Tuesday, June 28, 2022

In 2009, Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, prophesied about The Coming Evangelical Collapse:

”Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the “Protestant” 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.”

While I don’t believe Spencer nailed the reasons for the collapse in their entirety, he did nail the fact that it is happening. And faster than he could have imagined, as evangelicalism is down to about 15% now, in less than one generation. In the wake of the recent conservative Christian packed SCOTUS decisions on abortion, guns, prayer in schools, as well as the Republican-Evangelical outright hostility to things such as LGBTQIA+ rights and, I don’t know, contraception, I expect the pace to pick up significantly in the coming decade.

You see, the problem isn’t that the evangelical church isn’t doing a good enough job at communicating its doctrine to the world, but that the doctrine itself is poison. As Andre Henry tells us, “this shit is not good news,” and everybody can see that.

Evangelicalism, as an offshoot of 20th century fundamentalism, is profoundly anti-scientific. And because of this, not only does it tend to believe nonsense like the earth being six thousand years old, but it casts aside modern science which shows us that LGBTQIA+ people are products of their human development, not renegade sinners making a “lifestyle choice.” And, for the record, 1 in 6 Zoomers are LGBTQIA+, so these evangelicals are very likely to have them in their family. What happens when these kids come out? Either their family changes or they get pushed out of the family and likely leave the faith entirely. This is a death spiral for evangelicalism.

The fundamental problem with evangelicalism is that they have cast off the way of Jesus – the way of love for all people – for the sake of a particular reading of two-thousand plus year-old scriptures without any understanding of how culture and scientific understanding shaped the beliefs of the authors of those scriptures. And instead of focusing on trying to bring the love of Christ into the modern context, they have doubled down on rules that were developed in a time of patriarchy and oppression. Is it any wonder that 21st century people see no good news here?

So the coming evangelical collapse is coming and has already arrived, and I for one, welcome it as a refugee from its dying empire. If the entire church must die so that the love of God may be expressed in the world, then bring it on. We will be here on the outskirts trying to build a community of practice that is faithful to the Divine Mystery and the Way of Jesus.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Question of the day for me: is it possible for conservative and liberal Christians to still consider themselves part of the same church? It seems to me like the fundamental worldviews, both presumably based on a faith in Jesus, are incompatible.

I currently attend a church that contains some people that are reasonably politically and theologically conservative along with a majority that are more liberal. But I feel constrained from advocating what I feel is the passionate heart of God because I just don’t want to have the argument.

Maybe I just need to finally give up on threading the needle and find a full throated, progressive activist church.

“You Can’t Be a Christian If You’re Pro-Choice”

I’ve heard that a lot both online and formerly in the evangelical circles I used to run around in. And the short answer is this: who says I claim to be a Christian? I mean, I do claim to affirm the historic creeds of the church. And I do like to think of myself as a follower of the way of Jesus. And I have had direct experience with Divine Love which I ascribe to Christ. I even pray (and meditate) multiple days per week! But Christian? That label carries far too much baggage to claim.

So then lets answer this one: how can I, as a mystic, creedal, follower of the way of Jesus, be pro-choice? This one is a lot easier to answer, even using the evangelicals’ weapon on choice, the Bible:

  1. Jesus says exactly nothing about abortion or even when life begins. One would think that, like with homosexuality and gender identity, if it were really that important he would have said something. But he did talk a lot about oppression and injustice.
  2. Given that silence (and, in fact, the silence of the entirety of the New Testament), I have to rely on the Hebrew Bible. And the most definitive statement of when life begins is in Genesis 2:7, which asserts it begins at first breath. Now, this is a pre-scientific understanding written in a poetic form with the purpose of primarily introducing God as Creator, not as a proof text for when babies get their souls. So that pretty much leaves us at “who knows?”
  3. “I knit you together in your mother’s womb” is a song of praise to God. Also not a proof text for when babies get their souls. And even if it were a proof text, there is a time when something you are knitting is just a bunch of string and a time when it becomes a quilt. This text doesn’t answer the quiltiness question.
  4. I understand that the church was anti-abortion from an early era. I also understand that the church believed the sun revolved around the earth, that witches should be burned at the stake, that Native Americans didn’t have souls and therefore could be conquered and killed, that the Inquisition and the Crusades were good ways to spread the gospel, and that slavery was a-ok by them. In other words, maybe the church hasn’t always nailed everything perfectly?
  5. Why the hell should one specific religious view have any say over whether abortion is legal?
  6. Science isn’t in the business of answering the “when does a baby get its soul” question. It can only give us some scientific markers. To me, the most compelling of those is brain development, which really doesn’t kick in until the end of the second trimester.

