Sunday, July 31, 2011

God's selective watching?

God Is Watching

So, the head Sojrone himself weights in on the budget issue, again. And, of course, he's not above invoking the eye of God when he wants to.

When it comes to the bitter and ultra-partisan battles over the budget, the deficit, and the fast-approaching deadline for America to avoid defaulting on its financial commitments, the whole nation and even the world is watching.

But God is watching too.

And, I guess, since Wallis has the audacity to name his little blog "God's Politics", then he must have an inside track on what God is watching for?

Today, Sojourners has a full-page ad in Politico with the message “God Is Watching” as a part of our series of print ads on the budget. This week our radio ads, recorded by local pastors, are playing in Nevada, Kentucky, and Ohio to remind politicians of the moral issues at stake. Faith leaders say God is biased in such matters, and prefers to protect the poor instead of the rich, and instructs the faithful to do the same. This is class warfare now, and when it breaks out, the Bible suggests that God is on the side of defending the poor from assault.

emphases mine

So, Wallis admits it--he's engaging in class warfare. And, of course, God is on his side.

God is biased in such matters? Really, care to show where in the Bible it says that? Rather, if I may quote myself...

God does not play favorites

To say that, in any aspect of justice, God favors any social or economic class or another, is to go against what God Himself told the people to do. Consider these passages.

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
Leviticus 19:17

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

These are the sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good:
Proverbs 24:23

So, I will contend here, that to say that "God favors the poor" is to say that God practices injustice. God Himself has said that justice should be given to both rich and poor without partiality, and to show partiality would be to pervert justice.

Wallis' statement is a clear misrepresentation of what God has told us concerning Himself. He cares very much for the poor, yes, and that they should be treated justly, but not at the expense of being unjust to anyone else. Wallis' statement that God is biased, that God shows partiality, is a lie. God does not do that, and He does not tell the faithful to do the same.

Plus, there is nothing in the Bible that tells us that the government must set up a vast, expensive, and cumbersome network of social giveaways to the poor, or else we are not caring properly for them.

One could, for example, look at what God commanded Israel in regards to harvesting and gleaning, that the reapers were to go over the field once and leave what remained for the poor to gather. We can see one example of how that played out in the book of Ruth. But there are some things about that situation that seem to be ignored by these socialism injustice folks. For example, the person who owned the field was to have first of the harvest, very likely the lion's share, while the poor were only allowed to collect what remained after the reapers had gone over it. The poor were not allowed to go in to the field, section off what they themselves thought was fair, and simply take with impunity from the man who owned the field, took the risk of sowing, and who rightfully earned the harvest.

Nor does Jesus insist that either the Israeli religious leaders nor the Romans set up a social net, passing legislation to take from the rich and give to the poor, to create a redistribution of wealth.

Looking at ways to either cut or eliminate wasteful government spending does not constitute an assault on the poor, Mr. Wallis, and shame on you and your class warfare rhetoric and mindset for saying so. You misrepresent, I think with intent, the Word of God for the sake of your own uninformed version of social justice, which is no justice at all, and if the US must experience economic failure because of it, well, better to keep taking and taking than not have your pet social programs not have the glut of funds you want them to have, right?

relying on the unreliable

Relying on Human Goodness

We have a great need to rely on the fact of human goodness.

Sorry, but believing in lies is not what we need. What we need, rather, is the truth.

The truth is, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked". The truth is, "there is no one who does what is good". The truth is, "all of our works of righteousness are putrid rags". The truth is the Fall, mankind is sinful and wicked, we have all fallen short of God's glory, we have all sinned. We are not good.

In our daily life, we encounter people who are angry, deceitful, intent only on satisfying their own needs. There is so much anger, distrust, greed, and pettiness that we are losing our capacity to work well together. Many of us are more withdrawn and distrustful than ever. Yet this incessant display of what’s worst in us makes it essential that we believe in human goodness. Without that belief, there really is no hope.

Then there is no hope, for what hope is there in believing in a lie?

But there is hope in believing in the truth. The truth is, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us". The truth is, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners". The truth is, "Christ died for the ungodly". The truth is, through repentence and faith in Christ who love us and gave Himself for us, we can have forgiveness for our sins and eternal life.

Not through believing in fictions like what such good people we are. 'Cause we ain't.

You believe in human goodness?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

the problem is debt, so let's make more?

