Becoming A Man

I have been doing a lot of reflecting and reading into the faith and moral development of adolescents. One of the major things our contemporary American society lacks is rites of passage that clearly induct children to the adult world as full fledged adults. In the Hebrew world of the New Testament, the first a male reads from the Torah in the synagogue he ceases to be a boy and becomes a man. From there he is to contribute to society as a worker, husband, and father-- all around the age of 13-15. This is so different from our world, yet the hints of it are still visible, especially in adolescent sexual development. One of the reasons why sexuality may be such an issue for teens is that a 14 year old Jewish boy in Jesus' day was engaging in sex (legally and morally) whereas this is not the way of our culture. What do you all think about this? Has society evolved in that 14 year olds are not to marry or should we revert to such a system?


  1. Hmm...that's my only response. This is pretty profound.

    I do not think that 14 year olds are psychologically capable of being the leaders that you have envisioned. I am not sure if this is because "times have changed" or because we are not training them from childhood to "become a man."

    Great post!

  2. first when approaching this question one needs to first ask is our society and culture the only one in the world?
    Answer: No
    next question
    do other cultures in places like africa practice marriage at younger ages?
    answer: yes.
    but this is almost the point of justin's post but i have to go now so more later.

  3. Our culture would tell us that a 14 year old boy is too immature to take one the responsibility of a man (not that our culture values that very highly). But that's not true. Being young and having great trust and responsibility placed in/on you is a scary thing... scary enough, perhaps, to take you past your immaturity and into grown-up integrity.

    Also, adolesence doesn't actually exist except within a culture that says it does. Our culture says that it extends beyond 20. I say that's B.S., and the reason we have twenty-somethings who act like teenagers is because we treat them like teenagers.

    Some overgeneralization there, but it does happen.

  4. I think that there is huge need for a rite of passage, especially as it relates to males. I am a big believer that men want to be called out in some way. I think that the reason that we don't see 14 as men is because we don't expect it. It is also importiant to understand that there is a respect of the older men that come with the rite of passage. It is the thoght that someone has gone before you and knows the road.
    I think that some of the anger out there is from guys who wanted a chance to prove themselves but never got a chance.
    Anyway, it is a big issue that is dear to my heart, and I hope to do something with my kids when it comes to this topic.

  5. A boy's "rite of passage" into manhood shouldn't be marriage. First be a man- then marry a woman. Marriage itself won't make a boy a man.

  6. I don't think that joelyjoel or anyone else was saying that marriage is the rite of passage into manhood. However, a rite of passage does issue a boy into manhood and then he begins the process of looking for a partner and a place to use his talents in the community. Throughout the world and history, this is exactly what would happen. Is there a lesson to learn here? Is there good lessons to learn from our sociological creation of the culture of adolescence?

  7. oh okay. Hmm you've got me thinking now. :-)

    Well, here's the issue- rituals are empty without substance.

    I grew up in a Lutheran church where I have seen many 14-year olds confirmed (including myself). You go through the system, memorized all the books of the bible in order, learned about the core aspects of Christianity, and after being in sunday school since grade school and having completed the confirmation class you make a statement of faith to the church and recieve first commuinion as well as become an official member of the church. This I say because it is also a rite of passage since that is what we are dealing with.

    I have seen many people that went through that process that were no different after it, because it was all head knowledge and never took root in their hearts. They were not what they claimed to be by simply participating in communion. So what did all that training amount to do you think?

    For rituals to be of any use, there must be
    #1 Substance. Meaning- passing of information, truth (for what good is information unless it is true?, so I'm talking in absolutes here) and
    #2 It has to be focused on inward change, not outward ceremonies. the ceremony is just the celebration of the inward, making what is inward more tangible.

    Therefore, what is most important is the passing on of truth. Ceremonies can be an excellent thing, some God even commanded. But just like baptism, it is not the outward that makes the inward change.

    You spoke of society a lot. Do you think a society that does not believe in absolute truth is capable of teaching what it means to be a man?

  8. Keep in mind that these rites of passage you mention as examples still took place within an American culture. For us it's just a ceremony - we still treat the kids as kids after it's done. in other cultures, the kids are treated as adults after the ceremony (mom and dad aren't there for you to run to anymore, they're fellow adults - you earn your own keep now).

