The final #CarmenTalk, aka Conversation with Carmen, of 2015 aired December 15. You are encouraged to listen here at Layman.org
Discussed on #CarmenTalk this month was “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Civil Discourse.”
As a disciple of Jesus who seeks to advance His Kingdom purposes everyday in every way, I am a voracious consumer of the ideas, news, commentary, opinion and conversation swirling around us. You can either think of it as a deafening cacophony that disables your ability to think or you can ask God to give you eyes to see, ears to hear, a mind to comprehend and a voice to help others make sense of the often nonsensical. My hope is to help you connect what seem like otherwise wholly disconnected realities. That exercise begins by pulling out a few dots, examining them, and then connecting them to others until a coherent picture of reality emerges. Once we see where we are, we are able to walk purposefully and lead others who are lost in the veritable fun house of today’s distorted discourse.
You may have read this week about the Ohio investigation into the practices of Planned Parenthood clinics. During the investigation, the state discovered that three clinics were disposing of aborted babies in landfills. While you may be horrified by this on many levels, the question we will consider is why would lawmakers think that people who dismember pre-born humans while still in the womb would then be able to morally interpret and apply a law that expects them to dispose of the remains of that procedure in a “humane manner?”
The use of the word “humane” assumes humanity. It assumes a common definition of human. It assumes someone knows the difference between humane and inhumane, human and inhuman.
Are these reasonable expectations in a culture where The Humane Society advocates the humane treatment of non-humans while an organization whose title includes “Parenthood” keeps people from becoming parents by killing the very “things” that “would be” human?
Does it seem reasonable to expect an abortionist who treats the pre-born as a tumor, parasite, intruder, or other matter that is medically excised from a body, to then treat the remains as human?
Then to the larger question: if the law on the books in Ohio is proven to be inapplicable in this case because the definition of “humane” is sufficiently vague, what other words in what other laws do not mean what we once thought they meant?
If the first freedom sought by those who came to these shores was a land where they would be free to practice the religion of their choice without state interference, then how do we weigh the preservation and application of that freedom in a world where ISIS seeks a global caliphate? In view of the political proposal to ban entrance into the United States of all people who profess a particular faith, we will discuss the nature of religious liberty. How might we balance that liberty with the safety and protection of the citizenry already inhabiting this land? Indeed, how are we both “the land of the free and the home of the brave” today?
What is God’s view of the matter and how can we give voice to the divine and eternal perspective which is rarely, if ever, considered in the current political conversation?
Is it not ironic that some advancing the argument that Muslims should be prohibited from entering the U.S. do so because the U.S. is a “Christian” nation? Are we? What is the difference between a theocracy and a democracy that grew out of a particular theology that all men are created equal by a personal sovereign God?
The Pursuit of Civil Discourse
We also need to be prepare to enter into conversation with others who disagree with our assessment of reality. But how do you tell the truth without coming off as a know-it-all? We’re going to use current issues and the characters currently on the political stage to discern how best to discuss issues and people in ways that are Godly – noble, beautiful and true.
Rules of engagement:
- Treat God as God
- Treat people as people
- Judge ideas based on the merit of their alignment with final personal reality
- Remember: all people are equal, all ideas are not.
In preparation for this portion of the conversation, read this.
And yes, we’ll wrap up the call with a survey of “all things Presbyterian.” You can preview those topics by perusing the “Presbyterian News and Analysis” section of Layman.org.
Ms. LaBerge can demonstrate civil discourse by not calling anyone who disagrees with her an “apostate.”
Please cite specific examples of instances in which Rev. Fowler-LaBerge has accused anyone with whom she disagrees an “apostate”.
Just do a word search in her posts for the terms “apostate” and “apostasy,” There are tons of examples.
I just did a Google search of the Layman Online site for the terms “Carmen” and “apostate”. Sixty-nine responses came up, of which I examined the first dozen or so. In all of these, the only instances in which the term “apostate” was used was by those posting responses to what Rev. Fowler-LaBerge had written. I find no examples in which she has accused anyone, let alone anyone with whom she disagrees, an “apostate”.
Therefore, either show forth evidence where she has accused someone of apostasy, or else retract your baseless—and uncivil—accusation.
Also, if you are going to accuse her of incivility, then please do us the courtesy of putting your real name to the accusation rather than hide behind a fictitious screen name.
Just do a word search on The Layman site, itself, which is her publication. See how many articles use the term “apostate” and “apostasy” vis-a-vis PCUSA. Throw in “heresy” for good measure. Again, calling people who disagree with you “apostates” is what ISIS does and does not resemble civil discourse.
