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.”
You can find Karl’s original piece here: [Huff Po]
A rundown of Martin Scorsese’s movie Silence, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō. This was a tough movie to get through, but a rewarding and powerful one, none the less. Join us as we talk about the importance of doubt in the journey of faith. We also have an interview with Scorsese presented by FULLER studio. It’s an outstanding talk about his faith and how it impacts his films. We’ve also got What’s Good? What’s Bad? chronicling the interweb’s best and worst of the week. Buckle up for a wild ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.
For more resources for a deeply formed spiritual life can be found on Fuller.edu/Studio.
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Episode: # 139
Program: Snarky Faith Radio
Host: Stuart Delony
Well, good afternoon, and welcome to another round of Snarky Faith Radio. I’m your host, Stuart Delony. My. We’ve got a show that’s going to be—I think it’s going to be a little different, but I still think it’s going to be something special. How about you just buckle up your seats? Make sure your tray tables are up and ready, so we can just launch into the snarkaverse. First up, let’s go ahead and just hop right into “What’s good // What’s bad” from this last week. Just a reminder that you can catch everything from “What’s good // What’s bad” on our website www.snarkyfaith.com. Just go over there. We’ve got the videos. We’ve got the links. They are sitting there and they’re just waiting for you. They’re like, “We’re lonely. Why haven’t you come and found us? We’re here. We’re waiting.”
One thing I have learned over my many years of being here on the earth is simply this. If you’re going to insult somebody, especially in a snarky manner—because again, you’re listening to Snarky Faith Radio, and I take snark very seriously. If you’re going to insult somebody, do it right. With the Super Bowl, I’ll just give you a snippet of snarky comebacks. I had a friend of mine that had been saying, midway through the Super Bowl, there’s nothing that can stop our Falcons’ rise-up. All this other blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. He had commented, “Who’s the joke now,” at halftime because he’s a Falcons fan. If anybody who’s anybody that was either watching the show or has any amount of news that you get, that you consume regularly on your feed, know that the Falcons really didn’t return from halftime. The Patriots came back. Huge win. When you start trying to insult things and insult people, just make sure you have your facts straight. I had a buddy, so I snarkily threw something back at him, who was casually saying, “Oh. Look who’s the joke now?” It was him that was the joke. He threw back an insult at me that, “Well, you like in North Carolina. When you guys actually get a football team, then you can talk.” I said, “What are you talking about?” He’s like, “Well, the closest thing that you have is the South Carolina Panthers.” [made a wa wa sound] If any of you guys know the NFL, there are no South Carolina Panthers. There’s the Carolina Panthers who have a stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Again, if you’re going to take something on, if you’re going to insult somebody, at least do it right.
I’m using that as a pivot over here to “What’s good // What’s bad” with the Fox News crew in the morning. They were slamming Al Sharpton, Reverend Al Sharpton, because he tweeted this out last week. He said, “Before you head to church today, remember to thank God for his Son. Jesus was a refugee who fled to Egypt.” What began to happen with that statement was they started to tear it apart. They were saying it was inaccurate, and foolish, and the Reverend needs to go back to Sunday school to be able to get his facts straight, which is funny because one of the things they went on to say was, “It was simply known that Jesus’ parents were just simply going to go and pay their taxes. That’s why they were going to Bethlehem.” You see, the only problem with that is, yes, there was a census. Yes, Mary and Joseph were required to go to Bethlehem for the census, which as we know census, oftentimes, is like secret code. We want to count you, so we can tax you. The problem with that is Sharpton wasn’t even talking about that at all. He was referring to the fact when King Herod decided to start killing the babies to get rid of this child Messiah. Then, Joseph gets a dream. An angel tells them, “Hey. You need to flee. You need to get out of here. You need to go to Egypt.” He wasn’t going to Egypt to pay his taxes. He was going to Egypt to flee from being killed. In essence, Jesus was a refugee. There’s actually several scriptural notes where Jesus actually refers to himself as a refugee. If you’re going to insult somebody, Fox News goons, just make sure you have your facts straight unless you want to look like an idiot. If that’s what you were going for, well done. You get a gold star for being a bunch of morons.
Speaking about religion in the news, if you haven’t checked this out, again, the links are on our website. There is a fascinating interchange that goes on between Stephen Colbert and Ricky Gervais where they begin to have this dialogue/debate. I would say more dialogue than debate because I thought it was very classily done. It was done in a way that I thought was very evenhanded where, again, Ricky Gervais is well known to be an Atheist. Stephen Colbert is a good Catholic boy. They have this dialogue, this back and forth that goes between each other. What I love about it is that it is a spirited conversation, and it is a respectful conversation. For those of us that don’t know how to do this, this is a great example of watching two people that respect one another, have a dialogue about positions where they are very, very diametrically opposed to one another, but they can still do it. They can still smile, and they can still be friends for another day. I thought it was a beautiful interchange. You don’t have to agree with either side of them to at least note that they did dialogue quite well.
Next. I’m not sure if you want to classify this one as good or bad. It all really just depends on where you’re sitting and really, your taste in movies. Guess what, folks? This is big news. The Syfy channel has announced that Sharknado 5 has finally begun filming. Yes, Sharknado 5, known as the unemployment check for Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. The fact that they have no careers, but have found this weird little niche in the pop-culture universe to keep acting in bad movies. It’s really fascinating. The movies are so bad. They are so bad. My kids love watching them. It’s almost phenomenal how bad they are. I hope Ziering and Reid can understand this that they suck so bad that they actually make something better by being together in this. How can you take anything seriously called Sharknado. Well, you could also say that, probably, about the president of our United States right now. It’s as absurd. It’s as horrifying, and it is just as awful as Sharknado except for in Sharknado you can sit back and enjoy the escapism as it rolls over you as you have a tornado full of sharks, whereas, with our new president and the way our government is heading, it’s one of those things you actually can’t sit back. I mean, I wish it was on the Syfy channel because then we could go, “Oh my gosh. The credits will roll at some point. It will be over,” and we can say, “Wow, that was just awful.” Sadly, every day I wake up and I’m still living in Trump’s America. It’s incredibly sad, and we’ll get more to that [Laughter] as we move through this show.
Next. If you’re in the mood to read and not simply watch stupid videos on our website, the Atlantic put out an article last week that is fascinating to be able to go through. I’ll just summarize it up in small little bits right here so I don’t steal anything from this. I would say it is well worth sitting down and reading through this. The title of it is called “It’s Putin’s World. How the Russian President Became the Ideological Hero of Nationalist Everywhere.” It takes you on this journey through the past couple of years and the rise of Putin, and the rise of nationalism, and how all of these things, much like Sharknado, were a perfect storm. You should check out the website. You should check out the link. It is very good, and it is well worth your time.
Next. If you don’t like reading about reality and Vladimir Putin, I’ve got another article for you that, again, I will repeat myself by saying it is well worth your time. This one is escapism. It’s snarky, and it’s satire. Yes, Karl Giberson whom I’m going to work on trying to get on the show. He’s the Professor of Science and Religion at Stonehill College. He wrote for the Huffington Post. He wrote an article called “Jesus at Trump Tower.” I would say it’s a satire. It’s a parable of Jesus having a meeting with Donald Trump. It’s funny. It’s sad. It’s mainly just sad because there’s so much truth in the midst of this. I think it’s one of those things for us that would say that we walk this path of faith that we walk after this Jewish Rabbi, that we follow his teachings, that he matters somehow to us in this insane world that we find ourselves in. It is beautiful to be able to watch one of these modern-day parables unfold in the face of the horrors that we’re living. I just lay out like it’s not funny at all. It’s actually really satirical. It’s funny. It’s worth your time. Go out and read it because reading is fundamental.
Next. You know what’s also not satirical even though it sounds like it? Yeah, the fact that Trump has vowed to destroy the law that bans churches from endorsing political candidates. It’s finally come down to that. Yep. Good ol’ MacDonald pledged to repeal a 50-year-old tax law that prohibits churches and other tax-exempt organizations from participating in political campaigns. This is why we have the separation of church and state. To go and to smash that divide, smash that line, leads us into some scary, scary, dangerous places. Now, I know a bunch of pastors out there who would love that because, simply, they’re using the pulpit as a political platform week after week. The scary part about that is churches, in many ways, should have very little to do with politics. Now, I think politics should inform what our faith calls us to do, especially when we see atrocities, especially when we see bans, especially when we have refugees that are in crisis and folks that are hurting. Yeah. I think our faith can move us to want to do positive change, positive impact in our community, but I do not believe that our churches need to become more and more political. It is a dangerous move that he is playing with amongst all of the other dangerous moves that he is playing with. This is one of those that slides under the cracks that I think we need to know about, that we need to know that that whole separation of church and state is a good thing. We want our government to be about the government. We want our churches to be about our churches, and never the two shall meet. We do not want that to happen.
I’ve been in those situations too often. I’ve actually literally been in churches that passed out voter pamphlet guides. They would preach, and they would bring in candidates that they believed were whatever “God’s chosen people” were. The problem with this that I have is that you’re not educating your congregations, churches out there. You’re not educating them to have a lens of faith in how they look at the world around us. All you’re doing is telling them to think. You’re telling them how to walk through the steps, how to pantomime this, how to lip sync a faith. I know you do it mainly because it’s an easy control structure for people. Don’t teach them to think, but tell them what to do. [Sarcasm] It’s like one of those big parenting mistakes that I’ve seen people make with their kids over and over. They don’t teach their kids to think. They just tell their kids what to do. Guess what? At some point, the authority structure breaks down, and the kids have no idea how to make decisions rationally for themselves.
Churches, you are doing the same thing to your congregants. Teach them to walk out the ways of Jesus. Teach them to walk out the loving, and merciful, and gentle ways of Jesus. Then, let them apply it to their world. Do not steal the act of learning from people because, otherwise, we’re just having congregations of parrots and not prophets. We’re having congregations of people that do not know how to think for themselves when it comes to matters of faith. Then, we have situations where you have people saying, “Oh. He’s God’s chosen one. Whatever he does, he farts mercy and grace because he has God’s favor.” [Sarcasm] Then, we get in this crazy, cranked-up situation that we find ourselves in where the religious right puts an insane fanatic in the presidency, and they say that they are doing this for God. When you begin to look at the actions of what is happening from this administration, they are far from anything that Jesus would ascribe, or endorse, or actually call His followers to do. Frankly, Jesus calls his followers to do quite the opposite of everything that we are seeing done by this Trump administration. The long story short, the fact that there is a divide between church and state is a good one. It’s a check and a balance. It’s something that keeps those two parties, even so thinly, apart and to break that, will cause a ton of religious ugliness even more so than we’re seeing right now in this country. Mark my words. To get rid of that is a huge flaw, a huge mistake. By no means, does it have anything to do with the name of Jesus.
Lastly for “What’s good // What’s bad”, we all sat through the Super Bowl, saw the commercials. For the most part, for probably the last three years running, I could say, for the most part, I was quite disappointed with the content that they were pushing out. I get tired of that forced sentimentality that tends to happen during the Super Bowl, and I’m more of a fan of the outrageous stupidness that we used to have like the over-the-top if you keep going over the top. At least, I felt like I’m being amused or having the opportunity of being amused. When it comes to these commercials, I don’t want to be preached at during the Super Bowl with one exception, and I’ll get to that in a second. My main beef is with Netflix. You threw out a Stranger Things season two commercial in the middle of the Super Bowl. Everyone in our family was excited. We were all jazzed up until the end of the commercial, which is what ruined it when it said we have to wait all the way to Halloween. I’ll get back to the commercials in a second.
Anyone check out Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on SNL. It was everything. It was absolutely everything that I needed to be able to laugh my way through this week. I feel like this is three episodes in a row when “What’s good // What’s bad” is filled with escapism because it’s my only outlet for sanity. It’s my only outlet to make it through the insane news cycle that we find ourselves caught within.
Lastly, circling back to the Super Bowl. Again, we’ll make sure links for this are on the website. They had had a commercial during the Super Bowl. Surprise. Surprise. No. There was a commercial by a building supplies company called 84 Lumber. First of all, it’s to be noted that there was a bunch of controversy surrounding their ad because the Super Bowl would not let them show the entire ad. They said it was too controversial. What they did was they put in part of it, and then, called you to go to their website to go and watch it, which all of us did at the same time because we were confused and curious about what it was all about. It’s an ad featuring a Mexican mother and daughter embarking on this difficult journey north, which we’re assuming, how they left us, that they’re trying to get to the wall, to get into the country to have a better life. It’s five minutes long. It’s powerful. I would just say it’s definitely worth a watch.
Moving on in the show from that from one thing that was worthy of a watch to another thing that was worthy of a watch. What I wanted to bring today—which is why I said earlier, this episode is going to be a little bit different than usual. I went to Fuller Theological Seminary for my master’s degree. One of the reasons I chose them was that they were an interdenominational seminary, meaning that they are a seminary that doesn’t have one kind of groupthink fuelling what they educate. They’re from a broad spiritual spectrum of traditions that comes together. I will tell you this. One, I don’t know that my master’s degree has necessarily paid off for me. I had a conversation with a friend of mine, that I went to school with, the other day, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. It was one of those things where going through that program messed up my faith in a good way. It messed me up in a way that probably—well, I’ll just go ahead and say this—that means I can never work for a church again simply because of—I’ll circle back to what I mentioned earlier—it taught us to think critically with our faith, to think critically in how we view culture and the world around us with our faith. Part of Fuller is they have all of these other initiatives on the side. They have all these faith and film, faith and art and culture initiatives that are informative. They are brilliant, and I got an email out, since I’m an alumni, last week about a session that they had held with Martin Scorsese who directed the film Silence. As soon as I got this interview back, I was like, “This is great. This is really interesting. This is an interesting conversation about someone’s journey of faith, and how they wrestle it through, how they deal with doubt, and how doubt is good.” As I was watching this, I was like, “Oh man. This is really, really good.” I decided to write them. I said, “Hey, I’ve got a radio show. I’m an alumni. Can I use this on our show?” The odd thing that they told me was, “Absolutely. We would love to bring this to a broader audience.” I will let that be the last part of our show, the interview with Martin Scorsese. Before I get to that, I wanted to debrief you on the movie that he’ll be talking about. I wanted to debrief you on the movie Silence.
I went and saw this movie a few days ago. I will tell you that it’s still haunting me. Now, it is not an easy movie to watch. I will go as far to say that this is not a movie for everybody. When you think of Oscar contenders, which this movie, by and large, was shut out. It doesn’t have the feel goods. It doesn’t have those feels that La La Land would have. It doesn’t have that religious, war bombasity that you’d have in something like Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. You see, the problem with this movie is also its greatest strength. This is why I think a lot of folks were surprised that it did not get more Oscar nods than it did. It’s well done. It’s got Andrew Garfield. It’s got Kylo Ren in it, and Liam Neeson. I mean, hey, this is like Taken for the Catholic clergy, I guess, except for Liam Neeson. He’s the one that has been taken. That’s how that works. Okay. I digress. No, but what I’m saying is this is a movie that doesn’t give you clear answers about faith, which is one of the main issues that I have with Christian films is that the message is everything. The acting, and script, and cinematography, all of those things, nah, it doesn’t matter as long as we have a good message. [Sarcasm] Typically, those types of Christian films are the ones that give the audience what they already know. They do not require you to wrestle through anything. They do not bring up any poignant parts of faith. I mean, they’re just candy-coated religious tracts for people to consume, and nod their heads about, and feel good that they’re doing their godly duty by sitting down and watching whatever Christian crap movie that they’re watching. Silence is very different than that.
If anyone knows Martin Scorsese, one, he’s a master filmmaker, and two, if anybody knows the book Silence, this is a difficult one to adapt. Let me just read you the summary of the movie before I give you my knee-jerk, deep-gut reactions to this film. I’ll read you the summary here. Alright, I’m taking this from Matt Solarsice. This is part of his review, which I thought actually summarized the movie quite well. His words for this was, “Silence is monumental work and a punishing one. It puts you through the hell with no promise of enlightenment, only a set of questions, propositions, sensations, and experiences.” Yeah. [Laughter] Yeah. I would say that that is 100 percent true. The synopsis of the film goes like this. You have priests. They leave for Portugal for Japan to find a third priest who’s gone missing while working as a missionary. The third priest, which is the Liam Neeson character, is believed to have committed apostasy. Apostasy in this context is renouncing God or renouncing Jesus. He’s seen to have committed apostasy by stepping on an image of Jesus while being tormented by the Japanese. This is a work of historical fiction that is going on here from a famous novel. The movie is just simply that. It’s just a quest to be able to find the truth of what happened to this other priest. While I’m not a Catholic and I don’t really comprehend all the nuanced elements that were going on, I still comprehended the entire thrust of what Scorsese was trying to do with this.
There was a few lines in the movie that just really, really hit me. I felt like this movie was a meditation. As I’m sitting there watching this and letting it just wash over me, it was gut wrenching at times. It was hard to watch at times. There were these two quotes that I wrote down while I was watching it. I’m the nerd that has a notepad when I watch movies, probably not when I’m watching the Fast and the Furious. I don’t need a notepad for that one, but for movies that I expect (a) to talk about here on the radio with you, and (b) just ones that I think are going to move me in a way that I want to remember. I do. I’ll take in a notepad and I’ll jot these things down. Really what this is, is you have these priests coming to this island of Japan in a time where it was very hostile towards missionaries to be there. As these young missionaries, these young priests, are beginning to see how people are hungry for the gospel, but at the same time, the government wants to squash all of it. It’s really, really hard to watch just the martyrs and all that goes on, torture-wise, within this movie. By no means, is this like a—I mean, there’s movies that have far more torture than this. I’m not even talking like Saw-level torture. I’m talking even like Braveheart-level torture. I guess what wrung my soul out was this idea of silence, and what do you do when God is silent to you.
It made me just think of so many different things in the Christian landscape. One of the quotes in the movie was, “The price for your glory is their suffering.” This was somebody who was taunting one of the priests. This idea that the priests were there to be able to share the gospel because that’s what they feel called to do based on the Great Commission in the Bible. By doing this, it was causing great pain amongst the people because the government was oppressing them because they did not want this to spread. Another line that stuck out to me was, “This is of no use and has no value to us in Japan.” I think that it’s something that should lay true to all of us that walk in faith regardless of what faith tradition you’re a part of is that, especially, when you think of just the historical context of colonization and how, especially, the Catholic church moved along the colonization of, well, England, of France, of Italy, all of these, that somehow, they saw these imperial conquests or conquistadors, but they also saw them as bringing their religion along with going in to change their culture and subjugate their people in a certain sense.
It brought up a lot of issues that I’ve had a lot in my life mainly that being this idea of apostasy, this idea of renouncing your faith. I’ve always just thought about this when you see posts on social media when folks are like, “Look at these Christians that are standing and being killed for their faith through ISIS.” In my own heart, which is funny because—well, (a) I’ve been through seminary, and (b) I’ve actually been ordained as a pastor. I think of context like this where I’m just like, “Well, if ISIS is wanting to kill me and all I need to do is renounce what I believe in, what do crazy people care.” For me to tell crazy people something to make them stop being crazy, I don’t necessarily know if people can touch where my faith lies in my heart. Now, I may be wrong with that, but I always just think in these incidents where—because they have several people, they show incidents of folks that are willing to try to not to go through the torture just to renounce their faith even though they go back to living their life in faith, and this idea of what your words mean, and this idea of renouncing something. It’s a very strong film that just really deals with these elements of faith, and doubt, and what does it look like when God is silent because we’ve all had those times when God doesn’t answer, where God seems distant, where God doesn’t seem to be a part of what’s going on.
I loved how Scorsese wove in elements that, in a certain sense, that it all at times, for those of us that are trying to follow after God, there are moments where we are like Jesus. There’s other moments, probably more moments [laughter], when we are like Judas. I just felt like, watching through this movie, it was something that really took great endurance of the soul. It just made me just think on just a couple deep levels. These are really just off the cuff in that when our faith—see, this can easily be misconstrued, but our faith needs to make sense to all people. When we’re sending people to go out and be missionaries or whatever around the world, are we bringing them American Christianity, or are we bringing them Jesus? I think that it’s easy to paint this picture in broad strokes when you begin to look at this from the realm of missions work. Even in our own communities, are we still bringing a white Jesus to a Hispanic community or a white Jesus to an African-American community? I don’t know.
This movie’s still ruminating in my soul. It’s something that I will return to again. I think that Scorsese does it in a very eloquent and evenhanded way. It’s not simply that Japanese bad. White Catholics good. It doesn’t really give you those solid answers that most Christian films do, and because of it, I loved it. I loved the torture that it did to my soul. I love how my faith was pulled and pushed within me. For that reason, I would absolutely recommend this. Enough of me in all of this, I think it’s better to be heard in the conversation that Martin Scorsese lays out. What I want to give you, is what I mentioned earlier, is this interview. It is presented by Fuller Studio. Just for you to know that there are more resources for a deeply formed spiritual life that can be found at fuller.edu/studio. This is the interview that Fuller published, produced, and gave us license to be able to use here on the radio. Enjoy.
Well, that’s all we’ve got for this show this week. Thanks again to Fuller. Just a reminder as we end this broadcast, you can always catch us on podcast at www.snarkyfaith.com. Thanks so much for listening. Thanks so much for being a part of the conversation. I’ll catch you again next week. I am out of here.
Transcribed by Miriam Delony
A rundown of all you need to know about Christian hypocrisy in regards to Trump’s refugee ban. With theological hypocrisy wildly slapping about in a politically fueled haze, how people of faith should respond? We’ll delve into scripture for answers and fire a few warning shots at some of the culprits (*cough cough* Franklin Graham). Buckle your seat belts and crank up the hypocrisy… it’s going to be a fun ride. We’ve also got What’s Good? What’s Bad? chronicling the interweb’s best and worst of the week. Join us as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.
Tune in and come along for the ride…
[showhide type=”pressrelease” more_text=”Click for Full Show Transcript” less_text=”Hide Show Transcript” hidden=”yes”]
Title: Crank Up the Hypocrisy
Episode: # 138
Program: Snarky Faith Radio
Host: Stuart Delony
Well, good afternoon, and welcome to another round of Snarky Faith Radio. I am your host, Stuart Delony. My, oh my. Oh, my. Oh, my. Oh, my. What an insane we week we have had. Yes, I am talking about all of the Trump craziness. Don’t you worry. We will be getting into that in a minute. Before that, we have “What’s good // What’s bad” of this last week. Just a reminder that all of the videos, all of the links that I’ll be talking about in the first segment that we have here, you can find them on our website, www.snarkyfaith.com. They’re there. They’re waiting for you. They’re saying, “Hey. I’m here. I’m waiting for you. Just click on me.” Okay. That was as good as I can do.
Yes, so “What’s good // What’s bad” from this last week, and we won’t comment on Trump just yet. Starting off with a little bit of the bad. Have you guys heard about this? Tom Weathersby. It sounds like such a regal name. No, Tom Weathersby is a Mississippi Republican serving in the Mississippi State House of Representatives. That’s right because all progressive things come out of Mississippi. [Sarcasm] I’ve been to Mississippi several times. I would say Mississippi and Arkansas are pretty much the armpit of the United States. You can feel free to argue with me about that. Are there any other worse armpits in the United States besides Mississippi and Arkansas? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to talk about it.
Back to Tom Weathersby. Tom has introduced a bill in the Mississippi State House of Representatives. He’s introduced this bill that could become a law that would fine people for wearing saggy pants. For example, a style of pants, which hang so low that, one’s underwear may or may not be exposed. He commented this. This is quote, the good ol’ Weathersby. Personally, I like to see people dressed when they’re in public. I like to see people with their pants up. Let me say this again. Wait. Wait. I should do this for full effect because you’re hearing this in an articulate manner. Personally, like to see people dressed up when they’re in public, and like to see people with their pants up. [Spoken with Southern Accent] Well, thank you, Tom. I appreciate your preferences. For the rest of us that don’t have our preferences turned into potential laws, this is just insane.
His bill, here’s what would happen with it. It would make it unlawful for any person to wear pants, or shorts, or clothings, clothing bottoms—I like how I made clothings personal. No.—or clothing bottoms that would expose underwear or body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner. They’re actually trying to push forward a law that is involving saggy pants. Here’s the penalties. For the first offense, there’s a noncriminal citation warning. After that, the fines begin at $20 for the second offense. Then, run up to $100 by the sixth offense. Plus, if you make it to that on your little punch card, your sixth offense also can include psychological and social counseling by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Mental Health. Gee, thanks, Tom. I really appreciate you spending your hard earned time as an elected official bringing forth absolute nonsense and BS like this. [Sarcasm]
If you look around in your state, which most people do not want to look around in your state, Mississippi is like a third-world country. The top of your list of things that you need to start fixing about Mississippi—infrastructure? No. No. No. Education? No, forget that. No, it’s saggy pants. Thanks, Tom, for being the ass hat of the week from us. Geez. How do people do this? You just love how out of touch politicians can get.
Next, on the “What’s good // What’s bad.” Starbucks has announced that they’re planning to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years. That has led to the #boycottstarbucksmovement for those, presumably Trump supporters, that don’t like how Starbucks is speaking out about the atrocities that are happening in our country. I will note this. They are looking to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in 75 countries. Not per country, but across the 75 countries where they are doing business. Now, people are mad. People are calling for a boycott, most probably, people that don’t drink Starbucks or don’t have running water in their homes. [Sarcasm] Yeah, those people. They’re calling for a boycott of Starbucks because Starbucks is having a heart and showing a little bit of compassion. Yeah. How about #shutupaboutstarbucks? Geez.
Next, did you guys catch Stranger Things at the Stag Awards? At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, they announced that Stranger Things, the cast from that, won for Best Dramatic Ensemble, and our own, Chief Hopper, David Harbour, gave an absolutely powerful speech about the state of our country. It was passionate. It was beautiful. It said so many things that we all are feeling right now. Also on this (which, again, will be on our website), part of it, you have to watch it through twice. Watch it through, first of all, to just absorb what he’s saying, and being like, “Dang. Well done. Well done using your platform in a way that, hopefully, transforms a lot of the crap that we’re dealing with right now.” That’s the first listen through. The second listen through, just watch Winona Ryder in this. She is absolutely coked out of her mind or on some sort of magic mushroom because the—it is like she goes through every emotion in the playbook as he’s speaking. She does it in a way—and I don’t say people are coked-up lightly. She does it in a way that’s about a three-second delay on anything that he’s saying. She has this ridiculous look on her face. It’s amusing. It’s funny. I’m just glad that Winona Ryder is not my wife [laughter] or anybody in my life.
Next. When we’re talking about this, when we’re talking about all of the insanity that’s going on, isn’t it good to have a little bit of music, something to be able to listen to go, “Oh my gosh. I can unplug. I can just think, and contemplate, and get away from the insanity that is the headlines of real news (not fake news) that are going on.” I mean, good God. You would assume that half the headlines that we’re getting right now are fake news. In most cases, you would assume that they’re fake news from the Onion. Oh, no. They’re real every day. Thanks, Donald. Thanks for being our president. We so appreciate it. How soon is the impeachment going to come? [Sarcasm] Not soon enough.
Back to escapism. I love Ryan Adams. Many of you, either, don’t know Ryan Adams and should or already love him. Ryan Adams did a gig with the BBC where he played “Karma Police”, Radiohead’s “Karma Police”, as somewhat of a protest song. He plays it acoustically. It is beautiful. It is something to behold, and it is pure, great escapism. Turn off those headlines. Walk away from your device. Well, I guess you can’t walk away from your device and listen to it. Walk away from the news headlines of your device, and listen to it. It is great stuff.
Lastly, which I will only tease here because I will actually circle back to this at the end of the show. I, first of all, need to say this in “What’s good // What’s bad”. I’ll just go ahead and admit this. This is a confession. This is something I’m going to just lay out there for allof you. It may shock you. It may not. I would say that David Tennant is my favorite Doctor Who. What? What about Matt Smith? What about…? Fill in your blank. No. I’d always heard, as we entered into the Doctor Whovian universe about five or six years ago, that usually, your first doctor is your favorite doctor. That, actually, was not true for me. I started out with Christopher Eccleston. David Tennant, you captured my heart as the Doctor. You will always be my Doctor. That is not throwing shade on Matt Smith, but I will just tell you that he is the Doctor. He was actually on the BBC again this week giving his five reasons for why everything will be okay with the world today. I will give you that. I will actually give you that on here at the end of the show. Who doesn’t like to leave a show with all the good feelings of everything?
Oftentimes, when you listen to a show called Snarky Faith, it can be a lot of snark. It can be a lot of sarcasm. It can be a lot of tearing stuff down, and not always the most amount of, “Oh my gosh. I feel inspired. Oh my gosh. I can go on for another day in this insane world that we find ourselves in.” Welcome to bizarro world, folks. Welcome to bizarro world. You’ll get David Tennant at the end of the show. You’re going to have to stick around and listen to that, or be a jerk, and wait for the show to load, and go all the way to the last three minutes. Hey, the choice is yours. That’s the country we live in, or is it? Oh my gosh. Okay, so enough of that. Enough of “What’s good // What’s bad”.
Let’s just get into the what’s bad of the week, how we can decompose, decompress, deconstruct a bunch of other D words in the middle, probably a few of them being a d-bag describing our president, but yes, we have to talk about what’s happening with the refugee crisis, our borders, and the insanity of Donald Trump. Mix that all in—because, again, you’re listening to a show called Snarky Faith. Mix that all in with Christianity and American. You’ve got a recipe for a bunch of crazy crap with a bunch of crazy folks, and a bunch of crazy hypocrisy. I won’t use the word heretic because I’ve been called it too many times, and I’ve actually learned to find it endearing over time. That was Annie Lenox that said this in her song “Walking on Broken Glass.”
Now, every one of us was made to suffer. Every one of us was made to weep, but we’ve been hurting one another and now the pain has cut too deep. So take me from the wreckage. Save me from the blast. Lift me up, and take me back. Don’t let me keep on walking, walking on broken glass.
Ever since we’ve started this year, it feels like, at least here in America, that this is the year of us all walking on broken glass. It’s the year of us trying to learn how to survive in an environment that is toxic to us, to others. It’s something where we feel like we’ve gone into the upside world of Stranger Things or the bizarro world from the comic books. Things don’t make sense anymore. Guess what? I know this come as a shock to you. I know this will come as a surprise to you. Christian leaders are not making it any better. Are they offering us hope? No. Are they offering us a way out of where we are at? Absolutely not. Why would you expect them to? Yes, that’s me being very, very sarcastic.
When we begin to look at this refugee crisis, and the closing of our borders, and all of the insanity that’s going on, I want to start off this entire discussion that we’re going to have here by talking through just some simple scripture. This comes from—it’s a friend of mine, Joel Varner, a good, dear friend. He and I go way back. He posted this recently. His list goes like this. Here’s a short list of what the Bible has to say about how we are to treat foreigners and strangers as Christians. Again, many will claim we’re a Christian nation. I’m not backing that claim, but a lot of those in the religious right, a lot of those that helped to win the election for Trumpy-pants, they would say that they are Christians. They’re saying they were guided by God, but everything so far that we’ve done in this administration has been pretty much not that. Here’s some scripture just to be able to use as the ground floor, use as just the foundation for our conversation about why Christians are not handling this refugee crisis correctly.
This one comes from Exodus 23:9, “Do not oppress a foreigner. You, yourselves, know how it feels to be foreigners because you were foreigners in Egypt.”
Now, Leviticus 19:33-34, “Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land. Treat them as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
The next ones from Deuteronomy 10:18-19, “Make sure that the orphans and the widows are treated fairly. He loves the foreigners who live with our people and gives them food and clothes. So then, show love for those foreigners because you were once a foreigner in Egypt.”
Are we getting a theme here? Are we getting a theme here in the basis of faith here? I’ll continue on. The next on comes from Zechariah 7:9, “Long ago, I gave these commands to my people. You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live amongst you or anyone else in need.”
Then, Numbers 15:16, “I am the Lord, and I consider all people the same whether they are Israelites or foreigners living amongst you.”
Then, in the New Testament, Matthew 25:35. This is Jesus speaking, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in.”
Lastly, from Hebrews 13:2, “Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it. “
Laying this bedrock, laying out this entire ethic, which runs through the New and Old Testament, about caring for the foreigner because the Children of God through the course of history through the Bible, were foreigners. Israelites? Foreigners. Jesus was also a refugee. Knowing all of these things, why aren’t Christians standing for this? Why aren’t Christians out in the streets calling out our president? Why aren’t Christians, the one that voted for our orange Oompa Loompa, out picketing, and saying, “What are you doing to these refugees?” That is a huge problem in American Christianity today.
In many ways, American Christianity has become an enterprise. It’s an enterprise in how to make money, and how to make a name for yourself. You see megachurches rise, and get big, and get powerful. You see them become these mouthpieces for their pastors who use them to parley into book deals, and speaking deals, and essentially, get-rich deals for them. You also see politicians use the name of Christ and use the Christians to get elected. The problem is when we see many of these churches out there today, when we see many of these politicians that proclaim Christ, why do none of them look and act like Christ? They look and act like the empire that Christ was speaking against. Christ came at a time where he was under the shadow of the Roman Empire. He was a marginalized people group that was not Roman. If you weren’t Roman, you weren’t anything back then. Oh, how far we’ve come today. It’s just interesting how history tends to repeat itself.
Let’s talk about the protesting. Let’s talk about the outrage that is happening in our country. Last weekend, actually, two weekends ago, we saw the Women’s March on Washington. We saw people coming out with a cause, with a desire, with an unrest of the way things were going on and wanting to rectify that. So of course, we have to have a Christian alternative [sarcasm], meaning the March for Life that also happened this week. I’m not even talking about the protesting that was going on in the airports all weekend. We’ll get to more of that, but no, let’s talk about this March for Life that was going on this last week where you saw Christians by the hundreds out there in force.
My biggest question for that group out there—I’m not saying that their desire is bad or what they are doing is completely bad. There is some bad. Actually, never mind. There is afair amount of bad in it. The question I kept having and I saw this in a post where they were trying to point out the hypocrisy in these pro-life movements that are happening where fertilized eggs for us—here’s the math I’ll give you. Fertilized eggs equal people, and we need to protect them. Refugees, somehow, aren’t people that need to be protected even though we just went through a bunch of scripture in the Bible. We have a bunch of Christians out here that care more about certain issues, and raising their flags for these cultural norms that they are trying to fight against, but they’re quite silent when it comes to worrying and caring about the refugee, the people that are hurting in our country right now, the people that are trying to escape from persecution to begin a new life. It’s not like our country was founded by a bunch of immigrants anyways, right? [Sarcasm]
It really makes no sense that we’re having this whole refugee crisis because we were all instantly since America was ordained by God, we somehow sprouted up from the soil as fully-formed Americans, and that was the founding this Christian nation, this great wonderful Christian nation that, as we say Christian nation, has never done anything against people groups, but we won’t mention the Native Americans, African Americans, the Japanese Americans in the internment camps. [Sarcasm] No, no. We won’t mention that, but we’re totally a Christian nation founded on Christian principles of I want to get mine and in order to do that, I don’t care if you get yours. [Sarcasm] That’s probably the least succinct way to say Manifest Destiny or the American Dream.
