Monday, May 30, 2011

the imagined gospel

Nadia Bolz-Weber preaches the Gospel

This theooze forum entry begins with the claim that the speaker was preaching the gospel. Here's the kinds of things that person apparently transcribed.

"Once upon a time, the God of the Universe was basically fed up with being on the receiving end of all our human projections, tired of being nothing more to us than what we thought God should be: angry, show-offy, defensive, insecure, in short, the vengeance-seeking tyrant we would be if we were God. So, at that time, over 2,000 years ago, God’s Loving Desire to really be Known overflowed the heavens and was made manifest in the rapidly dividing cells within the womb of an insignificant peasant girl named Mary. And when the time came for her to give birth to God, there was no room in our expectations – no room in any impressive or spiffy or safe place.


Nice that it starts with the standard fairy-tale phrase. Would we be safe in thinking that Bolz-Weber is using that phrase to indicate that she questions the reality of the incarnation?

I don't think we can doubt she thinks something similar of the Old Testament. All it is, from this quote, is "our human projections". That nasty of god of Abraham, David, and Elijah, going around telling his people to fight and conquer, defend themselves, sacrifice a bunch of cute little animals, and so jealous he just won't allow his people to worship a golden calf or any other idol.

A while ago, I noticed that an emergent writer posited what I labeled The Incompetent God--while God wanted people to be nice little flower-power pacifists, he had to continually have them conquer and go to war. I've come to notice that, in one form or another, 'the incompetent god' is a common theme among emergents. Here, this emergent speakers uses it in a PR sense--God just didn't know how to manage his image, letting poor little people make him out to be all wrath and ire and angry.

Yet, is it not ironic, that at the very time the speaker goes on about man projecting on God, this speaker herself is doing the exact thing she accusing them of doing?

So this God was born in straw and dirt. He grew up, this Jesus of Nazareth, left his home, and found some, let’s be honest, rather unimpressive characters to follow him. Fishermen, Tax collectors, prostitutes, homeless women with no teeth, people from Commerce City, Ann Coulter and Charlie Sheen. If you think I’m kidding… read it for yourselves. These people were questionable. So, with his little band of misfits Jesus went about the countryside turning water to wine, eating with all the wrong people, angering the religious establishment and insisting that in him the kingdom of God had come near, that through him the world according to God was coming right to us. He touched the unclean and used spit and dirt to heal the blind and said crazy destabilizing things like the first shall be last and the last shall be first, and sell all you have and give it to the poor.


Well, that's interesting. Nice little spins on the reality. A little bit of truth mixed in with fabrications, not unlike the serpent when he tempted the woman in Eden.

No doubt, one can see a surface relationship to what she's saying Jesus said and did, and what is in the biblical accounts of Him. Yet, getting past the surface, how much of her Jesus is like the biblical Jesus?

Perhaps the one that is most missing is any sense of context to Jesus' actions. For example, he made water into wine at a wedding in which the wine had run out, which from what I understand would have been a bit of a problem for some people invovled in it. We get no hint that Jesus performed this miracle willy-nilly. Jesus ate with sinners, but is there any hint that Jesus was a partaker in their sins, or that He did it to validate their sins? Jesus touched a leper, and did so to heal him.

To one man, Jesus said to give away all he had. He seemed quite pleased enough when Zaccheaus gave only half. And He seemed to not at all hold it against Lazarus and his sisters that they had their own home, one large enough to allow Him and His disciples to stay in. And the statement about first being last was made in the context of the parable of the workers, where the landowner paid all who worked for him that same wage, no matter how long they worked that day. Another time, it is used in the context of those who have given up much to follow Him.

And the thing that really cooked people’s noodles wasn’t the question “is Jesus like God” it was “what if God is like Jesus”. What if God is not who we thought? What if the most reliable way to know God is not through religion, not through a sin and punishment program, but through a person. What if the most reliable way to know God is to look at how God chose to reveal God’s self in Jesus?"


Perhaps one can show me in the Bible, please, where anyone got "really cooked" by that question she says they got cooked by?

