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PCTtiff

Christianity in EMS...

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Ying, you are my new hero. (I don't mean that facetiously). I seriously believe that if there were more people like you in the world, there would be a whole lot less war and strife and general discontent. Ever notice that the people with the least amount of posessions in the world also tend to be the most content?

I have my own set of beliefs...they do not include the Bible or Jesus. I have read it, and found it very contradictory. There are some really good stories, and there are some really good messages, but you can find that in 'the Hitchhiker's Guide' as well....There must be a higher power...we'd be silly to think that we were the top of the 'food chain'...but it has no place in the back of my ambulance. If my pt wants me to pray with them, or to do something religious with/for them before we get to the hospital, I call it all in the name of my patient's best interests and do it. After all, it's not going to hurt me is it? And it may very well help them.

Brat

Very well said =D>

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Michael, the difference you asked? Well, I think there is a big difference. What I consider to be 'preaching' is trying to shove your religion down someone's throat. (Exception is when in church. Preacher's gotta preach you know! :lol:) 'Sharing' your faith is witnessing. It's actually CARING about the person down deep and relating to them. Sharing is you wanting them to experience the joy and peace you feel. I don't want to shove my faith down your throat! I have seen it and know it to be true - that is what pushes people away the quickest!

Hey, Tiff --

Glad you responded.

I must confess, even with your explanation it's still hard for me to see the difference you cite. Your image of "shoving my faith down your throat" is a vivid and clear one: In order to feed another person nourishingly, a dietitian needs to be sensitive the other's appetite as well as nutritional deficiency; that is, speak to the individual case, the nuances of suffering, the how-this-came-about of each particular case, rather than a one-size-fits-all, and gotta-do-it-right-now! tactic. The outcome will depend on the feeder's motive, and it takes a lot of self-knowledge to weed out egotistic ingredients, including laziness and fear, in one's own approach. In EMS terms, effective social or moral service is like what the experienced practitioners at this website urge vs. the cookbook approach that can be lethal: the blind leading the astigmatic. When Bishop Sheen, an aged preacher famous for converting thousands, was on his deathbed, he was visited in the hospital by a young priest who asked him for guidance. The young man named the large number of converts Sheen had brought to the Church and compared it with his own much lesser accomplishment, a number in only the double-digits. "How might I increase my harvest?" asked the priest. Bishop Sheen lifted his head a few inches off the pillow. "First thing," he said softly, "Stop counting."

You say that "Sharing your faith is ... actually CARING about the person down deep and relating to them." It would seem to me that "relating" can only be a two-way street, which actually begins with taking an interest in the traffic coming toward you and be willing to let it change you. How does one care generically? Caring needs to cost you something, as in "bought with a price." During a political campaign concerning socialized medicine, one speaker declared in a speech that he was in a better position to provide for his own children's needs than the government was. Speaking to the crowd, he announced, "That's because you don't care about my children as much as I do." One lady in the audience shot back, "That's not true! I care deeply about your children!" To which the speaker replied, "Oh? What are their names?"

If Tiffany tells us what is going on with Tiffany, those who do not already share her beliefs will likely be more interested. Perhaps not always useful, but interested. That is, in the specifics of her life, the uncertainties, not just the certainties of your faith. That is a big risk to disclose, especially in an environment that can be hostile. But while preaching, or if you will, witnessing, to the converted has its reassurances, that's not what you say your main aim is. It is (for some of us) refreshing to read your sparkle and joy, and would be fun to see how your life develops. Bible quotes can be good reading, but as soon as someone who is really looking for communion senses that s/he is being deflected or avoided behind a literary shield, their despair is reinforced (a sin of which I don't claim to be innocent :shock: ).

