It starts with the desire to bring all things in society under the good intentions of Jesus Christ, but not for the purpose of protecting us Christians from the "heathens" in society. And not for the purpose of coercing everybody in the society to bow to the rules of our puritanical God. No, it starts with a deep desire to see good done to all people, to bring hope and justice into the world as Jesus would have it, to bring heaven onto earth so that people can experience the goodness of God.
In sum, jokes are boundaries. Jokes mark off a shared space. A space of shared attitudes and experiences. A joke is compressed because it functions as a kind of test. Do you share my view of the world? Are you with me? Are you an insider or an outsider? This facet of jokes--tests of inclusion--is why jokes are both wonderful and wounding. They are wonderful when they are shared. But jokes wound when they exclude people and when they deploy toxic stereotypes. Further, jokes become contested when outsiders attempt to enter the space (i.e., tell the joke) before gaining the consent of the insiders. This is why the ethnicity of a person telling an ethnic joke is vital to understanding the nature and function of the joke.
Jokes are complex and morally treacherous. They bring us together and force us apart. They embrace and exclude.
The way in which the Christian story has been presented and practiced is not holding “true” for people who may still believe what Christians say are the central tenets of the faith. To put it bluntly, people aren’t rejecting Christ — they’re rejecting Christianity… at least, the version of it that we’ve been presenting.
Dad was reborn at 6:40 this morning with all of his family around him singing you raise me up. It was the most beautiful thing we have all ever witnessed. We will see you again Daddy.
I believe those seeking to create a truly pluralistic world will avoid the extremes of neo-colonialism and hyper-tolerance. We won’t stick our heads in the sand or try to impose our culture values onto others, but we will also not fail to love others (especially the oppressed) in a desire to merely tolerate who they are. True pluralism engages, and learns, and wrestles with justice – and in doing so extends God’s love to all.
The Universalist cannot reject the inherent wisdom of these traditions, the profound experiences of spirituality shared by billions across the world, or the vast wisdom accumulated in different religions and philosophies. It is not true that we believe all religions are equal or saying the same thing. What we do believe is what GodQuest says: All religions, despite their mistakes, possess truth and it would be foolish to limit Truth by culture and tradition.
The New Unitarian Universalist
I suppose I’m just coming to realize that in some way we really do become how we act, and I have just gotten snarkier over the years. Less patient. Less forgiving. And I think that’s due not to the abandonment of evangelical practice, or because I’m not praying enough, or what have you. It’s because I gave myself permission to be a jerk in dealing with your excesses. I’ve learned that you just can’t compartmentalize anger and resentment. It works its way through the rest of you like… well, like yeast, to borrow an analogy.
I am concerned that two storms are converging on the America we love. The belief that the government is going to take our guns and the belief that it is patriotic to take up arms to protect those rights. Pepper this with a healthy dose of racism and we could see a local insurgency that pales to the ones we have seen in the middle east. I believe in the spreading of hate, and paranoia the conservative news and talk radio outlets will create a self-fulfilling prophecy, gun violence will increase and so will the government's call the stop the blood shed. I am for lobbying to protect our rights, however, we are seeing unwarranted paranoia over legislation that has not been drafted, not been introduced, and not passed. If we spent more time studying the way our government functioned and less time assuming that a president can dictate law we might all sleep better.
It's a Curmudgeon's Life