    Having their friends and family - and society - actually treat them different is, I think, a prerequisite for anything taking root in their hearts. For some it will happen regardless, but many need a kick in the butt from reality in order to actually change. That's what our culture doesn't provide.

  9. "in other cultures, the kids are treated as adults after the ceremony (mom and dad aren't there for you to run to anymore, they're fellow adults - you earn your own keep now)."

    Ah, I think we're onto something now. Truely. I think what you pointed out is signigicant, because what the problem with the lack of responsibility of teenagers is not relating to their rite-of-passage, but to the age that they actually assume responsibilities.

    I would venture to say from this that the age that people become responsible adults relates not to ceremony at all, but to education. The cultures that marry when they are 14 are not also in school till they are 17.

    It would be impossible to give a 14 year old the full responsibility of being an adult in the US because they could not then complete their education.

  10. I think education can be completed comfortable by 16. It's too prolonged. I completed mine when I was 16.

    Just my two cents. It's not really related.

  11. What if people started attending community colleges when they were 15 and then at age 19, went away to a university to stay at? Pro, cons?

  12. I've known people who have done that very thing. Educationally and academically, they were able to handle it. Socially and psychologically they did very poorly.

    Just because someone can handle something on an educational level does not mean that they should handle it on a sociological level.

    I think that this ties in with your original discussion quite nicely. Most kids are not capable of being grown up adults at 14 because they are not socially prepared. Sadly, there are many who are 25+ who still have the same problem.

  13. I'll bet 15 year olds would do fine socially and psychologically if EVERY 15 year old went to JC, if it was the norm instead of a novel idea.

    I like chocolate.

  14. Yeah, Dave hit the point with his question, "What if every 15 year old went to JC?" I am not advocating 15 year olds going to Junior college in our current system. Nor am I talking about marrying 15 year olds in our current system. What I am after here is question the system itself and asking, does it need to change? How does it need to change? How is it different from other cultures/systems?
    Thus, what if we changed our system so that all 15 year olds who were capable went off to a Junior college with classmates their own age? Another type of questions could be, What if we had intergenerational learning situations (not a 15 year in a class full of 19 year olds, but a 15, a 19, a 24, a 32, a 45, and 67 year old all in the same class)together)? We must consider the fallacies of our current system and think outside of these lines and envision a different system, a different narrative, a different vision-- these things empower and inspire a true possiblity for change.

  15. justin....are you a lacedemonian?

  16. What's the purpose of the change? Just to get kids to become adults 3 years earlier? Whats the benefit?

  17. Eric, I am not a fool stuck in a religious snare.
    Anonymous, I am glad for your questioning. The purpose for change is that what we have now is definatly not working and it is not comparable to history and many modern day cultures.
    The idea for the Jr. college thing is not necessarily to make kids adults-- it is meant to school them differently than kids. As well, I am questioning the premise of adolescence as a life stage. I am questioning whether our society should treat them the way that we do? Beyond that, I am asking if the church should begin treating teenagers differently as an act of counter-cultural defiance to the norms of society/empire.
    A further question for you, anonymous, is why would you not question the way that adolescence is treated?

  18. Justin,

    Your comment on Dave's comment that if all 15 year olds went and it was the norm then they would do fine socially and psychologically is correct but it won't be addressing the problem.

    The problem is that our current higher education system is designed entirely different from our lower forms of education. If 15 year olds are shipped off to JC with other 15 year olds, taking classes at their 15 year old levels, then how is that different than our current high school education system? Then it is just a name change. If the form of education is the same, then in essence it is the same (just with a different name).

    I think that a lot more socialization will be required for 15 year olds to be ready for college and higher education. That socialization must start at very young ages in order to have those "kids" ready for that form of education.

  19. "A further question for you, anonymous, is why would you not question the way that adolescence is treated?"

    You are coming to a conclusion of my writing that wasn't even implied. You misunderstand me.

