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Open-handed - a posture personally, theologically, and politically

Last night a friend from church asked me what side I fall on politically. Old labels carry too much baggage though. I know who I have been and I know who I want to be. I want to be someone who loves God and loves my neighbors. In the parable of the Good Samaritan , when Jesus explains through a story who The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants (1670) shows the Good Samaritan tending the injured man. (Photo credit: Wikipedia )  qualifies as a "neighbor" (anyone in need) and what it looks like to love them (generosity of time, space and money), I see an all encompassing philosophy of life. It's a philosophy that is unhindered by artificial social barriers. It sees unity with all who bleed. No one in need is excluded. All are included. The examples of villains in Jesus' story are those who cannot be bothered with the inconvenience of aid, who cannot forget past grievances, who transfer the faults of a group onto the individual, who delight in justice ins

The near sacrifice of Isaac and bad religion

Bad religion asks parents to sacrifice their children. Bad religion is cultural. Bad religion looks for scapegoats. Bad religion always find scapegoats in those with less power. Bad religion kills kids. Abraham's story in Genesis 22 is a story of good religion prevailing over bad. image source    Abraham lives in a culture which not only approves of child sacrifice, but even encourages it for assistance from the deities. Abraham believes his deity wants him to also perform this act of devotion. But after he ties his son up, he has an encounter with God unlike any previous one. It appears God changed his mind.  More likely, Abraham changed his mind about God. Evangelical and fundamentalist christians also live in cultures where they think their deity asks them to bind their children, to not let them live in truth their sexual identity. Hence, these children who normally benefit from the protective effects of religion on suicidal thoughts and tendencies actually experience it worse a

The cost of making things right - reparations for African Americans

At times in its past, the United States of America has found money to make restitution for things gone wrong. For example, 9/11 "The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, created by Congress, distributed $7 billion to survivors and victims' families. There have been 2,983 families of those who died and received an average of just over $2 million tax-free per claim, according to Kenneth Feinberg, former pro bono administrator of the fund." ABC news The 9/11 memorial in NYC? "The foundation that runs the memorial estimates that once the roughly $700 million project is complete, it will cost $60 million a year to operate." NBC news Americans are paying for this, not Saudi Arabia where the 9/11 bombers came from. But America wants to "never forget." When the US violated the constitutional rights of Japanese Americans on the west coast after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entrance to the 2nd World War, it recognized the wrong and President R

book report: The Galilee Episode by Goetz (2020)

Here is the quick summary. This book is a 5 star thesis with a 2 star execution. Great ideas benefit from great editors. I really hope Ronald Goetz 's book, The Galilee Episode , gets picked up by a real publisher with an editorial team to cut this rough gem into a thing of beauty it deserves. Goetz's spiritual journey started at a young age, resulting in Bible college and 15 years in the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination then in the United Methodists for the past 30 years or so. At some point he saw this passage in Luke 17 with new eyes. 34 I tell you, on that night two men will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. I have to say I never thought of these passages in their plain reading before myself, but in the fundamentalist goggles I inherited. Why are two guys sharing a bed at night? Maybe because they are gay partners. And did you know "grinding" is not

according to Jesus not all scriptures are literally true

 I've written a couple other posts on this topic before, here and here . Jesus and his followers, in the footsteps of the Jewish prophets before them, chose which writings to elevate and which writings to minimize. Jesus did this to Moses when he said an eye for an eye was not God's way in his sermon on the mount. But Jesus also does this in his temptation. His accuser shows up and says, "yo, you can get a lot of followers by doing this miracle based on the Psalms by jumping off this high place, because the Psalmist prophecies God won't let you foot dash against a rock. Maybe you'll levitate or something." And Jesus, who must have stubbed his toe multiple times in his life is like, "you is a fool, why you gotta take poetry literally like that, also the book says don't test God like that, Fool." Jesus pointed out to my younger fundamentalist self that some things in the scriptures are more important than others. If you use the lenses of love is G

Your abortion was not murder, a biblical defense

I used to have an abundance of pro-life blog posts on here. I took them down because I no longer think my male opinion carries even the weight of electrons on this blog. I do consider myself pro-life, not just pro-birth, and believe the church and the government should support not only pregnant mothers but post-natal mothers and children. Please see my post from last year. " policy proposal: pay pregnant women and at home parents ". If you are an evangelical woman who has had or is considering an abortion and if wracked with guilt, I'd like to offer a minority report on the biblical exemption for abortion. We start with Exodus 21 . The first eleven verses fall into the category I've written about many times here under the label, "not everything biblical is Christian", meaning these slave laws are awful and not Christ-like at all. Starting at verse 12 though we get to the capital crimes. Again, I'm pro-life so I don't think a Christ follower should be

erring on the side of mercy

source Luke 16 The Message (MSG) The Story of the Crooked Manager  1-2 Jesus said to his disciples, “There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses. So he called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? You’re fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.’  3-4 “The manager said to himself, ‘What am I going to do? I’ve lost my job as manager. I’m not strong enough for a laboring job, and I’m too proud to beg. . . . Ah, I’ve got a plan. Here’s what I’ll do . . . then when I’m turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.’  5 “Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 “He replied, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ “The manager said, ‘Here, take your bill, sit down here—quick now—write fifty.’ 7 “To the next he said, ‘And you, what do

christians should be the biggest supporters of the trans community

I read with joy and anger the comments under Gabrielle Union's tweet introducing the world to her gender non-conforming child Zaya. Meet Zaya. She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people. — Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 11, 2020 I wish every kid could have such supportive parents. But out came the bible verse quoting trolls among others. But don't christians believe in an immaterial soul? That the mind is greater than the brain? That there is a spirit as well as a body? If people are truly materialists, then certainly they can make the argument that chromosomes determine who Zaya is. But christians do not tend to be materialists. So if Zaya asserts her identity as distinct from her chromosomes, wouldn't this be a proof for christians to say, "there is something more to us than our materials and