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xahm

C.c. commanding pennies to stay on walls?

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Some extended family we will be seeing soon that have kids roughly the same ages as ours have been practicing their faith in the holy spirit by commanding pennies to stay on the wall when they place them there and then let go. I'm a practicing, believing Christian, but this is not part of my practice at all. To me it feels like claiming God is helping you do magic tricks, but to then, I gather, it is a way of exercising their faith to strengthen it. I am fine chatting about it with the adults if it or similar comes up. We have a good, respectful relationship and can disagree about things without fighting. What about with the kids? I don't know what to say if it comes up, particularly if both sets of kids are around at the time. 

Any advice? My husband isn't around right now to talk through this with, and he won't be back by the time we get together. I sometimes need to process things verbally to keep from making them a big deal in my head; that's the main reason I'm posting. It's his side of the family, if that matters.

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1 minute ago, EKS said:

No advice, but I have to know--does it work?

In the pictures it seems to. I don't know how long for, nor whether it is longer than they would stay if pressed against similar surfaces without the command.

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That seems highly irreverent to me. I have seen amazing things, but God doesn't exist to do parlor tricks for us. 😞  

Then the devil led Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You carefully; and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” But Jesus declared, “It also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’" (Luke 4)

As far as what to say if it's brought up in front of the children, while you are there--perhaps something like, "That's interesting, but that's not something we practice." Lather, rinse, repeat.

Reminds me of snake-handling. 

Edited by MercyA
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It seems like there’d be more beneficial things to do with time and energy— such as focus on world peace, or loving family relationships. Or volunteer at a soup kitchen...  or for that matter take up jogging

Edited by Pen
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1 minute ago, MercyA said:

That seems highly irreverent to me. I have seen amazing things, but God doesn't exist to do parlor tricks for us. 😞  

Then the devil led Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You carefully; and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” But Jesus declared, “It also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’" (Luke 4)

As far as what to say if it's brought up in front of the children, while you are there--perhaps something like, "That's interesting, but that's not something we practice." Lather, rinse, repeat.

Reminds me of snake-handling. 

That's the scripture that sprang to my mind as well. At least it's not putting anyone in danger, which makes it much better than snake handling to me, or less bad, I suppose. That's a good go-to line. I've used similar in other situations. Then I have to follow up with "we can discuss the why's later" because I have kids who really want to understand everything. 

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10 minutes ago, Mergath said:

That's, um, different.

Is this a common thing in certain religious circles?

Not in my circles(the conservative Presbyterian I grew up with or the moderate mainline protestant I am now), but I don't know about others. I'm guessing they didn't invent it in a vacuum, though.

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Here's an explanation that has more to do with physics and less to do with Jesus doing magic tricks: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=22610.0

My initial thought was that they're just pushing on the pennies hard enough to get them to stick into the paint for a second. 

Regardless of the science, I'd be leary of hanging out with people who think any religious figure is giving them the power to bend the laws of physics. It isn't a healthy mindset no matter which religion you are.

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This makes me so irritated.  It's stuff like this that will break those kids faiths one day.  They will finally learn it was "just physics" and lose their faith in God, because their faith was hanging by this sort of nonsensical stuff.  This is why I lost my faith, which thankfully, I found again.  (not pennies stuck to walls, but other hand-waving stuff without substance)

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1 minute ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

This makes me so irritated.  It's stuff like this that will break those kids faiths one day.  They will finally learn it was "just physics" and lose their faith in God, because their faith was hanging by this sort of nonsensical stuff.  This is why I lost my faith, which thankfully, I found again.  (not pennies stuck to walls, but other hand-waving stuff without substance)

Yes, along with maintaining the earth is 6,000 years old. 🏃🏼‍♀️<---[me running away]

(Most of my very best friends are young earthers, and I love them dearly, but, man, people wonder why kids lose their faith when they go to college. It makes me crazy!)

