Archive for February, 2008

29
Feb
08

Hypocrisy hell, part 2

headache.jpgWell, in part one of my Hypocrisy Hell series, I took on a kind of double standard found most frequently in the agnostic and atheist camps. Today, I call out the holier-than-thou crowd (hey, you may not always agree with my theological/spiritual position, but I hope you can never fault me for failing to point out foibles on both sides of the fence).

Why is it that a painfully significant number of folks who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ get so fired up about their salvation that they forget they were (and still are) sinners themselves? All of a sudden, they are so zealous that they figure they can start pointing fingers. How could you do that? How could you think that? And they completely ignore their own faults and complete disregard that their own path to Jesus might have been very rocky, and perhaps very slow. They start to push, and prod, and damn near try to bulldoze people toward Christ with no regard for the damage they do in the process.

In particular, these particular kinds of hypocrites seem to get worse the longer they are born again, feeling ever more full of themselves instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit…and God help everyone when one of them ascends to a pulpit. Because if they had the hypocrisy bug bad before, suddenly they start talking like they’re as good as Jesus and never sin anymore.

As a side note, I know a lot of people with grudges against Christianity hate the very concept of sin or humans as sinful beings. They think, “How could a being as small as I am offend a being great enough to create a universe with anything I do?” That’s not the point. The point is that sin is a barrier between us and God. God doesn’t sin. So when we do, we put ourselves in a position in which He cannot relate to us. It’s only when we accept Jesus, who had both the godly and human natures within him, that we can reconnect and truly be heard by this immense being known as God the Father.

Anyway, getting back on track, it is so very wrong to criticize others for their sins when those of us who are born again through Jesus did just the same things, or worse. And we continue to sin, which is why we continue to need Jesus to bolster our spiritual credit until the day we pass into Heaven. Yes, those of us who are born-again should feel content and proud (though not prideful) of our decision to acknowledge Jesus, but if we become smarmy and obnoxious about it, all we do is make people want to get as far from us as possible.

And it’s kinda hard to reach people for Jesus if we’re always chasing them away.

(Image from www.freeimages.co.uk)

28
Feb
08

Christ’s vice squad

cigars.jpgMy wife passed along a weblog she found recently called “naked pastor” and I’m enjoying it thus far (however, she mentions she saw something on the blog about how he is trying to sell the URL/site, so who knows how much longer he’ll be blogging there). I also found the author’s profile interesting, if for no other reason than it had some thematic similarities to my own.

And then, as I scrolled down the comments to his profile, I saw one guy recently who said:

I came to the Lord later in life from a background of sin including drinking to excess and smoking. Those things and others, fell away when I embraced Christ. Jesus forgave me of all my sins. The new life in Christ is filled with joy even in the midst of crisis. Should I go back to the “pleasures” of drinking and smoking? Will that enhance my Christian life and spiritual growth?

Given that the blog author mentioned in his profile an affection for good scotch and certain tobaccos, I’m pretty sure the poster was being sarcastic and taking a snarky potshot at him. And that, my friends, is just plain wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. Excessive drinking would be a bad thing. That can get you in all sorts of trouble, and it’s symptomatic of pathology (whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual). But nothing in the author’s profile strikes me as saying, “this guy is addicted to booze and/or smoking.”

But it’s amazing how a fairly substantial number of Christians view smoking, drinking, gambling and other so-called vices as sins no matter how much or how little you partake of them. But wait, Jesus drank wine. Hell, he changed water into wine at a wedding as one of his first documented miracles. And smoking wasn’t invented in modern times, so if that’s so bad, why didn’t anyone in the New Testament warn us against using hookahs or whatever other means to suck smoke into our lungs? And aside from a couple passages that I don’t recall the location of right off the top of my head (and which if I recall are misquoted and misinterpreted anyway much of the time), I don’t recall anything that says gambling is by its very nature a sin.

