Fundamental Heresy and Worldly Alliances

belmont-missionary-baptist-hood-river-or

No Alliances, No Prisoners

God’s confessing people do appalling things. Persecution is often involved. And whether Protestants, Catholics, Jews or other infidels are involved, it gets done in Jesus’ Name. In recent days, Muslims take the hit.

The Man and his Message

michael-harrington-belmont-missionary-baptist-or

Rev. Michael Herrington of Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist in Hood River, Oregon has won a measure of attention usually reserved for larger congregations or for bizarre figures such as pastor Terry Jones. We’ve learned that Jones [who likely has several fatwas on his head for burning the Qu’ran] is now cooking french fries in Florida.

who-said-christians-worship-allahHerrington saw fit to grace the Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist [BDMB] sign with ‘Allah is not our god’ and ‘Koran is just another book’ messages. Predictably, the BDMB Facebook page is crowded with voices lauding Rev. Herrington as the model pastor that Christians need.

One Guy Gets it Right

I don’t know Ronald Leon or who he is. His Facebook page convinces me that he has a credible understanding of our undoubted Christian faith. He is certainly farther right politically than I am. But who isn’t?

At issue here is Ron Leon’s reply to the BDMB sign. With multiple texts, he offers a Biblical perspective on Christian witness, reminding us also to speak with grace because words can alienate as well as reconcile. A more Christian reply you’d be hard pressed to find.

bdmb

Shooting Your Own

Also illuminating are the replies to Leon’s statement. Someone offered a ruling on his state of grace and on his eternal destiny. Apparently, Ronald Leon is excluded from God’s redemptive purposes. All this in 21 words, if one counts the ‘words’ that are not words. The obvious thing to say is that Leon’s critics brush aside his texts, and denounce him based on their own perspective. In some churches, this can lead to discipline for a slanderous violation of the ninth commandment.

At least as instructive are ‘Niki Dillon’s’ words:

‘All Christians should be willing to declare these truths about Christ. If the sign makes you uncomfortable, you need to examine your relationship with our Lord. And to non-Christians: yes, this is what we believe! The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the Christian God. All others are wannabes. We should not have to apologize for this or keep silent about it.’

‘These truths about Christ’ go to the heart of it.

What is Declared

Citing Jesus’ saying, ‘if I am lifted up I will draw all peoples to myself,’ Leon stands in the very best of Christian tradition. Reading that in his statement made me recall the great, liturgical confession, ‘Christ is died, Christ is risen, Christ is coming again.’ THESE are the truths about Christ that ‘all Christians should be willing to declare.’

It makes a world of difference whether Christian confession means lifting up Christ or tearing down Mohammad. What the sign and conversations in congregations across the land reveal is that many confessing believers are not prepared to make that distinction. But they are prepared to attack and destroy the testimony of those who confess, ‘if I am lifted up, I will draw all peoples to myself.’ God’s confessing people do some appalling things.

Why Do we Do It

This matter has sufficient gravity to require explanation. Explanations better than mine no doubt exist. But for now, I’ll suggest that confessors are overlaying on the theology of the cross an alien, heretical narrative in which Muslims [or Jews, Protestants, Catholics and other infidels in their time] become the embodiment of evil [the kingdom of darkness] and a threat to our peace, safety and good order.

Don’t suppose that congregations can’t be targeted in political operations. Our government has spied on Mennonites because they are anti-war. This isn’t to say that BDMB was infiltrated by government operatives, although that no doubt happens in some places. On the other hand, congregations should be aware of the influence of secular ideas about sin, deliverance, faith and obedience, often made palatable with partisan or patriot zeal.

Alien ideologies exist in congregations as parasites which seek to engorge themselves on what it can supply. If Christ is to reign over all, then church must host no alien agenda. All such agendas are parasitic entities and must be exposed for that. Tragically, congregations sometimes presume to base ‘ministries’ on such agendas.

Toward another Way

As the body of Christ, the calling of the church is to lift up Christ the head. This is entirely different from fighting wars, supporting one system of political economic over another, and other secular agendas. In theological perspective, all those alien, partisan, nationalist agendas are dead. Trying to resurrect and animate them in the church is Christian necromancy.

Jesus said, ‘let the dead bury the dead.’ He was right.

By buying into dead, alien, dead ideologies, fundamentalism is anything but ‘separated’ from the world. It is the world. That’s why it attacks the Ronald Leon’s of the world.

We’re still left with the question of what to do with the Qur’an, Allah and Christian witness.

The Qur’an isn’t the holy book of Christians. It is the holy book of Islam. But you knew that. And saying so compromises nothing.

And as for God, Christians worship the Blessed Trinity. Muslims don’t. But you knew that.

