Thursday, July 23, 2009

#91 Not Obama


With Barack Obama as president, Christian culture is certain the end times are upon us.

*The "end times" are the eschatological writings which depict a time of tribulation that precedes the return of the Messiah, i.e., what the Left Behind series was about.

70 comments:

juls said...

It's the same b.s. I heard when Clinton was in office but that time it was Hillary. I guess according to Xian culture 2 anti-Christs are in the administration currently. They are double teaming!

Susania said...

I still believe in God, but as regards Obama, my family and I have a tacit "don't ask don't tell" policy. I don't tell them I voted for him, and they don't email me vitriolic rants from Rush Limbaugh.

Jeff Boldt said...

I can't tell you how many conversations I have had with folks who think that the election of Obama is a certain mark of the end times. Hal Lindsay and Tim Lahaye have done more damage than good in the christian mind.

Monica said...

Conversely, the day McCain/Palin lost was the day the earth stood still.

Geoff said...

Seriously. The Obama hate from the Christian right is soooo tiresome. I am super super over the two issue "christian" platform. I'm a fairly serious christian myself and I actually think Obama's ideas and policies are more in line with God's will than McCain's would have been.

skylana said...

Oh this is awkward, it sounds like you haven't heard so I'll break the news... His middle name is Hussein.

Monica said...

*gasp* And McCain's first name is John...like John Wayne Gacy! Beware!

Christopher said...

I have a question: why are Americans so much in the business of intertwining the religious with the political? I don't understand the need for a double-hemeneutic on reality.

Susania said...

you know, it's worth listening to Franky Schaeffer's interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air to learn a great deal about how the religious right first emerged... it is really a fairly new combination, only about 30 years old...

jmarinara said...

Ok first of all, to Geoff:

"Seriously. The Obama hate from the Christian right is soooo tiresome. I am super super over the two issue "christian" platform. I'm a fairly serious christian myself and I actually think Obama's ideas and policies are more in line with God's will than McCain's would have been."

Wow, dude, really?? Explain how you reconcile his abortion policies with the 6th commandment. Or how you justify his continuation of an unjust war with a Christian context. Or perhaps you could begin to explain how tyranny and socialism are in line with Christian thought. . . well . . . at all. This should be fun.

Stephy, I hate Obama's policies (not Obama) because I'm a conservative, a libertarian, and a Christian. Not JUST because I'm a Christian.

Also, I was wondering if someone could explain to me why it's such a bad thing to allow something you believe in strongly to influence your opinions, ideas, and thoughts. It seems that for everyone else doing this is fine, even commendable. But for Christians? Well then it's just something to either laugh at and make fun of, or something to demonize and vilify.

Christina said...

I love this blog.

I grew up in the evangelical church, and I was doing very well until Jumbotrons entered the picture. I was at Passion 2007 (HUGE jumbotrons there), and when it was worship time, the David Crowder Band came out and the place erupted. Not for God. For the band. And it was like this switch flipped in my head.

I love me some God, but I can't stand the church at the moment (the little c one, not the Big C), because of all this superfluous crap that people jam in with it.

I'm so glad you're doing this blog. I hope our Brothers and Sisters (tm) can stop taking this as a huge affront to their deeply held traditions (because so much of church now is modern tradition-- not belief)) and realize that the true prize is what remains when all the politics, the fancy lighting, the theatrics, and the jargon are stripped away.

Andrea June said...

Politics and religion have always been intertwined, whether people want to admit it or not, because we all need some kind of moral standpoint from which to make political judgments. For many people, the morals that inform political decisions come from organized religion. There is nothing wrong with this. The problem comes when religion is used as an excuse to stymie critical thinking about politics and reduce complex issues to one or two-issue political platforms. Republicans have done an EXTREMELY good job with this, unfortunately.
However, Dems have done similar things by creating caricatures of conservative evangelicals to poke fun at, rather than addressing their actual IDEAS.
It's obviously time to engage in some deep, meaningful discussion about the role of religion in politics, but it's one that will require understanding and *gasp!* open minds. Otherwise, religion will continue to be co-opted for political gain and the real, diverse voice of Christians will continue to go unheard.

Trev said...

jmarinara,

you said:

"Wow, dude, really?? Explain how you reconcile his abortion policies with the 6th commandment."

Probably the same way the Iraelites did.

"Or how you justify his continuation of an unjust war with a Christian context."

Since when does the bible teach war as being "unjust"? Do you think it's unjust to run to the aid of a country being overrun by Al-Qaeda?

"Or perhaps you could begin to explain how tyranny and socialism are in line with Christian thought. . . well . . . at all. This should be fun."

Who was more of a socialist than Jesus?

Christopher said...

"Who was more of a socialist than Jesus?"

