Quitting The Progressive Christian Internet: Weeds Along The Moral High Ground part 2

Towards A Liberationist Theological Account of Difference & Community Online

In the early 1980’s, after a long struggle with the federal government, the city of Louisville, Kentucky agreed to start busing students of primarily black neighborhoods to schools that were primarily white in order to comply with national regulations regarding racial integration. It was in this context that I experienced my early formation as a student.  My favorite subject was Social Studies where the history of the U.S. begins in Europe, with the Spaniards, French, and British racing to find a faster route to India. It was during Social Studies hour in the afternoon, I had the privilege of learning about Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, and George Washington’s military victories against the British redcoats.

In addition to Social Studies lessons, some of the more memorable history lessons during my elementary education came during Library Time. It was there that two or three classes would gather into a large room in the library, and the librarian would show us a video and lead a discussion on that’s day’s topic. I can recall two specific lessons in the particular, that speak to the rather ambivalent nature of my experience. One day we had the opportunity to learn about the origins of Hanukkah (yes, that’s right, at a public school). As a third-grader, this was the very first time I had encountered the topic of Jewish history or the story of the Maccabees. The way the lesson was framed (Hanukkah being compared to Christmas…slightly problematic),

chrismukkah1

 

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I was even a little jealous of my Jewish friends who had EIGHT days of “Christmas” presents. No fair!  The comparison of the Jewish holy days of Hanukkah and the Christian celebration of Christmas is problematic for a few reasons, but the two major ones are as follows: First, comparing holidays of two major religions works in favor of secularization (read: late capitalism) in the appropriation of religious symbols for a more unified national hegemony. And secondly, this comparison fails because it inhibits both nonreligious and religious persons from being able to appreciate the uniqueness and particularity of the Jewish and Christian stories.

The other lesson that has always somehow stuck with me was the video on Christopher Columbus informing us of the background for Christopher Columbus Day. It was inexplicable why we (the students) still had to come to school on a federal holiday, but we did learn that Columbus sailed out to find India with the explicitly Christian blessing of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain. The “discovery” by Christopher Columbus plus the scholarship of Amerigo Vespucci were presented to us (the students) as world changing events; however there were no mentioning of Columbus’ letters to the royal family where he shared his most enduring innovation with the world: White Supremacy.

In my first part for this series, I talked about how much of the theological debates online have occurred between essentially three parties: the view from the Top/Down Privileged, the Middle Way (still Top Down) Privileged, and the Bottom Up Marginalized perspective. Part of that discussion highlighted some of the ways that members of the Dominant culture use language to hide their power. As I continue to experiment with a Liberationist Political theology for online behavior, in this post, I plan to look at the way privileged members of our society create communities, and work to sustain their privilege and retain control of THE Narrative. Whenever privileged persons label detractors as “angry,” “agitators,” “ideological (READ: unable to be civil and objective as white people)”, and “alarmists” who write with extremist radical strokes, they are continuing the White Supremacist, Male Supremacist colonial legacy of Christopher Columbus. “Quitters” of the Progressive Christian Internet bank on unhealthy forms of community (both in real life & online) all the while denouncing #EmpireBusiness while profiting from it.

New Communities And Spiritualities

Part of Zach Hoag’s beef with what he called, “The Progressive Christian Internet” was that “And in the attempt to be ideologically Progressive, it often fails to be substantially Christian. [...] Love for God and neighbor are nowhere to be found, overwhelmed by pharisaical posturing.” Further more, Hoag contends that social media such as Twitter and Facebook as well as the Christian Blogosphere had “fostered a disconnect between the Progressive Christian Internetter and rooted, relational church realities, such that the ideology expressed online has become an end in itself rather than a means tethered to the end of ecclesia.”

For Hoag and the “Quitters” of the Progressive Christian Internet, Social-Justice oriented Christians have been found lacking in the area of virtue. In fact, so much so, that Hoag has described his critics as the the modern-day Pharisees who do not show love for God or neighbor. Like many evangelicals and post-evangelicals, “Quitters” of the Progressive Christian Internet portray the Pharisee Jewish party of Jesus’ first century C.E. context as obstacles to overcome.  Pharisees are the cold-hearted legalistic enemies against Jesus’ “grace-filled”civilized ways. This popular negative depiction of Pharisees has a long history of anti-Judaism, and fails to recognize that Jesus the Messiah and the apostle  Paul were having self-critical intragroup religious conversations. The injunction of “Pharisee” as a derogatory label against one’s “enemies” not only fails to show love for YHWH or our Jewish  neighbors, but it also is symptomatic of “Quitters” of the PCI and their inability to appreciate difference.

Also according to Hoag, the Progressive Christian Internetter violates White PostEvangelical (ever-changing) rules about civility, and being “grace-filled”, and more importantly: RELATIONAL! Angry Twittervists, YALL, they just ain’t RELATIONal enough! Co-Opting on the rise of postmodern neo-liberal discourse, Missional Christians use “RELATIONAL” as a catch-all phrase to shame people who have honest disagreements with their theologies. The use of “RELATIONAL” as a weapon void of any affirmation of difference means that it (relational theology, ecclessiology, etc) is just another tool for White Hegemony.

WHO WANTS TO BE RELATIONAL? ANYONE? ANYONE?

WHO WANTS TO BE RELATIONAL? ANYONE? ANYONE?

