Tag Archives: Faith

We are very pro-life here…


Welcome to America.

We are very pro-life here.

Mind the bodies. COVID, you know… nothing to be done. Mandates? No, here we encourage people to do their own research on Infowars.

But we very much believe in the sanctity of life.

Kindly, keep your gaze from the ghosts on the right. They perished from the guns we make and sell. Many find their accusatory stares of the children to be discomfiting.

Personally, I don’t get it. There’s nothing we could do to stop it.

Every human life is precious and created in the image of God.

To your left, you’ll see the gallows where criminals are executed.

Yes, sir, unlike those godless countries, we value human beings.

Those? Oh, those are the ghosts of people who were killed by our police.

Guess they should have complied, am I right?

Every child is precious to us.

To your right, you’ll see the cemetery where the war dead are buried. It’s quite large.

We’re adding more space every day.

But life is precious to us.

Mind the hungry moochers over there. No, giving them anything to eat will just make them lazy and entitled.

Some people just don’t want to work for a living.

Yes, we love God and we love life here.

America


America is no more blessed or chosen by God than the Greeks, the Romans, the Huns, the Mongols, the Germans, the Spanish, the English, or any other nation that grew prosperous and enjoyed military supremacy for a time was.

Like every nation, we have done some good things and some evil things. Our ideals and actions have inspired many, but likewise our actions and our failure to live up to those ideals have hurt many as well.

We are neither uniquely good or uniquely bad.

We are humans standing on both the good and evil of our fathers.

And we should remember that, lest the hubris of assuming that what power and prosperity America possesses are a reward from God for our own righteousness or uniqueness as a culture. They aren’t.

Rains fall on the just and the unjust alike.

Honesty…


Ecclesiastes is probably the book in the Bible that comes close to honesty, though Job’s presentation of the problem of evil comes close.

Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:

I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter;
power was on the side of their oppressors—
    and they have no comforter.
And I declared that the dead,
    who had already died,
are happier than the living,
    who are still alive.
But better than both
    is the one who has never been born,
who has not seen the evil
    that is done under the sun.

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.

Angels


Whenever I read about angels in the bible now, I imagine this fiery Thing-like creature with wings popping out everywhere and 10,000 eyes all staring and blinking independently at some poor Bronze Age farmer.

“Fear not…”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”
“It’s good news…”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”
“The Lord has heard your prayers…”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

Christianity in the Time of COVID.


Then the devil took him to a high place in the Temple and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump, for it is written-“

“WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

(SPLAT)

“Wow… uh… yeah… that was… unexpected,” said the Devil. “Didn’t think he’d actually be dumb enough to do it.”

The TL:DR Bible: Romans 1-2


Chapter 1:

Hi, Romans, this is Paul.

Grace and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ.

I thank God for you all, because I’ve heard of how great your church and your faith are. I often pray that I can come visit you guys, so we can hang and encourage each other. Also, I’m hoping to convert a few more Romans like I convert in every other town I visit. So I’m eager to come and speak about Jesus in Rome, because I’m not ashamed of the message because it means salvation to those who believe it, both Jews and Greeks. God’s righteousness is revealed by faith.

But God’s wrath is revealed against all men. God is ticked off because if you look at nature, you should be able to see God. So everyone knows God exists, but they reject him and start worshipping idols instead.

So God made them all gay. Yep. You’re not gay because of genes or hormones or whatever. You’re gay because you decided to worship idols.

But, you protest, I started feeling attraction to the same sex at a young age.

Yeah, and Paul says you felt that because you were a degenerate idol worshipper. It’s SCIENCE!

And because Humanity didn’t send God a “I see you there!” card, God gave us over to all sorts of evil stuff and we all deserve to die, even if we’re not personally evil or gay but are okay with gay people living their lives in peace.

 

Chapter 2:

Therefore, all of you religious types who hate those people are without excuse too because you do the same stuff. You’re just hypocrites. But God sees your heart and His kindness leads you to repentance. Because in His kindness, he’s going to repay everyone according to their deeds, and punish every misconduct you’ve ever created.

(Paul and I have a different idea of kindness, it seems.)

There is no partiality with God. But God will judge people without the law by their consciences and those with the law by the law. (I guess we better stop wearing mixed fibers and eating bacon.)

