Tag Archive: Jesus


The Christianized Jesus

Photo by Sophie Molins

The Christianized Jesus – the turning of a radical into a conservative shadow of his former self – explains our problem of establishing and celebrating freedom fighters today. It is important that our progressive heroes be given a deserved fame, an accurately reported fame. This is crucial in ways that impact our own activism.

Jesus of Nazareth was not a Peak Performance Strategist as the prosperity preachers would have it. Nor was he an foreigner-hating patriot as the Tea Party would argue. Obviously American politicians and their lobbyists pursue so many policies that are against the teachings of Jesus but are supported by mainstream Christian opinion. In fact, Jesus’ parables and sayings push the spiritual revolution of gift economies, and of justice through radical forgiveness.

The Hallmark-carding of Dr. King’s life is what gave Glenn Beck the opening to disrespect his Lincoln Center speech. King’s basic differences with our present corporate economy needs to be a presence in our lives, especially in the educational materials and media of the young. Malcolm X’s spirited defense against the violence of entrenched power – this would help us now, as the security state begins to define 1st Amendment-protected protest as a form of terrorism. Cesar Chavez’s creativity and steady hand in unionizing the California farmworkers could be useful now as state employees face labor busting by governors and their wealthy tax-dodging sponsors. These three progressive heroes must be known for what they actually were.

It was believed that Jesus could be saved from the distortions of right-wing apocalyptic Christianity by researching the historical man. That hasn’t worked, despite the Newsweek (“Jesus – who was he really?”) cover story every Easter. I am writing from the Mayan region of southern Mexico, in the city of Chiapas, where another defense against the predations of the Christianized Jesus has been a success. Here, some of the people subjugated by the brutal conquistadors undermined the Spaniard’s god by concentrating their prayers on San Juan Bautista – John the Baptist.

San Juan stood in the flowing spirit of the River Jordan as he repeated again and again, “I am not He. I am not the One.” The Holy Spirit flowed through him as he baptized new believers in the water. John was in the river, in motion, always becoming. He offered his blessing to the act of belief, the creative power of the individual who approached him. As a result his personality is not so easily used to enforce hardened, violent fundamentalism. The Mayans have outmaneuvered fundamentalism to free themselves from those who rode toward them with the swords of Christ. Chiapas and Chamula, Mexico are far healthier and less consumerized then your average American suburb. This brilliant adjustment on their religion forced on them by the Spanish has a lot to do with it. What the Mayan did to the Spanish God is what we all need to do to the Bank of America.

Better approaches to the figures that we revere (and worship) are needed in this time of permanent war, economic piracy, and most of all the Earth’s crisis. Let’s find ways to be honest about radicals’ lives – so that we have clearer courage for our own activism.

 

From his humble beginnings preaching outside the Disney Store in Times Square,Reverend Billy has spent the last decade toggling between community activism and theatrical spectacle. He even became the subject of “Supersize Me” director Morgan Spurlock‘s sophomore documentary, “What Would Jesus Buy?” A logical extension of his anti-consumerism gospel, Reverend Billy now tackles the growing environmental crisis with “The Church of Earthalujah!” Backed by a 35-voice gospel choir, Reverend Billy and The Church of Earthalujah transcends parody in favor of a passionate humanism that speaks to growing public anxiety in the face of the ever-growing climate emergency and impotent leadership from politicians, NGOs and corporate CEOs.

 

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Colorado native Don Taylor, who describes himself as “a nonreligious individual,” was stopped dead in his tracks when he stumbled upon this divine apparition on his daily routine. Yes, a creeping vine on a telephone pole had taken on the unmistakable form of a crucified Jesus Christ. Local authorities warn potential pilgrimage-makers not to climb the pole to kiss or embrace Telephone Pole Jesus, however, lest they want to receive a 765,000-volt message of peace and love from their Leafy Savior.

 

Click here to read Priceless Jesus Painting Found in Tennessee Motor Home

 

Praise Frosty! That’s the name of the 73-year-old man who had a priceless portrait of Jesus Christ sitting in the closet of his Tennessee motor home.

The painting, which has been missing for 150 years, was based on the “Veil of Veronica” — according to legend, a sweat cloth that a Jesus groupie dabbed upon his face right before his crucifixion, imprinting his likeness into it and imbuing it with magical powers. It’s therefore thought to bean actual painting of Jesus Christ’s face.

And how did it turn up? A woman named Kelly Ghormley (pictured, upper right) burgled Frosty’s home; when she discovered the painting among the goods she’d made off with, she tried to pawn it off to a nearby church. The church instantly recognized that it might be a work of some significance, and it was. So significant, in fact, it was blessed by Pope Leo XIII, who reigned from 1878 to 1903.

