves will steal our country while we’re arguing. Too many people major in minor things.

  • Matthew Arnold wrote a famous poem, not just a snippet. The whole poem can be found here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43588/dover-beach

    The mid Nineteenth Century was a time of great change and intellectual ferment. Although it was a more religious time than today, Matthew Arnold saw that the new learning of his day would undermine faith, and he feared what this might bring.

    “Ah, love, let us be true
    To one another! for the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams,
    So various, so beautiful, so new,
    Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
    Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

  • The prophet Hosea said: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

    And Jesus in turn upbraided the teachers who mucked around with the Torah in order to follow “vain deceit, after the tradition of men and the rudiments of the world.”

    Mangling of scripture is nothing new. The good news is that we no longer need to rely on teachers but now have access to everything we need to fully understand God’s word against the backdrop of history. Many have run to and fro, and knowledge has increased (Dan.12:4). It’s a responsibility, but also an honor and a privilege — not a burden.

  • I read Dover Beach in high school. What you quoted was a snippet.

    The point is, throughout history people have invariably started prognosticating the final demise of faith right before a time of immense revival. Voltaire famously did it before the First Great Awakening, and Jefferson before the Second, and people like Arnold before the 20th century missionary age. And of course Marx and every failed Communist nation who chased after his ideals declared war on faith — and faith has outlasted them all.

    It’s because none of it is the work of man but of the Holy Spirit, which blows where and when it will as Jesus put it, and I hope I live long enough to see the next cycle, which will either be another awesome revival or the advent of the King Himself.

  • It would be more impressive to me if you would or could outline the Church’s plan to create health insurance security for families in America instead of quoting a prophet from the eighth century BC who was writing about another country. We need for ten-year-olds here to have a realistic grasp of what Church thinks of them, is willing to tell them, is willing to do for their families.

    Kids are often an empathetic bunch. So, can Mama go to the hospital when she’s sick, or not? Is Daddy sad because medical bills are going to take our house away?

  • Man’s basic issues with God haven’t changed measurably since the 8th century — what can God gimmee???:

    “Truly, truly, I tell you, it is not because you saw these signs that you are looking for Me, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
    Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

    But as scripture clearly demonstrates, no amount of stuff is ever going to buy one soul for the Kingdom of Heaven. Those called by the Spirit will come even if they have to give up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields,or life itself, in order to do it (Matt.19:29).

    But you ask an excellent question. I’m sure it would interest my very atheist brother-in-law, whose stepsister needlessly died waiting for treatment from Canada’s paradisaical health care system that the libs want to bring here.

  • Hello Shawnie5,

    Thank you for your detailed reply.

    It’s true that faith and doubt have waxed and waned through the ages. I think it’s also true that the excesses of one age are often followed by a reaction in the next. Thus the Reformation prompted the Counter-Reformation and the religious wars of the Seventeenth Century were followed by the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth Century. This in turn was followed by another religious revival.

    You have attributed this to the work of the Holy Spirit. It is also possible to see this in more naturalistic terms, as action prompts reaction.

  • I didn’t ask what God is gonna Gimmee. I asked what Church is going to do to help with tangible problems in the here and now. If you guys know anything at all, tell us what it is.
    Forty years ago, I was involved in administering a group health plan. Thirty-five years ago, I thought the church supporters were going to be stand-up guys about this issue in the Reagan era. I learned something. Most of them didn’t have a clue how the systems worked and many of the rest did know but lied about it. None of them gave a hoot. Soured me on the whole mess. You’re not helping to unsour me. Church should be asked to put up or shut up. Seriously.

  • You’re still dancing this way and that, Goat. First mad about Sodom and the Tower of Babel, then about Noah, now about the difficulties of figuring out a way for everyone to have state-of-the-art modern health care with all the bells and whistles for free. Sounds like generalized free-floating resentment to me. I’m not trying to unsour you — likely nobody can. Jesus knew that His people’s biggest problem wasn’t actually the Romans taxing them into impoverishment and lining the roads with bloody crosses, but the ever selfish and self-seeking heart. And so it remains today.

    And it goes completely over your head that the only reason we are even concerned about everyone having access to health care is because of the global influence of Christianity on civilization. The pre-Christian world found it perfectly acceptable to let the sick, even one’s own family, die in the streets — as occurred in 166 in Rome, according to Thucydides, while the preeminent physician of the time, Galen, promptly fled the country and only returned when ordered to by caesar himself three years later. Christians, otoh, nursed the sick and buried the dead as a holy obligation and often at the cost of their own lives. Indeed, when a similar plague broke out again in Carthage in the 3rd century the Bishop of Cyprian actually welcomed it as an opportunity for Christians to serve others and learn not to fear death.

    Easy to whine for the church to do this and do that — while basking in a civilization that has been saturated with Judeo-Christian “imago dei” for so long, and taken Christian charity so for granted, that no one remembers the not-so-pretty pre-christian world it replaced.

    Seriously.