This is, simply, the tired old canard that Jesus was somehow different from God. No lie would be bigger. Jesus was not some radical departure from the God of the prophets, His message was not in contradiction to the God of the Scriptures that the people had at that time. He read from one of those prophets when He began His ministry, He quoted those Scriptures to the devil when He was tempted, He said that those Scriptures spoke of Him, He affirmed those Scriptures and God at every turn. He did not play this game that Bolz-Weber is doing, putting down the God of the Old Testament to create a jesus of her own making.

To separate Jesus from the context of the Old Testament is to create a jesus of one's own making, which Bolz-Weber does. We cannot understand Jesus' sacrifice apart from sin and redemption. The jesus of Bolz-Weber and other emergents is simply a propoganda tool.

Because that changes everything. If what we see in Jesus is God’s own self, revealed, then what we are dealing with here is a God who is ridiculously indiscriminate about choosing friends. A God who would rather die than be in the sin accounting business anymore. A God who would not lift a finger to condemn those who crucified him, but went to the depths of Hell rather than be apart even from his betrayers. A God unafraid to get his hands dirty for the ones he loves. This, this is the God who rises to new life with dirt still under his nails.


Ok, did God not lift a finger to condemn those who crucified him? When Jesus cried out over Jerusalem, saying how He wanted to gather them to Him but they would not allow it, then saying that bad things were coming to them, was He not condemning them for their rejection of Him?

Would God rather die than be in the sin accounting business? In Jesus, God offers us forgiveness of sin, through His death and by His blood, but as was also said, those who do not believe are condemned already.

God has shown us His love, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. But this is no a license to continue in sin, as Bolz-Weber does in her sexual choices, nor does it mean that all are forgiven willy-nilly. It is through repentence and faith in the crucified and risen Christ, a Christ literally crucified and risn and not some kind of fictional redefinition of those things, that we find forgiveness of sin.

Bolz-Weber did not preach the gospel, contrary to what this writer claimed. She preached propoganda.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

twisting

Reading McLaren's blog is sometimes...informative, for lack of a better term.

It's always interesting to see emergents twist things about in the Bible that they just don't like. Here, for example, someone wrote some questions to McLaren about Romans 1 and what Paul wrote about homosexuality, and I think are pretty good questions. I was interested in reading McLaren's responses.

Well, at least in one sense, I wasn't disappointed.

Q & R: Paul, Romans 1, LBTQ

On Romans 1, if you go to any of the Christian sites that focus on lgbtq issues, you'll find a lot of resources on this. Here are three lines of interpretation that make sense to me. 1. Paul is talking about sexual orgies that characterized the Roman elite ... orgies where sex with anyone for any reason was considered OK. 2. Paul is talking about abusive sex as domination ... where one person dominates another of the same sex by requiring him/her to submit to sexual activity. 3. Paul is doing a one-two punch - in chapter 1 talking about Roman/Gentile debauchery to be followed in chapter 2 with self-righteous religious hypocrisy among his own religious tribe ... in which case, for us to use Romans 1 to shame/exclude homosexuals shows that we haven't gotten the point of chapter 2. (In other words, Paul's rhetorical purpose is not to make an eternal moral pronouncement about a whole category of behavior that is little understood now - and was even less understood then. Rather, his rhetorical purpose is to push us beyond making moral judgments about "them" and instead see our and their common need for God's grace, since we all are equally sinners.)


So, let's see...Paul was engaging in class warfare, comdemning the sexual practices of the high and mighty, and one may assume giving a pass to the sexual practices of the low and weak; Paul was talking about rape; or Paul was pulling a Nathan (remember the prophet whom God sent to deal with David concerning his adultery).

Now, shall we look at the part of Romans 1 in question here.

Romans 1 (New International Version)

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.


Ok, reading all that, can you see anything about class warfare or Paul condemning merely the actions of the "Roman elites"? Or anything about rape or forced sex? Or, for that matter, that we are not to make moral judgments about these kinds of actions and those who practice them?