While your not taking offense at attacks can set an intriguing and, if persisted in, impressive example, I suggest that to reach skeptics, at least those who are not desperate, you will need another tack. Saying that "the voices in my head say other things, I don't listen to them too much anymore" doesn't seem quite accurate; perhaps we (you, Dust, moi) mean different things by such voices. Where else (Michael asks himself silently) do I hear voices but in my head? Where else do I hear a voice saying "4" when I've added 2 + 2? Where else do I hear, temporarily let us hope, "3" when I try the same problem another time? And (I ask with with Dust) how do I know the difference? "I know it to be true because I have experienced it in my life. I have seen it and I have chosen to believe it. I wouldn’t want to take the risk of it not being true!" is, I must admit, just the answer that Dust [if I may dare to speculate out of turn for him] may be worried about, in the sense that it's "unfalsifiable" -- a closed system, in a word, unscientific, or to put it more bluntly still, it sounds irrational.

So all this is to say, however clumsily and from someone who's been here not much longer than you, Welcome, Tiffany! And especially, welcome Tiffany, at least as much as Tiffany's beliefs.

Here endeth the sermon.

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Maybe this makes me an anomaly, but even as a Christian I believe God speaks differently to different people, and that is why all peoples have some sense of the divine, or something larger than humanity (be it spirits, ancestors, deities, etc.), so I choose to discuss different religious beliefs with others as much as possible. You have the right to believe what you believe; I have the right to believe what I believe; if we can talk about it and show interest in each others' beliefs instead of shooting each other down (even between different denominations) then that is true compassion and interest.

Eydawn

NREMT-B

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Hey all,

I don’t know quite how to start this, so I guess I'll just say what I feel. So many of these replies have been uplifting and inspiring to me. They help me to see that I am not alone, that there are many others that feel what I feel and know it also to be true. It feels wonderful knowing that I am not the only one who will be a Christian - no matter where they are, choosing not to hide their faith in a back pocket somewhere. I needed that and I thank you for that.

Michael, I have read and re-read your post, trying to understand what exactly you're saying to me. I get that my answers to certain things were not strong enough. You have to understand though, I am not a theologian. I’m not educated in different religions and such. I am a growing Christian. I don't HAVE the answers to MANY questions and I don't have physical proof of what I believe. I haven't seen the archaeological findings that proved the ark's existence, I haven't seen the garment pieces of Jesus' robe or the nails that held Him to the cross. But I believe it, and I know it in my heart to be true.

Love, many people know love. They can't see it, touch it, hold it... yet they know it is there. You might be able to see it IN things, but you can never actually see IT. Many feel the emotion and they know what it is, it's not disputed. How can the existence of the very being that CREATED love be disputed?

You say it sounds irrational. I agree! I think someone willingly letting their only son die to save the whole world from eternal damnation in Hell is the MOST irrational thing I will ever hear. It's just not humanly possible! We don't have that love capacity, we couldn't sacrifice that much. But we're not talking about a human here. We're talking about God, the Creator of the universe and the Heavens - the very One who knew YOU and ME before we were born. And that is exactly what happened. It's the gift of a life-time. We didn't earn it - we couldn't earn it and we certainly don't deserve it, but it is offered to us freely. We can either accept it or reject it. There are some things you just can't prove.

You speak of Christianity as if it were a kind of music. Jesus is not a genre!! He's not something that can work for some people and not for others. I personally like new country, some pop, and some Christian music. I can't stand Rap (Eminem) or hard-core Rock or the kind of music where you get your eardrums blown out by screaming and banging on guitars. Jesus can't be categorized like that. He said He came to save the whole world - not just the Jews, not just the blond haired/blue eyed. He did say you have to love him and accept Him though and that's where alot of people get iffy. You’re wrong, he IS a ‘one-size-fits-all’. He is ‘good’ for anyone who believes in Him.

