Recollection to Blessing – Happy New Year!

What a year brings? Here’s what I did some thinking on in 2008. 

Jan – Be the attitude you want to see; Amorality; Defining ‘Belief’; Defining the ‘Way’; Symbolic Language in the gospels; the Salvation Calculation (one of my best thoughts yet) 

Feb – Shema comparison (is Jesus God?); Defining being a Christian; Defining Community; AngerLustThoughtAction (looking at that passage more closely); Rabbi Neil Gilman; What makes someone ‘godly’; a song I wrote; Black History Month 

March – Challenges to orthodoxy; Atonement theory; Point of the Gospels; Turned 33; Universalism and Monotheism; The human Jesus (debating Jesus as God); Biblical errors; Identifying ‘Evil’ 

April – Paul & the Law; Image of God; Interpretation and ‘I’; Jesus being God?; Atonement; Universal Reconciliation; Hypocrisy to Hatefulness 

May – Hirschfield’s book/chapters; The ‘way’ and varieties; 200th post and Imagery; Community and distaste; Faith & Mystery; Problems w/hell; SVS Proverbs 

June – Racism/faith/art; Anger and faith; June as Aboriginal History Month; Does God hate?; Defining God; Faith as a gift of God?; Law/Grace/Fulfillment; Canada’s Apology; John T guest blogger; Faith paradigms 

July – Discussing ‘fruit’ in faith; How Jewish was Jesus?; Theological Grill (questions); Being right vs. being loving; Defining Grace; Morality/Immorality and connection to God; Story about buying my house (faith); Church – what is it good for?; Faith as ‘here and now’; Variations on the term ‘messiah’; Analogies about the power of sin 

Aug – Discussing ‘Eve’ as ‘compliment’; Why I am not a Christian (orthodox); What would you do to make church better?; Faith as mythical; Numbers 31 debate; Reason I left church; Judgment as useful; Religion and faith definitions; Expertise in biblical studies (Torah – Rabbi’s); Is work really a curse?; Homosexuality – sin or not?; dealing with Westboro. 

Sept – Question to de-converts: Christians really that bad?; Defining de-conversion; Law as antagonist (Christian creation); God is Love?; Duality in the Christian faith; Conversion and choice; faith and politics 

Oct – Exodus based in history?; Belief (term) disconnect; God/faith as gov’t; My Methodology for my faith stance; Messianic’s/conversion/gentiles/noahide laws; Speedy’s on ‘did God ever get sick?; Holidays vs. Holy Days; God as human?; Importance of the virgin birth?; Jesus fulfills the law?; Prophets and when Christianity veers off course 

Nov – Taking on Religious extremism and cults; Obama becomes president; My articles of faith; Questioning a doctrinal statement; Heschel and ‘no religion is an island’; Church experience quiz; Expelled; Origins of the Hebrew bible; Authority and 4 faiths comparison; Divinity questioned; Abortion questioned; God on trial; End Times theology and its uses (good discovery)

Dec – Discussing ‘you are gods’; From Jesus to Christ; Inter-faith dialogue; God that changes His mind; Defining ‘aChristian’ (brilliant); Discussing divorce; Don’t hate Christmas; Condemned by your beliefs; Skit on drunk driving program; #300th post and the atheist plaque; Trickiness of defining ‘faith’ 

I look forward to 2009. Here is my personal blessing to one and all: 

May your new year (2009) find all your dreams being fulfilled. May this New Year allow us to heal the earth and the people upon it. May this New Year be a time of hopes realized and dreams begun. 

Happy New Year to all – the quest continues…

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Merry Christmas 2008

I want to say a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy Hanukah to all my blogger friends this season.

Who are those bloggers?

  • Luke (Toothface and Unidactyl)
  • John T (Tit for Tat)
  • Doug (Free Style Road Trip)
  • Yael (Yael’s Place)
  • Dave (Just1) – my actual brother
  • Wilf (My Little Island) – my actual brother
  • Andrew (Hackman’s Musings)
  • Bruce, Geo, Cliff, and others (Bold Grace)
  • Brad and Mike (Confessions of a Seminarian)
  • Dagoods (Thoughts from a Sandwich)
  • All the peeps @ De-conversion
  • Deacon Blue and Miz Pink (Holy Sh*t from Deacon Blue)
  • Jollybeggar (North VU’s and JB Epistles) – local pastor and friend
  • Kevin Beck (Transmillenial)
  • LIT Blog (Hippy Lost in Time)
  • Tim and crew (Miracle Channel Review)
  • Jim Jordan (Moral Science Club)
  • David Hayward (Naked Pastor)
  • OSS (One Small Step)
  • Steve and others (Stupid Church People Nation)
  • Shane Vanderhart (Caffeinated Thoughts)
  • Stand to Reason blog
  • Steve Martin (Old Adam)
  • Steve Scott (From the Pew)

I want to wish you all a great holiday season and may your lives be filled with enjoyment the end of this 2008 year!

