Wednesday, September 30, 2009

irony, thy name is the next page

There are times when the irony is so thick, one wonders how the author didn't get slapped up side the head with it while he was writing.

Consider this, from McLaren's "The Secret Message of Jesus", p. 118.

I should acknowledge that many people assume the sermon (Sermon on the Mount) intends to answer one question--namely, "How does an individual go to heaven after death?"...I have become convinced that Jesus is exploring a very different set of questions--... Rather then directing our attention to life after death in heaven, away from this life and beyond history, these questions return our focus to the here and now--and in so doing, they provide an essential window into Jesus' secret message.

While granting that the Sermon on the Mount is about more than getting to Heaven, the irony comes in when you actually consider some of the things Jesus said in it, which McLaren actually has written out over the next few pages in his book.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kind of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven...

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisess, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
pp. 119, 120

These are parts of the Sermon, and are early in the record of it. And we see Jesus telling about the kingdom of heaven and rewards in heaven. Far from being peripheral or even nonexistent, it looks like Jesus' teachings in the Sermon have Heaven pretty much in focus.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
p. 132

This passage gets short changed (pardon the pun) in the book. He tries to make it all about secrecy, which is likely a way of de-emphasizing the "treasures in heaven" aspect--sneaking in treasures on earth, but doing so in a pious and 'spiritual' way; rather, I would say this is about focus. If we keep in mind what the NT says elsewhere about our longing for our real home, where God is, then we can see that storing up treasures in Heaven real is about storing up treasures in Heaven.

To understand McLaren's attempt to de-emphasize Heaven, you must understand that he wants to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. And I don't mean that he wants Jesus to return to establish His reign on the earth, but that he wants to use political means to establish his version of the Kingdom of Heaven (and if you think I'm misrepresenting him, consider why his writings have such a political element to them, and why he writes for the political blog Sojourners).

Such thinking is wrong. Let him ridicule us as being "escapist" or whatever other labels, as he wishes--he answers no questions that way, and only comes off as childish.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a proud day for me

At least, it would be, if I weren't convinced that "pride goes before destruction". Still, I do have a quite satisfactory feeling of accomplishment.

Why, you may ask? (Not that he won't tell you, you may mutter under your breath)

Well, let me tell you...

Yesterday, with not much time left to be online, I made a quick little trip over to Sojo, where I comment and upon which I sometimes make comments here. But yesterday, I found a new message when I browsed some topics. That message went something like this.

The site has blocked you from posting new comments.

Yes, I have ticked off the power-that-be at Sojo so much, they've banned me!!!

Why, you may again ask (et al...)

Perhaps because, in one particular topic (I'd link to it, but they removed the post) I commented about how a) Jimmy Carter actually used the racially-charged word that Wallis accused Joe Wilsom of implying b)a few months ago Sojo allowed someone to post a topic about Ruth and Naomi which strongly implied that Ruth and Boaz had sex when she visited him at the threshing floor, so c) it's not the 'new blood' at Sojo that needs to clean up their act, but the old blood like Wallis who have allowed Sojo to, for example, claim to be pro-life while supporting a presidential candidate who was not only pro-choice but also pro-infanticide.

Yeah, they claim to like "speaking truth to power", just so long as you're not speaking truth to them.

One poster there asked me if I wanted to "Defeat Sojo". I didn't get the chance to answer that, and now Sojo has answered it for me--they have defeated themselves by showing how little they value free speech and disagreement with their opinions.

I'm glad to have been a part of the catalyst.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

we're better then God!