Michael, I believe that your thoughts and your feelings stem from experiences you've had and hard-times you've been through. I believe the same for EVERY PERSON on here and I don't judge you or anyone for it. I don't doubt your experience, I don't question it. Yet MY experience, probably due to my age, HAS been questioned. The thing is, you don't know what I’ve experienced. I have gone through many things that you guys just wouldn't believe. Since I choose not to air that for the whole world to read, it's disputed. I have the same struggles, the same temptations as every person does. I haven't been bubble wrapped and living in some fairy tale world where everything is rosy and happy. I've had A LOT of emotional, physical and familial pain and problems. I didn't have a 'normal' family with a ‘Grandpa’ and ‘Grandma’, aunts and uncles. I had knowledge of the kind of people they were and what they had done to hurt alot of people close to me. My close family has had alot of medical problems we've gone through, and thankfully made it through, together. The people who should love us have chosen to attack us. My reputation was marred by no act of myself and I couldn't find a job for a LONG time because of it. Right now I’m struggling to find a job where my age may play a major factor in my consideration now. I’m not perfect. I get angry and hurt and depressed sometimes too. Probably more than I should (just ask my mom :) ). But I’m trying to see the good in my situation. I’m trying to be optimistic and I’m trying to give my problems to God. That’s where this whole post originated from and I am as guilty as the next guy of trying to take control and handle things myself.

I love people and I care deeply about people because that is what God commands us to do. It’s easy to love those who love you, it’s harder to love those against you or those who hurt you. I don’t know you all by name, and I don’t claim to know you and your needs, etc. but I love you and I care about you just the same.

Thanks for the welcome. I hope you got a little better idea of where I’m coming from. If not, I can’t change it, it’s who I am. I’ll try to be more open, but would even an army chaplain stand in the midst of a raging battlefield with no cover? Like I said, I’ve had some really bad experiences with forums when I opened up to people, so I guess it’s a trust issue. People can be really cruel.

That very forum was a ‘Christian’ forum. I thought is was a place I could go where the people would be friendly and want to encourage and uplift others. Instead, my very first post was torn apart, broken down and analyzed by a bunch of “Christians” who immediately questioned my intentions and faith. I couldn’t believe it. That’s why I have liked this forum so much. People from all walks of life and differing beliefs still come together and enjoy each other. I think that’s a great trait of this site still and I hope it continues.

Thank you all for the not-so-bad experiences so far! Just the initial first posts and replies were enough to show the character of a majority of members here and I’m so thankful for that.

God Bless you all.

In Jesus,

Tiffany

Here ends MY sermon. :) [/font:3f6bc58031]

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Hey all,

Hey Tiffany! Nice (for me) to see you back. I’ve culled some of your responses to my post and re-respond. The italics are because I couldn't replicate your font & color to distinguish it from my responses.

I don't have physical proof of what I believe.

Physical proof is not the only type of proof.

I haven't seen the archaeological findings that proved the ark's existence, I haven't seen the garment pieces of Jesus' robe or the nails that held Him to the cross. But I believe it, and I know it in my heart to be true.

Love, many people know love. They can't see it, touch it, hold it... yet they know it is there. You might be able to see it IN things, but you can never actually see IT.

Unless it, or rather He, appears, which is not what most people expect or are easily able to recognize.

You say it sounds irrational. I agree! I think someone willingly letting their only son die to save the whole world from eternal damnation in Hell is the MOST irrational thing I will ever hear.

Only if self-interest is essential to rationality.

You speak of Christianity as if it were a kind of music.

I do?

You’re wrong, he IS a ‘one-size-fits-all’.

It wasn’t the universal utility of what God offers that I was disputing, but the messages of some of His representatives.

Michael, I believe that your thoughts and your feelings stem from experiences you've had and hard-times you've been through.

I’m sorry, I don’t know which of my thoughts and feelings you are referring to.

I believe the same for EVERY PERSON on here and I don't judge you or anyone for it.

How could you? Where else but from their experiences do anyone’s thoughts come?

I don't doubt your experience, I don't question it. Yet MY experience, probably due to my age, HAS been questioned. The thing is, you don't know what I’ve experienced.

I don’t recall that I claimed to know. The point of my post was in fact that, for finite human beings, acquiring information is necessary in order to issue useful prescriptions.