So, as one may expect, the Sojrones are coming out in force in regards to the big debate over raising the US debt ceiling. No more than one try, though, when it comes to what their position is.

This isn't the first they've written about it, but it's an interesting article. Edited because I saw that I had left out the link.

...Boehner said, “You know I’ve always believed the bigger the government, the smaller the people.”

What does this mean? The government is composed of the people, and if people are paying attention and voting according to their own interests, the government ought to work toward the happiness of the people. The problem is that too many Americans have bought into this conceptual error that the government is some kind of leviathan, a monster that exists to take away their liberties. This is nonsense..., it's not. At least, in regards to how the government is being run now.

Her conceptual problem is when she says that government "ought to work toward the happiness of the people". One of the basic statements concerning the founding of the US is that people have the right to pursue happiness. It is not the job of government to insure that they attain it, only that they be given the freedom to do so within the bounds of the law.

Let us be clear: The debt ceiling crisis is purely artificial. The problem of the debt is real, but it is not the most pressing crisis at the moment. The most pressing crisis is jobs.

I half-agree with the writer that "a" pressing crisis is jobs. But if the problem of debt is real, than the problem of the debt ceiling crisis is also real. And I would contend that it and the things attached to attempts to solve it are the problem.

Taxes, for example. If jobs are one big part of the crisis, then upon what basis are we to assume that taking more money from those who provide jobs will result in more jobs? If person X runs a business, and what he makes from that business is taxed even higher, upon what basis is he going to want to hire people, increase his workforce, or maybe expand his business? Would it not be more likely that he will try to decrease his work force, maybe have them work fewer hours and so pay them less, raise prices so that he can afford to keep them hired, or even shut down the business because it's just not profitable or profitable enough?

The problem with the recovery act for progressives such as me is that it was too small.

And here we have the problem summed up quite succintly. More government spending MOREMOREMOREBIGGERBIGGERBIGGERGIMMEGIMMEGIMME!!!!!! Take from those nasty rich people the give it to me NOW!!! Don't make me work for it, don't make me pay for it, don't make me do anything for it!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

let the propoganda begin

It doesn't take long, does it? When a nut shot a woman who is in the US Congress a few months ago, voices of sympathy were followed closely by those who were more than willing to use the event for their own political ends.

And after what happened in Norway just a few days ago, those same voices are not long in trying to use that event for their own ends.

Norway's 9/11

The early reports are disturbing. They violate the familiar us-them dichotomies we (think we) know how to live with - christian/muslim, democratic/marxist, us/them, sane/crazy.

Umm...really? You mean, I can't say that the man in Norway was a nut? That, by his actions, he has made himself on of "them", as in those who think that killing innocent people is the way to get his way?

The fact is, we know very little yet about this incident, and this man.

But speaking of nuts, take a quick gander of this.

Christian Jihad? Why We Should Worry About Right-Wing Terror Attacks Like Norway's in the US

My family was part of the far right/violent right's rise in the 1970s and 80s when we helped create the "pro-life" movement come into existence that in the end spawned the killers of abortion providers. These killers were literally doing what we'd called for.

Funny, I don't recall this man's father, Francis Schaeffer, ever telling people to kill abortion providers. Perhaps someone can show me where he ever said that?

The terror unleashed on Norway - and the terror now unleashed by the Tea Party through Congress as it holds our economy hostage to extremist "economic" theories that want to destroy our ability to function -- is the sort of white, Christian; far right terror America can expect more of.

Call this the ultimate "Tea Party" type "answer" to secularism, modernity, and above all our hated government. Call this the Christian Brotherhood. From far right congress people, to far right gun-toting terror in Norway and here at home, our own Western version of the Taliban is on the rise.

Foreigners, visitors from another planet and Americans living in a bubble of reasonable or educated people might not know this but the reality is that the debt ceiling confrontation is by, for and the result of America's evangelical Christian control of the Republican Party.

Yeah, he isn't trying to play on people's fears at all, is he? Not to mention that his claims seem rather harsher than the reality.

There are two responses, I think, that would be wise here.

1. Sympathy and compassion for the people of Norway, particularly those who were either victims of the attacks and survived, or were family and friends to those who were, but also for the people in the nation as a whole, because all were to some degree victims.

