Friday, May 29, 2009

he should stop trying so hard

A sojo writer is again trying too hard, trying to read too much into modern-day things and the Bible to make his liberal point.

He tries to use the account in the book of Ruth as a way to bludgeon the US, particularly conservatives, and it just won't work.

What if the Bible’s Ruth Came to America Today?

In the biblical story, Ruth was a foreigner from the nation of Moab, which was despised by all patriotic and God-fearing Israelites. Yet when she came to Israel as a widow, companion to her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, she was welcomed onto the fields of Boaz, where she gleaned what the regular harvesters had left behind. Boaz made sure that even this despised foreigner had a decent job at decent pay. When she went one night to the barn where the barley crop was being threshed, he spent the night with her — and decided to marry her.

First, I will say that the most distasteful thing here is the insinuation (which is repeated later and more clearly) that the time Esther met with Boaz on the threshing floor was a sexual encounter between the two of them.

When she boldly “uncovers the feet” of Boaz during the night they spend together on the threshing floor, has she violated the “family values” that some religious folk now proclaim? Or has she affirmed that love engages the body as well as the heart, the mind, and the spirit, and that sometimes a loving body comes before a wedding?

The Bible does not say that, and for this writer to say that reveals his agenda. He is clearly insinuating that moral bounds have no place where "love" is concerned--in other words, that sex outside of marriage is ok so long as the two "love" each other (one may also wonder if he is working in the "love" argument of the homo/trans/whateversexuals, too.)

In the biblical story, Ruth was a foreigner from the nation of Moab, which was despised by all patriotic and God-fearing Israelites. Yet when she came to Israel as a widow, companion to her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, she was welcomed onto the fields of Boaz, where she gleaned what the regular harvesters had left behind. Boaz made sure that even this despised foreigner had a decent job at decent pay. When she went one night to the barn where the barley crop was being threshed, he spent the night with her — and decided to marry her.

Here is a bit, from the biblical account.

1 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz.
2 And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor."
Naomi said to her, "Go ahead, my daughter."
3 So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The LORD be with you!"
"The LORD bless you!" they called back.
5 Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, "Whose young woman is that?"
6 The foreman replied, "She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi.
7 She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter."
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, "My daughter, listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls.
9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled."
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, "Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?"
11 Boaz replied, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.
12 May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."

One wonders if this blogger would have approved of Boaz, if this were to happen today. After all, Boaz seems to have based his decision on allowing Ruth to continue gleaning on her character, not her status as poor/immigrant/foreign/whatever PC label may or may not fit. He knew of Ruth's support for Naomi, and of her leaving her home (and perhaps by extension her false gods) to come to Israel. I could as easily see this blogger saying Boaz was being discriminatory in his hiring, because he took her actions and character in account in his decision.

In ancient Israel, everyone had the right simply to walk onto a field and begin to work, begin to use the means of production of that era. And then to eat what they had gathered.

I would like to see what scripture he has in support of that position. Perhaps it's there, but he gives nothing for it here.

Here is a bit about the gleaning that Ruth did.

Levitcus 19
9 " 'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23
22 " 'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.' "

One thing that isn't in dispute in these passages is that the one who owned and worked or paid workers was entitled to the lion's share of the harvest, and even the first of it. And even with the gleaning, it was hardly a "wait for a check in the mail" type of thing--the poor people had to actually get out and do some work to get the food, not expect the government to do the work for them.

Parts of the blogger's entry are simply ridiculous, as he tries to vilify the US.

Would she be admitted at the border?
Or would she be detained for months without a lawyer, ripped from Naomi’s arms while Naomi’s protest brought her too under suspicion — detained because she was, after all, a Canaanite who spoke some variety of Arabic, possibly a terrorist, for sure an idolator?
Would she be deported as merely an “economic refugee,” not a worthy candidate for asylum?
Would she have to show a “green card” before she could get a job gleaning at any farm, restaurant, or hospital?
Would she be sent to “workfare” with no protections for her dignity, her freedom, or her health?
Would she face contempt because she and Naomi, traveling without a man, might be a lesbian couple?
Would she be waterboarded — drowned again and again, revived at the point of death to be drowned yet again — until she confessed that she had supplied a foreign enemy with mass-destruction weapons to attack America?

Perhaps he should go out into the real world, and see how immigrants are actually treated here, instead of relying on biased sources that have their own political leanings and agendas (though this man has them himself, so I doubt he's going to look hard to see contrary evidence, no matter how obvious it is). And his comments about waterboarding her can only be seen as a stretch, as that was done only to known terrorists.

This blogger's article is silly to the point of hilarious. Whatever point he's trying to make is lost in his biases and agendas and poor support for whatever scriptural claims he's trying to make (and, again, the fact that he's saying that premarital sex is ok only makes one wonder what other bad interpretations he's using).

