Tag Archives: Christians

True Religion of “The Market”

The Golden Calf of Wall Street

The media seems to be continually reporting on the “War on (fill in the blank” labels these days, with lots of finger pointing back and forth, “…they started it…”. These important discussions being framed as “wars” diminishes the REAL WARS that we are waging in Afghanistan and Iraq (if only through private proxies) and the danger of future wars (Iran, N. Korea). Whether it is media labeled or partisan labeled, it would be so refreshing to just discuss the topic at hand without the hype, but there is good reason for the hype. The hype isn’t about women, contraception, or any specific demographic, the hype is around two world views and the prize is your brain.

No, it’s not the zombie bandwagon, what strategist, marketers, and political powers want is for you to dig in and claim their philosophy as your own. They can remind you of how awesome their philosophy is directly through campaigning, or more likely through thousands of more indirect ways. Indirect routes may include planting or calling attention to specific stories in the news,  hints (or commands) from religious realms, marketing at your favorite retailer, new products being developed, through school curriculum, playing specific music, experiencing advertising, through popular books and movies, through social media, by celebrity endorsement. Most of these “nudges” are subtle and disguised as “fun” or being “cool” and the story – the part that someone wants you to buy into – can be written off as entertainment and non-partisan. Continue reading

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Nation or Salvation?

Saving souls and governing democratically don’t mix – at least both cannot exist as a top priority in one’s mind as a governing leader. Either saving souls is more important or the principles of democracy are, because the concept of “salvation” in the Christian church is not a democratic notion. Salvation means submitting to not only God, but to the long list of rules that salvation centered religions have pushed as a requirement for salvation.

Mormonism is the center of curiosity today because it is Mitt Romney’s religion and he just semi-officially became “the contender” for President on behalf of the Republican party. If you’re not in Utah, Mormons aren’t very evident in daily American life, they aren’t as numerous, loud, or show stealing as evangelicals tend to be. If we are going to be governed by a man who believes as Mormons do, we have a need to know what Mormons believe. Continue reading

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The Hoarding Horde

Pastor Rick Warren, the Southern Baptist mega church minister, was interviewed by ABC. His interview was parsed into bite sized pieces and can be found all over the internet. He admitted that while there are lots of Bible passages in which Jesus implores us to help the poor, he says, “I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.” He offers little spiritual support for this, it sounds more like a Republican talking point.

Rick Warren went on the news and was able to hit quite a few Republican talking points, I’m left wondering why he gets to do that and is his appearance an “in-kind” donation that serves as a commercial for the Republican party? Here’s a bit where he conflates God’s approval with our chosen wars and protecting the family,

(INTERVIEWER/TAPPER): When troops come to you, having seen, maybe even done horrifying things, how do you counsel them? How do you say this is how you reconcile war and Christ? Continue reading

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Progressive Christians

Quiet, elusive, pensive, insular, the progressive Christian‘s habitat is the same as all other of its species. They live in and around conservative Christians as well as Atheists and subscribers to other religions. They camouflage well in any sort of setting, one of their traits is entertaining and discussing other points of view, making their own beliefs difficult to observe. Some think that since a definite and unified belief system is hard to pin down between progressive Christians, there must not be a belief system intact. Here on Good Friday, I am going to tell you about some of those beliefs because progressive Christians’ beliefs are as genuine and legitimate as anyone else’s belief system.

A progressive Christian is someone who is inspired spiritually and morally by Jesus.That is probably the closest you can get to a unifying belief system, from that point on, you cannot talk about beliefs in the plural tense. Since I am familiar with many progressive Christians, I can give some examples of their beliefs. Continue reading

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By the Book

In this age of social media and networking, we are deluged with information daily. We talk, text, tweet and email back and forth, then on top of that we join organization and list serves that forward their news. Sometimes we get forwarded stuff that we don’t like. The following is a forwarded message I received and the response I sent back:

ONE MINUTE EACH NIGHT

This is the scariest election we as Christians have ever faced, and from the looks of the polls, The Christians aren’t voting Christian values. We all need to be on our knees.  Do you believe we can take God at His word? Call upon His name, then stand back and watch His wonders unfold. This scripture gives us, as Christians, ownership of this land and the ability to call upon God to heal it.

I challenge you to do that. We have never been more desperate than now for God to heal our land. This election is the scariest I remember in my lifetime.

