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Commentary :: Politics
The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
09 Nov 2004
Bible Study for the Left: How political leftists can use the language of the bible to persuade their fellow citizens of a progressive agenda and resources for understanding that religious language.

Well, after having had to quit my job teaching theology for the Archdiocese of Boston because I couldn't stand 1. not knowing when the funding for my school was going to end due to the Archdiocese having to pay lawsuit settlements for priests who raped kids 2. wondering when I was going to get fired for teaching my kids that homosexuality was not a sin and neither was birth control or abortion, I've finally got another excellent use for my Master of Divinity degree: helping the progressive, liberal political movement understand the other half of the country.

Stay with me here. I'm bewildered. There are plenty of folks in North Carolina, Kansas, Idaho, and Alabama, among other places, who just don't understand me, nor I them. To them, I am just an arrogant, elitist, intellectual, heathen, liberal northerner with no moral compass and no faith in Jesus. To me, they are just ignorant morons who follow an intolerant, stupid religion. I don't know where any of this so called "national healing" is going to come from because you know what, I do have trouble lately thinking of those deep red-staters in kinder terms. But - being the one with the elitist, intellectual brains in this strained relationship of a country, it's up to me to make the first move. So, I've got to stop calling names, understand my neighbor, and find some way to talk to them in small words sprinkled with terms they like, such as God, Jesus, good, bad, morality, etc., and get them to realize electing folk like W is hurting both of us.
The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour

Well, after having had to quit my job teaching theology for the Archdiocese of Boston because I couldn't stand 1. not knowing when the funding for my school was going to end due to the Archdiocese having to pay lawsuit settlements for priests who raped kids 2. wondering when I was going to get fired for teaching my kids that homosexuality was not a sin and neither was birth control or abortion, I've finally got another excellent use for my Master of Divinity degree: helping the progressive, liberal political movement understand the other half of the country.

Stay with me here. I'm bewildered. There are plenty of folks in North Carolina, Kansas, Idaho, and Alabama, among other places, who just don't understand me, nor I them. To them, I am just an arrogant, elitist, intellectual, heathen, liberal northerner with no moral compass and no faith in Jesus. To me, they are just ignorant morons who follow an intolerant, stupid religion. I don't know where any of this so called "national healing" is going to come from because you know what, I do have trouble lately thinking of those deep red-staters in kinder terms. But - being the one with the elitist, intellectual brains in this strained relationship of a country, it's up to me to make the first move. So, I've got to stop calling names, understand my neighbor, and find some way to talk to them in small words sprinkled with terms they like, such as God, Jesus, good, bad, morality, etc., and get them to realize electing folk like W is hurting both of us.

First up, getting to understand my neighbors (I knew that Divinity degree would come in handy).

It's time to go back to the book shelf and re-read Karen Armstrong's work, especially, "The Battle for God," which is about the rise of modern fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We need to understand fundamentalism because that's what we're dealing with here and it's no laughing matter (the consequences of what happens if we lose the battle for God are laid out starkly in Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale).

Next, we need to know our Bible. Yes, we do. Time to go to bible study all you liberals out there. There's a lot of powerful good stuff in the bible about social justice and peace and love. There is absolutely no need to let the good book be co-opted by the gay-bashing, misogynistic right-wing. I highly recommend "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time" by Marcus Borg. Borg takes a look at the Bible as a historical literary document, tracing its composition, interpretation, and sociological and theological impact. He writes for the non-theologian and does a remarkable job. Get yourself a bible and a copy of Borg and you'll be ready to counter any biblical literalist’s claims with the calm and knowledge of a biblical scholar.

WWJD? Well, Jesus would know about Jesus, and you'd better, too. Again, I'd recommend Marcus Borg for an excellent and accessible look at the main figure of Christianity from a liberal believer's viewpoint. It's a slim volume called, "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time." Yeah, Borg isn't real creative on titles, but he's one of the country's leading liberal religious scholars. If our fundamentalist friends are going to have Super Jesus, we'd better know the real scoop.

I'd also recommend a brief introduction to the history and politics of the New Testament and the development of early Christianity (so you know that say, the Madonna and Child imagery is rip-off from the Egyptian Isis religion’s iconography of Isis lactens, the image of Isis loving her followers so much she suckles them at the breast). Two good sources here: PBS's Frontline Website “From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians” at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/ and historian Thomas Cahill's "Desire of the Everlasting Hills."

