Arthur's Journal on God & Politics
What Does It Mean to be Christian in America?
A God of War
Apocalypse & End Times
Biblical Literalism
Christ Path
Conformity & Orthodoxy
Fear, Shame & Guilt
God & Politics
Goodness, Morality & Sin
Heresy & Heretics
History, Mystery & Doubt
Kindergarten Religion
Mental Spiritual Constructs
Mystical Christianity
Mythical Proportions
Passion of The Christ ...
Someone Else's Magic

The Primary Text of
Is the "Inerrant Bible"

I have struck gold on Superstition Mountain!

Did you know that if you look in a bible reference for the word "humor", you won't find it?

No dice with "comedy" either. 

You can find deprecating references to "mirth" and dire threats against laughers, but that's about it.

After that lack of success mining the Bible for humor. I then decided to check out "sober" since that seems to be the automatic stance of most of the Christian celebrities who publicly tell God what to do and the people how to behave.

With a broken heart, contrite spirit, real intent and serious mien I went a-seeking (using my LDS King James Version cause it has this very very COOL Topical Guide that is combination concordance and commentary).

After all, isn't that what Mitt Romney would do?

In addition, the Topical Guide doesn't self-destruct if an apostate like me opens it up for usage. I know, I know ... the Topical Guide has of course been dogma-fied to conform to LDS orthodoxy and myth, but ... well ... to each his own.

A good reference book is a good reference book whether Mitt uses it or Bob Jones burns it, right.

Anyway, using the LDS Topical Guide while chasing sobriety, I ran into this one:

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind."

Brethren, Cialis!!!

1Peter Chapter 1 verse 13.

Omigosh That's it!

I have struck gold on Superstition Mountain!!

THAT is how and why America's Fundamentalist Literalist Christianity slipped on a scriptural banana peel in the 19th century. That's why literalists have taken themselves way too seriously.

They are overworking their loins!

Their tender loins ...

their hot loins ...

their aroused loins ...

all kinds of loins that they've been commanded to gird now for 2000 years

... all them loins

... all girded up

... until all they can think about are girded loins

... Catholic and Protestant fundamentalists adoring Jehovah who seems to be the ultimate loin girder

... no wonder Old Wrathful and the Literalists are obsessed with human sexuality.

It's girding the hell out of them.

