Tag: politics

The Nashville Hate-Ment

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A snarky take on the Nashville Statement

A rundown of the aftermath of Hurricane Osteen in Houston and its implications on American Christianity. We’ll also delve into the muddy waters of the hate filled Nashville Statement and how it damages faith. How do Christians respond to Christian hate? What happens when your spiritual family is bigoted?

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

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Houston We Have a Problem

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A snarky take on on the flaccid state of the American church

A rundown of the travesty of Hurricane Harvey and the glaring lack of response from Lakewood Church, Houston’s (and one of American’s) biggest churches. While Joel Osteen hides away in his mansion thousands suffer. What should Christians do when their churches fall short? What happens when business-as-usual gets in the way of a mission. Hint: nothing good.

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

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Eclipse Insanity

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A snarky take on the American eclipse

A rundown of the conservative Christian insanity over the eclipse. If natural sights and wonders lead you to condemn others while you profit off your careers you have definitely taken a wrong turn (spiritually). Instead of navel-gazing, we need to see the obvious evil in the world today and seek to find ways to deal with it. Here’s a hint… there’s more evil in the White House, in our churches, and amongst the Trump supporters than there is up in the skies. Stop looking for up for answers and engage well with the problems of today. Hypocrisy may pay the bills for Christian leaders, but it steals your soul and has nothing to do with God’s kingdom.

Come along for the ride with us!

Join us as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Discover What Materializes Between a Billionaire and Jesus

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

Enjoy.

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

 

America and the Empathy Problem

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Guest post by Kelly Triplett //

My day started like any other day… in the darkness before dawn, where a screaming baby, with no patience for my morning stumble, demands his first breakfast.  Before my brain could even comprehend a new day has started, I sat down to feed “the dude.”  Picking up my phone, I catch up on all the important things going on in the world… i.e. check who commented on my witty Facebook status, pin multiple DIY projects on Pinterest that I will probably never do, and finally, check the news to keep up with what’s happening in the world. Many days, I have sat in the darkness of the pre-dawn hour saddened by the atrocities happening around the world, but not this day. I experienced a myriad of emotions I rarely feel together ranging from anger to embarrassment.

The headline at the very top of the page read, “We Don’t Want Them Here.”

Only moments before reading this headline, I scrolled past images in my newsfeed of Jesus standing over Trump in the Oval Office and even carrying suitcases back to the White House. I’m thinking neither of these is very accurate considering they probably didn’t have suitcases back in Jesus’ day, and Jesus wasn’t white.  Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe they’re just alternative facts… I digress…

There are many things wrong with these sentiments, but what stood out to me so very early on this particular day was the juxtaposition of these memes against the reality of what is currently happening in our country. Trump is being hailed as an advocate for life and for Christian principles, yet this administration has blatantly turned it’s back (and, by default, our backs) on those who are in desperate, life and death situations.

People who are marching in the streets are told to suck it up, called snowflakes, and told how appreciative they should be to live in a great country like America. All the while, what we should be asking is why are you marching? If millions of people are hitting the streets to protest the travel/Muslim ban (insert BLM, women’s rights, etc… here), we should realize that there is a group of people who are hurting. That should be enough for us to question our methods and go seek change. Instead, we have the complete division between those who are hurting and those who are privileged enough to not have to worry. From the comfort of my home, I have watched the crisis unfold in Syria, and I cannot wrap my head around the degree of suffering these people have endured. As I hold my two-month-old in my arms, I try to put myself in the shoes of a woman fleeing for her life with her child in her arms. Tears stream down my face as I remember these are the people we are denying a safe haven.

What do I want to ask my friends and family who truly believe that Trump is bringing back conservative Christian values to this country: Where is the empathy? Where is the compassion? If we were faced with the same life and death situations these refugees are running from, would we not hope that someone would be brave enough to take us in? Bible 101 teaches us to love our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? The Samaritan. The one who is considered to be the lesser. As a Christian, I am not told to help those who hold the same belief system, those who look like me, or those who can help me get ahead in life. I am called to show the love of Christ.

By this point, you’re probably asking “What exactly is this post? A pessimistic rant about the state of our nation?” Maybe…but what if we turned it into a call to action. There are people hurting in our world. More importantly, there are people hurting in our neighborhood. What if we could step outside of ourselves for even a brief moment each day and seek these people out in order to ask them how we can help? If we can’t help, maybe we can listen. There is a deficit of listeners in this country. We can fill that void. And maybe, just maybe, we could inspire the change we seek in this world. What America needs most is empathy.


Kelly Triplett
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Kelley is a woman of many questions and very few answers. Unfinished projects, awkward silences, and karaoke top her most hated list while good beer, a solid community, and puppies top her most loved. She is realistic to a fault, but has hope that all things have the potential for change.

Blessed are the meek, for yours is the Kingdom of God

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Guest post by Darius Abyecto //

What happens when we talk about Scripture? Our words lay a path that points our feet in a certain direction. Or perhaps, our feet are pointed in the direction laid for us by the words of others. Often, these words follow a trajectory around our centers of gravity, which are points of reference in our immediate context. We tell ourselves stories that flow around these cultural centers, following the path of least resistance. More specifically, we pick and choose those points of reference that correspond to the ways that we understand ourselves in our context. These notions are not revolutionary: that we each read scripture with a lens shaped by our own perspectives and the influence of our tribes.

