Category Archives: God

Thoughts on (white) Evangelicalism


When I departed Evangelicalism, part of the reason was that my observations of their behavior changed my definition of the core tenets of Evangelicalism: that one must hate LGBTQ people, that one must be anti-abortion, that one must vote Republican, and to simultaneously believe in an omnipotent god who could be cast out of schools and thwarted rather easily by laws.

These days, I’m more convinced than ever that to be a white Evangelical, one must embrace all of the seven deadly sins as virtues.

You must be proud, arrogant, assume you have all of the answers, and condescending to anyone who holds a different opinion. You are the best. Your church. Your religion. Your nation. Your history. Your culture. Your color of skin.

You must believe that greed is good, that the accumulation of wealth is not a moral flaw, but a God-approved thing. You must sneer at and dismiss the poor as lazy, stupid, or refuse. You must embrace libertarian economics. You must walk past sick Lazarus day and day and never take notice of his plight.

Lust. How many “scandals” are there now? Millions? Tens of millions? You must believe in a system of power where women are subordinate and where men are not expected to be able to control themselves and can indulge in their lust freely.

You must envy the more powerful, the more wealthy, let it drive you. Let your ambitions run free and take everything you can and give nothing back unless it’s by force.

You must consume. And I’m not talking just about food. For certain, food is a part of it. The laughing and ridiculing at suggestions that you cut down on meat consumption for the greater good. The systems you support that generate food waste while millions go hungry. Buying a giant truck or fuel inefficient car you don’t need and doing it with pride. Burning more and more fossil fuels. Deforestation. More. More. More. All to feed your appetites.

You must be angry. Constantly. Every man, woman, and child is your enemy and you are theirs. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, the LGBTQ, feminists, refugees, immigrants, liberals, scientists, doctors, doesn’t matter. They aren’t like you and therefore they must be evil. Guns. Must have more guns. Non-violence is for suckers. Life is a constant battle of all against all and there’s no way you’re going to give up a single inch to anyone.

Sloth is one that seems difficult to place at first, until I realized that all of the pursuit of wealth, power, and control, all of the rejection of a temperate, modest life is also a pursuit of a life of ease and convenience for them at the expense of others. I look at the exaltation of TFG’s work ethic when he spent a year of his administration golfing. The ultimate goal of climbing the ladder and fighting to stay on top is to enjoy all of the good things, while millions work and toil in misery to feed your desires.

Anyway, just a few thoughts that occurred to me.

The Bible: How it should have ended…


Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and God said to her, “Seriously? I’m gone for like five seconds and you’re going to take advice from a talking snake? Do you even know his name?”

“Uh… no, I don’t.”

“Then why the hell would you listen to him?”

“I was literally born yesterday.”

“Okay, so I obviously need to create a school system. First lesson, Eve. Don’t listen to talking snakes. They’re bad. Really, don’t listen to ANY talking animals as a rule. This isn’t fucking Narnia. Talking animals don’t exist. Second, his name is Gary. Gary, in particular, is an asshole. That’s why he’s a snake instead of a real badass and metal gold dragon. Hi, Bob.”

Bob the badass and metal gold dragon flew over and waved at God.

“Thirdly, Eve, that fruit there will mess you up. Like really mess you up. Like, war, famine, disease, Republicans… cancer… do you know what cancer is, Eve, because I do, and it’s really shitty.”

“But you said I would die.”

“Yeah, eventually, but some really horrible things are going to happen to everyone first.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“And that’s okay, because I’m not some monster who would stand by watching you make an uninformed decision that would have horrific consequences for eons and then bust you and yell at you for making the wrong decision. I’m just trying to be a decent omniscient, omnigender god here, Eve. I’ve got your back.”

“Thanks, God. Oh, and Gary?”

“Yesss, Eve?”

“Fuck off.”

Tourists


If you are a Christian, you are a tourist in this world. Your country is not here. You have no country. You are not called to conquer or build a country here. You are a sojourner. A wayfarer. A traveler. An ambassador.