2. A bit of restraint in regards to the blame game (hear that, Mr. Schaeffer). We know very little about this guy, and far too much speculation is running around, which is fueling hate speech like Schaeffer's.

Friday, July 22, 2011

excuses, excuses

So, the one who thinks that you're no better than a Nazi if you don't favor the sexual perversion of the month has tried to one-up those who point out (quite correctly, even he admits) that the Bible does off complimentary to homosexuality.

If You Heed Paul on Gays, Heed Jesus on Money

Oh, sure, it’s Paul rather than Jesus who in the Bible says anything at all about homosexuality — but (for now) we can put that aside. The fact remains that the language in the Bible that condemns homosexuality (or at least the way that language is most typically translated into English — but can we please stop quibbling?) is unequivocal. Its forceful clarity simply leaves no room for debate about its meaning.

And again: fair enough. Christians look to the Bible — and particularly, of course, to the New Testament — for direction from God on how they should live, and in what they should believe. And they try to make their lives worthy of what they find there. That’s not a dynamic anyone should too readily scoff at. Cliche or not, it is a large part of what built America.

But here’s my question: If you’re going to look to the Bible and words of Jesus for critical input on how to live your life, then don’t you need to very assiduously attend to the actual words of Jesus? Especially when he’s perfectly clear on a particular issue (which, let’s face it, doesn’t happen nearly as often as Christians are wont to pretend it does), right? If you’re trying to live your life in obedience to Christ, then you’re all about anything Christ actually says, right?

For one thing, I agree with how it is put something on Fighting For The Faith, "All the letters of the Bible are Red Letters". This attempt Emergents try to make to say that God speaks less well at times in the Bible than others is, well, rather sorry.

But it's nice that he acknowledges that Paul is unequivocal in his saying that homosexual practices are sinful. Even as he proceeds to think himself smarter than Paul and says they are ok.

But, anyway, let's look at what he thinks Jesus said about another issue.

Here is what God incarnate, Jesus the Christ, said about money:

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” (Luke 12:33)

“You cannot serve God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19)

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25)

If anywhere in the Bible Jesus is more clear about anything than he is about money, I’d like to learn of that thing. Talk about slamming shut the door on the wiggle room. And that’s not the mortal Paul giving financial advice, either. That’s Jesus. That’s the very God of Gods, being as clear as language allows him to be.

So, let's see...

Jesus tells one man to sell all he had to follow Him, though at least some of the other disciples left things like fishing boats to follow Him. With Zacchaeus, though, Jesus seemed happy enough that he gave only half of his goods to the poor. Then, we have Jesus' friends, Lazarus and his sisters, who seemed to keep their own house, and we may think it was a rather large one if it was enough for Jesus and the disciples to occasionally stay in. Jesus certainly doesn't seem to have looked down on them or thought less of them for having a home of their own.

He brings up the passage about camels and needles, but doesn't really give give what follows.

24And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

25For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?

27And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

And since there have been those with riches who have entered into the Kingdom, then apparently God has done the impossible many times.

I don’t see how it’s possible to avoid the conclusion that there is something very definitely wrong with any Christian who is not himself as poor as the proverbial church mouse pointing to the Bible as grounds for his condemnation of gays and lesbians. How can any self-respecting Christian take literally what Paul said about homosexuality, and at the same time ignore or seriously waffle on what Jesus Christ himself said about money?

If we were to play the kinds of games with Jesus' words that he is, we would have to practice self-mutilation, because we've all had problems with lustful eyes and hands that go places they shouldn't. And if we were to play the games with Paul's words that he is, we'd be condoning things like lying, murder, and the other things Paul says are wrong.

Some parts of his argument may be interesting, but overall it's rather a weak argument. Even if some Christians aren't following Christ as best they can (which none are, btw), do their fault excuse you? If you know what is right, and choose to ignore it, can you point to another's imperfects to excuse your own?

If your child did something wrong, and gave an excuse like "Everyone else is doing it", or "But Bobby/Susie were doing something ever worse", would you buy it?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

mixing messages

Remember from a few posts ago the guy who said that Christians who don't cave to the cultural pressure to accept all things gay are really no better than Nazis? Well, as one of those who so caved, he has a spiffy little page on his blog, filled with spiffy little sayings as shallow as they are spiffy, and you can read them, should you so choose,here.

Here's one.