It is the question all who have been to war face, for war is a godless endeavor. When love, compassion and human kindness are replaced by the vast, grotesque panorama of violence and destruction of war, God is banished.
Chris Hedges, Losing Moses on the Freeway, p. 177

But up close war is a soulless void...In this moral void, blessed by institutions at home, the hypocrisy of our social conventions are laid bare.
p. 183

Killing and murder are each sinful...The failure of religious institutions, whose texts are unequivocal about murder, to address in times of war the sinful state of war has left them unable to speak to the reality of war.
p. 185

"In theological terms, war is sin," writes Mahedy. "This has nothing to do with whether a particular war is justified or whether isolated incidents in a soldier's war were right or wrong. The point is that war as a human enterprise is a matter of sin. It is a form of hatred for one's fellow human beings. It produces alienation from others and nihilism, and it ultimatley represents a turning away from God."
pp. 186-187

Don't you just love when people try to be more righteous than God?

Seriously, take a quick look through the Bible, if you have to, to see what I mean. Hedges tries to tell us that war is godless, war is sinful. But to do that, he has to ignore the many times God told His people to go war, to conquer, even to totally obliterate a race of people. If war in itself is what he says, then God was telling His people to sin, which would be something God would not do.

In the first quote above, Hedges talks about love and compassion. I think he's using those words in ways they are not meant to be used here. For example, look at this.

The pattern of neighborhood that pilgrims and pioneers created was interwoven with the understanding of compassion that they gained from reading their Bibles. Hebrew and Greek words commonly translated as "compassion" are used over eighty times in the Bible. Their most frequent use is not as an isolated noun, but as the culmination of a process. Repeatedly, in Judges and other books, the Bible shows that when the Israelites had sinned they were to repent and turn away from their sin. Only then, as a rule, would God show compassion. Second Chronicles 30:9 states the process precisely: "the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face form you if you return to him." Nehemiah 9:27 notes that "when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers..."

...They read angry biblical descriptions of Israel as "a people without understanding; so their Maker has no compassion on them..." They read in Jeremiah of God telling Israel, "You have rejected me...I can no longer show compassion." They saw compassion as mutual obligation,...
Marvin Olasky, The Tragedy of American Compassion, pp. 217-218

Hedges' compassion, it would seem, is not a "mutual obligation". For him, it would seem, it was wrong to fight to try to keep a nation of people from falling into the slavery of Communism. May I be kept from a situation where my life or the life of one I love is in his hands to defend from another wishing to cause harm or even death.

The simplest way to answer Hedges and those like him is that simply point out that their claims that "war is sin" is unbiblical. Once they stop twisting Scripture like that, to fit their own agenda, then maybe questions of whether this or that battle or war is good or bad may be answered. But until then, no discussion can be had, and trying to equate killing in war to killing in cold blooded murder is like trying to equate loving marital sex with rape, and is equally distasteful.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

enter the store, put hands over eyes

The US has simply made it to difficult for other people to exist...The US has structured the global economy to perpetually enrich itself and reduce non-Western societies to poverty. "Free markets" are simply a euphemism for free mobility of American capital, unrestrainted expansion of American corporations, and free (unidirectional) movement of good and services from America to the rest of the world.
quote from a book called "Why Do People Hate America", quoted favorable in McLaren, everything must change, pp. 257-258



What planet are people like McLaren living on?

I mean, seriously, how can one go to almost any store, and say those things?

Goods and services only going from the US to other nations? Do the people who say that ever look at the "Made in..." labels on things in their stores? Do they notice how many foreign-made vehicles are on the road? Does the phrase "trade deficit" mean anything to them? And as if that wasn't enough, how about the little nutty libs who are all into "buy local" because they think people don't buy local enough?

Free markets reduce non-Western societies to poverty? I wonder if Japan and South Korea would agree with that? Or how about China, since they've started doing a few free market things? Russia struggled with the market, and likely other former Soviet bloc nations, too, but when last I was there, Russia was starting to get with it. It was slow, yes, but they had help. It wasn't perfect, but things were improving.

If anything makes it "to difficult for other people to exist", it's not free markets, but economic ideas like communism and socialism, greedy and corrupt "strong man" rulers who care only to enrich themselves, and places where freedoms are denied and those who speak out about it are punished. One could likely throw in other things, too--I don't find it an accident that most hard Islamic countries suffer from poverty, or are rich only because a few have access to resources like oil. Or that much of India's poverty has to do with the demonic caste system, which is based on the Hindu religion and ideas of karma and reincarnation.