The fallacy of anachronism suggests that it is faulty reasoning to impose present positions, values, cultures, or reasonings on events, people, and places in the past. So saying, suggesting that Jesus was a socialist is fallacious reasoning.

I can appreciate how you might want to read that kind of political value onto your picture of Jesus, but your desire to do so does not make it so. I can also understand how you draw parallels between the things that Jesus said, did, and seemed to espouse and the political constitution, structure, and values of socialism. Again, however, parallels do not make bona fide correlations. Because of that, your sentiment that Jesus was a socialist (unless you can somehow conclusively demonstrate this) runs you amuck of the strawman fallacy, too.

jackmatt said...

Stuff Liberals Like: Prohibiting any talk or expressions about the Messiah who came to earth lovingly to pay the death penalty for man's sin. But they use all sort of Messianic terms to describe a mere mortal who was voted into a mere secular office.

nakedpastor said...

i'm not american, and i didn't vote for obama. i like him. am i going to hell?

Andrea June said...

@Jackmatt: Your statement is completely erroneous and is a prime example of creating a caricature of someone whose ideas you don't agree with instead of actually addressing their arguments.
There are a LOT of liberals who are Christian, love Jesus and like to talk about their faith. They do not, however, appreciate the manner in which the Christian Right and their cohorts have hijacked Christianity in order to get votes. I have to quote it here: God is not a Republican...or a Democrat.
There is no liberal/conservative dichotomy when it comes to Jesus, because we are all the same in God's eyes.

massminuteman said...

There remains a conceit in this country that socially and culturally the country could stand still at one point in time and stay there forever. Some say it's the 1950s, others the 1960s. But it's prior to the Summer of Love and before or around the time of the Vatican II Council.

Everything that changed since, it was believed (or perhaps more accurately, desired), could and should be changed back. Roe v Wade would be overturned, the decline of the churches reversed, the softening and crumbling hierarchy of race and religions, gender, and the like dealt with.

It was a big project and a lot of people invested themselves in it. And for a while there were signs of success. Such as the return of a lot of Boomers to conservative churches and signing on to the project. The rapidly ascendant megachurch movement and its star evangelicals during the 80s and early 90s. The alignment of the Republican Party with these aims and the Democratic Party conceding to them.

But these folks' GenX/Y children seem, on the whole, greatly less convinced of it all. And those unbearable liberals and whatnot just wouldn't go away. Now the project's stalwart demographic, the Silent Generationers, are fading away, and the first Boomers also. Megachurches are turning into halfway houses for refugees from churches/denominations in decline and mini colleges for ever more casual, ever more pragmatic, churchgoers. As for being the parents and nursery of the moral leaders of society and towering religious figures...there is little talk about that in public anymore.

People like Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Richard Dawkins are reminders that the project is, well, in deep trouble.

my girl hazel said...

Oh, Steph, you must be loving this!!

I too, heard the same thing when Clinton was in office...lots of scare tactics were used.
My whole side of the family is SUPER angry that Obama is large and in charge. My own grandma begged and pleaded with me to never tell her who I voted for because she'd have to stop calling me if she knew...

jmarinara said...

Trev:

Just because the nation of Israel MAY (I stress *MAY*) have justified murder does not suddenly make murder ok. God dictates our laws to us, not the other way around.

The Bible does not teach that war, in and of itself, as being unjust. It does teach that war should only be fought in a certain way and under certain circumstances. This war doesn't even come close to meeting that standard.

Who was more socialist than Jesus? Well, everyone. I guess it depends on how you define socialist. If you want to believe the pie in the sky fairy tale version of socialism that has everyone singing kuhm-bai-ah (excuse spelling) and living in happy communes, well then I guess Jesus might be ok with that. . . maybe. If you want to take socialism for what it really is, a subtle and effective form of out right tyranny of the elitist over the proletariat, then, no, Jesus most certainly did not favor that.

jmarinara said...

@ Naked Pastor:

Well, do you realize that you have sinned against a just, holy and sovereign God? (Yes, you do, wheather you want to admit it or not).

Have you repented of your sin and trusted that Christ's death on the cross was a sufficient covering and payment to satisfy the justice that the Just Judge (God) demands?

If the answer to that second question is "Yes", then no, you are not headed for hell. If the answer to the second question is "no" then, yes, yes you are headed for hell.

I hope you answered correctly. There is still time if you did not.

However, notice how I haven't talked about politics or church at all in this. No no, salvation is about YOUR sin, YOUR rebellion against YOUR Sovereign, YOUR God.

Repent and trust Him today, while you still have time (2 Corinthians 6:2).

www.needgod.com

jmarinara said...

@Andrea June:

"God is not a Republican...or a Democrat."

Well, Praise Him for that!