    In what ways would the removal of the stage of adolescence further the gospel? I work with teenagers every day. While many of them can be quite annoying, many are in a position ready to learn the answers to lifes mysteries. I know what an excellent age this is for sharing the gospel and discipleship. My questions to adolesence lie in the eternal. (Matthew 24:35
    "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.") I do not trust that society can make any difference in our children. It will just be shallow rules with some "greater purpose" for society while the teenager that just wants real answers gets pushed with the herd.
    Luke 19:10
    "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
    Do you remember the difference between the kind of king Isreal was expecting and the King that God actually sent? They wanted a nation on this earth while God was building a perfect nation in heaven.

    Unless your purpose is the advancement of what is eternal, than your dealing with the temporal. Wanity of vanities! as Solomon would say. :-) Review some Ecclesiastes, its an excellent book.

  20. that was supposed to say "Vanity of vanities" :-)

  21. I think the question that I am trying to get to is this: What affect should the gospel have on the church in regards to the way it sees a sociological phenomenon (like adolescence as a life stage) or a psychological idea. The gospel is a lense for looking at the world and life. Thus, I would suggest that the gospel is very interested in the subject at hand.
    Our society created the life stage of adolescence, thus it might not be natural. Yes, people around that age are asking lots of questions; however, I think they may hit many roadblocks to exploring answers because of the teenager sub-culture we have created. This seems to be very gospel related.

    Getting off the topic a little, I did want to challenge a detail from your commment. The idea of building a perfect nation in heaven. I don't find much support for such an idea in scripture. The scriptures are profoundly focused on bringing God's kingdom/will/rule/reign to this Earth. This is why we pray, "Thy will done on Earth as it is in heaven." Obviously Israel had some messed up ideas about kingship, but God wanted to be the ruler of a nation ON EARTH rather than having their ruler be a human.
    Society doesn't have the answers. However, God does want to redeem society. We must never allow society's ideas (for example: their ideas about adolescence) trump the lenses of the gospel in the way that we as the church see humanity. The pyschological and sociological studies are important, but the lenses of the gospel help us to understand and see them differently.

  22. By the way, anonymous, are you someone I know?

  23. 5th century BC hebrewDecember 23, 2005 4:26 PM

    man i don't know about guys but the way those babylonians destroyed our whole sense of self understanding by razing our holy city and cultic centre and carting off all of our nobles sure did throw a monkey wrench in my thinking about kingship.

  24. i have no idea who you are, and vice versa. i just found the site and was in the mood to comment.

    Shooey, we've opened a whole can of worms. A right understanding of scripture is foremost in anything, so I am hitting your "off topic" list today.

    "The idea of building a perfect nation in heaven. I don't find much support for such an idea in scripture"

    Revelation 21
    Isaiah 65:17
    2 Peter 3:13
    Matthew 6:19-20

    "This is why we pray, 'Thy will done on Earth as it is in heaven.'"

    Read again the above scripture to learn about God's will for this earth.

  25. 4th century AD christianDecember 24, 2005 1:37 PM

    I just love how everyone in the 21st century just can seem to figure out the breath, depth and diversity of our glorious and illuminating scriptural tradition. I love that you attempt to interpret poetry as if it were literal and allegory as if it were reality. God is big. So big that he cares about redeeming us through his gospel, His story. It is an enigma, a mystery that we can never know but always learn. How blessed we are to be able to sit and meditate on the pslams or have our identity shared and formed by the stories of wondering and exile. I love the diverstity my peers and I preserved for you all. What I don't love is how you foolishly attempt to cut and slash from that diversity, pulling a verse here or there, to make something new, something comfortable.

  26. 4th Century,

    What is the purpose of a poem? What is the purpose of allegory?

    It is not a contrast of true vs. false. They are devices to communicate truth.

    2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth"

    What do we learn about the word of God here? #1. It is the word of truth. #2. There is a correct (and therefore also incorrect) way to handle it.

    Shall you call this verse too an allegory?

    "It is an enigma, a mystery that we can never know but always learn."
    Is it so because you choose to keep it a mystery or because it truly is?

