Beyond An Absence of Faith: Stories About the Loss of Faith and Discovery of Self, edited by Jonathan M.S. Pearce and Tristan Vick, is an anthology of deconversion stories, including my own. In the book, you will find the deconversion stories of:
Sergio Paulo Sider
No Cross No Crescent
Beth Ann Erickson
Beyond An Absence of Faith is not a book written to defend atheism or attack religion. It is 263 pages of everyday people detailing their journey from belief to unbelief. Since I have a chapter in the book, and many of you know some of the people listed above, I thought I’d let readers know how they can get a copy of the book.
Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis and the Creationism Museum and a defender of young earth creationism, stated in a recent radio interview that the state of Kentucky is treating him like a second class citizen. According to Ham, by refusing to give him $18 million worth of tax incentives for his latest project, the Ark Encounter theme park, state officials are attacking his right to speak and worship freely.
Ham’s legal battle with the state of Kentucky over tax incentives is just the latest in a long string of controversies swirling around Ham’s creationism empire. Ham has spent most of his life being “persecuted” by scientists, secularists, humanists, atheists, liberal Christians…well by anyone who doesn’t think and believe just like he does. Ham gins up controversy so those who support him will be “righteously angry” and continue to support his moneymaking enterprises.
Last Monday, Ham was a guest on Janet Parshall’s radio program. (Parshall, a fundamentalist Christian, “is the host of the Christian talk show In the Market with Janet Parshall, which is broadcast on the Moody Radio network.”) During the program, Ham stated:
“If we don’t do something about this it’s like the old idea of the frog in the water that you can boil it up and boil it to death and it doesn’t you’re doing it because it keeps accommodating to the temperature around it. If Christians just keep accommodating and allowing this to happen more and more, we will lose that free exercise of religion.”
I wonder if Ham, Parshall, or those who listened to the program on Moody Radio, know that the boiled frog story is bad science. Probably not. Since creationists jettison any science that doesn’t fit within the framework of a literalist interpretation of the Bible, I guess it would be too much to ask them to research the story before using it as a metaphor for Christian inaction and acclimation to culture.
If you plunge a frog into boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you place the frog into cool water and slowly heat it to boiling, the frog won’t notice and will slowly cook to death. So claims the myth. Indeed, everyone—from corporate consultants to politicians to environmental activists—cites the frog fable as proof that people often don’t see change happening and cannot deal with it in the aftermath.
So how did this myth begin? Maybe it arose because frogs are cold-blooded. We humans are warm-blooded: our internal thermometers measure the local temperature, and then we shiver or sweat to maintain a body temperature of around 37 degrees Celsius. But a cold-blooded frog maintains the temperature of its immediate environment. Perhaps somebody once wrongly thought that this meant frogs had an inferior or inadequate thermometer…
Second, a frog would notice the water getting hot. Dr. Victor Hutchison, a herpetologist at the University of Oklahoma, has dealt with frogs throughout his professional life. Indeed, one of his current research interests is “the physiological ecology of thermal relations of amphibians and reptiles.” Professor Hutchison states, “The legend is entirely incorrect! The ‘critical thermal maxima’ [the maximum temperature an animal can bear] of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water.”
So real-life experiments show that the frog-in-boiling-water story is wrong. If only this fact could make it into real life, too.
After doing some reading on the boiled frog myth, I found a study that best describes Ham’s use of the myth:
As part of advancing science, several experiments observing the reaction of frogs to slowly heated water took place in the 19th century. In 1869, while doing experiments searching for the location of the soul, German physiologist Friedrich Goltz demonstrated that a frog that has had its brain removed will remain in slowly heated water, but an intact frog attempted to escape the water when it reached 25 °C.
Hey, I’ve come up with a new metaphor for creationism.
Any day now, I expect Ham to come out with an Answers in Genesis defense of the boiled frog story. Like the voice of God speaking to Moses on the Mount, the utterances of Ken Ham are treated as infallible by his cult followers. Ken Ham, like the Bible and God, is never, ever wrong.
The easiest way for Ham to prove the boiled frog story is to conduct a frog boiling study. Oh wait, Ham doesn’t do research. He’s too busy preaching the Gospel of Genesis 1-3, also known as The Bible According to Hammy®, to take any time to conduct a study. With millions of dollars at stake, there is no time for bothering to speak scientifically when pretending to be a scientist on the radio. Souls are at stake. The future of America and Western Civilization depends on the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. If these beacons of ignorance are closed, what would Christian schools and homeschoolers do for science class field trips?
