By Charles Toy
I started The Christian Left in 2009 as a Facebook group. In 2010 I converted it to a Facebook page and after numbers started to grow I slowly added an admin team from a few page users eager to participate. That same core admin team is still with me, Rev. Mark Sandlin and Roger Smith. We have many other long-time admin team members but Mark and Roger have assisted in planning and daily operations since I asked them to join me not long after I began.
A ministry and a community began, for people who saw what was taking place and were persecuted for bringing it up.
From the beginning we've proclaimed loud and clear that The "Christian" Right had lost its way. This has always been one of the main motivations of our mission. Long before Donald Trump we've been sounding the alarm that our faith had been infiltrated and taken over by impostors and false teachers. We no longer recognized our faith in our churches. That was profoundly saddening to us.
We've been hammered relentlessly from the beginning about the two fake issues The "Christian" Right invented, marriage equality and women's reproductive justice. The fact is these issues were invented to coalesce a right-wing political movement within the church. The history of how this happened is detailed here.
You couldn't find many people who would agree with us in public. Everyone was afraid to cause hardship for themselves and their families whether it was personal, professional, or both. We took a pounding in the beginning. We still do.
That's starting to change. People are beginning to see the truth and speak up.
Miguel De La Torre, Professor of social ethics and Latino/a studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo. wrote a piece in late 2017 that perfectly echoes what we've been saying for almost a decade.
"Christianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals. Evangelicalism ceased being a religious faith tradition following Jesus’ teachings concerning justice for the betterment of humanity when it made a Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence. The beauty of the gospel message — of love, of peace and of fraternity — has been murdered.
Evangelicalism has ceased to be a faith perspective rooted on Jesus the Christ and has become a political movement whose beliefs repudiate all Jesus advocated. A message of hate permeates their pronouncements."
We've probably made every one of those points 1,000 times.
The point of this blog is that perceptions are slowly changing. People are beginning to notice that following the teachings of Jesus has all but vanished in the US for the majority of evangelicals. 82% of them voted for Trump and stay loyal to right-wing extremism every election. Yet they represent themselves as the 'party of God.' The Gospel has been replaced with a cruel right-wing ideology.
You, the members of The Christian left, have been early pioneers in rejecting the false teaching of The "Christian" Right.
Then this happened:
That's pretty big coming from a former chair of the RNC. We'll take any allies we can get on this point. This is another thing we've been saying for almost a decade.
They lost any authority to preach when they fell prey to reprobate minds precipitated by replacing Jesus with right-wing ideology. It's happened many times in history. The most recent turning away is well documented.
Some have suggested that real Christianity has been forced underground in the US. It wouldn't be the first time.
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You member of The Christian Left. You are a pioneer.
We are all pioneers of social media for Christian Progressives and their allies at TCL. No bragging involved. We were the first by a long shot. We broke down the door of Christian Progressive isolation and we're still here after almost a decade! There were a few others back in the day tied to churches, magazines and books. There was nothing like The Christian left.
We created a haven where Christian Progressives and their allies could discuss the issues of the day free from fighting or harassment. Anyone who wanted to be be here was welcome, and still is.
We offer strength, encouragement, prayer, whatever.
350,000 strong! That took 9 years of us showing up every day and being here all day and most of the night.
We hope you keep coming back. You are what keeps the place interesting and attracts more people who think in the sane manner, Godly and progressive, they are similar in many ways.
The teachings of Jesus are simple. They require no Master of Divinity. Read his words often.
He said he was here to teach us a new path and establish a new covenant. Why would we not give his words and actions supremacy? To the surprise of many they revolve around treating one another the way he treated us while on earth, with forgiveness, mercy, loyalty, long-suffering, kindness, service. These are the teachings that honor God. We honor God by at least working on it and practicing the ways Jesus taught.
They take away food from people who don’t have enough as it is.
They take away medical care from those who will suffer and die without it.
They take away housing assistance and force people to live on the violent streets.
They give gigantic tax cuts to people who don’t even need them and increase taxes on the poor and the middle class.
They bully and pick on the vulnerable (the easiest targets in their minds), the LGBTQ, pregnant women in bad situations, undocumented people brought here as children who know no other country but America.
They keep wages artificially flat for decades while the cost of living skyrockets.
