So in last night’s Republican presidential debate (02-06-2016) the candidates tried to outdo each other on the use of torture tactics.
Trump promised to reintroduce the technique of waterboarding (and worse) if elected stating, “We have people chopping the heads off Christians, we have people chopping the heads off many other people,” said The Donald. “Not since medieval times have we seen what's going on. I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
Really? This is supposed to be the party Christians are obligated to vote for over the “Evil Liberals?” Listen to how this sounds: “I’m a Christian who supports torture!” That’s tantamount to saying, “I’m a Christian and a mass murderer and rapist!” In both instances you can either be one or the other, but not both. Let’s not forget that Jesus was brutally tortured during his crucifixion.
This is just another example, among hundreds, of the mass delusion that the Republican Party is “God’s Own Party.” If you composed a checklist of their policies compared to those of the Democratic Party you would be forced to conclude otherwise. Republicans look like “Satan’s Own Party” more than anything else.
It’s worth mentioning that Saudi Arabia, our ally, chops off heads on a frequent basis, it’s even codified into their laws.
"It's just a Facebook page."
We get this comment now and then from people who obviously don't get it.
No it isn't "Just a Facebook page." It's a Ministry and a Community. 6 years ago we chose Facebook as our preferred method of outreach because it is nothing less than revolutionary. It was then and remains now the perfect tool to finally build an accessible, nationwide Christian Progressive Ministry and Community.
One of our top priorities here at TCL has always been to facilitate a place where kindred spirits (Christian Progressives and their friends) can gather, enjoy community, and discuss the issues of the day. We know of no other forum quite like this one. We get just as much out of this as any of you. Before TCL we felt like we were alone in the desert. The Right-Wing Christian Industrial Complex had all but decimated everything in its path.
Take a look at the feedback from one thread over the last two days:
Melanie J: Oh my gosh! I really thought I was the only other Christian in Indiana who wasn't a right wing enthusiast!!!! There is another person out there!
Yesterday at 6:04am
Jennifer B: Hello, kindred spirit! Great to meet you!
Yesterday at 6:06am
Melanie J: It's a pleasure to meet you too!
Yesterday at 6:38am
Stacy W: That's totally how I feel living in Texas.
Yesterday at 7:16am
Jennifer T: I have relatives in Texas. I understand.
Yesterday at 7:37am
Deva B: Kansas, here. This page, and you people, make my heart happy.
Yesterday at 9:46am
Kelly M: Another Indiana & you are so for real! & I'm in Indianapolis & it's still so true! I say ugh ugh ugh! Ya gotta keep on keeping on.
Yesterday at 10:00am
Kate C: Same way for me in central Arkansas- I put any kind of progressive message on my car and I'm sure it would get vandalized immediately
Yesterday at 10:22am
Kim P-D: Yeah! I live in western Ky and I'm the round peg that doesn't fit the square box. I'm a spiritual being housed in a human body. I have a personal loving relationship with my Heavenly Father. I'm open, tolerant, loving and generous with all I have.
Jennifer T: You bring joy to my heart.
Yesterday at 1:39pm
Andrea G: Hi from Dallas!
Carla C: That's how I feel living in Texas and I'm from Indiana!
Amanda K: I live in Indiana too. So disheartening sometimes dealing with all the right wing whackadoos in this state. They will probably reelect that idiot, Mike Pence in the next governor race even though he's proven himself to be a huge mistake for our state. I'm ready to move once the kids are all graduates in 6 years.
We get this kind of feedback every single day.
So when you spot some troll dissing this effort talk back to them. Tell them they just don't get it. If they're willing to listen tell them why this Ministry is so valuable to so many. If they won't listen don't bother arguing with them.
Here's another long list of testimonials about the Ministry and Community we all share together (click on the text link below.
Thanks for being here and making this what it is. You were the answer to our prayers and we value and appreciate each and every one of you.
Click here to return to "The Facebook Page."
-- The Christian Left
By K. Scott Schaeffer
Few terms are more appealing to the human ear than the word, liberty. With liberty, we are free to do whatever we like. All of us prefer to do what we like over being forced to do what we do not like. So how can anyone not love liberty? Of course, if everyone has absolute liberty simultaneously, it doesn’t take long to realize that liberty to do whatever we like is liberty for others to do whatever they like to us. If I like punching people, and the government lets me do so in the name of liberty, the people I punch will probably dislike my punching them. Suddenly, not everyone is so happy with liberty.
