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    From: (jms at b5)
 Subject: Re: To JMS
    Date: 12/29/2004 6:04:45 PM  

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>All our disagreements here revolve around WHAT the Church is.
>If it is merely a human institution, then we should properly measure it
>only by human standards.
>If it is a divine institution, then we should properly measure it by
>divine standards.

And personally, I think that the Divine should be at least as moral and upright
as the average human being, don't you?

It should not deliberately and falsely punish people like Galileo for the crime
of being right.

It should not be a jealous god, a trait we find petty and embarrassing in
ourselves when we detect it.

It should not be capricious and prejudicial, should be accessible to the gentle
strains of wisdom and discussion.

It should not have created the fly, or plague bacilli.

It should have warned Adam about the snake at the same time it mentioned the

It should be powerful enough that it would not allow its name to be used to
bolster the engines of war, for the greater destruction of lives, innocence and
the future.

It should have been willing to hire a good editor, because the poetry of Job
and the lyricism of Psalms is much diminished by the banality of Deuteronomy
and the pounding relentlessness of Numbers.

And finally, it should understand, as any decent human parent does, that the
apple (a different one) does not fall far from the tree, that the child often
resembles and reflects the parent...and that if the parent is jealous, and
vindictive, and judgemental, and violent, then so too will the child reflect
those things...and that perhaps some of the blame for the child's behavior can,
in some tiny way, be laid at the feet of its architect.

Because if we were made in god's image, and god is perfect, then the
advertising is incorrect, and we were made deliberately imperfect. And that
would be a terrible indictment for any parent.

So I for one, in sum, would be willing to allow the church to be judged by
divine standards as soon as they could be raised to the standards of the
average really good person. Until that time comes, I refuse to grade on a


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