Tag Archives: Jesus

Making Jesus Great Again

Now, that’s my kind of savior!

Since we elected Donald Trump to make America great again, I think we need to take some steps to make Christianity great, too. Now, most of you probably believe that Christianity is already great. I mean, God did answer the prayers of hundreds of thousands of Christians in giving the election to Donald Trump and all, but you have to admit, there are areas of Christianity that could use some work. Like all that non-violence talk and the stuff about money that libtards yammer on about. But, the starting point for all this has to be giving Jesus a makeover. And, boy, does he need it.

What, you don’t think we need a new Jesus? Boy, have you got your head in the sand. I mean seriously, turn the other cheek and love your neighbor? What a cuck. No, if we’re going to make this religion (and this country) great again, we need to follow a real manly man, a jacked Jesus, if you will. I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to follow some little pussy who won’t even fight back.

To accomplish this makeover, we’re going to have tip over a few sacred cows. Like, for instance, the Bible. That will probably be the biggest obstacle in branding our new and improved alt-savior. Yes, I know the Bible is the pure, unadulterated Word of God and every syllable is literally true and needs no interpretation. But, seriously, we’ve been furtively working the Good Book to our benefit for centuries, what with all the proof-texting and cherry picking. All I’m saying is we stop sneaking and come out in the open.

Our most common weapon should be to just ignore the verses we don’t like and focus hard on the ones we do. Like, we just omit all those inconvenient calls to non-violence that Jesus issued and concentrate on the one that goes, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Easy peasy, right? Like I said, we’ve been doing this shit for years. And, the ones we can’t ignore just need a little tweaking; you know, sort of like Andy Schlafly did with his Conservative Bible project.

Take that “turn the other cheek” bullshit. In Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” With just a little work, it becomes “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But, I tell you do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, pop that motherfucker in the face.” Now, that’s a guy I can respect!

I’m telling you, this won’t be that difficult. I mean, we already elected 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 of Playboy, and cited our faith for doing so. All this new movement will require is selling what’s left of our souls and giving up the few principles we have left. How hard can that be?

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Special thanks to Alaina Cobb for the inspiration and revised Bible verse. I couldn’t have done it without you, friend!

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.

RNC Follies

During a recent Facebook Live prayer event, Franklin Graham said that our country “is in trouble”. He even went so far as to say, “We’re on the precipice of anarchy.” And, I agree with him 100%. Why would I ever agree with anything Franklin says? Simple, I’ve been following the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. And, if what went down in Cleveland last week is any indicator, anarchy is what we’re in for if we elect this Roald Dahl villian come to life.

Starting with a speech which turned out to have portions lifted from that of another First Lady and ending with an address that had everyone who heard it shitting their pants, this year’s RNC was a “five-alarm dumpster fire”. I realize that’s a little unkind to dumpster fires, but it is an apt description. Why would I say that? Check out the following observations:

  • Monday night, we were treated to a speech from Melania Trump. By now, the plagiarism angle is old news. But, there is something I haven’t heard brought up: Melania’s speechwriters decided to steal from Michelle Obama, someone Republicans have spent  the last 8 years belittling and demeaning. So, Michelle is a joke of a First Lady until you need some words for cour candidate’s Barbie doll wife to say during her first public outing? Why that makes perfect sense!
  • Then, there’s Rudy Giuliani, who contributed to the fear-mongering spoke on “Make America Safe Again” night (also Monday). Filled with the usual half-truths and empty rhetoric that characterizes any Republican speech about Hillary, Rudy’s address was notable for two reasons: Giuliani took the “angry white man” shtick to another level and, amazingly, he didn’t mention “9-11” one single time. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who uses that phrase as punctuation.
  • Tuesday’s theme was “Make America Work Again” . Now, one might expect a night with such a title  to be about jobs and such.  Instead, it was a Hillary Hatefest. including a  mock trial of Hillary Clinton conducted by Michelin Man impersonator, Chris Christie. Evidently, the only jobs Republicans are interested in are Fox News pundit or Unhinged Right Wing Talk Radio Host.
  • Wednesday night, Ted Cruz spoke and, well, it was awesome! Cruz, in an act of defiance, refused to endorse Trump, instead telling the crowd to vote their conscience. The crowd’s response? They booed. I mean, really booed. You know, if someone tells you to ” vote your conscience” instead of blindly endorsing your candidate and you boo them off the stage, what does that say about your candidate?
  • Of course, we have to talk about The Donald’s acceptance speech.  Like Giuliani and all the other speakers who did their level best to scare the living shit out of anyone within earshot, The Donald pulled out all the stops. The America in his speech made the desert hellscape of “Mad Max: Fury Road” look like a utopian paradise. It makes sense, though., since Trump probably has more in common with Immortan Joe than a U. S. president.
  • But, perhaps the most interesting thing about this little shindig was the absence of anything remotely related to Jesus and what he taught. That’s a little funny don’t you think? I mean, the Republicans have told us for years that they own Christianity and yet, from what I saw, Christianity was pretty much absent from their convention. Jesus (you know, the guy the Christian faith is based on?) told his followers not to fear, to love their neighbors, to welcome the stranger, to care for the poor and more. In other words, pretty much the polar opposite of everything said in Cleveland last week.