"There is no liberal/conservative dichotomy when it comes to Jesus,"

Sure there is. It doesn't mean He necessarily likes one over the other, or died for one and not the other. But God isn't stupid. He recognizes that there are differences of opinion, sometimes frivolous, sometimes of vital importance, when it comes to any manner of things. Politics, Theology, Art, etc. Some of it, who cares? Some of it. . . well, it really does matter.

If you think that we need a big centralized government, full of it's central banking, monitoring of information and people, and over all tenancies towards tyranny; but yet have repented and trusted Christ. Then you and I are just going to have to agree to disagree, and I shake your hand in friendship, will fight you in the political arena, and look forward to seeing you in Heaven someday.

However, if you think that Jesus was really just a man. Or you think He never really died on the cross. Or if you think that God is incapable of &/or lied to us about His 6 day creation (all liberal positions in the world of theology). . . well, ma'am, we have a problem. Those things matter, and as a result of this, I'm concerned about the deeper issue of your soul.

No, I don't know where you stand, and I'm not accusing you of any position, one way or another. But please don't fool yourself into thinking that God doesn't really care what we think. He does. "Take every thought CAPTIVE to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)"

"because we are all the same in God's eyes."

Very true. We are all sinners in the hands of an angry GOD.

http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/sinners.htm

jmarinara said...

Stephy:

The picture in your post asks which is worse in the (presumably) Christian parents eyes.

Let me answer on behalf of Christians anywhere. If my son were to come home and tell me he voted for Obama, and he no longer believed in God. I would spend my whole life attempting to reconcile him with Christ. Convincing him, praying for him, asking him to reconsider his position of believing there is no God.

I wouldn't give a care who he voted for.

Now, if he came home and said he believed in God, trusted Him, has repented, and I saw evidence of this in his life. But also said he liked Obama and was voting for him. I would consider my son to have made a poor decision, and would discuss the matter with him, tried to get him to see my side of it, but in the end, would simply agree to disagree.

Do I think he would be wrong, even morally, for supporting Obama for President. Yes. Do I think that he is grossly misinformed. Yes. Do I think that he is not using a Godly decision making process, absolutely. But, I wouldn;t, as some on here have apparently experienced, banish him from my home or ostracize him in any way.

And any parent who would has serious issues, needs to repent, and should apologize.

I hate Obama's policies. I particularly hate the ones that allow for the murder of the pre-born, the "manifest destiny like" colonization of the middle east, the out right stupid economic decisions, and the complete lack of respect for our God given rights as human beings. I think some of these policies are sinful and he will have to answer to a just, holy, and sovereign God someday (unless he repents). Some of them, are just bad politics, or bad decisions.

But I don't hate Obama, and I can't think of why any Christian would. I've said in the past that if he and Michelle were my neighbors, I'd probably think that was pretty cool. They seem like real nice folks, down to earth, decent, good parents. Their kids are adorable, seemingly well behaved, and would probably get along well with the other kids in my neighborhood. I'd buy insurance off the guy. I'd go to him as my lawyer.

But I wouldn't vote for him for Dog catcher.

Can't we, even as a group of people, respect the man, but not the policies, and have that be ok? I know, I know, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, immature as they are, don't respect the man. I know. But, remember, they don't speak for us. We're capable, if not always willing, of speaking for ourselves.

The thing I hate about your blog is that you paint with such broad strokes. Some of it is funny, and true.

But some of it is infuriating. A lot of us don't like being lumped in with the less serious, more liberal, &/or more trendy American Christianity. For those of us on the classical Christian side of things; we're not all neo-cons in politics either. We don't all wear dorky christian t-shirts. We don't all think Rick Warren and Joel Olsteen are the second coming of John the Baptist (in fact, most of us really don't think much of those two).

And we don't hate Obama, or democrats, or Pelosi, or the people who support them. We (those of us who see the world in a classical christian context) just think they're desperately wrong. There's a difference.

Ok?

Andrea June said...

@jmarinara: When I said there is no liberal/conservative dichotomy when it comes to Jesus, I was referring to political ideology, not church doctrine. Incidentally, I'm not a card-carrying Democrat, but I do think that the GOP has things severely wrong when it comes to religion. Obviously as Christians, there as some important theological positions that are more or less non-negotiable. But my point was that political decisions are by-and-large extraneous to faith, although our faith can (and often does) inform those decisions.

jmarinara said...

@Andrea

I agree with every point you just made.

I love it when that happens. :-)

Anonymous said...

jmarinara:

Did God lie to us about the earth being a three-tiered flat planet? The church fought that too, just as it is fighting evolution. At what point does a Christian accept that modern scientific discoveries are true and that Genesis is not a science textbook. Evolution denial is causing people of all ages to have crises of faith when they see the evidence for themselves, perhaps in a university biology class. How many nonbelievers won't even take a serious look at Christianity because they think they would have to accept premodern scientific ideas? I think God can create however he wants to--teaching 6 day creationism as the only possible biblical interpretation is setting people up for a fall.