So here’s the question: What kind of finder’s fee does the Vatican pay out to 77-year-old trailer park residents who’ve been keeping priceless religious relics safe for them for a century-and-a-half?

Bill O’Reilly was not pleased with the New York Times’ labeling of Anders Behring Brevik, the 32-year-old mass murderer who took at least 76 innocent lives as a “Christian Extremist.” In his column, he notes that the “killer is not attached to any church, has no history of Christian activity, has openly criticized the Protestant philosophy, and has committed acts counter to all Christian teaching.”

o'reilly, christains, demonized“Anders Brevik did not kill in the name of Jesus,” O’Reilly argues. “He was not a member of a Christian-based al-Qaida-like group. He was not funded by Iran or enabled by Pakistan. He is simply a murderer, a man devoid of any spiritual conscience. A direct descendent of Cain. Yet, somehow, Brevik is now a member of a peace-loving, compassionate group, at least according to some media. He’s a Christian.”

“The left well understands that Christian opposition to things like abortion, gay marriage, and drug legalization makes those liberal causes more difficult to achieve,” O’Reilly concludes. “Thus, anything that diminishes Christianity is fair game to be promoted. Every newsworthy sin committed by a Christian is highlighted with a sneering reference to hypocrisy. Any whiff of Christian intolerance is celebrated in the press.”

Read more on Newsmax.com: O’Reilly: Christianity Demonized
Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama’s Re-Election? Vote Here Now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swinging for Jesus!

A Dallas, Tx., club is being sued by the city for operating as an after-hours swingers club in a location marked for occupancy by a church.

The Playground, a swingers club that also operates as a church according to its owner, Glenn Hudson, is being sued for operating without a license for a sexually oriented business.

In a court hearing Tuesday, Hudson said The Playground is a religious “outreach mission,” the Dallas attorney’s office said a statement.

The city of Dallas says a man who claims his after-hours dance club is a church also operates a swingers club on a property licensed for a place of worship.

Dallas filed a lawsuit late Monday against Glenn Hudson, the owner of The Playground. The city said it is an unlicensed sexually oriented business that operates on a property in the 11300 block of Harry Hines Boulevard that has a certificate of occupancy as a church, mosque or synagogue.

In a court hearing Tuesday, Hudson said The Playground is a religious “outreach mission,” the Dallas attorney’s office said a statement.

Hudson similarly defended a business that was the subject of a separate lawsuit last week.

Future of Denton Business Grants in Question

The city filed suit over after-hours dance parties held at a “drug-infested” club that does not have a permit to operate as a dance club. Hudson told the city Darkside is a youth outreach ministry, according to court documents.

According to court papers, a three-month Dallas police investigation of The Playground indicates it is a swingers club that “caters to adults, often couples, who wish to engage in random consensual sexual activities on-site with adults other than their spouses.”

Hudson allegedly shows pornographic videos on big-screen televisions and has topless dancers. Court documents also said a VIP area offered beds, condoms and more pornographic videos.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

 

 

 

Yes, it is possible to lose weight, get fit and healthier through prayer. I know prayer works with weight loss and health challenges: I’ve lost 150 pounds and maintained it almost 20 years only by the grace of God, eating more healthfully and through “re-creation.” Without God’s help, I would have been dead long ago.

There are so many weight loss diets, pills, diet “food” products, exercise equipment, clubs, gyms, surgical interventions, books, videos — it’s impossible to keep up with them all. I know about those, too. I tried a bunch of them and spent a lot of time and money, but they didn’t ultimately work because they’re mostly one-dimensional. A lot of them are outright bogus and only exist to get your money. What I learned through years of dieting and nutritional interventions, failing a lot, losing weight and gaining it back, was that I had to also put my mind and spiritual beliefs into practice. I couldn’t just focus on my body. I had to deal with my emotions, mental beliefs and improve my spiritual life as well.

Being someone who was addicted to overeating, I discovered nothing in this material world could ever satisfy me. Stuffing myself with excess food, stuffing my emotions down and avoiding moving at all costs just never satisfied. Being with God through prayer and being guided by Him is far more satisfying than any food, emotion or material thing. These days, my prayer consists of only seeking the will of God, through the Jesus Prayer, asking for His help in everything I am and do.