The key is moderation and restraint. Booze is a good example. Nowhere in the Bible does it say, you cannot have alcohol. It simply says you shouldn’t get drunk. For good reason. Drunk people do and say things that are often not Christ-like. Hard to be a shining beacon of light for Jesus when you have a lampshade on your head and are booty-dancing with your neighbor’s wife at a party.

Several years ago, my wife and I were checking out a church and were seriously thinking about becoming members officially. It wasn’t a perfect place, but it felt good on the surface. And then as we prepared to go through the process of joining the congregation, we get paperwork that outlines all the rules of this particular denomination. And one of the clauses said that drinking, smoking and gambling were all forbidden.

We bailed on that church immediately. Not because my wife and I want a church that caters to our personal desires, but because it is inappropriate for churches to place upon us any requirements that God hasn’t put on us. You cannot just add new sins because you feel like they should be added. Jesus railed against the Pharisees and Sadducees for just that kind of crap. They made rules that they expected people to follow…and they didn’t necessarily follow those rules themselves. And their rules didn’t always have backing in God’s Word.

Let’s leave the rulemaking to God, thank you very much. The IRS tax code is bad enough, and federal, state and local laws are often filled with some of the most useless and mind-numbing laws ever conceived. That should be indication enough we aren’t qualified to add to God’s rules.

27
Feb
08

Who really blew it in Eden?

apple.jpgA lot of people get a little worked up about the patriarchal nature of Christianity. God the father. Jesus the son. Twelve apostles that were all men. Male-centered language all over the place in the Bible. Understandably, it’s the women who are most likely to feel a bit peeved about this state of affairs. Who can blame ’em? Seems pretty sexist on the face of it.

While I do believe in things like only men being pastors, men as spiritual head of the household (at least in households where they are present) and a lot of things like that, I understand why it doesn’t sit so well with a lot of women. I’ll pick some other day, though, to defend the reasons for men “outranking” women by a small margin on spiritual matters. (And believe me, it ain’t necessarily a privileged position.) 

Instead, let me take this moment to get women off the hook for something by noting that it isn’t the fault of a woman that humans got kicked out of the Garden of Eden and the world took such a nasty turn for all of us spiritually (yes, I believe in the Eden story, and someday I’ll get around to noting why it doesn’t necessarily have to conflict with evolution and other scientific notions).

Yeah, folks, despite centuries of people pointing the finger at Eve, it was Adam who screwed it all up.

Sure, Satan came at Eve first. Sure, she gave in and ate the forbidden fruit. And yes, she offered a taste to Adam. But Adam didn’t have to eat the fucking thing! And despite all the notions that she was some temptress, I don’t think she did something like dangle the damn fruit between her bosoms and say, “Take a taste of it or you won’t get a taste of me for the next few decades, mister.” Hell, even if she had, Adam should have found the nearest waterfall and taken a cold shower.

God told both of ’em not to eat off that damned tree. More than that, Adam was created first and had been hearing God’s voice long before Eve was added to the mix. The man knew the  score. He knew God was good, he knew God was in charge, he knew there was only one freakin’ rule for him to follow: Don’t eat from that tree right over there.

Simple rule.

The problem wasn’t Eve. And you can’t blame her for being a weak-willed sop and neglect the fact that Adam was just as much a pushover as she was. Let’s show some equal treatment here. The problem was that sin itself is a tantalizing thing. God knew that, but he had to provide something counter to Him in order for humans to truly have free will.

The fact that Eve ate the fruit showed that humans could choose to disobey God. It set some major precedent. There probably would have been repercussions for her on some level and maybe for us as a species. But remember, it wasn’t until Adam ate the fruit that they got kicked out of Eden. God didn’t evict Eve. Not until Adam went and disobeyed, and then they both got the heavenly boot. Problem for all of us is that, essentially, the Earth was deeded to Adam. He was the steward of this planet, and when he disobeyed, Satan got a major foothold, taking over the lease in some respects from God.