  • Am I supposed to be grateful that I dragged you forward only from 800 BC to 166 AD? What I am asking you for is to be cognizant that the Church which elected Donald Trump as its leader on his promise of “something great” for healthcare that will “take care of everybody” is failing to deliver even a clue while it gleefully hopes to destroy The Affordable Care Act. This is not Christianity. It is crap. Of course I am resentful of what the Bible Thumpers are doing in the present. They are a cabal of liars. They are defending the worst of their scriptures and ignoring the best. You personally are just chasing me around for pointing this out, as though I was going to cave to you. Not a chance. I can, however, block the fun you think you’re having with the harassment. Sandi and Mark here are in my rearview mirror for persisting at me with the pain in the butt pestering game. You will be next, most likely, if you continue. There is a time when I stop wasting time on cold hearts and empty suits. I’m near it now with you.

  • There is no “worst of scriptures.” The scriptures testify of Christ (John 5:39), and are a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Ps.119:105). But if you don’t see it that way you certainly don’t have to “cave.” Discussion serves a bigger purpose than merely convincing you.

    You do seem rather thin-skinned with regard to discussion, and this IS a discussion forum. Perhaps a personal blog with no comment function would be better suited to your constitution.

    Feel more than free to block me if you wish.

  • i wonder how much .

    we agree that the ultimate source of all is god . but god, nearly all of the time, uses human agency to achieve good goals . while we both thank god for the blessings of a good life and try to use what we have to give back, we both must appreciate that god’s blessings are hidden to those christians lined up on a libyan shore and killed by the sword . god demands struggle from the christians of china who at best are harassed by the government and denied entry into prime jobs and education and position .

    we have freedom for public expression of our religion and our faith because the goals of god and the goals of secular society were the same .

    god is sovereign and you and i are lucky to be so blessed by him while others suffer and even die for their faith .

  • The worst of scriptures are those which are factually untrue and used as supposed authority to insist that other people deny reality. Aside from Genesis stories which do not factually explain what they purport to explain, there are other instances, as well, such as Romans 13:1 used to imply that God put into place all current or former rulers or governments, no matter how bad those rulers or governments were or are, and thus demanding our disregard of how those rulers or governments ACTUALLY came into power and/or the sacrifices which were required to defeat or change them throughout history. We are not to be hapless fools, nor are we to tell other people that God wants them to be fools just because of some scripture that is a false statement.

    You will find that I won’t be tagging onto your original comments for the purpose of yanking your chain as a matter of sport. If you do it to me, I’ll let you know when I fix it so I can’t see the taunting anymore.

  • You’re reading far too much into a general statement about human nature. God DID institute governing authority upon the face of the earth; without it there would be no peace or safety anywhere. Which is not to say that there are not conflicting duties at times where the higher authority must be deferred to over the lesser, as events of Paul’s and the other apostles’ lives demonstrate (for some things belong to Caesar and others belong to God alone), but ideally Christians are to be found among the more peaceable and dutiful of society.

    By Jesus Christ’s own words, the scripture can not be broken. I’m sorry if that is somehow inconvenient or unpleasant but we who profess His name can not declare false what He declares true or we become both liars AND fools.

    As I already said, feel more than free to block me. You’re spending far more time talking and fretting about it than its significance merits.

  • I’ll be looking for any scriptures which cause United States church people to escape their present capture in Trumpism. I hope you will too.

  • How we need more many “a United Methodist, Republican and Trump supporter” around here! Precisely to “find common ground … among Christians.” Especially among born-from-above, fired-up and die-hard followers of THE Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles and revelation. The only new species that matter in THE (happy) END(ing)!

    Stick around.

  • “Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received” (Lk 1:1-4).

    “In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3).

    “God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

    “Go ahead. You have 48 hours to prove, instead of just assert, ‘I most certainly do (know my Bible).’ Ready, set, GO.”

    And you have the rest of your life to stop behaving like a jackass in blogging here.

  • And there you have it, folk!

    RECAP

    HpO: “What did Luke mean: (1) by account (διήγησιν and λόγον, respectively) in Luke 1:1 and Acts 1:1, respectively; and (2) by proofs (τεκμηρίοις and πίστιν, respectively) in Acts 1:2-3 and Acts 17:30-31, respectively. Go ahead … to prove, instead of just assert, ‘I most certainly do (know my Bible).'”

    Joseph Jaglowicz: “‘Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received’ (Lk 1:1-4). ‘In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God’ (Acts 1:1-3). ‘God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead’ (Acts 17:30-31).”

  • But to you, Impasse, dear, who is He, really? And how do you know it’s Him, really? For if anyone says to you, Impasse, dear, “Behold, here is the Christ,” or “There He is,” do you not believe Him? Or if people say to you, Impasse, dear, “Behold, He is in the wilderness,” do you not go out? Or, “Behold, He is in the inner rooms,” do you not believe them?

    Source: Matthew 24:23, 26

  • why do you believe that those who ignore jesus’ parables don’t have perils from that ? parables are not true in any physical sense . yet you and i relate to them as basic to our moral and spiritual being, don’t we ?

    Pfft. don’t jump to conclusions as to what “libs” do . jesus was talking to his people in the language and symbols they would understand . it had import to his audience and they got it .

    and the point remains that what jesus said is that the people and places who rejected him would have it worse that what they heard of sodom and gomorrah . the analogy remains intact regardless of what we think of the history involved .