Just listened to your presentation on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I must say that it is always good to hear your clear, and well-laid-out thinking on difficult subjects.
Thank you for being a strong voice in a confused Church.
God bless your service to Christ and His Church, and I pray you recover from your cold quickly.
The editors of the Layman have published dozens of articles by authors who accuse the PCUSA of apostasy. That is the incivility of the Layman.
Name one and provide a link.
@Loren—-I googled it and the first one that came up was Mike McManus, July 9, 2001—-there were many more. The article stated the PCUSA was taking the first steps to apostasy.
……..apostate is a noun that means a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause. An apostate is someone who has deserted his cause. The word apostate originally comes from a Greek word that meant “runaway slave.”
We should be careful to not point fingers. No one would call themselves apostate because of the negative connotations. We should examine ourselves to make sure we have not deserted the cause of Jesus Christ.
I’m afraid that you, poor Mr. Counselor, have been caught with your proverbial pants down on this one. You made an accusation that you have not been able to support with so much as one little bitty, teeny tiny shred of evidence. I believe that the word we often use for this kind of false accusation is the word “slander.”
Some of us (myself included) do not hesitate to call the PCUSA organization apostate, but we are very careful not to accuse particular individuals of this because we cannot know, as God alone knows, what is in an individual’s heart. In this regard, I have found Carmen Fowler-LaBerge to be much more careful and circumspect than the rest of us.
So, Mr. Counselor, you owe Carmen an apology for having made this false accusation.
And please know that in the future, whenever you claim that if we will do a word search we will find “tons of examples” to support something that you have said, we will understand that you are just blowing tons of smoke in our faces, and that there are, in fact, no examples at all.
“God will not be mocked and those who substitute their own felt desires for God’s unchangeable Truth will not be found guiltless before a holy God.” Carmen LaBerge, 6/21/14
How does that one work for you as uncivil discourse? Honestly, I don’t want to find all the times Ms. Laberge has used the words “heresy,” “apostate,” and “apostasy” in her diatribes. There are plenty, as James points out above. Also, I don’t see the distinction you suggest of it being OK to accuse an organization comprised of people of being an “apostate” vs. merely singling out one member of that organization. We call that a distinction without a difference.
Precisely. Just because someone interprets Scripture differently from you does not make them an “apostate.”
Did I hear the word “apostate” in the quote that you referenced here? No, of course not. Need I remind you that you wrote earlier accusing Carmen Fowler-LaBerge of “calling anyone who disagrees with her an “apostate.” Those are your exact words.
You said “anyone,” not any organization. Anyone.
And you said “apostate,” not heretic, etc. Apostate.
So, as the school children like to say, Mr. Counselor, you need to either “put up or shut up.” The fact is that you have been caught in a bald-faced lie, and are trying to talk your way out of it. But you can’t do it. Either provide the “tons of examples” that you claim to have of Ms. LaBerge calling “anyone who disagrees with her ‘apostate,'” or apologize to her for your slander.
My guess is that you will do neither of these, the first because you can’t, and the second because you won’t.
Your statement about the Vatican announcement about evangelizing Jews is a misstatement. For an accurate explanation, see http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/new-vatican-document-on-jews-salvation-and-evangelization.
That depends. If an interpretation is too far off the mark of what Scripture clearly says then that may be an apostate position. I think some current teaching of the PCUSA are moving away from God’s intent and may be apostate. If you leave the cause of Christ according to His words then you may be in a position that might be called apostate.
There is orthodoxy and the Cannon, the Confessions, the witness of the majority of Godly Christians and that should help us in our interpretations. When we abandon these we could find ourself apostate against Christ. So we need to examine ourself and be accountable to valid, honorable, Godly mentors. God gave us the Scriptures to help us live righteously. The Holy Spirit leads us to truth….but too many times we ignore the leading and prompting of God. In the end we are accountable to God
so it is important to be in awe of God and be careful in how we use Scripture.
Counselor, I just finished responding to one of your other posts. I will reiterate…you are a heckler. You come here to attack people. Your hatred for those who entertain the thought of leaving the PCUSA far outweighs your drive to witness. I would be inclined to say that your beliefs are more in line with that of a college professor. We can debate “apostate” until the end of times. And that, Counselor, is why people like you do nothing but blur the message of the Father. The PCUSA has left the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Your concern for civil discourse is directly in line with the teachings of the PCUSA. You are concerned with worldly arguments, above all else. You epitomize the shrinking PCUSA. And why is the PCUSA shrinking Counselor? As I said in the other post, it’s shrinking because Jesus is winning buddy.