Perhaps one of Ham’s followers might say, yes, the science of the story is wrong, but the moral story behind the metaphor is correct. Oh, you mean like the B-I-B-L-E? Let the stammering begin…
The boiled frog story has been used by people of every political, social, and religious persuasion. I even know one redheaded preacher who used it years ago in his sermons.
Recently, Answers in Genesis published an article by Dr. Alan White about global warming. The article, The Globe is Warming, But It’s Not Your Fault, is chock-full of statistics and charts. Like every defender of a 6,000 year old earth, White spends a lot of time talking about science. I am not sure why he bothers to do so. After all, according to White:
The Globe Is Warming, But It’s Not Your Fault!…
…Christians are less likely to be concerned about the climate going out of control since they believe the earth and its climate were designed and created by an all-knowing and all-powerful God. Those who believe that the heavens and the earth are the result of a random, accidental process naturally will be concerned about what may happen next…
…What is your worldview? Do you trust that God brilliantly designed and created everything and trust that He has your best interests at heart, or will you always be worried that the planet is on the verge of going out of control?…
Let me sum up White’s viewpoint: The Christian God of the Bible is in control of everything, so if the earth is warming it is because God wants it this way.
At the heart of Evangelicalism is fatalism. Since God is sovereign and in control of his creation, if the overall temperature of the earth rises and the seas someday engulf Pacific islands, it’s because God wants it this way. Evangelicals believe God has the whole world in his hands. He is working out his purpose and plan, and there is nothing humans can do to thwart him.
Usually, people who think like this also believe that Jesus will soon return to earth to judge the living and the dead, destroy the heavens and earth, and make a new heaven and a new earth. Since God is in control of everything and he is fixing the burn the house down, there’s no need to call the fire department.
Why is then that Evangelicals like White are content to appeal to the sovereignty of God when it comes to climate change, but when it comes to the culture war, they fight and work as if their God doesn’t exist or is on vacation? If God has everything under control, wouldn’t that include abortion and same-sex marriage? Since God, the biggest abortionist of all, could stop women from having an abortion and could cause the courts to rule that marriage is between one man and one woman, that he doesn’t must mean that God ordained abortion and same-sex marriage.
I am simply taking White’s argument to its logical conclusion. God’s in control, don’t sweat it. Since God holds the world and the itty bitty baby in his hands, there’s no need for Christians to concern themselves with the future. Dr. White needs to explain why fatalism is the proper response to global warming but not abortion and same-sex marriage. The same God who controls the global thermostat is the same God who controls the life and death of every human being. Theological consistency demands Christians let go and let God. Even if they don’t let go, God is still going to work out his purpose and plan.
Those of us who spent a lot of time in Sunday school remember the story recorded in Daniel 4 about God teaching King Nebuchadnezzar about who is really in charge. One day, while walking in his palace, prideful Nebuchadnezzar had this to say:
Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
God, busy helping the Israelites find the keys to their chariot, stopped what he was doing and focused his attention on punishing Nebuchadnezzar for his insolence. How dare the King think that Babylon is his kingdom! I’ll show him:
While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
As Daniel 4 makes clear, Nebuchadnezzar got the message:
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?…Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
The theology of this story is embedded in the DNA of Evangelicals. The Bible is clear, God is God and all power, authority, and control belongs to him. No need to fret, fuss, or worry about global warming and climate change. Yet, when it comes to social issues, Evangelicals act as if God doesn’t exist. Why the hypocrisy?
Fatalism, also known as the sovereignty of God, is nothing more than a tool used by Evangelicals to avoid or do away with data that conflicts with their literalist interpretation of the Bible. Since White believes his God created the earth 6,020 years ago, he dismisses any science that doesn’t fit in the creationist box.
White could have saved Answers in Genesis readers a lot of time if he had just stated his belief about God’s sovereignty and left it at that. In White’s worldview, God is the end all, he’s the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. The answer to every question is GOD, and not just any God, the CHRISTIAN GOD!
Recently, a man by the name of Wayne K sent me an email that contained a dare. He wrote:
Now be cautioned because there is a cultish group in America whose website called atruechurch(dot)info – they may add your name to a list of false teachers? – probably not. I dare you write about them.