Christians: Saying that you’re against gay marriage but mean gays no harm makes zero sense. Pick a lane.

So, let's see...if we applied that 'logic' to other things...

Christians: Saying that you’re against marital infidelity but mean adulterers and adulteresses no harm makes zero sense. Pick a lane.

Christians: Saying that you’re against abortion but mean abortion doctors no harm makes zero sense. Pick a lane.

Christians: Saying that you’re against the encrouchment of secular humanism but mean secular humanist no harm makes zero sense. Pick a lane.

It's always fun to play Plug-In to refute a basically nonsense argument.

Here's another.

A great way to show how God is working in your life is to stop telling others how God should be working in theirs.

So, this from someone who is basically telling people that, if God isn't telling them to accept the latest popular perversion, then they are no better than Nazis?

Wow, hypocracy much?

Oh, and another goodie.

“I love you so much. If only you weren’t a disgraceful abomination before God.” It’s LIKE a loving message. But different.

Recalling, again, what he things of evangelicals, fundamentalists, and all who don't agree with him...

“I love you fundamentalists, evangelicals, and other religious right-wingers like you so much. If only you weren’t a disgraceful abomination before God by being no better than Nazis.” It’s LIKE a loving message. But different.

I remember someone saying something about specks and beams in eyes, like if you're going to help a person with a speck in his eye, you shouldnt' have a 2x4 sticking out your own. Oh, yeah, that was Jesus. But maybe the Jesus Seminar determined by vote that Jesus didn't really say that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

coming next--marriage as oppression

There are two things, outside of death and taxes, that we may be sure of.

1. Those who want to loosen morality will scoff at the notion of a slippery slope.
2. Those same people will slide further down the slippery slope, and try to take others with them.

What with homosexual practices having reached a large degree of de facto acceptance, there seems to be a bit of a transition to other concerns. For example, here's something from Tony Jones' blog. The first part of the quote is in italics, because it's taken from something Jones himself is quoting from, so it's not Jones' own words.

What’s a Christian to Do with…Dan Savage?

Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples. But he believes that our discourse about it, and about sexuality more generally, is dishonest. Some people need more than one partner, he writes, just as some people need flirting, others need to be whipped, others need lovers of both sexes. We can’t help our urges, and we should not lie to our partners about them. In some marriages, talking honestly about our needs will forestall or obviate affairs; in other marriages, the conversation may lead to an affair, but with permission. In both cases, honesty is the best policy.

Savage’s sexual ethic is primarily one of realism: human beings are animals who, until very recently, procreated like animals. It is evolutionarily dishonest to demand monogamy of a species predisposed against it. It’s not impossible to be monogamous, he says, but it is super difficult, and you’ll be more likely to succeed if your partner is GGG.

I don’t know if Savage’s ethic jibes with a biblical, Christian view of sexuality. But I do know a few things: 1) he’s a helluva lot more realistic about sex than most Christians I’ve talked to about sex; 2) based on my experience on this blog and at the Wild Goose Festival, a lot of Christians really want to talk about sexuality; and 3) many Christians are ready for our conversations about sexuality to expand beyond “what to do with the gays,” and instead have a more fully-orbed dialogue about sexuality and human identity. I also know that, for the first time in my life I’ve met Christians who are in “open” marriages or are practicing polyamory — and I’m committed that my theological/ethical response to them be both Christian and pragmatic/realistic.

Strangely, that one paragraph above, about us being like animals, reminds me of something another emergent wrote.

Who decided that kids--or anybody else for that matter--are unable to abstain?

In a lot of settings, abstinence programs are laughed at. So are those campaigns in which students commit themselves not to have sex until they're married. Have you ever heard a news piece on the television or read a magazine article about one of them that didn't at least subtly mock the idea of "keeping yourself pure for marriage"? People who organize and promote these kinds of campaigns are often viewed as hopelessly naive messengers from a far-off land that simply doesn't exist anymore. The criticism of the "sex is for marriage" view is usually presented as the voice of realism. Are people actually capable of restraint?

But it's not realism. It's the voice of despair. It's the voice that asks, "Aren't we all really just animals?"
Rob Bell, sex god, p. 54

If only Rob Bell showed that much sense all the time. But Bell isn't the issue right now.

