Satan’s demons of hell have destroyed…God’s Gentle Loving People

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Feb 112016
 
This entry is part of 1 in the series God's Gentle Loving People

do_justiceI’m starting a new series of short posts just to call out of the xtian craziness that I see. I’ll try to avoid stupid stuff from ill-informed and people poorly taught by their religious leaders, but I will make it a special point to call out those who are religious leaders. And probably happy to have the distinction of being the first post in the series is Pastor Dave. I’ll leave his name in, since he actually put in his post on a Facebook page I follow in the Opening Post (which he authored), so I suspect he was rather proud of his statement.

“Satan’s demons of hell have destroyed the UCC, the Disciples of Christ, the Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church USA, one branch at least of the Moravian Church, and the Presbyterian Church in the USA through these evil people in the LGBTQI Movement. We MUST NOT LET THEM do so to the United Methodist denomination. When the UM denomination liberalizes our standard principle that the homosexual life style is a sin and sanctions LGBTQI ordination, that is the day I WILL LEAVE THE DENOMINATION in which I found JESUS and in which I faithfully served as a Biblical, orthodox, evangelical pastor in active ministry for 41 years. MAY GOD HELP AND REDEEM US FROM THIS EVIL. —David Reynolds (“Pastor Dave”)”

Continue reading »

Firing God

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Jan 132016
 

That’s right, I said it. I’m firing God. He’s not doing a good job, and he’s not serving his creation very well. George Carlin said it very well:

I want you to know, when it comes to believing in god- I really tried. I really really tried. I tried to believe that there is a god who created each one of us in his own image and likeness, loves us very much and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize…something is FUCKED-UP. Something is WRONG here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is NOT good work. If this is the best god can do, I am NOT impressed. Results like these do not belong on the resume of a supreme being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently run universe, this guy would have been out on his all-powerful-ass a long time ago.

GodOf course, a lot of you all will accuse me of blasphemy and apostasy, but before you do, hear me out. I’m not firing THE God, I’m firing the guy that far too many people claim to “worship.” This is the God that Carlin is speaking of. A god we’ve managed to make in our own image (generally speaking, a white male), who conveniently hates all the same people you do.

I’m tired of people using their religious beliefs and their god to justify their bigotry and hate. And yes, there are many “Christians” in America who are bad as some of the Muslim extremists.  I’ve been recently following a number of conservative Methodist Facebook groups, and the number of discussions on homosexuality is astonishing. I have seen commenters there compare homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality, of course. Then when the commenters are called out, they and their defenders claim they weren’t comparing, just citing an example. (Sure they were.) Continue reading »

Jun 272010
 

Yes, that’s right folks. I knew it would be just a matter of time, but the tea bagger crazies are now claiming the oil spill in the Gulf was caused by God.

So why would you say God would blow up an oil drilling platform off the Louisiana coast? Well, Katrina was because of those devil worshiping, gays down in New Orleans, so you might think this was because the people down there keep electing prostitution supporter, diaper wearing David Vitter, but you would be wrong.

Turns out, it’s all Obama’s fault. I’m sure that comes as a surprise to you, because it certainly couldn’t have anything to do with the Cheney/Bush cabal eliminating all regulatory control. So what did Obama do you might ask. Well I’ll tell you. Follow me here, it’s a little complicated, and has a lot to do with the Jewish Lunar Calendar. Seems Israel celebrated it’s Independence Day on April 19. Then Fox News reported on the evening of the 19th that the Obama Administration had announced the U.S. would no longer automatically stand with Israel in every United Nations Security Council decision. (You know, maybe because Israel keeps bulldozing people’s homes for no good reason, and killing people on humanitarian missions. God certainly can’t put up with that.)

Then, as we all know, it was April 20th that the well blew up.

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The Will of God?

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Aug 132008
 

Recently, my Sunday School class has been involved in a study of the “The Will of God.” We’re using a book by Leslie Weatherhead. I don’t find I’m in complete agreement with his definitions, but he does offer a comprehensive interpretation of The Will of God. It has led me to do some deeper thinking about words I’ve heard often. The concept has mostly dumbfounded theologians, and I believe is primarily a construct of people looking for some kind of logic in illogical situations.

Weatherhead was a minister in the Methodist tradition at the City Temple in London. Weatherhead died in 1976. He was minister of the church in London during World War II. During the war, the Church was burned out after being hit by incendiary bombs. Certainly I think the circumstances of his time informed his preaching, and the book comes from a series of sermons. The British, Londoners especially, were under constant torment by the Nazi bombers. Thousands of British were dying in the war and right in London. These were people clearly trying to find some explanation for what was happening to them.

