Protest-ant Revolution…

So I had a chance to catch some of this series on BBC called the ‘Protestant Revolution’ (part 1 I watched – the politics of belief). It got me thinking as I watched it.

Martin Luther’s challenge to the Pope in the 16th century inspired conservatives and radicals alike, and its history is one of conflict, challenge and rebellion” (from the BBC site)

Protestantism is really a movement of ‘protest’ – which sparked the use of political movements in Luther’s time to our current landscape of politics (ie: moral majority movement). With protest comes the obvious – division – which has been quite the cornerstone of the Christian faith in Protestant movements for 100’s of years.

Luther started something that had Protestant fighting Catholic – but ironically – had Protestant fighting Protestant also – so much so – some of the worst bloodbaths in Germany and Britian history happened in this stage of the game (with challenge to monarchs from various Protestant factions). Protestantism’s free thinking kind of touched off a problem – divisiveness and control.

Fact is, Protestantism is a rebel movement – went against the abuses they saw in Catholicism and each new strand to come out of this developed their own ways of thinking – from Luther to Calvin to Knox. Eventually many strands of Christianity are to become defined by this ‘protest’ idea – namely in the West.

I am aware that within the West there are some 100’s of denominations that have sprouted from movements that find their roots in Protestantism. Why so many splits? Well, simply put – protest is part of the cornerstone of what they are built upon – and this idea permeates the theology and views adopted by new leaders in each generation. Nevermind trying to mend the repairs one see’s with church structure – just split off and start something new where authority is not a question anymore in change.

After seeing this program I realize the problems with the Protestant Revolution – it’s not much different than any other revolution we see (ie: in Russia or Cuba)…it’s just packaged differently. One needs to realize that the Protestant Reformation called into question the leadership of it’s day and set off horrendous battles for power among church and monarch and peasant. Like Che & Fidel taking Cuba back for Cubans – Luther saw it kinda the same way – take Germany back for the Germans.

As nice as some of the things that came out of the Protestant Revolution (ie: bible in our langauages – seperation of church and state) – the horrors it touched off from it’s first movements are far worse. They still reverberate with us today – a type of colonialist attitude towards minorities wherever this movement went (ie: America’s or Africa). One could also say the Protestant Revolution touched off elitism…the ‘them and us mentality…and that is at the cornerstone of Christian theology still.

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34 thoughts on “Protest-ant Revolution…

  1. “the horrors it touched off from it’s first movements are far worse. They still reverberate with us today – a type of colonialist attitude towards minorities wherever this movement went (ie: America’s or Africa). ”

    you forget that Catholics also were fighting Catholics at this time.. originally touched off by the Black Death because the church wasn’t protecting the populous from death and disease like it claimed it would. also colonialist attitudes were part of the times dawg… Catholic and Protestant alike. not that this is an excuse or apology. Christianity was a driving force in colonialisation but not the only one. the only ones really that weren’t colonial would be the eastern orthodox churches, the coptic, syrian, and russian churches. they seemed to be content where they were… it also helped that they were the minority themselves…

    maybe the whole thing points to what Kirkegaard said that “one can’t be a Christian in Christendom” or one can’t be a true christian if you’re in the majority. you haven’t happened to watch reformation the sitcom have you? i was expecting a lot of thoughts for ya…

  2. “you haven’t happened to watch reformation the sitcom have you? i was expecting a lot of thoughts for ya…” (Luke)

    I will have to take sometime one of these days and watch the skits – they looked like fun to make (creative)…I will get on that very soon…but you know me and the Protestant Revolution – I see many problems in current society springing from there.

    “Christianity was a driving force in colonialisation but not the only one” (Luke)

    I agree – but Christianity and politics in the time of the reformation are very close – and in some ways – still are. This aspect of faith gets overlooked quite a bit by anyone attending a church that is a branch from Protestantism. Christianity gets re-theologized in the time of the Revolution but for what ‘end’ really…only to come out as messed up as Catholicism and not really a revolution of faith so much as an actual revolution for the monarchs (and political society).

    “one can’t be a true christian if you’re in the majority” (Luke)

    Maybe – but what is a Christian? Isn’t the piece of definition truly lacking and misunderstood? Is the Reformation really a good Christian movement to build from? Heck, is Nicea for that matter?