I thought, who the hell is atruechurch.info? Why should I fear them? Are they an assassination squad that whacks atheists and other nonbelievers? So, trembling with consternation and fear, I typed atruechurch.info into Firefox. What did I find? Darwin Fish. Darwin Fish, the truest Christian on earth, a fundamentalist on steroids.
I’ve known about Darwin Fish for many, many years. Fish was once a disciple of John MacArthur, trained at Master’s Seminary, and then he had a falling-out with MacArthur. You can read Fish’s bio here.
All of the religions of the world (e.g. Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Catholicism, Mormonism, JW’s, Seventh Day Adventism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, etc.) lead to nowhere but hell. Those involved in them are “unbelieving, . . . idolaters” (Revelation 21:8). Every single last one of them reject the truth of the Bible (Romans 1:18-25), and thus, the Truth of the Bible, God (John 14:6), will burn them forever in the lake of fire for hating Him so (Deuteronomy 32:39-41; Revelation 20:11-15).
If you are involved with the kind of Christianity that views Protestantism, or Catholicism, or the Orthodox church, or the “church of Christ,” or Billy Graham, or Rick Warren, or Joel Osteen, or James Dobson, or Pat Robertson, or John MacArthur, or Paul Washer, or Norman Geisler, or Tony Evans, or Greg Laurie, or Charles Stanley, or Chuck Smith, or Fred Price, or J. Vernon McGee, or Charles Blake, or Chuck Swindoll, or Gene Scott, or Harold Camping (Family Radio), or John Piper, or T. D. Jakes, or David Jeremiah, or Charles Spurgeon, or Dave Hunt, or Marvin J. Rosenthal, or David W. Cloud, or Perry F Rockwood, or Neil Anderson, or Robert Schuller, or Jack Hayford, or Benny Hinn, or Miles McPherson, or Ray Comfort, or Jim Cobrae, or Ron Luce, or Chuck Colson, or C. S. Lewis, or Hank Hanegraaff, or Paul Chappell, or Steven Anderson, or any of the like (or any of the likes on “Christian” TV or radio) as godly, you are not saved. Why? Because, you are on the broad way (Matthew 7:13; 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Timothy 4:3). You have not the characteristic of Christ’s sheep (John 10:5). And, men such as these are wells without water (2 Peter 2:17).
Fish really believes he is part of the one true church. In the FAQ section of his website he answers the question, Are you the only true church/believers?
We suggest you take a look at our Statement of Faith to understand why we say, we do not know. There was a church in Murfreesboro, TN, but that has since dissolved. Other than that, we have not yet, as of this date, found another church that is in the truth (1 John 4:6), and we have been to many. Will we find one? Actually, the real question is, will Christ find one?
Fish has what I call the Elijah syndrome. In I Kings 18, Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal to a God-Off®. Maybe you remember the story from Sunday school:
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
This was one of my favorite passages to preach from. I Kings 18 is a story that illustrates God’s power when a person is willing to stand alone for God. Of course, I never preached on 1 Kings 19, you know the chapter that details Jezebel chasing Elijah into the hills threatening to kill him.
Of course, Elijah got the last laugh in 2 Kings 9 when, at the behest of Jehu, two or three eunuchs threw Jezebel out of a window, killing her as she hit the ground. Jehu then stomped on the body of Jezebel, leaving her corpse for the dogs to eat. When they came to bury her, all that was left was her skull, palms, and feet. Sounds like a hit series on HBO, yes?
People like Darwin Fish see themselves as a modern-day Elijah. They are THE remnant that God has left on earth to give testimony to the truth. Think about the Bible and its stories for a moment. Aren’t most of the big name characters in the Bible, men like Noah, Abraham, Elisha, Enoch, Joshua John the Baptist, Paul, and Jesus, loners who stood against Satan, false religion, and secular power?
In every community there is a Darwin Fish, a preacher who thinks he is God’s messenger, a prophet whose name is Frank/Harry/Waldo/Bruce. If you have read the comment section of this blog over the years, you know that there are plenty of people who think they have all the answers; that God is on their side and that their interpretation of the Bible is true. Such people are impossible to reach until they are willing to see that their foundation, the Bible, is not what they claim it is.
We believe drinking alcohol in moderation is not wrong (Deuteronomy 14:26; Psalm 104:15; John 2).
We believe those who commit suicide go to hell (John 15:1-6).
