Posts Tagged 'Christianity'

How We Got “Gay Marriage”

Deleted post due to the fact that I think the topic needs more research, well citations, on my part and all of these books are at the public library or online. It’s something I see but I’m not sure I can convince others of. But these books have influenced my thinking in the regards to how “gay marriage” unfortunately came about and how the slippery slope of other perversions being made legal will happen within the next decade.

Suggested Reading

Reston, Jr., James. (2009) Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536. Penguin Press HC.

Hobson, Theo. (2013) Reinventing Liberal Christianity.

Lombardo, Paul A. (2008) Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell. John Hopkins University Press.

Pope Paul VI. (1968) “HUMANAE VITAE”

Friedman, Thomas. (2000) The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. Anchor.

Roberts, Paul. (2014) The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification. Bloomsbury.

Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Bernstein, William J. (2004) The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created.McGraw-Hill.

The Pill: Contraceptive or Abortifacient? – Atlantic Mobile

A recommended article that needs to be kept making the rounds even if it is two years old.

http://m.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/12/the-pill-contraceptive-or-abortifacient/266725/

Book Report

Since I read so many books, I thought I would share what I’ve been reading.  Hence, Book Report.  I plan I making this a regular series, because, like I said, I read a lot.

Non-fiction

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Hobson, Theo.(2013) Reinventing Liberal Christianity.

Hobson gives an excellent history of the theological and philosophical developments in Protestantism, especially as it applied to liberal Christianity.  The text goes from the Reformation on up through present day looking at the major movers, theologians, and philosophers of Protestant Christianity.  Hobson covers Germany, England, and the United States and their roles as theological havens and the impact and intertwining liberal Christianity had and has on politics.  Liberal politics and liberal Christianity are not opposite sides of the same coin but rather the same side split from itself. 

I found the book rather informative, useful in understanding the history of Protestant theology and it’s impact on American politics, and how it’s development has actually created a lot of the problems we face today.  I recommend this book.

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Swedish Roots, Oregon Lives, edited by Lars Nordstrom

This book contains the stories of fifteen men and women of Swedish origin who in their own words tell their own history of leaving Sweden and ending up in Oregon.  These are all stories of real people, told in their own words.  Most left Sweden due to economic reasons and a few are second generation.  It’s an easy read.  If you are untreated in Swedish-American history or oral history, this is a good book.

Fiction

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Shaw, Johnny. Big Maria

This is the second novel I’ve read by Shaw.  The first Dove Season A Jimmy Veeder Fiasco was entertaining enough for me to continue. Plus, Shaw writes about where I grew up so it’s even more entertaining.

In this novel, three men set out to find the lost Big Maria gold mine.  None of these men are friends, at least to begin with, and are largely nobodies without a future.  The characters alone are hilarious.  Harry, Ricky, and Frank end up on the most unbelievable path to fortune.  The characters are human, with all their flaws showing. They are almost unbelievable characters and yet that’s what makes them endearing. While there were one or two scenes I refused to read, and the language could be over the top, it was still an entertaining read. I recommend this book.

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Brown, Eli. Cinnamon and Gunpowder.

A private chef gets.kidnapped by a female pirate and is forced to cook for her.  Owen Wedgwood gets kidnapped by Mad Hannah Mabot after she kills his employer in cold blood right in front of him.  He documents his journey in a journal, which is how the book is set up. 

Wedgwood ends up part of the crew, being forced to cook for Mabot. He points out life on a pirate ship and doesn’t quite totally fall into extreme Stockholm Syndrome.  His falling for Mabot seems a bit over the top and not really believable as a love story. And there are certain elements and scenes that are almost unnecessary and to me seemed contrived, as in if Brown knew that by adding them he was checking off a marketing list of popularity rather than letting the story tell itself. 

While food is relevant to the story, and the book is touted as a foodie book, a lot of the dishes seem as if they’ve been transplanted from the 21st century rather than the beginning of the 19th century.  I know odd and exotic dishes existed even as far back as the Roman Republic but these seemed like they didn’t quite belong.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t a great book either.  I don’t recommend this book.

So a few reads.  I’ll post again.  I don’t know how frequent I’ll, post Book Report but I will post. 

Akk…Part Three

I didn’t mean for a third part but there are a few more things I wanted to point out.  And I’ll stop at three parts because trilogies are better and more compact.  Too many sequels hurt the franchise (just look at Police Academy movies or Star Trek TV shows)(*facepalm* I’m so dating myself).