I have gone through many things that you guys just wouldn't believe. Since I choose not to air that for the whole world to read, it's disputed. I have the same struggles, the same temptations as every person does. I haven't been bubble wrapped and living in some fairy tale world where everything is rosy and happy. I've had A LOT of emotional, physical and familial pain and problems. I didn't have a 'normal' family with a ‘Grandpa’ and ‘Grandma’, aunts and uncles. I had knowledge of the kind of people they were and what they had done to hurt alot of people close to me. My close family has had alot of medical problems we've gone through, and thankfully made it through, together. The people who should love us have chosen to attack us. My reputation was marred by no act of myself and I couldn't find a job for a LONG time because of it. Right now I’m struggling to find a job where my age may play a major factor in my consideration now. I’m not perfect. I get angry and hurt and depressed sometimes too. Probably more than I should (just ask my mom ). But I’m trying to see the good in my situation. I’m trying to be optimistic and I’m trying to give my problems to God. That’s where this whole post originated from and I am as guilty as the next guy of trying to take control and handle things myself.

I don’t doubt any of this nor minimize its importance, and I don't know what might have led you to think I did.

I love people and I care deeply about people because that is what God commands us to do. It’s easy to love those who love you, it’s harder to love those against you or those who hurt you. I don’t know you all by name, and I don’t claim to know you and your needs, etc. but I love you and I care about you just the same.

In case it's of any value to you, I’d be content to think of you as being ready to start loving people you haven’t met, but not being able to love them until you’ve met them. I don’t think even God would expect you to love someone you haven’t yet met. Otherwise, what would be the point of meeting them?

Thanks for the welcome.

You’re welcome! (How convenient to be able to say two different things with one phrase.)

I hope you got a little better idea of where I’m coming from.

A little. Which in human relations is a lot.

If not, I can’t change it, it’s who I am. I’ll try to be more open, but would even an army chaplain stand in the midst of a raging battlefield with no cover? Like I said, I’ve had some really bad experiences with forums when I opened up to people, so I guess it’s a trust issue. People can be really cruel.

Which is why it’s best not to provoke them unnecessarily; I was hoping to save you some grief.

That very forum was a ‘Christian’ forum. I thought is was a place I could go where the people would be friendly and want to encourage and uplift others. Instead, my very first post was torn apart, broken down and analyzed by a bunch of “Christians” who immediately questioned my intentions and faith.

Evangelizing can have that effect on some audiences.

I couldn’t believe it. That’s why I have liked this forum so much. People from all walks of life and differing beliefs still come together and enjoy each other. I think that’s a great trait of this site still and I hope it continues.

It seems to work best when contributors are met without agendas.

Thank you all for the not-so-bad experiences so far!

Hmmm… I hope it gets still better. You are enriching our experiences. Even when we don't all understand each other perfectly; knowing in part, understanding in part...

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Michael,

:) I feel like laughing. :) I didn't know I would get this much response and I certainly didn't know I would get someone to think this deeply about the subject. I am really surprised and happy.

About your answers. I appreciate them... but could you be a little clearer? I'm trying to understand where exactly you stand on the subject, but I don't piece things together that well. Sorry! :oops: Could you elaborate?

I'll elaborate and include some of your responses that I'd like to understand. Yours will be italicized.

Physical proof is not the only type of proof.

What kind of proof are you asking for? Just out of interest, what would convince you?

Unless it, or rather He, appears, which is not what most people expect or are easily able to recognize.

Easy question for you, what do you mean?

Only if self-interest is essential to rationality.

Who is self-interested? Are you saying that I am? What do you mean by it?

It wasn’t the universal utility of what God offers that I was disputing, but the messages of some of His representatives.

Am I one of His 'representatives' whose message you question? What is it that sets apart my posts and my convictions from, say, Medic117's? I think He stated it better than I, but we both believe the same, we both live our faith. What do you question? There are many ministers and denominations out there that I question. I don't put my faith in their message, or esp. them. I put it my faith in Jesus, and try to proclaim only what HE has said to be the truth.

I’m sorry, I don’t know which of my thoughts and feelings you are referring to.

