Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Rainbows and ponies.

August 23, 2010

Now today, dear ones, I want to show you a lovely littl


Mwahahaha. Mwahahahhahahhaha. Mwahahahhahahahahahahha. Do not adjust your monitors, America. Your so-called rainbows and ponies have been hijacked. BY DR. HORRIBLE. I have hacked into your internetz to tell you that intelligence is dead. That’s right, sofa monkeys, no more “book-larnin’.” The future of rational thought? Is not. Why pay attention to silly little things like FACTS when you can just reject people out of hand for not being like wonderful you?

I give you, “We’ve Got to Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero” by Trade Martin.

(ps, the blogger who alerted me to this piece of crazy, a cute non-sequitur, commentated, “oh god. i am sick of hearing about GROUND ZERO MOSQUE HURRR but oh my god. they’ve gone and turned their arguments against it into a used car jingle.” RIGHT ON, CUTE. RIGHT ON.)


Not so long ago, I would’ve just kept my mouth shut.

August 16, 2010

Particularly since all of the people involved in this piece of nonsense are church friends of my parents. Look how far a few “You are a wonderful person. Keep sharing your opinion!”s have pushed me! Actually it’s quite nice to finally speak a bit of my mind on Facebook. One of my post-Nicaragua goals, as you’ll be able to read about in my journals (which I’m posting soon).

In the following exchange (which will probably get longer tomorrow..ha), I’ve dropped last names to protect the individuals’ privacy and retained first names to distinguish the commenters involved. I’ve left all comments completely unedited and uncut. Enjoy!

(Initial post) Chris: OUTRAGE! [along with this, “President Backs Ground Zero Mosque,” courtesy of Fox News, yeah]

Chris: …but no surprise.

Buddy: President Obama’s actions show a complete disrespect toward the families of three thousand victims that died at Ground Zero. Shame on him!

Donna: We saw it coming and yet we are so unable to do anything but watch the take over of our country. If we protest, then they will take the Baptist rights to building their place of worship according to what the people want. It would be stifling our rights also. So what do we do?

Buddy: This is not about the right to worship. It’s about protecting our country from a riligous fanatic that wants to distroy our country. By building this mosque it would encourage further actions toward us from muslum terrorist. It’s also about the three thousaand that died at the hand of these muslum terrorist, respecting the victims and thier families.

Ree: We’ve got to vote very carefully this election, write/email our representatives because it does make a difference (learned a couple of weeks ago that many ask ‘how many emails/calls/letters did we get on this’ before they vote on something)…find our voices…it’s past time…

Wes: There are currently over 20 mosques already in New York City. So why does another one have to be there? Again, not about religious freedom.

Juletta: Well Donna, we stop thinking like that…that is why we Christians are in the position we are in. It is time to take a stand and return our country to the people. Patch the screen doors and find our voices!!!!

Steve: Since when does Obama care about what the constitution says? We are under attack from an enemy within. You all should watch this movie, it will open your eyes to who Obama really is.

Chris: Dude, I had no idea there are videos this long on youtube! I don’t have time to watch it now, but just watching the first 5 minutes has be really anxious to watch the whole thing!

Me [Talia]: a) It’s not “a mosque.” It’s a community center that will have many features..among them, a swimming pool, an auditorium, and a mosque. b) It won’t be at Ground Zero. It will be two blocks north of Ground Zero. If this is the “Ground Zero mosque,” then shouldn’t every other building in the vicinity be judged the same way? The Ground Zero hair salon. The Ground Zero post office. The Ground Zero Baptist church. c) It’s not a monument to violence, and saying it is is attacking the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful along with the few who are fanatical and violent.

Sandra: He didn’t exactly back it, he just said they could put one there. We are the land of the free, right? everyone equal? Do we automatically eye every Muslim with suspicion and distrust? How many horrendous crimes have been committed by Caucasians? I know it is a sensitive topic, but not everything is Obama’s fault!

