Tag: Ken Ham

Jesus at Trump Tower

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jesus at trump tower
Part 2 of our talk with Karl Giberson and a dramatic reading of Jesus at Trump Tower

Snarky Faith 2/21/17

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Join us for part two in our conversation with professor and author Karl Giberson. Karl is the Science and Religion professor at Stonehill college and author of many books such as Saving Darwin and Worlds Apart: The Unholy War between Religion and Science. Karl also penned a satirical series for the Huffington Post called, Jesus at Trump Tower. We discuss his motivations in writing and also have a dramatic reading of Jesus at Trump Tower. 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.


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Title: Jesus at Trump Tower
Episode: # 141
Program: Snarky Faith Radio
Host: Stuart Delony

Download the Jesus at Trump Tower Transcript Here

Well, good afternoon, and welcome to another round of Snarky Faith Radio. I’m your host, Stuart Delony. We have a show that is pretty packed, chock-full, stuffed to the brim, and other synonyms I could probably use to describe how much stuff that we actually have going on in this show. We have part two of Karl Giberson’s interview. Part one was amazing. Part two, we’re going to get to this. We’re going to get to his whole new series that he’s publishing called Jesus at Trump Tower. After Karl’s interview, we actually have the dramatic radio play version of his first article “Jesus at Trump Tower.” Before that, you know what we’ve got. We’ve got “What’s good // What’s bad” and something else that I just want to float out there to you. For the last little bit on the show, we’ve got a surprise. What is that surprise? Well, it wouldn’t be a surprise if I went ahead and told you now. You’re going to have to stay tuned and listen to that. Yes. If we’re going to go down the checklist: “What’s good // What’s bad”, Karl Giberson interview, part two, “Jesus at Trump Tower” dramatic reading, and super surprise (that I won’t tell you about just yet). Without further ado, let’s hop into this week’s “What’s good // What’s bad”. Here we go.

Just a reminder that you can catch everything, every video, every link that I’m mentioning in “What’s good // What’s bad” over on our website, which you can find it at www.snarkyfaith.com. It’s just that easy. It’s just that simple. All you got to do is click and all these things will just pop up for you because they’re waiting for you. They’re there for you.

Here’s the first thing in “What’s good // What’s bad”. Oh my gosh, do I love Ken Ham. Ken Ham, the ardent supporter of creationism, the creator of the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. He has outdone himself. He has absolutely outdone himself because they’re premiering online a new diorama that depicts the wicked population in the pre-flood world. Now, you may say, “What’s the big deal?” We tend to love trolling Ken Ham on here because of just the ridiculousness of the Ark Encounter and pretty much, just everything, everything about it. Yes, in his search for trying to prove the fact that everything in Genesis is absolutely, literally true, they are now going to have a new part of their exhibit with a diorama that shows dinosaurs fighting gladiators against humans and giants. Now, if this was a total joke piece, I would be like, “Man, well done Ken,” but we all know they’re not going for jokes here. They’re trying to continue to prove their ridiculous ideas and theories, so what we literally have in this diorama, which you can see on our website, they have giants who are gladiator-style fighting tiny, little humans, and at the same time, they’re unleashing dinosaurs into the gladiator pit. That’s right. I even, almost, just feel dumber by expressing this, but it’s too funny to not miss. Thanks, Ken Ham. Thanks for continuing to pop up into our “What’s good // What’s bad” of the week. You have truly outdone yourself.

Next, you may have missed this in your news cycle, but it is beautiful. It is absolutely beautiful. They have a Japanese pool player giving one of the best interviews, one of most bizarre, hilarious interviews that I’ve ever seen to the BBC. You have this BBC reporter, which is Tony Wainwright, and he’s interviewing Nayoyuki Oi who is the defending Chinese Taipei player 00:05:36 in pool. Oi’s answer to everything is just hilarious. I don’t even know what you’d call this. We’ve got words around here like Spanglish when you somehow interweave Spanish and English. This is—I don’t even know. It could quite easily be one of those things that you would say this is just English folks making fun of this guy, and his accent, and his lack of being able to fully grasp and hold onto the English language. Oh, no. Oi sells it. He sells it up and down. The reporter doesn’t even know what to say. It is hilarious. It is something to absolutely behold, and it’s beautiful. I’ve never really cared to watch the sport of pool. It’s fun to play, but this dude makes me want to start tuning in week after week if he’s playing, and really, just tuning in to figure out what happens afterwards when somebody sticks a microphone in his face. It’s gorgeous. It’s amazing. Hats off to you, my friend.

