Friday, September 30, 2011

so, Beck was right, after all

I think it was last year when Glenn Beck turned his attention to showing the solid red streak in Jim Wallis, and how Wallis tried to at least make it seem less than it claimed. See here.

Jim Wallis, yet another spiritual adviser to the president of the United States — a guy who believes a lot of the stuff that Jeremiah Wright does. He is a blatant redistribution of wealth advocate, a Marxist.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?

WALLIS: Absolutely, without any hesitation. That's what the gospel is all about.


Being one who occasionally ventures over to Sojourners to see the latest wackiness there, I'd little doubt that Beck was on to something. Now, Wallis' little political blog, God's Politics, has a little something that makes me think Beck was indeed correct.

True Story.

Yes, that really is the article's title.

This Sojo entry is basically a photo of a sign, probably at some event. Here is what the sign says.

Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free health care. You're think of Jesus.

Rather odd, that the title "True Story" should be put to an entry that consists only of a photo of this sign, don't you think? Kinda like the Sojrone, going by the name of God's Politics Editor, thinks this sign neatly sums up what Jesus was all about.

It's interesting, too, that almost nothing on the sign is really true or verifiable. What color was Jesus' skin? Well, since photography wasn't around at that time, we really don't know. This may tell us something about Him, though.

Revelation 1
12Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw(AI) seven golden lampstands, 13and in the midst of the lampstands(AJ) one like(AK) a son of man,(AL) clothed with a long robe and(AM) with a golden sash around his chest. 14(AN) The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.(AO) His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15(AP) his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and(AQ) his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16(AR) In his right hand he held seven stars,(AS) from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and(AT) his face was like the sun shining(AU) in full strength.

It tells us that His feet were like bronze. Perhaps a tad on the brown side, then, though maybe more tan than anything else.

One would be hard-pressed to find anything in the Bible that says Jesus was anti-war (one would be hard-pressed to find anything in the Obama administration that says he is anti-war, either). In fact, consider this from Revelation as well, emphasis mine.

Revelation 19
11Then I saw(W) heaven opened, and behold,(X) a white horse! The one sitting on it is called(Y) Faithful and True, and(Z) in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12(AA) His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are(AB) many diadems, and he has(AC) a name written that no one knows but himself. 13He is clothed in(AD) a robe dipped in[d] blood, and the name by which he is called is(AE) The Word of God. 14And the armies of heaven,(AF) arrayed in fine linen, white and pure,(AG) were following him on white horses. 15(AH) From his mouth comes a sharp sword(AI) with which to strike down the nations, and(AJ) he will rule them with a rod of iron.(AK) He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh(AL) he has a name written,(AM) King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus does not seem to be anti-war here, and this is not the only place in the Bible that speaks of Christ returning as a warrior, despite the absurd attempt by Brian McLaren to make this passage speak of pacifism.

Did Jesus give out free health care? Jesus healed people, yes. But His healings really were free, in that sense--meaning, He didn't take the healings He would have given to the rich and give them to poor. Nor did He take anything from the rich of His day and give it to the poor simply because they were poor.

In fact, Jesus' healings seemed based on something else--faith. He even spoke very highly of the faith of one of those evil Roman soldier types, when the Roman came to Him asking for his servant to be healed.

Was Jesus a Socialist? It's amazing, what people get from the account where Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor. One might think that they think Jesus told everyone to do that. But He didn't. One may guess He let Zaccheaus off easy for only giving away half of his goods. One may think that He wasn't hard on the Roman Centurion mentioned above, because He didn't require that the man give anything away before healing his servant. And, well, if he stayed in the home of Lazarus and his sisters, it seems logical that they have had a home for them to stay in, and probably a rather large one to house Jesus and the disciples.

You will find much in the Bible about caring for the poor, but nothing about using government coercion to force them to do so. You will find Jesus preaching the Gospel to the poor, but also to those who were rich, too. What you will not find is Jesus trying to make Israel into a communist utopia.

But, it seems that is the jesus Sojo believes in, and so, Beck is proven right by Sojo's own blog entries.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

he must have lost it, then

I was with Loren (Cunningham), I think in Switzerland, many years ago. And he was with...many youth(?), in a big conference. And they were asking him questions. And one of them asked a very bold question. They said "Loren, what is the worst sin you could commit? What are you afraid that you might do?" And I thought, whoa, I'm glad they didn't ask me that. And he did even pause, he didn't even stop, his answer came just like this, he said "To lose the active awareness of the active presense of the Holy Spirit in me, (maybe something indistinct here), moment by moment, day by day, in every situation, in any context, doing ministry or having fun."
Maureen Menard, Celebrate Asia U of N Workshop, beginning roughly 25 minutes in of the first part of her lecture on The Holy Spirit

Just to note, I've put in quotation marks here, because how she sounded made it seem like she was quoting. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if the exact words may have been different, it's likely just how she's speaking about this event.

