Are Evangelicals Inventing A New Sexual Christianity?

revisionist-history-slider

Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are famous for falsely contending that all their beliefs are original, traditional, orthodox Christianity.  They are equally famous for knowing very little in-depth information and data about the history of Christianity and its ancient cultural context, particularly the first few centuries of early Christianity after the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Paradox? You betcha!!!  If a fundie preacher or pew sitter knows so little about the history of Christianity and its ancient context, then how in the world can they know that what they believe is original, traditional, orthodox Christianity?  Very good question!!!

Christian scholars who study in-depth the history of Christianity and its ancient cultural context (and know it well) have just provided some scathing content that rakes Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals over red hot coals for creating a new “Christianity that is all about sex.”  This nouveau sexual Christianity, which claims to be traditional and orthodox, turns out to be diametrically opposed to the historically known sexual outlook and sexual worldview of Christians during the first few centuries of the Christian faith. That is laid out in a new article by Jack Jenkins. This new article is a MUST READ folks, and you can do that by clicking on the following safe link:

Are Evangelicals Inventing A New Kind of Christianity That Is All about Sex?

Photo Credit: Dr. Ted Baehr

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The Nashville Statement (A Plain Language Translation)

The Nashville Statement (A Plain Language Translation)

 by

John Pavlovitz

https://johnpavlovitz.com/

This week over 150 Evangelical pastors and Conservative Christian leaders released a joint manifesto on sexuality and marriage entitled the Nashville Statement. The Tennessee city’s name was attached to the document because the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission was holding its annual conference in Nashville—where the document was ratified.

The statement is steeped in churchy language and dusty religious-speak regarding marriage, creation, gender identity, and sexual orientation, which may be difficult for the average ear to decipher, especially if you were not raised to crack the code of such theological buzzwords.

Below is a Plain Language Translation so you can hear what is actually being said here beneath the sanctified verbiage:

Evangelical Christians are at the precipice of extinction—and we know it. We are a profoundly endangered species coming to grips with the urgency of the moment, of our impending disappearance, of the whole thing going sideways here in the Bible Belt—and we are in a bit of a panic.

We are leaking people from our churches, watching multitudes walk away in disgust, and losing market share in the religious landscape, as well as the vice-like stranglehold we’ve had on American politics for the past 241 years—and we are rightly terrified.

Yes, we made our bed with this President, which a few months ago seemed like a victory, but we now realize we are inextricably tethered to an absolute monster, and have no choice but to deny Jesus daily and double-down on him, lest we lose every ally. However, we forgot that people are not stupid, and they see the disconnect between the President and the Jesus we are trying to simultaneously claim allegiance to—and we desperately need a distraction to muddy the waters. We need an easy battle to regain the credibility we have forfeited as we have sold off our souls and built our personal empires.

We know that the only hope we have for regaining a foothold in the culture (as onion-skin thin as that hope is) is to stoke the passion fires of our remaining base, who are rapidly dwindling to include only those most susceptible to “fear of the other;” those who are most easily aroused by talk of other people’s bedrooms; and body parts; and marriages. We are preaching hard to what is left of our hateful choir.

And so right now, in the middle of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster in Texas, in one of the most divisive years in our nation’s history, in a time when we are terribly fractured—we have chosen to gather as Christian leaders:

(1) Not to condemn the White Supremacy and Racism our President has refused to,

(2) Or to decry this Administration’s ties to Russia,

(3) Or to state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter,

(4) Or to offer support for Muslim-Americans,

(5) Or to stand in solidarity with the tens of millions who may lose their ability to be cared for,

(6) Or to leverage our influence to rescue people under water in Houston.

No, we have chosen this moment to launch an unprovoked attack on an easy target.

We have chosen to perpetuate and sanction discrimination, violence, and bullying against an already marginalized community.

We have chosen to do damage and create conflict—in a time when the world is so starved for healing and so immersed in discord.

We have chosen to use our sacred text; not to bring comfort, or create unity, or engender hope—but to beat the Hell out of people who spend much of their days already walking through Hell because of the cruelty of our disciples.

We have chosen to wage cheap war on innocent and vulnerable people in order to feel mighty again.

We have done this because regardless of all our lip service about Love and Grace and Compassion—we really just like to pick fights that give us that intoxicating rush of Superiority and a small dose of the Control that we have grown addicted to. We really want to hold the kind of power that we have become accustomed to (and are rapidly losing).

And so we have once more trotted out every dangerous, science-denying stereotype; every tired religious platitude about Adam and Eve; “God’s design;” and “ordained differences between men and women”—because that is all we have left.