I'm referring to the ones you write! Every sentence, every word comes from the way you feel. The way you feel comes from what you've experienced. I'm not saying you STATED any of your experiences, I'm saying experiences make your person and your person writes what you feel. :) See below, you stated it yourself.

How could you? Where else but from their experiences do anyone’s thoughts come?

Exactly, but people still judge others for them! I wanted to make it clear that I DO NOT judge people for their experiences, for whatever it is that makes them live their lives the way they do. I don't judge their lives. All I know is there is something missing in life if Jesus isn't in it. He was missing in mine for a time too and it was the loneliness I've ever been.

I don’t recall that I claimed to know. The point of my post was in fact that, for finite human beings, acquiring information is necessary in order to issue useful prescriptions.

Okay, I get that you wanted me to be more personal. Like I said, it's a trust issue but I'll try.

I don’t doubt any of this nor minimize its importance, and I don't know what might have led you to think I did.

Sorry, it might've sounded like I went off on you. I was just trying to explain some of the 'experiences' I've been through w/o going into GREAT detail. Like I said, you guys wouldn't believe HALF the stuff and my honesty would be questioned next! :roll: So I don't think you want me to go into all that.

In case it's of any value to you, I’d be content to think of you as being ready to start loving people you haven’t met, but not being able to love them until you’ve met them. I don’t think even God would expect you to love someone you haven’t yet met. Otherwise, what would be the point of meeting them?

This is where it gets tricky. When I meet someone and get to know them awhile, I know I either like them or dislike them. I either enjoy being around them or I don't and there are varying degrees. I don't 'rate' people or anything, it's just a fact. I think EVERYONE does it! Think about it. You can tell right now whether you like me or whether you don't and there's a degree. You couldn't absolutely HATE me cause why would you write? :wink: So, YES, I dislike people and I REALLY hate to be around certain people, but I don't hate them! You can love someone and really dislike them at the same time you know. Siblings do it all the time! Parents with disrespectful rebels for kids do it all the time! God commands us to LOVE people, but He didn't say we had to LIKE them. (By the way, you'd be a 5) :wink:

You’re welcome! (How convenient to be able to say two different things with one phrase.)

:) Isn't it though?

Which is why it’s best not to provoke them unnecessarily; I was hoping to save you some grief.

Thanks for the thought. :) I appreciate it. I was expecting it to get ugly though and I expected a lot of people to be against what I believe. That's what Jesus said would happen, and I only hoped that sharing my faith might help even just one person out there reading all these posts and replies. If it did, honestly, ALL this would be worth it.

Evangelizing can have that effect on some audiences.

I know, believe me I do. But I wasn't evangelizing! I'm no Billy Graham (as you can tell), and I wasn't preaching! I wanted guidance and I wanted a 'support group' to help me go through some of those 'experiences' I spoke of. Honestly, my character and my integrity was attacked! If you want someone to really preach to you, with all the big words and scriptual refs and fire-and-brimstone language, let me know and I'll give you the address!

It seems to work best when contributors are met without agendas.

Okay... the third party language is what's confusing me. I wish you would just come out and tell me what you mean. Am I a contributor with an 'agenda'? What do you think is my 'agenda'? I'd really like to know some of your thoughts.

Hmmm… I hope it gets still better. You are enriching our experiences. Even when we don't all understand each other perfectly; knowing in part, understanding in part...

I hope it does to. As far as me enriching anyones experiences? :) I like to think that I might, but I don't! It's flattering you say that though! Yes, I would really like to understand you better. I would really like to understand your stand and your beliefs also. You have spoken much on mine, and I would really like to hear yours.

Thanks for writing. You give me reason to examine my faith and what I believe. I think, in the long run, it will make me stronger and I can only thank you for that. :)

God Bless you.

In Jesus,

Tiffany[/font:621a6e0a15]

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"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." -Acts 4:12

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:5-11

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." - John 14:6

His Word speaks for itself. I don't make the rules...I just live by them. The fact of the matter is, if you don't believe, it doesn't make it any less true. One day, all will believe, will bow, will confess, and will worship. Some will do it in joy and peace, while others in torment and shame. You will live forever....it's just a matter of where. I like the idea of a Christian EMT Association. Let's work on that. Great opportunity to share with other Christians our successes and struggles in sharing the Gospel in this mission field.