Let’s being to hop in on this religious hypocrisy surrounding refugees, and politicians, and Christianity in America. Now, we’ve talked about the rise of the religious right in the past on this show. You can go to our website www.snarkyfaith.com, and listen to that. I won’t get into how we got here. I just want to talk about the hypocrisy of where we are. To frame the conversation, I want to go through two different articles by Carol—I’m just going to try to get her last name. Carol, I apologize if I’m wrong with this—Kuruvilla. I’m not quite sure, and in advance, Carol, I’m apologizing. She’s the Associate Religion Editor at Huffington Post and has been writing some fairly scathing pieces on the religious right lately. I would be open to pick those things apart if everything’s that she’s saying, scathing wise, wasn’t 100 percent true. She begins to talk about this. Again, we’re framing this through the lens of the refugee ban that is going on in the country that, good ol’ Donald, signed on Friday. This is an Executive Order that he slipped in on Friday on (did you guys check this?) the Holocaust Remembrance Day, no less. Yes, he slipped this in Friday because Donald likes to sign things, and then show people what he signed because he thinks that’s all you have to do as president. This went into effect on Friday, and then chaos happened afterwards.
When we begin to talk through this in the lens of looking at Christianity and faith, we have to say that there’s a fair amount of hypocrisy happening within Christian leaders especially regarding this issue. We’ve already gone through this whole biblical mandate and command to welcome, clothe, and feed the stranger. First of all, that should be the drop-the-mic moment for Christians, just by and large. These are commands that the God of the Old Testament, that Jesus in the New Testament gives us. Right. We are told we are supposed to do this. When Jesus is asked about what is the greatest of the commandments, and he says it’s, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and that we are called to love our neighbor as our self.” These are pretty clear tenants of Christianity that have been ignored for a long time. What I want to say in the midst of this is that if you take these out or if you ignore these, what do you have left of Christianity besides some sort of a multilevel marketing scheme to get you into heaven. When you begin to look through this, this idea of clothing, and welcoming, and feeding the stranger, the way people have justified this, oh, this applies to churches, and to individuals like the government. Wait. Wait. Wait. We’re going to cry out separation of church and state here when it’s convenient to us, but during the election process, you have Donald Trump getting his own evangelical think tank of small minded thinkers and money grubbers to come together to advise him on all things Christianity, their version of Christianity.
We see this. We see candidates schlocking their faith to get votes. Because why? Because they see it works. They’ll quote the Bible. They’ll quote Two Corinthians if you’re orange and running for president. We see all of this, and then we see this command that God is telling us; to care for the stranger, to care for the immigrant, to care for these people. It is one of the biggest copouts that I can think about in modern day Christianity is the fact that we ignore this because we like to stand behind the separation of church and state. That’s the government. The government is separate from the church. Yes, I know that government is separate from the church. Why do those getting into government use the church to get into government? That’s another show entirely.
What we have here from Ms. Kuruvilla—I will stop saying her name. We’ll just call her Carol from now on. [Laughter] I’ll just quote this directly. She says:
In essence, for these evangelicals, their traditional Christian values should have an impact on how the president makes decisions about abortion and same-sex marriage, but on the matter of refugees fleeing war, it’s perfectly fine for the president to turn his face away from suffering because safety comes before being a good Samaritan to those in need.
Let that just sink in. We have our Christian right. We have our Christian people that are pushing stuff over social media and Facebook that are going out, and picketing, and boycotting Starbucks, for example. We have this group of people that I know it’s easy to dismiss them, but they were formidable enough to be able to elect our Oompa Loompa president. Right? We see that these white evangelicals, they have an overwhelming Trump [laughter], they have an overwhelming support for Trump, not they have an overwhelming trump card. It just happens to be Trump. They were some of the ones that helped to put this clown in the White House. At the same time, they would tell you that they have a high regard for the Bible saying that it is the inerrant Word of God, and it is our absolute source of moral authority. But, when we begin to get into this stuff, the nitty-gritty stuff, the stuff that makes us feel a little uncomfortable and a little unsafe—like immigrants because we don’t know their story. We don’t know what they have been through. We haven’t found them on Tinder or Grinder. We don’t know these people. We don’t know them. This is a human nature thing. The unknown equals fear, equals something that we should throw shade on or we should be suspicious of. We do that.
This reminds of one of those things that you hear about in Christianity where people say one of the reasons that people are leaving the church is because people like Jesus, they just don’t like church. Like Gandhi put it, “I like your Christ, but I see very little of Him in His followers or his Christians.” This actually feels like the reverse of all of those statements that we’ve heard before. If feels like Christians are now saying that I like the church, I just don’t like this Jesus. As long as He saves us from hell, we’re cool with him. All of this stuff he told us to do, all like the social justice-tinged things that Jesus called for us as Christians to do, all of the things that were trying to flip worldly powers on their ear, yeah, those things. Nah, let’s not too much about those things. [Sarcasm]
We see Trump, goes and signs the Executive Order on Friday for new vetting measurements because he wants to keep the “radical Islamic terrorist” out of our country. Now, we have, from seven countries, a ban on refugees coming in, which is shameful in the least, especially for a person that at least likes to call himself and parade around as a Christian when it benefits him. I’m not saying that this is all dire in American Christianity because when we begin to see agencies like World Relief calling these moves very alarming. The thing that begins to get scarier and scarier is when you get to the think tank. When I’m talking about tanks, I’m talking about the shallow tanks. It’s the shallow end. It’s those who don’t think too deeply. Usually, when you hear think tank, you think about all of these diverse minds, these heavily educated ones that think deeply and think outside the borders to be able to have something happen. No, but when you get to the Christian think tank—which again, is like the baby pool of think tanks. We all know that the baby pool is really just full of baby piss.
In this article that Carol goes through and begins to interview different pastors and different thought people within this whole religious-right community to be able to ask them what are the answers? What should we be doing? Is this right? Is this wrong? All of these kinds of things. Let’s see. This is Dr. Robert Jeffress who is the Senior Pastor from First Baptist Church of Dallas, who’s a big Trump supporter. He said this, and I’m going to quote. He said, “President Trump’s actions are in keeping with the biblical mandate for government to protect its citizens. Now, while scripture commands individual Christians and churches to show mercy to those in need, the Bible never calls on the government to act as a good Samaritan.” Really? That’s one of the biggest copouts I’ve ever heard. That, oh, if you’re an individual, you can be a good Samaritan, but if you’re a person that is elected to office who’s been riding on the coattails of the religious right in our country, and saying that I will stand up for the Bible. I love the Bible. It’s the second greatest book that is out there, second only to Art of the Deal. If you do all of this, and talk about your faith, and use this as a platform to be able to get in, and then abandon it all, it is just a load of several things that I actually can’t say on the air right now.
No. As he even says this, the Bible never calls on the government to act as a good Samaritan. Is he also saying that any kid of a prominent evangelist, who happens to run an organization that may or may not be named after the parable of the Good Samaritan, and such organization that may or may not be called Samaritan’s Purse (which I’m really talking about Franklin Graham here), who runs a health and an aid organization to areas in the world that are hurting. It really seems like the Franklin Graham’s (which we will get back to on the second half of the show) that we will help you as long as you don’t live close to us. We will help you as long as you don’t make us feel uncomfortable.
Now, going through this article too, we hit on Dr. Ronnie Floyd. He’s a Senior Pastor of Arkansas Cross Church, who is actually part of the Evangelical Advisory Committee for Donald. He says this:
Our government’s first job is to protect the people, and the church’s first job is to serve the people. Our government and many churches will continue our extensive efforts to serve the vulnerable here and abroad regardless of what government policy is.
Again, it’s what we would say is a copout. He finishes up by saying, “We don’t advise the government on questions of national security, and they don’t advise us on who and how to serve people.” I know he saying this that the government does its thing, and we do our thing, and we don’t ask for advice on either of these, but he’s part of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Committee. If you’re on the president’s advisory committee, wouldn’t you assume that you’re doing some advising? This isn’t just a networking thing, like, oh gosh, we can network with so many great other pastors on this committee. [Sarcasm] No. No. It’s an advisory committee. The assumption with that is that you are going to advise a president who happens to be elected. This just gets me over and over just the copouts that are happening. I understand about the separation of church and state. I understand that, yes, we do not have a theocracy. We do not have people that are running the government under God’s will even though they tell us they’re going to do that as they’re going to be elected. This is this grand amazing hypocrisy to this tragedy that is happening on our borders right now. These pastors that have the ear, the orange ear, of our president are not speaking into to this. For that, I will say shame on you!
Then, we get to our buddy, Franklin Graham, where he had said, “Well, this is not a Bible command for the country to let everyone who wants to come. This isn’t a Bible issue.” He also stood up and praised the president. He prayed over the president at the inauguration. This is a total sham. Here’s what begins to get me about all of this is that you have folks that will have an ethic for your life that only fits in these blocks. Then, you have a separate ethic that only fits into these blocks. The whole idea of Christianity is that we’re called to have a faith that gives us a lens to look at everything in the world. It’s not a pick and choose thing. This isn’t something to where, oh, I will be a good Samaritan today because I feel like it, or I will go and help out at the homeless soup kitchen around the holidays because I want a warm and fuzzy feeling. No! This is something that’s supposed to call us. Good God, I would hope that the leaders, these Christian leaders that have a platform, that this would something that would affect everything that we do as a faith. This is a huge faith issue, and I’m not even getting into the legal stuff that Trump is going to get himself into (hopefully impeachment) that this is going to create within the federal courts. No, I am only talking about this through the lens of people that profess to say that they follow after Jesus that we can, somehow, turn a blind eye to these direct commands for how we are supposed to act as a people.
Here’s the answer to this—actually, it’s not the answer. Here’s the scary part to this. See LifeWay, which is a very big Christian book chain out there. By no means is this an endorsement of LifeWay. It is a very douchey venture that I will leave, again, for another episode. LifeWay was doing research. I know. Christians and research, and science, and all that kind of stuff, it seems like an oxymoron. No, you actually have legitimate groups like the Pew report and LifeWay. They will do what they’re supposed to do when it comes to research. Last year, they found that a majority of Protestant pastors, majority being 86 percent, came to an agreement (they agreed) that Christians have a responsibility to care for refugees and foreigners. At the same time, this is the same thing that they were polling for, also found from these pastors that 44 percent of these pastors’ churches had a sense of fear about refugees coming into the United States. How often do think this 86 percent of Protestant pastors—let’s just go ahead and say 86 percent of the pastors agreed that we need to care for the foreigner, so of all the pastors that they’re polling in this (close to half) said that their church fears the foreigner. I will wager and I don’t always wager things, but I will wager that these pastors who have this feeling that this situation with the refugees is wrong are not preaching this in their churches. Do you know why? Are they not preaching this because it’s not in the Bible? Well, no, we’ve already established that. Are they not preaching this because they don’t feel like it’s an issue? No, we’ve already established that in how they were polled. They will not preach this because they are worried about their jobs. They are worried about doing the right thing because they want to continue to have a paycheck regardless of the hypocrisy that is going on in their own churches. Any time you have churches or Christian leaders that are pandering to their followers instead of speaking out and doing what’s right, you have a recipe for disaster.
Later on in the article, she talks to Katelyn Beaty who is the Editor At Large for Christianity Today. Again, Christianity Today is not the most progressive bastion of Christian thought out there. Katelyn had this to say. She said, “I believe our nation will be judged and remembered for how we treated these neighbors.” The funny thing is, Christians, we have spent so much time worrying about things like which bathroom are people peeing in, or should women have the right to choose what to do with their bodies? We can get all wrapped up in that. When it comes to these issues, the sad thing is the vast majority of Christianity in America is silent about what’s happening. I just want to circle back to that statement that Jesus said that we’re to love the Lord our God, and love the neighbor as our self. When you read that scripture, I think it’s easy for us to think, “My neighbor. That’s the guy who lives next door to me,” because we live in our own insulated little bubbles where we just don’t care about those that are not like us. If you go back to the scripture, if you go back to the original context of that, your neighbor is anyone that is not you. It could be your enemy. It could be your physical neighbor, but it’s someone that’s not you, that’s not necessarily in your tribe. It’s those that, oftentimes, that we can find hard to love.
Now, to the second article from Carol Kuruvilla. This one is going to center around our friend, Franklin Graham. Now first and foremost, I’ll just let this out. My opinion on this topic—because, of course, you haven’t been listening to me for the past 40 minutes and not gotten my opinion. [Sarcasm] I will just go ahead and say this and hopefully, remember to bleep it out as I edit the show. Fuck Franklin Graham. You have this guy that was raised by one of the most, if not the most, famous evangelist in modern time, Billy Graham. What happened to this douche bag? I mean, seriously dude. You run a humanitarian organization. One of the problems with your humanitarian organization is, I think, that they want to make sure that they convert people more than they actually want to help people. That’s been a problem of Christianity for probably the past 1500 years. Going on to their website for Samaritan’s Purse—remember. We mentioned earlier. The Good Samaritan? Franklin names his organization, the Samaritan’s Purse, after that same idea of helping someone who is different from you. Here’s how they lay this out on their website what they’re about. Okay. This is from the Samaritan’s Purse website. It says this:
The story of the Good Samaritan gives a clear picture of God’s desire for us to help those in desperate need wherever we may find them. After describing how the Samaritan rescued the hurting man whom others have passed by, Jesus told his hearers to go and do likewise. For over 40 years, Samaritan’s Purse has done our utmost to follow God’s command by going to aid the world’s poor, sick, and suffering. We are an effective means for reaching hurting people in countries around the world with food, medicine, and other assistance in the name of Jesus Christ. This, in turn, earns us a hearing for the Gospel, the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Now, again, what the hell? What the hell? It’s the weirdest thing to be able to hear somebody say the right thing, and then, out of the other corner of his mouth, go and do the exact opposite. How do you justify this? If any of you out there who are listening that donate to Samaritan’s Purse—and I don’t usually do this, but I’m a little bit pissed. Stop giving to this organization. Stop because your money is funding this angry, xenophobic bigot to go out there and continue his own warped view of what Christ’s command was. We have Franklin Graham when asked on this whole issue of the refugee crisis, dismissing it saying this is not a Bible issue. Well, dude, you lead a humanitarian organization that provides relief to victims of war, and poverty, and persecution all over the world. That’s what your organization does. When those people that hurting from war-torn countries, once it comes into your backyard you’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m totally fine with helping you when you’re in your own stinky, smelly, bomb-riddled country, but mine, I like my neighbors. I like the way it is. I may be afraid of people that may break into my house. These people, we don’t know what they’re about. Whatever.” I can totally be Jesus to the world as long as it’s not in my own country. Well done, Franklin Graham, and I mean that with the thickest sarcasm that I can throw out.
When he was interviewed by the Huffington Post, he told this. He said:
It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone who wants in to come. That’s not a Bible issue. We want to love people. We want to be kind to people. We want to be considerate, but we have a country, and a country should have order. There are always laws that relate to immigration, and I think we should follow those laws because of the dangers we see today in this world. We need to be very careful.
Those are coated words. Those are coated words for fear mongering. I believe the religious right has been able to keep their base for the longest time by fear mongering. Fear mongering is what got Trump elected. In the whole process of fear mongering, you have a scapegoat. You blame them on everything that’s going on. It has nothing to do with personal responsibility. When you begin to say this—and I know that some people have heard about this. Like online, they’re speaking out against, well, we just don’t want to let everybody in, right, as if we don’t already have a vetting process.
I found this. This was on the whitehouse.gov until Trump got in. They had listed out, here’s the vetting process, the screening process for refugees to enter the United States. It’s extremely complicated. I’m just going to give you a broad overview. You can look this up. You should go online and look up what is the vetting process for refugee entry into the United States. You start by identifying yourself to a U.N. refugee agency. This agency collects your identifying documents, performs the initial assessment, which is bio-data, which could be your name, your birthday, address, date of birth. They do iris scans, so they’re scanning your iris. They do interviews to confirm refugee status and the need for resettlement.
Then, that moves to applicants, are received by federally funded resettlement support center. This is the next step, which again, collects the identifying documents, creates an application file, compiles information to conduct biographic security checks. Then, they start doing biographic security checks. They start going through all of this. These biographic security checks go through the U.S. security agencies, which is the Intelligence Agency, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department. They look for stuff, information, that the individual may be a security risk, connections to bad, known folks in those areas, and outstanding warrants for criminal violations. You’ve already gone through that.
Then, the Department of Homeland Security does an interview. They conduct and interview in their offices by trained interviewers. They fingerprint the folks. They have biometric checks on them. They re-interview them again. Then, it moves to more biometric security checks where, again, fingerprints are taken. They’re screened against the FBI’s biometric database. The fingerprints are, also, screened against the Department of Homeland Security’s biometric database. The fingerprints are, also, scanned against the U.S. Department of Defense’s biometric database. If they’ve made it to this point with no security concerns at all, which could be paperwork. It could be legitimate security concerns, or it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Then, you move towards medical checks where they do a full medical screening, cultural orientations, and assignments to domestic resettlement locations, so you’re going through more of this. Prior to the entry into the United States, they’re subject to screenings from U.S. customs and border patrol, and the TSA screens them as well. Then, all refugees are required to apply for a Green Card within a year from their arrival, which triggers another set of security protocols within the U.S. government.
Okay. All of this, we’re assuming, happens overnight. No, it doesn’t. This thing can take up to two years to do that. All of this BS that we are throwing out there, all of this BS that we are using and saying that, oh, this about keeping us safe, this is about keeping us in order. It is complete crap. We have systems in place to do that. They’re extensive systems. If you have issues with breakdowns in those systems, then, guess what? It’s not the refugees’ fault. It’s our government agency’s fault at those respective agencies. We go back to these folks like Franklin Graham that like to say they’re doing the work of Christ, but they’re really not doing that. There is just so much hypocrisy as we see what is happening in our country today. I would encourage you to get well informed and get out there to protest, to volunteer, to invest deeply in the areas where our country is broken and hurting.