The US has been far from perfect, but blaming it and the free market for poverty is, at best, entirely too simplistic to be taken seriously, and at worst a blatant lie that shows the blinders on these people.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

very good post about Adam

Read anything written by so-called liberal christians or emergents (assuming they are different), and you'll soon see that they go to great lengths to try and make the first few chapters of Genesis into fiction. They may try to soften that some by calling it 'myth', but in the end it equals the same thing to them. Rob Bell, for example, is all into the idea of the Creation myth as "poetry". McLaren has made no bones that he considers much of Genesis to be made-up, at least up to Abraham. Another liberal whose books I've read some of waxed to great lengths (though without proofs) trying to say that even way back when this creation account wasn't considered factual, though he never explains how he knows that.

Following a link from this blog, it took me to this entry about why Adam should be considered to have been a real, historical person.

1. On the face of it, the basic literary genre of Genesis 1-4 is that of historical narrative (as opposed to, e.g., poetry, legal code, or apocalypse). This isn’t to say that these chapters can contain no figurative language; many conservative OT scholars would readily grant that they do. But it does imply that these chapters (like the rest of Genesis) are intended by the author to report important events within historical space-time. As such, there should be a strong presumption that the Adam of chapters 1-4 is no less a real historic figure than, say, the Abraham of chapters 12-25.

8. In Romans 5:12-21, Paul draws his famous parallel between Adam and Jesus. The transgression of “one man” (Adam) brought judgment and death, but the obedience of “one man” (Jesus) brought righteousness and life. If Adam never actually existed (never mind sinned), Paul’s parallel — on which his theological argument depends — falls flat.

I can recommend it, it puts paid to many of the assumptions liberals and emergents operate under.

but it's so much fun!!

I'm tempted to put the punchline in this comic in the title of this blog. Or make it my life's motto.

I'm a little surprised at the character he chose to say it, but then again, even a broke clock is right every now and then.

Monday, September 21, 2009

a shade of sadness

Sometimes I read things that make me a bit sad, for whatever reason. One thing I read a few moments ago was this, from a site called Faith House.

My Summer of Religion

Here are some things in it that saddened me.

3. Music creates sacrality for me. I’ve chanted to Allah, sung to Jesus, and la-la-la-ed through Jewish melodies.

I'm sorry, but if you're chanting praises to Allah, you're not singing songs to the real Jesus. There is no communion between those two. Any Jesus that lets you worship a false god is not the real Jesus, but a construct of your own mind.

When I visited Nur Ashki Jerrahi, I had no idea what I was saying, or what the meanings of the various movements were - and I imagine many who visit a Jewish community are overwhelmed by all the Hebrew. But I learned to let go of my need to understand the why and what to every religious practice. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and in doing so you learn the how. There is a leap of faith in letting go – letting go of my desire for explanation, letting go of my fear of appearing ignorant – and through this leap I was able to experience other faiths as I wanted to: with compassion, empathy, and a receptive heart.

I suppose I'll never understand this worship of ignorance on the part of pomos, which I guess this person's internship at Faith House shows her to be. But it makes it convenient when there are those who try to sell them the idea that all religions are equally valid ways to God. Tell people to don't bother with understanding, and you can pretty much sell them anything.

I wonder, sometimes, if people like this ever read the Bible. Do they ever really read the New Testament? Do they ever really see that Christian grew in a climate of various religions around it? And that, far from trying to appreciate, say, the worship of Athena, they came out against it and tried to bring people out of it?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

twisting in the hot air

There are reasons why I have little to no respect for Sojourners--their attempts to foist sainthood upon Ted Kennedy, a man whose life was marked by corruptiong, excess, sexual debauchery and marital unfaithfulness, and support of the murder of the unborn; their selective outrage, which gets in a tizzy over comments about the President's wife's hair but says nothing about ACORN helping people set up prostitution rings of underaged girls from other countries, and says nothing when a conservative politician's underaged daughter is subjected to a sexually-laced 'joke' by a late-night comedian.