Christopher said...

"...teaching 6 day creationism as the only possible biblical interpretation is setting people up for a fall."

The original one? Or another one? How much farther can we fall? I think Augustine-cum-Calvin dragged us down pretty far with all the total depravity stuff, and supralapsarianism.

Okay, joking aside. I think you could have a point, Anon., but predictive prophesy based on creationist theories seems a tad dodgy, if you take my point. Can you give more context to what you mean by "setting people up for a fall", please?

Joel said...

Everything that changed since, it was believed (or perhaps more accurately, desired), could and should be changed back. Roe v Wade would be overturned, the decline of the churches reversed, the softening and crumbling hierarchy of race and religions, gender, and the like dealt with.

You know what that statement reminds me of? The sorta-apocalyptic Indian Ghost Dance movement of the late 19th century. Dance hard enough and the white man would go away, the buffalo would return, and so forth.

Like it or not, we live in the world and we're never going to run it, at least not until Jesus returns. Frankly, I wouldn't want to see a theocracy in America. It wouldn't be run by Christ Himself, but by His followers. And frankly, too many of us are bozos.

Most people who read this are members of churches that formed as a response to the last time the Christian establishment had too much political clout. Do we really want to see that happen again?

That said, I voted against Obama and I intend to keep doing so, especially in light of his abortion policies. It almost makes me wish I were a Democrat, so I could vote against him more than once.

Joel said...

Did God lie to us about the earth being a three-tiered flat planet? The church fought that too, just as it is fighting evolution.

Interesting. I don't recall the Church ever actually condemning the round-earth theory itself. If that's a reference to Galileo, then all they objected to was (a) his teaching as a fact what hadn't been proven and (b) his implying that it somehow disproved the authority of the Church.

But then, I'm not sure what that has to do with the popular Christian response to liberal politics.

Anonymous said...

Christopher--

No, not the fall into original sin. ;) A fall into unbelief, due to having been taught a version of faith that was tied too strongly to a literal view of Genesis. It gets hard to sustain--even most scientists out there who are evangelicals accept evolution--the theistic kind of course.

jmarinara said...

@ "Anonymous"

It would be nice if you could quote the scriptures where God said that we have a three tiered planet. As much as I remember, God always claimed it was round, even when the rest of the world just thought that meant a "round disk shape".

Look, this is the bottom line, either you believe that the scriptures are the literal, God-breathed truth or you believe they are some sort of lie. There CANNOT be middle ground.

When Scripture and science/society/commonly held beliefs/anything at all collide and disagree, the Christian believe Scripture, the non-christian believes what he wants.

But, for the record, the book is far from closed on evolution. From what I've seen, there isn't any sort of real evidence supporting evolution, in fact, it seems that the more things are studied, the less evolution can be believed. Scientists respond by exploring a different theory. Evolutionists respond by changing their theory again and again.

One look at the second law of thermodynamics ought to put any notion of random chance improving conditions in a closed system to rest.

Christopher said...

Anon.,

Thank you for explaining your thoughts a little more. I agree with you that hinging too much on a literal interpretation of Scripture, ironically, can lead a person into sin. It would hardly do for me to greet the Starbucks attendant with a holy kiss. I'm fairly certain my wife would object strongly to that kind of literalism.

As with Genesis, taking on a literal interpretation of a story that was passed down orally through various people of who-knows-what kind of intellectual integrity, over aeons, and disparate agrarian cultures might create a cognitive dissonance when butted up against the precision of scientific data in today's world. Far from dissolving any confidence we can have in Scripture, however, this shows forth the mysteriousness of God's cosmic activities, and allows us to continue to be inspired by His handiwork as we learn retrospectively of His ingenius methods.

Christopher said...

"Look, this is the bottom line, either you believe that the scriptures are the literal, God-breathed truth or you believe they are some sort of lie. There CANNOT be middle ground.

When Scripture and science/society/commonly held beliefs/anything at all collide and disagree, the Christian believe Scripture, the non-christian believes what he wants."


Wow. That's quite a lot of brash assumptions. Perhaps you could back your assertions with some reasonable explanations that we might all benefit from your spritual-intellectual sanctity.

jmarinara said...

@ Joel

I'm assuming you are claiming that most people who read this blog belong to the Emergent church that is a response to the reformation. (correct me if I'm wrong, please)

How sad. Tell me Joel, why would you want to go back to a time when the whims of the powerful few (church cardinals and the pope) ruled the people, and dictated to them the glorious truths found in scripture? Why would you want to reject the idea that God's word is final, that salvation is in Christ alone, that the glory for what He's done for us belongs to HIM alone?

Why Joel?

Anonymous said...

jmarinara--

Thank you for your thoughts. I agree that accepting evolution raises theological questions.