Now, this answer of Cunningham's is...rather interesting. One might consider it a spiritual answer, or if you're like me, you may consider it a bit over-spiritual. I'm not going to deny that this may have been an fairly honest answer, so far as it goes, but another part of me if fairly skeptical. I have this temptation to ask something like, "Really, sir? You're not worried that you may do something the Bible considers a sin? Maybe you're not so worried about commiting adultery, but if you consider how Jesus spoke about lusting after a woman as being adultery in your heart, is that not something you must guard against? Or what about greed, covetousness, wrath, injustice? Or, more to the point, concerning what I know about you, Mr. Cunningham, should you not be more worried that you may be putting too much trust in false apostles and prophets, like the ones at the Kansas City IHOP, not to mention people like Rick Joyner? Should you not be more concerned that your attempts to institute dominionism may be against biblical teachings? Are those not more serious sins you could do, or even are doing, than you're supposed sin in your answer?"

Because there is one thing I'm sure of--it is not God's Spirit that is leading him to connect YWAM with those false prophets and apostles, nor is it God's Spirit that is telling him to work at a dominionist agenda.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

undue blaming

Why the Impact World Tour

Language, gender, age and values are all elements of culture. To really reach people, we must minister cross-culturally. If our appearance or methods cause people to miss the message of the Gospel, the burden is on us to change!

Is it?

Ok, let me look at those four things they list. Language I could agree them on. If one is going to preach the Gospel to, let's say, the Chinese, it would be good to do so in the language they understand, or to have someone around who can translate the message for you.

Gender seems a bit trickier. I suppose one could consider that in light of a particular culture's views of gender and how the men and women should relate to each other. On the other hand, I get the impression that respect for those rules only goes so far; for example, it seems Jesus probably bent those rules a bit when he talked with the Samaritan woman and the Syrophoenician(sp) woman.

I suspect that age is the bit one IWT is concerned with, from things they say elsewhere on that page. Values is an interesting word, I'm nor sure what they mean by that.

Now, how important is it for the church to change to fit any particular culture? I remember hearing stories of people who would go to these remote tribes, among people who essentially went around with little or no clothing. The stories went that their ministering would be largely ineffective at first, until they got some kind of message from the God telling them to go around naked like those they were ministering to, at which point for whatever reason the people listened to them.

Now, considering how much the Bible makes about things like proper dress and modest clothing, I have to question this tactic by those missionaries. The question of what constitutes modest clothing may be debatable on some fronts, but public nakedness surely crosses that line. It is one thing for us to take the Gospel to others, it is another for us to descend to their level of morality. It would be wrong for a man to become a pimp in order to minister to prostitutes, or for a woman to become a prostitute in order to minister to other prostitutes. It would be wrong for a man to commit murder in order to get into prison to minister to prisoners. It would be wrong for a person to try to get a disease in order to minister to those in hospitals.

There are things we can do to make the message of the Gospel more understandable to others, such as presenting that message in the language the people understand. But there are lines that should not be crossed.

The Gospels present a good case for this. Consider this from Matthew 11.

11Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12(N) From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,[d] and the violent take it by force. 13(O) For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14and if you are willing to accept it, he is(P) Elijah who is to come. 15(Q) He who has ears to hear,[e] let him hear.

16"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,
17"'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'

18For John came(R) neither eating(S) nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' 19The Son of Man came(T) eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard,(U) a friend of(V) tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds."[f]

John and Jesus acted in two very different ways, and both were rejected. We have to remember that people are fallen, sinful, and that no matter what we do or how culturally sensitive we are, many will reject the Gospel. The Bible does not have a high view of mankind, and does not say that all we have to do is convey the message in just the right way and people will fall all over themselves believing. That's not how it goes.

So, up to a point, IWT may have a point in saying we may need to change some things, but eventually, we simply have to accept that if we change too far, we'll be changing the message of the Gospel, or acting in ways we should not.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for us believers is to do what Jesus did, leave “our worlds” to reach another. The methods Jesus used were relevant to the culture of the time, but very different than the culture of the “church” in its day. Most of today’s younger generation are not open to the methods that reached their parents.

I'm not so sure what that means. What methods reached their parents? Why will they not work nowadays? How were Jesus' methods relevant His culture? What methods have been used since then, and how have they worked?

Finally, is such pragmatism the best way to determine if a method is good or not? Many churches are drawing big crowds, but in listening to their sermons and messages, one can really wonder if the people are being taught God's Word or the ideas of men. Do numbers justify a method? If Jesus' methods were relevant for His time, then we have to conclude that they were failing methods, because He was rejected, and His Apostles and early followers suffered a lot of persecution. "He came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him".

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has never lost its power and relevance. Our greatest challenge now, as a Church, is to present this message in a relevant way...

Relevancy is a tricky thing. The pursuit of relevancy can lead to a lot of foolishness, not to mention bad teachings. And, finally, the message of the Gospel will simply cause offense and be rejected.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

a little more depth

Voices from the Web (and World): Responses to the Troy Davis Execution

Sojo has been up in arms, so to speak, over the legal execution of a man who killed a police officer. After scouring the web for views that support their views, they found a few that were against them. One was this.

