Thursday, December 16, 2004

A One Step Escape Plan

When you started it all seemed so innocent, a Sunday at church, a small check to Focus on the Family changing your voter registration to Republican. But before long that wasn’t enough. You started hanging out around abortion clinics, then you started carrying a sign then you started screaming at women who were already scared and looking for help.

Next you started to look at your own family and it was too depressing to deal with. You thought about alcohol or maybe drugs but other people might notice. Then you found something to hit, gays. Your family was in trouble not because you had neglected them, or hadn’t taken he time to listen, or just weren’t interested, no, the problem was a gay couple living 500 miles away who wanted the same tax benefits you had.

And finally there were the liberals. They were the ones that were destroying you. They wanted you to “tolerate” gays, and let women “Choose” and raise your taxes. They were the ones that caused you and your wife to stop talking and they were the ones who taught your daughter wear clothes that were just a little too tight. Focus on the Family and Coral Ridge Ministries both tell you that liberals are the problem so it must be true. It was the liberals who took YOUR country away. They started a culture war. They were persecuting you and, well, you have every right to hate someone who persecutes you, don’t you?

One day you noticed that your guts were wound up so tight you needed to throw up. You recognized that you were so filled with hate that you couldn’t see straight and conservative Christianity was not making it better, no, it was making it worse. To an alcoholic that first drink feels so good but in the end even a whole bottle isn’t enough to stop you from feeling sick. If conservative Christianity has done nothing but affirm of your inner demons without giving you inner peace, something is wrong. It is not OK to hate and feel anger.

The message of the Gospels is not very complicated. Simply put, Jesus said that death had been conquered and that while we were living together here on Earth we did not have to be cruel to each other any more. The idea was to seek out the most vulnerable elements in society and offer them hope and dignity and in the process learn that maybe, despite how invulnerable we felt about ourselves, that we were vulnerable as well and also in need of hope. It all starts with finding the person you hold in lowest regard in all the world and sitting down for a cup of coffee and just listening. It maybe a street person, a coworker, a spouse, your child, an abortion doctor, a gay man, or even a liberal. Not agree, just listen and perhaps, just for a moment, stop hating.

If you have been attending a conservative Christian church there is a good chance you have missed something. You see, the message of the Gospel is not so much about the bad things that other people do, it about the bad things that we do when we feel ill will toward another person. The Gospel is also about the good that we can do.

There are devout Christians in this world whose view of the Bible and of God is as conservative as they come, but they spend little if any time sending out mail asking you to feel anger toward liberals or gays. These Christians spend little time drafting legislation or lobbying congress. These people do devote themselves entirely to something called following Jesus. This means helping the poor, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting the dying, and working for peace. By doing these things these Christians are strictly obeying Jesus and bringing hope to the hopeless.

Who are these people? When was the last time you heard about the Amish lobbying for more tax cuts? When was the last time you got a letter from the Quakers arguing for a stronger national defense? When was the last time you saw an angry Mennonite on Meet the Press?

To my many friends who found Jesus only to lose him in a barrage of angry junk mail and poisoned campaign ads, you need to know that there is another way. You can stop feeling hate and anger and start to follow Jesus.

Here is a good place to start, its called the “Third Way Cafe” and its from the Mennonites.

God’s Peace.

I Lost My Links!

To those few brave souls who have been following this blog you may have noticed that my links sections is depleted. I had a glitch and lost my links. I hope to have them up again soon. Bear with me, I'm still new to the universe of blogging.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

So, the Religious Right Did Have a Campaign Ad

I think this says it all, or a lot anyway. Watch the whole mock campaign ad on "Welcome to the Truth, Custom Made"


Jesus favors more government handouts for welfare cheats
Jesus is soft on Crime
Jesus will raise your taxes
Can you trust Jesus to fight the war on terror?

Wrong on Social Services
Wrong on Crime
Wrong on Defense
Wrong from America

Why the Religious Right Will Fail

What’s wrong with the agenda of the Religious Right? After all, how can you protest against protecting the unborn and how can a moral person support homosexuality? The religious right is for Family Values and against the evils of Hollywood. How can they fail? Because they already have.

I attend a conservative Evangelical Church and for the most part my fellow parishioners are little different, morally at least, from the evil liberals they loathe so deeply. During my stint in evangelicalism I have witnessed half a dozen messy divorces, adultery, fraud and larceny. Issue of unplanned pregnancy, homosexuality and pornography are probably rare but they happen and are too scandalous to discuss.

In my liberal household we do not watch R-rated movies (OK, confession, I have a copy of Blade Runner) nor do we permit our kids to play T (Teen) or M (mature) rated video games. I have family in combat in Iraq and I don’t need my kids simulating what may actually be happening to our loved ones. However, nearly every good, Bible believing friend that my children play with lives in a home with a wonderful selection of R-Rated videos and the most violent video games imaginable. Explaining to my children that we don’t find exploitive sex and human suffering and death to be acceptable forms of entertainment is difficult when my kids point out that “All the other Christians are doing it!”

In short, the very lifestyle that is promoted and may soon be legislated by James Dobson and Dr. D. James Kennedy is often lacking in the homes of their supporters.

I would find the case for conservative Christian values compelling if these values were actually being practiced by its advocates. Gays are an easy target, you generally won’t find them in Evangelical churches so you don’t need to worry actually confronting them. As for the rest society’s evils, knock on any Christian door.

If Christians who are possessed of the Holy Spirit and motivated by a deep love of God can’t abide by their own rules, what insanity makes them think that an increasingly secular society will? A social agenda founded on hypocrisy has little chance of success.

My advice to conservative Christians, Focus on Your Own Families.