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Out of Context

6 Sep

“I can’t help but wonder which came first: the impulse to sanitize and tame Jesus by encasing him in abstract theology, thereby removing our motivation for discipleship, or our natural repulsion toward discipleship that forced us to domesticate Jesus to let us off the hook. Either way, when Jesus is just true light from true light, ethereal and otherworldly, we are only ever called to adore him. But when he is true human, one who loved and healed, who served and taught, who suffered and died and rose again, he becomes one we can follow.”
p32 Exiles, Michael Frost


Out of Context

4 Sep

“There is such an enormous gap between our words and deeds! Everyone talks about freedom, democracy, justice, human rights, and peace; but at the same time, everyone more or less, consciously or unconsciously, serves those values and ideals only to the extent necessary to defend and serve his own interests, and those of his group and state. Who should break this vicious circle? Responsibility cannot be preached: it can only be borne, and the only possible place to begin is with oneself.”
-Vaclav Havel – Czech poet, dissident, and prime minister (Exiles p17)

“Justice is what love looks like in public.”
-Cornell West – Call and Response

Jesus for President

30 Apr

Jesus for President-Shane Claiborne
Section III: When the Empire Got Baptized Part V

God Bless America (This ought to be fun since I work with a 501c3 non-profit church that has this painted on the side of their building)

Ched Myers does great work with the idea of “God Bless America” in his article “Mixed Blessing: A Theological Inquiry into a Patriotic Cant,…

In the Hebrew Bible, the imperative “Bless!” occurs only thirty out of the several hundred times the verb barak (“to kneel,” as before a king) appears. OF those thirty occurrences, the majority are liturgical exhortations to “bless the Lord,” mostly in the Psalter (e.g. Ps. 66:8; 96:2; 104:1). In other words, the act of blessing is most often directed toward heaven, not solicited from it! Only four times in the entire Hebrew scriptural tradition do we find requests in the imperative for divine blessing. Even more intersting (or troubling, from the point of view of the “patriots”) is the use of blessing in the New Testament. Of the forty-one appearances of the Greek verb eulogeoo (“speaking a good word”), only twice do we find it in the imperative mood. In neither case does it involve God. It does, however, involve us–and our enemies. In his famous sermon on the Plain, Jesus invites his disciples to “bless those who curse you”. These instructions are later echoed by the apostle Paul: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse”. The lesson is unmistakable: we would do much better to ask God’s blessing on the world, and to bless God by loving our enemies.p199

Quotable Quotes-Jesus for President

4 Apr

Jesus for President-Shane Claiborne
Section III When the Empire got Baptized part IV

What was so evil about Sodom? “now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ezek. 16:49). That’s not what we learned in Sunday school.p187

When we are talking about a baptized empire, one that has dazzled the church into fonformity, we are not just talking about the violent militarism of Rome or the United States or Iran or North Korea. We are also talking about a much more prevalent, subtle, and powerful empire that seeps into every home – our daily global lifestyle.188

But wait, there’s more!

Quotable Quotes-The Reason for God

3 Apr

The Reason for God-Tim Keller
Chapter 4: The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice

There is the issue of Christians’ glaring character flaws. If Christianity is the truth, why are so many non-Christians living better lives than the Christians? Second, there is the issue of war and violence. If Christianity’s is the truth, why has the institutional church supported war, injustice, and violence over the years? Third, there is the issue of fanaticism. Even if Christian teaching has much to offer, why would we want to be together with so many smug, self-righteous, dangerous fanatics?p52

But wait, there’s more!

Quotable Quotes-The Reason for God

27 Mar

The Reason for God-Tim Keller
Chapter 2: How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?


For many people it is not the exclusivity of Christianity that poses the biggest problem, it is the presence of evil and suffering in the world. Some find unjust suffering to be a philosophical problem, calling into question the very existence of God. For others it is an intensely personal issue.p22

In December 2004, a massive tsunami killed more than 250,000 people around the rim of the Indian Ocean…One reporter wrote: “If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God. You can’t have it both ways, especially after the Indian Ocean catastrophe.”

Many other philosophers have identified a major flaw in this reasoning. Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.p23

But wait, there’s more!

Quotable Quotes-Jesus for President

25 Mar

Jesus for President-Shane Claiborne
Section III: When the Empire Got Baptized pIII


To find Christianity at its best, and the church alive, we need only look to the areas where it is persecuted and peculiar. It’s hard to walk away with any other conclusion but that the best way to defeat the kingdom of God is to empower the church to rule the world with the sword, for then it becomes the beast it wishes to destroy.

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”-Ann Coulter


“You’ve go to kill the terrorists before the killing stops. And I’m for the President to chase them all over the world. If it takes ten years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord.”-Jerry Falwell (side note: Falwell is now dead. Sad to say but this is probably a good thing for the church)

“The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the plante – it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining, and stripping. Sweaters are the antibiblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars – that’s the biblical view.”-Ann Coulter

“You can no more have a Christian worldly government than you can have a Christian petunia or aardvark.”-Greg Boyd, Myth of a Christian Nation

“The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”-John Adams

Among the myriad critics of this global-dominance project was Martin Luther King Jr., who initially aimed at race and class issues but later voiced criticism of the US as an imperialistic “policeman of the whole world.”p179

The Stars and Stripes fly over more than seven hundred military stations in more than one hundred countries all around the globe…it participated in an escalated the most belligerent and out-of-control weapons race ever known to humanity: the stockpiling of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons…The US is arming over 75 percent of the world, while it tells folks to disarm, which is like handing out guns to kids in our neighborhood and telling them not to shoot each other.p179-180

“Einstein, who repented of making these weapons, said, “We scientist, whose tragic destiny it has been to help make the methods of annihilation ever more gruesome and more effective, must consider it our solemn and transcendent duty to do all in our power in preventing these weapons from being used….What task could possibly be more important to us?”-Donald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times

Fortunately, more and more Bible literate Christians are deeply disturbed by the skewed theology of empire. It is becoming more and more clear that the Pax Americana is not helping the world get any closer to understanding the crucified Christ and his gospel of grace.”p182

Tacitus said that people “feared the peace of Rome”, because streams of blood and tears of unimaginable proportions followed in the “peace.”p183

“We are dying and killing for abstract nouns like freedom and democracy…but this is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.”-Letter from a US soldier in Iraq

“Over 50 percent of the Roman budget went towards the Roman military. Of each dollar paid in taxes, 36 cents goes toward the military of the united States.”-John Dominic Crosson

It was once said, if you want to know your idols, consider what you are willing to kill for.p185

“Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it’s gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.”-Toby Keith, Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue”