Come see the new blog site at:
Come see the new blog site at:
In celebration, I wanted to share with all of you that I graduated from Harvard today. It’s been a while ride with a successful ending, but it was not done in isolation. Many people contributed to getting me here, and I would like to give a big “thanks!” to all of you. The list is long and distinguished, so I won’t bore you with all of the names, but you are all held in my heart.
The next step will be to move back to Florida to fulfill the role of father to my wonderful daughters and to begin my writing career. My first poem was published in print this past week, which is a good first step. I am also part of the way through a novel. Of course, this blog will be kept up with and I am sure I can find someway to continue to agitate and instigate the Christian family through other literary mediums.
Thank you all. And though it may sound trite, it is meant from deep within – G*d bless you all.
I started writing a new post a few days ago and ended up with twenty pages and counting. Below is a section of what I am working on, which involves practicing the presence of G*d in the present (say that three times fast). In order to be with G*d, we must seek an understanding of the Divine Nature. One of the stumbling blocks I have identified is the domination of masculine or “tough” language in reference to G*d: King, Lord, Rock, Almighty, Ruler, etc. In order to create a more balanced view of G*d, here are some Bible verses that speak to the feminine nature of G*d.
G*d Doing “Women’s Work” (referring to gender roles in antiquity)
More Examples of the Divine Feminine
Posted in Terms, Theology | Tagged 1 John 4:7b, 1 John 5:1, 1 John 5:18, 1 John 5:4, 1 Peter 2:2-3, Acts 17:28, Commonweal of God, Deuteronomy 32:11-12, Deuteronomy 32:18, El Shaddai, Genesis 3:21, Goddess, Hosea 13:8, Isaiah 31:5, Isaiah 42:14, Isaiah 46:3-4, Isaiah 49:14-15, Isaiah 66:13, Isaiah 66:9, Job 38:29, Job 38:8, John 1:13, John 3:3-5, Luke 13:20 – 21, Luke 13:34, Luke 15:8-10, Matthew 23:37, Mother God, Numbers 11:12-14, Psalms 131:2, Psalms 17:8, Psalms 22:9-10a, Psalms 36:7, Psalms 57:1, Psalms 71:6, Ruth 2:12, Sophia, The Divine Feminine, Wisdom | 1 Comment »
I consider myself a person who is aware of their emotions, but I did not realize how much something was bothering me, until of a dream I had last night. In the dream, I was the Vice President of the United States. After going about my official duties for part of the day and meeting with the American people, I became disheartened. I saw how angry and hateful people were, people who claimed to be otherwise, and I decided to resign my position. The crux of the issue was race. The dream seemed set in the future, but we were dealing with the civil rights issues of the twentieth century. My decision to resign was done without consulting anyone. I told a reporter to get a crew together, and as I paced back and forth thinking over my presentation, I woke up.
As I lay in bed, it was immediate what was bothering me: North Carolina’s decision to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
As a citizen of the Commonweal of G*d, I am grief stricken at the systematic hate of the Body of Christ. As an American citizen, I am appalled at the violation of civil rights and the institutionalized bigotry that we are perpetrating here in the U.S.
In the United States we all but decimated tens of millions of people in the name of “our” rights to live how “we” thought proper. We then enslaved millions of another race to support the economics of that society. We have mentally and physically abused our women, because “our” society was for the pleasure of the white male. Later, we “allowed” our slaves to be separate, but equal – shutting them away in dilapidated housing with substandard education, as we kept them bound in the invisible chains of poverty and fear. We have done all of this with biblical support.
Today, we still have a portion of our society that is trying to define equal rights for everyone, but then they make people less than human so “everyone” comes to mean “some people.” Rights are hard to get in the land of the free. At first, a person had to be a white, land-owning male. Women and other races were out. Slaves were 3/5 of a person. Then, blacks became people by law, but not by culture. It would be even longer before women could vote. Today, if you are queer in America, you do not have the same rights under the constitution as everyone else. If you are queer and in love, you do not have the right to get married like that man and woman next door who is getting a divorce. This same segment is touting how this is the voice of the people, because it was voted on. Yes, and so was segregation.
Imagine a world where Christians are defined by their love of G*d and neighbor, rather than living up to “biblical principles” that make people feel not good enough to kiss the shoe that is walking out of a church on Sunday afternoon. Imagine a world where Christians did not rally in anger and frustration against the creation of G*d, but out of compassion and earnestness for humanity. Imagine a world where Christians united to feed the widow and orphan, who put on the ballot equal pay for women, who marched on the steps of Washington to end wars, who wanted all people to have affordable access to dental and medical care, and who worked to make the word “Ghetto” an out-of-date term that our grandchildren would have to read about in history books. Imagine.
My heart hurts. My soul is crushed. I am repelled by the G*d that so many Christians worship. I have no desire to know their Jesus.