But I believe that you are wrong about its acceptance in the scientific community. My understanding is that there are questions about how evolution happened, but few question THAT it happened. I believe that too much energy is spent by Christians on evolution denial, when more energy should be spent wrestling through the theological questions it raises. The vast majority of scientists do accept evolutionary theory as the basis of modern biology--and this is including evangelical scientists--why would this be?

Anyway, sorry to hijack--I know this is a thread about Obama.

jmarinara said...

Christopher said:

"Wow. That's quite a lot of brash assumptions."

Uh, no, not really. It's a statement. I'm not assuming anything.

But if you want some reasoning, well try this:

If I say that God is truth and omniscient, and thus infallible and immutable. But then I say that a portion of what God says is wrong and that we humans know better.

Question: Can my first statement and second statement be reconciled? The answer is no.

So, if I am to believe that God is truth and omniscient, and thus infallible and immutable, then I either have to take that statement to the end or deny it altogether. There is no middle ground. I cannot say that God was wrong about creation, but was right about sin and grace. You can't have it both ways. When He's wrong in one place, because of His claim of perfection, He becomes a liar.

God is not a liar.

jmarinara said...

@ Anonymous

Thank you for your pleasant tone. It's nice to have a civil discussion.

You asked:

"The vast majority of scientists do accept evolutionary theory as the basis of modern biology--and this is including evangelical scientists--why would this be?"

The two reasons I can think of off the top of my head are:

1. That mankind is prone to error and mistake. Prone to pride and hubris. Prone to explanations that allow anything but God to be the focus of creation. It is in our nature.

2. That those who have valid, well thought out, well researched, and compelling reasoning, positions, and evidence to the contrary of the accepted norm (evolution), are often not allowed the credentials, time, or professional courtesy to express their ideals.

I can probably think of more reasons, but those are right off the top of my head.

Also remember that in science, majority opinion does not dictate the truth. In fact, majority opinion does not necessarily make the opinion the truth in any field. There was a time when only one person believed a particular theory or idea that later proved to be unquestionable. There was a time when even Euclid and Einstein were questioned and laughed at.

jmarinara said...

Christopher,

Your response to Anonymous reveals some things about your general knowledge of scripture.

1. The holy kiss is only intended for believers. It is a remark made by Paul to the culture he was writing too at the time. We have to remember that when reading it as context is an important aspect of hermeneutics.

2. Considering you said: "taking on a literal interpretation of a story that was passed down orally through various people of who-knows-what kind of intellectual integrity, over aeons, and disparate agrarian cultures might create a cognitive dissonance when butted up against the precision of scientific data in today's world." . . .

I would ask that you do some serious research about "the people of the book" otherwise known as the Hebrews. These people were meticulous about how they passed on their Holy Scripture. It was NOT orally like in most religions of the time. It was precise. It was incredibly detailed and handled by incredibly qualified individuals.

Joel said...

In any case, it's worth remembering that there were no eyewitnesses to the creation, and so no definitive account. Except God Himself, and Genesis is far from the only place where His words could be taken in more than one sense. The role (if any) of evolution in creation is a fun subject for speculation, but a definite answer seems unlikely this side of heaven.

Certainly it's not a salvation issue, although I've seen it debated as such.

Joel said...

Tell me Joel, why would you want to go back to a time when the whims of the powerful few (church cardinals and the pope) ruled the people, and dictated to them the glorious truths found in scripture?

Why would you want to reject the idea that God's word is final, that salvation is in Christ alone, that the glory for what He's done for us belongs to HIM alone?


Jmarinara, I was assuming that most of the readers here belong to one or another Protestant church. It seemed likely. I have very little acquaintance with the Emergent church phenomenon, but from what I've read, your suggestion that it's parallel to the Reformation seems on the mark.

You're making a couple of assumptions there about church history, but let's suppose that the medieval Church really did have that kind of power. No, I wouldn't want to go (or go back) to that, and that was the point I was trying to make. The Church having too much direct influence in politics didn't serve to make politics holier; it merely encouraged corruption in the Church leadership.

As for the second paragraph, I don't reject any of those things.

Joel said...

Let me answer on behalf of Christians anywhere. If my son were to come home and tell me he voted for Obama, and he no longer believed in God. I would spend my whole life attempting to reconcile him with Christ. Convincing him, praying for him, asking him to reconsider his position of believing there is no God.

I wouldn't give a care who he voted for.


I meant to comment on this earlier. Jmarinara, you're exactly right about this. First things first.

Christopher said...

Joel,

"If I say that God is truth and omniscient, and thus infallible and immutable. But then I say that a portion of what God says is wrong and that we humans know better.

Question: Can my first statement and second statement be reconciled? The answer is no."


Not along the classic formulations of theology you've layed out, no. For that would require a break in the law of noncontradiction.