We believe gambling is not wrong, but to gamble, because you are not content and want more, is sin (Hebrews 13:5).
We believe Scripture does not condemn masturbation. Although it is typically done in wickedness (Matthew 15:19 “evil thoughts”), it can be done in godliness (Titus 1:15).
We believe the Bible does not condemn slavery (1 Timothy 6:1-5), even though it is illegal in the USA (Romans 13:1).
We believe smoking is not condemned in Scripture, but addiction is (1 Corinthians 6:12; Galatians 5:22-23).
We believe most debt is ungodly (Romans 13:8).
We believe the Bible does not condemn polygamy (Genesis 16:1-3), even though it is illegal in the USA (Romans 13:1), which illustrates America’s idea of what is moral or not is quite twisted (Isaiah 5:20).
We believe there are fire breathing dragons called Leviathan (Job 41).
We believe during the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20), God will bring back from the dead evil Levites of the past to serve in His temple (Ezekiel 44:10-14).
We believe sexual intercourse during menstruation is an evil practice (Leviticus 18:19-30).
We believe the answer to “eternal security” is both “yes” and “no” (Romans 8:31-39; 11:19-22).
This kind of thinking is the result of taking Evangelicalism/Christian fundamentalism to its logical conclusion. Perhaps Fish should be commended for really, really, really believing all that “God” wrote in the Bible. I know more than a few Christians who think like this. They may not take things as far as Darwin Fish or Fred Phelps, but they sincerely believe they are numbered with the few faithful Christians left on earth.
Peanut Gallery, a group of people whose opinions are considered unimportant, a source of insignificant criticism, the cheap seats.
One of the good consequences of taking a break from blogging is that the peanut gallery stops sending me email. It’s only a matter of time before my inbox is once again flooded with emails from those who disagree with something I have written. Disagreement is fine. As a public figure, I know that there will always be people who disagree with me. If someone emails me and their comment shows that they were taught by their mother to play well with others, I will usually respond to them. I am quite happy to answer questions and clear up misunderstandings.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who have a problem playing well with others. They love the anonymity the internet gives them. They can be the playground bully, safe from getting their ass kicked by someone bigger than them. They are free to say things in an email that they would never say to my face, knowing that saying it to my face might result in a crooked nose.
From time to time, I plan to publish some of the emails from the peanut gallery. Enjoy!
(Unedited, except for paragraph formatting)
A reader by the name of Wayne K sent me two emails, one with some questions that I answered and another email objecting to a post I had written about his questions. (What Happened to the Churches I Pastored?)
Here’s Wayne K’s first email:
Regarding the churches you pastored and started, do they still exist today or have they changed their names ? I could not find any of the church’s personal websites. Sorry if you feel I wasn’t trying hard enough. I don’t know what I missed as there are hundreds of ‘google’ links. Another question I have is, why did or what led your mother to commit suicide at 54 ? I have heard a few stories of suicide committed by various people and I am just curious to learn why.
PS: For your info, I currently do not have a personal website address and I do not live in the United States. I currently do not go to church and I am not an evangelical.
Here’s Wayne K’s second email:
Since January, I have been visiting your blog at least twice a week to get to know you. While you did answer one of my questions, i was able to find some clues about your mother’s suicide from your blog- long after i received your email. In face to face conversations, if you didn’t want to answer my question about your mother’s suicide, you probably would tell me that you prefer not to discuss it, otherwise it would be considered rude not to answer me.
I noticed that you had posted my question on your blog dated March 5. My motive was that i was interested to know, not because i was nosy. Did you decide to post because i didn’t subscribe ?? Just guessing. No, i am not part of a group of tin hat Christians. I almost found this statement offensive. There is no need to assume or presume who I am. I am not interested in friendship with you. I do not doubt whatever and wherever the churches you pastored.
I had other questions for you that is not on your blog but after reading some of your recent posts, i didn’t think it was necessary any longer since i found your blogs disturbing and very negative. I am guessing that since you are a socialist, you are probably on social government assitance like most low life atheist drug addicts.
Bruce, we live in a very deceptive and conspiracy driven world, and it appears to be getting worse. Most or all of the world’s problems are contributed by certain wealthy, influencial people in high places. Here are some of the following groups involved; Islamists, Hinduism, Roman Catholicism/Vatican, atheism, freemasons, satanists, luciferians, evolutionists and agnostics. Google “bohemian groves”, “freemasonry american dollar”, “911 inside job”, “cancer research fraud”, “fluoride deception” on and on I could list so much more. Also click on images for these keywords to view other websites. No conspiracy is a theory if it has been proven.