It’s this conundrum that leads libertarians to redefine liberty as it pertains to society. Having read three books by Ron Paul, libertarianism’s most popular figure over the last few decades, I think I can sum up the definition of libertarian liberty: Do whatever you like; just don’t interfere with anyone else’s liberty. In other words, no one (not even the government) has the right to take or damage your life or property, or force you to do what you do not wish with your life or property. You alone have the right to do what you like with your body and your property. The government, therefore, has one duty under libertarianism – to protect your liberty to do what you want with your life and property.
At first listen, this sounds totally reasonable. It makes sense, and it’s a simple-minded approach that can be applied to every situation. And that’s why so many people choose this definition of liberty as their determinant of right and wrong rather than the Bible. Libertarianism, therefore, isn’t just a political party; it’s a religion, because it determines right and wrong and establishes its doctrines as absolute morality. Many libertarians support these doctrines with a religious fervor. For them, liberty is greater than the common good. They, of course, often claim that libertarianism is one and the same as the common good and therefore consistent with the Bible. Here’s why this claim is wrong:
The 3 worst failings of Libertarianism
1) It places a principle (liberty) above people’s needs
Libertarians place liberty on a pedestal. To them, it’s the most important and fundamental of all human rights. Without liberty, life is hardly worth living. Their outlook differs little from that of revolutionary Patrick Henry, who proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
The Bible, however, does not share this libertarian attitude. God’s Law established that some things are more important than liberty, as we see in Deuteronomy 15:16-17 regarding servants whose time had come to be set free (those who owed debts they couldn’t pay had to pay with their labor for up to 6 years), “And it shall come about if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household since he fares well with you, then you shall take an awl and pierce it thorough his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever.”
Why would a servant who is free to leave choose to remain under the authority of someone else?
This passage tells us it’s because “he fares well” as a servant, presumably better than he would fare on his own if he were free. If the land-owner treated him with the love and respect that God commanded throughout the Bible, the servant had food, clothing, shelter, relationships, and probably a bit of leisure. He had all that a person needs to live a dignified life fitting for someone created in the image of God. On his own, the servant would have gained liberty, but might have lacked the necessities of life. His life might have gone from one of comfort to one of want and suffering. In this passage, the servant exchanges his liberty for an enjoyable life.
This is similar to what most of us do when we seek employment. We have the liberty to be unemployed and do what we like. However, for most of us, unemployment causes suffering and want. So like the servant in Deuteronomy, we sacrifice our liberty and submit ourselves to the will of our employer. On the job, we give up our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom to bear arms, and of course, the freedom to do whatever we please. All of this we exchange for a portion of our employers’ money, which provides our bodies and souls with what we really need: food, shelter, clothing, entertainment and relationships (which are easier if we can afford to keep our kids alive). All of these are more important to us than freedom; otherwise, we wouldn’t sacrifice freedom in order to obtain them.
Why do some of us choose unpleasant jobs, some of which have long hours, while others choose fun jobs or none at all?
The answer is money. Those who lack both money and lucrative skills must accept the jobs that wealthier, highly-skilled people don’t want. Poor, unskilled workers may have to sacrifice 80 hours a week of their freedom in order to support their kids, because their jobs pay so little. The only freedom such people have is to decide which employer they want to sacrifice their freedom to. And even that freedom is limited, because they work so many hours that they lack time to look for work elsewhere. Meanwhile, people who possess millions of dollars have far more freedom than poor, unskilled workers do. They have the financial means to be choosy in whom they work for, or they can simply work for themselves. They can even choose not to work and go fishing every day, because their wealth gives them the freedom to do so. In other words, freedom is dependent upon wealth. Those who have enough wealth to meet their needs are free to do as they please. Those who lack money lack freedom.
2) It fails to protect the powerless from the powerful
Since libertarianism protects the rights of people and corporations to do what they want with their property, it gives more protection to those who have property than it does those who lack it. Those who lack property are fully dependent upon property owners for survival, but they cannot depend on the government for protection from the property owners in a libertarian world.
