4,793 reputation
515
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location Pittsburgh, PA
age 64
visits member for 1 year, 6 months
seen 13 hours ago

For the last 57 years, I have been a practicing Christian (liberally conservative and evangelical). Should any posting I make to any Stack Exchange website pique your curiosity as to the what and why of my beliefs, feel free to communicate with me at drlarter@yahoo.com. I do not claim to have all the answers--let alone all the questions(!), but I would consider it a privilege to discuss Christianity with you in a rational and civilized fashion.

My wife (a native Egyptian and Christian) and I have been married over 41 years. We have two grown children who have flown the coop, making us empty nesters.

I have a Master's degree in Speech Communications and three years of doctoral studies in Rhetorical Theory at the University of Pittsburgh. After a brief stint as a teacher of public speaking, I embarked on a couple of different and totally divergent pursuits by owning and operating two small businesses.

Tired of being in business for myself, I went back to school at Duquesne University's Paralegal Institute in Pittsburgh, where I received a General Practice Certificate last December (2013). I am currently looking for employment in that field, and would like to round out the last stage of my work life in some area of jurisprudence.

A rhetorical perspective is almost as natural to me as breathing. Overt and covert attempts at persuasion, whether written or spoken, are my legitimate targets for analysis, evaluation, and criticism. Of particular interest to the EL&U web site contributors would be, with some adaptations and modifications, the traditional canons of speech: style (elocutio), invention (inventio), organization (dispositio), memorability (memoria), and delivery (pronuntiatio or actio) .


