Category Archives: Christians

Donald Trump is the Messiah???

If you’re thinking “What the fuck?” right about now, I don’t blame you. When I heard that shit, I was stunned myself. But, it’s true; Donald Trump is the messiah…, or, more likely, the harbinger of the messiah, a la John the Baptist. Well, according to end times nut case author and lecturer, Thomas Horn, he is.

Horn bases most of his claims about Trump on the words of some Orthodox Zionist rabbis who have reconstituted the Sanhedrin and are pushing to rebuild the Temple. I’m guessing these rabbis view Horn and compatriots as useful idiots who will help them reach that end. Which probably is okay with Horn and his end times believing pals because they think the rabbis are all dirty Jews who will be cast into the lake of fire when Jesus comes back. It’s what you might call a weird evangelical/Orthodox mutual contempt society.

This insanity is way to convoluted to get into with any depth here. Basically, it sounds a lot like this clip of Cartman explaining the 9/11 attacks from South Park’s “Mystery of the Urinal Deuce” episode:

Like I said, a bit much for a blog post. But, here are a few highlights:

  • The End of Days will come sometime next year. This goes back to Daniel’s “time, times, and a half a time” comment. According to an obscure 17th century interpretation of that passage, the messiah will appear and the end times will begin before September 30, 2017 (the end of the year 5777 in the Jewish calendar). Guess Jesus was just kidding with all that “thief in the night” business. What a joker.
  • Horn even goes so far as to say that, in gematria (Jewish numerology), Trump’s name actually means “messiah”. And, I guess it does, if you go down a rabbit hole that makes Alex Jones’ wildest conspiracy theories seem positively sane. If you’re a glutton for punishment and want to read the actual article, here’s a link.
  • He presents 3 bullet points that he feels point to Donald Trump, not as the messiah himself, but as John the Baptist. But, he does say that there is an ongoing effort to research Trump’s genealogy and show that he is a descendant of David. No joke on this point. I don’t think it needs one.
  • Of course, Horn tells us that this messiah the rabbis are saying is about to appear is a false messiah, the Anti-Christ. And, that he believes that Trump isn’t the Anti-Christ. Why? I’m assuming because he thinks a white, American man can’t be the Anti-Christ.
  • Trump is “God’s messenger”. What the hell kind of message God would send through an asshole like Trump, I don’t know. And, what kind of God would choose a semi-sentient hairball for their messenger doesn’t bear contemplation in my opinion.

All things considered, Horn’s pronouncements are not bad. It’s all bullshit, of course, but still not bad; for entertainment value, that is. Horn has some game in this arena, but even with all his “Trump is the messiah” talk, he’s still no William Tapley, the self-proclaimed Third Eagle of the Apocalypse and Co-prophet of the End Times. But then, who is, beloved? Who…, is.

The Spray-Tanned, Tiny Handed Devil

"See, not so short!"
“See, not so short!”

Over the weekend, I offered space here on “The Progressive Redneck” to anyone who is a member of the groups worried about their future under a Donald Trump presidency. The first person to take me up on that offer is my friend, Joshua Allen. I first met Josh when I was volunteering at Love Wins Ministries and he was a intern from the Campbell Divinity School. So you’ll know where he’s coming from, I share this bio he sent me:

Joshua Allen is a graduate of Campbell University Divinity School that spends his days playing with Japanese kids and teaching Japanese teenagers, and his nights musing about life while in the Japanese countryside of Aomori Prefecture. When he isn’t begging his students to try to speak English during class, he is jogging, exercising, or youtubing to pass the time. He spends his weekends doing disaster relief volunteer work.

He was born and raised in the sleepy town of Dunn, North Carolina and spent most of his life somewhere in North Carolina. Because of his mixed heritage, his father is a Salvadoran immigrant, he was often bullied by white kids as a “half-breed.” He channeled that anger into a college education and fight for those marginalized by society. He hopes to continue that fight, even in the countryside of rural Japan.