We can see how Savage is making an ever-so-slight case for marriage being just a bit oppressive, or at least that's what Jones is saying about him. It's ok to be unfaithful, so long as your spouse knows about it. Now, if the spouse is less than ok with such things, well, who knows. But monogamy is simply not for everyone, and being a postmodernist and emergent, Jones is all for the conversation going on.

My prediction--in about five years, if not sooner, this will be Jones' new pet sexual project, that things like open marriages and polyamory should be accepted and celebrated in the church, that such people should be allowed into positions of authority in the church, and of course all those who oppose are simply haters who must be silenced.

Sure, you can have your lonely little spouse, but don't you dare force others to abide by your morals.

And here's another little nudge along that line, at Sojo.

What’s in a Name?

Our current practice in the U.S. actually reflects the earlier legal reality of coverture: In the process of the “two becoming one flesh,” the wife lost her rights to property, legal representation in court, and even her public identity as her husband became the sole representative for the family. This combination of identities (or, rather, the wife becoming lost in her husband’s identity) led to wives taking their husbands’ last names. For me, losing my surname would have represented silent assent to this oppressive practice.

That's right, ladies, taking your husband's name is oppression. Sure, she sugar-coats it a bit over the next few paragraphs, but she clearly calls a wife taking her husband's name an oppressive practice.

These are small nudges against marriage, but I won't be a bit surprised if it continues.

Friday, July 15, 2011

rejoicing in iniquity

EDIT: A commentor has corrected me on something. My info that Bolz-Weber is herself a practicing homosexual seems to be wrong. I have corrected the post, and apologize for not making sure that my information was correct the first time.

Joyless Christians and The Lord of the Rings

When you get tired of trying to defend yourself from those you know are right, there's nothing like changing the subject and bringing up the real or supposed faults of those who are against you. At least, that's what Bolz-Weber does in this little piece at Sojo. Outside of the rather bizarre nature of the first paragraph (btw the one part of the piece that mentions LotR), we quickly come to the really issue here. Emphases mine.

So this week I kept thinking about joy and what role joy has in our faith. Sure, we talk about prayer and sin and creeds and liturgy and discipleship and advocacy as being part of our Christian faith. But what of joy? It sadly never seems to be on the top of the list of what it means to be God’s people. And it’s definitely not what Christians are known for. Any guess on what is the top adjective used to describe Christians? Judgmental. I think maybe that’s because human religion so easily becomes more about knowing right from wrong than knowing God.

Not sure where she got that claim. There is no source mentioned, and if it is taken from a poll, then that would likely raise other questions.

But let's just assume that her claim is true--that most people in the US think that Christians are judgmental. So what?

First, what does that mean? If I can someone judgmental, it probably means that that person disapproves of something that I do. It could be something trivial, such as that they think that I spend too much time reading, or maybe they think I spend too much time reading trivial things like science fiction and fantasy. I disagree, but so long as they don't try to take away my library card or throw away my book collection, I'm probably not very worked up about their opinions.

But it may be about things that aren't so trivial. Let's take the example of a couple of roommates in college. One is a fairly solid Christian, and while he isn't perfect, his does try to live by the moral and ethical standards of the Bible, which means he isn't sleeping around with any girls. His roommate is quite the player, he sees the girls he meets as potential sex partners, and is not shy about his conquests.

Would the sexually unrestrained rooommate not consider it judgmental if the Christian roommate did not approve of his sexual practices? Would he not consider himself to be judged by that roommate, even if the Christian only has the best interest and well-being of his roommate at heart?

We could go on to things that could be considered even more serious. Does the fact that Christians disapprove of theft mean they are judgmental towards thieves? Does having a moral code that said "You shall not murder" mean they are judgmental toward murderers?

Frankly, I'm not sold on Bolz-Weber's contention that the church being known as judgmental is a bad thing. It may be saying more about the people who say that church is that way, such as Bolz-Weber, than about the church itself.

And, yes, I suspect I know where Bolz-Weber is going with that statement. She is one whose church accepts practicing homosexuals, and who does not call them to repent of that sinful practice, and instead wants them to be accepted by the church. As such, those who disapprove of those she approves are to her mind judgmental. And since the church is well-known for being against those practices, and she cannot biblically defend them, it is so much easier to accuse those people who do not accept her of something else. In this case, of being joyless.

Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew this. He suggests that the original sin was choosing the knowledge of good and evil over the knowledge of God. See, there were two trees in the Garden of Eden, and the snake said, If you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will be like God. But there was another tree. The tree of life. Yet we chose the knowledge of good and evil over knowledge of God. Bonhoeffer calls this the “fall upward.”

I'm not aware of the context of Bonhoeffer's statement, but I'd be rather surprised if he didn't think that knowing what is good from what is evil would be unimportant. If I remember right, he lived in Germany during the time of Hitler coming to power. I think he also participated in an attempt to kill Hitler. He had a pretty good front row seat to how important knowing good from evil was, especially when evil was trying so hard to disguise itself as good.

We chose to move God out of the center and put ourselves there, and ever since then, human religion tends to be about the knowledge of good and evil, and not the knowledge of life — or the knowledge of God. This is demonstrated in how we read the parable of the sower. I think we naturally tend to read this parable not as the parable of the sower, but as the parable of the judgment of the soil. To focus on the worthiness of the soil is to read the parable in judgment. When we approach this text, or our lives with only the knowing and judging of good and evil, we miss out on the knowing of God. But to focus on the lush and ludicrous image of how God extravagantly, wastefully, wantonly sows the Word of the kingdom is to read the parable in joy.

Now, this is a parable which Jesus Himself gave an interpretation.

Matthew 13

18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

I find it interesting that Jesus interpreted this parable in the way the Bolz-Weber considered judgmental and perhaps by extension joyless. Jesus makes it a parable of judgment on the types of soils.

I find it even more interesting that He makes mention of joy in the interpretation. Those who are like the stony places received the word with joy, but they do not take root, and when things like troubles and persecutions come because of the Word of God, they get offended.

Does that not, in a nutshell, describe the emergents like Bolz-Weber? They claim to have come to God in joy at the first, but when the Word of God is questioned and they are put to the test because of it, they are so quick to get offended. And so they try to explain away what the Bible says, and in effect make a gospel of their own works, which is no gospel at all.

And isn’t life just too short, too sacred, and too important to skimp on joy? Yet joy can often be the thing we give up when being right seems more important. It’s like that cliché: Would you rather be right or be happy? I’ve focused on being right a lot in my life. First, in the conservative Christianity of my youth, and then in the leftist politics of my young adulthood. They aren’t always mutually exclusive, but if given the choice, I want to choose to be happy instead. And leave being right to God and God alone.

And here we have it. Not that she's the first to choose what seems to make her happy over what is right.

Genesis 3
1Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

In fact, this whole mess we find ourselves in can be said to be the product of this happy-over-right type of thinking. Eve saw that the fruit was pleasant, and she chose the pleasant over what was right.

In the book of Judges, there is a phrase that is used whenever Israel leaves God and turns to idols and plummets into sin, "Every man did what was right in his own eyes". Is that not what Bolz-Weber is telling us to do?

Joy is important, but happiness is not the measure.

Chesterton on evil and skinning a cat

If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat

Whether or not Bolz-Weber denies the cat, I don't know, but if happiness to her is more important than being right, then upon what basis can she tell the cat-skinner to stop? Or will she leave the question of right or wrong concerning cat-skinning to God and God alone?

EDIT: A commentor has corrected me on something. My info that Bolz-Weber is herself a practicing homosexual seems to be wrong. I have corrected the post, and apologize for not making sure that my information was correct the first time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

so, biblical christians are nazis?

At least, that's what this person thinks.

Two Crazy Rooms in the Church Lady’s House

It’s like you’re at the Church Lady’s house on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. The two of you are sitting in her sun room, sipping sweetened tea and nibbling Cheese Nips, or whatever, having a lovely chat.

In the course of the afternoon you ask to use the restroom. “Why, it’s just down the hallway there,” says the Church Lady. So you go down the hall, find a door, open it, and instead of a bathroom find this:

I'm not sure how to post the picture here, but it's a picture either from a Nazi concentration camp or maybe from a movie scene in one--a couple of rows of men in striped outfits. The only spot of color in the picture is that someone has put an upside-down pink triangle over the men's numbers. I wonder what that triangle is covering up, perhaps a Star of David, but I digress.

And the blog author is pretty straight-forward about it.

“Back there! In the two rooms! One’s got some gay guys being rounded up by Nazis, and the other’s got people being burned alive! C’mon! We’ve got to do something!”