2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray,
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

During WWII, there was an advisor to Churchill, who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute, to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. This had an amazing effect, as bombing stopped.

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America .

The United States of America , and our citizens, need prayer more than ever!!! If you would like to participate, each evening at 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time (8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific), stop whatever you’re doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, for peace in the world, the upcoming election, that the Bible will remain the basis for the laws governing our land, and that Christianity will grow in the U.S.

If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along.  Someone said if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.

Thank you. Please pass this on to anyone who you think will want to join us. God Bless You!!!

(end email forward)

So this kind of thing gets my blood boiling. 90% of it is either good hearted or at least a harmless exercise (if you don’t believe in prayer or God). I can’t think of a good reason for anyone – atheist, Muslim, or Hare Krishna – to begrudge a group of people from praying if they choose too. The remaining 10% though (which I believe is the whole reason the email forward piece was created), crosses the line from a commendable suggestion for solidarity to a subversive play to push the Bible as a founding document for the nation. As Lakoff taught me, simply getting these words to the eyes of thousands of people (via “viral” email) turns our brains on and normalizes the concepts presented. Seeing them, thinking them, and hearing them makes the reality a bit more possible – even if there isn’t a huge action item around it.

Here is my response to the email:

The power of love, people pulling together and God, is awesome. I can get on board with that. I would add something about helping all of the people of the world to find peace and feel secure. However, there is one part of this suggestion that I feel is dangerous, “the Bible will remain the basis for laws governing our land”. The Bible has never been the basis for laws governing our land, The Constitution is the document that is the basis for governing our land; it was the only document agreed upon by the founders.

If I thought that everyone would interpret the Bible the same way that I do, in a way that promotes Christ-like unconditional love and acceptance of your fellow human, I could get behind a push to change our founding documents. However, we all know that there is no one way that people interpret the Bible (nor any hope or effort at consensus). There are a whole lot of folks out there talking about the Bible that do not promote Christ like love, they use the Bible as a tool to get what they want and to persecute others. I find that extremely offensive. I would never want someone to be in power that used the Bible for their own personal agenda or power plays.

This is very difficult to write because I know many people I love very much might disagree with me and are on this list. I purposefully don’t engage in politics with much of my family because emotions run high and I would rather spend the little time I see my extended family doing more joyful things (like loving them unconditionally!). I feel very strongly that there should be a separation of church and state, the first amendment establishes that. While we might be a nation chock full of Christians, we’ve gotten there without having a national religion and we are not a nation governed by Christianity.

Any leader or citizen can use the Bible and their spiritual beliefs as a template for life, no one is saying it cannot be included as a personal guide. If you like how a candidate is guided by the spirit, by all means, vote for them! Work to get the principles that motivate and inspire you to be implemented into our laws, but please, please, please keep the roulette wheel of Biblical interpretation out of our laws (it’s hard enough to deal with interpretations of our secular documents). I would never want a “Fred Phelps” kind of Christian anywhere near a governing body (his church’s website is here).

I believe there is a faction of people out there that want an audience of good hearted Christians to be on their side – which for the most part, they are – but their real agenda is to change the foundation of this country’s laws to be religious laws. As an American and as a Christian, I have to stand firm and say “NO!”

I love many of you, don’t know some of you, and this is in response to someone I love and respect very, very much. Most importantly for me, I love God, Jesus, and I do try to pattern my life after his. That is why even though my fingers are a little shaky and my stomach is churning a bit, I’m still going to press send.

Peace to us all,
Amy Meier

(On a personal note, this is where the rubber meets the road for me. I am the most liberal person in my large extended family; if there are other liberals in my family, they keep it on the down low – my family culture does not take kindly to liberal rhetoric and is not afraid to say so. I was born in the heartland of the country, in the bible belt and feel like a bit of a “black sheep” when I am there because the conservative Christian culture pervades life at every facet. I also kept most of my views on the down low to keep the peace. I love my family. They are kind, loving, generous, and accepting of me and all of my personal faults. They are the real reason I am so passionate about having civil discourse – but it is still exhausting to get into political battles with them when I’d rather just enjoy time together. The conservative Christian culture is so pervasive that I am often included (though I don’t think it is a secret that I am a liberal) in an assumption that things are, or should be, a particular way. Today is the day I publicly “outed myself. The gloves are off… but it’s because I want to shake hands (or hug) and start this election season with a respectful, meaningful exchange.)

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