Religion

Tony Miano Rejoices Over Earthquake in Nepal

tony miano

Tony Miano Preaching in the UK

Who is Tony Miano, you ask? Miano describes himself this way:

…a retired, twenty-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (1987-2007). During his time in law enforcement, Tony served as a gang investigator, field training officer, drug recognition expert, and a DUI enforcement specialist. Tony’s law enforcement experience includes three days of chaos, during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, as well as being on duty only a few miles away from the epicenter when the 1994 Northridge Earthquake devastated the greater Los Angeles area. During his career, Tony received more than 60 commendations and citations for meritorious service, arrests, criminal investigations, critical decision-making, and community service…

…From 2008 to mid-2012, Tony served as Living Waters’ Director of the Ambassadors’ Alliance, as well as the Director of Conferences and Special Projects. Tony’s service with Living Waters included the supervision of 20 Ambassador’s Academies (the ministry’s 3 1/2-day evangelism training program), conferences, State Representative system, and large-scale evangelism projects.  Tony also wrote and co-hosted almost 400 episodes of Living Waters’ live, web-based program, “On the Box, with Ray Comfort.”

Tony has authored the books “Take Up The Shield (Genesis Publishing Group, 2005) and“Should She Preach? – Biblical Evangelism for Women” (One Million Tracts, 2013).

Tony is a prolific writer, having maintained several personal blogs, as well as writing for several other ministry blogs, websites, and newsletters. Currently, Tony’s writing is featured on the Cross Encounters blog (www.CrossEncounters.us).

Tony has preached in many churches across the United States and in Canada.  He has served as the keynote speaker at several different conferences.  He is committed to expository preaching.  He frequently addresses topics such as biblical evangelism, spiritual growth and personal holiness, as well as the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Presently, Tony is serving the Lord as an itinerant preacher and open-air evangelist.

Like the banana man Ray Comfort, Miano is known for antagonizing and attacking anyone who doesn’t worship his version of the Christian God. Our paths briefly crossed paths a few years ago on Twitter. I found him to be an asshole then and he is an asshole now. I wouldn’t have been friends with him when I was a Christian street preacher. Like Comfort, Miano has a devoted flock of followers. They adore his in your face style, imagining that Jesus, Peter, James, John, and Paul were itinerant street preachers just like Brother Miano.

In a recent post titled Debating Dillahunty-A Review, Miano had this to say about atheist Matt Dillahunty:

No, I don’t hate Matt Dillahunty. I pity him. I pity him the way I pity every human being who denies the God they know exists (Romans 1:18-25). I pity Matt and people like him because the Dillahunty Delusion (an all-too-common malady) is simply a byproduct of an absurd worldview (one that searches for coherence and meaning without God), which is born out of a love of self, a love of sin, and a hatred of God (Romans 1:31-32).

I think it would be safe to say that Miano’s view of Matt is how he views all atheists.

somali child

In Tony Miano’s World, What This Child Needs is Jesus

Like many of his ilk who only care whether or not someone embraces their version of Jesus, Miano has little compassion for those who are suffering. Miana is a Calvinist, so any suffering in the world is according to God’s sovereign, unchangeable plan. No need to embrace the suffering of others. Just get them saved so they avoid the REAL suffering to come.

As many of you know, a massive earthquake hit Nepal, killing thousands and injuring thousands more. A compassionate, kind, loving human would attempt to empathize with the Nepalese and their horrific loss of life and home. Not Miano. Here’s what he had to say on Twitter:

miano twitter nepal

Most of the retweets were from people who condemned Miano’s tweet, but 96 people thought that tweet was wonderful. Some of those who clicked favorite were the same who condemned Miano’s tweet, but there were some Christians who thought Miano’s tweet reflected their view. People like Jessica Lam, Seth Dunn, and Kevin McDonald, and a host of other Christians who don’t want others to know their name. Like the raised hand and the unspoken prayer request, these Christians want Brother Miano to know that they support and approve of his tweet about Nepal.

Miano is followed by thousands of like-minded churches, parachurch ministries, and Christians. I looked in vain for one tweet that rebuked Miano. I wonder how they would respond if I tweeted this after a natural disaster leveled their home and church and killed their children:

Ha! Ha! Ha! You Christians in Toledo,Ohio got exactly what you deserved. Repent of your stupid beliefs. I hope that none of your churches are rebuilt! #mygodrulz

I can only imagine how Christians would respond to me, and rightly so. Why are Christians silent when people like Tony Miano, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Ray Comfort, John Piper, Al Mohler, and a host of other miscreants, use the suffering and loss of others to remind them of their need to repent and believe in Jesus?

Why I Hate Jesus

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I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, nor do I hate the Jesus found in the pages of the Bible. These Jesus’s are relics of the past. I’ll leave it to historians to argue and debate whether these Jesus’s were real or fiction. Over the centuries, Christians have created many Jesus’s in their own image.This is the essence of Christianity, an ever-evolving religion bearing little resemblance to what it was even a century ago.

The Jesus I hate is the modern, Western Jesus, the American Jesus, the Jesus who has been a part of my life for almost fifty-eight years. The Jesus’s of bygone eras have no power to harm me, but the modern Jesus, the Jesus of the about three hundred thousand Christian churches that populate every community in America, he has the power to affect my life, hurt my family, and destroy my country.  And I, with a vengeance, hate him.

Over the years, I have had a number of people write me about how the modern Jesus was ruining their marriage. In many instances, the married couple started out in life as believers and somewhere along the road of life one of them stopped believing. Their still-believing spouse can’t or won’t understand why their spouse no longer believes. They make it clear that Jesus is still very important to them and if forced to choose between their spouse and family, they would choose Jesus. Simply put, they love Jesus more than they love their family.