13.Telling people it’s okay to quit/leave the Church and never go back because you’ve been “hurt”
14. Telling Christians not to believe in or follow Jesus all because somebody hurt them
15. Pick on people because they have a lot of money (not just those who gained it illegally and immoraly but those who come by it honestly and work for.  Apparently, it’s okay for “Christians” to have money but not their pastors.)
16. Saying they (bloggers) hold to one position when they really don’t or outright lying about believing/supporting a position when they don’t
17. Just plain out lying about a variety of things
18. Allowing people to play the victim too long or when they weren’t actually the victim
19. Doing nothing to actual change the problems they were protesting against (okay, that’s a bit of a repeat but still very important because I saw a lot of talking and no walking)
20. Hurting the Body of Christ in the Name of the Body of Christ

I want to cover 19 a bit more.  These bloggers would point out all these problems, victims yet would do nothing to change or support change to these problems.  If you have a leak in your roof, you don’t say you have one and then do nothing.  You fix it. 

These bloggers keep pointing out the leaky roof but refuse to fix it.  They say it’s not their problem to fix or that it’s not up to them.  It’s not their roof even though they keep calling it their roof.  They say their only responsibility is to point out the leaky roof, never to fix it.  They love putting their noses in everyone elses business but when they get called on it they hem and haw and refuse to admit to their inviting themselves in where they don’t belong.  And they don’t want to be part of the solution.  That’s Work.  They don’t do work.  They don’t get their hands dirty.

I have seen Christian sites that not only point out the problem but also give a solution.  I’ve posted one to my blog roll (Recovering Grace) that is not just dealing with false and heretical teaching but also reaching out to ATI to effect changes.  They aren’t passive.  They are active.  These bloggers aren’t just victims, they are survivors.  They have learned what was wrong and what happened to them, told their stories, found the problem, and are giving solutions.  They are growing, healing, changing. 

I was reading these blogs and there was no call for change.  Just feeding of the victim mentality and other garbage.  I was hoping for something like Recovering Grace and all I got was diary of a 13 year old girl.  No offense to the girl, that’s just a stage.  But these blogs are run by adults and so should be acting like adults, not whining and moaning and then sitting back and doing nothing.

Oh well, I should stop if only because I have veggies roasting in the oven that are probably done.  And I should not give these stupid blogs any more of my time or mental space.

Why I No Longer…Part Two

I hadn’t intended to write a second part, heck I hate reading series in books usually because, the library doesn’t have the complete series, but I forgot a few things in my way too long post yesterday.  Sorry for the wordiness yesterday and possibly today.

Another reason I quit reading those blogs was finding smoke were there wasn’t any fire.  That is, they would find things and blow them out of proportion, implying though usually out right saying that these things were becoming so common place that if you hadn’t seen or heard about it then you had your head in the sand.  These things were happening RIGHT NOW and were so dangerous they needed to be stopped.  And that they were the only ones calling for these things to be stopped so they expected a lot of pushback and even threats for speaking “The Truthâ„¢”.

So we have:
#Creating problems that don’t exist or blowing them out of proportion
#Creating a “state of emergency” and creating panic and fear
#Placing themselves (the bloggers) as the only speakers of truth while also creating an environment of “persecution” for speaking such “truth”

And there is more.  (I know, I know, I’m wordy)  Then, part of the finding smoke where there is no fire but it’s a clear day, is making small, unimportant issues major theological points necessary for salvation.  All this AFTER they accuse others of doing the same exact thing and taking them to task for it.

Then there is the favoritism or basically confirmation bias.  As long as you agree with the bloggers, no matter how you treat fellow commenters, you are safe and can get away with murder.  Extra points for agreeing with their theology (which changes constantly; remember those pesky minor major issues) and their allows.

So reasons are:
1. Too much bad behavior and beliefs that were/are trumpeted as “Christian”
2. Little to no fact checking of stories
3. Shouting smoke when there is no fire
4. Creating a false state of emergency
5. Creating/marketing as the only purveyor of truth
6. Lying about being persecuted and/or playing up disagreements and threats as more than they really are
6. Making majors out of the minors or even non-issues
7. Playing favorites to the detriment of good discussion
8. Bad theology and beliefs (beyond just differences between Catholic and Protestant and even Protestant and Protestant)
9. Name calling, bullying, harassment, wishing evil, damning people to hell all for disagreeing
10. Not willing to tow a party line that requires hurting people rather than helping
11. Calling people liars for speaking the truth or saying something in disagreement
12. Where’s Jesus?

