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“In recent years and elections one would have thought that homosexuality and abortion were the new litmus tests of authentic Christianity. Where did this come from? They never were the criteria of proper membership for the first 2000 years, but reflect very recent culture wars instead. And largely from people who think of themselves as ‘traditionalists’! (The fundamentals were already resolved in the early Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed. Note that none of the core beliefs are about morality at all. The Creeds are more mystical, cosmological, and about aligning our lives inside of a huge sacred story.) When you lose the great mystical level of religion, you always become moralistic about this or that as a cheap substitute. It gives you a false sense of being on higher spiritual ground than others.

“Jesus is clearly much more concerned about issues of pride, injustice, hypocrisy, blindness, and what I have often called ‘The Three Ps’ of power, prestige, and possessions, which are probably 95 percent of Jesus’ written teaching. We conveniently ignore this 95 percent to concentrate on a morality that usually has to do with human embodiment. That’s where people get righteous, judgmental, and upset, for some reason. The body seems to be where we carry our sense of shame and inferiority, and early-stage religion has never gotten much beyond these ‘pelvic’ issues. As Jesus put it, ‘You ignore the weightier matters of the law—justice, mercy, and good faith . . . and instead you strain out gnats and swallow camels’. We worry about what people are doing in bed much more than making sure everybody has a bed to begin with. There certainly is a need for a life-giving sexual morality, and true pro-life morality, but one could sincerely question whether Christian nations and people have found it yet.” — Fr. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations (Sunday, June 16, 2013):  “New Fundamentals” Are a Contradiction in Terms

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What Kind Of Parent…?


”What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?”

Imagine, if you will, that you have a daughter barely able to walk and talk on her own.

In her short life this little girl has never been lied to, never been tricked, never been mislead or mistreated, and has only experienced people speaking the truth to her.

Imagine, if you will, that you place this child — your daughter — in a room to play while you do something else.

An adult drops in, and you let them stay in the same room as the child while you do something else (what exactly doesn’t matter).

Now, if you know this adult, and know they are trustworthy, you’ll have no qualms leaving them in the room with your daughter: She’s in safe hands because you know that adult would never ever harm her.

And the adult doesn’t, even though you are not in the room or watching.

So everything’s peachy keen.

Now suppose a different adult has dropped in, one you don’t know that well, but whom you have no reason to suspect would be the kind of creep to rape a child.

If you step into the room and find the creep raping your daughter, you may be criticized for not knowing this particular adult well enough to justify leaving them alone with a child, but at the same time you can argue you had no reason to suspect them and as such you are not as guilty as if, say…

…you knew the adult was a child molester and you leave them alone in a room with your daughter while you go do something else.

Now even there you have a defense:
You didn’t think they would be so brazen as to try something in your own home when you might walk in at any minute.

But let’s take this a step further…

Say the room is under surveillance, either a big two-way mirror in the wall or hidden security cameras. Let’s say you saw what was happening at all times.

Now, if you see the rapist making a move on your daughter and immediately rush to her rescue, you may have done something foolish by letting the rapist in the room with her in the first place, but at least you acted swiftly to prevent harm.

But if you didn’t pay attention to what the adult was doing, then you are a negligent parent at the very least.

But if you knew the adult was a child rapist, and if you saw them attacking your daughter, and you did nothing while it was within your power to stop it…

…and if you blame her for being raped afterwards…

…just what kind of parent are you?

animated simpson adam and eve

Ladies and Gentlemen,
the story of Eve and the serpent
in the Garden of Eden.

More than any other story in the Bible, Old Testament or New, this one is the single most problematic.

Because a plain text reading indicates God doesn’t know what will happen and that the future is as much of an unknown to Him as it is to us.

In which case, why should we worship Him? No matter what promises He makes to us, He can’t guarantee He can deliver because He doesn’t know the future. (Call that Option #1)

And if He does know the future, then He should have known full well what the serpent would do when it had a chance and He let it happen anyway.

