Monday, October 25, 2010

What I Believe (part 17)

I believe that it is impossible to call yourself a follower of Jesus and to support war, violence, and militarism.

People have a hard time with this. I don't. I don't support the death penalty. I don't support war of any kind (particularly the ones we/the US are/is involved in now). And I wish my 50% of my tax dollars didn't go to support the military. My reasoning for this? A mix of my theological perspective and common sense. But, if I only look at things from the perspective of being a follower of Jesus, there's no way I see anyone being able to justify supporting any of the 3 things listed above.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What I Believe (part 16)

I believe that a life not invested in one's community is a life that is lived too small.

People who don't have good social networks (and I'm not talking about Facebook--that's not real), who don't actively participate in civic opportunities, who aren't engaged in community activities, who don't do stuff in their own neighborhoods... these people lead small lives.

Things that shouldn't matter much become big issues for people who don't have big issues to deal with. Life is meant to be lived. We are meant to make this world better--even if its in small ways. Everyone has something to offer the world and the community in which they reside.

Go. Live. Be. Move. Breathe. Take risks. Be crazy. Be spontaneous. Eat. Drink. Laugh. Love. Get involved. (Is this becoming a motivational poster? I'll stop.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What I Believe (part 15)

I believe that the lottery does what the church has not: offered hope for something better.

I could probably write a novel on this. I could probably rant all day on how we've all failed as Christians. I could probably get so depressed I'd contemplate suicide. I could probably get so angry that I'd say a lot of things I don't mean. But I won't. I'll just say that I believe the church's job is to provide people with a hope for something better and a way of getting there. So when the church fails to do that, people look other places for that hope. People (in America anyway) are finding new hope in things like consumerism, anti-depressants, fast food, and the lottery.

"Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better." -Walter Brueggemann, Prophetic Imagination (HT: Ben Kickert)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I like this guy...

He's no Ryan Adams musically, but he's got some great things to say:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What I Believe (part 14)

I believe that the existence of a highly evolved race on another planet could explain everything.


I'm not saying that aliens exist. I'm not saying that their existence answers all of our questions. I'm just saying that if there are aliens out there, and if they are highly evolved, then they could be the answer to all of life's big questions. What if they had been here to earth in the past? What if they had seeded life on the planet? What if they didn't seed life here, but they interacted with us in the past in ways that convinced us they were God/gods? What if all writings of faith regarding a God or gods were actually talking about aliens who had visited here and interacted with us?

What if?

Like I said, I'm not submitting this as a rational response to all of life's big questions. I'm just saying that if we, at some point, make contact with aliens, it could change everything about what we know. Honestly, I think this is the only thing that could derail my belief in God. But I don't see such an event happening.

To be honest, the one and only Michael Meece spurred on these thoughts. He should write a blog solely on this topic. But he's avoiding the vanity that I so readily accept by blogging often. Anyway... just wanted to give him credit.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What I Believe (part 13)

I believe that we are all born with a clean slate.

In other words: I don't believe in original sin (ie, that humans are born fallen/sinful/predisposed to evil/etc.) I feel like most of the teachings on original sin come from a narrow view of two sections of the New Testament (Romans 5 and 1st Corinthians 15). Then too, most American Christians adhere to the doctrinal teachings of Calvin, Luther or Wesley--all of whom claim that man is inherently sinful (though in slightly different ways). I just don't see it as being a Biblical concept. I see it as another major issue within Christianity that more people look to Augustine for answers rather than to Jesus.

(If you'd like some specifics, I'm not a Pelagianist. But I think the Augustinian view on original sin borders on Manichaeism. "Adam and Eve" may have wrecked the human environment, but I don't think they passed on sinfulness simply by procreating.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What I Believe (part 12)

I believe that God does not exist is the same way the we humans exist. For instance, God is not alive in the same sense that we are alive (mainly because our existence depends on a brain, heart, blood, and oxygen all working together internally in our bodies).

I think I would make two main subpoints with this statement: 1, God is other/unique. This is why God is called "holy," because God's existence is set apart from our own; 2, God is not a "he." God is also not a "she." Then too, God is not an "it." God just doesn't have a gender. Its not offensive to use any gender terms when discussing God, in my eyes. Sometimes its best to refer to God as "she" to make a point/statement.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Too funny...

I thought this was hilarious. Can you imagine how long it would have taken Bush's writers to come up with a joke like that? I'm glad Obama has brains and charisma.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What I Believe (part 11)

I believe that "eternal conscious torment in hell" has more to do with Plato and Dante than it does with anything found in the Bible.

Am I saying that I don't believe in a place called "hell" where people who choose not to "accept Jesus into their hearts" are tormented in fire for ever and ever and ever?

Yes. I am saying that I don't believe the Bible teaches anything like that.

Is that clear enough?

What I Believe (intermission)

I believe in Cheesus.