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LETTERS FROM BROTHERS IN CHRIST
Date: Tue, 09 Sep 1997 10:14:43 -0400
Organization: Frontier Internet
To: Diakon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Christian Conservative Opinion
Hi, just a word to say how impressed I am with your Web Page. Learned of it from your posts in MR Religion Forum. Particularily enjoyed your dialogue with M. Having raised six children of our own, plus two strays at 15, we can appreciate the wisdom and insight in your advice, observations, and admonitions.
Keep up the good work. I will be back to visit again soon.
Date: Tue, 09 Sep 1997 10:30:52 -0400
Organization: Frontier Internet
To: Diakon <email@example.com>
Subject: PS to CCO comment
Your correspondence with Teen Sister "M" and its publicaton at your site will undoubtedly yield far more fruit in God's garden, for those reading the complete discourse, than it might for M.
It has been my experience however that your words will ring true for her month after month, and year after year, until she finally has the humility to recognize its value to her soul.
I have learned also that we are not expected to learn of the goodness that we do when serving God in this way, but from time to time the Holy Spirit puts us in a place where we hear of those results. For me it has often been after 15 to 20 years later. Keep your eyes and ears open for it when and if it comes, but don't hold your breath :).
LETTERS FROM SISTERS IN CHRIST
LETTERS FROM TEEN BROTHERS
LETTERS FROM TEEN SISTERS
From: M Date: Fri, 4 Jul 1997 15:28:41 -0400 (EDT)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Giving to the Poor
What does God expect from a teenage or younger child, with regards to donating to those people on the street, who appear to be needy. The "child" does not have a real job and receives money from parents as allowance, which is meant to pay for her lunches, grooming supplies, entertainment etc. The child may also babysit, or otherwise earn irregular amounts of additional money at times.
It seems difficult to realize that alot of those people are just scamming people, or doing this, to avoid working or behaving responsibly in their lives. At what point, do we give up our own foolish wants[our needs are provided by Mom and Dad], and give our "extra" money to those who request handouts on the street?
M. age 16 (submitted by her mother)
This question really must be divided into two parts. First and foremost, there is the Biblical standard. Second, there is the cultural aspect. I will deal with the latter first.
You are very right in your observation that there is a real "scam" being perpetrated on our nation. We have a long history of generosity and caring for those unable to fend for themselves. We also have a long and powerful history of self-reliance and independence. In the last sixty years, socialists, statists, and Marxists have worked ceaselessly to end self-reliance. They have found willing accomplices in the federal and state bureaucracies. The economic pressures the bureaucrats have created to line their own pockets a t your and other children's expense is the reason that you have to ask this sad question.
In past centuries the poor were cared for by the church and by private donations. It was not a good thing to be poor; it was the bottom of the manure pile. Today the leftists and their bureaucrat lackeys have tried their best to make poverty what it is not: an acceptable way of life. They whine and carp about self-esteem, welfare " rights," and "entitlements" to make what was and reall y is tragic and worthless seem admirable. They have used high-sounding words to make what is shameful seem proper.
The real tragedy of the entire system is that it has created a whole new class of welfare slaves, and torn away any dignity that they might have gained as free citizens. The social welfare bureaucracy has created "rights" and "entitlements" for people who have neither earned nor have any Constitutioal right to them. They accomplish this by taking MORE THAN HALF what YOU and your parents EARN under threat of imprisonment, and then give their extorted booty to people who produce nothing but more welfare slaves. They have visited a terrible cruelty on the worker and the welfare recipient alike.
So, the "scam" is more than you suggest. It is far more dangerous and insidious than the guy with his hand out at the next stop light. It has robbed you of an honorable responsibility by destroying your opportunity to exercise it. The State and Federal bureaucracies and your "representatives" who began the real "scam" have seen to that.
Ok, so how should you respond as a Believer to the next panhandler you meet? The Bible gives some answers, but they are not too crystal clear at first.