In which case, why should we trust Him? He set us up. (Call that Option #2)

And if he deliberately intended for it to happen just so He could punish us, then we are royally screwed, and just the playthings of a sadist. (Call that Option #3)

Now, our friends the atheists would look at options #1 & #2 & #3 and offer Option #4: There is no God, there is no divine presence, there is no moral center to the universe.

And the fundamentalist / literalists would offer Option #5 and say “Ah, God’s ways are not our ways; who are we to judge God?” in which case we would rightfully say “If God can’t clearly convey and articulate His desire for humanity in simple concrete terms that se can readily grasp, then communion with Him is an impossibility.”

Which is where the list of options usually ends…

But there is Option #6:
The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden is not literally historically factually true but rather a parable by early culturally primitive and barbaric humans to express as best they could with their limited viewpoint their understanding of their relationship to the Divine.

This is where the atheists say “Yeah, right, whatever…” and go check the TV listings while the fundamentalist / literalists started screaming and stamping their feet and throwing a hissy fit: “No no no NO NO!!! It’s all literally historically FACTUALLY true — every single word of it!!! It must be literally true, it has to be literally true, because if it isn’t literally true then every single other thing in the Bible is false false FALSE!!!


Says who?

Your theology?

The same theology that makes God not a loving parent but either a negligent numbskull or a monster?

Because that’s where literalism inevitably takes us.

The Bible, no matter how Divinely inspired, no matter how faithfully transcribed, is still the product of human understanding.

And human understanding changes and expands and yes, even evolves from generation to generation, from year to year, heck, even from moment to moment.

And what some distant unknown Second Millennium BCE scribe recorded from whatever ur-creation myth his tribe hand passed down around the campfire from prehistoric times at best represents what they understood at that time, not what the actual Truth of the matter is.

It’s not the Bible that’s the problem, it’s the claim that only the surface details are important, not the underlying Truth.

Religion is a metaphor for the ineffable.


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“40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”


The Gospel Coalition website has posted the following questionnaire and commentary from Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan:

“[P]erhaps what’s been most difficult is seeing some of our friends, some of our family members, and some of the folks we’ve sat next to in church giving their hearty ‘Amen’ to a practice we still think is a sin and a decision we think is bad for our country. It’s one thing for the whole nation to throw a party we can’t in good conscience attend. It’s quite another to look around for friendly faces to remind us we’re not alone and then find that they are out there jamming on the dance floor…

“If you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian, a follower of Jesus whose chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, there are important questions I hope you will consider before picking up your flag and cheering on the sexual revolution. These questions aren’t meant to be snarky or merely rhetorical. They are sincere, if pointed, questions that I hope will cause my brothers and sisters with the new rainbow themed avatars to slow down and think about the flag you’re flying.”

Fair enough, Kevin. After the jump I will take you at your word that you are sincere in your desire to understand why we believe what we believe.

For the rest of you, here are the Beatles going to work…

animated abbey lane

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What Is “Sin”?


Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”


We don’t have God’s power or might or authority.
We can’t create a universe out of nothingness.
We can’t transcend time and space.
We can’t create life or consciousness, only pass them along.

Chiding human beings for not being as glorious as God is mean spirited at best, hypocritical at worse.

Unless Paul wasn’t writing about God’s
power or might or authority at all.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

How can we possibly do that?!?!?

Well, let’s start by looking at those verses not in isolation, but in context.

Jesus is delivering the Sermon on the Mount; the verses immediately preceding “be…perfect” are these:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Jesus is not talking about power, Jesus is talking about love.

Love: The one thing humans can do as perfectly as God if they choose to.

Paul, when he writes of humans failing and coming short of the glory of God, is writing about that: Not humans breaking cultural taboos and traditions, but failing to love one another.

If you love others, you won’t kill them unjustly.
If you love others, you won’t steal from them.
If you love others, you won’t betray them.
If you love others, you won’t lie to cause them trouble.
If you love others, you won’t want to take what they have.

If you have to be told not to do these things, you are not perfect in love as God is.

If you avoid these things only because you fear punishment, you are not perfect in love as God is.

If you avoid these things because you seek a reward, you are not perfect in love as God is.

If you even have to think about these things, you are not perfect in love as God is.