    Psalms 2:1-6 " My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
    turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
    and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
    and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
    then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

    For the LORD gives wisdom,
    and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. "

    Notice the first few verses are about seeking wisdom. Where does wisdom come from? vs. 6- The Lord. Where does knowledge and understanding come from? God's mouth. What is the bible? God's word, God-breathed. God just doesn't speak wisdom, but his word is written with a purpose. And he promises understanding to those who seek it.

    Revelation 1:1 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his bond-servants, the things which much soon take place; and he sent and communicated it by His angel to his Bond-servant John."

    Why was revelation written according to this passage?

    Are we supposed to understand any of it?

    vs. 3 "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophesy, and heed the things which are written in it"

    Can you heed what hasn't been revealed to you?

    Why do you think the chapter is called "Revelation"?

    All are nonrehetorical (except that I answered some of them for you), non scarcastic questions. Please understand I want to help you learn how to approach the bible in a way that honors the words written with purpose by God.

  27. Brush Stroke of RealityDecember 27, 2005 10:42 PM

    Anonymous, you have a very interesting way of looking at scriptures. Could you please describe your method of interpretation? How do you know that you are using it correctly? As well, you presume to be these people's teacher, on what basis?

  28. Very interesting way of looking at scriptures? Can you interpret them differently?

    I'm making it as basic as I possibly can. I am asking looking at scripture and breaking it down to very simply- what does scripture say? It's not supposed to be a secret code, but it was written in a language, language is written to be read and understood.
    If you tried to give me a bowl of peas I would say "No, I don't like peas" From my sentence you can come to some obvious conclusions. #1. I won't eat the peas. #2. Why? Because I don't like them. #3. You probably won't offer me the peas again. You understand this because it is communication. God's word is no different. He is communicating something to us. And it was written in a language for us to understand. I have not written anything weird about scripture, I am just asking "well, lets look closer, what does scripture say about itself?"

    Can you show me an incorrect interpretation of any of the scriptures that I explained?

  29. 2 Timothy 3:16
    "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"

    2 Timothy 4: 1-5
    "... I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."

    Notice: "I give you this charge"
    It's not just a suggestion, it's a command.
    What is that charge? "be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction."

  30. I'm willing to bet a couple of things. First, the Bible is, as Anonymous has said, understandable and meant to communicate truth to us. Second, despite this, a lot of our conclusions are probably very wrong. Not anti-biblical, just incomplete. So far in history the people who had the best understanding of scripture were also the most wrong about it. Everyone thought Jesus would come once and set up his kingdom on earth right away. That's what I would have thought, too, since that's what the OT says over and over. Ah, but after the fact - which was very unexpected, confusing, and difficult to accept for those who "knew" what scripture meant - we can catch subtle hints and clues as to the real way in which the messiah accomplished his task... but only in hindsight can we see this.

    That's the whole idea behind "his ways are not our ways."

    I just don't think everything will be completely understood until it's all done. It's a good thing to live by the truth of scripture, but I think it's also a good thing to admit that we probably have a lot of things slightly if not totally wrong.

    Fortunately for us it's not about how right or wrong we are.

  31. "Fortunately for us it's not about how right or wrong we are."

    Is there anybody out there that sees how contradictory this is? Am I alone here? I hope there are people on this site with a hunger for truth.

    Yet I will stand alone if I have to. If no one else debates this, I will get to it tomorrow or Friday. But I hope that there are others willing to stand.

  32. His ways might be our ways, but these words were His words to us.

    James might come up with sculptures I wouldn't in a million years, but when he explains them to me, I take it to be an explination.

  33. Frankly, if it is about how right or wrong we are, then it's about what we do, and Paul very directly tells us to stop living like that. If what we do matters, we're living like we're not saved. It's ONLY about what Christ does, from beginning to end.

    You've openly insulted me by suggesting that I do not have a hunger for truth... I hope you realize that. Maybe you weren't going for that, but that's what happened.

    It's one thing to hear an explanation of a sculpture that has already been made, and is sitting right in front of me. It's another to hear an explanation about a sculpture that has yet to be made. It's still a complete and accurate explanation, but I can't see it, and I might be imagining something different that what will actually be made... still sticking to the truth of the explanation, but not knowing exactly how it will look. Would you agree, james? Did that make sense?

