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WTF Church

Another snarky take on American Christianity

When you stand back and look at American Christianity as it stands today, it’s not hard to see the cracks. There are fundamental flaws that plague American Christianity. We’ll journey through the week’s news to see how Christianity is missing the point. Not only are they missing the point, they may not even be on the same page with Jesus anymore. Christendom is broken in America. Can we fix it?

Of course, we can fix it. The bigger question is, do we want to fix it? Just because something is broken, it doesn’t mean that the owners are willing to do the work to fix it. That’s a problem. Who really owns Christianity anymore? Jesus? Oh, hell no. As the faith marches forward, it looks less and less like its founder and God. Again, I’ll say it. This is a big problem. WTF church?

This week, we look through the lens of faith and culture to point out some of the major cracks. We’ll go through the Bill Hybels scandal, Greg Laurie, and the SoCal Harvest Festival. We’ll even look into the pedo that founded the Christian “rock festival” Creationfest. A show about why Christian rock is not really rock will possibly happen in the future but not today. That’s not the point. We’ll talk through our issues with pastor worship and commercialization of the church in general. WTF church?

The church is fundamentally broken. The problem is fixable, but those in power are unwilling to right the ship. The ship looks nothing like Jesus and neither do the Christian leaders navigating it, so why is the Church in America messed up? Well, for starters, it looks more like a business model and less like a movement. The church has learned over decades to care more about itself than about those in our communities that are hurting and in need of help, compassion, and grace. Seriously, WTF church?!?

If Jesus left the church, would you leave as well?

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Romans 13 and the US Southern Border

Romans 13
A snarky take on Romans 13

There’s been a lot said about the current atrocities happening at the US southern border. Most of the responses have been along political lines, but recently, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III decided to insert scripture as a justification for separating families from their children. Now, it’s not surprising that Conservatives are using religion to justify their own warped worldview, but if you’re going to use the Bible, you might as well use it correctly. Join us as we delve into the scripture in question. Let’s look into Romans 13 and see what is actually being said in the text.

I’ll try to make sure I don’t mention that Romans 13 has been used to justify a whole host of evil deeds over history from slavery to Nazi occupation, but that’s not the main point, though it is a notable side point. Our main thrust is to expose the hypocrisy of using scripture to justify the law of the land. It makes no sense and is completely asinine. You have the rule of law that governs the United States of America and you have the holy scriptures that supposedly govern the Kingdom of God. Even for Christian Conservatives, this should be abundantly clear that there are two very different sets of ethics and two very different sets of worldviews at play here. Spoiler alert; they don’t blend well together.

It’s time for Christians to get their heads out of their asses, blink the shit out of their eyes, and look around and see how horrific and abusive it is to separate families in this manner. It’s cruel and evil. Isn’t Christianity all about vanquishing evil and doing the morally correct thing? Maybe that was forgotten along the way. This is sick. This is twisted. This is beyond evil.

None of this should be done in the name of Jesus or scripture. Let’s just call it what it has become: spineless, hateful, evil, self-serving, and blind to compassion… or otherwise known as the mantra of the Conservative Christian.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Who’s Right in the Gun Control Debate?

In the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting, we are caught in the middle of another name calling tug-of-war between gun-rights advocates and gun-control advocates.

One side paints their opponents as backwards rednecks that will tolerate mass shootings as acceptable losses so long as they get to keep their shiny sticks that go “bang-bang.”

The other side believes their adversaries are emotionally driven, naive socialists who want to take everyone’s guns away to make way for a new communist regime.

But is there any common ground?

What if both groups really want the same thing?

What if both sides actually want to prevent gun violence and future mass shootings?

I know it seems hard to believe that both sides have a common goal, but what if we assumed the best about each other?  And we try to believe that we all want to prevent our children from being victims of another mass shooting…but we have different beliefs on how to achieve that objective?

What if we tried to understand that gun-rights advocates really believe that the best way to protect our families, homes, schools, and our children is to have freer access to guns?  And that gun regulations make our families and children less safe?

What if they’re really following Jesus’ warning to “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Mat 10:16) in this dangerous world and to be prepared because “if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36)?

What if we really truly believed that gun-rights advocates believe that more guns makes the world a safer place?

And what if we tried to understand that gun-control advocates really believe that the best way to protect our families, homes, schools, and children is to have less guns in the world? That the unrestricted access we have to guns in our country makes us less safe?

