Friday, May 22, 2009

Quotation of the Day

Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth; justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance. Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table.

- Bill Moyers,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rush Limbaugh: "Put Yourself First."

There is a common idea among conservatives and capitalists and thus the idea has crept into American Christianity as well. This is a purely capitalist idea, and it says that greed is good because it allows people to make money and by making money the world is made right and we get all sorts of good stuff from it. They say that without greed we wouldn't have all the wonderful things we have today because no one would have had the impetus to go out there and do something. Thus we have all such things as cars and medicine and farms and other helpful and moneymaking enterprises.

So Limbaugh goes on this big rant where he says that you must put yourself first. If not, how would you have any money to give to charities and such (which he calls bloodsuckers by the way.) Greed is good, self interest is good, if you don't put yourself first, you cant help anyone else.

This is profoundly wrong and un-Jesus-like. This is why I am still out here telling Christians that they need to get away from conservatives. I'm not going to tell Christians to get away from liberals because it doesn't seem to be that big of a problem. But it is a problem on the conservative side. If Christians keep being lured in by the conservatives, they will indoctrinate them with this purely capitalist nonsense. I hear Christians I know already going this way. See the post below about taxes.

You see, Jesus was all about putting others first. Washing the disciples feet was the biggest example because he put himself in the place of a slave, the lowest there was. There is no rule that says that greed drives charity, it is the opposite in fact. The evidence of that is that this very day, lower income people give a greater percentage of their money to charity than upper income people. Look at Paul in the Bible, his main concern was preaching the Gospel, and he did that partly by working, making tents, but his occupation barely receives a mention. Why? Because his focus was spreading the Gospel, putting the work of Jesus and others before himself. Mother Theresa is another excellent example. She lived in poverty and by putting others ahead of herself, drew all sorts of money and aid and expanded her work far beyond what it would have been had she gotten rich and started a charity.

Greed is not good. Putting yourself first in order to help others is a ridiculous unchristian notion. It's pure nonsense, just like lowering taxes on the rich to create more jobs and more tax revenue. The world just doesn't work that way, and Christians must stop listening to people who lead them away from Jesus by pandering to their baser instincts. Greed is a sin, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Jesus and Paul said to put others before yourself, to act as though others were better than you. Be filled with humility and peace.

The facts show that the more you have, the more stingy you will be with it. I'm not telling you that you can't be rich or that you shouldn't try to gain wealth. If you have the opportunity, work hard at every thing you do and make a bunch of money. But the first fruits belong to God. His work is paramount. If you are a follower of Jesus, your goal in life should be to do his work. Or just as good, fund his work. If your goal is to get rich or die tryin', then you're not a follower of Jesus because to follow Jesus, you go where he went and that's not where he went.

Please, don't be a conservative, don't be a capitalist, don't be a republican, be a Christian. Be a follower of Jesus. Do like Jesus did, the pharisees essentially asked, "are you with Hillel (liberal) or Shammai (conservative)?" Jesus said neither, it was all about his father in heaven.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek

I don't know how to describe this movie other than by saying it has all the awesomeness of Star Trek without all the campy corniness of Star Trek.

It is packed full of action and drama, but still includes the history and characters we all know and love from the original series through Star Trek 7. There are some interesting new takes on the characters and it is an exploration of what the Star Trek universe we know would be like had something been changed, in this case, Kirk without his father.

The technology has seen a reboot as well. Gone are the panels full of analog switches that we saw in TOS and more realistic technologies like touch screens are here. I also liked the internals of the Enterprise much more than in the past. I don't know where the scenes were filmed, but the inside of the ship was filled with structural components and plumbing like you'd expect to seen in a huge space going vessel. One disappointment though was in the climactic battle scene, Scotty was running around frantically trying to fix things in what I guess was supposed to be Engineering and there really wasn't much there. Bad location or set dressing or something.

Overall a very enjoyable movie. No nudity, a bit of violence (fighting,) little swearing and a lot of good special effects. Casting was good, especially with the inclusion of Leonard Nimoy. It just wouldn't have been the same without the real Spock.



