Saturday, August 17, 2013

Getting It Wrong

Revering Paul and having reservations about him are not mutually exclusive. Entire denominations, pastors, and theologians discard Paul’s teachings when they don’t conform to their world view and yet venerate him when they do. Why should I be held to stricter standards?

For example, Paul’s teachings on the role of women in marriage and in church, his views on slavery, homosexuality,and his evident disdain for the institution of marriage have been explained away, rationalized, or agreed to, based not on their merits, but on the world view of those doing the explaining, rationalizing, or agreeing.

What if Paul meant exactly what he said? What If he didn’t believe slavery was evil, but slave owners and slaves just needed to do it right? What if he meant it when he said women should not speak in church, should obey their husbands? What If he really believed it when he said people should not marry, but since that wasn’t gonna happen, here’s how to do marriage right? Shouldn’t we practice discerment when reading Paul, especially when he goes all theological on us? Much of his theology, after all, is found nowhere in the teachings of Jesus.

Naturally, what followed was pick and choose Paulism. Which leads me to an important point. We, I believe, totally get it wrong when venerating Paul.

What truly merits veneration, If not outright awe, is his missionary work. Even more important, it was Paul who fought the church in Jerusalem about Gentiles being allowed into the faith without condition. Without him, millions would have perished without knowing Jesus, including me. Paul changed everything and millions live in Christ. That’s more than worthy of veneration.  

So yes, I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. I am moved to shame when I read that passage where Paul describes all he endured to carry the message of Christ Risen and coming again to a lost world. Beatings, floggings, shipwrecks, cold, hungry, imprisoned, and eventually martyered. Could I suffer like that for my savior?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


As he signed into law North Carolina’s new repressive voter legislation, the governor stated it’s purpose was to address rampant, undetectable voter fraud. Which begs the question, if it’s so rampant how come you can’t detect it?

When I hear the word rampant I think widespread, out of control, prevalent, epidemic, flagrant, and uncontrollable. I never think undetectable. Undetectable makes me think infinitesimal, unnoticeable, insignificant, and ephemeral.

In fact, I can’t imagine a set of circumstances that would cause me to use the words rampant and undetectable to describe the same event.   

Now if what you’re really doing is enacting legislation to make it more difficult for people who oppose your policies to vote, it makes perfect sense. Of course you can’t actually say that, at least not in public, so you make up some fictional problem and fix it with legislation that makes it harder to vote. For your opponents that is.

The only rampant voter fraud in this country is that being perpetrated by republican legislatures on their own citizens.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I Love This Guy!!

So Pope Francis spent some time in South America hangin out in one of Rio's most violent slums. He drove around in a Fiat instead of an armored vehicle, and just generally went around pissing off conservative Catholics and the homophobes in his church.

"He told  35,000 pilgrims from his native Argentina to make a "mess" in their dioceses, shake things up and go out into the streets to spread their faith, even at the expense of confrontation with their bishops."~AP news service.

Anytime the elites spend time explaining away the comments of their leader, “Yeah, that’s what he said but he really didn’t mean it the way it came out”, you know you’ve got a winner, a change agent of magnificent dimensions for a church desperately in need of a tectonic plate shift.

 God, if it's not too much trouble, can we have one?

Someone with depth and weight, possessed of genuine  love for the least of us. Someone who can stand and say enough!  Cause right now God, we are blowing the moment. We are preaching a version of Christ that cannot be found in the Bible to a people that are crying out for the Christ that is present in the Gospels. We are preaching to a dead church what the corpse wants to hear, while outside the sanctuary people who desperately need the Christ who was an advocate for the poor and the powerless can't figure out how the church they see at Value Voters conferences has any relevance to their immediate needs.

So please, send us one just like Francis.