When Adam looked at Eve and saw she hadn’t been struck dead for eating the fruit, he decided to doubt God and give in to the temptation to do his own thing. And that’s what separated humans from God in a spiritual sense. The guy was put in charge, and he was too much of a wuss to hold out at least long enough to have a few kids.

Because the world would be a vastly different place, I suspect, if the human race had started on the right foot with babies first being born to an obedient couple, or at least a couple with one obedient member. Instead, it started with two people who disobeyed and had been left spiritually dead, one of whom was the head of the “household” (whatever passes for a household in a big garden, at least).

And ladies, this should give you some sense (even before I go into any major debate on male leadership in the faith) of why I don’t think it’s always such a wonderful thing, for example, that I am spiritual head of my household because I’m the guy. With that position comes some responsibilities and burdens that I’d rather pass along, thank you very much.

That being said, at least I’m glad I wasn’t the guy who screwed it up for the rest of us.

25
Feb
08

Hypocrisy hell, part 1

lady-justice.jpgOK, just for fun: When you find someone who says something like “I just can’t believe in any God that would sentence anyone to damnation for eternity. That’s not a loving being”…wait a few days, and then ask this:

“So, what do you think about the fact that any sins can be forgiven by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

You’ll be surprised how often the same person who was aghast at eternal damnation will say some variation of this:

“I couldn’t believe in a God who could let some baby-raping, murdering freak into Heaven just because he ‘accepts’ Jesus and seeks forgiveness. That isn’t fair to the victims.”

Amazing in the human mind how forgiveness, spiritual justice and the like are acceptable only when applied to those with whom we feel sympathetic or who are more or less like us.

This is why I’m glad God and Jesus are in charge of the judging of our souls, and not mortal folks.

24
Feb
08

Ass in the pews…or else

church01.jpgIn the overall population, the typical small talk bullcrap quickly comes to: “So, what do you do for a living?”

Among the Christian set, if a pair of folks don’t happen to be in the same congregation, you eventually get to: “So, where do you go to services?”

There is an implicit assumption that if you’re a faithful Christian, you must go to church every Sunday…or at least most Sundays. I mean, you have to have a church, right?

Yeah, I’m part of the Church of Jesus Christ, which encompasses the whole world, and every believer. It’s open to everyone, Christian or otherwise. It doesn’t have a set of pews; it’s a collection of bodies and souls stretching across the planet.

Yes, it’s nice if you have a regular church to go to. Having a congregation you can call your spiritual home is great. Fellowship and gathering together is fantastic. But it isn’t necessary, no matter who tells you so. You can get your spiritual sustenance from television preachers (most of whom, by the way, are not crooked pastors and greedy, self-serving bastards). You can get it from reading the Bible. From the radio. From the Internet. Wherever.

My wife and I have tried for six years to find a church home and we’ve failed. No place feels quite right. It’s not that we’re looking to find a place that tells us what we want to hear or supports us in all our decisions. We just want a place where we feel fully welcome and at ease and like we don’t feel like we’re being scrutinized. That hasn’t happened yet, and we don’t let that get in the way of being close to God, reverencing Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us.

Sunday ain’t more religious than Saturday or any other day. Buildings don’t contain the whole of God. People are people, flawed and wonderful alike. If “going to church” is your aim each Sunday, that’s a pretty shallow goal. Dig deeper, and don’t let yourself be deceived into thinking you’re getting your spirit fed, just because a bunch of folks are singing hymns and a guy in a suit is yapping at the altar. Make sure it’s real, make sure it touches you.

If not, go somewhere else. Or stay home and crack open the Bible on your own.

(Photo by Ian Britton, from www.freefoto.com)

23
Feb
08

End of the line?