Your possessions, your money, whatever earthly citizenship you have is only in your possession so that you can effectively use them to help others with acts of compassion, charity, kindness, justice, and mercy.

That objection of nationalism you feel is from the world system you were born into and taught.

That objection to the nature of your possessions and wealth? That is also from the system you were taught and born into.

You own nothing. You possess nothing. You have no real home or nation here.

That is the life you were called to if you took upon yourself the name, “Christian.”

A false prophesy in the bible


Jeremiah 33:17 “For thus says the Lord: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ”
 
When you read something that is veritably false in another religion’s text that is not your own, would you work really hard to find terms and conditions that would let you kinda stretch for an explanation that might make it true, or would you simply say, “That’s false” and move on?

What if…?


What if America was actually a Christian nation?

What if instead of loving Donald Trump, Christians looked up to Fred Rogers and Jimmy Carter?

What if we lived in an America where Christians didn’t scream about “in GOD we trust” or “MERRY CHRISTMAS” but quietly walked through the day focused on people. What if America was just full of Jimmy Carters and Fred Rogers out there encouraging people, loving them, helping them, hugging them, volunteering at hospitals, feeding the poor, putting blankets around refugees and inviting them into their homes?

What if Christians put even just 10% of the energy they spent on fighting abortion into fighting to provide basic social support for poor women and children? Or health care? Or reforming criminal justice to make it more colorblind?

What if Christian ministries demanded that they be able to pay taxes so they could support the poor?

What if we actually idolized the peacemakers instead of the great generals?

What if we actually listened to Jesus when he said, “Blessed are the merciful…”?

What if we agreed that while we may have a right to bear arms as Americans, as Christians, we choose to put the safety of others first and laid aside our ‘right’ trusting God to protect us and commending our bodies and souls to him?

Unlike the current Evangelical hellscape we currently reside in, that America sounds like a nice place to live.

Too bad hardly any Christians want to make that kind of a world a reality.

Love one another and get angry…


Do you ever sit around and think about the story of Jesus chasing the merchants and bankers and jerks out of the Temple?

Because it says in one of the stories that he twisted and braided some leather cords into a whip. Now, I’m not a crafter nor am I particularly good at braiding things, but I imagine that taking at least a little time.

Like he just walks in, sees a bunch of Gentile converts trying to pray and there’s this bazaar going on around them, and he just thinks, “This is not going to stand.”

So he storms off to a corner and says, “Find me some leather straps” to his bros. And they’re like… “Okay. Not the weirdest thing Jesus has asked us to do.” So they find him some leather straps. Maybe give him a few of their belts or sandal ties.

And Jesus sits down and starts crafting. Just furious twisting these leather braids around and all the while he’s just seething. Jaw clenched, hands moving quickly in jerky motions and the disciples are thinking, “Hey, Jesus… whatcha doing?”

“What does it look like? I’m making a whip,” he growls.

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to whip some jackasses, Peter. What do you think I’m going to do with a whip?”

And his boys just shut up because they’re used to “Oh, let’s heal the sick. Let’s feed the hungry. Let’s make the blind see” Jesus. But now, here in the midst of the most central religious place in Judaism, he is just piiiiiissssed. Kind of scary to see actually.

And he’s pissed because the religious people are treating this place like a place to make money. He’s pissed because the faithful coming to worship are getting gouged. He’s pissed because the Gentiles coming to seek God are getting the shaft by the religious people.

See, he’s always stood up for the little guy. He’s always said, “The last will be first” in this new kingdom. He’s touched the untouchable. He’s hugged outcasts and prostitutes and traitors.

And now he walks into his version of church and sees the faithful who should be hugging them with him, abusing them and treating them like crap and abusing his religion in the process.

So he sits in the corner just twisting that leather and seething. Until he’s done, then he calmly walks over to the nearest jackass, flips over the table and starts whipping the ever loving crap out of them.

Now I’m not a pastor or a priest or a religious authority. Hell, sometimes I wonder if God is listening or even up there.

