August 11, 2011 Leave a comment
Nostalgic feelings toward destructive theology, Reaching for a richer experience through gaming
July 29, 2011 1 Comment
If you don’t know about it, go here. Basically a guy said some things at a NASCAR race. The guy was a pastor and the some things was a prayer, a prayer that included thanking God for various brands of cars and a “smokin’ hot wife”. Also, his two kids, who he refereed to as “The Little E’s”. At the end, between the obligatory “In Jesus’ name” (If you don’t say it, it doesn’t count) and “Amen”, he inserted a famous catch phrase I would know about if I cared about NASCAR at all, and I don’t, not until they make it more like Speed Racer or Mario Kart.
Some people were pissed, probably because Christians aren’t supposed to think about sex, and calling a woman “smokin’ hot” is past that line, but also because some people think those car companies Joe thanked God for payed Joe to do that. To quote what I imagine Lightning McQueen said to those people: “What, are you fucking stupid? …Kachow!” I’m sure all those big companies who, no doubt, already had their names plastered over the entire event payed some random guy so he could have God bless them. That seems logical.
But this prayer is still stupid. Joe said he was just trying to show that Christians can have fun. Did you ever see Saved? Do you remember that scene when Mandy Moore tells her friends they need to show that sexy rebellious character that Christians can have fun too, and so they all fake laugh when she’s nearby. This feels like that. I mean, using moderately acceptable language only other Christians are offended by? That’s fun right? And having a standard, nuclear size family unit, complete with an adorable nickname for your kids? Woooo! Supporting large corporations as if they were as precious as an immediate family member that aren’t even paying you? Not to mention you’re at a NASCAR race, most boring sporting event known to man.
So I respect what Joe did here, and I’ve decided to write my own prayer following in his footsteps.
Thank you so much for fast food chains that are always open and ready to serve the hungry moderately tasty shit. Thank you for Wal-mart, how big it is, and how shiny. I like big, shiny things. Lord, thank you for ABC and granting them the wisdom to cancel Pushing Daisies after the equivalent of just one season, for, even though that show was brilliant, it was about death, and death is an icky thing that I would just rather ignore.
Lord, thank you for my girlfriend–I mean, I don’t have one right now, nor have I ever had one for more than a week… but the abstinence themed sex-ed class I took assured me she was coming. Lord, thank you that she is incredibly large-breasted, has a sexy Irish accent, and is Okay with maybe pushing the envelope when it comes to gender roles, but you know, just a little. Just enough to not make you mad.
In Jesus’ name, Watcha talkin’ ’bout, Willis, Amen
June 30, 2011 Leave a comment
A while since my last post. You know why? I didn’t want to write about today’s topic because I know nothing about it. It has to do with division in the Church, but it’s not quite as grand as that sounds. Bring it down to a more personal level, because that’s where it starts.
I’m just going to throw this out here: homosexuality is the biggest divider of the Church. That’s how I see it anyway. You might not. If you’re like some Christians I’ve met you might not think it divides the Church at all because, you know, “The Bible is clear” and all that, so those liberals aren’t true Christians.
Then there’s US. WE don’t think it’s wrong to be gay. We don’t think it’s wrong at all. And WE don’t want to hang out with YOU, not when you’re quoting those verses and laughing at how absurdly clear their meaning is. It gives us a headache.
Well this whole thing gives me a headache. I have a lot of Christian friends. Some think being gay is a sin. Others accept it. I want to keep all my friends if possible, even if it is true that I have to take one side of this debate, and I do, and you probably know which one (the one that’s OK with it). It’s hard to be united though, when some of the people I share a religion with think I’m going to Hell because I’m a heretic. So what do we do if we want peace? Ignore the whole thing? Never bring it up? No, we have to talk. I think an open debate (oh, and God) is the only thing that will eventually reveal truth to those of us who already have opinions. Proper, healthy education is the way to truth for those who are too young for an opinion, but, yeah, we need to talk about this. But for God’s sake, be respectful.
Sometimes I’ll share my views with other Christians, you know, if it comes up, or I feel like it. Sometimes they’re surprised or think I might be gay. Not really a problem. But then things go back to normal. Things are said. You know, someone brings up the subject without acknowledging that I’m there and I think different, as if they forgot what I shared or figured God changed my heart. Maybe someone lets a questionably distasteful joke slip. You guys trying to make me feel uncomfortable? What to do?
Don’t get me wrong. I said we have to talk. I expect the other side to talk too. I’d be a douche that hates free speech if I didn’t, but just recognize the differences and choose words wisely.
Also, could you please stop trying to force the straight agenda down everyone’s throats with your laws? This is America.
June 19, 2011 1 Comment
Did you see Jesus Camp? That documentary about a summer camp that indoctrinates kids into fundamentalist Christians? There’s a scene that shows some kids in a cabin after lights out. Their counselor is not in the cabin, so they start telling ghost stories. You know, typical camp stuff. So then the counselor comes in and tells them to go to bed. Oh, and he also adds that ghost stories are wrong. like “You know, instead of having fun, we should be more glorifying to God.” and then he added “Sound groovy?” just to prove that he knows what it’s like to be a kid and that he is totally cool and absolutely not just trying to force another sermon in before the day ends. OK, so that’s not an actual quote from the movie, but it’s the impression I get from an actual scene.