I should probably attack things in a more linear fashion, but I have to assume that if God is behind me on this blog thing, I should follow my gut feelings rather than my brain. So, while I plan soon to talk about why Hell (and Satan) are even necessaryand why everyone should stone-dragon.jpgat least give serious consideration to Jesus even if they ultimately reject himI’m going to start with a thorny topic that is weighing on me right now: Is Hell really the end of the life in the afterlife? Let’s be clear here: This post is “learned speculation.” Some logical guesses based on Scripture that, frankly, may not be true. I’m writing this in prayer, but I’m only human, and some of the assumptions of this post could be wrong.

But working on my current theories, it seems highly unlikely that Hell is the endpoint for all those who don’t have Christ backing up their lousy record with His exceptional credit.

First, let’s consider the fact that the Bible says that Hell and death and the fallen angels will ultimately be cast into something called the Lake of Fire. Why bother dumping lost souls into Hell if you’re going to throw them somewhere else later? The universe is pretty efficient, so I cannot imagine God giving souls a pit-stop for no good reason. More on that in a moment.

Also, if you read the Book of Revelation, you’ll see a picture of the future that has a pretty grim 7-year run. Let’s consider the fact that during these “end times” (that big bad period when the antichrist shows up, hell on earth breaks lose, and all that), people will see some pretty amazing metaphysical shit going down, and the Bible is clear that as things get worse and worse, large groups of people turn to God and redeem their souls. So, if folks who rejected Jesus can still turn to Him once the final battle is raging and they see God’s forces at work and they suffer all sorts of wrath (in other words, the clearest-ever proof that God exists), why would people who for whatever reason didn’t (or couldn’t) accept Christ in life not be granted similar benefits? I mean, that would seem to be way fucked-up unfair, don’t you think? Just like the people left on earth, they turned away, they have suffered, and now they see some pretty strong evidence that they were wrong about the way of things.

Here’s what I thinkand again, it’s not biblical canon but my educated opinion, so don’t base your life (and afterlife) on this. I’d rather you found Jesus before you croak. Anyway, what I think is that those in Hell do still have a chance to accept Jesus as Lord and savior before that hunk of damned real estate goes into the Lake of Fire.

Now, that may seem like I’m giving a “get out of jail free card” to folks in Hell. Far from it. For one thing, people are people in this life or in Hell. If they turned a deaf ear and blind eye on every chance to learn about Jesus, why would they feel all that warm and fuzzy toward God and His son in the end? Many might be repentant and feel remorse for ignoring Jesus’ sacrifices and God’s love, but many I suspect will simply blame God. They will insist His universe was pooch-screwed from the get-go and He’s an asshole, and they’ll say “Take your fucking heaven and every last one its damn harps and get out of my sight.” Also, there will be a fair contingent of folks who will try to appeal to Jesus out of fear, but not out of remorse. No one is going to get out of Hell for hating the place or fearing eternity there, but rather for realizing that the reason they are there is because they rejected Heaven themselves. Redemption does not come to those who cannot accept responsibility. Accountability is the first step to accepting and receiving salvation.

Hell is a place of separation from God’s touch. It’s a harsh place but a place for reflection and, I believe, final redemption. But if I were you, I wouldn’t take my word for it. And I wouldn’t wait too long to explore whether Jesus makes sense.

Eternity is a hell of a long time to end up regretting your decisions.

(Image from freeimages.com)

22
Feb
08

Between the sheets

do_not_disturb_anvari-org.jpg I know, I know…here I call myself Deacon Blue, mention how I’ll be hitting touchy topics, and so far I’ll I’ve done mostly is call people out for narrow-mindedness.

Ooooo, how racy.

Well, I never said I’d be a non-stop, one-stop-shopping place for juicy, racy, raw stuff, but here we come, finally, to some sex. About damn time, too.

Before I start opening myself up to threats of violence and flame wars for specific stuff like homosexuality, abortion and more, let’s start general. I’m probably already taking enough of a chance with the photo I’m using today. The Christian Coalition could be on my doorstep any second now to haul me away.

So, let’s ask the question: Does God really give a shit what we do in the bedroom? Or, for that matter, on the kitchen counter, in the back of the SUV, in the bushes at the back of the public park, or in a large vat full of cherry Jell-O?

