Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saving Jesus from the Bible

Ever feel like Jesus has been taken over by the bible or by actual history? Then when not check out Re-inventing Jesus?

Re-inventing Jesus is a heretical DVD-based small group exploration of Jesus Christ for the sons of disobedience (Eph 5:6). Featuring leading false prophets of our day, the 6 + 6 + 6 week program includes a printable participant reader and a facilitator guide offering discussion questions. The basic format for each weekly 1 - 1½ hour session includes conversation around the readings, a 20-minute video segment and guided discussion.

Sessions include "why Jesus is still dead in his grave", "how to start a Christian-cult", and "how to get rid of those annoying verses that tell you to not sin and that Jesus is actually God."

When asked how one could remove verses from holy scripture, the programme's expert on the subject replied:

"Its quite simple really. You just take a bunch of coloured pens and cross out all the bits you don't like. But ask a bunch of your mates first, for goodness sake, in order to ensure you cross out all the annoying bits"

Or you could just check out Saving Jesus, a seemingly similar product.

Great Blog

HT to Adam who emailed me the URL of Stuff Christians Like, which is quite a giggle.

Check it out!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Why I'll Be Eating Steak In Heaven

Greg Boyd is an author and pastor whom I much admire. I have really enjoyed reading his perspective on open theism and the warfare motif of scripture. I recently discovered his blog with which I was impressed by the range of topics under discussion. However, I do wish to pick a bone with Boyd's own theological position on vegetarianism.

First of all, I have no objection whatsoever to anyone becoming a vegetarian for ethical, cultural, or dietary reasons. Boyd even tells us that "God told him" to stop eating meat, and I have no beef with that at all. However I do wish to warm-heartedly push back on Boyd's assertion that Christians should seriously consider becoming vegetarians because in the New Creation we will only eat vegetables (and therefore we should anticipate that and prophetically embody that now).

The first thing that comes to mind is Isaiah:

The Lord who commands armies will hold a banquet for all the nations on this mountain. At this banquet there will be plenty of meat and aged wine – tender meat and choicest wine.
-- Isa 25:6 (NET)

So it seems the the Lord himself will serving prime steak and vintage red wine in the New Creation. If its good enough for God, its good enough for me. The only way we can get round this is to argue that it won't be real meat, which is surely the same as arguing that the wine at the Lord's banquet, or indeed the water that Jesus turned into wine, isn't alcoholic. Which is so brain-dead I can't even be bothered to waste my time to argue with! Face it, God knew in advance that one of life's most pleasurable experiences is eating a medium-rare steak with a glass of fine vintage wine in good company. :-)

(As a footnote, I am completely for animal welfare, I am appalled at the Western food industry, and I do my very best to ensure that all my meat, fish and dairy products I consume are either organically farmed or wild. I also sure that such standards are still below the Lord's, and that Christians should be at the forefront of the organic and fair-trade movements, pushing standards onward and upwards. A heavenly ethic on meat is not to abolish it but to kindly subdue and rule over animal creation.)

PS: Also see Greg Wahl's satirical take on Boyd's position.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog for A Reality Check

Came across this rant from Paul at The Generous Husband. Good reality check for us all.

A question for those of use who try to follow Jesus - how does the world view "Christians"? How about the following:

o bigoted
o small minded
o homophobic
o selfish
o wasteful
o judgmental
o hypocritical
o unloving
o out of touch with the world
o too political
o hateful
o stingy
o unconcerned about poverty, the homeless, the hungry, the environment, and world peace

That is my list based on what I hear from folks, including some non-Christians who receive my tips. A study by George Barna backs up some of those things, and you don't have to look far to see all of the above, and worse, being said by a growing number of people.

We've become something that no sane person would want to be - or are we wrongly viewed as such? Is what the world thinks of us very wrong, or is there a great deal of truth to it? Sure, we can point out all kinds of good, but we can also point out a lot of bad, if we are willing to be honest. Hate-mongering in the name of Christianity is common. A lot of folks who are struggling financially have received far more help from secular, non-profit groups than from faith based groups - why are those who don't know Jesus doing what He called us to do better than we are? Why do they exist in small offices so most of what they collect goes to help, while we sit in expensive buildings that leave almost nothing to give to those who need help? Why is it all the unsaved hear from Christians is that they are going to hell, rather than about how Jesus loves them - and how we love them because we are following Jesus? Why do we invite them to come in, when Jesus told us to go out to them? Jesus hung with the poor, the sinners, "even with prostitutes" - we avoid "that kind of people" as if being with them will somehow make us dirty.

Clearly what we are seen as is not something most would want to be a part of. How do we change that? How do we change the perception? We must change the reality! Seems to me we have to change first ourself, and then we have to work on others who claim to follow Jesus. We need to correct those in our camp who are not following the Lord, and if they won't change, we need to let the world know that they are not a part of us, they are not attempting to follow the Lord, but are doing something else. How can we sit by an allow others to claim to do something wrong, something evil, in the name of Jesus? Would we sit by and allow folks to be killed in the name of Jesus? History is full of "Christians" who did this - The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, witch burning, lynching of blacks, and murder of Jews were all done in the name of Jesus - and many did not say "they don't follow my Jesus" out of fear. What about us, will we also sit by in fear, or apathy, as others drag the name of Jesus through the mud once again?