I’ll be honest: I’m tired of this repeated, irrelevant behaviour from Christianity. But,there’s hope.


rob-bell

I have never met Rob and Kristin Bell. I have enjoyed some of his books and his videos. I find Rob’s approach to Christianity refreshing He likes to question, challenge and make people think.  Not only that, he strikes me that he has an optimistic view on live. I imagine Kristin is the same.

I imagine that it was this behaviour that led him and Kristin’s interview to reflect these statements in their interview with Oprah Winfrey.

One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness. Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.”

Rob Bell

Oprah Winfrey asked, “When is the Church going to get that?”

Rob Bell said: “Lots of people are already there. We think it’s inevitable and we’re moments away from the church accepting it.””I think culture is already there and the Church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbours, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone.”

With that, the internet exploded.

Perhaps it was Kristin’s pragmatism that had her state this.

“I think there are a lot of people who as they see culture moving, their response is to dig in deeper and hold their ground.”

Was she ever right.

In one of many articles from the Christian newspaper world, Christianity was, quite frankly, disappointingly predictably, up in arms by the above comments from Rob and Kristin Bell. That the church is “moments” way from embracing the idea of same sex marriages.

Click here for one example.

Christians over the internet have proclaiming the end is near with this statement. They have proclaimed their place and reminded you who belongs and who does not in their church. And reminded you again that if you are one of “those”, you will not be included in God’s church. There may be some that accepts “them”. But they are not really one of “us”. They aren’t the “Biblical” church.

Biblical. Interesting word.

Here are some of the “Biblical” tweets and Facebook comments I have read today.  Read them, and take a moment to read some Biblical responses to them.

“Why don’t Christians realize that Rob Bell walked away from Christianity a long time ago and thus it doesn’t matter what he says to Oprah?”

Judge not, lest you be judged Jesus said

Former “Pastor” Rob Bell Goes Full Blown Apostasy – Says the Church Should Embrace What God Calls An Abomination.

“Love your neighbours” Jesus said

Rob Bell, village idiot, global false teacher.

“Love your enemies” Jesus said.

And as a reminder, who can forget when certain Christian leaders, subtly or blatantly, depending on your perspective, encouraged  people to stop feeding children in third world because World Vision was willing to hire people in same sex marriage. One even bid them “farewell”. They cancelled sponsorships in droves.

“Feed my sheep” Jesus said

“Truly, I tell you whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me” Jesus said.

You can attempt to translate and twist them however way you want. But the response from Jesus is straight forward.

Meanwhile, while you continue to scream “abomination” from your moral superior  and privileged porch, it is noticed that you refuse to align with “them’. You refuse to bake cakes for “them”. You ignore homeless, bullied and even suicidal kids that you refuse and reject from your church.

It is noticed that you think that you are better than “them”

Your catcalls, insults,and condescending behaviour is becoming irrelevant. Your us vs them approach is irrelevant

What is relevant is what has been relevant all along. People.  People of all shapes and perspectives working together to strengthen our village. Our community.  Realizing we don’t have all the answers, but questions on how everything works in this world. Instead of us vs them, it’s simply us.

Working together to fix the oldest ache in humanity’s bones. Loneliness.

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Agree or Disagree: Religion could be gone within a generation.


This is the thought of Theoretical Physicist Lawrence Krauss.

He argues that Religion could be gone within a generation. Here’s a quote from him.

“Change is always one generation away… so if we can plant the seeds of doubt in our children, religion will go away in a generation, or at least largely go away. And that’s what I think we have an obligation to do.”

You can read more here.

My question, or questions, are this.

There are 19 major world religions divided into a total of 270 large or small religious groups. Is this idea possible?

And, if possible, do you see this as a benefit? Why or why not?

If you are interested, you can also listen to this discussion between Peter Rollins and Krauss from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in 2013.

Agree or Disagree: Pastors who refuse to marry same-sex couples should be prosecuted.


Going to Christian churches, there are certain things that you hear that makes you shake your head.  As an example,from time to time, you might hear comments about the coming “End Times.”

One of the things I heard some Pastors say was in regards to the legalizing same-sex marriages. There was concern that if they as a Pastor refused to perform a same-sex marriage, they could be prosecuted. Personally, I didn’t see that coming. As a matter of fact, I seem to remember this concern was addressed.

However, apparently in Idaho, something has changed.

If this story is true, there appears to be a movement to prosecute Pastors who refuse to perform same sex marriages.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are Ministers in Coeur d’Alene.  They were told to perform a same sex marriage or face jail time and a $1,000 fine.

Too be clear, the above story has had several clarifications and disputes.

This is just one example. This is a response from the New Civil Rights Movement to the story which you can read here.

I’m going to let you read the story. Then, I simply am going to ask this question.  I’m curious where this goes.

Do you think Pastors who refuse to marry same-sex couples should be prosecuted under the law? Should the face jail time? Should they be fined?

Do you think that the Pastors that are concerned about being forced to marry same-sex couples have something too be concerned about?

Why or why not?

Agree or Disagree: You would sign a permission slip so your kid can bring home a Gideon Bible


This is a long title.

However, when you read the story, you will understand.

This is a blog from Susan Goldberg. She is excited about the new school year. New routines.New activities. And a very interesting permission slip.

This one.image

A permission slip from The Gideons! They would like to send Susan’s kid and perhaps your kid with a nice new Gideon Bible.