Lastly, I will leave you with this because I promised a little bit of David Tennant. He was on recently on a BBC show where someone had asked him to come up and tell us why it’s all going to be okay. There is nothing better than getting a reassurance from David Tennant that the world is going to be okay. After all, he’s the Doctor, and the Doctor knows what’s going on. I’ll leave you with that.
Just a reminder that as we end this broadcast, you can always catch us on podcast at www.snarkyfaith.com. If you have questions or things you want to comment, you just go to email@example.com. Send it to me. I would love to hear about it. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Just look up Snarky Faith. That’s it. I thank you for being a part of this. I thank you for being a part of this movement, a part of this show, a part of this listenership. Without you guys, nothing is possible. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. I’ll be back again next week.
[Begin Audio Clip of David Tennant]
It’s all gonna be okay. Trust me. I’m a Doctor [audience applauds], but it’s up to us to make it okay. It’s time to be positively rebellious and rebelliously positive as long as we stand up for what we believe in. Don’t give in to anger or violence. Look out for the little guy. Keep an eye on the big guys. Refuse to keep our mouth shut. Just generally try not to be dicks. Every little thing is gonna be alright.
[End Audio Clip]
Transcribed by Miriam Delony
A rundown of all you need to know about protesting. Did the Women’s March on Washington accomplish anything? What do you do after the protests are over? We’ll delve into those topics and more as we look into the anatomy of a protest and also how people of faith should respond. We’ve also got What’s Good? What’s Bad? chronicling the interweb’s best and worst of the week. Join us as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.
Tune in and come along for the ride…
[showhide type=”pressrelease” more_text=”Click for Full Show Transcript” less_text=”Hide Show Transcript” hidden=”yes”]
Title: After Protest
Episode: # 137
Program: Snarky Faith Radio
Host: Stuart Delony
Well, good afternoon, and welcome to another round of Snarky Faith Radio. I am your host, Stuart Delony. My, oh my. What a week we’ve had. We made it through the inauguration. Then, we had some protests, and then some more protests, and then, some more protests. We’ll get to all that a little bit later on the show when we break down the anatomy of a protest. First, we have your weekly, “What’s good // What’s bad.” Just a reminder, you can actually catch all the links from this over on our website at www.snarkyfaith.com. It’s a great place to be able to catch past podcasts. It’s a great place to be able to catch up on some of our writings and stuff that we put out there as well. A reminder that if you sign up over on our website to get our weekly emails, you can actually be a part of a live show that Dr. Ben and I will be doing in the near future.
Let’s get on to “What’s good // What’s bad.” Let’s start this off on a little bit of a lighter note. This is really a softball start to “What’s good // What’s bad.” Did you guys hear the news? McDonald’s. Huh? New stuff coming out. That’s right. They are going to be testing two new sizes of the Big Mac. If you don’t have diabetes, this a way you can fast track that, if you’re ever feeling left out in the process. No, what they’re going to be doing is they’re going to test out in different markets, the Mac Jr., so you’re going to have the smaller Big Mac. Then, you saw the regular Big Mac size. Then, they’re going to have the Grand Mac, which is more meat, more cholesterol, and more artery-clogging goodness. Yes, you’re going to have Mac Jr., regular, and Grand Mac, which is really the equivalent of the half ass, the full ass, and the big ass. You can get all of it stuffed directly into your ass. Thank you, McDonald’s. [sarcasm] Thank you for giving us these options because nobody was asking for them.
Next. Do any of you out there feel like you’re losing your mind with the alternative world that we’re living in right now? We’re in the bizarro world if you’re coming at this from a comic book standard, and we’re really just stuck in a place where you kind of feel like you’re losing your mind. Well, fear not because I’ve said many of times, I’m losing my marbles right now. Guess what? There was a truck carrying 38,000 pounds of marbles, and the truck lost its trailer in Indianapolis on Saturday. That’s right, 38,000 pounds of marbles spewing onto the highway. It’s a beautiful sight. You should check it out. It makes you feel, “Hey, if my day’s going bad, this guy’s day is a lot worse.” So, you’re right. You may be feeling like you’re losing your marbles because they’ve already been lost. At least, that’s the story I’m sticking to for our new alternative universe that we’re living in here.
Next. When I started off the show today, I made a little promise to myself, just on the inside. I just said, “Hey, we can do this. We can make it. We can, at least, make it, maybe, ten minutes or so into the show,” I told myself, “without talking about the inauguration.” I need to apologize to you, my dear listeners, and to myself for breaking that promise because, as I check my watch, we’re only about three minutes into the show. Yes, we’re going to talk about the inauguration. In the segment that we’re doing here, the “What’s good // What’s bad,” all of it was bad. If you listened to the speech, geez, did that get a bit dark? Geez, did that get a bit post-apocalyptic, and violent languagy, and whatever else you can think about? The Don delivered, and he was, pretty much, true to his message, true to sticking to his guns, and true to, hopefully, making America great again in his own image. It ends up feeling like sometimes you wish he was able to use a thesaurus. Oftentimes, I want to say, “I think the word great doesn’t mean what you think it means.” I think your definition of great is much different from my definition of great. Man, oh man, was that an awkward inauguration.
What I want to do for you in this is that I’m going to give you guys a few links to be able to go through to help you process through this inauguration through what just happened, and what just went down. The first of which is the British comedian, Jonathan Pie. Part of his shtick is he’s kind of a fake news castor. He posts videos online. He also does stand-up and stuff. Really intelligent. Really, really funny guy. He did an inauguration recap of the speech and of all really that went on there, that I’ll include the link here. Not here, but here on our website. He’s what I want to tell you. This is absolutely not a safe-for-work video for you to be able to watch. The language is quite salty. It says, pretty much, everything that I’d love to say, but can’t, due to the FCC regulations here on the air. If you can put on your big-boy pants, and go over to www.snarkyfaith.com, I think you would find that really interesting.
Also, there is an interview that CNN did with Zizek. Zizek is one of our favorite curious philosophers out there. I’m not saying I agree with everything, but I will tell you he’s an interesting dude. If you can listen—a lot of times, you have to listen to cut through his thick accent. Zizek is a Marxist, and he lays out why he would have voted for Trump. It’s not exactly why you think it is. I think it is a brilliant idea, and it’s also one of those—have you ever been in those situations where two people are talking, and one person is way, way more intelligent than the other one, and they keep trying to talk? They kind of end up talking past each other. Yes, the interview is interesting on two different levels from being able to watch a philosopher try to talk to a guy who’s just facts and numbers, and those two conversations don’t actually mesh at all.
I think it’s really interesting what Zizek has to say, and why he says it, and why he says he would stick with Trump in this. I’ll give you a little bit of a sneak peak to why. He sees electing Trump as a way for us to be able to reinvent the political system, a way to be able to reinvent the way we do politics, not because what Trump is doing is a good thing. Really, it’s because what he’s doing is a horrible thing. It should force us to really go back to the drawing board to change the way that we think about politics. It’s an interesting interview, and I think you’ll like it.
Now, if listening to a Slovenian philosopher isn’t your cup of tea, and you’re still looking for some escapism, what I’d recommend is checking out Aziz Ansari’s SNL’s opening monolog. It was about the inauguration. It was about race. It was about America, and it was very, very on point, and beautiful. I would recommend you going and check that out.
Lastly, before we move on from the entire inauguration talk, we have to talk about how the country’s going down the crapper. Right? Did you hear about the porta potties at the inauguration, the ones from the company called Don’s John? Get it? Don’s Johns. The Don and potties. Maybe it’s just me that likes potty humor. Yes, you had thousands and thousands of Don’s Johns porta potties lining everywhere around the inauguration. That would be funny in itself, besides the fact that, mysteriously during the week, they started to get taped up. That’s right. The signs, the advertising signs on the side of the porta potties, mysteriously started getting taped up. Does somebody have an ego problem? Anyone? Anyone in Washington have an ego problem? Come on. Can’t Trump take a joke, or is he always too busy being the punch line of a joke? Geez.
Moving on from that and hopping directly into the main topic of the day. I want to talk about protesting. This last weekend, we’ve seen it. People were out with the Million Woman March with crowds that made the inauguration look like a small dinner party for only our closest friends. With cities across the nation and across the world, you had people out protesting our new president. It’s a beautiful sign of solidarity for people that are all about that cause, but my bigger question is what happens on Monday? What happens on Tuesday? Sure, it’s great to get together, and protest, and come together to speak out against evil that is happening in the world. I think that is absolutely essential. What I wanted to do is spend some time asking questions about the nature of protesting. What does it accomplish? What does it actually do? What should we look forward to for the next four years in regards to protesting, and advocacy, and social justice, and all of those things? I want to hop into.
We’re going to be going through several different articles, for the remainder of our show, talking about the very nature of protesting. It was Henry David Thoreau who said, “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” We find ourselves in a time in history when a lot of stuff is messed up because that has never happened before in all of history. I’m kidding, but we find ourselves at this place where we see injustice everywhere. I’m not just talking about the fact that the Patriots made it back into the Super Bowl. I’m not talking about that kind of injustice. No, I’m talking about racism. I’m talking about misogyny. I’m talking about xenophobia. I’m talking about homophobia. I’m talking about Islamophobia. I’m talking about ignorance, and bigotry, and hatred. Those are things that we are raging against right now. Those are the things that are staring us in the face, immediately, right now.
I know the president is barely even in office yet, but I will tell you, collectively, we the people are very worried. We the people are very scared. We the people do not know what is going to happen. That unknown and that mystery that we are living in—mystery sounds way sexier—that uncertainty that we’re living in right now is terrifying. It may not be terrifying to you, particularly, but maybe, it’s terrifying to your neighbor or one of your loved ones. When we begin to talk about the injustice that’s happening around us, the natural response that we’ve seen is to get out and protest.
Before you grab your poster board and markers and decide to head out to a rally somewhere, we have to, first, start off by looking inside ourselves. What I mean by that is simply this, you, most probably, did not vote for Trump. I’m making that assumption if you’re listening to the show that you probably didn’t vote for Trump. I didn’t. I didn’t vote for Hilary either. We have to begin to ask ourselves, how did we create this situation? What role have we had in creating a situation where you have a person like Trump that scares the bejesus out of half the population in our country? How did we allow something like this to happen? Now, I’m asking this question, not asking it in the realm of politics because yes, you can say, “Of course, Stuart, people ran for office.” Well, yes, I know that’s how people run for office. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m not talking about those kinds of simple, finite, little brass tacks to how did he get here, or how did he win. I’m not even talking about that. What I am talking about is how did we get to a place in our country where things like this are happening, where messages, like Trump’s, make sense to people?
I think it’s far too easy for us to point fingers at folks that don’t vote like us. When we do that, we start to become the bigoted ones as well. We start to become the thing that we hate about the other side. The last thing that we want to do is become the things that we hate. I read this somewhere a while back, and I’m not really exactly sure where it came from. I jotted it down on one of my journals. It goes like this. It says, “Passivists become militants. Freedom fighters become tyrants. Blessings become curses. Help becomes hindrance, and more becomes less.” I mean, it’s easy for that to happen. We see peaceful protests that turn violent. We see looting going on. None of these, none of these are the hallmarks of what we are trying to protest. Those are even the bigger-scale issues. The ones I’m even more concerned with, the ones I care about deeply, are what happens inside our hearts as we are going through the motions? What happens inside our hearts as we are reading news articles and watching our social media feeds happen? What happens in our hearts when we take the anger of many other bigoted people and we turn it into an anger that’s inside of us? I know we can say that it’s righteous anger. I know we can say that we do it righteously, but anger is anger. If our desire is for a world that is loving, that is kind, that is considerate, that gives voice to the voiceless, that gives dignity to those that have no dignity, we have to be very careful.
It really goes back to the idea that somehow that we can have just wars, that somehow violence plus violence will equal peace. I’m really worried about us in this time that this anger that we have that is brewing below the surface, this anger at the other, becomes something that starts to own us. We just have to be careful as we protest that we don’t become like those that we’re protesting against. It’s not simply about those who have power. We’ve seen this in the country. We will have the Republican’s who will be—they’ll control power for a while. Then, it will flip-flop. The Democrat’s will control power for a while. All that is, is that we are caught in this nice little linear back and forth power structure. Now, if we are really about creating a world that we want our kids to grow up in, if we’re really about doing the hard work that it takes to create a new ethic for living, one that has kindness, and grace, and joy, and patience, if we are about those things, we have to begin to go about these things in a different way.
Now, all of that to be said, I simply am just mentioning this as a primer for our discussions about protesting. I am not saying that protesting is wrong. I am not saying any of the things that are going on right now are necessarily good or bad. They just are. What I am saying is that in the midst of all this, in the midst of this bizarro world that we find ourselves in, in the midst of this time where we have three different options when we want a Big Mac, we need to make sure that we are guarding our hearts (and our cholesterol), for that matter. I just don’t want us to become an angry, divided country because we’ve seen this. We’ve seen how the Alt-right moves. It becomes uglier, and it becomes nastier, and it becomes hateful. I would hate to see this opposition that is going on right now become angry and hateful. Anger and hate are really what’s occupying the White House right now.
We see this time and time again when you begin to read through scripture. Looking at the Old Testament, there’s this repeating pattern where you have the Children of Israel. They will really turn from the ways of God. Then, what you see is a foreign invader comes in, takes them over, treats them poorly. The Children of Israel cry out to God. God delivers them. They get in power, and then they start treating those that they are in power over poorly. Then, eventually, they fall our of power. You just see this rhythm. I just want us to begin—before we, actually, begin to hop in to talk further about protesting, I just want us to be very, very careful for how we move forward, for how we protest, for why we protest, and how it should transform us when we stand in those places to call out the things that are wrong with the world today.
Speaking at this through the lens of faith, this isn’t really an issue of should Christians protest. I think it should be more one of when should Christians protest. I found this. I’m not saying I agree completely with this, but Canon John of the Philo Trust, came up with these six suggested principles for protesting. I think he has some really good points in this, and I’ll read through these. The first one says, “We should protest on behalf of others rather than ourselves. Our duty to love our neighbors may involve us in protesting for them.” I think that’s a huge thing right there to start us off. I think that the protest doesn’t necessarily need to be about me. Like, “My side lost. I’m upset. I’m mad. I don’t like what’s happening.” I think when we stand out to protest, if we’re doing this through the lens of our own faith, I think and I believe, that this needs to be about somebody else. When we look at the protesting that’s going on today, I do think, I think a lot of these are us standing in the gap for people that need a voice, for people that need to know that they’re not forgotten, for people to need to know that they’re not going to simply just get kicked out of this country like they’re worthless garbage. Yes, I do believe that we need to stand in the gap for those that do not have a voice.
This next one on the list, I think, is rather curious and interesting. I want to unpack it some. Number two on the list was, “All other means of influencing the government powers should have been exhausting. Protests should always be the last resort.” Now, what I found interesting—and this is going to be my own little aside, which I guess, this entire show is an aside for my opinion. One of the things that I found as I was being flooded through social media, as I was being flooded through Twitter, and Instagram, and Facebook, and through the news was all the celebrities that were out there getting their pictures taken, getting selfies, while they’re out protesting. Part of me feels like—this is the jerk part of me that may or may not be 50 percent of me. The jerk part of me wants to say, “Really. Are you out there doing anything that is really costing yourself anything? Are you out there doing something to forward your own image or your own brand?” Being able to circle back to number one on this list, are we doing this for others rather than ourselves? I’m really just mainly just speaking in that realm of celebrity. I think celebrities get out there to do this because it’s the popular thing to do right now, and it’s good press for them.
When we’re engaging, especially in the second point here, this idea of have all other means been exhausted. Now, I’m going to take what he’s saying and twist it into a different angle. You see, we have these huge marches going on. We have these huge shows of protests that are happening. While that is good, it’s only the start. I firmly believe that after all the heat of this, after all of the excitement of all of this dies down, what happens next? Usually, if you’re going to follow the American system of doing things, what we simply do is that we put up our protest signs, we hang up our jackets. Then, we go home and sit on our hands for another four years. You see, that’s the problem. We get excited when it’s time to vote. We get mad when the vote doesn’t go our way. We get mad when those in elected office do things that we feel are immoral and hurt other people. What we need to do is let these moments be the beginning point for momentum to cause good and lasting change in our country. You can’t simply go out and protest, and show pictures of this on your social media, go home and sit on your hands, and wait for the next time you have to cast your vote during an election period.
See, the work that needs to be done, the important work, the lasting work, is what starts on the Monday after the protest. What are we doing now? How are we stopping these atrocities from moving forward? If there are unjust things that are going on, are you involving yourselves in community groups? Are you involving yourselves in nonprofit organizations? Are you involving yourselves in areas where we can get real change happening? We have to consistently come back to that. We have to continue to remind ourselves, while these things are good, they are only the starting point.
Number three that he has on his list, The Six Principles for Protesting, number three is, “We must be assured that our protests do more good than harm.” I think this is a question that, oftentimes, we don’t ask ourselves. Are these protests doing more good than harm? Are these protests merely about pointing fingers and calling people names, or are they, actually, doing real lasting good? I don’t have an answer for that especially for this Million Woman March that went on. I don’t have a judgment call on that, but I think this is a question that we have to consistently ask ourselves. Is this the best use of my time to make positive change? If it is, go and do that. But, but, but, but I think we have to make sure that these protests are also doing no harm.
I know during the inauguration, I know there were folks protesting in D.C., and violence broke out, and there was vandalism, and there was all sorts of other stuff going on. We have to remember that when those things happen—and I understand it comes from this deep unrest, this feeling that you are powerless, and you want to be able to inflict that feeling of powerlessness back on to the problem. The problem that happens when we see violence occur in these situations is that it ends up negating the reason for why the protests began in the first place. See, we have to be able to say this. If the police are going to be violent, the police can be violent, but we will not do that.