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I would explain to them ahead of time that there are different types of Christians out there.  Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc.  And that we all believe in Jesus, but may have different practices because we can interpret the Bible in different ways.  Some people only take the Lord's supper once a month; whereas, we do it once a week.  etc.  I explain that this is why it is important to learn how to read and analyze, so they can eventually read the bible (Koran, etc) themselves and find the truth themselves. 

after the visitation, I would ask them if they had any questions.  I would also explain to them what that side of the family believes in and what we believe in. 

during the visitation, I would be comfortable with saying, "That is pretty cool (to the other kids). and then turn to my kids and say this is what they believe in, but not what we believe in and I can explain later."  If the other kids ask what are you going to explain later, I would say, "I respect that your family believes in this, but my husband and I don't.  I can't explain it to you right now, but perhaps your mom can explain why we don't to you."

hth

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13 minutes ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

This makes me so irritated.  It's stuff like this that will break those kids faiths one day.  They will finally learn it was "just physics" and lose their faith in God, because their faith was hanging by this sort of nonsensical stuff.  This is why I lost my faith, which thankfully, I found again.  (not pennies stuck to walls, but other hand-waving stuff without substance)

It's actually this that makes me consider saying more, if it comes up, especially if the parents are around so that I'm not seen as secretly undermining. Just something like, "that's cool, but I think God saves his miracles to be special things. He commanded us to fill the earth and subdue it, which I think means we are supposed to study and understand things. We wouldn't be able to do that very well if God was always breaking the rules he wrote!" That sounds really casual and not at all rehearsed, right, haha.

I'm very thankful for a college Bible prof who taught different ways "Bible believing" Christians interpret Genesis. That had a big impact on keeping me from feeling like I had to leave the church.

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32 minutes ago, Mergath said:

Here's an explanation that has more to do with physics and less to do with Jesus doing magic tricks: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=22610.0

 

Interesting.  

Maybe xahm’s kids could read that (or listen to it) and  try it as a science experiment before the other people arrive.  

 

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5 minutes ago, xahm said:

It's actually this that makes me consider saying more, if it comes up, especially if the parents are around so that I'm not seen as secretly undermining. Just something like, "that's cool, but I think God saves his miracles to be special things. He commanded us to fill the earth and subdue it, which I think means we are supposed to study and understand things. We wouldn't be able to do that very well if God was always breaking the rules he wrote!" That sounds really casual and not at all rehearsed, right, haha.

I'm very thankful for a college Bible prof who taught different ways "Bible believing" Christians interpret Genesis. That had a big impact on keeping me from feeling like I had to leave the church.

 

Well, frankly, I'd be tempted to say, "Oh!  I read an article about that, and it's actually physics in action!  Here's why blah blah blah.  I think it's absolutely amazing that God can be seen in the laws of physics at work.  I would not call it a miracle though."  

BUT, let's just hope the entire topic is avoided.  Ugh.  

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Ugh. I was really hoping someone was asking about command adhesive and pennies in spite of the CC label!

I hope it doesn't come up, but if it does, I think I would be pretty firm about making that topic a one-time discussion around my kids (and maybe around me). A lot of things I heard as a kid are things that I think are seriously messed up now, although I am still a practicing Christian (and pretty conservative). Not that anyone in our circles was hanging pennies by faith, but there were a few head scratchers with special speakers or someone with esoteric spiritual interests. 

At the very least, "Better uses of our God-given time" could maybe be on one way to divert the conversation. I suppose it would be nicer to say something like, "God has called our family to exercise our faith in xyz matters, not this one."

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"And Jesus said, 'Go into all the world commanding coins against walls.l..'" Um, no.
"And Jesus said, 'If you love me you'll stick coins to walls...'" Nope.
"And Jesus picked up a coin and said, "Render unto the wall what is the wall's..." Nuh uh.
"And the disciples went out two by two through faith sticking coins to walls...." Nope. 

Can't think of any examples of believers doing little tricks in NT.  Those who did perform supernatural acts physically healed people, cast out demons, or had supernatural abilities to speak understand earthly languages they never studied to spread the gospel message.  When the coin sticking bunch manages to heal someone, they can let me know.  When they are in a situation without an interpreter and need to preach a sermon in someone else's native language, I'd love to hear about it. When someone is not responding to psychiatric meds and participates in self-harm and hears voices and the coin bunch prays, fasts, and verbally command it to leave and it does, I'm all ears. Until then, I'm not impressed by their pointless acts of propping up pennies.  

What to say to the kids?  Well I'd be honest and direct, "I don't see any biblical precedent for anything like that.  Jesus gave us lots of commands about living our faith, but that wasn't one of them."

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I've seen this nonsense before, and it is, as the PP pointed out, a physics parlor trick. I like the idea of showing it to your own kids in advance so they are prepared if it comes up.

With my own kids, in private, I would say something along the lines of: "There are some people who believe that Jesus commands us to have faith so he will do things for us. We do not believe that way. We believe that God has already made promises to us (insert specifics about what your family believes those promises entail here) and that he keeps those promises because he is good and trustworthy and he loves us. We have faith because we know we can trust him to give us good things, not so that he will."

