Tag Archives: Christianity

Mainstream Christianity QUESTION


Arthur, in his response to my post last week about Christian yoga, asked me to “look at how mainstream Christians can get attention (and differentiation) when overshadowed by the loud—and often flaky…fundamentalists.” I’d love to, but I can’t, and I’ll tell you why.

During one of the debates during the 2004 Presidential campaign, the candidates were each asked about their faith stance. George W. Bush gave his standard response about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. John Kerry gave what I thought was a fine answer about how his Roman Catholic faith compelled him to respond to the social gospel, i.e., to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, et al. But after the debates, more than a few pundits suggested that Kerry had somehow evaded the question. And, according to that PBS series God in America, that I keep recommending, Kerry himself concluded that he had “blown it” on the religion issue.

So the junior senator from Illinois was out making speeches in 2005 and 2006 Continue reading Mainstream Christianity QUESTION

The important theological question of our time


I found this interesting: Yogatta be kidding me

…”Christians who practice yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with, a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a ‘post-Christian, spiritually polyglot’ reality.”

Then others…took it a step further, calling Yoga “absolute paganism”: “Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic… If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you’re signing up for a little demon class.”

…Shawn Groves [in] “Death of Discernment”…made some great points about many things that we do that have some pagan roots. Things like tortillas, Halloween… even paper and Thursday (the day of the week).

Maybe it’s just me Continue reading The important theological question of our time

With God On Our Side


I’ve been watching God in America on PBS recently. I will grant that the criticism that it does not touch on non-Christian faiths as much as it ought is valid, but I still think the series has validity, and I’ve already recommended it to my church’s adult education coordinator. Maybe the series SHOULD be called “Christanity in America.”

That caveat aside, it is an interesting take on the conflicting views of faith in the country, never moreso than in the period right before and during the Civil War, when slavery was attacked and defended using the very same Bible. On the show, one abolitionist minister cites Exodus 21:16, “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.” Meanwhile, a pro-slavery preacher quotes Leviticus 25:45, 46 – “You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life.” This fight split the Methodist, baptist and Presbyterian denominations for decades.

Meanwhile, the slaves themselves are attracted to the liberation theology of Moses leading his people to freedom, epitomized by Exodus 3: 7-8: “The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Thing is that most of these people had a certainty that God supports their particular take on the word because they believe – at least the non-slaves – in the notion that the United States is uniquely blessed by God. Interesting, one person in this period was less certain about God’s will, and that was President Abraham Lincoln, a man with a good Old Testament name.

The parallels with modern-day America are clear. There are some who claim to have a direct line to the Almighty when it comes to what is required/desired/permitted/omitted. The rest of us, not so much, except that God couldn’t POSSIBLY have meant THAT, at least not any more.

Anyway, it reminded me of the Bob Dylan song With God On Our Side, performed here by Joan Baez.

Reformation Rap QUESTION


It’s Reformation Sunday tomorrow. As a long-time Methodist, I had no idea what that meant, and had barely heard of it. But now, as a Presbyterian, in a church in the “Reform tradition,” it’s a bigger deal. It commemorates the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door.

Someone sent me this a couple days ago:
We religious instruction teachers are always looking for ways to engage the students. In my class last year, I likened Martin Luther’s dilemma to: how would they (the students) feel, if they came home to find their families imprisoned and tortured, and it won’t stop until they say that Sammy Hagar was Van Halen’s better frontman? We’d all agreed, beforehand, that Van Halen’s a great band, “but you MUST renounce Diamond Dave, and embrace Sammy, or you’ll get your dad’s OTHER EAR in ANOTHER package!” They stood up at their table, and shouted & pointed in my face, and I had soooo much fun getting them all stirred up while humming “Why Can’t This Be Love?” and dissing the tune to “Panama…” It’s why I teach 🙂

There was also a link to something called the 95 Theses, a 2007 rap done to the tune of Jay-Z’s 99 Problems. Continue reading Reformation Rap QUESTION

MOVIE REVIEW: Easy A


The date movie with the wife for the month, Columbus Day, was Easy A, based on some positive reviews. High school student Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone, from the movies Zombieland and Superbad) finds herself invisible in high school. She ends up lying to her best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka from some Disney shows and the current Hellcats) about going away for a weekend sex romp with a fictional college freshman, when in fact she barely left her bedroom. After the lie gets out, she finds that people ARE noticing her, for the wrong reasons. She then embraces her inner Hester Prynne from the book “The Scarlet Letter,” which she is currently reading in school.

I don’t see a lot of “teen comedies”, but I did enjoy this one, albeit with some reservations. I totally believed that one can get lost in high school, even someone as bright and attractive as Olive. Definitely bought the notion she could have a vapid BFF like Rhi, who she’s known since grade school. I can relate to the intoxication of sudden attention. When she agrees to help out a bullied gay friend, Brandon (Dan Byrd from Cougar Town) by pretending to sleep with him, her image rapidly goes downhill; that part is certainly believeable, though played a bit loosely.

I also enjoyed Stanley Tucci and especially Patricia Clarkson, as Olive’s liberal and trusting parents Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Easy A

"It Gets Better"

by Joe Newton

From the ACLU website:

In his September 23, 2010, Savage Love column, Dan Savage wrote about 15-year-old Billy Lucas, an Indiana teen who committed suicide after persistent bullying and harassment by his classmates for being gay. Savage wrote: “I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.”

So Savage started the “It Gets Better Project” on YouTube, in which LGBT adults are encouraged to submit videos of themselves talking to LGBT teenagers who suffer abuse similar to Billy Lucas’s. And several other teens who ended up commiting suicide recently, as it turns out, including Cody Barker, age 17, of Shiocton, Wisconsin; Asher Brown, age 13, of Houston, Texas; Seth Walsh, age 13, of Tehachapi, California; Tyler Clementi, age 18, the Rutgers University student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge; Raymond Chase, age 19, a student in Providence, Rhode Island; and Justin Aaberg, age 15, of Anoka, Minnesota.

As a heterosexual Christian, I was particularly interested in hearing the theological response, specifically Why Anti-Gay Bullying is a Theological Issue And the moral imperative of anti-bullying preaching, teaching, and activism, by Cody J. Sanders:
Continue reading "It Gets Better"