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Former Southern Baptist Convention Officer Prays for Obama’s Death
June 8th, 2009 under Christian Crap, Christianity, ChristianWalk, Politics, violence, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 2 ]

Here’s some of the story from Associated Baptist Press:

A former Southern Baptist Convention officer who on June 2 called the death of abortion provider George Tiller an answer to prayer said later in the day he is also praying “imprecatory prayer” against President Obama.

Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., and former running mate of American Independent Party presidential candidate Alan Keyes, said June 2 on Fox News Radio he didn’t understand why people were upset with his comments quoted by Associated Baptist Press from a webcast of his daily radio talk show.

“Imprecatory prayer is agreeing with God, and if people don’t like that, they need to talk to God,” Drake told syndicated talk-show host Alan Colmes. “God said it, I didn’t. I was just agreeing with God.”

Asked if there are others for whom Drake is praying “imprecatory prayer,” Drake hesitated before answering that there are several. “The usurper that is in the White House is one, B. Hussein Obama,” he said.

It’s crazy I know. It’s also not representative of all Southern Baptists. But here’s where I think this kind of poor use of Scripture originates. A lot of fundamentalist Christians believe that Scripture should be interpreted literally–hence the Creation Museum. This mindset is encouraged by Baptist leadership. Those who drafted the Baptist Faith and Message (the guidepost for Southern Baptists) in 2000 set the stage for this insane Biblical interpretation. Don’t think it’s crazy? Then why shouldn’t Christians delight in the bashing of babies on rocks (Psalm 137) or stone disobedient children (Deuteronomy 21:18) or force rapists to marry their victims (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)?

In the 1963 version of the Baptist Faith and Message, this type of interpretation was discouraged by including this phrase in the section on Scripture: “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”

You see, Jesus called us to love our enemies in Matthew 5:43-46. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?”

That’s a far cry from Wiley Drake’s prayer! Baptist leadership involved in the drafting of the 1963 version believed that the Sermon on the Mount was a key to understanding how one should act. However, in the 2000 version of the Baptist Faith and Message, this phrase is omitted. Thus, the Wiley Drakes of the Baptist world are free to find any section of Scripture and follow it literally without reflecting on Jesus’ message. It’s pretty darn scary and one reason so many Christians can endorse torture.

Lately I’ve been very depressed about how my Christian brothers and sisters have endorsed behavior Christ would have scorned. It’s time for us who believe the ultimate message of Christ was one of God’s call to love and grace to take a stand against those who fail to follow Christ’s command to love our enemies and serve others and see others as persons loved by God rather than objects of our hatred. Sure, it’s tough to do. It’s downright Un-American. Christians need to realize that following Jesus makes us Un-American sometimes. It puts us in the minority on some things. That’s OK!

Christianity Today and Bigotry
May 6th, 2009 under Christian Crap, Christianity, homosexuality, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 2 ]

A popular Christian magazine, Christianity Today published an interview with Joe the Plumber. That was bad enough. However, in the interview, Joe defends the use of “Queer” when referring to homosexuals and also stated, “I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children.”

Way to go Christianity Today! You’ve made Christians so proud! BTW, I ran across this video about progressive Christianity. It seems a little closer to the one who was described as a friend to sinners.

Fundamentalists Are Stupid
January 23rd, 2009 under Christian Crap, Christianity, Hypocrisy, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 4 ]

I know calling someone “stupid” sounds bad, but sometimes the truth hurts. For example, I’m fat. It’s not fun to be called fat, but let’s face it. I’m fat. Now let’s move on…

A couple of definitions of stupid are as follows: slow of mind, lacking intelligence or reason, (my personal favorite) dulled in feeling or sensation. Fundamentalists are all of these. Oh, let me define fundamentalist for you. Theologian Sallie McFague defines fundamentalism as the refusal to acknowledge our limitations.

That’s a good definition because it recognizes all forms of fundamentalism. You see, fundamentalists are not just religious or political conservatives. A fundamentalist can be either pro-choice or pro-life, for gay marriage or against it. I have a few liberal friends that I believe are fundamentalists. I also believe that you can be a fundamentalist who is right about a particular belief or wrong about a particular belief. After all, gay marriage is either right or wrong. It can’t be both.