Sadly, these type of marriages usually fail. A husband or a wife simply cannot compete with Jesus. He is the perfect lover and perfect friend, one who is always there for them. This Jesus hears their prayers and answers them. This Jesus is their BFF. This Jesus says to the believer, you must choose, me or them. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus cares nothing for the poor, the hungry, or the sick. This Jesus has no interest in poor immigrants or unwed mothers. This Jesus cares for for Tim Tebow more than he does a starving girl in Ethiopia. He cares more about who wins a Grammy or ACM Award than he does poverty-stricken Africa having food and clean water. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus is on the side of the culture warriors. This Jesus hates homosexuals and demands they be treated as second class citizens. This Jesus, no matter the circumstance, demands that a woman carry her fetus to term. Child of a rapist, afflicted with a serious birth defect, the product of incest or a one night stand, it matters not. This Jesus is pro-life. Yet, this same Jesus supports the incarceration of poor young men of color, often for no other crime than trying to survive. This Jesus is so pro-life he encourages American presidents and politicians to slaughter innocent men, women, and children. This Jesus demands certain criminals be put to death by the state, even though the state has legally murdered innocent people. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus drives fancy cars, has palaces and cathedrals, and followers who spare no expense to make his house the best mansion in town. This Jesus loves Rolex’s, Lear jets, and expensive suits. This Jesus sees the multitude and turns his back on them, only concerned with those who say and believe the right things. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus owns condominiums constructed just for those who believe in him. When they die, he gives them the keys. But, for the rest of humanity, billions of people, this Jesus says no keys for you. I have a special Hitler-like plan for you. To the ovens you go, only unlike the Jews, I plan to give you a special body that allows me to torture you with fire and brimstone forever. It is this Jesus I hate.

It is this Jesus who looks at  Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Universalists, Secularists, Humanists, and Skeptics, and says to them before you were born I made sure you could never be in the group that gets the condominium when they die. This Jesus says, and it is your fault, sinner man. It is this Jesus who made sure billions of people were born into cultures that worshiped other Gods. It is this Jesus, who then says it is their fault they were born at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Too bad, this Jesus says, burn forever in the Lake of Fire. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus divides families, friends, communities, and nations. This Jesus is the means to an end. This Jesus is all about money, power and control. This Jesus subjugates women, tells widows it’s their fault, and ignores the cry of the orphan. Everywhere one looks this Jesus hurts,afflicts, and kills those we love. It is this Jesus I hate. What I can’t understand is why anyone loves this Jesus? Like a clown on a parade route, he throws a few candies towards those who worship him, promising them that a huge pile of candy awaits them when they die. He lets his followers hunger, thirst, and die, yet he tells them it is for their good, that he loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. This Jesus is all talk, promising the moon and delivering a piece of gravel. Why can’t his followers see this?

Fear me, he tells his followers. I have the keys to life and death. I have the power to make you happy and I have the power to destroy your life. I have the power to take your children, health, and livelihood. I can do these things because I am the biggest, baddest Jesus ever. Fear me and oppress women, immigrants, orphans, homosexuals, and atheists. Refuse my demand and I will rain my judgment down upon your head. But, know that I love you and only want is best for you and yours. It is this Jesus I hate.

Perhaps there is a Jesus somewhere that I could respect, a Jesus who might merit my devotion. For now, all I see is a Jesus who is worthy of derision, mockery, and hate. Yes, hate. It is this Jesus I hate. When the Jesus who genuinely loves humanity and cares for the least of these shows up let me know. In the mean time, I hate Jesus.

Rebecca Davis Worried About Her Lustful Four Year Old  Ogling A Woman Wearing a Bikini

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Hannah Davis, 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model

Rebecca Davis works for the American Family Association (AFA). She is the assistant editor of The Stand, the official whine and outrage newsletter of the AFA. Recently, she wrote an eye opening article about her 4 year old’s propensity to lust after women in bathing suits and lingerie. While she denies that she is saying her little boy lusts, her article suggests otherwise:

It is almost swimsuit season. There are a number of adjectives I could use to describe my disdain for this time of year. Itsy-bitsy and teeny-weeny are two of them.

No, I’m not a prude, and no, I’m not bitter because I don’t have the perfect figure. I have never been Ms. Skinny Mini, and after having two babies and holding on to an extra 10 pounds each time, I probably never will be. But that’s not really the reason I dread swimsuit season.

Actually, summer is one of my favorite times of year. I enjoy taking our son to the pool. He begs year-round to go the beach.

But the older he gets, the more difficult it becomes to take him to the beach … to the grocery story, to the mall, even to church at times. His eyes are constantly surveying his surroundings, and many times he sees entirely too much.

Although he is only four years old, his little mind is wired to be visual. The dominant perceptual sense in men is vision. God made males that way for a reason, and I’m thankful he did.

There are a number of studies and findings that conclude male brains are more visually stimulated than the female brain. It’s a fact that my son’s actions prove true, even at such a young age.

For example, from the time he was about two years old, if we were in a store and simply walked past the lingerie section, he would point and say “Mama.” Now, it’s all I can do to keep his eyes from innocently zoning in on the window displays when we walk rather hurriedly past Victoria’s Secret.

For several months now, I have been receiving issues of Glamour magazine in the mail. I have no idea why. Somehow I became a subscriber to the magazine. (I have tried to cancel my unwanted subscription but that’s another story.) An issue came in the mail; I accidently left it facedown on the counter before putting it in the garbage can. I was in the kitchen cooking and noticed my son sitting at the counter staring at a scantily clad woman on the back cover. My heart sank.

Then it wasn’t long after that he was with me in a beauty-supply store. I was down on my knees examining some shampoo (for color-treated hair, I admit) when my son picked up a small promotional card off the nearby shelf, handed it to me, and said, “Mama, look!” The card pictured an outstretched woman in a seductive pose wearing a skimpy swimsuit. Again, my heart sank.

Let me make a very clear disclaimer at this point. My son is only four years old. In no way am I implying that his observations are sexual in nature. They are not. His reactions are natural – not lustful – responses to the way his brain is wired.

I use the above examples to show just how powerful a female’s attire can be over males of all ages.