They go home and stand in front of their constituencies and congregations and tell them they are doing God’s work. They are ‘God’s party.’ They believe them.
God has turned over all who participate in this to being of reprobate minds. It’s the only way you can swallow it
Are we going to complain about this on the internet or take some actions?
Read Our Message: PLEASE OPEN -- Urgent Business from The Christian Left
Christian progressives and their allies are no longer isolated by their geographic location. Thanks to social media we broke down those doors 9 years ago. We can now interact and support one another in real time, 24,7. We’ve demonstrated that we’re serious, we’re loyal, and we’re in this for the long haul.
It wasn’t a day too soon that all this happened. This thing conservatives and Republicans have built is ugly, evil, and embarrassing … and it isn’t Christianity, not even by a long shot.
Who votes as a block to take food away from hungry people, take healthcare away from the sick and injured, take housing away from the homeless and take away needed resources for the elderly? Who elects some of the most vile men you can imagine just to win this evil policy game?
"Blah, blah, blah … Bring it into the storehouse. None of that is the government’s job.” They’ve been screaming that lie for decades. And that’s what it is, a big, fat lie. You can take it into the storehouse alright, so the pastor can build a new wing and write another book. The masters of the storehouse had Jesus killed because he was disrupting their little business of power and prestige.
Jesus saw right through their little game and warned his disciples:
“Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” -- Luke 20:45-47
There are thousands of wonderful pastors and churches out there as well, and they're doing great work. Many are now LGBT inclusive. They do what they can to help the least of these in society, but they know very well it's a much bigger problem than churches can be expected to solve alone. The needs are far too great. Progressive, reasonable, Bible-based churches know we're all going to have to cooperate though government policy and programs to solve some of these massive problems.
In the Old Testament God ordered resources to be brought in and stored in towns, to be distributed to those who lacked basic necessities. Towns are public entities. They are governments.
"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
Taking care of the vulnerable and the least of these in society is everyone’s job, individuals, families, businesses, and the government. The Bible is full of examples from beginning to end of God being highly displeased with Kings and Queens who didn’t care for the vulnerable.
What compounds the evil they do is that the wealthy have been hoarding money for decades. The economy is booming right now. Money is flowing lavishly all around the world. There’s just one problem. It’s all staying in the hands of a very small group of people.
There’s more than enough money for state-of-the-art universal healthcare in the US. There’s more than enough to give people long overdue raises, rebuild infrastructure, finance public education at least through 2 years of college, bring back manufacturing, bring back pensions, etc.
It’s never enough for them, ever, and the Bible clearly states that. While they obsess on people’s family planning choices and bedroom practices as a decoy, they grind the least of these into the dirt and call it Christian. It’s so sick. It’s so wrong. It’s so evil. It’s gone too far. It’s gone on for too long. It’s going to get worse if this community and others like it don’t step up boldly and boldly speak up.
It's not even their money. It's God's money. Furthermore, they didn't accumulate that money in a vacuum. We live in a cooperative society. Everyone serves everyone else in different capacities. The problem is that the majority of the people do the majority of the work and the small minority at the top walk off with majority of the rewards. The economic system is so profoundly rigged it spins the mind.
We’ve always been willing to take this message as far and as wide as we can take it. Frankly, the only thing that has stopped us is financial resources. Promotion costs money. We’d buy a full page in the New York Times next week if we could. That would make some news.
We appreciate all the donations we’ve ever received. It’s getting to be emergency time with this thing conservatives have created. It’s time that we Christian progressives make some demands and then broadcast them to society at large.
We need to demand that they quit representing themselves as the spokespeople for Christianity in the US. They need to stop calling what they do as representative of “Christian Values,” “Moral Values,” Family Values,” or any other kind of values except evil values that have no basis in anything but greed and power.
November 28th was #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media. #GivingTuesday kicks off the season when many focus on holiday and end-of-year giving. It was started in 2012 as a response to the commercialization and consumerism of the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday).
Are you a year-end giver? Do you see what’s going on? Do you see what we’ve described above as the truth? Donate what you can. We’re not going to run off and stop what we’re doing. We’re going to stay right where we are and multiply what we’re doing.
We hope you keep us in mind from today through the end of the year in your year-end giving.
We don't appreciate Christian organizations who speak up about politics and hide behind tax havens, so we don't do it. We pay our taxes. As a result contributions are not tax deductible. It's still a great cause though. Many tell us before they found us they thought they were the only ones. That's how isolated Christian progressives are in many parts of the country.
