Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weekly Quotes….on (non) violence

Just went back to work yesterday after being off for 9 days.  Keith and I were on vacation…sort of….very busy.  His dad was here for the week…his annual late summer visit during the Little League World Series here in Williamsport (the town’s claim to fame) That involved some day trips here and there…and we took Emily off to college…..a bittersweet day. 

I thought I would get all kinds of posts written.  Not.  I have pondered starting a weekly series kind of thing…one a round up of interesting websites….another a round up of interesting quotes that I’ve come across in my web journeys.  I take a lot of web journeys and find all kinds of really interesting stuff buried in cyber space.  So…today, perhaps marks the beginning of the quotes of the week round up.   Notable Quotables?  Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes (stole that title idea from Keith)  Whatever.  Following are a few quotes I came across. Since I’ve been frequenting peacekeeping websites these past few weeks, the quotes have a nonviolent peacekeeping tone…..

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations. ~David Friedman

All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

"Only in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines, and still call yourself 'pro-life.'” ~ John Fugelsang


If you're a Christian who supports killing your enemies and torture, you have to come up with a new name for yourself.
...Christians have been lawyering the bible to try to figure out how "love thy neighbor" can mean "hate thy neighbor" and how "turn the other cheek" can mean "s***w you, I'm buying space lasers". Martin Luther King gets to call himself a Christian because he actually practiced loving his enemies.
...Jesus lays on that hippy stuff pretty thick. He has lines like "Do not repay evil with evil" and "Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you." Really. It's in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people. And not to put too fine a point on it, but "non-violence" was kinda Jesus' trademark. Kinda his big thing. To not follow that part of it is like joining Greenpeace and hating whales. Bill Maher

Thursday, August 18, 2011

And one more link….

Crooks and Liars published an article on Monday about this Dominionist/Christian Reconstructionist stuff.  Most of it is a rehash of the other two articles I posted the other day….but if you scroll down to the bottom of the article (before the comments) there is a 7ish minute video about Greg Boyd’s view of the kingdom of God and how it relates to politics. 

I really like Greg Boyd and I’ve written about him and his trailblazing sermon series, The Cross and the Sword and other assorted posts about him and his theology HERE….  He lost a substantial portion of his church when he preached that series (which inspired his book, The Myth of a Christian Nation)…..something like 25%….a thousand people out of a congregation of four thousand.  That was back in 2004 or so. 

I’m not going to beat this dead horse much longer.  I’ve written about Dominionism….researched it enough to know that it stinks to high heaven.  It is the “Christian” version of Sharia Law…which also stinks to high heaven.  They share more similarities than differences…..with some of the more hard core proponents actually believing that homosexuality, teenage rebellion and blasphemy should be capital offenses.  In their view, they ARE capital offenses since they get a lot of their guidelines from the Old Testament.  Welcome to Uganda anyone? 

Now…would they/could they infiltrate our government and actually make any of these changes?  Do any of the presidential hopefuls truly believe this stuff?  Are their reported ties made up….exaggerated….fabricated?  Is it just more of the ssdd mudslinging that goes on in politics….with both sides equally guilty?  I don’t know. 

If you have the time and the inclination, research it.  Google it.  Pick up Rushdoony’s 3 volume “encyclopedia sized” books (remember World Book anyone?) The Institutes of Biblical Law.  Or check out Gary North’s site (Rushdoony’s son in law) with 90 free e-books by various authors defining some of their beliefs.  Hmmmmm….just at a quick glance, I see several books based on Leviticus are available. 

But my two cents worth is this….it is the inclination of fallen man to try to set up, cover up, prop up, make up their worldly kingdoms.  A kingdom with minute, explicit, all encompassing rules and regulations based on their interpretation of their own particular holy book.  Deeming this right and that right….this wrong and that wrong.  Meticulous systemS of punishments and consequences.  It is all based in the knowledge of good and evil….fruit from the tree that God told Adam not to eat of.  And it matters not if they are gleaning their rules from the Quran or the Holy Bible….if they are reading it from a knowledge of good and evil perspective….they will never get it right. 

Thoughts?  Comments? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are they Dominionists?

Today on my Facebook feed, there were links to two separate articles voicing concerns that several of the top presidential hopefuls on the Republican side (duh) of the great political divide have strong ties to….and a strong leaning toward….Christian Theocracy and Dominionism.  Both articles provided a lot of history about the movement which was spawned and promoted by the likes of Rushdoony, Gary North, David Chilton…but its roots go way back,  All the way back to the Old Testament…..and the belief that God’s chosen people (then the Jews…now the Christians) were mandated to take dominion of society. 

