America’s Problem & Blessing: People Who Take the Bible Seriously (with 2 Rules of Interpretation)

Frankie Schaeffer grew up in a modern, politically radical, Americanized “Christianity”. He is not pleased with what it teaches or how it operates. In a recent article he gives a fairly thorough explanation of his concerns and how they relate to current political personalities – e.g. Michelle Bachmann. I have to agree with much of what Schaeffer says. Here’s an example: America has a problem: It’s filled with people who take the Bible seriously. America has a blessing: It’s filled with people who take the Bible seriously. … Continue reading

Christians! Please Let’s Not Parrot Shallow and Insulting Hypocrites.

Did you see the recent comment from “Donna”? It stirred me up! Come on people! Christian integrity and humility should compel you to allow that those who voted for Obama are NOT thereby proven to be ignorant or reprobate! I know that my response refers to the behavior and attitudes of the “religious right” as if they could be sterotyped. But in fact, in my experience, these problems VERY consistently show up in people who get their input from those sources – they are stereotypical responses. On the other hand my experience with Christian Democrats shows them almost always to be much more welcoming and open to information and to real discussion. Here’s my response (The numbered headlines are quotes from Donna’s comment.): … Continue reading

Damaged by False Prophets? Let’s Do It Better From Here On.

I.  Young Adult Attitudes Toward American Christianity Recently I wrote about how young adult “outsiders” – people not involved in churches – think of Christians in this country, based on research overseen by David Kinnaman and reported in his recent book. [My posts: "They Will Know", "World's View".   Kinnaman's book is unChristian, based on an extensive research project by The Barna Group. It's valuable but not pleasant reading.] At the end of each of his main chapters Kinnaman includes comments from other Christian leaders. Here’s some of what Brian McLaren had to say (p 172). (Here are a few posts on this site that mention McLaren’s writing.) II.  How We Got There – The Role of the Prophets of the Religious Right … Continue reading

Don’t Forward Lying Emails About Public Figures Like Obama – It’s Not a Christian Thing To Do.

I. Waves of Slander I don’t have statistics, but we all know there’s a lot of falsehood circulating freely online. An email arrives with frightening accusations or innuendos and the reader gets frightened (as was intended) and forwards the email to warn others of the great danger revealed. But what if the email is one of the mostly false ones? How should we react if we’re not entirely sure of it’s truthfulness? After all, when we accept at face value lies about a person, group, or situation, and repeat those lies, we have put ourselves in a very bad place – we have become gossips and slanderers. Slander, you may have heard, is not a Bible virtue,

Oh The Hypocrisy! If Republicans Do It, “Christians” Ignore It.

Two questions about two recent scandals: 1. How do “Christian conservatives” react? 2. How do real Christian conservatives react? Recent Scandal I: White House Loves to Torture, Forces Congress to Approve! 1. Falwell’s Liberty University website actually has a column DEFENDING that perversity! ["Coercive interrogation techniques a necessary evil" by Jenni Thurman] 2. A friend wrote Focus on the Family wondering why Focus was expressing no concern about torture as a new American moral value. The answer? That’s not what they are choosing to focus on in this election cycle. in a world as complex and multifaceted as ours it is crucial to learn how to choose your battles carefully. In the run-up to the November election, we continue to concentrate primarily on those topics that we feel are more essential to the mission to which we’ve been called Protecting our kids from a torturing government is not a “family value.” Getting more cookie-cutter obedient culture-of-corruption Republicans elected is a family value? Recent Scandal II: Republican Congressman Foley Resigns – Got Caught Showing too much Sexual Interest in Boys Working for Congress Finally a clear-cut case of long-term cover-up of sexual illegality (homosexual illegality, mind you)! They will love jumping … Continue reading

Theocracy (“God” Runs the Government) – We Would Deeply Regret It (LTE)

(One of my letters to the editor of a local newspaper.) I am a church person, a person of faith. But I don’t think the US needs a government that rules as if it were the voice of God. This nation’s Constitution was written partly in order to help us avoid theocracy. Unfortunately there are Americans today who clearly think the Founders were wrong. They want their groups of churches to dictate to the White House, the Congress, the Courts and the rest of us. We do need God’s wisdom, help, and protection. I hope we seek and pray for those things daily. And we need to practice the faiths we profess. But we have three branches of government precisely in order to keep any group from running things their way without criticism or restraint. America’s would-be theocrats raise some important concerns that we need to consider. Unfortunately, they also fully intend to have their group running things just as they wish, without criticism or restraint. In that they are wrong. We do not welcome their efforts to stamp their image on all of us. John Danforth was an Episcopal Priest, then a US Senator. He said this last year: … Continue reading

“Our Endangered Values” – Are We Beginning a Self-Correction?

Jimmy Carter, Christian statesman, lays it out clearly yet again. Thank you, Mr. President! In this new book Carter argues that only the American people can force the government to return to our country’s old moral principles. The newspaper asks whether he is thus calling the administration of George W Bush “immoral,” and whether perhaps “the whole country” was “in danger of losing its core values”. There is no doubt that this administration has made a radical and unprecedented departure from the basic policies of all previous administrations including those of both Republican and Democratic presidents. For a few examples, he lists – pre-emptive war, – the merging of church and state, and – wildly unjust tax policies. As to whether we were in danger of a massive loss of our core values: For a while, yes. As you possibly know, historically, our country has had the capability of self-correcting our own mistakes. This applied to slavery in 1865, it applied to legal racial segregation a hundred years later or so. It applied to the Joe McCarthy era when anti-communism was in a fearsome phase in the country like terrorism now. So we have an ability to correct ourselves and … Continue reading