Steve: USA is under attack of radical Islamist. They will stop at nothing to further their radical beliefs, including cutting you and your children’s heads off. Their goal is to demoralize and covert our nation by force to Islam. I believe they have an Ali in the White House. They are using our wonderful constitution against us. We need to look at these actions as a act of war!

Buddy: Talia is right . It isn’t at ground zero and it is a community center. However, we need to take a look at the man behind it all. A rdical, Christian and Untided States hating rdical on a mission to destroy this country. As for the “community Center” it is simply a tool used to introduce people to his views and build a stornger radical muslem following. I’m not fooled!

Me: Who is this mysterious man you keep referring to as being “behind it all”? The President? He’s Christian and it’s not his community center. Or Feisal Abdul-Rauf, the imam who’s actually planning the community center? He’s publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks and Osama bin Laden. Neither of these men qualify as radical Muslims. So should we just stop letting Muslims build anything? Should we round them up and kick them out of the US? Just how far do you think we should go to ensure that Muslims feel Christian hostility? I also feel like I should mention that Islam was actually introduced to the US with the slave trade and has been as foundational here as Christianity.

Chris: Couldn’t have said it better:

Me: How do you feel about the name of the organization Campus Crusade for Christ? Just wonderin’.

Steve: Obama a Christian? You might want to research that one. You know he hasn’t attended church since becoming president. The church he did attend is very questionable. Reverend Jeremiah Wright his pastor of over 20 years say “god F*** America” not God Bless America. He was educated in Muslim schools and goes around the world telling counties we’re not a Christian nation. He’s the first president to not observe the National Day of Prayer. These don’t seem like Christian actions regardless of is words. I don’t think Obama is a Muslim or a Christian. I think he worships and serves himself and is ideology.

Buddy: Campus Crusade for Christ promotes Christianity and tells folks about the freedom found in a life in Christ. Islam has a hatered for any other faith than thier own and calls Christians infidell dogs. Tell me how Islam is a peacfull religon. You as a woman would be considered property with very few if any rights.

Me: ‎[Re: Steve] A person’s church attendance is not an indicator of their Christianity or their religious beliefs, and what Wright ACTUALLY said was “God damn America.” We’re a nation of many peoples, and with that comes being a nation of many religions and belief systems. As long as the First Amendment’s in place, we won’t be a “Christian nation.”

Me: [Re: Buddy] The link Chris just posted was criticizing the community center for its proposed name, because “Cordoba” can be linked to a time of Islamic dominance. By that standard, the “Crusade” in CCC should be seen as a declaration of Christian force and a promotion of violence in the name of Jesus. I think we all know that’s not what Campus Crusade for Christ actually is, but when you look at the language they’re using, that’s the image they project. I see the same hostility in Christianity toward other religions, particularly toward Islam, so I don’t see much difference there. Within most branches of Christianity, I as a woman am still seen as inferior to men and a second-class human. I believe that’s wrong, no matter what religion you practice.

Steve: So your only argument to all my Illustrations of Obama’s unchristian like actions is, church attendance isn’t an indicator on Christianity? What does being able to be whatever religion you want having anything to do with Obama being Christian or not? You said he was a Christian. I pray for this county daily and I wish Obama was a Christian.

Me: No. I just disagree with you that these actions are necessarily “unChristian” and that they void Mr. Obama’s declaration of personal Christianity. You said one reason you know he’s not a Christian is that he’s denied the US is a Christian nation; I think that’s ridiculous.

Steve: I would suggest you do some in-depth research on Obama and his background. I posted a link above to a great informative movie.

Me: It’s okay, I have and will continue to do so. I make it a point to research everything. Thanks for the concern. ;]

Steve: Video of Obama Admitting he is a Muslim.!

Amy: Matthew 17:20 says that we should be able to recognize a Christ-follower by his/her fruit…so being involved in a body of believers is just one type of fruit that should be evident in our lives. I don’t know how or when you have seen mass killing from those who are Christ followers, but if you have, they are not getting that from OUR standard (the Bible).

Me: Jesus’s standard is obviously love, I agree, but there’s plenty of violence in the Bible that Christian extremists have drawn inspiration from. To say that Islam is a violent religion because the Qur’an contains injunctions to kill infidels but that Christianity isn’t a violent religion, despite the violence contained and often sanctioned in the Bible, is a double standard in my opinion.