  34. I knew what you were going for, Dave. I hope I didn't communicate what anonymous did... Man, I'm really sorry if I did. I do understand the frustration that he/she is probably coming into this with, and the comments have kind of gone way to, "who can really know anyway?" That's really what I was responding to.

    There are things we can only speculate about. What will the second coming be like? And, heh, I choose to leave it at that. It doesn't distress me to have to imagine (well, I don't in that case). But I believe that kind of thing makes up such a small percentage of the bible. I think the majority of it is just so articulate and self-comprehending. Harder things to bring out are the stories of the people reading it, but it seems popular to opt out by saying, "can we really know?" I think we can. Some takes harder work, and some we would have to speculate at best (and when we do I don't think the description we're left without is the key factor), but over all I think it's pretty articulate material. That's really what I was wanting to express.

    Depending on the type of thinking style a person has, it could be easier or more difficult.

    Well, to touch on it some more, what I meant by, "(and when we do I don't think the description we're left without is the key factor)"... And I'm sure you'll agree.

    I think God more often tells us why in scripture. If he made a stack of books, I don't think he would describe what it looked like (we, like Israel, would try picturing it), I think He'd explain what it's supposed to represent or convey. A lot of our trouble comes from thinking about the wrong things.

  35. "You've openly insulted me by suggesting that I do not have a hunger for truth..."

    To say that right and wrong does not matter IS a statement that communicates a disreguard for truth. For truth is right NOT wrong. From truth comes righteousness.

    Your statements suggested the lack of interest for truth, I was observing your statements. I am not trying to insult you. I would much rather be wrong on the matter. For if I am wrong, you DO desire truth, therefore God is glorfied through your seeking to know and understand.

    I see what you are saying about Paul. And Yes, it is totally and completely about Christ. Read Romans again. After Paul says clearly- (in my own words here) "no! it's not about what you do! you cannot earn it!" Then he says:
    "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6:1-2
    Read the rest of Romans 6, it explains more of why.

    I can tell you from experience (ahem, like i battle i have every stinkin day of my life..) that the more I seek out God's will for my life and try and follow his commandments, the more I have to completely rely on Him for the power to do it. I have to recognise right and wrong NOT to accomplish it by my power but to bring every aspect of my life into the light to give to God's power. So that he might do a greater work in me.

    Reading scripture and seeking to read and understand and apply it is like shining a light into our hearts. Without that light there are areas we choose to leave in darkness. That darkness is like the dead branches on trees that need to be pruned. It doesn't mean that there is no life to the tree, no Christ there at all. But we want to know right and wrong so that God's power can abide in every corner.

  36. Hmmmm, here's what's going on, I think.

    Yeah, James (and A.), I am mostly talking about stuff in the Bible that has to do with things yet to come, just to point out that there ARE things we can't totally understand.

    I do agree, and always have, that most of the Bible, especially the NT, is stuff that IS clearly articulated and that we can follow closely, e.g., "Love the Lord with all your heart..."

    A., right and wrong DOES matter, but our level of correctness regarding details does not. There's a very important distinction there, I think.

    And look, I know Romans very well, it's not like I forgot about Chapter six (it's actually what I was referring to). Of course we don't respond by continuing in our sin. How can we? But we don't stop sinning because we're supposed to (that would still be works based faith), we stop because we're changed by Christ, by grace alone. If we're concerned with our level and frequency of sin, then sin is still our reference point, and that's what Paul is telling us to change. Don't refer to sin, refer to Christ! He is our reference now. "Living in sin" doesn't just refer to the act of sinning, but to a state in which sin is still our reference point. Even if you never sinned, if sin was what mattered you would still be living under sin. Does that make sense? That's what Paul is talking about.

    I have to go to work...

  37. Dave,

    Thanks for articulating. What you said about Christ as our reference reminded me of something I always think of when people are battling sin in their lives- are we living a life that is "sin management" or Christ-seeking? When we follow Christ, our sin comes to light. And in response we put that sin under God's authority. Christ brings to light, God manages it through his spirit, and our job is to cling to Him. (how do you cling to God? through seeking Him) I'm just writing this about how I am in agreement with you upon this issue.