That should do ya for an introductory reading list on "know your neighbor". Notice I didn't say "know your enemy" - aha - you're catching on! The reality is that the Jesus presented in the gospels and the ideal of social justice presented by the Jewish prophets give plenty of ammunition for supporting the progressive agenda as well as the right-wing agenda, but we've got to be fluent with the language. Jesus hung out with the wretched refuse of his day, our equivalent of the homeless, the addict, and the HIV-infected, not with Halliburton oil magnates. The prophet Amos reports that God says, “I hate your festivals and ceremonies. I want to see none of them while you sell the poor for a pair of sandals and swindle the widow out of change for grain.” Even U2's Bono used the idea of the Sabbatical Year, a year of forgiving debts and releasing slaves, to try and reduce third world debt at the millennium. There's a language and themes in the world view of the opposition that we can use to get across our values, principles and goals as political liberals, but first we need to learn to speak the language or they won't know what we're saying.

Can I get witness?

Amen, y'all.

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The Liberal phony Hour
09 Nov 2004
"I am just an arrogant, elitist, intellectual, heathen, liberal northerner with no moral compass and no faith in Jesus." Amen you got that right!

"To me, they are just ignorant morons who follow an intolerant, stupid religion. " Mmm how open minded of you! No wonder your not teaching theology anymore!

"the Madonna and Child imagery is rip-off from the Egyptian Isis religion’s iconography of Isis lactens"

Naturaly Mary probably used baby formula two thousand years ago! How dare she breast feed her child!!!


"Bible Study for the Left: How political leftists can use the language of the bible to persuade their fellow citizens of a progressive agenda and resources for understanding that religious language." Nothing like using religion to manipulate and fool people, Hay were suppose to be against that!

"The reality is that the Jesus presented in the gospels and the ideal of social justice presented by the Jewish prophets give plenty of ammunition for supporting the progressive agenda" So Jeasus is now giving you ammunition in your mind, what a peaceful thought, NOT!
Anarchist Bible Study
09 Nov 2004
Yes, I want to liberate the Bible from the hands of capitalist pharisees. Living Christianity is living radicalism (note I didn't say "liberal" .. the "liberal" Christians, I think, tend to miss the point about as often as "conservative" ones)
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
09 Nov 2004
I am one of the ignorant morons from Idaho, I pay taxes,mind my own business, do not attend any church. I have gay co-workers, freinds and neighbors who do not support gay marriage, and yes they are democrats. This is not just about bible beating right wingers.Even we have brains.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
09 Nov 2004
I am one of those who you cannot understand, but who you insult. You are the problem. Take a look at the "blue" counties versus the red counties. For example, we in the red have much lower crime than you blues. We don't have the welfare handouts and the racial problems that you blues have. Yes, I have very close black and mexican friends who are repbulican. Maybe we see what you libs have done to the blue counties and don't want it to happen to us.
Please support Hillary. I want to see 12 years of GOP.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
09 Nov 2004
P.S. Sorry, I'm at work and have to write when I can. But alas it is true, even knuckle draggers in Idaho can log on to the internet. It may be of interest to you that Idaho was the first state to elect a practicing Jew to the Governors Office, or that in 1867 the territorial legislature passed a statutemaking Idaho a community property state? Or that in 1972 Idaho became the first state to ratify the Equal Rights Ammendment?
It sounds to me that if anyone disagrees with your OPINION, ie gay rights etc. they are ignorant, stupid, or just outright worthless.That is not a valid argument, and it just shows that you lack facts therefore must try to marginalize anyone who disagrees with you. And that makes you look weak. We have a history filled with many traditions, when you disrepect those who have practiced and lived by these traditions don't expect a ticker tap parade. Respectfully Jaxson
Just the (Biblical) Facts
10 Nov 2004
DONNA BRITT, WASHINGTON POST - The Bible mentions poverty more than 2,000 times. The good book refers to homosexuality fewer than a dozen times, often obliquely. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality; same-gender sex didn't even make God's TOP TEN list of no-nos. Adultery and premarital sex, also biblically frowned-upon, abound.

So much for the "moral right."
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
10 Nov 2004
While I agree that the Bible holds many great ideas and can be used to help people, I would add that some of us feel that we have been hurt by religion so much that the idea of using the Bible to guide our beliefs doesn't make sense. I would also agree that I am finding it hard to think of those in the red states in a good light. I have a good quote, form the Bible no less, that I like. We fight not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities and corps that rule the darkness of this world.
I doubt
10 Nov 2004
I doubt that Tony Lorenzen is on our side. If he was indeed a teacher of theology, haters of the Church need only wait a few years for it to implode -- probably under a deluge of fire and brimstone.

