Encrusted lantern of Grace

Let’s say that Christ is “The Light” of God’s unconditional Grace; and Christians are the lanterns.

And anything beyond Christ’s direct teachings is extrapolation. We know about extrapolation: the farther away you get from the source, the thinner the connection to the core truth.  (This is different from refinement of understanding.)

Imagine now years and years — thousands — of extrapolation. We can see them like geographical layers of history in the earth’s surface; or layers of colored wax that accumulates with each dip of the wick into a vat of molten wax.

Imagine now the rings of extrapolated crust or colored wax around a lantern. How much light do we actually expect to get through?

Today’s christianists and dominionists are not Christian. They have straightened the path, paved it with gold, and lined it with nice fruit trees and water wells. They shelter it so that no rocks, rifts, or bumps occur that would cause them to stumble as they skip through life worrying about how well other people are skipping on the road of their making and without considering the path at all.

Some aren’t even skipping. They’re standing in the middle of this road, content that as long as they’re on something shiny, they at least have a seat at the location where it supposedly leads.

But both types of gold-pathers consider holiness to be in the encrustment and just the right type of skipping. They fancy the effort they make to polish the road or even to pave it or plant the fruit trees as merit, as layers of holiness by which they will be recognized when arriving at their supposed destination.

They have confused the journey and what they (would) find on a path to righteousness with their paving toils and protecting the path from debris — temptations and the ungodliness of others. Their “job” isn’t really a relationship with a divine being, but rather it is with a path they think this being will approve of.

They are Pharisees in the truest sense of the word.


Cartoon reasoning

Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, running for governor:

There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. And yet it’s been an accepted concept in our culture today. Nowhere does it say, ‘Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.’ It doesn’t say that anywhere. The example I think of is Noah. How old was Noah when he built the Ark? 600. He wasn’t like, cashing Social Security checks. He wasn’t hanging out; he was working. So, I think we have an obligation to work. The role we have in work may change over time, but the concept of retirement is not biblical.

The “word” retirement never made it into the bible, but a translation of a Hebrew word (yakach, Isaiah 1:18) did get rendered as reason, and I don’t see any attempt to live up to that concept!

Several things wrong with Gianforte’s way of “reasoning”:

  • If we assume that Noah was 600 yo when he built the ark as fact, that is an “is” statement. Gianforte transfers that to an “obligation,” which is a “should” statement. That is a fallacy called “the Naturalistic Fallacy,” where in the middle of an argument, you change an ‘is’ to a ‘should’.
  • Noah supposedly lived to be 950 years old. Let’s say that 1000 years old is the top and let’s say 100 years old is the top today. He was 600 years old when he built the ark, which would make him, by our standards, 60 years old. He was not retirement age.
  • Finally, he makes the statement « There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. »
    This type of fundamentalist thinking gets to argue that what is in the Bible is instruction and what isn’t in the Bible is also instruction. The Bible also has nothing to say about lunch breaks and vacations or maternity leave. It says nothing about who gets to drive a car or what rules of the road we should have. The argument of non-existence because it wasn’t mentioned assumes that the Bible is exhaustive in what one needs to know and do; and what isn’t mentioned is therefore prohibited.

What Gianforte is doing is a farce of reasoning. It barely rises to “thinking.” It’s a form of arrogance: attributing unto himself an understanding and skill he does not actually possess. And if he does, this is not an example of either.

This would be comical if it didn’t have the capability of adversely affecting the lives of so many people.  It’s like watching a satire cartoon that exaggerates religious idiocy, except that it’s real.  I can only image that the One God allows this to happen (that idiots speak for Him without correction) because, if we don’t question what we’re hearing, we get what we deserve.

For another example of this type of reasoning, except about the Bible specifying limited government, read this post.

Farewell Ernie

ernieThe wind left my body down to the cell, and my soul froze to solid, seizing my being until waves of saltwater brought me back ’round to pain essence deep.

In the vibrant greens around me, I see only gray hue. In the blueness of the sky, I feel small. The immensitude of things around me feels emptier, with less substance than before. Or maybe they have just become “things,” for their soul has left.