“HOLD THE PICKLE, HOLD THE LETTUCE. FRYING KILLERS WON’T UPSET US.” — Conservative pundit and self-described “mean Christian” Ann Coulter via Twitter

Ok, probably not the way I would have expressed it, either, though I'm not sad that a cop killer got justice. But considering that her quote here reads a lot like the rather simplistic chants that those on the left like to use when they're out causing problems, though lacking the profanities too many of them like to use, I do wonder how much of a right Sojrones have to express distaste.

But if they had wanted to give a little more depth to Coulter's views (which I doubt they did), they could have taken some things for one of her articles about the crime. Which I'll do here.

Cop Killer Troy Davis Is Media's Latest Baby Seal

The bulk of the eyewitness testimony established the following:

Two tall, young black men were harassing a vagrant in the Burger King parking lot, one in a yellow shirt and the other in a white Batman shirt. The one in the white shirt used a brown revolver to pistol-whip the vagrant. When a cop yelled at them to stop, the man in the white shirt ran, then wheeled around and shot the cop, walked over to his body and shot him again, smiling.

Some eyewitnesses described the shooter as wearing a white shirt, some said it was a white shirt with writing, and some identified it specifically as a white Batman shirt. Not one witness said the man in the yellow shirt pistol-whipped the vagrant or shot the cop.

Several of Davis' friends testified -- without recantation -- that he was the one in a white shirt. Several eyewitnesses, both acquaintances and strangers, specifically identified Davis as the one who shot Officer MacPhail.

I'm quite willing to admit that Coulter's Twitter remark was a bit much for my taste, and probably crossed lines, but whatever else may be thought of her Twitter comment, her views were hardly as simplistic as Sojo tried to portray. Perhaps they should have dealt with her article linked to above? Maybe taken some excerpts from it to add along with the other, more liberal ones they had?

And, perhaps Sojo can join in protesting some other distasteful Tweets?

‘Go Give Someone a Pedicure Chink’: Alec Baldwin Fans Attack Michelle Malkin Over Davis Execution

I'll not hold my breath on that, though. After all, they never get up in arms when conservative women are attacked in their favorite commentary shows, why start now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

bad theology = bad thinking

Why Christians Should Be Biased

Another theological/political train wreck, courtesy of Sojo.

Make no mistake, Christians should be biased.

Biased? Really? A bias based on what?

Nowhere is the Christian conformity to this world more obvious than in our failure to be biased on behalf of the poor.

Oh, I see. Christians haven't been charitable enough? Really?

I can think of good rejoinders to that charge. I think I've done this a few times before, but since it's appropriate here, let me recommend this book again, The Tragedy of American Compassion. The author shows how in the early years of the US, religious groups and organizations were the ones engaged in charitable work, up until about the early 1900s when the government began nosing in and even discouraging private charity.

Just 25 chapters into my assignment I was shocked. I’m sure I had heard it before but I had never paid attention. But, as an Evangelical Christian who takes the Bible very seriously, I was quite troubled to read about Jesus dividing the world into just two categories — those who took care of the poor, hungry, sick, needy and imprisoned and those who did not.

Though he gives no reference, it's pretty clear that he's referring to Jesus' account of the last judgment, when He divided the sheep from the goats, and talks to them about how they treated His brethren. It always surprises me how these Sojo types always leave off that part about "my brethren". But then, if they mentioned at, it would probably put paid to their notion that this passage is some kind of a call for class warfare and wealth redistribution.

He tells his followers to go hang out with those who are marginalized and picked on by the rest of the culture. He told the poor they were blessed and sent the rich young ruler away.

I'm not sure where Jesus ever told his followers to go hand out with the marginalized and picked on, and the Sojrone gives no reference. I do know that what he wrote about the rich young ruler is wrong. Jesus did not send him away, but he went away because he did not want to do what Christ told him to do. To read this Sojrones take on it, Jesus sent him away as if He were disgusted with him for being rich.

To be conformed to this world is to be biased for the wealthy and powerful.

Really? So, people like Marx and the Socialist and Communists since then, they were not being conformed this world when they engaged in class warfare rhetoric? Or when they called for the taking and redistributing of what the wealthy had? Or when they took power and implemented their theories, to the detriment of almost everyone they ruled?

Or, maybe this Sojrones call to bias is being conformed to this world? To do the rather questionable practice of quoting myself...

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.

Once again, a writer has Sojo has tried to make injustice seem right. That is wrong.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Man, Woman, and Original Sin: A Response to Al Mohler (by Morgan A. Guyton)

The controversy over whether or not the primordial stories of Genesis are historical or allegorical reveals a basic fault-line in American evangelicalism between fundamentalists who need for the gospel to be hard for others to swallow (perhaps because they’re trying to “earn” their salvation through anti-intellectualism) and true evangelicals whose genuine interest in sharing the gospel makes them yearn for a way of explaining the Bible that will not get laughed out of the room by herpetologists and others whose life vocations make it impossible for them to treat a divinely-inspired ancient Hebrew poem like a biology textbook. In any case, the latest controversy in this sad waste of God’s time called the evolution/creationism debate is that some conservative evangelical biologists are “coming out” as legitimate scientists and ruling out the possibility of a single original homo sapien couple named Adam and Eve based on their genomic research.