So if you’re a Jew, do you keep all of the Law? When you break the Law, you dishonor God. Circumcision is of value if you keep the Law, but if you don’t, you’re worse than an uncircumcised Gentile who keeps the Law. He will judge you. Because God judges the heart, not religious ritual.

What about Moses? God was going to kill him for not circumcising his son, even though he was obeying God and heading back to Egypt?

Shh… that part of the bible is weird. We don’t talk about it.

The TL:DR Bible: Acts 23-28


Chapter 23:

Paul has been taken out of prison and the elders and priests are assembled to listen to Paul and try to explain the charges against him to the Roman commander.

Paul: I’ve lived in good conscience under the Law to this day.

The high priest orders someone to punch him in the face. Paul curses him as a whitewashed wall and accuses him of breaking the Law. The people are shocked he would speak to the high priest like that and Paul says, “Yeah, I wasn’t aware the high priest goes around ordering people to be hit in the face.”

He has a point.

Paul knows how to work the system. He realizes that half the guys there are Sadducees who don’t believe in the resurrection and half are Pharisees who do, so he shouts, “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee and I’m on trial for believing in the resurrection.”

So the crowd gets to infighting now with the Pharisees standing by their tribesman and the two sides yell at each other. So the Commander has Paul removed before the two sides go even more bananas. Paul has a dream that night that Jesus tells him he must go to Rome and preach there.

The next day, some Jews take an oath not to eat or drink until they kill Paul, but Paul’s nephew gets wind of the plot and tells Paul, who has him relay the message to the Commander. The Commander orders 200 soldiers, 200 spearmen, and 70 riders to escort Paul over to the governor Felix. The Commander writes the governor a letter:

Dear Felix,

I found the Jews trying to kill this guy, a Roman citizen, and the best I can make of it is that it’s some stupid religious differences motivating it. But they’re still trying to kill him, so I’m sending the matter up to you.

– Claudius Lysias

Felix receives Paul and has a room in the governor’s residence made available for him until the Jews come up and make their accusations.

 

Chapter 24:

So the high priest comes up with a lawyer and some elders and says, “This guy is disturbing our peace and he has different religious beliefs than we do, and he was trying to desecrate the Temple. We were going to take care of it, but your darned Roman soldiers stopped us.”

Paul: Yeah, I went to worship in Jerusalem. I did not cause a disturbance, they did. I wasn’t even talking with anyone. They can’t prove a damn thing. But I do freely admit to being a Christian and I think the Old Testament proves my point of view.”

Felix knew of Christianity, said, “Yeah, I’ll make a decision when I hear from Lysias, the Commander.”

So Paul is under house arrest for two years, and Felix hoped for a bribe to release him, but otherwise kept him imprisoned as curiosity and a favor to the priests. After two years, a new governor takes Felix’s place.

 

Chapter 25:

The new governor Festus goes through the same thing with Paul and the priests again. The Priests request a change of venue to Jerusalem, but Paul refuses and appeals his case to Caesar as was his right. Festus says, “Well that settles that. The case goes to Caesar now.”

Festus entertains Herod Agrippa and his wife and mentions Paul’s case to them. Agrippa is curious to hear the case, so Paul is brought before them all the next day.

Festus addresses the gathered crowd saying, “Look, I’m supposed to send him up to Caesar, but I’ve got no idea what charges I should write that he’s accused of, so maybe you guys can help me.”

 

Chapter 26:

Paul says, “Hey, I’m glad I can make a case to you, King Agrippa, since you’re familiar with the Law and the Prophets. So I believe God raised Jesus from the dead and that’s why I’m on trial. I used to persecute Christians, but then I had a vision of Jesus and converted and I’ve been faithfully executing his commission ever since. You know the Old Testament, King Agrippa, do you believe in the prophets concerning the Christ who was to suffer and die and be resurrected?”

Festus: You’re crazy, Paul. You finally snapped.

Agrippa: Dude, you almost persuade me that you’re right.

Paul: I wish all the world would be persuaded.

Agrippa: Yeah, he’s innocent. If he hadn’t appealed to Caesar, I’d say let him go.

 

Chapter 27:

They start the journey to Italy. After many stops, they finally reach a harbor called Fair Havens. But the town wasn’t fun, didn’t have many bars, and generally wasn’t liked by the Roman soldiers, so they wanted to head to a different port. But winter was coming.

