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
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - 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
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater
Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma
It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds
assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Rise of Dominionism and the Christian Right



The Rise of Dominionism and the Christian Right


God does not call Christians to "Suppress the Rights of Others" but to
"Express the Rights of Others." No, my friends, Christianity isn't being
persecuted; it is persecuting those around it for not being Christian.
- re slater


I give Tripp Fuller a lot of credit for speaking kindly to the radicalized far right church while trying to draw it back to its lost faith. But yesterday's Capital demonstration in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, showed the nation all too clearly what toxic "Christian" Dominionism really is all about. It's the old idea of creating Old Testament governance into postmodern societies. It enforces religious ("biblical") prejudice and principles that are uncivil and undemocratic upon complex polyplural public societies.

Let me say it again, the American society is not a Kingdom society. Nor are its democratic institutions in want of Kingdom-like Reconstructions. Like Christian Zionism, Christian Dominionism is extreme in its attitudes towards others; is oppressively unhealthy in all aspects of its outlooks to others (including those of its members within); and leads to greater societal division and hatred as exampled by Trumpism's injustice and oppression, circa 2016-2020, in the United States. In fact, I'll go farther and state that the belief system held by the radical Christian far right is unGodly, unBiblical, and unJesus like.



As example, look at the Washington D.C. Rally held earlier this past summer of 2020 which intentionally sought to bring far right Christians together "to repent of sin and pray for the nation." What I had hoped would come of it did not come to pass. I had hoped that Christians would recommit themselves to loving the world around them. Instead, it focused on their rights and civilities as they saw them, denied the pandemic virus, and became more strident in their convictions that what they were doing was God-sent and judged worthy.

And yet, by their continual actions of suppressing democratic votes throughout the year of 2020 and by storming the Capital on January 6, 2021, we can see that it's efforts of repenting were a big fail. The rally had only served to gin-up more strident voices and unrepentful spirits.

Essentially, the DC Rally provided more self-justification among radicalized Christians to conduct unholy/unloving actions against its American brothers and sisters of all colors and faiths, and to create a roiling stridency of temperament, attitude, and deeds against America's civil democracy. Which, among other things, included deep voter racial suppression and extortion of the truth supporting radical Q’anon conspiracies and lies.

What the fake-Christian DC Rally really created was an unholy baptism and avowal of permission by radical Christians to commit religious tyranny against a civil society. Thus I speak to its efforts as Dominionist in perspective. Or, as a secular effort at Christian reconstruction of God's Kingdom here on earth. Most certainly, the far right has given itself permission to any future acts of violence, hate, and exclusion, by condoning or conscreting itself to these tasks because of their surreptitious DC Rally. Which is highly unfortunate and exactly opposite the direction the God I declare would have them pursue.

Folks, this isn't Christianity. Christianity is a radical faith by its demand for personal transformation into the loving image of Christ Jesus. But not as a radicalized faith demanding an overall of civil democracy designed for all religious faiths and beliefs. Nor do we live in the Old Testament any longer. Its dead and gone. We live in the present. Not the past.

And importantly, Christianity is a trans-national, trans-generational, trans-geographic, trans-religious, and trans-temporal faith. When God comes in everything we think and believe must be conformed to Jesus' love and faith in people. It embraces our wills while also deconstructing our wills. The Christian faith is a faith of charity, forgiveness, and wellbeing.

The Christian faith is meant by God to be pliable, flexible, and adaptable to any economy, culture, religion, or society. It isn't meant to be all one thing. Just because ancient bible cultures were used to kingdom-based governments in the Near East doesn't mean kingdom-based government is the preferred vehicle of government by God. No. If anything, kingdoms were oppressive and dominating over other cultures and societies. They did not recognize the polyplural rights and liberties of others.



In contrast, democratic institution goals are to recognize and support the polyplural rights and liberties of its citizen-based societies. Democracies are designed to be less oppressive of its people, more entertaining to everyone's equality and rights, and interwoven in layered complexities of social networking, work, and play.