Alright, so you didn’t assume that we would have a week without mentioning our dear Trumpy. Before we get to him, we’ll start easy. We’ll start easy with his beloved Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Now, Sean Spicer has become known for, not only his incessant, ridiculous OCD love of chewing gum. What he also has a huge problem with is pronouncing names. I’ll tell you first, I would be the first one—not the first one, the last one to be calling out somebody who can’t pronounce names. I butcher them constantly on this show. It just somehow doesn’t work in my brain, but at the same time, I also know enough that I don’t have the skill set to be a press secretary, so therefore, I would not go for the job of press secretary. They’ve actually set up online a word generator on the Sydney Morning Herald, and it’s really funny. You simply type in your name, and it spits out what Sean Spicer would call you. For mine, Stuart Delony, it’s Stubbins Delt. That seems about right. Right? I don’t know. Yes, you should try it. It’s on the website. Moving on to our dear president.

Stephen Colbert ran this small, little video snippet on his show last week. It’s just too good not to play here. Just too good. So good. It’s called “Self-reflections with President Trump.” It’s Trump talking about the president and how he feels about our current president. Have a listen. Oh, Donald. If you could only listen to your own words, the world would be a better place.

Speaking of disgusting things like our president, something that you may want to know is that if you are someone who enjoys eating canned greens—which I’m not sure if there’s any of you out there that actually enjoys eating canned greens. I don’t think I’ve eaten canned greens since college. If you do eat canned greens, there’s an article over on the Huffington Post that goes through the FDA defect levels handbook. What they have, they lay out, simply, how bad it has to be to where canned greens can’t be edible, which is a reassuring fact. Thanks, FDA. They go on to say this, “To be sold in the stores, canned green beans are actually allowed to contain up to 10 percent of mildew on their leaves.” Yummy. Doesn’t that sound good? [Sarcasm] If we take that same handbook and then apply it to spinach, which is a little different because it’s in the mustard green family, mildew’s not the worry here, but insect larva. In their handbook it says this, “You are allowed to have two or more, three millimeters or longer, larvae and/or larvae fragments or spinach worms (which are, basically, caterpillars) whose aggregated length exceeds 12 millimeters that are present in 12 pounds of spinach.” Isn’t that enlightening? Isn’t that wonderful? [Sarcasm] Yeah. It’s pretty gross.

Lastly, in our “What’s good // What’s bad” segment, I’ll give you something that’s actually uplifting, and interesting, and does not involve anyone talking about larvae or any such thing. This comes from Kimberly Stover who blogs at kimberlystover.com. She wrote this absolutely, on point, just hitting the heart of the matter blog post called “If being a Christian means X, Y, Z, then I’m not a Christian.” The article starts off using this quote that I’ve been seeing floating around social media. It’s a quote from Billy Graham where he warned, “I don’t want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” Just even unpacking that statement coming from Billy Graham is amazing considering the fact that he fathered Franklin Graham who continues in his father’s footsteps. [Sarcasm] Maybe. No, not really at all. Franklin Graham’s a douche. What Kimberly does, is that she moves forward to this article, really it’s an article of resistance. She wrote this poem that I’ll read you hear today. She says:

“If being a Christian means that I have to deny healthcare to another human being, then I’m not a Christian. If Christian means I have to deny equality to the LGBT community, then I’m not a Christian. If being a Christian means I have to turn a blind eye to the suffering of refugees, then I am not a Christian. If being a Christian means I have to accept building a wall separating me from another human being so I can be privileged and they can suffer, then I am not a Christian. If being a Christian means I have to deny scientific evidence of climate change, therefore, contributing to the destruction of the Earth, our home, then I am not a Christian.”

You can find the entire article over on her website, kimberlystover.com. The poem that she wrote was beautiful, and that was just a tiny snippet of it. I thought it was a good staging point for us to hop off of, and then go into our talk with Karl Giberson. If you caught last week’s episode, which was part one of the Karl Giberson interview. Now, Karl is a Professor of Science and Religion at Stonehill College. He has written many pieces for the Huffington Post, and on top of that, he is a proponent of evolution, but also holds in his other hand, the fact that he’s a Christian and how those two things can get along. We talked about what it means to be a thinking Christian because oftentimes, it feels like those things don’t exist in the real world. Sounds like an oxymoron sometimes, and it absolutely shouldn’t. We have part two of Karl’s interview here today talking about science, critical thought, and then eventually, we’ll use that interview to dovetail into our dramatic reading of his first article in his series of posts that he has at the Huffington Post called “Jesus at Trump Tower.” Here is the second part of our interview with Karl. Enjoy.

