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______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Herman’s Hermits – 2011 June 26, 2011


♫ ♪ Something tells me we went to something good. ♪♪ ♫ ♪

What a great concert last night at the Foellinger Theatre in Fort Wayne.
Lots of good music. Not only Hermit’s songs, but covers (and imitations) of The Monkees, the Stones, Johnny Cash, and more!
Plus, Peter Noone was a funny, funny, (did I mention funny?) FUNNY guy. The night was a laugh riot.
At one point, someone in the audience handed him an early Herman’s Hermits LP, and he was singing and dancing with his face behind the face on the cover. Lots of jokes and crazy stories.  All in all, a top-notch Saturday night.  AND I got an autographed t-shirt! Good times.


   

    

 

Of Goats and Men June 25, 2011

So.
As the victory for equality in New York is being celebrated, one of the first comments from the opposition I read is something to the effect of, “Well then, I want to marry my goat.” This echoes the quote used by Box Turtle Bulletin, “Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”

That would be like having said, “Gee, I might as well let my DOG vote,” when women were finally granted that right.

It’s a bogus argument emanating from people to justify their prejudice, hatred, or (maybe most often) plain ignorance.
It is an extension of the much-loved false notion of the old “slippery-slope” nonsense.¹

Our past shows us that the majority cannot always be trusted to insure the rights of the minority.
In 1912, there was a constitutional proposition to ban interracial marriage. It was claimed that if interracial couples married
the very fabric of society would dissolve.”²
Gee. That’s sounds vaguely familiar.

Many will say, “Yes, that was obviously wrong.”
THAT’S MY POINT. It wasn’t obvious to them at that time!
Listen people, these views were espoused by the “church!”  Complete with lots of Bible verses!
“God said it. I believe it. That settles it!”

You may see their error now, but if you were a conservative, right wing, protestant male at the time, the likelihood is that these views would have been YOUR views! AND you would have been saying, “It’s not me. It’s GOD.”

How can we be so oblivious to at least the possibility that we may be just as guilty of misunderstanding God as were our oppressive ancestors?
Yes, you’ve got your handful of verses.
So did they!

Even if you were right theologically, the one marriage that is truly devastating is that of church and state.
We were watching “The King’s Speech” the other night. It showed how the king was also the highest official of the Church of England.
The mini-series “The Pillars of the Earth” really brings home the atrocities that occur when the cross and the sword become one.
I digress.

When two humans who love each other and want to spend their lives together are allowed to unite in marriage, it has nothing to do with turtles or goats. There is no slope involved. Especially not a slippery one. The “fabric of society” will not unravel because of it. Marriage is not being “rediffined.” Others are simply being included in the existing definition.
We’re just talking basic human equality. Divorce is the great threat to the sanctity of marriage; not same-sex unions. I believe these unions will, if anything, strenghten our society.

It’s been said before, but our history shows that religious people are often the last to be swayed by the truth.
How sad is that?
Those who should be the ones championing equality and truth are all too often the ones fighting hardest against it.

— df

¹ “The slippery-slope argument – that we’d better not budge on or rethink anything for fear we’ll slip down into liberalism, apostasy, or some other hell – proves itself dangerous and naïve even as it tries to protect us from danger and naiveté. [For one thing] it assumes that we’re already at the top of the slope, when it’s just as likely that we’re already at the bottom or somewhere in the middle.”
Bryan McLaren, in “A New Kind Of Christianity.”

²  William Stacy Johnson, in “A Time To Embrace.”

Also see:
What’s So Amazing About Grace
Thou Shalt Not Love
Fall To Grace
Gay Christian Answers
The Myth of a Christian Nation
Evolving In Monkey Town

 

If Grace Is True June 12, 2011

“I’m grateful [God] doesn’t bludgeon us with his truth but leads us there tenderly,
carefully, as we are able to hear it.” – Gulley/Mulholland



I am in whole-hearted agreement with the above statement.
That’s why life is about growth and journey, more than arrival and destination.
Anyway, talk about having my theology stretched!  This book really challenged me.
Honestly, I didn’t expect that.  Not to that degree.
This book has been on my shelf and in my queue for some time now. I planned on getting to it eventually. But because of the “rantings” of a Facebook friend about how good it was, I moved it to the “HEY! READ THIS NOW!” section. (Thanks, Cathy. :-))

Many of the people I know will probably avoid reading this book.  They will avoid reading it because it doesn’t fit their theology.
Those people will be suffering a loss.
This is supposed to be a book about universalism, written by two universalists.   OK.  It is that.  But it’s so much more.  You don’t have to agree with all the theology in this book to be blessed by the insights contained therein. I know, I’ve said that about other books. It’s just that as a former fundamentalist, I know the fear of reading “heresy.”

The authors look at the very nature of God as revealed by Jesus, and personal experience.  There’s a great deal written here about trusting our experience with God.  This contradicts much of the fundamentalist teaching I both received and taught.  They use Peter as a perfect example.  His religion taught him what was “unclean.”  His scriptures taught him what was unclean.  Now, three times, God tells him otherwise.  Peter had to choose between what his “church” and “bible” said, or what his experience with God said.  “Peter relied on his experience.”  So did Paul. Jesus, of course, also quoted scripture, and then basically said, “This is no longer valid.  We’re going in a different direction.” (Matthew 5:38,39) “Jesus challenged slavish devotion to the written word.”

Also addressed is:  How does one “reconcile stories like those of Jesus welcoming the children with stories like those of God commanding the murder of children?” So often, the religious “dance” that’s done to justify this type of contradiction is amazingly ridiculous.   Of course, you can’t usually see that while you’re still dancing. Repeatedly, I was fed the word “balance.”  That’s like balancing the kindness of Mother Teresa with the atrocities of Hitler.
Yeah, balance explains it just fine.