Furthermore, your blog is more than just shameful and unhelpful. It added to the world’s misery. It doesn’t contain any qualities of love or unity. While it indicates your hidden character, I would be ashamed to follow you or to honor you as the best blogger in Ohio.
Now be cautioned because there is a cultish group in America whose website called atruechurch(dot)info – they may add your name to a list of false teachers? – probably not. I dare you write about them. I would have to agree that you are telling lies and blogging false information about many things. These lies are coming from your own deluded mind. Therefore, I would strongly encourage you to go and do something more useful than spend your wasteful hours blogging and ridiculing the “minorities”. Leave them alone. You appear to be THE real threat.
Regarding the churches you gave me that no longer exist, that doesn’t indicate a high failure rate. Instead of explaining what I mean, let me analyse it this way; YOU are the failure because you didn’t know how to guide your so-called “church”. It appears that Your foundation was ‘fake’ and weak. When you build a house, you need proper foundation or it would collapse. Isn’t that logical Bruce !?? Now, you like to point fingers and blame others for the failures, don’t you ?! There are alot of people who have gone through many bad and worst experiences than you but didn’t start a blog like you and pointed fingers. They just moved on and tried to improve upon where they left off. But you seem to be worse off than when you started in your early years of church. That is a common thing I see among so called “ex-Christians”.
Many people are secretly not interested in your blog Bruce. And I am not interested to visit you either. You don’t sound friendly. I wouldn’t want you to give me advice when I need help or have inquiries about important matters.
Anyways, having much I could say, i am not interest in further correspondence with you.
Wayne K’s first email was quite civil, so I answered him. After doing so, I thought others might have the same question about the churches I pastored, so I wrote a post answering the question. Evidently, Wayne K thought the post was all about him. This is a common reaction to my writing. People read a post and think, HE IS WRITING ABOUT ME! Unless I mention someone by name, no one should assume I am writing just about them. I suspect the real issue is that my writing gets a little close to home and they don’t like it.
The next email is from from a Kiwi named Kate:
Hi there bruce , i stumbled across your site …. somehow as you do . Yes i am a God fearing believer ,no that that is why i am writing to you.
i have never written to someone like this before, but somehow was very intrigued about your story. Many twists and turns in your life for what ever reason that seem to be quite clear to me reading your blog have lead you to were you are now.
One thing as i read your questions seems to be that your passionate about your family. And yet as a young man having such a large frame and most probably due to your illness do not seem to read health books. my question to you is if you are not going to be with your family in heaven why would you not want to be with them on this earth for as long as you can.
You yourself are writing a book and you have obviously spent countless hours reading studying why you don’t want to believe in god, and yet your passions the most important thing to you on this earth will get the very least of you because you are too busy telling people what you don’t want to do or believe in. i don’t speak to be viscous or negative. but what i know is that our health is crucial to your thinking.
If you are telling the truth that your family are your passion, get well and tell us how you did it and let that benefit some people. start by looking at your food. food is your first medicine. i know in America you can get everything under the sun with some fake name resembling food im not surprised most of you are unhealthy sick or dying.Go on a juice fast for 3-4 months and tell me your not feeling better !!!! or find some diet like the cohens diet. Or blow me over with a feather and jerf …. just eat real food, nothing that comes out of a packet cause its contaminated with goodness knows what.
Anyhow you could read all about it,and cure your self. i hope this doesn’t sound sarcastic it is not at all meant to. So be in health Bruce not in atheism cause theres no meaning to that. Just being alive has a meaning and im sure you matter to your family and they have a meaning to you … you said so yourself.
respectfully kate .otherwise know as a recovering hoshimotos sufferer, curing myself through diet and meaning……my three children my husband and life. its massive that word life !!!
Kate assumes I am NOT eating well. She is certain that me being overweight is because I spend all day eating Oreo cookies, ice cream, candy bars, and pop tarts. She is certain that I am killing myself with prepackaged food. How could she know this? Is she a mouse in the cupboard, watching what groceries we buy and observing Polly cook our meals? Of course not.
