Heretical Christianity vs. Authentic Christianity

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The first quote is from famous Christian reconstructionist Gary North, who is also known by the nickname “Scary Gary” North.  Scary Gary is the son-in-law of Rousas Rushdoony, the deceased founder of the Christian reconstructionism heresy that likes to masquerade as salt and light in this world.  Here is his quote:

We must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.

The second quote is from famous author Anne Rice, who is most known for writing popular novels about vampires.  She wrote the series of romantic books known as the Vampire Chronicles. Here is her quote:

My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.

Well, that about says it all.  Which one will win?  That is up to YOU.  Quit being silent and speak up for the heart of Jesus.  Hug someone today.  Feed a hungry person or help a hurting person today—and show them that you really do love them—by actions rather than just words alone.

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Scott Pruitt: A Deluded Earth Destroyer———for Jesus

Garden Care

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Thus when Genesis 1 speaks about human beings exercising dominion over the earth and its creatures, the language is drawn from the sphere of politics and the exercise of kingship as it ought to be. This ideal model for the relationship between humankind (man and woman) and the earth and its creatures is the king/people relationship. In passages where the same “have dominion” verb occurs, the emphasis is on gentleness and on an active program of caring that results in shalom. The first time humans [Adam and Eve] are mentioned in the Bible, God regards them as royalty (Genesis 1:26). The first word spoken to the royal couple charges them with responsibility for the care of the earth and its creatures, a caring that will lead to shalom (Genesis 1:28) [James Limburg 1991]

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The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:18)

In the Bible, God originally charged human beings with being the holy and sinless gardeners who would care for, nurture, and love the Planet Earth he created and called “good.”  As followers of Jesus, we must never forget that this Earth, a tiny blue and green paradise floating in the vast desert of outer space, belongs to God. This is his garden—not ours. If every man and woman on Planet Earth died tonight, this planet would still belong to God.  The environment of this planet sustains us with food, water, oxygen, and many other benefits that we need to stay alive—as God intended. Caring for the environment is not about saving the planet. It is all about saving and sustaining human, animal, and plant life for now and for future generations. God knew from the beginning that his garden Earth would need good-hearted caretakers. That is why he put us in charge of nurturing and caring for his garden called Earth.  We are and should continue to be his faithful and loving gardeners.

Many Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals do not understand our gardening assignment. They believe the word “dominion” in the Book of Genesis is a free license for human beings to take dictatorial hegemony over the earth and run a program of endless, mindless, uncaring exploitation of the Earth and its life-sustaining resources. In other words, God gave man a free license to rape the Earth into desolation rather than care for his garden so it can continue to sustain life from one generation to the next.

I want you to take a good, long look at the man in the following article. This man is an Earth rapist who is Hell bent on destroying God’s beautiful blue and green garden called Spaceship Earth. Worst of all, he is so spiritually blind and so deluded that he thinks his actions are somehow serving Jesus. Rape the Earth in the name of Jesus? Turn God’s precious garden it into a vile, unlivable sewer—in the name of Jesus? Give this article a close read:

Scott Pruitt Is Gutting the EPA Because He Thinks It’s God’s Plan

 

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A Short Video Essay for All of Us———and Especially Fundies and Their Trumpite Masters

 

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I Still Say and Honestly Believe…

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Last night was really hard for me folks—for several reasons—some of them personal that I would rather not go into here.  Although I am not an LGBTQ person myself, I do have extended family members—-who are.  These are family members I love and care for very much. I do not want them to live in a world where they are hated outcasts subject to discrimination and persecution. Therefore, it is sufficient for me to say only the following:

The only truly effective means to deal with the outrages of the Trumpites and the persecution of LGBTQ Americans is for every American citizen to identify the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical business owners who support Trump and LGBTQ discrimination in your community—all across America—and simply refuse to do business with them. Throw all of your corporate business and family business to their nonfundie-owned competitors in your city, town, or rural village. When you do so, be sure to tell the fundie business owners that their support for Trump and their favoritism toward LGBTQ discrimination and persecution are a matter of personal conscience for you, and for that reason, you are no longer going to do business with them.

Sometimes people just need a wake-up call.  That would be the perfect wake-up call—one these hard-hearted people would finally listen to and take seriously.

