Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Tag

Thanks, Easter Edition

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

The requisite Christian answer for today’s thankfulness blog is that I’m thankful that God died for me… and I am… everyday, in fact… but that feels like a cop out answer.

I am very thankful for time spent with family today. I am very thankful for my wife’s incredible baking skills. I am very thankful for the message I heard at the church service I attended this morning. I am very thankful that I have some cool possibilities ahead of me this week. And, I am very thankful that I have a lot of awesome people in my life.

Word? Word.

Why?

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Asshats Trying to Be Witty

Conservative Christians can feel what they want about homosexuality being sinful or whatever, but these kind of graphics piss me off. The same people bitching about Atheists coopting the ichthus to create the Darwin fish post pictures like this on their Facebook pages…

Your opinions on sinfulness aside, all Americans deserve rights. Period.

Blue Like Brilliant: Faith through Atheism

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

A few years back, tons of my Christian friends and a few of my non-Christian friends were raving about Blue Like Jazz, a book I knew nothing at all about at all until recently. I knew they were supposed to be making a movie out of it, but until I saw a copy of the book for 50 cents and grabbed it, I really had forgotten about it.

I’ve yet to read the book, but when I got home from the thrift store, I saw Blue Like Jazz, the movie, on Netflix and immediately added it to my queue. Since that day a few weeks ago, I have watched the film 3 times.

First and foremost, it is great that a “Christian” film can be not sucky. I’m used to the Cloud Ten Pictures lot, where they forgo plot and aesthetics and spend their entire budget on booking Corbin Bernson or Mr. T to star in the awful, awful film.

This, however, is not the point. Instead, what I wanted to touch on is how touching the film truly is and what I got out of it.

All you really need to know for purposes of this discussion is that Don, the main character, is a Southern Baptist from Texas, who helps with his youth group and is devoted to his church. His deadbeat, Atheist father hooks him up with a friend to get him into Reed College, a prestigious, atypical, ultra-liberal college in Portland that boasts an unofficial motto of “Communism, Atheism, Free Love”. While there, he first hides his faith, then loses his faith, then eventually discovers a new faith.

Don is a great poster child for kids like me. I grew up a PK. My disenfranchisement with the church was much different than Don’s, but I completely felt it the whole time I watched the film. He went from Bible-banger to full on God-hater… which was far more drastic than my personal journey, mind you… but through a series of events, Don not only rediscovers his faith, but perhaps discovers a whole new type of faith.

Like I said, I am a PK (“pastor’s kid” for those not fluent in Christianese). By the time I left for college, I found myself really weary of the church. However, I still ended up at a Christian college… and only hated it there half the time. Truthfully, I was never ashamed of Jesus, as Don admits to being in the film, but I was ashamed of being a “Christian” and sometimes still am in some ways. Like Don, I have discovered a different type of faith as I have grown.

I don’t like church, really. I don’t like Christianese (though I sometimes speak it unintentionally). I hate bigotry disguising as Christian doctrine. I loathe the ridiculous divisions in the Church. I could go on…

But, like Don realizes at the end of the film. Jesus isn’t about that stuff. He’s about love. That’s my “religion”. I believe in Jesus, therefore I believe in love. Love is a verb… remember that, it’s pretty important.

So, really, all I’m saying is that I’d like to thank Don Miller, Steve Taylor, and everyone else involved in this film. It is truly something that can spark renewal in others. I hope that things I write and things I do can sometimes spark that same type of renewal.

Day of Rest… OR ELSE!

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

I’ve been working on blogs about Islam’s (lack of) connection to terrorism and recent spotlights on homosexuality and Christianity, but keep hitting walls. After being inspired by the nearsighted interpretation of scripture used to condemn homosexuality, as well as reading Sins of Scripture by Bishop Spong, I decided to put those blogs on pause and focus my creative energies on creating memes with misappropriated Bible verses. Below is my first… or what I expect to be MANY…

image

I’d like to dub this meme series, “Murican Bible”, or #muricanbible for my Twatter friends.

Hope you enjoy my satire… but if you don’t, Jesus still loves you.

The Bible Isn’t Perfect

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

This is not exactly a review, but more of a discussion. It originally appeared one of my old blogs, but with all of the discussion on marriage equality, some of what this book had to say may be especially applicable right now.

Timothy Beal’s The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book… Some people may not like what it has to say, but I found it enlightening, well-researched, and perhaps, life changing. Reading, understanding, and challenging ourselves by what Beal has to say in this book can lead to a maturing spirituality, one where faith is defined by possibilities rather than the walls of the Pharisees.

Strict black and white interpretations of scripture can be lacking, even dangerous. In the book, one such example of the dangers of taking a single scripture literally and forming one’s whole theology around it is the story of Aaron’s son Phineas. Phineas executes an Israeliste man and a Midianite woman. He is praised by God through Moses for eradicating the Midianite influence. Taken literally and out of context, a group called the Phineas Priesthood in America has used this story to justify taking violent means to discourage interracial relationships.

This is but one example of how people taking scripture too literally can be very dangerous, but there are many. An example in the spotlight right now is the defense of “traditional Biblical marriage” and how it is taking away the legal rights of many Americans… arguments that the “Bible is clear” about homosexuality fail to acknowledge contradictions, contexts, and other nuances. In fact, direct translations refer only to “laying with a man” and don’t address lesbianism at all. Of course, the verses used to point out how the “Bible is clear” are taken as the word of God, but the verses surrounding them which include other laws of cleanliness are not. The Bible simply is NOT clear on this, despite what the televangelists want to tell you. (Side note: Those who read my blog will note that my piece on the Chick-Fil-A debacle never appeared. I decided to forgo this piece right now, as my emotions on this are still high and the impending elections are causing more tensions than I care to deal with at the moment.)

These dangers are only a small part of the picture. What’s most important for Believers, like myself, is to understand the history of the Bible and understand that the treasured notion of Biblical inerrancy is a modern concept that has numerous flaws. Before I can explain what Beal is getting at with this, I should first define what Biblical inerrancy means. In short, it’s the belief that all scripture is right, correct, and totally free of error. In other words, it means that the Bible is perfect.

But the history of the Bible pokes many holes in this theory. How did the Bible come to be? I think many of us seem to think that there is an old book that scholars translate to our modern language, but that’s not even close to the truth. There is no such thing as an original copy and the old scrolls we have were already copied from copies of copies of copies. In fact, there are so many different sources, no one could ever pin them down.

The Bible does contradict itself. The Bible does have questionable content. The Bible was written by man. Does this devalue the Bible? No, not at all. But it should be taken into consideration when we read. Christianity thrived long before there was a Bible. Jesus’s love conquered sin and death without their being some book to tell us so. The Biblical writings are there to enhance, guide, and aid our faith, but they are not the literal word of God. In fact, Beal does a great job in explaining that this concept is only about 100 years old. Before it was never really considered that the Bible was the literal word of God.

Some will probably read my blog, discount Beal as a heretic or a liberal, and scoff. I urge you not to. I urge you to give this book a chance. If nothing else, it can help you understand why you believe what you do, as neither Beal nor I would urge you to take what he says are the Gospel truth without thinking about it and challenging it.

The late philosopher Jacques Derrida has a wonderful phrase; “impoverishment by univocality.” Meaning that when we try to make a text univocal, “one voiced,” of one voice with itself, we deprive it of its richness.

Please comment, challenge, and think. I welcome it all and so does Beal.

Allahu Akbar

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013