I think that’s everything.  I also have determined to check on thus blogs in three months to see if they improve or continue further downhill.  I may, at that time, name those blogs.  I don’t care about them nor really about being attacked.  I just don’t want them getting traffic or have more people sucked into their vortex.

Why I No Longer…

In this case, read certain blogs or visit certain types of websites and forums.  They aren’t good for me.  They don’t benefit me in anyway.

I noticed in my paper journaling a few months ago I was expressing dissatisfaction about a certain Christian blog I was reading and how I was treated for posting a Catholic perspective.  Knowing the WWW and the way most blogs/forums work, this was concerning but not overly so. 

Blogs and whatnot go through cycles were things can get nasty for awhile but then people take notice of their behavior and apologize for the nasty and get back on track.  They get away from the tearing down and go back to the building up.  They even catch themselves when they slip and they are willing to take fraternal correction when somebody points out where/when they might be straying.  They even take breaks so that they don’t lapse back into that bad behavior.

Unfortunately, some of the Christian blogs I had been reading have gone almost completely into tearing down fellow Christians instead of building up.  Name calling, questioning someone’s sincerity in being an actual “Christian,” damning people to hell, wishing pain and suffering on people because they didn’t support a particular bloggers view, etc.  Oh, there is a lot more bad than good.  But looking at this and what I was writing in my paper journal I came to the conclusion that these blogs were no longer of benefit to me.  I was becoming more angry and upset over people’s need to tear down and justifying their tearing down as “Christian.” 

It became all about hurting and very little helping.  If you confirmed the bias of the bloggers, you were considered good Christians and saved and allowed to keep posting, especially if you put down whom the bloggers were putting down.  If you questioned, even a little, you were bullied and harassed and called names and had pain and suffering wished upon you and then eventually banned, all because of a minor fact checking. 

The bloggers themselves may argue that they allowed discussion and disagreement but it is a lie.  I’ve seen people who provided proof as to why they were questioning and still get banned with the bloggers claiming harassment and other things going on behind scenes.  Things that can’t be proved, of course, but bloggers never lie, right?

Then there is what I call the sob story effect.  It’s when somebody tells a story of hardship, harassment, bullying, even shunning all done by The Church® (which has nothing to do with the Catholic Church, just to clarify, though She might be brought in as a comparison and we have to mention those pedophile priests (gag)).  These storytellers all claim to be abused, how they have had their faith in Jesus Christ shaken so bad they no longer believe or go to church, and are telling their story to stop others from becoming victims.

First, I want to say that their are true cases where individuals have been hurt and abused by their churches.  I grieve for these victims.  Their stories are true, they are painfully real, and they seek change and healing, for themselves and the church they were/are a part of.  These stories I do not doubt or question.

However, there are stories that are patently false or are so full of lies or are only true in the very beginning but then spiral out into a great fish tale.  These are the ones where the storyteller plays the victim, is out to hurt the church or people in church they were in, or just wants to be in the spotlight (the old wanting attention schtick), or hates religion and is out to attack or those that just want to blame others for their failures.  I have a major problem with these people.  They are only in it to advance themselves and/or their agenda.  They hurt and make those that are telling true stories look bad.  Readers don’t always get all the facts so they can’t judge the truth of the story.  Liars especially rely on this.  And they rely on the emotional reaction they get.

Playing the victim card is especially notorious for playing the emotions.  They tell a sob story that must be true because it plays on the heart strings.  They may be a few truths or facts but the rest of the story is complete fiction made up to elicit an emotion.  On the one blog I was reading, it seemed more and more stories were posted mainly because they were emotional rather than true.  I would read stories and something would be off or not quite believable.  I could tell the bloggers themselves hadn’t checked the story at all.  Hence, the sob story effect.

If it seemed like a good story, it was automatically judged true.  Facts were missing.  Elements were not checked.  Things just seemed off.  But that didn’t matter to the bloggers.  They posted it as fact and if anybody questioned, it was automatic moderation and then banning. Mostly it was straight to banned. 