The authors look at how we have viewed what happened on the cross.   At how we’ve turned God into a schizophrenic “good-cop/bad cop.”  About how Jesus had to save us from God.  This is handled in more detail in “He Loves Me,” by Wayne Jacobsen; in “The Misunderstood God,” by Darin Hufford; and in a slightly different way by Brian McLaren in “A New Kind Of Christianity.”

Bottom line, Jesus said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”  Any “revelation” of God, in the Bible or out of it, must fit the revelation of God in Christ.  If it doesn’t, well we need to re-examine what we thought we knew.

We also examine (as Rob Bell often does) the nature of salvation.  This aspect of the book, like many in it, were not new teachings or concepts to me.
They just added more “amens” to my understanding of God’s love.
There are, though, some concepts in this book I’m not sure I can accept.  While I agree that “Jesus didn’t die to appease an angry God,” the writers here go a few steps farther than I’m willing to go…
yet.
I’ll let you discover those portions for yourself.
For the record, I don’t consider myself a universalist.  I’m NOT saying it’s wrong, as some might.  I’m just more of an “I-don’t-knowalist.”  I am, however, totally convinced, both from a scriptural and “experiential” viewpoint, there is no place of eternal torment.  (By “experiential,” I mean how I have experienced God.  Not that I’ve died before and seen the other side. Contrary to how I may act, I am not the reincarnation of Barney Fife.)

There is great value here for anyone who is  growing in faith.  Again I would ask people to read this book for what insight they can gain.  Not for that which with they can find fault.  The parts you may not be in agreement with, set them aside.  At least for now.

Buy the book. CLICK HERE.
—————-

Quotes:

Torn between what he’d always been taught and his experience with God, Peter relied on his experience.

God wanted to destroy me, but Jesus had died for me. I found myself wishing God could be more like Jesus.

The Bible was never intended to end the conversation, but to encourage it.

Buy the book. CLICK HERE.

I no longer want anything to do with a god who punishes homosexuals by giving them a terrible disease. I want nothing to do with a god who murders children in order to maintain racial purity. This isn’t the God of Jesus.

Putting the words good and Samaritan together was as galling to the Jews of that day as putting the words homosexual and Christian together is to many today.

Just as fermenting wine causes old leather to rend and tear, my expanding view of God strained the credibility of my childhood theology.

In any culture obsessed with balanced scales, grace will seem blasphemous.

Buy the book. CLICK HERE.

Holiness is God’s ability to confront evil without being defiled. This is what it means to say God is holy — God’s love is incorruptible.

Perfection is not demonstrated by moral purity, but by extravagant love.

In the crucifixion we said no to God, but in the resurrection God rejected our rejection. This is the triumph of grace.

My fear is that if hell exists it will be populated with Christians offended by grace.

Religion that is primarily motivated by heavenly reward is flawed. It is no more admirable than a man who tells a woman he loves her simply to get her into bed.

Buy the book. CLICK HERE.

 

Buffalo Richie June 2, 2011

SOMETHING’S  HAPPENING  HERE!


When I heard the remaining members of Buffalo Springfield were at it again,
I had to break out Richie Furay’s “I’ve Got A Reason.”

Sonically,  this album still holds it’s own as one of the
best of all times.  Not to minimize Richie’s talents, but
my musical idol Michael Omartian’s influence is more
than noticeable.
These are great songs, masterfully produced, and just
plain fun to listen to, and sing along with.


Back in 1976, when this came out, I was part of a youth group that ran
what we thought passed for a bookstore.  We never sold much, but it
was a place to hang out and listen to music.  We had some some good times.
Wow. It’s like that was lifetime ago.

Anyway, “Jesus music” was starting to see some higher quality recordings at this time.
Certainly Norman’s “Upon This Rock,” and Petra’s debut record had good writing, talented musicians, and some great songs, but
the production money just wasn’t there.
Part of the backing for “…Reason”came via a partnership with Asylum records, to whom Richie
promised that, although the record would reflect his Christian faith, it would not
be “preachy.”  It was a positive LP, without being religious.  This gave the album a much greater marketability.

I think the only other Furay LPs I’ve owned
were “Dance A Little Light,” with a cover of one of my childhood
faves, Jay and the American’s “This Magic Moment,” and Richie’s last before his long
musical hiatus, “Seasons Of Change.”

 


Of “Dance A Little Light,” one reviewer said,
“Though recorded by what was technically a Christian rock group, [it] is
a far cry from the heavy-handed, musically inept evangelizing often associated with the genre.”
Frankly, that’s pretty high praise.



I think the next time I was aware of anything Furay was doing is when he teamed up with
the Elefante Brothers for “When Will the World See That We Need Jesus,” which
would later be covered by Petra. [Video below.]


I like music.  I have one on the widest variety of “likes,” if you will, of the people I know.
I can never imagine being stuck in one decade or genre of music.
BUT, if I had to pick a favorite period, it would be the late 60’s through the 70’s.

My wife and I have seen a lot of the “old” acts in the past few years:
The Monkees, Denis Deyoung, Alice Cooper, An ABBA tribute band, and The Grass Roots, to name just some.
We recently saw B.J. Thomas, and we have tickets for upcoming concerts to
Hermin’s Hermits and Three Dog Night.




So Richie, Stephen and Neil;
“For What It’s Worth,” I would be greatly pleased if you
would get yourselves to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I’d love to add Buffalo Springfield to the above list,
before the man come and take you away.


[Click on image to read the
Rolling Stone Article on Buffalo Springfield]



[Click on any of the Richie Furay album covers above for reviews and purchase options.]








 

 
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