When my son sees a woman wearing clothes that barely cover her body, be it in a picture or in person, he always asks, “Mama, why are they dressed that way?”

I’m thankful for his questions; they make for good teachable moments. I’m thankful that seeing women dressed immodestly is not the norm for him right now. I want it to stay that way, but the reality is it won’t.

So, as his mother, how can I protect him? How can I teach him to channel the wirings of his little brain through a biblical worldview? How can I keep his mind, heart and body pure for his future wife, if the Lord wills him to marry one day? More than that, how can I encourage him to live a daily life of purity out of love and honor for God?

Honestly, I don’t have the answers to all these questions. I am learning that parenting is a day-by-day journey. Some days I do it right; some days I do it wrong. But thankfully God is a God of grace and mercy.

One thing I do know is that, with my husband, we can make an extra effort to keep our son’s eyes from seeing the immodest pattern of this world by monitoring what he watches, changing the channel if need be, diverting his attention elsewhere when in public, and having open and honest dialogue with him when he does have questions about what he sees. Our aim is to always do so out of honor, never out of shame.

We can also show him the importance of modesty by the way I dress and by the way we dress his little sister.

And I can encourage you, ladies, to be intentional about what you wear (or don’t wear) to the beach or pool this summer.

If nothing else, be mindful of your appearance for the sake of my son … your son or someone else’s son.  Actually, keep all men in mind! You may have no idea what you do to them – and to yourself – when you wear a bikini or expose yourself in other ways…

Earlier today, I detailed how women in the IFB church are blamed for the lustful thoughts of teenage boys. Rebecca Davis, an Evangelical, does the same. Her poor little boy already has a wandering eye and it up to the women of the world to keep him from lusting. He can’t help himself, Davis says, because his mind is wired for the visual. It’s just how males are. (of course, she refuses to accept this exact same argument when it comes to homosexuality)

I suspect most readers will think Davis’s article is ignorant and silly. And it is, but millions of Christians think like this. Taught that their sexuality must be repressed and their flesh covered, is it any surprise that 4-year-old Evangelical boys grow into sexually dysfunctional 20-year-old toddlers? Years ago, I was the co-pastor of Community Baptist Church in Elmendorf, Texas. One church night, a woman came up to us and scolded us for letting our girls sleep on the church floor with their panties exposed. That’s right, little girls sleeping with their panties exposed were a problem. I think she expected me to immediately get the girls off the floor. Instead I curtly told her, don’t look. Were there pedophiles in the church I didn’t know about? Was she afraid that teenage boys would see the panties and lust?  I suppose if some teenage boy lusted, it would be our four and two-year old daughters fault, right?

While Evangelicals want to point to the “world”  and blame them for sexualizing everything, it is those who adhere to the sexual mores of the Bible that have done so. They are the ones who have turned a woman’s breast into a sex object that must be covered up at all times. They are the ones who focus on cleavage, legs, asses, and the female shape in general. Cover up, women are told. Hide your feminine figure. If left to them, the human race would perish. Sexual attraction and desire is n-o-r-m-a-l and healthy. It’s the Bible that is out of step with what it means to be human. From Genesis to Revelation, God demands that humans deny their sexuality. I thought God made us sexual beings? It seems strange that he would create us with sexual desires and then say it is a sin if we act on them. Well, maybe not. This is the same God, after all, who created some of us just so he could damn us and torture us in the Lake of Fire for eternity.

So, what do you think? Will Rebecca Davis’s four-year old son turn into a horn dog Evangelical teenager a decade from now? If he finds himself uncontrollably lusting after women, who will be blamed? Perhaps, thanks to being taught Just Say No, he gets the deacon’s daughter pregnant. Whose fault will this be? Again, the Bible is not the answer. Children and teenagers need to be taught the facts of life. As they get older, they need to be taught sexual responsibility. Since most church teenagers engage in some sort of sexual activity before marriage, isn’t it in their best interest to make sure they know how to use birth control?  Instead of telling them THE BIBLE SAYS, how about common sense and honest instruction about sex? Instead of teaching them masturbation is a sin, how about teaching them that self-pleasuring is a way to release sexual tension. Better to spank the monkey than get the deacon’s daughter pregnant.

We should pity Evangelical teen boys and men who must go through life with blinders on lest they ravage the first woman they see in tight shorts. Instead of enjoying the beauty of God’s creation, they are taught the human body is shameful and should only be uncovered in darkness after marriage. While I am not suggesting we all turn into naturalists, surely a man can be in the same room with women he might be attracted to and not turn into the First Baptist Rapist.

Physical attraction is normal and healthy. I am a married man, happily so for almost 37 years. I love my wife and she is my one and only. Until death do us part, I am hers and she is mine. That’s the commitment we made to one another one hot July day in 1978. Does this commitment mean we can no longer walk down the store aisle and check out the goods? Is Polly being unfaithful if she says Sean Connery or Daniel Craig is attractive? Am I being unfaithful when I admire another woman’s beauty? Of course not. We are confident in our ability to control our sexual desires.

When I was a fifteen year old boy, I was standing outside Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio  with a group of  Baptist Bible Fellowship preachers. I was in heaven just being around these men of God. Well, preacher men are just like factory men, and when they are around their own they will let down their guard and talk like one of the boys. One preacher made a joke about Jesus’s command, “but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  He said, the first look is not a sin, the second one is. Just make sure the first look is a long one.  Great advice for a sexually aware 15-year-old preacher boy.

Forget the Bible and religion for a moment and think about this issue from a scientific perspective. Where would the human race be if males and females were not attracted to one another? This attraction is vital to the propagation and future of our species. We can talk about inner beauty and loving someone for their mind, but the fact is, for those of us in a relationship with another, it was sexual attraction that first brought us together. There were plenty of women I could have dated while a student at Midwestern Baptist College. Why did I decide to ask 17-year-old Polly Shope out on a date? She was and is a beautiful woman, but there were other beautiful women at the college. Why was she the one? Biology? Chemistry? Fate?