First, keep in mind that the heart-felt lending and giving to fellow Believers is commanded in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 15:7-11), In the New Testament we are instructed to give without public ceremony to those in need (Matthew 5:42, 6:1-4; Romans 12:8), and freely and without compulsion (2Corinthians 9:6-7). In each of these cases God is talking of your giving help to a brother or sister Believer who has fallen on hard times, not to an unbelieving stranger or bum.
In Matthew 19:16-30 and Luke 12:33 Jesus is teaching a spiritual lesson by using the act of giving up possessions as a metaphor for the believer's duty to put God ahead of the things of the material world. These are not really commands to sell all you have gained to achieve acceptance before God. God already owns it all (1Corinthians10:26), and will accept or reject you according to His sovereign will (Matthew 20:16; Eph 1:4-6; Romans 9:13). Jesus makes the meaning of His teaching about giving, quite clear in Luke 12:34.
God has provided well for His people. Good stewardship of both the spiritual and physical aspects of that providence is your responsibility. It is unwise to give to just any scruffy bum because someone told you to do it (Matthew 13:1-22). Your giving must come from your heart, without reservation (2Cornthians 9:5-7; Galatians 2:10; 1Timothy 6:17-18; Hebrews 13:15-16), because if you withhold your bounty from a brother or sister in great need (1John 3:17-20), you do not have the love of God in you. It is this final Scripture which makes the process clear. It takes action, not talk, and awareness of and response to our heart's prompting to be a good steward of God's gifts. You must be led neither by guilt, nor by cultural pressure, but by a desire to please only Almigty God when you give of what He has provided to a Believer in need.
So, where does that leave you as a teenager? You must first examine your motives for giving VERY carefully. If there is "something in it" for you, a good feeling, a smugness, a sense of self-righteousness, or a sense of relief from guilt, then you should not give. You must give out of a spirit of generosity, not out of compulsion; out of love, not out of guilt. Next, you must be careful to whom you give. Select Believers in need, not the "rocky soil" of the unbeliever. Finally, you must remember that you are already being FORCED by our government to "give" much of what you have need of from your parents, leaving little to meet your needs.
If you can succeed in balancing all of those things, then you should give to your needy brothers and sisters in Christ as God leads you, not as you are told to give by ANY sin-enslaved human being. To that end, since you are young, you would be wise to give of your time rather than of your money. I know your circumstances, that you are not wealthy except in spirit, and that you do desire to help those Believers who are not as fortunate as you. So, give freely of your time, and enjoy it. Leave financial largesse to those who can afford it. When God has blessed you with financial success, then will be the time to give of your material blessings.
THE FOLLOWING LETTERS AND REPLIES ARE RELATED TO THE PREVIOUS POST. THE PREVIOUS QUESTIONS WERE POSED BY THIS GIRL, BUT SENT TO ME BY HER MOTHER. "M." POSTED THE FOLLOWING LETTERS HERSELF:
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 1997 15:24:36 -0400 (EDT)
To: Diakon <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Response from your letter to me.
First on want to thank you for taking the time to read this. I wanted to explain in my own words what happend in San Fransico. My Uncle and Aunt all wanted to go exploring so we sent out. Everywhere I looked I saw The eyes of strangers which most people call bums. Every street I walked through they were there, without thinking I gave a silent prayer and prayed for God to take care of these people. As I bent down to tie my shoe I look up to find myself starring into the eyes of a homeless person. She hesitaited and then asked me a little reluctantly for some money. I felt something deep within me which told me to give. As I reached into my pocket to retrieve a dollar, my uncle told the lady to get a job and ushered me away. I thought about the eyes of that woman for a long time. She was no theif. She was in need. I ended up not giving the dollar I had in my pocket to anyone. I still have not spent it. It was a selfish act for me to not give to someone in need when I had the money. I was going to be recieving $40 in a week and had already had $15 saved at home. When I think about that lady on the street I think that God was trying to tell me something, or teach me something. I hadn't listened to his voice when it called. I am a spoiled 16 year old girl. I have my own room a huge stereo a Tv, I have a new bed... etc. I am taken care of. My mom has givin me everything I could have ever wanted. I have food, shelter and clothes. Sometimes I become selfish and want more. But these are things that are not needs, but wants. They are not important.