Even though I don’t trust most news sources, most reporters check their sources and factors because even one little lie gets you blackballed.  They don’t do it.  They check and recheck.  They verify and if things don’t make sense they keep digging and doing research.  They don’t accept at face value what they are told. 

So I am no longer reading certain websites, blogs, etc. and I won’t mention specific blogs here because I have seen supporters of those blogs go after people who don’t wholeheartedly agree with the bloggers with severe vitriol.  I don’t need my blog attacked.  I don’t mind charitable disagreement but I don’t want name calling and other deplorable behaviors either. These people prefer to tear down instead of engaging in debate.

Tearing down the Body of Christ hurts everyone.  I refuse to take part in it.  While the blogs  I refer to are Protestant, I have seen this among Catholics as well.  I may disagree with Protestant theology but I don’t agree or permit tearing.down fellow believers in Jesus.  I believe most Protestants are doing the best they can with the churches they have all in an effort to follow Jesus.  I won’t badmouth them.  That’s not loving my neighbor.

I don’t have a problem in pointing out errors or problems in teaching or beliefs or practices.  It can be done in a charitable manner that doesn’t condemn others or tear them down.  It also helps if solutions are provided and those who point out problems are willing to support and help in implementing the changes and solutions.  I’ve seen too many people willing to point out failures but stop from suggesting solutions because they argue that it doesn’t involve them.  If you’re willing to point out then you have to step up and truly support the changes, not just keep pointing out failures.

Or as the T-shirt says: If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

Lent: It’s NOT Punishment

I think that’s where I’ve failed in the past.  Seeing Lent as a time of punishment, of castigating myself, to make up for all my failures.  I had never heard Lent as anything other than as doing without, sacrificing, giving up, abstaining, faster.  Always loss, no gain.  There was no going towards anything, no journey, no path to travel.  Lent was always about wallowing, being stuck, never moving on or letting go.  It was always about being a sinner in the hands of an angry, capricious god who was just waiting for failure.

Everything, everyone was bad.  There was no fun, no laughter, no smiles.  Only tears and it’s too lates and I’m sorrys that were ignored.  It was always gloom and doom and somber and bleakness and failure.  Always failure.  Always never enoughs.

But that’s not what Lent is.  Yes, there is sobriety but not despair, not blackness numbness joylessness unhappiness dull tediousness. It’s one thing to correct one’s course after reflection.  It’s another thing entirely to self-flagelate oneself over tiny, insignificant things to make somebody else happy at your expense. 

Lent is a journey towards a specific destination and specific events: the Tridiuum. Otherwise known as: Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter.  I knew that these days come at the end of Lent, that they are a liturgical season into themselves but I had never heard that Lent was a journey to these days.  They were always separate.  They may be next to each other on the calendar but never the twain shall meet.

It want until recently, as in the last week or so, that I heard of Lent as a journey to Easter.  And that changes things.  Lent becomes less about what we give up and more about how we are related to Jesus.  I never knew that.  Lent was about empty sacrifice, not sanctifying relationship.  There was always doing, never being, especially not in a relationship.

I mean, I’ve heard that Lent is before Easter and that it leads to it but it was always off hand or secondary, never the main thing.  It was always about sacrifice and punishment, always punishment for me.  As I’ve written before, I have this belief, this need to punish myself out of this idea that if I punish myself then God will finally love me.  Punishing myself will make things right, with God, with my mother.

And yet punishing myself only results in me being punished.  I never get loved, nothing ever turns out right.  But I keep punishing myself hoping this time that it will take, that God, my mother will finally love me.  That I won’t be a failure, a mistake.  That things will turn out right.  But they don’t and I keep on punishing myself even though it never works and never will.  It’s all I know how to do.

Being merciful to myself is bad.  Punishing is good.  I deserve to be punished.  Being nice and kind to myself only sets me up for failure.  I can’t trust nice. It’s wrong.  It’s not for me, never for me. 

So Lent isn’t about empty sacrifices and cruel punishments though that is what I learned and accepted for years.  Lent is about the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  Yet those crucial events in the narrative of Jesus’s life aren’t really emphasized in Lent, not really.  Most of us have only heard about giving up things or adding more prayers or about going to Confession more.  Never about Jesus and what He did for us on the cross.  Or at least very little is heard.

Will things change? I don’t know.  But Lent is not about punishment, about a sinner in the hands of an angry god. God is merciful even if too many people want a god that hates and punishes rather than a loving and merciful God.


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