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Michael,

I feel like laughing.

Okay. But just this once.

I didn't know I would get this much response and I certainly didn't know I would get someone to think this deeply about the subject.

There you go!

I am really surprised and happy.

Glad to hear it.

About your answers. I appreciate them... but could you be a little clearer?

I can try.

I'm trying to understand where exactly you stand on the subject, but I don't piece things together that well. Sorry! Could you elaborate?

I'll elaborate and include some of your responses that I'd like to understand. Yours will be italicized.

Physical proof is not the only type of proof.

What kind of proof are you asking for? Just out of interest, what would convince you?

This is an instance of what I was referring to when I said “agenda.” I feel I am being met with an agenda, namely yours (to be blunt, which I believe is what you asked for). You seem, and please note that I say seem, to be ready to convert someone, lots of people, whom you have barely met, and seem, again I say only seem, to have been poised to do that even before having met them. As if riding into town with a mission to change other people without first considering who they are. The suspicion that arouses is that you will disappear just as suddenly as you appeared, never having taken a real interest in the person you approached. It’s as if, by which I don’t say it’s the case, only that it can seem this way, that you are out to accomplish something with, or rather on, the other person as a replacement for engagement. Some people find that offensive, both those who respond with hostility (who think “What? She doesn’t know me and already she’s telling me what’s wrong with me?”) and those who may already be trying to practice some of the principles you espouse, but gave the experience that you are evaluating what slot they fit into. These latter [including moi] look through the [your] behavior for the [your] genuine human interest that is obvious, but as potential rather than expression.

What leads you to think I am either convinced or unconvinced of the operations of God, of the Resurrection, of the Creation, or of Revelation or any tenet of your faith? When I reread your response to my statement above, it reinforces my impression that you’re “agenda” is very specific. And while I encourage you to do what you think best and in the way you think best, I am only predicting that many people will take offense at being addressed by a program. I believe I understand that you want what is good for (say) me, and since you believe that I would be in better shape if I believed a certain something or bunch of things, you are (so to speak) rushing at me so ready to convince that you don’t notice I gave no evidence of needing convincing. Advertisements I can get on TV. Interrelationships are the monopoly of human beings; let’s (humans, I mean) do what no one else can do.

Unless it, or rather He, appears, which is not what most people expect or are easily able to recognize.

Easy question for you, what do you mean?

That the form of the Incarnation as described by Christians is so unexpected that most thoughtful people will not be able to integrate it into their world-view easily. (Say, Dust, was that understated enough?)

Only if self-interest is essential to rationality.

Who is self-interested? Are you saying that I am?

I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. You had written that “someone willingly letting their only son die to save the whole world from eternal damnation in Hell is the MOST irrational thing I will ever hear.” I responded by saying that it is irrational only if being rational requires being self-interested. But if sacrifice isn’t always irrational, then what you described need not be irrational.

What do you mean by it?

I meant that it is not self-evident that (self-)sacrifice is always ultimately irrational.

It wasn’t the universal utility of what God offers that I was disputing, but the messages of some of His representatives.

Am I one of His 'representatives' whose message you question?

As expressed on this board, yes. I hope that’s okay with you. After all, I didn’t start this conversation.

What is it that sets apart my posts and my convictions from, say, Medic117's?

I guess you are referring to his post several posts above yours. There Medic117 reports his experience. I don’t sense him (yet, anyway) aggressively looking to alter other people’s beliefs, in fact so ambitiously as to assume without evidence that someone else “needs to be convinced” who may in fact not need to be convinced. He didn’t (as I said, yet, anyway) put himself out there with a strong agenda to change, say, me. So, from that one post alone I mean he seems more open to what, say, I might bring him. I say seems. From that post.

I think He stated it better than I, but we both believe the same, we both live our faith. What do you question?

Not the what, the how of the expression. To be blunt again, only because I think you asked for it and so I must trust you can take it, rushing in with help before you’ve assessed (as they say in ems), or even shown an interest in (I say shown), the other person’s experience is, well, insensitive. Doesn’t build trust, except, as I said earlier, in desperate people.

There are many ministers and denominations out there that I question. I don't put my faith in their message, or esp. them. I put it my faith in Jesus, and try to proclaim only what HE has said to be the truth.

Maybe I should have said “tone” instead of “message.” Nor everyone welcomes proclamations. And some of those who don’t might wish to be your friend may feel unwelcome because they are being proclaimed to more than met. They will, even if not fully consciously, resent feeling used as an instrument in someone else’s narrative, a bit player in another’s spiritual Lone Ranger drama, who gallops up to those in need, achieves some virtuous action, and then rides off into the sunset. Which is, by the way, not how Christ is represented as behaving. I am not contrasting your behavior with Christ’s, which from what I understand of your outlook you don’t need me to do; I am reporting what the ideals you carry look like to me.

I’m sorry, I don’t know which of my thoughts and feelings you are referring to.

I'm referring to the ones you write! Every sentence, every word comes from the way you feel. The way you feel comes from what you've experienced. I'm not saying you STATED any of your experiences, I'm saying experiences make your person and your person writes what you feel. See below, you stated it yourself.

How could you? Where else but from their experiences do anyone’s thoughts come?

Exactly, but people still judge others for them! I wanted to make it clear that I DO NOT judge people for their experiences, for whatever it is that makes them live their lives the way they do. I don't judge their lives. All I know is there is something missing in life if Jesus isn't in it.

There is also something missing in their lives if Tiffany isn’t in it after she’s encountered them; if she meets them in order to “hand them off” to Jesus.

He was missing in mine for a time too and it was the loneliness I've ever been.

I’m proposing that there may be people who, in like manner, are lonely because they miss you, perhaps soon after they’ve met you, if your purpose is to introduce them to Jesus instead of to Tiffany. And please note that I said “if.”

I don’t recall that I claimed to know. The point of my post was in fact that, for finite human beings, acquiring information is necessary in order to issue useful prescriptions.

Okay, I get that you wanted me to be more personal. Like I said, it's a trust issue but I'll try.

In this instance I was referring your acquiring information about them before you tell them how to correct their imperfections (namely through Chrsitianity).

I don’t doubt any of this nor minimize its importance, and I don't know what might have led you to think I did.

Sorry, it might've sounded like I went off on you.

No sweat.

I was just trying to explain some of the 'experiences' I've been through w/o going into GREAT detail. Like I said, you guys wouldn't believe HALF the stuff and my honesty would be questioned next! So I don't think you want me to go into all that.

As you wish. I doubt that your honesty would be questioned here, but I don’t know. I do know that one concrete story about your life will hold more interest for those who don’t already share your beliefs than all the statements about salvation you can collect or paraphrase, however eloquently you do it (and you do it eloquently).

In case it's of any value to you, I’d be content to think of you as being ready to start loving people you haven’t met, but not being able to love them until you’ve met them. I don’t think even God would expect you to love someone you haven’t yet met. Otherwise, what would be the point of meeting them?

This is where it gets tricky. When I meet someone and get to know them awhile, I know I either like them or dislike them. I either enjoy being around them or I don't and there are varying degrees. I don't 'rate' people or anything, it's just a fact. I think EVERYONE does it!

I think you’re right.

Think about it. You can tell right now whether you like me or whether you don't and there's a degree. You couldn't absolutely HATE me cause why would you write?

Well, there are things one can write to those one hates, but those are usually nest left unwritten.

So, YES, I dislike people and I REALLY hate to be around certain people, but I don't hate them! You can love someone and really dislike them at the same time you know.

So they say.

Siblings do it all the time!

Cain, I'd like you to meet Abel. Easy, Boy!

Parents with disrespectful rebels for kids do it all the time!