Here’s what I know, every relationship begins with a look. Hmm, that’s a nice look man or woman. Have you ever seen couples that you wonder how they were attracted to one another? You know, the drop dead gorgeous woman with the guy who looks like he just spent the last month homeless, living on the street. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that sexual attraction is key to our relationship with our significant other. Yes, given time, the relationship becomes far more than sexual attraction, but few relationship start without it. (I speak broadly, knowing that people can and do enter relationships for reasons other than sexual attraction)

Instead of asking everyone to cover up for the sake of her son, perhaps Davis should focus on helping him grow into a sexually responsible man. At age four, I wouldn’t be worrying about the things Davis seems preoccupied with. I’d be more worried about a four year old plugging up the toilet with army men or Legos than I would a woman in a bikini causing him to have inappropriate thoughts. If Davis is concerned about the bikini effect, perhaps she should pay attention to her husbands eyes.

Church Dinners: I’ll Have a Side of Botulism with my Chicken

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The First Church of Poo Potluck Dinner

Having spent 50 years in the Christian church, it is safe to say that I have eaten at a lot of church dinners and potlucks. Hundreds of them, I suppose. Churches are notorious for poor food handling practices at church dinners. A recent botulism outbreak at Cross Pointe Freewill Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio provides a good example of this. According to WCPO:

 Heath officials said Wednesday they are working to determine which food from a church potluck might have caused a suspected botulism outbreak that left one person dead and 23 others sick.

Doctors and officials said at a news conference Wednesday that health workers are interviewing those who attended the Sunday potluck at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster to determine what might have caused the outbreak. Lancaster is about two hours east of Cincinnati.

Fairfield Medical Center announced Tuesday that one woman had died of the suspected illness and at least 18 were sickened. The number of ill rose to 23 Wednesday.

Dr. Mark Aebi with Fairfield County Health said health officials are collecting samples from the church’s trash bin for leads. They’re also going into homes to test samples of homemade canned items that were used for some of the dishes at the potluck…

…Doctors are also confident the illness is specific to those who attended the potluck, not a communitywide outbreak.

“Every person that we’ve seen was at this potluck,” Murry said.

About 50 to 60 people attended the potluck. Doctors said those who attended the event but have not displayed symptoms should be watched closely for the next 10 days…

One dead and twenty-three sick. Since God is the giver and taker of life, he must be upset over Sister Maybelle bringing a new casserole instead of God’s favorite green bean, mushroom soup, fake onion rings on top casserole. I am not making light of this tragedy, but its irony is not lost one me. A sovereign God kills a faithful, church going women, using poison as the means of death.

I learned early on, thanks to a background in restaurant management, to avoid most of the food at a church dinner. Since I visited in the homes of every church member, I knew how sanitary their home was. I’ve known some real pigs in my time. I wouldn’t eat food cooked by them even if I hadn’t eaten in a week.

One woman, by far the grossest church member I ever pastored, would bring dishes to church dinners that no one would eat. Finally, she started bring unopened processed goods like potato chips and cookies. One time, this woman gave a traveling Evangelist a 10# bag of potatoes. A few days later, the Evangelist spotted several cockroaches in their pristine travel trailer. When they told me who gave them the potatoes, I laughed, knowing exactly where the roaches came from. This particular family lived in squalor. The house was infested with roaches. You could literally see them crawling on the walls, furniture, and kitchen counter. From stem to stern, the house was littered with unwashed clothing and trash. The wringer washer, which they never used to wash clothing,  was filled with dirty dishes. When they needed something to wear, they would just grab something off the floor and put it on.

As a young, naïve pastor, I had a sincere desire to help this family improve their living standard. I talked a group of church women into cleaning up their home. I think seven women volunteered to help. In one day, they hauled dozens of large trash bags out of the home, stacking the bags in the back yard. After they were done for the day, they gave me a full report of what they had seen. As bad as I thought the house was, it was even worse. After the women were done for the day, I drove by the house. I was curious to see Mount TrashMore. As I slowly drove by the home, I noticed the couple was going through the bags and carrying stuff back into the house. When one church woman pleaded with me, please preacher, don’t make us go back to that house, I told her that no one had to go back. (not that I think I could have successfully made them go back)

In 2005, I was the guest speaker for a Valentines Banquet at a pastor friend’s church. Church members had made various dishes and desserts for the meal that followed my sermon. I noticed that the food had sat out for a long time, cooling well below a safe temperature. I carefully chose foods I knew wouldn’t make me sick. A few days later, this pastor called to let me know that many of people who attended the banquet came down with the flu. He wanted to know if I was was sick. Of course not. I have enough sense not to eat lukewarm food and rood temperatures dishes that should have been refrigerated.The flu they were experiencing was actually a visitation from the food poisoning God.

Our family, for a short time, attended a Southern Baptist church in Michigan. This church was quite dysfunctional. The aged pastor refused to make any decision that the church did not first vote to approve. When Polly and I offered to give the church a new refrigerator, the pastor refused to say YES until the church had voted on it. Fortunately, the church accepted our donation, replacing an antiquated, unsafe refrigerator with a newer one.

The church building had a horrific smell in the kitchen. No one seemed to care about the smell, so I decided I would track down the causel. I determined that the smell was emanating from the stove. Every time I turned on the stove the smell got worse. I tore the stove apart and found that a mouse had been electrocuted and was slowly decomposing. Every time someone turned on the stove they were re-cooking the mouse carcass. I scraped the mouse off the electrical connection and threw away some of the stove’s insulation. Bingo, no more smell.

This was the same church where I saw the pastor’s wife use her homemade grape juice for communion. The first time I took a sip, I realized that her home canned juice had fermented. I later threw out the grape juice and replaced it with the grape juice approved by Baptists everywhere, Welch’s grape juice. This church had a fellowship dinner once a month. I noticed that the pastor’s wife always brought a ham. She would use a particular knife to carve the ham and, I kid you not, wrap the knife in foil and put it in the fridge for later use. I am not talking later use as in an hour later. She used the same dirty knife month after month.