For example, under libertarianism, businesses are free to have their way with their employees. The employees are at their mercy, having to sometimes tolerate unhealthy conditions, long work hours, and even verbal abuse. If they refuse to be abused, they’ll lose their jobs. Libertarians will argue that if the employees don’t like it, they are free to leave. In the naïve simplicity of libertarianism, this sounds good and right. However, in the real world, many workers find it difficult to leave. First, skipping from one employer to another to yet another over a short period of time looks bad on a resume in the eyes of employers and makes it nearly impossible to find new work. Second, most workers have children to support, and they lack enough money to survive unemployment, so they can’t just quit their jobs without finding another one first. Third, if they work too many hours, they have no time to look for work. And fourth, even if they do find time, it’s unlikely that their skill sets will get them jobs much better than what they already have.
Libertarianism also fails to protect those who lack property from racial and religious discrimination. It teaches that property owners have the right to do what they want with their property. So if an impoverished, legal immigrant moves to a small Tennessee town, and he wears clothing indicative of a religion the townspeople hate, the town’s businesses may deny him and his family service, employment, and tenancy. The immigrant, having little or no property of his own, must rely on those who have property; yet the property owners have the right to deny him what he needs. This is yet another example of libertarianism protecting the rights of those with property while suppressing the rights of those who lack it.
We don’t have to imagine made-up scenarios like these to see the failings of libertarianism, because our nation’s history provides many examples. As the Social Gospel movement of the 1890s took hold, voters elected officials to protect them from the horrors of the industrial world. These efforts were defeated, however, by the Supreme Court which, at the time, had been stocked with libertarian-minded justices appointed by Republican and libertarian presidents (Grover Cleveland was a Democrat, but he held libertarian beliefs). These libertarian courts made some of the most horrendous and oppressive rulings in Supreme Court history. Here are two of them:
Lochner v. New York (1905) – In 1895, the state of New York passed a law limiting bakery work hours to 60 per week. At that time, bakers had often worked 100 hours per week. The problem was industry wide. The U.S. Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional, because it was an "unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract." In other words, the government had no business protecting workers from employers, because doing so was tyranny, not liberty.
This liberty-of-contract ideology was naïve and simplistic. Its proponents imagined a fairy tale world in which workers and employers had a nice little talk and settled on terms agreeable to both at the time of hiring. The truth was that impoverished people desperate for work, especially during the 1890s depression, were at the mercy of employers, so the employers dictated the terms of employment. The workers had to choose between accepting them or watching their families suffer hunger and homelessness.
Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) – From the 1870s through the 1930s, children as young as 8 years-old worked in coal mines and other genres of manufacturing. The U.S. Congress sought to solve this problem by passing the Keating-Owen Act of 1916, which prohibited the interstate sale of goods produced by child labor. The Supreme Court shot it down, not only due to liberty-of-contract, but also in the name of states’ rights, which libertarians also regard as gospel. States were reluctant to limit child labor, because employers would respond by choosing to manufacture in other states that allowed it in order to save on labor costs. Only a national solution would work. But to the libertarian mind, states’ rights and so-called liberty were of greater importance than the well-being of children.
Libertarians promote a naïve and simplistic understanding of how a person or corporation can harm others. To them, direct stealing and injury are the only ways in which liberty and quality of life can be destroyed. Their religion turns a blind eye to the clever schemes of the wealthy and powerful, especially in the corporate world. It also turns a blind eye to the well-being of those who lack property. All it affords them is protection from being beaten or murdered. Otherwise, all other suffering is of no concern to a libertarian government.
3) It places property rights ahead of people’s needs
In ancient Israel, people owned private property, and they generally had the right to do with it as they pleased. There were, however, a couple exceptions to this: First, they had no right to prohibit others from trespassing on their property. God commanded in Deuteronomy 23:24, “If you go into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in a container [NRSV].” Not only did this law allow trespassing, but it even allowed neighbors to enjoy some fruits from one another’s harvests. Second, God required that property owners left food on their property for the poor, as we see in these passages: Leviticus 19:9, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God [NRSV].”
Why was God so lax on property rights?
Perhaps it had something to do with what He said in Leviticus 25:23 regarding the Year of Jubilee, “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.” To God, it was preposterous that one human could claim total ownership of the land God created and do so to the extent that other humans were denied all access to it. Property ownership never gave God’s people the right to be 100% selfish with their property; rather, it assigned them a responsibility to share its benefits with others – especially those who lacked property. We who have property have no God-given right to deny those who lack property. Property ownership is a responsibility, not a right.