[Begin Audio Clip]

Stuart: Well, we had mentioned earlier just in this whole conversation that we’re having here about that whole divide between science and religion. Why do you think, in that same realm, why religion and politics have been easy bedfellows and you see science and religion being very against one another? Why do you think that somehow politics and faith have been integrated way more than they probably should be?

Karl: Well, Randall Balmer, a friend of mine that teaches at Dartmouth College. He’s done a very interesting analysis of the relationship between the evangelical church and abortion. Most evangelicals think that being anti-abortion is the traditional Christian position that goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. This is Randall Balmer’s work, not mine. If you look at the response of the evangelicals, even people like Jerry Falwell, and so on, in the immediate aftermath of Roe v Wade, there wasn’t this consistent message that we need to oppose abortion at all costs. Balmer traces this. He shows that what we think of as the religious right was originally organized around opposition to civil rights. I mean, it was a southern, racist movement. Jerry Falwell, Sr. spent the latter part of his career trying to buy up all the books that he’d written when he was younger that were opposed to the integration of the schools. Many of the Christian schools that got started in the south were started to avoid white evangelicals needing to have black classmates. There was a lot of political power in the civil rights movement. This power created the opposition of the religious right. Then, they lost. Right. The civil rights movement won, basically, all of the battles, at least legally. This is Balmer’s insight here. The movement had political power but nowhere to use it. They said, “Well, we’ve lost the battle for civil rights. We need something to animate our followers, so we can keep this unity, this big powerful voice that we have, alive.” They picked up abortion. They made a political decision to try and convince evangelicals all over America that abortion was the great question of our time, and that Christians needed to rally against that. This, then, was exploited by the Republican Party. The Republican Party, basically, suckered this large, evangelical demographic into thinking that because we are anti-abortion, we are your party. Gradually, over the last two decades, the GOP platform, the Ten Commandments, and the Bible all became blended together in this big mishmash of stuff. That’s what evangelicalism is today.

Stuart: If you took that from an evolutionary standpoint, probably, DNA-wise, all those things shouldn’t be combined and create anything. Right? Is that how it—

[Laughter]

Karl: That’s how you get a monster. Right? You throw together random genes from disparate species and you put them together and you say, “Let’s see what comes out.” What comes out of that is now sitting in the White House as the president of the United States.

[Laughter]

Stuart: Yes. Speaking about that, speaking about our beloved McDonald president that is in the White House, you wrote this piece, which is what initially led me to finding you, called “Jesus at Trump Tower.” I think it is a beautiful satire that also just has undercurrents of truth that, hopefully, folks should be able to read and be able to just begin to question more about what’s been going on especially with a candidate that was endorsed by so many evangelicals out there. In talking about this piece, what led you to write this article?

Karl: Well, the concern that developed for me as I watched the political scene over the last year was an astonishment at how enthusiastic many of my own lifelong friends who were conservative evangelicals, how much enthusiasm they had for Donald Trump. I just found that mystifying. Then, as he won the nomination, they became even more enthusiastic, and they seemed to, somehow, feel like these little, small things that Hillary Clinton had done like use a private server like that that was a gigantic, moral failure, but Donald Trump’s history with woman was just something to be overlooked as locker room expectations, and so on. I began to become really discouraged about the moral insight of this community that I had once been a part of and that had done a lot to shape my understanding of the world. Out of my dismay at this and I had many Facebook dialogues about how the Republican Party and Donald Trump, in particular, were about as far away from the teachings of Jesus as one could possibly imagine. If you just theoretically tried to invent an anti-Jesus party, you’d get the GOP led by Donald Trump, and Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell, and so on.