Or, do you rather see how McLaren is merely trying to weasel his way out of a passage that clearly condemns what he says is ok? Perhaps you can see how he is saying that people should continue to do these very things, and he approves of those who practice them.

Friday, May 27, 2011

doing some in-house work

This blog, for what it's worth, is usually devoted to issues involving the nonsense coming from emergents and progressives. It is necessary, and frankly because of time and other reason there has not been much effort to branch out from that. Anyway, there is so much material, too.

But with this one, I'm going a bit in-house, because I think this is an issue worth bringing more to light.

I am a conservative, both politically and religiously, and I write that without shame. So, in going in-house, what I'm bring up here has to do with things in conservativism, in this case both politically and religiously.

THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT UNITING WITH RELIGIOUS RENEGADES

What is wrong with this picture? People from the NAR who are in the grip of evil were invited to participate in both of these events. One example is Cindy Jacobs. Jacobs is the NAR’s “lead U.S. National Apostle.” Cindy is supposedly a modern day prophet. But I beg to differ. This woman has uttered more false prophecies than Walgreen’s has pills, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that she is no more a prophet of God than Lady Gaga! The truth is, Cindy Jacobs is a false prophet.

Before I move on, I should point out that there is nothing wrong with Christians gathering together to stand up for biblical principles and fight the forces of wickedness that are destroying America. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with praying for our country and for the men and women in the armed forces who put their lives on the line so that we can live free. To say that our nation and our soldiers are in dire need of prayer is an understatement. Even though the Christian Right (CR) often shares a stage with controversial groups/persons it does not mean that they necessarily share their views; what it does mean however is that when controversial groups/persons are invited to participate in a CR event it appears that they endorse these groups/persons. It grieves me to say this—and I’ll get a lot of flak for it--but many professing Christians seem to have little or no problem partnering with false teachers and cultists, perhaps because these groups/persons are useful in furthering their political causes.

Are we to establish a Kingdom of God upon earth? Listen to what Jesus says:

My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36).


The article is quite long, and these are only excerpts. Please read the whole thing.

When I read works by emergents or entries at Sojourners, they often go on about The Kingdom of God, about how they are trying to establish the rule of God on Earth or some such thing. Such rhetoric always makes me a bit ill, as 1) I don't think Sojo and emergents have any business trying to speak about the God they so often malign, and 2) there is no call in the New Testament for us to try to establish some kind of government-enforced kingdom of God.

Yesterday, I was listening to a program on AFR. The hosts were in DC, and the discussion was mostly political. Much of it I probably agreed with, but there was one part that really bothered me. The hosts and guest were talking about politics and the church, and how there were some churches who were saying that Christians should have little if anything to do with politics. The guest disagreed, and his point basically was that it is the church's job to "bring Heaven to Earth".

I have no desire to live under the kind of left-wing socialist regime the Sojo and emergent types want to force on us, but I am equally put off by the dominionist rhetoric of many religious leaders who would be considered on the right. And the fact that so many on the right are making nice with false teachers like Joyner, Jacobs, and Wagner is very bothersome.

The NAR has one thing right. The ministry of the apostles continues today:

Not in the person of anyone claiming to be an apostle, but in the New Testament. Every time the Word of God in the New Testament is read and proclaimed, the apostolic ministry and office fulfills its role. The apostles of the first century live on today, in the Church, through the Word God has given us through them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

look familiar?

Take a gander of this, emphases mine.