In one church, we had a women who loved to “bless” us with home canned goods. She’d bring us canned goods, including canned deer meat, that had been in her cellar for years. While we always graciously accepted the food, once she left our home we threw the food away. As avid canners, Polly and I know the importance of following strict food safety procedures. We also know that it is a bad idea to eat food that was canned five years ago. Often, when people gave us food from their cellar, it wasn’t so much  hey let’s help out the preacher and his big family  as it was getting rid of excess canned goods. I can’t begin to tell you how many times a church member gave our family food with an expired use by date. They wouldn’t eat it, but it should be good enough for the preacher’s kids, right?

I have a lot of stories I could tell, but these I have told should go a long way in helping readers understand my aversion to church dinners. I passed this aversion on to my children. Whether it is a church dinner, family dinner, or a community supper, unless the food is hot I won’t touch it. I’ve taken too many food safety classes, knowing that lukewarm food can be deadly. I also want to know who made the dish. If Polly, my mother in law, or one of my children made the dish, I am comfortable with eating it. Hundreds of church dinners and viewing poor food safety has turned me into a food snob. I don’t outwardly show my snobbery. Usually, I make an excuse for why I can’t eat this or that. This excuse making has served me well and kept me out the bathroom.

I am sure my children will laugh as they read this post. They fondly remember their father walking along the dinner line with their mother and me asking with a whispered voice, who made this? I have one son that will eat anything put in front of him. The rest of my children have, to some degree, their father’s food phobia. My next to oldest son is a great cook, often rivaling his mother’s gourmet cooking. Years ago, he worked for Burger King. Like me, he has taken food safety classes. He is very picky about what he will eat.

Food that is properly cooked to the correct temperature and served hot will rarely cause food poisoning. The same goes for refrigerated food. Both our freezer and refrigerator have thermometers. I make sure our food is kept at a safe temperature. My kids know that after a family dinner is over  Dad is the first one to the kitchen, quickly putting away the food. Call it a phobia or just being cautious, I will not eat food that has not been handled properly. More than once I have called the heath department and reported restaurants who were engaging in improper food safety practices.

I could write another post on the gross, sickening things I’ve seen in the restaurants I managed, but I will save that for another day. Well, let me give you one. Bruce asks, Hey Bob, how long has the chicken been sitting in an uncovered pan in the walk-in?  Bob replies, oh about three weeks. Yeah…this restaurant was so dirty that I quit the job after one day. Good paying job, but I told the area supervisor that the store would have to be closed down for several days so I could properly clean it. They weren’t going to do that…there’s money to be made, even if it puts the customer at risk.

Should a Christian Attend a Same-Sex Wedding?

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As the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage looms on the horizon, Evangelicals have taken to asking and answering the question, should a Christian attend a same-sex marriage?   Here’s what  Bryan Fischer, chief shit-stirrer for the American Family Association (AFA), had to say:

Should Christians Go to a Gay Wedding?

The short answer is “No.”

…Why should a Christian politely decline to attend a homosexual wedding? For exactly the same reason a Christian baker should politely decline to bake a gay wedding cake. It sends a message of affirmation for something God has plainly condemned.

A wedding is a celebration. Guests are there to rejoice with and congratulate the couple. Their presence represents approval.

Approving of homosexual “marriage” in any way, shape or form is one thing no sincerely devoted follower of Christ can do. This is simply because a homosexual “marriage” is based on a sex act the Bible uniformly condemns from beginning to end as immoral, unnatural and unhealthy.

Homosexual “marriage” is a sham and a counterfeit. In reality, there is no such thing as a homosexual “marriage,” since God has defined marriage from the dawn of time as the union of one man and one woman. Jesus reaffirmed God’s definition of marriage with words that came from his own lips during his incarnation.

You can call a homosexual union a “marriage” if you choose, you can even write it into law, the Supreme Court can even tyrannically impose it on an entire nation, but calling it a “marriage” doesn’t make it one…

…The research done by the CDC – not a part of the vast, right-wing conspiracy – has plainly shown that homosexual behavior among men is a greater risk to human health even than intravenous drug abuse. (Roughly 65% of all males who have even been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS contracted it through having sex with other men, while 25% contracted through IV drug use.)

To use a stark but appropriate parallel, ask yourself this question: if a friend decided to open up a shooter’s shop, a drug den where folks could go and inject themselves in a warm, inviting atmosphere, could you attend the open house and celebrate the grand opening?

(One can understand that a parent might attend a same-sex ceremony in an effort to retain some relational connection with a much-loved but wayward child. But a parent should only do that after first communicating that attendance should not be read as approval.)

Is a refusal to attend a same-sex wedding of a friend or family member an act of hate? No, on the contrary it is an act of love. Genuine compassion says, “I love you too much to give my approval to behavior that will damage you in body, soul and spirit. It is because I love you that I cannot come.”

Sometimes love means we must say “No.” And saying “No” to attending a gay “wedding” is one of those times.

First it was wedding cake, now it is the ceremony. Evangelicals continue to find various ways to frame their objection to homosexuality and same-sex marriage, hiding the fact that the real issue is their hypocrisy, bigotry, and homophobia.

Consider that most of the heterosexual couples who walk down the aisle of an Evangelical church are not virgins. The Bible has a lot to say about fornication, yet I don’t see Evangelicals boycotting heterosexual marriage ceremonies. Divorced church members, having met a wonderful Christian person, have marriage ceremonies at the local Evangelical church, yet I don’t see Evangelicals boycotting these marriage ceremonies. Surely, they know what the Bible says about divorce? Many of these remarrying divorcees, according to the Bible anyway, are adulterers. Not only are they living in sin, the Bible says such people will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The truth is, there is one sin above all sins in the Evangelical church and that is the sin of homosexuality. In the eyes of people like Bryan Fischer, homosexuals are unsaved, vile sinners who, according to Romans 1, have been given over to a reprobate mind. There is, in their mind, no such thing as a Christian homosexual.

