BUT I'm reading the First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, and I'd like to at least log some thoughts on my reading. I hope someone else may benefit from these thoughts sometime in the future if/when they are dug up from a time capsule or somethin.
This letter is pretty much an exhortation to the Corinthians from what seems to be the elders at the church in Rome that these Corinthians would repent of some bad decisions and follow the path of righteousness. The half that I've read so far is not much more than a regurgitation of Scripture. Seriously, the bulk of the letter so far is one quotation after another, and this seems to me to be a great method of exhortation.
The few lines that gave rise to my posting of this comes from a paragraph focused on encouraging the Corinthians to make a sincere turn around and to let it show by the outward actions of their lives. Now, here's a few lines:
"Let us reflect how near He [God] is, and that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hid from Him. It is right, therefore, that we should not leave the post which His will has assigned us. Let us rather offend those men who are foolish, and inconsiderate, and lifted up, and who glory in the pride of their speech, than [offend] God."
I think this is a useful thought to meditate on. To "reflect" on the fact that God is as good as standing right next to us as we reason through our sinful thoughts (and can hear every one of them as though we were speaking them out loud) is a reality that would hopefully keep us from committing these heinous acts. How often would we actually sin if we could see Jesus standing next to us with His eyes fixed on us as they were on Peter just after He denied his Lord? The sad reality is that we might just do those things anyways. Though we may consider these things, would we act as one who actively holds down his knowledge of his creator?
But the quotation also gives a practical and relevant exhortation to be prepared to offend those unbelievers (or practical atheist who call themselves believers) instead of chancing an offense toward God. This is a very relevant exhortation in our time because we are faced with this just about every day. We are most likely faced with the temptation every day when we consider ourselves as the ones who are "foolish," "inconsiderate," and prideful. We cannot be caterers to those around us who have no concern for our relationship with God. We absolutely MUST fight the spiritual battle against ourselves and others as we are tempted to do those things that are displeasing to God.
And with all that being said, I think that the closing words of the paragraph are the most fitting ones for the close of this post:
For He is a Searcher of the thoughts and desires [of the heart]: His breath is in us; and when He pleases, He will take it away.
[all quotations are from chapter xxi of The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians--just in case you want to look them up...]