There will be a major transition in religion. Those who have chosen this profession will have to make another choice. The choice will be rather to serve an institution or God. They will have to choose whether administering to the needs of the people takes precedence over the demands of the institution. Those who have chosen a religion will also have to make a choice. Does this religion serve Humanity or is it self-serving? Does it promote Universal Peace, Brother/Sisterly Love, Equality, Individual Freedom and Prosperity for All? Does it empower the individual to make one’s own personal God connection? Does it promote fear, unworthiness, guilt, and wrathful images separate from man and nature? Are the images lacking in omnipresence which separates man from God, his neighbor and nature? Does it honor the Creator in all creation? Does it demonize, judge and condemn others of different cultures and paths? If a man or woman knows God by another name, has a different master, saint or sage, yet offers the same basic understandings, are they welcome and listened to? One of the most misunderstood quotes which has separated Christians from other cultures is one passage attributed to Jesus when he said, “I AM the way, the truth and the light; no man shall enter heaven but through me.” Beforehand he said, “I of myself do nothing for the Father within doeth the works.” God was speaking through Jesus. Often those who do not accept Jesus the personality and the man are judged, condemned, etc.. God is the way, and that same God consciousness was reached by other saints, sages and mystics throughout the various cultures around the world. This separation and judgment must end. Jesus stood for infinite love, compassion and forgiveness, and it is time we made that our ideal. Most master teachers of all faiths transcended all religious and cultural boundaries into a universal love for all people and all life. This is where religions will need to go in the days to come because love and compassion for all people are necessary attributes for the future. It would better serve Humanity and God to focus on
Universal Peace, Brother/Sisterly Love, Equality, Individual Freedom and Prosperity for All, and a strong reverence for life in all forms. Now is the time for churches to inspire the Universal Principles and Understandings necessary for a healthy society and environment and administer to the needs of those less fortunate. Warring over names, images and doctrines in endless power struggles is a disservice to God and Humanity. It is time for everyone to come together in one great harmonic chord each singing praises each in one’s own unique way to the one Creator of all people all life. Look for the similarities not the differences and allow love to be the first and foremost priority as well as the manifesting force behind all creation.

If I were to tell you that some progressive or liberal or emergent theologian had said this, would that be a hard claim to believe? Perhaps if I were to attribute this to a McLaren book, or maybe an Emergent Village Podcast? Or maybe I came on it while reading Marcus Borg or John Caputo, the little I read of them?

But, no, none of them said this. Perhaps it would be better to say that this came, as it were, straight from the horse's mouth.

Self Mastery in the Christ Consciousness
An Andromedan, Pleiadian, Orion Alternative

These are things that people who claim to have been visited by aliens are saying that the aliens have told them.

It would be easy to dismiss them as crackpots. I'm not so sure that's wise. For my part, I have no doubt that they have been visited by...beings. One may even call them alien beings, though not as one may think from watching The X-Files (one of my all-time favorite shows, btw).

No, I think they were visited by demonic beings, disguised, if you would, by what these people would consider an angel of light. Look at how Scripture is used deceitfully in the above quote.

But the ways in which this quote resembles things said by emergents and progressives is notable, so much so that I think it is not accidental. When they begin by saying that "There will be a major transition in religion", one can hear all of the emergents going on about how we need, A New Kind of Christianity, A Christianity Worth Believing In, or Phyllis Tickle going on about rummage sales every 500 or so years. "Does it promote Universal Peace, Brother/Sisterly Love, Equality, Individual Freedom and Prosperity for All?" could be the question most important to Sojourners. "Does it empower the individual to make one’s own personal God connection?" is exactly the sort of thing progressives say we should strive for, what Christianity should be become--not to convert people to Jesus, but to see God in other religions. Faith House Manhattan would approve of this question.

I'll not deny the possibility that this communique may be entirely man-made, but I doubt it.

What does it tell us when the words of emergents and progressives sound so much like the words given to men by demons?

Monday, May 16, 2011

what reasons?

Reasons the Right is Currently Wrong


First, Valerie Elverton Dixon at Sojournersstruggles with being a Christian when it comes to what she feels is an appropriate response to Donald Trump’s obsession (read: media ploy) with Obama’s birth certificate.

It is the moments when I am most angry and most disappointed in particular people and circumstances that I find it very, very difficult to be a Christian….When commentators asked why the president had not [released his long-form birth certificate] sooner, I screamed back at my television: “Why should he have to do it at all?”


Hmm...interesting. For those who may not remember, here are some facts about this controversy.

One, back during the presidential campaign, it was the Republican candidate John McCain who had to defend his own citizenship from birth. He was born to military parents while they were stationed in Panama.

Second, it was supporters of Obama's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton who brought up the issue.