My specific impetus to write this piece came when I became convinced that Trump, as president, was actually worse, not better than Trump as candidate. I tend to be an optimist. I held out hope that some of the worst characteristics of him as a public figure might retreat, and he might become more of a statesman when he moved in as president, and perhaps we could get behind him. Maybe, in some mysterious way, he would be a much better president than he was candidate. It quickly became clear that he was a worse president than he was candidate. The more power that he has, the worse he gets. I thought, you know, the right thing to do in a situation like this—and by right, I mean, if one takes morality seriously, and if you have a public voice, you should use it—then, we need to oppose Trump. We need to make reasonable efforts to make sure that Trump’s failings as a leader and as a human being are spotlighted with enough regularity that people will slowly become fed up with him. I thought, well, if I satirize Trump talking to Jesus to try to make it clear to any thoughtful evangelical who might read that that really Jesus and Trump have no overlap whatsoever. I can’t, as a Christian, continue to support Trump. This, actually, would be a contribution that I could feel good about. Plus, it’s fun to do that. The piece is more than Alec Baldwin just making fun and you just laugh, and the end of his little diatribe, there’s no real point that you’ve taken home. I wanted it to be a, if you will, highbrow, more theologically informed take down of Trump.

Stuart: I thought you did that very well. For those of you that were looking for this, you can look up “Jesus at Trump Tower,” and it’s featured at the Huffington Post right now. Before we finish this interview, I like to, usually, end these interviews with a ridiculous question. Karl, I wanted you to be able to take this as I was looking into your background. I did find out that you’re a little bit of a Treky. Is that correct?

Karl: Yeah.

Stuart: Yeah. The Next Generation.

Karl: Yeah. I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s the glories of binge viewing. I watched them in consecutive order from one to the end. I thought this was marvelous.

Stuart: It’s easy to see how The Next Generation could inform some of your desires and your love of science. How would you say The Next Generation informed issues of faith for you?

Karl: I probably don’t have a constructive answer, but I do have—there was a sense in which there was faith connection that Star Trek with its interesting vision of traveling from one intergalactic civilization to the next and meeting all kinds of different people, it does, I think, remind you that if the universe is, indeed, like that, we need to wrestle with the parochialisms of our Earthly religions. There’s been a fair amount of discussions. Some people have even written entire books on what is the relationship between Christianity and life on other planets, and so on. I remember back in college when Larry Norman who was the first big Christian rock star, who was controversial because he was making regular rock music acceptable. He talked about life on other planets. He had this great line from a song where he said, and he’s talking about Jesus, he said, “If there’s life on other planets, then I’m sure that he must know, and he’s been there once already and has died to save their souls.” The notion that Jesus has hopped from planet to planet to planet and died in some way to save them all from sin just seems so implausible to me that it really forces, I think, a certain humility on somebody taking the Earthly situation seriously. We may not be able to simply generalize our religion in some universal sense. That’s the kind of thing that has drawn me more and more to think that, really, Christianity ought to be about trying to dig really deeply into the things that Jesus taught, and to figure out how one would translate those into a modern world where we have a tax system, and an internet, and a global economy, and so on. We should be thinking more about who is our neighbor like I tried to do in my piece.

Stuart: Well, Karl. Thank you so much for your time. If anyone is wanting to find out more information about Karl Giberson, you can find his books on Amazon, Saving Darwin, Saving the Original Sinner, Language of Science and Faith amongst many others. You can also find his blogging at the Huffington Post. Karl, Thank you so much for your time, and I just really appreciate you joining for the show, and tolerating me long enough to make through this hour together. Thank you so much.

Karl: Sure. It was fun talking with you.

[End Audio Clip]

Stuart: Well, that is it for our talk with Karl Giberson. I just want to, again, say, muchas gracias, Karl. Thank you so much. Karl was a wonderfully, gracious person to be on the show. We chatted a bunch before the interview. We chatted a bunch after the interview. He’s just an all-around, solid dude who’s, also, pretty smart to boot. Moving on. This is the thing that we’ve been building up for the last two weeks. It’s finally here. Yes, we have the dramatic reading of Karl’s first work in a series that he did call “Jesus in Trump Tower.” Here is “Jesus in Trump Tower.” Enjoy.

[Begin Audio Clip of “Jesus in Trump Tower”]

Narrator: One day, Jesus visited Donald Trump at Trump Tower. He had been invited because Donald wanted to ask him a question, and Jesus was curious. Trump usually answers questions since he has such a high IQ and even has an uncle who was so smart that he taught engineering at MIT for fifty years.

Trump: You know, Jesus, I’m smart. Really smart. Probably the smartest person who was ever president. It’s in my genes. I have great genes. But I want to tell you something, something big. I don’t know everything. Okay. I know you might not believe that, but it’s true.

Jesus: I believe you. In fact, I’ve known that for some time.

