Category Archives: Dan’s Posts

I love Pat Robertson so goddamn much – A WTFaith Quickie

Every time Pat Robertson talks, it’s my birthday.

The above link is a CNN religion blog article about Patty Rob’s “Top 10″ most controversial quotes. While I remember this one from my mis-spent pagan youth. . .

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

. . . I got great joy out of some of the gems I was exposed to for the first time.

Like this one!

“Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists. Many were homosexuals. The two things seem to go together.”

Clealry this man is a master of social science. He has more facts that Xerox.

Read the article, then comment with your favorite Patty Rob quote, and why! And if you actually, non-sarchastically love Pat Robertson, could you. . . maybe. . . maybe explain that to me, a little?

Kisses!


The Exodus example.

You might have heard about it on Facebook. Or maybe you ran across Rachel Held Evans blogging about it.

Or maybe you read it here.

Or here.

It’s been lots of places, is what I’m trying to say.

When Brandi heard about this, she said, “This is it, Daniel. The people who lead by hate are going to lose.”

But that didn’t sound right to me.

“No, they’re not,” I replied. “They aren’t going to lose because it’s not about winning or losing. They’re going to be healed.”

I didn’t say that to mean that people only take a hard stance against homosexuality because they are broken – I am saying that we’re all broken. For some people, their hatred against the LGBT community was a defining character trait. For others, it was just a part of their human makeup, which by definition includes both the light of the Creator and the stagnant, filthy muck that we get from living in a war zone. I’m not saying that “affirming” churches are right but “biblical” churches are wrong. What I’m saying is that all of us our sometimes wrong, in ways big or small – and very few of us ever have the courage to repent, to apologize, to come clean, and to make ourselves vulnerable to those we have hurt.

In the Vineyard, they talk about the Kingdom of God in terms of the “now”, and the “not yet.” By that they mean that Jesus brought the Kingdom to earth, but that until he returns, it isn’t yet fully realized. This is an important stance to take if you want to teach people that they have a responsibility to help bring the Kingdom closer. It isn’t just that God is going to move the needle closer to the “now” position until, one day, there’s no where else for the needle to go – we are acting in partnership with the creator, with the duty to participate in the rebuilding of the world and the privilege of being part of something that God himself is directing.

Call me a sentimental fool with girly feelings, but I think we just helped move the needle. And today, I’m proud to call myself a Christian.


Debate this for my amusement! A What the Faith Quickie

Alright, folks, I’m on a break at work and I have five minutes so OHMYGODREADTHISARTICLEVERYFAST!

Hurry!

Hurryhurryhurry!

Okay, now pause. Catch your breath. You did well, padawans.

Is a Christian’s spoken/written opposition to homosexuality, based on their interpretation of the bible, reason enough to accuse them of hate speech?

GO!


Sometimes, teens are awesome.

When I was a skeptic (well, when I was more of a skeptic than I am today) one of the things that bugged me most about Christians was that they did incredibly stupid crap all the time, but none of them ever seemed to notice it. Every church scandal seemed to be met with people either defending the committer of the scandal, or excusing them by saying that we all fall short of grace (a shallow excuse for whoring or embezzlement if I’ve heard one), or claiming that the person who carried out the scandalous activity was not “a real Christian”. I hated these answers. I hated that I never saw any Christians just taking a moment to say, “Yeah, that guy was a complete ass. Sorry about that.” So when I started my own faith blog, both Brandi and I agreed that we weren’t going to do that – when we saw someone showing their ass and claiming to represent the whole Body of Christ, we were going to a) call them out, and b) apologize.

I think I can honestly say that we have done that. We have gone out of our way to single out people who, we felt, were misrepresenting not just Jesus Christ, but everyone who tries to emulate Jesus in their own lives. And that experience has been rewarding at times, depressing at others, but never something done with glee.

We need some glee, man.

 

. . .no.

. . .no.

 

This time, we’re pointing out what happens when Christians decide to do awesome things.

There is something to be said for a part of the Christian experience that maybe doesn’t get the same type of media attention as the fall of yet another mega-pastor. Maybe there’s more to being a Christian than “being good” and calling out the bad guys, like Brandi and I have been striving to do. Maybe it’s time for us to point out to our audience, especially the skeptics, that Christians occasionally do some really awesome stuff, for no reward, and no recognition, and often at the expense of their own comfort or safety. And while, yes, we all know that there are missionaries in China and Africa who risk their own lives as they commit to glamorously dangerous black ops for God, we might not know that there are also ordinary people who go out of their way to help others they have never met. These are regular people who are doing something to make the world a better place.

Sometimes, against all common sense, they are kids.

The youth group at my church, River Heights Vineyard, is participating in a project called 30 Hour Famine. By partnering with World Vision, our youth group is raising funds to give to a group of over one hundred children in the Republic of Kenya, kids that the church sponsors every year. Their goal is to raise $1,000 for the bunch, which will help pay for food and shelter for the kids for one month. And in their effort to raise these funds, after lunch on this upcoming Friday, April 26th, they will stop eating. They won’t take a bite of food until they eat dinner together on Saturday, exactly thirty hours later.

Yep, that’s why they call it that.

For the Christians reading this blog, you’re probably aware that fasting is something that we do sometimes. If you’ve ever fasted yourself, you know that it is freakin’ hard. Remember how it feels to go a day without food? Multiply that by teenager and you’ll get a sense for how difficult this could be for our kids. Do you remember how much food you ate when you were fifteen? Your mom does, and she is still pissed about it.