You can read her concerns in her blog. One of her concerns is that her kids are in a public school. The idea of public school for many is to not have religion in the classroom. This…well…contradicts that.

So, if you were the parent and your kid brought home this permission slip, would you sign it?

Why or why not?

Agree or Disagree: If God exists, God is male.


Image

This is apparently, a picture of God. I say apparently because the reality is no one has seen God. However, in many monolithic religions the idea of God is male. For most anyway.

Some have challenged the idea of God being exclusively male. People like Rachel Held Evans back in 2012. She wrote this post asking this very question of God being a man.  You can read that here.

Now, this openminded doesn’t sit well with everyone. One angry person is Owen Strachan. Strachan is the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood declared this heresy on Twitter.
“Let’s stop pretending like all’s okay. @rachelheldevans called God a she:”God Herself” This is heresy, straight up.
At this point, let’s all put our hands on our mouths in utter shock!
You done? Good!
Because while I’m not sure I’m “all ok” with a Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, or sure what the purpose of this really is, I do think the question is fair.
While Scripture addresses God as a male, there are clearly  seems to male and female traits of God.
Here is a post that gives some examples. http://www.womensordination.org/resources/female-images-of-god-in-the-bible/
So, the question I ask is do you believe that God is exclusively male? Or, if you aren’t sure God exists, could God be male?
The other question I have is this. Are we as a society more comfortable with a male image of God?

 

 

 

Agree or Disagree: Faith based schools should lose their accreditation because of policy on homosexuality


  You might have heard what has happened at Trinity Western University. Perhaps, like me, you know some people who have attended there. 

You also might have heard some good things about the school. In Christianity, they have a really strong reputation.

Unfortunately, they are in some current trouble. I fear that the impact of this decision could impact future faith based schools.

You see, Trinity Western University is planning to open a law school in 2016. The problem? Because of their stance on homosexuality, provinces like Ontario and Nova Scotia do not want to give TWU students accreditation.

 

Their stance? Well, like many conservative Christians,  marriage is between a man and a woman. 

What is their stance? Well, actually it’s not just about homosexuality. They have their 3,600 students sign a covenant that they will not participate in ANY sexual activity until they are married. 

Now there a couple of things that are really clear to me.  The first thing is, I’m guessing a high majority of the students that have been or go to TWU are aware of their policies. Many in the Christian community that attend publicly agree with them. I say publicly because it is possible that some… violated the covenant. That is a separate topic. But the students made a choice to better themselves with an education at Trinity Western University. To better their education and their faith.

The second thing is this. Trinity Western University is not the only institution in the world that has this policy. There are many. Too many to count. If you are going to threaten or challenge accreditation, how many more will you challenge?

The third thing is this. I know I said two, but there is an important point.  The stances that TWU represent are not only in TWU or in a Christian University. It would be anywhere. How this “policy” is challenged going forward will be interesting.

Now, it’s that I agree fully with TWU’s policies. However, I do respect the freedom for them to have them. If they are providing a quality education for students, why should they have their accreditation challenged?

I leave that for you to Agree or Disagree with.

 

 

Agree or Disagree: Christians should support the death penalty


If you are Albert Mohler Jr, your answer would be Agree.

How would I know that?

Well, he wrote this blog encouraging Christians supporting the death penalty.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/05/01/why-christians-should-support-the-death-penalty/

I would like to highlight a point from his blog. It’s about Christianity and morality.

American society is quickly conforming to a secular worldview, and the clear sense of right and wrong that was Christianity’s gift to Western civilization is being replaced with a much more ambiguous morality.

We have lost the cultural ability to declare murder – even mass murder – to be deserving of the death penalty.

What might be of concern for people like Albert Mohler is some recent survey on the topic. As a matter of fact, a recent survey shows that a majority of Christians would disagree with Mohler.

Here’s a recent blog from Jonathan Merritt highlighting some numbers. In particular, I would site the numbers around those born between 1946 and 1964. A general perception would be, and please excuse the term, “old school”. Likely a bit more traditional or conservative thinking people.

They show a number of only 42% of that group support the death penalty. Read more here.

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/17/among-us-christians-declining-support-death-penalty/

Now, for many Christians, the instant answer around anything is well Jesus. So a fair question would be what Jesus would think about the death penalty.

I have had many of conversations with Christians saying that Jesus WOULD support the death penalty. One argument I have heard is the fact that Jesus was on the Cross and did not say anything. So, He clearly is for right?

This article would disagree. It would argue Jesus did not support the death penalty. Here’s a quote from this post that I would like to point to.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/05/jesus-death-penalty/361649/

Many forget that Jesus once served as a one-man jury on a death-penalty case. In a famous New Testament story, an adulterous woman was dragged to Jesus’ feet. The woman was guilty of a capital offense and had been caught in the act by at least one witness. The law mandated her death but Jesus prescribed a different response: “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.” He was teaching that only a perfect being—only God—should have power over death and life

Now, there has been some recent discussion if the story of the woman caught in adultery really happened. That’s a debate for another day and another time. For now, let’s discuss this.

Do you think Christians are obligated to support the death penalty? Actually,let’s take this one step further as well. Because this has been something I have been thinking about. The idea that certain Christian thinkers feel that Christians should think one certain way.

What do you think about Christians strongly suggesting that other Christians one specific opinion on topics like the death penalty, abortion,  and homosexuality? Is that a good idea?