In any society, those who lack property are fully dependent upon those who possess property. In an agrarian society, like ancient Israel or early America, those who lack property have no land on which to grow food, so they must depend on others for it. They have no land on which to build a home, so they must rent from others. They have no land on which they can run a business, so they must be hired by others. In other words, they have no MEANS of providing for themselves. If those who own the MEANS of providing for oneself won’t hire them, they have no hope. In America today, land is less of a factor, but for those who go out into the world with little or no money, they too are fully DEPENDENT upon owners of money and property for food, shelter, and employment (this is where “dependency” comes from, not from welfare; it’s only when this system of dependency on the rich fails that people need welfare). If those who possess money and property have the right to deny food, shelter, and employment to those who lack money and property, even to the extent that they need not share their wealth with the poor through taxation, then those who lack property have no hope. They are left to suffer hunger, exposure, and even death, as if they were never created in the image of God.
Republicans have created a system in which the corporate wealthy hoard the means of self-support, so that most of society lacks such means; and then the wealthy have the right to deny the means of self-support to those who lack it, leaving them helpless and unable to support themselves; and then, as if that’s not bad enough, Republicans blame the poor for being unable to support themselves. Only a sadist would support such a system. Satan is a sadist, not God. God is gracious and cares for all people equally, not just those who have an abundance of property.
The libertarian view of property rights is the opposite of God’s. Contrary to what libertarians might tell you, God’s way is gracious and the libertarian way is tyranny. Libertarians, as well as most Republicans, call tyranny imposed by government “evil”, but they call tyranny imposed by the corporate wealthy “freedom.”
Libertarianism places individual liberty and hoarding of property ahead of the well-being of God’s children. It’s selfish. It’s merciless. It’s rebellious. Its most admired figurehead is Ayn Rand, a devout atheist who hated religion. Her beliefs were consistent with her rejection of God and all things godly. Libertarianism is Social Darwinism (the idea that the poor are biologically-inferior) in a new package. It’s the enemy of Christianity. It’s a false religion presenting itself as righteousness in an attempt to “lead astray, if possible, the elect [Matthew 24:24].” No Christian should succumb to the man-made precepts of this false religion. As I like to say, Jesus is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but Satan is a Libertarian.
- K. Scott Schaeffer
[K. Scott Schaeffer is the author of the books, “Rescuing Religion from Republican Reason” and “Where the Bible Contradicts Creationists.” He also runs www.politicallymoderatechristian.com and the “Rescuing Religion from Republicans” Facebook page.]
Let the suspense end now! Our first print ad has been published! Here's what it looks like:
... and, drum roll, here's where it's published! This week's issue of Willamette Week! More details about Willamette Week below.
... and, drum roll, here it is! (Lower left corner. Page 18.)
Before we tell you more about Willamette Week there is this exciting fact to be aware of. Willamette Week belongs to a nationwide association of alternative newspapers. We can use the same ad and deal with the same account executive (at Willamette Week) to make regional and national buys!
Now here's some information about Willamette Week from Wikipedia:
Willamette Week (WW) is an alternative weekly newspaper and a website published in Portland, Oregon, United States, since 1974. It features reports on local news, politics, sports, business and culture.
Willamette Week is the only weekly newspaper to have one of its reporters, Nigel Jaquiss, win a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. It was the first newspaper to win a Pulitzer for a story that it first published online. As of 2007, WW had more 18- to 34-year-old Portland-area readers than the weekly editions of The Oregonian and its weekly arts and entertainment publication, "A&E."
Read More Here
According to Google (search Willamette Week Circulation) WW's current circulation is 89,807.
What better city to kick off our print campaign than Portland, Oregon! Home of The Christian Left and Glenn Beck's most hated city!
If you remember, here's what Glenn had to say about Christians who talk about, the horror, Social Justice, back in May of 2010!
Thank God Beck has been relegated to the fringes where he belongs.
Beck recently said that society is about to collapse and America needs passionate pastors who are willing to give up their lives if necessary in the fight against the coming persecution of Christians. Fortunately, the Black Robe Regiment that he and David Barton established a few years back has managed to cobble together at least 10,000 pastors who are willing to do just that. - See more.
That says it all ladies and gentlemen. That says it all. By the way, Beck is a Mormon. We keep wondering what Salt Lake City thinks of all this.
We're just going to be brutally honest. We have had it up to here with the conservative Christian argument that "It's not the government's job to help the needy."