Buddy: Tara, this is an example of why I take a stand against Islam: Ladies, here is how Islam treats it’s women. This is what Sharia Law can BENEFIT you. Oh, and this was just for not dressing like someone thought you should. Imagine what happens if you actually want to speak? Or, they may just want to marry off your 6 to 9 year old Daughters. Remember, Islam is a peaceful Religion. They just want to fit in, RIGHT. When was the last time you saw a woman beaten like that by the Church you go to? Just something to ponder.
74 lashes for women who are “un-Islamically” dressed |

Me: Of course I’m against this kind of treatment of women, but I’m against it in every religion. Because it does exist in most religions. There are some fundamentalist branches of Christianity who advocate horrible treatment of women, and even many of the more moderate denominations are still oppressive..they just wrap it up in a prettier package. And who’s arguing for Sharia law in the US?

Buddy: And who’s arguing for Sharia law in the US? Your favorite Imam, that’s who!

Me: I don’t have a favorite imam. I just think it’s ridiculous to suggest that we can and should stop people from building a community center on private property. That’s what this whole thing is about in the first place.

Buddy: You see a community center, I see a recruiting center for radical Islamist.

Me: Guess we better shut down the Westboro Baptist Church then.

Buddy: I don’t have a problem with thqt either. That place is anything but Christ like.


January 11, 2010

Without further ado, let me hasten you to this video, which I freely admit is my new instant favorite. I’m not kidding. Ladies and gents, I give you “White Man” by the Michael Gungor Band*!

*Except now they’re changing their name to Gungor.

This is what I daydream about.

December 25, 2009

Have I mentioned how much I love Dar Williams? 

Amber called her uncle, said, “We’re up here for the holiday,
Jane and I were having Solstice, now we need a place to stay.”
And her Christ-loving uncle watched his wife hang Mary on a tree,
He watched his son hang candy canes all made with red dye number three.
He told his neice, “It’s Christmas Eve, I know our life is not your style,”
She said, “Christmas is like Solstice, and we miss you, and it’s been awhile.”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And just before the meal was served, hands were held and prayers were said,
Sending hope for peach on earth to all their gods and goddesses.

The food was great, the tree plugged in, the meal had gone without a hitch,
Till Timmy turned to Amber and said, “Is it true that you’re a witch?”
His mom jumped up and said, “The pies are burning,” and she hit the kitchen,
And it was Jane who spoke, she said, “It’s true, your cousin’s not a Christian,
But we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have, the world we share,
And you find magic from your God, and we find magic everywhere.”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And where does magic come from? I think magic’s in the learning,
‘Cause now when Christians sit with Pagans, only pumpkin pies are burning.

When Amber tried to do the dishes, her aunt said, “Really, no, don’t bother.”
Amber’s uncle saw how Amber looked like Tim and like her father.
He thought about his brother, how they hadn’t spoken in a year,
He thought he’d call him up and say, “It’s Christmas and your daughter’s here.”
He thought of fathers, sons and brothers, saw his own son tug his sleeve, saying,
“Can I be a Pagan?” Dad said, “We’ll discuss it when they leave.”

 So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.

“Thoughts on the Voice of Luke Project, the Bible, and the EC Conversation” [by Darren King]

December 5, 2009

An oldie but goody. [via]

Brian McLaren is a busy man these days. In addition to traveling around the world promoting new conceptions of Church, he has penned two new books; the first of which is the latest in the Voice Project, a re-telling of Luke and Acts titled, the Voice of Luke: Not Even Sandals. We recently had the chance to speak with Brian about this Gospel re-telling, his next project, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, as well as the state of the Emergent conversation, circa 2007.

Darren King: I really enjoyed reading “the Voice of Luke: Not Even Sandals”. I think the work accomplished the goals the various editors set out for it. I’m curious, how did you get involved with the Voice project? What were your initial thoughts about taking it on?