Every night some street person lies there head on the cold cement, while I sleep in a warm new bed. Some of them got there because they choose to be there, but not all of them. A lot of people like Bill think that 9 out of ten of them are scammers. Well let me ask you something, if everyone thought this way, who is going to give to the 1 percent that has to suffer. How do we determine who is a real bum or a scammer? If the person is on the street there are in need, and are needy. Regardless if they are scamming. They must need money if they are scamming to. Everyone needs money, there just getting it the wrong way, which is costing everyday people to be cold hearted, and non-trusting.
When Jesus went out to help people and teach, he didn't just help his already believers. He went out to save the non-believers. When Jesus saved people he wasn't thinking " oh this person might go out and sin again so I'd better not save him" Or atleast that's what I've gotten from the daily bible readings. If there was a demon in that man, he called it out. Jesus helped the scum of the earth. He gave unmercilous to people. We should do the same. What is a christian? A christian is someone who follows Christ right? well we should be doing what he is teaching us and showing us to do. Jesus never said that he wanted us to just help our brothers and sisters, he wanted us to help all man. Jesus told us to help people who don't have enough. (Deu 15:11 ) That's not Jesus who said that. Oh man, I hate when I get mixed up. (Corin 2 8 and 9, you showed me those to but there were things in there which talk about what I'm talking about.)
There was a story about a man who was sold by his brothers, know the story? (I'm sorry I just don't know names.) This man had all the cause in the world to give up on man kind and not trust, but did he? Nope, in fact he forgave his brothers. My point is(And I do have one) if a man you gave money to help goes out and buys drugs, or booz or whatever, it doesn't mean that the next will. And maybe one day that druggy or whatever will never realize what he is doing wrong. Not every street person is bad. Most people, I know about 25 people who think all bums, did it to themselves. How many times do we stop to find out the why's, instead of assume? If I gave up faith in writing because I never seem to get a good grade I would give up a peice of me. When you give on people you also loose a peice of you.
You say let the people who can afford it pay, well what happens when they don't? Then who is going to help? Did you know that sometimes when you tithe in church it doesn't go to help the poor, but to help the church. I went to a church in Washington, where they always were building on the church. They said when they were done they would send money to help other people, there still spending on building the church. There are people who go hand out food and blankets and stuff to the poor on the streets. That's what everyone should be doing. Who cares if someone was a fraud and leaves the item there, someone else might pick it up. If there lucky that is. People need to stop being so stingy. I know we (Well not kids.) work hard for there money, but what's that going to really give you in the long run? We are here not to pleasure the flesh, by being rich, but to help man, and get ready to be with God right? If you have extra you should give. No ifs, ands, buts about it. Waiting a response. M
Your letter has touched me deeply. Your uncle was wrong if you were acting from a leading of God's Spirit in having a deep desire to give to that poor woman. That was the central point of my teaching: that if you are not being led by guilt, then you must do as you are led.
Remember this: Jesus was a Jew. He was working with his fellow Jews (in the human sense). There was no ministry to the Gentiles (pagan non-jews) during His ministry, and there was no such ministry to the Gentiles during Old Testament times. Yet Jesus had mercy upon non-Jews (Jn:4:7-42). A believer's first responsibility is to other believers, BUT if you are led to help a non-believer you may be the instrument that wakes that person up to God's call. You can't be certain, so you must be careful not to be tricked by you own feelings.
You wrote: "You say let the people who can afford it pay, well what happens when they don't?" I have never said to let the people who can afford it pay. I wrote "I know your circumstances, that you are not wealthy except in spirit, and that you do desire to help those Believers who are not as fortunate as you. So, give freely of your time, and enjoy it. Leave financial largesse to those who can afford it. When God has blessed you with financial success, then will be the time to give of your material blessings."
What I wrote means IF YOU CAN NOT afford it, THEN GIVE OF YOUR TIME and let those who can afford it give as they are led. Two poor people are NOT better than one. Do not be led by guilt. Wake up! We U.S. taxpayers have GIVEN nearly SIX TRILLION DOLLARS to welfare since 1960, and the SITUATION IS WORSE than it ever was. That is what happens WHEN YOU GIVE THROUGH GUILT! The proof is undeniable: MONEY SOLVES NOTHING! The problem that every human faces is one of Spirit. That can only be solved through the two primary Biblical doctrines of God's sovereignty: predestination and election.
