According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Monday, June 29, 2015

Standing with the Oppressed When It's the Right Thing To Do

What if I said, "Not all gays are homosexual?" Could this be true, not true, false, or not false? If so, in what sense?

Or, what if I said, "Not all heterosexuals are lustful?" Again, could this be true, not true, false, or not false? And if so, in what sense?

When we make blanket statements from de facto positions of self-assurance we end up getting into all kinds of trouble with our theology. I don't think theology is meant to be led out with de facto statements because if it were then it wouldn't be theology any longer. No, it would be a kind of doctrine that was limited to a church group's surmise of what they think theology is when in fact it is popular statements of dogma that would be either "more or less true" or  "more or less false."

In the Bible, dogmas are not good things. They become folk religions or popular cultural assessments informing bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and discrimination which lead to all kinds of oppression from gut-wrenching demurring statements spoken from self-serving calloused lips to the nasty kind of harmful evil that any Christian can be motivated to commit when forgetting God's grace through Jesus' example of humility, service, and mercy.

If you notice in the pictures below you'll observe happy, sun-filled scenes of smiling people filled with a bountiful fulfilling sense of being right and content and satisfied about themselves and their beliefs. What those pictures don't show is the red-mask of the devil hiding within those smiling faces fashioned with horns of wickedness and forked tails of evilness hiding all those happy smiles of contentedness and bliss in the sunny lands of self-serving theology.

In the hearts of the oppress these are the kinds of pictures they see when "good-intentioned" people step forward to speak of their faith and beliefs behind a bible (little "b") that is laced with popularly-spoken limitations and graceless boundaries of God's judgemental wrath. And when it's politicized more is it to be feared for the wickedness that it will bring.

No, for the oppressed, the demeaned, the hated, the outcast, the unwanted, these pictures are hell itself forewarning the evil to come spun in webs of self-righteousness and self-centeredness propelling prideful lusts believing one to be right and not wrong. For if one is wrong then one must repent. And a self-righteous person is all about pride and legalism. Of proving themselves worthy of God by fighting God's battles for Him in the rage of hate-filled hearts.

Let us be clear as the beloved of God that the Bible speaks closely of these kinds of people throughout its holy script. Of a people who are not God's people who have deceived and lied to themselves about their spiritually-centered truths fashioned so vilely and hatefully. Let us understand that to be a people of God we must lead out not with vile judgments but with God-filled love and truth. There is as deep a difference in this saying as there is in the opening two statements we began with in this article.

The church will always struggle with the evils of pride and prideful judgment. It would be naive to think that it won't. So too will popular pastors and Christian speakers struggle with the same as they are moved by the fearing intent of their congregants and followers. Rather than leading in courage and boldness they slink into cowardly positions of prejudice and hate.

However, to be a people of God is to do the unpopular thing as Jesus did who stood with the despised outcasts of His society to bring healing and God's grace to the parched and thirsty souls of the unwanted. He ministered to those believed unloved and condemned by God by the "church crowd" when at the last, it was the very souls of God's undiscerning (and misled) people who laid upon the lime pits of their wretched faith.

Let us then think on Jesus and not on our graceless doctrines and the untruthful lies flying about our heads and from our unchastened lips. God's people are a right and just people who must seek out injustice wherever it is to bring peace and justice, hope and healing, to a fractured world filled with rage and hate. Amen and amen.

R.E. Slater
June 29, 2015

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Fav Talking Points & Christian Stereotypes
of Gays in a Struggle for Civil Rights

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Is Wrong

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