Concerning witness — Christians need only lift up Jesus. That’s all. The rest is Jesus’ problem. He’s the one who draws the nations to himself.

Sometimes, there are no great issues at stake. Sometimes, it’s just people being stupid. But too often, our stupidity is an obstacle to faith. It’s time churches recognized this, and offered the ‘strong preaching’ people claim they love — by kicking alien, heretical ideologies out the door.

What about my Muslim Neighbors

Those genuinely interested building bridges [did you know that bridges are an important theme in Islam, Mr. Herrington] with Muslim neighbors may gain much from this paper by Christian Troll.

Operation Clean Sweep

T-Party Church Persecution

Meet Jospeh Farah

Joseph Farah was an early a cheerleader for the Bush administration’s discretionary war on Iraq. April 10, 2003, Farah wrote:

‘I’ve been saying for years that all people yearn to be free. It’s a universal feeling. The Iraqi people were brutalized into submission. They could not have achieved their freedom without U.S. intervention…That’s the way it always works…Remember how we were told Iraqis would resist? The only demonstrations I saw yesterday were jubilant rallies by Arabs in the streets of Baghdad and by Arab-Americans in the streets of the USA.’

Farah’s article, ‘Liberation’ closes saying:

‘Celebrate! Praise God! This is a great day in our history and a great day in the history of the people of the Middle East and the people of the world. It’s a day reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s a day reminiscent of the liberation of Paris. It’s a day reminiscent of the toppling of the Taliban.’

One year less four days later, Farah wrote:

‘The temptation of Americans is to be too cautious…in the next few days – the U.S. should pound Fallujah like it has never been pounded before.’

He adds:

‘…we may need to flatten Fallujah. We may need to destroy it. We may need to grind it, pulverize it and salt the soil, as the Romans did with troublesome enemies.’

Astonishingly, he continues with:

‘Quite frankly, we need to make an example out of Fallujah. Here’s a chance for justice. Here’s an opportunity to show the people of the Middle East it doesn’t pay to resort to barbarism and terrorism.’

How a scorched earth policy and barbarism differ is not explained. Collective punishment is a recognized war crime.

Meet World News Daily

Joseph Francis Farah owns and operates World News Daily. WND is said to be ‘one of the most unhinged far-right “news” sites on the Internet.’ WND [Whirled News Daily?] acts as a permanent political operation to disorient and confuse the most backward and regressive layers of society. ‘And what might that mean,’ you may ask?

Have you ever wondered from where those bizarre political operations that replace rational discussion of serious issues come? Say — the birther nonsense of intellectual leprechaun, Donald Trump, who now realizes that it was really Hillary Clinton’s idea all along. Try checking WND first.

Before Mr. Trump boarded the birther bandwagon, WND knew that President Obama was hiding something. Why do you suppose he paid his ‘eligibility lawyer‘ the big bucks? Mind, birther theories were discredited all along. That didn’t stop WND from attempting to torpedo the Obama campaign. After all, having written the book on swift-boating John Kerry, why not go after Obama also?

Is There A Pattern

Whether it is Iraq, John Kerry or Senator Obama, Joseph Farah’s playbook is the same. Start a campaign. Lay the consequences at an opponents’ feet. A political pyromaniac, WND is at its best when it is starting ideological fires, fanning the flames, and watching Rome burn. Or Iraq. Or the USA.

So when the Tea Party runs an article, ‘Holy War: Government Tries to Control Church Sermons’ first published by WND, it’s difficult NOT to suspect chicanery. This is especially so when the Tea Party inserts into the WND screed its own declaration of a ‘clean sweep of all corrupt officials, no matter who wins in November…’

T-Potty Pledge

  • A political operation targets churches with the intent of acquiring them as assets for a partisan agenda.
  • When a church bites and adopts the agenda, repercussions follow. The state must respond.
  • Awake America or similar groups get involved. A lawsuit results. The church is now at the center of controversy.
  • Other churches and confessing Christians are canvassed and rallied to the cause, building ever more political momentum.

The issue is different. So is the theater. And regardless of the outcome, Mr. Farah and his World News Daily will continue to profit by stoking the fires of extremism. Face it–WND is good at it. The article on Fort Des Moines Church of Christ Congregation begins so innocuously.

‘An Iowa church just wants to be free to preach the gospel…’

Who could object to that!

‘…but the state’s so-called nondiscrimination requirements could block the house of worship from doing just that.’

Just that easily, many evangelical/fundamentalist Christians will fall for this devilishness instead of recognizing and renouncing it as the very epitome of worldliness that it is. But more on that later.

NC Bathroom Blues, Yr-a-peein’ Pissoirs

No bathroom blues here ... God gave us HB2!