What if they’re really following Jesus’ command to “put away your sword, because those who use the sword will die by the sword” (Mat 26:52)?

What if we really truly believed that gun-control advocates believe that less guns makes the world a safer place?

So what do we do when two groups want the same thing, but have directly opposing solutions?

Can we set our biased emotions aside, stop vilifying the other side, and try to believe that we all want the same thing?

And what if we actually made room for the possibility that our solution to the problem may be wrong?  

Because what were doing right now isn’t working.  People are dying.

If handing out guns to every man, woman, and child means that no-one else ever has to die from a madman hunting them…then I’ll be the first in line to hand them out.

But if turning in our weapons means that not one more man, woman, or child has to die needlessly from a bullet…then I’ll be the first in line to hand in my gun.

Or maybe there’s a solution in-between the two extremes we can discover…if we choose to respect each other and believe that we all want the same thing.


Joel Varner has served in ministry for the past 15 years. He is a pastor in Albany, Oregon equipping and training missional community leaders. Joel works with his wife Brenna, of 14 years, and their two daughters. You can find him on Facebook.

Secrets: An Interview with Author Kris Lowen

a snarky interview with author Kris Lowen about his upcoming book

Secrets have great power over us.  We’ve seen the damage that happens when they remain in the dark. Sometimes revealing them can be liberating. Other times, they can take you down. They either hold you back or launch you forward. On the show, we sit down with Kris Lowen the author of the upcoming book, Hidden: a book about secrets.  Kris is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to launch his new book. Kris is an avid blogger, speaker and serves as a pastor for Walla Walla University Church. Join us for an intimate conversation about the things we try to hide and a different way to live.

If you’re interested in supporting this book launch, you can find out more information at: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1704908600/hidden-a-book-about-secrets

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Fun with Authoritarianism

a snarky take on Christian power structures

Who doesn’t love a good dose of authoritarianism? We’ve seen Trump’s desire to rule without boundaries. We’ve seen it in Jerry Falwell Jr. and other Christian leaders exercise it. No one seems to like the idea of authoritarianism, but Christians continue to accept and embrace it in the local church. The church was never meant to be an exclusive club ruled by an iron fist and a Bible. It was also never meant to be run by tyrants called pastors, yet it happens every day from a majority of clergy in America. Do we have to stand for this? No. Let’s talk about how this happens and how to move past these little men that are drunk on imaginary power. It’s not the way the church was meant to be run or practiced.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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The Orgy of Insanity

a snarky take on Christians going off the deep end

Upsidedown world? Bizarro world? Topsy turvy? Down the rabbit hole? All these don’t quite encapsulate the level of crazy that we find ourselves living in. Now, I could deal with the regular crazy, but they keep bringing Jesus into the mix. And in my snarky notebook, that’s a big no-no. Let’s talk about how the Rodney Howard-Browne’s, Jim Bakker’s and Steven Bannon’s and try to control the Christian narrative and mission. It’s nuts. It’s sick. It’s got nothing to do with Jesus. It’s a big orgy of crazy. We need to be awake and aware of this insanity and speak out against it. If Christianity is all about politics at the moment, we need to be vigilant to return it to its roots. We must be the ones who are the prophets and priests that return Christianity to its roots. Are you willing to stand up and say this is a line we won’t cross? Are you willing to say no more? For too long, the industrial American Christian complex has wielded its power over this rich and deep faith tradition. It’s time to end the Christian crazy.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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What’s Good // What’s Bad

This weekly feature gives you the best of what’s good and what’s bad out there in the snarkiverse. This content is explored more in-depth on our weekly radio show, Snarky Faith, so you should check that out too. Without further adieu… here’s your rundown this week of the good, bad and ugly of the interwebs. Enjoy!

•  First, Christians didn’t want to bake wedding cakes for LGBTQ couples, but now a right-wing pastor, Lance Wallnau, is claiming that an ‘anointed cake’ freed a man from homosexuality. What’s next, donuts that cure heresy? Wait, I may need a dozen of those. Either way, this is Pat Robertson level craaaaazy. [JMG]

• An Alabama church wants to have their own armed police force. I thought the Bible was supposed to be the sword of the spirit, but apparently, someone’s been watching a little too much John Wick. This is what happens when the non-violent Jesus isn’t sexy enough and the church feels that all of this trusting in God business is way easier when you’re packing heat. Who would Jesus Shoot – WWJS [Huff Po]

• Enough of all the bad, want to hear a story about how the government is actually working together to make a positive change? Full Frontal with Samantha Bee aired a segment about the passing of a bill that will allow thousands of rape kits to be tested. This renewed my faith (briefly) in humanity and government.

