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Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

Where do I start?  Where do I start?  It’s difficult for me to determine where I should begin to explain all the things that I find horrifying about this video… 

Let me start here.  I’m not ashamed to say I’m a Christian either.  Let me say this first: Rick Perry does not speak for all Christians. 

Guess we’ll work chronologically.

“You don’t need to be in the Pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military”

First of all, everyone who is capable and has a desire to serve our country in the armed forces should be welcomed as they are.  Men, women, homosexuals, heterosexuals, Caucasion, African-American, Asian, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim, this is a country where all are welcome, and our military should reflect that.  There is no reason why people who are gay should be prohibited from serving in the military forces.  In the American Revolution or the Civil War, women dressed as men to try to serve their country, they had to hide who they were as well.  Now, women are valued members of the services, sometimes even being able to accomplish tasks that men are not, such as speaking with local women to gather information.  And really, gays being allowed to serve in the military, that’s really the worst thing you can think of that’s wrong with this country?  What about the fact that gay teens are feel forced to commit suicide because of excessive amounts of bullying because of their sexual orientation?  Don’t you think that’s much more concerning in what it says about America and our values?

“but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school”

First of all, I’m a devout Christian, I’ve grown up celebrating Christmas, and I know no one who has had to hide the fact that they celebrated Christmas.  In fact, I’m a Christian and I sometimes wish people didn’t so openly celebrate Christmas.  I also have attended both Christian and public school.  I have lived in both worlds.  I miss having prayers in class, I’ll admit it, they can be a nice way for people to come together.  But I was in a Christian school.  It has never crossed my mind that it would be appropriate in a public school.  Aside from the fact that not everyone’s Christian, not everyone’s religious.  There are Creaster people (people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter, or in Jewish equivalents, only on High Holidays) and then there are outright atheists and agnostics.  Having organized prayer in school just isn’t appropriate in public school, the place for that is home, church, (or your equivalent) and within a group of people who have agreed that they are comfortable with something like that.  Besides, I pray in school all the time, but it’s between me and God, and that’s something that no one can legislate away from me.  I don’t know why we think that it has to be in an organized setting to be real.  Whatever personal feelings are, we are a nation that does not institutionalize religion, and that means that in our public institutions, organized prayer does not have its place. 

“as President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion”

Okay, if you’re going to be making an ad that thousands of people are going to see, get your facts right.  Things you’re discussing, such as what is acceptable in terms of school prayer or in public Christmas displays, those decisions weren’t made by Obama, they were made by the supreme court.  There’s no war on religion, at least not from the government, that there’s a culture that’s turning more hostile to religion in general, I’ll give you that, but I don’t think government’s how you fix that.

“and I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage”

Okay, as any of you can see if from the title of this blog, much of what this blog is about is the mistaken belief among many in our country (a disproportionate amount of them being in politics) that religion and politics go hand in hand.  Conservative=Religious (i.e. Christian), Liberal=Secular (i.e. evil…just kidding, sort of).  Things aren’t this clear-cut.  I’m a liberal and I’m an evangelical Christian.  There are religious liberals, there are secular conservatives.  There are conservatives and liberals who are both religious but believe the first amendment means that we shouldn’t insitutionalize religion.  I don’t like it when liberal is used to mean secular.  I don’t like it when conservative is used to mean Christian.  Things are much more complex than this.

All in all, I was rather horrified by Rick Perry’s ad, even more horrified when the only real outcries I heard were on social networking sites and not by any in the media.  Religion isn’t an us-them thing, there are no teams.  I found Rick Perry’s ad concerning and more than that, I found it sad that he actually thought that the majority of Americans held the same views.

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It seems that everyone has a stack of “good” characters that they like to point to for support for their arguments.  Such as Glenn Beck’s frequent references to Martin Luther King during his “Restoring Honor” Rally…when Martin Luther King had communist sympathies…and we all know how Glenn Beck feels about communists.  Of course, the one most frequently taken seems to be Jesus.  No one can argue against Jesus of course, not even non-Christians, because what they disagree in theology, few people really want to bash the person who coined the Golden Rule, if for no other reason than it doesn’t make you look good.

A year ago, Herman Cain, the new favorite not-Mitt Romney of the month, wrote this article: http://www.redstate.com/thehermancain/2010/12/20/the-perfect-conservative/

It was entitled the Perfect Conservative, who is, as you can probably guess from the first paragraph, Jesus.

Main Point of Article: Jesus was a conservative.

“Evidence” of the Argument: “He helped the poor without one government program.  He healed the sick without a government health care system.  He [fed] the hungry without food stamps….For three years He was unemployed, and never collected an unemployment check.”

So, technically, much of what Herman Cain said was true (though frankly looking at it in a historical context, the broader point remains to be proved).  I also can’t refrain myself from pointing out a number of the liberal things that Jesus argued for, such as distribution of wealth, paying taxes, giving money to the poor, et cetera.  And I have no doubt that Jesus would have been accused of class warfare if he lived now.   But none of that is the point.