Christianity is a peaceable religion and not meant for violence however much one reads of it in the Old Testament or thinks about the end times of Christ coming again by world tribulation or armageddon. And though we might dispute the future, a loving God is always a loving God in any future. The trials and tribulations we bring upon ourselves is our own judgment for not obeying God to love and respect one another. God doesn't come back to reap havoc and calamity upon the world, but is here presently intending to prevent us from doing the same to ourselves. The lesson of Revelation is to repent and love. To forget and show mercy even as our Lord Jesus had done.

What was done by "bible" people back then in the past isn't what's to be done today. Process Theology says we are to grow and expand from our present wickedness and learn to love and accept one another. "Love God, Love One Another." This commandment is what makes Christianity r-a-d-i-c-a-l. The Sermon on the Mount is our new "Torah" Commandments by God to share His love with all the world... AND each other.

Jesus and guns are wrong. The bible and hypocrisy doesn't work. And faith must be seen apart from lying lips and injurious deeds. The proof? Look at what President Trump has done and continues to do. Look at his elected officials who voted against State Rights on January 6, 2021, this week. And look at that same day's seditious "Christian" mobs as they tried to prevent the People's vote for a more just president and society be actualized against all the horrors it saw under the Trump administration.

And yet, a day later, radical Christians and their elected officials are continuing to speak smooth lies, gaslighting each other with more deceitfulness, blaming societal failures on liberals, and generally unrepentful and unloving.

"What ye sow so shall ye reap," my brothers. If radical Christians want anarchy and fascism it will come with the same violence it is being birthed with by its own hands. And it will fall hard upon it's head.Shutting mouths at the horrors it has created. Let's not go this far. Let's truly repent and call upon the God of Salvation to truly redeem our black hearts.

But whether you call today's far right "Christian" oppressions Godly judgment or not, its source is a direct corollary showing to us a defunct radicalized religion masquerading as Christianity while being embraced by its unholy faithful and disruptable leaders.

R.E. Slater
January 8, 2021




2 Peter 2 (NIV)

False Teachers and Their Destruction

2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh[c] and despise authority.

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from[d] the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.[e] 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer,[f] who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”[g] and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

Footnotes

2 Peter 2:4 Greek Tartarus
2 Peter 2:4 Some manuscripts in gloomy dungeons
2 Peter 2:10 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit; also in verse 18.
2 Peter 2:11 Many manuscripts beings in the presence of
2 Peter 2:13 Some manuscripts in their love feasts
2 Peter 2:15 Greek Bosor
2 Peter 2:22 Prov. 26:11

* * * * * * * * *




We need to call Trump Christians back
to the faith they left


  |  JANUARY 7, 2021
i
"The Father's Forgiveness," Daniel Bonnell.

Joe Biden is the next president of the United States. Despite allegations, falsehoods and lies, no election fraud affected the outcome of the race. That’s simply a fact.

I’m not sure what will become of evangelical Trump supporters now that their expectation of God’s intervention to give Trump the election has not been fulfilled and now that we won’t have outrageous, false and divisive tweets emanating from the White House all through the day and night. I imagine some will continue down the rabbit hole of QAnon and apocalyptic fanaticism, but I am hoping many will decide to make their way back to the central tenets of Christian faith — love, truth, justice, peace, hope and welcome.

Susan M. Shaw

Susan Shaw

As we move into the Biden-Harris era, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we invite Trump-supporting evangelicals back into the fold of the church.

Not so long ago, I was introduced to a song, “Hymn for the 81%.” It’s a song for evangelical Trump supporters from someone raised by them in the church. These lyrics stopped me in my tracks: “You said to love the lost, so I’m loving you now.”

Much to my surprise, that image immediately evoked incredible compassion for Trump-supporting evangelicals: They are lost.

I felt the impact of that word. In a single moment, all the feelings of my evangelical upbringing rushed upon me. I felt the emotions of a little 6-year-old girl walking the aisle while the congregation sang “Just as I Am.” I recalled all those Sunday school teachers and GA leaders and pastors and ministers of music teaching me that we were to love the lost, and I remember the mix of relief and joy and release of knowing “I once was lost, but now I’m found.”

