Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Naughty Boy

Yes, I know it's wrong, and, yes, I know I should simply stay away, but every now and then I likesta git my blood pressure really high, just to make sure my heart is still beating, so, I took a little trip over to Titus 1:9. Canon Harmon had posted an article from some southern newspaper about the lack of Bible Study in public schools (what is wrong with those people!) and I just had to enter the conversation and state that Bible class is fine in a Christian school but would be wrong in public schools. Then I asked how many of the commenters there would approve of public schools teaching the Bhagavad Gita or Koran as literature. Well, one sane person admitted that they would be agin it, but the majority, sigh starting going on about Jesus being the Way, the Truth,and the Life and one poor sod was whining about how he was forced to read Siddhartha in High School and how that was religious indoctrination (Lord, that guy obviously didn't READ THE DAMN BOOK or else he'd know it was forced boredom and nothing else!).

So, that got me to wondering: why it is so important to them that Christianity be the ONLY way? I mean, what would happen if, on the Day of Judgement, it turns out that God the Father is much more inclusive than we are? What would you do if you discovered that Christianity was not the only way? What if God is much larger than our limited human perception?

Bloviate in the comments. And keep it to the subject. So help me, if some friggin' Butt Sex Troll shows up and starts going on about sodomy, so help me God I will ban them to eternal darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth AND non-stop buggering! Watch it!


Frank Remkiewicz aka “Tree” said...

You mean it is not?

susan s. said...

Oh, thank you Padre... Now I will never feel the need to read Siddhartha. We only read Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar, oh, and that one about the man who adopted the little girl... Silas Marner, that's it.

We got all our 'ligion in church. That was enough, I tell you whut.

What was the subject again? Oh yes, God is much larger than we can even begin to perceive. But, I can hardly wrap my brain around that. I am trusting God to take care of me in the way God sees fit. I think Christianity is the one for me, but yes, other ways are definitely valid for others, else there will be way too much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I don't think God is that limited. But please don't ask me to 'splain it Mickey!'

Kirkepiscatoid said...

My work colleague is from India and is Hindu. We have very interesting discussions all the time and both come away with the notion that "it all works" b/c there are too many common themes.

I was explaining Advent to him, and he looks at me and says, "Isn't it interesting that almost all religions describe situations where God came along in human form with a human for a mother? The only difference is you hinge yours on one guy and we've had that happen LOTS of times in my religion."

Ann said...

Stay away from those blogs -- I have been the hot topic in SF -- not nice people. And they must have really boring lives to spend all that time on these subjects.

Padre Mickey said...

Well, Fred, I'm a Synoptics guy, and I think God is much much bigger than the author of the gospel of John's concept of God.

Yes, Jesus is the way for me, but I don't get to decide for everybody.

Brother David said...

That pichur of Jehezus is a bit blasphemous.

If My Lord comes in glory wrapped in the Statesonian flag I would have serious thoughts about eternal darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth AND non-stop buggering!

it's margaret said...

God is actually very small Padre. And he lives in a box in my office. Most all the time. Sometimes he runs out --but then he appears again, just like that. I take him out visiting. He likes that.

So, I just don't know where you are going with all that diversity and bigger than big stuff.

Paul said...

Padrecito, you KNOW better than to endanger your mental and spiritual health by going to places like that. Would you drink a bottle of poison now and again to remind yourself how it tastes?

God is God and we are not. God is waaaaaayyyy beyond our little concepts and little rules. (That is not an antinomian statement.) Whatever we say about God is inadequate, so we must hang loose with all those metaphors we use to put our experiences and intuition of the Ultimate into words. This includes the Bible and all other sacred writings, records our responses to the Divine.

I trust God, not my understanding of God. I assume I have it way off base but what I believe (and the Bible seems to teach me overall) is that God is good, just AND merciful, boundlessly gracious and loving, and able to work it all out in the end. I go with that and let go of details.

[Verification word = brind, as in, if we don't hang loose we are just the brind leading the brind]

Jane R said...

God is actually very small Padre. And he lives in a box in my office. Most all the time. Sometimes he runs out --but then he appears again, just like that. I take him out visiting. He likes that.

So Mr. Witty is God? Or God is Mr. Witty?

(For those of you who don't know, Mr. Witty aka Wittgenstein is Mother Margaret's dog.)

Frank Remkiewicz aka “Tree” said...

Apparently my dripping sarcasm did not come across as well as I thought it might.

Seriously, in the gospels there are frequent statements about salvation for everyone. I believe that God does what he says, and he has not asked me to figure it out for anyone except for myself.

Sorry Padre, did not mean to throw a curve. BTW could throw a curve just couldn't hit one.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

"Lord, that guy obviously didn't READ THE DAMN BOOK or else he'd know it was forced boredom and nothing else!"