Oh, dear, the Bible says things that are hard to believe. Who knew?

So, we have to tailor/butcher the Bible, the unchanging Word of God, to fit the ever-changing claims of other people. God did not give His message so that man might be changed, but man gives his theories and insists that God change His message to fit them.

The latest fundamentalist to weigh in on this topic is Al Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Seminary. Mohler writes that without a historical Adam and Eve, “we will have to come up with an entirely new understanding of the Gospel metanarrative and the Bible’s storyline.” I agree. It’s time to jettison forever from Christian doctrine the abominably stupid idea that God blames people today for the actions of some random historical figure named Adam. There is a more Biblically accurate and compelling way of explaining original sin.

Really? More biblically accurate? You mean, more biblically accurate than when Paul tells us that in Adam all died? More biblically accurate than all even the account of the Fall itself?

So, what does this "...more Biblically accurate and compelling way of explaining original sin" amount to?

All of us together as man and woman have participated in eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which has left us with the curse of self-awareness that means we are no longer part of an un-individualized immortality in which animals’ bodies cycle through birth and death within a species that lives on forever according to the Earth’s natural equilibrium. We are under the curse of mortality and sin because we have been individualized and are no longer just part of a collective herd. It makes sense for the beginning of sin to be associated with the moment that “the eyes of [the man and woman] were opened, and they realized they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). Sin can only exist in the context of self-awareness. Once we gain self-awareness as a species, then we become self-centered people who quarrel with one another, squander the resources of creation God has given us, and generate an enormous residue of pain and guilt that no human being can avoid being tainted by. It is a curse for which we did not ask, but it does no good to blame God, since humanity has entered into this curse through our combined actions as a species.


So, instead of 'original sin' meaning an act of rebellion against the one, plainly state rule that God implemented, it was an accident of Evolution. Silly Evolution, giving us self-awareness and individuality, how cruel of it.

So, instead of God blaming us for a conscious act of rebellion committed by two people long ago, we're all victims of the fiat of Evolution, which for some reason gave us self-awareness and individuality. Heck, if God's directing Evolution, we go beyond blaming Evolution and blame God.

At the least, it's no longer our fault. WE didn't ask for this. WE didn't ask for individuality. WE didn't ask for self-awareness. WE didn't ask to not be part of the collective herd. We are just innocent victims, we can't help ourselves.

Ok, everyone, join with now...


Yes, it is that hilarious.

Seriously, this Oozey article is an absolute train wreck.

If individuality and self-awareness are 'original sin', then we can get an idea of the cure--communism and losing ourselves in the collective herd. We lose our individuality into the group-think that postmodernism is so proud of, subsume our individual good in the collective good that social ideas like communism espouse, we do not fight against the dictates put out by the pomo overlords but give all due praise to them like the people whose letters McLaren responds to in his blog.

Also, personal responsiblity at the least gets reduced. We don't really sin against God, we're just accidents of nature. Did Christ die so that we can be forgiven of our sins by repentence and confessions? Or did he die so that we can simply rejoin the collective herd?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

but he already said that

Mark (Anderson/Andersen/something like that) shared from his encounter with God, and he began to help us see what God was doing throughout the earth. And he told us that a time is coming when believers are coming together, in many cities throughout the world, believers in Jesus, every one of them with the person of the Holy Spirit who is in them, gathered in a building to consider the business of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And together, they will ask, how do we bring your kingdom to every place our foot will tread. Now here's the thing, At that gathering, when we come from every church, different denominations, different cultures, differenet experiences of God, what unites us? Who unites us? And in that moment I believe Jesus is going to speak. Every time that session convenes, just as we are gathered right now, there will be a Great Commission call, but not from any human being, from Jesus. From Jesus. And they will hear, you will hear, "All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me, and I commission you to go, but wait, wait, wait, remember the Holy Spirit, remember the Holy Spirit. I won't leave you alone, but it's the Spirit of God who is with you, and he will make everything that is of me available to you."
Maureen Menard, Holy Spirit part 1, Celebrate Asia U of N Workshop, roughly 10 minutes in

So, let me get this straight...

This guy (not Menard, she's telling what Anderson said) says that believers in Jesus are going to gather together, and have these meetings, in buildings, about spiritual stuff. Menard throws in her $.02 worth, too, saying that the people at those gatherings will get a Great Commission call, apparently from Jesus Himself. She even gives the kind of message Jesus is going to give to them.

Now, I listen to all that, and I think "Couldn't they just read the Book, and get that same message?"

As humorous as that seems to me, it shows a decided shallow outlook on the part of this lady. People have to hear Jesus Himself say those words in order to actually do them? Jesus has already said them, those words are recorded in the Bible, why do we need to have them repeated?

There is nothing profound here, no matter in how many exclamation points this woman speaks, and she does seem to speak in them all the time in this truly gargantuan lecture. But this statement is closer to asinine than profound. Her Jesus that speaks today doesn't say anything that those people couldn't read very well in the Bibles they would hopefully have close at hand. Those people don't need to gather together in order to know that Jesus has commissioned them to take the Gospel to the world.