Saturday, May 2, 2009

WWJT? Who Would Jesus Torture?

A news story for you...

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey.

The Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture rallied on Capitol Hill in March 2008.

More than half of people who attend services at least once a week -- 54 percent -- said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is "often" or "sometimes" justified. Only 42 percent of people who "seldom or never" go to services agreed, according to the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified -- more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did.

The analysis is based on a Pew Research Center survey of 742 American adults conducted April 14-21. It did not include analysis of groups other than white evangelicals, white non-Hispanic Catholics, white mainline Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated, because the sample size was too small.

The president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Leith Anderson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The survey asked: "Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified, or never be justified?"


Roughly half of all respondents -- 49 percent -- said it is often or sometimes justified. A quarter said it never is.

The religious group most likely to say torture is never justified was Protestant denominations -- such as Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians -- categorized as "mainline" Protestants, in contrast to evangelicals. Just over three in 10 of them said torture is never justified. A quarter of the religiously unaffiliated said the same, compared with two in 10 white non-Hispanic Catholics and one in eight evangelicals.


There is no way I can pass this one up. This is the kind of thing that makes me disgusted at American Christians for those of you who want to know. You really want to know why I don't group myself in with the rest of the Christians, this is why. I'm not saying the sentiment resounds in my church, but it would be really unfortunate if only one in 8 of the people I know thought torture was never justified. I guess that one is me. There, now I'm different.

I mean is this really a discussion we need to have? I'm gonna have to go back to Jesus on this one, you got my hands tied behind my back. What was that whole thing about doing to others what you'd have them do to you? Yeah, I think that was the way it went. But now American Christians are adopting more of a "do to others what you think they'd do to you" sort of philosophy. I'd definitely say, that's not what Jesus had in mind.

And you know, the argument that it would save lives is completely null because that's what morals are about. You don't ruin lives to save lives. Ethics and morals are the things you do when no one else is looking, and now everybody is looking and Christians are saying "hey, just dip his head under the water for a while, make him think he's drowning, and he'll tell us where the bomb is." Well, if that's the way it's gonna be, you can officially count me out of the whole "Christian" thing because it's done. The movement is over. They tell us from the pulpit that we are supposed to be different and that people will want what we have, but I'll tell you right now, I don't want what we have. It is morally repugnant to me.

I want what Jesus left us with, the love your neighbor stuff, the stuff that American Christians now think only applies to Americans. One in eight. It's just sad. Do you want to know where I draw the line when I don't think people are really followers of Jesus? When 7 in 8 evangelical Christians think that torture is ok at least some of the time.

At what point do you go to your boss and say "I can't lie to our customers any more."? At what point do you say "This is wrong and against company policy and we shouldn't be doing it." These are ethical decisions. One thing I regret is that I never said these things to my boss when I worked at Total Document Solutions. I've let it go for this long, and now it's out. The same thing goes for the American Church. This is wrong. Torture is wrong. You've sold your soul to a political party, when it didn't belong to you to begin with.

Read your bible, hypocrites. And lets be perfectly clear what a hypocrite is. "Hypocrisy, Noun. The claim, pretense, or false representation of holding beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not actually posses." If you say you are a follower of Jesus and you think torture is even sometimes okay, you are a hypocrite. It's that simple. You are a liar, and you are doing a horrifically poor job of representing your Great God and Savior, Jesus the Messiah. This is not an issue like taxes where your beliefs on the subject don't really matter in the spiritual realm. If you think it is ok to harm a human being to get information, you are a bogus christian.

It is just sad that more atheists, humanists, secularists, and abortionists would say that torture is not ok than Evangelical Christians. That makes me sad. It really grieves my heart. So, that being said, I'm deciding to not be one anymore. I am only a follower of Jesus Christ, not a "Christian," the word was originally an insult anyway. I am a Jesus Freak. He is king, his word rules, and living and walking in his footsteps are the status symbol of choice for his followers.

I have found that the quickest way to win any argument with a "Christian" is to quote Jesus. And boy do I like being right.