Tag: faith

F*ck You Palestinian Christians

A snarky take on the Trump Administration and Israel

With the recent move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, many evangelical leaders are hailing this as a major victory for the Christian faith and President Trump. Before they begin to bask in the afterglow of their own self-congratulations, bigger questions remain. What has this move actually accomplished? What about the Palestinian Christians? Has scripture been fulfilled? Will Jesus return now? I can’t wait for Jim Bakker and Kirk Cameron to finally be right about something.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s just hold on for a quick moment. This Zionist want-to-be move has only accomplished creating chaos and bloodshed in an already destabilized region. I guess destabilization is what Trump does best. Destabilize America. Destabilize the church. Got it. What was I thinking?

This move has been hailed by evangelicals in their usual tone-deaf manner. It’s all about looking at the world from their own holier-than-thou, western, white-privileged goggles. It’s just like how evangelicals approach missions (or their faith, in general). The optics are all that really matters to them. If we actually cared for the region, we’d be looking at both sides of the issue… and guess what? There are over 50,000 Palestinian Christians in the region. You know, the bad guys… right?

This is just a big fuck you to the Palestinian Christians. It is absolutely shameful to disregard a part of the Christian family like this. Furthermore, anytime Christians ignore groups of people inside or outside of the faith, it’s a disgusting act. None of this has to do with Jesus or the Kingdom of God. This is only about pushing a warped, biblically-shallow narrative forward while people’s lives are held in the balance. This isn’t a biblical move. For the religious right, it’s always a political one.

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


The Belief Books: An Interview with Josh Naaman

A snarky take on why conversation matters

This week, we’ll sit down with Josh Naaman, the author, host and sole creator of the podcast The Belief Books. Beliefs inform our actions and Josh believes that analyzing these beliefs helps progress humanity leading us to interact with each other and the Earth in more positive ways. With this project, Josh seeks to talk about and explore beliefs through conversations with people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds.

Josh is a believer in the power of conversation and its ability to transform perspectives and communities. We live in an age where the notion of dialogue has been replaced with a debate. It’s no longer about learning from one another; it’s about winning an argument. This is a troubling path for sure, but there’s always hope to change our ways. Join us for this conversation about how to engage in meaningful conversations with people who don’t believe what you believe. A continued descent into political polarization and fracture isn’t the way to healing. It’s not even constructive. It’s time to try something new. The ultimate hope is that we can always learn something from someone else and conversations are key.

Check out The Belief Books podcast here. It’s well worth your time and you can thank me later!

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


Tump’s Executive Order On Religious Liberty

A snarky take on religious liberty

This week, we’ll break down Trump’s executive order on religious liberty and why it’s a bad idea for America and Christianity. Evangelicals rejoice every time orders or legislation like this are signed. If they understood the fundamental issue with proclamations like these, they would actually realize that they are very un-Jesus-y. They are damaging to the focus of the Christian faith and also sully the compassionate ways of Jesus. Do Christians care? Probably not.

These are simply legal proclamations that are more political than they are religious and that’s a huge problem. When political power becomes our God, the actual God of the Bible becomes inert and feckless. God in the political sphere doesn’t matter if we can find our own political gods. Religiously speaking, this is idolatry and it has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God or its ethics. It’s more akin to Jim Bakker’s end-of-times food buckets. They’re all show, little substance and they play to the conservative base. In the end, they don’t accomplish much aside from pushing the fake narrative that Christians are persecuted and need to withdraw and insulate themselves from the prevailing culture. Such a withdrawal is a direct affront to the Kingdom of God and actually has little to do with religious liberty.

So what does all of this accomplish? Not much. It just serves to allow the faithful to acquiesce their responsibilities as a follower of Jesus. In effect, they’ve become spiritual spectators of the faith. Join us as we talk through this smoke screen that only seeks to distract us from what matters most. Will we be snarky? You bet. More importantly, we’ll hit on this and the rest of the Christian craziness of the week.

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


Killing Christianity: The Legacy of Evangelicalism

A snarky take on the sins of the faithful

The legacy of Evangelicalism is pretty grim. With the culmination and climax of their pursuits in the man and character of Donald Trump, any amount of spiritual or ethical morality has been long evaporated. Their quest for power has come with many costs, the most paramount being the erosion of congregations across America. Evangelicalism is a cancer to Christianity. When it comes to cancer, it must be removed from the body to survive.

We’ll delve into many of the causes and cancers of this malignancy of faith. The leaders are consumed with power. The congregants are deluded with self-comfort and the world continues on. Does any of this have to do with Jesus or the movement he started? Nope. Does that matter to the religious pious vying for scraps of political influence? No. The legacy of Evangelicalism and thirst for status will be its own undoing. The threads are beginning to fray, but thankfully, none of this has to do with Jesus. Jesus abhorred the power structures of his day and today, he would feel much the same.