He was once a hard-line fundamentalist, but after college and subsequently graduate school, he now rails against the dangers of fundamentalism from the perspective of one that used to be in the thick of things.

As you can see, he offers a unique perspective on what’s happening in the U. S. these days. His contribution is a little long, but well worth the time it will take to read it:

There is no hiding it. This election cycle and the results have been devastating. Not only for many Latinos, LGBT, African-Americans, and Muslims but for me especially as the son of a Salvadoran immigrant and as an American who believes that without reservation the words of our forefathers that all men were created equal. Because I’m in the Japanese countryside I won’t experience much of the hate that my fellow Americans are experiencing now (even as I write this, Trump has had to tell his followers to stop harassing minorities). But I still feel afraid. Both for all the marginalized groups in America and my family.

I have a lot to say to my fellow Americans about what has transpired but I first want to address the Evangelicals and the Christians that voted for Trump. If you aren’t or if you are but you voted for Trump for non-religious reasons, this is not for you. You can scroll past. To those left I say this:

If you honestly believe that you are doing ‘God’s work’ and ‘God is in control,’ or you thought that Trump was the Christian candidate, you have sold your souls to the devil. Only this time, the demon didn’t take the form of red imp with a pitchfork. He is manifested as a red spray tanned white man with bobby pinned hair and tiny hands. Your hypocrisy has never been on more fully on display. How so? I’m glad you asked:

You all have embraced a man that called for a shutdown of refugees entering the USA when your own Bible says that we should welcome the alien into our homes and treat them as a native

LEVITICUS 19:34

You have embraced a man that proposed building a wall to keep out ‘rapists’ (even though evidence indicates that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than their native-born counterparts) when your own Bible calls for you to be welcoming of the outsider.

DEUTERONOMY 10:18

You have embraced a man that has demeaned women all throughout his life, bragged vociferously about his sexual accomplishments and that has been married three times, and if that weren’t enough, has been featured in Playboy when your own Bible, the supposed “Word of God,” demands sexual purity.

1 CORINTHIANS 6:18

You have embraced a man that mocked a disabled reporter just because he wrote something mean about him, when your Bible demands that you take care of the crippled!!

EZEKIEL 34: 3-5

You have embraced a man that has bragged enthusiastically about how much money he has when your own Bible states that a man of God is to be humble.

ROMANS 12:13

You have embraced a man that boasted that he never asked God for forgiveness and bragged on twitter about how he believed that he was perfect when your religion commands that we seek repentance and that we are most certainly not perfect

LUKE 18:14

You have embraced a man that actually attacked women that accused former Fox News Chair Roger Ailes of sexual harassment when your religion commands that you identify with the oppressed

PSALMS 82:3

You have embraced a man that has lied about so many things: his lack of support for the Iraq War, his donations, his tax returns, his feud with John Oliver, about meeting Vladimir Putin, and many others, the list goes on and on when your religion stresses truth telling.

PROVERBS 26:28 AND EPHESIANS 4:15

Do you understand your hypocrisy? Not yet?! Okay I’ll continue

You all have actually embraced as your representative and as the man that you want as your leader of a “Christian Nation” a man who has proposed racial profiling when your religion says that ALL are one in Christ

GALATIANS 3:28

You all have embraced a man as your righteous one, a man that has suggested that there be ideological certifications for immigrants when not only is that what radical Islam does in other countries, but the history of your own religion is rife with stories about how well that worked out for you all.

You have actually embraced a man that has claimed to love the Bible, but couldn’t even name a single damn verse when pressed and couldn’t even pronounce the name of a book correctly (And before you even ask, mine are Ecclesiastes 1:1, Matthew 5:43, and Luke 9:25) when your freaking Bible says that the Word of God is supposed to be in our hearts and in our minds!!!

PSALMS 119:11

You all are willing to elect a man, that has proposed jailing his political opponent over some emails when your religion says that we are to love our enemy

MATTHEW 5:43

You all have embraced a man that ran a scam/bogus university with a manual that contained directions to its staff on what to do if the attorney general shows up, and who plagiarized portions of that university’s manual when one of the founding tenants of your faith is “Thou shalt not steal”

DO I EVEN NEED TO CITE THAT….

