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.



Seems I’m Emergent/Postmodern
July 26, 2007, 6:17 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Faith, God, Hell, Jesus, Religion, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized

I can’t remember which blog first tipped me off to this, but here are my results from the “What’s your theological worldview?” quiz at QuizFarm:

You scored as a Emergent/Postmodern

You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don’t think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.

Emergent/Postmodern
 
86%
Modern Liberal
 
82%
Classical Liberal
 
79%
Roman Catholic
 
36%
Neo orthodox
 
36%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
 
21%
Charismatic/Pentecostal
 
18%
Reformed Evangelical
 
7%
Fundamentalist
 
0%

What’s your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

I’m pretty cool with this, given the number of Brand Xians running around calling the Emergent Church heretical. Still, I hesitate to associate myself to closely with any single theological point of view.



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.



Take the Falwell Challenge
May 17, 2007, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Faith, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology, Uncategorized

I know that immediacy is one of the great things about blogging, so I apologize for taking so long to write about Jerry Falwell. In my defense, I will say that I hopped around the blogosphere a bit on Tuesday to make a few comments. I usually said one of two things: I mentioned that Falwell once called Bishop Tutu a fraud (don’t you love how supposedly forgiving Brand Xians are so quick to condemn one another); and I also quoted John Donne’s words “Any man’s death diminishes me….” At any rate, along the way I found this comment about Falwell from Brahnamin at TotalTransformationTest, and it reminded me of a challenge I would like to offer to Brand Xians. First, the comment:

i went to liberty university (briefly) in my youth. i listened to him speak many times, of course, but i only met him once. he offered to give my roommate and me a ride back from the mall.

he kinda thought we were skipping class (we weren’t) but he was really cool about it.

the thing he said that has always stuck with me was :: even if there were not resurrection, no heaven, nothing to look forward to beyond this life, i would still choose to be a christian because i like the lifestyle. i like the man it has made me.

(forgive the clumsy paraquote :: i only heard him say it once during my freshman year)

“…even if there were no resurrection, no heaven, nothing to look forward to beyond this life, i would still choose to be a christian….” That sort of sums up a challenge I’ve wanted to make. Only rather than choosing to be a Christian, one would choose to still following the teachings of Jesus. And as you know, I think there’s a pretty huge difference between the two. Liking the “lifestyle” Brand Xianity offers to a twenty-first century white male in the United States is, what?, roughly 2000 years away from the “lifestyle” following Jesus offered to first century Mediterranean peasants. That “lifestyle,” according to John Dominic Crossan in The Historical Jesus, has more to do with creating a “Kingdom of Nobodies.” Here’s a taste of what Crossan’s talking about:

He comes as yet unknown into a hamlet of Lower Galilee. He is watched by the cold, hard eyes of peasants living long enough at a subsistence level to know exactly where the line is drawn between poverty and destitution. He looks like a beggar yet his eyes lack the proper cringe, his voice the proper whine, his walk the proper shuffle. He speaks about the rule of God and they listen as much from curiosity as anything else. They know all about rule and power, about kingdom and empire, but they know it in terms of tax and debt, malnutrition and sickness, agrarian oppression and demonic possession. What, they really want to know, can this kingdom of God do for a lame child, a blind parent, a demented soul screaming its tortured isolation among the graves that mark the edges of the village?

My challenge, then, is simply this: Even if there were no resurrection, no heaven, nothing to look forward to beyond this life, would you still find the message of Jesus, Mary’s bastard son, so compelling that it would move you to want to help make the kingdom of God manifest here and now, not just for the rich and privileged, but for everyone, the nobodies, the poor and oppressed? Just asking.



The Atheist’s Nightmare
March 27, 2007, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Jesus, Religion, Theology, Uncategorized

I’m taking a break from posting about the Borg & Crossan book to share with you a new video site for Christians. It’s called GodTube.com, and it’s pretty, um, strange if you ask me. For example, they’ve got a video posted there (which I’ve embedded in my vodpod below) called “The Atheist’s Nightmare,” featuring Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. It’s supposed to convince folks about the existence of God based on the way a banana fits into a human hand, indicates when it’s ripe, is easy to peel, etc. Personally, I’m not convinced by the argument. What really gets me, though, is the tendency by some Brand Xians to think that an argument for the existence of God is necessarily an argument for the Christian concept of an almighty God, complete with the need to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and so forth.

I’m thinking mainly of Hugh Ross and his Reasons to Believe think tank. Ross is the evil genius (kidding) behind the “anthropic principle,” which says that the universe was finely tuned by a creator in order to produce: life, humanity, sin, and the need for Jesus to sacrifice his life for the rest of us. Makes total scientific sense, doesn’t it? You can read a summary of Ross’s argument in the press kit for Journey Toward Creation, a PBS-like “documentary” revealing the truth about creation. The best part, though, is the “Who Is the Creator?” interview at the end of the disc, where Ross evaluates “the truth claims of several religious holy books by comparing them with the scientific record.” Hindus, Muslims, Mormons, and Jews all lose. Guess who wins?