If we as individuals and a nation are to have mercy upon these poor people, they must be taught to earn a living and we should provide minimal food, clothing, and shelter so long as they are willing to work toward self- sufficiency. There is an old adage that says if you give a man a fish he eats for a day; if you give a man a fishing pole he eats for life. If they REFUSE education, then they must accept their plight, it is THEIR CHOICE. Teaching the poor is far more valuable to them, their children, and to our country than giving them welfare -- or a dollar from your pocket. Only those who absolutely can not care for themselves should be given help, and then NOT MONEY! The now-vacant military barracks are perfect for that purpose.
Where did Jesus tell us to give money to UNBELIEVERS? Please cite your source, and be CERTAIN that He was talking about unbelievers. The Bible does not support your position.
Where does the Bible teach that Jesus went out to save non-believers? Cite UNAMBIGUOUS Scripture. Remember, God saves only those whom he has predestinated and called; that Scripture has primacy. We've had this discusson before.
Deuteronomy 15:11 was written ONLY to the JEWS. At that time Gentiles like YOU (if that term even existed) were totally SEPARATED from God. The Jews joined them many times in that separation, but were restored by God's mercy.
I told you [in other letters] that I reject tithing as an obsolete practice. I am first-hand familiar with corruption in the churches.
That Bible character [you mentioned] was Joseph . . . . from Genesis 30+.
I will say it again. DO NOT BE LED BY GUILT! If you are led to give, be CERTAIN that the leading is from God. Then give as He leads you. You MUST think before you write. If you can not or will not, my ministry is not for you.
I'm sorry I've been such a bother to you. If you don't like my dribble, don't read it or answer me. You have the choice to what you do with your time. My mother says you are angry with me. I'm sorry you think that I don't think. Well news flash I do. I may not think the same thoughts you do, but your the one with all the teaching, your the one who has been doing this for years. I just got into this one year ago. I have the foundation set. Your suppose to help people right? Well that telling people "I'm here for people who think before typing" is a crock. You accuse everyone else of doing wrong things and look at you. I'm a person who has to learn about things, just the way you had when you started. When I make a mistake, I need to be corrected. You can't learn if you don't make mistakes.
I won't bother you anymore, obviously you don't have the time for people who don't tell you what you want to hear.
. . . . [Hi M.]
Ask yourself why you focused on the last two sentences of my entire letter, and why I put them there. Was it your way of avoiding the challenges I posed in the rest of the letter? Did you think that I would agree with your positions, and then you became upset when I didn't? Were you really looking for answers in your original letter, or just mimicking the transparent "liberal filibuster technique" when you had no intent of learning? When reason fails, call names -- like calling me an "accuser" then not naming the false accusations I have made, or making the rhetorical accusation that I want YOU to tell ME what I want to hear -- as if you could.
I did three things with those last two lines:  I tested your commitment to learning,  your temperament, and [3} your willingness to learn before speaking (typing). You blew it on all counts, and proved the validity of my assessment that you dont YET think before typing. There were at least three ways to read my statement:  as a challenge to think,  you don't take the time to think, or  as a "flame" because you don't think at all. You chose the last; now it is up to you to decide why you chose it. If you pursue an education you will meet many similar tests. Next time perhaps you will be prepared.
Your mom was wrong. I wasn't angry with you. I am VERY angry with the corrupt and twisted, manipulative, parasitic socialist bureaucracy that is strangling the life from our nation. There will be no future for your generation unless these trends are reversed. Learning is the beginning of that process.
I use CAPS for emphasis of important points (if that is what made your mom think I was angry). Note that the last two lines of that letter weren't in caps, but they were a "bear trap." I caught a bear! -- or maybe a crab??? OUCH! You made a mistake; you were corrected. You HATE correction, so you run away! I thought you had more moxy.