Jesus Camp: Impressionable youngsters will do anything to help remove the fear from their adult mentors 
We watched Jesus Camp, last night's Netflix offering. It's a disturbing look at a new generation of children being raised and enculterated into a fear and distrust of their own parents.
It would be worthwhile, once you've seen the film, to Google "Jesus camp movie reviews" and get a wider perspective of opinions.
After the film, my wife and I compared our differing takes. I perceive that this movie hits viscerally at different levels - perhaps depending on individual backgrounds and the varied array of personal spiritual belief systems.
So what follows is what I think.
My own perspective is that of someone who literally walked out of a fundamental religion in my early 40's an action commenced prior to my divorce and remarriage, but not an activity easily brought to closure without the influence of my wife, Lietta, who - unlike me, my first wife and our children- was not raised inside a false religious reality that we attempted to impose on those children.
Even 15 years after having left the fundamentalist church of my childhood, I found myself amazed and my spouse amused at the recognition of some internalized notion that I still retained - having been taught such by the religious instruction of my childhood.
However, from my perspective of having walked away from the life style - a style in which I began as one of those child-students and ended as an adult instructor of children - I strongly suggest that you understand what you are watching as you follow the story in Jesus Camp. Ponder what you've learned before letting yourself be stampeded by a fear of government and societal takeover down the road by mind-controlled guidede-missileadults who were programmed that way as children in Jesus Camps and evangelical congregations around the country.
I can't speak for any other societal myth, but I consider as scientifically and statistically unproven the notion that, as Mao once supposedly said, "Give me a child to the age of six and I'll own him forever," (or something to that effect). But it makes for very effective justifications doesn't it? Watch each of those parents express and demonstrate how invested they are in not only protecting their children from the devil-driven liberal permissiveness of the world, but also they are invested in teaching and passing on to the children their own precise fears. 
Watch each of those children mouthing their own personalized versions of words, concepts and phrases given them by parents and extremely shallow teachers and you'll see children desperate to earn approval in the only way they perceive their adult mentors will approve.
You see this repeatedly, for example, in the speeches and pontifications of both Rachael and Lev whose assumptions are transparently pre-teen and full of self-pretensions encouraged by adult flattery; whose motives reflect an unsaid but highly implied ostracism should they fail to say and do what they are expected to say and do.
Literalist fundamentalist insistence on conformity is alive and well at Jesus Camp.
I once sat in a meeting where an aggressive young church leader whose older children were 4-5 years younger than mine and who confidently declared that his children would not backslide nor yield to the temptations of the world. He had taught them quite well - he insisted - adding that if one of his teens challenged the God-given truths handed to believers by their prophetic elders, he would merely have to counsel that child until the right decision was reached.
I believed that as well. That is, until my children reached their teens and astonished me with a fierce independence of spirit and desire to expl0re that I found admirable - in all areas except moral freedom and choice. ... which was my undoing. I've told acquaintances from my days in the congregation that I learned more from my teenaged daughters about what it means to be a father than a lifetime of sermons, Sunday- school classes and published texts on who heavenly father is and how t0 be patriarchally like him.
One running joke with my oldest daughter was an exchange years ago in which I asked, "Remember when you were two and thought I was God?" She replied, "Dad, I remember when I was twelve and you still thought you were God!"
Evangelical Pentecostals are living lives not of quiet, but shrill, desperation. They suffer seriously from a mostly unspoken fear that they are wrong ... wrong about God ... wrong about their theology which teaches that traditional churches with ordered, calm and somewhat more reserved worship services are not the true spiritual and moral Christianity ... and their ultimate unspoken fear
"Why isn't God as worried as we are. And if He is, why doesn't he make it more public and obvious? Why doesn't God make the Earth shake and move so the unbelievers will hear and accept?"
These are the fears not mentioned, but apparent in every prayer yousee and hear both children and adults mouth in Jesus Camp.
Couple that with the unsuccessfully suppressed anger so loudly broadcasted behind the smiles and smug phrases ("excuse me, but ... uh ... WE have the truth") and you have adults setting up their children for huge collisions with reality, disappointment, disillusionment and heartbreak when they are older.
A few will not suffer that fate, but most of those children will not retain the fire or the youthful blind acceptance of truths never proven and the misconceptions about scripture and inerrant bibles never challenged. In addition, as the more recent elections have demonstrated, the rising to prominence and presumable dominance by a self-righteous and judgmental evangelical Christian majority in this nation is now waning.
The apex has more than likely already been reached. This because there are now way too many more traditional and liberal Christians and awakened non-churched voters who are already making counter waves against the enflamed religious bigotry and condescension typified by the smug jowls of Reverend Falwell and self-serving prophecy attempts of Robertson via the 799 Club.
This because liberal political activist groups are sprining up all over the country with the express purpose of unelecting incumbent radical Christians as soon as possible. A good example of this is the national Progressive Majority activists who will go after these political extremists at the same grass roots levels first used to achieve clout. Liberal political entities will do as much if not more to remove the political clout than liberal religious advocates alone.
Oh, and then I can't leave out the celebrity Christian superstar who shot himself in the foot in recent months but who is THE man in Jesus Camp. It was with sweet irony that I watched the smug and smiling hypocrisy of Reverend Ted Haggard, the recently fallen evangelical celebrity who unfortunately for Jesus Campers, is the primary evangelical sizzle in the film.
Although some evangelical children will not get past their programming, will grow up and prove to be the guided missiles of righteousness created by evangelical parents, teachers and leaders dominated in Jesus Camp by Becky Fischer, most will eventually crash back to earth as non-explosive evangelical duds.
However, some could explode as a consequence of having struggled so many years to conform and please their adult betters who are not - despite pretensions in the film - showing their children love unfeigned; ... parents who are not trusting human development and growth from childhood to adulthood in the healthiest of psychological settings.
It is that very distrust that has tempted these adults way beyond measure to deny that they actually and literally distrust God. They have assumed for themselves the God-like role of programming a very human-spawned godliness into the lives of their offspring. Fischer's declaration early in the movie about what Islamic parents and teachers are doing with their children tragically suggests that Christians in this country need to forego sermons on mounts, stories of prodigal sons with forgiving parents and good Samaritans.
Rather, today's Christian parents need to raise prayer warriors, as the child Lev considers himself, who are capable of achieving an equivalent zeal and fanaticism nigh unto death. This of course a counter to Islamic children who American evangelicals assume and insist will arrive at adulthood with an evil bent, an unreasonable hatred of Christian America and a mindlessness that Fischer and gang believe they must - in self defense and preservation - program in their own children.