When you love others, your instinct is to see what is best for them, what will make them happy and able to find peace.

When you love others, you can only find your own peace and happiness when you know others are free to find their peace and happiness.

Sin is not watching certain forms of entertainment or wearing certain clothes or smoking certain plants or ingesting certain compounds or eating certain foods or saying certain words or not following certain rituals.

At worse, those are just symptoms of sin.

I’ll tell you what sin is:
Sin is the opposite of love.

Helen Keller on Satan

Sin is attitude, not action.

Action can do great harm, of course, but unless the attitude motivating the action is sinful, the act itself is not.

And if the attitude is sinful, no action is necessary.

This is what Jesus was getting at when he taught about lusting in one’s heart being the same thing as adultery, or calling one’s brother a fool being the same thing as murdering him.

He wasn’t equating noticing a person’s attractiveness with sin;
you can look at pretty people all day long and not sin.

Sin comes in when one stops merely appreciating the other person’s beauty and instead begins thinking of how to satisfy their desires with that person regardless of how it might hurt someone else.

If you are single and the other person is single, you’re free to see if it might be possible to build a relationship with them. If either of you is in a committed relationship and yet you still pursue them, your attitude is one of supreme disregard to the mate who is being betrayed.

That’s not love.

That’s sin.

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Problem/s Solved



always for love
never for money

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We’re Not From Here


The Anti-Theist vs Young Earth Creationist hissy fit continues apace, with both sides screaming “Is not! / Is, too!” at each other ad infinitum.


The truth, as always, seems to elude both of them.

Latest clue to the puzzle points us back into the depths of interstellar space again.

“Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are important ingredients of life on Earth,” the study’s lead author, Arnaud Belloche, of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy… The detection of a molecule with a branched carbon backbone in interstellar space, in a region where stars are being formed, is interesting because it shows that interstellar chemistry is indeed capable of producing molecules with such a complex, branched structure.”

So in other words, more evidence that life may have originated off of this planet instead of on it, and if it did originate on Earth then it may have still be significantly changed and irrevocably altered by extraterrestrial influence.

Bad news for the Anti-Theists:
Intelligent Design can’t be taken off the table since there is no way of determining where & how life originated.

Bad news for the Creationists:
Billions and billions of years, poindexters.

Good news for the rest of us:
Ain’t the universe wonderful?

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Everything Else Is Bullshit


meet Jesus

There is only one way to love God, and that is by following His teaching thru Christ:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Anything other than loving one another as God loves us thru Christ is bullshit (Jesus’ words, not mine). Love never seeks to harm, love always seeks to help and, if help is rejected, is prepared to help if the person changes their mind.

Past that, we are to mind our own business, live as peaceably as possible, and look out for those in need. Period. End of discussion. That’s it. Everything else is commentary; fun to discuss but pointless without love.

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What I Believe


I believe there is a Prime Mover behind the universe, a transcendent consciousness we Western Christians commonly call God.

By definition, an eternal & infinite conscious which by nature is constantly aware of every iota of its creation.

A consciousness which on occasion has made its presence known much like bonsai masters make their presence known to their trees.

I believe the teachings of the rabbi we refer to today as Jesus Christ are a manifestation of what the Prime Mover desires for us. I believe nothing is forbidden if it is done from love (and the Golden Rule is the first litmus test in that).

I believe the physical universe behaves under a set of observable scientific principles, and many of the things the Bible refers to as miracles are either a transcendent Prime Mover alerting people to a natural event ahead of time, or a rare but nonetheless statistically inevitable event occurring at a time that benefits the observers.

That being said, I think there are times when the Prime Mover acts directly in human affairs.

But the most important thing in my mind is this:
All of the above is trivia if we do not love and care for one another as the Prime Mover loves and cares for us; to love one another is to love God, and to love God is to love one another.


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should have obeyed the law


Della Reese – “Troublemaker”

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A Message To My Christian Brothers & Sisters


This one is for my co-religionists, so here’s a cute animated gif of a bouncing cube of red jello for the non-Christians.

animated bouncing jello cube

I’ll see the rest of you after the jump.

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