It always amazes me how such people think the Nazis were right-wing. By way of correcting that, let me point to a book that puts paid to that notion.

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

Must be off, but only wanted to show how disgusting these oh-so-tolerant lefties can be.


So, now, in their never-ending quest to stick their noses into people's lives, the Sojrones are venturing into our bathrooms and behind the shower curtains.

How Long Do You Spend in the Shower?

According to an article at, the company Unilever’s push toward sustainability encountered a major obstacle in changing people’s habits: the amount of time folks took to take a shower. Many of us not only shower too frequently (there is evidence that suggests that daily showers are not always good for us), but many of us also spend far too long in the shower.

Yeah, we need to shower less. Strange, though, that the same people who say we should shower less are also the ones who are oh-so-big on community, bringing people together, all of them into one big stinking mess.

Well, at least the stinking part may happen. Share the wealth of odor, everyone!

So my question for you — how long do you spend in the shower, and do you think it matters?

Umm...let's see...

None of your business.
Only in regards to the water bill.
There, Sojrone, happy?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

why is this so hard for wallis to understand?

There are some ideas that, at least to me, seem so clear as to be almost self-evident. But for whatever reason, there are people who don't see them.

Take Jim Wallis, for example, and what he writes here in his new screed at Sojo. Emphases mine.

Our country is in the midst of a clash between two competing moral visions. It is not, as we have known in recent history, a traditional fight between Republicans and Democrats. It is a conflict between those who believe in the common good and those who believe individual good is the only good. While a biblical worldview informs Christians that they should be wary of the rich and defend the poor, a competing ideology says that wealth is equivalent to righteousness and God’s blessing. It is a morality play in which Washington, D.C. is the stage, politicians are actors, lobbyists are directors, the “debt ceiling” is the conflict, and we are the audience who will pay the cost of the production, whether we enjoyed it or not.

Now, I'm racking my brain at the moment, trying to think of anyone who may have equated wealth with righteousness and God's blessing. Outside of maybe someone like Benny Hinn or Creflo Dollar or Robert Tilton, no one really comes to mind. Certainly no political figures. Using such simplistic thinking a Wallis uses here, conservatives would be the biggest fans of George Soros and Ted Turner and all the other uber-rich liberals out there, of which there is more than a few.

Similarly, I'm trying to remember where any Conservative is saying only individual good is to be considered, without regard to the good of others; rather, the argument is that the good of all does not trump the good of the individual. You are not allowed to steal from another, even if you think your reason is good, no matter how much the person being stolen from may have, no matter how much good what is stolen may do somewhere else.

I listen to Rush Limbaugh's show as much as I can, no doubt a serious crime in Wallis' mind. Limbaugh is constantly equating the good of the individual with the good of society as a whole--if the government raises taxes on those who produce wealth and start businesses and take risks and provide jobs, those who do those things will be less willing to do them, and subsequently there will more average people out of work, thus hurting society as a whole. Thus, hurting the individual winds up hurting many other individuals.

There is no common good without concern for the individual good. But if our goal is the common good, the individual can become a mere ant to be trod upon. If the common good becomes the main thing, then even what harms the individual becomes an option.

I prefer the good of the individual, because then there is the chance that that good will equate into the good of everyone. If an individual has freedom of speech, then the ones who agree or disagree also have that freedom, and all can speak without fear. If the freedom is taken away from one person, then the rest of use must look over our shoulders to see if the censors are coming to silence us, too.

Especially if they are doing so in the name of the common good.

multi-tasking mclaren

Oh, dear, a visit to McLaren's blog. Must be time to see gratuitious bashing of all people who dare disagree with him.

Religious Ping-Pong

It's the tendency we've all noticed - to create one-issue fixations. For Republicans, Brooks says, the current fixation is tax rates. Responsible governance, he argues, requires we work with many issues simultaneously and pay attention to the larger historical process in which we are participating. But single-issue fixation allows us to forget all that complexity and focus on one issue only, right now only.

Ah, yes, shame on Republicans for focusing on the big issue of the moment, the big crisis, the thing that most needs to be dealt with. Why don't they just turn their attention to other things, and lets the adults like the President and Vice-President and Harry Reid do the heavy lifting.

In case you were wondering, that last paragraph should be read with as if soaked, sauteed, and braised in sarcasm.

