Sunday, July 24, 2022

These two Twitter posts came up next to each other on my timeline:

In a nutshell, the proportion of “weekly church goers” under age 65 went from 82% to 61% between 1972 and 2021, with the steepest decline being in the 18-35 bracket which went from 28% to 15%. If you look at the resulting graphs, the church is about to get much, much smaller in the next generation.

The second tweet from Brian Zahnd talks about the German Christian movement, which was a Christian Nationalist movement that pre-dated and in many ways ushered in Naziism.

This sparked a question for me, given that Christian Nationalism is solidly ascendant in the rump Christian church of 21st Century America. It feels like we’re in a race right now – will the Boomers who so love their Christian Nationalism die off first, or will they succeed in imposing their Christian Nationalist theocracy before they go?

Speaking of Christian Nationalists, here is one making a great case for atheism, or any religion other than Christianity. And yes, if I were Pope, I would excommunicate her and declare her views anathema for sure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Twenty years ago, I figured that society would at least make some sort of effort to combat climate change to prevent the worst-case scenario. Ten years ago I figured that when the shit started to really hit the fan we would do something.. anything. Well, the shit is hitting the fan right now (and has been for the past few summers), and there is no evidence that human civilization has the capability to stop the worst outcomes. We can’t even get people to wear a mask in a pandemic.

So at this point, I figure the best I can do is try to encourage my kids to relocate closer to the poles so that my descendants may have a chance of not dying when most of human civilization collapses.

Cue extreme sarcasm:

But hey, maybe voting for Republicans all those years will net save a couple hundred thousand fetuses a year from being aborted? I guess that’s worth losing a few billion people and all of modern human civilization by the time the climate finishes its warm-up, amirite?

Thursday, July 14, 2022

In 2100, the last few thousand people in the last human settlement in the world in northern Canada will do their business at the Joe Manchin Memorial Pit Toilet.

Evangelical God

Let’s check in with the Evangelical God:

  • Requires 10-year old girls to carry the fetus of their rapist to term
  • Requires doctors to let women die in childbirth when an abortion would save their life
  • Requires people to catch HIV because he does not like the way he made them

The thread that I pulled that ultimately led to me deconstructing out of evangelicalism was inerrancy, and it’s truly on display in the modern evangelical GOP. When the entire Bible is considered inerrant and literal, despite the very clear fact that it is neither, it forces you to come up with some… novel ideas… in order to keep things together. It also forces you to ignore modern science, psychology, sociology, and even history in order to stick to a supposedly inerrant interpretation.

And in the end, it leads to evil. It leads to exclusion. It leads to hate.

And it ignores the radical, ever-expanding love of Jesus.

Friday, July 8, 2022

From the Department of Cry Me a River

Poor Bart O’Kavanaugh, beer aficionado and red-faced cryer in the face of credible accusations by multiple women, had his privilege of eating dinner at Morton’s interrupted by protesters who were not too thrilled by his political pronouncements from the bench.

Morton’s, upset that they may have had to forego a little revenue because of the people’s exercise of their free speech rights, decided to turn into Kavanaugh’s spokes-puppet:

“Politics, regardless of your side or views, should not trample the freedom at play of the right to congregate and eat dinner,”

Cry me a fricken river, Morton’s and Justice President of the Keg City Keg Club. You had the minor inconvenience of having people chant in front of where your beloved SCOTUS Legislator was dining, meanwhile children can’t go to school and families can’t go to parades without risking their lives because of the policies of him and his fellow Judicial Activists. And don’t get me started about the fact that red states are starting to hunt pregnant women down like it’s the Hunger Games, also because of him.

Maybe a little inconvenience is exactly what is needed? I mean, it was probably more than a little inconvenient to the white government of Montgomery that their busses were running empty for months, after all.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Happy Independence Day. Meanwhile, a member of our “well-regulated” militia took it upon himself to shoot up a 4th of July parade, and state-sponsored terrorism continues unchecked.

Places safe from mass shootings: workplaces schools malls movie theaters concerts backyard parties parades nowhere

But freedom, amirite? A few tens of thousands of unnecessary death is just the price of freedom. Except for in every single other free country in the world, where these types of mass shootings do not happen.

Pro-life my ass.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Today’s Daily Meditation by Richard Rohr contains an incredible quote by Thomas Merton that resonates:

“The Christian is not merely ‘alone with the Alone’ in the Neoplatonic sense, but [is] One with all ‘brothers and sisters in Christ.’ The Christian’s inner self is, in fact, inseparable from Christ and hence it is in a mysterious and unique way inseparable from all the other ‘I’s’ who live in Christ, so that they all form one ‘Mystical Person,’ which is ‘Christ.’”

Western Christianity has largely misunderstood the concept of the Body of Christ, which has led to rampant individualism. Just look at the way Christians were at the forefront of the anti-mask and anti-vax communities at the height of the pandemic. If we fail to understand the mystic nature of our union with Christ that makes up Christ’s body, we fail to understand everything!

Until we understand that not only are we our sibling’s keeper, but in fact that we are one in our very nature with our sibling, we will continue to go down the paths of war, and greed, and injustice.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

This article by Dante Stewart is a must read:

“I remember when I thought that another person’s freedom and choices—particularly those of women, LGBTQIA+ people, poor people, and immigrants—meant my oppression and that person’s erasure meant my victory. I remember what it was like to ingest the toxic air of religious bigotry—creating enemies of women—hearing the words “baby killer” come out of the same mouth as someone who says “hallelujah.” These cultural wars (really, wars), that protect hatred and disregard the bodies and well-being of our neighbors, depend on our distance from the marginalized. They use the Bible as a weapon of power rather than an instrument of love.”

If your god requires that 10-year old girls carry their father’s child to term then your god is evil and should not be followed.

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.