I'd do all that prior to the visit if possible. If the penny trick makes an appearance during the visit, I'd instruct my kids to say, "That's cool, want a popsicle?"

 

Edited by PeachyDoodle
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blink blink

1 hour ago, xahm said:

It's actually this that makes me consider saying more, if it comes up, especially if the parents are around so that I'm not seen as secretly undermining. Just something like, "that's cool, but I think God saves his miracles to be special things. He commanded us to fill the earth and subdue it, which I think means we are supposed to study and understand things. We wouldn't be able to do that very well if God was always breaking the rules he wrote!" That sounds really casual and not at all rehearsed, right, haha.

I'm very thankful for a college Bible prof who taught different ways "Bible believing" Christians interpret Genesis. That had a big impact on keeping me from feeling like I had to leave the church.

I don't think I'd even bring God into it.  I'd probably say something like "Isn't physics phun?"  I love physics.  (none of my kids went into physics.  1ds did take a plasma physics class - and after an 😱 experience (shared by most of the class), dropped it to save his gpa.)

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2 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

This makes me so irritated.  It's stuff like this that will break those kids faiths one day.  They will finally learn it was "just physics" and lose their faith in God, because their faith was hanging by this sort of nonsensical stuff.  This is why I lost my faith, which thankfully, I found again.  (not pennies stuck to walls, but other hand-waving stuff without substance)

You’re not wrong...

2 hours ago, MercyA said:

Yes, along with maintaining the earth is 6,000 years old. 🏃🏼‍♀️<---[me running away]

(Most of my very best friends are young earthers, and I love them dearly, but, man, people wonder why kids lose their faith when they go to college. It makes me crazy!)

Nor you.

 

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6 minutes ago, klmama said:

Now I want to find a penny....

I've found some success holding it in my palm for a bit, then pushing it onto a painted surface with my thumbnails.

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We used to do this when I was a kid - no religious association just sticking coins to the wall for fun to see how long they stay there.  How on earth could anyone have turned that into a religious thing?  There’s so much crazy out there.

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5 hours ago, xahm said:

I've found some success holding it in my palm for a bit, then pushing it onto a painted surface with my thumbnails.

 

I tried this ... and lost 2 pennies so far.   The magic seems to be that when they fall they don’t just drop down ... they seem to leap away ... it might be related to the jeans and towel coming through the dryer

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If I could say, "The power of Christ compels you!" and make something happen, you'd better believe it would not be sticking a penny to a wall. I'm not really a Christian anymore, but this is not anything like the Christianity I grew up in.

If it comes up in mixed family company, I'd say something about respecting different nuances of belief and faith. To my own kids, I'd explain both why that's not compatible with your views of God, but also why it's important to be polite and respectful to others and how to change the subject.

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I don't think I can possibly roll my eyes hard enough. These are the kinds of (homeschooled) Christian kids my kids kept running in to when they were younger. My kids would go over to their house/youth group/whatever at their invitation and come back with the most wackadoodle stories about this-or-that being done in the name of Jesus. We had a lot of discussions along the lines of, If God were doing some sort of magic through a person.... is (sticking pennies to walls, etc, etc) what He would be doing with His time? (because the Jesus in MY Bible spent his time doing things like healing the sick and feeding the hungry. And God was turning water to blood and parting seas. Can't quite remember meaningless parlor tricks being on the agenda)

Eventually, we just made an across-the-board rule that no further invites were accepted to youth group activities - even if it was going to a theme park. Just. No.

If it were family, so we HAD to visit, I'd do what others have suggested and show my kids the "trick" beforehand so they won't be all oooooohing and aaahhhhhing over it. This way, when the relatives/kids are inspired by God to stick pennies to walls (🙄), my kids would just go "oh, I can do that too," and would move right along to something else with their interest.

Edited by easypeasy
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I admit, when I saw the thread title... It made me think of people who have used pennies as TILEs, for counters, floors, and walls.   put them in the mortar bed, then a clear coat sealant on top.

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God has not promised to keep pennies on walls.  While we can pray for this, it seems like a dare more than a prayer, which is very close to tempting God, not good at all.  

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Gosh, sometimes I think I'm gonna lose it one day, and just spew out, "Who taught you THAT crap?" 

Image result for meme holy spirit golden girls hand over mouth

Edited by Chris in VA
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This seems dangerous.  If kids think they can make something stick to the wall with their faith, what else might they conclude that they should be able to do with their faith? 

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Tell them, "When their kids start turning water in wine,  let's talk (and have a dinner party)."