Yes it is. It's everyone's job, individuals, churches, businesses, and governments. Christ's commands are universal. We lefties get that. Conservatives don't. We know every instruction in the Bible about the poor is directed at every individual AND every human institution, including governments. Conservatives refuse to accept this.
Conservative Christians try to justify cutting off government assistance to the poor with this argument all the time and they're just wrong.
So here's what we're going to do. We're going to establish a repository of scripture that contradicts their claim and we'd like your help.
Keep in mind, general scriptures about helping the poor don't work with conservatives. Unless they are faced with indisputable evidence they will always divert back to this memorized response: "That doesn't say anything about governments. It's speaking to individuals!" Their hearts have succumb to Objectivsm, which is the true "gospel" of The Christian Right.
What scriptures can you contribute? Post them in Facebook comments under this post. We'll add them.
Here's what we have so far:
"At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do." -- Deuteronomy 14:28-29
"You shall not pervert justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow's garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord you God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this. When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back and get it. It shall be for the fatherless and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again, It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this." -- Deuteronomy 24:17-24
“Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed [poor], that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” -- Daniel 4:27
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.” -- Malachi 3:5 ESV
“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” -- Isaiah 10:1-2
“They have grown fat and sleek. They know no limits in deeds of wickedness; they do not judge with justice the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. Shall I not punish them for these things?” -- Jeremiah 5:28-29
This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there: 2 ‘Hear the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne—you, your officials and your people who come through these gates. 3 This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. 5 But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.’” --
Jeremiah 22: 1-6
“‘Do you become a king because you are competing in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He pled the cause of the afflicted and the needy; then it was well. Is that not what it means to know Me?’ declares the Lord.” -- Jeremiah 22:15-16
“A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.” -- Proverbs 28:3
“The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses.” -- Isaiah 3:13-14
“The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.” -- Psalm 9:17-18
“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.” -- Ezekiel 16:49
1 Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. 2 May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. 3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. 4 May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. … 11 May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him. 12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. 13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. 14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
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Coming from lifetime t-shirt aficionados we can tell you that no other t-shirt we've ever worn generates the attention this one does. You wear it out and people say "I like your shirt," all day long. They take pictures of it and ask where they can get one.
We also made the most requested change over the years. We added "Thy White Neighbor."
The shirts are available in Men's and Women's Cuts in a wide array of colors. They are also available in long sleeve.
To Order Yours Click Here.
By Benjamin L. Corey
Many of us grow up hearing hell, fire, and brimstone messages in our churches from a very early age. In fact, many of us perhaps became Christians not so much out of a sincere desire to follow Christ, but out a fear of what he’d do to us if we didn’t. Hell is a powerful motivator—and Christians have been using it as a motivator for countless years.
This traditional view of hell is better described as “eternal conscious torment” because it teaches that God is going to torture the lost for all of eternity and that they will never die, lose consciousness, or obtain any sort of relief in their suffering. While as kids we either didn’t think to question the doctrine of traditional hell, or perhaps were too afraid to, there are a growing number of Christians today—both liberal and conservative—who are questioning the traditional view of hell, and for good reason.
First, our word for hell and all of the imagery that comes with it is a relatively new word in history, and certainly was not present in Old Testament times or the first century when the New Testament was written. In the Old Testament, there is only one word used when referring to the place of the dead, and this is the word sheol. The word simply means the “place of the dead” or the “grave” and is where Old Testament writers believed everyone went when they died—both the righteous and unrighteous. These ancient writers by and large did not share our modern concepts of heaven and hell—they believed that when people died, they died. However, over the course of time there did develop a hope among God’s people that one day the righteous would be resurrected—a hope still shared by nearly all Christians today.
In the New Testament, we find a few different words that often get translated into English as hell. Koiné Greek was a more precise language than English, so a variety of words- each with their own meanings and nuance, often get translated simply as “hell” and therefore adopt our modern concepts of hell- importing these concepts into the text. One of the more common words we find is the word hades, which is perhaps a functional equivalent to sheol- it is the place of the dead where everyone goes when they die. At times hades is described as a place of paradise (Luke 23:43) and other times a place of punishment (Luke 16:23), so it is a flexible word. Second, we find the word tartarus used only one time in reference to rebellious angels, and has the nuance of a deep, dark pit where they await the judgment of God. Thirdly, we find a common word used by Jesus that is often translated as hell, and this is the word Gehenna.
