The “War on Christmas” Cries Overshadow The Daily War On Christ—By Christians

DOING JESUS WRONG

I’ve avoided blogging or even responding to the “Starbuck’s War on Christians” thing right now, because, quite frankly it’s too early to get my head into “Holiday Mode.” I lost my brother on Christmas Eve 20 years ago this very year, and it’s still a difficult time for me. I really don’t like to think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving at least, and I try really hard to tune out the bombardment as much as possible, it’s just too triggering for me. (Yes the irony of a minister who dislikes Christmas is not lost on me.)

But I can’t help it, this one is just too stupid to believe, and does belong in the “Stupid things my fellow ‘Christians’ say” file.

Once again the fundamentalist right nutjobs who kidnapped Christianity a long time ago are claiming religuous persecution because a multinational corporation didn’t adorn their coffee cup with the usual pagan symbols they normally do, such as, you know, mistletoe, Christmas trees, wreaths, yule logs etc.

If you aren’t aware, most of the symbols of Christmas (and Easter too) were co-opted from Pagan traditions, the same “Pagans” they later persecuted. And the same Pagans these types of “Christians” rail against come Halloween time.

rushde quote

You can read about the Pagan co-opting of Christmas here.

So instead of, I don’t know, feeding the homeless, trying to fight poverty, adopting orphans, and not being a pain in the ass they are getting their panties in a twist again with  some more made up divisive  nonsense, and totally ignoring, as this article from “Think Progress” points out all the Christmas products Starbucks IS releasing in honor of the big money grabbing sacred holiday season.

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/11/09/3720449/starbucks-war-christmas/

I guess this one finally trumps the Katy Perry “Maximum Evil” Superbowl Performance As Harbinger Of The Anti-Christ one in terms of idiocy (and at least more coverage.)

I’m really not going to say much more about this right now. I’m going to once again let John Pavlovitz do it for me, as he so eloquently so often does.

(At some point, I will do a piece on REAL religuous persecution going on right now in the world, including REAL instances where Christians are actually dying right now for their faith… And where there is little outrage even by the “Starbuck Christians” over it.) Yes there is real religuous persecution going in, yes, there is real Christian persecution going on… But chillin, this ain’t it.

I am going to post my “Christmas Message” from last year though… You’ll have to click it to read it probably.

christmas co-exist

john pavlovitz

broken ornament‘Tis the season to claim persecution…

Our yearly Christian obsession with the supposed “War on Christmas” began early this season, with this week’s viral video of the Starbucks rant by self-proclaimed car seat prophet Joshua Feuerstein and the ensuing social media sideshow.

This certainly won’t be the last of such claims, and though a mystifying multitude of the faithful rushed to amen Feuerstein’s rather meritless accusations over the past few days, one of the most refreshing elements of this week has been the number of good-hearted people who refuse to be fooled and drafted into a phantom battle.

They know that there isn’t a war on Christmas waged by non-Christians, as much as there is a war on Christ by Christians—and it’s been that way for a long time now.

To those who’ve been paying attention for the past few decades, American Christianity has become more politicized and commercialized than Jesus would ever have desired. It’s been…

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Reflections on an Upcoming Ordination (Mine)

Although it’s been 12 years since my ordination, I can relate!

My Hue In The Rainbow

‘Have you checked your Kakao Talk?’ Daniel asked.

‘No, not yet. Why?’ I responded.

‘I just put a message there for you. You’ve been approved for ordination by the PCA[1]’.

I remember doing a jump for joy, but the full weight of what it signified to me didn’t hit until I was in chorale practice for Handel’s Messiah that afternoon.

I had trouble concentrating, as my mind kept wandering to what this meant to me.

A spiritual community within the Christian tradition has finally said to me, ‘We recognize your gifts for the role of pastoral leadership, and we’ll set you apart as a pastoral leader.’

When I first came to Asia in 1997, I thought this was a possibility that I had walked away from, and that I would probably never return to. Heck, I wasn’t even sure I’d ever return to involvement in a church. And…

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I Was Gonna Freak Out About The Pope Visiting Kim Davis—Then Jesus Showed Up.

For once I beat John Pavlovitz to the blog. But I know I’m on the right track when we say the same thing.

john pavlovitz


Discouraged_620 copy
As a Christian and pastor (and former Catholic) who affirms the full equality of LGBTQ people, I’ll be honest: this one stings.

The revelation that Pope Francis secretly met with defiantly anti-gay Kentucky courthouse clerk Kim Davis during his recent US visit, was a real punch to the gut. (Truth be told, it was closer to a swift kick in the crotch.)

This was uniquely true for me, as I had only days ago published this piece, lauding the Pope’s seemingly fresh approach to ministry and the great things his trip here had appeared to yield in the name of religion.

(Impending facepalm in 3…2…1…)

When news of the clandestine chat broke, people who love and support the gay community (and of course many within the community itself) as well as anti-religious folks all unsurprisingly moved immediately into full-blown social media freak out mode—and I don’t blame them a bit. After…

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The Pope, & Kim Davis- WWJHD “What would Jesus have done?”

I stumbled upon this article in defense of Pope Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis this morning. It  is a very powerful reminder, even in the face of the disheartening news we heard yesterday about the meeting  of the message of Jesus.

pope francis

The thing that we forget, that I have forgotten is that Jesus supposedly sat down with some pretty unsavory characters himself. And when arrested he healed the wounded ear of one of the Roman soldiers tasked to bring him in.

