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  1. The Christian universalist tradition that I’m describing would not say that Hitler, Bundy, etc will achieve salvation without repentance or belief. Rather, it’s believed that God’s mercy and love will burn or purge away all sin and they will eventually come to repentance. Free will is still espoused in this view. Christians of this mindset do believe in Satan, demons, principalities and powers. In fact, David Bentley Hart’s writings have given me a much clearer understanding of these powers. These ideas date all the way back to the early church father, Origen. Origen believed that Satan would ultimately be redeemed as well, others have argued that he won’t, so that is debated within the universalist tradition. The purpose of confessing faith and the practice of it is Theosis, or becoming like Christ over time to put it another way. Practicing the faith is a great comfort, and it is transformative. It does not take care of itself according to the universalist tradition, those who don’t do it in this life will do it through hell/purgatory, just not for eternity. I’ve tried to answer your questions with just the brief facts of the tradition, but there is obviously a lot to unpack and understand for each of them, though it would be hard to do so in a forum post. I will say that before I was able to grasp universalist theology I had to shift much of my evangelical theology first. I had stopped seeing salvation as a yes or no definite issue as decided by a “sinner’s prayer.” I began to see salvation as a journey that we are either moving towards or away from. I quit seeing the point of salvation as heaven or hell but instead as being transformed by degrees into the likeness of Christ, the beatific vision and the Orthodox concept of Theosis.
  2. @Ordinary Shoesif you enjoyed the article you linked in your original post, I highly recommend his book, That All Shall be Saved. Reading David Bentley Hart convinced me of universalism. I’m with George MacDonald when he said, “when Protestants decided three places in the afterlife were too many, they got rid of the wrong one.” I believe that the experience of hell will have a restorative, or purgatorial effect and that all shall eventually be reconciled to Christ. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19-20. “For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.” Romans 11:32 Not trying to debate with others on their interpretation of scripture, but it is entirely possible to take the scriptures seriously and come to a universalist interpretation. For those that are interested and their biggest objection is scripture, I recommend The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbott.
  3. I relate to a lot of this so much. I’m also shy, introverted, and I have 2 kids with PANS and autism, so it’s super hard for me to connect with other moms. I was in the evangelical world that pushed fellowship, small groups and socializing, which I fully participated in, but never actually connected in a meaningful way with other women in the church. I guess that has made it easier for me to separate out the issue of my lack of connection with the type of church I attend. I’m going to have a hard time either way and it is lonely. At my Lutheran church there is a prayer shawl ministry that meets once a month to get together and knit or crochet blankets and shawls for those in need and chat (Pre-COVID). I’m the youngest woman that attends by a good 20 years but I really enjoy getting together with them. Maybe you can look for a hobby or volunteer group or start one affiliated with your church. It’s a lot easier for me with a smaller group that already has something in common.
  4. I don’t think that you can set aside the Eucharist or the sacramental from these discussions. I grew up SBC and in my 20s I began following some of the “celebrity” pastors in the reformed world, listening to them online, reading their books, etc. Sunday morning sermons in my small church did become a big let down in comparison with everything you can listen to online. The churches I attended were 3 songs and a sermon type formats and it all did feel very empty, I really only continued out of a sense of duty. I learned far more from listening to other pastors on my own time than I did on Sunday morning, and learning the Bible is set up as one of the main reasons for attending church in that denomination. It wasn’t until I grasped the Eucharist that I realized worship isn’t singing and a sermon in the first place. (I know many will disagree with this, I promise I’m not trying to be disrespectful of any denominations beliefs, just trying to explain my experience) Worship in all of the ancient religions culminated in a sacrifice which would then be consumed by the worshippers . Christ is our sacrifice and partaking in the Eucharist is the culmination of Christian worship. Praise songs/hymns and preaching from the Word are great and important, but no wonder it feels like you can get that same thing online...you can! The continual discussions about “how we should do church” when I was SBC drove me nuts...why do we need to keep reinventing the wheel here? I finally got off the merry go round and explored Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and eventually became Lutheran. Liturgy, confession and absolution, communion, and baptism made worship meaningful. I just don’t get gutting the central act of worship and then trying to invent a new way to get people to come. I hesitate to actually post this because I’m afraid it comes off as disrespectful to the beliefs of others. It’s just that the discussion on the Holy Post is SO close to where the light bulb finally came on for me that I can’t help but point it out. and yes Katie, just saw the last point you added and I agree. Non-sacramental churches used to provide community, but that can be had in so many ways now. People would rather connect over other interests.