Teaching evolution in schools ... prayer in schools ... abortion ... gay marriage ... the rapture or other eschatological topics ... these single issue fixations change over time. But something is "abnormal," to use David Brooks' term, when we ping-pong from one single issue to another, lacking a broader ability to hold multiple issues in dynamic tension.

I'll give Brooks half-credit for a decent point, but the problem isn't the focus on one issue at a time. It's bouncing from one issue to another, one crisis to another, without having properly dealt with the ones that came before.

Thus, we live in a perpetual state of perceived crisis. We try to focus on getting the economy solidly back on track, and the Administration goes around saying it's ignore DOMA and say the military should no longer Don't Ask Don't Tell. We try to focus on doing away with socialized medicine, and the Administration tries to sink us deeper in debt and make it so they can do it even more by raising the debt ceiling. We try to make an economy where jobs can be created, and the President gets up and bashes those companies who have corporate jets.

In chess, one must keep many things in mind when deciding on a plan. But often enough, a single move with address only one or two things. If, for example, the person playing white opens the game by pushing the king's pawn forward two squares, that move directly addresses the need to fight for control of the center of the board, and indirectly helps in development by openning up paths for the king's bishop and the queen.

That player would be unwise if he were to be distracted by bizarre play from the opponent, though any real threats that player may manufacture must be considered.

So, too, the Republicans should focus on certain things, things that have been proven to work, things the people care about, and not be distracted by the attempts to distract them from those things. Things like fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, social conservative issues like the defense of marriage and the restriction or (hopefully) abolishing of abortion, and the return of freedoms to the people and away from the restrictive grasp of the government.

McLaren is simply barking up the wrong tree. Please, Republicans, ignore him. Or read him for the unintentional humor.

Monday, July 4, 2011

sojo likes high gas prices

I can think of no other reason for them to post this hyperbole-ventilating, fear-mongering thing.

The Keystone XL Pipeline: Game Over For the Climate

For one thing, this writer references one Jim Hansen in his reports. Hansen is, to quote Rush, an "environmental whacko", who has been misleading people about global warming for quite a while.

James Hansen’s Former NASA Supervisor Declares Himself a Skeptic – Says Hansen ‘Embarrassed NASA’, ‘Was Never Muzzled’, & Models ‘Useless’

“I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made,” Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results,” Theon, the former Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program at NASA Headquarters and former Chief of the Atmospheric Dynamics & Radiation Branch explained.

Theon declared “climate models are useless.” “My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit,” Theon explained. “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy,” he added.

And it's already been shown how much of the global warming panic has been based on bad info and even lies.

Do hacked e-mails show global-warming fraud?

Controversy has exploded onto the Internet after a major global-warming advocacy center in the UK had its e-mail system hacked and the data published on line. The director of the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit confirmed that the e-mails are genuine — and Australian publication Investigate and the Australian Herald-Sun report that those e-mails expose a conspiracy to hide detrimental information from the public that argues against global warming (via Watt’s Up With That):

But don't let the facts get in the way of the propoganda, right?

Oh, and the Sojo writer, Bill McKibben? Well, let's see...

Can earth survive climate change? Author McKibben sees a chance

"We're not going to solve climate change one house household at a time," McKibben, 50, says in a Green House interview. "What we need is a law, national and international, that puts a cap on carbon and raises its price."

Such a bill, pushed by President Obama, is now pending in the U.S. Senate. He writes:

Everyone has to keep voting for politicians who will raise the price of gasoline high enough to cause most of us to park our cars and take the bus

Yeah, McKibben wants high gas prices. And since Sojo gives this joke a voice, so must they.

Makes me want this pipeline to go through. The resources are there, in the Gulf and other places, but for whatever reason, some people seem to think that we shouldn't make use of them. And whatever fear-language they think will work to get their way, that's what they'll use.

So, to quote Palin, "Drill, baby, drill!".

Saturday, July 2, 2011

another good reason to celebrate Independence Day in the USA

As if celebrating the fact that the US is still a relatively free country, where people have freedoms to speak their minds, attend the churches they want, and to gather for the causes they think are worth it, here's another good reason to have a good time on July 4th and the days leading up to it.

It'll honk off a Sojrone!!

I think I'll get some sparklers and light them up, in honor of this Sojrone's miserable better-than-the-common-rabble attitude.

UPDATE: Oh, this is even richer...Emergent Village have picked up the article, too!!