    The only “Reformation’ that really ever happened is the ‘reforming’ of the early Christian church into Hellenistic Gentile movement that rejected even it’s predecessor (Judaism) for the convenience of anything it deemed ‘Christ’-ian. After that we just have the same old ‘protest’ piece of Christianity (which is also at it’s roots).

    The Reformation theologically is built upon the mistakes of the past – sure not Catholic one’s per se of it’s era – but of mistakes that stretch back to the time when Christianity carved itself into the Gentile piece of work it is. So why bother following a Reformation based on earlier works that have serious theological problems that still need to be looked at more closely? How Jewish was Jesus exactly? What kind of messiah is Jesus exactly? Atonement – how does that work? Is the virgin birth real? Is the trinity viable? How close should Christianity be to Judaism if it is claiming the same biblical roots?

    The Reformation served to help establish gov’ts that were just as evil as any to walk the earth in Constantine’s time – some reform I’d say.

    I have to ask Luke – what exactly do you think these Reformers teachings changed exactly (for our time)? Couldn’t I just learn the same tactics from – I dont’s know – a Che Guevera in our time?

  3. On a side note – at least I can say about Che his movement was for the ‘oppressed’ in Cuban society.

  4. “and not really a revolution of faith so much as an actual revolution for the monarchs (and political society”

    the middle class seemed to enjoy it as well as the infamous “peasant’s revolt” as well as the battles in Switzland which ultimately united the cantons… one of which Zwingli died in.

    “Maybe – but what is a Christian? Isn’t the piece of definition truly lacking and misunderstood? Is the Reformation really a good Christian movement to build from? Heck, is Nicea for that matter? ”

    it all comes from some where. in Jazz… if you want to rift you best know your notes. i’m interested in what has already been played so i can see where to improvise and improve upon. a post-colonial/post-modern way seems to be the best way i see to go!

    “what exactly do you think these Reformers teachings changed exactly (for our time)? Couldn’t I just learn the same tactics from – I dont’s know – a Che Guevera in our time?”

    Luther was the Che of his time.. as was Calvin and Zwingli.. more so Zwingli cause he actually died in battle. these guys had their prejudices just as Che did. he didn’t much like the Zapatistas and his insistence of violent means is something i find objectionable. and just like Luther his movement that he started was also corrupted into something else that wasn’t intended. although i admire Che prolly actually more than Luther or Calvin, i must learn from his faults as well as his bright spots to move on. which brings us to “what’s changed?” you said it yourself! tons of denominations!

    let alone the establishment of the individual as the primary unit of society, effective use of the power of the written word and spread of literacy, the rise of the middle class and the end of feudalism, and we’re not Roman Catholic are we? those are just a few things i can think of off the top of my head that were good from the ProRev. there are a TON of bad things too which i want to by no means sweep under the rug.. however to say it is all bad missses the point as does the ppl who say it is all good. like everything, it’s a mixed bag.

  5. Catholic Apostolic Roman Church leader, pope John Paul II, on the Year 2000’s Jubilee recognized overtly and officially asked for all the errors and mistakes the Catholic Church made in the past. This act of humility and humbleness had the intention of nullify and invalidate any necessity of “protest” [or Protestantism] and at same time, completely reach out all the religious denominations labeled in that rank – also known as the Roman Catholic Church’s rebel daughters.
    In response to that initiative of repentance through words of sorrow and shame, the supreme Roman Catholic leader extended the church’s hand to promote ecumenism [movement that promotes cooperation and better understanding among different religious denominations] towards universal Christian unity. Denying the pardon and forgiveness for the mother church would place any religious denomination in a situation of NOT FOLLOWING the basic rules of Christianity or in deep contradiction of faith… Interesting to remember that the word Catholic means “universal” and the pope is recognized as the most preeminent religious leader in the world.
    Seriously, there is nothing left to PROTEST against since the colossal request for forgiveness under grief, regret, and ignominy was globally addressed by the mother church – “Just one leader and just one faith” is the aphorism.
    Since then the liberal Protestantism have been focusing on more common causes, targeting social problems to improve quality of life than rather mess with dogmas and doctrines… it is much easier this way, and why not say it, more correct politically.
    The only problem is that small part that Jesus Christ, told us to be aware of and extremely careful to not be deceived. Let’s just stick with the truthful Word of God, reading the Holy Bible day after day to receive light, understanding, and spiritual discernment from our Savior and Lord.