I feel barely encapsulated within my skin that even the faintest thought of you rends.  Then I think of Rich, and I imagine my sorrow multiplied by his years together with Ernie and the time remaining of his life — what must he feel.  Deeper, vaster, most complete.

If it weren’t for the depth of blessing in loving, I would wish it away. If it weren’t for the color it brings, I would turn it off. I see the future, and it has super-nova pain in it…and it has opportunities for concentrated blessing. Might as well make the future an atomic event and hope for vaporization.

Farewell Ernie. My sincerest wish is that the relief you sought is worth having traded in life & love for it.


Le vent a quitté chaque cellule de mon corps, et mon âme s’est pétrifiée, saisissant mon être jusqu’à ce que des vagues d’eau salée me ramènent aux douleurs profondes de mon essence même.

Dans la verdure vibrante qui m’entoure, je ne vois que du gris. Dans le bleu du ciel, je me sens minuscule. L’immensité des choses autour de moi me semble quelconque, dégageant moins de substance qu’auparavant. Ou peut-être sont-elles devenues des «choses» inanimées, car leur âmes les ont quittées.

Je me sens si peu reliée à ma peau que la moindre pensée de toi la déchire. Puis je pense à Rich. Si ma peine est immense, la sienne doit être encore plus grande, le temps passé ensemble ne faisant que la multiplier, plus profondément, de manière plus vaste, plus complète.

Si ce n’était pas pour la profondeur de la bénédiction de ton amour je l’aurai survolée. Si ce n’était pas pour toutes les couleurs que tu m’as apporté, j’aurai tout oublié. Je vois un futur de désespoir mais avec des opportunités de bénédictions concentrées. Il se pourrait que ce futur soit un évènement de grande ampleur avec l’espoir d’oublier cette peine.

Adieu Ernie. Mon souhait le plus sincère est que ce soulagement recherché vaille la peine d’être échangé par ta vie et ton amour de celle-ci.

(Translated by Tomfried)

Cancer & Children = no God?

Addictinginfo.org (which I only look at for interesting topics to pursue elsewhere because it’s not a news site, but a opinion-vomit site) posts a video with Stephen Fry’s answer to a question about what he would say to God if he met Him at the pearly gates.  Fry’s answer was sophomoric and, thus, disappointing; and the Facebook comments that followed were mostly typical, uncritical talking points.

Here is my contribution to that thread:

I think that there is as much evidence for a god as there is for any other stuff postulated and theorized by scientists. But that was not Fry’s point, as much as I think it not a worthy answer coming from such an intellect.

The fact of there being insects and cancer that strike children is not evidence that the creator is either crazy or maniacal. The problem is that we humans are part of the nature of this planet and we have manufactured a magical barrier based on what we fancy is our specialness in the creator’s eyes.

In Genesis, it speaks of being created in god’s image (which originally was neither male nor female), so right there, we attribute unto ourselves a status over nature. Then there is taking “dominion” over all the earth, and right there is the manufactured, delusional barrier, the schism between us and nature. It’s BS, and for a god to encourage this or not discourage or not course-correct does not characterize a god worth following.

Where I have a problem with the creator is that It (leaving out the gender identity) allows us to presume knowledge of It, Its will, etc.; and our characterization of it without correction or guidance to me is malpractice or negligence. You can’t say you’re an all-loving god and then sanction and command genocide, infanticide, and all the other -cides rife in the bible. That’s where the crazy and maniacal comes in. If you read & accept all the bible, you have to come away thinking that this Being is schizophrenic, bipolar, and self-absorbed.
Continue reading

The plank in the eye is blinding

I find it sadly “funny” that extremists don’t see themselves as extreme, whether Muslim, Christian, or political.

From Erick Erickson, the “most powerful conservative” in the country as deemed by Fox News — here is what passes for logic by this Tea Party Patriot:

A publisher published something that offended. It mocked, it offended, and it showed the fallacy of a religion. It angered.

So the terrorists decided they needed to publicly destroy and ruin the publisher in a way that would not only make that destruction a public spectacle, but do it so spectacularly that others would think twice before publishing or saying anything similar.

