Tag: politics

F*ck You Palestinian Christians

A snarky take on the Trump Administration and Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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The Belief Books: An Interview with Josh Naaman

A snarky take on why conversation matters

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

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

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

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

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The Roots of Racism in American Christianity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find Rhonda Ragsdale on Twitter: @ProfRagsdale

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The Cult of Christian Celebrity

A snarky take on pastor worship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Recovering Evangelicals

A snarky take on the road out of Evangelicalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Grace is Brave

A snarky talk about grace

This week, we sit down with author, Chris Kratzer. Chris was a pastor for 22 years before he had enough of the hypocrisy and bigotry in the church. He completely walked away from ministry and almost everything Christian, yet he couldn’t shake his love of Jesus. His message of grace may be in line with orthodox Christianity but not so much with evangelicalism. Captured by the pure Gospel of God’s love and compassion, Chris now focuses on communicating the message of wholeness, equality, affirmation, and the beauty of Jesus, particularly as it relates to life, culture, and church. This interview is a wild, snarky, and fun ride that’s fueled by grace and Chris’ unique outlook on life and spirituality. He is an inspiration to all of us who love Jesus but don’t really know what to do with the church anymore. Let us join in on Chris’ assertion that grace is brave. May we all seek to be brave.

You can check out his work here: http://chriskratzer.com. You’ll thank me later.

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

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Who’s Right in the Gun Control Debate?

In the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting, we are caught in the middle of another name calling tug-of-war between gun-rights advocates and gun-control advocates.

One side paints their opponents as backwards rednecks that will tolerate mass shootings as acceptable losses so long as they get to keep their shiny sticks that go “bang-bang.”

The other side believes their adversaries are emotionally driven, naive socialists who want to take everyone’s guns away to make way for a new communist regime.

But is there any common ground?

What if both groups really want the same thing?

What if both sides actually want to prevent gun violence and future mass shootings?

I know it seems hard to believe that both sides have a common goal, but what if we assumed the best about each other?  And we try to believe that we all want to prevent our children from being victims of another mass shooting…but we have different beliefs on how to achieve that objective?

What if we tried to understand that gun-rights advocates really believe that the best way to protect our families, homes, schools, and our children is to have freer access to guns?  And that gun regulations make our families and children less safe?

What if they’re really following Jesus’ warning to “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Mat 10:16) in this dangerous world and to be prepared because “if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36)?

What if we really truly believed that gun-rights advocates believe that more guns makes the world a safer place?

And what if we tried to understand that gun-control advocates really believe that the best way to protect our families, homes, schools, and children is to have less guns in the world? That the unrestricted access we have to guns in our country makes us less safe?

What if they’re really following Jesus’ command to “put away your sword, because those who use the sword will die by the sword” (Mat 26:52)?

What if we really truly believed that gun-control advocates believe that less guns makes the world a safer place?

So what do we do when two groups want the same thing, but have directly opposing solutions?

Can we set our biased emotions aside, stop vilifying the other side, and try to believe that we all want the same thing?

And what if we actually made room for the possibility that our solution to the problem may be wrong?  

Because what were doing right now isn’t working.  People are dying.

If handing out guns to every man, woman, and child means that no-one else ever has to die from a madman hunting them…then I’ll be the first in line to hand them out.

But if turning in our weapons means that not one more man, woman, or child has to die needlessly from a bullet…then I’ll be the first in line to hand in my gun.

Or maybe there’s a solution in-between the two extremes we can discover…if we choose to respect each other and believe that we all want the same thing.


Joel Varner has served in ministry for the past 15 years. He is a pastor in Albany, Oregon equipping and training missional community leaders. Joel works with his wife Brenna, of 14 years, and their two daughters. You can find him on Facebook.

When Christians Don’t Think

A snarky take on the imaginary line between faith and science

It’s no surprise that many Conservative Evangelical Christians get labeled as anti-science and anti-thought. They’ve practically given themselves this label as a badge of honor. They reject science as an affront to their own religious beliefs and faith. They’ve learned to not think. Does it have to be that way?

Today we’ll talk about two alarming trends within conservative Christianity: anti-vaccination and anti-climate change. Yes, I know it’s easy to dismiss these both as an anti-intellect problem (and you wouldn’t be wrong), but it’s more insidious than that. It’s frankly rooted in bad theology.

God never called us to be purposefully ignorant, and this self-made line between religion and science was never meant to be there. If we’re made in the image of God, then we should live to be fully human and that includes using our intellect in how we engage the world with both faith and facts.

Join us as we talk about the damages of fearing vaccines and denying climate change. Spoiler alert: God cares about the environment, and Jesus wants you to care for your kids by vaccinating them. Christians, these issues aren’t about faith. They’re about responsibility. Stop using fear and escapism to inform your cheap version of Christianity. Neither of these are God ordained. So think Christians, think!

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

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Stormy Christianity

a snarky take on hypocrisy and faith

Let’s talk (again) about American Christian hypocrisy. Yes, I know this is not a new topic for the show, but damn, damn, damn, is it applicable in terms of the religious right defending Trump on his new Stormy Daniels scandal. From the likes of Franklin Graham to James Dobson, it’s an all-out defense of a degenerate and dimwitted President. Why would we see these so-called pillars of conservative Christianity so easily sell out their own faith? Well, it’s all about the pursuit of money, influence, and power. It’s funny how quickly faith leaders are willing to set aside their beliefs and morals in order to get what they want. It’s sad. It’s sick. It’s sinful.

Just like the rest of the religious right, none of this has anything to do with Jesus. It just shows how far Evangelical Christians has moved from their roots. This isn’t about Stormy Daniels, it’s all about Christian hypocrisy. Join us as we poke holes in their agenda in a pursuit of returning to the faith that Jesus intended.

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

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Martin Luther King Jr. & Bonhoeffer

a snarky take on the resistance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

With the rise of authoritarianism, nationalism, xenophobia, and bigotry in America, we are reminded of other similar tumultuous, dark times in recent history. From the systematic extermination of Jews in the holocaust to racial segregation and discrimination of African-Americans, let’s return to the lives and divine works of Detrich Bonhoeffer and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Both men faced great opposition, but both had a deep faith that spurred them to rise up and oppose the evil of their day. In this chaotic and turbulent moment in American history, let their prophetic voices speak the truth, help us to resist, and shine a light into the growing tide of discrimination and bigotry. The Religious Right and their tribe are on the wrong side of history and must be opposed. Christianity also needs to be rescued along with the rest of us from this madness. Wouldn’t it be nice for humanity if history didn’t have to repeat itself? When will we ever learn?

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

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