How would your question fare in the arena of open theism, however? If the assumed Hellenistic variable of omniscience is jettisoned, and a different understanding of God's preternatural intelligence is applied, your question would manifest a very different answer.

"So, if I am to believe that God is truth and omniscient, and thus infallible and immutable, then I either have to take that statement to the end or deny it altogether. There is no middle ground. I cannot say that God was wrong about creation, but was right about sin and grace. You can't have it both ways. When He's wrong in one place, because of His claim of perfection, He becomes a liar."

I'm quite familiar with the thrust of your argument, Joel. And it is one that I held to for nigh-on 16 years. That is, until I was studying for the pastorate in seminary, and learned that we have no existing original manuscripts; we have only copies. Thus we cannot say for certain what the actual autographs contained. Although, in all reasonable likelihood, the variances are not deleterious to the salvific message of our current Scriptures.

Add that fact to the equal and obvious fact of human sinfulness and imperfection, and the reality of human agency in the composition of Scripture begs the question of Scripture's internal consistency. At which point we have to delve into issues of inerrancy and preservation.

So while you may be confident that your Scriptures are wholly perfect, and without error, I am not that confident. I am confident that despite what I've understood as historical, textual, and logical inconsistencies (felicitous as they may be), Scripture is infallible in matters pertaining to salvation.

So saying, Genesis does not make a liar out of God if I consider the creation account allegorically. Rather, it makes God a poet, and I appreciate that mythopathic quality in God's message.

Joel said...

Christopher, that was jmarinara you were responding to. I'm not theologian enough to tackle that question myself, let alone pose it. And since I don't believe in sola scriptura anyway, it's kind of moot to me. :)

Christopher said...

jmarinara,

You wrote: "Christopher,

Your response to Anonymous reveals some things about your general knowledge of scripture.

1. The holy kiss is only intended for believers. It is a remark made by Paul to the culture he was writing too at the time. We have to remember that when reading it as context is an important aspect of hermeneutics."


First, it would be a woeful irony for you to assume from a small sample of my thoughts the capacity of my 'general knowledge of Scripture'. You have no context for estimating what I know, and do not know about Scripture. It also makes your first point seem a tad conspicuous if it only applies to Scripture and not the people you're discussing with about Scripture, don't you agree? ;)

Second, you are right about the context of the 'holy kiss', and I wasn't unaware of it. I decided to exercise a little humour, however, to stress a point: that literalism can run a person amock of some disgraceful possibilities. Should I have used my first, less humourous example of cutting off hands and plucking out eyes, or letting the dead bury the dead? The point is that not everything that can be read literally can be applied literally. Ergo, we can enjoy a non-literal rendering of Scripture in places, and relax that we're not expected to pick up vipers, or demand the sudden mobility of mountains to assure ourselves of fidelity to Scripture.

"I would ask that you do some serious research about "the people of the book" otherwise known as the Hebrews. These people were meticulous about how they passed on their Holy Scripture. It was NOT orally like in most religions of the time. It was precise. It was incredibly detailed and handled by incredibly qualified individuals."

Yes, of course you're right. But only once we move past the earliest argrarian cultures of nomadic Israelites, and into the post-Mosaic eras. And by the time we get there, the creation story in Genesis had already experienced concentric passages through the known world -- and almost exclusively by word of mouth. Thus my point stands: the creation story in Genesis is largely allegorical.

Practically speaking, however, after God clothed Adam and Eve, he didn't hand them a quill and inkpot and have them take dictation. Thus by the time Moses had recorded his inspirations, a couple thousand years had passed without Genesis receiving any known scribal applications. The Genesis account of creation was extant in oral form (and subject to human error and embellishments) prior to Moses's nights at the escritoire. Do you think those pre-existing accounts held any sway over his account? I do. And I think they include the distortions of a millenia of oral transmission. Can you think of a reason why they wouldn't?

Christopher said...

Joel,

Sorry about that confusion. And thank you for pointing it out to me.

meagan said...

Stephy, I can't believe jmarinara is still posting all over your blog! I thought everything you blogged about was offensive to Christians...heh heh. I'm so happy to see even he can't help himself from reading ;)

Cheers!

Joel said...

Not at all, Christopher. I'm just glad I don't have to try to answer you. :)

My wife fields the tough theological questions in our house. I've seen her read Aquinas and argue with him under her breath. Me, I just say "Hully gee" and wipe the drool from my chin.

Christopher said...

Joel,

lol... okay, bud. I think you do quite well around here, actually. I've enjoyed your responses.

Please keep writing. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Steph, I really appreciate that you've included the words "American" and "Evangelical" in your header. Thanks. By the way, what about us Sojourners reading, Democrat voting practicing Christians? What's our category? - Clarita

stephy said...