Redemption and Bathroom Stalls

HB2 made the headlines and already we are being so blessed by it.

Itzhak Perlman was named a recipient of the Presidential Metal of Freedom, the highest award given by the United States Government to civilians.

For the uninitiated, Itzhak Perlman is among the most accomplished violin virtuosos living today. And thanks to House Bill 2, his appearance scheduled for the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra season finale was cancelled. This will cost the orchestra hundreds of thousands in potential revenue just as musician contracts are opening for renegotiation. While in no way responsible, the orchestra must now face irate patrons who already purchased tickets for the cancelled event.

Meanwhile protesters march through Target stores spouting rhetoric. A Flush Target project plans to visit Target stores in the North Star State. No doubt other repercussions unforeseen by politicians will accrue from the septic ecclesial/political operating system running the Tar Heel State.

Codifying Discrimination

How do you gut the right to challenge discriminatory actions based on race, religion, color, origin, gender or physical disability? Easy. You let companies deny employees birth control or refuse to serve gays. After that, what is to say they can’t fire people for being atheists, Chinese or Jewish? Posing as a religious liberty bill, HB 2 becomes its opposite.

Under a near total news blackout is this clause:

Minimum Wage Eliminated

I didn’t hear of any HB2 local minimum wage ban on the news. Did you?

Given the birther/birth-certificate nonsense, perhaps we can be forgiven for asking if we must now produce a valid birth certificate to use the loo.

!!NC HB2

This bears all the marks of a well-planned and funded political operation designed to further confuse an already exhausted and disoriented public. As danger of world war mounts, poverty and inequality increases, society is militarized and states adopt dictatorial politics, House Bill 2 emerges disingenuously as the most critical issue of the day. This is political fraud.

A Political Operation

Did I say, ‘political operation?’ Yes. Consider these partners in crime: Matt Staver’s Liberty Council and Joseph Farah’s World Net Daily.

Anita Staver, Glock .45
‘I’m taking a Glock .45 to the ladies room. It identifies as my bodyguard.’ — Anita Staver

A non-profit, the Liberty Council addresses public policy issues freely. President Staver’s organization has been named by the SPLC for promoting discrimination under the guise of religious liberty. The LC home page currently links to a World Net Daily article based on an interview with Anita Staver’s husband, Matthew. The SPLC also notes that the Liberty Council loves a good rally.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Liberty Council as a hate group known to encourage defiance of law and disobedience of court orders. Christian lawyer Anita Staver has legitimized gun violence against transgendered persons. Her husband, Liberty Council President Matthew Staver is also tied to some bizarre and extremist statements regarding gays and lesbians. According to Matt Staver:

  • Act like terrorists

    WND Political Operation
    The ‘Toilet terrorists’ and Obama lets men choke girls in bathrooms articles are but a few of dozens of screeds World Net News publishes regularly. Bizarre as it is, WND is an informative source for identifying political operations from fascistic elements and the so-called ‘Christian’ right.
  • Cause bankruptcy and may
  • Cause a second, civil war

The stridency of Mr. Staver’s remarks suggest that he himself might be willing to lead such an insurrection. Such words say more about Staver than gays. His words also speak volumes about those who retain relations with him, such as Liberty University and World Net Daily.

On a somewhat related theme, and writing for Political Theology Today is University of Mount Olive assistant professor of religion Hollis Phelps. He says that the bathroom ruckus doesn’t concern ‘common sense’ so much as religious identity.’ For him, it really is no surprise at all religious leaders turned out for this. Phelps’ analysis is worth the read.

Recognizing a political operation for what it is, we might envision a totally different outlook on HB2 issues. While not addressing issues, the rest of this post introduce some levity to this subject. A European practice might help us laugh at ourselves and become better for it. Laughter is a potent tool. When we laugh at something, it’s hold on us relaxes greatly.


Meet the Pissoir

pissoir def

For more than 150 years, pissoirs have facilitated half the elimination functions of half the people in Europe. Pissoirs are used in broad daylight. Design and technology varies over time; the function remains unchanged. Paris, London, Madrid, Lisbon, Ghent, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Montreal, Sydney and other great cities embrace the pissoir. [Don’t miss the mouse-over texts].

