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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %PROPER MEANS POLITY DEFEND CHRISTIAN GOSPEL TRUTH+980111 %SEPARATION PURITY RIGHTEOUSNESS RELATIONSHIP LOVE 980111 Christians are often confronted with the dilemma of how to make proper choices of means to use in the defense of the Christian Gospel, the message which Christians ostensibly proclaim. Some Christians believe that it as a matter of ultimate importance to defend the Christian Gospel --- and so they are prone to feel, think and act as if it is proper to be willing to use ultimate means to defend the Christian Gospel. This dilemma relates to "polity" and all that the word "polity" points to. "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary" defines the word "polity" in the following general ways: 1. "Polity" has an etiology involving words suggestive of "city", "citizen", "political" and "police" --- pointing to a community's internal organization for the regulation of the community; through the exercise of governmental powers, especially with respect to general comfort, cleanliness, health, morals, order, safety, and prosperity. "Polity" thus pertains to the unity of the community; and points to the form of government or constitution of a community, organization or religious denomination. 2. "Politics" is the art or science of government, dealing with the policies and the total complex of all relationships between and among people within a society. 3. "Polite" points to the characteristics of advanced culture, art and literature --- marked by refined cultural interests, consideration, tact, deference and courtesy; and so by a lack of roughness and crudities. For Christians to be successful evangelists building up Christian communities --- Christians must demonstrate to outsiders a way of life which elicits respect by outsiders for the kind of unity within Christian communities. True Christians may be recognized and known by their love for one and other --- in being together as diverse members of one whole body which has integrity built up with, and strengthened by, internal diversity. Christians proclaim that God who created the whole universe was present in Christ sacrificing Himself to reconcile all peoples to Himself and to each other. The Christian Gospel is about reconciliation, open and honest communication, community, unity, love, intimacy, mutual respect, safety, healing and health --- among differing peoples. So also is healthy human sexuality. Like the Christian Gospel, healthy human sexuality is about reconciliation, open and honest communication, community, unity, love, intimacy, mutual respect, safety, healing and health --- among differing healthy people. It is good therefor to consider polity, politics, and politeness as we approach our debate about policing human sexual behaviors within our Christian communities --- a debate about regulating the distribution of political powers within Christ's church. What means of policing are appropriate; consistent with the nature of the Christian Gospel? What means of policing human sexual desires and behaviors will promote reconciliation, open and honest communication, community, unity, love, intimacy, mutual respect, safety, healing and health among differing Christians? We protestants began our journeys with protests against the alienative abuse of power within the Roman Catholic Church. To promote individual liberations which are essential to personal integrity; protestants have professed beliefs which affirm that God's salvation is God's free gift --- which cannot be bought, earned, acquired, achieved, possessed, owned, controlled or limited through the use of any human means, efforts, devices or techniques. This suggests that it is inappropriate to engage in political activities intended to defend the Christian Gospel --- if those activities willfully engender: alienations, separations, fragmentations, discomfort, hunger, disease, sickness, ill-health, insecurity, defensiveness, excommunications, misunderstandings, confusion, anger, resentment and/or acts of revenge. The Presbyterian Church has been struggling for many decades with the question of how to effectively police human sexual behaviors within the church. To date those efforts have not led to a kind of unity within the church --- which has elicited admiration, respect and support on the part of outsiders seeking to unite with the church --- out of respect the kinds of love that the outsiders have seen demonstrated within the church. It seems to me that the church has been ineffective in its efforts for the following reasons: 1. We have NOT discussed openly and honestly our own healthy and unhealthy human sexual desires and behaviors within the church. 2. We have NOT intentionally framed such discussions within the context of open and honest discussions of our diverse understandings of what is central to the Christian Gospel. 3. We have NOT tried to transcend those aspects of our parliamentary procedures which lead us into framing and answering contentious questions by counting large numbers of "yes" and "no" votes. Because of what we have NOT done we continue to be victims of our human tendencies to draw lines in the blowing sands of time --- and then force each other to get on opposite sides of such lines to defend our choices in alienative ways which are devoid of both love and sexual honesty. If we do not repent and change our ways --- the outcomes of our future efforts will be the same as the outcomes of our past efforts. God's Love works within us most effectively when we accept it as it is, a free gift which we cannot earn acquire, achieve, possess, own, control or limit through the use of any human means, effort, device or technique. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================