Twenty years ago, when I was desperate to lose weight, there was nothing available that combined body, mind and spiritual solutions. I had to discover my own methods, and after exhausting every diet imaginable, including diet pills and dangerous fasting, and lots of therapy and counseling, all that was left was to ask God for help. So I did, and miracles happened. I was able to focus my mind, resolve a traumatic, emotional past, and finally learn proper nutrition and enjoy moving my body on a regular basis. I reached out for God, and He answered my prayers.

Everything I needed came into place, and I began to slowly, consistently lose weight, enjoy recreation, express myself, and train and educate my mind. Because there wasn’t anything that combined spiritual weight loss with emotional work, logic and exercise, I wrote a book (“” target=”_hplink”>The Joy of Weight Loss: a Spiritual Guide to Easy Fitness“) and produced two DVDs on the subject (“Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss” and “Big Body Yoga“). I speak publicly about the power of prayer, to groups and in workshops, because so many people ask me how I lost so much weight and keep it off. I’ve also been a spiritual weight loss coach for many years. I want to help people as others helped me when I weighed 400 pounds.

It’s not enough to just pray away the pounds, though — we need to become healthier on all levels: in body, mind and spirit, together. Sound familiar? Not just the YMCA’s motto, or the Trinity, but Plato in his “Timaeus,” around B.C.E 363., taught us that human beings are a composite of not just physical matter, but of mind and spirit as well. The world is seeking balance, and so are we. Plato wrote that humans are like a chariot being pulled by two horses, with mind (intellect) as the charioteer in charge. One horse, the physical body that craves food and drink and pleasure, is unruly. The other horse, representing our higher aspects, is more manageable and calm. Most importantly, Plato reasoned that it was our spiritual self, connecting with our Creator through logic and prayer, that keeps us in balance. We need to nurture and manage all our parts, always moving toward union with God as the highest realm.

So, what to do if you’re struggling with overweight or obesity? Give up! Say a prayer right now, and put whatever faith you have into gear. Pray to God, saying out loud, “I need help, I cannot do this alone, please help me.” If you’re Christian, as I am, pray to Jesus Christ and put your weight problem in His mighty care. If you’re a believer or a member of another religion or tradition, ask your Creator as you know him (or her). If you’re atheist or non-religious, no problem! Put your problems into the care of your Higher Power, Higher Self or to Nature. You might also want to go to the next Twelve Step group, such as Overeater‘s Anonymous. There you’ll find others who you can speak confidentially with, and share in prayer. Or your church, synagogue, temple or shrine.

By praying and giving up your weight and health problems and asking for help, you’re accomplishing many things: you are saying to God and the world that you believe, you’re admitting that you cannot do everything alone, you’re surrendering the burden and literally lifting the weight off your shoulders. As you’re praying, try to be in a peaceful, or even silent place. Enjoy the feeling of being with God in silence, connecting with prayer. Know that God or your Higher Power is not only with you, He’s inside you, hearing the prayer. Do this as often as possible, when waking up in the morning, during your daily work and before going to sleep.

Prayer is the first step in a program that’s balanced with nutritional education, eating well so that you’re satisfied and getting all the right nutrients in smaller quantities, feeling and expressing your emotions, and sharpening your mind and intellect.

With God, all things are possible — especially getting healthier, losing weight and becoming a whole, happy person.

For more on the Jesus Prayer, visit JesusPrayerMovie.com.

Christ the Redeemer statue

Standing atop Brazil‘s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in January 1999, stuntman ‘Fearless Felix‘ Baumgartner braced himself for what was to be the world’s lowest BASE jump at 29 metres (95 feet). When he stepped off the edge, split seconds would extend as Rio de Janeiro opened up before his eyes. Those who make jumps that fall into the highest category may win more plaudits as well as freefall time, but it’s the lower jumps that are more dangerous because there is so little time for the parachute to open. (Link)

The Bible: History or Myth?

When you hear the word “myth” associated with the Bible, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?

Many use the term myth in a pejorative sense to mean that the stories described are not factually true. Others define myth as non-historical tales that contain a moral message. Both of these definitions miss the richness of the term. Mythology is a form of literature that expresses fundamental truths in a way that ordinary discourse is inadequate to describe. The stories that make up the myths are often anchored in some historical reality, but this need not be so. Mythology adds a richness of detail and a concreteness to metaphorical language. Reading Biblical stories as mythology gives me the freedom to understand their underlying meaning in a way I never did when I was taught as a child that these stories were factually true.

Why do most modern scholars reject a reading of the Bible as history much less as literal fact?

1. In an age of science and technology, too much of the Bible is simply unbelievable to today’s mind and turns people away from the underlying messages. From a scientific standpoint, many of the “facts” in the Bible are simply wrong. One of many examples: according to Genesis, the universe is just over 6000 years old. According to physics, the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago.