Paying the bills

Memo to Dobson, Robertson and the Departed Falwell: This foolish old man is kin of yours

The last time I posted a video of Fred Phelps it was a hilarious You-Tube of Phelps condeming John Stewart and Steven Colbert to hellfire and damnation.

Well Fred is at it again only the more I watched the more I realized how un-funny and tragically terrible it really is - and what it represents. Especially if those who hear it only regard it as amusing.

I might have found it delightful that he was taking his Old Time Religious cudgel to Dick and Lynne Cheney, but what Fred wields here is no smurf-cudgel. His words, tone and manner serve as a reminder of where the contemporary historical political meddling of right wing Christian celebrities has taken us. It serves as what is now assumed by many to be acceptable politically religious rhetoric.

Based on biblical literalism, Phelps is the premier example of the rhetoric of Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, Kennedy, and all the others who offer the notion that God is a bigot taken to its extreme.

Whether the judgmental Christianity of Phelps or Dobson, what we get is a serious representation that Jesus and the God of which Jesus preached are the narrow, judgemental and punitive holy tyrant portrayed in the Old Testament.

Preaching this kind of personage and his implied attitude toward human beings with inherit sinfulness - God DOES make trash that needs redemption - does much in and of itself to discredit and de-legitimize contemporary evangelical Christianity and its Jesus Camp literal mindedness.

There is little difference between Phelps and Jesus Camp's Becky Fischer. Both attitudes reflect assumptions about God based on a kindergarten literal-mindedness that almost daily diminishes a perception of American Christianity as a legitimate path toward world peace and reconciliation.

It is this literal-mindedness that dominates Christianity in the U.S. where one in three believe that every word in the Bible was literally dictated by God to man.

It is this mean and hateful literal-mindedness that squats like a gigantic bloated carcass smack dab in the middle of our national spiritual path; driving us away from the path because of an overwhelming stench of hatred and intolerance that it's preachers pretend comes directly from the mind and will of Christ.

No, Fred Phelps is not funny in this video.

Watch it your self.

Watch all of it ... don't stop it because you can't stomach what you're watching.

Force yourself to watch all of it, remembering that the prominent preening Christian celebrities advocating the end of the separation of church and state,

advocating the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and preaching of the destruction of America if we allow marriage to take any other form than that biblical have yet to repudiate publicly what this old foolish bigot preaches.

If you force yourself to watch it all the way to the end you'll have a greater understanding of the urgency of resisting this spiritual slide into a cesspool.

You have merely found yourself in a spiritual kindergarten.
If you have to be led by a preacher ...
who can find it and quote if for you from a book ...
so you can learn about God ...
you have not found God.

And in choosing your preacher who quotes from his own mind the words of a book ...
neither have you found a mouthpiece of God.

You have merely found yourself in a spiritual kindergarten.

Bearing Witness

Tell a literalist the you and the Father are one and they will be immediately afraid. They will tell you that what you declare is not in the book.

These are literalists who considering anything you learn that is not written in the book is dangerously occult; a tool of Satan.

Satan is dangerously occult. Satan is also a Christian Myth.

Those who worry that you are living outside the words of a book consider themselves smarter than you.

They consider themselves spiritually wiser than you ...because a preacher, a friend or a relative told them what the book says.

Because they are lazy and let someone else tell them who God is ...

Because they let someone else tell them what God is like ...

They are not smarter than you. What they think they know is not wisdom.

There is nothing about their knowing or what they know that makes them proud about being smart ... or tempts them into thinking they are smarter than you.

There is nothing about what they know that says they should save you.

You do not need to be saved.

They do not know that you do not need to be saved.

They do not know that they do not need to be saved.

The American Christian is a journal based in Bay Center, Washington. 
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