From, Randal Rauser:
“As a seminary professor for the last fifteen years, I regularly encounter this pessimistic perspective in my students. I continue to be dismayed at how many Christians blithely assume things are getting worse. But I’ve found one simple way to shake up their perspective: I borrow a famous thought experiment from philosopher John Rawls in which Rawls proposes a way to envision the just society.
Here’s how my version goes: imagine that you are about to be born, but you do not know what gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status you will have when born. Nor do you know whether you will have a physical or mental disability. With that in mind, would you rather be born into North America in 1800, 1900, or 2000?”
Sometimes the point just can’t get put any better!
As we enter the season of Christmas, it is a good time to ask what does being Christian look like? Here is one pastor’s thoughts:
Two things to keep in mind:
1. Christianity is at it’s very best when it is NOT state or corporate sponsored. Let us remember that Christianity began as a subversive and dangerous movement that put followers of The Way in direct conflict with the powers that be. Early Christians promoted radical ideals such as hospitality, forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace. The first followers of Jesus did not rely on the local coffee shop to proclaim their beliefs because they were too busy putting skin on the things they so strongly believed. Church, have we really devolved to the point where we require the corporate world to do our evangelism for us? If so, then God help us.
2. We can feel a certain level of dismay and perhaps feel a little rage during the Christmas season, but, for the love of all that is holy, let’s get worked up about the same things that Jesus did.
16 million children live in poverty in the United States. This is a cause for outrage
There are over 600,000 Americans who are classified as homeless. This is a cause for outrage.
During the Christmas season, the average American will spend $804 on gifts and entertainment. The average American family brings home somewhere between $3000 and $4000 a month. If these averages hold, this means that we have succumbed to the advertising fallacy that we need to buy expensive things to show people how much we care about them. This is a cause for outrage.
Rev. Aaron Todd serves as the Minister for Education at First Christian Church-Midwest City, OK His complete post is here:
Have a good Thanksgiving and Holiday season.
I received an email this morning titled A Nail In The Coffin?
Which was about… oh heck, I will just leave you read some of it:
“Is time running out on Real Marriage in America?
Will the Supreme Court drive another nail in the coffin of Real Marriage after it hears arguments on homosexual “marriage” next month?
Or will pro-Family Americans rally to demand our nation’s highest court mark a historic turning point by siding with the Sixth Circuit’s ruling on behalf of Real Marriage?”
From a letter from Public Advocate. I have really no idea how I really got on their list, I do get a few conservative emails mainly because I was kinda interested in what they had to say and it has snow balled from there. The original mailing lists were almost center of the road. But over time the ones that have been added (I assume by sale of my email address) have gotten very right wing conservative and people hating.
But I digress, this is not about email addresses being sold. It is about, what is real marriage?
That depends on where and in what time you have lived in:
Perhaps if you lived 4000 years ago and you were female, your father would make a deal with the rich man and you were just forced to go with them in what was called marriage. Or maybe you lived somewhere else and your family could not afford to pay a bride price for you to get a better off man somewhere.
Or perhaps if you were a male you had 2 or maybe even a dozen and more wives. Or like Solomon you were mega wealthy and had something like 300 wives and what was it, 900 concubines.
What is REAL MARRIAGE?
One man and many wives as he could afford has been pretty much a standard throughout history. If you could not afford more then one wife there had to be be something wrong with you.
What is REAL MARRIAGE?
Or perhaps if you were female and grew up as late as the 1960’s in the US of A, in the south you were likely to be married to a man by the time you were 14?
What is REAL MARRIAGE?
Poor though out the centuries have not had recognized marriages as far a the state was concerned. Most of them were marriages because of the simple fact the couple chose to live together.
What is REAL MARRIAGE?
Some communities used handfasting ceremonies to declare a commitment to each other some times for life but often times for a year and a day.
What is REAL MARRIAGE?
What is real marriage? I would suggest to you that a real marriage exists when two (some will say even more then two, I will not argue for either interpretation here) consenting age persons consent to wanting to make a public acknowledge of what they hope will be a life long commitment to each other. And that it is, valid, be it a man and a woman. Or a woman and a woman. Or a man and a man. Or even other more complicated arrangements due to the biological make up of individuals.
What is REAL MARRIAGE?
Real marriage is what happens when two people love each other so much that they want to publicly commit to that person. The Public Advocate and many others have it wrong when they talk about real marriage because what defines marriage changes from culture to culture and from one time to an other time.
Regardless of what you believe your real mate should be, someone else likely sees what their real mate as something else. But come on, isn’t that as it should be? Or all the men in the world would want, Halle Berry. And all the women in the world would want, Harrison Ford. Wouldn’t that be a messed up world?