Paul warns them that sailing in these waters at this time of year would probably mean death, but Fair Havens was a really boring town, so the Roman centurion ordered them to try.

But they hit a storm along the way and have to anchor the boat. The storm thrashes the boat around for three days as they’re tossing over stuff to make it lighter. Then Paul stands up and says, “You should have listened to me.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“But it’s cool. The Lord tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he’s pretty sure you’re ****ed. Ha… I’m just kidding. You’re all going to live too.”

They start to sail the boat towards what they think is land, so they can run it aground, and some of the sailors think about trying to escape, but Paul tells the Centurion, “We need those guys or we’re going to die.”

So the Centurion has the small boats cut down and thrown into the sea.

After 14 days of fasting, Paul encourages them to eat. They do. When the boat is finally run aground, the soldiers want to kill the prisoners so none of them escape, but the Centurion stops them for Paul’s sake. He orders everyone to jump overboard and swim or grab onto debris and float to shore on the waves.

 

Chapter 28:

Everyone arrives safely on Malta and the Maltese welcome them with a fire. Paul gathers firewood and throws it on the fire, but a snake jumps out and bites him on the arm. Paul shakes the thing off into the fire, but everyone knows he’s going to die. They think it’s karmic justice. But Paul is fine, so they start to think he’s a god.

The governor welcomes them and Paul heals his father of an illness, so everyone starts bringing the sick to Paul and he heals them and the Maltese treat them very generously as a result. They stay there three months before they sail.

They eventually put in at Puteoli and travel up to Rome. Along the way, Christians come out to meet and speak with Paul and he’s encouraged by them.

At Rome, the centurion permits Paul to stay in a home of his own under guard and Paul sends out word to the local Jewish leaders.

“Hey, guys, I’m innocent. I don’t intend to bring charges against Israel or the Jews to Caesar, I was just forced into this by the priests in Jerusalem.”

“Look, Paul, we don’t know anything about it, but maybe you could explain this whole Jesus thing to us, because we have heard word of these Christians, but it’s always bad things we hear.”

So Paul explains to them using the Old Testament why he thinks Jesus was the Messiah. Some are converted, some aren’t and they leave having a disagreement over the topic.

Paul continues to live in Rome for two years entertaining anyone who would come to his rented home and telling them of Jesus.

Paul later dies in Rome sometime during the reign of Caesar Nero and traditionally it is claimed that he was beheaded for the faith.

The TL:DR Bible: Acts 15-16


Chapter 15:

So we get our second recorded case of church infighting. I know, impossible, right? But some Jewish Christians came over to the Gentile Christians and said, “You guys need to chop off part of your dick and keep the law if you want to be saved.”

Paul and Barnabas replied, “No, you don’t.”

So the thing became such a mess that the apostles and elders had to call a meeting. After yelling at each other in love for a while, Peter stands up and says, “Guys, remember the whole story I told in Acts 10 and 11? God gave the Gentiles the Holy Spirit even though they had intact dicks, so why are we trying to turn them Jewish?”

Paul and Barnabas talk about their ministry with the Gentiles, and James (the brother of Jesus) stands up and says, “Peter makes good sense, also here’s some scripture, and let’s only say that Gentiles need to stay away from pagan cult practices like eating or drinking blood, eating stuff offered to idols, and screwing around with temple prostitutes.”

So everyone’s like, “Okay, sounds cool.”

Then they draft a letter and send it to Antioch with Paul, Barnabas, Silas and some others saying, “Hey, guys, we’ve decided you’re all good. Just try to stay away from eating or drinking blood or food offered to idols, and try not to screw around especially with those temple prostitutes. Do this and it’s all good.”

Then Paul said, “Hey Barnabas, road trip!”

“Cool. Let’s take John Mark too.”

“No way, dude ditched us last time.”

“He’s coming.”

“You know what? Fine. I’ll go on a road trip with Silas, you jerk.”

“See you in hell… I mean, heaven… I’ll see you in heaven, jerk. Come on, Mark.”

So the two part ways, and Paul travels around as a wandering rabbi.

 

Chapter 16:

“Hey, Timothy,” Paul said. “I’d like you to come with us.”

“Awesome!”

“You just have to cut off part of your wiener.”

“Bogus. What about chapter 15? What about chapter 15?”