Number four on the list was, “There must be a clearly defined and widely understood aim for the protest. Without a firm goal, it’s all too easy for protests to denigrate into heated expressions of anger and dislike.” Now, I’m not saying that is what was happening over this past weekend. I think that was happening for some people over this last weekend. I’m going to, again, continue to point out celebrities that were up there, that were really just calling out Trump, calling him names and everything else. Hey, we’ve spent plenty of time doing that on the show, so I’m not saying, “Hey, check our the speck in your eye,” while there’s a log in my own eye. I know that. I think what needs to happen—because if can look back over this, if we all remember the Occupy Wall street Movement, it brought a lot of information and spotlighted a problem that was going on. Ultimately, at the end of the day, once the protests stopped, in many ways, the entire desire to change stopped. The momentum of the movement met with a grinding halt within that. If we’re doing something just because that we’re angry or that we dislike something, and our whole goal in all of this is simply just tearing whatever “it” is down, that’s not actually painting a way, that’s not actually painting vision to where you want to move dial towards.
I’ll give you an example. This is years ago. I was working for a church plant. I was doing a lot of the marketing and advertising, and video work for them. In the process of really starting up that church plant, the whole goal was we need to be something that’s different. Again, this is 20 years ago. I was in a place where I’d grown up Southern Baptist and was pretty anti-ridged Baptistness in all of its way, shapes, and forms. The pastor I was working with on creating this, we created this narrative, within all the advertising, that we’re different. This is before—I know every church now is, “Oh, we’re different.” We’re painting all these reasons for why this was, through video and other mediums. We’re not this. We’re not this. We’re not this. There was all this list of things that we weren’t. We attracted people. We attracted people to come and be a part of this. The problem was we spent so much time saying what we weren’t; we didn’t spend enough time saying what we were. Because it’s easy to rage against the problems. It’s hard to find solutions and chart a new course.
Ultimately, what happened with that, which I believe was the undoing of that church plant that lived for about two years, the undoing of that was you rallied people around a negative. You didn’t point them towards a positive. You have a bunch of people that come together that are like, “Yeah. I don’t like this, that, and the other.” Other people are like, “Well, I don’t like this, that, and the other.” They were all in agreement for what they didn’t like, but they weren’t together for a common cause. That was one of our failings in the message that we were pushing out for this. You unite people that don’t like things, but the only way to move them forward is under a collective idea, is under a collective vision for where this going. As we go out and have these marches, as we go out and have these rallies, really all we’ve done so far in this is to begin to say, “We don’t like Donald Trump. We don’t like his policy. We don’t like where this is going.”
Now, again, if you’re going to sit and whiteboard this whole thing, so how do we find a solution to this problem? Well, we don’t like this guy. We don’t like what he’s doing. We don’t like the people he’s surrounding himself with, and we don’t like the implications of where this is could go because it’s going to hurt other people. Great. That’s your starting point. That’s your, why are we here. The next step (and I think this is the key to all of this), the next step isn’t simply, “Ah, we’re mad. We want someone else to be our elected leader. This is a corrupt system.” No, again, you have to begin to more towards where do you want to go. Okay.
I mentioned earlier we have issues of misogyny and bigotry. We have issues of xenophobia and homophobia. We have all of these things that we’re saying, “All of these things are bad.” Nobody’s arguing with them. Well, some people maybe. I’m not arguing with that. What I am arguing with that fact is, where do you want this to go? If you don’t like these things, are we putting all of our hope into one basket? Meaning, all of our hope gets surrounded in the office of the presidency or elected officials. We expect them to do the right thing because that’s always worked because politicians usually do the right thing. [sarcasm] If we have this energy and you have this sense of injustice that’s going on, how do you rope this together to do something positive in your own communities, and make sure people are not being hurt, or marginalized, or pushed to the wayside. You see, I think those are the constructive questions that we have to begin to ask ourselves.
It’s easy to mad about something. It’s hard to make a change about that something that you’re mad about. I will say this again. The change that we are looking for in America today is not going to happen by an elected official. It’s going to happen when we begin to collect these people that have this common angst together, and push them in a direction where they can have a common vision for a new way to live, a common vision for the future. Then, you begin to lay forward tangible steps for how to get there. Much like that—what is his name again?—much like Cannon John is saying here in this is, “There must be clearly defined and wildly understood aim for this protest.” See, I think ultimately, we want to know what is the endgame for this. Is the endgame a huge temper tantrum that says, “Nah. I don’t like Donald Trump.” Well, that’s easy. That’s like saying, “I don’t like the smell of poo.” You can get tons of people together to say they don’t like the smell of poo. Are you going to move into a new direction? Are you going to change your diets? [Laughter] I mean, what are you going to do? It’s something that doesn’t move towards change.
One thing that we can see that Bernie Sanders did right was that he actually laid out clear things. I want to do this. I want to do this. He rallied people around this, not simply just in a Washington-go-out-and-vote type of a way, but also in how do we create grassroots change on the local levels. I think he had that right. If we have all this energy, if we have all of this angst that we can turn into energy, what are we going to do next? I think that is the question that we need to all be wrestling with right now. I think that is more important than us being upset that we have an orange guy in the White House.
Alright. Number five on this list: “The limits of protests must be set beforehand.” He’s doing this from the realm of how do people of faith protest. He says, “Christians can have nothing to do with words of hatred or even worse, acts of violence.” I know we said this a little bit earlier too, but I think that when we begin—I think this is even more so. I was going to say when our actions and our speech, in certain ways, sound like those that we are rallying against, we know we’ve gone wrong. I think this even goes back to a tone when we talk about these things, not even simply in protest. When we talk about these things in and amongst our own networks of people, or if we’re dialoguing with other people who may believe differently than us, I think tone is a huge thing. Because if our tone is angry, if our tone is hateful, if our tone is nasty in the midst of this, I just feel like those are still the seeds for becoming exactly what we hate. I think we have to be very careful. I think we have to be very cautious about the language that we use and the mediums that we use to express our angst.
Number six on this list was, “Any protests must have a reasonable chance of being successful.” He goes on to say, “That if turnout counts, if there’s more press than protesters, those against whom we are protesting are likely to be comforted rather than be challenged.” I think we have to begin to ask ourselves, what is success? I was mentioning before, what is our point? What is our end goal? Also, I think we need to begin to ask ourselves, how do we gauge success? How do we begin to say, “We’re making progress”? How do we begin to say, “This is what change looks like”? I think a lot of these things need to be wrestled through. They need to be wrestled through before we protest. I think they need to be wrestled through after we protest because it’s one thing to collectively get together and yell, and scream, and vent our anger. It’s another thing for us to sit down across the table with other people and begin to wrestle this out. Also, begin to dream about what could be. You see, what we’re moving towards, is more important than what we’re raging against. We have to remember that. We have to remember that what we’re moving towards is more important than what we’re raging against.
To put this in different terms, I want to quote from an article in the Atlantic from Mosies Neiem, where he is talking about why street protests don’t work, ultimately. The point he’s really trying to get at is the point that I’ve been trying to get at the entire hour is that without a plan, these are all a bunch of energy and action without any activism. He puts it this way. He says:
Social media can both facilitate and undermine the formation of more effective political parties. We’re familiar of the power of social media to identify, recruit, mobilize, and coordinate supporters, as well as to fundraise, but we also know that clicktavism and slacktavism undermine real political work by creating a feel-good illusion that clicking “Like” on Facebook page or tweeting a message from the comfort of one’s computer or smartphone, is the equivalent to activism that affects change. What we’ve witnessed in recent years is the popularization of street marches without a plan for what happens next, and how to keep protestors engaged and integrated in the political process. It’s just the latest manifestation of the dangerous illusion that it is possible to have Democracy without political parties, and that street protests based more on social media than sustained political organizing is the way to change society.
So, I want to move towards what’s next. This is back me. [Laughter] This is not the quote anymore. I want to move towards what to do the Monday after protests. Well, I’ll begin by circling back to Henry David Thoreau that I mentioned earlier in the show. In his works, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays, he says this,
If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go. Let it go. Perchance, it will wear smooth. Certainly, the machine will wear out, but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong with which I condemn.
Do we have injustice? Yes. Are there problems? Yes. What now? What do we do with it? We’ve seen this happen before where you get a ton of energy out for movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. The peculiar problem that we stand at right now after these protests comes with the fact that there is not one unifying cause that is uniting all of the people that are protesting besides the fact that they don’t like Trump and what he stands for. In the past, we’ve had the Vietnam War, we’ve had civil rights, we’ve had government bailouts, we’ve had other problems that had a cohesive structure to them. This is the problem we have. This is what we’re trying to fix. If you look at all the signs and all the protesters that we had over the weekend, there are a myriad of different groups being displayed here. That spells trouble for being able to organize. Are we about reproductive rights? Are we about the environment? Are we about immigration and trying to figure out how to fix the problem that we have there? What are we about? Up until this point, all we can say is we’re just simply anti-Trump.
Now, if you go and read the Women’s March on Washington, if you look at their document that has the guiding vision and defining principles that would argue with what I’m actually trying to say here. They would say that this isn’t about Trump. This is about women’s rights. I’ll read you just the beginning of it just to give you a flavor or an idea of what it looks like. It says:
The Women’s March on Washington is a women-lead movement bringing together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations, and backgrounds in our nation’s capital on January 21, 2017, to affirm our shared humanity, and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination recognizing that women have intersecting identities, and there are, therefore, impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues. We have outlined a representative vision for a government that is based on the principles of liberty and justice for all. As Dr. King said, “We cannot walk alone.” As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. Liberations is bound in each other. The Women’s March on Washington includes leaders of organizations in communities that have been building the foundation for social progress for generations. We welcome vibrant collaborators and honor the legacy of movements before us, the suffragists, the abolitionists, the Civil Rights Movement, the Feminist Movement, the American Indian Movement, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, Marriage Equality, Black Lives Matter, and more by employing a decentralized, leaderful structure and focusing on ambitious, fundamental, and comprehensive agendas.
Now, what I get out of that is we all want a little bit of everything. Even if you did this—because they laid out this whole list of other movements that they’re echoing and championing, like the Civil Rights movements. There were specific objectives that they were going after. Occupy Wall Street, eh, kind of the specific they were going after. Marriage Equality, specific. Black Lives Matter, more or less specific. You see these specific movements, and now you end of up with the broad mosaic of folks from different backgrounds and different belief systems coming together under a common vague cause. This is funny because I would tell you that I’m an advocate of people coming together. I’m an advocate of diversity. I’m an advocate of different views coming to a table to be able to discuss what needs to be done. Let me just, first of all, say, I am all for this approach in the appropriate scenes, circles, and scenarios that you find yourself within. When you begin to do this, this ends of being this mixed hat of different agendas all coming together. The problem with that is, like we’ve said before already, it’s great for having a march. It is bad for having a movement. You can bring all these folks together that have vaguely similar desires, but in the end, if we were to all turn and get people together to begin to have a collective vision of where we want to move, I think that’s where it will begin to break down.
Again, I am not attacking in any way just the heart and the desires that they have in this, I’m just actually really attacking how effect and efficient is this for inciting real change. If you continue to go down through this guiding vision and definition of principles in this statement, they have stuff about we believe in women’s rights, we believe in human rights, gender justice, all economic justice, and these are all stuff, which is funny, these are all stuff that I agree with. I’m not going to be arguing any of these particular issues. We’d be like, “Mmm. No. I totally disagree with police brutality. I think we need more police brutality.” [sarcasm] No, I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is, you are going to end up getting yourself involved with a mixed bag, with mixed trajectories, and mixed visions. That will not sustain you as you try to transition this into a movement that makes real and effective change.
Is it great to have a party? Is it great to have a rally with all these folks coming together? Absolutely. Can we all have a beer together? Certainly. Are their points and ideas valid in and amongst all this in this document? Absolutely. This isn’t simply coming out against this saying you’re wrong. What I’m trying to say is you are right if you want to have a march that gets millions of people out there. You’re wrong if you’re trying to pivot this into being something that has lasting change.
Let me say this. Here’s what you have to do. Something brought you to the table. There’s some cause that brought you here to be a part of a movement like this. Right? There’s going to be some cause that you have great passion for. Maybe it’s gender equality. Maybe it is ending police brutality. Maybe it is something about reproductive freedom in all those things. You’re going to have what you would say—it’s probably not the way you’d say it—you have a pet passion. You have this thing that when you hear about it, when people talk about it, you get very passionate about it. You go and read up on it because you care deeply about this fill-in-the-blank issue.
Here’s just my advice for what to do on Monday morning after the march. Take your issue. Is it gender justice? Is it LGBTQIA rights? Is it human rights? Is it equal pay rights? Is it climate change? Is it whatever? Whatever that thing is for you, my advice for you is this. Take that pet project and find somewhere in your local community that you can join others in making affective change. Find a place that you can go and invest your time and money in to make that change happen. If you care about climate change, get involved with an organization. If you care about workers’ rights, or minimum wage, or living wage, get involved with a group that will help to make change for that.
The problem is this. Actually, what I’m saying is, it’s almost like you get too much good all at once. Like, I like ice cream. I like pizza. I like beer, but I don’t like them all together. Does that make sense? If I was to pile them all together and try to taste it, it would probably be pretty awful. If I take a bite of this, if I take a bite of this, and I take a swig of this, I can enjoy them in their own rights. What I’m just trying to get at within this, whatever that you feel passionate about, whatever drove you out to the streets, whatever you were making and writing down on your sign before you marched, decide now to go invest locally in that.
Forget the politics of all of this because that will probably come from whatever organization that you’re working with. Again, we have to remember this. Politicians in Washington will not bring about the change that we care about. It’s a corrupt system of politicians that, ultimately, only care about two things: getting more power and staying in power. It’s a very self-fulfilling act that they do. Elect me, and I will do this for you. No, no, no. If we were honest about this, most politicians are saying, “Elect me so I can do bigger and greater things. Elect me so I can get wealthier. Elect me so I can make a name for myself.” After you leave the voting booth, little is really done. My advice for all of this is get involved, but get involved and stay focused. I feel like good intentions are great. They also say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If we end up running around just investing ourselves in minor areas and stretching ourselves way too thin, we’re never going to really impact any kind of movement and any kind of change in our country.
If you’re a person of faith, this stands for you as well. I’m not even talking about which side of the aisle that you would be on, whether it be right or whether it be left. If you believe in the right for babies to not be aborted, then go and invest yourself. I use this example all the time. Don’t go and invest yourself in a cheap way. Don’t go out and picket abortion clinics. Don’t go and do that. Go and try to invest in the lives of these young women that are finding themselves in a crisis scenario. Invest in their lives. The problem with this and the problem with simple and cheap advocacy is that it requires very little of us. If you are going to go invest, invest greatly in these areas. Invest in a way that costs something from you.
That’s why when they talk about slacktavism and simply just being able to push your thoughts, push your agendas over Facebook. For you to create a post or to share a post, it requires very, very little of you. Guess what? Everybody else who’s doing that requires very little of them. At the end of the day, we all know somewhere deep in the recesses of our minds, that posting and doing things in that manner, really don’t do anything. You kind of half-ass it. I’ll half-ass it. We all half-ass it, and then we get Donald Trump. I know I’m oversimplifying things. What I’m saying is, what your guiding principles are, what your guiding vision is for this country, regardless of where you stand on this (and I’m speaking outside of party lines), go and invest where you can make positive change.
Arguing with people that don’t believe like you is not positive change. Going out and picketing, and screaming at people, and shaming people, is not positive change. Positive change comes when you invest yourself deeply in a cause. Those causes should be something that, hopefully, move towards making things better for humanity collectively in your community, in your state, in your country, and around the world. If you’re a person of faith, your faith should guide you towards being a healing factor in this world, not a dividing factor. We have to ask ourselves, are our words and our actions, are they creating healing or are they creating greater division? It’s very easy to demonize Donald Trump. By no means am I sticking up for him. He is just a result of a system that is corrupt that we’re living within. I know he’ll paint himself as the outsider, but he’s an insider. He’s part of a corrupt system that will continue to work in its corrupt ways unless we choose to invest ourselves and our lives very deeply in the things that matter.
That’s all we’ve got for the show today. Thank you for listening. I really just appreciate it. If you have feedback, if you have ideas, if you want to call me out, feel free. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just a reminder as we end this broadcast, you can always find us on podcast at www.snarkyfaith.com. Catch us on Twitter. Catch us on Facebook. We love to hear feedback. If you want to be a part of “What’s good // What’s bad,” send me links. Send me great stuff that we can rip on.
That’s all I’ve got this week. Thank you so much for joining us. I will catch you again next week.
A rundown of all you need to know about the new normal including Trump’s inauguration, Christian’s obsession with Israel and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream for America. We’ve also added a new segment called What’s Good? What’s Bad? chronicling the interweb’s best and worst of the week. Join us as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.
Tune in and come along for the ride…
[showhide type=”pressrelease” more_text=”Click for Full Show Transcript” less_text=”Hide Show Transcript” hidden=”yes”]
Well, good afternoon, and welcome to another round of Snarky Faith Radio. I’m your host, Stuart Delony. As a matter of housekeeping, I just wanted to give a shout out to you guys, our dear listeners, from the airwaves. Also, for those of you listening to us via Internetlandtopia, “What’s up? Hey. How’s it going?” More importantly, I just to thank you guys for tuning in week after week being a part of this show as it continues to grow and get more traction. We can’t do it without you, so much appreciation to all of you.
If you’re looking to connect with us more and more, you can find us on www.snarkyfaith.com. You can go on Facebook/SnarkyFaith. It’s just that easy, or you can find us on Twitter, same idea, Twitter/ — what is it again? Huh? Huh? What is it? That’s right it’s SnarkyFaith. That was an easy pop quiz to start off the show.