2. Many of the stories are also scientifically impossible, like the tale of Joshua stopping the sun moving across the sky. This story assumes (as was the thinking then) that the earth was flat and was at the center of the universe. We simply know this to be false. Second, for the sun to stop would mean that the earth would have to cease rotating on its axis — an event which would destroy the planet.

3. For many of the miracle stories, natural explanations exist. The authors of these stories lived in an age when people believed that solar eclipses were divine omens, disease was divine punishment, and mental illness was caused by demon possession. In the case of Jesus, healing was an important part of his ministry. However, today we can find faith healers in Haiti who practice voodoo and in tribal Africa who practice witchcraft. Many of these modern-day faith healers have patients who are actually healed by these practices. Doctors call this the placebo effect, an effect so powerful that drugs must undergo double blind experiments.

4. Some of the mythological stories in the Bible are not original, but were borrowed from other traditions. The Epic of Gilgamesh — a Sumerian poem detailing the creation of the universe that predates the writings of Genesis by many centuries — contains a flood story whose plot points are almost identical to the story of Noah.

5. The other world religions also contain rich histories of mythology and fantastical sounding (to us) stories. On what basis can we Christians claim that our miracle stories are legitimate, yet theirs are flights of fancy? The mythology surrounding the Buddha, who lived 500 years before Jesus, includes tales of how he healed the sick, walked on water, and flew through the air. His birth was foretold by a spirit (a white elephant rather than the angel Gabriel) who then entered his mother’s womb! At his birth, wise men predicted that he would become a great religious leader. Twentieth-century scholars Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell wrote that certain archetypal religious myths are found across cultures, histories, and religions. Examples include the Cosmic Tree, the Virgin BIrth, and The Resurrection.

6. The Bible itself is full of inconsistencies. How can it be an accurate historical record, when the various books contradict each other? Here is UNC Religion Professor Bart Ehrman:

“Just take the death of Jesus. What day did Jesus die on and what time of day? Did he die on the day before the Passover meal was eaten, as John explicitly says, or did he die after it was eaten, as Mark explicitly says? Did he die at noon, as in John, or at 9 a.m., as in Mark? Did Jesus carry his cross the entire way himself or did Simon of Cyrene carry his cross? It depends which Gospel you read. Did both robbers mock Jesus on the cross or did only one of them mock him and the other come to his defense? It depends which Gospel you read. Did the curtain in the temple rip in half before Jesus died or after he died? It depends which Gospel you read … Or take the accounts of the resurrection. Who went to the tomb on the third day? Was it Mary alone or was it Mary with other women? If it was Mary with other women, how many other women were there, which ones were they, and what were their names? Was the stone rolled away before they got there or not? What did they see in the tomb? Did they see a man, did they see two men, or did they see an angel? It depends which account you read.”

 

7. Reading the Bible as a literal historical account of events from the past limits the power of these stories. Rather than expressing universal truths, a literal interpretation limits the actions of God to certain events in history. God’s actions in the world become finite, confined to certain historical events: like the chess master making individual moves on a chessboard frozen in time two thousand years ago. Reading these same stories mythologically, however, can bring forth their universal qualities.

8. A literal reading of the Bible alienates much of our society. The stories were written in a different age with different views on social justice — an age in which slavery was legitimate, an age when discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation was the norm. Too often because of this history, the Bible is used to justify intolerance today.

Reading the Bible as mythology is not a new concept. Two of the early Church Fathers, Origen (185-254 AD) and Augustine (354-430 AD), both interpreted Genesis metaphorically, rejecting literal interpretations. Early in the 20th century, German theologian Rudolf Bultmann called for a “demythologizing” of the New Testament for many of the reasons given above. Rather, the movement in many fundamentalist circles today to read the Bible as inerrant (an extreme form of literalism, in which every word of Bible is viewed as true) is a late development from the 19th century as a response to the chipping away at the historicity of the stories since the Enlightenment.

I fear that an insistence on a literal or historical reading of the Bible will ultimately lead to the irrelevance of Christianity in our society. By throwing off the shackles of having to believe in the historicity of the Bible, we are free to interpret the stories as a testament to the religious experiences of people from a different age — a testament that communicates a meaning about their experiences of Ultimate Reality, of God. I understand that their experiences of the divine ground in their lives were interpreted through the lens of a pre-modern view of the world, and my own religious experiences will take on a different form today.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote a message on Twitter

Pope Benedict XVI took his first baby steps in the world of Twitter yesterday, tweeting news of the launch of the Vatican‘s new website, and exposing his roots deep in the last century. It began “Dear friends,” and included the phrase “Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ!”

 

Benedict may not be as charismatic a communicator as his predecessor but he has tirelessly urged his fellow prelates to make all possible use of the new media. He has already pioneered the Vatican’s presence on Facebook and made podcasts in advance of his trip to Portugal last year.

On the Church’s World Communications Day last year he urged priests to “make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications”. Turning lyrical, he said the Christian message “can traverse the many crossroads created by the intersection of all the different ‘highways’ that form cyberspace”.

The new website brings together papal tweets (only the one so far), YouTube videos, Flickr photos and Facebook links in a smorgasbord of new media offerings.

However there is a limit to his enthusiasm. The Pope‘s tweets will attract plenty of attention, but there does not appear to be anybody he himself considers worth following.

Heathen’s Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever considered why it’s impolite to question another’s religious beliefs? The answer is simple. They can’t respond without sounding like a fool. It’s likely that many understand that their doctrines are absurd.

They do have this ability because they apply it to other faiths. They might say, ‘Group X believes man and woman were created when a giant bird snapped a piece of bamboo in two with his beak; that is so stupid.’ Yet, they cannot say the same for a clot of dust or a rib?

For me, this issue is minor compared to the larger one. These allegedly righteous affirm that they have the authority and duty to control your life and press their views on you. When someone points out errors in their argument most are so absentminded that rational points cannot penetrate their thick skulls. If you do manage to make a small dent in their spiritual armor, they retreat back to their Bible or holy shepherd for a reassuring swig of Jesus Kool Aid. There is a reason the church refers to its followers as a flock.

The faithful have been indoctrinated in the idea that their holy book is correct and this has been reinforced with constant threats of hellfire. This methodology is essential to the survival of Christianity, and those who reach adulthood with these notions intact aim to intimidate and bully others into accepting the same authority.

The holy rollers say they know the truth because it’s in their book. Most will continue to ignore evidence contrary to their particular church’s view. Their doctrine is grounded in wishful thinking but this system does have weaknesses. As mentioned before, these same individuals are fervent disbelievers in every other religion under the sun. They see the silliness in other faiths. Yet, most will continue to defend their claims until death in hopes of achieving some divine afterlife.

This type of behavior hinders their minds and society as a whole. How does this possibly affect others you might ask? Once again, the answer is simple.

They push beliefs onto other people. Evangelicals command huge voting blocks in the US that have hindered research in such promising areas as stem cell research. They want “creationist science” taught in schools. They oppose proper sex education classes while holding out on the notion that condoms are bad and abstinence is the answer. This aids in the spread of STDs, the rise of teen pregnancies and abortions, and massive government handouts to unwed mothers. They do this without ever considering the possibility that their religion, based on ancient scribblings of Bronze Age Palestinian desert dwelling thugs, could possibly be untrue.

Plainly put, religion is incapable of leaving people alone. The devout, especially Presbyterians, Baptists, and Catholics, want to ban books, censor movies and television shows, silence dissenters, and invade the private sphere by saying who you can marry or sleep with (and in what positions), all the while insisting they have the answers. Their actions do not equate with freedom. They would gleefully forfeit liberty as long as authority removed Darwinism from classrooms and placed the Ten Commandments on courthouse lawns.

Churches may preach of eternal bliss in some wonderful afterlife, but their leaders desire to make life on earth a living hell for us. Why else do they spend so much time and energy lobbying government leaders?

Can you imagine if we tossed billions into temples for Zues and gave our hard-earned money to men who preached stories about Apollo? Or if we refused to have our children vaccinated because some lunatic told us that we are interfering with Amen Ra’s will.

A nonbeliever can see through the veil of Christianity and other religions, yet the faithful look down their noses on dissenters. They believe an invisible, all-seeing and all-knowing man in the sky created them. He cares about them and loves them. He will reward them. The Bible is the be all and end all. Anyone who doesn’t believe in God or his book burns in hell. Under any other scenario, society would scoff everything they say and dismiss them as mental.

Remember this poor girl

Yet even today, in a nation such as the US, they are not taxed and exert tremendous control over politics, blocking pioneering research and insisting that their beliefs, masquerading as science, be taught in public schools. We must start criticizing these actions in hopes of putting these silly notions behind us.

Those willing to stand up to them need some “spiritual armor” of their own. And the truth is this: any time someone willingly puts reason aside based on claims without evidence it opens up realms for sinister things…as we shall see in future installments.

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