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November 16th, 2003
07:47 pm
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First of all, results have been randomly generated for today's challenge story. Writing will begin shortly. Congratulations to the lucky winners who conned me into writing a story about generic brand dog food, transcendence, and an instructor while the power suddenly goes out in the Bronx.

I randomly generated a second set from the responses, in case anyone wants to take the same challenge ...:
 
NOUN: License
VERB: explode
NAME: Jeremiah
LOCATION: Malta
PLOT TWIST: Suddenly, there was a strong smell of sandalwood ...

In other news, I'd like some feedback on the current story, especially from those of you who are Christians. Obviously, TTU magic is a subject about which there is plenty of theologicla room to disagree -- I don't want to start a debate about whether my arguments are "right" or not. What I would like to know is whether my Biblical arguments reasonably support the conclusion I reached, and whether there are any verses I could have more effectively cited in their place; or whether there are any verses that are just so clear on the subject that it's criminal for me not to have discussed them. ... And, more generally, whether the position outlined (God calls some people to do magic in His name) is broadly tenable, assuming a liberal view of the Bible and a world where magic suddenly became very in-your-face.

Mostly, just trying to put myself in a different set of shoes here -- I haven't been even nominally Christian since drifting away from the Unitarian church as a kid of about 10. Wondering how good of a job I did throwing myself out on that limb.

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From:zaiah
Date:November 16th, 2003 09:03 pm (UTC)
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I've been Christian, mostly, most of the time. I found the story believable and perceptive.. and the biblical quotes and comments were consistent with what I remember though I am no biblical scholar.

Thank you for writing that. It's quite nice.
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From:hafoc
Date:November 16th, 2003 09:15 pm (UTC)
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It's been years since I was a True Believer myself. But I've read the Bible at least, so maybe I can help you here. If not, I'm sorry.

I think you're doing pretty well with quoting the Bible. I didn't recall that bit from Numbers about the prophets, for example.

You might want to mention a few of the miracles of Jesus; walking on water, feeding the multitude, etc. as examples of magic. The fact that JC himself did something carries more punch with Christians than that some prophet did. It would impress your Pastor enough that he'd probably mention it.

You're right of course that the good and the evil can perform the same actions; it's the intent or the context that makes the difference. This seems to extend even into the supernatural. For example when King Saul speaks to the spirit of a dead prophet (I Samuel 27) this seems to be taken as a Bad Thing, although I don't see him expressly cursed in the text for doing it; yet when Jesus talked with dead prophets (Luke 9:30) it's a Good Thing.

I'm not certain whether the Bible itself has it in for witchcraft (as we understand the term). In fact, I'm not even sure the Bible is opposed to polytheism. (The command is "Thou shalt have no other god before me," not "I am the only God," after all.) But the Christian faith is a monotheisitc one, whether or not its Bible supports that. Consequently I don't expect your Christian pastor to like the Wiccan religion, or any other polytheistic religion.

He might, however, not be hostile to witchcraft as WE understand the term. Pagan websites, many of them, claim that the "witch" in "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" was actually "poisoner" in the original Hebrew; mistranslated in the early 17th Century, when the King James Version was written, according to the popular beliefs and understanding of that witch-burning era. Assuming you think the evidence for this is somewhat reasonable (websearch on '"suffer a witch to live" poisoner' leads to several hits) you might, or might not, have your pastor know this, believe it, and explain this other reason why the fundie's hysteria might not be warranted.

Hope this helps.
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From:eredien
Date:November 17th, 2003 12:36 pm (UTC)
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This is quite possibly one of the most Christian stories I've read, as I understand the term. Thanks.

It's not so much supporting verses you're using here as interpretation, and I think you know that--but that's what Christianity as a whole has partially been thinking about for the past 2000 years or so, interpretation.
My theory: God called Joseph (both Mary's husband and the one with the nice coat) to do dream interpretation...he called/calls people to die for him and to give up their lives in other ways to him; he calls people to do a lot of stuff. It's whether you're working for your own ends or his that he's concerned about...I think. And you got that down here.
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