On the other hand, the project he satirizes with cynical glee is indeed necessary. If people base their attitudes and behaviours on slogans which they believe are extracted from the Bible (or any other book), then we have a choice of either murdering them all or meeting them with respectful dialog (that is, two speaking) where they think. We must learn to speak knowledgeably and fluently in Biblical terms.

Since these people believe (sincerely for the most part) that they are Christians, and since their hatreds and intolerance are based elsewhere, it is necessary to know only the teachings of Jesus : the Gospels. Almost every argument you must counter can be met with, "Where did Jesus say that? I thought He said ..."

It is not necessary to become Christian, only to understand Christianity.

Those who have been hurt by evil people spewing Christian-sounding slogans should probably stay away from Christians. There are more than enough progressive projects to go around; there is no need to expose yourselves to hurt.
Put A Hold On The Bible Thumpers!
10 Nov 2004
Ohio and Florida were stolden. CNBC has a video of the RIPOFFS!
MSNBC is the first major news media source to cover the story. See: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/ and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6442857/

Don't thump in Dubya's name!
Republicans are pure cheaters!
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
10 Nov 2004
For a couple of hundred years Xtians might have been regarded as slightly dumb ( compared to all those clever greeks) underdogs. Then the first Xtian emporer began cutting off the hands of gamblers and there are Xtians cutting off more than hands these days in Uganda!
Don't any of you Xtian idiots ever stop to think of that never ending river of blood!
FUCK YOU VERY MUCH! FUCK the LOT OF YOU!
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
10 Nov 2004
. . .but i'm not a christian. i think the separtism of "god's people" from all the rest repeatedly put forth in parts of the bible is one of the most dangerous ideas of the last few thousand years.

and people are right, condescention wont' get us anywhere. condescention is what lost kerry the election, as near i can tell. i'm a faaaaaaaaaar left massachusetts resident, to be sure-- but i grew up in michigan, which has one fo every political and religious persuasion. everything from john engler to michael moore to the michigan militia to tom hayden's old running crew. . . . condescention does not work(and gee i hope i'm spelling that write, sorry guys i'm dyslexic).

it is indeed a good idea to know the source material of the people you hope to convince. but i don't feel an overwhelming need to get to knwo jesus. . . and friend, from what little i know of jesus, i don't think he really would have dug condescending to people either-- though i know its really hard not to right now.

listen. here's an example. few years back we were trying to get people NOT to go to a new starbucks taht was putting our local businesses out of business. i noticed that when people stood out front and yelled "DON'T GO IN THERE YOU MORON" and other such lovlines, people felt disrespected and went right in. the days i found it teh most emptied out was when i asked WHY. I said "hello i want you to boycott this place because of x, y, and z" to be sure. but when they wanted to go in, i'd ask WHY. And THEN-- well, it got emptied out. because i was trying to learn adn be respectful, and thus i coudl help people find a way to get what they wanted without doign something this community group didn't want people to do-- we coudl reach an agreement. . . .

of course, this notion has been twitsed by our two parties-- usualy "non-partisan" means "pro-corporate" these days. . . but i think on a human, one-to-one level. . . well, respect is key.
Religion = Oppression
10 Nov 2004
Religion is essentially designed as a means of oppression

Religions are usually exclusive: Most claim to be the one true faith. Only one of them can be correct. Therefore, since there are thousands of different religions, past and present, the likelihood is that all religions are wrong. Religions that have been killed by newer beliefs / more savage opponents must still be considered to be possibly valid: who is to say the Vikings were not correct and that the Gods do live in Valhalla.
Religion is essentially designed as a means of oppression: The rich (king/chieftain etc.), collude with the priesthood to create an environment that is safe for them to continue to exist in the lap of luxury whilst the poor endure bad living conditions, poor land rights etc. By telling the poor that God has placed them in their place and that their reward will come in the afterlife, revolution is avoided. Fortunately the rising living standards and education of the poor now allows them time to think and to realise that religion is a lie that should be abandoned as soon as possible.
Conclusion: God, as represented by organised religion, was created by man in his own image and has the sole purpose of maintaining the rich in their castles and the poor in the gutter. This does not mean that God does not exist - merely that religion does not actually represent him/her/it [God may be a dolphin].