Trump: And you are smart too, I hear. Maybe as smart as me. Who can say? But you’re the Son of God and all. So, I want to ask you a question.

Jesus: What would you like to know?

Trump: I’m interested in eternal life, in heaven. Okay. Now, I’m not worried that I won’t go to heaven, of course. In fact, if you come to Trump Tower you will see I practically live there now! And my latest wife is an angel, if you know what I mean. And we know angels don’t grow old, just like my wife doesn’t grow old because I keep replacing her with a younger one. Okay.

Narrator: Jesus stared at Trump, struggling to maintain his divine composure.

Trump: So, my question is this, Jesus: Let’s just suppose I wasn’t 100% certain about going to heaven. What must I do to be totally sure that I will, you know, inherit eternal life, as they say?

Jesus: Have you read the Bible?

Trump: Oh, totally. Look, nobody has ever read it quite like me. I am the ultimate Bible reader.

Jesus: Okay. What does it say about how you should live?

Trump: You mean in Two Corinthians?

Jesus: No, in the Law. In the Old Testament.

Trump: Oh. I see. My Bible is brand new. Latest edition. I don’t read old stuff, only new Bible stuff like Two Corinthians.

Narrator: Jesus responded patiently.

Jesus: In the part of the Bible called ‘the Law’ it says you should ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’

Narrator: Trump combed his hair and formed his mouth into a perfect circle as though he was going to say something, but Jesus interrupted.

Jesus: Do you do that?

Trump: Big League, okay. Nobody loves the Lord more than Donald Trump. Believe me!

Jesus: Well, good.

Trump: So, I am all set! I have this eternal life thing in the bag. Bigly! I knew it.

Jesus: Not so fast. There’s one more thing you have to do. You must love your neighbor as yourself.

Trump: Love my neighbor as myself? As myself? Come on, Jesus. You are pulling my leg, right? I mean, I have some great neighbors but they’re not as great as me. Okay. They don’t have as much money. Their wives aren’t supermodels. They’ve never had a reality TV show, and nothing in their apartments is plated with actual gold. Okay. Some are losers. How can I possibly love them like I love myself?

Narrator: Jesus began to respond, but Trump interrupted.

Trump: You know I just thought of something. I bet my neighbors actually love me more than they love themselves! Okay. Why wouldn’t they? So, I make it easy for my neighbors to follow this rule about loving your neighbor as yourself.

Narrator: Once again Jesus tried to respond, but Trump interrupted.

Trump: I do have some great neighbors, though. Great neighbors. Every one of them is a millionaire. Every one. And some are billionaires, but not so rich as me.

Jesus: Donald, these are not your neighbors.

Trump: Yes, they are. They live in the same building. They are my neighbors.

Jesus: No, that’s not what the Bible means when it speaks of our neighbors.

Trump: Well, then who is my neighbor, according to the Bible? Not those foreigners who work at Gucci’s on the first floor, I hope.

Jesus: Let me explain this by way of a story.

Narrator: Trump looked at his watch.

Trump: Okay, but I hope it’s not a long story. I feel a tweet coming on.

Narrator: Jesus got up, and walked to the window, and began to speak.

Jesus: A man was traveling from San Diego to Los Angeles when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes. They beat him and went away, leaving him half naked and bleeding to death on the edge of a deserted beach. The pastor of San Diego’s largest megachurch happened to be walking along the same beach, and when he saw the man, he made a wide berth and passed by at some distance. In similar fashion, the mayor of a local town, when he came to the place and saw the unconscious man, passed at some distance. But an undocumented migrant worker, as he walked along the beach, heading to the farm where he picked watermelons for $36.00 a day, he came across the injured man and took pity on him. He went to him and saw that he was bleeding from knife wounds. So, he poured clean water from the bottle in his lunchbox into the man’s wounds to clean them. Then, he took off his shirt and ripped it into strips to make bandages to stop the bleeding. And he waited with the man, cradling his head in his lap. After a time, the injured man regained consciousness, and the migrant worker helped him stand and supported him as they walked together to a nearby building which housed a small shop that rented beach towels. Although he had very little money, the migrant worker gave the owner of the shop $50 in exchange for letting the injured man rest in his facility, and use some of his towels for bandages. He also borrowed the shopkeeper’s phone and called 911. As he headed off to the watermelon farm, the migrant worker was happy to see an ambulance pulling up in front of the shop.

Narrator: Jesus paused and kicked Trump in the shin.

