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Biblical Scholar: Dont take Bible literally
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This is a good explanation of my beliefs and I hope it will be helpful to others. Parking it here for reference.

D


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Biblical Scholar: Dont take Bible literally
FWIW, I agree 100%

Thanks for the linked article, Dixie.
 
 
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Yeah, one certainly can't take the entire thing literally, since the people who wrote it didn't concern themselves with consistency with: each other; actual history; how nature actually works; how the English translation would misconstrue the original meaning in Aramaic or Greek or whatever the original language was; or how some of the stories produce a very negative picture of what God is like.

Not to mention that time when a scribe omitted a "not" in a rather conspicuous part of the text. LOL!   :lol:
 
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Although I can't say that I agree with not taking the Bible literally, I can see that it is helpful to know where you stand, Dixie Chick.


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Vicki
 
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Originally posted by Vicki:
Although I can't say that I agree with not taking the Bible literally, I can see that it is helpful to know where you stand, Dixie Chick.


Certainly you’d have to agree not all of it can be taken literally! Revelation comes to mind, but there are certainly others.

You’ve done well, at times, asking how certain passages can be anything but literal, too. It would be interesting to know if the author thought that.

Personally I find more depth when everything isn’t literal, but you knew that!
 
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Reed, of course there are poems that are written in figurative language and passages in Revelation that are written in symbolic language, but for the most part, I believe that the Bible is meant to be taken literally. There can be deeper meanings beneath the literal meanings, but not at the expense of the literal meanings, imo.


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Vicki
 
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Steve Falkenberg, professor of religious psychology at Eastern Kentucky University, observed:

"I've never met anyone who actually believes the Bible is literally true. I know a bunch of people who say they believe the Bible is literally true but nobody is actually a literalist. Taken literally, the Bible says the earth is flat, it has pillars, and will not be moved (Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, 1 Sam 2:8, Job 9:6). It says that great sea monsters are set to guard the edge of the sea (Job 41, Ps 104:26).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_literalism


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Originally posted by That JR Thang:
Steve Falkenberg, professor of religious psychology at Eastern Kentucky University, observed:

"I've never met anyone who actually believes the Bible is literally true. I know a bunch of people who say they believe the Bible is literally true but nobody is actually a literalist. Taken literally, the Bible says the earth is flat, it has pillars, and will not be moved (Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, 1 Sam 2:8, Job 9:6). It says that great sea monsters are set to guard the edge of the sea (Job 41, Ps 104:26).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_literalism


Any good researched should not go into research with a predetermined expectations, it taints the conclusion. Anyone considered a scholar I would expect to be researching context, usage of words, archeology, and language changes throughout the history of the documents.

The only thing I see literalism giving you is that the books/leters in the Bible are the "actual" (literal) experiences being expressed by the author, and yet we know that even some of the older texts have been altered, rather than clarified. But even if they were not changed, what they actually wrote can still be not literal. We know that Native Americans and other older cultures use stories to remember the lessons of the culture: think Aesop's Fables.
 
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Originally posted by Vicki:
Reed, of course there are poems that are written in figurative language and passages in Revelation that are written in symbolic language, but for the most part, I believe that the Bible is meant to be taken literally. There can be deeper meanings beneath the literal meanings, but not at the expense of the literal meanings, imo.


That's closer to what I recall you stating, before. I wanted to you clarify what you were saying since others don't know you as we..
 
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Originally posted by Reed N D Dark:
We know that Native Americans and other older cultures use stories to remember the lessons of the culture: think Aesop's Fables.

Yep, and then you have those who say that the Bible is "literally the Word Of God", and turned it into an idol, to which I can only roll my eyes. I mean, would that mean that when Ezekiel and Jeremiah say, "The word of the LORD came to me saying..." that the Bible was literally speaking to them? And if the words were already in there, why write it again as if it were a new revelation? Wink   ;)

IMHO, the only way the Bible could possibly be the literal word of God is for it to have auto-written itself at God's mouth. Otherwise it is at best but man's attempt to convey what they believe God has revealed to them, and at worst, man's attempt at political maneuvering in God's name.

Not to mention that we have none of the original writings. If God had written it, would it have deteriorated like all other writings...? Could it have been destroyed? And would it have needed to be translated?


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Originally posted by Reed N D Dark:
We know that Native Americans and other older cultures use stories to remember the lessons of the culture: think Aesop's Fables.