We have tossed out all but a handful of quite debatable verses from the expansive library of Scripture, and have once again chosen to go back to the well of injecting ourselves into someone else’s personal business one more time—in the hopes that maybe it will be like it was in the old days, when people did not realize how twisted we had gotten it and just how little of Jesus we were actually emulating—and believing this kind of harassment is redemptive.

We have made this “statement” because those still listening to our message are not interested in loving their neighbors as themselves, or caring for the least, or being the merciful Samaritan, or welcoming the outsider, or washing people’s feet (or any of that other annoying Jesus stuff). We just want an enemy to wage war with.

And so despite him never once condemning or criticizing anyone for their gender identity or sexual orientation in the totality of his life and ministry—we have put these words in his mouth and stood on a social media mountaintop and in our bully pulpits—and shouted them to the world in one last gasp for survival.

And we hope that no one sees just how terrified we are of our own extinction.

This is a dissenting opinion, from those of us without fear, who want to lead with Love.

(Note: Please scroll down to read our other fine article on the Nashville Statement, which is now becoming widely known as The Nashville Manifesto.)

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The Nashville Manifesto

Communist-Manifesto

These Two Guys Had a Manifesto Too—and Millions Died as a Result of It

The Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have shot themselves in the foot yet again and driven one more nail into the coffin of their two “isms.” Today the Scribes and Pharisees at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a fundie organization, issued an official written statement on human sexuality, homosexuality, and gender identity at a meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. The official title of this document is the Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality. Some people in the American news media are calling it The Nashville Manifesto. According to the newspaper USA Today, Reverend John Piper, the co-founder of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, called it, and we quote, “a Christian Manifesto on human sexuality.”  You may read this so-called manifesto by clicking on the following safe PDF file:

The Nashville Statement or The Nashville Manifesto

Here at the Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog, we shout back loud and clear to John Piper and his supporters that this pitiful new rag of theirs is not a “Christian Manifesto” at all. Piper’s quoted words above are a bold-faced lie for one very good reason—and he knows it. This is not a “Christian” statement on human sexuality because John Piper and his organization do not speak for or represent the whole of Christendom here in the United States or the whole of Christendom here on Planet Earth. Numerous sincere and devout Christian churches, Christian denominations, and Christian individuals here in the United States and around the world would object to many of the Articles 1 through 14 in this manifesto for various very good reasons. The baseline truth of the matter is simple. This is primarily a Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical manifesto on human sexuality and gender identity—and the fundies who support it are a minority in the overall American Christian community and a minority in the world Christian community.

We prefer to call their new rag The Fundie Manifesto on Human Sexuality and Gender Identity—leaving the city of Nashville out of the title. The Mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry, has already strenuously and publicly slammed this organization and its supporters for including the name of her city in the title of this two-bit fundie rag. Moreover, I was born in Nashville, a vibrant city that votes majority Democrat and Progressive in most elections, and I object to it too. In my opinion, this manifesto does not reflect the opinions or beliefs of most Nashville citizens, and I do not want the name of my wonderful hometown on this fundie rag.

What kind of manifesto is this—really?  In my honest opinion, whether its writers and signers intended it or not, this fundie manifesto will be used, ultimately one day, as the cornerstone for a nationwide program of hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and persecution against LGBTQ Americans. This storm is already gathering across our nation, and it is being led by Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical extremists who, in the midst of their hatred for LGBTQ people, are no better than the bigoted thugs who invaded Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in the recent death of American heroin Heather Heyer.

In writing this brief article for you, my fellow Americans and fellow nonfundie Christians, I would be remiss if I did not remind you who the targets of this fundie hatred and bigotry will be when the overt program of discrimination and persecution one day begins in earnest.  The targets will be your LGBTQ sons and daughters you love so much. The targets will be your LGBTQ moms and dads. The targets will be your LGBTQ uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and cousins. The targets will be your LGBTQ friends at school. The targets will be your LGBTQ neighbors who help you with the neighborhood vegetable garden. The targets will be your LGBTQ colleagues you discuss football with at the water cooler.  The targets will be your fellow LGBTQ Tennessee Volunteer alumni or Ohio State Buckeye alumni. The targets will be your favorite LGBTQ football, basketball, baseball, and tennis players. Yes, American businessmen, the targets will be your LGBTQ employees and customers. The targets will be your LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Christ. And yes, even if you are Christian and heterosexual, they may come after you too for just being a family member or friend of an LGBTQ person. The history on this last one is clear. When the fundies target an LGBTQ person for harassment inside one of their own churches—it is often the whole nuclear family of that person that is driven from the church for allowing an LGBTQ person to live lovingly, safely, and supportedly within the family home.