If we accept this presumption, how might we understand Jesus’ words here? Some have interpreted Jesus’ teaching (or rather, the subsequent Christian tradition) as delaying justice for existing suffering into a transcendent Kingdom. Similarly, some have understood such a subversion as weaker people creating a moral system so that they can exert power over stronger people. Some read this passage as an imperative that the followers of Jesus be meek, whether in possession or in desire. Each of these readings aids in constructing Christian identity, either from the outside as critique, or from the inside as a participant. Is it possible to read this scripture as an imperative to abandon our quest to further construct identity? Is this a case of losing our lives in order to find them?

The Kingdom of God belongs to the meek, as Jesus denotes possession in his statement. Thus, if one does not belong to “the meek”, then one does not possess the Kingdom of God. Jesus also uses a present verb to describe this possession. Jesus did not say, “Blessed are the meek, for yours will be the Kingdom of God.” Unless something has changed since Jesus spoke these words, the meek currently possess the Kingdom of God. Jesus capitalizes this statement of possession by emphasizing that the meek are blessed.

I take away several points of emphasis from Jesus’ statement here, and each point leads me further from a quest to construct some sense of identity. In fact, this statement challenges that quest in its essence. First, if I am not meek, then the Kingdom does not belong to me. Now, as mentioned above, this notion has lead people to reconstruct their identities as “meek” in the past. However, I read this to mean that if I am not meek, then I am sojourning in someone else’s territory when I step foot into the Kingdom of God. I have become the foreigner, the stranger, and the wanderer. Neither bible study, nor donation, nor volunteering, nor virtue purchase a plot of land in this Kingdom.

Subsequently, the ones who possess the Kingdom are blessed. Channeling the ancients, blessed refers to a life of divine favor, or a life to be sought after. If we want to envision “our best life”, then, at least in part, we should expect to be meek. I remember listening to a pastor talk about spending time with a local businessman who had become a multi-billionaire because he wanted to learn from someone who “obviously” had the wisdom and blessing of God. Clearly, this is not what Jesus envisioned. Meek refers to someone who is bent over, cowering, low to the ground, impoverished, and destitute. In other words, the meek are those who have been put on the opposite of a pedestal; they have been put into the pit. Laying low, the meek are often imperceptible in our field of vision. We pass by the meek every day, either averting our eyes so that we can avoid inconveniencing our routine self-affirmations, or simply gazing through the meek, as they are unworthy of our attention. The meek are a difficult group to pose for our standard, as they are invisible to our eyes.

So, if I am not meek, then what am I? Jesus’ teaching makes me become a question to myself. Rather than declaring myself blessed, I ask for mercy, because I am not the blessed. Rather than asking to be sought out or listened to, I would rather seek out and listen to those who are nearly impossible to see. I need to see rather than be seen. In an age of pictures, opinions, rationales, posts, likes, subcultures, logos, brands, bylines, and buzzwords, Jesus’ words here tear down rather than construct. I am not. Or maybe, I need to learn from those who don’t quite have an “I am”, or whose “I am” sits like Lazarus being licked by the dogs. Rather than build a temple to myself, should I not search under every stone to find the meek, the blessed, sitting just outside the gate? These are the ones who possess the Kingdom, and these are the ones that are our blessed.


Darius Abyecto
Polymath, zenarchist and all around monkey wrencher. My passions include reading the fine print, making lists, and the Bourse du Travail. I always learn from the mistakes of others who take my advice. Currently pursuing a PhD in the architecture of pits and wells.

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


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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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2016 Rewind: How to be a Saint

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A snarky take on sainthood

Snarky Faith 11/29/16

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As 2016 moves towards it’s end, we’re giving you the best of Snarky Faith this past year in a rewind episode…

A rundown of the process of sainthood. With Mother Teresa set to be canonized, we talk through the steps of how to become a saint. Also, for kicks we lay out our own snarky path for a particular version sainthood. Are we right on or simply heretics? Tune in to find out.

Your Ultimate Thanksgiving Survival Guide

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How to survive thanksgiving
How to survive Thanksgiving and live to tell the tale

 

Thanksgiving happens tomorrow! If you think you can just saunter into the holiday feast without preparation, you, my friend, are sorely mistaken. I’m not talking about food prep. I’m not talking about getting your house clean. I’m talking about preparing for dinner conversations. If you go in unarmed, it could lead to a social and emotional massacre. So here is your ultimate Thanksgiving Survival Guide. 

Think about the volatility that has fractured this country post-election. The protests and the civil unrest doesn’t take time out for turkey and stuffing. No, it will merely hide under the surface during conversational pleasantries. These pleasantries, like the hors d’oeuvres, will soon evaporate leading you right into the main course. My goal here is to bridge that gap between small talk and your tryptophan-induced, post-meal coma. The objective is to steer clear of political talk… at all costs! 

So take it from your snarky friend and follow these steps.