What is it that makes homosexuality a sin? Surely it can’t be same-sex attraction? I think the Bible is clear that God judges us on our actions not our desires and thoughts. If the homosexual is judged a sinner just because they admit they are attracted to the same-sex, wouldn’t any Evangelical who has a weakness for donuts be considered a glutton because they walk down the snack and pastry aisle and long to feast on pastries? Even though they refrain from actually giving in to their donut desire, are they a glutton just because they admit they have a love for pastries? I know, silly, but this is the logic being used by those Evangelicals who, because of a person’s admitted desire, determine the homosexual is a sinner.

What makes one a fornicator or an adulterer? Most Evangelicals would say, the illicit sex act. And I think that this is THE issue for many Evangelicals; the very thought of a same-sex couple having sex disgusts them. Generally, the disgust is greater for same-sex male couples than it is for same-sex female couples. Why is this?

Heterosexual Evangelical men have a hard time understanding two men having sex, whereas two or more women having sex is their secret fantasy. This reflects the hypocrisy of the Christian culture when it comes to sex in general. Let a male school teacher have sex with a sixteen year old student and the teacher is charged with statutory rape. Yet, when a 16-year-old boy has sex with a female school teacher, it is often considered every teenage boy’s dream.  I know it was mine years ago when I had a hot student teacher. When she taught, she had every boys attention.

Male homosexuals tend to have sex one of two ways: orally or anally. If the Evangelical says that it is the sex act that makes one a reprobate homosexual, then they have a real problem on their hands. Heterosexual couples also have oral and anal sex. Are they sinning against God? Some churches and pastors, seeing this as a glaring contradiction, consider anal and oral sex a sin. According to them, God gave man a penis and woman a vagina; one meant to be inserted in the other.

Bryan Fischer, like many of his ilk, argues that homosexual sex puts a person a greater risk health-wise. However, couldn’t that be said of most any human behavior? I don’t see Fischer decrying overeating at church picnics. Surely, he knows that overeating can result in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, right?  Far more Evangelicals die of these diseases than homosexuals with HIV. The same goes for sexually transmitted diseases. Far more Evangelicals get STD’s than do homosexuals or same-sex couples. Why no outrage about the Christian church’s STD crisis?

An Evangelicals refusal to attend a gay friend or family members same-sex marriage has nothing to do with standing firm on the Word of God. As I have shown in this post, Evangelicals routinely ignore sinful behaviors among their own. The are the textbook definition of a hypocrite. The only reason an Evangelical refuses to attend a same-sex marriage is because they are a hateful bigot. Going to the wedding is not going to cause God to strike the Evangelical dead. Western civilization will not collapse if they attend a same-sex wedding. The Evangelical doesn’t have to change their beliefs in order to attend. Outside of the ceremonial kiss, there is nothing in a same-sex marriage that is different from a heterosexual wedding.

The Evangelical church has a huge PR problem on its hands. Their opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and birth control have presented the American public with a picture of hate. Ask the non-Evangelical what they think of Evangelicalism and they will likely say that Evangelicals are judgmental and hateful. If the goal is to win people to Jesus and increase their numbers, Evangelicals are failing miserably. As our culture continues to evolve on issues like homosexuality, Evangelicals are relegated to the fringe, a place usually reserved for nut jobs and cults. Is this really how Evangelicals want to be perceived? If not, then quit with all the whining about same-sex marriage. Yes, the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, but Evangelicals are capable of looking past a variety of sins in order to show love and support to their non-Christian family and friends.

Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World

jesus loves the little children

Snark and humor ahead

For those of us who grew up in the Evangelical church, we likely sang Jesus Loves the Little Children in Sunday school or junior church. The song goes something like this:

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red & yellow,black & white
they’re precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

Jesus cares for all the children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They’re all precious in His sight
Jesus cares for the children of the world

Jesus came to save the children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They’re all precious in His sight
Jesus came to save the children of the world

Jesus came to save the children of the world

Did you start singing along?  Can’t get it out of your head? Sorry.

According to the Share Faith website, the original lyrics were somewhat different:

Refrain:
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Alternate Refrain:
Jesus died for all the children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus died for all the children of the world.

Jesus calls the children dear,
Come to me and never fear,
For I love the little children of the world;
I will take you by the hand,
Lead you to the better land,
For I love the little children of the world.

Refrain

Jesus is the Shepherd true,
And He’ll always stand by you,
For He loves the little children of the world;
He’s a Savior great and strong,
And He’ll shield you from the wrong,
For He loves the little children of the world.

Refrain

I am coming, Lord, to Thee,
And Your soldier I will be,
For You love the little children of the world;
And Your cross I’ll always bear,
And for You I’ll do and dare,
For You love the little children of the world.

Refrain

Written in the late 1800’s by Christian pastor C Herbert Woolston and put to music by George F. Root, the song is one of the most popular songs in American Christianity. Conspicuously absent from the song is any mention of people with brown skin color. In the late 1800’s, the brown horde from the south had not yet invaded the United States and I suspect Woolston considered brown-skinned people a tan version of white. According to Wikipedia, Jesus Loves the Little Children is sung to Root’s 1864 Civil War tune Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! Here’s the original lyrics for Root’s tune:

First Verse:

In the prison cell I sit,
Thinking Mother dear, of you,
And our bright and happy home so far away,
And the tears they fill my eyes
Spite of all that I can do,
Tho’ I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.

Chorus:

Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,
Cheer up comrades they will come,
And beneath the starry flag
We shall breathe the air again,
Of the freeland in our own beloved home

I suspect if this song was written today it would not include the last line of the verse ‘Tho’ I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.’ But then again, Evangelicals might want to leave the line as is. After all, since it says “be gay” it reinforces their belief that gays choose to be homosexuals.

I’ve heard a rendition of Jesus Loves the Little Children that includes brown in the race jingle, but I found that adding brown to the song made the lyrics clunky.