 

“Nothing. . . he left nothing. . . devastation, thy name is TEEN!”

“Nothing. . . he left nothing. . . devastation, thy name is TEEN!”

 

When I found out that my church youth group would be pulling this stunt, I wanted to know more about it. I asked some questions of our Youth Pastor, Justin Law, who some readers may remember being mentioned as the worship pastor for my church. He does both. Justin took time from his busy schedule of being all the pastors to answer my questions. Here is what he had to say.

What the Faith:  Why did you, or the church, choose to participate in 30 Hour Famine? There are no shortages of causes that need our participation – why was 30 Hour Famine one that you went with?

Justin:  30 Hour Famine is run by World Vision, which has demonstrated a surprisingly holistic approach to aiding the poor and hungry. Their goal is not only to feed people, which they do well. They also increase education opportunities and sustainable change within communities, handing things back to the care of the community and then moving on. The members of RHV also sponsor a large number of World Vision children for our size (currently over 100 children sponsored), so there is a personal connection for our church community.

WTF: As the youth leader for the church, part of your job is to get the kids inspired to participate in events like the 30 Hour Famine. What are the challenges involved in getting the youth pumped up for an event like this? How do you overcome them?

J: I had mainly led in adult contexts before I recently added youth leadership, and I think kids’ challenges aren’t much different than yours or mine. Our culture tends to be quite self-concerned, yet blind to ourselves. The youth get more excited about an event like this when they are willing to see someone else’s need as important, then realize they can do things as individuals and as a group to address that need. In the end, I think we overcome the barriers by loving the kids, being together in community, and helping them know that they are fully loved by God. It’s not nearly as hard to love people and give when you realize how much you are loved and have been given.

WTF: Why is service an important part of the youth group experience at River Heights?

J: Our purpose as a youth group is the same as {River Heights Vineyard}’s purpose: Love God, love people, and change the world. It’s really just a quick rephrase of what Jesus has told every one of his followers to do. Jesus shows us a picture of God that is shockingly dissimilar to our mental pictures of power and kingship. Jesus loves and comes to serve. When we love him and the people he loves, we do begin to change the world. We want our youth to have the chance to experience this and build it into their lives.

 

Answering questions: like a boss. Or. . . like a pastor, really. . .

Answering questions: like a boss. Or. . . like a pastor, really. . .

 

I also asked some questions of the participants in the famine – the youth group members themselves. A couple of them – Alana and Alexis, both fourteen years old – were willing to chime in.

What the Faith: The famine is coming up pretty soon. Are you excited? Nervous? How are you feeling about it and why?

Alexis: Yes, because it’s fun and it’s an amazing opportunity to get closer with God.

WTF: Why is going without food an important part of this charity event? You could just raise the money, send it to World Vision, and then go eat a pizza! Why is it important that you go through that period of famine yourself?

Alexis: Because it kind of gives you an idea of what starving people live like every day.

Alana: You can experience the circumstances others deal with and it makes you feel more appreciative when you finish.

WTF: How does participating in 30 Hr Famine Benefit you? What do you get out of this experience?

Alana: I get to be a part of something bigger than myself.

WTF: Many of my readers aren’t religious. Why is it important that all people, regardless of religion, take steps to help those in need? Why would you help the poor if Jesus had never told you to?

Alexis: It could be you that is starving, you never know. The person you sit next to at lunch, the meal they are eating could be their only meal that (they) have had in a couple of days. So it’s important to help someone even if it is one child. Help them have hope.

WTF: Thanks, guys!

Now, I’m not trying to shame my readers into giving, but I am shamelessly encouraging my readers to give to this 30 Hour Famine. I’ll be donating to it, and I think that you should, too. It doesn’t take much for you to have a direct impact on the lives of over one hundred Kenyan rugrats. If you have five dollars to spare, please donate $5. If you have a tenner sitting around, throw it here! If you have to skip lunch to afford to help, I can point you in the direction of some great kids who will be right there with you; whenever your stomach growls, just imaging it joining a chorus of some seriously hungry teenagers’ stomachs.

If you are able to give, would you please consider giving through this link? This will ensure that the funds we are collecting are correctly allocated to the group we directly sponsor.

If you’d like more information about World Vision, follow this purple spot right here.

You should give.

You should.

You really, really should.

 

THANKS FOR GIVING!!!!

THANKS FOR GIVING!!!!


A shameless reblog to hold your attention.

Yay, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of 12-hour workdays, I will fear no overtime. But it doesn’t leave me much time to write fabulous posts.

SO, in lieu of a fabulous post, please check out this post I got from CNN’s religion blog this morning, written by author/blogger/pastor Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio. I guess Boston is still quite on my mind. I’m not ready to stop focusing on the events of the marathon bombing, probably because questions like those presented in this article keep me up at night.

Is it worth it to witness a small triumph of light over darkness, if that triumph results from the pain and suffering of others? The author of this article doesn’t really delve too deeply into that philosophical quandary. And the quandary isn’t limited to Christians, obviously – it is a relevant question for anyone who believes that we can only experience good because of the existence of bad.

We can’t know light unless we can compare it to darkness, or so the philosophy goes.

But I respond to that with a question.

“What about. . . fuck darkness? Do we really need it?”

Discuss! I’ll try to write something real very soon, I promise. Hugs to you all! Oh, and look forward to some guess posts coming up in the upcoming weeks. The future’s so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.