Okay, I can just hear the shouts by religious conservative Christians that I should be stoned for such blasphemy. But what does the Bible really say? That answer is not so easy to answer. I would urge you to start here: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibl.htm and then study farther as you see fit.
As a Christian, I feel that it is a Christians duty to know why they believe what they believe. And it is just as important for Christians to look at opposing viewpoints and see if they may be valid. And if there is any possible question to what they believe they need to always error on the side of mercy.
Just as importantly religious conservatives need to understand that marriage today is not a church contract but a civil contract.
If you have religious problems with same sex marriage then perhaps you need to look at barring your pastor, priest, etc from performing marriages as an agent of the state.
Stopped at an Authentic English Tavern. They had burritos, pizza, and pasta (Italian) maybe the onion soup was English.
Does a higher minimum wage mean we might get the Waltons off of walfare?
Some days you’re the dog – some days you’re the hydrant.
What more can one say?
One can not help but notice that when ever someone comes close to a truth, Christians and Conservatives just shut down and refuse to talk or to even listen anymore. It is as if alarms go off, the whistles blow long and hard, the sirens wail at 200 plus decibels. The steel and concrete gates start slamming shut at a hundred or so miles an hour. The shut their eyes and scream: "That is not so! Why are you telling me this?!" "I don't want to hear it!" It is like they if they can not have their truth and their reality then nothing else matters. In short the good ole boys idea of don't confuse me of the truth my mind is already make up! Which I suppose is fine except they go around masquerading as the keepers of all good and honest and true. For these that don't recognize satire for what it is. This is a satirical piece on how fundamentalist of all types behave. OHCopyright 2013
As we celebrate Memorial Day this year. Perhaps the best way to remember the soldiers fallen, would be to commit to finding a way not to fight wars for oil, money and power.
The Sabbath World Glimpses of A Different Order of Time
By Judith Shulevitz
Her website is here: http://judithshulevitz.com/ Current website url, as of February 24 2013.
An interesting book on how to look at the Sabbath combining religious thoughts, secular thoughts and history in one book. This book is a book about finding the Sabbath’s place in a fast and unsure world. And about finding what the Sabbath means. Is the Sabbath a religious thing? Is there a place for a sabbath in a secular world? And if so how does one go about finding that place?
She has some insights that are pretty interesting. One of which is how as a society we look at time and how that look has changed throughout the centuries. I had never thought about that before, really. Another interesting point she asks about, is there a place in the secular world for a sabbath? A place in time for society to take a collective time off from worldly cares each week?
It is written from what I would call a, secular Jewish searcher’s, standpoint. So don’t expect any great religious AH GotchA! moments. Coming into the Christian faith from the standpoint of not being a believer, I have some problems understanding her points at time. Yet on the the other hand having accepted the faith as a Christian Sabbath keeper I can look at life long Christian Sabbath keepers and see somewhat what she means. As I often see the same questions from Christians.
One of the interesting things I found was the question of, if we should force even a secular sabbath on people for the good of the people. She seems to believe that perhaps we should. I find this to be somewhat disturbing as I don’t believe that the government should be able to tell me if I should or I should not be able to buy on a certain day of the week. I do wonder if this may come from her desire to be required to take a rest from the weekly grind as if somehow she thinks it will make it easier to do?
She seems to be bothered by the fact that she can not make her idea of what the Sabbath should be, coincide with her idea of how she wants to spend the Sabbath. I think that this is an issue for all Sabbath keepers some more so then others. And especially with these that have been in a Sabbath keeping religion all their life perhaps more so. As it too often becomes a list of I can’t do’s instead of a list of what can I do. God in the Torah gave ten commandments, perhaps eleven depending on how you count them. The first four have to do with our relationship to God the last six have to do with our relationship to man. Eight of the commandments are listed as negatives. Don’t do this or don’t do that. The fifth, says to honor your mother and your father, one of the positive commandments. The other commandment listed in a positive way is the fourth, the one that says to remember the Sabbath. These rules when given on the mountain were not new ideas, they were all brought down though the ages from the creation of man. I do not understand Jewish religion very well but it seems that at least some believe that these were new ideas on the mountain.
If all the don’t do this or don’t do that can be boiled down to 8 items really doesn’t that allow a lot more that we can do then we can’t do?
If there is one question that I could have asked her to answer in her book, it would be, how does the Sabbath and keeping it relate to God and our relationship to God? Ok perhaps that is two questions. On this point her book has failed. But overall the book gave me something to think about, it answered some questions and asked me some questions. That is what a good book should do. I would recommend to anyone that is religious to read this book because it causes one to question what is religion. And to non believers if they are interested in moral issues, it would make a good read for them too.