Hearty Heresy

Slow Heresy Day
June 29, 2007, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve never been a big fan of tagging other bloggers, but POD tagged me with the following, and since it’s summertime and the living is easy, I figured, “What the hell!” Here are the rules:

  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight random facts: 1.) I don’t want an iPhone; 2.) my cat’s name is Chloe; 3.) I’m from Indiana; 4.) I have three (count ’em, three) masters degrees (which I’m beginning to think shows just how stoopid I am); 5.) the vast majority of Hoosiers who have any sort of higher education tend to leave the state, and I’m no exception; 6.) Mrs. Heretic and I met online; 7.) We’re both from the same county in Indiana; 8.) I’m pleased as can be that the New York Times has reported that a majority of young people these days are liberal and believe that their vote counts.

I put that last fact in because rather than tagging other heretical bloggers, I thought I’d pick eight right wing bloggers (and Right Wing News made that very easy…they’ve got a section on their website called “Rotating Blogroll”). My victims are: Newsbeat 1 (beat me, Newsbeat), Villainous Company (sounds good to me!), timchapmanblog.com (you’re Tracy’s brother, right?), Junk Yard Blog (that is a fine name for a blog, sir), Betsy’s Page (not to be confused with Bettie Paige), The Anchoress (get thee to a nunnery!), QandO (huh?), and Danny Carlton (who the frak is Jack Lewis, Danny?). For all my conservative brethren and cistern, I’d like to leave you with one more random fact: I was raised a Republican and I’m living proof that it’s curable. God bless.


Jesus’ Mission Statement Redux
June 28, 2007, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Bible, Buddhism, Christianity, God, Jesus, Religion, Theology

Way back in February I blogged on a passage in Luke that a friend of mine referred to as Jesus’ Mission Statement. Well that passage (when Jesus quotes Isaiah in the synagogue at the beginning of his ministry) came immediately to mind when I read this in The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, by Matthew Fox:

In this dwelling of Perfect Wisdom…you shall become a savior of the helpless, a defender of the defenseless…a light to the blind, and you shall guide to the path those who have lost it, and you shall become a support to those who are without support.

Sounds awfully close to Jesus quoting Isaiah in Luke to me. The above quote is about the Buddhist counterpart to Sophia, or cosmic wisdom. And it reinforces something that I’ve been mulling over for sometime–that the Buddha nature and the Christ nature are, indeed, one in the same. And that Jesus of Nazareth claimed no more for himself than Siddhartha Gautama claimed: that the spirit of the Eternal was upon them, that they had found a way to access the cosmic wisdom that lies at the core of all being, and that justice and compassion were the key elements of the way.

I’ve often felt that the only kind of Christianity I could profess would have to look a lot more like Buddhism, with Jesus as an enlightened being whose teachings point the way to wholeness, both for the individual and for all of creation. This connection between the passage in Isaiah and the Buddhist figure of wisdom (the “Mother of all Buddhas”) definitely moves me in that direction.

Visit the Fred and Wilma Flintstone Memorial Museum
June 26, 2007, 5:46 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, Hell, Heresy, Jesus, Religion

There’s a post from another blog that I’ve wanted to share for a couple of weeks now, and since it seems that I’m currently unable to come up with even a single original thought, now’s the time. I’m especially happy to have a ready-made post title available, courtesy of Red State Rabble, who points us to BlueGrassRoots‘ dead-on guided tour of the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum. If it weren’t so scary, I’d say it was hi-fraking-larious. These are the same people I blogged about a while back, the ones whose logic runs like this:

Creation Guy: Hey, kids, just because the word “dinosaur” isn’t in the Bible doesn’t mean that dinosaurs didn’t exist in biblical times. I mean, there are lots of words that weren’t invented when the Bible was written, like “computer,” right?

Brainwashing Victims: Right!

Creation Guy: But you believe that computers exist, don’t you?

Brainwashing Victims: Yes!

Creation Guy: In fact, Jesus had a BlackBerry so God the Father could communicate with him. That’s why he was always going off alone into the desert and stuff. God was texting him.

But I jest. Would make a good song, though, wouldn’t it? “Jesus Had a BlackBerry.” Everybody now!

Jesus had a BlackBerry

Tucked underneath his robe

So God could tell him what to say

And by-pass his frontal lobe

“Just tell ’em you’re my own dear Son

Destined for the Cross

And if they don’t believe you

We’ll show ’em who’s the Boss

Yes, we’ll fry ’em in a fiery pit

And show ’em who’s the Boss!”

I think I missed my calling. I should be writing words for praise songs! Hallelujah!

A New Definition of Brand Xianity
June 18, 2007, 6:19 am
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, Heresy, Religion, Theology

I found the following quote in Matthew Fox’s The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. Once again, a much more competent theologian makes clear something that I’ve been able to only hint at: “What has been passing for Christianity during these nineteen centuries is merely a beginning, full of weakness and mistakes, not a full-grown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus.” Albert Schweitzer said it. And it really sums up my gripe with Brand Xianity, or Christian orthodoxy in the west. The creeds that are generally considered to be orthodox (the Nicene Creed, the Chalcedonian Creed, the Apostles’ Creed and the Athanasian Creed) have little to do with the actually spirit and teachings of Jesus. At best, they are “merely a beginning.” I’m happy to see that some Christians are giving up on the need for a creed–I heard Doug Padgitt from Solomon’s Porch speak a month or so ago, and it sounds like his kind of Christianity leaves a lot of room for individuals to develop as Christians at their own pace, in their own way. But I’m disheartened when I read blog after blog by Brand Xian pastors preaching the same old tired message (to be read with a whiny sarcastic inner voice): humanity’s sinful, God’s got a plan, Jesus suffered for your sins, hell is real and those who don’t believe are going to fry, on and on and on and on. None of this sounds close to the spirit of the living Jesus that still manages to shine through the mixed up muddle of the gospels. I’m seeking that “full-grown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus.” Really, I am. And it has nothing to do with orthodoxy.

From the Historical Jesus to the Cosmic Christ
June 14, 2007, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion, Theology

Just wanted to catch you up on what I’ve been reading lately. I’ve just finished Frend’s The Rise of Christianity, which I was reading along with Crossan’s The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (Frend’s book had four sections and Crossan’s had three, so I alternated between them: a little confusing, but I really felt immersed in the centuries leading up to, and following, Jesus’ time on earth). I have to report that I found nothing in either book make me believe that Jesus was nothing more than one of those rare individuals who are both theological geniuses and spiritual exemplars (like Buddha, Gandhi, etc.). Which is why I thought I’d take on Matthew Fox’s The Coming of the Cosmic Christ as my next reading project. Once again, there’s nothing that I’ve read so far that would lead me to believe that Jesus was anything more than a human being. Of course, having faith that Jesus was the Christ (or an incarnation of the Christ-nature) is another story, and I’m sure I’ll get into that later. I’m glad I’m reading Fox for a lot of reasons. I’ve read Original Blessing a couple of times in the past, and I pretty much agree with his approach to religion and spirituality. But reading Cosmic Christ has been a real blessing because Fox helped to clarify something that’s been bugging me: the use of the phrase “the people of God.” Here’s what he has to say:

When we incorporate a Cosmic Christ into our theology an interesting question arises for ecclesiology: Is the definition of Church as “people of God” too anthropocentric? The authors we have been reading–and the hymns sung by the earliest Christian believers–celebrate Christ within the cosmos, and persons “in Christ” and the Church as a microcosm of Christ within the cosmos. To omit this trivializes our concept of Church and invites institutional sins and divisions that have haunted the Church for centuries. Arrogance abounds when the cosmos is left out or appropriated unconsciously to oneself or one’s institutions. Humans, as individuals and as communities, are more likely to celebrate diversity and to be creative if they live within a cosmos rather than limited human assemblies upon which they strive to invoke the grace of God.

See what happens when you’re got a Masters Degrees in both philosophy and theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology and a Ph.D. in spirituality, summa cum laude, from the Institut Catholique de Paris! You can be very articulate about extremely complex subjects. I think Fox really gets to the root of my discomfort here, and he says it better than I possibly could.

Surprise! I’m a Pelagian….
June 7, 2007, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology

That’s really not a surprise, I guess. When I finished the “Are You a Heretic” quiz, I was given a tie-breaker question, something like “Which is most true: 1.) We have not inherited original sin from Adam; or 2.) The Holy Spirit is the presence of God the Father.” Of course I chose the first since I think that the doctrine of Original Sin is the absolutely worst thing that happened to Christianity and totally undermines the authentic teachings of Jesus. So here’s the result:

You are a Pelagian. You reject ideas about man’s fallen human nature and believe that as a result we are able to fully obey God. You are the first Briton to contribute significantly to Christian thought, but you’re still excommunicated in 417.

If I would have chose the second option as number one, I would have been declared a Monarchian:

You are a Monarchian. You seek to retain monotheistic belief but in doing so abandon the idea of a triune God. God exists as the Father only, though he can reveal himself in other ways in a manner similar to modalism. Jesus is a man who is adopted into the Godhead and given divine status. Jehovah’s Witnesses still hold to this belief.

Not, quite what I believe, but either way, I’m far from orthodox, which suits me fine. I also scored with these heresies: Socinianism, Nestorianism, Apollanarian. Here are my complete results:

Chalcedon compliant

Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

The important thing is that I’m 0% Chalcedon compliant. I told you I was a heretic!

Are You a Heretic? Take the Quiz!
June 5, 2007, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God, Hell, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology

Finally, a way to tell whether or not you’re 100% orthodox (and therefore ready to join God, Jesus, and the rest of the gang–Jerry Falwell, Pat Roberston, James Dobson, and that lady with a mess of blond hair at TBN–in eternal bliss) or a just a little bit of a heretic (which means you’ll be spending eternity burning in hell with me…if you bring the marshmallows, I’ll bring the Hershey’s chocolate bars and graham crackers). Thanks to Dagurreotype for pointing out this fantastic quiz from QuizFarm.com. I’m so excited about it, in fact, that I’m posting this before I’ve taken it myself. So…take the quiz and let me know how you did. I’ll post my results soon.