Author Archives: Mike

Summer Reading to Reset Christianity

Instead of complaining about “them” I suggest we learn from these great thinkers and historians, perhaps to change and grow personally and in community. I am reading some of these, will try to read the rest. Nearly all beg for group discussion. Thanks to everyone who suggested reading material, listed in alphabetical order by title.

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Mike

April 30, 2016

My thoughts as I read “Left Wing Jesus” by Rev. Rich Lang:

Historical terms

“Left Wing Jesus?”

Left Wing” and “Right Wing” came into our vocabulary from just before the French Revolution in the late 18th Century. The National Assembly in Paris was divided into supporters of King Louis XVI and the “Ancient Regime,” men who sat to the president’s right. The supporters of the revolution were thus forced to sit to on the left. The Catholic Church supported the status quo and the Divine Right of Kings. The Deists and Protestants supported the French Revolution.

Right Wing” has thus taken on “conservative” and “support the old system” and “back the elites of power and wealth” associations. Those people honestly believe we already have the system that’s best for everyone and it should not be changed.

Left wing” as taken on “liberal” and “enlightened” and “back the people against economic oppression” connotations. Those people honestly believe that our system is corrupt and unjust and that things need to change.

American Political terms

The groups considered to be “Right Wing” are Fascists, Capitalists, Conservatives (both social and fiscal), Nationalists, Neoconservatives, Neoliberals, Reactionaries, Imperialists, Monarchists Libertarians, Authoritarians, and Religious Fundamentalists. These tend to gravitate into the Republican Party.

The “Left Wing” includes Anarchists, Communists, Socialists, Religious Progressives, Populists, Democratic Socialists, Social Liberals, and Green Party / Ecological Conservationists. These tend to associate with the Democratic Party.

Oddly, Conservationists are considered “Left Wing” but they are trying to conserve the planet. To do that they must challenge the political and economic system, thus leftists. Libertarians self-associate with the “Right Wing” even though they espouse Anarchy. They are Anarchists who have read Ayn Rand so want to be called Conservatives (they’re not), thus righties.

Economic terms like “Fascism” (big businesses and the wealthy run the government) or “Communism” (the workers own the means of production) are often misused, a legacy of World War II’s propaganda. Any of these positions can devolve into Totalitarianism due to Fundamentalist thinking (being sure you are the only one who has things perfectly correct and it’s your duty to force it on everyone and that those who oppose you are evil).

Religious terms

“Who Was Jesus?” How do we read the Bible and try to understand the answers given (always politically charged) by the authors and translators and scholars over the centuries to that question? Would Jesus sit on the Right or the Left in the French Assembly?

My pastor gave me an essay entitled “Left Wing Jesus” by Rev. Rich Lang. I’ve read it 1.5 times now. I wish he didn’t use the term “Fascist” in this context. Overall, I think he’s saying that we need to respect each other and value both “Right Wing” and “Left Wing” views of Jesus.

He’s up against Fundamentalism and “Right Wing Jesus” however. He should know about that imbalance of power. He’s the clergyman who stood with the Occupy Seattle folks and ended up getting pepper sprayed. His gentle words and thoughts, alone, are not going to rescue Coexist Jesus, no matter how important he is to the world we all occupy together.

Rev Rich Lang, author of Left Wing Jesus

Healing a poor beggar lame from birth?

Peter and John healing a man lame from birth

Acts 3: Peter and John healing the lame beggar.

Sunday’s sermon was on the healing story in Acts 3. You probably know it. Peter and John command in Jesus’ name that a man born lame stand up. He does. He dances. Everyone’s amazed because a lame person is standing up and dancing. Faith healings often have people abandoning wheelchairs or throwing crutches to dance around stage as part of their “thing.” I’ve always been skeptical.
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No duaas in Coolidge

12000917_10207805403916413_8381081115954741162_oI’ve been to Coolidge Arizona, between Phoenix and Tucson on the old Butterfield Stage route. It’s south of the Gila River, mostly dry now. Once canals irrigated the crops of the Anasazi community, builders of Casa Grande, still-standing rock and mud building, an accurate solar calendar. Old West Coolidge was the site of Arizona’s first power plant and envisioned itself equal to the Old Pueblo and the new State Capital rising to the north.

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Disappointed in the Church.

Gay MarriageI love and care for my LGBT family members and LGBT friends and am very upset about the way modern American Evangelical Christianity is homophobic in the name of Jesus… It has almost made me not want to go to church… and certainly made me very angry at the homophobic Bible bangers and all the damage they do. They preach that all Scripture is God-breathed, then go straight into forcing their personal prejudices into mistranslations and misinterpretations.
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The American Taliban

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (L) gives a thumbs-up after introducing former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) to speak to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3F2ZKBefore September 2001, Americans mostly ignored the Taliban. A few noticed when they blew up two colossal statues of the Buddha in Bamiyan province, but otherwise we used them to weaken the Soviet Union.

There’s a similar religious organization in the US. The destruction of religious and cultural objects is one aspect of its agenda called “strategic level spiritual warfare” (SLSW).

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Wisdom

20140225-292C96A3-5056-9A00-0C9A8FCEA88C1429Let’s discuss The Book of Wisdom!

It was written in Alexandria, Egypt by a Jewish Greek-speaking scholar during a time of local unrest there (around 25 BCE). Most folks believed in the Cult of Caesar and Jews refused to worship Caesar. Alexandria was a place of great learning, a wonderful library, but nearly constant conflict until the Romans gave up and burned it all to the ground (I wish we still had that library).

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The Case of the Missing Shampoo

Sherlock-holmes-and-magnifying-glassWe stayed at a comfortable place in Leavenworth yesterday. It’s over a bookstore called A Book For All Seasons at the Innsbrucker Inn. Each room has a unique literary or local theme. Leavenworth is an alpine village with Swiss-inspired architecture, local wineries, chocolatiers and German food.  The rooms are dedicated to Chocolate, Wine, The Secret Garden, Shakespeare, Patrick McManus and our room, of course, the Sherlock Holmes room. The log book in the room was filled with stories written by previous guests. Here’s mine,  inspired by my missing shampoo.
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What is the Church?

11391119_10207019466588471_8667164426957682070_nI am ready to define “Church” as a target for reform.

I know many people believe “We are the Church” and talk about the whole Body of Believers, the Communion of Saints (that transcends time) and hear the call for each of us, individually and corporately, to become an anointing to the world around us. Those ideas warm my heart and sound very “right” to me.

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