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Survival Guide 

First, have some Thanksgiving themed trivia to keep the conversation going so your racist Aunt Helen doesn’t go full Sieg Heil while passing the gravy. I’ve listed ten useful bits of trivia below. Use at your own discretion.

Secondly, have some facilitation questions to keep everything light-hearted and chatty while avoiding the Nuremberg Rally-esque diatribes of some of your guests. Remember, people love talking about themselves. So keep ’em chatty and there should be little room to talk about politics.

Finally, if all else fails, have a few emergency recipes as a ripcord you can pull to release your inebriated parachute. This is a failsafe, last-ditch effort, but memory loss and blacking out can be your friend. You just need to secure a designated driver early in the day or there’s always Uber. Included below are some recipes that will do the trick.

So remember to follow these tips and put them into action immediately when you hear the first mention of “Making American Great Again” or “Crooked Hillary.”

It is my prayer that you survive this volatile holiday with family and friends. May the only insanity you experience be the mobs of Black Friday because, at least, Black Friday is something in which you choose to participate and not one that you married into. Enter into this gluttonesque holiday with confidence knowing that the biggest dilemma you should face is which belt to wear because you need one that can expand adequately to meet your turkey and stuffing consumption needs. It may be tempting but elastic waistbands are never an option. They’re only the sign of a deeper problem.

Thanksgiving Trivia to dazzle and distract your guests 
  1. Turducken, which is a turkey stuffed with duck with a chicken inside (yes, you read that correctly), has become so popular that stores in Louisiana ship more than 5,000 a week before the holidays.
  2. Back in 1953, Swanson overestimated the number of turkeys it was going to sell for the holiday by 26 TONS. So, it took the leftover meat plus some trimmings and packaged it all up. Voila! The first TV dinner.
  3. There are actually four places in the United States called Turkey. Louisiana’s Turkey Creek is the most populous with an impressive 440 residents. Then, there’s Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Turkey Creek, Arizona. And last but definitely not least, there are two townships in Pennsylvania named Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot!
  4. Forget Black Friday, according to Roto-Rooter, the nation’s largest plumbing service, Thanksgiving is the busiest day for plumbers. So eat up folks… the plumbers need your help.
  5. No more ‘gobble gobble.‘ Only the male turkeys, called Toms, make the gobble sound. The females, called Hens, cackle.
  6. Uncle Frank isn’t the only one at the table prone to heart attacks. Turkeys have them too. When the Air Force conducted test runs for breaking the sound barrier, fields of nearby turkeys would drop dead.
  7. More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.
  8. Twenty percent of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving.
  9. The Guinness Book of Records states that the greatest dressed turkey weight recorded for a turkey is 86 lbs, at the annual “heaviest turkey” competition held in London, England on December 12, 1989.
  10. Columbus thought that the land he discovered was connected to India, where peacocks are found in considerable number. He believed turkeys were a type of peacock (they’re actually a type of pheasant). So he named them “tuka”, which is “peacock” in the Tamil language of India.
Thanksgiving Conversation Starters
  1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving Tradition?
  2. Who is someone you need to show more gratitude for and why?
  3. What was your most memorable meal of the year?
  4. Black Friday: thumbs up or thumbs down?
  5. What are your favorite stories to tell?
  6. What pop-culture family reminds you most of your own?
  7. What movie should definitely be nominated for an Oscar this year?
  8. What is your favorite part of winter?
  9. Discuss how a cup of coffee, or a good song, or a painting can have a deep impact on you?
  10. What have you been obsessed with the most in 2016?
Emergency Inebriation Options For Survival
  1. The “Healthy” Option – Mix Vodka (you choose the amount) in a glass with ice and add 1 packet of orange-flavored Emergen-C. Boost that immune system while you kill your liver. Two steps forward with two steps back? Perhaps, but keep these things coming and you’ll soon be able to tune out those racist relatives. Just keep telling yourself, “This is healthy…”
  2. The “Sneaky” Option – Open up a beer (any kind will do), take a deep swig then fill that space in your bottle with whiskey. You can keep refilling and nursing that one beer all day. If anyone asks, reply, “This is my first beer…” You’re not technically lying.
  3. The “College Flashback’ Option – Remember your old friend, Jägermeister? Yeah, it was nasty but did the trick. One way to cut the taste and make it a bit more palatable is to add root beer. Finding the right mixer is always key.

Bonus: Always remember to bring a full flask to events like these, you never know when you need an emergency ration. If all else fails, just excuse yourself from the table for a moment, drain the flask and then enjoy the rest of your day. 

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Don’t be a turkey! take this ultimate thanksgiving survival guide, own the day and make it yours.

Distributism

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A snarky take on distributism

Snarky Faith 10/25/16

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A rundown of distributism – an alternative to capitalism and communism. Distributism is an economic ideology that is based upon the principles of Catholic social teaching. It is a socioeconomic theory and system advocating widespread ownership of private property and the means of production. Is this a viable third option? Is there another way out of the capitalist system that we find ourselves mired in and yet holds to the principles of faith? Join us as we look into this idealistic alternative as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality.

Tune in to find out more…