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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

I just read a fascinating story in the New York Times discussing the possibility that Jesus was married based on the probable authenticity of a recently uncovered papyrus.

If this is true, what does it mean? Why is the possibility that Jesus wasn’t celibate so threatening to some of the article’s detractors? (Some immediately dismiss it; others assert that “wife” simply means “the Church?”.)

Edit: moments after posting this, the story mysteriously disappeared from the NYT blog. I’ve changed the first link above to point to a similar story at NPR.

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…for hastening the demise of mainstream evangelical Christianity.

As more Christians realize the extent of your arrogance, insensitivity, righteousness, and general asshattery, many will undoubtedly hasten to distance themselves from you and your rhetoric. If I were a Christian, I’d certainly be embarrassed to be associated with you.

[The earthquake in Haiti] may be a blessing in disguise.

Would you say the same if someone you love was there at the time of the quake, still missing and likely buried under rubble?

[The Haitians] made a pact with the devil, [and] have been cursed ever since.

You’re a jackass, Pat Robertson. You’re insulated by wealth and privilege and are completely out of touch with reality as a result.

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Many people speak of unconditional love but rarely live it. Instead, when they see a condition that causes them to feel negative emotions, they demand a change in the condition; but in doing so, they set themselves on a long and uncomfortable path of attempting to control others in order to feel good.

When controlling others is necessary in order for you to feel good, you must confine yourself to a very small world over which you can gain control, and then you must give more time and energy than you possess to this impossible effort.

–The Teachings of Abraham in the book The Astonishing Power of Emotions by Esther and Jerry Hicks

Neo-Conservatives/Christ-Cons may not be the only who “attempt to control others in order to feel good,” but they’ve certainly been the most visible. They’ve been losing the Culture Wars for decades by refusing to recognize the truth in the statements above. Until they replace their dogged determination to control with completely unconditional love, they will continue to experience anger, sorrow, and fear as they watch the world progress beyond their subjective views of morality.

Women will never lose the right to choose. State legislatures will continue to recognize equal rights for lesbians and gays. The world will never work exactly how the Neo-Cons think it should (thank God). When they accept these things and recognize that the doctrine they follow is just as fallible as they are, maybe then they’ll emerge from their “very small worlds” and turn their focus to living their own lives.

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Both the Christian and secular media worlds are ablaze as Jon Meacham’s article The End of Christian America makes its rounds.

From the blogosphere this morning:

Well, I thought of the wrath God must feel for those arrogant blasphemers who reject His law and I also thought about how righteous His judgement will be.

Shotgun Smith on his response to “some woman in Australia who thought that the death of Christianity was undoubtedly a good thing.”

The Decline and Fall of Christian AmericaEasy there, turbo. I’m guessing you didn’t read the entire article, as I suspect many of your Christian brethren won’t. To say the article is about the “death of Christianity” is incorrect and a bit pessimistic.

From page 36: “Let’s be clear: while the percentage of Christians may be shrinking, rumors of the death of Christianity are greatly exaggerated.”

The article actually discusses the decline of Christianity in our country and theorizes that this has occurred due to the lack of distinction between church and state.

While arguing that the influence of either too much secularism or too much religion creates imbalance in the political system, Meacham reminds the reader that “As crucial as religion has been and is to the life of the nation, America’s unifying force has never been a specific faith, but a commitment to freedom – not least freedom of conscience.” In simpler terms, our Founding Fathers neither envisioned nor intended to create America as a strictly Christian Nation, but rather as one in which each citizen had freedom and liberty.

I infer from this that the author sees a correlation between Christianity’s decline and how religious conservatives have long used politics to force their morals and values on the public. It’s easy to see why secular society, resenting attempts by Christian political leaders to forcibly remove Constitutional liberties (a woman’s right to choose, the right of same-sex couples to wed, the need for stem cell research funding, etc.) would want to distance itself from Christianity.

I also speculate that though they may never realize it, the Christ-Con’s sole saving grace is their failure to accomplish their over-arching aim: to rebuild the bulwark of 1950’s Christian America. Had they succeeded in stamping out all beliefs and practices that don’t coincide with their own, it wouldn’t be long before another group rose to power and did the same to them. And schadenfreude aside, that would be a bad for us all.

 

Oppression of anyone is oppression of everyone.
–Stevie Wonder

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The wise have long attested to the power of laughter to strengthen the spirit and dissolve negativity.

Have a look at these, then have a good laugh.

And the Christ-Cons wonder why:

The Decline and Fall of Christian America

 

Video source: YouTube via Blueollie

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Iowa is now the third state in the U.S. to affirm the basic human dignity of committed lesbian and gay couples by recognizing their right to marry. Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady deserves commendation at the highest level for recognizing and acting upon the need to strengthen the separation between church and state.

The beauty and sanctity of religion is diminished when it’s used to hurt people. Until they “get” this, evangelical Christians will continue to witness an exodus from their ranks and the crumbling of their antiquated institution.

How would Jesus feel about these signs? Would he agree they further his messages of love, charity, and forgiveness? I doubt it, somehow.

Source: The Des Moines Register

Anti-gay rights protestersAnti-gay protest sign

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I could tell early on that Stuart wasn’t the average Christian blogger. Absent from his site are the worn and tired “fire and brimstone” rants frequently found on other religious blogs. Instead you’ll find the ramblings of an earnest man who follows his heart and genuinely cares about people – one who’s unhappy about how little of the Christ remains in Christianity today.

Awhile back I asked Stuart if he’d be willing to share his knowledge about Jesus the Man. He agreed, and offered as well to contrast how Christ treated people with how many of today’s Christians behave. Here’s what he wrote:

I was asked by Jerome to write a guest blog on who Jesus is to me. I’m a follower of Christ and I work in full time in ministry as a missionary that reaches out to youth in the Pacific Northwest. I’m not an expert and I only speak from my own experiences and my heart.

So who is Jesus?

I’ll start this whole discussion with an apology and an explanation. I believe that most of your preconceived notions about Christ are probably untrue. That’s not to say that Christianity hasn’t done its job to hurt you and leave a bad taste in your mouth. I’m not denying any bad experiences you may have had at the hands of churches or Christians. I want to make a distinction between who Jesus Christ is and what the church has become. I’m not saying that all Christians or churches are bad or damaging. I’m just saying that many of them are.

So, I am sorry. It should not be this way. I am sorry for those who have acted judgmental and pious. I’m sorry for their lack of compassion and kindness. I’m sorry for their arrogance and bigotry. I’m sorry that they were mean or hateful. I’m sorry because that is not who Jesus was or taught or advocated. It was not even close. Many of you have been wronged and that was never how it was meant to be.

Jesus was simply love. He was sacrifice, compassion, grace and forgiveness. He reached out to the broken and meek. He loved those that had been rejected by the world.

Jesus to me is my life. The first twenty-two years of my existence, I lived for myself.  I was raised in a Christian home; raised with plenty of religion. None of that meant much to me. I knew the stories about who Jesus was and I liked them, but there was this disconnect between the people I saw at church and the Jesus I read about in the Bible. He lived a life of passion and purpose. He was the son of God and followed the Lord with all his being. He came to save the lost, to free the enslaved, and to heal the broken. He loved us so much that he was willing to lay down his life – that life made sense to me; it excited me. However, that wasn’t the life I saw modeled by those at church. I lived a good life. Followed rules, went to church on Sundays and I was incredibly bored.

Then one day, I decided that if Christ was real, if he did indeed call me to follow Him, I had to take a step. So I prayed, telling Jesus, I’d do whatever he wanted. From that moment, my life has never been the same. It has led me on a journey to invest in people, to serve people, to love people. I have learned that my life isn’t my own. Through Christ,  I have found purpose and meaning. I have found joy and contentment. It has changed who I am as a husband, a father, friend, and a son. He has healed wounds that life has dealt me. I have known love I never thought possible. Life has become more of an adventure than merely an existence. Though, it has not always been easy, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I challenge you to read one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in the Bible). Look at who Jesus was. Look at how he treated people. How he loved. Look at the story of God’s compassion for all people (not just a select few).

I’m not here trying to convert anyone (though if anyone of you are interested, I’d love to talk more with you about it). That is not my intent. I would love for you to see the difference between who Christ is and how many Christians act today. Jesus was and  is a revolutionary of love seeking to save the lost, the broken, the hurting, and abandoned. For me to follow His life is to take this message of healing and redemption to the world around me.

Thank you again Stuart. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share.

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