What I wanted to do is give you a little snapshot of where we were going to be going over this next hour taking this from the perspective of, hey, we’ve got the shallow end. You know the area where you like to dip those toesies in and it progresses all the way to the deep-end-type conversations. Remember, I will have no running on the side of the pool. We may have to pull out the lifeguard whistle if that’s going on. No tomfoolery around here whatsoever especially on the show called Snarky Faith. [laughs] [sarcasm]
Some of the shallow end, which you may laugh at even the mention of this being the shallow end, would be our nightmare scenario that happens this coming Friday otherwise know as the presidential inauguration. We’ll dip our toes into that just a little bit. As we start to get into the deeper dive, we’ll hop in to a little topic.
To be honest, it’s something that’s baffled me in my faith walk, ever since I was a kid, was this one thing. You’d hear people talk about it. You hear people going on and on about it, support this one area. I just found it to be incredibly bizarre. As our deeper end segment that we’ll get into may be one of those things that may create a little bit of ire amongst some of you out there. I invite the conversation.
Through the course of this, my whole goal would be, really, to ask more questions than to, actually, prove a point or to say this is right or wrong. That topic being, that I want to hop in with, will be what is Christian’s obsession with Israel? This whole “We’re a Christian nation. We have to stand behind Israel for whatever the heck they want to do.” It doesn’t make sense. What’s the history behind it? All that kind of good stuff. We’ll hop into that, and then, we’ll find ourselves landing off that diving board at the end talking a little bit about Dr. Martin Luther King. How’s that sound for you, boys and girls? How’s that sound for a show setup? I think it’s a good one. Let’s just go ahead and hop in.
Starting off the show, I wanted to start this off with a new segment that we’re going to be bringing here to the show. Here’s how it’s going to work. The new segment is going to be called — I guess, if I’m giving it to you now, it’s not going to be called anything. It actually is this. We’re going to have this segment recurring on the website and also, here on the radio, called, “What’s good? What’s bad?”
It’s really going to chronicle things that have occurred out there in the interwebs over the past week, some of them good, some of them bad, mainly, stuff in the vein that you would expect from this show, mainly, in the vein in the things that we shall call, “Very Snarky.” Some of them will make you go, “Huh.” Some of them will make you go, “Aha.” That’s really the goal for it. What we’ll do is that I will give an overview of them here on the show, but you can find all the links, all the transcriptions, from a broader base on our website at www.snarkyfaith.com. How’s that sound? Here we have it, “What’s good? What’s bad?” from the past week.
The first up on the list, we have Martin Shkreli. If anybody knows him, they pretty much hate him or want to punch him in the face. He’s the guy also known as the “Pharma bro”, the dude that took over a pharmaceutical company, jacked up the prices just to make a bunch of profit. He’s super creepy, super smug. Like I said before, he kind of has one of those faces that just begs to be punched.
The first one we’re having here in the “What’s good? What’s bad?” is good for me. It’s probably bad for Martin. They had a video [laughs] where he was being interviewed and, of all things, somebody pelted him with dog poo on the face. It’s a beautiful moment. [sarcasm] Just makes me smile. Moving on.
Next, we have what I would say is pretty beautiful on many different fronts, where you actually have a comic book artist that has turned Donald Trump’s most controversial quotes into comic book covers from comics that we know and we love. It’s as amazing as you can think. It’s really just one of those things that I personally feel is just escapism, ways to survive the coming apocalypse of our dear Führer, the Don.
Then, stepping into the realm of the absurd because there’s only one way to think of this situation as absurd. There was a guy who, apparently, had nothing better to do. His YouTuber name is Mr. Beast. Apparently, as we all do, we have dumb ideas from time to time. No, no, no. Mr. Beast said, “My dumb idea needs to be transitioned into YouTube gold.” He, literally, counted to 100,000 on video for no good reason. It took him 40 hours on YouTube to count that high.
Hey, if any of you are listening to this right now and feeling like you are pretty lazy and that you’re wasting time by not being productive enough in January because January is all about resolutions and being productive and making our life grand [sarcasm], just think of Mr. Beast, a dude who killed 40 hours on camera simply counting to 100,000. Well done, buddy. [sarcasm] We can all do it. We just don’t choose to do it because it’s a tremendous waste of time.
Lastly, I give you something that’s good but something that’s pretty horrible at the same time for you. Taco Bell has released the fact that they are going to be rolling out the Naked Chicken Chalupa. That sounds decent enough, right? Taco Bell. Chicken chalupa. Uh-huh. [sarcasm] No, no. Here’s where it goes wrong. The entire taco shell is made out of fried chicken. It ends up feeling like one of those things you’d find at a carnival where they deep fry Snickers, or sticks of butter, or things of that realm of whatever you want to call it, of disgustingness.
I guess it’s one way for you to, somehow, be able to block out the coming apocalypse that happens this Friday called the inauguration. So, yeah, go ahead eat up however many god-forsaken calories that is going to be contained in that thing that is absolutely disgusting. Again, thanks, Taco Bell. You know how to procure wonderful delights that, pretty much, only makes sense to potheads late at night. Well done. Well done because this somehow topped your Cheeto chalupa and your Dorito taco. I didn’t think you could top it, but you proved me wrong once again. [sarcasm]
To the last two items on our list of “What’s good? What’s bad” for this week, the first one of those two comes from Martin E. Marty, who writes an article called “The Metaphysical Moment.” It really began to tap into to something that I found very interesting lately. If any of you out there have been watching HBO’s Westworld or Netflix’s The OA, both of which, are quite interesting. What Martin, here, is getting out is that we’re hitting this pop culture moment, this pop culture metaphysical moment, where we’re beginning to look at these weird interchanges between what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to have knowledge? What does it mean to be a part of some sort of a faith community?
If you haven’t seen either of those, one of those that I would recommend more than the other — I enjoyed Westworld and I’m really still curious what is going to happen next. Watching Westworld, I had that feeling the entire time through the series. This is really interesting. I’m really enjoying this. There’s not a whole lot for me to hook my claws into while I’m watching this, but I just kept waiting for something more to happen. Every episode left you with this, “I’m waiting for something more to happen.”
Of those two, the first one I mentioned was OA, which is over on Netflix that my wife and I totally binge-watched through. I’m not even sure what the past tense of binge-watched is. OA, it is a fascinating, ambiguous, mysterious bit of television that is going out there that I was engaged with the entire time. There was larger questions of the afterlife, larger questions of existence and connection, and what does it mean to be part of a community? I found the show quite beautiful and was left with a cliffhanger at the end of it going, “Oh my gosh. When is season two going to happen? Is it going to happen? When is it going to happen? It can’t happen soon enough.” I really, really enjoyed that.
I, also, enjoyed Martin’s article, too, on that. I think you will find really interesting because I think he’s tapping into something that — we’re hitting this weird moment where, for the longest time in our culture, there was science. There was religion, and never the two shall meet. The two, science and religion, will, oftentimes, seem to be enemies of one another. I think through the realms of story and storytelling, mini-series and TV, we’re beginning to see these larger questions that are being asked that, honestly, I wish were being asked in faith communities, that I wish were being asked in churches, but are not.
Martin’s article begins to scratch the surface of something that I felt has been going on that, maybe, science and religion are not mutually exclusive. Maybe, they can be something that informs one another, and this divide that we’ve drawn needs to be erased so that voices from both sides can begin to talk, and to listen, and to learn from one another.
On that, my last item for our “What’s good? What’s bad?” of the week is from none other than Russell Brand. I know. I know. Some of you love him. Some of you hate him. It seems like more people out there hate him, but I will tell you this, that dude can ask some interesting questions here and there when he’s not being overtly crass.
He published an article this week — not an article. He published a video this week of him talking through what led us to where we are at here right now to where, somehow, to most of the country, where Trump made sense, or across the pond over in England where Brexit made sense. Instead of him attacking where we are at, which, hey, I do it. [laughs] Many of us do it. I call it a coping mechanism. It’s the only way I survive by being snarky and attacking these things.
What I love that Brand does in this video that you can find on our website, is that he begins just to ask the deeper questions of what brought us here and why did those two huge decisions that impact each of our nations, that will impact many more than just our two nations. Why were we at a place where this, somehow, made sense to a lot of people, where these options made too much sense? I think his voice is one that we need to listen to, to hold on to, and to wrestle through. I would just go ahead and tell you it is definitely worth a listen. You should hop on over there.
That brings us to the end of this segment. I would love it if you guys see stuff that’s good and bad, that’s interesting, and aha-type moments, if you could send them to us. We could include them on the show, include them on the website. You can reach us at email@example.com or just interact with us on Facebook and Twitter. Now, we’re going to move on from there.
I mentioned this earlier as we began our show, the first talking points that we’re going to delve into for this show segment is the impending doom of the inauguration that happens this Friday. I know that many of us are having a hard time dealing with this. There’s a lot of protests going on. There is a lot of activity over social media and through the news. It’s like a bad dream that is found its way into reality.
Oftentimes, when we have these bad dreams, we wake up and go, “Oh my gosh. Yes, it was only a dream.” We’re now at this critical mass moment of going, “Oh my gosh. It was only a dream. Wait. No. It’s not.” This is our new normal. This is our new reality. We are going to have Donald Trump as president. For how long? We’re not sure. He will probably do that on his own if there’s going to be something along the lines of an impeachment pending forward. He’ll dig his own grave with that one.
Oftentimes, I felt that being able to watch Saturday Night Live or different late-night comedy hosts is the laugher that is medicine that we need. We need to be able to laugh our way through this insane place that we find ourselves in this moment of history where, most certainly, if the world lasts years into the future, that I believe historians will find great interest in being able to dissect what led to all of these things happening.
What I want to tell you is this, the new buzzword that we have out across the news, across social media, is the “fake news” that is going on. It was last week, I believe, when Trump was even declaring that CNN was fake news. It’s become this thing that has creeped into our lexicon. Instead of sitting there, because that’s kind of low hanging fruit being able to pick through the fake news, what I want to be able to do is to pick through the real news.
If you watch news, if you pay attention to your Facebook feed, if you digest the news online or watch it on TV, one thing that I’ve noticed overwhelming over the last while, is that we will get caught up in these bizarre news cycles much like — let me pause for this. Does anybody remember back in the day when we had Weekly World News? Do you remember that? You were in the checkout line in the grocery store and they would have these ridiculous headlines about Batboy being found or Elvis still being alive. I will tell you that I love those guys.
I was taking a speech class in college and we had to come up with a persuasive speech, a speech where we were taking a topic where most people would disagree with. We had to give a speech that would convince our audience otherwise. Me being snarky even back in my younger days, I decided to take on the fact that I wanted to prove that Elvis was still alive, really, because it amused me. For my backing sources, I ended up writing them a letter. This is not pre-email but things weren’t as online as they are nowadays. I ended up, literally, handwriting an email to the Weekly World News down in Florida. They were gracious enough and sent me an entire packet of all of the crazy and insane news that they had curated over the years about Elvis being alive. Long story short, I got an “A” on the project. I was one of the few persuasive speakers in that class that was able to win over a bunch of people on a topic as ridiculous as whether or not Elvis is alive.
My point being, we used to have those tabloid-driven news, which we still have today in the checkout lines and we have them online as well. It feels like the mainstream media — and I know, I know me saying this makes my skin crawl because I feel like it makes me end up sounding like Sarah Palin. That is one person you never want to sound like unless you’re probably doing drunk karaoke. One thing I want us to begin to do is to become very attuned listeners to when we digest news that is coming our way.
I can think of this last week, half of it was the fake news that came out about Trump, and having Russian prostitutes, and having them pee on a bed because what else do you do with Russian prostitutes besides have them pee on a bed. [sarcasm] This thing was given way too much traction. It was given way too much time, and the news continued to run with it because (a) it’s absurd, (b) it gets people’s interest because it’s ridiculous. It could be true which makes it even more ridiculous, but most likely, it’s not true. I think that we need to become a people that are discerning listeners, people that aren’t sharing crazy crap unless it’s in a “What’s good? What’s bad?” section on our show.
I think as we move into what it looks like a Trump presidency, I think that we need to learn how to listen better. I think that we need to learn how to digest the things that we’re talking about, and we’re Tweeting about, and blogging about, and, hey, on my own time, what I’m yelling on the radio about. I think we need to move back towards what it would mean to be reasonable.
I know it feels like we are in a time right now where nothing is reasonable and everyone is our enemy, that there are so many crazy people out there whether they be — hey, if you’re a conservative, the liberals are crazy. If you’re a liberal, the conservatives are crazy. We’ve just moved to a place where we can’t even have a reasonable conversation anymore with one another. If there’s anything that is good that we can bring out of this insanity that is the Trump presidency, it should be that we need to return towards being people that are thoughtful, people that pause before we answer, people that think about how our words are going to impact others, and at the end of day, people that are worried about the greater good.
I know a lot of times we get caught up in the fact that we want to be able to rant about stuff. I do it. I have a radio show and I do it, so I’m as guilty as anybody. I think that instead of us ranting on things, I think that we need to learn to be able to pause, to take a deep breath, and to have a deeper introspection towards how we engage with the world around us because, really, what’s happened lately is that everything seems to just spiral out of control. News stories spiral out of control. We get more interested by just the insidious nature of humanity through the news to where the news has become, pretty much, like the Weekly World News used to be. That’s not good.
When we begin to consume things that turn us on our neighbor, when we begin to consume things that make us worried about the other in our culture, we’ve brought ourselves to a point where we are not people that are understanding of other people’s stories. We begin to get hyper-judgmental about stuff. We don’t give people the benefit of the doubt. I think we need to learn how to play nice all over again. I will tell you, this is not an easy road. I will tell you that this is going to take time, this is going to take patience, and it is going to take some sort of fortitude that we have to draw from deep within ourselves in order to take that deep breath and not lash back at the other when they are making crazy allegations or causing crazy names of us.
As we look towards this Trump inauguration, I would hope that we can move closer towards sanity and further away from insanity because the way things are rolling, things are just going to get more and more crazy if we continue on this path. I think it brings us to this point where we need to be able to say, “Enough is enough.” I want to restore sanity. I want to restore humanity. I want to end up being a good neighbor. I want to end up being a person that is thoughtful, that is kind, that can put a stop to all of this vitriol that keeps rolling around social media, the news, and even within common conversations that we’re having with others.
My advice to you moving forward is to learn to take a deep breath, learn to let certain comments just move on, but have the posture that you want to make things better. Look in your community, in your own spheres, how you can change things positively, how you can make a difference. That is the only way that we are going to be able to make any kind of positive change moving forward in the midst of all of this insanity.
Moving on to the topic of Christianity’s absolute obsession with the nation-state of Israel. I will begin this conversation with the end of a speech by Susan Michael that is from the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem. She ends this prayer breakfast speech with these words, and I think we can use some of these words to be able to frame the conversation that is surrounding Christianity’s obsession with nation-state of Israel.
She ends up by saying this, “To summarize, we stand with Israel and her claim to Jerusalem because we share the same biblical and historical connection. We honor the unique national and spiritual connection that the Jewish people and the Jewish nation have for the City of Jerusalem. We trust Israel to maintain the safety and freedom of worship for everyone throughout Jerusalem, and lastly, we believe that just as you cannot separate Christianity from its Jewish roots, you cannot separate Jerusalem from its Jewish history. It is an eternal, spiritual, and historical reality.”
I mentioned this earlier when I was prefacing the whole show, but one of these weird things that I’ve had within Christianity is this insistence — I’ve heard it preached through pulpits. I’ve read it on blog posts. I’ve seen it on social media posts about this insistence that Christianity support the nation-state of Israel.
If you’ve noticed the fact that I continue to say the word nation-state before Israel is because I think that we have gotten things, oftentimes, confused. I think, oftentimes, in Christianity, we see the Children of Israel, we see this kinship that we have towards the Children of Israel throughout scripture, and we say we must continue to protect the Children of Israel.
My issue has always come from the fact that I believe that we get mixed up when we begin to look at things through geo-political borders, and we mix them with spiritual truths that we have grown up with. Oftentimes, I see this throughout culture, and it’s something that I like to point out, usually in private with my wife later after I’ve had interactions with very enthusiastic Christians about things. There’s a statement that I continue say oftentimes is that I know the words that they are using but the way that they define those words are not the way that I define those words.
For example, off topic of Israel, oftentimes, people will begin to talk about the Good News of Christianity. It’s a buzzword within these circles. We talk about the Good News. We need to give people the Good News. What is the Good News that we are giving them? First and foremost is that they are going to hell. In my short life that I have had here, which I can say short life because it makes me feel better — Yes, in my almost 40 years of being on this planet, typically, good news is not prefaced with bad news. Oftentimes, when I hear Christians talk about the Good News, you’re all sinners and you’re destined for hell, but the Good News is, apparently, that we had a rageaholic god [sarcasm] that, somehow, Jesus came and lived a sinless life, and died in our place on the cross. People would say that’s the Gospel.
The Good News is the fact that we all suck, that God has anger issues [sarcasm], but, thankfully, Jesus came and died for all of us, and that’s really the Good News. Because the Good News is we get a “Get Out of Hell Free” card to be able to move forward. To me, starting out with calling people dirt and saying that they’re crap, and mentioning that God is good but, at the same time, he’s a rageaholic. That doesn’t sound, to me, like good news. Oftentimes, we throw around these terms where you may use them in one way. I may use them in a different way, but we end up using the same words.