Life as a Soundtrack (fun, frivilous, and gay)

I borrowed this concept from Jon @ Rejected Reality.

Life as a soundtrack – for some laughs and to know what we all listen to (some insight involved here). Here is how you do it:

1. Open your iTunes (or Rhapsody, Windows Media player, etc.) library
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don’t lie

Here are my answers (most of them make sense?):

Opening Credits: What It’s Like (Everlast) – Great intro to the world

Waking up: Borderline (Madonna) – Title makes sense – day could go either way

First Day at High School: Mind Games (John Lennon) – Sooooo true

Falling In Love: Dreams (Fleetwood Mac) – Great answer (my wife would even be proud)

Fight Song: Five to One (Doors) – great fight tune

Breaking Up: I Just Want to Have Something to Do (Ramones) – actually sounds like something I’d say

Prom: You Got the Silver (Keith Richards/Rolling Stones) – Kind of a love song? Basically she has the money that night

Life: Top O’ The Morning to Ya (House of Pain) – Soooooo me – I always say ‘hi’

Mental Breakdown: Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes) – Very believable for someone going crazy

Driving: American Pie (Don McLean) – I like a long song about Buddy Holly for the road

Flashback: Green Tambourine (Lemon Pipers) – Oddly enough – this song is flash-backy

Getting Back Together: Mama Kin (Aerosmith) – Not relevant but a great tune

Wedding: We All Get Old (Ron Wood) – Love it! Captures my real feelings.

Birth of Child: Hate Breeders (Misfits) – Best descriptor on this whole list (lol)

Final Battle: Lithium (Nirvana) – I could see this – on my deathbed

Death Scene: Yesterdays (Guns n Roses) – This is more flash-backy but fits here also

Funeral Song: Crazy on You (Heart) – Makes no sense – I am fond of Pink Floyd’s ‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’

End Credits: Downtown (Neil Young) – Not sure what to make of this? I die on the streets?

***This was fun – and I would like to know what your soundtrack would be?

Trickiness of Faith Definitions

Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”

Luke 17:4-5 “”And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!””

or

Luke 12:28 “”But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!”

Defining faith – there seems to be 2 aspects in the gospels – depending on the usage.

(a) The first 2 passages reveal a type of ‘faith in action’ – faithfulness.

(b) The 3rd passage reveals another usage – faith in God (strength of your convictions – trust in God)

It is here where I wonder what does Paul means when he says “”The righteous will live by faith” or “justified by faith“?

I think he means both meanings – but namely that faith is something ‘we live by’. Even if you have confessional faith – a type of conviction faith – you still need to be faithful – since faithful is a term that encapsualtes what someone with faith is. Living by faith means living a life based on your faith – the teachings you have been given – concurrent with that trust in God aspect.  

I am comparing the terms ‘faith’ and faithfulness’ – but they are really one in the same for the person of faith. They are encapsualted in a word ‘faithful’ – faithful is no longer a word without ‘faith’ in it.

I can trust in God that my needs will be met – but I cannot become so blind that I do not use the teachings to build my life the best I am able to – from forgiveness to responsibility to prayer. If I forgo faithfulness – I also forgo faith.

Justification by faith – what does it mean?

#300 Post – Do They Know It’s Christmas Time (at all)

At the Washington State Capital, Freedom From Religion Foundation (headed by Dan Barker) was permitted to place a plaque next to the two (2) other Holiday displays. A “Holiday Tree” and a Nativity Scene. 

The plaque reads: At this season of the winter solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

According to Mark Impomeni this is “an offensive message of intolerance.” (Taken from Dagoods blog ‘Christmas Message from Atheists’

SocietyVs’ response: 

I have to admit – I find the plaque pretty stupid – and I can see how it can be offensive.

The tree is a sign of the season – evokes no real response except ‘let’s decorate this green thing’.

The nativity scene, true or not, is basically a scene of people gathering together in a manger to meet Jesus (as a baby). The message is fairly open to one’s personal opinion on the said subject.

The plaque is a plaque with words and a message. Is Dan Barker’s atheists community that simple they could not create something for their own community – a symbol of some sort for the season? A globe would of been nice. But its a stupid plaque with a message on it – and that message is clear.

‘Religion is but myth’

That’s not creative and sure as hell not in the X-mas spirit of things – it’s too damn dumb to be worth decorating – and the message is actually more on the negative side with all its ‘no’s’.

I don’t know Barker – but I do suggest he take some type of activity designed to release his creative juices. A globe goddammit! 

What do you think of that Atheist message for Christmas? 

***Could it replace the great music song ‘Do they know it’s Christmas time’ with ‘Do they know it’s…then read the Atheist plaque”? 

Skit: Twas the Christmas Holidays, and We All Needed Rides

Jay: I am going out drinking tonight – Christmas holidays you know – family is in town – gonna be fun! 

Pastor: Whoa whoa whoa, you’re going to need a ride – I can’t allow you to drive drunk or what have you. 

Jay: Good call – we all will – me and all my friends. 

Pastor: You bet – and I think I have the perfect solution this Christmas season. 

Jay: You do – let’s hear it. 

Pastor: I am going to start a new program with the congregation – and call it ‘salvations a call away’. 

Jay: Interesting name – I like it already – what do you have in mind? 

Pastor: This Christmas season, throw in New Years while we are at it, I am going to ask all the congregants that want to help – to be ‘on call’ to offer a safe ride home to those people out there drinking. 

Jay: Why would you do that? I thought you were a church? 

Pastor: That’s exactly why we get involved! Did you know that last year in this city 2 people died last year and 95 others were injured on New Year’s Eve alone? That’s a very sick statistic of how people are hurting themselves and others. Why not get the church involved in living up to its beliefs – lets be salvific for once! 

Jay: This way you are living your ideals – working with people in need of that help – and possibly saving ‘real lives’. That’s genius! Who came up with that idea? 

Pastor: What can I say – it rolled out the back of my mind – maybe I should thank God for such insight. 

Jay: You sure should! 

Pastor: I have to go – one of my cousins just sent an e-mail – he’s drunk on spiced rum and egg nog and needs a safe ride home. Sometimes taking up your cross is as easy as warming up your Escalade.   

Jay: What about me and my friends…we are also going out tonight for a few wobbly pops? 

Pastor: Ring the alarm – I have a crew ready to come and get you…but remember this one dire warning I give you… 

Jay: What is it? 

Pastor: Remember to tip the driver – 2:00 am is early for someone to make that sacrifice! 

Jay: Oh Pastor, do you ever stop? 🙂

Condemnation by Virtue of Belief(s)

“”I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy; and because you, being a man, make yourself out to be God.”” (John 10:30-33)

Most people use this passage to debate the divinity of Jesus – not today my good theological compadres – not today; we have more pressing issues to discuss. 

Something kind of strange happens in this conversation – let’s see if I can detail it clearly: 

Jesus proclaims ‘he is one with the Father’ to the chagrin of the people in the crowd. Mind you, there is a good reason for the chagrin – the crowd thinks he is proclaiming himself to be God. Jesus states something kind of interesting ‘which of these good works are you stoning me for?’ Good works is what Jesus is worried about…actions…deeds…not his wording. 

Isn’t this a problem for every era? We have Christians in this day in age proclaiming other Christians are not ‘saved’ because of what they proclaim (speak) and not what actions they commit themselves to (deeds). Jesus’ refutation of such an idea seems to be – debate the actions of a person concerning their faith – not their wording. 

This is such a common problem in Christian denoms because of the statements of faith and their theological importance in the ‘conversion’ of the believer. You have a list of things to believe and if you do not ‘add up’ – then you have serious problems according to that denom. It is important to note that most (if not all) denoms in the Christian faith have statements of faith that have nothing to do with your actual deeds. 

Of prime importance to Jesus in this story – and to myself also – is the fact you are defined by your actions – not your beliefs. In job interviews – they don’t care if you believe in the trinity. Trying to get across the border – better make sure you know the bible is inerrant first. Need a loan from the bank – well we need to see hear your beliefs on God first. Life doesn’t work that way – in fact nothing in life works that way except clubs. You are defined by your actions in this life from getting a job, to crossing the border, and to even getting a loan. What you do is more definable about you than what you claim are your beliefs. 

Now if you want to be part of a club type faith – go ahead – they appreciate numbers in those places anyways. True faith in God is all about the way you live and conduct yourselves in your every social situation – defining who you are to others and is a constant introspection of what it is you can change. 

Churches of this time and space – they are the ones picking up stones now. For good cause also, we are saying things that do not resonate with their club/crowd. But I ask, as Jesus did in this story, for what ‘deed’ is it you are condemning me? 

***Sorry Yael about the passage using wording like ‘Jews’ to set up a big antithesis for the story – you know John’s gospel – he was writing to a gentile crowd that was being kicked out of synagogues and had to draw a sharp comparison…I just like the point of the story.