Now, Wallis of Sojo is trying to paint us who object to Obama's attempts to add an extra S to USA as know...

But fourth — and importantly — there was, and is still, a hard core of racially-motivated white people in this nation who did vote against Obama because he is black, and who virulently oppose him as president because he is black. And that racist core of angry white Americans resides on the extreme political right of U.S. politics. The Far Right in America have never supported racial equality. Their political representatives voted against both the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, and most have never repented for it. And, let’s be honest, the loudest voices of right-wing talk radio and cable television appeal directly to that core with subtle and not-so-subtle racial messages, as has the right wing of the Republican Party for many years.

And, agree with me or not, I saw it in the disrespect shown toward a black president by a white Congressman from the South, whose less than enthusiastic apologies have now turned him into a fund-raising martyr, cheered on by a defiant rebel yell against the man (or is it “boy”?) in the White House.

No one doubts that there are still racists in the country. Very well. Those who wouldn't vote for someone simply based on skin color are wrong, but by that same token, those who would vote for someone simply based on skin color are equally wrong. Racism cuts both ways.

To see what Wallis sounds like in that second paragraph, take a look at this from a raving lib.
Surrounded by middle-aged white guys — a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club — Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t.

But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!

Now, I have heard Obama referred to as "boy" lately. It was in a recording of something said last year. By current race-card-playing poster-boy Jimmy Carter. (emphasis mine)

CARTER: It already has sent a wave of approbation and admiration in many countries around the world, just knowing that this black boy, who grew up with just a loving mother and a -- and grandparents and that was about all he had to start with, has now had the chance to become the nominee of Democratic Party for president.

Now, why hasn't that been made big to-dos about? Instead of shoehorning a racially charged word into one man's statement, why not find the blatant one in anothers?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

i'll call them george

(btw if you don't get the title, watch some older Bugs Bunny cartoons, particularly those with Daffy and Marvin the Martian)

I wish I had worked up this one last week, particularly for Friday. It would have been appropriate, I think.

Jesus' disciples must work to dehabitualize and delegitimize even small expressions of aggression like name-calling. They must realize the dangers of language that dehumanizes the other--whether it is Hutus in Rwanda calling Tutsis "cockroaches" and "tall trees," or political and religious leaders using language like "infidel" or "terrorist" or "axis of evil," or a husband and wife trading insults in a loud, late-night argument.
McLaren, everything must change, p. 179

First, I can imagine McLaren, if he had been alive when Jesus was on Earth, going up to Him and saying something like "You really shouldn't call the Pharisees and others things like hyprocrites and blind guides and vipers. That dehumanizes them, and we who are disciples of yours just don't think that's right."

Second, I wonder what kinds of people he thinks committed the acts of 9-11-01? Consider that he thinks calling people "terrorists" is unacceptable, what else is he going to allow us to call them? What other name for such scum would be acceptable to McLaren? Or what should we call those who put bombs on themselves, or on women, and send them into busses and market places, to blow themselves up and as many others as they can, in places like Iraq and Israel and even Britain? Or who blow up trains in Spain?

And was a description ever more accurate than President Bush's of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the "Axis of Evil"? Iran and NK are without doubt two of the bigger hot spots in the world, and one need only consider how Iran handled the recent protests of their election to see evil, or how NK's insane ruler allows his people to starve in the midst of his socialist paradise.

McLaren isn't speaking out for love, but for political correctness. Such a pale imitation of love is to be shunned, not adopted.

spinnin' da misunderstandin'

There must be an element of something like fun, maybe the mockery of real fun, in how some people use postmodernism. Consider this, from the pomo discussion forum Open Source Theology.