Weatherhead has three ways to look at the will of God: Intentional, Circumstantial and Ultimate. While a small book, Weatherhead still requires a book to explain all these, so forgive my very abbreviated explanation of Weatherhead’s three perspectives. I’ll try to use an example to explain. Let’s say a person goes out for a drive. God intends for all to be well, and for that person to have a safe and enjoyable drive. However, if there is an auto accident, it is God’s circumstantial will that no one be hurt, and if they are, that they be healed. If the person dies anyway, the ultimate will of God would be for God’s purpose to be achieved..that something good could come from the death. Perhaps a person might receive an organ transplant from the driver.

Other’s distinguish the will of God in two ways. That of the decretive and preceptive will. The former means that which God wills to do, or permits himself; the latter what he wills that we should do…theologians say the former cannot be resisted and is always fulfilled…the latter is often violated by men.

We simple Lay people often use “the will of God” as excuse for the things (usually bad things) that happen to us. I grew up in the funeral business, got licensed, and practiced in the field for some years, and so often heard death and ailments blamed on “the will of God.” I think this is a disservice. Let’s be honest about it, how can a loving benevolent God cause the death of a child, the lasting agony of cancer or Alzheimer’s. Some have laid blame for 9/11 and the devastation of hurricane Katrina at the feet of God, calling it his will to punish America (usually based on America failing to stone homosexuals to death).

On Box Turtle Bulletin there was a recent story about Darlene Bogle. Darlene had been part of Exodus affiliated ex-gay ministry, and later denounced that affiliation and was one of three leaders of the ex-gay to apologize last year for their involvement in the movement. In 2005 Darlene had lost her long-time significant other to breast cancer. Recently, Anthony Falzarano, founder of PFOX and a person very active in the ex-gay movement, came across a blog by Darlene, and sent her an email with this message:

I am sorry to hear that your lover died of breast-cancer. Darlene is God sending you a message? Please consider coming back to Exodus. You are loved and missed. Why would God call you back to lesbianism, give you a lover and then take her away. I’m sorry that you are going through this. My heart is breaking right now but I believe that you belong to the Lord and “He chastizes the one’s that he loves”.

This is, of course, hateful on an individual level, but I’ve heard similar things come from the mouths of preachers at funerals. “Is God sending the rest of us a message by taking this person from us.” In this line of thinking, it is the will of God that one person will suffer and die to make a point to someone else. Setting aside the absurdity of these statements on their face, this is in complete contradiction to the very basis of the Christian faith, that God sent his son to die for our sins…to pay the price so we don’t have to. One has to ask the people who use these statements, “so which is it?”

I believe this thinking finds it’s foundation in the oft quoted parts of the Bible like Matthew 10:29-31 where Jesus tells his Disciples, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” This gives us the message that God is deeply involved in even the most minute details of our lives.  Continue reading »

Seek help first for a friend.

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Jun 162006
 

A person who seeks help for a friend, while needy himself, will be answered first. –The Talmud

Can a call to selflessness be any more clear than this? How often do we seek help for ourselves, or pray to God to meet our needs, knowing we’ll get around to everyone else’s concerns as soon as we’re taken care of?

Maslow posits that this is an attitude ingrained in our very nature, and is part of our survival instincts. That’s what makes us part of the animal kingdom. What should set us aside as human’s is an unselfish heart ready to be concerned about others. I’m convinced that helping others find their blessings can only cause greater blessing to rain down on us.

This is also part of what I talk about all the time…about how no matter our situation in life, there are always people in worse circumstances, and if each of us just reached down life’s ladder to a few others, and helped them gain a rung or two…often in small ways, we are all made better. It’s really the basic message of Christianity, (while it seems to have been lost in dogma of religion) the compassionate spirit.

I Have The Answer – Disproving Intelligent Design

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Apr 262006
 

I don’t know how it occurred to me, but I think I’ve found the answer to completely disspell the myth of Intelligent Design (creationsim).

Understand that the raft of scientific evidence supporting evolution has me completely convinced of it’s veracity as a scientific fact. I don’t for a minute believe God created everything in seven days, but it doesn’t hurt my faith one bit. However, we, as member’s of the human race, often test my faith. So?consider the theory of creationism from a theological perspective.

Take a look at how we all treat one another. It’s not only the Hitler’s or the Darfur’s of this world, but just how we treat one another on an individual basis. We?often marginalize and even?hurt those different than ourselves. We ignore the poor and homeless. We pack away the elderly and dying out of sight. We are destroying the earth on which we live. We’ve abused it to?what may be a tipping point from which?we can’t recover.

Obviously, if we are the best an omnipotent God can create, it really doesn’t speak much for God now does it? I know all about how people will argue that we are given free choice, but why wouldn’t?a really smart God anticipate our problems when he created us with base motivations of greed and?fear and hate?

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)?said he thought George Bush shatters the myth of white supremacy, I think the human race pretty well shatters the myth of intelligent design.