But the one thing I take away from Jesus, the one thing that will stick with me through intellectual doubts or changing times, is to look out for the little guy. To care about the outcasts. To hug the people that polite society and some churches turn their noses up at.

Because if I don’t, If I treat them like crap and refuse to love them, then I’m being a jackass and I deserve to be chased around by one very pissed off Jewish rabbi with a homemade crafted whip.

The lessons the church has taught me…


I grew up in a church. I’ve been in one most of my life. I went to a bible college to become a pastor.

In all that time, I was given one message about God, all the while, another message was being taught to me by the actions of Christians in general and Evangelicals in particular. So I’d like to review the lessons I’ve learned.

You’ve taught me that God is more concerned with a fetus that isn’t even an inch long yet and cannot feel or think than he is with a classroom full of children who get murdered by a gun.

You’ve taught me that God thinks I’m a moral monster because if I were given the choice between saving my two children or 1,000 embryos from a fire, I would always choose my children. Always.

You’ve taught me that God thinks that character counts unless you’re a Republican who can give you something you want.

You’ve taught me that God cares more about the reputation of His church and institutions than he does about the victims of rape and sexual abuse.

You’ve taught me that God blames the victim.

Again, you’ve taught me that God cares more for the fetus that cannot think or feel yet, than he does for the rape victim who He wants to carry that fetus to term.

You’ve taught me that trying to provide health care to those without it (i.e. heal the sick) is Satanic and allowing for profit companies to charge people out of health care is God’s will.

You’ve taught me that God doesn’t want us to use the government to care for the poor, but he does want us to use the government to take care of and cater to the needs of the wealthy.

You’ve taught me that God doesn’t care about the refugees and he would just as soon prefer that they go back to their own countries and die out of the sight of the godly.

You’ve taught me that God hates the LGBTQ. I know you don’t like to say it any more. But it is what you taught me when you called AIDS a gay disease and cited Romans 1 to prove that AIDS was the penalty they deserved that they received in their bodies. You continued to teach it to me by telling me that they deserved hell for loving the “wrong” person. That they chose to be gay. That maybe they didn’t, but God was demanding that they live a life of constant struggle and denial of basic humanity. You continued to scream “God hates fags” as you sought to change religious liberty into a license to discriminate whether it was in baking someone a cake or letting them provide a home to foster children or adoptable children.

You taught me that God will judge America for accepting gay people and for abortion, but are remarkably silent about gun violence, our treatment of the poor, refugees, systemic racism, our unjust wars, and our past history of slavery and genocide.

You taught me that God thought slavery was a good thing because it meant that Africans were exposed to the gospel.

You taught me that God approved of the genocide of the Native Americans was a good thing because without it, America would not have come to be.

You taught me that God thinks black lives do not matter and he thinks that unarmed black men should be gunned down because they looked scary or smoked marijuana once.

You’ve taught me that God destroys towns and kills people with natural disasters but saves crosses and bibles.

You’ve taught me that God thinks America is the greatest nation on Earth and is above all other nations and peoples.

You’ve taught me that God elevated Europeans as the preeminent example of man with Christianity and “civilization”.

You’ve taught me that God thinks it’s taking His name in vain when I curse with “Jesus Christ” or “God damn it”, but He wants “In God we Trust” put on the money and the schools of a nation that floods the Earth with guns, engages in unjust wars, supports and gives aid to genocide in Yemen, and funds drug cartels and violent gangs in Central America.

You’ve taught me that God thinks bad words are four letter curses, but God ignores or approves of the things you say about one another outside of church.

You’ve taught me that God is a free market capitalist and any attempt to make the system more equitable or humane is godless socialism.

You’ve taught me that God sees a happily married man who raised two daughters and remained faithful to his wife as a foreigner and apostate, but God approves and chose a serial adulterer who raised children as corrupt, selfish, and greedy as himself.

You’ve taught me that God is okay with denigrating women and using and abusing their bodies for my personal gratification, so long as I’m in a position where I can give you something you want.

You’ve taught me that God created seven billion unique individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses, their own unique genetic code, their own hopes and dreams and aspirations, and then God told them that they have to act in exactly one of two ways based entirely on their genitalia.