The road to redemption lies in the difficult road of self-reflection and looking deep into the sins of our past and present. It’s not an easy road to travel, but it is the necessary road nonetheless. Righting the ship isn’t an easy path to take. It’s painful especially because it calls us to own up to our own mistakes and sins. The path of forgiveness and redemption was never meant to be an easy path. Though it’s a path that Jesus calls us to. American Evangelicalism must repent and own up to its own failings in order to return to the ways and teachings of Jesus. This may sound dire, but it’s exactly the servant posture we are called to take on as followers of Jesus. To embrace these humble ways, we must be willing to travel this path.

Evangelicalism may die, but the ways of Jesus will continue and that’s not such a bad thing.

Click here for the transcript of Dr. Mark Labberton’s talk mentioned in the show

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


A Scattershot of Christianity

A snarky take on the monster we created
“The gospel is less about how we get into the Kingdom of Heaven after you die, and more about how to live in the Kingdom of Heaven before you die.”
~Dallas Willard

This week, we’ll hold the mirror up to American Christianity letting its followers have a look at the monster they have created in the name of Jesus. We’ll take a scattershot approach delving into the Christian news media and letting their own pressing articles and news to inform us about the most important issues within the faith. We’ll skewer through their hypocrisy. When you take a look at Christian media and blogs as an overview of what currently matters most to Christians. The results are pretty sick.

We’ll talk about Christianity’s current obsession with all things, not Jesus, as we assess many of the root problems plaguing faith in America. We’ll run through issues of fake persecution harping on the wrong and inconsequential issues, having false historical idols, being self-serving, and a myriad of other offenses as we blaze through Christianity through their pop-culture’s own lenses and news outlets.

Looking into what’s important to them, we’ll let their lead stories inform the answers and chart a path to nowhere. The results are along the lines of what one would expect. It’s not a snarky takedown. We’ll let them do that on their own. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of holy snark to spread around in the process. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the journey through missing the point. Join us as we deconstruct why the faith has gone awry and hopefully, chart a path to right the ship. There’s always hope but that only happens when we cling close to the ways and teaching of Jesus and shed the religious bullshit of the times.

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


The End is Near?

a snarky take on the end-times
“Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light feeling pretty psyched
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine”
~REM

Christianity’s obsession with the ‘end times’ is nothing new. From Tim LaHaye to Jim Bakker, it’s rapture porn at its finest. This eschatological obsession abdicates its followers from actively engaging in the world around them. It’s a spiritual Brexit of sorts, where we look to the heavens and ignore the problems here on Earth. This theological strand makes a faith that brandishes itself with a philosophical, idealized otherworld that doesn’t exist in order to move through this life without getting one’s hands dirty. Simply put, this world doesn’t matter because the afterlife is everything. The problem is that we find ourselves in a world that God made that is full of dirt, creatures, and humanity. To scoff at God’s creation scoffs at the nature of God.

With all of that being said, why do we obsess on escapist theology? I know it’s easy and following Christ is hard, but is simply that it? The easy road instead of the hard road? That sounds more like materialistic, selfish thinking than the Kingdom of God thinking. Once we deviate from what Christ commanded and move into a place where faith becomes comfortable, do we have a faith at all?

Join us as we talk through the crazy obsession of end-times thinking and escapist theology as we skewer through Christianity in America. Have we lost our focus? You bet. Is this blindness a sign of something more devious? Absolutely. We cannot remain complacent in a world that is full of chaos, injustice, and greed, especially if we, in America, elected Chaos into the Oval Office all in the name of Christianity.

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


Left Christianity

a snarky take on progressive faith

With all that is crazy and ugly in American Christianity, there is always hope. After all, Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion or jumpstart an old one. He wasn’t into nationalism or populism. He was never about getting rich or powerful. Jesus came to give us a different way to engage with the world, a new set of Kingdom-minded ethics that will always be in conflict with the prevailing empire of the day. The way of Jesus is still very alive; you just might not find in a church.

I’ve recently had various conservative trolls calling me out and trying to find a label that fits my faith, worldview, and ethical system. While that I appreciate their efforts, labels are not what interest me; action is. Labels are effective tools for tribal identity, but they are also effective ways to categorize and wholeheartedly dismiss a person or a group. Labels are what are polarizing our country. We cease to see the individuality of people and only see the broadly painted groups to which they ascribe.

For contrast sake and to feed the trolls a bit, we’ll seek to find out more about the Christian left. It’s not about answers but pursuing what is happening within progressive Christianity. With our show, it’s never about the point. It’s all about the conversation, and we’re not seeking labels but always seeking how to right the ship of American Christianity and put it back on the path of being like Jesus.