  6. 500 years later is a little late.. and then pope benedict came through and nullified this request by claiming that protestants (aside from anglicans) don’t have apostolic descent and have no means to salvation… ergo 500 years of protestants are in hell despite the “i’m sorry.”

    sorry Joyhikr, no dice.

  7. “however to say it is all bad missses the point as does the ppl who say it is all good. like everything, it’s a mixed bag” (Luke)

    Would you say in the ‘pro’s’ it has helped make Protestant faiths less amoral? A question I have to ask – since the original contention for the revolution was the abuses of the Catholic church with regards to spirituality – to deal with the immorality they saw in their days…would you say this worked?

    Mixed bag – true – but I struggle to see how Protestantism has made Christainity that much better than it was?

    As for your assetions – the written word thing I can agree to – but the rise of the ‘middle class’ – are you kidding? It seems when Protestantism came to the West it helped in the actual usurption of the goods of the minorities – so what the middle class gained the minorities lost in impoverishment (for the capitalism of the empire). A trend still continued by the policies of big business in other countries (ie: Latin America or even the Middle East).

    As for feudalism – it left – but after it many replacements of a worse nature appeared – well not so much for people of European descent but ask any minority about their history where Protestantism (and Catholicsm) appeared on the shores…anyone remember slavery? I’ll take a wild bet feudalism was replaced by the abuse of other races and their lands (to the benefit of all the good Christian nations)…which in essence was the cornerstone of current capitalism (which Marx considered the inevitable outcome of feudalism).

    So what Protestantism claims to have ‘made better’ under certain scrutiny is spinning tales to make the system sound like it improved. One could claim Iraq is colonialism all over again – so that system of ruling class and peasants is not really dead…it just gots a nice new shiny name. Capitalism in essence is the same ‘greed’ of the feudal system spun in new directions for new purposes – and each time it’s taking more than it’s giving – depends on which part of the system benefits – since we benefit we say ‘less’. Ask someone in Iraq about this system and many will give you a different story. Thsi stuff isn’t quite dead Luke – not as dead as you might think.

    So I have to wonder – did Protestantism achieve it’s goals of the ‘best Christianity’?

  8. “Would you say in the ‘pro’s’ it has helped make Protestant faiths less amoral?”

    indulgences and clemancy for nobility. it helped erase the God-ordained claim that these nobles made..

    and you’re right that it supplanted things that turned out worse. as for the minority rights question, that is the way of the world… strong eat the weak, the many overtake the strong. still is this way despite our best intentions, so you’re absolutely right that the “stuff isn’t quite dead- not as dead as you might thing…” i never said it was dead… i’m just saying that we have NO WAY to answer the questions you’re asking.

    “are we better off without the protestant revolution” is the wrong question to ask and you’ve been begging it for months. even “did Protestantism achieve it’s goals of the ‘best Christianity’?” is the wrong question.

    the true question, in my mind, is: “where do we go from here?” you and i have both had church history classes. you and i both have read a lot on these subjects and we also know about pomo and post-colonial thinking. we’re both, for all intensive purposes, not capitalists (as i REALLY like Che even though he embraced the “dark side”).

    so let’s forge a new way! learn from the mistakes of the past, take the good and learn from the “baggage” that each movement has (and every movement has baggage).

    i hope to lay out my vision here shortly in my blog posts… i’ve been reading a ton this summer and really trying to synthesize all our conversations here online as well as stuff in “real time” and throw it all together into how i view God, the world, and what we should do. this is sorta like a systematic theology… but not. cause another system is the last thing we need… more of a flexible framework on where my bais lay and how i interpret the world around me. i’ll look forward to your comments.

  9. “it helped erase the God-ordained claim that these nobles made..” (Luke)

    Fractions of that statement are true – fractions are not – see the history of the Anglican church, movements in Germany during Luther, and within Scotland. What happened was more ‘replacement’ of the use of the nobility and the blessings of God on that nobility/leadership.

    Henry the 8th is prime example of what the reformation actually did – politically. Henry the 8th was quite beloved of the Catholic church for some of his stands on issue – then came along the marriage issue with Anne Boleyn (a protestant). Henry followed the reformation with his example – he left the Catholic church and declared himself the new king of the faith in England (so he could marry Anne). In the end this becomes Anglicanism…and Henry (a king – nobility) as the head.

