‘Biblical Worldview': A Case Study in Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Sorry I’ve been a bit out of the loop recently, dear readers. Aside from the usual insanity that is my life, I’ve been researching an exposé  that will feature as a series of posts on this blog. It will be shocking and informative and, hopefully, well worth the wait.

Today’s post will sort of set the tone for what is to come.

During my research, I came across the phrase “biblical worldview.” Specifically, I came across it in a complaint that the majority of modern, “born again” evangelical Christians do not hold one. Of course, my first question was, “What is a biblical worldview, anyway?” The Internet was happy to oblige an answer:

“Christian worldview (also called Biblical worldview) refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs through which a Christian individual, group or culture interprets the world and interacts with it.”

Then I jumped over to the Focus on the Family website to see what they had to say about it:

“Someone with a biblical worldview believes his primary reason for existence is to love and serve God.”

Really? The majority of American Christians don’t see this as their purpose? That seemed pretty hard to believe. So I dug deeper. Continue reading

What the Gospel is (and isn’t)

When I started Revolutionary Faith two years ago, I knew I would face some blowback at some point. I knew that some would accuse me of liberalism and that others would claim I was twisting scriptures and preaching a false gospel. You can’t poke holes in the sacred monoliths of fundamentalism and American evangelicalism without someone coming down with a case of hot head.

Well, it’s finally happening.

But what I find fascinating is that the people accusing me of presenting a false gospel cannot correctly articulate the gospel themselves. I mean, it’s a bit like someone pointing at my car and saying, “Your cow is broken.” True, but only if that thing they were pointing at were a cow. The first rule of critique is, if you’re going to claim that something is wrong, you must first have a clear understanding of what that something is.

So today, I’m going to help my critics by defining what the gospel is…and isn’t. Continue reading

Your ‘Deeply Held Religious Belief’ Isn’t Biblical

From seattlegayscene.com

Most of us know the story. Last year, a Colorado baker was taken to court because he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing that such an act would violate his “religious beliefs” against gay marriage.

You’d think that nearly a year after the ruling (in which the baker was found guilty of discrimination), that most people would have forgotten about it. But no. I still see articles and hear comments pop up on ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ and how it’s such a shame that our government doesn’t seem to care about protecting them these days. (Protecting them meaning that they can be exercised whenever, however, and with whatever consequences that result.) The phrase took center stage in the Hobby Lobby birth control case, and again when a photographer in New Mexico refused to photograph a gay wedding.

However, the more I hear the words ‘deeply held religious belief’ bandied about, the more uneasy I feel. I wasn’t sure why at first, until I had read through the umpteenth article on the subject. And that’s when I realized that the so-called “beliefs” being defended weren’t actually rooted in scripture.

I believe that if someone is going to make a case for a ‘deeply held religious belief,’ then said belief should be backed up with a clear biblical mandate. And those saying it is against their religion to sell wedding favors to gay couples don’t have a scriptural basis for that position.

I can prove it. Continue reading

It’s not legalism…until it is

I was browsing some of the Christian blogs on WordPress the other day and came across one entitled “I’m not being legalistic. I’m just being real.” The author, Chris, talks about how he decided not to watch certain TV shows and movies because they were “complete filth” and seemed inappropriate for him to watch as a Christian. He said that because of his decision, some people were accusing him of being legalistic – more concerned with adhering to a ‘biblical’ standard of purity than exercising his freedom in Christ.

On this point, I disagree with his detractors. Deciding for yourself that something is inappropriate to watch based on personal convictions is not legalistic. As the Apostle Paul famously stated, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23b). If you don’t find The Walking Dead edifying, then by all means, turn it off. I won’t complain.

But then Chris continues by describing practices that he engages in to keep his ‘flesh’ in check: like parking far away from the front of a store and walking, even when closer spaces are available. He explains that the flesh is lazy and likes to be pampered, which is a desire that stands in direct conflict with the Spirit. So trekking across big parking lots is one (small) way he keeps his flesh in subjection and makes more room for the Spirit. Continue reading

The Day I Encountered Ethnic Jesus

An image of Jesus about as realistic as any other in American culture, IMO.

I was steeped in Christian culture from the womb, so I grew up surrounded by pictures of Jesus. One hung on a little plaque in my grandmother’s apartment, a Jesus looking mournfully skyward with blue eyes and flowing, light-brown locks. Then, at my church, there was the black velvet painting of Jesus praying in agony at the garden of Gethsemane. This one had red hair and green eyes.

Of course, I can’t forget all of the other Jesus pictorials I grew up with: those cut from Sunday school books for the flannel-graph or the ones illustrating the stories in my children’s Bible. All of them looked like me: white.

At first, I thought nothing of it. At the time, everyone I saw at church, or at school, or at the grocery store was white. Why wouldn’t Jesus and his disciples be white, too?

But as I studied these depictions of Jesus, something about them struck me as false. Contrived. Superficial. It wasn’t just the perfectly trimmed beards, Colgate smiles or the soft, womanly eyes. Something told me that the real Jesus probably looked very different than what these pictures showed.

Then I started encountering other people in my community. People who didn’t look like me. I began learning about people in other countries and what they looked like. And, soon, the white Jesus began to trouble me. Deeply. The depictions struck me as caricatures, poor imitations of the Jesus I read about in the gospels. It seemed that members of my white Christian community had created a Christ in their own image.

Then, one day, I unexpectedly encountered ethnic Jesus. And it changed my life.  Continue reading