“That was only for Gentiles apparently. You’re half-Jewish. Cut off your wiener bits.”

“What if I just cut off half of it?”

So Timothy joins up. So they travel some more and run into some hardships that prevent them from going various places which they chalk up to the Holy Spirit saying no. Then Paul has a dream about a tall dark Macedonian man who says, “Come over here and help us.” Probably shirtless and oiled up.

But Paul heads over to Macedonia to Philippi and converts a woman named Lydia who gets baptized and invites Paul to stay with her, and basically opens her home to become the local house church.

As they stay in Philippi, a slave woman and fortune teller follows them around saying, “Hey, guys, these are men sent from God telling you the way of salvation.”

For some reason, this annoys Paul, and he gets fed up and performs an exorcism. Her owners are not too happy about this and have Paul and Silas arrested.

“These guys are Jews and they’re teaching us a weird new religion!”

So they have Paul and Silas stripped and caned. Then they throw them into prison. At midnight, Paul and Silas are singing hymns and an earthquake strikes  and all the doors open and the prisoners’ chains fall off. The jailer wakes up and thinks his prisoners have escaped, so he prepares to commit suicide, but Paul stops him. “Hey, dude, we’re all still here.”

“Okay, how do I get saved?”

“Believe in Jesus.”

So they all get baptized. The jailer cleans up their wounds and feeds them. The next day, he gets an order from the officials saying, “Go ahead and let those two guys go.”

But Paul says, “Yeah… no. We’re Roman citizens and they beat us in public without a trial and threw us into prison. If they want us gone, they need to come down here and ask themselves.”

When the officials hear this, they’re afraid. Roman citizens had the right to a trial and they just violated the right of Paul and Silas, so they come down and beg the two of them to leave. Paul is going to make them squirm a bit. But eventually he relents and Paul and Silas go to Lydia’s house, chat with the church for a bit, and then head out of town.

The TL:DR Bible: Acts 13-14


Chapter 13:

The elders at Antioch get a message from the Holy Spirit.

“This is my first line! Two more and I get my SAG card!”

When they looked quizzically at Him, He said, “Oh, right. Send out Saul and Barnabas on a missionary journey.”

And so they did. So they go to Seleucia, then Cyprus, and arrive at Salamis where they start teaching about Jesus in the local synagogue. They travel the entire island just teaching about Jesus, and meet up with the local proconsul, Sergius Paulus. Serge had a magician adviser named Bar-Jesus who opposed Paul which made Paul mad, so Paul struck him with blindness, which doesn’t seem like a particularly fair debate tactic, but it worked because Serge believed.

They travel to Perga, but John Mark leaves them. Paul gets pissy about that and carries a grudge. They go to the next town’s synagogue and when they’re invited to speak, Paul gets up and says, “Hey, guys, remember how God brought us out of slavery in Egypt, then lead us around the desert for 40 years, then ordered us to kill every man, woman, and child in Canaan? And how we had warlords for a few centuries until we wanted a king. Then we got Saul, but then David? Yeah, one of David’s descendants, Jesus is our Savior now. Jesus fulfilled all of the prophesies by dying, but God raised him up, and now we’re here to tell you the good news that if you join today, you can get forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and a free set of Ginsu knives!”

So lots of them believed and they invited Paul back next Saturday to speak. But when the entire city showed up, darned those jealous Jews started to say that Paul was full of crap, so Paul got mad and said, “Screw you guys, we’re going to tell the Gentiles instead.”

So the Gentiles were happy, the Jews were pissed, and Paul and Barnabas get run out of town. But everyone was super happy in the church.

 

Chapter 14:

They go to Iconium and repeat this process. Some people believe, others don’t, but it’s always the Jews’ fault. Can’t imagine why Christians were anti-Semitic for 1940 years with books like this. The city is divided on the Jesus question, but when the apostles find out that there is a plot to kill them, they leave the city and move on to the next town.

At Lystra, they heal a lame man and the crowds want to worship them as Gods, but the apostles restrain them and say, “Hey, we’re trying to get you to change religions. We have pamphlets!”

But then those sneaky Jews follow them and get the crowds mad and have Paul stoned and not in the good way. But Paul survives and walks back to town.

And they go to the next town and the next town and the next town repeating the process until they finally arrive back in Antioch and report their success to the elders of the church.