    Luther also supported such movements (against other reformers) and in Scotland we see more of the same (I would guess Ireland as well). In the end, more kings replace popes and other religious authorities under the guise of Protestantism instead of Catholicism – regimes functioned basically the same (just more localized now).

    “i’m just saying that we have NO WAY to answer the questions you’re asking.” (Luke)

    History is not going to help us? Present conditions are not going to help us? There is no way to answer my questions – yet when a Catholic poses an assertion about ‘forgiveness’ and Protestants rebelling over nothing – you know quickly about that (ie: from Pope to Pope and their rulings) and can make this assertion “500 years later is a little late…”…how come there is an answer for that?

    So my proposition is this – with all these great reform movements coming out of Europe did it make the world a more ‘moral’ place?

    I mean – this is a ‘reformation’ of which Knox could say about Calvins school of thought it was as close to Christian as one could get – since the time of the Christ. Luther had many of the same accolades thrown his way. I am guessing they assumed this was the best forms of Christianity to ‘walk the earth’. These same forms still exist and have spawned many new ones from their wings.

    Yet you admit atheists (secular thought) and Christians are about as ‘moral’ as one another (is this a statement of yours – I forget?)? So in the resultant history which sought out the best theology we arrive at a level of amorality that makes God no better than no God. So I had to ask – if there is no answer I can understand – it’s a pretty big question…

  10. you’re absolutely right about the anglican church and the “end of God ordained kings” it took a while, like all things in history.. but it eventually changed things.

    “History is not going to help us? Present conditions are not going to help us?”

    history will help, that’s what i’ve been saying all along. know your history and it will help navigate the present conditions. there are problems, BIG problems with the revolution caused intentionally and unintentionally. but where i see you coming from is a place that isn’t helpful, one that says “would we be better off without the reformation?” no clue. can’t answer that as it’s completely hypothetical.

    “yet when a Catholic poses an assertion about ‘forgiveness’ and Protestants rebelling over nothing”

    apples and oranges. not even a close comparision statement. dude didn’t know his history.

    “So my proposition is this – with all these great reform movements coming out of Europe did it make the world a more ‘moral’ place?”

    no clue.. we have nothing to compare it to. unless there’s a way we can check out an alternate universe were the reformation never took place.

    “Yet you admit atheists (secular thought) and Christians are about as ‘moral’ as one another (is this a statement of yours – I forget?)? ”

    haha.. yeah. that was me. and i’m coming to think that maybe atheists are gaining ground. Christians seem to be a-historical and a-scientific. that is a dangerous combination. the best theology maybe one of no theology at all… at least not in a systemize version of theology. God is God and can’t be disected and studied anymore than any personality or conscious can be…

  11. oh.. and i would know about the catholic thing.. i used to be one remember?

    when john paul made his statements asking for forgiveness i was pissed cause i was a catholic and wanted to be right. when benedict contradicted those statements, i was pissed cause there goes the ecumenical nature that John Paul worked so hard to forge.

    so it goes….

  12. “one that says “would we be better off without the reformation?” no clue. can’t answer that as it’s completely hypothetical.” (Luke)

    But I am not asking to be ‘without’ it – but what it actually accomplished or changed for our current society. See my line of thinking is coming from the idea maybe the reformation really accomplished very little – or not enough reform – or maybe reforms that just aren’t useful. We are talking about teachings some 500 years old – and in 500 years we need to scrape some of these barnacles off for a 21st century working faith. Yet churches in our age are built on these foundations by their own admission…is that really a solid foundation?

    Another aspect of my thinking is why discover the Reformation when the problems, interpretively, go so much further back than that. It’s like cutting down a tree some 15 feet up from the base/root…the problems are so much deeper than a Reformation. For me, it just seems like deciphering Protestantism to find it’s basis is further back and we need to search there (in history) more…if we want to get at the heart of the writings (which is big concern for me).

    “no clue.. we have nothing to compare it to” (Luke)

    Really? History is its own judge of a movement. For example, we have no alternate universe where slavery never existed or where the Holocaust never happened – yet we are fairly confident a world without them is 100% better than with them (so much so – we wish they never happen again or they never happened in the 1st place). And I am pretty sure you might agree.

