Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Real Heresy?

Powerful words from Gregory Boyd on real heresy:

“While those who wielded the Constantinian sword throughout history undoubtedly convinced themselves they were wielding the sword in love–this is a common self-delusion among religious power brokers–lording over, torturing, and killing people does not communicate their unsurpassable worth to them; it is not loving….One wonders why no one in church history as ever been considered a heretic for being unloving. People were anathematized and often tortured and killed for disagreeing on matters of doctrine or on the authority of the church. But no one on record has ever been so much as rebuked for not loving as Christ loved. Yet if love is to be placed above all other considerations, if nothing has any value apart from love, and if the only thing that matters is faith working in love, how is it that possessing Christlike love has never been considered the central test of orthodoxy? How is it that those who tortured and burned heretics were not themselves considered heretics for doing so? Was this not heresy of the worst sort? How is it that those who perpetuated such things were not only deemed heretics but often were (and yet are) held up as heroes of the faith?”

Monday, August 30, 2010

Civilized Killing

Ancient Arrows,
Former slayers in the wars of men.
Now retired to curious museums.

Useless Arrows,
Too impractical for the modern age.
There are easier ways to pierce a flesh-bound cage.

Savage Arrows,
Too barbaric for the modern man.
You lack the dignity of the bombs in our hands.

Hang, shrouded in mystery,
Teach us something of our history.

You are a senior citizen of war,
Knocking on death's door,
Lingering on life support,
To induldge our indignant thrill.

Show us how far mankind has come,
As we polish our efficient guns,
Those brutal savages knew none,
Of the civilized ways to kill.

Hang, shrouded in mystery,
Teach us something of our history.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Remnant

In this concrete-clad forest
A carved tree trunk traps
The last remnant.

The Autumn Reaper kisses
Frail widow branches
Sending their amber spouses
To open emerald graves
At last, the bare bark is clothed
By the looming shadow of a skyscraper.

Autumn leaves and aluminum cans
Crunch beneath my fleeing feet
Before splashing into the cement river,
Whose current drags me home.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blessed are the Peacemakers, For They Shall Be Called...Liberal Hippies??

"You're a liberal hippie that endorses the anti-christ"--yelled at me by some random college student enraged by the very sight of my shirt with the logo seen below.

I've received several comments from christians about this logo, implying that it's "blasphemous," "anti-christian," "liberal," and endorses a "one world order/anti-christ." However, coexistence isn't something Christians should fear, it's an ideal we should actively work towards.

Let's start with the definition of the word "Coexist:"
"To exist together, at the same time, or in the same place.
To live in peace with another or others despite differences" (Webster Dictionary)

Here's what COEXIST does NOT mean: to merge beliefs and ideas, to compromise or sacrifice one's own beliefs to achieve peace, to abandon dialogue about accountability, challenges, hypocrisies, persuasion, or conversion, and it definitely does NOT mean for all people to embrace a unified belief system to establish a "one world order." In fact, coexistence is the exact opposite of a one world order, because a one world order would contain no diversity at all. People would all live under the same form of government, religion, and culture. There would not be diversity or differences to coexist with! Coexistence implies existing amongst inherent differences that firmly remain.

Usually the word "coexist" is a far cry from the harmonious unification of all mankind singing Peace on Earth while sharing a Coca-Cola. For example, if a spouse describes their marriage as "coexisting with each other," that implies that they are not intimately intertwined or unified. It means they're just not at war with each other at the moment. However, the current relationship between certain countries, religions, and political affiliations are so dire, that coexistence would be a step up.

The idea behind this logo is one that most Christians already know and do. The acknowledgement of God's gift of life to all human beings and the right to preserve that life until God deems otherwise is endorsing coexistence. Conceding that people possessing different religions, political beliefs, and social orders have the right to exist on the same planet until God deems otherwise is coexistence. Functioning in the same society with people of all religious and political stripes is practicing coexistence. To renounce coexistence would be to endorse the oppression, coercion, and execution of anyone who refuses to convert to Christianity (which is a horrifying "Hitler-esque" notion). So, it is not such a radical notion for a Christian. Romans 12:18 commands us to live in peace with all people as much as it depends on us. What does that mean? Just people who believe, think, and look like us? No, it means what it says, ALL people. That includes our Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, atheist, gay, republican, democrat, black, white, fill in the blank neighbors.

Many Christians get freaked out when they hear people talking about living in peace because they assume living in peace will automatically result in a one world order. (Thanks Left Behind Series.) That would only ever be true if rejecting God and sacrificing our individual freedom to BE DIFFERENT from each other is the condition of peace. Allowing differences and living in peace DESPITE the differences actually would prolong this supposed one world order so many dread.

More practically, coexistence is the foreground for effective communication, which has a much better chance  for genuine transformations, or at least, a better understand of "the other." Isolation from and mud-slinging against those who differ from "us" only widens the gap of true communication and the accurate depiction of the gospel. People's hearts will only be has hard as the stones we throw at them. Showing people the same respect that we want: to hold and practice our beliefs freely is coexistence and a vital part of demonstrating our faith. Coexisting works in conjunction with loving our neighbor as ourselves and doing unto others as we would have them do to us. It's striving to live in peace with all people, as Paul instructs.

So, next time you see me with my "controversial" shirt, (and possibly future tattoo), know that I wear it because I believed Jesus when he said, "Blessed are the peacemakers," no matter what they end up being called.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


During the fall semester at school, as part of my Electronics Journalism class,  I will be exploring theology and the various interpretations of the Christian faith on this blog. Stay tuned for more soon!