The food and diet police think that they have all the answers. Just do ______________and all will be well. Oh, if it is only that simple. These days, I find belligerant food Nazi’s more oppressive than the rankest of fundamentalists. They are closed minded, judgmental, unwilling or unable to understand the complexity of the human body, diet, and the environment. They seek simple answers, quick fixes, and when they descend from the mountain top with the Ten Commandments of Atkins,Cohen, Dash, Weight Watchers, Orinish, TLC, Mayo Clinic, Mediterranean, Flexitarian, Jenny Craig,Volumetrics, Nutrisystem, Paleo, ad infinitum, they go about preaching their new found gospel to fatties.
Great news from the land of Christian fundamentalists and right-wing Republicans…St John United Church of Christ in Defiance has officially come out of the closet. Tim McDonough, religion writer for the Defiance Crescent-News, reported today that St John’s is now an open and affirming church, a designation given to churches who welcome gays and same-sex couples into their assembly. Here’s an excerpt from McDonough’s front page article (behind pay wall):
Following a 16-month discernment and education process, the congregation of St. John United Church of Christ in Defiance has voted to become an open and affirming church. Open and affirming is the United Church of Christ’s designation for congregations, campus ministries and other bodies in the UCC, which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.
“This process really began back in April of 2013 when we were having a congregational meeting,” said Pastor Bob Jencks, who has been serving in an interim role at the church since August of 2012. “We were having a discussion about our identity and our purpose when someone said, ‘we’re the liberal church in town.’ I asked, ‘what does that mean?’ The response was, ‘we’re open and affirming.’
“The truth is, we were not,” continued Jencks. “I explained that there was a process we had to go through to have that designation. At that time, there was only one church in northwest Ohio that was, and that was First Congregational United Church of Christ in Sandusky. The pastor there (Lenore Kure), was at one time the director of Christian education here, so we reached out to her, talked about the process, brought that information back here, where it was voted on that we begin that process.”
Melissa Davies, chairperson of the open and affirming committee, explained that the process was all about educating the congregation as to why St. John UCC wanted to have the designation. “The UCC denomination is pretty progressive, and within the denomination churches have the opportunity to signify themselves as open and affirming, after a discernment process,” said Davies. “At the end of the process, churches vote whether or not to carry that distinction. We started with a series of educational congregation-wide sessions, where we learned what science has to say about sexual orientation, what the Bible has to say about sexual orientation, and how quotes from the Bible are used to ostracize people.”…
…At a congregational meeting in January of this year,a vote was taken to see if St.John UCC would become an open and affirming church. With more than 50 percent of the church in attendance,the vote to carry that designation was a resounding 52 for, and only two against. “To be in this part of Ohio, which is more traditional, that vote was surprising,” Davies said. “We know we tend to be more progressive leaning on social issues, but it was a little strange in our meetings when we realized that a pushback that we thought we would get, really just wasn’t there for a large majority of our congregation…
…Both Davies and Jencks do expect that some members of the congregation may stop going to church at St. John UCC since the vote, and both expect some feedback from the community. “We haven’t had anyone come out and tell us they are leaving the church, but if anyone has, they haven’t been vocal about it,” said Davies. “We really just want to be a welcoming place to worship.” Said Jencks: “We haven’t heard anything yet (from outside the church), but this is conservative northwest Ohio. We’re taking this stand because it is a social issue, we believe it’s an important one, and we believe Jesus accepts all people…
I can’t wait to see the letters to the editor from local Christian culture warriors who are deeply offended by St John’s rejection of their fundamentalist homophobia and bigotry. Should be an entertaining couple of weeks. I think I will wait until all the fundamentalists are done venting their spleen before I write a letter to the editor. Might as well let the chosen ones have the first word.
Congratulations to Pastor Jencks and the fine people of St John United Church of Christ for willingly putting equality, justice, compassion, and science first. They rightly recognize that far too many local Christians use the Bible to abuse others, denying them the right to love and marry whoever they want.
For you who live in more progressive areas, you might not realize how big of a deal this is. Tonight, despite the pain I am in, I feel good. It’s nice to see goodness and decency prevail in at least one corner of rural NW Ohio.
This is the sixth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.
Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Dear God by XTC, as new wave band from Swindon, England, 1979-2006
Dear God, hope you get the letter and
I pray you can make it better down here
I don’t mean a big reduction in the price of beer
But all the people that you made in your image
See them starving on their feet
‘Cause they don’t get enough to eat from God
I can’t believe in you
Dear God, sorry to disturb you but
I feel that I should be heard loud and clear
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
And all the people that you made in your image
See them fighting in the street
‘Cause they can’t make opinions meet about God
I can’t believe in you
Did you make disease and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind after we made you?
And the Devil too!
Dear God don’t know if you noticed but
Your name is on a lot of quotes in this book
And us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look
And all the people that you made in your image
Still believing that junk is true
Well I know it ain’t, and so do you
I can’t believe in
I don’t believe
I won’t believe in heaven or hell
No saints, no sinners, no devil as well
No pearly gates, no thorny crown
You’re always letting us humans down
The wars you bring, the babes you drown
Those lost at sea and never found
And it’s the same the whole world ’round
The hurt I see helps to compound
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Is just somebody’s unholy hoax
And if you’re up there you’ll perceive
That my heart’s here upon my sleeve
If there’s one thing I don’t believe in
This is the fifth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.
Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Progressive Christmas Carols by Jon Cozart. You can follow Jon, AKA Paint, on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
Thanks to a DNA match, we now know that the Bossier Doe is Carol Ann Cole from Kalamazoo, Michigan, a 17-year-old girl who went missing 34 years ago. NOLA.com reports:
After 34 years, Carol Ann Cole is found.
The missing Michigan teen is a DNA match for a young woman found dead with stab wounds in the woods of north Louisiana on Jan. 28, 1981.
Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington announced the news Thursday (March 5), two weeks after Cole’s parents submitted their DNA samples at a police station near Kalamazoo, Mich., in response to leads developed through Facebook.
“It’s been a long 34 years, one month and five days of waiting for the Cole family, Whittington said. “I’m here to tell you the waiting is over and Carol Ann is coming home.”
A few feet away stood Linda “Jeanie” Phelps, 48, Carol Ann’s little sister who has spent decades searching for her blonde-haired, blue-eyed sibling — the one she said loved Shaun Cassidy and always kept her out of trouble.
“All I can think right now is wow. I finally found Carol Ann,” said Phelps, who traveled from her home in Kalamazoo to be present for the announcement. “Definitely not the way I wanted to find my sister…There was a sense of relief, but also a deep sadness.”
Phelps said she never gave up on finding her sister and thanked those who didn’t give up to find out who Bossier Doe was…
…Carol Ann went missing after she moved from Michigan to San Antonio, Texas, with her mother, Sue Cole in 1979 or 1980.
Cole said she was having difficulties with her daughter and decided to place her in a girl’s home outside of San Antonio. Cole said she was informed Carol Ann ran away from the residence near her 17th birthday, Nov. 5, 1980 — but Cole said she has no recollection of where the home was and what it was called.
The last contact the teenager had with her family, according to Phelps, was when she placed a collect call from a residence in Shreveport to her paternal grandmother in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The family was later told that Carol Ann was babysitting there.
Phelps and longtime family friend Patty Thorington have been searching for Carol Ann for decades. And despite their efforts to file a missing persons report with various police agencies over the years, Phelps said they were only recently able to get information about Carol Ann formally entered into a national missing persons database. A formal missing persons report was made Feb. 4, according to Bossier Parish Sgt. Dave Faulk…
…Detectives have called John R. Chesson, the Vinton man who found Bossier Doe while hunting in 1981, a “person of interest” in Bossier Doe’s death. Chesson is now in prison after being convicted in the 1997 murder of his estranged wife’s former mother-in-law.
Bossier Parish detectives also have been investigating whether their victim had any ties to New Bethany Home for Girls, a religious girls home roughly 40 miles from where the body was found. A photo that surfaced from New Bethany includes an image of a young woman who Phelps believed resembles Carol Ann. But until now, Phelps has said that without the results of the DNA tests in hand, the possibility has has brought only more questions and grief.
Sgt. Faulk said the agency will be following all leads to gather information about who killed Carol Ann. He said that to date there is “no solid indication” that she was at New Bethany. Asked about Chesson’s significance in the current investigation, Faulk said that anytime someone finds a body, they are a person of interest…
It remains to be seen if Cole spent any time at New Bethany Home for Girls. The report notes that Cole was sent to a group home in San Antonio, Texas, leading to speculation that she might have been in one of Lester Roloff’s infamous group homes.