I’ll admit that I have a hard time loving fundamentalists. I would find it impossible if I had not at one time been one. You see, I’ve been a Calvinist, a Republican, a Capitalist, a Pharisee, a Dallas Cowboys fan, and a lot of other things in my life. I’ve been willing to look at many sides of an argument and change my mind about some things. So even though I hate Calvinism, I try not to hate Calvinists, etc. I know that what I believe is partly a result of my life experiences and I’m probably wrong about a great many things. When I was in grad school I taught at a predominately African American Baptist seminary and a predominately Caucasian Baptist seminary. It during was an election year. My black brothers and sisters in Christ were mostly voting for Bill Clinton. My white brothers and sisters were mostly voting for the elder Bush. They all loved Jesus and valued their Bibles. Go figure.

I’m going to continue to speak out against Christian fundamentalism. It’s tough to do without sounding arrogant or judgmental myself. But saying hurtful or doing hurtful things in the name of Jesus hurts the cause of Christ. I’ll try to love the stupid people and arrogant people that don’t understand the grace of God and their own limitations.

I found the following quote from Paul Tillich on Romans 5:20 helpful today. He speaks of Paul’s description of grace this way:

“’Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound’, says Paul in the same letter in which he describes the unimaginable power of separation and self-destruction within society and the individual soul. He does not say these words because sentimental interests demand a happy ending for everything tragic. He says them because they describe the most overwhelming and determining experience of his life. In the picture of Jesus as the Christ, which appeared to him at the moment of his greatest separation from other men, from himself and God, he found himself accepted in spite of his being rejected. And when he found that he was accepted, he was able to accept himself and to be reconciled to others. The moment in which grace struck him and overwhelmed him, he was reunited with that to which he belonged, and from which he was estranged in utter strangeness.”

Howie’s Spiritual Condition
December 20th, 2008 under Christianity, ChristianWalk, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 3 ]

A recent visit to see some of my family revealed that some of them are concerned about my spiritual welfare. I first must say thank you for caring about my spiritual welfare! I spent some time talking to my mom about where I am and I think it helped ease her concerns. You see, someone had said that the problem with my wife and me is that we “hang around with atheists and queers. Since Luke is my favorite Gospel and Jesus is accused of being a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and sinners in Luke chapter 7, I figure Shirley and I are in good company. I’ll admit that I was saddened by the comment, but I’m actually hurting for the one who said it, not for Shirley or me.

Because some folks I know are concerned about my spirituality, I thought I’d lay out a few of the beliefs I hold that I think are most important. My goal is to share my faith without condemning any one. My intent is not to judge, but to inform. I’ll be the first to admit that my view of Jesus’ message is biased and is a result of my having been excluded from my religious tradition on more than one occasion. Having had my family kicked out of a Baptist church when I was quite young and having been excluded from my tradition because of my failure to conform has had a serious impact on my life and faith. That being said, here we go:.

Jesus’ mission was to demonstrate in a tangible way God’s unconditional love for sinners. This is a radical truth that most folks, even Christians, simply cannot accept. It was no different in Jesus’ day. In fact, this message is what got Jesus killed. His stories about God’s grace, particularly the “Good Samaritan Story” are key to my understanding Jesus’ mission. Jesus’ message was that the values of this world are antithetical to God’s values. Mary’s Magnificat declares that Jesus’ ministry would be about turning the world on its end. Luke’s emphasis on Jesus’ ministry to the poor, to women, and outcasts has made a huge impact on the way I view the world. I have adapted and expanded the view of “God’s preferential option for the poor” emphasized by Liberation Theologians, to include “God’s preferential option for the oppressed.” This interpretation would include all of God’s creation that is oppressed or exploited.

I believe that my mission as a Christian is to join God’s creative, sustaining, and redemptive activities that promote life abundant for all (not just people). Jesus’ call to love God and one’s neighbor is a non-negotiable for the one who follows Christ. I fall way short of God’s will for my life and I am continually seeking ways to better understand God’s call for me to love God with my all and to love my neighbor. As defined by Luke’s account of the Good Samaritan, my neighbor is any one in need. The Samaritan avoided all the religious stuff that could have hindered him from seeing the injured man in the story as his neighbor. My prayer is that I will do the same.

This call has led me to the teaching profession, particularly theology. I cannot justify engaging in any vocation that does not advance the kingdom. That’s why I sold my businesses years ago and headed to New Orleans. The world does not value what I do, but at least I’m not going to get killed for doing it! This understanding of Jesus and his mission is not the majority view in the Christian community. Sometimes this way of seeing the world is incredibly lonely. I am grateful for those friends and family members who love me in spite of my view of how I should live my life. I’m most grateful, however, for those who love me because of it.

