Tag: Theology

This A-Hole?

A snarky take on Mike Pence

Trump is terrible. I mean he’s beyond your wildest dreams terrible. There are times where I am literally impressed with the depths of his awfulness. If you’re a listener of this show, none of this should surprise you.

So, today, let’s talk about Vice President Mike Pence. Is he any better than his boss? He’s the so-called adult in the room. He’s the stalwart pillar of bland virtue to the Conservatives. He may seem like a mother-loving Buster Bluth, but Mike Pence is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The term ‘impeachment’ has become commonplace fodder and become the go-to for envisioning a way out of this nightmarish hellscape of American politics. I totally understand the rationale for wanting impeachment, but it’s also a cheat. You get rid of one big orange problem and are left with another misogynist, bigoted one except Pence knows the game. He’s measured and is far more conservative than Trump.

I hate to break it to you, but Mike Pence is just as bad as Donald Trump.

How bad is Pence? It’s like if the Billy Graham rule was also racist. The evangelicals choose to see Pence as a virtuous altar boy of the faith when he’s actually closer to being that predator priest. He’s misguided, complicit, and waiting for his shot. Christians may rejoice about this supposed man of God, but the rest of us should be worried. He’s the religious right’s wet dream and also their plan B. Let’s not be fooled by the urgency of the now. We must also keep our eyes open for the evil in waiting.

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Religious Liberty for Some

A snarky take on the Religious Liberty Task Force

With the newly established Religious Liberty Task Force, Jeff Sessions is once again rolling back time and progress in an effort to pacify the Evangelical Right. It’s a simple knee-jerk reaction to the cries of persecution from Trump’s conservative religious base and also Jeff Session’s naughty, bigoted wet dream.

Privilege is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.” Those that have privilege don’t want to give it up, and for those that live with privileges, when other people outside the group get equal standing, it may seem like there has been a loss. Equality for all is not the problem. Hate and bigotry are. This is just another symptom of white, privileged evangelicals wanting to keep their protections under the law exclusive to themselves. This isn’t about liberty at all. It’s about discrimination.

When establishing this new task force, Sessions says that, “We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law, where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit, and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a ‘hate group’ on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.” This should be scary enough for the nonbeliever. Those inside the congregation should also be appalled by the hijacking of faith in such an overtly political, power-hungry manner, though, I doubt that they’ll think beyond their own comfort and pleasure. As you may know, comfort, preference, and pleasure were all things Jesus highly valued. 🙄(sarcasm implied)

What does religious freedom look like in an egalitarian age? If Trump, Sessions, and Conservative Christians have their way, we’ll never know. It’s too bad that Jesus never gets a say in this or are we just not listening?

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The Problem with White Jesus

A snarky take on snowflake Jesus

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

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

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

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

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Why VBS Sucks

VBS Sucks
A snarky take on Vacation Bible School

If you’re in the church world, VBS (Vacation Bible School) is upon us. Our show this week is dedicated to VBS and why it so consistently misses the mark. It’s basically just a Christian marketing exercise. Don’t be fooled, it has little to do with evangelism and reaching your community; it’s more of a Christian pep rally that offers exceptional outreach numbers to make congregations happy. Does it accomplish much in forwarding the Kingdom of God? Oh, hell no but it won’t stop us from following traditions off the cliff together. If we’ve always done it, then we should continue to do it. That’s the mantra of VBS.

We’ll take a deep dive into what churches call the best outreach event of the year and why it is less outreach and more event-driven. It’s become an event that’s more driven by marketing than evangelism. Potentially, it was originally effective (that’s up for debate) but today, it’s the last breath of dignity a church has. The Gospel has been forgotten. The Kingdom of God has been lost. It’s all about marketing our business to the community. That is not the way and teachings of Jesus. It’s more like the Black Friday for churches – all marketing and advertising and not much to do with the faith.

Let’s talk about how VBS is useless and more about why it misses the mark and mission of Christianity. We’ll talk through the majority of voices from within the faith to explain why VBS matters and then tear them all down in a glorious snarky fashion. Unless Christians think about the traditions they uphold, they are doomed to repeat the sins of the past. VBS is a wonderful example of how Christianity consistently misses the point for financial gain. VBS, it’s a vacation, just not from the BS.

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Fun with Conspiracy Theories

A snarky take on crackpot Christians

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

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

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

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

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

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Tump’s Executive Order On Religious Liberty

A snarky take on religious liberty

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

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

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

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

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Killing Christianity: The Legacy of Evangelicalism

A snarky take on the sins of the faithful

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

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

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

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

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

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A Scattershot of Christianity

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

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

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

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

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The End is Near?

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

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

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

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

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Left Christianity

a snarky take on progressive faith

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

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

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

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

 

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