We just renewed our broadcast e-mail service for another year. It wasn’t cheap. No one does what we’ve been doing for 9 years if they aren’t serious. This is a critical time in history. That’s not hyperbole. Millions are unaware this movement exists. They think conservative, Republican “Christians” are the only kind of Christians there are, and they’re running away from them in droves.
Jesus could use some new spokespeople right about now, people who actually focus on what he actually taught. Maybe you are that group of people at this time in history. Lord knows the time is ripe for some truth to be spoken. People are hungry for it. The teachings of Jesus are simple. They always renew. They always give life. They always expose evil by simply being held up as a contrast. The contrast couldn’t be more stark than it is now.
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The business of making health care a privilege for the well off in the United States is messy and confusing. One of our members just explained what Trump did (and didn't do) today, Friday, October 13, 2017.
"This order doesn't even impact unsubsidized premiums directly at all. He is threatening to end subsidies paid to insurance companies to help them comply with their obligation to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Insurance companies are required by law to reduce the deductibles and coinsurance payments for low income people (essentially anyone who is eligible for reduced premiums is also eligible for reduced cost sharing). They are still required to do so, even if they do not receive the subsidies Trump is threatening to cut off.
You will still receive the individual ACA subsidy. You will still get the cost sharing reduction on deductibles and coinsurance. Just like you don't pay $1202 now, you won't pay the $1330 in 2018. Your premium subsidies are safe (for now). Your reduced out-of-pocket cap and reduced coinsurance and deductibles are safe (for now).
The indirect impact, though, is that the insurance company can't create money out of thin air. Because it is obligated by law to give you a break, it has to find that money somewhere. The only option is to increase premiums (or leave the market). Many insurance companies increased their rates in anticipation that Trump would carry out his threat, so because of how late he issued the order, there is not likely to be much additional impact this year.
Hope that helps. None of the articles I've run across are explaining it clearly."
Having done this for almost 9 years now once in a while we come up with something worth preserving here on the blog. Today was one of those days. It's related to things we hear daily from conservative "Christian" trolls.
Conservative "Christian" trolls frequently tell us "There is no such thing as The Christian Left." That's silly of course and truth be told we're not sure if there's any such thing as a right-wing "Christian." We have a really hard time reconciling right-wing ideology and the words spoken by Jesus.
Another thing they like to harass us about daily is that we discuss politics here. In fact this is a page where Christian progressives (and their allies) can freely discuss political and cultural issues of the day without being harassed. It's a haven and we protect it.
Right-wing "Christians" have been blabbering about politics and culture in the public square forever. The second Christian progressives start doing the same they come here all day and say things like, "I don't see anything Christian about this page. You need to call it 'The Left' instead of 'The Christian Left'"
That is of course ignorant. We post scriptures every single day and anyone can talk about Jesus on any thread we post. In fact we encourage that because right-wing politics is so obviously opposed to the words of Jesus that every post is an illustration of the contrast.
by Charles Toy
Let this sink in. Vladimir Putin “asked” Trump to take Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak on a private tour of the Oval Office. Trump complied and the “Russian press” was allowed in but the American press wasn’t.
Russia just hacked our presidential election, breaking in to the DNC computer network and distributing their confidential information with precise tactical timing to cause the maximum political damage. They were sanctioned by President Obama because this kind of cyber-sabotage is an act of war. Every single US intelligence agency confirmed it was Russia behind these attacks. In recent public hearings James Comey stated that Russia continues to manipulate and sabotage the US political system on a large scale. Trump fired Comey the day before he granted the private tour of the Oval Office to Putin’s Russian officials. Then he made veiled threats to Comey via Twitter.
A few questions come to mind.
Are you KIDDING me? What the hell is going on?! Why are we giving private tours of the Oval Office to our enemies? How many Russian spies do you think were in that Russian press pool in the Oval Office? What does Putin have on Trump? What do you think Ronald Reagan would think of all this? What actions do you think he would recommend moving forward? Why is every member of the US congressional leadership utterly paralyzed to do anything about this? Even McCain is walking back his comments comparing all this to Watergate earlier today and is now trying to water down those statements. Watergate was 5 guys breaking in to DNC headquarters. This was an entire nation with vast resources breaking in to the DNC’s electronic data files and using them to sabotage one party in the presidential election.