I get into this argument a lot of times where I will say this, that I don’t necessarily believe the institutional church, the way the church exists now and probably has for a long while. People will say, “Oh, no, no. You’re supposed to. We have to believe in the church.” I think that the word “church” has gotten messed up too. The church is simply supposed to be a group of people that are believers that live life with a different ethic, that live life in a way that they are here to offer healing to those that hurt, that are here to offer wholeness for those that feel broken. Oftentimes when we see church, we see large buildings. We see money flowing in and out of different ministries and ways that do not seem to be about the teachings of Jesus. In that aspect, I feel like we get the words up.
In this aspect, when we were talking about Israel, I think we get the words mixed up. I think there’s a spiritual people of God that follow after God, and then, I think there’s a nation-state that we, somehow, give a free pass to simply because we like to claim we are a Christian nation.
This whole issue of the American church giving a blank check to Israel for whatever they do because we support them because this area that wasn’t established until — what was it? — until the late ‘40’s, that this area, somehow, holds a spiritual connection to us that we must, somehow, defend it blindly. Yes, I do understand that when we talk about Israel, we talk about Jerusalem, we talk about the summit of holy places for many different religions whether it be Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam. This ends up being a highly debated area. When begin to think about the politics of the Middle East, it gets even more and more dicey. I wanted to throw into this — really, I don’t have answers. I just have lots of questions.
There was a post that was done recently by Christy Thomas. She is the author ofThe Thoughtful Pastor. She was offering her thoughts on the way that Christians and Christianity hold onto Israel. I really like some of her words and I’ll read a few of them here.
She begins in her article by giving us a little bit of a historical context for all of this. When we begin to figure out what is our ties, especially, within the Christian faith to Israel, it comes from Genesis 12:1-3, and it says this. It says, “The Lord said to Abraham, leave your land, your family, and your father’s household, for the land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name respected, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse, and all the families on Earth will be blessed because of you.”
We begin to understand these roots come from the Old Testament, and we begin to understand this tie to the descendants of Abraham. She summarizes her article in this, and I’ll just read this verbatim. Her words are better than my words. It comes from the subtitle of “The Danger of Religious Mandates to Rule.”
She says, “As a person of faith it grieves me to write this, however, anytime some secular rule claims a religious mandate to the rule, that result will always be oppression coupled with evil actions towards those who do not fit that particular religious structure. It doesn’t matter whether the religious power is Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Orthodox, or any other faith community. The original Abrahamic covenant springs from the idea that God uniquely chose to bless Abraham. Then, Abraham along with his decedents passed that blessing on to everyone else. They are blessed to be a blessing. That part of the covenant must be honored.”
She, then, goes on to ask these questions. “So do I support Israel? Of course. Should the U.S.? Of course, Israel is a sovereign nation with rights to exist.” Then, she counters it with saying this, “But should that support mean a blind approval for systematic mistreatment of others? No, neither Israel nor any other nation gets a bye when it comes to the basic ethics and morality. No, neither Israel nor any other nation gets a bye when it comes to the basic ethics and morality.”
When I begin to think back just over my upbringing and being around just Christianity, I always had that question. Why? I had questions where the Children of Israel in the Bible, these spiritual children that followed after God, are they the same things as the nation-state that exists now, that is embroiled in a ton of nastiness? Nastiness is putting it very lightly when it comes to the whole Israeli, Palestinian conflict that continues on. My question for those of faith that begin to walk it out really comes in the fact of should we question a lot of these precepts that we’ve held onto? Should we question about these human rights violations that are happening? Does Israel deserve a blank check simply because I believe that we’ve misunderstood God’s blessing onto a group of people?
Those are questions. If you guys have other questions, if you have other comments, I would love to hear them, but as our time is running down, I want to move on to our final segment.
Lastly, I want to leave us in this show on somewhat of a higher note, on a higher note that I say in a way that I mean that I want something for us to aspire to, to aspire to be something better than where we are at right now. I want us to aspire to be a better country. I want us to aspire to be a better people and being a people that have values, that have principles, that have a guiding light for what we want to become, for where we want to go, and for what type of future we want to leave for our children.
On that note, especially, since yesterday was Martin Luther King Day, I want us to remember his sacrifice. I want us to remember his words. I want us to not just remember him as a great man who many sacrifices, who made many strides towards bringing equality to our nation, but he is a man that had a significant dream, a dream that was not a fantasy, but a dream that is something that we can strive towards, that we still need to strive towards, about a future that we want to have, a future that we need to have.
I’ll leave you with this. This is his speech, his famous “I Have a Dream” speech that was performed at Morehouse College a few years back with a myriad of voices from different backgrounds as seen in this beautiful mosaic, the dream that he had. I’ll leave you with that today because I think it’s a beautiful rendition, but I also think that Martin Luther King paints a beautiful picture of the future that we could have and the future that we should have.
There are many things that we are not happy with that are going on in the world today. I think that those things can lead us to be cynical and bitter. Those things can lead us to entrench ourselves, those things lead us to begin to not see the humanity in other people. In the events that have been going on recently, here and abroad, I think that we need to continue to dream about a better tomorrow. We need to continue to dream about a world that we want to see our children raised in, a future that isn’t driven by fear and hate but one where the love of each other is a driving force.
You’re listening to this show, and it’s called Snarky Faith, and more often than not, we’ll continue to push this idea that the ways and the teachings of Jesus lead us to supreme change, and those ways led Dr. King on a trajectory where he gave his whole self, his whole life to an idea that future can be better. Here’s that speech and I will let it close out the show. We will catch you again next week.
[Begin Audio Clip of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech read by multiple people
Female Voice 1: I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration of freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.
Male Voice 1: One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
Male Voice 2: In a sense, we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Female Voice 2: It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vault of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
Male Voice 3: We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s people.
Female Voice 3: It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
Female Voice 4: But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
Male Voice 4: We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
Female Voice 5: And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.
Male Voice 5: We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Female Voice 6: I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
Male Voice 6: I say to you today, my friends. So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Female Voice 7: I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Female Voice 8: I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”
Female Voice 9: This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. And this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
Female Voice 10: And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
Female Voice 11: And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
A rundown of all you need to know about 2017. Can it be better than 2016? It certainly wouldn’t take much to improve on last year. Join us as we run through a whole host of topics related to the new year including New Year’s Resolutions, Trump’s inauguration, Meryl Streep, Mc Donald’s, Ken Ham and so much more.
Tune in to get up to speed on everything 2017…
To find the Katharine Hayhoe Interview you can find them here: part 1 and part 2
[showhide type=”pressrelease” more_text=”Click for Full Show Transcript” less_text=”Hide Show Transcript” hidden=”yes”]
Title: Hello 2017
Program: Snarky Faith Radio | www.snarkyfaith.com
Host: Stuart Delony
Well, good afternoon, and welcome to another round of Snarky Faith Radio. I am your host, Stuart Delony. Thankfully, thank God, that I can say this. Now, this is the first show of 2017. We made it, folks. We somehow made it through 2016. Twenty-sixteen (2016), that cluster [makes horn sound] of a year, but somehow, we made it, and we barely made it out intact. There were so many folks that were beloved to us that died over this last year. Even as the year inched closer to an end, I would just be like, “Ugh,” we just have to make it a little further, a little further, and we’ll finally be done with this wretched year that is 2016.
A personal story, it was New Year’s Eve, when I got a phone call that one of my favorite uncles, my Uncle John, had passed away. I — well, I can’t actually use all of the terms I was thinking in my head about this wretched, awful past year that we went through, but that was really just the cherry on top. He was a good man. He was a beloved man, and he was just too good to be a part of the awfulness that was 2016.
I digress. We have moved beyond. We have made it. The door was closed and a new door is open. A new year is in front of us. I’m excited about the possibility of this, until about midway when I start getting snarky again, and we’ll just dump on the year, as well, as we move forward.
Yes. We are here, 2017. If you are here in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, you know we had baby snow-pocolypse going on right now. I will tell you this. I will tell you that, right now, this show is coming to you from a closet in my house. Yes, the roads are icy. I did not necessarily want to get out and try and tackle the studio with the way things are going; snow on the ground, ice on the roads, especially in the evening with black ice. If you are listening to me right now, live on the radio, drive safely on your way home.
Yes, I have kids. I am in my house, and I have found a place that is the only place that I’ve found, that I believe, is quiet enough for the show, which is a closet. So I begin 2017 in the closet. You can read into that however you want to, but I am just glad to be here. We will be bringing you a bunch of great stuff moving forward in this year. I am excited about 2017 for Snarky Faith. I want to say, “Hey, thank you,” for those that have been with us for the past couple of years. Also, if you’re new to this whole thing, “Welcome. Welcome to the show.”
If you’re new to this, I just really want to give you a rundown of what Snarky Faith looks like, what we are about, all of that. We are simply folks that — if you didn’t already catch this in our intro — that we are all about skewering through life, culture, religion, spirituality, all of that, coming from a realm that, essentially, religion has done us wrong in many, many different ways, but that doesn’t mean that faith should stop in the midst of it.
So speaking about faith or the faithless, whichever way you want to look at this, we’ve gotten, recently in the news, a Trump inauguration rundown. So we have, of the pastors that will be attending the inauguration of our dear Don, we have: televangelists, Paula White; rageaholic, curmudgeon, Franklin Graham; and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson. When you actually spell Wayne T. Jackson, the “s” in Jackson is actually a dollar sign [sarcasm].
When I read this, I was like, “Wait. What? No Creflo Dollar? No Joel Osteen? This is shameful.” I was hoping for a full house of all jokers if that’s actually possible, or, maybe, we could just say four of a kind with all jacks or jackasses. [sarcasm] Yeah, that’s pretty much what we’ll have to just deal with and move forward on.
Oh, what a ride, my dear listeners, this next four years will be. Wait, never mind. We have Franklin Graham. We have Paula White, and we have Wayne T. Jackson. They, somehow, must be related to Trump, right? Isn’t that what he does? He, pretty much, just hires people to be around him that he’s somehow related to. Relations could be that he touched you inappropriately, or, somehow, he has used his own seed to make you, which, sadly enough, if you combine the grabbing and the seed, that actually, puts a pretty wide swath of people that could be partially on his cabinet or his advisors. No, no, no, when we speak of our dear Trump, he’s all despot nepotism or bust. We have to remember that he is our orange president erect, and deserves a chance. [sarcasm]
Who am I kidding? This is going to be a train wreck, the kind of train wreck that happens when you don’t have Amy Schumer there to help us laugh it off. Yeah, that kind of train wreck, the kind that’s not funny, and there’s death, and there’s screaming, and there’s gnashing of teeth, and there’s suffering, and all that kind of stuff. [sarcasm] Yep. We just got rid of 2016. Twenty seventeen (2017), let’s hop on the train.
What I want to tell you guys is that I don’t want you to worry as we step into this new year with a new president. Do not worry. We, here, at Snarky Faith will keep the snark flowing as your release valve to help you keep your sanity.
Why, oh why, can’t we just keep Jesus out of politics, right, when we begin to think about all these folks? Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what fun would that be. Really, when you begin to break down the roster of religious leaders that are there for the inauguration, it’s almost like a joke. Actually, it is a joke. Think of this, you can set this up, and it would kill. It goes this way: Two prosperity gospel preachers, one rabbi, a Catholic priest, a Hispanic Christian leader, and the son of Billy Graham all walk into a bar… That’s how it goes. This is the joke. This is the life we’re living in right now. If you can’t laugh about it, you’re probably going to blow your brains out. [sarcasm]
So we have this. We have the prosperity gospel twins here in the mix. We’ve got Paula White and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, and they totally, totally make sense for Trump to have them there. They both believe that the streets of heaven are paved in gold. Because of that, they believe that their mansions here on Earth should, probably, be covered in gold and all sorts of gaudiness that goes all around that. They’re all about parishioners sowing seeds and grabbing glory. Donald does have a bit of a fake gold thing going for him whether it’s his complexion or the façade of anything that he builds, or, for that matter, anything that he likes to grab. [sarcasm]
You see, the prosperity game is all about making a name for yourself, and then, rolling in the dough, rolling in the bling. That’s all from the Trump playbook. Do you remember it? It’s called the Art of the Steal [sic]. [sarcasm] We have to remember that money, wealth, and power are all symbols of God’s favor and power. Aren’t they? [sarcasm] So who am I to argue? That being said, if you want God’s favor in 2017, I want you to know that you can go to www.snarkyfaith.com, and we are accepting checks. Remember, the bigger check equals a bigger blessing. Of course, I’m kidding. We’re still your same snark for free every week.
All of this seems weird in stark contrast to what God has asked of us like in the book of Micah where it says, “The Lord has shown you what is good. He has told you what he requires of you. You must act with justice. You must love to show mercy. And you must be humble yourself as you live in the sight of your God.”
What? What is all this? Mercy, humble? I mean, how does all this fit into this prosperity — I’d say prosperity gospel, but now, we’re, also, entering into the prosperity presidency. Maybe, I’m wrong in this, and I’m fully well admitting here that I could be wrong because I could be reading this from a totally different translation. Maybe, they are reading it from the KJV, or the FML, or the WTF? [sarcasm] That is always a good possibility of what could be happening here.
Then, there’s the Twitter accounts that are going on right now, the Twitter accounts for our next Führer. I mean, how is this a thing? Can someone have daily temper tantrums? Yeah, thanks again 2016 for Trump. That’s one of those things that are going to continue to pay wonderful dividends for the rest of us. I believe it was Depeche Mode that said, “Words like violence, break the silence, come crashing in, into my little world. Painful to me, pierce right through me, can’t you understand,” oh, my little Trump.
Hey, things couldn’t get any crazier than they already are. It’s not like they’re putting a McDonald’s in the Vatican, right? That would be absurd if it didn’t just happen. It opened on December 30, of last year. Screw you, 2016.
On a lighter note, let’s talk about the destruction of our planet. That’s always fun cocktail conversation. Seriously, have you been keeping up with climate scientist, Katherine Hayhoe, lately? Yeah, she’s amazing. Yeah, she’s a friend of the show. You can go on our website www.snarkyfaith.com and find our episode with her, and I’ll put a link here in the show notes for you. Why does all this matter? Why do climate scientists, like Katherine Hayhoe, matter? Why does all this matter in the face of global warming and climate change? Well, it simply matters because of this, my dear snarky listeners. Just half of American evangelicals believe that global warming is actually a thing. Just let that drift into you. Half of evangelical Christians out there honestly believe that global warming, that climate change, is a thing; half of them. It’s actually sadder because you can compare that to 63% of Americans that actually believe that it’s a thing, and it’s a real problem that has deep religious roots that many would deny.
If I do recall back in the book Genesis, you know, the book that Ken Ham loves to use to build theme parks from. Yeah, that one. Back in Genesis where you have this ethic that is deeply embedded in the nature of God where God creates the Earth, and he puts it in our care. It’s one of the first things that God commands humans to do. That we’re not supposed to rape the Earth like Ben Roethlisberger would after a few drinks. Yeah. It’s a pretty big deal. God created the Earth. He gave it us to take care of, and we’re really doing a crappy job of it. The fact that we like to deny it, the fact that we like to stick our heads in the sand, the fact that we like to stick our fingers in our ears and say, “La la la la la la la la la. This isn’t happening. This isn’t real.” Yeah, we can do that all we want, but it’s still happening. It’s still a problem. The more that we deny it’s a problem, the further we are to being able to fix it.
Back to Katherine. Katherine Hayhoe recently started a PBS show called Global Weirding and it is definitely, definitely, worth your time. I love the work that she is doing. She just has a great heart and a passion for this. I think she’s just a wonderful and great individual, and you should check it out.
So you heard me speak of Ken Ham earlier. Right? Ken Ham, our old buddy. Old Kenny’s a favorite of the show. By that I mean, we love to rip on Ken Ham, and that he’s probably never heard of this show. [makes a sad “wa wa” sound] Ken found himself in a bit of a Twitter war. Oh my gosh, Twitter war. Can we go a whole show without talking about Twitter wars? It’s not with Trumpy, thankfully. Well, I don’t know “thankfully”. I think it would be pretty amusing to see the two of those get into it. It just so happens that if those two would go at it, I’m pretty sure the world would come to an end. [sarcasm] It’s kind of like crossing your streams, Ghostbuster style, or urinal style. Feel free to pick which analogy works best for you.
No, Ken Hambone [sic] — Wait. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to connect those two things. It’s causing a really weird image in me; Ken Bone, Ken Ham. If you were to take it — if anyone remembers like back in the days when Conan O’Brien had his show and he had this segment that was called, “If They Mated,” where you would take two celebrities and mash together their faces in some sort of grotesque creature. Yeah, it’s too much to handle for me to think of Ken Ham, Ken Bone. It’s just disgusting, so I’ll move on.
So Ken Ham. He is our lovely Mr. Biblical Literalist. Now, if you want to know what a biblical literalist is, you can also go to our website and see a show on that. We did an entire one on it. So he’s a biblical literalist who believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old. He believes that the Earth is literally 6,000 years old. He’s having a little bit of a Jurassic-style problem that even — I’m going to insert here that Chris Pratt probably can’t fix, but I wish he could. It would be an amazing movie, and I would watch it. I would put down my money, and go to the theater, and watch Chris Pratt somehow fix Ken Ham and his ark problem.
No, but Ken Ham is the proprietor of the Ark Encounter. It’s a theme park in Kentucky, which is, essentially, just one huge ark like Noah-style ark. You know, that kind of ark, Old Testament ark. Yeah. You know, it’s kind of one of those Don Quixote meets the Field of Dreams meets your crazy uncle who likes to throw out fake news stories like it’s real. It’s that kind of a park, and it’s in Kentucky because when anyone thinks about Kentucky, they think of intellectualism, or ideology, or scholarship, or having all your teeth. [sarcasm] Yeah. Really, when I think of Kentucky, all I can think of is a bunch of hillbillies and probably, college basketball.