Burton-on-Trent, UK
You're in over your head sister
10 Nov 2004
<P>It's not a quick skim of the Cliff's notes that's going to get you prepared to convince any serious church-goer, think of it more like entering the dark lair of a huge mama bear and groping around to take her cubs without her noticing... Good Luck!
You voted for a candidate just like George W. Bush
11 Nov 2004
So how does that make you any smarter and enlightened.
I voted for Nader in hopes of building an alternative for you worthless liberals.
It’s the bible thumpers is really old, it’s you.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
11 Nov 2004
Tim, what you say is very real, but it represents only one face of religion. A classic piece of sociological research actually shows that, on average, devoutly religious people are either more or less prejudiced than non-religious people--that is religious people tend to fall at the two ends of the spectrum of prejudice. The religious people who are highly prejudiced are those that set the most store by the outward forms of the religion. The religious people who are among the least prejudiced of all people are those who focus on the message of universal compassion, love, justice or some similar theme that can be found in all the great world-historical religions. Unfortunately, the prejudiced religious people--those best described as fundamentalists and their kin--are much more vocal in their beliefs--and, indeed, try to ram them down other people's throats--than non-prejudiced religious people. This means that fundamentalists get the lion's share of media coverage, creating a bad image of religion.

Alongside the history of religious people upholding the oppressive status quo, there is a long history of religious people fighting for social justice. The abolitionist
movement and first wave women's movement both had strong roots in Christian evangelism, which was also a heavy influence in late nineteenth left-populist groups like the Knights of Labor and the Farmers Alliance (although the leader of the Knights of Labor was Catholic--showing that they weren't intolerant). Fast forward to the late twentieth century, there's the civil rights movement, the Central American solidarity movement, and the global justice group Jubilee 2000. And that's just in the US. Liberation theology has been vital in much Latin American activism.

You will find, I think, that progressive religious people do not claim that their religion alone is the truth. Instead, we (yes, I'm religious--Zen Buddhist if it matters) tend to see all religious paths having some validity. There is a metaphor from Hinduism of religions as being separate roads, all leading to the top of the same mountain. All the great world-historical religions point to the same truths, truths which ultimately cannot be put in words, so that religion is best understood as a working metaphor meant to guide us through our lives. (As for pagan religions, like those of the Vikings, none of them ever claimed to have a headlock on the truth--the idea was utterly alien to them. They tended to go in for syncretism, indentifying their gods with the gods of other peoples they met.)

I'm not suggesting that everyone out there needs to convert to religion. (Indeed, I tend to agree with ex-nun and religious scholar Karen Armonstrong, who describes herself as a "freelance monotheist", that the world-historical religions evolved in very different social contexts than they exist in now and they need to evolve and adapt--become something new, not resembling anything that has existed historically. I'm not sure what that would look like, other than containing a heavy dose of ecumenicism and a strong commitment to social justice.) I do think people should show a certain amount of respect for religion. If nothing else, this is a deeply religious country and we are never going to build a mass movement unless we respect people's sincere beliefs. It is also worth noting that right has managed to build an alliance between conservative Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims to push their reactionary agenda. If they can do it, there's no reason those of us who are more tolerant can't build an alliance that includes people of all religious faiths and none.
TRUE ANARCHY IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD
12 Nov 2004
I AM AN ANARCHIST CHRISTIAN. YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NOT READ THE GOSPELS AND IF YOU HAVE YOU ARE SO EXTERNALLY ORIENTED THAT IT WENT OVER YOUR UNDERSTANDING. SORRY TO BE DEFENSIVE BUT YOU HAVE FALLEN FOR THE DECEPTION...IT IS TOO SIMPLE TO BLAME YOUR OWN LACK OF SPIRITUAL SELF DICIPLINE ON A PUPPET TYRANT...AN ANTI-CHRISTIC DECOY. IT IS TOO SIMPLE MINDED TO DENOUNCE THAT LIFE HAS A PURPOSE AND THAT THERE IS AN INTELLEGENT DESIGN BEHIND IT SIMPLY BECAUSE WARS HAVE BEEN WAGED IN THE NAME OF RELIGION. ALSO A TYPICAL HUMANISTIC FOLLY TO WANT TO BELIEVE THAT WE ARE NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR INTENTIONS AND DEEDS.. AND THAT THERE IS NO INTERNAL OUR SPIRITUAL LAWS IN THIS GREAT LIFE SYSTEM. SORRY.. YOU HAVE DENOUNCED THE MOST BEUTIFUL AND PRECIOUS PHENOMINA... THAT WE ARE TO BE GUIDED BY THE TRUE AND LIVING MORAL CODE WITHIN...THAT IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN ON EARTH WHERE THERE IS NO NEED FOR HUMAN RULERS. DO YOU NOT FEEL THE MORAL PULSE WITHIN? ( BY THE WAY STOP EAQUATING BUSH TO MORALS.. HE IS HELPING YOU TO DENOUNCE MORALS BY BEING IMMORAL IN THE NAME OF MORALITY ) IF YOU DONT THEN YOU NEED TO DO SOME SERIOUS INTERNAL SEEKING.
WHEN IMPERIALISM AND TERROR ARE COMMITED IN THE NAME OF GOD...THIS DOES NOT REFLECT THE NATURE OF SPIRIT.. IT SIMPLY REFLECTS THE NATURE OF IMPERIALISTS AND TERRORISTS. STOP BEING SO PREDICTABLY LEAD TO SIMPLE CONCLUSIONS BY SOCIAL ENGINEERS. ANARCHY = RULED BY LAWS OF THE SPIRIT. EQUALITY= ALL FROM THE ONE
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
12 Nov 2004
too bad abortion IS a sin... teaching your kids that killing babies is OK is dangerous
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
13 Nov 2004
Speaking of Christian anarchism, here's a whole website dedicated to it: http://www.jesusradicals.com/
Matt: I Beg To Differ
13 Nov 2004
You're comment: A classic piece of sociological research actually shows that, on average, devoutly religious people are either more or less prejudiced than non-religious people.

