Ignorance is Not Bliss   

by Curt Scott, Tuesday night Faith Class Leader

Bible facts: The King James Bible contains 783,137 words.  The New International Version has 727,969.  The bulk of the 72,801 words removed had been inserted to make the Bible, its scenes and characters more British. King James IV needed political unity as much as Constantine needed political unity in 430 when he commissioned the first 50 Bibles. Luther decided only the parts that fit his narrative were holy.  The rest were merely “Good to read.”  Hundreds of “gospels” were written, four were chosen.

The Bible has been used as a weapon for sheep-control since the beginning.  Only rarely has it been used for wisdom.  Since its inception, politically powerful Christians have held it aloft only to bring it down on the head of anyone who challenges them.                                              

Comrades, I heard no Christian speak historical truth about the Bible until I walked into First Congregational.  Moreover, I’ve met precious few individuals brave enough to face centuries of purposeful deception.  Yet we must do exactly that. 

Pastor Dawn’s God, Sex and Scripture is where we begin, I hope.

Christian leaders have long sold homophobic nonsense based on a handful of so-called “clobber passages,” in the Old Testament and words of Paul, (that it turns out he didn’t write) concerning who should have sex with whom.  Their success was predictable because, let’s be honest, Christians shun the Old Testament but for a handful of passages — Isaiah, three Psalms and the abomination line from Leviticus. 

With religious authority fading the Body of Christ is beginning to see the centuries of horror they’ve subjected their neighbors to because of pulpit-induced ignorance and hate.  To put it bluntly, Christians have a long history of adopting lies that get people killed; and generally, we’ve been the one holding the gun.  Because this makes all self-identifying Christians past and present deserving of judgment, decent people are dodging historical truth like big holes in the sidewalk.  And the silly walk helps no one’s credibility.

Abomination lines are cheap crowd pleasers for bad shepherds, (including mom, dad and the grandparents) and have been for far too long.

Meanwhile, understanding what was meant when a passage was written requires years of research.  Wisdom requires deep thinking, not obedience; but obedience is much easier to manipulate.  Attendance, cash and obedience keep religion going, period.  Thus, for 1600 years preachers have generally stuck to they’re evil/we’re God’s favorite nonsense narratives.  Corrupt ambition and theological laziness has led us to the piles of liturgical excrement burying Christianity today.
Far more importantly, such theological malpractice has led to the mental and physical torture unto death of uncounted millions of innocent human beings, those neighbors we were told to love — uncounted because bad preachers told flocks not to care, and lazy sheep did exactly that.  We should all be clothed in sackcloth and ashes.  Instead, the bulk of Christianity is proud of their hate and teaching it to their children.

Christians, especially fundamentalists and evangelicals, have been selling a venomous lie about a couple lines in Leviticus and Exodus to keep butts in seats and votes going in one direction since the 1980s.  The result is this: otherwise decent people think God has a thing against gay people, when the text actually contends that God has a thing against mean people, e.g. Christians.  
Christianity, for most of the last 1600 years, has made its hay by pointing a finger, naming an other then calling in the soldiers, or just a guy with an axe — all of it a horror to the teachings of the Living Jesus, and all of it done by dudes wearing crosses surrounded by flocks of head-nodding, sword-wielding idiots. 

Truths are supposed to hurt like that.

When one flock-functional other fades into normalcy, the preacher simply picks another.  But comrades, how could anyone imagine that creating categories of lesser people is what Jesus had in mind?  I can list 1900 year’s worth, starting with the blatant anti-Semitism of the authors of The Gospel of John. 

We were supposed to be Christ-like: meet hate with love, feed God-consciousness to the mind, body and soul, especially those most abused by Empire and its injustices.  Instead, we formed like-minded clubs, picked up clubs and killed people in the name of Christ — 380 AD to this afternoon. 

Here’s the massive truth everyone is avoiding.   In the 4th Century one enclave of Christianity made a deal with Caesar.  They exchanged the teachings of Jesus for a mythical Greek Christ responsible for everything that mattered; and what suddenly mattered was Caesar’s army and Empire’s ambition.  They won by killing off the competition.

Poor people, Jews and Christians who don’t obey more important Christians have been fodder for both Church and Empire since 380.  The first victim of Caesar’s Christians was Arian Christians, followed by 1600 years of murdering Jews by the millions in the name of Christ.  Christianity’s latest victims worthy of death: gay men and anyone inside the abortion clinic when the shooting starts.
Some things should be more obvious.  Gay people are not sick, wrong or a mistake of God’s creation.   They are God’s creation.  Fomenting hate and codifying injustice is the actual abomination that People of God have been fighting since the dawn of organized religion.

The time has come for adult conversations about Christian malfeasance and Christianity’s history of unethical, bad shepherds and ideas before the Body of Christ dies of the virus that infects it. 

Christianity’s precious gift to the world should be lifting the insidious, generational curse of ignorance.  All that is required is being the first flock in 1800 years to implement the actual Teachings of Jesus.  Let us lead others to The Way 2 billion Christians traded for the comfort of pointing a finger then lighting torches. 

Ignorance is not bliss — it is simply ignorance.  And 2 billion people should be asking their preachers why they’ve insisted on it for so bloody long.          Peace,  Curt Scott

 

June 12, 2019 — Jesus Christ?