Jesus has already spoken. Why do they need Him to say again the things He's already said?

Monday, September 12, 2011

where does God put his feet?

Out of the mathematics of general relativity would come ideas and postulates that are themselves also matters now of household conversation: time as another, and fourth, dimension; time as capable of being slowed; the ongoing expansion of the universe; the Big Bang. And in conjunction with the work of other brilliant, popularly known physicists like Edwin Hubble, general relativity would eventually make it possible, on July 20, 1969, for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to walk on the surface of Earth's moon. In doing so, they walked on what always before had been the footstool of God, and that made all the difference. Literalism based on inerrancy could not survive the blow (though it would die a slow and painful death); and without inerrancy-based literalism, the divine authority of Scripture was decentralized, subject to the caprices of human interpretation, turned into some kind of pick-and-choose bazaar for skillful hagglers. Where now is our authority?
Phyllis Tickle, The Great Emergence, p 82, emphasis mine

I think I commented on this or a similar quote of Tickle's some time ago, but something struck me in this statement--the contention that in going to the moon we had somehow walked upon "the footstool of God".

So, doing a little search in the Bible on what is the footstool of God, I found a bit of something that makes Tickle's statement rather amusing.

Isaiah 66:1
This is what the Lord says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?

Matthew 5:34-35
But I tell you, Do not swear at all; either by heaven, for it is God's throne, or by the earth, for it is his footstool; of by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

And Acts 7:49 quotes Isaiah 66:1.

I have not found any place in the Bible where the moon is referred to as God's footstool; rather, it is the Earth itself that is given that moniker.

Which makes Tickles statement about us walking on God's footstool rather amusing, since long before astronauts set foot on the moon, we were walking quite frequently, openly, and with impunity upon God's footstool. It seems that setting foot on God's footstool didn't make all that much of a difference, after all.

Which leads me to think that Tickle's declaration of the death of biblical literalism is based more on wishful thinking than reality. But just as people on Tickle's side of the aisle have tried to declare things dead that really are not, like political conservatism and the Republican Party, biblical literalism is still alive and well. Tickle need not whistle as she passes by the graveyard, for the ghost of literalism is not there.

Nor is the ghost of liberalism there, either, though that spirit I would wish was confined within the walls of the cemetery of ideas, where it richly belongs. But it would be wrong of me to say that it is, no matter my own preference for it's swift demise. Liberal politicians are still out there, still defending the rights of certain 'doctors' to take the lives of the most helpless of human beings, the unborn; still trying to normalize sexual perversion; still trying to take the US down the failing road of socialism; still trying to use class warfare rhetoric to take more and more tax money from people; still using questionable science to gain more and more control over us; still making criminals into heroes; and so on.

And liberalism is still alive in religion, too. Tickle's statement about the death of literalism and Scripture losing its divine authority could be considered among the hallmarks of religious liberalism.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

following the inner voice

It's been quite a while since I've used a Dilbert strip to comment on something, or just post it just 'cause.

Anyway, take a gander of this oozey statement. Emphasis mine.

Are Some Sins Worse or Better Than Others? (by Christian Piatt)

Then we got to Jesus so-called Greatest Commandment. The rule upon which all other rules hang, according to him. The two-part rule for a righteous life is to love God with every part of your being, and to love your neighbor (not just your next door neighbor, but everyone else) like you love yourself.

What if I don’t love myself? Does that mean I have permission to treat others as badly as I treat myself? Can I lower the bar on self-care on purpose so I have greater latitude in how I love others?

Finally, we came together on the idea that what Jesus was getting at was that you would know in your heart what is right and what is wrong. If you follow that inner voice – that moral compass, so to speak – you’ll always point in the right direction.

And now, we have this recent Dilbert strip.

And to look at the oozey nonsense above in a more theological way, emphasis mine again.

Jeremiah 17

5Thus says the LORD:"Cursed is the man(K) who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,[a]
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6(L) He is like a shrub in the desert,
(M) and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in(N) an uninhabited salt land.

7(O) "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
(P) whose trust is the LORD.
8(Q) He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit."

9The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

10(R) "I the LORD search the heart
(S) and test the mind,[b]
(T) to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds."

Jesus was NOT, repeat NOT, making some kind Disneyesque statement about how are hearts will know what is right or wrong, nor was He say that we had to follow some kind of inner voice or inner moral compass. God's commandments were known to the people Jesus was speaking to, and nothing He taught was against them.

attempting the impossible

Becoming Influencial

"The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom" (Deut 28:13-14).

I would have to say the body of Christ in America is not the head, but is still the tail. Part of the reason for this is that we have not understood our biblical mandate to have dominion on the earth as was modeled in Genesis with Adam and Eve. When Jesus returned to earth He came to save that which was lost and restore this principle of dominion (Luke 19:10). When Jesus prayed in the Lord's prayer: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:9-10), He was praying that His dominion would be restored on earth just as it is in Heaven.

First, let's put that passage excerpt in it's context.