While my “straight” conservative Christian friends readily argue that “gay” people can be converted through various therapeutic means, they never mention what this logically entails for their own sexual orientation. Simply stated, it seems reasonable to say: If a “gay” person can be converted into a “straight” person, then a “straight” person can be converted into a “gay” person. Even though my conservative friends don’t explicitly talk about this concern (that they might be converted to “gay”), it does seem to come through in their everyday practices. This fear of conversion helps explain why many “straight” conservative Christians keep their children away from people who are openly “gay”—I’ve seen instances in the news where “straight” conservative Christians don’t want “gay” teachers in the classroom teaching their kids, they don’t want “gay” daycare providers or babysitters, they don’t like “gay” politicians and “gay” actors and actresses setting bad examples or celebrating the “gay” lifestyle. All these fears, in seems to me, are related to a fear that their children might be converted to a “gay” sexual orientation.

One might think, from this person's view, that he or she had never been around parents, or adults in general. Perhaps not, but that would be quite remarkable. Considering he cites examples he has seen on the news, he must have had at least that much exposure to parents.

Because nothing is more natural or understandable than the parents should show concern for whom their kids are around. If, in the paragraph above, we substitute, let's say, "drug use" for "gay", we would find nothing remarkable about the parent's concerns for any of those things.

In an interesting way, “straight” conservative Christians who advocate the notion that sexual orientation is changeable are implicitly taking a social constructionist view of sexuality and gender, which is much closer to a postmodern way of thinking than most are apt to admit. On this view, sexual orientation is in whole or at least in part, a product of various choices and ways of thinking and acting.

No, they're acting no different than parents have since probably not long after the Fall--parents know that children can influence by those around them, particularly authority figures. The only "new" thing about all of this is that the homosexual lifestyle is "politically correct", and to try to ward one's children from it would likely be considered a hate act.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

depressed over the resurrection?

Emergents try to paint themselves as happy and cheery (compared with those grim-faced fundies out there). But I think the truth is, their smiles and laughs are forced, and they are really floundering around in hopelessness and depression.

Take a look at this 'parable', written, I suppose, by Rollins and here referenced on Samilovich's "Faith House" blog. Only a part of it is here.

Living Room Gathering -

‘Why are you in such sorrow?’ asked the missionary in amazement. ‘Today is a day for great celebration!’

‘A day for great celebration and great sorrow,’ replied the elder, who was all the while crouching on the floor. ‘For over 300 years we have followed the ways taught to us by Christ. We followed his ways faithfully, even though it cost us deeply, and we remained resolute despite the fear that death defeated him and would one day defeat us also.’

The elder slowly got to his feet and looked the missionary compassionately in the face.

‘Each day we have forsaken our very lives for him because we judge him wholly worthy of the sacrifice, wholly worthy of our being. But now I am concerned that my children and my children’s children may follow him not because of the implicit value he has, but because of the value that he possesses for them.’

With this the elder left the hut and made his way to the celebration, leaving the missionary to his thoughts.

This 'parable' posits a fictitious group of people who knew of Christ while He lived, but didn't know of His resurrection. The response above is part of what happened when they learned, 300 years later, about Him rising from the dead.

I can only think of how important Paul says the resurrection was, that if Christ had not been raised, we would still be in our sins, and merely miserable human beings.

Anyone that can posit that news of Christ's resurrection would somehow take away from His message, has a rather twisted mind, as would anyone who would support such a position.

Friday, September 11, 2009

a little something for 9-11

A bit off-topic, but not much.

I have nothing prepared for today, so I'll let someone else's words say it for me.

Sarah Palin Tells People to Thank a Veteran on 9/11's Anniversary

It has been eight years since the United States suffered the worst attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor. As we look back, we should take stock of what has transpired since then. We have sent our nation's soldiers into battlefields far from home to defend us. These brave men and women live in treacherous conditions, facing improvised roadside bombs, suicide bombers and other attacks. Yet they fight on in their mission to defend the United States and all of us without complaint.