You’ve taught me that the church of God is just another corrupt and morally vacant political lobby.

Is it any wonder I despise your god?

“Receiving Jesus…”


What if “receiving Jesus” isn’t some esoteric spiritual event or saying some magic prayer words?

What if it is receiving the homeless guy into your house for dinner?

What if it is helping the sick get care?

What if it means writing a prisoner and listening to them?

What if it means giving a shoulder to someone who needs to cry?

What if it means caring about the stranger in my country who needs my help?

What if it means welcoming the refugee?

What if it means standing against injustice and facing the consequences?

What if it means standing with the “sinners” against the religious?

What if it means standing between the adulteress and the religious mob that wants to stone her?

What if it means receiving the outcasts from your culture and walking them down the aisle at their weddings when their family refuses to do it?

What if it means the giving of hospitality by calling someone the name they’ve chosen or the pronouns they prefer and letting them use the restroom in peace?

What if Jesus isn’t some nebulous unseen Thing out there that you know from a book, but is the person you’re sitting next to on the train? Or the person sleeping in front of a store? Or the addict who hates his addiction, but feels trapped?

I think I’d like the sort of world where we all were taught to receive Jesus like that.

The Book of Mormon – 1 Nephi – And it came to pass edition…


Book of Mormon – 1 Nephi 1

Hello, my name’s Nephi and I come from good parents and I’m as learned as any 6 BCE century Jew could be. I’m writing this account down in a language no one’s heard of, but is totes not made up.

And it came to pass during the reign of King Zedekiah, a bunch of prophets showed up in Jerusalem and said, “Knock off all the idolatry or God’s going to fuck your shit up.”

And it came to pass that my father was walking around praying to God. And it came to pass that he saw a pillar of fire and it talked to him and he was afraid.

And it came to pass that he went home. And it came to pass that he went to bed and saw heaven. An it came to pass that an angel gave him a book and said, “Read it.”

And it came to pass that dad was filled with the Holy Spirit and saw that the book said Jerusalem would be destroyed. Now, I Nephi, am not going to tell you what the book from the angel said. My dad wrote that shit down somewhere. I’m going to write different stories on plates that I made.

And it came to pass that dad tried to warn the Jews about angry God.

And it came to pass that the Jews mocked dad. And it came to pass that the Jews wanted to murder dad.

And it came to pass that God spoke to dad in a dream and said, “Good job relaying my instructions to the people, but they want to kill you now.”

And it came to pass that God told dad to take his entire family and head out into the desert.

And it came to pass that dad listened to God.

And it came to pass that dad and his family left home where all their stuff was.

And it came to pass that after three days, they sound some water, so they made camp there.

And it came to pass that he called this river Laman. Because no one had previously ever found this river in the desert and named it before so that dad would know its name already.

And it came to pass that when dad saw the river emptying into the Red Sea, he told his oldest sons Laman and Lemuel, “Boy, I wish you guys didn’t suck.”

Now it came to pass that he said this because his two eldest sons were bitching about leaving behind their homes, their money, and all their stuff to follow their crazy dad out into the desert.

And it came to pass that when dad had a talk with them, the two eldest sons shut up and obeyed him.

And it came to pass that being a super spiritual kid, I asked God to show himself to me and he did, so I was a good son and obeyed my father, unlike my two elder brothers.

And it came to pass that I told Sam about all this shit and Sam believed me. Who is Sam? Fuck you, you should know already.

And it came to pass that God spoke to me and said, “Dude, you’re awesome, but your brothers suck and I’m totes gonna curse them.”

And it came to pass that I went home to my tent. And it came to pass that my dad said to me, “Hey, God wanted me to tell you and the other sons to go back to Jerusalem and get the brass plates that Laban has in his house that are a record of the Jews and have my family genealogy in them.”

And it came to pass that I said, “Seriously? Why didn’t God tell us to take those before we left?”

And it came to pass that he said, “I don’t know. Joseph Smith is making this up as he goes along.”