Several more developments have recently come to light. It turns out Trump invited Comey over to the White House for dinner the week after he was elected. After spending dinner talking about crowd size Trump told the other two guests, AG Sessions and VP Pence, to leave. He then demanded loyalty from Comey and dropped big hints that he wanted the Michael Flynn investigation terminated. Comey refused on both counts and went home and typed up a memo detailing the entire encounter. He sent the memo to contacts within the FBI and filed it.
In an interview with Lester Holt last week Trump said that when he fired Comey he was thinking, “This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story; it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election.”
During the private Oval Office tour, in an attempt to brag, Trump blurted out information categorized as “Top Secret” and held in a secure “compartment” to which only a handful of intelligence officials have access. Several news agencies including ABC reported the life of a spy placed by Israel inside ISIS was at risk last night as a result of Trump’s carelessness.
Today, in his commencement address to United States Coast Guard Academy graduates, Trump didn’t even try to take the high road. On one of the biggest days of their lives Trump made it all about him. Everyone is being mean to him. “Look at the way I have been treated lately, especially by the media,” he said. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”
There was one small silver lining in Trump’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad two weeks. Vladimir Putin put the word out that he would be happy to provide a transcript of the private Oval Office tour. Let that sink in.
Update On My Shoulder Surgery: So many of you were very generous to me with your prayers and emotional support around my shoulder replacement surgery. I'm two weeks out now and so far so good!
It's going to be a long recovery process but I'm feeling good about it. There is hope now that I'll be able to resume a life without severe pain, especially when trying to sleep. I'm sleeping in a recliner right now and I probably will be for several more weeks.
Your prayers have been working! The day before my surgery my insurance company canceled authorization for the procedure. They tried to say it wasn't justified. Fortunately my surgeon is the best in town. He's the Chief Orthopedic Surgeon and professor for upper extremities at Oregon Health Science University. He's the guy all the other surgeons send their problem cases to.
He spent two hours on the phone with my insurance company and got them to reverse their cancellation. On top of that he just took care of it without worrying me about it. I didn't even know until after the surgery.
That was a God thing as far as I'm concerned. I gave thanks to my surgeon and God ... and you. I knew your prayers made a difference! 3 years of terrible pain and very little sleep was long enough. What a miserable ordeal.
I'm easing back in to my daily TCL duties typing with one hand. I'll take it slow and keep you posted moving forward. Thanks again for your concern and prayers.
As you may have heard, A senior member of our admin team has been banned from posting to the Facebook page or interacting with the page in any way, this time for 7 days.
The offense was posting an article about Alex Jones from Right-Wing Watch. The header on the post was simply a quote from the article.
It seems like this only happens if people complain about it to Facebook, which leads us to believe we are being targeted. We have an e-mail in to Facebook about the situation. As you may remember this has happened before. Facebook also says that if it happens enough the ban can be permanent and the page could be taken down.
All the more reason for you to do two things in case we're ever taken down and you want to remain in touch with the community.
First, Sign up for our e-mail list by clicking on the link below,
Second, make secure emergency donation so we can set up an emergency fund if we ever have to do some fast developing. We may have to set up our own website that functions much like Facebook. Emergency secure donations can be made by clicking on the link below. Backup Facebook pages wouldn't help if we were personally suspended from Facebook.
1.) Join Our E-mail List By Clicking Here. You will receive regular e-mails from us as well as instructions of how to find the community if we're ever taken down from Facebook.
Once you join you will receive a welcome e-mail detailing all the various methods of staying in touch with the community and the story about the last time this happened to us.
2.) Make A Secure Emergency Donation By Clicking Here. We will store the funds in a development fund should we ever need to re-build the community from the ground up. We could face building a website that acted much like Facebook.
By Charles Toy
Good news! I found an Orthopedic Surgeon who accepts an A1C level of 7.5, which is my current level!
I'll keep you all posted. I meet with his physician's assistant on Monday.
I knew it was going to be a good idea to tell this story and get your feedback. I have my pain post running as a promoted post for the next week. So many have already offered great suggestions for pain. I hope this comment thread will be an ongoing resource for people like me, those who have long term untreated severe chronic pain.
You can view the original post and read all the comments by clicking the link below.
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.