Works In Mysterious Ways…

2018-06-08_08-13-18.pngWhen I was a member of an Evangelical church the most often phrase I heard when its members couldn’t reconcile something recently happened with their beliefs in the bible was that “God works in mysterious ways, we just have to trust Him”. I always thought that was more of a cop-out than an explanation of the situation. But that is not the topic of this post.

It seems that these same Evangelicals put that phrase onto unexplainable actions of #CO3!  They say that he just needs to be trusted and we should disregard all the lies and gross exaggerations that come from this mouth in order to get the greater good that his presidency will provide. Again this is a humongous cop-out as far as I am concerned.

I was personally exposed to an extreme narcissist for a good part of my life and see the same things in #CO3. He emphatically believes that he is capable of doing anything and doesn’t have to put in the work to do it.  He proudly boasts that he basically sleeps through his daily briefing and he simply operates at a gut level and doesn’t need anything else. That is not a person I would put ANY trust in.  How can the Evangelicals put total trust in this very untrustful person is beyond my comprehension. That belief is doing as much harm to their religion as it is to our democracy.

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

Christian Nationalism

Sadly, one of the things I believe the church has become very good at is to take some particular words from the bible and twist them around to more conform to their way of thinking. That is what today’s post is going to be about.

Sometimes small alterations make a great deal of difference. For instance, we have about 90 percent of the same genes as cats and more than 98 percent of the same genes as chimpanzees. But those little differences matter a lot.

This is also true when it comes to faith. I have been doing some reading in A Church Undone: Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement, 1932-1940. The German Christian Movement was Germanized Christianity, supportive of Nazism. The church leaders involved in this movement believed that the church should be “relevant” to contemporary German experience….

In a Germanized “translation” of the beatitudes of Jesus, one of the prominent ministers in this movement rendered our Lord’s, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9), using these words: “Happy are those who are at peace with their fellow Germans; they do God’s will.” Not quite the same!…

Like those in the German Christian Movement, American Christian nationalists often speak in terms very similar to the ways Christians have always spoken. They take up themes that have been heard in churches throughout the centuries. But the “little” differences make a huge difference, just like the alteration of a few genes can result in a whole new species.

Source: The Little Big Differences in Christian Nationalism – Red Letter Christians

I don’t know much about how the Lutheran church in Germany dealt with Hitler but I am not surprised that they, like American Evangelicals, politized their religion to support the regime.  Just twist a few words around to make it seem like you are following Jesus when in fact you have totally ignored his teachings.

I wonder what books written after the church eventually returns to its roots will say about our times? I suspect it will be pretty similar to “A Church Undone” as mentioned above. Jesus’ messages and teachings are good for the ages, they don’t need to be re-interpreted to meet the times.  Love God & Love each other is the message for us as it was for the early Christians.

Evangelical Christians Fear Knowledge

I am beginning to think that the phrase “Ignorance is Bliss” is a very appropriate condition in trying to keep informed in the political world today.  There is just so much phoniness and lies floating around that world now as to make it uninhabitable.

2018-01-18_10-53-01.pngBut in most areas of life knowing more about a topic results in better-informed decisions and lifestyles. Being proudly ignorant is well… ignorant! Let’s clear something up here before you jump to any unnecessary conclusions. Ignorance and stupidity are two very different things.  Stupidity is a life-long condition whereas as ignorance can be eliminated with some informed study. Being afraid of knowing too much is a scary thing to me. But that seems to be the preferred state for too many who call themselves Evangelicals.  Here is a quote about that:

“People are scared that if they come to know too much, they’ll be like the Pharisees and will just become haughty and judgmental to others, thus weakening their love for God; or they’re afraid that they’ll learn too much and go off the deep end of liberalism and swim in the risky waters of universalism and other heresies.”…

Renoe goes on to say that nowadays anyone can start a church, and “as long as it’s engaging and entertaining enough, people will show up. Nevermind if it’s true or not.” He refers to Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, and remarks that Osteen “doesn’t even have a bachelor’s degree, much less a seminary degree and look where that leads…”

Source:  Evangelical Christians Fear Knowledge, Are Dumbing Down Their Faith, Christian Author Claims

I too am very put off by Joel Osteen’s version of Christianity. He seems to have perverted the messages of Jesus to something that is quite the opposite.  Yet, every week he gets thousands of Texan Evangelicals to sit in his lavish palace and give him their money?  But I am getting off track here.

2018-01-18_10-52-47.pngKnowing too much is not a condition we should be concerned about. God gave us free will, he also gave us a brain to learn the best way to do his will.  To ignorantly follow someone because they spout a few bible verses here or there is not what God intended us to use up space in our brains.  Instead, it was to find ways to take care of each other as he commanded.  As far as I am concerned ignorance spurns ignorance but that doesn’t have to be a lasting condition…

I Am Always Trying To Figure Out The New Evangelicals…

One of the things that totally baffles me is how people who now say they are Evangelicals but vote in almost direct opposition to those established beliefs.  I hate to use the words but due to their hero the only words that come to mind is that they are “FAKE EVANGELICALS”!!

It’s a good time to try to sort out how Protestants who voted for Moore and Donald Trump may differ from, well, lots of the rest of us Protestants.