•  We’ve got Nerf darts all over our house, but I’ve never once picked one up and thought, “I bet this can break the sound barrier.” Apparently, I was wrong. So much for being soft and safe.  [Uproxx]

If you see any snark-worthy news that’s either good or bad, feel free to send it us: questions@snarkyfaith.com. Have a great week!

 

What’s Good // What’s Bad

This weekly feature gives you the best of what’s good and what’s bad out there in the snarkiverse. This content is explored more in-depth on our weekly radio show, Snarky Faith, so you should check that out too. Without further adieu… here’s your rundown this week of the good, bad and ugly of the interwebs. Enjoy!

• Everyone beware the dastardly anarchists of Portland! They’re sticking it to the man and creating havoc by… fixing potholes on the city streets? Yep, you read that right and Portland is having nothing of it. Join the resistance and fix something that helps the greater good. [Huff Po]

• A rabbi, a priest, and an atheist smoke weed together and talk about religion. Yep, it sounds like a joke, but it’s a beautiful picture of different viewpoints bonding (and bong-ing) around a common table. How about giving up preconceived notions for Lent. Anyone with me?

• We can’t have all good on the list this week with Trump’s new proposed budget torpedoing everything left in the government that was compassionate and beneficial. With planned cuts to the EPA, the Endowment of the Arts and even Meals on Wheels in [NPR] & [Huff Po]

• So guess what? While the governmental good gets the ax, the military and the wall get funded? Yeah, that’s a bad as bad can get. [ProPublica]

• Need some palate (or soul) cleansing after those last few points, how about some Bonhoeffer? Read about how Dietrich Bonhoeffer can speak to life in the Trump age. It’s an outstanding reminder of how we can (and should) learn from history and those that came before us. [Englewood Press]

If you see any snark-worthy news that’s either good or bad, feel free to send it us: questions@snarkyfaith.com. Have a great week!

 

Discover What Materializes Between a Billionaire and Jesus

Ever wonder what a conversation would look like between Jesus and President Donald Trump? Well, wait no longer. Here’s the Snarky Faith interpretation of a hypothetical interaction between the heavy-weight savior and the orange-light-weight POTUS. If you didn’t catch this on our show, here’s the dramatic reading of Karl Giberson’s satire “Jesus at Trump Tower.”

Enjoy.

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You can find Karl’s original piece here: [Huff Po]

 

Get Out and Vote!

On the eve of Super Tuesday, I have only one message for you… get off your butt and vote! Sure, there’s plenty of reasons as to why not vote, but I’ll give you three compelling reasons to go out and vote.

I know. I know that you’re feeling disenfranchised about the whole electoral process and I’m with you on that. It’s a broken system run by broken people… but the same could be said for the institutionalized church. A handful of you show up a few Sundays a month to waste an hour of your time, so I digress. Here are my 3 main reasons to get out and vote.

Here are my 3 main reasons to get out and vote:
  1. It’s your minimum, basic, civic duty as a citizen of this country. Voting is like paying for parking tickets, watering your lawn or being picked for jury duty. No one enjoys it, but it’s kind of like the kale…  we know in the long run that it’s part of the greater good. So hold your nose and enter the voting booth.
  2. There are other issues and candidates at stake. I hear your pain, no one wants to go on a double date with the Orange Don or Crooked Hillary. I completely understand. They’re like that couple that keeps texting you to hang out. When it comes to voting, there are more pressing issues on the ballot than those dysfunctional two with power issues. I voted early and there were 26 other issues on the ballot. If you can’t stomach the options for commander and chief, just remember that there are other things going on in the country and your local community. Let your voice be heard.
  3. If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain for the next four years. Yes, I know that harping and complaining about politics is an American pastime, but if you don’t go and vote I’m not going to let you have that right. You’ve been revoked. If you can’t bother to get up off your butt and vote… you just need to remain silent for the next four years in regards to politics. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Shush.

Needless to say, voting often doesn’t make a huge difference in the big races, but in the smaller local races, it can be a big deal. Complain all you want about so many things… but just complain to yourself as you wait in line on Super Tuesday to vote.