So the Ark Encounter is a multimillion-dollar park that seeks to preach and teach to the already initiated. Yep, it’s Ken Ham’s faith. I keep wanting to say Ken Bone now. It’s Ken Ham’s faith that led him to spend millions of dollars on feeding the poor. [sarcasm] Wait, never mind, I meant, spending millions of dollars to make millions of dollars from a theme park. It’s this prosperity thing that keeps popping up over and over again. Are we seeing a theme in this at all, Christianity? I feel like I want to have a dad talk and pull up a chair and say, “Hey, American Christianity. Let’s have a talk. I’m seeing some problems. I’m seeing some patterns here. I’m seeing that we keep going back to this thing, this love of money and love of screwing over people but then acting like we’re taking the high road.” Yeah, that thing, that prosperity thing.
So Ken Ham. He’s mad now at the Washington Post because the Washington Post asserted that his attraction is implying that dinosaurs died in the flood. I mean, that seems maybe reasonable, but Ken Ham’s having any of that. Why is he not having any of it? Because the attraction shows dinosaurs were on the ark. Thanks for clearing that up, Ken. Of course, they were on the ark. [sarcasm] That makes so much sense. You know, the Earth is very young, less than 6,000 years old, and the dinosaurs hung around on the ark for a while until they didn’t. [sarcasm] I don’t know even where to go from that. That’s just a bunch of ridiculousness. So Ken’s mad at the Washington Post.
Also, on top of this — again, once you hop up in the news — for all of those out there that are delightful news whores, the Sara Palins and the bunch of that, because it’s not simply enough to milk people for money and simply just run around and be crazy people, it’s the fact that you continuously, over and over, somehow find reasons to be in the news.
So good old Kenny is, also, calling for a new Protestant reformation. He says that it’s been over 500 years since the last one, and apparently, simply because of that, we’re due. [sarcasm] If we’re really going to take the new Earth belief that he has of 6,000 years, that we’ve only had so many reformations because they only happen so often, that we’re, apparently, due for a new one. [sarcasm] So when I talk about Ken Ham, I just want to give you a little bit of free association. You know what keeps popping up in my head? It keeps popping up in my head that I, god, I wish I was talking about Jon Hamm. Wouldn’t it be amazing to watch a show about a 1960’s advertising executive on Madison Avenue that had a dream, that had a dream that he should make a life-sized ark to make a ton of money about a bunch of foolish Christians? Sorry, that’s a total aside. I’ll get back to the point.
So Ham, his issue and his point of saying that we need a new reformation, a new one just because it’s due, he wants us to turn back to reading the Bible literally because, apparently, he does. If he does, then everyone else should. [sarcasm] Yeah, that’s his conclusion to the question, what’s wrong with Christianity in American today, is that we need to read the Bible literally. Thanks for playing, Ken. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
If you really want to know what’s the problem with American Christianity, I can give you a few off the top of my head. Let’s say: materialism; consumerism; megachurches; Ken Ham; the fact that we don’t like to live out the ways, and ethics, and teachings that Jesus calls us to do. Yeah, that thing. I would probably circle back to there. You know, when Jesus tells us to: love one another, to love our enemies, to move forward and help those who need help, to speak out when those who are being marginalized are being oppressed. You know, those things? Yeah, I think that’s the problem.
I don’t think it’s about how we’re reading the Bible. I think it’s the fact that we’re not taking the words of Jesus very seriously, that we are called to love those who are being oppressed. We’re called to love those that we, in our own effort, would love to call “enemy.” Jesus says that we are called to love them, and that, my friends, will preach, just not at a Trump inauguration.
As we step into this new year with promise and hope, which, oftentimes, ends up looking like resolutions that we make, and we break, and we become this grand cliché. Before I step into an entire diatribe on resolutions, I will step into something a little bit personal, something that I would call a bit of a confession.
I am a commissioner of a Fantasy Football league. Our own, Dr. Ben, is on that league. A few of my children are on that league. A bunch of other folks, that I love and care for, are on this league. I will preface all of this by saying the past two years I’ve been the champion. It has been glorious. It has been beautiful. I have been unstoppable. I have, actually, never played Fantasy Football and not been a league champion until 2016.
Here’s my confession. I had a really, bad year. I had a really bad Fantasy year. No amount of statistics and research could put life into the lifeless body that was my Fantasy team. [laughs] So not only did I perform poorly, I ended up in the playoffs, in what they would call the “consolation prize” playoffs. You know, for those few people in your league that have mucked it up, but they just want to keep playing. So, no, I did not have the worst record in my league.
When it came to the playoffs, I ended up being pitted against my dear friend who has been playing Fantasy Football with us for two years and really doesn’t know what he’s doing, and ended up the year with zero wins. We get to the playoffs, he’s the first team I play against, and then, I lose to him. I lose to him in a very, ugly fashion, which throws me into, essentially, the toilet bowl bracket where there’s no hope, there’s no dignity, there’s only trying to make sure that you are not the supreme loser of our league. So my confession is that I was the winner of our ceremonial toilet bowl trophy this year from 2016.
You may be saying that I’m upset at 2016 simply because Fantasy Football, and by in large, you may be right, but there’s been many other things in this year that have been horrible. This was the icing on top of the cake of my 2016. Part of my penance for being the supreme loser was that I have to come on live radio and admit that I was the Fantasy Football loser for our league. There you have it. I have borne my shame to all of you. Now, I’ll move on from my Fantasy Football confession.
So when we begin to think about this new year, the hope, the promise of where we want it to go, of the places and things that we want to see in the midst of it. It always drives us to that place where we call New Year’s resolutions. What I want to do here is caution you, caution you, against being a cliché. Twenty seventeen (2017) should not start off with you having resolutions.
When I began to read about this, I began to look into the deeper topic on how we started resolutions, what happens with it. Everything you can read about it online usually descends into the cliché, not about resolutions, but about broken resolutions. Then, I stumbled onto this blog post by Meghan Telpner who is a Nutritionist at meghantelpner.com.
What she was doing, which I absolutely loved — I loved her take on resolutions. What she was trying to do was to reframe the conversation. She was trying to move it towards a place where we don’t look at resolutions because resolutions, for the most part, end up being self-serving for us; I want to lose weight. I want to look better. I want to not “Netflix and chill” 24/7 in this next year. It ends up being something that’s about me, me, me. Most times, they’re also very, very specific, especially when we go back to that idea, which is one of the perennial ones, of being able to lose weight. That’s very much me titled.
When she had written her post — and this is back from 2014, but I think it still speaks very clearly — it goes into this idea, and I think that she’s pushing this thought forward where we shouldn’t look towards resolutions. We should look towards intentions because resolutions can, oftentimes, be very finite. They can be very much looked at in the form of metrics like I want to have less debt. I want to lose weight. I want to do this, that, and the other.
When we boil it down to a series of metrics, which can, oftentimes, be helpful because you get a better return on investment — if we’re going to use that kind of buzz word, an ROI — on what we’re hoping for in the year. What ends of happening when we boil everything down to a series of metrics is the fact that it only keeps us looking at that plot point on our map for the year. It doesn’t have us looking to the horizon. It doesn’t really have us looking forward. It really, for the most part, has us looking backwards meaning if I keep using this analogy of the weight idea, which is, I would assume, the number one resolution that people go after.
When we begin to look forward, we’re not saying, “Oh, I’ve done so well this last year. I want to capitalize on that and keep moving forward.” No, it looks at, “I have made decisions that I am not very happy with and I want to fix those.” The problem with that is that it doesn’t keep us looking forward, and it, also, doesn’t keep us flexible in how we’re engaging the world and environment around us.
In her article that I was going through, I liked that she started asking a bunch of very open-ended questions. She began to say, “What would your financial situation be? What would your love for family look like? What would your health be like? What would your professional realm look like?” When you begin to paint a broader stroke instead of a very specific one, the entire anatomy of your outlook changes. When I go through Meghan’s writing, she had said (and this is back in 2014) — she uses the intentions that she had, that she would be: present, and loving, and healthy, and fearless, and creative, and focused, and carefree, and light, and passionate, and adventurous and awake, vibrant and abundant, transformed, peaceful, and happy.
When we begin to lay forward intentions, they take on a totally different life than resolutions. You see, an intention is something that we hope for, something that we carry with us when we step out into our day. When we say something like, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” it sounds very different than being able to say, “I want to be present and loving in every interaction that I have in moving through this year.” To say that I’m healthy and fearless, it just opens things up. What it does, also, is that it becomes something that has to become the whole of us. It’s the difference — and you’ve probably heard this before. I’ve probably said this on another show, but it’s the difference between being and doing. I like using this phrase.
I had a professor that told me long ago that there’s a huge difference between the being and the doing because we are a human being and not a human doing. When I see these resolutions, when I see these resolutions versus intentions, I begin to see this dichotomy between being and doing.
The doing, those are the small things. Those are things that are measurable. Those are the things that we can tick off, that we can look at specifically and say, “Yeah, I’ve done it.” When we look at the intentions, those are the things that carry us through the entire year.
Say you do lose those 30 pounds as part of your resolution. You’re done. Your whole goal is to make sure you don’t gain them back. If your intention is to be present when you are around people and with people, that has different power. That has different implications upon how you walk out into to the world every day.
To be present means I’m present with my loved ones. I am present with my friends, but I am also present with the cashier at the grocery store. I am also present with that person in the drive-through window that’s giving me coffee. I’m also present when I pass by somebody on the sidewalk that is asking for some change. You see, one is very inward and micro. The other is very outward and macro and requires way, way, way more of ourselves on a daily basis.
I think that even though we joke about it, that resolutions are meant to be broken, intentions become about living a new way of life. They have implications upon every fiber of our being, every interaction, every conversation that we have with people. When we begin to step into this year with new eyes and new intentions, it will bring us to a new and different place. I believe those are the ways to really begin to incite change within ourselves and incite change in the world around us. There’s a risk to those.
We like resolutions because they’re measurable. Intentions, they’re scary because we don’t know where it’s going to take us. We say, “I want to lose 30 pounds because I want to look a certain way.” When we say we want to be present, we have no idea where that journey will take us. As I move into looking into this year, the hope, the promise, and all of it, my hope for 2017 is that we can all learn to listen better, to learn from one another, to take time to see the God-given humanity in those that are different from ourselves.
My story is not your story, but that doesn’t make your story any less valid than my story. I want to see us to return to dialogue instead of posturing and yelling. I believe that we need to learn to listen to the voices that are different from our own, to learn from their stories, to take to heart the critiques of our values and views, whatever they are. I want to be more helpful and see the good in humanity, but, also fight for what is right, to see that the marginalized should have a voice, to see that the forgotten are given dignity, and to see life in terms of a spectrum instead of black and white or ones and zeros.
I want to use this space to offer another way to look at faith and belief, to see the words of Jesus take life and move into this world with skin on them, to find adventures and avenues for finding ways to heal the broken, to give voice to voiceless, to chart a new way to live, and walk, and interact with others. I want to see other people with new eyes, and I deeply believe in the words, and the ethics, and the teachings of Jesus because they say that love should lead us. They say that anger, and violence, and revenge are never the solution to a broken way of being. They only cause more heartache and pain.
I want to walk out the ways of Jesus, and that means that we must put our own needs secondarily to those that are hurting, and broken, and of need. It means that we learn to love those who don’t agree with us, which may be stretching for a guy who runs a radio show built around snark and sarcasm. I’m in progress. I’m learning. I believe that there is a different way beyond this paradigm of survival that we find ourselves living out. I see that there’s another way to exist beyond just trying to grapple to get more, and more, and to get ahead.
I see a world that is hurting and broken and that somebody needs to step forward to offer a different narrative than the ones that we are being currently given, ones that are driven by hope and change, one that doesn’t seek to ostracize those that may hold different beliefs than ourselves, but a way that seeks inclusion and dignity for all people. I want to see 2017 as a time to take back the story, to take back the purpose for why we are here all together on this planet we call Earth, that we are better together than we are apart. If we are all created in God’s image, then we shouldn’t tear down one another in order to feel superior. It’s not about winning. It’s not about being right. It’s about doing the work that needs to be done to heal the brokenness that we’ve all had a hand in creating.
I see the environment moving beyond the tipping point. I see a people more fractured than ever before. I see paranoia running rampant. I see distrust and no benefit of the doubt happening in our midst. I see a place that is doomed for failure if we continue down this path that was given to us by those who came before us. [sighs]
There is an ideal that we have that leads us to say that I need to get mine, and that has to change. We must look toward the common good. We must look towards the local and the community in ways that we can incite change. We must do this in a dogged way that is unrelenting. We must not rest. We must not stop even if we don’t see any immediate results in the future.
This American obsession with Manifest Destiny, and consumerism, and materialism, and needing more, and more, and more regardless of the global implications, must end. I see a faith, I see a Christianity that has lost its way. If it were an elderly person, we’d take away his drivers license because he can’t see clearly anymore.
It is my hope that the words of Christ can transform us closer to the image of our servant King. A man that cared enough about a different way, that was willing to die for it, it was about a nonviolent revolution that eventually shared a bed with the ways of the world, something that started off beautiful that became very ugly. American Christianity should be an oxymoron, but it’s not. It’s become something that rarely resembles its creator, and it’s lost its way.
My hope is to see a faith that becomes something that drives change, that gives dignity to the forgotten, and offers healing to the hurt and abused especially those that have been hurt and abused by faith because there is always another way. I see this year as one that can carry with it profound change and tremendous possibility but can easily slide back into being business as usual, where we sit back on the sidelines and complain about the way the world is without acting, without sacrificing, without stepping into the gap to create the change we all hope for and desire. I see it as a chance to begin to move the ship back into the right direction even if it’s just a few degrees in the right direction.
I see this as a chance to push back against the corrupt powers that we voted for or voted against, to push for change in the streets before it moves into the legislature. We put far too much hope in our votes and our politicians. We have abdicated who we are supposed to be as a people that create and craft the world into the way we want it to be. It has become far too easy to blame politicians, to criticize, to rage against them, and at the same time, for us to do absolutely nothing.
If we want change, this is ours to make. If we want to see a difference in this world, it will not be done by those elected but by those who elect to stand for a higher ethic and a different way to see our future. We should not begin by looking at resolutions but looking towards a new posture, a new set of intentions that will ground us, and drive us to change in 2017.
I will leave you with the words of the ethereal Meryl Streep as she gave a lifetime acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, recently. She said this as she closed in her speech:
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks into my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asked to sit in the most respected seat in our country. He imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, and in power, and in the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.
This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing: Once, when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something that we were going to work through supper, or the long hours, or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.
In her words, I’m just captured by them because I think we all have the privilege and the responsibility to learn to live in a way where we act out of empathy, where we stand up for those that don’t have a voice, when we do the hard work of making change happen in our communities, when we put aside our desires for more and our desires for “How can I get what I want?” We put those to the side, and we begin to ask ourselves, “What is the greater good? Am I living for myself, or am I living for the greater good of this world? Am I investing in myself, or am I investing in the greater good of my community?” When we begin to live that way, when we begin to put those types of intentions forward, it transforms everything.
In this show, it’s so easy for me to rail against the powers-that-be because we’re the small guy. We don’t have the power. It’s easy to poke shots and make fun of those who are in power and acting irresponsibly. I think it’s just because of that, that we need to have our voice. We need to step forward.
So 2017 says to me, if you are unhappy about the way the world is, make a change, make a difference. If you are disgusted by the way our politicians are running our country, invest in your community. Do the hard work it takes to make sure they stop making those mistakes. It could be something like protesting, or it could be something as simple showing kindness to somebody that direly needs it. I see every day as an opportunity to make a difference. I see every day to make a change in myself. I see every day as an opportunity to make a change in the world around me. Are you with me?
I don’t want to look back on this next year and complain, in the way I did, about the last year because, ultimately, it could funny, it could be snarky, it could be sarcastic. It’s a copout. If I want to be able to complain at the end of the year about 2017, I better have worked hard to make a difference. I better have sweat, and bled, and tried my best to able to make a positive change in the world around me. That is all we got this week on the show.
As we end this broadcast, just a reminder, that you can catch us on podcast at www.snarkyfaith.com. If you are one of our dear listeners who love us, go over onto iTunes, look up Snarky Faith, and give us some love in the form of stars. Give us a clean bill of health over there. You can also find us out on Twitter and Facebook. I’m excited about what this new year has for us and where it’s going to take the show. Thank you so much. I appreciate you for being a part of the conversation. My best for you and yours in 2017.
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:
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.
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.
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.
A rundown of how we, in America, find ourselves stuck within a two-party, political system in regards to voting. Could there another way? If we don’t like options A or B… is there a point in voting for options C or D. Ho do we vote differently? Too often, we feel like our vote doesn’t make a difference, but every vote has the opportunity to change the future. Is there a viable alternative to a two-party system? If so, how do we incite change? Join us to hear what that could look like as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality.
A rundown of the Trump: the Orange Messiah and his courtship with the religious right. The new messiah looks little like Jesus and yet we see Christians flocking to him for all the wrong reasons. Call it what you want, but some Christians are in need of a bit of a wakeup call (and maybe some therapy).
Join us as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality. Tune in to find out more.
Most times the internet is a vast wasteland of selfies, memes and adorable kitten pictures, but there are those special moments in time when everything converges into something spectacular. Thank you internet for birthing the #TrumpBible hashtag. It’s an amazing and evolving bit of social genius.
All of this stemmed from Donald Trump side stepping a question about the Bible in an interview last week. When asked what his favorite Bible verse was, he declined, saying “I wouldn’t want to get into it. Because to me, that’s very personal…the Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.”
In response to his dodgery, the internet has come to the rescue, which is how the #TrumpBible was born. I’m always up for some good snark, and the idea of re-imaging the Bible according to the Don, is brilliant. So far on Twitter, there are over 10,000 tweets…err verses and counting. #TrumpBible is a prime example of the internet getting it right.