Gehenna is different than the other New Testament words for hell as it was an actual geographic place during the life of Jesus (the word actually means the Valley of the Son of Hinnom). Described by some as a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem, it was a place of historic weeping and gnashing of teeth because it is where children were previously sacrificed to Pagan gods. This was also a place where bodies were cremated, and where there was likely a fire continually burning. In many cases where Jesus uses this term, he is often referencing the coming destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70) and warning his generation as to how they could avoid having their bodies thrown into Gahenna.
Out of all these words, none of them have the exact same nuance that our English word hell tends to convey. Our modern concept of hell did not exist in ancient Judaism and is often more flavored by Dante’s Inferno than what actually occurs in the biblical text. Neither the ancient Jews nor the early Christians believed in our modern version of hell, as we see in the book of Acts (the story of the early church) the concept of hell is completely absent. This is not to say they were universalists; the early Christians believed that every human who ever lived would one day be judged and that we must be reconciled to God through Christ—but they did not use fear of hell to convey that message.
As a result of the nuance in the biblical text, there are three positions on hell, which are all considered part of orthodox Christianity: Eternal Conscious Torment, Annihilationism, and Christian Universalism. Here is a brief description of these positions and why they are all considered part of the orthodox Christian faith:
Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT)
ECT is perhaps the position most of us know well, because it is the dominant position of our day. This position teaches that the human soul is immortal and does not/cannot die. As such, the soul will exist eternally either with God or being tortured in hell for all of eternity.
This position uses the following texts in support of their position (this is not an exhaustive list): Matthew 25:41, 46; Mark 9:42–48; 2 Thessalonians 1:5–10; Revelation 14:9– 11; and Revelation 20:10, 14–15. This position was not the dominant position of the early church but has been the dominant position of the church since the post-Constantine era.
Annihilationism (also called Conditionalism)
The second orthodox position is Annihilationism/Conditionalism. This position disagrees with ECT in that it rejects the concept that human souls are immortal, arguing that God alone is immortal, as stated in 1 Timothy 6:16. Further, this position believes that souls can die as Jesus stated in Matthew 10:28. As such, Annihilationist believe that the “wages of sin is death,” meaning those who refuse to be reconciled to God are destined for eternal death (their soul ceases to exists), but that “the gift of God is eternal life” in that those who are reconciled to God are given the gift of immortality of the soul—eternal life. In short, those who fall into this category believe terms like the “wicked will be destroyed” are to be taken literally, whereas the ECT believes the terms “die” and “destroyed” are simply metaphoric for “will live forever in torture.”
This position uses the following verses to support their claim (not an exhaustive list): Psalm 1:6, Psalm 37:20, Psalm 69:28, Psalm 34:16, 21, Psalm 92:7, Proverbs 24:20, Dan 2:35, Isaiah 1:28, 30-13, Obadiah 1:16, Mal 4:1, Matthew 10:28, John 3:16, Matthew 7:13, 13:40, John 15:6, Phil 3:19, 2 Thess 1:9, 1 Cor 3:17, 2 Cor 2:15-16, Romans 6:23, Hebrews 10:39, James 4:12, 2 Peter 2:3, Revelation 20:14.
The position of annihilationism was the predominant position of the early church but has since become a minority view. However, this movement is gaining ground with both liberal Christians and conservatives.
Christian Universalism (Universal Redemption)
The third and final position on hell included under the umbrella of orthodox Christian positions is Christian universalism. This position is not the same as Unitarian Universalism, which would claim that “all flights go to Rome” or “every trail leads to the top of the mountain.” Christian Universalism, or the Universal Redemption Theory, remains an orthodox Christian view as it claims that Jesus Christ is the only way to be reconciled to God. Where it differs from the other orthodox views however is that it views the “fire” seen in scripture as being for the purpose of refinement instead of punishment. Under the Universal Redemption model it is believed that Christ will either refine everyone in the fires of his love- thus making them fit for heaven, or that Christ will continue to invite sinners to repent and be reconciled to God even from hell (postmortem repentance). This view still leaves room for a purgatorial hell of some sort, but argues hell will ultimately (one day) be empty, as all will ultimately choose to be reconciled to God through Christ.
