Category Archives: Unfinished Sentences

The Bible: Utterly Ridiculous…a response

What follows is a comment I left on www.shauninthecity.com. It’s a blog written by Shaun King, the lead pastor of The Couragous Church in Atlanta. I follow Shaun on twitter and have found his “tweets” to be a bit brash, reactionary and unrefined…I guess that’s why I like his stuff whether I agree with him or not. Please check out his blog and consider following him on twitter; many of us need to be provoked out of our complacency. Shaun delivers.

Here’s a trackback to Shaun’s blog entry that prompted my response. What follows below is my response:

http://www.shauninthecity.com/2009/07/the-bible-is-an-utterly-ridiculous-book.html

====================================================

A “bit surprised” at his “fundamental misunderstanding of the Bible?” Really? A “bit surprised?” You didn’t actually expect him to have approached a study of the Bible without bias, did you? Bill Maher is an entertainer not a journalist, historian, scientist or anything else with even a modicum of impartiality. His purpose is to generate revenue for himself, the network, executive producers, production company and sponsors. Understanding that today’s culture responds to controversy, inciting knee-jerk reactions and being offensive then would be “ridiculous” to expect Mr. Maher to be anything except “inciteful” as opposed to “insightful.” Truth and objectivity are not a remote part of his equation.

Having said that, I will agree that Mr. Maher does provide valuable insight into the views those David Kinnaman describes as “outsiders” in his book “unChristian.” I value Mr. Maher’s opinion and am often discouraged at his accurate impression of modern American Christianity.

As for the use of the word “ridiculous”, I have to agree that, yes, the Bible is utterly ridiculous. Scripture says so itself in I Cor. 1:25. God’s love for us is absolutely “laughable, utterly absurd, etc.” And the love we have for even those that ridicule us should be absolutely ridiculous, beyond explanation to the point of confounding them.

Christians Protest Dante’s Inferno! (not really)

view_320200_1_12440635471

I laugh hardest when comedy stretches reality just one or two millimeters beyond itself. Do you remember the Saturday Night Live commercials that were only one small step outside of realism? Sometimes you couldn’t tell if they were real or not.

Or, how about the best Seinfeld routines? Was the second spitter really any more plausible than Oliver Stone’s JFK? How many of us know, or are, close talkers?

My particular favorites are when people take my personality quirks and just barely stretch them through imitation. Through tears of laughter I ask, “Do I really do that?” The answer from family and friends is inevitably “yes!” It’s a chance for me to see myself through someone else’s eyes. It’s a rare, and sometimes uncomfortable, gift.

Recently, those of us that call ourselves Christian were given this rare gift. The creative PR folks at Electronic Arts gave us a rare chance to look at ourselves. Using a viral marketing technique they staged a mock protest of their new game “Dante’s Inferno.” You can read about it here: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6211829.html?part=rss&tag=gs_all_games&subj=6211829 It was such a good “production” that it fooled The Los Angeles Times for a while http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/06/e3-protesters-target-dantes-inferno-game.html. The viral marketing also included a faux website.

The upstart to it all is that it didn’t real stretch reality all that much. Protesters marched in front of E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center with “trade in your playstation for a praystation” posters and handed out tracts that read “a video game hero does not have the authority to save and damn… ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE and he will not judge the sinners who play this game kindly.”

Compared to some of the posters seen at the memorials to US service men these are rather tame. Granted, those are extremes, but did the actors employed by EA really carry slogans any different than the bumper stickers some of us put on our cars.

As a consultant that seeks to help churches understand and relate to the culture of their times (like the Sons of Issachar) I have spent years striving, in vain, to truly see Christians and their churches through “outsiders'” eyes. As I approach my thirtieth “spiritual” birthday it becomes extremely difficult to “remember my chains.”

Finally, thanks to the unsuspecting modern day prophets at EA I have just a glimpse of myself through the eyes of someone else. I’m not laughing. Do I understand why those “outside” Christianity find it funny? Absolutely. Do I blame them for finding it funny and entertaining? Absolutley not! I would find it hysterical if I were them. And I hold no malice or contempt for anybody that chuckles, giggles, guffaws or ends up ROFLOL. In fact, I choose to laugh with them.

But, for those of us that are “in the family”…well, it should break our hearts. It should break our hearts that they’re right. Their perspective is true and accurate. We really do behave exactly as they have portrayed us. Maybe not us personally, but that really doesn’t matter. As a group we really are more “against” than we are “for.” We really are more against homosexuality than we are for the homosexual; more against abortion than for the pregnant teen; more against pornography than for setting sex slaves free; more against a particular political view than for finding common ground to solve society’s problems.

And, true to form some Christians missed the opportunity to take a look at themselves and instead decided to take offense. Christian commentators and bloggers came out attacking EA and the mock protest. But, there is some encouraging news: many of the usual suspects in the “against” crowd haven’t stirred the pot. Maybe, just maybe, we’re starting to abandon our failing “against” strategy.

I propose that we replace it with a new “for God, for people” approach. In keeping with the whole internet/texting/tweetshrink groove I suggest it be the IALMFGATPHLTIAATSPDTIDLS (I’m A Lot More For God And The People He Loves Than I Am Against The Stuff People Do That I Don’t Like Strategy). OK, so I’m not as clever as the PR people at EA.

Hey, wait! Isn’t the IALMFGATPHLTIAATSPDTIDLS just the Greatest Commandment? Love God…love people.

Anyway, who’s with me?

Sometimes Words Just Don’t Say Enough

I’d like to welcome guest blogger today. This is Tyler Satcher. His blog today was originally an answer in my “Unfinished Sentences” series; “I see God as…” Tyler’s struggle to put into words the way he sees God may be the most intelligent thing ever said on this blog…

===================

“I appreciate wat ken said “so deep we cant comprehend in our humaness.” That alludes to what Im thinking right now, an image of looking at something thru a wrapping paper tube or something of the sort. All of our statements ab “i see God as…” are like that, limited by our minds and our existence in time. I felt it necessary to qualify my following statement in such a way b/c i could not help but feel that when i say what i see God as, its simply not enough. Its like trying to reduce the irreducible into a simple word, emotion or idea. Or like defining something with a creation of the very thing u are defiining. (I am not infering that God created love in the way we would think about creation. I will never make such an inference, especially since I do not think we could really understand God’s love until heaven) God is certainly love, but its more than that… he defines love you know? And obviously we don’t worship love itself.. it certainly reveals the inadequacy of our language.”

====================

Well said…or not said…oh, I don’t know. Thanks, Tyler.

I see God as…

These are the results for “I see God as…” There is one more from Tyler Satcher who will be our guest blogger on Monday.

Dan Rubel…love. Pure and simple.

Elaine Jones Brock…my wonderful heavenly Father whose arms are always open to me…!

Michael Young…the master musician.

Melissa Johnson…gentle, loving, Father ๐Ÿ™‚

Ken Chapman…love, so deep we cannot comprehend in our humaness.

Darren Mudge…friend, master, comforter, healer, Lord, life, faith, grace, hope, power, purity, mercy, love, breath, bread, water of life, my all in all.

@mamaonmission…FOR ME! (as opposed to against me) ๐Ÿ™‚

The thing that fascinates me most in God’s creation is…

Larry W. Johnson…that he lets me be part of it anyway…

Susan Bates…how everything fits together to make one beautiful masterpiece full of an array of color and sound created with each of us in mind.

Emma Lou Savage…the AMAZING variety of flowers, birds, fish, and animals … just for US!

Darren Mudge…seeing God in His creation.

Heather Bassett Kidney…an ultrasound of a baby.

Chris Paetz…the beauty of His creation in the mountains!!!