So, given all of the above, this is a moral question best left to individual conscience. It’s none of the state’s damn business, and none of the church’s damn business.

Friday, June 24, 2022

So basically, more babies born to parents who don’t want them and aren’t prepared to have them, and less born to parents who really want them and have the means to care for them. And, as with all social conservatives, the idea of providing services to poor mothers and children is anathema.

Well, there it is. Abortion is now illegal in about half of the country. And despite the fact that this ruling violates the religious beliefs of myself and a large number of other people who are not conservative Christians due to the fact that it prevents the flourishing of actual, living human beings for the sake of potential human lives, it’s highly unlikely that the Trump SCOTUS will care for any religious freedom other than that of the backbone of their party.

So, to recap the ideology of the Trump SCOTUS and the Christian right:

  • Fetal human life is sacred from fertilization until birth.
  • The life of the mother is immaterial. She is just the object used to bear the sacred fetal human life.
  • Once the baby is born, their life is no longer sacred. Guns are sacred, and therefore many of them will be sacrificed to Moloch.
  • If they are not sacrificed to Moloch, they will be inducted into the military and sacrificed for bullshit wars to protect corporate interests, who are another sacred person in our country.
  • They’re coming for the remaining human rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, and the rights of BIPOC communities next.

“… then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

Up next for the Trump SCOTUS: Obergefell, Lawrence, Griswold, Loving, and Brown. They will not stop until all rights conferred since the 1950s are eliminated. And when Republicans seize power they will eliminate those rights nationally. Welcome to Theocratic America.

This headline is incorrect. There still is a Constitutional right to abortion, but there are six asshats on the Supreme Court who are legislating from the bench because of their religious beliefs.

Wall Street Journal falsely claims: "Supreme Court overturns Row v. Wade, eliminating constitutional right to abortion"

Wall Street Journal falsely claims: “Supreme Court overturns Row v. Wade, eliminating constitutional right to abortion”

Taking Time Off to Re-Evaluate

I need to re-evaluate whether I am a Christian anymore after today. How can I continue to affiliate with a religion that values a contested reading of scripture over the sacredness of an actual living, breathing person? And then takes the rights of that sacred person away. I follow the living Christ, incarnate in all creation, lover of all. But why should I follow that Christ in an institution that hates who God loves? When Christ can be found in the cathedrals of nature and the faces of people. And when Christ may not be the only name. Maybe it’s time to reject the institution ostensibly dedicated to Christ but in reality dedicated to patriarchy and white supremacy and follow God into the streets to burn the motherfucking system to the ground.

Church Schism

Yes, today is once again Church Schism Day on the blog. I think at this point a good church schism is in order. All the Progressive Catholics and Mainliners (and whichever nondenominational people want to come along) should excommunicate the conservatives who claim to be Christians. They’ve already basically excommunicated us already, after all. Start a movement where everyone is loved, no one is cast aside because they don’t believe exactly what our churches believe, everyone is welcome at the table, and no one’s doctrine will be imposed upon others in a statutory framework.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Moloch, the God of the United States, is pleased.

Basically, the Trump SCOTUS is telling us that there will be nowhere to run from the coming gun apocalypse. Even if you live in a state that wants to implement semi-sane gun regulations, you will not be allowed to do so. And the murders of our children are collateral damage needed to protect a made up Constitutional right based on an activist right-wing interpretation that didn’t exist for the first two hundred years of our country’s existence.