That is just craziness and right up there with heresy , Bill Johnson, and all the Bethel Church nuttiness.  

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I would definitely have a discussion with the kids about the errors in this theology and the heresy of trying to perform signs and wonders in the name of Christ.  If they’re old enough.  If they’re not, I’d take the family members aside and tell them to not do that with the children, please.  

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7 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

I admit, when I saw the thread title... It made me think of people who have used pennies as TILEs, for counters, floors, and walls.   put them in the mortar bed, then a clear coat sealant on top.

A permanent testament to faith... or your know... the sticking power of mortar and sealant.

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To be clear, the people doing this are people I generally like a lot. They just get really excited about their faith and ideas about it, and their church has a lot of people like them and not so many older, calmer people direct the energy. They've had experiences with the opposite kind of church, where there are very few people with enthusiasm about Christianity and lots of older people there to need 15 committee meetings to decide whether the church should sing 2 hymns and a praise and worship song or just 3 hymns, then pat themselves on the back for how quickly they moved (exaggeration, yes). I know where they are coming from, but the weirdness they jump to still seems weird, and when their kid tells my kid something off the wall, I don't want to do anything to underminemyself,  the parents, their faith, or their future faith. It's tough.

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26 minutes ago, xahm said:

To be clear, the people doing this are people I generally like a lot. They just get really excited about their faith and ideas about it, and their church has a lot of people like them and not so many older, calmer people direct the energy. They've had experiences with the opposite kind of church, where there are very few people with enthusiasm about Christianity and lots of older people there to need 15 committee meetings to decide whether the church should sing 2 hymns and a praise and worship song or just 3 hymns, then pat themselves on the back for how quickly they moved (exaggeration, yes). I know where they are coming from, but the weirdness they jump to still seems weird, and when their kid tells my kid something off the wall, I don't want to do anything to underminemyself,  the parents, their faith, or their future faith. It's tough.

 

I think the suggestion above to turn the conversation towards the amazing way God designed physics to be the most graceful approach. Then y’all can be all “wow isn’t that cool” together, acknowledging the science and the Lord at the same time. 

You might want to google a few other gravity-defying sort of party tricks to share while you’re there. 

And, if it were me, I’d be working on some really graceful way to say that I’d prefer not to reduce prayer to an abracadabra. 

 

ETA here’s one of our favorites 

https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/balancing-forks/

Edited by Seasider too
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This is a new one for me, but apparently, it's a thing - Youtube has lots of videos of people sticking things. Who knew??  https://finallyhuman.com/2012/11/09/the-theology-of-coins-on-the-wall/  http://therisinglight.com/2010/07/09/coins-and-more-held-to-walls-and-other-surfaces-by-faith-god-having-fun-with-his-kiddies/

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I just stuck pennies to every wall I tried...I didn't pray so I guess you can all try sticking things to walls in the name of happi duck because apparently I have coin sticking power all on my own.

We attended a church sort of like this some years ago.  It was a terrible experience.

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Considering that you know these people well and like them, maybe this is the sort of thing that's worth a heart-to-heart phone call before the visit.  "I've been thinking about this penny thing you're doing, and it really makes me uncomfortable.  Here are some verses that I think directly contradict this sort of party trick, and here is some physics explaining why it really happens.  I would really prefer you not show this around my kids, because I feel the need to be entirely honest with my kids about it and the physical reasons it occurs, and I don't want to offend you or your kids in the meantime."

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2 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

Considering that you know these people well and like them, maybe this is the sort of thing that's worth a heart-to-heart phone call before the visit.  "I've been thinking about this penny thing you're doing, and it really makes me uncomfortable.  Here are some verses that I think directly contradict this sort of party trick, and here is some physics explaining why it really happens.  I would really prefer you not show this around my kids, because I feel the need to be entirely honest with my kids about it and the physical reasons it occurs, and I don't want to offend you or your kids in the meantime."

maybe even include "if you do, (and attribute it to only working because of Faith in God) I'll explain the physics of it to your kids..."   if you get my drift...

 

I recall years ago, one man in our church - who would go around and share what were, effectively, made up stories.  he claimed to do so to build faith.  I was a very new believer at the time - I felt like a fool when it came out.  (the church effectively 'retired' him so he was no longer in a position to do this carp, since he didn't stop doing it on his own when told to do so.).   so I agree, these types of parlor tricks are dangerous - and they do NOT build the type of faith that matters.  the type of faith that will sustain you when the going gets tough.

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