Calvinists can’t sing Jesus Loves the Little Children due to its heretical Arminian theology.  Perhaps they could change the song to:

Jesus died for all the elect children,
All the elect children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All the elect are precious in His sight,
Jesus died for all the elect children of the world.

To make the song more inclusive, some churches and songbooks replace the ‘Red and yellow, black and white line’ with ‘Ev’ry colour, ev’ry race, all are cover’d by His grace’. Another modern adaptation has a verse that goes like this:

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Fat and skinny, short and tall,
Jesus loves them one and all,

When I was the co-pastor of Community Baptist Church in Elmendorf, Texas, the church and Pat Horner had actually gone through the Baptist Hymnal and corrected the words that were at odds with their Calvinistic theology.  ‘Rescue the perishing’ became “rescued when perishing’. We can’t have Calvinistic Christians rescuing sinners, that’s God’s job.

While Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World is sung regularly in thousands of American Evangelical and Independent Baptist churches, most of the people singing the song are white. Jesus might love red, yellow, black, brown, and white children, but Evangelicals prefer they go elsewhere to church. This is especially so in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church movement.

Originally, this post was meant to be about the whiteness of the Family Research Council (FRC). It morphed into something completely different, but let me finish this posts with a couple of screen shots from FRC’s staff/leadership/team page. These screenshots will visually show what the average Evangelical church looks like:

frc staff

frc leadership team

frc experts

frc team

frc team 2

Walk into the average Evangelical church and this is what you will see. If Evangelicals want to point the finger at one reason for their decline, they should point to the subtle and not so subtle racism that flourishes in its churches. While they pride themselves in being past the days of racist Bob Jones University, their churches still reflect that they are a whites-only club. Missionaries are sent overseas to evangelize the red, yellow, brown, and black, while the most segregated place in America is the local Jesus loving Evangelical, IFB, and Southern Baptist church.

Notes

The funniest music related thing that happened at Community Baptist is when a song leader who was raised on the eastern seaboard decided to sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Some church members refused to stand up and sing the song. Ah yes, the Confederacy lives on!

Yes, I am painting with broad strokes in this post. I am aware of Evangelicals attempts, in some corners of America, to become more racially inclusive. However, most churches and pastors find this hard to do since they know history clearly shows that Jesus was a white man.

What if Right Wingers Win the Same-Sex Marriage Battle?

 

american jesus

Evangelical, Mormon, and Catholic leaders and parachurch groups are in full-blown panic mode as the day the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage draws near. They rightly understand that if the Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage the culture war at the federal level is over. While there might be state and local battles to be won, on the federal level, the war is over.

Once gays are afforded the same civil rights and constitutional protections as the rest of us, Evangelicals will likely begin telling the faithful that we now live in a post-Christian world. Evangelicals, along with their fellow culture warriors in Catholicism and Mormonism, have lost their favored seat at the cultural table. No longer will appeals to God, the Christian Bible, the Law of God, etc. work. This is lost on those who are running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. From Ted Cruz to John Kasich to Rick Perry to Marco Rubio to well, whoever else is in the clown car, they seem oblivious to the fact that it is not 1950. Waving the U.S. flag and shouting I LOVE JESUS will not garner enough votes to put a Republican in the White House. The same white crackers, Tea Party lunatics, Patriots, and fundamentalist Christians will vote for the Republican nominee, but their ranks are literally dying, unable to attract young adults. Not only are they dying, but they remain a bastion of bigotry and racism. As the United States becomes browner,  the Republican party becomes less relevant. In time, there either will be a huge party split, with the rednecks and the Christian nation crowd starting there own party, or the current Republican Party will be forced to banish the wing nuts and broaden their tent.

Winning the same-sex battle at the federal level would be a big boon to the Republican Party. It will also embolden culture warriors, a reminder to them that God is still on their side. While it will certainly be a huge blow to liberals and supporters of same-sex marriage like myself if we lose, we will live on to fight another day. We know that we are in a generational battle for the future of the United States. Unlike the culture warrior with their five item menu, the liberal knows war must be waged on many fronts. Same-sex marriage is just one of those fronts. We must also work to:

  • Overturn Citizens-United
  • Reform voting and end gerrymandering
  • Turn back state abortion laws that are harmful to women
  • Neuter the military-industrial complex
  • Reign in the security-industrial complex
  • Provide a living wage for all
  • End the assault on evidence-based science
  • Shore up the wall of separation and church
  • Drastically reduce our global environmental footprint
  • Provide young adults with educational opportunities that do not saddle them with decades of debt
  • Rebuild infrastructure before the United States turns into one big pothole
  • End the war on drugs
  • Decriminalize and legalize marijuana use
  • Reestablish law enforcement as peacemakers
  • Empty the prisons of nonviolent offenders, especially those convicted of petty drug crimes
  • End capital punishment
  • Strip corporations of their power and influence over local, state, and federal government

The culture warriors, who overwhelmingly vote Republican, seem to have little interest in the things I’ve mentioned above. Guided by their literalistic interpretation of the Bible and the Constitution, they work to undo the social progress of the last 100 years. In their world, if women returned to the kitchen, gays to the closet, undocumented workers to the country they came from, all would be well. What they want is 1950. They want to return to the era of  McCarthy, a period of time when fundamentalist patriotism and Christianity ruled the roost. They want to return women to the days when they feared pregnancy and feared their husband. They want to return to the days when the hegemony of whites had no challenge. They want to return to the days when the United States had no equal and used its military and economic power to advance an imperialistic agenda.

For these reasons, and many others, I rarely can find common ground to work with Republicans. Their Party is overrun by nuts, cranks, corporate CEO’s, lobbyists and conspiracy theorists. While sane voices can be found on the left fringe of the Republican Party, their numbers are few and they seem unable to make their voice heard. When Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Jon Huntsman are your party’s voice of reason, you have a big problem on your hands. While I am willing to compromise and work towards a common good, I find it impossible to work with people who think that every social and political change is a threat to America, Christianity, and the American way of life. When the discussions starts with abortion is murder or America is nation chosen by God, it’s hard to find common ground. Truth is, I’d probably find more common ground in an insane asylum than I would some corners of the Republican Party.