After watching this shit show unfold, I have reached an unavoidable conclusion: If you aren’t horrified by what we’ve seen the last few days and driven to do whatever it takes to keep this deranged Oompa-Loompa out of the White House, you are no longer in touch with reality. Trump should be polling behind a fucking sweet potato. Instead, he’s neck and neck with Hillary. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like what that says about America right now.

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.

One Million Moms: “The Real O’Neals” Makes Jesus Cry

Even this picture has certain Christians in a tizzy. Can you guess why?
Even this picture has certain Christians in a tizzy. Can you guess why?

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but everyone’s favorite blue noses are at it again. Yes, it’s the One Million Moms and, now they have a new target for their ire: ABC’s latest sitcom, “The Real O’Neals”. And, why do they have their knickers in a twist over this show? Their website says it “ridicules Jesus and Christianity”. Maybe, but I have a feeling that the real problem is the fact that one of the characters is gay.

That character would be Kenny O’Neal, a 16-year-old who comes out to his Irish-Catholic family in the first episode. That, along with the fact that Kenny is played by Noah Galvin, who is openly gay, and that Dan Savage is on board as a producer (the show is also loosely based on his life) makes the show, in the words of D’Anne Witkowski, “a gay trifecta” and possibly “a sign of End Times”. If I hadn’t already watched it, that description alone would be enough for it to land on my list.

It’s not just the “gay” thing, though; there are a few other items that have also gotten under the Moms’ skin. Things like Jesus jokes (seen here, beginning at 0:03), the daughter’s “attempts to prove” (their quotes, not mine) that there is no God as a science fair project, and Eileen (Kenny’s mom) making Jesus-shaped pancakes to guilt trip the anorexic older brother into eating. I think their problem with that last one is less about offending Jesus and more about giving away trade secrets.

Of course, the Moms aren’t the only ones with their drawers in a knot. Google “The Real O’Neals Christian” and you’ll find a plethora of pissed off Christians, all incensed over the show’s take on “The One True Faith”. Do the same search on YouTube and you’ll find several videos lambasting ABC and the show for the same basic reason. The best is one titled, “The Real O’Neals TV Show on ABC Mocks Mocks God! (Satanic TeLIEvision EXPOSED)”. Why is it the best? Did you not see the words “Satanic TeLIEvision EXPOSED” in the title?!? Oh, it also ties the show to “an End Times deception”: “acceptance of homosexuality”. That’s right, boys and girls, accepting “homosexuality” (aka treating people who are LGBTQ like fellow human beings) is a sign that Jesus is coming back any day now! Wow, just…, wow.

Of course, all these other dissenters are mostly copying and pasting the information on OMM’s website (or, just reading it out loud on the videos). I guess they’re so upset about gays and Jesus jokes appearing in the same show that coming up with some original content is beyond their capability. I cannot imagine how tiring maintaining this level of outrage must be. Geez, relax people.

If ever a group needed to “Netflix and chill”, it’s this bunch. A nice bottle of wine, a blunt the size of my thumb and some quality television (by “quality television”, I mean, “vigorous boot-knocking”) would be the perfect way for these oh so tightly wound wowsers to de-stress a little. If they tried it, they might find that shows like “The Real O’Neals” aren’t all that bad. I’m not holding my breath until it happens, though.