That’s the point of the whole “love your enemies” thing, isn’t it?

We also need to remember that we don’t really know the substance of the meeting between the two. We only know the “soundbite” that Davis’ people leaked to “Stay Strong.”

We don’t know the true context of what that statement REALLY meant.

For all we know, he MAY have read her the riot act about what she’s doing, and then LOVINGLY told her she needs to “Stay strong” as she comes to terms with the hurt she’s caused people. He may have suggested that she reflect on, what I believe is the message of Jesus, to “Love one another.”

Self examination of the harm we’ve done to ourselves and to others does, as any 12 stepper knows, requires a great deal of courage and strength. He may not have given her his tacit approval for her actions, but may have merely told her that strength will be required during this time… More than likely he even told her that God, Jesus, and he himself loved her.

And like countless movie posters will attest to, one positive seeming statement in an entirely negative movie review has often been used to serve the movie producer’s purpose. Kim Davis’ people may have purposefully taken the one seemingly “supportive” statement out of a lot of others for their own ends. Just like they did with the “Peru Prayer Picture,” over the weekend.

We love to put people on pedestals, as we did with the Pope last week, but we delight even more so in knocking them down, which we have proven in the last 24 hours since the news of the “secret meeting” leaked.

I’m not ready to throw the good, progressive things the Pope’s done away quite yet… Not until HIS side tells us what went on in that room. And even then, even if he DOES say he stands in agreement with her, what I deem evil and hate filled actions. I still will honor and respect those other things he has said and done. I refuse to throw the baby out with the bath water.

As a former Catholic, now a progressive protestant minister who is quite vocally in support of marriage equality, and who was excited by this new Pope, I admittedly feel stabbed in the back this week. But I am trying to remember the lesson presented in this article, as summed up by this quote,

“But the central idea of Christianity…(is) not about defining people within religious or political or even societal contexts. It’s about approaching them as fellow human beings, travelers on this planet who might spit in your face but still deserve grace and forgiveness.”

Not always easy, eh? I DO believe Jesus would have met with Kim Davis, or even Hitler for that matter. Not to approve of what they did, but to LOVE them.

That’s the redemptive power of sitting down with your enemies. With Loving them.

How else do you think Jesus, or the Pope for that matter would “get through” to someone, to help them? By confronting them with love instead of hate.

I’m reminded of a story I heard on NPR’s “This American Life” about a black Jazz musician named Daryl Davis, who befriended the head of the Klu Klux Klan.  You can find an excellent version of the story here;

DD-at-KKK-Rally-in-Maryland-650x589

Jesus commanded us to love our enemies… But the first step in doing that is often simply sitting down and talking with them.

invite your enemy to the table

As Daryl Davis so poignantly reminds us,

“When two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting.”

I pray that I’m right about this, that we’ve jumped to conclusions about the substance of this meeting; That this was NOT the Pope giving his blessing on her unloving and un Christ like behavior, but a compassionate act of Christ’s love, even for His enemies in action… Only time will tell.

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6 Religious Beliefs that Cause Tremendous Harm

religuous baggage
This is dead on…
“This is not the fruit of Jesus’ message for us to love others. Because of these beliefs, the integrity of Christian love is corrupted into ‘loving the sinner’ so much that believers condemn them, debase them, and badger them into conforming to their worldview in order to save them from hell.”

This is an excellent blogpost, check it out.

Jesus Without Baggage

In my opinion, six mistaken beliefs among Christians cause incalculable pain, suffering, and lasting damage. I focus on these baggage issues on this blog, as summarized on my About page:

  1. The belief that the Father is an angry, capricious, vindictive God
  2. The concept of eternal punishment and torture in hell
  3. An insistence that the Bible is somehow inerrant in every word
  4. An over-emphasis on rules and doctrinal requirements
  5. Commitment to a literal approach to the creation stories in Genesis
  6. Disapproval and rejection of gay people

My good friend Christian Evolution created a graphic, based on my list, that captures these major issues very well. I feel so honored that he would do that.

Six religious baggage issues

Some Beliefs among Believers are more Harmful than Others

I know that followers of Jesus disagree on a host of issues, but I don’t think all issues are equally important. I talk about these six beliefs…

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When Mean, Scared, Scary People Have Stolen My Jesus

I know I sound like a broken record, and I know it just means I need to get off my ass and start writing again, but John Pavlovitz once again articulates my thoughts. And probably in a better way than I do.

john pavlovitz

GrumpyMan

Some days I feel like filing a Missing Persons Report for Jesus.

I survey the media landscape of what so many identify as representing Christianity in my country and it feels like he has all but vanished.

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the line my faith tradition got hijacked.

I suppose it was a half a century or so ago as the Evangelical Church and American Politics started an ill-advised courtship, and the public face of the people of Jesus in the U.S. gradually became a bunch of angry, middle-aged, upper middle class, largely white, largely male folks with entitlement issues and persecution complexes.

You know the ones. They’re everywhere. They have billion dollar media empires and multi-pronged ministry machines and millions of devoted followers. Regularly they broker in a familiar brand of righteous bitterness, always publicly wringing their hands and beating their breasts, as they remind the watching world that once again the sky is indeed…

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Is the Bible an Answer Book for Healthy Sexual Relationships?

I wish these folks would quit reading my mind and/or my microsoft word documents before I get around to posting my own stuff.

Great piece!

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