Jesus: Wrong for Your Family, Wrong for America!
October 30th, 2008 under Christianity, ChristianWalk, Politics, Poor, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: none ]

HT: Alderman.

Exploiting the Suffering of Others
September 12th, 2008 under Christianity, ChristianWalk, God, Politics, poor, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 1 ]

I saw this pick today on Snopes.com. It’s a great site for checking all those goofy emails I get about Obama!

One of the lines from the Snopes article is this:

“I hope this picture will always serve as a reminder to us how fortunate we are and that we must never take things for granted.”

I would like to say that I was shocked at the above statement, but most might not even see the problem with it. I guess that’s why Rudy “9/11” Giuliani isn’t such a joke that Republicans would ignore him.

The fact is that many are so self-centered that they can only see the suffering of others as an opportunity to exploit it or an opportunity to express thanks that we are not like them.

Thankfully, that’s not Jesus’ approach. In John 9:4, Jesus says, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” This is Jesus’ response to seeing a blind man. His disciples are looking for someone to blame, but Jesus sees it as an opportunity to reach out and touch the afflicted.

That’s why I’m pessimistic about the Fall election. Rather than seeing this election as an opportunity to provide health care for the poor, take care of our world, and become a more hopeful, helpful nation, my guess is that Americans will once more be motivated by fear and greed. Dang I’m pessimistic! Of course all of this will be couched in the idolatry of Nationalism and self-righteousness.

Jimmy Carter on Katrina
August 26th, 2008 under Baptists, Christianity, ChristianWalk, Katrina, New Orleans, Politics, Poor, Recovery, Social Issues, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: none ]

President Jimmy Carter shows the lack of progress after Katrina. He makes me proud to be a baptist!

HT: Schroeder

Christians Committing Sins
August 18th, 2008 under Christian Crap, Christianity, ChristianWalk, God, Hypocrisy, Politics, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 1 ]

commandments.jpgLast time I checked, the command NOT to bear false witness is still one of the Ten Commandments. I’m no Old Testament scholar, but I think that’s one of the Old Testament commands that still applies (Hope the crawfish prohibition doesn’t!).

Anyway, I just received an email that was critical of Obama in one of those ridiculous claims. I went to Snopes.com, copied the link that explained that the claim was false and sent it back to the sender. I should have also quoted the Scripture Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

I didn’t. I didn’t want to look like a jerk. But then again, wouldn’t somebody who claims to be a Christian that spreads false information about someone be considered a jerk? I’m not sure. But according to Exodus 20:16, someone who spreads lies about someone else is considered a sinner. Before you send crap to your email list (whether it’s about McCain, Obama, Hillary or W), please check it out, otherwise you are sinning against God. As a theologian, I know that God don’t like that!

If There Is a Hell…
August 7th, 2008 under Christianity, ChristianWalk, crime, Katrina, Louisiana, New Orleans, Rant, Recovery, Tacky, violence, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 5 ]

No I’m not talking about Adrastos! In fact, as someone who has been labeled a heretic, I don’t joke about hell. But if anyone deserves to go there it’s Stacey Jackson, former director of NOAH. Lee Zurich and Karen Gadbois have been exposing the corruption in the city-run Non-profit (yeah right!) that has milked the recovery effort and given the city a black eye.

Here’s the real kicker! Christian teenagers have been coming down here for years to gut houses and help our citizens rebuild their lives. The bad part of that is that today’s Times-Picayune article, which has been WAY behind the curve on this thing, informs us that NOAH contractors actually got paid for work that these sweet kids did to make our city a better place.

Holy Crap! Somebody better get on their freakin’ knees right now. As I said above, I don’t take this lightly–but somebody better get ready to fry like a sausage in hell! You *&^%$@’s better be looking for asbestos wetsuits because you’re going to be treading water on the lake of fire for quite some time for this!

Damn. I hope Stacey and the Board of NOAH go to jail for a long time for this.

Elysian Fields Baptist Church
August 7th, 2008 under Baptists, Christianity, ChristianWalk, Friends, Katrina, Poor, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 1 ]

Elysian Fields Baptist Church

I drove by Elysian Fields Baptist Church this morning. As you can see, it’s gone. A lot of churches died due to Katrina. I was familiar with this one. My youngest son went to VBS there one summer. A lot of friends of mine did a lot of great work there. Each One, Save One used to have its office there. I know that the members and the staff have moved on to serve elsewhere, but it’s still a sad sight.

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