Well, yes. And, no.

How’s that for commitment? But seriously, there is an answer. Let’s start with sex itself. Did God create sex simply for procreation? Um, a big “no” on that one. Folks, God is not in the game of making things enjoyable and tantalizing simply for the sake of trying to get us to fuck ourselves up. It’s true that many sinful things are tantalizing, but sex itself is not made to be a trap for us. God made sex to be enjoyed. He made it so that it could be a deep bonding (or even bondage) experience for couples. He also made it for making babies.

If he only wanted us to be fruitful and multiply, God would have either given us mating seasons like the animals have or He would have made it a sin not to have kids or something like that (and I defy anyone to show me a Bible passage that says you have to have kids). If you want some evidence that the Bible supports the enjoyment of sex, here are some tidbits:

Proverbs chapter 5, verses 18-19

Let thy well-spring be blessed, and get thy joy from the wife of thy youth. A loving hind! a graceful doe! Let her bosom content thee at all times and in her love mayst thou stray evermore.

OK, a little flowery, and I used one of the older translations, but damn, that’s pretty sexy in a Hallmark card/Harlequin romance kinda way.

First Corinthians chapter 7, verses 3-5

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time…

In other words, once we marry, we are supposed to both give and take when it comes to the enjoyment of our bodies. Yes, we have the right to say “no” but overall, we are supposed to relish in the chance to bond with each other sexually.

And here’s the capper, as far as I’m concerned, and will make those of you with more…um, exotic…tastes feel better:

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

I prefer the King James Bible version on this one that I use above, mostly because with more modern translations, people tend to skew it more fully toward the meaning that sex is OK among married people, while glossing over the “undefiled bed” part of things. Yes, part of the undefiled bed business is that you remain faithful to your spouse. But the other part is that pretty much whatever two consenting adult married folks do to each other is OK. Consenting, remember? Neither husband nor wife can force an act on the other person with justification. For more on that consent issue and the Bible’s view on the wrongness of abuse, see Ephesians chapter 5, verses 28 and 29 (“So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.”) This talks about men, but as with so many things in the Bible, it really applies to both genders.

But within the bounds of consentlet ‘er rip! You want to wear black leather boots and a red latex bustier and bring the vibrator along for the ride? Go for it! You like a little riding crop across the ass? More power to ya! You think having a French silk pie mashed between your privates sounds cool? Go for it, but please put some plastic on top of your bed so you don’t ruin those sheets. Think a sheep sounds cool…

Whoa! OK, we have to draw a line there on that last one. Last time I checked, animals were living creatures that lack the ability to give consent. Also, the Bible is really, really clear that men aren’t supposed to lie down with animals, particularly in one passage. In fact, it’s so clear that a couple lines later, the same passage also notes that women also aren’t supposed to “do the do” with beasts. What’s funny is in that same passage of scripture, men are admonished not to have sex with other men yet that no-same-sex sentiment isn’t repeated for the women (one of those confusing bits in the Bible), but we’ll talk about gay/lesbian/bi/transgender stuff in more detail some other day.

Also, get that ménage à trois, foursome and moresome stuff out of your head. Not that I don’t appreciate the entertainment potential for such bedplay, but that involves issues like fornication and adultery (even if the two married folks want to claim Biblical immunity, they’d be encouraging the third person (and fourth, and so on…) to commit two sins, and that ain’t cool).

Now, I’ve been hitting the married couple thing heavily here, and there’s a reason: Sex outside of marriage isn’t biblically defended. That said, premarital sex (a.k.a fornication) is one of those sins, much like lying, coveting and not honoring our parents (to name just a few) that the vast majority seem pretty much doomed to commit. It ain’t right to do it, but it ain’t the only sin we go bonkers over. And I can guarantee that at least 3 out of every 4 preachers who lambast people for fornication have had premarital sex themselves, even if it was only with the women they eventually married. And the other 1 out of 4 probably dreamed and jacked off about the idea of it so much that they might as well have just gone and done it.