Deuteronomy 28

1And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice
of Jehovah thy God, to observe to do all his commandments which I
command thee this day, that Jehovah thy God will set thee on high above
all the nations of the earth: 2and all these blessings shall come upon thee,
and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of Jehovah thy
God. 3Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the
field. 4Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground,
and the fruit of thy beasts, the increase of thy cattle, and the young of thy
flock. 5Blessed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. 6Blessed shalt
thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest
out. 7Jehovah will cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be
smitten before thee: they shall come out against thee one way, and shall
flee before thee seven ways. 8Jehovah will command the blessing upon
thee in thy barns, and in all that thou puttest thy hand unto; and he will
bless thee in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee. 9Jehovah will
establish thee for a holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee;
if thou shalt keep the commandments of Jehovah thy God, and walk in his
ways. 10And all the peoples of the earth shall see that thou art called by
the name of Jehovah; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11And Jehovah will
make thee plenteous for good, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of
thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which Jehovah sware
unto thy fathers to give thee. 12Jehovah will open unto thee his good
treasure the heavens, to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless
all the work of thy hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou
shalt not borrow. 13And Jehovah will make thee the head, and not the tail;
and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou shalt
hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah thy God, which I command
thee this day, to observe and to do them, 14and shalt not turn aside from
any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to
the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Look at some parts of this passage. First, God was giving this message to the children of Israel, right before they were to go into the Promised Land. As such, it seems rather spurious to take that little excerpt about being the head and not the foot, and trying to apply it the church. Deuteronomy 28 is quite a long chapter, and right after v 14 it goes into a very long discourse about the curses God will send on them if they do not keep all the commandments. Why not focus on them, instead of holding out the thing about.

Second, consider how all-encompassing their obedience had to be. " observe to do all his commandments which I command thee this day", "...if thou shalt keep the commandments of Jehovah thy God, and walk in his ways", "... if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them, and shalt not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day". They had to obey ALL of God's commandments, they could not disobey ANY of the words which God had commanded them. It had to be perfect obedience to many chapters worth of commands, I think they begin in chapter 5 and go up to 27.

Israel failed to do that. The Old Testament gives the accounts of their inability to keep them. But they are far from alone in failing to obey God's laws. All of us have sinned, and in showing us, Israel and Gentiles, that we have sinned, the law had done it's duty.

Romans 7
7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not
known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except
the law had said, Thou shalt not covet: 8but sin, finding occasion, wrought
in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the
law sin is dead. 9And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the
commandment came, sin revived, and I died; 10and the commandment,
which was unto life, this I found to be unto death: 11for sin, finding
occasion, through the commandment beguiled me, and through it slew me.
12So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and
good. 13Did then that which is good become death unto me? God forbid.
But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through
that which is good; — that through the commandment sin might become
exceeding sinful.

Galatians 3
10For as many as are of the
works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one
who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to
do them. 11Now that no man is justified by the law before God, is evident:
for, The righteous shall live by faith; 12and the law is not of faith; but, He
that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of
the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one
that hangeth on a tree: 14that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of
Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit
through faith.

In tying the so-called dominion mandate to this passage in Deuteronomy about being the head and not the tail, this writer is tying the right to have dominion to obedience to the law. Does it not say that only through following and obeying the law God had given would Israel be the head and not the tail, be above and not below? If that is the condition, then it follows that the yoke of perfect obedience is the yoke these dominionists have taken upon themselves.

Good luck with that. If any dominionist has bothered to read all of what I've written here so far, you've likely already sinned in some way or another in that time. You've already disobeyed. You have disobeyed today, should you live tomorrow you will disobey. If at any time in your life you have disobeyed God's commands, you have forfeited the right to be the head, you have no right to be above anyone else.

Friday, September 9, 2011

ched myers and twisting peter's statement

At the structural center of Marks story is Jesus famous double question to his disciples, upon which all Christian theology turns:

"Who do the people say that I am?...
Who do you say I am?" (8:27, 29a)

Here Mark boldly transforms teh foundational declaration of Hebrew faith--"God said to Moses, 'I am who I am!" (Exod. 3:14)--into a query. Significantly, Peter sees in this remarkable solicitation a happy occasion for confessional orthodoxy: "You are the Christ!" (8:29b). Yet Jesus responds to Peter as if he were merely another demon attempting to "name" him--he silences him (8:30; cf. 1:25, 3:12, 9:25).

This precipitates what I have called the "confessional crisis" in Mark (8:31-33). Jesus repudiates Messianic triumphalism by invoking the political vocation of the Human One; Peter attempts in turn to repudiate such a "negating" theology. Jesus then utterly problematizes the matter by aligning the Petrine confession (which was, let us not forget, the creed of the churches to which Mark wrote, aand which still read him today) with Satan! The struggle conclude with Jesus' invitation to his disciples to a practice of the cross (8:34ff). Mark thus displaces Peter's confession with Jesus' quandary about losing life in order to save it.
Ched Myers, in his entry """I Will Ask You A Question": Interrogatory Theology", in the book "Theology Without Foundation", edited by Hauerwas, Murphy, and Nation, pp. 100-101

It seems like a theme is starting to pop up here, dealing with some rather bizarre scriptural twistings. I don't know if I can say that the above is among the most bizarre, as the so-called apostles and prophets are among those who regularly go to some strange places, but it may be among the most distasteful.