You all have embraced a man who stiffed foreign workers on his worksites, when your religious text says, plainly and without any need for contextual explanation, that a worker deserves his wages

LUKE 10:7 AND 1 TIMOTHY 5:18

You all have sold your religion, your characters, your ideals, your beliefs, your history, your churches, and your souls to a pompous, bombastic, malevolent, puerile, bacchanalian, acrimonious, pedantic, disputatious bully!

Congratulations! You all have lost every last bit of propriety to say that you represent Christianity in the political realm. You all have been exposed for the lying, hypocritical, living political satire that you all became years ago when you sold your souls to the Republican Party and while doing so have further alienated and marginalized the very citizens that you share the country with and those that Jesus demands we identify with.

Me, Jack and The Devil

haw-haw-hawSo, Jack Chick died last week. You may not know who he was and, if that’s true, you should probably count yourself lucky. If you are that fortunate, let me give a little background. Chick was a cartoonist and publisher best known something called “Chick tracts”: tiny, little fundamentalist/evangelical comic books that attempted to scare people into getting “saved” and almost always featured Satan at the end. Subtly may not have been Chick’s forte, but he was a master at scaring the shit out of me. That son-of-a-bitch was the author of many of my nightmares as a gullible, evangelical kid.

You see, from the ages 10 to 16,  my family was part of a hyper-religious, charismatic, evangelical group that witnessed to anyone, in any place, at any time and in any situation. No matter where we were, we were never without a supply of evangelizing material and Chick tracts were a huge part of our arsenal. They weren’t handed out in person; usually,  they got stashed away some place where an unsuspecting heathen would accidentally stumble across them and BAM! They got ambushed with the fear love of Satan God. We were masters of passive-aggressive evangelism.

Because we always had a ready stash of these fucked up little comic books (and because I love a comic books), I was inevitably drawn to them. I also don’t think my parents wanted me to see them because they were never offered up for my brother or I to read. In fact, I really don’t remember being handed one to pass out on my own; they were just there. In fact, they were held back just enough to make them seem like forbidden fruit, thus making them all the more attractive to me.

I can remember almost every Chick tract I ever saw, which is really no big feat because they’re basically all the same. Oh, they may have different characters or evils to rail against, but the theme, the dialogue, the mood were identical. But, the most enduring image is the Devil that was at the end of every pamphlet. That motherfucker creeped me out like you wouldn’t believe.

It wasn’t just Chick tracts, though. As a kid growing up in the weird quasi-Pentecostal world of Charismatic Christianity of the late 60’s and early 70’s, I was exposed to multiple exorcisms, for others and myself (at the time, some crazy-ass cult leader said my ADHD was actually an “evil spirit of laziness”) and”facts” like Ouija boards being a doorway for demonic possession. To this day, I can’t watch “The Exorcist” (the first one. No one can watch the sequels) and I avert my eyes or change the channel when trailers for that damn Ouija board movie show up on television. Yes, beloved, I was in on the ground floor of the great “Satanic Panic” that gripped the 80’s. And, it was just as fucked up as it sounds.

As I said at the beginning of this piece, Chick died last week and a week is an eternity in the blogosphere. But, with all the baggage surrounding this subject, it’s taken me that long to process my feelings on the matter. And, even now, I’m not really sure how I feel about it, other than to say I hope “Haw, haw, haw”, was the first fucking thing the old bastard heard when he awoke in whatever afterlife situation in which he landed. Not only that, I hope they were uttered by that creepy-ass Devil he took such glee in rendering. I know that’s not very Christian, but it’s about all the grace I can muster, right now. Sayonara, Jack. You won’t be missed. Not by me, anyway.

