Archive for November, 2010

Evolution and Christianity: Together at Last!

Monday, November 29th, 2010 by JEL

Do you happen to be a Christian who believes in evolution? Do you find yourself attacked from two sides for your beliefs? Then you might want to check out this free teleseminar series. I loved this bit from the description:

“Are you frustrated with how the mainstream media portray the science and religion issue? It’s as if the only two games in town were science-rejecting creationism and faith-rejecting atheism. But for the millions of us in the middle who see no conflict between faith and reason, heart and head, Jesus and Darwin, we know that’s a false choice. Religious faith and practice can be positively strengthened by what God is revealing through science!”

And then there’s this beauty:

“Studying evolution is like following cosmic breadcrumbs home to God. Only by looking through evolutionary eyes can we see our way out of the current global integrity crisis that is destroying economies and ecosystems around the world.”

One of the thirty speakers is Michael Dowd whom I saw a couple of years ago, and he is AWESOME. One of the most passionate, eloquent, engaging people I’ve ever seen. Listening to him alone would be worth the price of admission! Register today>>

Uncool

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 by JEL

I loved today’s “Jesus is Uncool” column by Greg Stier. He makes the point that Jesus, as some Christians strive to portray Him today, was not this handsome superhero traveling the countryside saving the oppressed multitudes with a single wave of his hand. In reality, he was probably a short, sun-beaten guy preaching a message that nearly everyone at the time thought was the epitome of uncool.

It’s still uncool today. Help the poor? Feed the starving? Look at the rage over welfare, social security, and other entitlement programs. Look at how this country approaches immigration. No, it’s lift yourself up by your bootstraps, look out for #1, and be damned with all the rest.

“So what are the lessons for us as followers of Christ? In a 21st Century quest for Hipster Christianity we must remember that the call of Christ is the call to be uncool. It’s the call to pick up our cross and carry a radical and sometimes unpopular message to a broken world. It’s the call to embrace Jesus’ as the narrow gate, though it may appear narrow-minded and exclusive, but to be open-hearted and handed when it comes to the hurting and hopeless.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

The Girly Medal of Honor

Friday, November 19th, 2010 by JEL

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Things have become very busy as they always do around holiday time. Anyway, I came across this blog post from Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, and it really deserves comment.

Basically, Mr. Fischer is upset about the “feminization” of the Congressional Medal of Honor. He thinks there is a disturbing trend of recent recipients of the Medal being honored for saving lives, not ending them. Saving people, apparently, is for girls, while killing is for the tough hombres.

His main argument is that we honor and worship Jesus for crushing the enemy:

The significance of the cross is not just that Jesus laid down his life for us, but that he defeated the enemy of our souls in the process. It was on the cross that he crushed the head of the serpent. It was on the cross that “he disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).

The cross represented a cosmic showdown between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, and our commanding general claimed the ultimate prize by defeating our unseen enemy and liberating an entire planet from his bondage.

We rightly honor those who give up their lives to save their comrades. It’s about time we started also honoring those who kill bad guys.”

Perhaps Mr. Fischer forgot about Jesus’ central message of peace and love and tolerance. That all war is despicable. That every soldier on the other side that we see as a “bad guy” is perceiving US as the “bad guy.” And that everyone on both sides has a wife or husband, children who love them, hobbies, aspirations, and a life they would sorely love to be able to live if only governments would stop deciding conflicts by who kills the most of each other’s citizenry.

AOK Thursday: Veterans Day

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 by JEL

Kindness can come from anywhere at any time. Even in war. I found this interview with Carver McGriff gripping. Not just because of his even-tempered account of D-Day, but for his honesty and integrity and his deep thinking about what he had been a part of. His story about the 3 Mexicans is a lesson for all of us.

Watch, think, and thank a Veteran for their service:

The Christian Right (Wrong)

Monday, November 8th, 2010 by JEL

Richard T. Hughes has embarked upon a 4-part series entitled “The Christian Right in Context.” The first part, “The Long View,” is an excellent summation of Christianity in this country. He begins by talking about the current American crisis:

“The Christian Right stands at the heart of our current crisis since, for 30 years and more, the Christian Right has so successfully eaten away at the core, bedrock values that shaped this nation at its founding.

To advance this argument, of course, is to advance an irony, since the Christian Right has claimed from its inception that others — especially liberals, secularists and humanists — were eroding the values of the nation that they sought to affirm and protect.

And precisely in that claim we find the seeds of the current American crisis.”

He also touches upon Christianity as viewed and handled by the founders of our country:

“In spite of the claims of the Christian Right today, the simple truth is this: The Founders had no intention of creating a ‘Christian America.’ In fact, they categorically rejected the idea of a Christian nation for one important reason: They knew the history of the ‘Christian nations’ of Europe, nations that had persecuted non-conformists and waged war against countries that embraced a form of the Christian faith different from their own. The Founders, therefore, hoped to create a nation that honored religious diversity, a nation in which everyone would be free to practice any religion or none.

In light of the current hostility toward Muslims and the many recent attempts to ban their mosques and restrict their religious freedom, the Founders’ stance on Islam is instructive. Jefferson, for example, argued that America should extend complete freedom of religion not just to Christians but to the ‘Mahamdan,’ the Jew, and the ‘pagan’ as well. And following passage in Virginia of his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1786), he reaffirmed the bill’s intent: ‘To comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan.’”

The next installments should be enlightening.

AOK Thursday: Lottery Gifts

Thursday, November 4th, 2010 by JEL

If you won $11 million in the lottery, what would you do with it? New car, new house, new wardrobe, travel? If you’re Violet and Allen Large, a retired Canadian couple, you give 98% of it away. Once they won the prize, they found only headaches and anxiety, with strangers calling them up and asking for money.

The donations soon began. They compiled a list of potential recipients and the spree soon followed. To the local fire department, churches, cemeteries, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, hospitals in Truro and Halifax, and organizations that fight cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

“What you’ve never had, you never miss.” – Violet Large

Really?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 by JEL

Jordan Sekulow, an attorney with religious conservative American Center for Law & Justice, writes a blog for The Washington Post. Yesterday he wrote a post entitled “Vote Your Faith” which contained the following doozy:

“As Christians, we believe that we were born in the United States for a reason. Unlike Christians throughout history and in some nations today, American Christians have been empowered by God to shape and guide our government.”

I feel like the lingerie-clad woman trying to get her Blackberry-wielding husband’s attention in the new Microsoft Mobile ads. Really? American Christians have been empowered by God to shape and guide our government? Funny, I don’t remember God showing up to bestow those powers. And claiming that He did in your blog does not make it so.

Given the election results, the next couple of years will be very interesting, and, I fear, dispiriting. I just hope all those new self-proclaimed Christians in positions of power remember that Jesus’ central message was love and tolerance and a call to help those less fortunate. Not rage and intolerance and a call to stuff the coffers of those who already have so much.

Common Sense Christianity

Monday, November 1st, 2010 by JEL

John Shore wrote a very interesting (and pragmatic) piece over the weekend. Before you read the whole thing, you might want to first check out the story of his “sudden conversion” from rabid anti-Christian to Christian.

His weekend piece deals with a Christian perspective that includes logic, intelligence, and compassion. Among the bullets, these are some of my favorites:

  • Anyone seeking to mix church and state has failed to understand the nature and proper role of either.
  • It is much more reasonable — and certainly more compassionate — to hold that throughout history God chose to introduce himself in different ways into different culture streams than it is to believe that there is only one correct way to understand and worship God, and that the punishment for anyone who chooses any but that way is to spend all of eternity having the living flesh seared off of his or her bones.
  • God’s will and intention is to forgive and teach us, not judge and punish us.
  • The only person who should be actively endeavoring to convert non-Christians into Christians is God.
  • There were no dinosaurs on Noah’s ark, and Jesus didn’t have a pet stegosaurus. Anyone who believes the earth is only 6,000 years old needs to stand up, put down his or her hot dog, and come eat dinner at the grown-up’s table.
  • The single most telling indicator of a person’s moral character has nothing to do with how he or she defines or worships God, and everything to do with how he or she treat others.