What Keeps Me Awake At Night

staying-up-at-nightIn a recent sermon at College Park Baptist Church, pastor Michael Usey asked “What keeps you awake at night?” Then, he had us write those thoughts down on Post it notes and stick them on the wall. Afterwards, the notes were gathered and compiled for a word cloud that showed up on the following Sunday’s bulletin. I participated, scribbling down something about “poverty”, “homelessness” or some other socially acceptable topic. And, while those things are on my mind, they aren’t the only things. Hell, sometimes, they aren’t even the most pressing things (In case you didn’t know, I’m nowhere as deep as I make out). Most of time, what goes in my head is…, well, a little weird. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  • When Noah got hammered.  After the flood was over and things were settling down, Noah planted a vineyard and made some wine. Then, he got drunk and passed out naked in his tent.  While he was sleeping it off, Ham walked in, “saw his father’s nakedness” and went told his brothers about it.  Shem and Japheth took a robe, walked in backward and covered Noah up.  When he woke up and found what had happened, Noah cursed Ham and set his brothers over him.  All that for seeing him naked? Seems a little harsh to me. I’ve gotta think something else was going on here.
  •  Did Moses drop the F-bomb when he found out he wasn’t getting into the Promised Land?   Think about that one for a minute.  The guy busts his ass for over 40 years, leading a bunch whiny complainers who were never satisfied with anything he did and then, just because he screwed up once (at Meribah), all he gets to do is look at the Promised Land from Mount Nebo.  And, that’s after he gave the Israelites some parting directions and pronounced a blessing on them.  Seriously? I’d have kicked dirt all over God’s shoes and told everyone else to kiss my ass.
  • The story of Elisha and the smart-alecky kids  One day, the prophet Elisha was walking along, minding his own business when a bunch of kids came along and started making fun of his bald head.  Elisha cursed them and they ran off.  As they did, a couple of bears came along and mauled all 42 of the little assholes.  Okay, there’s nothing I’m wondering about here, I just wanted a reason to include this picture:

elishabears

  • Why were the disciples so thick-headed?  These dudes spent almost every waking moment with Jesus for 3 years and they didn’t get what he was talking about until Pentecost? Really? There’s also a follow-up question, here: How did Jesus keep from smacking shit out of them?
  • What happened after Jesus raised Lazarus?  The Bible says that when Jesus got to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for days.  Four days. In the Middle East.  You know he was rank by then.  Did Jesus have to put in any extra work to make Lazarus presentable?  I think he must have, because you can’t take enough showers to fix that kind of stink.
  • Would Paul have mellowed out if he’d gotten some action?  And, if he did, what would that have done to Christianity?  Think about this for a minute: if Paul was getting it on the regular, would he have had the drive to spread the faith the way he did?  I suppose it’s possible, but in my experience, once you crack the seal on sex, it pretty much takes over. Which means Christianity might not be as big a deal as it is now, but we would be able to knock boots without so much guilt. And, would that be such a bad thing?

So, there you go; just a few of the things that keep me awake at night.

Sarah Silverman: Jesus Was Gender-fluid

Sarah Silverman is no stranger to controversy. Over the course of her career, the comedian has caught flack for using a racial slur, tweeting snarky rape prevention tips and more. This past Christmas Day, she did it again with this tweet:
Sarah Silverman tweetLike clockwork, conservatives took the internet to voice their displeasure by calling her a socialist and twit, advised her to commit incest and even made Holocaust jokes. All of which, I’m sure, made Jesus so fucking proud.

I had two reactions to this “controversy”. First, I laughed out loud at the tweet. Then, I felt embarassed that Silverman, an agnostic Jew, understands what Jesus was about better than those who claim to follow him.

If I could change one thing about Silverman’s tweet, it would replacing the ” was” with “is”, as in “Jesus  is  gender fluid”, not “Jesus was gender fluid”. That word choice makes a huge difference. It doesn’t really matter if Jesus actually was gender-fluid, if he was a super-straight dude who loved the ladies, or even if he was above all that. What matters is how and where we see him now. Shit, we’re almost 2000 years into to this Christian thing and people still don’t get it.

From the outset of his ministry, Jesus made it plain that he was here to “liberate the oppressed“.  And, contrary to what some people might think, it’s hard to find a more oppressed and persecuted group in America right now than people who don’t conform to gender stereotypes.

In Matthew 25, Jesus told us that he would be found in the oppressed and persecuted. He didn’t come for the wealthy, the religious, or any of the other people in the clique; he came for people who were outsiders, existing on the margins of society. In his day, Jesus didn’t hang out with the religious people he hung out with those who were considered the dregs of society. Why would it be any different today?

That means Jesus isn’t found in the grand cathedrals with all their liturgy and pomp. Nor is he found in a megachurch with it’s rock concert atmosphere. Jesus is found in the transgender working girl picking up johns because there’s no other way for her to keep body and soul together. He is found in the effeminate young boy who has been bullied his entire life. He is found in every person whose family and friends have rejected them for having the temerity to live into their true identity.

The bottom line to all this is that getting your panties in a wad when someone challenges your image of Jesus is not only counterproductive, it suggests you don’t know him quite as well as you think you do.

An Open Letter To Parents Of Transgender Kids

openletter

Dear Conservative Christian Parents of kids who are transgender;

You probably don’t know me, but I know you. I’ve been where you are and I know what you’re going through, right now. Well, not exactly; while I have been a Christian most of my life, I’ve never really been a conservative one. But, I am the father of a transgender child. I say that so you’ll know I’m not some expert sitting in my ivory tower, telling you how to parent or live your faith; I’m a down-in-the-trenches dad who’s going through the same stuff you are.

You see, I know it’s hard to be the parent of someone whose identity doesn’t match their assigned sex. Heck, it’s hard enough to be a parent when everything goes “right”; throw in a hitch like this “trans” thing and it’s even gets really hard. And, a lot of the messages coming from certain pulpits just add to that difficulty. They aren’t good and most of them aren’t biblical. At best, they have a nodding acquaintance with scripture, but are twisted and taken out of context to further an agenda that is harmful to your child. Let me break a few of them down for you.

  • “God doesn’t make mistakes”
    True, God doesn’t make mistakes. Your child is a beautiful gift from God and was born they way they were for a reason. I don’t know what that reason might be, but it’s out there and it’s up to all of us to work together and find it.
  • “Why would a loving God create someone who would have endure the persecution that trans people deal with?” 
    Okay, this one isn’t one I’ve seen a lot, but it is a question that I spent a lot of time wrestling with. And, here’s what I came up with: God isn’t the problem here, we are. The last commandment Jesus gave his followers was to love one another and the way we treat people who are trans falls so far short of that, it’s pathetic. Last year, 21 people who are transgender have been murdered and as much 40% of the homeless youth population is either gay or trans. Statistics like these make me want to cry. I hope they do the same to you.
  • “It’s okay to reject your kids”
    Not only is it “okay” to reject your kids, in some circles, it’s required. This is one of those ideas that isn’t biblical. 1 Timothy 5:8 says “But if someone doesn’t provide for their own family, and especially for a member of their household, they have denied the faith. They are worse than those who have no faith.” Understand this isn’t just about kicking your kid out because you feel that they’ve rejected God by their lifestyle choice; “providing” for your family goes beyond the mere physical (housing, food, etc.), it includes the love and support that only a parent can supply.
  • “The Bible is clear about transgenderism: it’s a sin.”
    Actually, the Bible is anything but clear on this subject because it doesn’t really talk about it. There are a few passages in the Old Testament that can be twisted, cherry-picked or tortured into sounding like they do, but when you look at them in context, it all falls apart. Jesus never mentioned anything about it and, while Paul gets trotted out when this comes up…, well, Paul’s a little problematic on the issue. The ending of Romans 1 (a common passage when any LGBT issues are discussed) isn’t about trans people, he’s talking about what, today, we would call pedophiles. 1 Corinthians 6:9 is another bit of text that is often used to condemn people who are trans. But, here’s the thing: the word that’s responsible for all that, malakoi, is a slang term and no one really knows what Paul meant by it. The best scholars have come up with is “soft men”. What the heck is a “soft man”? When I asked my pastor that question, he said “Me, after visiting Donut World” (FYI, Donut World is the most awesome donut shop in the world and is located in Greensboro, NC). Like I said, the Bible is anything but clear on this.

Now, let’s talk about a few realities parenting a transgender child.