Jesus: Pay attention, Donald.

Trump: Sorry, Jesus, but this is such a long story.

Jesus: I need to ask you something important about the story I just told you. Which of the three people who encountered the injured man was a neighbor to him?

Trump: I have no idea. I don’t know where any of these people lived. Probably, none of them were neighbors.

Jesus: But you see, Donald, in the Kingdom of God our neighbors are not just the people who live next door or in the same high-rise building. Our neighbors are the people who come into our lives who need our help. And the injured man on the beach needed help.

Trump: Was he vetted?

Jesus: Vetted?

Trump: Yes. Vetted. Was he a terrorist? A rapist? A murderer? Was he an American citizen? The pastor and the politician were right to give him a wide birth until he was vetted. You don’t put yourself at risk helping people who are not vetted.

Jesus: How long does vetting take?

Trump: Doesn’t matter. You take whatever time you need.

Jesus: But the man was bleeding to death.

Trump: Doesn’t matter. You vet people before you help them. Okay. And if they die, too bad. They should’ve been more careful. Look, this migrant worker was probably not even an American citizen. Okay. And he took this unvetted guy, who could have been a terrorist or a murderer, and left him with a shopkeeper. Not very neighborly if you ask me. I certainly wouldn’t have brought that injured guy to Trump Tower, believe me.

Jesus: In the kingdom of God, we help those in need, even when it is uncertain, or even dangerous. That is what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. If you were bleeding to death on the beach, you would want help. Would you want a neighbor to help you, even if they did not know who you were? You asked about eternal life, Donald. You must love those in need, all of them, in every part of the planet, in every religion as you love yourself. Then, you will inherit eternal life.

Narrator: Jesus noticed that Trump was typing something into his phone.

Trump: @realDonaldTrump. Jesus has crazy ideas about neighbors. Over-rated as a thinker, even if he is the Son of God. Sad.

[End Audio Clip]

Stuart: Well, this is the moment that we’ve been waiting for the whole show. I teased it, and you’re wanting to know who our special guest is. It’s none other than illustrious, Dr. Ben. [Begin sound clip of audience clapping and cheering] Dr. Ben is back after you’re extended paternity leave.

Dr. Ben: Illustrious makes me sound like I have conditioner in my hair.

Stuart: Oh, if they could see the video I see, there’s a lot of conditioner.

Dr. Ben: [Laughter]

Stuart: Maybe some hot oils.

Dr. Ben: I can’t remember the last time I used conditioner.

Stuart: Okay. So much has happened, Ben, since we’ve had you hang on the show. Really, I guess, the way I’m making it sound, I haven’t talked to you either, since then, but I have.

Dr. Ben: I just fell off the map, fell off the grid—

Stuart: You did.

Dr. Ben: – like most people do when they have children.

Stuart: No, you were, essentially, just in a coma, and we were about to pull the plug. Miraculously, you started breathing on your own again.

Dr. Ben: You’re about to Million Dollar Baby me.

Stuart: I know. [Laughter]

Dr. Ben: I’m more like a $10.00 baby.

Stuart: Alright. So much has happened. We have not talked to you since the inauguration. We have not talked to you since baby Deacon dropped onto this Earth and made a crater impact.

Dr. Ben: Historic.

Stuart: It is. He’s been changing your guys’ life. First of all, how is it being a dad right now? Where are you at dad-wise?

Dr. Ben: I’m feeling a little more like a dad, I guess. It’s interesting how people, I think, have this mythos around children. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but it’s very difficult. Actually, a lot of the things that people joke about or hinted at like not being able to sleep. I need some wood to knock on. That’s been good. He sleeps like a champ. I mean, he’s actually a pretty, easy kiddo. For both of us, there’s just a long learning process of recognizing that we’re parents. It’s not like you have a kid, and then all of a sudden, magic happens and you feel like a parent. You know.

Stuart: Usually, it’s magic happens, and then you have the kid.

Dr. Ben: [Laughter] Yeah, pretty much, and then the magic’s over. I’m just kidding.

Stuart: My oldest is about to turn 15, and we’re still learning. We’re still figuring this out. We still don’t really have a clue. We’re doing the fake it ‘til you make it, or until they leave for college.

Dr. Ben: Yeah. I think that’s pretty much life, in general, just fake it ‘til you make it.

Stuart: We’re going to have to get little Deacon on the show at some point. We’ll have to get him to, at least, cry into a microphone.