All those memories and emotions swept over me like an avalanche as I realized that Trump-supporting evangelicals got lost somewhere along the way. They are lost. And that changes my responsibility toward them.

Feminist activist Loretta Ross says that rather than calling people out, we should be calling them in. Calling in, Ross says, is “a call out done with love.” Calling in “means you always keep a seat at the table for them if they come back.”

We have to leave a light on for them.

“At the core of the Christian story is the possibility of redemption.”

At the core of the Christian story is the possibility of redemption. No matter what we do, the Gospels tell us, we can repent and change our ways. No one is too far gone for the love of God to reach, to convict, to receive, to transform.

I think about what we heard in all those invitation hymns:

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling for you and for me.
See, on the portals he’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home.
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home.

Just as I am without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

I’ve wandered far away from God.
Now I’m coming home.
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod.
Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home,
Never more to roam.
Open wide thine arms of love.
Lord, I’m coming home.

Come home. That is the invitation we must offer evangelicals who supported Trump and who became lost in the mixture of Christian nationalism, white supremacy and authoritarianism that promised them it would bring in God’s community through the exercise of raw power.

“Our evangelistic task is to call people home, to call them in.”

Our prophetic task is to speak truth, denounce injustice and advocate for justice for all people. And, at the same time, our evangelistic task is to call people home, to call them in.

This story gets passed around a lot. I can’t find any verification that it’s true, but I think, true or not, it points to something important about calling people in. As the story goes, in a people group in Africa, when someone commits an unjust or illegal act, the community brings the perpetrator to the center of the village, and then all the community members come and tell this person all the good things this person has done. The community believes, as the story goes, that people are good but makes mistakes and forget who they really are. By telling them all the good they’ve done, the community seeks to remind them of who they are and reconcile them to the group.

Let’s call evangelical Trump supporters in. I’ll start:

  • You taught me to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself.
  • You introduced me to a world that was much bigger than my hometown and told me to love them too.
  • You told me to love my enemies.
  • You taught me to love the Bible and read it because God could speak to me through its words.
  • You told me I could be anything God called me to be.
  • You taught me to give generously, without thought of return or reciprocation.
  • You taught me to tell the truth.
  • You found a way to accommodate difference when it was up close and personal and love people who were unlike you — the lesbian aunt, the agnostic friend, the weird kid, the deaf neighbor, the immigrant co-worker.
  • You stopped to change a tire for a stranger; you took a meal to a bereaved family; you volunteered at a local shelter; you drove an older person of a different political party to vote; you served as a conversation partner in a language program for refugees; you visited sick people in the hospital; you helped Habitat for Humanity build a house; you started a clothes closet in the church basement.

People are much more than the worst thing they ever did. We have to make a way back for evangelical Trump supporters who may want to come home. I know that’s hard after everything we’ve witnessed the past four years.

“We have to make a way back for evangelical Trump supporters who may want to come home.”

If nothing else, though, the gospel is a story of lavish grace and welcome, a banquet set for a prodigal son, workers who came late to the field, a thief on a cross, all of those in the highways and hedges. In fact, we ourselves are recipients of this lavish grace, this love without limit, and, as my friend Paula Sheridan once said, “We are not the maître d at God’s table. We don’t get to decide who gets seated and who doesn’t.”

My Southern Baptist church did indeed tell me to love the lost. Our Trump-supporting evangelical siblings are lost. They followed a demagogue and lost sight of Jesus. If we want to follow Jesus, we have to make a way back for them; we have to seek them out like a lost coin or a lost sheep and call them in, “out of shameful failure and loss, into the glorious gain of (the) cross; out of unrest and arrogant pride, into (Christ’s) blessed will to abide; out of the depths of ruin untold, into the peace of (Christ’s) sheltering fold.”

This must be our response to the past four years: Come home. Come home.

Susan M. Shaw is professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. She also is an ordained Baptist minister and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her most recent book is Intersectional Theology: An Introductory Guide, co-authored with Grace Ji-Sun Kim.


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