Did your study ever look at the social aspect of a non-believer?
Most of the non believers I know? Are college educated. None are prejudice.
And most of them are married or dating ethnics of many different colors.
I myself? I've been with an Indian for 5 years. (I've dated many different color women.)
Maybe looking at the environment a person grows up in? Prejudice parent(s)? Prejudice friends? Or prejudice co-workers?
I ignore ignorance. (Except W.)
Not only do I believe in social justice. I protest. I care.
I have values. Morality. And obey, to the best of my ability, the laws of the land.
Why try and sway people to religion? It is phoney.
Wouldn't Buddah be the religion to seek? It's the oldest?
What the moral of this comment is?
Something created the big bang. And no one knows who that something is. Not all the religions in the world. (By the way...the bible took over 400 years to write. FACT.)
History can teach us wonders.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
13 Nov 2004
I never meant to imply non-religious people couldn't be unprejudiced and committed to social justice. I'm not sure how that came across. What I was trying to do was reply to the view, all too common in some circles on the left, that religion is inherently reactionary and oppressive. It certainly can be reactionary and oppressive, but it can also be liberating, both personally and socially. Perhaps the confusion lies with a misunderstanding of the results of a survey like this--I was referring to patterns that held *on average*. They are far from an iron law and it's certainly possible to square atheists and agnostics being committed to social justice with the findings. I suspect that atheists and agnostics make such a small percentage of the American population (particularly in the 1950s, when the reserach was conducted) that they really don't show up in the results. The study was looking at degrees of religious devotion--not a strict dichotomy between religious people and people who don't believe in religion at all. There are a lot of people who are quite casual about their religious beliefs--they got to church once a week, but it doesn't effect how they live their life, versus more devout people who are, according to this study, more likely to be eithe raving bigots or open-minded and compassionate than the more casual believer. Perhaps I should have made those sorts of details clearer.

I'm a devout practitioner of Buddhism, but I'm also a very serious anarchist--I'm not rejecting the Enlightenment values of reason and freedom. I actually consider myself a (social) scientists--a sociologist. I think the values of religion can complement those of the Enlightenment.

I'm not sure how to take some of your other comments. You seem to imply I think Buddhism is the best religion. I think the spirit of my comments run in the opposite direction. Zen Buddhist practice works for me, but I don't think it will necessarily speak to other people in the same way. Many people will find their best refuge in some other religion, in the arts, or in nature. There is no one right path. And notice I speak of myself as a Buddhist *practitioner*. Believe it or not, in many forms of Buddhism, belief is actually secondary--the practice (of living a moral life, of cultivating virtue, of clearing the mind of defilements through meditation, of living in community) is primary. The Buddha actually suggested that people treat his teachings with skepticism, only accepting them if they found they actually work in their own life. Such thinking is not as central in most other religious traditions, admittedly, but you can find similar attitudes among mystics in all of the world-historical religions. There are plenty of religious teahcings against dogmatism.