Our all-volunteer service is made up of Americans of all races, creeds, and economic backgrounds. These soldiers are on the front lines of this battle, and there are others in the fight as well. We must continue to give our utmost support to the United States military and those that support their efforts. In light of this, I have added my name to a letter sent to President Obama urging him to remain committed to prosecuting the War on Terror in Afghanistan. Never have so few defended the liberty of so many. We must continue to support their mission because they will continue to fight for us.

I thank all our servicemen and women, in and out of uniform, for keeping us safe over the last eight years in the face of enormous odds.

Please thank a veteran today. They certainly do not look for those thanks, but they have more than earned it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

as before, take 2

Oh, and earlier today, McLaren posted at Sojo, and boy, is it a doozy, especially in regards to the last post.

A Plea for a New Generation of Republican Leadership

...I’m convinced that there is some degree of white fear and resentment behind at least some of this reaction: fear and resentment of an African-American president, mingled with xenophobia regarding brown-skinned immigrants, undergirded by fear of a future where there is no more racial majority status for white people...And where Christianity becomes a tribal religion rather than a reconciling faith — the exclusive and combative religion of rural non-coastal folks, for example, or Southern folks, or socially conservative folks, or folks who hold a certain economic ideology — there is probably some old-fashioned religious supremacy at play too: the “Our God is better than your god, so we should be in power” syndrome.

Wow, McLaren had the poison pen loaded for bear!!

well, yes, he SAYS, but...

If you want to see a good example of "do as I say, not as I do", check out these two statements, made by McLaren in "Everything Must Change", and are not even many pages apart

Jesus' disciples must work to dehabitualize and delegitimize even small expressions of aggression like name-calling.
p. 179

And then...

No wonder Catholic thoelogian Tom Beaudoin offers the term 'theocapitalism' to describe the contemporary prosperity system of the global suicide machine.
p. 190

One could point out that McLaren isn't calling any person theocapitalism, but only an economic system. But let's not kid ourselves--it is as much as swipe at those who think capitalism is good because it works as it is at the economic philosophy and practice itself.

I could as well point out that the last statement is made in a chapter called "capitalism as god". And that the chapter also contains what he calls the "Four Spiritual Laws of Theocapitalism", a further swipe not only at conservative capitalists but also that the Campus Crusade's idea of the Four Spiritual Laws.

Yep, McLaren's throwing punches left and right. Well, centrist and right may be more accurate.

But let's look at reality, and see if "theocapitalism" is even a reality. I would content that it's not.

First, he says it's a way to "describe the contemporary prospertiy system of the global suicide machine". The problem is, how many nations have a capitalist system? Especially, how many have that compared to the various socialist and communist countries out there? Or other forms of economic or social structure that limit personal freedoms and opportunities to succeed?

China and much of Southeast Asia have forms of communism, though China is at least learning that such a system doesn't work. Many countries in South and Central America either have or are struggling with communists. Much of Europe has some serious socialist leanings. The Middle East has it's own issues concerning personal freedoms. And even in the US, the present president has stated the goal of "spreading the wealth".

It gets even more interesting when considering the places that are wealthy, compared with the places that aren't. Outside of maybe China (who has been let capitalism in bit by bit over a number of years, though there are still no small issues of human rights with them, especially in regards to religious beliefs and children), I can't think of a socialist or communist country that is economically healthy, and most would likely be among the poorest nations. Even the economic problems in the US can be traced to socialistic practices, such as the numerous attempts by the government to provide economic bailouts to some banks and companies, which has been nothing short of a abysmal failure and wasted of billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars.

Only a fool would want to escape from boat that is seaworthy to get into one that's proven to be unreliable and is even then sinking. But McLaren and crew would have us do do, by abandoning an economic system that works for one that has proven time and again to be woefully inadequate.