Quite agree. It was interesting as a kind of folkloristic but otherwise, booooring. I never understood what the fuss was about (and over here we didn't read it at school).

Cany said...

Argh. Don't raise that blood pressure THAT way ever again. There are more fun ways.

But on topic, it is the literalism that gets us here and unless we somehow breach that line... teach people to think past it all... this thinking will always be there.

On the other hand, a radio commenter that I really like recently (and I note very passively) observed that the morals found in the bible mimicked the morals of the writers. Well... DOH!

Taken with this understanding and the Bible not as a literalistic policing document designed to either send us to heaven or hell, doesn't that just snap some religio-rubberbands? It should.

And how did this wisdom just pour out? Over the discussion of marriage which has so many forks in the road to be a delight to those that loved Johnny Carson, and as many cul-de-sacs as delighted (and apparently delight) the followers of Falwell.

If the only straight line in the Bible is marriage, God help us all.

I guess Christ and the Holy Spirit are nothing more than an inconvenient detour?

Padre Mickey said...

Fred, I knew you were being sarcastic, and I'm sure everyone else did, too.

I just used your comment as an excuse to explain my stance.

Padre Mickey said...

Yes Ann, I read some of that stuff at Viagraville. They are a mean buncha chrishuns.

I guess I'm wondering why it is so important for some folks that their religion be the ONLY, TRUE, REAL religion. There are Muslims with the same idea, and the Hebrew scriptures display the same attitude. And Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all supposed to worship the same God.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Live's little ironies ;=)

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

BTW I agree with Daveed too, Blasphemous.

PseudoPiskie said...

The picture strongly resembles a common one seen in Mormon wards except for the flag. God looks very much like Jesus - naturally since he is the father. Most Christians are wrong. God is not old and does not have a white beard. Just look at the photo. ;

If God looks unlike anything a human has previously encountered, will anyone know God when they "see" God? Or if God appears to each individual exactly as that person perceives God, what does God look like? Does God's appearance affect a person's beliefs? If we could agree on what God looks like, could we all agree on one religion?

(pragnant is the word. hmmm.)

Andy said...

Ya' know what guyz and guyettes, I love my contry (warts and all) and wore her uniform for 20+ years. Yet, the graphic for this post really sets my teeth on edge.

I'm drawn to that moment in Joshua 5 when ol' Josh learns that the captain of the armies of the LORD aren't necessary on "their side". The illustrator forgot his/her anti-jingoism shots, me thinks.

Truth be told and this may seem odd for a libertarian/biblical conservative, but I really rather not have my rugrats taught scripture outside of the nuclear family or faith community.

Peace upon your collective households...

Reverend Ref + said...

Someone once said (or something along these lines since I don't remember the exact quote), "We will be more surprised by who is IN heaven than by who isn't."

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Anonymous said...

I'm not big on weeping or gnashing my teeth, but where can I sign up for the non-stop buggering? *ducks*

Personally, I tend to lean towards the not-very-flattering opinion that many such people invest so much in the exclusivity of Christianity for the sake of status and ego-gratification. It gives them something to feel great about, to know that they're in the "right club" and headed for eternal bliss while the rest of us are in the unwashed masses are headed for torment and agony.

Slacktivist's comments about triumphalism during his review of the Worst Books Ever Written (that would be the "Left Behind" series, for those not familiar with Fred's fantastic review series) would probably apply as well.

-- Jarred.

Padre Mickey said...

Okay, sorry about the illustration. I thought is was funny. I've met a few people who think Jesus is a Republican and that all true Christians must be of that ilk, so I used that photo.

My parents, who never read this blog, told me to tone down my anti-Americanism. I told them that I'm anti-Republican party, anti-Free-Market Capitalists, and anti-Bush, but I don't think I've posted anything anti-American (unlike me, they think America is limited to the U.S.A.). I am anti-'murican Jeezus.

Lynn said...

Padre M, dearest, didn't you know when Jesus is a Republican, wearing an American flag, he should be carrying one of those Rambo-style automatic weapons?

Why, he almost looks like a hippie in that pic. The beard needs a trim and his arms are open in a welcoming gesture.

Doorman-Priest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy said...

No worries Padre... The graphic is soaked in irony and drips of american evangelicalistic kitsch. The only thing its missing is a W04 pin.

My beef is with those in the kingdom of American Evangelicalism who've managed to foist this imagery onto koolaid-addled pew-sitters. (wow, tell us how ya really feel Andy...)

Here's some grist for your mill...

Those on the far-right want to rely on the public school system to expound on Scripture need to remember that this the same system whom they've tarbrushed and accused of failing to provide functional literacy and math/science skills.

That dance party animals, is the height of irony.

Doorman-Priest said...

I agree with Ann: don't go to those sites!

I offer something from a British perspective which I think may help.

I am a teacher of Religious Studies in a state High School. Religious Studies is part of the core curriculum and is studied all the way through the school experience. Most schools choose to offer it as an examination subject. It is a non-confessional and academic study. I teach about religions. I do not teach religion. My second in department is a Sikh.

It starts off through the early and middle years as a study of major world faiths. By the time they reach High School there is some flexibility in the modules taught but ideally two faiths should be taught. My school opts for Buddhism and Christian contemporary and moral ethics.

We are also expected to conduct a daily act of worship. We don't and neither do the vast majority of schools unless they are faith schools. We simply think this is inappropriate.

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from either of these activities, but in practice this rarely happens.

I am sure it is because the emphasis is on a non-confessional academic study. No-one feels threatened and no-one feels that their child is being indoctrinated. A regular comment at parents' consultation meetings is: "How interesting. I'd like to have studied that. We never did anything like that at school."

The bottom line is that fostering and building up faith is the role of the home and worshipping community. The job of the school is to educate objectively.

As to why some folk are determined that their way is the right way and no-one else's voice can be heard, we just need to be pleased that we do not live in a theocracy - well, we don't anyway: I'm not so sure about you lot - and democracy requires that in education at least there is an entitlement to a common experience.

Evangelistic religions always believe they have the right answer. That must mean that everyone else has the wrong answer. It also means that you need to be put right by them and that leads to their demand for special treatment.

KJ said...

I seldom can visit the schismatic websites anymore, as reason has been abandoned in that environ (Actually, probably was never invited.). I did comment recently in a thread focused at mocking glbt types in general, stating that I was puzzled why they mocked those they considered "lost." What a strange way to not do what Jesus would do.

Now, regarding the breadth of grace -- Who knows, and why would we need to know even if it were possible to know? I love the way that CS Lewis handles the question in "The Last Battle", the last of the Narnia series. Eustace stands at the door of New Narnia as Aslan allows some in that Eustace believes shouldn't be there, yet Lewis as narrator points out that it's none of Eustace's business.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. This thread needs a lil' "Grace"---just to mix things up.

Doncha wonder if it really is all in our (genetic) wiring? Some people---like everyone here, inc. me---are WIRED to believe in a BIG, Loving, Saving-Everybody God, and others just . . . aren't?

In this case, we're BOTH saying "Well, you'll find out when you Die!" {bleepin' bleep!}

Only (despite our sotto voce bleeps *g*) we're thinking "You'll find out everybody is Saved!" and they're thinking "You'll find out that YOU are damned!"


Paul (A.) said...

The graphic reminded me of this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Padre Mickey,
This thread is a few days old but I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

I grapple with the question of how to reconcile a belief in divine self-revelation with a desire to avoid the historic death-dealing that is the product of Christian triumphalism.

For example, a living foundation of my faith is the church's belief that God is Trinity in Unity. Not as a metaphor or a contingent construction but as a description of the nature of the Godhead. What are the implications of Trinitarian belief when other models of God whether promulgated by Christians or others are not Trinitarian? Did and can God reveal the truth of Godself or is it just Platonic theologians trying to make sense of something incomprehensible?

If everything in Christianity is a metaphor or a human construct through which God is only partially revealed then what can Incarnation mean or how can we even say God is love. It's all just another set of limited metaphors.

I know these concerns can sound like the T19 and Benedict XVI shibboleth of relativism. I'm not saying that blind rigidity is the antidote to the challenges of living in a world with many religions and many different versions of the divine.

But where do we draw the line and say yes, God has truly made Godself known to us and we can, with certainty, draw near to this truth and have a glimpse of the uncreated light.

Is it acceptable to seek to throw your whole heart into the God that the Creed proclaims or do we always have to be a bit wary and a bit suspicious that, perhaps, something completely different may be just as true. What if God is larger than our limited human perception but still spoke to us in a way that we can trust completely?

I guess I'd like to believe that's possible.


Padre Mickey said...

Thanks to everyone for their contributions to this discussion; I really enjoy reading everyone's ideas.
And we welcome all newcomers to the Dance Party.

johnieb said...

Howzabout latecomers?

No lie, Padre, why go there when there's all kindza good blogs such as dis all over da tubes? Their Theology stinks.

And I t'oughts Mudder Maggie wuz talkin' 'bout her Eucharist kit, not deh wonderful Mr Witty. But I remindz all y'all, just 'cause we can'ts be in more than one place at a time or more than one thing at once whilez still being One, doesn't mean Godde can't.

I didna make that up: really.

I See You!

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