LifeWalk

______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Slippery Slope January 31, 2012



THIS IS JUST TOO GOOD TO NOT SHARE WITH AS
MANY PEOPLE AS I CAN.
It’s from the blog of Rachel Held Evans, and I can truly identify.
—————–

They said that if I questioned a 6,000-year-old earth, I would question whether other parts of Scripture should be read scientifically and historically.

They were right. I did.

They said that if I entertained the hope that those without access to the gospel might still be loved and saved by God, I would fall prey to the dangerous idea that God loves everyone, that there is nothing God won’t do to reconcile all things to Himself.

They were right. I have.

They said that if I looked for Jesus beyond the party line, I could end up voting for liberals.

They were right. I do (sometimes).

They said that if I listened to my gay and lesbian neighbors, if I made room for them in my church and in my life, I could let grace get out of hand.

They were right. It has.

They told me that this slippery slope would lead me away from God, that it would bring a swift end to my faith journey, that I’d be lost forever.

But with that one, they were wrong.

————

[Read this rest of this, and other writings by Rachel Held Evans. Click HERE.]

[AND buy and read her wonderful book
“Evolving In Monkey Town.” Click HERE.]

 

The Orthodox Heretic October 6, 2011


The Orthodox Heretic
and Other Impossible Tales
– Peter Rollins


This book is a perfect example of good things coming in small packages.  It’s a tiny hardback, black-cover (without the sleeve) that reminds me of my marriage manual.

This a book of tales; a book of parables.  Some are taken from the Bible.  Some are not.
Each one is a relatively short read, followed by a commentary.  There’s much wisdom here, as well as humor, suspense, and unexpected twists.
“In the parable, truth is not expressed via some detached logical discourse…
Parables subvert the desire to make faith simple and understandable.”

We look at “the true meaning of the phrase Word of God,” as Peter declares “it is impossible to affirm God’s Word apart from becoming that Word, apart from being the place where that Word becomes a living, breathing act.”

We view many of the parables of Jesus from slightly different perspectives, which can sometime render very different understandings.
Mr. Rollins believes, as do I, that we should not “treat the Bible as a type of textbook providing us with an ethical blueprint,” and that we must question “whether the Bible can be treated in this way without doing the teachings of Jesus a great injustice.”

The new insights on “turn the other cheek” were both eye-opening and, depressing.  We look at the kind of people Jesus was speaking to, and contrast that to the kind of people he was speaking about.  When we realize that “through the clothes we buy, the coffee we drink, the investments we make, and the cars that we drive,” we are often supporting slave labor and suffering, we can see ourselves not as the ones turning the other cheek, but rather, as the ones doing the slapping.
[That’s one reason my wife and I now only buy “fair-trade” coffee.  I know it may not be possible (or feasible) to eliminate all avenues of our negative footprints, but if we at least do something, we can make a difference.]

There’s a simply wonderful tale of a kind, well-respected elderly priest, and a jealous, self-absorbed prince who’s hell-bent on exposing the priest as a “coldhearted liar who sells the people lies in order to live.”  I had my wife, Kathy, read that one.  She didn’t see the “twist” coming, either.  It’s really good.
There’s also some fresh material on “the pearl of great price,” “the prodigal son,” “feeding the five-thousand,” and many others.

This anthology is, I think, perfect for short, meditative daily readings (or, as some prefer the term, “quiet-time.”).  It’s really not a book you should even attempt to read in one or two sittings, although it would be easy to do so.  At least half of the value of reading this book is the story-by-story personal reflection.
I didn’t know this was a collection of short stories when I ordered it. If memory serves me, I purchased this book on the recommendation of a Facebook friend. I do not recall which one. Whoever you are, “Thank You!” I loved “The Orthodox Heretic,” and will certainly be reading more writings of Peter Rollins.

– df

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

—————–

Quotes:

– The truth of faith is not articulated in offering reasons for suffering, but rather in drawing alongside those who suffer, standing with them, and standing up for them.  This is pastoral care at its most luminous.

– Religious belief can itself be a barrier to living the life of faith.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– There is a Biblical injunction to question authority, regardless of who or what that authority is, when we believe that authority is not defending the persecuted.

– Christ is found in our interaction with others.

– Every description of God testified to in the Judeo-Christian tradition falls short. Refuse to let any conception of God take the place of God.

– We must question the difference between the heresy of orthodoxy, in which we dogmatically claim to have the truth, and orthodox heresy, in which we humbly admit that we are in the dark but still endeavor to live in the way of Christ as best we can.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

 

Prayer August 28, 2011

 


[Here’s some funny/sad material from Frank Schaeffer.
I can relate to these forms of what mistakenly
passes for “prayer”.]