Brian McLaren: Chris Seay told me about the idea a few years ago. I remember thinking we already have a plethora of Bible versions available … you know, the Pregnant Women’s Third-Trimester Study Bible, or the Teenagers With Acne Bible … that sort of thing. So I wasn’t real excited about it. But Chris’s enthusiasm was contagious, and I “got” the project. When he asked me to do Luke and Acts, I couldn’t say no because I knew that the experience would be good for me in my own spiritual life, and it was.

Darren King: What were your personal goals for this retelling of the Gospel of Luke?

Brian McLaren: Of course, I wanted to be faithful to Luke’s meaning, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. For example, what did Luke mean when he used the term “salvation” or “Christ” or “Son of Man?” What did the term “baptism” mean to Luke’s original hearers? You can’t count on our understanding being equivalent to theirs. So this was a theological, literary, and creative challenge, and it was first and foremost in my mind.

Then, I wanted my rendition to be good storytelling. The gospels are full of such amazing stories, so rich in meaning, and I wanted the stories to flow so they could be read aloud. After all, traditionally, storytelling is a performance art more than a literary art.

Third, I wanted to somehow convey the flow between stories. Luke is very sophisticated in the way one story flows into the next, and I wanted to somehow convey that.

Darren King: I like the idea of separating the books of the Bible, as is being done with the Voice project. I think it helps to further genre awareness. Speaking of which, how do you think genre awareness (or a lack thereof) contributes to problems in Evangelical attitudes towards the Bible?

Brian McLaren: Aargh. This is an absolutely huge problem. You see it, for example, in people who try to interpret the Apocalypse without understanding it within the genre of Jewish Apocalyptic Literature, and in the larger genre of Literature of the Oppressed. You also see it when people treat the whole Bible as if it were the book of Leviticus: they’re looking for rules in places that aren’t intended to give rules. Even when they read Leviticus, they seem to assume that the rules there were intended to be timeless and free of social, cultural, or economic context – an unwarranted assumption for many reasons, in my opinion. You also see it when they don’t respect poetry and poetics, and try to read ancient poetry as if it were a scientific textbook. So this is a huge problem. I often say that the Bible suffers most in the hands of its friends. We love it so much that we treat it like our most highly esteemed books: the dictionary (look up a quick answer without reference to context), the legal constitution (where intepreters are like Supreme Court Justices), the scientific textbook (where words are used with the exacting precision of engineers, not the wild extravagance of poets and mystics), or Assembly Instructions (where we want the five steps for success).

Darren King: Some have suggested that the Bible has become the new “American idol”. And yet some Evangelicals would see this statement as near blasphemous. Do you think there’s any truth to this statement? How might we address it?

Brian McLaren: Three hundred years from now, people may look at contemporary American Evangelicals and their relation to the Bible the way we look at sixteenth century Roman Catholics and their relation to the pope or church tradition. I often think that we are acting more like Muslims – who have a dictation theory of the inspiration of the Quran – than like Christians, whose best scholars have always rejected the dictation theory of inspiration. Also, we tend to say, “The Bible says…” when we would be more honest saying, “Our systematic theology interprets the Bible to say…” or “Our religious tradition requires us to understand the Bible to mean …” In other words, I don’t think the Bible is the problem, but what we assume about the Bible and how we often use the Bible. As to how to address it, I think that’s a complex question that I actually may do some writing about in a year or two. I don’t think there’s an easy answer, but it’s one of the most important questions we face.

Darren King: If someone were to ask you to describe- in layman’s terms- how you view the Bible, what would you say?

Brian McLaren: I think its best to say about the Bible what it says about itself. But of course, even before we say that, we have to acknowledge that when the Bible was written, the Bible as we know it – 66 books organized as Old Testament and New Testament – didn’t exist. It’s probably good to let that thought settle in a bit before saying too much more.

Back to what the Bible says about itself – it never says that it has the answer to all of life’s problems. It never says it is easy to understand or that a little child could easily understand it – it in fact says something close to the opposite. It never says it’s the roadmap to a happy and successful life, or that it’s God’s little instruction manual, and so on. It does say it is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in right living so that we can be equipped for good works. It does say that it is given for our comfort and encouragement and so that we can face life with hope. It says that it can make us “wise to salvation.” That’s what I would echo – both theologically, and in my experience.