    Everything in scripture matters. That's why its written. Yes, there are more and less essential matters. Like the fact that Christ resureccted is more important of an issue than infant baptism. But even if I debate something like infant baptism, I want to hear scripture used in return, not "it doesn't matter" or "you can't really know" Some things scripture are painfully obvious, some things are clear, some things you have to dig a little deeper to know the answer, some things we may not be able to understand till heaven. But most 95% of the times I've ever heard "we can't understand", its because they haven't spent the time digging a little deeper.
    "We can't undertand" is usually the easy way out. Especially when I have the scripture to back up my statements, how can one say "oh, we can't understand"? The scripture explains it right there!
    YES you can come to conclusions on little AND big things!

    As far as Revelation goes, just because we won't know precisely what it will be like in those times till we experiences it, does not mean that we cannot understand any of it. In the scripture in Revelation that I posted earlier, it is what I would put in the category of "painfully obvious" that there is a NEW earth God is creating for his Kingdom. The decription is breathtaking if you read it and meditate on it.

    Once we have understood the "painfully obvious" things, is our seeking as a Christian complete? No! There is so much to uncover! Don't settle for just the obvious; seek out the hidden treasures!

  38. Very much agreed. I certainly didn't mean to come across as saying "we can't understand," like a cop-out (sp?). I really just wanted to remind us all, and especially myself, that we don't know everything with the same entirety that God does. I guess I could have made things easier by actually putting it that way...

  39. how much poetry do you read outside of the bible. revelation is a highly enegmatic text, filled with imagery and poetic devices that were not meant to be used literally. Now before you jump all over me and lable me some heritic that is sling lies left and right, realize that it is only the tendency of modernity to associate truth with literal reality. I don't agree with this base foundation at all. I think that truth in that fashion is A) limited and B) the truth of scripture was not recorded with that rule in mind. So yes I believe and firmly hold that God's truth is communicated to us, even in poetic and image filled language. However, I don't feel we need to hold to the literal intpretation of things that were not meant to be literal.

    I also realize the argument and critizism that the argument is open to. Such as who gets to decied what is literal and what is not. First I will same that I am still working out my salvation with fear and trembling, so I don't have all the answers. And to be honest I'm ok with that.

    To another point though, about language and such. To start the whole corpus of our cannon was a written in and re-recorded in several languages with vastly different cultures behind them. So I think that when we approach the text especially in English we first need to be aware that we are approaching something forgien. We need to understand that some images and stories and issues make much more sense in context. And so pulling verses from all over scripture and using them to construct an argument can be very dangerous and risky. One you cut out parts of scripture and set scripture up against scripture. Two pslams is very different in composition and intent from timothy. One is a personal letter sent to somebody and the other is a book of hebrew poetry. I believe they both have truth in them and both communicate truth to us. I do not believe they do it in the same way though. Enough of that though.

    What about justin's origional post. How are we bringing up young people today. How do we grow them in a manner that allows them to engage their world with a heathly and full peresective of biblical truth. How do we allow them to encounter the diversity of their tradition and see the merits of various and numerous voice all attesting to the truth of Jesus Christ. Our faith is open and diverse. It does have limits and boundaries, but I think that some have forgotten the diversity of our expressions. WE have four very different gospel texts. There are some differences that cannont be reconciled in these works. Yet each one was seem as attesting to the truth of Christ and His story. The early church like the judaism it came out of was ok and fine with diversity. So why aren't we.

  40. Dave said, "How right or wrong we are isn't what matters." It seems obvious to me that he was talking about the chief end of our life...

    If he didn't think being right or wrong mattered in any case, why would he be posting that comment?

    The turn the comments made is a good example of why I got a 2.low gpa and am going to teach english or write plays instead of work at a church.

  41. I am glad that the last anonymous (different I think than the other anonymous on the site-- names or pseudonames would be helpful by the way) message returned us to the original topic as well as gave a reasoned explanation of what it means to understand and read scripture. This goes to the point of what I was originally trying to challenge in the other anonymous' comments.
    However, I haven't written an original post in almost 2 months, so I am moving on. Thank-you all for your words and passion.