    Now the Reformation is a traceable movement – politically and religiously – and has its roots in history – very recorded history oddly enough (thanks printing press). So why cannot history be the judge if it was ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for humanity than we might have expected?

    If we see a lot of death and murder – like the holocaust – we can say that is pretty ‘immoral’. If we see society being bettered for all of humanity (ie: Jesus’ vision) – then we can say they stuck to the gameplan of morality. Then present a verdict of the pro’s and con’s of the movement and it’s impacts…like we do concerning WW2 for example.

    So I think it is possible to make an assertion based on the history of the movement and it’s outcomes (and there are many).

  13. “Now the Reformation is a traceable movement ”

    and it’s roots are so intwined that the way the world is today is because of the things coming out of the mid to late-1500s. you like a unified language without having to learn a dialect every 50 yards? you can thank the protestants for that. the wycliffe, german, french, swiss, and esp. the King James bibles unified the languages as well as their countries… the swiss cantons being an aforementioned example.

    there’s plenty of other good examples as well as bad i can provide but this is like asking if Government (any one) is a good or bad thing and if we’re better off without it. this is an absurd claim because we can trade blows all day on the good things government does (healthcare, security, infrastructure, social security, laws, etc) with the bad things it does (exploit, enslave, colonialize, war, unjust laws, kill innocent ppl, invade other countries for no reason (i.e. Tibet and Iraq)). so the question is ultimately unanswerable because it can’t be reduced to binary “good or bad”/ “better or worse” labels. it’s too complex! there’s so much we use everyday and don’t realize that comes from this time. so i’m ultimately unsatisfied with that line of questioning.

    the question that CAN be answered is “Yet churches in our age are built on these foundations by their own admission…is that really a solid foundation?”

    no! it’s an awful thing if you think you can get away with the same assumptions that Luther and the reformers had in the 1500s and still be relevent (something that the Reformation the Sitcom address.. how out of place these guys are, and yet how strangely contemporary showing that many churches still haven’t adequately delt with their theologies fully.). the Methodists have a little better mix when they claim the 4 pillars of reason, tradition, scripture, and experience. faith must constantly be updated for it’s time. we must change to stay the same.

    if you think you can get away with an augustinian understanding of the world.. adam and eve and the fall… then you’re way off base both theologically and scientifically. there was no actual adam and eve, no fruit, no perfect state, no garden. what we do have is common ancestors, tribal soceities, and constant toil for food, shelther, and survival. SOOO many christians don’t put their scientific learning to their theology and that’s why Hitchens and Dawkins are right on many of their critiques of faith… because it simply doesn’t fit, hasn’t been update, and is a beleif in a fairy-tale.

  14. crap! i was looking for more.. but if we’re at an impass, i get it. great discussion though. it’s nice to talk to someone who, although may not have the same view as me, knows the history. so many christians don’t seem to know their own history. i really get frustrated at this…

    is it bad that the driving part of my ministry seems to be frustration and a need to rail against the inconsistencies and ill-thoughtout notions of my faith? i dunno…. maybe it’s good that i’m at least aware of this.

  15. “is it bad that the driving part of my ministry seems to be frustration and a need to rail against the inconsistencies and ill-thoughtout notions of my faith?” (Luke)

    You’re a protest-ant – rail away! I am in the same boat there. The foundations of the faith we have been handed is built upon ‘protest’ so now some 500 years later it is our turn to try and help write the wrongs of the past. I think it is natural for humans to fight against something…at least in the West…obedience is kinda over-rated as a top virtue (lol).

  16. “obedience is kinda over-rated as a top virtue (lol).”

    damn right! as the flobots sing:

    Portrait of
    The new American insurgent
    Rattle and shake the foundations of the world order
    Assembly line incent, resist, refuse
    Inform, create
    Direct loved one’s to the trenches
    Suit up forge rubble into fortress’s
    Plaster, cloth, aluminum
    Broken porcelain
    Rusted platinum
    Burn blood stains from decompressed diamonds
    Hammer the battle cry into braille studded armor.

    i think you’d dig the Flobots. i LOVE them. like my politics and theology rolled up and put to an killer beat. also the book “Domination and the Arts of Resistence: Hidden Transcripts” by James Scott is pretty great book too.. i’m about half way through it now.

  17. Protestantism remains as troubled as any other dominant religious organization and/or institution. But the more overt and inherent problems that you are describing pertain to the political realm and not necessarily the religious. This is a major problem for Christianity. Nationalism is at the very heart of all protestant churches, just as it is in Judaism and Islam. Romanian orthodox, Greek orthodox, Russian orthodox, etc, etc, etc. These churches are built upon the premise of nation first and then church second. The neo-fundamentalist charismatic movement in the US is intensely nationalistic and perhaps the most obedient to its state – “God bless the President.”

    Martin Luther was reclaiming a Christianity for Germans and this shows his prevalence for a religion based on the ideals of his personal “Fatherland.” It is no real surprise that political leaders still use religion as a crutch and a tool even in the most liberal of democracies; i.e. – the US, Europe, and Canada.

    The difference between Cuba, the USSR, China, India, etc.. and Martin Luther is that these revolutions rejected the principles of mass belief in a unknown deity (Jehovah, Allah, etc.) and placed them on to the role of the leader. Is this any better? Perhaps it is, leaders will die and politics and its systems are ever-changing. Religion never truly changes its stripes because its root, the unknown god, is ever-present but never truly understood. Humanity fumbles in the dark toward this god and gets it wrong every time. Nationalism creeps in and reflects the society and its values more than it does the actual teachings of any religion.

  18. Hey brother. I must be honest with you. Not only do you not understand the reformation, but you do not even understand Christianity. Believe it or not, Christianity IS a rebellion, or at least, it was started that way. It was a revolution against the system that was crushing it. The more the empire crushed, the stronger it grew under it’s oppression. So, the Jesus Story begins on the underside of power, and thrived.

    Then, over time, “christians” (notice the quotes) – you might call them moralists – inherited this faith, but lacked any sort of heart change. Rather than having the heart of God (loving justice, setting free the captives, poor, & oppressed, loving neighbors, living the Gospel), they began to exploit this thing for all they could. Because of their greed, God raised up a few monks (who were actually regenerated) to bring reform / purification.

    Luther was a mere man, but he was God’s man for the job. If God didn’t raise someone up, then you would still be paying indulgences to get your grandaddy out of purgatory.

    So, being a Christ-follower always has been countercultural, and always will be.

  19. Also, you cannot blame “Christianity” for the atrocities of the past that done in it’s name. Think about it… although these “christians” did these terrible things, were they really Christ-followers at all, since they behaved in the exact opposite way of Jesus?

    Truth is, people always highjack a religion for selfish, political gain. These greedy high-jackers never truly represent the religion they are exploiting. It’s time we stop blaming Jesus, Reformers, Christians, and Religion for the problems in the world.

    What is wrong with the world is human selfishness. This is exactly what Jesus spoke into. Jesus was hated by the religious people of His day, because they were exactly like the religious people of Luther’s day – filled with greed, and willing to exploit their fellow man to gain power/wealth.

    So Sin is the problem. It seems that the bible was right all along…

    (It finally got my URL right.) 😀

  20. I actually did not criticize an individualistic “Christianity” and/or a god at all. If you actually read my post then you would know this. I specifically spoke about ‘nationalism’ and its hijacking of christian principles and the “faith” (whatever this may mean to you). I spoke about nationalism and you may want to turn a blind eye away from this but you cannot deny the power of nationalist teachings in churches. I mentioned organizations and not individual faith or belief, therefore you got it wrong. I critiqued the organizations and institutions of Christianity and I will stand firm on this.

    Martin Luther was the “man” (of course he had to be a male and not a female – right?) for the job in Germany and Germany alone. Luther did not create the Church of England, only the authority of the Sovereign (the chosen leader of God) could have done that and this is exactly what happened throughout Europe. Therefore nationalism played just as important a role as Luther. If Luther had not had the backing of his sovereign then his movement would have died, assuredly as would have protestantism throughout all of Europe.

    You can criticize my supposed “lack of knowledge” all you want but we both know that is a lie. I am just not blinded by my faith. I can criticize organizations and institutions and have it be accurate. Jesus was a rebel to the organized religion of his time, true. But “Christianity” grew after Jesus’ death, Jesus did not invent Christianity (his followers did), and this was first affirmed by the Roman state, get it right. Again, nationalist from the start – Roman Catholicism.

    You did not even pay attention to my post you just went on a rant about my personal lack of understanding and how benevolent Luther was. Still, even you can not deny the role of nationalism and the spread of Christianity in the last 2000 years. I deny that God actually “chose” Luther. He probably chose himself.

    The only reason that I (a Cree and Saulteaux person) knows about Christianity is due to a nationalist teaching from France and England that demanded that I (and all of the Indigenous peoples in the “New World”) become “Christian.” On this previous point, the Catholics and the Protestants were both as equally as brutal – the Catholics from France and the Protestants from England. Organizational power through the aiding of European-nationalism, that is what I said and nothing else.

    History is blatant and the reformation is over. Christianity is no longer about any form of rebellion (ask the gay populations), in fact it is the norm and the status quo. Christianity has promoted the greatest of sins itself and this is the sad irony of the whole thing. Protestantism is no different than Catholicism in this regard.

  21. “Also, you cannot blame “Christianity” for the atrocities of the past that done in it’s name. Think about it… although these “christians” did these terrible things, were they really Christ-followers at all, since they behaved in the exact opposite way of Jesus?”

    this is such a way to yank the carpet out from under people and deny any wrong doing on the part of “Christianity.” these ppl did it in the name of Christ whether ya like it or not and they claimed to be following Christ the whole time. just calling them unCHristian or “not of my ilk” doesn’t make it all better.

    as Johnny stated “Christianity is no longer about any form of rebellion (ask the gay populations), in fact it is the norm and the status quo.” another problem is John 3: 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” so maybe these things were set off by God but something got lost in translation or taken too far.. or whatever.. what i do know is things need to change and the old models aren’t working.

  22. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” so maybe these things were set off by God but something got lost in translation or taken too far.. or whatever.. what i do know is things need to change and the old models aren’t working. (Luke )

    Not a criticism of you Luke, I like what you said. I just wanted to expand on this thought a little bit.

    Seems to me that if the whole thing, christianlty, can prove that God is its starting point, that somehow he is the founder. Then you would have to reason that christainity would reflect more of His character and not so much the character of its human leaders.

    The sad reality is that christianity has taken on the character of its human leaders, thus if this form of faith can be “lost in the translation” by its human leaders, then it really isn’t a god inspired god led religion. In fact its a 2000 year old experiment in human behaviour and sociology that allows god some air time, but as long as he doesn’t change things.

  23. “Seems to me that if the whole thing, christianlty, can prove that God is its starting point, that somehow he is the founder. Then you would have to reason that christainity would reflect more of His character and not so much the character of its human leaders” (Just1)

    That’s the problem – is it based in reality? Is God the starting point? They pretty much reject the Torah and following those sets of standards – for a whole new religion. God is not One anymore…God has an actual son…Torah is not to be followed (works and faith argument)…Atonement is something done for us…etc. At some point this religion starts to look too damn easy and without any real merit/backbone…thus the huge reliance on the leaders of the movement to shape it in each generation.

    “In fact its a 2000 year old experiment in human behaviour and sociology that allows god some air time, but as long as he doesn’t change things.” (Just1)

    It’s good at keeping ‘status quo’.

    I am really starting to see Christianity is nothing but a bunch of contradictions – and the side that wins out is usually the more convenient side of the arguements in each area.

    We want works – we don’t want works? Scrap the law and we will be led by the Spirit – but on the basis of what is quite beyond me (no law)? Christianity believe one cannot be saved by their works – thus they struggle with the contradiction of how one’s actions are to be used in one’s life…in essence creating a huge problem concerning the importance of what one does compared to what one says…in the end – confessions win the damn day.

    They want to say God is just – yet they developed a system that is wholly unjust. Apparently God will judge the confessing and believing Christians by the act of another (Jesus) some 2000 years ago – and nothing they do will count against them on that day (judgement). But this simply removes the human responsibility for our actions and says ‘we are not guilty’ for anything we do (someone else paid that legal price). So a confessing Christian is left with a dilemma – do my actions matter or do they not? What is so just about a God that leaves you in that quandry and then when you mess up – just lets it slide because someone else took your sin upon them?

    If you think about it Christians live in a constant contradiction and dilemma…the thing that seems plausible is usurped by the ideas that seem implausible. So the question is no longer of ethics – but of finding justification for your having none.

  24. “I am really starting to see Christianity is nothing but a bunch of contradictions”

    is there any beauty to affirm? as Thict Naht Han states “there’s beauty in every religion.. there is also the dark side.”

    • Absolutely true but it can definitely be expanded. Here is another point: there is beauty in every human but there is also a dark side. It is these human contradictions that shape our faiths and our religions. We filter our beliefs through our human error and human comprehension – which is often temporal and narrow.

      If humanity is truly created in the image a “god” then what does our (human) dual personality say about our god? This is a more interesting dilemma than mere Christianity and its relevance and/or irrelevance. Does our god also have the capabilities of a dark side as well as beauty?

      • “Does our god also have the capabilities of a dark side as well as beauty?”

        Job says yes! “shall i not accept the good from God, just the bad?” meaning that all things come from God, in the sovereign will.

        there are other views in the bible too… but i don’t subscribe to this. a little too prosperity gospel. i’m more along the lines of radical free will and God gives us the energy to overcome.

  25. “is there any beauty to affirm?” (Luke)

    What’s so beautiful about confusion and lack of accountability? Maybe it’s just a phase (believe me I love the words of Jesus) – but the Christian religion is nothing but contradiction after contradiction awash in the injustice of many people groups.

    Think about it – this is a religion which says it’s based on Judaic roots – but history proves they wanted to pull those roots out where and when they could – to the destruction of the Jewish faith that did not want to do the same. And the rhetoric that was behind most of those original clashes is still being used to this day – meaning (history being the best predictor of the future) – it’s likely to happen again.

    Christianity is also a very rigid religion and has essences of it that allow for it to not follow ‘anything’. I just seen you say on Doug’s blog stuff about how the salvation of us is complete – nothing more to be added. Well, I am sorry but (a) salvation to and from what – I see basically nothing but the opposite of salvation coming from Christianity and (b) the idea ‘it is all done’ means we have ‘no role to play’.

    If it is all done – then what is it your offering to God exactly? I cannot for the life of me see the role of the believer in that story of Jesus death and atonement…we can basically sit back and relax for all we care (ie: apathy). To me, this spawns the obvious – a moral oblivion in the believer. Although the believer cannot be ‘saved’ by works they can also not be helped by them in relation to the ‘worship’ of God…which is my view of one’s actions. Does God even care what we do? Apparently only he can solve his theological problems in Christian theology.

    I think there is beauty in the teachings – just not in mainstream Chrisian religion which influences and swings its power alongside the powers that be…it really enjoys quite the prominent seat in the West. It’s filled with arenas of hypocrisy and pretty much has written off the very teachings of the kingdom of God (which I see in the gospels) for a nice neat business system. Is God really a banker I wonder? Or maybe He just likes our entertainment (ie: church)? Or maybe He’s deeply into religious relics and collections? Or just maybe – He’s nowhere to be found in the system – but in something more meaningful – ‘the place where the air still moves’.

    • a simple “no” would have sufficed 😉

      i think you have very valid critiques, but they aren’t original. you’d be, for all intensive purposes, very mennonite and bretheren in your critique saying the church completely sold out to nationalistic interests at constantine and later during the reformation. i agree with that! although i can’t get behind much other teachings from the Brethern as they tend more literal/conservative on their use of scripture.

      however there is good mixed with the bad. and this system has been going on for 2,000 years, it’s gonna take a little while for two bloggers to turn it around or establish something new and closer to the Good News 😉

      as for “Well, I am sorry but (a) salvation to and from what – I see basically nothing but the opposite of salvation coming from Christianity and (b) the idea ‘it is all done’ means we have ‘no role to play’. ”

      have you no memory?! a. salvation from thinking that we’re alone. there is a community and God is with us! Immanuel Hallejuah! grace is free and we don’t have to worry about “getting to heaven” our new focus is to bring heaven to earth. we are implicated in the story of Christ and being part of the church because “faith without works is dead.”

      we’ve gone through 500 years of trying to find and systemize God through modernity. we’re getting over this… slowly. habits are hard to break and there will be resistent communities. we’re becoming fluid, we’re learning to follow the spirit and stand up for the poor, oppressed, and sick. we’re learning to get looser with our faith and more willing to serve others regardless of denomination or faith (or nonfaith for that matter).

      and where does it start? it already has with you, me, the canon, and the visitors here. and it will grow. it will be the mustard seed that the rest of “THE CHURCH” (whatever that is, you still haven’t defined it) wants to uproot and weed out.

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