Darren King: I think it’s unfortunate that some have accused you of moving from “spiritual” matters, to “political” ones. Are you surprised by these comments? And where do you think the disconnect (Biblical and otherwise) is rooted?

Brian McLaren: I think everything in life is spiritual. Going to church is spiritual, and so is going to work. Eating is spiritual, and so is voting. Controlling your sexual urges is spiritual, and so is controlling your buying urges. Not lying is spiritual, and so is not making racist comments. So the tendency to divide life into “spiritual” and “secular” is, I think, a recipe for hypocrisy and bad discipleship. A lot depends, of course, on how we use the word “politics.” If by it people mean partisanship – turning your faith into the religious chaplaincy of a political party, then I would agree: we shouldn’t be political. But politics means how groups of people arrange their lives together – and so it has to do with how we treat other people, and how we treat God’s world – and those are matters that are so deeply spiritual that I think faith is inherently political, or else it’s bad faith. You can’t love God and hate your neighbor – which Jesus, John, Paul, and James all say in one way or another. This means that if you have bad politics, if you don’t arrange your life in proper concern for your neighbor and the widow and orphan and stranger and even your enemy – then your love for God is dysfunctional.

What I dream for here in our country is that Christians in each political party let their faith critique their party, and so they call their party to a more and more holistic and just and wise and compassionate agenda. If we do that, we can help our nation fulfill its potential and vocation. As the richest, most powerful, and most heavily armed nation in the history of history, we have a very serious stewardship to fulfill as voters in a democracy, and if we don’t let our faith in the way of Jesus guide us, what will guide us? A conservative or liberal ideology? God help us if that’s the case. Actually – God help us period!

Darren King: It’s been a couple of years since I last interviewed you for Precipice. I’m just curious what you think has changed the most in the tone and/or direction of the EC conversation?

Brian McLaren: I think there are three main changes. First, the conversation continues to unfold and mature. There are more voices – and thankfully, more non-white and non-male voices – taking part, and there’s more and more constructive thinking and experimenting going on. Second, the issues we’re raising are becoming more and more public. More and more people know that there’s something called “the emergent conversation.” And third, the negative reactions are becoming more and more pronounced, along with the positive interest.

Darren King: Do you feel like the work you do, and that Emergent Village is supportive of, is more or less accepted by the mainstream Evangelical movement than it was a couple of years ago?

Brian McLaren: Both. It is far more accepted in some sectors, and less in others – and probably completely unknown in others. The Evangelical movement, it seems to me, is so diverse that even in the mainstream, you have a variety of responses.

Darren King: I’m just curious how mainline churches might approach the Emerging conversation differently than Evangelical churches? Do you notice a difference?

Brian McLaren: There are similarities and differences. Evangelicals tend to be more rigid in their thinking and more flexible in their methodology. Mainliners have more latitude in their think and more rigidity in their structures and methodologies. You could say that Evangelicals are more institutional in their thinking and Mainliners are more institutional in their liturgy and structure and practice. So, I think that the emergent conversation invites Evangelicals to rethink some ideas that we believe deserve rethinking. And it invites Mainliners to realize that mission trumps tradition and institution. Having said that, I should say that a surprisingly high percentage of people are both Evangelical and Mainline … and a growing percentage are neither.

Darren King: Tell us a little about your next book, “Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope”. What new ground are you hoping to cover with this book?

Brian McLaren: It’s by far the most challenging writing project I’ve ever taken on. I try to answer two questions in the book: What are the top global crises that we face today? And what does the message of Jesus mean for those global crises? Obviously, I build on my work in The Secret Message of Jesus – and in Luke and Acts with the Voice Project. But I also did a lot of research in the global crises literature. The intersection of the two areas of research is absolutely fascinating, encouraging, and life-changing. I think Jesus’ life and message comes to light in a powerful way when you understand it in relation to the top crises of his day. Then, when you bring that message to bear on our top crises, you can feel the electricity sparking … maybe thunder and lightning would be a better image.

