Hearty Heresy

Another Group of Heretics I Like
October 29, 2007, 3:01 pm
Filed under: Christianity, God, Hell, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology, Uncategorized

Every once in awhile I stumble upon a group of Christians who do a wonderful job of articulating what I would call the true Gospel of Jesus. One such group is The Center for Progressive Christianity, which offers “an approach to Christianity that is inclusive, innovative, and informed.” What do they mean by that? Well, here are their 8 points, which they say are designed “to present an inviting expression of a particular approach to the practice of Christianity.”

By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who…

  1. have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus.
  2. recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.
  3. understand the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus’ name to be a representation of an ancient vision of God’s feast for all peoples.
  4. invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to):
    *believers and agnostics,
    * conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
    * women and men,
    * those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
    * those of all races and cultures,
    * those of all classes and abilities,
    * those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope;
    * without imposing on them the necessity of becoming like us.
  5. know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe.
  6. find more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions than in the answers.
  7. form ourselves into communities dedicated to equipping one another for the work we feel called to do: striving for peace and justice among all people, protecting and restoring the integrity of all God’s creation, and bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers.
  8. recognize that being followers of Jesus is costly, and entails selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege.

I’m not sure if there’s an expression of Christianity that I could find that would be any more in sync with what I believe about Jesus. I am sure that these 8 points would probably be considered heretical by Brand Xians and condemn these folks to eternal torment. Too bad.


Who’s Preaching the Real Gospel?
October 26, 2007, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Faith, God, Jesus, Religion

When I started this blog last February, I said that one of the things I wanted to do was keep tabs on “rock star” ministers–those pastors who go out of their way to project a up-to-date, contemporary (dare I say “worldly”) image to the world in hopes of attracting secular folks to their mega-churches or church plants so they can hear the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Christ: “Acknowledge that you’re a hopeless sinner and that God deliberately killed is darling little boy so you won’t have to suffer eternal torment. If you don’t accept Jesus, well, you suffer eternal torment. Oh, and God loves you sooooooo much!” So the only minister I’ve named so far is Perry Noble, who’s started a “no hell” campaign at his church. He doesn’t want anyone to go to hell, so for Christ’s sake, please accept the crummy deal God is offering! But the current issue of Sojourners magazine has an article that’s got me thinking about another blogging pastor and the way he presents the Gospel and how it just doesn’t seem to fit with the message I hear from Jesus.

First, the article. It’s called “What Would Jesus Buy?” and it’s by noted scholar Walter Brueggemann. It’s about “Rev. Billy” and his Stop Shopping campaign. (You can read a printer friendly version here.) Rev. Billy (who’s not a real clergyperson) stages “shopping interventions” at corporate havens like Starbucks and McDonalds and Disney stores. His point is pretty simple: we should be seeking “the god that is not a product.” I don’t know about you, but this sounds close to what I perceive to be Jesus’ main theme–you don’t have to pay anyone for salvation because God is always already within you.

Contrast Ben Arment, blogging pastor of Reston Community Church in Virginia. Read a few of his posts where he salivates over the features of his new iPhone. Linger on the passages where he sings the praises of the nearest Starbucks. And reflect on this post where he mulls over the possibilities of the iTunes Wi-Fi store being accessible at Starbucks. Then ask your self, “What the heck does this have to do with Jesus?”

Forget John 3:16, It’s John-117 Now
October 7, 2007, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Jesus, Peace, Religion, Spirituality

I have to admit that I’m thoroughly disgusted at the notion that evangelical “Christian” churches are using Halo 3 as a recuiting tool. At least that’s what the New York Times is reporting. That’s right, rather than trying to reach youth with their already twisted interpretation of the teachings of Jesus, they’ve decided to lure unsuspecting teenagers into their congregations by offering massive Halo 3 shootouts! Whoo-hoo!

I guess the question is now “Who would Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 obliterate?” instead of “What would Jesus do?” But hey, as one Brand Xian pastor put it, ““We want to make it hard for teenagers to go to hell.” Well if that’s they case, why don’t they just take the advice of James Tonkowich, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, who said “If you want to connect with young teenage boys and drag them into church, free alcohol and pornographic movies would do it.”

All of this just shows how hypocritical Brand Xians are when it comes to following the actual teachings of Jesus. So much for the Prince of Peace, eh?

Those Damn Unitarians
October 3, 2007, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God, Hell, Heresy, Religion, Spirituality, Unitarian Universalists

The Unitarian Universalists are starting an new ad campaign to increase awareness of their religion (I know, any Bible-believing Brand Xian worth his salt would call them a “cult”). To go along with the ads that will be appearing in TIME magazine, they’ve come up with a 10 minute video that explains who they are. Biggest bunch of heretics I’ve every seen!