This Sojo article is Total Fail.

Monday, May 25, 2009


My family has a bit of military history. My father was in the military, as was my brother, as is one of my brothers-in-law. When I was in college, I attempted to join the ROTC, though I was not accepted.

Without shame, I have much respect and honor for those who serve honorably in our military. And none at all for those who seek to spread lies and defamations about them.

I grant the possibility of a person being a thoughtful and principled pacifist, but I've met few if any of them. My own view of most of those I've had any kind of contact with is that, they are the kinds of people who will gladly take the freedoms (freedoms of speech, assembly, the press, and so on) won for them by the sacrifices of warriors who fought to gain them, and use them to criticize and castigate the ones who have and are now defending those rights for them.

Someone else wrote a very good piece about Christians and the military. The writer, one Kevin DeYoung, says very well things that I think, too.

Why Memorial Day is Worth Remembering

1. Being a soldier is not a sub-Christian activity. In Luke 3, John the Baptist warns the people to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. The crowds respond favorably to his message and ask him, “What then shall we do?” John tells the rich man to share his tunics, the tax collectors to collect only what belongs to them, and the soldiers to stop their extortion. If ever there was a time to tell the soldiers that true repentance meant resigning from the army, surely this was the time. And yet, John does not tell them that they must give up soldier-work to bear fruit, only that they need to be honest soldiers. The Centurion is even held up by Jesus as the best example of faith he’s seen in Israel (Luke 7:9). Military service, when executed with integrity and in the Spirit of God, is a suitable vocation for the people of God.

5. This may be controversial to some, but I believe the facts of history will demonstrate that on the whole, the United States military has been a force for good in the world. Obviously, as a military power, we have blundered at times, both individually and corporately. But on the whole, the men and women of our armed services have fought and are fighting for causes that promote freedom, defend the rights of human beings, and reject tyranny. War is still hell and a tragic result of the fall. Praise God for his promise to one day end all human conflict. But in a world where people are evil by nature and leaders are not always reasonable and countries do not always have good intentions, war is sometimes the way to peace–at least the best peace we can hope for between peoples and nations this side of heaven.

There is more to it, and I hope you will read it. It is worth reading.

(oh, and you emergents (yes i know you're out there), maybe just maybe, in a faint whisper so none of your leftie pacifists friends can hear you (because we all know how ugly those peace-loving types get when you don't agree with them), maybe you'll want to show at least enough integrity to whisper a "thank you" to the soldiers who gave you the freedom to blog against them and what they do, ok? thanks)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the whole smorgasbord

First, a bit of a reminder, from the Ooze.

MYTH #6: You Must Believe Jesus Is the Son of God To Follow Him.

Because it may help to explain this.


So, from the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (not mentioning the athiesm of humanism), we now have a practicing Hindu on their council.

Prediction--They'll soon be adding a Buddhist, too. Not long after that, a shaman. Or maybe the shaman will come first, but I suppose the Buddhist would more politic, since it is a major religion.

Because now the door is open to the polytheistic religions (though if Buddhism is nontheistic, and a humanist was already a part of it, then why has it taken so long to put a Buddhists in the mix?)

It would be almost amusing to watch, if it weren't sad. Some people will go to such great lengths to do things any way but God's way.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Like many people, I believe in the Bible because I believe in God. But I know plenty of people who think it ought to happen the other way around, that a person needs to believe the Bible in order to believe in God. So they'll give a Bible to a non-Christian in the hope that by reading about God, that person will be enlightened. Certainly that can happen, but it seems kind of backward to me. I mean, what possible reason would someone have for believing this story if they didn't already believe in God?
Doug Pagitt, A Christianity Worth Believing, p. 64

A bit ago, I saw a couple of accounts from this video.

More Than Dreams - DVD

The two I saw were the accounts of Khalil and Khosrow.

One thing of note in each of their accounts was that, for each of them, their starting point was the Bible--Khalil was given the assignment to study the Bible so as to prove it wrong, and Khosrow was given a New Testament when he visited a church.

Here is another site, with links to YouTube versions of the videos.

More Than Dreams: The Power of the Bible

Romans 10:17 (New International Version)
17Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

How could they have knows what to believe, had they not started with the Bible? These were men who already had faith in a god, what could have changed that except the Word of God?

Thursday, May 21, 2009


A few weeks ago, I made comment on what an emergent named Rollins said, that I could only call "Evil". This time, another emergent at The Ooze has come out with something that I can only call "Filth".