First, the passage in question.

Mark 8
27And Jesus went forth, and his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea
Philippi: and on the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Who do
men say that I am? 28And they told him, saying, John the Baptist; and
others, Elijah; but others, One of the prophets. 29And he asked them, But
who say ye that I am? Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the
Christ. 30And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 31And
he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and
be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be
killed, and after three days rise again. 32And he spake the saying openly.
And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33But he turning about, and
seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and saith, Get thee behind me, Satan;
for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men. 34And he
called unto him the multitude with his disciples, and said unto them, If any
man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
follow me. 35For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and
whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it.
36For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his
life? 37For what should a man give in exchange for his life? 38For
whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and
sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he
cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

First, Myers tries to say the Jesus silenced Peter as He silences the demons in other passages. But is that so? Emphases mine.

Mark 1
40And there cometh to him a leper, beseeching him, and kneeling down to
him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41And
being moved with compassion, he stretched forth his hand, and touched
him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou made clean. 42And straightway the
leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean. 43And he strictly
charged him, and straightway sent him out, 44and saith unto him, See thou
say nothing to any man
: but go show thyself to the priest, and offer for
thy cleansing the things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto
them. 45But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to spread
abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into a
city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every

Mark 8
31And again he went out from the borders of Tyre, and came through
Sidon unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of
Decapolis. 32And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an
impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to lay his hand upon him.
33And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers
into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue; 34and looking up to
heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
35And his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and
he spake plain. 36And he charged them that they should tell no man: but
the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it.
37And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all
things well; he maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Mark 9
1And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There are some here of
them that stand by, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the
kingdom of God come with power. 2And after six days Jesus taketh with
him Peter, and James, and John, and bringeth them up into a high mountain
apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them; 3and his
garments became glistering, exceeding white, so as no fuller on earth can
whiten them. 4And there appeared unto them Elijah with Moses: and they
were talking with Jesus. 5And Peter answereth and saith to Jesus, Rabbi, it
is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee,
and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 6For he knew not what to answer;
for they became sore afraid. 7And there came a cloud overshadowing them:
and there came a voice out of the cloud, This is my beloved Son: hear ye
him. 8And suddenly looking round about, they saw no one any more, save
Jesus only with themselves. 9And as they were coming down from the
mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they
had seen
, save when the Son of man should have risen again from the dead.
10And they kept the saying, questioning among themselves what the rising
again from the dead should mean.

From these passages, we can see that Jesus did not tell only demons to be silent about who He is or things He had done or shown to them. Jesus telling the disciples to not say anything about Him being the Christ at that time does not mean He was equating Peter's statement with something said by demons; iu fact, I think Myers is falling into blasphemy when he says that.

Also, the incident is mentioned in other Gospels. In Matthew, for example, it does like this:

Matthew 16
13Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his
disciples, saying, Who do men say that the Son of man is? 14And they
said, Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one
of the prophets. 15He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? 16And
Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living
God. 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon
Bar-jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my
Father who is in heaven. 18And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not
prevail against it. 19I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of
heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20Then
charged he the disciples that they should tell no man that he was the
Christ.21From that time began Jesus to show unto his disciples, that he must go
unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and
scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up. 22And Peter took
him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall
never be unto thee. 23But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind
me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the
things of God, but the things of men.

Interesting that this pasage contains all the elements Myers appeals to, but has other things that perhaps Myers wouldn't like; for example, rather than Jesus repudiating Peter's statement that He is the Christ, Jesus says that he is blessed for making it, that the Father is the one who has shown that to him.

A far cry from Myers' attempts to make Peter's statement the problem, isn't it?

Myers' statement that Jesus tried to align Peter's statement with Satan is simply blasphemy. Peter's statement that Jesus is the Christ was revealed to him by God, yet Myers' says it is aligned with Satan. Would it not be logical, then, that it is Myers who is speaking the words of Satan here, since they contradict Jesus' own statement that Peter's insight was given to him by God?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

another case of the text not saying that

There are time I read something, and I wind up asking "How on Earth did they find that in there?" I gave an example of it a few days ago, but that was from a Sojrone, and that's par for the course for them. This one is from what I think is the other side of the political aisle.

The Dominion Process

Perhaps many of the events mentioned in the Bible as being signs of Christ’s return are instigated by the church.Take for instance Satan’s reaction to the dominion authority of the advancing church.

"Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Revelation 12:10-12

According to this verse, many of the subsequent events in the Book of Revelation are due to the fact that the church has taken the initiative and cornered the devil, and like a frightened animal, he comes out fighting because he knows his days are numbered.

So, which of those verses says what this writers says it says?

First, context.