Friday, September 4, 2009

revisioning the future

Last time, I psted about Rollins' second-place winner to his parable contest. Now he has posted the winning entry. If the last one was a Oliver Stone-like retelling of the past, just wait...

And the winner is

It's a twist on the Footprints poem that is rathe popular. And by twist, I mean twisted.

To keep it brief, here's the ending.

And slowly God replied, his voice shaking with emotion. ‘The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when you carried me.’

The man frowned for a moment, paused, and then looked up. ‘Surely Lord,’ he began rather embarrassed to be correcting the Almighty, ‘you mean when you carried me.’

‘My dear child,’ God said, twisting a loose thread of cloth from his flowing robes, his face suddenly a mirror in which the old man saw the battles he had fought and the doubts he had put asunder, ‘this was the measure of your faith: when difficulties came, you gathered up this tired and arthritic God, and carried your beliefs to safety.’

A small wind blew through the old photographs and worn papers, and the two men sat in silence for a moment.

‘I have prepared a room for you,’ God said after a while, ‘though I quite understand if you don’t want me to stay.’

Yep, that's right--at the last judgment, we're going to be the ones to judge God. And we can kick Him out if we judge him unworthy.

Wow, who do you think would find that scenario a good thing? Here's a hint, he tried to do such a thing long ago, but fell like lightning from Heaven.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

revisioning history

Apparently, Peter Rollins held a parable-making contest some time ago. Too bad I didn't know about it at the time, I may have submitted the one that's in a post from a few days ago, a response to his sick little rapture parable. But I doubt I would have won, and I doubt that there was anything there worth winning.

Anyway, the results of the contest are slowly coming out. Here we have him announcing his second-place winner. One may wonder if the winning writer wasn't Oliver Stone.

The Emperor Constantine, facing the biggest battle of his reign, looked into the setting sun at the Lilvian Bridge and saw a vision of the Cross of Christ. As he gazed at the cross he heard a voice say “By this sign, conquer”.

The next day he gave up his reign as Emperor, surrendered all his many possessions, and went to live and work among the poor. And forever after he was known as one of the greatest heroes of the faith for his obedience to the voice of God.

Yep, Constantine didn't understand a thing, unlike the people today, who understand everything. Nothing like Monday-morning quarterbacking after, oh, 1500 years or so to make one feel so...superior.

Or, maybe God isn't the pacifist these people try to make Him out to be? Oh dear, can't let them think they may be...wrong, can we?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

the REAL christians

Peter Rollins, in his continual quest to view the world as if in a photo negative, has told us some things in a recent post at his blog.

First, he thinks that God suffers from a crisis of self-confidence.

However, in the talk I was arguing that a properly understood Christology draws us into a third position in which doubt, suffering and the sense of divine abandonment are not something that we experience as part of our relation to God but rather are things that God experiences. The moment of existential atheism is not one in which we are broken free of Christ, nor is it a moment in which we fall short of Christ, rather it is the moment when we partake in the very identity of Christ on the cross. All religions have a place where we can doubt God. In Christianity God doubts God (this brings us into what we can call, after Bonhoeffer, ‘religionless Christianity).

And what does that mean? Why, it means this...

Hence we can begin to approach Bloch’s claim that only an atheist can be a good Christian

Yep, you who believe, you who have faith, who have put your faith in Christ, who have come to know God and love Him, you take a back seat to those who are actively against Him.

When I talk of the ‘atheist God’ I do not mean the weak, anemic atheism of philosophy but the existential atheism of people like Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus. For these people the loss of God was felt, it was something that made its mark in their existence, it was a defining experience. It was, I argue, a singularly Christian, or Christ, experience.

So, instead of embracing Christ, embrace the superman. Instead of living in hope, live in existential angst and hopelessness, wallowing in self-pity and meaninglessness. Heck, if you write some bad poetry or make some cheap art that means nothing, you may become one of Rollin's Christians.