As for the fact that the Bible was written over 400 years, this comes as no great surprise to me--nor do I imagine it comes as a surprise to most Christians. Fundamentalists take the Bible as the literal word of God. Most Christians are not fundamentalists. Indeed, fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon--a medieval theologian would think the idea of taking the Bible literally absurd; they understood it metaphorically. Nowadays, some non-fundamentalist Christians believe that the Bible was inspired by God, but also understand that it was recorded by fallible humans and is not perfect. Others simply consider it a historical record, including peices of wisdom that people have accumulated over 400 years. And most recognize that there the books of the Bible bring together several different, contradictory traditions--including a tradition in which God was seen as a cruel despot calling the slaughter of those who were not his chosen people, and a God committed to social justice, whose prophets condemned the kings of ancient Israel for their corruption.

As for the Big Bang, yes, it's one of the inexplicable wonders of the universe that fills me with awe. Its that awe at the wonder of the universe that actually underlies much religious practice.

I get the sense that when people on the left criticize religion, their experience with it is often limited. May be they've had unpleasant encounters with fundamentalists, but they've never really seen the full diversity of religion practice and belief. Certainly, there are exceptions, people who can make a well informed critique of religion, but most of the time what I find is a one-sided portrait of religion.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
14 Nov 2004
Perhaps I should add that I know plenty of atheists and agnostics who I think are wonderful, compassionate people and who are fully committed to social justice--and that some of them completely disagree with me on the whole religion thing.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
14 Nov 2004
'It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven"
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
15 Nov 2004
I love that Jesus told his desciples to bring their swords.
But he didn't want them to use them.

Christianity is uplifting.
Jesus is awesome.
If you can't respect that view then please don't try to tell me what to do.

I respect the right of an Atheist to be wrong about God.

Why do they all disrespect my right (and duty) to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord?
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
15 Nov 2004
Uh, I think I want to disassociate myself from Bill who does seem to be of the camp that his way is the one right way. It is worth noting though that, while those of us on the left may feel like we're under seige by fundamentalists (yes, religious leftists don't like fundamentalists any more than non-religious leftists--perhaps less, because they give religion a bad name), fundamentalists feel like they are under seige by the forces of secularism. This is at the root of many of our problems today. Karen Armstrong has a good discussion of why fundamentalists feel like they are under seiege in The Battle for God. It's always important to understand how those you oppose think.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
15 Nov 2004
"It's always important to understand how those you oppose think."

Matt is so right. to that end, I propose that we all get together and have a big discussion on how i formulate my thoughts of opposition against many of the IMC members. Shall we say Thursday aorund 8 PM? Find out how I put together my epistemology. See why you annoy me and vice versa.
A Prayer
16 Nov 2004
God protect us from those who would kill in your name.
Spare Me YOUR Religion(s)!
18 Nov 2004
Claims that Religious Right-style "values voters" swung the presidential election to George W. Bush have been all the rage since Nov. 2. But now, more in-depth analyses of exit polling data have debunked that assertion.