The terrorist wants to sow fear. The destruction of an individual is not just meant to be a tool of vengeance, but a tool of instruction. It shows others what will happen to them if they dare do the same. It is generates self-regulating peer pressure. Others, fearing the fall out, will being to self-police and self-regulate. They will silence others on behalf of the terrorists. Out of fear, they will drive the ideas from the public square and society will make them off limits.

It is not because the ideas are bad, but because the ideas offend a group that can destroy and tear down.

So when a publisher published something that mocked and offended a group prone to offense at such things, something had to happen.

The terrorists did what had to be done to publicly destroy and ruin the offender.

So they demanded the Mayor of Atlanta fire the Chief of the Fire Department for daring to write that his first duty was to “glory God” and that any sex outside of heterosexual marriage was a sin.

And the terrorists won in Atlanta.

Notice, he sets a powerful stage provided by the tragedy in Paris; he raises a specter of extremism and imposition of extreme views on a society. Then he points to a religious zealot in a public job trying to create what the Fire Chief believes is a righteous atmosphere and equates that to the monstrous picture he just painted.

This is type juxtaposition is done by demagogues to make connections as though they were comparable similarities, no matter how thin. It’s the fallacy of False Comparison. It illustrates perfectly how low is intellectual bar. Critical thinking be damned — it’s for the “elite,” or at least people who don’t want to be conned.

This political leader is the same intellectual powerhouse that tweeted

Given how many people are raped in college, I’m amazed the President wants to send more people there.

Granted, he characterized this as a “joke” and told people who were shocked to “get over it.”

When a glass is jostled, whatever it is full of splashes out. This “leader” has no filter (or splash guard, as it were). And to dismiss a comment as a “joke” when really it supports a characterization he wants to make of someone (Obama), it’s insidiously funny. Insidious being the operative word here.



God didn’t make them JUST male and female

I read a couple of articles dealing with the transgender kid who committed suicide because her parents, although loving her “unconditionally,” rejected a great deal about her on religious grounds. That rejection manifested itself on so many cruel levels, including “God doesn’t make mistakes…God’s going to send you straight to hell.”

Some thoughts:

1. God “made them [standard] male and [standard] female.” Makes it sound like there’s an absolute dichotomy, always. Generally speaking, it’s true. But speaking specifically, it’s NOT true. We are a puddle of chemicals where our development and outcome rely on what substances are released at what time in what (utero) environment.

The reality is there is a considerable spectrum of “intersex” physical configurations, which can manifest as gender dysphoria. Continue reading

Whom do we know by what fruit?

One of the things that used to bother me about the Christian God is the silence He maintains at being so egregiously represented, the way Allah is by Daesh (the word ISIS hates to refer to them). The silence leads the stupid and the self-righteous to arrogate a false legitimacy unto themselves, as though silence implies consent or approval.

That false legitimacy is powerful in its venom on themselves and those around them, such as what the “end times” perspective has on the evangelical world view (re: Michele Bachmann), what young-earth position does to warp scientific legitimacy, and what Genesis’ “take dominion” has done to separate man from nature. They try so hard to mold society in an image they think He will approve of (or not punish them for) as though they can’t take the chance that when Christ returns, He really won’t be able to establish The Kingdom on earth as He claimed. They must do it instead.

Then I thought: wait a minute! Ya know, maybe the Creator’s reputation is not threatened by horrific misrepresentations by humans. We really aren’t as important to His self-esteem as we’d like to think He should be! His glory is not a reflection of our success or failure to be like Him. After all, entire nations have been destroyed in the name of Christ; treasures stolen; people murdered and subjugated; lies and false witness institutionalized; hate and bigotry propagated; knowledge perverted and stymied.

Do we really think that all that was His will — the Creator’s likeness? Really? Why didn’t He course-correct?

Or maybe He didn’t have to. There is the unspeakable alternative: maybe He IS represented by these things and He doesn’t care what those who aren’t like that think! Do we know them … or HIM … by their fruit?