Jan
29
comment What is the basis for the LDS belief that religious truth is confirmed by what you feel?
@alvoutila: You're welcome, I'm sure. Thanks for thanking me! Be aware that I provide my email address in my "bio" page. I do this so that a person who wants to have further discussions with me in private can do so. Don
Jan
26
comment Why does the Coptic church still perform circumcisions?
worshiper of God as the Pentecostal believer who dances joyfully and lustily before the Lord in the aisle. King David, of course, danced before the LORD (see 2 Samuel 6:5-23, esp. vv.5 & 14), and Michal, King Saul's daughter Michal criticized him for it. In "New Testament terms," she quenched the Holy Spirit (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19 ASV). We mustn't confuse THEOLOGY with METHODOLOGY. Having grown up in a conservative, independently-minded Christian denomination, I heard this refrain frequently: "We strive to pattern ourselves after the NT church!" My riposte to that: "Oh really, which one?"
Jan
26
comment Why does the Coptic church still perform circumcisions?
@TheFreemason: True enough. At the same time, however, Protestants are no different from Catholics, or any Christian denomination for that matter, in that they "append" traditions to biblical "rules." There is nothing necessarily wrong about this phenomenon, since God is a God of variety, and as long as a tradition is not a clear violation of God's word (e.g., pastors/ministers/priest/vicars/rectors are free to commit adultery!). God delights in variety, and the person who sits reverently in his or her pew and worships God in the relative silence of, say, a Quaker assembly, is just as much a
Jan
23
comment Why is the Holy Spirit never spoken of as the Father of Jesus?
@BrianHitchcock: You shouldn't be surprised that different (and sometimes wildly contradictory) presuppositions give birth to all kinds of critters. What is gobbledegook to one person is the Rosetta Stone to another. And so it goes. Having been a committed Christian for nigh on 56 years, and having thought deeply and researched widely about what it is I believe and why, I find that I'm just scratching the surface of a massive rock of ages. There are depths to plumb that a million lifetimes could not exhaust. And that's OK with me. In the life to come I'll be plumbing for all I'm worth. Don
Jan
22
comment Why does the Coptic church still perform circumcisions?
Funny story about tradition. A Christian missionary regularly baptized new converts. Nothing non- or unbiblical about that, to be sure. For some reason, however, whenever he baptized someone, he used the same orange towel to dry the baptizee's face when s/he came out of the water. When the missionary had worked himself out of a job, so to speak, and the church had its own leaders who preached and taught and baptized, what did baptizers carry with them into the waters of baptism? You guessed it: an orange towel! Don
Jan
22
comment Why does the Coptic church still perform circumcisions?
Since when do churches--even entire denominations--need a biblical basis to do things? Now I'm not suggesting that Christian churches set out deliberately to ignore biblical teaching. Sometimes, however, non-biblical traditions and practices become entrenched. Then too, in some churches (e.g., Roman Catholic and perhaps Eastern Orthodox and the Copts), biblical authority is sometimes deemed less important than the authority of established traditions, particularly when a respected leader (e.g., a pope) makes a binding, infallible decision which eventually morphs into a tradition.
Jan
22
comment Is there a logical flow in 2 Timothy 2:4-7?
Part of your difficulty in making sense of the passage is 1) the wording of the KJV is perhaps making things more difficult for you than they need be; and 2) as @curiousdannii pointed out, below, a passage needs to read in context. Context is likely the most important factor in exegeting a passage; in fact, some scholars recommend we not read the "epistles" in piecemeal fashion, but read them from beginning to end, especially if we should find a given passage perplexing. This approach to interpretation makes very good sense to me. Perhaps you will find the approach helpful, too.
Jan
22
answered Why is the Holy Spirit never spoken of as the Father of Jesus?
Jan
21
revised The Correct Meaning of Genesis 6:3 - Also Flesh or Is Flesh?
tidied it up a bit; reworded it here and there for better clarity
Jan
19
revised What does “give that which is holy to dogs” mean?
erratum
Jan
11
revised What does “give that which is holy to dogs” mean?
cleaned it up a bit; corrected a few errata
Jan
11
revised What does “give that which is holy to dogs” mean?
added a few thoughts about Jesus' example
Jan
11
answered What does “give that which is holy to dogs” mean?
Jan
6
comment What is the Biblical backing for the perspective that our actions affect who makes it to heaven?
@JasonBray: Gotcha. Instead of "interpretation," I think you mean "application." A saying I learned a long time ago: "One interpretation; many applications." Don
Jan
5
comment Pride of the humble
Humility is a funny thing. As soon as you think you have it, chances are you don't! A verse from Romans 12: "For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he out to think; but to thing so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith" (v.3). Most Western Protestants would likely agree with this verse.
Jan
4
comment What is the Biblical backing for the perspective that our actions affect who makes it to heaven?
@JasonBray: There is no getting around a metaphorical (not allegorical) interpretation of Ezekiel 3. Ezekiel wasn't literally a watchman; he was a watchman metaphorically. He didn't stand on top of the walls surrounding a city and sound the alarm when he spotted enemy troops approaching. No, he preached repentance to both unbelievers and believers alike, warning them that if they do not turn from their sins, God will certain intervene in their lives. By the way, in Scripture, allegories are not as common as metaphors, but a famous one is found in 2 Samuel 12, where Nathan confronts King David.
Jan
3
comment How does the Catholic Church explain passages that seem to use culturally specific logic?
will bear this out. God is the head of Christ; Christ is the head of man; man is the head of woman. This is the divine order--and why Paul addresses HEAD coverings in chapter 11. Headship transcends culture universally, at least within Christianity. To this day, in some local assemblies of Christians, men take off their hats when in church, and women cover their heads with a mantilla. We needn't make a "fetish" of this practice, but here's a question to ponder: Why do men remove their hats during the "Star Spangled Banner" and while pledging allegiance to the flag? Don
Jan
3
revised What is the Biblical backing for the perspective that our actions affect who makes it to heaven?
provided a needed citation
Jan
3
revised What is the Biblical backing for the perspective that our actions affect who makes it to heaven?
brief touch-ups
Jan
3
answered What is the Biblical backing for the perspective that our actions affect who makes it to heaven?