Yep, and then you have those who say that the Bible is "literally the Word Of God", and turned it into an idol, to which I can only roll my eyes. I mean, would that mean that when Ezekiel and Jeremiah say, "The word of the LORD came to me saying..." that the Bible was literally speaking to them? And if the words were already in there, why write it again as if it were a new revelation? Wink   ;)

IMHO, the only way the Bible could possibly be the literal word of God is for it to have auto-written itself at God's mouth. Otherwise it is at best but man's attempt to convey what they believe God has revealed to them, and at worst, man's attempt at political maneuvering in God's name.

Not to mention that we have none of the original writings. If God had written it, would it have deteriorated like all other writings...? Could it have been destroyed? And would it have needed to be translated?


I'm not sure that writing and preserving are the same thing:-) And you forgot about it wouldn't have needed translation!!!!!

I believe that in order for man to even attempt to convey what they experienced as God they would have to use language other and everything being literal, otherwise God gets even more finite!
 
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JR,

When I take the Bible literally, I mean that I don't allegorize the books that are narratives of history. There are various entries in the books of the Bible which indicate that these are communications from God, so I take the Bible very seriously.

Prophecy is in a special category, sometimes being straightforward and sometimes not understood until that point in time that it is about.

I have reverence for the Bible because I do believe that it is God's written word. That doesn't mean that I worship it like some kind of idol. I simply am recognizing it for what it is. It is rich, deep, and worthy of study. It reveals who God is, how He relates to His people, and who we are, as well as His mercy, grace, power, lovingkindness. He reveals Messiah in the OT and we see how Jesus is Messiah in the NT. God reveals His plans for humankind's future and how He will restore our fallen world. The Bible reveals how we can live lives that please God.


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JR,

When I take the Bible literally, I mean that I don't allegorize the books that are narratives of history. There are various entries in the books of the Bible which indicate that these are communications from God, so I take the Bible very seriously.

Prophecy is in a special category, sometimes being straightforward and sometimes not understood until that point in time that it is about.

I have reverence for the Bible because I do believe that it is God's written word. That doesn't mean that I worship it like some kind of idol. I simply am recognizing it for what it is. It is rich, deep, and worthy of study. It reveals who God is, how He relates to His people, and who we are, as well as His mercy, grace, power, lovingkindness. He reveals Messiah in the OT and we see how Jesus is Messiah in the NT. God reveals His plans for humankind's future and how He will restore our fallen world. The Bible reveals how we can live lives that please God.

I'm pretty much the opposite, I believe most of it is allegorical, ie., Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: I don't believe Adam and Eve were literally the first human's names, nor that there was a literal Garden of Eden, nor that they literally ate a fruit from a Tree of Knowledge, nor that there was literally a talking serpent.

That hardly means that I don't take the Bible seriously. I just use the Bible differently than as "the word of God", a claim that the Bible doesn't even make for itself.


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JR,

There are places in the OT, which has God telling a prophet, "Write this down", do this, "This says the Lord", which lead me to believe that the OT is God's Word. I need to eat breakfast now, otherwise I would explain why I believe the MY writings make the same claim about itself.


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Vicki
 
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JR,
Well that turned out to be an eventful breakfast! I had to go and rescue my husband who had run out of gas. And I have noticed that my spell checker has corrected some of my previous post (turning NT into MY and turning thus to this) and for some reason will not let me edit it, now.
Anyway, since I believe what the NT writings say about Jesus being God, his words and deeds as recorded by eyewitnesses in the four Gospels are all God's Word. And since Peter and John were two of the witnesses to what Jesus taught and did, and because they were hand-picked by Jesus to be two of his messengers to Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world, then I consider their writings as God's Word, also.
The book of Acts makes it clear that Paul was commissioned by Jesus to spread the good news about him- about his death and resurrection. There are places in the book of Acts where Jesus or the Holy Spirit speak to Saul, which again, leads me to conclude that these are God's words meant to be taken literally so that we will believe in Jesus and what he did for us in his death and resurrection.
Since Paul was commissioned by Jesus and led by the Holy Spirit to be a church planter, his letters are also the Word of God.


The book of Revelation makes it clear that Jesus is speaking directly to John. This vision is from God, making the book also God's Word.

As for the books of Hebrews, Jude, and James, I trust the early church fathers that these are also part of the Word of God. They certainly are consistent with the other NT writings.


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Vicki
 
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JR,
Well that turned out to be an eventful breakfast! I had to go and rescue my husband who had run out of gas.