[Doulos kai diakonos Christou Iesou
(Koine Greek: A slave and servant in Christ Jesus)
Bible teacher and Editor
The Christian Conservative Opinion Pages]
P.S. I'm still here for people who think before typing. ....--Diakon
FINAL NOTE TO THE READER:
You may have noted that I did not cite many Scriptures in my replies, and that I did make statements which were intended to cause M. to search God's Word for answers. She failed in that regard. Perhaps someone else will care to "take up the gauntlet"?
Sadly, this was the last letter I received from M., a confused, rebellious deceived, and disrespectful child. It was not the first. We had corresponded on another issue a year ago; her attitude moderated near the end of those letters. A year of Socio-Fascist government school propaganda intervened, she has forgotten all that she learned, and has re-adopted the standard left-wing "accuse, ignore, accuse" strategy. Our children are being deliberately "dumbed-down."
Pray for M., brothers and sisters. Pray that she will place her burden on Jesus, and that her eyes will be opened to the deception she has accepted. She must first learn to discipline her tongue (James 3:1-9) before she can even start to learn of God's way.
LETTERS FROM HIS KIDS
LETTERS FROM SEEKERS
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 20:51:46 -0500
To: Diakon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Evolution vs. Creation
First, let me say that I am trying to be a former evolutionist. In other words, I have great difficulty with evolution and believe that Creationism is the only answer. However, by the same token, I don't think it does Creationism's cause any good when you give examples like the 5 scientists in the bar. The reason being that there could just as easily be 5 Creationists at the bar (though I'm sure they wouldn't be drinking) who would be at each other's throats, each claiming that their version of Creation was correct. I could go into detail about 5 different versions of Creation, but I think you know what I'm talking about, so I will refrain.
Thanks for writing. Your criticism of my scenario understandable. However, it has more than one purpose, but not necessarily in the following order: The first purpose is to prod the reader into thinking. That worked with you. The second is to evoke the application of Scriptural principle. You didn't comment in that vein. The third is to cause a written response, which you made.
When I wrote the bar-fight scenario, I was aware of the point you bring up; but, as I said, there is more. Most importantly, I would hope that Believers would not engage in a bar-fight over doctrinal differences. Granted that those debates can be very heated, but given the Scriptural prohibition against being a drunkard (you touched on this), I would hope that Christian creationists would "drink a little wine" for their stomach's sake (1Timothy 5:23) if it is not a sin for them or their companions (Romans 14:13-18; 1Corinthians 8), remain sober, and leave the drunken brawling to the unbelievers.
As you could tell from my Creation vs. Evolution article, I hold to a Biblically-founded view of creation which does not allow for evolution even being a possibility, and which places evolutionism in the category of metaphysics and religion, not science. I held this position for decades, even before responding to God's call and election. So, I am not really concerned with any cosmology which attempts to define creation outside of Biblical terms, although there is certainly plenty of room within those constraints for spirited debate (pun intended). It has been my repeated experience that although there my be disagreement among Believers about the methods God used during creation, committed Believers simply do not engage in pugilistic encounters when they disagree.
Hence, if the gedanken bar fight occurred among non-Christian creationists, I would not be concerned so much for them as for the damage they would do to the private property, the bar. A few loosened teeth, a broken nose, and a night in spent in the eternally lingering odor of a drunk tank is the lot of drunken brawlers. As to the bar owner and his losses, those torts are also best resolved by the civil authority.
You've peaked my curiosity on the issue of varying views of creation and creationism. Have you found some URL's or texts which would be good sources for these views? If "yes," would you provide a few to me? I'm always interested in the current state of the creationist model. Thanks for writing. I remain . . . .
Doulos kai diakonos Christou Iesou
(Koine Greek: "A slave and servant in Christ Jesus)
LETTERS FROM UNBELIEVERS
LETTERS FROM THE DECEIVED
Diakon's debate with an anti-Christ(ian)
This debate was posted on the Michael Reagan Debate Religion and its Place in Politics webforum in mid-November 1997. They are an excellent example of the anti-Christ mind set of an "accuser of the brethren" who is also a self-confessed apostate Christian.
PLEASE WRITE! SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES!