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Showing posts with the label #Rant

White Jesus… and those who insist he stay that way.

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This is the only physical description of Jesus in the bible.Revelation 1.12-16 KWL12 I turned round to see the voice speaking with me,and in so doing I saw seven gold lampstands.13 In the middle of the lampstands: One like the Son of Man,clad in a full-length robe with a gold belt wrapped round his chest.14 His head and hair: White, like white wool, like snow. His eyes like fiery flames.15 His feet the same: White bronze, refined in a furnace. His voice: Like the sound of many waters.16 He had seven stars in his right hand. From his mouth came a sharp, double-edged saber.His face: Like the sun, shining in its power.Since it’s in Revelation, a book which largely consists of apocalyptic visions, people don’t take it literally. I find this to be true of even the nutjobs who take everything literally in that book. A Jesus with bronze skin and white hair? Gotta be a representative vision. ’Cause Jesus, as everybody knows, is white.Been white since medieval times—’cause that’s how artists p…

“You don’t know his heart.”

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No, this article’s not on the End Times. But I got a coworker who loves to talk about End Times stuff, ’cause he’s kinda obsessed with it.I don’t know that he’s from one of those dark Christian churches that’s likewise obsessed about it. I think it’s more like he’s young and enthusiastic, and End Times stuff just happened to get under his skin. It did me for a while, when I was a little kid and Hal Lindsey said Jesus had to be coming back soon, ’cause lookit the newspapers! Yes, when I was a little kid; I had an End Times comic book and my church taught on End Times stuff regularly. Little kids get exposed to this stuff all the time; my own nephews have recently discovered the Left Behind youth novels. Unless level-headed adults are around to guide and correct you through it, it can really mess you up.So he likes to bring up any little thing which might be an End Times harbinger, just to get my take on it. And most of the time I tell him he’s worried over nothing: Yeah, some of those …

The subtler type of racism.

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I occasionally bump into an odd phenomenon; one I briefly mentioned in my article on white Jesus. In short, it’s racism—the type people tend to get away with because it’s subtle.But first, a big long bit of backstory.Robert Edward Lee was the commanding general of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the United States Civil War. (The U.S. Army started burying soldiers on Lee’s front lawn during the war, as a way to stick it to him. It’s now Arlington National Cemetery.) Lee was one of the better generals in the war… and arguably it’s because he was such an effective general, the war lasted way longer, and killed more, than it ever should have.Y’might get the idea I don’t think much of Lee, nor the reputation the American south has granted him in the 150 years since the Civil War. You’d be absolutely right.
Robert E. Lee, 1863. Wikipedia
Idol of Lee on his horse Traveller, erected in Charlottesville in 1925. WikipediaWhen Lee originally joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers…

Skipping the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

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I had most of this piece published in the September 2014 issue of Oremus Press. So to my Catholic sisters and brothers who followed the link here: Hi there! God bless.Another essay I’ve been asked to repost is my bit on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. And no, I’m not gonna spell it Sepulchre, like the British and Canadians do. I’m an American. Our spelling makes more sense. Well, slightly more.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher: The massive church building which contains both Golgatha and Jesus’s tomb. WikimediaWhat prompted my original post in 2010 was my brother and sister-in-law going to Israel. It was with some folks in their church, and was the basic pilgrim’s package: You get Jerusalem of course, and a few of the more popular sites from the bible. Provided there’s no open warfare in those areas; the last thing either Israelis or Palestinians want are shot-up tourists. Both sides profit from tourism.When I went to Israel in 1998, I wanted to see Hebron, ’cause Abraham is buried t…

TXAB’s 2020 Presidential Antichrist Watch.

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As usual for every presidential election (and for that matter, many a congressional election), we get doomsayers claiming this or that candidate is likely the Beast of Revelation 13, or as popular Christian culture calls it, the Antichrist. Certainly they act mighty Beast-like.And I guess this is now my usual thing: I’m here to tell you there’s a way we might confirm someone’s the Beast, in case you’re seriously worried. (I’m not.) It comes from Revelation, in which John told us how to identify the Beast in case we’re wondering.Revelation 13.18 KWLHere’s some wisdom: Count the Beast’s number, those who have a brain.It’s a person’s number, and its number is 666.Only problem is, your average person doesn’t know how to count the Beast’s number, and do it through various illegitimate methods. Just the other day I saw someone assign numbers to our Latin alphabet (i.e. A is one, B is two, C is three) and try to figure out some names thataway. Nope, not how it works. Latin letters don’t have

Valentine’s Day acrostics.

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Probably the first time I saw one of those John 3.16 Valentine acrostics was back in 2012. It’s where somebody took all the letters in “Valentine,” found ’em within an English translation of the verse, and arranged it so we can “see” John 3.16 is God’s valentine to the world. Like so.
The gospel according to graphic designers. PinterestAww. Now I don’t need syrup for my waffles.I see internet posters like this all the time. I even make some of ’em. Some of these things are inspiring or clever or well-designed. I also appreciate it when Christians quote the bible properly.But some designers aren’t so conscientious, and some Christians are mighty gullible. They don’t read their bibles, y’see. They’re not gonna read their bibles, either; they’re never gonna fact-check an internet poster, find out the scripture’s been misquoted, or that the sentiment or inspirational saying actually isn’t biblical. They leave that to killjoys like me.I don’t have an issue with laying out John 3.16 so it …

Happy Martin Luther King Jr.® day!

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In the United States, the third Monday of January is Martin Luther King Jr.® Day. Due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, it doesn’t fall on his actual birthday of 15 January 1929, but it’s close enough. It’s a day to honor the life and acts of civil rights leader and Christian martyr, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.® He was one of the principal leaders in the 1950s civil rights movement, and a pastor in the Progressive National Baptist Convention. (One of that denomination’s founders… after the National Baptist Convention, USA, ousted King® and other activists for being too activist.)
One of the few photos of Dr. King® in the public domain. WikimediaSo… what’s with all the little registered-trademark symbols (®) next to his name throughout this article? It’s because Martin Luther King Jr.,® his likeness, words, speeches, books, writings, and so forth, are owned by the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc., which is wholly owned by King’s® children Martin III, Dexter, and Bernice. (…

When a well-known Christian quits Jesus.

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Back in July, Christian popular author Joshua Harris announced he’s no longer Christian. Which was a bit of a shock to people who hadn’t kept up with him—who only knew him from his books, particularly his best-known book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Which no doubt has prompted a lot of headlines and comments about Harris kissing Jesus goodbye. I had to resist the temptation to use that for this article’s title.I was obligated to read I Kissed Dating Goodbye at the Christian school where I taught. Some of my students’ youth pastors were inflicting it on them. It’s basically his promotion of “courtship,” as certain conservative Evangelicals call sexless, heavily chaperoned dating. In the book it’s how he claimed God wants people to find their mates. In my article on courtship, I pointed out the bible depicts no such thing; courtship is entirely a western cultural construct. Nothing wrong with it when it’s voluntary; everything wrong with it if your parents or church force it upon you.Which …

The Graham rule.

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Here’s a big excerpt from one of evangelist Billy Graham’s autobiographies (yep, he wrote more than one), Just As I Am. It’s a good read.From time to time Cliff [Barrows], Bev [George Beverly Shea], Grady [Wilson], and I talked among ourselves about the recurring problems many evangelists seemed to have, and about the poor image so-called mass evangelism had in the eyes of many people. Sinclair Lewis’s fictional character Elmer Gantry unquestionably had given traveling evangelists a bad name. To our sorrow, we knew that some evangelists were not much better than Lewis’s scornful caricature.One afternoon during the Modesto meetings, I called the Team together to discuss the problem. Then I asked them to go to their rooms for an hour and list all the problems they could think of that evangelists and evangelism encountered.When they returned, the lists were remarkably similar, and in a short amount of time, we made a series of resolutions or commitments among ourselves that would guide u…

Give to the truly needy. Not the greedy.

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I read a number of blogs. Some because I like the writers; some because I like the subjects the writers bring up.In one of those blogs, for the past two weeks, the authors temporarily quit writing articles about Christ Jesus and how to argue with others about how to view him follow him better. Instead they’ve been writing ’bout why their ministry is so meaningful.They do this every December. That’s because they’ve set up a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and can take donations. Since it’s the end of the year, and maybe you’ve not given as much tax-deductible charity as you might’ve liked, perhaps you could donate to them. Plus someone’s offered them a matching grant: For every dollar you donate, the grant throws in another. They’d love to get their mitts on as big a pile of cash as they can. So they’re a-begging.Plus—I kid you not—they’d love to install an espresso machine in their coffee bar. It’d be so valuable! ’Cause whenever people stop by their offices, and wanna talk theology w…

Happy holidays!

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In the United States it’s the holiday season.Don’t plug your ears and shout at the top of your lungs in angry denial like that. It is so the holiday season. As soon as Halloween is over, out come the Christmas sales, and people start putting mint in everything. You know what we’re ramping up towards.Javascript isn’t working this Christmas!
Some elf overdid it on the sugar.I get why the holidays bug people. It’s the commercialism. The merchandising. The obligatory traditions which hold no more meaning for you. The mandatory functions which aren’t any fun, like the Christmas pageants where you gotta watch kids and earnest church members, who have no business singing in public, charitably permitted to nonetheless sing in public. Or the naked, unadulterated greed which sucks the soul out of this time of year.It’s why I advise Christians to redirect our attention to Advent, the four weeks before Jesus’s nativity. Eastern churches start it even earlier, 40 days before Christmas, and make a f…

“The most important election of your life,” it’s not.

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Election Day in the United States is this coming Tuesday. I confess: I still haven’t yet read my state’s propositions. I’m gonna, ’cause they’re the most important thing on the ballot. Not the candidates, and that includes the people running for governor and mayor. The stuff in the propositions directly affect citizens’ lives in a significant way on a consistent basis.Our elected officials? Yeah, they can affect us in a similar way. Like when they wanna radically change things, and that’s the platform they’re running on. Or when they have no such agenda, but they’re fools who lack self-control. It doesn’t like we have any such people in the current crop of candidates, other than the third-party folks who seldom poll well and rarely win. True, partisans are claiming the opposition party’s candidate is one of those radicals or fools, but that’s an old political tactic meant to put fear in the voters and rile up the base.But once again, this election is being touted as “the most importan…