We also delve into the alarming fact that 51% of Christians have no idea what the Great Commission is. This is a symptom of why the faith has gone off the rails. If you don’t know what Jesus is about, how could you possibly understand how to move the faith forward? Things like this scream to why the religious right has hijacked Christianity. If we don’t know what it means to follow Jesus, then why do we call ourselves followers of Jesus? Maybe this is part of the problem with American Christianity.

 

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

 

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


Why I’m Easter Pissed

A snarky and pissed-off contemplation on Easter
“Perhaps because our culture and politics have gone so off course, with values so contrary to those of Jesus, more and more people intuitively recognize that His vision of God’s kingdom-a new world of compassion, justice, integrity and peace- is the Good News they’ve been searching and waiting for.”
― Tony Campolo

Easter is now weeks passed. The annual pep rally for Jesus is now a fading memory. It’s a sad state of the church when Christianity has become a spectator sport where the faithful are now just really consumers. With most churches in America investing countless hours and funds to put on a self-serving benefit concert in the name of Jesus, what are they actually left with? In the wake of Resurrection Sunday, let’s delve into the ancient Christian practice of missing the point. With Easter, we miss the point and here’s why I’m Easter pissed…

Jesus resurrected means that we are called to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. It’s not a moment to look back on; it’s what pushes us forward. To simply look back and have a pep rally does nothing for what Jesus did and continues to do. We’re supposed to be God’s hands and feet in a hurting world. That means we’re supposed to oppose evil and fight for those who are hurting, oppressed, maligned and forgotten. The resurrection speaks to the fact that unjust and oppressive economic systems and policies are not part of God’s ethics. It also speaks to the fact that misguided and corrupt political systems and churches are also not part of God’s Kingdom. For me to believe in the resurrection means I’m supposed to be pissed at the state of the world and in turn go and try to fix it. Easter’s not all about the afterlife, it’s firmly rooted in the here and now.

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

 

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


The Gaslighting Church

A snarky take on distortion, lies, and misinformation.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in the new shape of your own choosing”
~George Orwell

Gaslighting happens when you don’t expect it; that’s why it works so well. We’ve become accustomed to hearing phrases like “alternative facts” from the White House, but this type of manipulation happens every day, even in churches. With the recent scandal at Willow Creek and countless others, we’ve seen powerful men, systematic coverups, and smear campaigns that seek to quiet the accusers. It doesn’t always happen in big public spectacles. It often manifests itself in smaller more insidious ways.

Gaslighting is psychological abuse and when it comes to the church, it’s also spiritual abuse. False information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own perception. The powerful use tactics like shame and guilt. They twist scripture and feign piety in order to maintain control. None of this is new. Power breeds corruption and the way pastors and clergy wield power over their congregations can be downright twisted and sick. It’s all about control.

The saddest part is that none of this has anything to do with Jesus. The Kingdom of God that he was ushering in was led by servant leadership. It was about grace and compassion, not coercion. Theology was never meant to be a weapon, and the role of pastor was never meant to be that of an authoritarian. None of this is right.
Join us as we delve deeper into this topic and outline the warning signs of gaslighting in the church.

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

↓ Listen Now ↓

 

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130


 

The Roots of Racism in American Christianity

A snarky take on God, gold, and glory – the roots of racism.

America has a history of using faith to justify a whole host of sins. Topping that list is racism. It’s our country’s original sin. With that being said, how can Conservatives idealize America as a country founded on Christian values? Jesus certainly wasn’t a racist, so why do so many of his followers still cling to hatred and bigotry? It just doesn’t make sense. A majority of American Christianity definitely has a problem with self-delusion and hypocrisy. So how did all of this come about?

This week, we sit down with Rhonda Ragsdale, a social justice educator. Rhonda has a Master’s in U.S. History, Southern History, and Sociology. She’ll walk us through the historical roots of racism and how, especially in the South, those roots are indelibly intertwined with religion.

Don’t believe me? Just look to the last election. 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. 80% of them voted for cosplay cowboy and part-time pedophile, Roy Moore. Then look at the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s the largest non-Catholic Christian denomination in the United States. The whole reason they use the moniker “Southern” in their name speaks to how they were founded by splitting from Northern Baptists over the issue of slavery. Christianity has a long history of being used to justify slavery and racism, but it shouldn’t be so.

In theory, shouldn’t the religious be less bigoted? That’s just not the case in reality. We see American Christianity continuing to be used to justify right-wing ideologies and push hate against groups it opposes. Faith was never meant to be weaponized. How did we get here? Hint: it’s all about God, gold, and glory.

Join us as we talk about racism now and racism then and just how we got to where we are at. One thing is clear, none of this has anything to do with Jesus.

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

You can find Rhonda Ragsdale on Twitter: @ProfRagsdale

↓ Listen Now ↓

 

black_download_button_aa22c4b316be6f4bc130