  5. Would you mind sending me a pm with the new forum? I’m missing so many voices here!
  6. We’re waiting due to autoimmune disorders, fighting inflammation and previous vaccine reactions. I don’t know if the benefits will outweigh the risks for us in the future, but right now there isn’t enough data for me to feel comfortable. We’re also fine with continuing to stay home, masking, etc.
  7. Yes. LCMS Lutheran Masks required, temperature checks, hand sanitizer, half of the pews removed for social distancing, attendance is limited to 75 per service by reservation (10% of what we can hold in the sanctuary). We’re dismissed one row at a time after service, no congregating inside. Online streaming is ongoing and all Bible studies and classes are held online.
  8. In our area, the custom builds on your own lot are starting 100k higher for the same square footage as compared to production communities with optional upgrades. Definitely check into each production builder thoroughly, we found one that included a lot in their base price (Extra options in flooring, countertops, fixtures, hardware) that all of the other builders called upgrades.
  9. We moved recently and did over 500 books with them. I think we cleared around $600, so most went for pennies. My husband and sister actually ended up scanning most of the books while I was sorting through other areas of the house so I don’t know what got the highest value. I do know that Susan Wise Bauer’s ancient and Middle Ages history books went for a high price. Box sets went for fairly high prices (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Narnia, etc). My theology and church history books went for good prices (these were more scholarly texts, not devotionals). Rare and vintage biographies and living books that are popular on Charlotte Mason book lists also did well. Classics didn’t bring much.
  10. These posts capture how I parse evangelical vs. the broader Christian tradition . This is the evangelical world I grew up in. The emphasis was on decision theology and boiling everything down to just “my personal relationship with Jesus.” Greater church tradition and history were absent. To me, this is the key distinction between Evangelicals with a capital “e” and the more general idea that all Christians ought to evangelize.
  11. https://www.sellbackyourbook.com We sold hundreds to this website recently. Some books they only gave pennies for but others we got $20 or more and it all added up significantly. Just scan or type in your ISBN and box up the ones they’ll take. When your box is full you can get a shipping label (they pay shipping) for that box and then repeat.
  12. I was raised and remained SBC into my 30s. A combination of digging into theology, church history and a shift in SBC culture that has been discussed in the other thread led me to becoming Lutheran (LCMS). If that weren’t an option in my area I would become Catholic.
  13. We’re going through this process now. We went with a local builder who has several communities under construction in our area. To secure our lot and floor plan we had to pay 5% of the purchase price as well as 50% down on the upgrades we chose to add. Our close date on the new construction isn’t until July at the earliest. Expect a lot of delays due to Covid. We finally got our footing dug out today after 2 months of waiting! We decided to go ahead and sell our house and we’re renting an apartment with a 4 month lease and we’ll go month to month if necessary after that. We chose this for a few reasons. Our area is crazy competitive right now with very little inventory. We were able to sell within 24 hours for 10k over our asking price with a cash offer. This was with terrible carpets and significant repairs needed under the house (fully disclosed to buyer). Even now, more inventory is coming onto the market as people that have been on the fence about selling are beginning to list in our area. We wanted to beat the market downturn that may occur later this spring/early summer when we were ready to close on the new house. We also thought if we had a longer term between homes we could get better deals on an apartment. We didn’t want to be stuck with nowhere to go for just one month or two. While we looked into bridge loans, back to back closings, etc it just seemed stressful and I didn’t want anything that could possibly cause our deal to go south. In our area, getting a contract on a new construction contingent upon the sale of your home just means you’re not on the hook for the mortgage when the closing date comes, but you still lose the new house and any money paid upfront. Some builders in our area aren’t accepting contingent contracts at all as the market is so competitive now.
  14. We’re building this year and from what I’m hearing and reading, whites and grays are on the way out and bold colors are coming back in. I’m seeing lots of textured walls with molding and geometric wainscoting, peel and stick wall papers with floral prints, deep green and blue paint colors, etc. I’m still opting for a warm grey paint and black fixtures because it’s what I like. Keeping my traditional furniture and wall art keeps it from looking like a trend. Is “wall to wall books“ a decor style? Lol
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