Well I'm glad he had you to rescue him!
It's been so hot and humid here that I've started eating lots of cold foods, even for breakfast. This morning it was cantaloupe and cottage cheese sprinkled with sea salt and white pepper. It also makes a good lunch or afternoon snack.
quote:
And I have noticed that my spell checker has corrected some of my previous post (turning NT into MY and turning thus to this) and for some reason will not let me edit it, now.

Yeah, I noticed that, LOL. It's a good thing I didn't read it while you were out cuz it sure does sound mighty presumptuous!

Oh, and I think that once you log out, the edit stops working. It didn't used to do that, but I've noticed it lately.

quote:
Anyway, since I believe what the NT writings say about Jesus being God, his words and deeds as recorded by eyewitnesses in the four Gospels are all God's Word. And since Peter and John were two of the witnesses to what Jesus taught and did, and because they were hand-picked by Jesus to be two of his messengers to Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world, then I consider their writings as God's Word, also.
The book of Acts makes it clear that Paul was commissioned by Jesus to spread the good news about him- about his death and resurrection. There are places in the book of Acts where Jesus or the Holy Spirit speak to Saul, which again, leads me to conclude that these are God's words meant to be taken literally so that we will believe in Jesus and what he did for us in his death and resurrection.
Since Paul was commissioned by Jesus and led by the Holy Spirit to be a church planter, his letters are also the Word of God.

The book of Revelation makes it clear that Jesus is speaking directly to John. This vision is from God, making the book also God's Word.

As for the books of Hebrews, Jude, and James, I trust the early church fathers that these are also part of the Word of God. They certainly are consistent with the other NT writings.

You and I are quite simply going to disagree on this. I see Jesus as God/Son of God in the same way that Kings David, Solomon, Ahaz and Hezekiah were God and the heavenly angels and selected earthly men were sons of God.

Deuteronomy 32:8
When the Most High [Elyon] gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God ['el].
9For the LORD’s [Yahweh's] portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

-The “Sons of El” is found in the Qumran Hebrew, and the LXX also translates it as “sons of God”. The much later (and post 70 C.E.) MT text, however, replaced “Sons of God” with “Sons of Israel”. The sons of God in the earlier texts are here described as the patron deities of the nations. Elyon the High God allocated the nations to the various sons of God, ONE of whom was Yahweh. Elyon gave Yahweh the nation of Israel.

Job 1:6
Now there was a day when the sons of God [El] came to present themselves before the LORD [Yahweh], and Satan came also among them.

1 Chronicles 29:20-23 And David said to all the congregation, "Now bless the LORD your God." And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshiped the LORD, AND THE KING. 21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings unto the LORD, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel: 22 And did eat and drink before the LORD on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon, the son of David, King the second time, and anointed him unto the LORD to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest. 23 Then Solomon SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE LORD as King instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel OBEYED him.

Isaiah 7:13 Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? 14"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. 15"He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good, 16for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste."

Isaiah 8:5 "The Lord spoke to me again: 6 “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, 7 therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, 8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of YOUR LAND, O IMMANUEL.”

Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

IN CONTEXT, not a single one of those verses is ABOUT Jesus. They ARE about the heavenly sons of God and the Kings who sat on God's throne in Jerusalem.

In Isaiah 8:5, the verse is speaking directly to King Ahaz, and calling him O Immanuel (God with us). In Isaiah 7 and 9, it is speaking of Ahaz's son Hezekiah, who became King after Ahaz.

Exodus 4:22-23 "Then say to Pharoah, ‘This is what the Lord says: ISRAEL is my FIRSTBORN SON',..."

Jeremiah 31:9 "With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and EPHRAIM is MY FIRSTBORN."

Psalm 2:7 “I will declare the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son; TODAY I have BEGOTTEN YOU'.

Psalm 89:27 "I also shall MAKE HIM MY FIRSTBORN, The highest of the kings of the earth."

I also know that the texts have been changed in numerous places. All one has to do is look at the earlier and later texts to know that. So to me, the words in the Bible are the words of men, and in some places inspired by revelations from God.

I don't trust those who canonized the scriptures. There are 8 quotes from the Book of Enoch in the NT, but Enoch was not listed as part of the canon.

I think it wise to place one's faith in God, not in a book.


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JR, we have been having cold weather, with patchy frosts and frost warnings and some snow in the high mountains around us. Such is the crazy weather of northern Idaho. Our temperatures in May were higher than they are now.

I know that there are a lot of points where we will disagree, but I guess I just like to be heard, sometimes.

Could you clarify my understanding on an item in your posts? You believe that Jesus was God/Son of God like Kings David, Solomon, etc.? Do you mean that David, Solomon, etc. were sons of God and God, in the same way as Jesus, or that that they were just sons of God?