While Mainline Protestant denominations attempt to figure out what it means to be welcoming as if that’s what is keeping people from their door, I contend that nearly every denomination one can name is avoiding the fact that a strikingly clear picture of Jesus has been emerging from the desert.  And he looks and sounds nothing like the man we’ve been hearing about from American pulpits since 1620.

The Jesus that emerged from over 200 years of archaeological discovery, as well as historical, biblical and linguistic scholarship is at odds with what a lot of our grandfathers and mothers and priests and preachers taught us.  That is, in my opinion, at the very heart of the loss of credibility and butts in seats for modern Christianity.

Some of the discrepancies are painful.  For instance, the depiction of Jesus that emerged from jars buried in the sand, and history that was always available to religious leaders but was ignored for centuries would clearly take issue with how Jesus is portrayed in the Gospel of John, (starting with the fact that we call it “John”, as if it was actually written by a disciple).  As we will hear all through Holy Week, if we’re listening, John’s gospel is anti-Semitic, anti-Jew through and through.  It was written assuming that Christians had forgotten that Jesus was a Jew and would share the disgust of Jews.

As a point of historical fact, the Church, literally 8 years after becoming the official Church and gaining that capital C began its first slaughter of Jews using the testimony of Helen, mother of Constantine, and the gospel they attributed to the  Gospel of John as the excuse to begin 1600 years of murder of Jews, culminating in Auschwitz, culminating in Charlottesville two years ago. 

That slaughter would be an absurd tragedy to the historical Jesus as well as the Jesus described in any of the three Synoptic Gospels.  But is still a historical fact.

The Jesus that lived was an apocalypticist.  He was a Jew who preached to Jews with rare and pointed exception.  He understood that Roman Occupation meant the utter end of his people; and lo, he was dead right.  Roman Legions burned Jerusalem and its temple to the ground and slaughtered its inhabitants.  That slaughter ended in the infamous mass suicide atop Masada.  Rome, Empire wiped out the Jewish nature of Christianity and left Paul’s Greek side, which the Book of Acts itself admits, was suspect to Jerusalem Church.

The Jesus you meet in my classroom on Tuesday nights is the Jesus who lived 2000 years ago and we explore modern proclamation from the living Jesuses who still speak like him today.  

Jesus was a politician who fought the corporate, greed-driven takeover of his God-centric country by the most insatiable global hegemony on the planet.  That should sound familiar.  He debated publically the educated religious and wealthy elite of his country on philosophy and faith; pointing out what is God-thought and what is temporal blunder, greed, lust or ambition.  When the religious elite chose keeping jobs and enjoying the pay raise over with wisdom of their faith and service to their people, his people, he started his own ministry.

Some of the rest we know, sort of.

But here’s something everyone should know.  When our parents told us that politics and religion weren’t topics for polite conversation they weren’t thinking like the living Jesus. 

Politics and philosophy was literally Jesus’ profession.  That’s what a Rabbi or Pharisee was: a lawyer per se whose expertise is religion and the social order in a theocratic society.  Priests tend fires and funerals.  Pharisees argue philosophy and holy writ. 

In response to military occupation, Jesus, the Pharisee and former refugee of Rome fought, argued, taught and reminded his flock of what it means to be Jewish, soul-wise.  Step one: fight empire for all it’s worth, as always.  But know that Love throws a wrench in the Empire machine like no army can.

The Gospel of John tells us that the Jews were the problem. 

I believe the only future Christianity can have is through reuniting itself with the Jesus who actually lived.  In order to do so we must divorce ourselves of 1600 years of bad religion beginning with turning Jesus from Jew to Greek then murdering millions of Jews and anyone else we didn’t like for the next 1600 years, all of it justified by being Christian.  Then there’s 300 years of slavery and torture by good Presbyterians and Baptists and such. 

Easter is a good time to get right with actual Jesus.  

—April 10, 2019

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Going Boldly

These are exciting times. What Christians believe about God has been an example of flux for 2000 years, but everyone seems to feel the sand shifting beneath their feet. The Bible conveys the spiritual evolution of man from the dawn of the Bronze Age to the height of Roman Empire; the only constant being the eternal orthodox belief that a God who loves us resides somewhere we cannot see. In the wave patter of history, the world’s faithful are, once again, asking hard questions about God. What we are witnessing is the end of the fourth, roughly 500-year, cycle; the end of Luther’s age. The wide but shallow pond we all stand in has been dubbed Post-Modernism. The specifically Christian bubble of this Venn diagram has been called Post-Protestantism for practical reasons. Progressive Emergent Christians are on the move from dividing themselves up by creed and doctrine, to joining streams of people intent on palpably experiencing Grace.

Emergent Christianity began with Emerging Christianity with the rise of Pentecostalism in Southern California; although such experiential, immersive behavior can be traced to Ann Hutchinson of Massachusetts in the 17th Century, back through Frances of Assisi, through the Desert Fathers of the 2nd and 3rd Century. In other words, there’s nothing new here. What is so exciting is that the paradigm within which the future religion will operate is being written as we speak, literally, by us as we begin to immerse ourselves in discussions about who we are and whence our wisdom will come. It is also the type of discussion had every Tuesday evening in the Annex from 6:30 pm to mental exhaustion.

Join us for a preview of Christianity’s future.
All are welcome