Then, as Obama marched toward the presidency, a new suggestion emerged: That he was not eligible to serve.

That theory first emerged in the spring of 2008, as Clinton supporters circulated an anonymous email questioning Obama’s citizenship.


The third fact is that, whenever I've heard attempts to bring up the issue brought up on talk radio shows, they've almost always been treated as distractions, and not supported in any way. I remember when the Hawaiian governor promised to show the birth certificate, and then claimed he couldn't find it, that Rush was saying to be careful about this, and not to take it too far.

Of course, this issue should have been put to rest well before the election. For Dixon to go like she's being persecuted is silly.


Lastly, at TikkunMichael Hogue has some stronger words about Ryan’s “courageous” plan, calling it “revoltingly immoral and unjust” and “insidiously wicked.”

There is NO religious framework or lifeway that, except through disingenuous hermeneutical backflipping, could possibly justify these principles. And if that’s the case, and if these principles (which are usually dressed up a bit in public) undergird the Ryan proposal and most other Republic sensibilities about the deficit, then there is NO way that there should be any religious support for this budget proposal. Is there anything in Christianity, or Islam, or Buddhism, or Religious Humanism, or Religious Naturalism, or Unitarian Universalism that so brazenly endorses the accumulation and concentration of wealth among a very few at the expense of the very many, and especially at the expense of the vulnerable? Absolutely not.


This rather over-the-top rhetoric is suppose to pass for reasons the right is wrong? Really?

Actually, it's little more than class warfare rhetoric. We can't have a responsible budget because, well, rich people are rich? I suppose we need to tax them to death, and give what they have to people who don't have?

What religious framework supports that?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

going without a map

A few weeks ago, I had to make a bit of trip out-of-state. It was to a place I had not been before, and while I had a general idea of how to get there, I still needed some directions in order to reach the city, and even more to find the place in the city I needed to go to.

Now, let's test our imagination, shall we? Let's suppose that as I was preparing to leave for this trip, I pulled out of my driveway and simply decided to go any which way I wanted. If I cam to a turn in the road, I went whichever direction I though seemed ok, basiced on strictly subjective reasons. If I happened to make it to a highway or interstate, I got if at whatever exit I wanted. I consulted no map, disregarded all road sign, didn't care about directions.

What would be the odds that I would get to where I needed to go? Not being very exact, but I think the term "mathematically impossible" would be an accurate description of those odds.

Keeping that little fiction in mind, take a look at this.

Practice Precedes Doctrine

One thing that’s intriguing to note, and easy to lose sight of two millennia later, is that in the very earliest church, practice begat doctrine. That is, the early church didn’t convene theological conferences to debate the nature of the godhead and then spin out a practice of prayer.

Instead, it’s clear in the earliest Christian documents that the people prayed, and out of their experience of God’s nearness did they develop doctrinal beliefs regarding who God is and how God acts. That all changed, of course, by the dawn of the fourth century: as the Christian religion was afforded more freedom, church leaders rose up to fight heresies. Thereafter, the formation of doctrine seems to have had as much impact on the evolution of Christian practice as it had happened conversely in the earliest years.


Do you really want to share your FAIL with the whole world?

Really? It's clear from those documents that this is how they did it?

Consider, for example, Peter's sermon at Pentacost. Taking Jones' words, one may be surprised to see very little about practice in that sermon. It's mostly about doctrine--Jesus fulfilled Scripture and prophecy, Jesus was crucified, God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus is the Messiah. The only action Peter tells them to do is to repent and be baptized in His name.

In other words, doctrine preceded practice. It wasn't until there was a church and believers, people who believed in certain things, that there were discussions about certain things.

Those practices did not happen in some kind of spiritual or doctrinal vacuum, which seems to be what Jones is contending.

And how could it otherwise? Putting actions first is simply pragmatism--whatever works. Questions of right and wrong are shunted aside. If the church had not begun with doctrine, with for example belief in the Scriptures that they had (the Old Testament) and faith in a crucified and risn Christ, it would have stood for nothing.

I think that, if you look at what Jones believes, you'll see why he's so eager to put practice first. If he put doctrine first, if he put the things Scripture teaches first, he would not be able to believe the things he believes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

NPR's shame

On NPR's website, they have an article from The New Republic about Common and the poetry reading a few days ago. It's one of the worst examples of irrationalism I've ever read.

New Republic: Backing Common At The White House

Furthermore, one could almost have predicted that the invited representative would be Common. He is one of the foundational "conscious" rappers who has eschewed the "gangsta" routine


So, on the one hand, this writer says Common is some kind of "conscious" rapper. But then, he goes on to say things like this.

Dig around in Common's oeuvre and you find that — get this — this black leftist bard of the black condition turns out to have some tribal affection for Black Panther sorts, despite their less-than-pristine criminal records. The Republicans' problem this time is Common's passing shout-out to Joanne Chesimard, an ex-Panther who was convicted of killing a New Jersey officer in a shoot-out and has long been under political asylum in Cuba. But this hardly means Common would warmly advise a young man to go assassinate some more cops, or that he applauds to hear of cops dying today.


Interesting that he calls it a "passing shout-out", as if that is suppose to make the just oh-so-cute and not all that important. In fact, it's a whole song called "A Song for Assata". Devoting a whole piece of music to this person adds up to a bit more than a "pasisng shout-out".

Adulation of the Panthers is hardly ideal, to be sure, based more on drama than action. But if it's wrong for the Obamas to have anyone over who sees a certain revolutionary heroism in the Black Panthers as people battling the more overt racism and police brutality of that historical period, then this would disqualify probably every second black writer or thinker in the United States, not to mention legions of ordinary citizens with Huey Newton T-shirts.


So?

One can only imagine the outrage if, for example, the President had had a poet who gave tribute to, say, an abortion clinic bomber, rare as clinic bombers are.

More than that, this comment by the NPR/NR writer is one of the most racist statements I've read. Black poets are rappers are to be held to a different (lower) standard than other artists? It's ok for them to hold up cop-killers as heroes?

It reminds of a book store I once visited. They had a section which they called something like "African-American Literature". Looking more closely at that section, about everything there was, to put it bluntly, literarly smut--covers showing women dressed seductively and revealingly, men much the same. If one were to make a section about White Literature, and fill it with things like Harlequin Romances or things harder-core, one can see how distasteful this bookstore's section was.

Interesting: I presume Rove and Palin roll their eyes at those who see racism in Southerners celebrating their Civil War military heroes. We are to be "mature," stop being so hasty and reductionist, and understand that one can cheer for Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee without being a racist. Okay — but then, we will not, either, condemn black people with a passing fellow-traveler feeling for the Panthers as advocates of murder.


I find it amusing that this argument was even made. I've seen recently on the news that one state wants to put out a license plate design that features a Confederate flag and a picture of Jefferson Davis. I think the charges of racism are already starting.

Battle lines drawn over Confederate flag plates

Critics, including the NAACP, contend that the Confederate emblem is a hurtful symbol and doesn't belong on state-issued license plates.

"On the one hand, I appreciate freedom of speech, but when we talk about government functions, we have the authority not to promote things considered offensive to the public," said Hilary Shelton, the NAACP senior vice president for advocacy and policy, and director of the Washington bureau.

Peter Carmichael, director of Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., said the perception of the Confederate Army as rebel underdogs appeals strongly to people's emotions; however, it's not historically accurate to completely overlook slavery as the root cause of the war.

"The flag does have different meanings. It's unfair to just characterize it as a racist banner, but it's also unfair to characterize it as just heritage and no hate," he said.


That's actually different from the one I heard about recently, but it does show the kinds of arguments made for or against. At any rate, people are not expected to timidly kowtow when these kinds of things happen, which the NPR/NR writer seems to insinuate.

At the Obamas' poetry night, rap was treated, in a high-profile venue, for what it is. That is, not something that is going to turn the Capitol upside down, but poetry — like Jay-Z's work now sold between covers.