http://blog.au.org/2004/11/values_voters_a.html

Read and Weep! Nut cases!
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
01 Dec 2004
A short and (possibly belated) note: What are the authentic politics of Jesus, or of Christianity? This question seems, most often, to get lost (judging by the responses I read) in vituperative expressions of loathing and antagonism. Yet I don't see any real, legitimate, reflective responses to what is for me the essential political question about the life of Jesus and the early Church: Why did Jesus choose to associate with and to form his community out of the wretched of the earth, as the privileged recipients of his message? What are real Christians to make of the fact that the members of the early Church, those who were closest in space and time to Jesus, held all things in common? That they were essentially an economically egalitarian collective? It seems to me that ANY politics which claims Jesus as a reference point must come to terms with these scriptural facts. Let us all (including me) try not to avoid the question.
anarchist bible study
06 Oct 2005
Corinthian 420 in the gidion bible is a pretty cute line that expresses how fundamentalism is really just a front. Fundamentalism , but you have to read more of the bible than the neo-conservative/ neo liberal people arguing about their theories when they don't learn other languages or ways of understanding the world than their own. If you want to impeach bush you would have to link it to deal with the democratic leaders that helped throw the election.
A good start to ending the war would be to find a marine sergeant with a red stripe down his pants, he will have the answer your looking for that will start a conversation about that stripe, what's the answer, the story will mean something to him and that's the answer you have to know him to talk to him. You know any soldier that where their during the drug wars, I know which unit took some of the highest casualties in that war but the democrats are too busy being meatballs (remember that Vietnam war word of great importance) If it's two party what's all the neo stuff, When they don't know they don't want to look, they aint marines. Cause they will probibly ask someone in the airforce cause they don't know what difference it makes to them and by know you know that. They are worried about making speaches (mental mastabasion is what my step father use to say). If you speak anyone elses langauge they shut you off rather than saying anthing outside their viewpoint and say you have a them us mentality, fuck most revolutionaries (they don't need to put anarcho in front of everything they say, that's the same thing the democrats do try to be like republicans) And ask one of them communist fakes if he knows how many good chatholics died in the night of the long knifes It's not in caberet but you know someone asked this nun to find out and she found out that it refers to Niezshte who hitler would say he followed but they wheren't interested what it wasn't pretty. They only look at sexy things

This is a good thing they couldn't figure out because thier dumb, this nun started arachist bible study as a serious example of Meme techiknowlogy to help them learn something to help them but they didn't understand the point because they don't really pay attention that's where I aggree with that one babe who works for the republicans, but I can do it quicker for anarchist accept liberals don't listen much they just talk at you not to you, thier rude. and thing thier polite and they won'y even read the christmas carlo and find out what the christion said who were on thier side during the industrial movement which is at the heart of propaganda and who many of them do work with because thier chicken shit.

And it's anarchist bible study, it's been around for awhile, someone heard the name and playing games it became just a phrase that lost all meaning, but maybe someone will learn something along the way, ask about anarchist bible study and you you won't learn a thing, just ask a con how it's done the liberals wont. cut liberty out of the constitution, emma cann dance but nut have a bill of rights cause they ain't anarchist to a neo-anarchist (finding out who the enemy are)

I learn a lot from stalin, and I know someone who may have known humphrey boggart and I know someone who can can cheep organic produce just by not researching it on the internet this use to be called dawg mattic
(by the way a good code is if you spell it wrong they never take it seriously so I am just talking to you) The known step damn taught me that one with crayons.


Gnomon
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
06 Oct 2005
I was at a suppressed protest in new york where U2's bono was invited to the table because of his wealth, did he say anything about them holded the hole crowd down with the back block like they where hostages, You know I told someone the book I thought was most influential in me to what really is anarchist rather than totaletarian and they won;t read the one book you guys wrote that supports thier claim, they will only argue over what they like, bono not were my feet vote.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
08 Oct 2005
After high school I became involved with organizing farm workers and other low paid workers as a full time volunteer because of my faith. That is a long tale which I don’t have room for here. At the time I thought that utopian socialism was the answer and truth for mankind. I felt that somehow God has imparted the truth to me and if I spent all my working hours trying to bring about a socialist revolution in the US, I would be doing what God wanted me to and helping to bring about heaven on earth. I spent 14 years doing this. After burning out, I realized (or at least hoped) that God’s plans were God’s plans and way beyond what I could dream. In fact, I felt I had been rather arrogant, to say the least, to have brought myself up to God’s level.
I did learn some valuable lessons which I am trying to put into practice today. I believe (and really what I’m writing is my beliefs not the TRUTH – I don’t claim I know what that is) that a loving and caring God made every one of us. He made each of us as a special unique individual and gave us special gifts to share with the world. I volunteer working with developmentally disabled adults and get more out of it than I put in. Each one of these special persons I’ve found has added to my life. It is very sad when a country economically and politically disavows a large sector of its population. We in America do this. I think it is easier for people to think of poor and marginalized people as somehow different so that they don’t have to be afraid that they will ever be like that. That is sad. We lose so many gifts when we refuse to let a portion of the population participate productively (in the economic sense) in the society and refuse them a political voice. I remember going out to migrant farm labor camps and door to door in low income communities and having the overwhelming feeling that I was accepted. When you strip the material things that so many of us value away, the pretense also goes and we are who we are – not where we work and what we own. And amazingly we accept each other for that. People on the camps seemed surprised that anyone would come out to visit them, much less find any value in what they said. They had been denied human respect for so long that they were surprised when it did come. That is a very sad state of affairs.
As I said I don’t have the truth. I don’t think anyone does. I will advocate strongly for what I believe based on the information and life experience I have. But, I do leave LOTS of room for listening to others because they have life experiences which have taught them things and imparted information to them that I don’t have and which might change the truths I now believe. I am also an engineer and one model I use for myself is a three dimensional geometric figure with many sides. If you look at the figure from different angles, you will see completely different 2 dimensional pictures and yet they are views of the same figure. Now imagine that the figure changes over time. If the figure is the TRUTH and each of us sees it from a different angle at a different time because of our different backgrounds and experiences, we all seemingly see a different TRUTH. If we don’t respect each other, communicate with each other, and leave open the possibility that we might not have the entire picture – we rob ourselves of ever having the remotest chance of seeing the TRUTH.
I find I am very wary of people who hold up the Bible and says “This is the truth. It is God’s word” and then proceed to give their interpretation as the last word on it. As one writer commented the Bible is a conglomeration of writings from many individuals at different times and places in history for different reasons. Even if we assume the writers had a vision or communication from God, they would have filtered this through their life experience and then had to find words to describe it.
I rarely find an issue that is black and white. When I argue for a course of action being right it’s because I find that it’s 80% or some other higher percentage positive and only 20% negative consequences and the other alternative is 20% positive and 80% negative consequences. My perception of the percentages is based on my experiences. Some one else may have the opposite view because their experiences give them a different view. This may be because I’m a 3rd year law student now and have had what normal people call the law school lobotomy.
As a person of faith who believes that faith demands a respect of every person on this earth for who they are equally, I think the political arena should reflect this. I think that there are multiple conflicting interests among people in the country. I think there are multiple mutual dependences as well. In the end all of us have to learn to work together. If all are represented equally in the political and economic arenas, we would negotiate with each other to come to legislation and policies we could all live with. Unfortunately we are all not equally represented AND THAT IS A BIG PROBLEM. I think that there needs to be programs and efforts to equalize the power structure both politically and economically. I could probably expand this to pages but will stop here for lack of time.
Re: The Liberal Holy-Roller Gospel Hour
18 Oct 2005
I want to be clear first that my spirituality did not begin with this discussion. I first became an anti-capitalist in high school during the vietnam era part of what drew me to this conclusion was that I believed no community could practice a healthy spiritual life under the market driven pressures of corporite capitalism. Since I had to go onto disability about three years ago I have tried to model my spiritual life on the bases of a monastic rule voluntarily defined and accepted by myself so I feel consistent with my anarchist principles of self determination. I spend a fair amount of time each week engaged in studing the bible both in terms of meditation but also what's called critical bible study, looking at the bible cross referenced with historical, archeological and cross culture mythological records. I have strong concerns with the power political pundits and middle class intellectuals apeing them give opportunistic power seekers over the definition of religion. The term fundementalism is very misleading, more of a post modernist spin on what I understand to be a nihilist sensitivity that corrupts the concept of grace into something I see as ugly and lacking the concept of compassion. Paul second letter to the church he founded in corinth was addressing the concern of individuals taking a hollier than tho attitude because most christians at the time did not submit to circumsision when they converted and they critised paul for braking bread with unclean people. Pauls letter defends the chatholic concept of egalitarianism within the body of christ in a way that requires him to put forth the position that the bible should not be read word for word in a way that can be used to exclude anyone within that body the way the term fundementalist seems to express. What I feel is more to the point today is that I do have concerns with how evolution is taught in schools that I feel is harmful to our world. Darwin was not a professional scientist or a very bold man and he had a theory that he knew would challenge a lot of Christian understanding, he fussed over it for years after he return from the voyage on the Beagle. Finally he acted when he received a theory from a working class socialist who collected biological samples who drew very similiar conclusions. When psuedo scientific versions of evolution began springing up to justify oppressive elitist practices Wallace whose own theory of evolution was realeased the simultaniously with Darwin's committed his life to publically denousing the false science eventually taken up by the Nazi and still used today to justify things like racial profiling. I am concerned that evolution as it is taught in high schools does not include Wallace socialist views on evolution, and more I am concerned that it doesn't at least alert to one being taughts attention to let alone equipe someone to identify psuedo sciences that justifies things I oppose as both a chatholic and an anti-capitalist.