But this isn’t a review of Jesus Camp (which is very good but depressing). I want to talk about the reason counselors at Jesus Camp and some other Christians are opposed to ghost stories. Some probably avoid them for the same reason they are against Harry Potter: it has to do with the occult, even if it is fiction. Others, however, simply feel Christians should avoid stories with such a dark tone. You know: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NRSV), to which I reply: “Stupid!” (to the reaction to the verse, not the verse itself.)
Christian culture is so sterile. Don’t get me wrong, it’s offensive, but only to people outside of the subculture it’s directed at. You can make offensive claims about other religions and such, but it remains unoffensive to evangelical Christian. It’s upbeat rock music your parents can enjoy. Art isn’t rebellious anymore. It reaffirms the ideas of the previous generation, with no room for growth. It’s a room with white-washed walls and overhead florescent tubes blurred by plexiglass covers. Do you see the problem?
Christianity isn’t supposed to be safe. It’s formed around the story of a man who was brutally tortured and crucified. So, you know, I think fireside ghost stories are still in bounds.
June 17, 2011 2 Comments
I went to church yesterday. A new church. New to me, I mean. I was reluctant but my friends persuaded me. Plus I’ve been trying to be more social, and, hey, maybe there would be pretty girls.
So it’s time for the pre-church fellowship. There was free food, but I just had a cold paper cup of water. (It was hot out so this was very welcome) I even struck up a conversation regarding old Nintendo games. Soon it was time to begin the service.
I have a confession to make. You’re going to have to know if you’ll be reading this blog: I am a liberal Christian. By that I mean my usual church has one of those LGBT rainbow flags on the outside, but I grew up a conservative Christian. This tends to bring all sorts of puzzles and dilemmas into my life. As the service began, one reoccurring obstacle popped it’s head in to say “Hi”. I was starting to feel uncomfortable already. Had I become so possessed by evil, no longer able to deal with the name “Jesus”? because it reminds me of my condemnation. I’m sure year 2000 Me would think something like that about present day Me, and he still lives in there somewhere.
So there was that, and there was this too: I feel lately I have been intellectualizing my faith, maybe too much. I’ve been on this literary analysis kick when it comes to the Bible, but haven’t really let the word affect me emotionally. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s totally important to critically think about your beliefs, specifically beliefs about issues that affect this life, like politics. When it comes to God, though, that’s more of a faith thing. The two are connected. What we believe about the everyday things affects what we believe about God (I don’t think it’s the other way around), but is there even a way to logically reach God? No, really, I’m asking you a question.
So, here I was, a liberal Christian who reads from his New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version With the Apocrypha: An Ecumenical Study Bible (Third Edition, College Edition), waiting for church to start, wondering if I had demons in me. The service began.
We sat in a circle, in silence, waiting for the Holy Spirit. I was reminded of my time as a missionary (Yes, I was a missionary.) Man, back then, our worship times were like this. Just sitting around, waiting for God to speak. It was a little weird at first, but I really felt something back then. I was suddenly glad I came. I think my discomfort was related toward the bitterness I felt for the church. Not a legion of demons, but still something I would want to check. Who wants to go through life bitter? All right, I’m into this now. Just gonna sit silent and try to let go of my bitterness and have an illogical experience with God.
I realized I had to pee. I excused myself to go take care of that distraction. I think I was already experiencing some kind of high. I remember really enjoying the washing my hands part of my visit to the bathroom and smelling my hands afterward.
Soon after my return, the small gathering started talking about the end of the world. Uh-oh. The general consensus seemed to be an interpretation of the Bible opposed to that popularized by the Left Behind franchise, but still including the concepts of the second coming and everyone else goes to Hell. Uh-oh again. I don’t know about the second coming. It might happen, but the idea is kind of weird to me. Lately I’ve come to the Bible as a kind of story with Truth in it, but, yeah, a story. Bring up the second coming and it sort of becomes “Oh, we actually believe in this?” But I don’t mind people believing in the second coming as long as it doesn’t effect their lives in a negative way. I’m more concerned about the everyone else goes to Hell thing.
I mean do people actually believe this? Yeah, I used to. In middle school I had to go to counseling after praying for salvation ten times a day made it difficult to function. In high school I hurt because I was afraid my friends would go to Hell. This shit aided in my conversion away from conservative Christianity. I just imagined the whole world, all civilizations that ever were, mothers and children, consumed by fire, and at one point I just thought: “I’m out.”
Then someone said something about gay people. I wish I could tell you more, but I went outside for fresh air at that point. I’m disappointed.
The meeting began by reminding me of what I miss from my faith. As it continued, I saw things about my faith that I don’t miss. I wonder: can I reclaim my faith without taking back all the negative? More to come…