Live in the bubble, people, live in the bubble

The faith of many is so fragile that any exposure to new ideas is apparently enough of a threat to recommend retreating to our own personal enclaves:

Addressing a crowd at an April 12 rally in Charleston, Republican E. Ray Moore said Christians currently face a culture war caused by the non-religious teachings of public schools.

“We cannot win this war we’re in as long as we keep handing our children over to the enemy to educate,” said Moore, after explaining that he had home-schooled his son.

He continued thus: “It cannot be fixed, the socialistic model, and we need to abandon that. As conservatives and Christians, if you think you’re going to win this war you’re in, and leave your children in those schools, it will not happen.”

And I’m sure this has nothing to do with it whatsoever and he’ll make no money at all from it:

Moore previously founded a project called the Exodus Mandate, which is described on its website as a “Christian ministry to encourage and assist Christian families to leave Pharaoh’s school system (i.e. government schools) for the Promised Land of Christian schools or home schooling.”


Unloading more personal baggage…

This is my second day of being a teetotaler or sobriety. I’m not sure which term to use, since I’m not sure the previous year of self-medication with alcohol for my anxiety and depression makes me an actual alcoholic who needs to go to meetings or a guy who realized that he was diving into some unhealthy behavior to mask untreated psychological problems and now that he realizes that is dedicated to making positive changes in his life. I

mean, I don’t have horror stories to share. Just that I went from a social drinker and someone who enjoyed a nice wine with a nice meal to someone drinking 2-6 drinks a night.

Anyway, special thanks to the doctor I saw in the hospital who was very patient and let me know that I probably wasn’t physically dependent and didn’t need to worry about the physiological effects of withdrawl if I quit cold turkey. I appreciate the peace of mind. And I definitely appreciate waking up with less anxiety and feeling dehydrated and stiff. Oh well. I’m in treatment now for the depression and anxiety so hopefully feeling happier and healthier will help me let go of something that was becoming a dangerous crutch.

So, there you go. If you wanted an insight into some of my character flaws, there’s a big one. But I feel better being honest about it.

Good Friday for us…

The Taking down from the Cross

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 andevery tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I don’t claim to be anything but a flawed human being with my own struggles against my fallen nature. Good Friday is more than an opportunity to make ourselves feel guilty and miserable because of our fallen nature and the sins and issues we struggle with.

Good Friday is another opportunity to look at the example of the man Christ Jesus who on this day culminated the sacrifice He had been making since His incarnation. He gave up His glory to become one of us. He gave up His time and energy to heal our diseases and teach us the truth. He gave up His life to promise us a share in Himself and ultimate freedom from our fallen nature and the struggles attendant with it.

The gospel of St. Rand

This is charming.

I’ll let St. James have the final word:

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

I’m guessing if St. James showed up in modern times, some religious folks just might behead the poor guy again.

Reflections after a panic attack

There are moments in your life where it’s natural to pause and reconsider your life. I’m turning 40 this year. And I just had what I thought was a heart attack that turned out to be a panic attack. I’m not unconvinced that the two were unrelated.

Mortality was never something I thought about until I got a call one day about my grandfather dropping dead of a heart attack. One moment he was here, smiling, friendly, the great man I had always loved. The next, he was gone from my life. I’d never get to travel up north for the holidays to see him again. I’d never get to call him and talk. I’d never get to introduce him to his great-grandchildren.

Christ’s statement that He is our resurrection and our life and that no one who believes in Him truly dies is a comfort, but it doesn’t change any of the above.

And it made me reflect, okay obsess, on the fragility of life and how quickly things can change from one moment to the next.

Now, my own ‘emergency’ was my body responding to years of my own mind keeping those fears to myself.

So I found myself in the hospital not quite knowing what was happening to me, but knowing it was bad.

It wasn’t.

I got out with a clean bill of health. Oh, I need to start taking anti-anxiety medication and they’re giving me a beta blocker to help regulate my heart beat which they assume is elevated because of the tricks my mind is playing on my body. But there’s nothing wrong with my heart at least from four EKGs, two ultrasounds, three blood tests, and a stress test.

So now, here I am, reassessing my life. Having my mid-life crisis, I guess.

Things need to change because if I had been facing heart surgery and the risk of death, I’m not sure I’m in the place I want to be when I head off to meet my maker, not out of fear this time, but out of a realistic self-assessment. I’ve got stuff to do and time’s wasting.

Anyway, I’ll post more later.

World Vision heads back to the closet

For those coming in late, World Vision earlier this week said that given the existence of gay people, Christian denominations that accept gay people as brothers and sisters in Christ, and gay marriage (some conducted in those denominations), that they would treat gay married employees like heterosexual married employees for the purpose of benefits.

After the Conservative Evangelical community freaked out, the organization has now decided that contrary to its earlier opinion, its gay employees don’t exist, gay Christians do not exist, gay marriage is back to being of the devil, and all denominations that accept it are filthy apostate heretics, and they fully recant, will perform the necessary penance, and promise never to challenge the conservative evangelical orthodoxy again.

A bit of hyperbole, but the whole thing is rather reminiscent of the tales from Medieval times when some soul would pipe up and wonder if perhaps the Pope might be wrong about something and would find himself in a heap of trouble with the Church and given a choice of recanting like a good Christian or dying like the devil-worshiping apostate he was.

In all of this, I think the most shocking thing about this isn’t that a Christian organization would try and acknowledge that some of its employees are gay and some are married and some belong to Protestant denominations that are okay with both of those.

I think the most shocking thing about this story is this:

“Heavy criticism from evangelicals may have prompted the reversal. Soon after its earlier groundbreaking decision, the Assemblies of God urged members to consider dropping their support.

The loss of child sponsorships may have also been at play.

Ryan Reed tweeted on Wednesday (March 26), “My wife works for WV. In today’s staff meeting Stearns announced that so far 2,000 kids dropped.”

Given a choice between the good World Vision does for the poor in the name of Jesus and their stance that accepting that not all Christians and denominations adhere to one viewpoint of gay people, there were enough Christians who chose purity of ideology over mercy to force the organization to reverse itself.

And that, is sad.