Jesus was not a politician, of any stripe.  He was a social activist, a rabbi, a carpenter, and many other names, but politician was never one of them.  Jesus had a message that transcended any small politics of one era.  One group cannot claim Jesus for his own.  If you believe in Jesus and his principles of love and treating one another well and you are a conservative Republican…good for you.  If you believe in Jesus and his principles of love and treating one another well and you are a liberal Democrat…good for you.  There is not a party that has the corner on Jesus.  Jesus would probably look with disappointment on politicians on both sides.  I don’t think Jesus is a liberal or a conservative, I think he went above those kind of labels and I think when one group tries to claim him solely as their own it is shameful.

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I remember sitting with my friend one day, looking at amazon book reviews and for some reason we were on Harry Potter.  To my surprise, multiple of the reviews were bashing the series for its inclusion of magic and “satanic symbols” and one even went so-far as to call J. K. Rowling a witch.  A percentage of people seem to think that the use of magic in a book, by filing it under the fantasy genre, that somehow it is now irreconcilable with Christianity, that the two are polar opposites that belong in two separate worlds and hold nothing in common.  However, I frankly think the opposite, that one can find in the Harry Potter books many Christian teachings and corner pieces of Christian theology and in Harry a modern Jesus figure.

 

In the final battle, Harry discovers that he must die because a piece of Lord Voldemort’s soul is attached to his own and therefore Voldemort can never be defeated without his own death.  Just like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Harry knows that even though he is afraid and wishes that there was a different route, he still knows that there is only one choice and one path for him to take.  He goes willingly to be killed, just as Jesus was willingly killed on the cross.  Also, just as Jesus then rises again, Harry also comes back from the dead after spending a brief period of time in a limbo state.  In this, having gone willingly to be killed and then to be resurrected in a way, he parallels Jesus.  However, the real clincher of Harry as a Jesus figure is when it is revealed that because Harry went willingly to die and because he went for the sake of everyone he was leaving behind, he has therefore left a protection over everyone in the castle and Voldemort can no longer hurt them, he has sacrificed his life for them.

 

Love and love’s strength are focal points of the series.  It is this quality and an appreciation of love’s value that Lord Voldemort lacks, and also that Harry has in abundance.  It is his love, and his continuation to love in the face of horrible trauma, that Dumbledore says marks him as a remarkable person.  It is also the love of one to sacrifice themselves for another (Harry
with his friends, or Lily for Harry), just as Jesus’ love caused him to sacrifice himself for us.  Death also plays a significant piece in the books.  Lord Voldemort’s fear and paranoia of death is what causes him to create the Horcruxes, the focal point of the last book.  Harry’s willingness to meet death stands in stark contrast. Questions about the afterlife are also raised in the form of the Resurrection Stone.  Themes such as souls, power, goodness, innocence, et cetera all work throughout the book.

 

 

Harry Potter is not a perfect Christian allegory, it likely (though only the author can confirm or deny) was not written with that intent.  But it does ask the same universal questions that Christianity, along with most major religions, ask.  It also has many of the Christian themes, such as love and sacrifice, woven within it.  The Christian story, of Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity, can be found within its pages.  While Harry Potter is certainly an enjoyable, well-written, and entertaining story, it also is a story with depth for those who want to look and it is also a story that parents can use as an example to their children of what Christianity is all about.

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Ahh…the momentous first blog post.  What shall I start with?  Perhaps with a statement of what this blog is about.  Somehow, over the years, the word “Christian” has become synonymous with the word “conservative”.  Christians are a diverse people, from every imaginable background and with a huge spectrum of beliefs and wildly differing views.  Somehow though, many people seem to now think they know who we are, simply because of the label Christian, or they think because of some other aspect of our life, (we support gay marriage *gasp* or believe in evolution *another gasp*) that we can’t be Christian.  Christian does not mean conservative, Christian does not mean prejudiced, Christian doesn’t mean biased, Christian doesn’t mean ill-informed.  Many of us who call ourselves Christian, are increasingly struggling with our faith and the role it plays in our lives.  Not only do we go through the struggles, which people of all faiths have gone through for centuries, of trying to reconcile our faith, our beliefs, and our religion’s teachings with the world we live in and how we live our lives, but increasingly, we are finding ourselves out of place in the world we are living in.  Some of us feel that we don’t belong in the evangelical camp because of our political or personal beliefs (or are tired of people making assumptions about our faith or our ideas based on the other).  And some of us feel that maybe we don’t quite fit in a fully secular world, where religion is now often seen as a fundamentalist force, where faith is now associated with bigotry.  So, to this end, there will now be this blog.  This blog might look at news articles and comment on them, it might talk about relevant books, it might reference personal experiences or observations about faith’s role in life in America in this era, it might talk about Bible passages and how they relate to our personal struggles, it might comment on political dialogue and how we can look at the issues through a Christian lens.  And I will say now, that as this is a blog, it will be my opinion on these matters.  This is not to say that it is the right view, or that other views are wrong, it is simply my own.  So cheers!
Here we go

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