Archive for November, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 by JEL

Tomorrow we celebrate that first feast between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. The Pilgrims, fleeing to the New World in search of religious freedom found harsh conditions they were not prepared to meet. Enter the Native Americans who showed the newbies a thing or two and saved their bacon in the process. History shows how much gratitude they were shown in return.

If you have your health, food to eat, clean water to drink, a roof over your head, and kindness in your life, be thankful. And show some kindness of your own; the world could surely use it. We’ll be back next week.

Theocracy in America

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 by JEL

I happen to think the US Constitution is an amazing document. I especially like the First Amendment, which says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Pretty simple. You have the freedom to believe what you want to believe, and government cannot force any religion down anyone’s throat. And yet, that is exactly what many GOP presidential candidates want to do: create a Christian Theocracy that allows only Christianity and replace our civil law and courts with “God’s law.”

I highly recommend your checking out this article on Slate. It’s positively chilling for fans of the Constitution.

Is the United States sliding toward theocracy? That’s what Republican presidential candidates have told us for more than a year. Radical Islam, they’ve argued, is on the verge of taking over our country through Sharia law. But this weekend, at an Iowa forum sparsely covered by the press, the candidates made clear that they don’t mind theocracy—in fact, they’d like to impose it—as long as it’s Christian.

A Favor To Ask of You

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by JEL

I’ll admit it. I searched on this here Internet for the most polite way of asking strangers to do something for you. Not that we’re asking you to do anything onerous or involving messy conditions or heavy physical loads.

This blog gets a fair amount of traffic, and we’re guessing that some of you must have purchased a copy of What He Said from Amazon (the only place it’s available). Yet our Amazon page only has 8 reviews, the most recent coming 7.5 months ago.

So the favor to ask of you is this: if you have the book, would you mind going to the Amazon page, scrolling down to the reviews, clicking the “Create your own review” button, and then waxing away on your opinions, feelings, reactions, etc. to the book? We would love to see what you think. And thank you.

Wouldn’t Jesus Be More of a Saints Fan?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 by JEL

tim tebow jesus jerseyLooking for an appropriate Christmas gift for your Christian friends? You can’t go wrong with a copy of What He Said, of course. Or, perhaps your friend would enjoy a custom Denver Broncos jersey. It’s got Tim Tebow’s number, but someone else’s name on the back. Reaction has been strong on sides:

“Sports is one thing, and Jesus is another thing,” Traci Yown, a mom Christmas shopping for her son told the network. “I like to have their names, their last names on the jerseys. I’m a Christian, but I mean I wouldn’t want people going around having Jesus on the back of their jerseys.”

But Rev. Marcus Buckley of a Baptist Church in Greer, S.C., believes those who speak out against such public displays of religion are haters.

“To me it just shows a cultural bias against Christ and Christianity,” Rev. Buckley said.


Friday, November 11th, 2011 by JEL

To all the Penn State students protesting the firing of football coach Joe Paterno, I suggest you: go home; read the prosecutor’s report; then take a good long look in the mirror and re-examine your priorities and principles. I realize football is a religion in Happy Valley, but is it really more important than the safety and welfare of children? Have your morals strayed that far? Jesus had something to say about children:

“Allow the little children to come to me! Don’t forbid them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” — Mark 10:14

Which brings me to another related story. Namely, the beating of children in the name of God. There are books about that people have read, taken to heart, and put to use.

There is a brutal movement in America that legitimizes child abuse in the name of God. Two stories recently converged to make us pay attention. Last week, a video went viral of a Texas judge brutally whipping his disabled daughter. And on Monday, the New York Times published a story about child deaths in homes that have embraced the teachings of To Train Up a Child, a book by Christian preacher Michael Pearl that advocates using a switch on children as young as six months old.

What many people may not realize is that in the evangelical alternative universe of the home school movement, tightly knit church communities and the following of a number of big-time leaders and authors, physical punishment of children has been glorified for years.


Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 by JEL

It’s a big world out there, and we at What He Said are all about broadening horizons. I found this article today about the conversion of Iceland to Christianity. Early islanders were pagans who worshipped the Norse gods and were fairly resistant to Christian missionaries’ approaches:

They had limited success in their attempts to convert Icelanders. Allegedly, they were ridiculed and eventually forced to flee the country. The king [of Norway] was of course not pleased to hear that, so he sent his bishop Thangbrandur to Iceland to spread the word of the Lord.

Thangbrandur boasted some success in baptizing a few chieftains but like his predecessors he was also met with opposition and got into trouble because he killed a few Icelandic skalds who composed lampooning poetry about him.

Eventually, King Ólafur learned that conversion by violence and murder was not working and instead pushed preaching. Iceland’s conversion to Christianity became the most peaceful switch in history.

Shattered Crystal

Monday, November 7th, 2011 by JEL

Our family was not a church-going lot when I grew up. My dad was probably the most interested in going, but he deferred to the rest of us and our disinterest. Later on, after the kids were on their own, I found out he got really into Robert Schuller and the whole Crystal Cathedral. He watched the show, wrote them checks, etc. To me, it made no sense that someone preaching the gospel of Jesus should be doing so from a crystal cathedral. Maybe from a mountain in the wilderness or by the shores of a lake, but not from such a gaudy, over-the-top setting.

Predictably, the mighty have fallen. The Crystal Cathedral has filed for bankruptcy and the Schullers, recipients of big salaries and a 10-million loan from the endowment fund, still have their hands out:

“They’ve completely depleted the church’s funds,” one member, Bob Canfield, told the Orange County Register. “But they have shown that they have absolutely no remorse for what they’ve done. They’re still being chauffeured around in limos. We, the congregants, have nothing.”

An email sent recently by Crystal Cathedral administrators said that Schuller and his wife, Arvella, “would appreciate meals over the next three to four weeks.” It added: “They are to be sent to the church in order to be transported to Arvella. The limo drivers could pick up the dinners or meet in the Tower Lobby around 4:30 p.m.”

You can read the whole story here.