This position uses the following passages to support their position (not an exhaustive list): John 12:32, John 3:17, Luke 3:6, Romans 5:18, Romans 11:32, 1 John 2:2, 1 Tim 4:10, Col 1:20, 1 Cor 15:22, Phil 2:11, 1 Cor 5:19, 1 Peter 4:6.
This position was held by some in the early church, but like annihilationism, fell out of favor—but is now gaining ground along side annihilationism.
Far too many of us grow up with a singular concept of hell—often one that seems to paint God as one who delights in torturing people. Thankfully, there are other options one can hold while still keeping one’s feet firmly planted in the historic, orthodox Christian faith.
Benjamin L. Corey
Benjamin L. Corey is an author and speaker with a passion for dissecting the overlap between faith and culture, and exploring the mission of the Church. His articles are read by millions each year between his personal blog at Patheos and contributions for TIME, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, Evangelicals for Social Action, Mennonite World Review, and The Good Men Project. He has also been featured as a guest on HuffPost Live, the Drew Marshall Show, Up For Debate, and is a regular guest on Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang. Ben is also a syndicated author with MennoNerds, a collective of some of the top Anabaptist/Mennonite voices today.
He holds a Master of Arts in Theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, a Master of Arts in World Missions (Cum Laude), also from Gordon-Conwell, and is a member of the Phi Alpha Chi Honors Society. Ben is currently completing his doctorate at Fuller Seminary in the field of missiology– an area of theology that explores the mission of the Church in the context of various cultures. His dissertation research is on the application of a theology of shalom applied to human trafficking aftercare.
He currently lives in Auburn, Maine with his wife Tracy and has two teenage daughters (Julissa 16, Johanna 13) who they adopted from Peru.
His first book, Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, is available wherever books are sold. Undiluted takes a hard look at the ways American culture has caused us to miss out on the most important aspect of Christian faith: Jesus. Undiluted invites you into his personal story, and into a journey of your own, to rediscover the Jesus of the New Testament– one who looks a lot more radical than the one we often grew up with.
Although he is know as an Anabaptist who teaches radical enemy love, Benjamin is a retired Professional Military Education Instructor with the United States Air Force.
Benjamin is also frequent speaker on a variety of topics and is available for both domestic and international speaking engagements.
You can follow him on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
If you're weird like us you tend to spot Biblical truths in the strangest places, like Rush songs.
Neil Peart describes what he was thinking when he wrote "Time Stand Still."
"All through the '70s our lives were flying by; we spent so much time on the road that it became like a dark tunnel. You start to think about the people you're neglecting, friends and family. So the song is about stopping to enjoy that; with a warning against too much looking back. Instead of getting nostalgic about the past, it's more a plea for the present."
Source: Milano, Breit, November 19, 1987. "The Down-To-Earth RUSH,". Boston Globe
Let's take a look at those lyrics:
"Time Stand Still"
I turn my back to the wind
To catch my breath
Before I start off again.
Driven on without a moment to spend
To pass an evening with a drink and a friend
I let my skin get too thin
I'd like to pause
No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim
Who learns to transcend
Learns to live as if each step was the end
(Time stand still)
I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away
I turn my face to the sun
Close my eyes
Let my defenses down
All those wounds that I can't get unwound
I let my past go too fast
No time to pause
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain, whose ship runs aground
I can wait until the tide comes around
(Time stand still)
I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Freeze this motion a little bit longer
The innocence slips away
The innocence slips away...
Summer's going fast, nights growing colder
Children growing up, old friends growing older
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away...
The innocence slips away
Copyright: Ole Core Music Publishing, Core Music Publishing
Now let's take a look at what Jesus said about staying in the present.
Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version (NIV)
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus is literally telling us to "See more of the people and the places that surround us now." He's telling us to look up at the birds in the air. He's telling us to notice the flowers in the field and how beautiful they are. He's telling us to stay in today, stop worrying and enjoy our surroundings.
Learning to appreciate being present is learning a universal truth. The present is all we ever have. "The future" here on Earth isn't guaranteed to any of us.
So look around you now
See more of the people and the places that surround you now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
It will all soon slip away
Make every day count, and count the blessings around you every day.
By Charles Toy
We all have to open our eyes. We have to open our eyes now. There is very little time to waste before untold human suffering will unfold sooner than later.
On July 1st, 2015, Bernie Sanders, told a crown in Madison, Wisconsin that "The top one-tenth of 1 percent" of Americans "own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent." PolitiFact rated his statement as "Mostly True."