Analysts say about 80 percent of voters who identify as white Christian evangelicals and participated in Alabama’s special election voted for Moore. That’s roughly the same percentage of white evangelicals who supported Trump in 2016….

What baffled non-evangelicals in the 2016 election and the recent Alabama election was how evangelicals could support people whose values and actions made a mockery of evangelical ideals. Trump: a self-confessed sexual predator, a man of multiple marriages and mistresses, a businessman deeply engaged in casinos, a man of xenophobic tendencies. Moore: a credibly accused molester of teenage girls, a man known to express racist views, a flouter of the law who had to be removed as chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court.

How to explain all that?

via Evangelicals, non-evangelicals are divided by common religion | National Catholic Reporter

To me, this is kind of like the KKK who claims to be a Christian organization but don’t  show it in any way, shape, or form.  I know I am not supposed to judge what is in the heart of fellow Christians but I just can’t seem to see any other explanation.  I wish some of these folks would explain themselves in a public discourse so that we could begin to understand the logic in their beliefs if indeed there is any.

Without that testimony, I kind of think they are either lazy Christians who never bothered to learn about the teachings of their founder or they are putting on a mask to validate their very narrow view of the world.  I don’t want to judge them but without their input that is about all I can do.

But one thing I do know for certain is that they are killing religion with their actions.

Why Are We Here? We Are Here Because…

Some say that all religions are the result of mankind asking “Why are we here?” Everyone eventually comes to that question and various answers have resulted in what we now call “religion”.

I have let it be freely known here that I am a follower of Jesus Christ but don’t call myself a Christian anymore, and particularly not an Evangelical! That word has been totally destroyed by the political nature of the ones who kidnapped it.

When Jesus was asked to sum up why we are here he gave us two commands: To love each other and to love God.  To that end, the quote below perfectly sums up why we are here:

2017-12-09_09-46-39.pngWe are here because Jesus taught us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” We are here because we take the parable of the Good Samaritan to heart. We are here because we refuse to allow Christianity to be co-opted by the likes of people who support abuse of women, the closing of our nation to the immigrant in need and the normalizing of lie after lie after lie.

Finally, we are here because we believe our nation yearns to hear from us this day… 

Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey —  Associate Dean at Boston University School of Theology

There is not a sentence in the quote above that I don’t wholeheartedly agree with.  I am a man of principles and this is one of the primary ones. “Love each other”. That means my brothers don’t have to worry if they have enough money to go to a doctor when they are sick.  It means that no child in the world, let alone this country, should go to bed hungry each night.  It means we are good samaritans, we help each other out.

I know my Evangelical friends, if I have any now, say that these things are the church’s job, not the government’s. It is documented that yes the church meets about 3% of the total need. But what about the other 97%? Do they have to wait for churches to eventually get to them?  I am a believer that government exists to the people’s business and since the church won’t take care of those in need, and in reality can’t meet the demand then we have to do collectively through our government.

As the quote above insinuates, perhaps the most damaging part of the “Evangelical” movement is normalizing of lie after lie, after lie.  The current Oval Office occupant continues daily to push them daily further down into the ditch. When, if ever will they finally say enough is enough and come back to the words of Jesus? Their current mantra is that “a pedophile is better than a Democrat!”  How much further down the rabbit’s hole will they allow themselves to go?

 

Over 300 Christian Theologians Challenge The Corruption Of U.S. Christianity

I find myself often complaining when Christian organizations don’t come right out and say that currently labeled “Evangelicals” have kidnapped the true meaning of their religion and have replaced it with their own political version.  I search out where someone is speaking out on this topic and here is one of them.   You might want to read the whole article if this is of interest to you:

“Is Roy Moore a hill on which Evangelicals are prepared to die? As for me and my house, ‘Hell no, we won’t go,’” said Evangelical theologian Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology at New York Theological Seminary, asking the crisis question and answering it…

One of the key organizers of The Boston Declaration, Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Associate Dean at Boston University School of Theology, contrasted the Gospel teachings with what is being peddled as Christianity today in some conservative circles, both religious and political. She said:

We are here because Jesus taught us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” We are here because we take the parable of the Good Samaritan to heart. We are here because we refuse to allow Christianity to be co-opted by the likes of people who support abuse of women, the closing of our nation to the immigrant in need and the normalizing of lie after lie after lie.

Finally, we are here because we believe our nation yearns to hear from us this day and to watch for how our commitment as Christian theologians continues into the election season of next year.

Rev. Dr. David Wilhite, professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, said with great intensity that “Evangelical is a category I can’t use any more. Evangelicals have come to misrepresent Christianity. The heart of Evangelicalism is keeping the Gospel call at the heart of all we do.”

Source: Repent And Believe In The Gospel! Over 300 Christian Theologians Challenge The Corruption Of U.S. Christianity | HuffPost

I absolutely detested the fact that some from Alabama are comparing Roy Moore’s persecution to that of Jesus. Some say it was all right for Moore to “date” 14-year-olds when he was in his 30s since Joseph was much older than Mary when she was married! I widely recognize that by picking and choosing, the Bible can be used to say just about anything, but come on!!

It will be interesting to see just how the Alabama voters, many of which are Southern Baptist vote on this issue on Tuesday. Will they continue to disappoint me as they have on so many other issues, or will they step up and follow the core messages of Jesus.