Revelation 12

1And a great sign was seen in heaven: a woman arrayed with the sun, and
the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; 2and
she was the child; and she crieth out, travailing in birth, and in pain to be
delivered. 3And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold, a great
red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven
diadems. 4And his tail draweth the third part of the stars of heaven, and
did cast them to the earth: and the dragon standeth before the woman that
is about to be delivered, that when she is delivered he may devour her
child. 5And she was delivered of a son, a man child, who is to rule all the
nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and unto
his throne. 6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a
place prepared of God, that there they may nourish her a thousand two
hundred and threescore days. 7And there was war in heaven: Michael and
his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and
his angels; 8And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any
more in heaven. 9And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he
that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was
cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. 10And I
heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, and the
power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for
the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our
God day and night. 11And they overcame him because of the blood of the
Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not
their life even unto death. 12Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe for the earth and for the sea: because the devil is gone down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. 13And when the dragon
saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman that
brought forth the man child. 14And there were given to the woman the two
wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness unto her
place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from
the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the
woman water as a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the
stream. 16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her
mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman, and went away to make
war with the rest of her seed, that keep the commandments of God, and
hold the testimony of Jesus:

So, again, where is anything said here about the church "taking the initiative" and "cornering the devil"?

The woman mentioned at the first part of the passage seems to represent Israel. Her son seems to be Jesus. Then there is the account of a war in Heaven, and in a blow against the no pre-emptive war people (as if the concept of war in Heaven isn't enough to deflate the extreme pacifists out there), it seems that Michael and his angels start that battle, and even win, casting the dragon from Heaven and to Earth, along with those angels on his side.

The only mention of the church, except maybe at the end, is from the voice John heard, the words the dominionist writer refers to. 11And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death. Where are the concepts of "taking the initiative" and "cornering the devil" here?

When the devil realizes he has been defeated and cast out of Heaven, who does he persecute? The woman mentioned at the first part of the passage, Israel. And when he couldn't harm her, he turns his attention to who are called "the rest of her seed, that keep the commands of God, and hold the testimony of Jesus". These are Christians, though if it means the whole church or Jewish believers or some other subgroup of Christians, I'm not sure. May be something worth studying into.

But some things are pretty clear in this passage--the devil's hatred is primarily directed at Israel and at Christ. He was not cast out of Heaven by the church cornering him or taking the initiative, but by angels taking the fight to him and his. Even after being cast out of Heaven, he wants to harm Israel. The church is at best a bit player in this passage.

Monday, September 5, 2011

i don't think that passage says that

Well, when you desperately want to find some kind of justification for your practices, any port in the storm will do, or in this case, any verse or verses pulled completely out of context.

Awakening Creativity in Prayer

Each moment is pregnant with new possibilities waiting to be born, alive with new beginnings, God’s secrets not yet heard, God’s dreams not yet fulfilled. These were the thoughts that lodged in my mind as I meditated on Isaiah 48:6-8 this morning.

Well, to her credit, she at least gives an address. Let's drive on over, shall we.

Isaiah 48

6"You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known.
7They are created now, not long ago;
before today you have never heard of them,
lest you should say, 'Behold, I knew them.'
8You have never heard, you have never known,
from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
and that from before birth you were called a rebel.

Interesting, especially that last part. Hardly complimentary. Let's check out the neighborhood.

1Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the LORD
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.
2For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the LORD of hosts is his name.

3"The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
5 I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, 'My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.'

6"You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known.
7They are created now, not long ago;
before today you have never heard of them,
lest you should say, 'Behold, I knew them.'
8You have never heard, you have never known,
from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
and that from before birth you were called a rebel.

9 "For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.

12"Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first,
and I am the last.
13My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
they stand forth together.

14"Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The LORD loves him;
he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken and called him;
I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16 Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there."
And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.

17Thus says the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me."

20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!"
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and the water gushed out.

22 "There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked."

So, anyone want to take those verses, in their context, and come up with any way of making them say that "Each moment is pregnant with new possibilities waiting to be born"?

First, who is God addressing? Israel. What is He saying? Well, He seems rather upset with them. He talks about how do seem to be only wanting to put on the show of being His people, but they aren't doing it in truth and in the right. He calls them obstinate, and that they would have tried to credit the things He did for them to the false gods they were constantly worshiping. One can think of the golden calf in the wilderness, when Aaron declared that it was the god that had led them out of Egypt, as an example of that.

God is not happy with them, but He is not done with them. He is refining them, but in a furnace of affliction. He does this for His ownke, that His name will not be profaned, and that no one would give to another, probably idols and false gods and demons, the glory properly due to Him.

There is not the whit of a call here for some kind of mystical practices in prayer, like the lectio divina this Sojrone wants to encourage. If anything, this is a call to Israel to repent for being idolators, rebels, and traitors to God.

Perhaps part of what happened while Jesus was alone in prayer was that he learned new ways to pray, new patterns that had the disciples hungering for what they observed

And right about here, we have something I would guess is closely akin to blasphemy, perhaps even the thing itself--trying to defend one's contemplative mystical practices by creating fictions that Jesus maybe/might have/could have practiced such things, even though there is NOTHING in the Gospels that says that, not even a hint.

This article from Sojo is disgusting. The Bible is subjected to misuse and abuse from this writer.