But hey, the Trump SCOTUS is about to provide an additional supply of bodies to sacrifice to Moloch by outlawing abortion, so that’s something, right evangelicals?

The NY Times thinks the Trump SCOTUS is Pro-Religion

The NY Times thinks the Trump SCOTUS is Pro-Religion

This is why I can’t subscribe to the New York Times. On the day after the court passed a so-called “Pro-Religion” ruling (which this religious person opposes because it will be largely used to advance Christian Nationalist beliefs that I find to be harmful), the Court then ruled that we should make our society even more violent by letting anyone who wants to carry a concealed weapon. Which I find to be the exact opposite of the way that Jesus taught and modeled (so, arguably Anti-Religion). If by “Pro-Religion” you mean “Pro-Moloch Worship” or “Pro-Theocracy,” then sure. But would it hurt them to be more precise and to recognize that a large portion of the religious folks in this country are opposed to the so-called “Pro-Religion” policies of this court?

You know your denomination is bonkers when it leaves the National Association of Evangelicals because it considers them a bunch of liberal squishes.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

This is an incredibly disturbing story about how Trumpist America is ensuring that our children are never taught the truth about American history, to the point where they are willing to permanently destroy people’s lives based solely on hearsay and social media BS.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Crypto is end stage Ponzi. You are literally buying nothing and trying to unload nothing to the next sucker before nothing implodes.

I suspect the Lakers will be looking for a new name for their arena soon. #Enron

John MacArthur and the SBC make unsurprising bedfellows. And when your message is so unChristlike that you’re turning away people in droves, it’s always convenient to blame Satan and say it’s because you’re not compromising with “the world.” But maybe it’s as simple as Jesus having left the building?

MacArthur would claim that I “hate Christ, hate God, hate the Bible and hate the Gospel,” but a gospel that oppresses women, BIPOC communities, and LGBTQIA+ folks is good news to very few. It is certainly not “good news of great joy for all the people.”

That’s the Gospel that I love, because it’s the gospel Jesus brought, and still brings. The Year of the Lord’s favor. All are one in Christ Jesus. Bringing of sight to the blind. Eating with tax collectors and sinners, and giving communion to your betrayer. Today, you will be with me in paradise. As all died in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.

Good news of great joy for all the people.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Am I just missing something or is it completely idiotic that the US has to convert its units of measure back and forth with those of the ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD?

And you know what’s worse? I still don’t know how many cups are in a gallon. But hey, obviously increments of 12, or 128, or 5280 are clearly superior to POWERS OF 10.

You know what’s even more idiotic? We’re also the only country in the world unwilling to pass common sense gun laws (like not allowing people to own military weaponry) that are also in place is the ENTIRE DEVELOPED WORLD and which have made mass shootings exceedingly rare in those countries.

But freedom, amirite?

Friday, June 10, 2022

When the Southern Baptists meet near Disneyland, do they make a sound (for exvangelicals)?

I have to admit, unless there are fistfights, I can’t imagine anything of note coming out of the SBC annual meeting.

Oh, and nice misdirection by the SBC. Wait, there’s a large sexual abuse scandal? Look, Rick Warren ordained women! The horror!

The SBC will always SBC.

Potential future SBC President Tom Ascol thinks they’ve lost hold of the Bible. I would argue that the SBC has lost hold of Jesus. Of course, I guess that assumes the SBC ever had any sort of grasp on Jesus in the first place. Which, considering how they were founded, is a dubious proposition.

Oh, and one more thing. I think Baptist grandmothers who run Awana are the nicest people on the planet, from my experience.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

We were definitely better off before we had social media to surface random assholes into our life. Can you believe what that random evangelical pastor from Necksylvania said? How dare that completely unknown state legislator from Neck Dakota make those accusations? And who is this rando on my timeline giving me shit? Beloved, we have enough random assholes in our local community, we don’t need to know about those in the rest of the world.