Dr. Ben: He might show up on this show.

Stuart: Uh-oh.

Dr. Ben: Depending on [laughter] whether he goes down to nap or not.

Stuart: Okay. The weather’s pretty warm today. Are we going to have naked babies? This isn’t that kind of program.

Dr. Ben: No, we were out playing with compost earlier, so I think he’s pretty wiped out right now.

Stuart: Compost and wiped out. There’s so many—

Dr. Ben: Compost pickin’.

Stuart: On all of that, do have any good dad jokes now that you’re a dad?

Dr. Ben: Myself.

Stuart: [Laughter]

Dr. Ben: Bad. That’s a pretty good joke.

Stuart: Well, considering you haven’t been on the show since we went from orange messiah as a candidate to, now, orange messiah as a wrecking ball in the White House. What have been some of your unique observations you had since all this craziness has happened, orange in the White House?

Dr. Ben: I’ve been thinking this morning that we joked months and, gosh, maybe even a year ago, about feeling endangered like, “Oh, Trump’s listening to this. He’s going to have a hit out for us.” Now, it’s becoming more of that could actually happen at some point. Right? He’s removing people from jobs. People are dropping off the map in some places that have criticized him like companies are closing. He goes after people with a vengeance when they come at him.

Stuart: Very Putinesk. 00:42:24

Dr. Ben: Yeah. His buddy, Putin. Yeah, he’s learned a lot from him. I guess, in terms of insight, we’ve talked about this before. I think I get a little frustrated because I feel that people are so distractible. Maybe, I’m too idealistic, or I simplify things too much, but I feel like there are general problems on the table in our country. I’m not saying that there aren’t still problems right now that we’re trying to deal with and raising awareness for in the country, but on the one hand, we go from one problem to the next so quickly. I feel like Trump puts all these problems out there, and our messages get watered down, and confused, and muddled. It’s very attention deficit right now in politics. Also, I feel like for me, at least, I’m just tired of hearing about it. I’m exhausted from Trump. He just is everywhere. Also, from anti-Trump. I’m not saying I agree, really, with anything that he says or does, but I’m just tired of him. He’s exhausting. All of this is just exhausting.

Stuart: Yeah. That’s one of my biggest worries is that we’re going to, eventually, just hit a point where this crazy that we’re living in becomes normal. Then, we become numb to that.

Dr. Ben: Yeah. It’s true.

Stuart: You can only be shocked so many times before it just tends to—you start to shrug it off. I feel like we’re living in the middle of a Saw film. After a while, you just become numb to the violence. You become numb to what awful things are happening.

Dr. Ben: Yeah. This could be, potentially, a dividing analogy. It could be way off the mark, but after having watched basketball for 20-something years now, have picked up that over at Duke has this strategy with his team that they tend to foul a lot throughout the game because, I mean, the referees can only call so many of them. If you fell ten times in a minute, they’re going to get exhausted. Well, for one, they probably don’t see all ten of them. Also, they’re not going to call that many fouls. You’re going to get away with a lot more. Over time, you’re used to seeing that. It’s cognitively difficult for them to pick out. Of course, they’re still calling fouls, but it’s just this trick of tricking their brains into not seeing that you’re fouling the entire game. I feel like it’s similar to Trump. There’s just so much stupidity and spin. I think that’s what really is coming up in satire and comedy now. He just spins stuff so quickly; fake news and I didn’t say that. People laugh, but it’s scary. It’s very much 1984 that there’s a lot of truth and untruth going on at the same time, and people just get confused or tired. I don’t know which one. You think people of the older generation who don’t have access or don’t care to watch news shows or satire, are not really going to pick up on that there’s so much false information. They’re just going to believe, take everything’s he’s saying at face value. I don’t know. I guess from a philosophy background, I tend to not really bite at the sexy stuff. I really want to dig into what’s actually on the table, what’s actually going on, maybe like pull the curtain a little bit. I think it’s so easy, right now, to just bite into that whatever Trump is saying at the moment, and let’s fight that. We were getting so close with things like Occupy Wall Street and really raising awareness of like the haves and have nots. I feel like we were getting really close, especially, with Bernie Sanders being a mouthpiece for a lot of inequality. I feel like that is at the heart of a lot of our problems. That feels like 40 years ago, now. That feels so distant from where we’re at. It really frustrates me.

Stuart: Well, tell me this. As we start wrapping up this show, what is one thing that gives you hope right now?