There is a G*d who is love. There is a Jesus who taught us the way. We are to love G*d and our neighbors as ourselves. We are not to judge those same neighbors. We are to embrace the outcasts of the religious and social elite. We are to let go of the possessions that are holding onto us and follow. We are to love. Imagine.
Posted in Activism, Church and State, Current Events, Economics, Education, Environment, Ethics, Faith and Culture, Personal Reflection, politics | Tagged Bible, civil rights, equal rights, equality, gay, Jesus, LBGTQI, manifest destiny, marriage ban, North Caroline, one man and one woman, poverty, queer, segregation, slavery, U.S. Constitution, widows and orphans | 10 Comments »
Theology nerds have favorite concepts that theology is applied to. For me, I enjoy the problem of evil and free will. The problem of evil, or “theodicy,” wonders how bad things can happen in a world if there is a good god that created it or is maintaining it. The conversations around that will make your head spin. The other concept, free will, is what I will be addressing today.
Here, in the United States, we are a melting pot of cultures, which is both beautiful, due to the diversity and interchange, but also problematic, when trying to define what American culture is. Defining culture is problematic at best in a more homogenous culture, but here, it is nigh impossible. However, if anything, I would argue that one, if not the only, defining characteristic of American culture is its individualism. This is not a critique, but a statement of fact. Libertarianism is the political version of this, but in aggregate we are a very “don’t tell me what to do” culture. It is this tendency to shift away from a collective, shared society, which causes a hypocritical element within the U.S. Church.
Hypocrisy typically has a negative connotation, because it almost always implies premeditated rationalization. To put it differently, when we are being hypocritical, we usually know that we are acting that way. This is often verbalized as, “I know the Bible says, but…” Or, “I know Jesus said, but….” “But” when looking at free will and the U.S. Church, I argue that because individualism is so ingrained into our culture, and thus into our subconscious thoughts and actions as American citizens, the hypocrisy of our theology surrounding free will is not intentional. Let me clarify.
Since Americans do not want to be told what to do, this influences their theology. Ask almost any American Christian (not all, for sure), and they will tell you that G*d allows free will. Even those who espouse predestination argue for forms of free will. For those that feel that we have to make a choice for Jesus, they will say that conversion cannot be coerced. For the predestination people, their daily lives, how they live as Christians, are governed by free will. However, our actions betray our words. When human beings suffer, we tend to blame G*d. Even within the Catholic Church, where there have been movements that glorify suffering, the majority of the Catholic laity would not agree. The reason for mentioning theodicy in the beginning of this post is because when we are confronted with evil we have a propensity to blame G*d for either doing it to us or for allowing it to happen. Either way, we blame G*d. But to blame G*d for direct action against us, or inaction that results in our suffering, still faults G*d for our problems. This flies in the face of free will and a loving god.
If, as we so often say, that G*d allows for free will, then the suffering that we endure as part of the human condition is our fault, or the fault of others. By not living for others and governing my own actions in such a way that glorifies G*d, is what creates pain and suffering in the world. Free will says that G*d cannot force a human being’s hand toward any action or stop us from acting at all. Free will allows us to do good or to do evil, and to refrain from both.
Free will is not all encompassing, or maybe I should say all powerful. Our free will is limited by the actions of others. As a child, I could choose to act in whatever way I wanted, but if I broke against the social norms that my parents were trying to instill in me (not scrapping my teeth with my fork) my behavior was corrected. I could still choose to disobey my parents, but then I would have to deal with the consequences. People who maximize free will by not allowing the choices of others to limit their actions are typically understood as psychotic, and then their free will is still limited, because they are placed in a prison or mental institution. Submitting to social norms is both an act of autonomous free will and a limiting of free will by society.
This same limited type of free will also limits the actions of G*d. As I have said in previous posts, if G*d cannot lie, go out of existence, or be unloving, then there is a precedence for G*d being unable to do certain things. If G*d allows human beings to have free will, and G*d is not going to change the rule book on us, then G*d’s actions in our lives and in the world are then necessarily limited. Understanding free will in this way does not remove G*d from our lives, nor does it create a deistic deity that leaves us alone.
Understanding G*d as the embodiment of love, knowing G*d as ever-present, lends itself to say that G*d is always with us, guiding us towards the right decisions, that will be best for us and others. G*d tried to keep it simple: love G*d and others as you love yourself. Through prayer and contemplation we are able to feel the ever-present influence of G*d in our lives, guiding us towards the best of decisions. Knowing G*d is always there, knowing G*d, even in the midst of darkness, when the best choice is just the less worst choice – that is our comfort. The Holy Spirit, understood as a councilor, is who we seek guidance from to help us move forward in our lives. G*d always wants the best for us, and by seeking G*d and being sensitive to G*d’s influence, we can go through life in love and confidence, knowing that our actions are our own, and that G*d is helping us every step of the way.