——


[My parents] would launch into a prayer that was earnest and full of theological content.  The excuse for the prayer, for instance the information that someone was ill, would get briefly mentioned.  Then a lot of solid theology would also be mixed in.  It was clear they were praying at the person with them, not to God.
The prayers were often a not-so-subtle vehicle for sermons.  Praying out loud was also a way of advancing one’s case, the advantage being that no one dared interrupt you or argue back.

Prayer was [also] a way to remind God no to let his attention wander or forget that we, and we only, really understood what he was suppose to be doing.  So we prayed at him, too. Reading between the lines [you get this:]
“Dear Heavenly Father, in Your Word You say that when two or three are gathered together, You will be in the midst of them.  Well, we’re gathered here, so do what we’re telling You to do because we have You over a barred and can quote Your own book back at you!  We claim Your promises, and because You can’t break any of those since You wrote it all in the Bible, You’ll do what we say, and You’ll do it NOW!  Amen!”

Theologically speaking, we believed in an absolutely powerful omnipotent and sovereign Lord.  But in practice, our God had to be begged and encouraged to carry out the simplest tasks.

We lacked the faith to pray effectively and make God do stuff.  So we prayed for the faith to make God give us faith to make him do stuff.  But getting enough faith was the biggest problem, so we prayed for the faith we needed to pray for faith.  But how much faith did it take to pray to have enough faith to pray for faith?  And if God knew you wanted faith, why didn’t he just give it to you?
It was like spending all your time calling directory information for phone numbers that you aren’t allowed to call unless you can guess the number right without asking.

— Frank Schaeffer [from “Crazy For God“]

 

Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot July 12, 2011

Anyone offended by the book’s title should remember that Rush made his career out of insults. That is the great irony.
He once told his audience the the Clintons not only had a family cat, they also had a family dog. He then showed a picture of Chelsea.
So no, I have no problem with the title.
As with “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” and “The Truth (With Jokes),” this book is filled with biting sarcasm, laugh-out-loud humor, and lots of verifiable truth that Al’s targets wish you would just ignore.

There is SO VERY much worth reading here.  True stories, insights, and well researched facts delivered in a way that will make you laugh while your stomach turns at the hypocrisy, stupidity, and outright willful deception perpetuated by so many on the masses.

If you only read one Al Franken book, PLEASE read  “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.”  That’s the one, thanks to my daughter-in-law, that I started with.  But, if you like that one, and want more “insider information” as to the workings of our political system, and some of our media stars,  Check out “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.”  Don’t let the name fool you.  Not all the truth in this book is that obvious.
— df

Buy the book.  CLICK HERE.

Amazon.com Review:
Rush Limbaugh claims his talent is on loan. With this book, Franken demonstrates that he owns his. The frankly Democratic author’s shtick reminds us how much of a free ride conservatives have gotten in the mainstream media. For instance, he really drives home the weirdness of the conservatives’ preachiness about “family values” in light of Newt Gingrich’s and Bob Dole’s first marriages, and Rush Limbaugh’s first, second and third marriages.
Buy the book.  CLICK HERE

Other Reviews:

I like this book because it is hysterically funny and quite entertaining. Al’s wit is dry and sometimes vicious. I laughed to tears when I read the chapter about Phil Gramm (“I own more guns than I need, but not as many as I want.”)

He lampoons the right wing, and I think he does it well. If you are a conservative with no sense of humor, you will not like this book.

Buy the book.  CLICK HERE

 

Christianity for People Who Don’t Like Christianity July 10, 2011


by Rev. Roger Wolsey.

I’m a Christian. But I probably shouldn’t be. If you’re a young adult in America, you probably shouldn’t be either. The odds are increasingly against it. Few friends who went to high school or college with me, and even fewer of my more recent friends and acquaintances, identify themselves as being Christian. Many of my peers who were raised in the church have shifted away from Christianity toward other religions — or increasingly, to no religion.

A few years ago, the Barna Research Group conducted a study of young people asking them what they think of when they hear the word “Christian.” The top three answers were, “anti-gay,” “exclusive,” and “judgmental.”


If that’s what Christianity were all about, I wouldn’t want any part of it either.

Happily, it isn’t. Over the past 20 years, there has been a growing movement to reclaim Christianity from those who’ve distorted it into something that Jesus and his earliest followers wouldn’t easily recognize — conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism. The movement has emerged on two fronts, roughly simultaneously. One wing comes from the mainline Protestant and Catholic Churches that, due to the shift from modern era mindsets into postmodern ones, have shifted from liberal theology to “progressive” Christianity. The other wing comes from young people within the Evangelical communities who are questioning and redefining their tradition and is known as “emergent” Christianity. Combined, these movements are a new Reformation.