Some of these guys were seriously wacko….promoting all kinds of things which were rooted in OT biblical law.  Watch out gays.  Watch out divorcees.  Watch out sassy teenagers. It’s Christendom’s version of Sharia law. 

I wrote a series about that aspect of it a while back …..” No Clean Hands” 

I also wrote a post about something shocking I came across….on line….an article written by William Einwechter, at the time an elder at Immanuel Free Reformed Church in Stevens, Pennsylvania.  He wrote an article about the Biblical mandate to stone disobedient teenagers.  He later published a more thorough explanation of what he meant….not a retraction but a more detailed explanation outlining the criteria.  You can’t just kill your 12 year old for smarting off….there has to be a more sustained pattern of behavior.  But if my family had followed his guidelines….I’d have two living children today instead of three because one of them would have been stoned to death during her years of all out rebellion. 

I’m not sure if the articles are still available online.  The hosting site was (mercifully) hacked.  I think his church is still in full swing though….and his book is still available.  There are quotes and excerpts in my blog post though and some links that are still live.  if anyone is interested in a truly bizarre example of twisting scripture, you can read about it HERE.

One of the articles I read today was authored by Frank “knows of what he speaks” Shaeffer.  His dad, Francis, was one of the forefathers of this movement.  Frank, himself, was a pillar of the far (far) Christian Right until he jumped ship and joined the other side. 

The other article was written by Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism…and no….never a member of the Christian Right.  Her article is informative and balanced.  Even though Frank wrote from his unique “once upon a time” insider’s perspective, there was some rancor in his writing that was off putting.  Perhaps seeing it all up close and personal like he did stirs up those resentful emotions. 

Christian Domionism flies under the radar.  Both of these articles inform the reader of its origins, its beliefs and its skewed goal of making America into a Christian society….for Christians and non Christians alike…believers and non believers. 

It has more similarities to Sharia Law than differences. 

Check out Frank’s article HERE.  Check out Goldberg’s article HERE

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Who is that looking out of your eyes?

A while back I happened upon an article entitled “Disbelieving Free Will Makes Brain Less Free”  Free will versus determinism aka total sovereignty aka predestination aka fatalism has always been a burr under my saddle.  For years I struggled with it…analyzed it….pondered it….argued with Keith about it….discussed it on message boards and e-lists….and fought with God about it.  Then…suddenly, the obsession went away. 

I simply decided I had to pick a lane…and so I did. 

The article discusses an experiment that tracks reaction time between those who read a passage that discounted free will and those who read a passage that supported free will. But this post isn’t really about this specific article….or the experiment…but rather about a rhetorical question that came up in the comments. 

It was posted by someone called revlynn and he said:

One of the questions I pose to my clients & students on a regular basis is, "Who/what is it that is looking through your eyes?" Science can explain "seeing", but has yet to explain "looking". The mind looks, the brain sees, the mind interprets.

That question has all sorts of implications and nuances when we consider the dual nature of human beings….the carnal and the spiritual.  On her FB page, my friend Dena used the phrase, “I real-eyes I am spirit”

So….just who is it that is looking out of YOUR eyes? Are you seeing with your “real eyes?”  Is it adam or is it Christ?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I didn’t know Tony Campolo had a blog….

I happened upon it yesterday as I was wandering around the internet. My launching pad was the google alert I set up for “mercy not sacrifice.”  Every day an email arrives listing when and where the phrase, “mercy not sacrifice” caught google’s attention.  I’ve found several really interesting sites that way.  This time it was Tony Campolo’s blog, Red Letter Christians

And so I poked around the site a bit and found several blog posts I paused to read.  Among them….

Whose Death Does God Cheer? ….a post about the killing of Bin Laden.

Hiroshima and the Transfiguration, a Meditation

Why Christians Don’t Like Jesus

Ahhhh….there you go.  The title of that last post mirrors a line in a series I am reading called “What the Bible Really Says.”  The chapter about the Good Samaritan (something I’ve written about here before) closes with this….

The Gospels report that many people who heard the teachings of Jesus became his disciples. But there were many others who heard him and became his enemies.

In today’s world it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a disciple and an enemy. Many times those who claim to most reflect his heart and teachings miss the mark spectacularly.  Those called by his name….Christ One’s….seem to have skipped entirely the chapters on love and forgiveness, compassion and generosity, loving your neighbor AND loving your enemy. 

Tony’s focus is emergent, peace promoting, social justice seeking red letter theology.  The God we see revealed in the red letters.