(Photo from www.anvari.org)

20
Feb
08

How would Jesus vote?

world-jesus.jpgFor a time there, people really loved the hell out of the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) fad. I’m sure many still do, and they’re probably the same folks who still have Garfield plush toys with suction cups on the feet attached to their rear car windows.

So, in this interesting season of presidential campaigning (wherein John McCain seemed dead in the water at the start of the primary campaigns and somehow is the only one standing, and where the Democrats are currently witnessing a historic battle between a woman and a black man for the chance to be president), how would Jesus vote?

He wouldn’t.

At least, I don’t think he would. Fortunately, Jesus didn’t have to wrestle with whether voting Republican or Democrat would mess up his sinless record with his Father in Heaven. He didn’t live in a democracy. And even if he had been in Greece, he still wouldn’t be voting because you had to be at least modestly wealthy to have a say in anything there.

But if he were here today, he wouldn’t vote, I suspect…at least not very often, and almost never for anyone in the major parties. Because frankly, with very few exceptions in politics, the men and women don’t really represent God. And Jesus was a pretty uncompromising guychoosing the lesser of two evils wasn’t his style. Politicians typically represent the desires of the world, and no matter how idealistic they are, it rarely springs to their mind to serve God’s will. To use God to bolster their agendas at times or push something through, yes…but rarely does God come first.

Because if God did come first, this nation would look a heck of a lot different. Beginning with the fact we’d have taken care of the discarded people in this country long before we would have started trying to “fix” everyone else.

So, every political party (and every sports team, too, while we’re at it) should stop thinking it’s God’s favorite. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit don’t join clubs and they don’t hold affiliations.

(Image: “Coat of Many Colors” by Thomas Blackshear II)

19
Feb
08

Enlightened ignorance

books011.jpgSo, yesterday I lambasted a large contingent of my fellow born-again Christians for not knowing enough about other folks’ beliefs and practices. Well, now it’s the other side’s turn to get the sharp end of my stick. Because a lot of you “enlightened” folks out there who think you’re so flippin’ tolerant have a remarkable amount of assumptions about Christians who fall under any of the following categories: fundamental, evangelistic, born-again. And the second you hear those terms, many of you who aren’t in those categories start showing very unenlightened viewsand some of you get downright uncivilized.

Some years ago, I posted some of my beliefs on a board and had someone tell me in no uncertain terms that I had to have my brains up my ass to even consider that Christianity could to be anything but a fanciful mythology and anything more real to the world than a Tolkien novel.  

At the shallower end of the ignorance pool, my wife was recently talking with a friend of the past few years who, it seems, had been laboring under the idea that my wife was a very liberal Christian. The kind of person who’s excited about ordaining gay bishops or attends Unitarian-Universalist services or things like that. When my wife revealed she was actually an evangelistic Christian, with fairly conservative faith beliefs, the friend had a hard time wrapping her mind around it.

Because here she knew my wife as someone who believes in trying to raise up the disenfranchised, someone who believes in socialized healthcare, someone who advocates racial/ethnic/religious diversity and tolerance…and all that kind of jazz.

Somehow, the idea that someone could be adamant that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life didn’t connect with those things. Deep down, as far as the friend was concerned, being a born-again Christian meant you had to close your mind and turn off any ability to think critically.

I guess it really would have caused this poor woman to have a stroke to find out that my wife in the past two presidential elections voted for George W. Bush one time and Ralph Nader the other. So, hopefully, my wife won’t hit her with too many revelations at once.

My point is, though, why must we all be cookie cutter Christians? I don’t have to fit in your stinking little cramped box. Why can’t I be a born-again evangelistic Christian and think that Jerry Falwell was a dickhead and Pat Robertson is a closet fascist? Why can’t I believe in the Bible as the Word of God and still enjoy reading some Stephen King or Jim Butcher? Why can’t I believe that you need to know Jesus to avoid Hell and still like you as a person if you don’t?