  • He said it would be “as it WAS” in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Not what they heard, not what they thought. And if Sodom and Gomorrah were NOT, then it stands to reason that the prophesied judgment will NOT be either.

    Not to mention that He also said that the final judgment of the inhabitants of Sodom is still in the future (Luke 10:12). And that if the miracles He was doing had been done in Sodom it would still exist (Matt.11:23). If Sodom were mythical then these were flat-out lies.

    Parables are illustrations of moral principles using situations familiar to people’s everyday lives, and are usually introduced as such. Jesus’ listeners had no personal experience of Sodom and Gomorrah, other than the testimony of scripture which He Himself affirmed was historical.

    Why do you want to fictionalize Sodom and Gomorrah?

  • i neither want sodom and gomorrah fictional nor real . i want to relate to the biblical story for what it can tell us of the life and morality of the very early patriarchs .

    you believe with a literalness that i believe injures what the bible tells us and what message it has for us today . i fully support those who labor to dig up the archeological sites . the more we know of exactly what happened and when the better off our faith in god will be .

    too much literalness, however, to me is building on sand . it is not the bible that would be wrong . it would be our presumption of knowing exactly what it means .

    i understand that you will not agree with me . but understand that i stand as a christian along side you . you think i have jesus speaking “flat-out lies” . and i think you misunderstand what the bible is saying, making much literal that should be understood as analogical as early christians often did .

    we disagree . and you will often be here presenting your position . and i will be presenting mine . may we bring more light to the subject than sparks, smoke and confusion .

  • If you do not want Sodom to be fictional, then it is odd that you would jump in to defend the view of someone who quite admittedly DOES.

    I am unaware of any early christian tradition of Sodom or Gomorrah being analogical, or allegorical, or anything other than historical. Josephus, a contemporary of Paul, in his history of the Jews, laid out some very detailed and straightforward history of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities of the plains, their location, their conquest and subsequent independence, their government and their culture, and ultimately their destruction, much of which has been confirmed by archaeology.

    I am glad, though, that you have an interest in these things. History and archaeology is unlikely to generate faith where none exists but it greatly enriches an already lit faith.

  • Hello Sunshine, as your posting didn’t make sense, I checked your reference. That made sense, but because of your interpolations into the text, you turned it into gobbledygook.

    If you’re going to quote scripture, please be accurate.

  • But why would it matter to you, St. Impasse, that I, “if [I’m] going to quote scripture, … be accurate”?! – seeing as you:

    “Mglass … 4 months ago … 5 months ago … 4 months ago … 3 months ago …[declared] The biblical text is contradictory. … The Bible is not always consistent. … The Bible is open to many interpretations. … The Bible is full of these conundrums. Don’t press it too hard or it will yield blood instead of milk. … Matthew’s gospel calls Jesus the son of … mixed parentage … someone of mixed ancestry … During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. … [For by having] imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, … the Christian world [would be] … washed … clean with their foul blood.”

  • No, Sunshine, accuracy matters to anyone who values telling the truth. If you don’t feel any obligation to tell the truth, that reflects on you.

  • No wonder they call you Impasse. LISTEN TO YOURSELF:

    “Mglass [declared] … 2 hours ago … 17 hours ago … 5 months ago … 4 months ago … 3 months ago … Accuracy matters … [when] quot[ing] scripture … [which] is contradictory … not always consistent … open to many interpretations. … [and] full of … conundrums.”

  • That’s right, Sunshine. There is an impasse between us because I believe that accuracy matters and you apparently don’t. And, yes, I believe that accuracy matters when quoting the Bible. Got a problem with that? If so, that’s your problem, not mine.

  • “Accuracy matters when quoting the Bible that is contradictory, not always consistent, open to many interpretations, and full of conundrums.”
    – Mglass, a.k.a. “Impasse”, January 15, 2019.

  • When you quote someone, Sunshine, quote them verbatim. You don’t just find snippets and put them together.

  • “Accuracy matters when quoting verbatim the Bible that is contradictory, not always consistent, open to many interpretations, and full of conundrums.”
    – Mglass, a.k.a. “Impasse”, January 19, 2019.

  • Sunshine, your own words above shows how you cobbled together these snippets, left out the dots that show that you got them from different sources and now you present this as if I wrote it yesterday. This is not rational.

  • “Rational accuracy matters when quoting verbatim the Bible that is contradictory, not always consistent, open to many interpretations, and full of conundrums.”
    – Mglass, a.k.a. “Impasse”, January 20, 2019.

  • I can’t understand why you keep up this nonsense of passing off your compilations off as if they were direct quotations. They are not, and you know it. So stop acting a lie.

  • With an explanation, PLEASE CORRECT THIS, YOUR STATEMENT ON RECORD, word for word:

    “Rational accuracy matters when quoting verbatim the Bible that is contradictory, not always consistent, open to many interpretations, and full of conundrums, so as to stop acting a lie.”
    – Mglass, a.k.a. “Impasse”, January 22, 2019.

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