I think for many of us we read the scriptures and pass over verses and sometimes whole chapters and not realize the explicit graphic sexual and violent content that is found within them. With the help of Queer Theory and a bit of Poststructrualist pizzazz, I seek to disrupt a normal reading of Revelation 17 as an attempt to bring about more dialogue and to help others to see the divinely inspired horror that lies within some of our sacred biblical passages.

First, a link to the "real" Revelation 17

Revelation 17

And now, what the Ooze writer has to say.

We have an interesting situation where this mysterious messenger with seven bowls in hand came to this supposed holy man named John. We are not sure if this messenger was a guy or a girl but whoever he or she was, he/she was perfect. I am not sure what was in the bowls but whatever it was sure smelled funny. This messenger strangely enough, wanted to take John of all people, to a sadistic porno of sorts starring an amazingly beautiful and alluring drag queen prostitute. Apparently John did not resist.

Little did John know that this kinky sexcapade would also involve some kind of animal or wild beast dressed in some sort of weird sex suit with some horns and heads sticking out of it with whom the fancifully dressed prostitute would ride like a wild cowgirl while she spewed nasty, degrading and blasphemous dirty talk at the poor animal.

compare that with the real thing.

1One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. 2With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries."
3Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5This title was written on her forehead:
6I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.

First, there is nothing pornographic about what the Bible really says here. It is a view of evil, yes, but there is no hint of what the emergent writer is trying to find it in.

Second, there is no hint in the biblical passage of the harlot spewing "nasty, degrading and blasphemous dirty talk at the poor animal". The biblical passage does, however, say "the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus". If this emergent joker is trying to say that the beast the woman rode on is the church, than I would say that he or she has not clue on how to read.

This emergent's perversion of the biblical account of the vision given to John has to rank among the most vile things I've ever read.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

is this a stretch?

I don't think so.

Ok, here's how it's gone...

Emergent Village recent had a blog entry that pimped for the ideas of Matthew Fox, among other things.

This Fox guy, proving that one can make a farce out of real dramatic history, wrote 95 Theses.

They can be found at Yes Magazine

This magazine has a Our Own Agenda :: 10 Policies For a Better America

Here's what they say...

Bring back the Fairness Doctrine and get broadcasters to open the people's airwaves to fee campaign information.

Translated: Do away with free speech.

btw How are radio stations the "people's airwaves"? And doesn't that rhetoric sound suspiciously like what communist leaders say to pull the wool over the eyes of those they want to put under their red thumbs?

Restore voting rights to ex-felons who have served their sentences.

Because there's not better pro-lib no-punishment constituency than ex-cons.

Increase minimum wage and worker protection for all, documented and undocumented.

So, we should should make sure the people here illegally get paid by a rate set by law? Does anyone else see the irony in that?

Adopt the Employee Free Choice Act to increase opportunities to unionize.

Translated: Make sure the union bullies get bully everyone with a not-secret ballot.

Provide everyone vacation and family leave.

Yeah, because we all need the law to make sure we get days off.

Provide gay and lesbian couples with the legal protections afforded to straight couples.

Yeah, sliding down the slippery slope of legalizing anything that involves sex.

There're other things there, too. It's pretty much a liberal screed.

And one can ask, and I think rightly, if this is another indication of the direction in which emergent is going.

And I think the answer is, quite resoundingly, "YES, IT IS!!!"

Which is why they are the ones who need to do the repenting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

doing injustice in the name of justice?

Two things define 'justice' in a biblical context.

First, there is no understanding without standing under.

Second, the question is not "What are you standing for?" but "Who are you standing with?"
Leonard Sweet, in a 'meditation' in the book "Justice in the Burbs" by Will and Lisa Samson, p. 94-95

Actually, I can't think of a more sure way to bring to about injustice than by saying it's about "Who are you standing with?"

First, is his claim true? Is this what the Bible teaches? Consider these passages.

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge you neighbor fairly.
Leviticus 18:17

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,

and do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit.
Exodus 23:2-3

Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike.
Deuteronomy 1:17a

The Bible does say much about making sure the poor are treated justly, and that's understandable. It's the rich, after all, who are able to bribe and influence in order to have unjust decision made in their favor. Such is human nature.

But as can be seen in the passages above, the Bible most certainly does NOT say that justice is siding with the poor. The poor and the rich are both to be shown justice. It is no more right to favor the poor over the rich then it is to favor the rich over the poor.

So, I think Sweet is dead wrong in what he writes. Justice is about "What are you standing for?" Justice is about treating all justly, with no favoritism and no partiality.

And one can see how Sweet's ideas can only backfire--demonizing the rich as oppressors and exploiters without regards to whether a rich person is that way or not; enforcing taxation policies which are designed to punish those who work and succeed in gaining wealth while rewarding those who did not work for it; spreading poverty by taking away the incentive to better one's life through the reliance on a small but (theoretically) steady stream of welfare funds.