And it came to pass that I said, “Sure, I’ll go get the plates.”

And it came to pass that he said, “Dude, you’re a good son.”

And it came to pass that we went to Jerusalem. And it came to pass that went to Laban’s house. And it came to pass that we played dice to decide who would go to Laban and ask for the plates back.

And it came to pass that Laman drew the short straw. And it came to pass that he went to Labam’s house and asked for them.

And it came to pass that Laban was angry for unexplained reasons and called Laman a robber and threatened to kill him. So Laman ran and told his brothers what had happened.

And it came to pass that we were all bummed out about it and my brothers wanted to go home.

And it came to pass that I said, “No, let’s try again to do the thing our dad said God had commanded us to do.

And it came to pass that we went back to our father’s house and gathered up our nice stuff and our money.

And it came to pass that we went back to Laban’s house and made a nice offer on the brass plates.

And it came to pass that Laban had his slaves rob us.

And it came to pass that we hid in a cave.

And it came to pass that my older brothers were pissed off and started beating me with a rod.

And it came to pass that as they beat me with a rod, an angel showed up and said, “Stop hitting your brother.”

And they said, “Lo, seeth how he keeps hitting himself? Stop hitting yourself, Nephi. Stop hitting yourself.”

And it came to pass that the angel said, “ENOUGH! Go back to Jerusalem. This time it’ll work.”

And it came to pass that the angel left.

And it came to pass that my brothers said, “Dude, how are we going to beat Laban? He’s got fifty men.”

And it came to pass that I said, “God can beat up Laban for us! Let’s go!”

So it came to pass that we went back to Jerusalem…

The Book of Mormon – Forward and Preface


Well, hell, I guess it’s time to crack open another holy book.

I’ve decided to go with The Book of Mormon. And not just any Book of Mormon, but the first edition which the LDS church has kindly made available online, which was pretty nice of them all things considered.

Okay, let’s start off with the forward, which, hey, this holy book has a forward. That’s new. Almost like Joe was following the conventions of modern literature.

The forward says that this book was written by Mormon who used the plates of Nephi to write this account of the people of Nephi and the Lamanites, who are all totes Jews, and it’s for both Jews and Gentiles and was totally inspired by God, guys. Promise.

This is also a record of the people of Jared who was at the tower of Babel, to show the Jews that God still loves them and Jesus is the Messiah.

Also, if you find any contradictions or mistakes, that was my bad, not God’s. So don’t throw out the entire book just because you find some bullshit.

I do have to admit. I respect Joseph Smith a little more now. The guy knew how to play his mark.

The next page is a copyright page where the clerk working at the office says that Joe dropped off this book and claimed it was the history of the Nephites, the Lamanites, and Jared.

The next page is the Preface.

Here Joseph Smith says that he would like to clear some things up since there are a lot of “liars” out there who think he pulled all of this out of his “ass”.  He totally did not.

You see, he had translated about 116 pages from the book of Lehi, but someone stole the translated pages. In reality, Smith’s patron Martin Harris got skeptical of Smith’s translation and asked to see the plates that Smith was supposedly translating from. Smith refused, but ultimately agreed to let Harris take the translated pages and show it to five family members. Harris took it. He locked it in his wife’s bureau and it went missing.

Obviously, this is a problem. If Smith was really a prophet from God who was translating actual golden plates with an actual ancient language written on them, then it shouldn’t be a problem for him to dictate out the translation to Harris again for the missing 116 plates. If he couldn’t do it or the accounts didn’t match, then that would be proof that Smith was a liar and a fraud.

Of course, Smith, for all of his faults, was not a fool. So he said that he could translate the original again, but God forbade him from doing so because Satan had told wicked men to alter his original translation so that there would be contradictions and people wouldn’t believe him. So Smith said, he went back to translate stuff he hadn’t translated yet, and then God showed him the same events he originally translated, but from a different source account. Thus any contradictions or obvious lies were the result of two different accounts.

Like I said, gotta have a little respect for Joe’s skills here.