Here are some things I read this week that made me think. Inclusion does not equal endorsement. Caution: Some of these posts contain language (and possibly even ideas) that some could find offensive. Also anything in bold is something I emphasized. Click on the title beneath each quote to read the entire post.
“What this means, is that saying God is in control, while doing little or nothing to alter the planet in any meaningful way is spiritual rebellion. It is a willing abdication of our calling to be makers of peace here. It expects that God will clean up whatever horrible mess we make—and that our prayers alone will serve as the sole request form.
I don’t believe this is true and it isn’t Biblical. I don’t believe Jesus spent three years imploring people to love their neighbors as themselves, to feed the poor, to protect the vulnerable, to love our enemies, and to bind up wounds of strangers—if God had already written the script and we’re all just playing the whole thing out in flesh and blood without getting to improvise and change lines.
And this all matters, because if we are indeed free to choose and responsible for our choices, and these decisions make tangible ripples in the world that alter the planet in realtime—then we had better get to work, Christians.
And that means far more than prayer and platitudes.”
Christian, Stop Telling Me God is in Control by John Pavolitz
“Security may at times require secrecy,” he added, “but embarrassment or political sensitivity never should. Facts regarding the number of airstrikes and their civilian toll should always be disclosed promptly and faithfully so the public, aided by human rights workers and journalists, can scrutinize military operations being conducted in their name.”
The U.S. military’s stats on deadly airstrikes are wrong. Thousands have gone unreported By: Andrew deGrandpre and Shawn Snow
“…There is no refuge in saying that someone else was your spiritual covering and therefore it’s not your fault if their umbrella isn’t big enough to allow you to spread out to your full potential.
That type of blame-shifting is as old as Adam and Eve answering God’s questions about eating the forbidden fruit…
It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. A woman who pleads the excuse of a small husbandly umbrella is looking to the wrong place for her spiritual authority. Jesus is the only source of authority for carrying out all God has given you to do, and he is all the covering you need to reach it fully.
Women, don’t let anyone tell you that you need a husband whose vision is greater than yours in order to reach your spiritual potential. All you need is to follow wherever Jesus leads you, for his vision is great indeed.”
Spiritual Umbrellas and the Oppression of Women by Tim Fall
“But something clicked in me when we got to Canaan. All of a sudden, the appalling injustice of the whole storyline came crashing down on me. I became physically ill listening to our teacher rationalize why it was okay for the Hebrews to rob the Canaanites of their land through violent conquest. Retributive justice, he said, comes from God one way or another, and they had it coming.
For my Sunday School teacher, this was an object lesson in anticipation of the future judgment of the whole world which God would one day execute on the Day of Judgment…
William Lane Craig famously argued that God was acting in mercy when he commanded the execution of those children because they would have grown up to be something awful, like child-sacrificers (Killing babies to appease a god? Anybody besides me see the irony there?) Craig went on to theorize that this was okay because these children would have gone directly to heaven when they died since they had not yet reached the age of accountability (still waiting to hear which Bible verse teaches that, btw)…
In the end it was a belief in Hell which enabled our Sunday School teacher to accept this story at face value because, as he reasoned, if God’s just gonna punish everyone who disobeys him someday anyway, then this mere physical destruction pales in comparison. He had a good point. In the end, the doctrine of Hell justifies absolutely any injustice we could imagine.
Another great irony is that these same people have a habit of telling people like me that ethics without (their specific) God leads to moral relativism. But when I survey atheists I can’t find any who believe you can morally justify the kind of ethnic cleansing this story represents. I’ve never had one even try. They seem unanimous.* But then if I put five Christians in a room and ask them the same question, I will likely get five different answers even though they’re all working from the same religious text.
So which worldview really leads more to relativism?..
I will continue to do my best to foster constructive dialogue with all of my believing friends and family who are willing to have rational discussions with me about their beliefs. But do not expect me to be cool with this one, because I won’t.”
I Drew the Line at Canaan by Neil Carter
“Taken into custody alive, after shooting three people. It’s amazing how white killers are somehow always taken alive, but Black people selling loose cigarettes or pulled over for a traffic violation or running away from police out of fear so often end up dead.”
This is Terrorism by Melissa McEwan
“Parents told their kids, “I wish you had never been born” and even “I wish you were dead.” One week eight young people died by suicide. One night a young girl slept in the snow because her parents told her to leave at bedtime. One Christmas a young teen found himself with a suitcase and no place to go…
And why? Because of the misplaced belief that God hates queer people. That queer people are not born that way, that they need to change or face the consequences of their sin. The still burgeoning field of “reparative therapy” attests to that, with thousands of people to this day subjected to terrifying experiences, including physical punishment, all trying to win God’s (and parental) love.”
Glitter Is Serious Business: The Story Behind Glitter Ash Wednesday by Marian Edmonds-Allen
“There’s a way Christians could rebuild the cultural power they used to have. It’s simple, really. They just need to use their power for good. Help refugees. Support the poor. Fight for civil rights…
You know: Do all the things that everyone knows Christianity no longer represents.
I won’t hold my breath. If the first month of this administration is any indication of what Christians do when given power, they’re living up to every stereotype their critics have of them. We were right all along.
And we’ll keep fighting until they lose whatever awful influence they have left.”