Christians For Tru…, Aw, F**k It

Christians for Trump
Should probably add “misogynistic predator” to the list

This is the first Monday I’ve sat down to write (here on the blog, at least) since school started back in August. I have this opportunity because it’s Fall break this week and I’m on vacation. As we normally do this time of year, Diana and I are spending a week in the semi-tropical paradise of Baillie’s Bluff on the Gulf Coast of Florida. But, getting here wasn’t exactly easy this time.

 If you live in the southeastern United States, you probably have an inkling why things were so tough. If not, I can sum it up in two words: Hurricane Matthew. Between worrying whether we would even be able to get here (we usually come down I-95), to almost getting trapped by flood waters in at Diana’s house Saturday (roads all around us flooding), to a 14 hour trip with traffic that varied from a virtual standstill to almost clear sailing, it has been an interesting four days. But, we’re here and I’m writing this from one of favorite spots on the planet: the fabulous screen porch at D’s family house in Holiday.
What, you might be thinking, could pressing enough to drag me to a computer when I could be soaking up the last bit of sun and fun for the year? First of all, time on my hands. When we’re vacationing, Diana likes to sleep in, while I couldn’t sleep past 8 o’clock unless I was coming off a 3 day coke bender. When I have time on my hands, I think about things. And, this morning, what I’m thinking about is Donald Trump and the repulsive shit that spewed from his face hole in 2005.
 As awful as those words are, there is something worse: people who call themselves Christians making excuses for them or, in some cases, saying they just don’t care. What the fuck? How can you say that shit? Do you really want a man like this running the country where the women you claim to care about live? Because, if you do, I’m not so sure you care about them all that much.
The first time I heard that shit, my response was, “I’m not sure what to say to that.” It’s taken a few days, but I think I’ve finally come up with an appropriate response.
To pastors and Christian “leaders” who make excuses (it happened before he had “spiritual influences” in his life) or dismissing it altogether (Christians don’t really care about this), you should turn in any credentials you might hold and stop calling yourself a pastor, because you aren’t. The one constant in Jesus’ teachings (remember him? The guy you claim to follow?) is love. Love your neighbor, love one another, love your enemy. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t consider treating women as conquests to be gloated over “love”.
To those of you who say you don’t care, I say “Are you fucking kidding me?” Do me a favor, if your mother is still with us, go look her the eye and say “Mama, Donald Trump’s comments don’t bother me in the least. In fact, I firmly believe that a man who brags about assaulting women is the best person available to lead our country.” Then, come back and tell me how it went.
Let me make this perfectly clear: if you overlook, gloss over, ignore or do anything but condemn Donald Trump’s treatment of women, you should either fall to your knees and ask the Almighty for forgiveness or abandon any pretense of being a Christian. It’s just that fucking simple.

The Biblical And Moral Case For Trump?

This is the man that evangelical Christians are lining up behind. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.
Is there a moral or biblical imperative to vote for this man?

Like a lot of folks this election season, evangelicals are struggling with the “lesser of two evils” argument. Interestingly, many of them are reacting the same way as progressives: contemplating either a third-party vote or not voting at all. Today, I want to address a couple of  articles advising evangelical and fundamentalist Christians on how they should vote by laying out a biblical or moral case for Donald Trump.

The first is from Wayne Grudem, titled “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice“. The second is “To The “Never Trumper”- A Biblical Case For Trump” (no author credited). Perhaps the most interesting thing about these two articles is that neither present anything particularly biblical or moral about Trump. I wondered why that might be and began comparing some of Trump’s actions and words with scripture and found that much of what The Donald has said, done or proposed flies in the face of almost everything Chirstians stand for. Here are a few examples:

