Hearty Heresy


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?

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Jesus and the Early Christian Movement Practiced Non-Violence
July 19, 2007, 1:46 am
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, Heresy, Jesus, Peace, Religion

Sort of a no brainer, isn’t it? But I’m beginning to think that the peace and non-violence perspective in this day and age is the most heretical one a person can take. Actually, it may have been the most heretical point of view one could have taken in the first century as well–which is why Jesus is my favorite heretic of all time. I’m thinking of this peace business right now because: 1.) this whole Iraq mess is turning out to be more horrible than anyone could have ever imagined (especially in terms of innocent loss of life), and 2.) the whole “In God We Trust” license plate thing I wrote about the other day. (BTW, it turns out that Minnesota has enacted tough new anti-specialty plate legislation, so it would cost around $30,000 to get a “peace” plate proposal looked at by the legislature; oh, well…one can always get bumper stickers printed up.)

So in that post, I mentioned the Every Church a Peace Church movement. I took a closer look at their site, and SURPRISE! My favorite biblical scholars and theologians endorse the concept. Here are a few quotes:

One of the most certain results of historical scholarship is that Jesus and the early Christian movement of the first three centuries practiced non-violence. One of the most encouraging developments in our time is that an increasing number of Christians are willing to take seriously the non-violent stance of Jesus and early Christianity. Marcus Borg

I have learned from a lifetime of research, first, that the historical Jesus would have worn a T-shirt with WWJD on the front and WHAT WOULD JUSTICE DEMAND on the back; second, that peace is the necessary result of justice, of structural, systemic, distributive justice in a world that belongs to God and not to us; third, that peace without justice is the quiet of the desert or the grave; and fourth, that non-violence is never enough since non-violent RESISTANCE to evil, injustice, and violence was the way of Jesus, the incarnation of God. John Dominic Crossan

With the exception of the historic peace churches, the churches of America have never repudiated violence or domination. Every Church A Peace Church is a prophetic attempt to bend the churches toward the spirit of Jesus and say ‘Yes’ to a vocation of peacemaking. Walter Wink

If Borg, Crossan, and Wink are in favor of it, you know I’m going to take it seriously. It doesn’t hurt to be married to a Mennonite, either. I guess it’s fair to say that I’ve come around to seeing the practice of non-violence resistance as the ultimate heresy. It threatens everything those with political, economic, and religious power believe in–that God rewards some and punishes others; that one’s income level and accumulated wealth are indications of God’s blessing (Prayer of Jabez, anyone?); that poverty is a sign of moral bankruptcy; and that the “righteous” are well within their God-given rights to use violence in order to maintain the domination system that favors those in power. How anyone can arrive at these conclusions and claim to follow Jesus is beyond me. But that’s exactly what Brand Xians do. Ugh!



In God We Trust, So I Don’t Need Any Insurance
July 15, 2007, 1:15 am
Filed under: Faith, God, Jesus, Peace, Religion

Mrs. Heretic, Hearty, Jr. and I are visiting the Hoosier state, our ancestral homeland. (I’ve heard it said that home is where your people are buried–both Mrs. Heretic’s mother and my father are interred in Elkhart County, so it pretty much qualifies as home for us). At any rate, we noticed that there were a TON of these new license plates on the cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks here:
In God We Trust
This seemed a little odd to us since it’s not the regular Indiana plate and since we didn’t see any of these plates around when we were home for Christmas. How could a specialty plate become so popular in just about six months? Well, we found out that while the plates are indeed specialty plates, they’re free, unlike all of the other specialty plates. What’s more, if you want a new plate rather than a renewal tab for your car, you have to get the “In God We Trust” design. They’re also coming out with a free “Support Our Troops” plate. To be honest, I’m a little disgusted with both plates because they’re free. I mean my current Blue state of residence has had a “Support Our Troops” plate for years, and it costs you money, and the “contribution is split between the Department of Military Affairs for financial support of military families and the Department of Veteran Affairs for grant programs for homeless and needy veterans.” Makes the Indiana plate look like cheap grace to me.

But the real reason I’m writing about this here is because I’ve been thinking that what we need more of in this world–and especially in this country–are reminders of peace. And I’ve been thinking about trying to get a “Peace” specialty place in Minnesota. Like all respectable specialty plates, you’d have to pay more for it, and the money would go to a worthy cause. I’m not quite sure how to proceed, but I’ve been searching the web for months looking for a precedent, and I’ve finally found one. The state of Virgina (once Red, now looking Bluer every day) has started to offer this plate:
Peace
Part of the money collected for this plate goes to the Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution. Wonderful, eh? So I’ve got a couple of questions for you: 1.) Where would be a good place for Peace plate contributions to go? and 2.) Which plate do you think Jesus would choose? And by the way, if you’ve never heard of Every Church a Peace Church, check them out!