I first got to know Dave in November 2010. He was writing about ‘radical sheep’ and describing rebellion as intelligent resistance to the status quo. His definition of simple church is ‘everyone participates, contributes and learns’. He suggests that knowledge without experience does not translate into wisdom. He has strong views about our education systems, believing in the need to teach children according to their own unique character – that only parents would normally be able to do.
Dave was shaped by Scouts and the Marine Corps and used to put up a sign in a pub, “I talk to God daily – ask me anything“. He suggests that our message should be, “You are loved and forgiven – be healed”, and that it is religious people who need to repent. He suggests that too many evangelicals jump up and down, but wonders where the love is that draws others to Jesus.
It has become obvious that despite very different backgrounds; growing up on different continents;and having differing understandings of some aspects of the Christian faith, that we both have a vision of reaching out to those who have been negatively affected, or even manipulated by religion. For me there are two articles that Dave has written that sum up much of the common ground between us:
“The Church and the Genie in the bottle”
“My Favorite Objections to Christianity”
It was only in August 2011 that the controversy surrounding the reality or otherwise of Adam and Eve came to a head again and I started expressing some of my thoughts. It was in late November when I got an email from Dave that included the following:
I should note that there is a difference in emphasis between us. I want you to always remember how often I tell you how important your writing is when I also say that we don’t always see things the same way. For example, when you say “I would suggest that it is the mistaken belief in the literal reality of Adam and Eve that has created the misguided grasp of the meaning of the gospel that is so common especially among evangelicals“, I personally believe in the literal reality of Adam and Eve. However, the way that I disagree with your statement is not concerning the literal or mythical reality of Adam and Eve, which doesn’t concern me one way or the other; rather, it is that while you see the mistake of the church as being the belief in literal Adam and Eve, I see the mistake of the church in the application of original sin of Adam. I believe it is a misunderstanding, brought about by generations of misguided teaching, that confers the sin of Adam upon the whole race of mankind. Each man sins, and to his own only is he responsible. But the curse handed down from the sin of Adam is not that each person is born with, and thus responsible for, Adam’s sin, but that each is born into Adam’s curse – that curse is death. Every human being since Adam suffers the curse of death. The sin question is a different subject altogether. It is even, I think, wrong to call it a curse. If the account is read carefully, the serpent is cursed, the ground is cursed, but what is conferred upon Adam and Eve is not curse, but consequence. Given the theological discussions on original sin – if the conference of that sin is taken away, the work of Christ can be seen in a new light. This is a lengthy discussion that I won’t delve into here, although it is one subject that I would like to explore in depth with you sometime soon. The true point is, that while we appear to come from two diametrically opposed thoughts, we arrive at the same destination, that of desiring others to find a fuller, deeper relationship with God. This is partly why I emphasize so strongly how important your writing is. It doesn’t matter if we don’t see things the same way – thank God we don’t, we’d all be robots. What matters is that we openly share the viewpoints and understandings we have in an attitude of peace and understanding rather than argument and strife – it is only by openly and lovingly sharing all the viewpoints that we can begin to open our minds to a greater understanding of God and His relationship with mankind; which, while a great mystery in itself which can never be fully understood by the inferior mind of man, is at once the sole endeavor given to man at his creation.
It was at this time (late November 2011) that we both recognised the strong bond that had developed between us and began to consider how we could share our discussions openly. Dave had been writing on HubPages but recent changes had made it impossible to put duplicated material on that site, even when the material belonged to the writer. Dave has suggested that maybe the blog is much better suited to the conversation. It seemed obvious to both of us that the first topic for discussion should be ‘Original Sin‘.
Dave who used to be in full-time ministry, works long hours as a trucker and has a young family. I’m retired and now have the incredible privilege of having a faith that I don’t have to defend together with some understanding of the purpose of life (that wont necessarily be the same as anyone else’s). I still have an adequate knowledge of computers that has enabled me to develop my new blogs and continue to share thoughts and ideas with many around the world as I have done since 1997.
There are a number of topics where we would like to be able to share our thoughts with a wider audience. At the same time we would like to get to know something of the journeys of those who might be drawn to contribute.