The issues I have mentioned in this post provide readers with a glimpse into my politics and how I view the world. The aforementioned positions are not a complete list, but it does show readers the issues that I think are most important.

This post should not be taken as an endorsement of the Democratic Party. I am increasingly unhappy with Party and President Obama. Some days, I think both political parties are the same, especially when it comes to how corporations and money influence their decisions.

Same-Sex Marriage: Will God Answer the Prayers of the American Family Association?

protecting the sanctity of marriage

 Warning! You may feel nauseous after reading this.

The American Family Association (AFA) sent out a newsletter today reminding pastors and church members of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court deliberations on same sex marriage. Here’s an excerpt from the newsletter:

As hard as it is to believe, nine people will decide if our nation will honor God and obey Him, or turn its back on the most fundamental building block of society and on God himself.

This will be the most important decision in the history of America.

I don’t have to tell you, the consequences this decision could have on people of faith is staggering. As you know, private business owners have already come under great pressure to surrender their religious liberty and provide services to same-sex marriages. It would only be a matter of time before pastors and churches would be coerced to do the same.

As Christians, we know that prayer has changed the hearts of leaders and the course of nations. Never before has the need to pray been so critical to the future of our country.

Sign the I Will Pray pledge right now and let us know you will be praying with us.

Join me and millions of others in prayer, starting today.

I thought the Supreme Court’s job was to determine the constitutionality of our laws? Evidently, AFA sees the Court as the legal wing of the Evangelical party.

same sex marriage

The AFA newsletter includes a sermon for pastors to preach this Sunday:

TWO Becoming ONE:  What a Journey!
Genesis 2:19-25

Introduction: Adrian Rogers– “Man is far superior than woman, at being a man.  Woman is far superior than man, at being a woman.”  The differences are amazing and natural.

  • Adam didn’t find a mate suitable for him when he named all the animals.
  • Beastiality (sp) is not God’s Design
  • God made a woman for Adam, not another man.
  • Homosexuality is not God’s design.
  • God made one woman for Adam, not two women.
  • Polygamy is not God’s design.

I.  The Position of Two Ephesians 5:23 “….the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the Church…”

A.  Physically (I Peter 3:7) “Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor….

  1. Men are the provider and the protector (Physically stronger)
  2. Women are the nurturers (Physically softer)

B.  Forcefulness

  1. He has more energy.  (Hare)  “Pointman” “Trailblazer”
  2. She has more durability.  (Tortoise)  “Support”  “Supply”

II.  The Disposition of the TWO Song of Solomon (3:1-4, 4:1-5)

A.  In the Relationship

  1. The man is the gardener.
  2. The woman is the nurturer.
  3. Men respond to physical sight.
  4. Women respond to romance.

B. In the Reception (of information)

  1. Men primarily use the left hemisphere of the brain, Which controls logic, reasoning, and calculation. Women use both hemispheres (right side deals with Feeling, emotion, sympathy, love, intuition.)
  2. Women are spider-web thinkers–thinking like a Radar.  Men are step-by-step thinkers–thinking like a computer.

III. The Communication of the TWO

A.  With Information

  1. Women speak in code.  (I Peter 3:7)  “understanding”
  2. Men speak in reports.

B. With Passion Eph. 5:33–“To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as Himself, and the wife is to respect her husband”

  1. The deepest need of the woman is romance. “cherished” (to be loved)
  2. The deepest need of a man is admiration. (respect)

Conclusion:

  • God made us different that He might makes us one.
  • God made both man and woman in need of a Saviour.  We are not only husband and wife, but because of the blood of Christ we can be forgiven and spiritually cleansed and because of that we can also be brother and sister in Christ.

same sex marriage 2

The newsletter also includes four prayers for churches to use. Here’s two of the prayers:

PRAYER ONE

Heavenly Father, we know that you designed marriage. You created it and you defined it as the union of one man and one woman. You are the one who said, “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” As our Supreme Court deliberates over the issue of marriage, we pray that you will cause your truth about marriage to resonate in their hearts and minds. We pray that you, by your Spirit, will remind them of your truth, guide them in their thinking, and warn them of the danger of turning their backs on your eternal word.We pray that you, by your Spirit, will remind every elected official and every man, woman and child in our land of your standard for marriage. Cause us all to tremble at the thought that we might reject you and your word to our own harm. Please prompt the justices of our Supreme Court to reflect on your word and to align their ruling with your abiding truth. This we pray in the name of Jesus, amen.

PRAYER TWO

Heavenly Father, we are reminded of what your Son taught us about marriage, when he said,“He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’” We pray together that as the justices of the Supreme Court consider the issue of marriage, your Spirit will be at work to cause the words of your Son to penetrate deeply into their hearts and minds, so that their deliberations will be guided  not just by the Constitution and the law but by your abiding standards of right and wrong. Grant them a deep awareness that you and you alone are God.Our Founders sought to conform our public policy as a nation to the “laws of nature and nature’s God.” We know, Father, that man-woman marriage is prescribed by the laws of nature and even more importantly is prescribed by your eternal law. Please guide the deliberations of our Supreme Court so that they will be prompted by your Spirit to conform the law of our land to your law as our God. In the name of Jesus, amen.

As you can see, the AFA sermon and prayers are laced with fundamentalist and theocratic verbiage. It will be interesting to see how the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue of same-sex marriage. It will even be more interesting to see how Evangelicals and Catholics respond if the Court rejects their demands for biblical law and instead affirms that same-sex couples have the right to marry. Think of all the sermons that will be preached and prayers that will be prayed. If God doesn’t come through, groups like the AFA will blame the liberals on the Court, atheists, secularists, and Satan. Surely their God is bigger than all of these, yes?  Here’s what they’ll never do; they will never look inward and consider that maybe God didn’t answer their prayers because they are bigoted, hateful people who want to deny gays the same civil rights they have.