Be watchful dear brothers and sisters in Christ and prepare to resist the fat-bellied, iced-tea-guzzling, fried-chicken-gulping forces of darkness clothed as Angels of Light. Once it gets started, bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and persecution are relentless—and if followed far—they ultimately lead to torture, concentration camps, human extermination, and other crimes against humanity. Human history is our reliable witness to this time-after-time, and the Spanish Inquisition proved that Christians can be the creators of such atrocities. Put political power, hatred, and bigotry into the hands of nutjob pastors and religious fanatics, and it will be even worse. When I see people who claim to be Christians writing a manifesto aimed at the denigration of LGBTQ Americans, I have to wonder if the off-the-cuff 20th century prophecy, often attributed (rightly or wrongly) to American writer Sinclair Lewis, might be true:

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the American flag and carrying the cross of Jesus.

Make no mistake. Manifestos often become the centerpieces of dictatorial political and social movements. Go ask Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao-Tse-Tung, and Kim Il-Sung. They built their movements around a manifesto, and guess how many people died as a direct result of their manifesto?  The going estimate is 100,000,000 people.

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Gimme Just One Good Reason Why I Should Flee from Christian Fundamentalism

Lip Service to Jesus

Okay.  I will give you that reason. It comes from an on-line friend of mine who is also one of my favorite Christian writers. Her name is April Kelsey, and she operates one of the best Christian blogs on planet Earth. It is the Revolutionary Faith//Taking back Christianity blog. April was raised from earliest childhood in a well-known Christian fundamentalist/pentecostal denomination called The Assemblies of God. Many of you are probably familiar with it, especially if you live in the American South.

April is a mature Christian in the best Biblical sense of that term. Her knowledge of the Bible is highly detailed and just plain outstanding. She is a well-educated person with undergraduate and graduate college degrees. She has lived several decades, experienced much of real life, and struggled with many things in life, including family-based child abuse that many of you might not have survived with your sanity intact. Just a few years ago, she abandoned the Christian fundamentalism she had held to for nearly her whole life. You may read about why she abandoned Christian fundamentalism by clicking on the following safe link:

Why I Abandoned Fundamentalism

Many people who leave Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are so angry at these particular religious systems that they turn to atheism, agnosticism, or noneism—which (for those with talent) can be an opportunity for high drama. How? Just look:

I’m not just leaving fundamentalism Pastor Farley!!!  I could go join a Lutheran or United Methodist Church tomorrow.  But that is not good enough for you, you conceited, arrogant, lie-filled old windbag!!!  I have decided to convert to atheism. My last prayer to God on this Earth as a fundie Christian was an imprecatory prayer—blaming you personally for turning me into an atheist.  The scriptures say that whatsoever a Christian binds here on Earth will be bound in Heaven.  I bound you for eternal destruction in Hell for what you did to me!!!  Now get out of my way you vile, mean-spirited old coot. The atheism begins forever tomorrow, and it is all your fault—and your God knows it too.

A 180-degree turn like this dramatically underscores the leaving for their tormentors, and it stabs two rusty ice picks deep into the eyeballs of the fundie pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, church members, and deceived parents who taught their children packs of lies, brainwashed them, terrorized them, and otherwise abused them from earliest childhood—all in the name of Jesus.

Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical brainwashing from birth leave terribly deep and abiding scars. People who leave Fundieland and claim to be free of it are often still tightly in its grip on an unconscious level 50 years after their departure. You would be surprised at how many Christian fundamentalists turned atheist will stand on a soap box and argue vociferously that Christian fundamentalism is the one, only, and “true” Christianity that has ever existed on Earth—just to make it clear that they left behind “true” Christianity rather than all those “fake” Christianities out there.

I would submit here, and I think April Kelsey would agree with me to a large extent, that most of the people raised in Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches have never really experienced the authentic Jesus Christ, his love, and his grace. Rather, they have been the life-long victims of a purely American, man-made, plastic-pink-flamingo faith that has been abusing people and masquerading as authentic historical Christianity for only about the past 100 years. Therefore, the best reason to flee Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism is not to leave Jesus behind in an angry cloud of dust—but rather—to go out on your own for the first time in your life and find the authentic Jesus, the full measure of his grace, and the deepness of his love—in eight words—a faith not dominated by fear and abuse.  Jesus himself has a promise for those who do:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

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Our Public Denunciation of American Alt-Right Hate Groups, Their Supporters, and Their Followers

Tick on Uncle Sam

The Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog is taking this opportunity to do what every American public and private organization,  corporation, politician, and individual should do. This blog hereby officially and publicly denounces all American Alt-Right Hate Groups and those Americans who side with them, support them, and participate in their hate-based activities. This includes all the hate groups on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) list of hate groups, including those organizations on the SPLC list that claim to be Christian.