Hi Clarita, I have no idea what the other categories would be! I am only well-versed in American Evangelical culture. :)
(Now that you've called yourself a Democrat-voting practicing Christian, you might expect some people on here saying that those two terms together is a paradox. heehee)

Andrea June said...

Clarita,
Sojourner readers are exactly the group I am doing my thesis on!!! They are currently without category, in academia, at least. Don't worry, I'm working on getting you (and me) a category all your own ;)

stephy said...

Andrea, can I ask how you feel this blog lines up with Sojourner thought? I want to emphasize the fact that God is neither a Republican or a Democrat. I might be failing, but...

Anonymous said...

Andrea, I see you work for IVCF, I used to also. There are lots and lots of non-fundamentalist Evangelicals in the US. I think we just aren't as well represented in the media, without a Dr. Dobson or a Jerry Fallwell representing us. Hopefully Jim Wallace is getting there though. - Clarita

Anonymous said...

As my husband always says, "God may not be a Democrat, but he sure isn't a Republican!" - Clarita

Andrea June said...

Stephy,
I think the focus of this blog is a bit different from Sojourners, since they tend to focus more on political activism than Christian culture, although I have seen a few cultural commentaries in the magazine. For the most part, your blog seems to line up with the ideas in Sojourners, that conservative, evangelical Christian culture shouldn't have a stranglehold on Jesus.
If you're interested, you can browse their archives at http://www.sojo.net

Clarita, I'm not sure where you go the idea I used to work for IVCF, because I never have. And I'm with you...I hope Jim Wallis begins to get some of the recognition he deserves, although I don't think he'll ever be the kind of figurehead Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were. And I'm glad of it because the non-Republican Christian movement needs to stay somewhat fluid in order to be true to those it represents :)

Anonymous said...

"HATE BILL"-OBSESSED CONGRESS

If "hate bill"-obsessed Congress [and Obama] can't protect Christians from "gays" as much as it wants to protect "gays" from Christians, will Congress be surprised if it can't protect itself from most everyone?
If "hate bills" are forced on captive Americans, they'll still find ways to sneakily continue to "plant" Biblical messages everywhere. By doing so they'll hasten God's judgment on their oppressors as revealed in Proverbs 19:1.
(See related web items including "David Letterman's Hate, Etc.," "Separation of Raunch and State," "Michael the Narc-Angel," "Obama Avoids Bible Verses," and "Tribulation Index becomes Rapture Index.")
Since Congress can't seem to legislate "morality," it's making up for it by legislating "immorality"!

[We are a longtime "underground" ministry specializing in airing unique articles such as the above listed ones - and we will give $100.00 to anyone who isn't "moved" by them. If you will pray for us, someone will know it!]

George said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly Anonymous!

God will judge the United States of America for the emancipation proclamation, for the bible clearly states in Ephesians 6:5

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.




;)

stanford said...

The image in the post is classic.

Our hearts are little idol makers and can be wooed into worship on both sides of the isle. Politics is a particularly fertile ground for idolatry this because it is essentially the vehicle for wielding power.

Spinning said...

I have to say that a lot of commenters seem to be equating "evangelical" with "white, middle-class, Republican."

Do you not see any irony (in a good way!) in the fact that lots of use out here (including many elderly veterans of the Civil Rights Movement) are, in fact, deeply thankful to God that Obama was elected?

In reading many of the comments here, I feel like an outsider in my own country.

Steph, keep up the good work! ;) We all need to be able to laugh at ourselves a bit; it tends to make life a lot easier (IMO, anyway).

Anonymous said...

good i hope obama is the fucking antichrist so you fucknuts will STFU. you are WASTING YOUR LIVES. god does not exist. christ!

Josh said...

Andrea June said...

Clarita,
Sojourner readers are exactly the group I am doing my thesis on!!!

I'm a Gnostic Christian and we never get any thesis love... ;)

Seriously though... 2 things

1 I read a comment earlier about Obama's "Manifest Destiny" in the middle east? I'm no political scholar but aren't we there thanks to a fundamentalist christian president?

2 If Obama is the anti christ then you literalist should be jumping up and down in joy. You and Kirk Cameron are getting raptured soon!

Kari Ann said...

I have no problem with a Christian who votes Republican, as long as 1.) they've done intelligent research for why they think that candidate is the best choice and 2.) they're not voting for that person just because they're a Republican and not a Democrat.
Fewer things piss me off than people who don't make informed voting choices. And it's not just Christians or Republicans; I've also seen this happen with reactionary liberal college students, leftover hippy Baby Boomers who don't know Woodstock is over, and people who vote for whoever their favorite celebrity supports. I don't care how you vote, but please, use your brain!

Josh said...

Kari Ann, this is America. We use guns, not these "brains" things you speak of. I think you just made up that word to be honest.