  • Being a parent to a transgender child can be scary.
    As I said in an earlier point, people who are transgender are much more susceptible to violence than people who are cisgender (i.e. what most folks consider “normal”). They are also more likely to suffer discrimination. I know these are frightening things for a parent to contemplate. But, they are real and you need to know about them in order to help your child survive to become the person God create them to be.
  • “One way or another, you’re going to lose your child unless you learn to accept them for who they are.”
    This one comes from a counselor I spoke to recently and it’s right on the money. What it means is that, if you don’t accept the fact that your child’s identity and their biologically assigned sex don’t match up, one of two things is going to happen: 1) they will walk out of your life and have little or nothing to do with you or 2) the strain of being forced to deny their true selves will drive them to suicide or other self-destructive behaviors. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true and you need to hear it.
  • Your reluctance is to accept your child’s identity is selfish.
    Think about it for a minute: if you gave birth to a girl who later realizes that (s)he is actually a boy, what damage does it do to you to accept that and love them for who they are? On the other hand, denying their identity can cause terrible damage (see previous point). Which option should a good parent choose?

I’ll end this with a personal story. A couple of years ago, my son came  out as transgender and began to transition in the past year. Prior to that, he suffered from anxiety and depression so crippling that, many days, he couldn’t function. Counseling and medication helped a little, but I worried that he would be confined to some terrible half life and never reach his full potential. In the months since he began transition, he is a new person. He has job, he’s working on getting his driver’s license and the counseling and meds for his other conditions are finally having the desired effect. I credit this to having the weight of living a false life lifted off his shoulders. If that’s a sin, I’ll take a boatload.

 

Drive-by Evangelism

20150525_124835

If you live in Greensboro, there is a distinct possibility that you’ve seen this car. Lest you think this is a crazy, one-off occurrence,  let me assure that it’s not. I took this photo at a certain home improvement center on S. Elm Street in Greensboro last fall. Then, just a few months ago, I was sitting in the drive-through at fine fried chicken emporium on the north side of town and a car pulled in and parked. It, too, was covered in “turn or burn” graffiti and when the occupants got out, they were wearing matching t-shirts with similar messages. Isn’t that nice? Nothing says “God is love” quite like “Believe in me or I’ll torture you for all eternity!”

These cars are rolling religious tracts; you know, those lovely little pamphlets that say “If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?” My friend, Jinx Barber, said his answer to that question is “I know exactly where I’m going. First to the medical examiners office, so my wife can see what drugs I wasn’t sharing with her. Then over to the mortuary where they will tan my Baphomet tattoo (which is a full back panel, thank you very much) into a giant canvas. Then they will quarter and cremate me so that I do not have to endure bodily resurrection and have to put up with a bunch of goody two shoes jerks for the rest of eternity.” Did I mention Jinx is a pastor? Yep, a youth pastor too.

All these lovely activities fall into the category of something called “drive-by evangelism”, which Thom Rainer says is “A derogatory term for evangelistic encounters that are brief and abrupt and are considered to be ineffective for convincing people to convert to Christianity.” I especially like that last bit, “considered to be ineffective for convincing people to convert to Christianity”. And, that is true…, just like walking up to complete strangers and smacking them in the face is an ineffective way to make friends.

Most people who engage in this sort of thing usually claim it’s biblical, citing such verses as Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 5:42 and 20:20. Sure, because Jesus was the original tract bomber (that’s a real thing, y’all) and Paul traveled around the Gentile world with a sandwich sign that said “Get saved or you will burn in hell for all eternity!”

I suppose I should take moment to point out that, yes, Jesus did say that we should spread the good news. And, that Paul spent the last years of his life doing this very thing. Of course, they did so by taking the time to build relationships with people, not shoving scary-ass little booklets into their hands or waving ridiculous signs telling them what vile disgusting sinners they are.  But, hey, we’re Americans and finding quicker, “better” ways to do stuff is what we do. So what if we’ve applied our assembly line ethos to Jesus’ message of hope for the downtrodden and, in the process, turned it into a glorified “get out of jail free” card?  We’ve got to get this shit done so we can kick back on a cloud with a halo and a harp and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Because, really, isn’t it all about us?

I’m A Christian, But, I’m Not…

Mollie Hemingway recently wrote an article for “The Federalist” titled “5 Most Cringeworthy Problems With Buzzfeed’s Viral ‘I’m a Christian, But I’m Not’, Video” (shown at the top of this page) and she wasn’t exactly what you’d call “complementary”. Now, If I’m being honest, I have to agree that the clip is a little douchey. Not in the evangelical/fundamentalist “I’m saved, but you’re all going to hell” way; more like the NALT project, which is just a little reminiscent of Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector. According to Hemingway, the video “was easily the most unintentionally hilarious, if shockingly bigoted, BuzzFeed video ever produced.” After watching it, I’m left wondering if Hemingway actually understands what “bigoted” really means. Or, “shockingly” either, for that matter.

I say that because the statement in question follows an extremely condescending dismissal of everything the people in the clip say. Displaying the (possibly) unwitting arrogance that seems to permeate conservative Christianity, she attempts to minimize the participants words with quotation marks, a strikeout and, that particulraly odious tool of rejection, ridiculing a person’s spelling/choice of words. Then, she lists the 5 most egregious things in the video. So, let’s take a look at what Ms. Hemingway considers cringeworthy:

  1. No Mention of Jesus
    Hemingway claims, after referencing its text, that the video contains “Not a single mention of Jesus, the author and finisher of the Christian faith.” That’s not exactly true. Sure, no one mentions Jesus by name, but the J-man is all over this thing. Most notably in the statement, “love is the most important thing.” If I could talk to Hemingway (and the young woman who shared this and was a member of the youth group I worked with in the past), I’d tell her that Jesus isn’t constantly smacking us on the ass, yelling “Say my name, bitch!”
  2. No Diversity
    Now, you may be wondering how a video about Christians that features people of color, people who are LGBT+ or who depart from the Church’s view on sex isn’t diverse (I know I was). But, here’s Hemingway’s problem: there are no “conservatives” in the cast. She even breaks it down by percentage, saying “At least 33 percent of those interviewed are LGBT (roughly 10 times the national average) and at least 50 percent are feminist (only 18 percent of Americans actually identify as feminist).” In other words, she’s arguing that the video isn’t “politically correct”; a concept she has a history of criticizing. Talk about “unintentionally hilarious”!
  3. Wow, Was It Bigoted 
    As I said earlier, I’m not sure if Hemingway knows what “bigoted” actually means. According to Merriam-Webster, it is an adjective for “bigot”, which is defined as ” a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” Does the video display some condescension? Absolutely. Does that condescension rise to the level of hate or intolerance? No, it doesn’t. Not once in this video does anyone claim that their belief is the right one, that everyone else is wrong, or show that they are “intolerantly devoted” to anything. They didn’t, as Hemingway infers, say that people who disagree with them are “homophobic, holier-than-thou, close-minded, unaccepting, uneducated, judgmental, conservative ignoramuses.” But, you know what they say; “A hit dog always howls.”
  4. Christianity Offends 
    Yes, it does. Hell, I’m a Christian and it offends me. Okay, to be more accurate, what currently passes for orthodox Christianity offends me. Why? Because it took a way of life based on unconditional love and turned it into a belief system incorporating a set of arbitrary rules designed to separate and control people. The real problem with the video is that it talks about a Christianity that’s radical and countercultural. And, that scares the shit out of people like Hemingway, a middle class white woman who is heavily invested in maintaining the status quo.
  5. It’s a Pharisee Prayer
    In this item, we finally get to down Hemingway’s real issue with the video: sex. Yes, beloved, after all that other bullshit, it boils down when and with whom you choose to knock boots. I say that because, of all the issues she lists in her article, she uses sex to make her point, saying “The media wrongly think that any time you articulate Christian doctrine on sexuality—which is exacting and more or less completely contradictory to the way of the world—you’re putting yourself on a pedestal. That’s a childish reading of such articulation. And it completely ignores the point of Christianity, which is that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Two problems here: 1) Why do conservatives have such an obsession with sex? 2) The point of Christianity is “that while we were still sinners Christ died for us“? Shit, all this time,  I thought it was “Love one another.” Boy, is my face red.

In her closing paragraph, Hemingway says “Let us all beware of smug complacency and measuring ourselves against others.” That may be the most clueless sentence in human history, because she writes it after spending over 1,800 words doing just that. If there’s any doubt, the last two sentences should clear things up: “Let’s join the tax collector and cry out, “God be merciful to me, a sinner! And forgive BuzzFeed while you’re at it—particularly when it comes to religious content, they could use your prayers.” I guess, as a “real” (i.e. conservative) Christian, Hemingway is in possession of the Truth and we should all listen to her. Especially those heathens at BuzzFeed.