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is / To have a thankless child!

God commands us to LOVE people, but He didn't say we had to LIKE them. (By the way, you'd be a 5)

* WHAAAA! *

You’re welcome! (How convenient to be able to say two different things with one phrase.)

Isn't it though?

Which is why it’s best not to provoke them unnecessarily; I was hoping to save you some grief.

Thanks for the thought. I appreciate it. I was expecting it to get ugly though and I expected a lot of people to be against what I believe.

Those with the most interesting things to say might be discouraged.

That's what Jesus said would happen, and I only hoped that sharing my faith might help even just one person out there reading all these posts and replies. If it did, honestly, ALL this would be worth it.

So this 5 is also a one. Maybe not as impressive as the Doctrine of the Trinity, but pretty cool.

Evangelizing can have that effect on some audiences.

I know, believe me I do. But I wasn't evangelizing! I'm no Billy Graham (as you can tell), and I wasn't preaching! I wanted guidance

I’m sorry: I reread your first post and don’t see where you are asking for guidance (from earthlings) or what kind of guidance you are seeking. So let me ask you What kind of guidance you are seeking here?

and I wanted a 'support group' to help me go through some of those 'experiences' I spoke of.

I'm trying, I'm trying!

Honestly, my character and my integrity was attacked! If you want someone to really preach to you, with all the big words and scriptual refs and fire-and-brimstone language, let me know and I'll give you the address!

No, that’s fine, thank you anyway.

It seems to work best when contributors are met without agendas.

Okay... the third party language is what's confusing me. I wish you would just come out and tell me what you mean. Am I a contributor with an 'agenda'?

Your posts in this thread give me the impression of your carrying an agenda.

What do you think is my 'agenda'? I'd really like to know some of your thoughts.

You approach strangers in order to convert them to Christianity.

Hmmm… I hope it gets still better. You are enriching our experiences. Even when we don't all understand each other perfectly; knowing in part, understanding in part...

I hope it does to. As far as me enriching anyones experiences? I like to think that I might, but I don't!

So I’m lying then. Pity.

It's flattering you say that though! Yes, I would really like to understand you better.

Same here.

I would really like to understand your stand and your beliefs also. You have spoken much on mine, and I would really like to hear yours.

Perhaps beliefs don’t play as central a role in my life as they do in yours. As for some of my interests, I do try to express then here and in other posts. They include learning about (some) other people: how they experience the world, [chief complaint/chief celebration, onset, etc.], what I might be able to do to help or co-celebrate, what we can achieve together. But to be honest, I’m a little wary of exposing too much to you because I don’t want to be handing you tools in order to try to convert me to the way you think. We can let it grow (or not) in a natural sort of way. Other people, like yourself, have had their trust abused, sometimes by well-intentioned evangelists. And I still don’t know how what you’re doing isn’t that.

Thanks for writing.

I thank you.

You give me reason to examine my faith and what I believe.

And you've done the same for me. Amen to that.

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OK, NO ONE IS PERFECT, TO EACH PERSON THEIR OWN> BUT TO THE GUYS WHO ARE JUDGING BEFORE THEY STOP AND THINK< HOW EXACTLY DO YOU THINK THE WORLD CAME TO BE AND U WERE BORN< BESIDES UR MOTHERS>>>PREACHING IS NOT EXCEPTING OTHERS DIFFERENCES TO BELIEVE. AND CONSTANT TALKING AND SAYING THE SAME STUFF OVER TO THE SAME PPL> SHE IS SIMPLY STATING HER BELIEF AND ASKING DO OTHERS FEEL THE SAME OR HAVE A DIFFERENT VIEW. NOT THAT U HAVE TO BELIEVE AS HER OR U"LL DIE> STOP BEING SO CLOSE MINDED AND PRESENTING UR SELF AS SUCH A PERFECT PERSON, BECAUSE NO ONE IS PERFECT EXCEPT GOD. AND >> OPPINiONS ARE LIKE BUTTS, EVERYONE HAS ONE.

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