It doesn't take a rocket scientists to see that this trajectory can't be sustained.
Here's the bottom line for almost everything we do here. Whenever society passes laws to pick on or target the weak or the vulnerable, it is targeting the wrong people. They aren't the ones destroying this country, not even close. They're just easy targets. They have no voice. Sure, certain organizations do a great job of trying to advocate for them but it doesn't even put a dent in the overall problem. They are still scapegoated and blamed for most of society's problems. After all, "They're just lazy freeloaders who refuse to work!"
It's easy for conservatives and right-wing "Christians" to sideline, marginalize, scapegoat and demonize the vulnerable (poor, gay, sick, immigrant, etc.) because the vulnerable don't have paid lobbies, legal representation, political representation, or spokespeople. They can't defend and position themselves like the super rich.
Nothing like picking on the little guys, or as Jesus would put it, the least of these. Meanwhile it's the super rich who drain the economy dry, move their money to offshore tax havens and laugh all the way to the country club. Conservatives have Americans angry at the wrong people and it's a travesty of justice purchased with lies and brainwashing via the media they own. Follow the money folks, you'll figure out who's causing all the problems for Americans and it isn't the people you've been led to believe who have no voice.
Why do you think we never hear about any of this in the media? It's because there are only a handful of media companies left in the world. They've all been bought up and consolidated by bigger media companies.
Contrary to the propaganda conservatives repeat hundreds of times daily, the national media isn't "The Liberal Media." It's Corporate Media. Think about it. Are these massive media corporations who spend billions going to put out a liberal message? They report exactly they want you to hear, a positive spin on the corporate agenda.
So what is the ordinary person to do? Corporate media isn't going to tell the truth. We have to take it upon ourselves to discern truth from lies and fluff. There are plenty of good sources out there, Chris Hedges is one of them. He writes for Truthdig.com. Google him.
"Chris Hedges, whose column is published weekly on Truthdig, has written twelve books, including the New York Times best seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. Some of his other books include “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
This article is a work is progress. More information will be added shortly, including the alarming statistics on world deforestation.
By Michael Dominic
Tell me that these right wing christopaths are not terrorists.
Don't they insist on arming in order to be able to overthrow the government, or secede?
Don't they insist on the right to impose their religious beliefs as law?
Hasn't there been dozens of assassinations of leaders and civil rights workers in the past half century- all the work of "lone nuts" who were also right wing "christians"
Does anyone remember the Murrah building in Oklahoma blown up by right wing "christians"?
What of the killings of abortion doctors and bombing of abortion clinics?
From John Wilkes Boothe to Terry Nichols the right wing has been well represented in American Terrorism.
ISIS still cant hold a candle to the torture and death inflicted upon fellow Americans by the right wing christian extremists calling themselves the Ku Klux Klan.
I see right wing republican christopaths as the biggest threat this nation has EVER had...and yet these politicians, like corrupt Islamic warlords in some countries, turn a blind eye and assist quietly, just as their forbears did with the Ku Klux Klan...and still do.
We continue to hear from a cabal of preachers and politicians- all conveniently Republicans, conservatives, and "Christians"- that the government is persecuting them.
They also are the same people trying to impose extreme right wing christopath religious law on the rest of us who aren't right wing christopaths. Christian Sharia.
I keep using that word- christopath. Pardon me for not defining terms earlier.
I am a christian, an orthodox christian. I have nothing in common with Pat Robertson, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz or any of these other nuts.
A christopath is someone who is using Christianity as a cover, a clever pretense to push right wing political aims. They are as christian as Benjamin Netanyahu... and oddly, aligned with him as well.
One could call them Christian Taliban, but they aren't Christians but in name only.
I resent them using the name of Christianity in this bogus attempt to further shore up a police state here while building empire overseas; and see them as sick, pathologically demented, suffering from the grandiose delusion of American Exceptionalism.
Hence the term " christopath."
These same lying thieving pirates have the blood of millions on their hands from the invasions and killings of people worldwide in a stupid "war on terror" that they themselves created.
So how can they call themselves Christian?
Would Jesus approve torture, invasions, murder, pillage, starving the poor at home, depriving children of education and food while enriching oil barons and billionaires?
So lets tear off their masks and call them what they are: terrorists.
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.