Pissoir in Lisbon, Portugal, Used by US Sailors in WWI
Pissoir in Lisbon, Portugal, Used by US sailors in WWI
Pissoir in Bari, Italy, Used by US Soldier in WWI
Pissoir in Bari, Italy, Used by US soldier in WWI
Pissoir in Paris, with 2 US WWII Soldiers
Pissoir in Paris, 2 US WWII Soldiers.
Pissoir in old Amsterdam, modern tourist trap for unwary Americans
Pissoir in old Amsterdam, modern tourist trap threatening the safety of unwary Americans.
Plaza de España [Spanish Square]
Plaza de España [Spanish Square]. Woman and child seen fleeing in terror…
Pissoir in Amsterdam, Holland
Pissoir in Amsterdam, Holland
Pissoirs, Unknown Location
Pissoirs, Unknown Location. Note the cheeky girl in the middle.
Pissoirs all a row
Pissoirs all a row. If only people knew the exposure and danger posed by these dreadful urinary terrorists…
StreetUr1
Clearly, a nation with no good God or decent politicians…
France, Pissoir
Man uses pissoir in France; mass havoc and civil insurrection erupts.
Pissoir, Montreal, Canada
Pissoir in Montreal. Montreal is in Canada. What would you expect?
Opéra national de Paris, pissoirs
Pissoirs, Opéra national de Paris. They call this ‘culture?’
Well Used ODU
Women and children at risk! Send missionaries to warn of danger!
Cheeky Lass Having a Bit of Fun
Cheeky Lass Having a Bit of Fun. OR … peeing while transgendered?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pissoir in Chongqing, China
Pissoir in Chongqing, China
Pissing_Veronika
Another cheeky girl in a quaintly Freudian moment. Clear case of penis envy.
Another Cheeky Girl, Urilift and jacket
Am I the only one who likes it when a cheeky girl yanks around the system?

Meet US Transgendered Bathrooms

!Flush Target Truck
Given the hysteria pissoirs introduce around the world, other nations surely envy our enlightenment to cast the issue in such terms as this!

Will the Project Flush Target billboard truck generate consternation? Yes. This is, after all, the United States. But others will see our hysteria as folly whether or not it is recognized as a political operation.

Despite assertions to the contrary, no cosmic consequences will befall civilization because it switched to transgendered bathrooms. Declaring otherwise is fundamentally dishonest. By arguing to the contrary, and by allowing itself to be targeted by and absorbed into reactionary political operations, evangelical/fundamentalist sects have revealed their own weaknesses, secularity and disability to be the presence of Christ.

Robin Hayes, NC GOP Chairperson
‘Itzhak Perlman’s decision to cancel his performance is just the latest example of hypocrisy and selective outrage from the far-left that does nothing but hurt ordinary North Carolinians.’ — NC GOP Chairperson Robin Hayes

Some of the actions surrounding North Carolina House Bill 2 are childish, some are sincere but misguided. HB2 itself is a political attack on working people. Rather than supporting it, Christians ought to be the first to stand by working people, their families and their communities. Too often, we have failed and refused to be good neighbors. This shames Jesus Christ.

This controversy has nothing to do with preserving civilization or Christian decency. Political attacks are not devices of God’s kingdom, and Christians who support them do Christ’s body no service. Church leaders would better protect their congregations from such narratives and attacks by exposing them. A church that adopts alternative, narrative fictions is no true church of Jesus Christ at all. The manual for kingdom politics is the Biblical canon. The text of HB2 can be accessed here. They differ markedly in both word and spirit.

Transgendered or not, some of us would just like to get on with our lives, to hear great music, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with our God…and occasionally, to take a leak.

Imagine — 1,000 Pastors in Public Office

Proven Wrong!

You think you’ve heard it all. You think you’ll never be dumbstruck again. You think you’ve heard the last, jaw-dropping, mind-numbing nonsense line that somebody’s besotted wits could devise. Enter David Lane!

Mr. David Lane, revolutionary Biblical thinker…

David Lane is an admitted political operative. This means that his so-called ‘American Renewal Project’ likewise is a political operation.

Mr. Lane is a man with a goal. That goal is to find 1,000 pastors to run for public office in 2016. And as of April 2015, he was half way toward his goal. This may be more disturbing than surprising.

What Does This Mean?

Still more disturbing is what it means that hundreds of pastors buy into Mr. Lane’s campaign. One can understand political hucksters wanting to direct a substantial voting bloc toward partisan interests. But isn’t sober, Biblical reflection in order before baptizing a secular, political campaign?

Could anything possibly go wrong?

Mr. Lane’s assertion that pastors and politicians share essentially the same skill set is outrageous — for political and pastoral reasons.

Bad Politics, Worse Theology.

And yet there may be more truth to Mr. Lane’s audacious premise than not. Like a moth drawn toward the candle, pastors dabble with political rhetoric. Especially in election years. And some do more than ‘dabble.’

With good reason, one may question the wisdom of putting pastors in civic office. On the other hand, their very willingness to go may mean they’d do more damage to their churches by not going.

Many pastors give little evidence of a ‘call from God.’ Perhaps churches could help them in their political career by severing pastoral relations.