Wednesday, April 30, 2008

FLDS - Persecuted for their religion?

I have heard some people in the media state that the Texas raid on the FLDS ranch is an example of "religious" persecution. It is said that the government is uncomfortable with the FLDS and so it unconstitutionally raided a defenseless religious group.

I don't buy it.

I want to loudly proclaim a counter argument. It is not because of religious beliefs that the FLDS ranch was raided. It is because they have sex with young girls as part of their culture. PERIOD!!

The individuals who frame this story as "religious persecution" never discuss other separatist religious groups. What about the Amish? The Amish live in a time warp as well. They are separate from society. Yet no one would consider raiding the Amish! Why??

Because they don't sleep with little girls!!!

So please Bob Lonsberry, and all others using this defense, stop building this as a snowball argument. Forget your conspiracies! Quit saying, "Who is the government going to raid next?!"

The answer is NO ONE!

The FLDS were raided for their depraved ACTIONS... NOT their beliefs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three Generations of Evangelicals

My wife and I stayed up late watching this video. It is a public radio interview of Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, and Chuck Colson. We found it to be a fascinating discussion that encapsulates the different worldviews that exist within the evangelical movement. It demonstrates how each person's religion was strongly shaped by the period they grew up in, as well as their lived history.

That awareness helps me to watch Chuck Colson with a more gracious attitude than I might have in the past. I believe the way he weaves nationalism and Christianity into a single fabric is rather heretical. However, he is a product of his time as I am of mine. Perhaps if I overlook some of his heresies, others may be more inclined to overlook mine.

It is an hour and a half long, and well worth the time.

Click here to watch the video.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Prison letter from Reverend Billy

If you have not yet seen "What would Jesus buy?", your opportunity is coming up. It will be released on DVD May 20th. (View Trailer)

WWJB? is a documentary that follows the Reverend Billy and his choir from "The Church of Stop Shopping" as they take their Revival and protest against consumerism tour across America.

From their website: this docu-comedy follows our trials and triumphs across the country as we preach and sing to help holiday-abused Americans find a new Christmas without products.

The film has played throughout the US, bringing Fair Trade activists and Evangelical Christians together in darkened movie theaters, emerging with new tools to BUY LESS and GIVE MORE!

I am excited to see our churches getting on board with this message. We in the church are beginning to view ourselves less as clubs to join, and more as agents of change to redeem this world.

The movie is comedic and theatrical, and I love it. However, there is a serious and somber side of Bill Talen that you can see when you go beyond the movie. I just came across one of his blog entries which was initially written during one of his times in prison for protesting. Please head over here to give his entry a read.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My View of Jesus

"It was a busy day in heaven as folks waited in line at the pearly gates. Peter stood as gatekeeper, checking each newcomer's name in the Lamb's Book of Life.

But there was some confusion because the numbers were not adding up. Heaven was a little overcrowded and a bunch of folks were unaccounted for. So some of the angels were sent to investigate. And it wasn't long before two of them returned.

'We found the problem,' they said, 'Jesus is out back lifting people up over the gate."

(Jesus for President, Claiborne, Shane and Haw, Chris, pg. 290)

HT: Michael's Blog

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My latest Focus on the Family Mail

I found this sadly amusing. This was on the envelope of Focus on the Family's latest letter asking me to send them money:

"Liberals are determined to remake America. Here's how YOU can stop them!"

The letter inside was completely over the top. It would have been absolutely hilarious if I didn't know that this letter will cause many Christians to further harden their hearts against their neighbors and the community they live in.

Love is against the grain.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Homeschooling Public School Teacher

On a recent post, Cipher asked me how I deal with questions of contradiction concerning my being a public school teacher while homeschooling my own children. I knew it would take a post to respond so here goes:

It is because I have intimate ties with the public schools, and know what goes on, that I am fully supportive of my wife home schooling our children.

I know that statement started all the conspiracy theorist home schoolers salivating, so let me elaborate. First let me state that there are no conspiracies. The secular humanists are not meeting every second Thursday to plot the destruction of Christian faith and apple pie American values using the educational system.

No, it is more dull than that. It is apathy, and it comes from all walks of life. It is entitlement, and some of my brothers and sisters in Faith are the worst culprits.

Mostly though, I encourage home schooling for my children because the inmates are running the asylum.

Let me give an example of two former students of mine - we will call them Jimmy and Jerry. Jimmy and Jerry were in my 5th grade class, but they probably functioned at a third grade level. This was not due to lack of ability but to years of neglect. They had no interest in education. Their day spent in my classroom was a constant stream of interruptions and shenanigans to entertain themselves. Jimmy's mom thanked me for being patient with her son, but never offered any real help. Jerry's mom ran block for him. It was the district's fault, the principal's fault, the teacher's fault. It seems for six years straight he had gotten bad teachers.

I spent my day corralling these two, and tried to get some teaching done in the down moments.

One day a miracle happened. One magical day they were both absent! These two were never absent, but I guess the stars were in alignment that day.

Now before I go on I have to state that, like most teachers, I over plan my day. There is nothing worse than dead air, so even my back up plans have back up plans.

Our school day ended at 3:00. Because Jimmy and Jerry were gone, I was done with EVERYTHING at 1:30. I went through all my extras and my backup plans.

It was then that I realized that those two suck up an hour and a half (or more) of instructional time everyday.

Let's take that math out a bit. That means in a 180 day school year, they destroy 271.5 hours of instruction time. Divide that by an average 6 hour school day and you get 45.25 of your 180 days gone. That is 25% of our school year out the window. They caused their class to lose a year of instruction every 4 years!

That was 15 years ago. It is much worse now. Most teachers today would scream with joy if they had only two students whose' day was bent on disruption.

My daughter started first grade in the public schools. My wife volunteered a few times a week in the classroom. She always came home horrified. "Andy, she is a good teacher, but she spends most of her day corralling 7-10 students... and there really is nothing the school can do about it!!"

Yep, welcome to the public schools.

These are the schools we demanded and these are the schools we received. How did it get this way?

See, everyone is for discipline - until their child is in trouble. Everyone wants rigorous educational standards - but no one wants to shoulder the weight that comes with such standards. We want children held accountable - other children that is, not ours.

In addition, the adults of our nation worship entertainment and want what they want when they want it.

Yet we want our children to be studious and disciplined?


To clarify, I never disliked Jimmy and Jerry. They were decent souls, but the truth is my class as a whole suffered for their presence.

There are many classes across America where upwards of half the students fall into the "Jimmy and Jerry" category. Until we deal with this issue, any other changes in the educational system are just furniture arranging on the Titanic.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Son: A Man After My Own Heart!

My son is 6 years old. For the past month or so, I have been reading the Narnia chronicles to him and his 9 year old sister each night. This is a task I have eagerly looked forward to. I believe that Lewis, in the story of Aslan, captures an image of Christ that doctrine and theology have a hard time conveying. The Narnia Chronicles touch me deeply each time I read them.

How would my children react to them? It has been everything I could have hoped for and more. They laugh, they clap their hands, they jump up and down in excitement. They eagerly await each evening when we will read another 2 chapters.

Tonight we finished the last two chapters of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Both of my children have become very attached to the character of Reepicheep in the past two books. They were thrilled when they discovered that he was going to be with Edmund and Lucy on the Dawn Treader.

My son Jacob holds things close to his heart. He feels strongly the hurts and joys of those around him.

At the end of the book, Reepicheep finally parts from Edmund and Lucy to go on to Aslan's Country alone. Before Reepicheep goes, he casts off his sword saying, "I will need it no longer." He then rides his coracle up the wave where he finally tips over the crest and vanishes from sight.

With that, my son gave a deep sigh and walked directly upstairs and wept.

I gave him a moment and then we all went up to console him. I was so proud of him. I love that he feels for worthy things so deeply.

After a few minutes, Jacob was ready to finish the last few pages. He smiled and clapped at the end.

"Daddy, do we start the next book tomorrow?"

Yes son, we do....

Salt Lake Emergent Cohort

The first meeting of the Salt Lake Emergent Cohort will be taking place on Thursday, April 24, at 7:00pm. We will be meeting at High Point Coffee on 1735 West, 7800 South, West Jordan.

Our hopes are to meet about once a month. If you enjoy theological conversation and like to wrestle through different views of scripture, please come join us for a cup o' joe.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Rethinking Mclaren...

Someone finally made some good points critiquing this revolutionary and his near cult like following.... Read this post!


TheTruth Project Revisited

About 25 % of my blog hits each month come from two articles I wrote about The Truth Project. It is, according to the producers at Focus on the Family, "a small group curriculum designed to communicate the Christian worldview". Since Focus on the Family has decided to proclaim THE Christian Worldview, I figure Christians everywhere might want to be aware of it (since Focus has decided to speak for all of us).

I get a fair amount of email based on these two articles. Some thank me for giving some food for thought when considering the series. Others denounce me as a tool of Beelzebub, and wish I would just do the world a favor and quit sucking air.

Ahh critics...

Here are the links for your reading pleasure:

Truth Project part 1

Truth Project part 2
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