If you think I'm reaching in my logic, consider this.

Obama Sees Supreme Court Justices as Champions of the Weak Over the Strong
For Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, Supreme Court justices should champion the weak against the strong.

Obama outlined his views on justices in the speeches he gave on the Senate floor in opposition to the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

In both speeches, the Illinois Democrat chastised the nominees not for their positions on specific constitutional issues or matters of law but for what he perceived as too often siding with the strong instead of the weak. He chargied Roberts, for example, with being dismissive of claims of racial and gender discrimination and criticized Alito for making a habit out of siding with government and corporations against plaintiffs and workers.

These article is from last year, right before the US made the currently abyssmal decision to put this man into our highest office.

But for the sake of this discussion, focus on what he's saying--that the courts should favor the poor against the rich. How different that is from what the Bible really says, that neither poor nor rich should be favored.

Obama and Sweet are supporting injustice, pure and simple.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

weighed and found wanting

Heal or heel?

While the Bible shows that God can heal people supernaturally, claims of particular faith-healers should be examined. Here’s what WORLD learned about the “Lakeland Outpouring” healings of television preacher Todd Bentley

This whole article is an indictment against those in WoF and apostolic/prophetic movement that try to make much over someone who claims to have "power" or "the anointing" or "the power of God" or whatever they wish to call it.

It's pathetic that these so-called prophets and apostles and healers can be so easily duped, and do nothing or next-to-nothing, and even endorse, when these charlatans come along, draw bigs crowds, draw in big bucks, put on a big show, make a loud noise, and claim big things while not deliving much of anything.

At the height of what many called a revival, WORLD asked Bentley to talk about the healings, like Fogle's, and asked for a list of people who had been healed at the services. His associates told me Bentley was out of the country and a list could not be produced. But six weeks and more than a dozen requests later, the ministry eventually sent a list of 13 names. Fogle was No. 12 on the list, along with this note: "Healed through the Outpouring and is back to fishing."

That was on Aug. 8, 2008. There was just one problem. Two weeks earlier, on July 22, Christopher A. Fogle—according to his obituary in the Keokuk (Iowa) Daily Gate City, "left this life . . . after a courageous battle with cancer."

When contacted, Ansley confirmed that she had attended the Lakeland Outpouring for about a week, and she confirmed that she did ask for prayer for an old skiing accident. She said that after the prayers the knee "was not as stiff" as it had been. As for the migraines: "I still have migraines," she said.

And then there's this person, who gives a whole other meaning to what some may mean when they say they have been 'healed'.

Not only did any healing take place elsewhere, Smith now admits that the scans are not now clear. "The doctors tell me that my numbers are going up," said Smith, who told me that she, too, had a healing ministry. "But we don't buy into that. That's a fact, but it's not the truth. The truth is that I've been healed."

Not sure where the Bible says that we should stick our fingers in our ears and ignore when told bad news about our health. Must have missed that somewhere.

Anyway, this article highlights one of my frustrations with charismatics. I'm someone who believes that the gifts are still for today, which is one reason I'm not a very good Baptist. At the same time, it seems that most charismatics are going off-the-deep-end with regards to legitimzing anything that has 'manifestations' and uses the right lingo.

Charismatics need to stop letting these fakers get away with it. More than that, they need to stop letting their apostolic/prophetic "leaders" get away with letting this kind of thing go on, let alone legitmizing it. Which means they need to stop just taking the words of these apostles and prophets without discernment, but to weigh what they are saying by the Bible and see if it's really so. And if these apostles and prophets get their undies in a knot over that, well, that probably answers the question very well.

Monday, May 4, 2009

an athiest gets it

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

The whole article is a fascinating read, and I recommend it. My main focus here has to do with these words of his.

Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take the initiative, won't take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.

Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.

Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the know-how that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.

In my reading of emergents, one of the bogeymen they often come out against is individualism. They question of concept of God saving individuals, and stress instead concepts of community and group-think. One of their 'churches' even has the congregation help in making it's services.

But this athiest sees the truth, that Christian individualism is a good thing.

Rather, this now holistic trend emergents are so hyped on is nothing more than a new form of conformity and servitude, where the group decides, and please check your brain at the door lest your opinions not be conducive to the conversation, and state are opinions in the form of a question, and please don't expect an answer. We will tell you how to think, after you're sufficiently conditioned by our mystical disciplines to be open to acceptance without question.

And you will do as we say, or else your loving and caring emergent cohorts will sorrowfully kick you out and call you a Modernist or Fundamentalist or some such thing and say that you were ruining the conversation and not giving off good vibrations or some such thing.

Yeah, something like that.

Sad, when the committed athiest sees things the uncommitted good-as-athiests don't.