This blog has not in the past, does not now, and never will support these hate groups, their leaders, their followers, or any of their hateful activities. In addition, this blog is determined to speak out against and resist these groups through peaceful and nonviolent means, bearing in mind that the pen really is mightier than the sword in a free country.

Our basis for denouncing and resisting these hate groups, their leaders, and their followers is a simple one in The Holy Bible.  In our honest opinion, these hate groups, their hateful philosophies, their hateful speech, and their hateful activities grossly violate the words of Jesus, which are as follows:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

In addition, this blog hereby invokes its First Amendment right of free speech to denounce President Donald J. Trump and those political members of his White House staff who give aid and comfort to the so-called Alt-Right by acts of commission and/or omission.  This blog similarly denounces all the Republican Party, Democratic Party, and Independent members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate who stand by stone cold and silent with regard to this President and these members of his staff.  Shame on all of you Congressmen, Congresswomen, and U.S. Senators!!!  You are a disgrace to the United States of America and to your Oath of Office.

The same goes for all you Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and members of the Religious Right who sympathize with such hate groups, believe in the same evil things they do, and refuse to speak out publicly against them. By doing so, you have shown before the eyes of God and man that your true color is the black of spiritual darkness.

Photo Credit:  Hartford Courant

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“There is No Color Line at the Cross of Jesus.”

Turner-Sermon

I have just learned about the white nationalism demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the violence that has erupted between a mob of two-bit racist thugs and the decent human beings who were counter protesting against them. It made me think of a brave but little-known Christian man who once encountered the same violence at the hands of similar two-bit racist thugs in his own small community. His name was Reverend Paul Turner, and he was the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Clinton, Tennessee, in 1956. Few people remember Reverend Turner today, but I would like to begin changing that with this blog post.

Please watch the two video items (below) about Reverend Turner for purposes of historical context. One is a brief film clip.  The other is the complete story of The Clinton 12. Both videos contain an excerpt from his one famous sermon, which was filmed by CBS News. CBS failed to capture it in these two videos, but the sermon contains these 10 important words: “There is no color line at the cross of Jesus.” During the mid-1950s, it  was nearly unheard of for a white pastor to utter such words to a white congregation in the American South. Moreover, these words were uttered at the very center of one of the first and worst racial hurricanes in American history—the desegregation of public schools in Clinton, Tennessee.  Click on the following safe links for the video clips and an article about Reverend Turner:

The Beating of Reverend Paul Turner

The Brave and Tragic Trail of Reverend Turner

The Complete Story of the Clinton 12

As a nation, right now today, wherever you are sitting, wherever people are standing in Charlottesville, and wherever a black football player is taking a knee, we need to begin taking the words of Reverend Turner seriously. If there is no color line at the cross of Jesus, why should we have color lines anywhere else on this Earth?  In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said: “Thy Kingdom Come.  Thy will be done. On Earth as it is in Heaven.”  Jesus makes it plain in his own words.  The Kingdom of Heaven begins here on Earth folks—right now—with you and me. If the Kingdom of Heaven allows no color lines at the cross of Jesus, it surely allows them nowhere else on this Earth. We need to understand that and act just as wisely and bravely as Reverend Turner did in his time and place. Racism has no place in this country, and we must oppose it vigorously so the minds of our people are no longer poisoned by racial hatred and violence.

Paul Turner

Reverend Turner (Second from Right) Escorting African-American Children

from Their Homes to Clinton High School

Reverend Turner was reluctantly drawn into standing up for the civil rights of 12 African-American high school students—but once he was in—he was all-in. He stayed the course in his mind and heart. Staying the course was hard for this kind and gentle—but very brave—man.  For the rest of his life, he received various kinds of push back from white Christians about what he did in Clinton, Tennessee, even in places as far away as Connecticut and California. The stand he made ultimately ended in tragedy for him. However, I hope that he did not die in vain. We all need to remember Reverend Turner and his courage in our time and place in American history.  He was one of the first and great men of the American Civil Rights Movement, and ultimately a true Christian martyr in it, and he should be remembered that way in our American history books and in the minds of all Americans.

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News Flash: God Personally Approves Trump War on North Korea

EXTRA!!!  EXTRA!!!  READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!  CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING SAFE LINK:

Trump Has God’s Permission to Wage War on North Korea

After this revelation, you have to ask the question:

“Are Trump’s many close Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical advisors feeding him the message that God wants him to wage a nuclear war against North Korea?”

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