Because I do. And if you’re going to call me a Jesus “freak” or paint me as a hateful human being just because I’m born-again, well then you need to re-examine which one of us is the closed-minded ass.

(image by Ian Britton, from FreeFoto.com)

18
Feb
08

Lo, the Antichrist shall be a vegan…

inconvenient-truth.jpg…and forsooth, the Evil One shall also drive an alternative-fuel vehicle and own a copy of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” And he shall recycle and perform all other manner of wickedness. 

Or, at least, that’s the vibe I came away with from a sermon I heard a couple months ago, wherein the pastor equated the shoppers at Whole Foods, Wild Oats and similar stores as being “earth worshippers.” He even went so far as to actually say that most vegetarians are, essentially, practitioners of paganism. 

Well, my wife and I try to buy organic when we can, and we’ve toyed with vegetarianism a couple times (but the bacon and pork chops and hamburgers always wooed us back with their greasy charms), but we’re both evangelically based and believe Jesus is Lord and savior and son of God. 

And therein lies a big problem with too many of my Christian brothers and sisters. There are those who are critical thinkers, but all too often, those who are most dedicated to the Word of God somehow forget to read much else but the Bible. And it’s scary sometimes the level of cluelessness this can engender. 

The other day at church, for example, a woman whose baby had been having massive teething told my wife a friend had suggested relieving the discomfort with some clove. A suggestion she promptly shelved when her husband told her that sounded an awful lot like witchcraft. I guess with folks like Pasteur who recognized the antibacterial properties of certain molds and gave the world penicillin, we should have burned them at the stake, eh? I mean, some common sense would help here. Using herbal remedies and holistic therapies isn’t practicing magic. Using an herb or something else with legitimate biochemical properties (assuming it’s safe to consume in the first place) is no worse than taking a medicine in a bottle. 

Now, if someone tells you to dig up a mandrake root, put a drop of your blood on it and stick in a bowl of milk under your bed for some healing, well, I don’t think I need to spell (pun entirely intended) out what that is. But when was the last time you saw health food stores selling a kit like that on the shelves? 

The big problem with this kind of narrow-minded thinking is that Christians lose out on all sorts of opportunities to understand other people, whether they raise their kids in a different style or eat different foods or practice whole other freaking religions. How can anyone evangelize to a person if they’re already misinterpreting their actions from the get-go? If I look at someone who likes yoga and crystals and I assume that means they’re some New Age wiccan (and miss that the person in an agnostic lapsed Catholic who just likes being limber and owning shiny objects), I’m already coming to this person from entirely the wrong direction. 

More than that, it’s just plain ignorant. And willful ignorance is like fingernails on the chalkboard of my mind.

Frankly, I get pretty damned tired of non-Christians painting me with some broad brush and thinking I’m a self-righteous Jesus freak just because I’m a Christian who believes in the Bible (more on that in tomorrow’s post). It would be awfully hypocritical of me to make broad assertions about their spiritual systems (or lack thereof) without having read and studied something about them. Hell, at least recognize that there are huge differences between Wiccans, Pagans, Druids and Satanists (just to mention a few groups that get tossed together into the same pot on a regular basis). 

So, if you think the Christian walk is worth about as much use as tits on a bull, let me be the first to tell you that even if you think my faith is foolish, remember that some of us can be believers without handing over our critical thinking at the door to be mindless automatons. And for my brothers and sisters in Christ who think it’s OK not to know or understand other belief systems—well, damn, doesn’t the Bible tell us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves? God never told us to be ignorant dolts and judgmental assholes. 




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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E-Mail

You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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LinkedIn

For my public profile, click here.

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Tales of the Whethermen

My superhero fiction blog, click here

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Raising the Goddess

My parenting blog, click here

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For more about images used on this site, and copyrights regarding them, as well as usage/copyright information about my own writing as posted here, click here.

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