It Takes A Village Idiot

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Nov 082005
 

Did Pat Robertson really say on Sunday that the tornado in Indiana and Kentucky was God’s way of expressing His anger at the actor Warren Beatty and his wife, Annette Bening, for trying to disrput a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger?

I am told, on ‘The 700 Club’ show on 11/6, Pat said: ‘By choosing to disrupt this national event, these Hollywood elites have clearly invited God’s wrath. Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at a town on the opposite side of the country?’

Ok. Beatty, Bening, Arnold–all Hollywood elite. They have a minor incident in San Diego. So God throws thunderbolts at…..two Red States?

Religious Belief Increases Social Ills

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Sep 282005
 

The London Times has an interesting story about an article published in an academic journal. According to the study, belief in and worship of God may actually contribute to social ills.

The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, reports that most Americans believe, “that their church-going nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shinining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example of an increasingly skeptical world.” However, according to this study comparing the social performance of relatively secular countries such as Britain with the U.S., “In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion.”

The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from “ uniquely high” adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.

The researchers took a macro of view of the U.S. as a whole compared with other developed nations. The results of this study come as no surprise when one takes a more micro view within the U.S. The “red” states, generally considered to have higher rates of religious belief and church membership, show much higher rates of “social ills” than the “blue” states. According to a CDC Study, the red states have a higher teen pregnancy rate than blue states.

The murder rate is higher in red states than blue states. The red state divorce rate is 4.5 per 1000 Residents, while its only 3.6 per 1000 Residents in blue states. Abortion rates are higher in red states. Illiteracy rates are also higher in red states.

So I have to agree with the study’s findings. Statistics in this country bear out the study’s findings. But the real question is, what causes this?

May 152005
 

Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles. –George Bernard Shaw

From time to time, like most people, I think about “miracles.” This was most recently triggered while channel surfing when I came across Pat Robertson’s 700 Club. Not too unusually, they ran an ad promoting some book Robertson has written about how to receive miracles from God. Over the years, I’ve noticed that most of the televangelists come out with a couple of books promising to teach you how to “receive” miracles.

I think, in our selfish nature, we’ve come to misunderstand God’s miracles. I heard a story on NPR about how Monarch Butterflies navigate. Monarch’s travel nearly one thousands miles from Canada to Mexico. Researchers found part of the Monarch’s eyes and brain are wired to see ultraviolet light, so they can travel even on cloudy days without queues from the position of the sun. You see, I think that is a miracle. People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on the earth.

C. S. Lewis said, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” Its the very tiny size, tiny brain, and delicate makeup of the Monarch, yet its ability to migrate a thousand miles that is the miracle. Think about the birth of a bady…the making of a life. Two tiny cells that look nothing like their final form join and begin to divide, and then the dividing cells begin to specialize and turn into the thousands of different kinds of cells it takes to make up a human (or an animal). So whether you believe in miracles or not, we still are. Each of us is an absolute astonishment.

Despite all our knowledge, we have still been unable to find that unifying theory to explain how the universe is held together. How big is the universe? How can we even imagine infinity?  I don’t even begin to believe that creationism (or intelligent design) is a valid scientific theory. I believe the universe probably did evolve from some incredible cataclysmic event. But its a miraculous journey from the big bang to here. The great miracle is the Universe, and the laws that hold it all together, yet sometimes it condescends to manifest its miraculous nature in the smallest of things. George Bernard Shaw said, “Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.” I think it required a divine hand to start things rolling, and to tie it all together.

It seems we’ve come to believe we need some grand plan to gain the favor of God so he will grant us miracles. So many of these extreme religious zealots thrive on giving us the divine secrets that will get our needs and wants answered by God via some miracle (while taking our money). Our bills will vanish, our health will improve, we’ll win the lottery…But I don’t believe that’s what miracles are all about. Frederick Buechner explains our desire this way, “It is not the objective proof of God’s existence that we want but the experience of God’s presence. That is the miracle we are really after, and that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.”

We don’t find miracles in the chapters of a book by some preacher, but in life as we live it every day. When we learn to see those little every day miracles, we find the miracles we need…the miracles of love, family, friends, nature. Albert Einstein, a man with the incredible gift of being able to see the universe in an atom, said this about life and miracles, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

We must learn we should not only expect to receive miracles, but that we can deliver miracles to others. It’s not about walking on water, its about life being better for those around us. Those are the miracles we should look for and help others create for themselves. Willa Cather writes in the 1927 book, Death Comes For The Archbishop, “The miracles of the church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.”

So the next time you are channel surfing, and see a solicitation from one of the televangelists to get his free book (for a small contribution) to help you “receive your miracle,” remember, your greatest miracle is you, and what you decide to do with that.

The Challenge: Here is my challenge to you for the day. Go and find one thing, large or small, that you consider a miracle. Write a brief note to yourself (share it here is you wish), and explain why you see it as a miracle.