Scholar Dr. Phyllis Tickle asserts that every 500 years, Christianity has experienced such renewal movements. We’re due for another one — and…


Read the rest of this short, really good article. CLICK HERE.


Mr. Wolsey’s book is called
“Kissing Fish: Christianity for People Who Don’t Like Christianity”
and can be purchased HERE.

 

Fine Wine and the Circus Monkey July 3, 2011



Reality is like fine wine. It will not appeal to children. This truth helped me understand and appreciate life itself, as it is, without the false hope formulas offer. Formulas seem much better than God because the formulas offer control; and God, well, He is like a person, and people, as we all know, are complicated. The trouble with people is they do not always do what you tell them to do.

Formulas presuppose God is more a computer or a circus monkey that an intelligent Being. Christian faith offers a relational dynamic with God. [When reading the Bible] I stopped looking for the formulas and tried to understand what God was trying to say. When I did that, I realized the gospel of Jesus, I mean the essence of God’s message to mankind, wasn’t a bunch of hoops we need to jump through to get saved, and it wasn’t a series of ideas we had to agree with either; rather, it was an invitation, an invitation to know God.

Life is complex, and the idea that you can break it down or fix it in a few steps is rather silly.

— Donald Miller in “Searching For God Knows What.”


Get that book, AND two great other
Donald Miller books, all in ONE book!
It’s his Greatest Hits!


 

Bill Maher on Christianity & Osama bin Laden May 17, 2011

[The following is a transcript of a Bill Maher monolog.
I’m not necessarily a big fan, but I think he pretty much nails this one.
If you click on his picture, it should take you to a Facebook page with the video segment]

{Explicit Language Warning}



New rule: if you’re a Christian who supports killing your enemies and torture, you have to come up with a new name for yourself.


Last week, as I was explaining why I didn’t feel at all guilty about Osama’s targeted assassination, I made some jokes about Christian hypocrisy and since then strangers have been coming up to me and forcing me to have the same conversation.

So let me explain two things. One, I’m not Matthew McConaughey. He surfs a long board.

And two, capping thine enemy is not exactly what Jesus would do. It’s what Suge Knight would do.


For almost 2,000 years, Christians have been lawyering the Bible to try and figure out how “love thy neighbor” can mean “hate thy neighbor” and how “turn the other cheek” can mean “screw you I’m buying space lasers.”


Martin Luther King gets to call himself a Christian because he actually practiced loving his enemies.

And Ghandi was so fucking Christian he was Hindu.

But if you rejoice in revenge, torture and war – hey, that’s why they call it the weekend – you cannot say you’re a follower of the guy who explicitly said, “love your enemies” and “do good to those who hate you.” The next line isn’t “and if that doesn’t work, send a titanium fanged dog to rip his nuts off.”

Jesus lays on that hippie stuff pretty thick. He has lines like, “do not repay evil with evil,” and “do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.” Really. It’s in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people.


And not to put too fine a point on it, but nonviolence was kind of Jesus’ trademark. Kind of his big thing. To not follow that part of it is like joining Greenpeace and hating whales.


There’s interpreting, and then there’s just ignoring.


It’s just ignoring if you’re for torture – as are more evangelical Christians than any other religion. You’re supposed to look at that figure of Christ on the cross and think, “how could a man suffer like that and forgive?” Not, “Romans are pussies, he still has his eyes.”

If you go to a baptism and hold the baby under until he starts talking, you’re missing the message.


Like, apparently, our president, who says he gets scripture on his Blackberry first thing every morning, but who said on 60 Minutes that anyone who would question that Bin Laden didn’t deserve an assassination should, “have their head examined.”

Hey Fox News! You missed a big headline; Obama thinks Jesus is nuts!

To which I say, “hallelujah,” because my favorite new government program is surprising violent religious zealots in the middle of the night and shooting them in the face. Sorry Head Start, you’re number 2 now.

But I can say that because I’m a non-Christian.

Just like most Christians.


Christians, I know, I’m sorry, I know you hate this and you want to square this circle, but you can’t.

I’m not even judging you, I’m just saying logically if you ignore every single thing Jesus commanded you to do, you’re not a Christian – you’re just auditing.

You’re not Christ’s followers, you’re just fans.

And if you believe the Earth was given to you to kick ass on while gloating, you’re not really a Christian – you’re a Texan.


http://videos.mediaite.com/embed/player/?layout=&playlist_cid=&media_type=video&content=7J95QL1XT110LF4Q&read_more=1&widget_type_cid=svp

 

 
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