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JR, we have been having cold weather, with patchy frosts and frost warnings and some snow in the high mountains around us. Such is the crazy weather of northern Idaho. Our temperatures in May were higher than they are now.

I know that there are a lot of points where we will disagree, but I guess I just like to be heard, sometimes.

Could you clarify my understanding on an item in your posts? You believe that Jesus was God/Son of God like Kings David, Solomon, etc.? Do you mean that David, Solomon, etc. were sons of God and God, in the same way as Jesus, or that that they were just sons of God?


Nothing wrong with being heard. And, sometimes others see that not every Bible believer is going to attack!

Sorry to hear your weather is messing with you. Planting here is odd as we’ve had too much rain! In fact we may have to bale the grass, seriously!
 
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Reed, wow! We've had some weak systems come through so our rain has been spotty, with thunder and lightning. At least we were able to protect our garden plants because of the freeze warnings. We had such a warm May, that we took a chance and started our garden early.


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Reed, wow! We've had some weak systems come through so our rain has been spotty, with thunder and lightning. At least we were able to protect our garden plants because of the freeze warnings. We had such a warm May, that we took a chance and started our garden early.


Yep it was tempting for some at the beginning of May. Then we had a frost. Normally mid May is safe. We’re oscillating between hot and fall cool. The last forecasts included warnings that even an inch could cause flooding because of the saturated ground. Our grass doesn’t dry in a day, so it’s been tough to find time to mow. Besides farm equipment is faster!
 
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JR, we have been having cold weather, with patchy frosts and frost warnings and some snow in the high mountains around us. Such is the crazy weather of northern Idaho. Our temperatures in May were higher than they are now.

WOW! I wouldn't mind some of that here.

quote:
I know that there are a lot of points where we will disagree, but I guess I just like to be heard, sometimes.

I get that. But I think we have covered most of it on the Amazon Forum, and I've pretty much moved past debating theology.

quote:
Could you clarify my understanding on an item in your posts? You believe that Jesus was God/Son of God like Kings David, Solomon, etc.? Do you mean that David, Solomon, etc. were sons of God and God, in the same way as Jesus, or that that they were just sons of God?

Yes, I see them all as God and Sons of God in the same way; they all represented God. IOW, I see Jesus as taking the corrupt religion of the post-exile Jews back to the pre-Hezekiah/Josiah corruption rather than starting a new religion.

You might want to contemplate the word incarnation.

Incarnation: a person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit, or abstract quality.

God is Spirit, and Spirit incarnates matter/humans.

Omnipresent: present everywhere at the same time.
Anointed: Messiah/Christ...

Acts 10:38...how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.

IOW, Jesus is far from the only one ever to be Incarnated/Christ/Messiah. Even we are incarnated with the Spirit which anoints us and teaches us, as per John.


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Sorry to hear your weather is messing with you. Planting here is odd as we’ve had too much rain! In fact we may have to bale the grass, seriously!

This has been one of the wettest Springs/Early Summer that I can recall. I'm starting to feel moldy!


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Originally posted by Vicki:
Reed, wow! We've had some weak systems come through so our rain has been spotty, with thunder and lightning. At least we were able to protect our garden plants because of the freeze warnings. We had such a warm May, that we took a chance and started our garden early.

That happens here sometimes, but I had to learn the hard way not to let it fool me! I've spent many evenings covering plantings that I put in too early.


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JR,

Thanks for answering my question. As you may suspect, I don't see Jesus as just another Messiah who showed us the Father. No other anointed died for the remission of our sins. No prophet or king could do that, since they were not without sin, as Jesus was.

We went wild with the garden this year. We had two long hot summers in a row, so when May temperatures went up this year, we planted two things we have never tried to grow up here before- black eyed peas and okra (which we both love). So, we figure we will have to cover them at the beginning of the season and probably near the end. We have row covers, so it is a matter of keeping on top of the weather report and then adjust for our micro-climate.


It is good that the winter is over and the snow is gone, at least where we live.


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We went wild with the garden this year. We had two long hot summers in a row, so when May temperatures went up this year, we planted two things we have never tried to grow up here before- black eyed peas and okra (which we both love).

I've grown a lot of things, but I don't think I ever got around to growing black eyed peas. Do love them though!

It's pretty traditional here in the South to have collard greens and black eyed peas for New Years Day. One year I had been craving some soup, and since I had the collard greens and peas...yep, I made them into a soup to serve with cornbread. Been doing it ever since.


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