Dr. Ben: I am excited to see—I want to be careful in how I put this because I am a Christian. I’m nonviolent. I don’t advocate for violence, but I am seeing seeds of revolution or at least, revolutionary thought, or excitement in voices that feel that they can act against fascism and against bullying. I don’t know. It was almost like there was so much marginal stuff, like celebration of margins, going on that we lost the need to act. We were just reveling in the idea of identity and things like that. Now, I think people are becoming more active and saying, “Oh my gosh. In four years, where are we going to be? We need to do something.” That’s exciting.

Stuart: That is definitely a good word. As we start moving to the end as we have actually arrived at the end of the broadcast this week, just a reminder that you can this show and past shows on www.snarkyfaith.com. If you go to our website and sign up for our newsletter where we just send you one email a week with all the content that we are putting out over on the website, if you join us, if you join our little snarky tribe on there with the newsletter, what we’re going to start doing is what we were testing out here today for this part of the show is that we’re going to start opening up to that private group of subscribers where we’ll start doing a show once a month that we will open it up. We’ll have a part where Ben and I talk like we like to talk back and forth. Then, we’ll open it up for Q & A, and let you guys be able to share questions, and ideas, and pushbacks, and critiques, and all that good stuff. If you want to hop on board with that, go to www.snarkyfaith.com and you can catch all of that. Also, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter. We love to have you a part of this little tribe that we’ve got going here. That’s all I’ve got this week. We will catch you again next week.


Transcribed by Miriam Delony

https://www.linkedin.com/in/miriamdelony

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What’s Good // What’s Bad 2.21.17

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

• Ken Ham, you saucy minx of a creationist. You have truly outdone yourself this time… and I don’t say that lightly. This past week, via Twitter, the Answers in Genesis poster-boy debuted a new exhibit in his Kentucky’s “Ark Encounter” theme park that features humans, giants, and dinosaurs battling to the death in a Roman-style arena. Sure this sounds crazy, but you know what’s worse? The fact that they dropped $101 million to create the Ark Experience to push their new earth agenda. Hey Ken, sometimes the answers are not in Gene$i$, they’re apparently in your wallet. This smells like someone is taking a page out of Jim Bakker’s playbook. Heritage USA anyone? 

 

• After that ark madness, want something truly great to bring a smile to your face? Sure we all do. This may go down in history as one of the best post-game interviews ever. Check out pool player, Naoyuki Oi’s post-match interview in all its broken-English glory. It’s pure joy. The British interviewer couldn’t even handle himself as he simply responded, “I’ve not ever done an interview quite like this…”

• I’ll be the first to admit that I incidentally, yet routinely butcher people’s names. It’s not my strongest suit, but, I’m also not the White House press secretary. Feel like, having Sean Spicer butcher your name? With the help of the Sydney Morning Herald you too can be spicer-ized. Spicey dubbed me Stubbins Delt. Drop your ‘new’ name in the comments section below.  [SMH]

• If you enjoy the wilted delights of canned veggies, you may want to read this interesting article that dives into the FDA’s Defect Levels Handbook. It’s reassuring to know that we have acceptable lives of large and mildew in our food. Yummers! [Huff Po]

• Ever want to see Donald Trump eat his own words? Well, are some wise words from candidate Trump speaking about the failings of President Trump (sort of). Retroactive hypocrisy has never been so much fun. Thanks Stephen Colbert!

• Looking for a great read? You should head on over to Kimberly Stover’s great blog post entitled, “If Being a Christain Means XYZ, then I am NOT a Christian.” That’ll preach.

• Living in Trump’s world can be pretty taxing and stressful for a lot of us. Living in the bizarro world is never easy, but I’ve got a great way for you to relax. Electronic singer-songwriter, Moby, has created some amazing ambient music for this just issue. To put it in his own words, “over the last couple of years I’ve been making really really really quiet music to listen to when I do yoga or sleep or meditate or panic.  I ended up with 4 hours of music and have decided to give it away.”

Who doesn’t like free music?  [Download Long Ambients1 by Moby here]

If you see any snark-worthy news, feel free to send it us: questions@snarkyfaith.com. Have a great week!

 

Hello 2017!

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Hello 2017!
A snarky take on 2017 and the new year!

Snarky Faith 1/10/17

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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

Episode: 135

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.


Transcribed by Miriam Delony

https://www.linkedin.com/in/miriamdelony

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