So, what I tried to do was bring together the best global crisis thinking under a metaphor of a societal machine with four moving parts or subsystems. These four crises, I believe, drive what’s wrong and dangerous about our way of life today. And Jesus’ message has powerful and profound and scary and hopeful things to say to each of these crises. I’ve gotten enthusiastic responses from the dozen or so people who have read the manuscript, so I’m really looking forward to the book being released in October. Then early next year I’ll be doing an eleven-city tour where we’ll help people engage with the material in the book and make it practical in their lives and faith communities. People can get information about the book at my website (, and about the tour at

Something refreshing! “Murder has no religion”

November 9, 2009

[Murder has no religionby Arsalan Iftikhar, international human rights lawyer, founder of, contributing editor for Islamica magazine in Washington]

Washington (CNN) — Most of the world’s 1.57 billion Muslims know that the Holy Quran states quite clearly that, “Anyone who kills a human being…it shall be as though he has killed all of mankind….If anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he has saved the lives of all mankind.”

Accordingly, it should come as little surprise to any reasonable observer that when Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan recently committed his shocking acts of mass murder at Fort Hood, Texas, America’s Muslim community of over 7 million felt an added sense of horror and sadness at this senseless attack against the brave men and women of the US armed forces.

True to form, many conservative media pundits wasted little time in pointing to reports that Hasan had said “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is great”) at the start of his murderous rampage. News coverage continuously showed the looping convenience store black-and-white videotape footage of Hasan wearing traditional white Islamic garb.

First of all, someone simply saying “Allahu Akbar” while committing an act of mass murder no more makes their criminal act “Islamic” than a Christian uttering the “Hail Mary” while murdering an abortion medical provider, or someone chanting “Onward, Christian Soldiers” while bombing a gay nightclub, would make their act “Christian” in nature.

Simply put; murder is murder and has no religion whatsoever.

Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan once wrote that, “One most certainly does insult Muslims by tying their religion to movements such as terrorism or fascism. Muslims perceive a double standard in this regard: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols would never be called ‘Christian terrorists’ even though they were in close contact with the Christian Identity Movement. No one would speak of Christo-fascism or Judeo-fasicm as the Republican[s] … speak of Islamo-fascism….[Many people also] point out that [it was] persons of Christians of Christian heritage [who] invented fascism, not Muslims.”

According to Pentagon statistics, there were over 3,400 American Muslims serving in the active-duty military as of April 2008. The Wall Street Journal reported that many officials believe “the actual number of [American] Muslim soldiers may be at least 10,000 higher than the Pentagon statistics.”

Thus, with thousands of patriotic American Muslim women and men proudly serving in our United States Army in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps it would behoove our army leaders to consider sending a strong message of American unity by appointing an American Muslim to be a part of the prosecution team against Hasan.

This would help show that the mass murders allegedly committed by Hasan have nothing to do with the teachings of our religion.

The United States Army can send a resounding message to all Americans and the rest of the world that the social fabric of our country will never become unraveled by murderous (and irreligious) gun-wielding felons–whether it is a Muslim in Fort Hood, Texas, or a non-Muslim on a shooting rampage in an Orlando, Florida high-rise less than a day later.

By appointing a multicultural (and multireligious) legal prosecution team made up of military lawyers of all races and religions, we can set a good example to show the rest of the world that our American legal justice system is truly equal for all people, regardless of their race, religion or socioeconomic status.

The larger point is that Muslims in America completely disavow and wash our hands of any acts of murder (or terrorism) claimed to be performed in the name of our religion. Acts of mass murder, regardless of their time or place, are simply ungodly criminal acts that have no religion whatsoever.

The gospel according to Harper Lee, pt 2

October 6, 2009

“This case, Tom Robinson’s case, is something that goes to the essence of a man’s conscience–Scout, I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t try to help that man.”

“Atticus, you must be wrong….”

“How’s that?”

“Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong….”

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

[Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird]