Category Archives: Just Religion

Guess what they played at church today.


John Lennon’s Imagine.


pop philosophy talk

Alright, what do I have to do to summon a skeptic or whatever they’re called on short notice?  We’re talking Brené Brown at the church I’ve been visiting lately and her “”discoveries”” have been driving me up the wall.

sin talk

According to Leonardo Boff, what social analysis calls “structural poverty,” faith calls “structural sin,” and what social analysis calls “the private accumulation of wealth,” faith calls “the sin of selfishness.”  Suffering exists because sin represents the root of all that is wrong with the world…  For liberationists, sin is communal.  All sins, even those committed by individuals, have communal ramifications.  All too often, Eurocentric theology has made sin and its redemption personal.  Sin becomes an act of commission or omission, while salvation from our sinfulness rests in a personal savior in the form of Jesus Christ.  Conversion, however, is never personal but must extend to social transformation.  What is missing for Eurocentric religious thought is the structural nature of sin.  Oppression and poverty as expressions of sin are mostly caused by societal structures that are designed to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

–Miguel A. De La Torre, Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians, p.54-55

I don’t like the tone of most of this book, but at least there’s this.

Feelings Dogma

I don’t know if I’ve said it here before but I’m saying it now: I don’t adhere to or support any guideline for How You Should Live Life that’s based on feeling the correct feelings, whether that means feeling others’ feelings (“empathy” as a prerequisite for correct morality); disallowing yourself unhappiness (“staying positive” as a virtue); or pushing discomfort, risk, and unease as self-justifying mandates (in praise for “vulnerability” and “getting out of your comfort zone”).  Dogmas of feelings have always been useless at best for me, outright detrimental more often than not, and I don’t want any part in them.

New Olympic Sport:

trying not to burn yourself with a candle that has one of those cheap paper wax guards because the church you’re at didn’t get the good plastic ones

Note to self:

Here’s the plan for next time: 1) Visit the church with no pews or pew back shelves for book storage. 2) Forget to pick up a hymnal on your way in. 3) Pick a seat next to where you know the cutie usually sits. 4) Ask if you can look over and share their hymnal book during the hymns, creating an excuse for the two of you to stand closer together.

Y’all, I was this close to successfully executing this plan after legitimately forgetting to pick up a hymnal, but then someone noticed I didn’t have one and gave me one before I could get to step four.  Bummer.

Me and the cute kid did chat for a bit before the service though, and they even asked if they would see me next Sunday, so, seems promising?

so I was looking for xmas movies on netflix

as you do, right, and…


Hold on, what?

Christian Mingle: THE MOVIE?


Man.  Check out that solid one-star rating, my friends.

There is no mention of freedom for non-Jewish slaves.  The point here is that when non-Jewish people (like many African-American women who now claim themselves to be economically enslaved) read the entire Hebrew testament from the point of view of the non-Hebrew slave, there is no clear indication that God is against their perpetual enslavement.  Likewise, there is no clear opposition expressed in the Christian testament to the institution of slavery [itself]…. Womanist theologians, especially those who take their slave heritage seriously, are therefore led to question James Cone’s assumption that the African-American theologian can today make paradigmatic use of the Hebrew’s exodus and election experience as recorded in the Bible.  Even though Cones sees that for the Hebrews “election is inseparable from the event of the exodus,” he does not see that non-Hebrew female slaves, especially those of African descent, are not on equal terms with the Hebrews and are not woven into this biblical story of election and exodus.

-Delores S. Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness, p.146-147

You ever read a sentence you feel like you’ve been waiting for your whole life?

Ellul and Biblical politics

Before taking a look at Paul we must glance at a strange passage in a later epistle, namely, 1 Peter 2:13ff., which tells us to “be subject to the king as supreme” and to “honor the king.”  Oddly, this passage has never given commentators any difficulty.  As they see it, the matter is simple enough.  The king was the Roman emperor.  That is all.  On this basis, then, sermons are preached on the obedience and submission of Christians to political authorities.  Interestingly, in parallel Bibles there is usually a cross-reference to the saying of Jesus that we must render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.  In fact, however, this whole line of exposition displays great ignorance regarding the political institutions of the period.

First, the head of the Roman state was then the princeps.  This was the term for the emperor at the time when Christian texts were written.  This period is known historically as the principate.  The princeps was never called the king (Greek basileus).  The title was formally forbidden in Rome.

–Jacques Ellul, Anarchy and Christianity, p.74-75

Picked up this book recently while getting a couple of others.  After it arrived in the mail, I started flipping through it and immediately found enough racism to tell me I should take this book with a sack of salt, specifically a sack and not a grain so that there will be enough to form a circle and ward off the evil as I sift through this thing for anything novel or good.  And while I haven’t found anything quite like I’d hoped for when I bought it, I did find this take on 1 Peter 2:13, which… is one I haven’t been exposed to before, at least.

The direction he goes with this is, um, not what I thought it’d be.  He rules out that “king” could mean the Roman emperor, and then somehow he interprets this as meaning the author was talking about pledging loyalty to… a different nation that did have a monarchy?  Dude, what?  I… okay.  Sure, I guess.

I saw someone refer to Judaism as “the ‘fight me’ religion” the other day.

So, clearly, I’m in need of some book recommendations.