  • “I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There’s a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we’re not allowed punch back anymore. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.”_  “But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well.” Matthew 5:39
  • “It’s a horrible thing. They’re using them as shields. But we’re fighting a very politically correct war. And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families.” _ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you, so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45
  • “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,”_ “I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:36 (Not a direct quote, but a policy position)
  • “(Cruz’s) father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right, prior to his being shot? And nobody even brings it up…, What was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.” _ “The Lord detests false lips; he favors those who do what is true.” Proverbs 12:22 (So many Trump statements have been proven false, it is not feasible to list them all here. I chose this one as a representative sample because it’s one of the most outrageous.)
  • “I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.” _ “Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
  • “My entire life, I’ve watched politicians bragging about how poor they are, how they came from nothing, how poor their parents and grandparents were. And I said to myself, if they can stay so poor for so many generations, maybe this isn’t the kind of person we want to be electing to higher office. How smart can they be? They’re morons.” _ “But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him?” 1 John 3:17

These are just a few of the things that I found and I believe that they, along with the scripture references provided, conclusively debunk the idea that there is a biblical or moral context to vote for Donald Trump. You can vote for the man if you want, but you probably shouldn’t use the Bible to justify it. Because it just doesn’t hold up.

Christians For Trump Pt…, Oh, Who Cares

This is the man that evangelical Christians are lining up behind. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.
Evangelical Christians are enthusiastically supporting this man. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.

Since the beginning of the year, I have written several pieces about the tangerine-hued hairball the Republican Party has hacked up on our political rug, aka Donald Trump. Most of them have focused on my bewilderment at evangelical Christians support of Trump and the fact that, no matter what he says or does, the man’s popularity continues to grow.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center, Seventy-eight percent of evangelical Christians support a thrice-divorced casino owner who has committed adultery on numerous occasions, made multiple semi-incestuous comments about his daughter and appeared on the cover Playboy. Wait, what? Isn’t this stuff on their laundry list of mortal sins? I am so confused.

In part, this groundswell of support may be due to the fact that evangelical leaders absolutely love them some Trump. (Is it just me or that sound vaguely sexual?) From Jerry Falwell Jr. to Pat Robertson to James Dobson and more, the big names on the Religious Right are falling all over themselves to endorse this baby-handed fucktrumpet. You have no idea how much I wish I was making this up, but I…Am…Not.

First up there’s Liberty University president and first-born son of Jerry Falwell, religious right icon and founder of the Moral Majority. Falwell has endorsed Trump offered up his university as a forum for this unhinged Oompa Loompa. Trump may have appeared on a Playboy cover, but he was never in a gay cartoon. And, isn’t that what really matters?

Then there’s James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, who has personally vouched for Trump’s evangelical bona fides. Recently, at a meeting with Trump and evangelical leaders, Dobson said that Donald had “found” Jesus. (He was hiding behind the couch the whole time.) Obviously, Dobson and I have very different ideas about what it means to be a Christian.

Finally, there’s Pat Robertson, the televangelist’s televangelist. Pat is famous for his gaffes and crazy talk and his interview with The Donald was no exception. At one point, he tells Trump “You inspire us all”. Inspire us all? To do what? Shit on immigrants? Dump on veterans? Relentlessly attack anyone who is remotely critical of anything you say or do? If you’re a Christian and Donald Trump inspires you to do anything other than vomit, I’m pretty sure you’re doing Christianity wrong.

This love is filtering down to the masses, too. Check out this report from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:

Did you get that? If not, starting at the 1:17 mark, an evangelical Trump supporter says, “I believe, truly, that Trump is appointed by God to lead this nation back in the direction it needs to go.” Another states that “Donald Trump is the answer to our prayers.” But, perhaps most chillingly, is this remark from a young (possibly pre-teen) man: “We know that he is a godly man.” Holy Shitballs, you guys!

Someone, somewhere, may read this and think, “Yeah, but what about Hillary? She’s no paragon of Christian virtue.” Yes, you are correct. Clinton’s embrace of Wall Street and support of the use of force overseas should cause any Christian worth their salt no small amount of distress. But, there are two “yooge” differences: 1) Clinton hasn’t attempted to make her faith part of her brand the way Trump has and 2) she isn’t receiving the same, hypocritical praise that is falling on the Donald.

In a recent Facebook discussion with some of my friends who support Trump, one said that “we do not have a true Christian option for president.” I responded that, given all the compromises one has to make to even run for President, I’m not sure a true Christian option is possible and he agreed. So, why don’t we drop all the bullshit about a candidate’s faith and judge this solely on the basis of who will do the best job? Yeah, don’t bother responding; I already know the answer.

Unicorns and Dinosaurs and Bears! Oh My!

Coming soon? Shit, they're already here!
Coming soon? Shit, they’re already here!

You may not know this, but Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter opened last week. You probably didn’t know because there wasn’t much fanfare outside of evangelical/fundamentalist circles. Well, that is unless you count the people pissed off about the fact that a privately owned, overtly religious theme park got an $18 million dollar tax break even though Kentucky is one of the poorest and hungriest states in the nation. Isn’t that nice?

Now, I’m not going to go on a tear about how this tax break violates the 1st Amendment, even though it does. And, I’m not going to talk about how much the whole thing cost ($100 million) and how Answers in Genesis could have better spent that money. Instead, I’ll just talk about the Ark and let you work the rest out for yourself.

The Ark Encounter, and its sister attraction the Creation museum, are both the brain children of Answers in Genesis. AiG is a Young Earth group headed up by the aforementioned, Ken Ham, aka America’s leading creationist . You probably remember him from his debate with Bill Nye (everyone’s favorite Science Guy) about the origins of the universe a couple of years ago.

Those of us who believe the earth is older than Ham and his associates claim thought that Nye won the debate. But, that may not be so. Ham contends that the debate helped stimulate fund-raising for the Ark Park. Man, talk about getting bit in the ass.

So, what hath Ken Ham wrought in the hinterlands of Kentucky? According to the park’s website, it is “a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old.”

Modern engineering marvel? Dude, there are a lot of things in this world more marvelous than your “ark”. Unless you built it with Stone Age (or possibly very early Bronze Age) tools, that is. Otherwise, it’s just a big-ass building.

I don’t know if you picked up on it or not, but the fine folks at AiG have built a boat that won’t float. As my friend (not to mention, faithful reader) Suzanne asked, “How is a boat that won’t float supposed to inspire awe and reverence?” How indeed.

Here’s the thing: it’s never been about inspiring awe and reverence. It’s about soaking the rubes. You see, admission to the Ark is $40 and from what I’ve seen, everywhere you turn, there’s something else to separate people from their hard-earned cash. 

 But, before I get all cynical, let’s talk about what’s on Kenny’s ark.  For the record, the following observations are drawn from a video posted on the Friendly Atheist site. There appear to be animatronic displays of Noah and his family engaged in various activities, cages of small “animals” (nothing in them except an audio player to generate animal sounds), models of larger ones and “educational” displays about how Noah might have pulled off this amazing feat.
Among those larger animals are…, wait for it: unicorns and dinosaurs. That’s right, my friends, Ham’s Ark contains both mythical animals and creatures who died out millions of years before humans existed in any form; not just our current modern iteration, but any  form.  Holy shit.
I really don’t know what to say about that. It takes some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to believe that either type of animal was on the ark Or, in the case of unicorns, even fucking existed.
Of course, we are talking about people who reject the massive weight of scientific evidence that the world is over 4 billion years old in favor of an idea from some preacher who “calculated” the age of the Earth from Old Testament stories.  When that’s your frame of reference, I guess unicorns aren’t that big a deal.
Remember what I said about “separating people from their hard-earned cash”? Well, according to the correspondent from TFA, the entire first floor is basically one big store. AiG’s money-grubbing and avarice are on full display with the Ark Encounter and I think they have a lot of nerve calling themselves “Christians”.
Unfortunately, as long as Americans are gullible enough to believe this bullshit and line up to fill Ham’s coffers, they’ll keep pimping their fucked up view of the Gospel. In case it’s not obvious, I’m not very happy about that.

 

 

Am I Still A Christian?

Doubt TillichOver the years, I’ve had people ask me, “How can you call yourself a Christian with some of the things you believe?” It’s a fair question, seeing as I don’t put much stock in a lot of orthodox beliefs anymore. The short (smartass) answer comes in two parts: 1) I’m a progressive Christian, which means I’m not hung up on a lot the stuff Christians have traditionally worried about: sex, drugs, rock and roll, etc. 2) I’m not really that good of a Christian.

But, a better question is “Why do I still call myself a Christian?” I think the answer to that will make more sense if I tell what I do and don’t believe these days.

  • The Biblical creation story _ I don’t believe the story told in Genesis is a historical, factual account of the world’s creation. The evidence presented by science about the Big Bang and evolution is overwhelming and to believe otherwise is to be willfully ignorant. That is not to say that I think the Genesis story should be tossed out. For me, it exists as myth or allegory and has to do with why we’re here, not how we got here.
  • That the Bible is the literal, inerrant Word of God _ I gave this one up a long time ago, if I ever really believed in the first place. That was only reinforced by the fact that, for me, learning the history of the Bible was a lot like watching sausage being made: it wasn’t pretty. The Bible has a place in my life, to be sure. But, it’s not the be all, end all of things.
  • The Virgin Birth _  I no longer believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived. That’s just not how biology works. Besides, the whole thing is based on a mistranslation of one word. In my opinion, the virgin birth story was a literary device that, like several other historically questionable events in the birth narratives, was meant to show that Jesus was special. Personally, I prefer to spend my time working on living the way he taught than how he was conceived.
  • An actual physical resurrection _ A few years ago, there was a bit of a dust-up between Tony Jones and Marcus Borg about whether the resurrection was physical or spiritual, with Jones arguing for physical. As I followed this discussion (between Jones and his detractors. Marcus was smart enough not to get down in the mud with them), I began to realize I had trouble accepting that Jesus’ body was reanimated and he walked around in it. The best I can do with this one is to believe that something happened in that tomb that inspired his followers to carry on, even in the face of persecution, oppression and death at the hands of the state.
  • The Trinity _ Actually, saying I don’t believe in the Trinity isn’t accurate. A better way to put it would be that I don’t really give a shit. Like the preceding items on this list, I don’t see how spending any time on it makes me a better follower of Jesus, so why bother?
  • Whether God even exists _ I suppose this makes me more of agnostic than anything else. I say this because I’ve never had that moment that some people talk about where God knocked me to my knees. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt the presence of God at any point in my life. At least, not in the way others have spoken of.

So, in light of all this, why do I still call myself a Christian? Because the way Jesus taught us to live is a pretty damn decent one. It  definitely makes makes me a better person. And, understand when I say “the way Jesus taught us to live”, I’m not talking about the perversion that is American Christianity, I mean what he actually said: love your neighbor, turn the other cheek, forgive those who treat you badly, don’t hoard your wealth, share with those who have less…, you get the picture.

Stupid Thoughts

stupid thoughtsI don’t think anyone will disagree with me when I say we have been treated to some truly awful shit of late. Then, to have it capped off by what happened in Orlando last weekend is just too…fucking…much. Now, when things get rough, my response is to look for some bit of humor, something to laugh about. Why?  Well, as comedian Chris Hardwick said in his latest Comedy Central special, “Comedy is armor that protects us from the horrible shit-witch of life.” And, as the parent of someone who’s LGBT, I need that armor now, more than ever.

So, where does one find comedy in this horrific shitstorm? Fuck if I know. But, I feel the need to write something funny (well, funny to me, anyway), so here are a few of the stupid thoughts that pass through my brain on a daily basis. With a little luck, maybe you’ll laugh and, for a few minutes, forget how fucked up things are right now.

  • A few years before he died, I found out my dad…, didn’t need Viagra. I know this because he told me so. On hearing this “news”, I was immediately torn. On one hand, I thought, “Oh god, I can’t know that.” On the other, I was like, “Well, at least I come from good genes.”
  • People have asked me, “How can you call yourself a Christian with some of the things you believe?” There are two reasons for that: one, I’m a progressive Christian which means I’m not hung up on a lot the stuff Christians have traditionally worried about: sex, drugs, alcohol, rock and roll, etc. and two, I’m not a very good Christian.
  • Why does every commercial aimed at folks my age seem to be about boner pills and adult diapers? If I need diapers, boner pills probably aren’t going to be necessary.
  • I think I’m going to start referring to myself as a religious satirist. I used to say I was a smart ass with a blog, but that brand is kind of a hard sell.
  • Why does sexy never equal comfortable? Like sweatpants, for example. We know sweatpants aren’t sexy because they don’t sell them at Victoria’s Secret. (Yes, in my mind, Victoria is the arbiter of sexy clothing. It is a step up, though; I used think it was Frederick’s of Hollywood). I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen someone wearing sweatpants and thought, “Damn, I gotta get me some of that.” Probably because of what’s usually worn with sweatpants: t-shirt with stains and non-strategically placed holes, ratty-ass sneakers/sandals and socks (the sexiest of all footwear) and a full-blown case of bed head. Basically, wearing sweatpants in public is like holding up a sign that says, “I don’t fucking care anymore.” I suppose this look does take confidence and confidence is sexy. But, I’m guessing this crosses the line.
  • How can Christians look down on fringe beliefs like Scientology as “crazy”? The Scientology space opera isn’t any more absurd than believing that a Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree?

This is the first time I’ve tried a post like this, so if you like it, let me know. With a comment. In the comment section. If you don’t…? Well, my first inclination to say “Fuck you”, but that’s probably not the best way to handle criticism. So, I guess you can comment, too. Whatever.

Five Little Letters

Some of these letters are offensive, some are not. Can you guess which ones are and which aren't?
Some of these letters are offensive, some are not. Can you guess which ones are and which aren’t?

In case you didn’t know, it’s time for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference 2016. And, just when I thought I’d seen it all, the followers of one of history’s most anal rententive religious figures, John Wesley (they don’t call it “Methodism” for nothing, y’all), have surprised me.

It seems that the organizers of the conference had invited Rev. Vicki Flippin, of NYC’s “The Church of the Village”, to give the greeting at the opening worship service. Shortly before that service was to begin, Flippin was told to amend her greeting or she wouldn’t be allowed to give it. What, you ask, could a Methodist pastor say that would be offensive enough to get her uninvited? You’re not going to believe this, but it boiled down to five little letters: L, G, B, T, and Q.

That’s right, beloved. Conservatives are now upset by letters. Well, some letters, anyway. There are some that don’t seem to bother them, like T, I, T, H, I, N, G or A, U, T, H, O, R, I, T, Y. Hmm, T and G show up here and they’re okay, but in the previous sequence they’re offensive? I’m confused.

What is it about L, G, B, T, and Q that bothers them so? Is it the fact that, on their own, they don’t spell anything? Or, maybe it’s the lack of vowels; I know some of those Eastern European words that are mostly consonants can be hard to pronounce. I suppose it could even be that the leaders of the UMC don’t care for acronyms. Perhaps someone with more education can enlighten me as to why these letters are so objectionable.

A part of me thinks that if I understood why these letters are so abhorrent they can’t even be mentioned in a worship service, I might still be a Methodist. You see, I defected to a welcoming and affirming Baptist church four years ago, after the 2012 General Conference when the conservative majority said “Suck it!” to the people who disagreed with them on LGBT…, wait a minute, is that what this is all about? Are you serious?!?

The only thing I can take away from this story is that the leaders of a denomination founded on the teachings of one of the foremost proponents of social justice of his time can’t bear even the mere mention the letters L, B, G, T, and Q in a worship service. Why? Because they think the people those letters refer to are…, “icky”. Considering that this denomination’s rulebook states that “all persons are of sacred worth”, this doesn’t make any sense to me. At all.

You know, I’m watching this GC with an almost morbid fascination, hoping against hope that the church which taught me about grace and that God’s love will start living up to the ideals set forth in the “Book of Discipline”. I have a feeling I’m going to be disappointed. Again.