The fact that a rapper was invited to the poetry night is not the problem. The fact that one who supports violence against the police was invited is the problem.

This writer has not dealt honestly with the subject. He has tried to spin things to make it no big deal, and say that the protestors are the ones causing the problems. It is a shameful, distasteful article, one NPR should be ashamed of showing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

and sojo is still silent

So, this day is 13 May 2011, and I'm looking at the front page of Sojo's God's Politics Blog. And for people who are supposed to be oh-so-concerned about things like racism and violence, I still see that they are remarkably silent about a recent event.

This event was when the current US President decided to have some kind of peotry night, and one person invited to participate in it was a rapper named Common, whose lyrics have been about guns and violence and killing the police.

Now, would I be wrong in assuming the Sojo and the Sojrones should be having conniptions over this? That they should be publicly decrying the honoring of someone who stands for violence like that?

And yet, so far...silence.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

throwing himself under the bus

A Statement on Sojourners’ Mission and LGBTQ Issues

The main thing here is really Wallis' main article, which is really just a lot of words to give the basic message of "Do as I say, not as I do"; rather, it is the comments, because the Sojrones see right through it, and call Wallis out on it.

It's amusing, watching the lefties eat their own.

I would say that I may hold out some small, infinitesimal hope (microscopic, subatomic), that Wallis may hold firm. Not that he has much to hold firm to, but there's a bit of something there.

But I doubt it. He's already compromised so far, all the Sojrones are doing is telling him to take the next step.

FRIENDSHIP

Monday, May 2, 2011

the source of division

This is my theory anyway, my working assumption, let's call it a place to begin. I'm open to the fact I may have read too much into that "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers" bumper sticker, but I did have this tangible reaction to that experience. The tug in my gut felt real: this isn't how it's suppose to be and you are not suppose to sit here idly waiting for things to change.

Why Is the Gospel of Love Dividing America?

If I had to boil it down to one question that would be it. This is where the contradiction lives. If I could figure out what part of the gospel (or perhaps, how we present it) is doing the dividing--if it even is--then I'd find my answer.
Dan Merchant, Love, save us from you followers, p 29


At the risk of being flippant, I wonder how much of the New Testament and the Gospels Mr. Merchant has really read.

I wonder that because, well, how could one read the accounts of Jesus' life and how the people around Him reacted to Him, and come to think that Jesus was one who was some kind of social unifier.

Jesus had people love Him, and other people hate Him. He had some people try to throw Him off a cliff, and others try to stone Him. There were people who tried to trip Him up by asking Him trick questions. He had people adore Him, have faith in Him, come to Him for help and healing. He drove off many people who seemed to want to follow Him by talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. And, at the end, He had such enemies as wanted Him killed in a very public and humiliating and torturous fashion.

And that didn't really improve with His followers. They quickly made enemies, and were soon subjected to persecutions. Paul gives an extensive list of the things he had suffered, and almost all of the Apostles died in martyrdom. Among the churches Jesus addresses in Revelation, some were suffering severe persecutions, and these were the ones Jesus seemed to rebuke the least.

And finally, we have Jesus' very own words, which were not happy-happy-joy-joy. He says that He did not come to bring peace, but rather a sword, which would divide mothers from daughters, and husbands from wives--pretty much, I guess, people who should be closest to each other would be divided by Jesus. He says that those who would follow Him must hate those closest to them, or they would not be His disciples. He also talks about how the world hated Him, and how it will also hate those who follow Him.

Many of His parables spoke more of division than of unity--dividing sheep from goats, wise virgins from foolish ones, faith servants from unprofitable ones.

What part of the Gospel is doing the dividing? I'm don't think I'm exaggerating if I say that the Gospel itself is doing the dividing. Just as it divided the world that Jesus lived in, and then the Apostles and early Christians, so too it is dividing us today.

Rather than adorn himself in a silly bumper-sticker-laden suit and asking the world about the division, perhaps Mr. Merchant would be wise to look to the Christ he seems to think is some kind of social unifier, to see if his views are correct or not.

I'd take responsibility...