Tag: humor

The Problem with White Jesus

A snarky take on snowflake Jesus

With Christianity in America, we have a white-man problem; more specifically, a white Jesus problem. The problem with white Jesus is that it gives us an excuse to worship a white (or orange) Trump. Christianity was never meant to be tribalistic in nature because, at its core, it’s meant to be inclusive. Christianity should not be about dividing people; it should be about uniting them. If we look at the Bible, all of this is more about God’s ethics and not our preference. When the faith becomes all about division, we can know for certain that it has been hijacked… for centuries.

If Christianity is only seen through the powerbrokers, the white men of power and faith, it becomes an ugly abomination that looks a little like its founder and savior. It’s problematic when the faith orientations only see others in terms of how different they are. Things have gone awry. Thinking like this is what sets up the white-savior mentality.

When it comes to following Jesus, Christians are called to love, sacrifice, and give to others for no other reason than “Jesus said so.”

Sorry, white, American church. You’ve forgotten why you exist. The church of Christ is only supposed to be about people and for the good of people as we mold ourselves closer to God’s image. Anything else is just wrong. To preach Jesus and not preach love is not Jesus. To preach Jesus and not preach inclusion is not Jesus. To preach Jesus and not preach grace and compassion is not Jesus. If the American church has too many “not Jesus” moments, I’m pretty sure it’s not God’s church anymore. It’s just cosplay Christianity. There has to be a better way.

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

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Fun with Conspiracy Theories

A snarky take on crackpot Christians

Yes, we live in the upside-down world right now. That’s just a fact. If you’re not onboard with me, this show may not be for you.

We’ll delve into the deep recesses of Christian conspiracy theories in the age of Trump. They are fun to laugh at, but they’re also insidious if you actually give them air to breathe. These theories push forward an unhinged and warped narrative of how to view the world through supposed religious eyes. The big problem with this worldview is that it also happens to be very un-Jesus-y.

These crackpot theories have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God so we should stop listening to them… right? The only problem is that the conservative base hears these lies as truth, gospel truth. That is a scary thing that should frighten believers and non-believers all the same.

Once conspiracies become the lexicon of their culture, then something great has already been lost. The something that has been lost may not be able to be found again. We stand on the precipice of something very evil and scary that just happens to have nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth. I’d be okay with the right being crazy and not attached to reality, but the moment they connect Jesus with their theories, that’s when I say, “Game over” for the lot of them. This is beyond nuts but has sadly become the norm in so many religious circles today.

Remember there’s always hope. Yes, there’s always another way, but that’s not the point. We need to call out insanity when we see insanity. Christians should be doing the same because their faith requires them to, but that isn’t happening. Christian conspiracy theory crackpots are becoming the voice of the movement and that’s a huge problem. Jesus has been left behind and the faith has moved into space that no longer occupies any room for Him. These are the moments when drastic action is necessary if we want to save the ways and teaching of Jesus. Either we let this happen or concede the faith. The choice is yours. What will it be?

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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The Cult of Christian Celebrity

A snarky take on pastor worship

There is a toxic culture swirling around American Christianity. No, not that one. No, not that one either. Okay, fine. There’s a myriad of toxic issues with Christianity in America, and today we’re going to delve into the cult of Christian celebrity. It’s one of those silent faith-killers that most engage in but never realize it is happening. In the shallow end, it’s simply idolatry, but if we go a bit deeper, we’ll see it’s insidious nature of eroding faith and pushing it miles away from anything that has to do with Jesus. That’s no small problem.

From Steven Furtick to Judah Smith, these pop-theologians push their brand of faith to increase their market share and increase their own wealth. They are the boy-band versions of Christianity, all style and no substance. You might as well have Joey Fatone preaching.

You also have the Jim Bakker and Joel Osteen types who are more like the Home Shopping Network of Christian values. You can have Jesus all for the low, low price of $49.95.

Then, you have the ones like Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress who push their political agendas on their followers like Dick Cheney with a shotgun. They’re taking no prisoners and again, none of this has anything to do with Jesus.

It’s easy to blame the shepherds or charlatans (and we will on the show), but on some level, the congregations and followers also share an equal amount of blame as well. Following Jesus was never about safe spaces or comfort. It’s not about insulating yourself from culture. Jesus was about pushing boundaries pride and self-indulgence into a place of grace and humility.

Christianity in America is broken. There is a way out, but are we willing to take that path and step out of the cult of Christian celebrity to begin to think for ourselves and do the hard work of following after a wild and loving God? The choice is yours.

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

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Christian Films: An Interview with Critic Brian Skutle

A snarky take on what happens when the message overtakes the medium

Christian film has gotten a bad rap. Too often do we overlook the quality of faith-based films. I’m just kidding. This isn’t that kind of show.

This week we are joined by Brian Skutle, a film critic at Sonic Cinema, and we talk through all of the ways that Christian films suck. These films make the critical mistake of putting the message over the medium as they sermonize their way through the celluloid. It’s not about engaging with faith and culture in real, honest and authentic ways. That would actually be refreshing.

This industry is more about finding new ways to be as irrelevant as possible within the context of common culture. They’re hoping to present Christ-centered messages in the hopes of reaching the lost.
But let’s be honest, the people this genre is trying to reach has no interest in these films.

If that’s true, then who are Christian films trying to reach? Their main audiences are the faithful Christians who need to have their worldview constantly massaged and confirmed in unrealistic and cheesy manners. It’s all about preaching to the choir, but when does the choir ever learn anything new? It’s quite the conundrum that we’ll gladfully exploit for laughs.

We’ll also talk about Kirk Cameron, Kevin Sorbo and other D-list actors that have found renewed success by stumbling into this genre, and before you think they are just trying to do God’s work, just remember that it’s also about finding new ways to get money from the Christian masses. Join us as we snark our way through why the term “film” should be used lightly when describing Christian cinema. Is there a better way that faith should interact with art? Of course, there is. This just isn’t the answer.

You can find out more about Brian and read his film reviews here: www.sonic-cinema.com and www.patreon.com/soniccinema.

Check out our crossover podcast with Sonic Cinema here: Sonic Cinema Podcast – Episode 29

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

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Recovering Evangelicals

A snarky take on the road out of Evangelicalism

Kirt E. Lewis is ex-military, an ex-pastor, an advocate and an author recovering evangelicalism. Aren’t we all? Join us as we talk about his journey in and out of evangelical Christianity. We’ll discuss the problems with toxic and misguided Christianity and Donald Trump’s America as well. Krit has background working with Wold Relief in refugee resettlement in California. He has a heart for the immigrant community and we’ll talk about the ways to move forward and advocate for the marginalized in our society. So as you could have guessed it, Kirt is right within our Snarky Faith wheelhouse. We shouldn’t be discouraged by the state of faith in America, we need to pave a new way forward.

You can find out more about Kirt and his writings on his website: https://kirtelewis.com

We’ll also hit on the death of Billy Graham. And as you can expect, it won’t be a reverent eulogy. So before we heap generalized and sentimental praises on the deceased, take a listen. Dr. Graham may not have been the gleaming light of Christianity we all like to think of. He sewed many seeds of toxic faith and led us to where we are today. Did he lay the groundwork for the rise of the Religious Right, End-Times conspiracy theorists, and, yes, even our beloved (sarcasm) Orange Messiah, Donald Trump? So thanks, Dr. Graham?

And hey, isn’t Franklin Graham basically the Donald Jr. of Christianity? I’ll let you be the judge.

Maybe I’m a heretic or maybe I’m right. Most likely, I’m somewhere in between. It wouldn’t be Snarky Faith without a sarcastic journey into the grey areas of faith.

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

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