P.S. Great post, couldn't agree more.

torcik said...

Wow, dude, really?? Explain how you reconcile his abortion policies with the 6th commandment.

I thought that the POUTUS swears to uphold and defend the constitution not the Bible.

Or how you justify his continuation of an unjust war with a Christian context.

Wasn't that unjust war started by an evangelical Christian, and overwhelming supported by Christians?


Or perhaps you could begin to explain how tyranny and socialism are in line with Christian thought. . .

Christians had no trouble living under tyrants for close to two thousand years.they believed in the concept of divine right of kings. Jesus had no problem living under tyrants-remember, Render unto Caesar the things that are his. Where is Socialism in the bible?

well . . . at all. This should be fun.
It was quite fun to refute you, Next up


Stuff Liberals Like: Prohibiting any talk or expressions about the Messiah who came to earth lovingly to pay the death penalty for man's sin.

Show me where liberals prohibited Religious freedom. I must have been sleeping when that sneaky Socialist, Communist, Nazis. Hiterite Obamba repealed the First Amendment--Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof


But they use all sort of Messianic terms to describe a mere mortal who was voted into a mere secular office.

Shows me some examples of liberals using messianic terms for Obama- it all seems to come from the right

jmarinara said...

"I thought that the POUTUS swears to uphold and defend the constitution not the Bible."

He does. But my choice for who I want in that position should be governed by the Bible as I am a Christian. The person I originally responded too also claimed to be a Christian, and I was questioning how he could support Obama in light of Obama's discord with the principles of scripture.

"Wasn't that unjust war started by an evangelical Christian, and overwhelming supported by Christians?"

That Bush was an Evangelical Christian is, at best, debatable. That he was supported overwhelmingly by evangelicals is both true and overwhelmingly sad.

"Christians had no trouble living under tyrants for close to two thousand years.they believed in the concept of divine right of kings."

No, heretics and Roman Catholics believed in Divine Right of Kings. (The source of this philosophy is Thomas Aquinas and Augustine) This awful and stupid idea went out the door with the reformation, thank God.

"Jesus had no problem living under tyrants-remember, Render unto Caesar the things that are his."

Good grief. Yes, pay your taxes and give the government the respect and obedience that it is owed. Not give the government everything it asks for. Scripture has clear responsibilities and boundaries for civil government. Jesus didn't refute Ceaser because he didn't come the first time to rule the world, but to save man from sin. To say that Jesus was OK with tyranny is an argument from silence.


"Where is Socialism in the bible?"

Exactly.

"Show me where liberals prohibited Religious freedom."

*points to the history of communism*

"Shows me some examples of liberals using messianic terms for Obama- it all seems to come from the right"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK7fClYIWiQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P36x8rTb3jI&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLsNOEt0EX8&feature=related

And my all time personal favorite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqF19Phn0Og&feature=related

I especially love that they come in chanting "alpha - omega"

Anonymous said...

Oh please. "Liberals" are not communists. This shows an inability to think -- you seem unable to cope with the wide range of political and theological positions that exist in the real world. Trying to translate the Bible directly into contemporary politics is weird: there are both radically egalitarian and traditionally conservative elements in the Bible. You're not a Christian, jmarinara, you're an ideologue in Christian camouflage.

Jason said...

[quote]
"HATE BILL"-OBSESSED CONGRESS

If "hate bill"-obsessed Congress [and Obama] can't protect Christians from "gays" as much as it wants to protect "gays" from Christians, will Congress be surprised if it can't protect itself from most everyone?
If "hate bills" are forced on captive Americans, they'll still find ways to sneakily continue to "plant" Biblical messages everywhere. By doing so they'll hasten God's judgment on their oppressors as revealed in Proverbs 19:1.
(See related web items including "David Letterman's Hate, Etc.," "Separation of Raunch and State," "Michael the Narc-Angel," "Obama Avoids Bible Verses," and "Tribulation Index becomes Rapture Index.")
Since Congress can't seem to legislate "morality," it's making up for it by legislating "immorality"!

[We are a longtime "underground" ministry specializing in airing unique articles such as the above listed ones - and we will give $100.00 to anyone who isn't "moved" by them. If you will pray for us, someone will know it!]
[/quote]

You owe me $100.

Chris said...

I'll admit I'm a Catholic, so I may come at this subject from a bit of a different angle, but I really don't see any inherent contradiction in being ardently pro-life while also believing the invasion of Iraq was necessary. Protecting innocent life from destruction doesn't mean that you have to stand by and let evil occur without ever having recourse to any deadly means of response.

nadine.w said...

This blog is sadly so true. And it makes absolutely no sense to me why it's so. It's absurd the way Christians have taken on this stance! Glad there's some other people out there who realize this! I am not alone!

Lennyb said...

yeah, me voting for Obama was an eyebrow raiser for sure ...