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the fundie cakeshops and other similar businesses that refuse service to LGBTQ Americans, YOU and YOUR personal conscience will be the last line of defense these people have against lives of incessant discrimination and persecution. That court ruling is coming in just a very few days or weeks. If it is a ruling that favors discrimination and persecution against LGBTQ Americans, the Trumpites and fundies will celebrate with great joy and feel that they finally hold within their hands an official government green light to publicly pursue such discrimination and persecution with a nasty vengeance.

Such discrimination and persecution will not be limited to LGBTQ people. As demonstrated repeatedly over the past two years, many of the Trumpites and their fundie allies are prejudiced against girls and women; African-Americans; Latinos; law-abiding American Muslims; and those people Jesus loved and called “the least of these” (poor people, sick people, hungry people, imprisoned people, etc.). They are even prejudiced against nonfundie Christians—who they regularly call apostates and condemn with their own words to the fires of Hell. God only knows how much they hate nonbelievers (atheists, agnostics, and “nones”) in the name of Jesus—all the while falsely claiming that they love both Jesus and them.

Follow the advice of Jesus.  Do not listen to the words of these fundies. Instead, watch what these fundies actually support and do with regard to LGBTQ people. I think you will see fruits of hatred rather than fruits of love, kindness, and compassion.

All you have to do is remember folks. Remember.  Remember. Always remember the famous poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller, a devout Protestant Christian who barely survived seven long years in a Nazi concentration camp before and during World War II. Its words are prominently displayed in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.  Those words are as follows:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

YOU, right there in your home or business, are the last line of defense many of the outcast people in this world are going to have as we go forward in time. Never forget that Jesus was an outcast in this world, too.  He knew what it feels like.  No one spoke up for him—and no one came to his aid.  We can all do better—much better. It is up to YOU and ME.

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Another Divorcing Evangelicalism Article by Peggy Wehmeyer (Part II)

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Famous former ABC News religion journalist Peggy Wehmeyer continues her deliberations about divorcing evangelicalism in this new article, which is essentially the Part II article in her journey for answers.  This time she attended a recent evangelical leader’s meeting held in Chicago to gather information and perspectives. You may read this new article in The Dallas Morning News by clicking on the following safe link:

Church Leaders Wonder if Evangelicals Can Recover from Their Identity Crisis

 

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A Criticism of the “Flee from Christian Fundamentalism” Blog

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Recently, on another blog that we visit with some frequency, the Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog was criticized for being too harsh on Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism. We were portrayed as a sledgehammer and were urged to lighten up—be more kind—be more gentle—and if we did that—-we would be more effective.

We stepped back from this criticism for a moment and looked at it closely as a whole. It spurred a mental picture that fully captured this comment and how the commenter was thinking. She obviously viewed us as an evil blacksmith. A huge steel anvil was present in front of us, and a 9-lb sledgehammer was in our right hand. We had Scotch-taped a naughty and annoying little church mouse—all cute and fluffy—to the anvil. In a few moments, we would lift the sledgehammer with our hands, pour all of our upper body strength into it, and slam it down with maximum force onto the poor little mouse. In other words, the mouse was indeed naughty, annoying, and plundering—doing all the bad things rodents do when let loose inside a building—but it did not deserve the sledgehammer treatment.

As we viewed the matter, we saw the key disconnect in this woman’s criticism of our blog. Militant Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism (seen as one overall entity like eggs and bacon) in the United States today is not just a naughty, annoying, and plundering little mouse. It is something different entirely. The adjectives cute and fluffy in our mental picture in no way apply to it.

Today militant Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are, in reality, dangerous monsters that falsely masquerade as authentic, orthodox, 1st century Christianity. The following creature captures what they are really like and what they do to numerous people in the long run. We think dealing with a dangerous creature like this requires a verbal sledgehammer:

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Peggy Wehmeyer Considers a Divorce from Evangelicalism

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Once upon a time, Ms. Peggy Wehmeyer was a famous religion correspondent for ABC News in New York City. The late Peter Jennings personally hired her to cover religious affairs for ABC News back in the 1980s. She is an excellent journalist, and I remember watching a number of her television reports on the ABC Evening News in those days. Today Peggy lives and works as a writer in Texas. During her time at ABC News, she was a devout conservative evangelical, and at the moment she still is. However, today she is seriously considering filing for a divorce from Fundieland. Her adult Christian children have already done so—and their lives and choices are a major factor in her current deliberations—along with a bit of angst about conservative evangelical support for that abomination of desolation that sits in the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.  In the Dallas Morning News, she has written an excellent new article on her deliberations about fleeing from conservative evangelicalism. I think you will enjoy her fun and easy-to-read article below.

If you are a pastor, deacon, elder, or member of a Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical church, this article by Ms. Wehmeyer will give you a brief look at what your future and the future of your fundie church looks like as you watch the backsides of your young adults walk out your church doors—and never come back again. Yes, we have seen your own horrid statistics. We have also read several of your articles containing all the bullshit reasons you have conjured up in your heads as to why your fundie youth are leaving and never coming back. It appears that many of you prefer to conjure up fantasies and invent your own facts out of thin air—rather than actually listening to your late teens and young adults when they tell you the precise real reasons why they are leaving and never coming back. And no—it is not always because they want to bathe in lurid sex and sin beyond the judgmental eyes of the fundie church.

Many are leaving—as this article by Peggy Wehmeyer plainly implies—because you are spiritually blind, your fundie church is spiritually blind, and your support for Donald J. Trump is even more spiritually blind. In short, you and your fundie church are not like the Jesus of the New Testament—and your youth—who have learned Holy scripture well in your Sunday school classes—plainly see it—and want out. Many of your youth are actually leaving you to find Jesus, emulate him in their own lives, and do his work in this world—not work as you would do it—but work that is important to Jesus—based on his Holy words and deeds in the New Testament.

You may read this important article by Peggy Wehmeyer.  Just click on the following safe link:

Is It Time to Divorce Fundieland?

Is it time for you to seek a divorce from Fundieland? If you are unhappy with your fundie church; you cannot see Jesus himself alive in it; you get verbally, physically, or sexually abused at your church; your church is thinking and behaving stupidly; or you feel that your fundie church only deepens your mental illness (e.g., clinical depression), then it may be time for you to file for divorce from your fundie church. That is a decision only you can make. Please just remember that you can divorce your fundie church without divorcing Jesus himself. They are not one and the same.

Many people divorce their fundie church to go find the Jesus of the New Testament for the first time. Why? It is because the view of Jesus they were taught in their fundie churches often turns out to be a false or highly distorted view of Jesus.

You can learn about the authentic Jesus of the New Testament—but it takes hard work to do it. Read all of his red-colored words in the New Testament. Apart from just his words, look closely at the things Jesus actually does in the New Testament—his behavior and actions. Watch for the word love throughout the New Testament—and take it seriously. Love Jesus. Love your fellow man and woman. Follow Jesus. Emulate Jesus. Have the mind and heart of Jesus in all that you do in life. Always remember and serve the poor people, hungry people, sick people, mentally ill people, lonely people, imprisoned people, and the other outcast people no one else wants. Jesus stands as one of them every day—so much so—that if you fail to help them—then you are failing to help Jesus himself—who was also an outcast in this world.

Take an objective, good, long, and deep look at how nonfundie denominations and churches understand Jesus and his mission on Earth. Dig in and do some in-depth research in Christian reference sources and books that were not written or compiled by Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.  You will not find such books in your local Christian bookstores because the vast majority of Christian bookstores in the United States are strictly fundie enterprises that are careful to stock books that contain only fundie content. Instead, we recommend that you talk about your research with pastors at nonfundie churches in your community. Ask them to suggest books to read and begin your research in their church libraries. A good place to start would be with your local Episcopal Church, a United Church of Christ (different from the fundie Church of Christ—look for the word “United”), or a United Methodist Church (UCM) that does not have a pastor with a fundie mindset. Unfortunately, a few United Methodist Churches are highly conservative and are run by pastors with a fundie mindset.  You can ask around in your community and quickly find out which UMCs to avoid.

And no, the Christian faith is not all about fat-bellied, pastel-suited fundie preachers wearing white shoes and bearing names like Floyd or Buford—all saving souls evangelistically under a sweaty revival tent or in Hell-melted pews on a Sunday morning. The Christian faith does include saving souls, but the Christian faith is far bigger than just soul-saving and that alone. With regard to Jesus and the Christian faith—if you have been listening only to your fundie preacher or you have not been reading your New Testament wholly and carefully—you have probably missed out on the authentic Jesus of the New Testament and the authentic Christian faith.

If you think the New Testament wants you to be a Republican voter and do some version of this cartoon with your life, you have really, really, really missed the whole point of the New Testament, the Christian faith,  and the mission of Jesus:

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