One example of “Relational” as Weaponized Discourse is the story I referred to in part one of this series. I had two friends write an email to Missio Alliance, and the response by Missio Alliance leaders included framing the discussion as my friends being the “angry rabble rousers.” The racist and sexist version of AnaBaptist Christianity that the PostChristendom conference was advertising was said to be only an “accidental” outcome. Predictably, Missio Alliance’s response to my friends called for a more “constructive and relational conversation” on these “issues.” While claiming to be advancing peace between brothers (Romans 12:8), there was a different story being told behind the scenes, as I demonstrated in part 1, that of referring to my friends’ actions as vengeful, violent, and lacking humility. I hope you (the audience) had a chance to reflect on what it means to call an e-mail campaign “violence,” because this can only make sense within the logic of Christopher Columbus-bred White Supremacy/Male Supremacy.

One of my friends was asked to provide consultation in regards to making the Missio Alliance more diverse and more reflective of the AnaBaptist movement worldwide. The original letter that was filled with concern for MA’s conference that was held last week, pointed to five suggestions by my friend:

“a) The hegemony of the all-white male organizing committee members take a step back so that minority members could be a part of the planning process, so that a committee more representational of the diversity in Anabaptism would be reflected

b) That the location of the actual conference be somewhere outside of the suburbs and therefore more accessible to persons of color as well as whites. Since from the get-go, the idea was to host the conference in Pennsylvania, there are a myriad of choices in this regard. c) That its presenters specifically tackle issues that disproportionately affect non-whites, such as shooting, mass incarceration, poverty, etc.–all important issues of peacemaking, and since these issues will not be addressed until the dominant culture has skin in the game they must be taken seriously by the dominant white culture. d) That the demographics of those presenting as Keynote Speakers truly represent the vast diversity found in the larger Anabaptist movement in North America e) That these diverse presenters not be tokenized, but genuinely appreciated as expert speakers on the issues presented at the conference”

The original intent of the letter’s authors was to work to ensure that “the Anabaptist movement in North America is not dominated by white male hegemony and homogeneity.” What were the “acts of violence” advocated by the authors? Their desire: “we are encouraging all of those interested to respond to this email (and to disseminate it to friends and allies)” in order to place institutional pressure on Missio Alliance since it was claiming to speak for AnaBaptists in North America. These simple suggestions would be reasonable considering the fact that denominations such as Mennonite Church, USA’s Central District is committed to racial justice and celebrating cultural difference with events such as Black Mennonite Women Rock! and the Urban Anabaptist Ministry Symposium next month.

Progressive Christian Internet “Quitters” And Forced Teaming

When I look back on my socialization during Social Studies hour or Library Time, I think back to all the times I could hear, “Christopher Columbus did it for us. We did it! Yeah US!” (my apologies to the First Nations people and Leif Erickson) I remember all those times I was never allowed to ask, who is “we”, and why should I trust this “us”? I think back to learning about the Declaration Of Independence where the Founders wrote, “WE” hold these truths to be self-evident that ALL MEN are created equal. Who was this “we” and why should I trust “us”? The “WE” was and still is White men who own property, Christopher Columbus writ large. Some of the critical feedback I received from my first post in this series was that it was very America-centric in orientation. Having been told by a famous British theologian that all discussions pertaining to race have America at the center, I am familiar with this line of argument. This assumes that racism is not a problem in Western Europe. On the contrary, White Supremacy & Anti-Blackness is a global phenomenom and will always rely on a narrative of White Saviorship. It seems like Social Studies hour just isn’t for elementary students anymore:

Because my love for Social Studies grew into a love for Political Science, I became familiar with the term “hegemony.” Oppressive Institutions are fueled by oppressive mythologies plus practices. Part of what helped me as a kid to break out of accepting hegemonic forms of storytelling is to read the stories of the marginalized, the histories of First Nations peoples, biographies of renowned Black persons, and women. I had up until recently articulating the hegemonic mindset of the (actual) Progressive Christian Internet until I came across a post by my friend Sarah Moon: No, We’re Not On The Same Side, in which she talked about the notion of forced teaming. Forced Teaming is like political hegemony, but take place on primarily an interpersonal personal level. According to Moon, “Not everyone who uses forced teaming is intentionally trying to manipulate you, but that does not mean it is not a manipulative tactic that we should be careful to avoid using and be aware of when it is used on us.” In many ways, Political Hegemony and Forced Teaming intersect.

I gave the example of The Declaration of Independence earlier “We” hold these truths (whose truth? where was it presented?). The questioning of the “We,” “this universal US” is always the most dangerous questions. If you ask these hard questions, not only will you be labelled “rude,” but unloving, judgmental, angry, hypercritical, oversensitive. Whether it is Michelle Goldberg bemoaning the dark toxic twitter wars because her sense of sisterhood has been disrupted by those uppity Women of Color, or white male Christian bloggers having the sads because not all Christian feminists think alike, the forced teaming rhetoric of “We The Sisterhood of Feminists” or “We The Formerly Conservative Evangelicals Now Progressive Christians” facilitate the Columbusing of online discourse. OH MY GAWDZ, LOOK A BLACK TWITTER!

The injunction of RELATIONAL as an adjective to notions of justice and reconciliation is one of the ways that “Quitters” of the Progressive Christian Internet manipulate audiences and critics in favor of forced teaming online. From a Liberationist perspective, a Bottom-Up approach to online communities would first of all, be forth right about as well as affirming of the variations of human experiences rather than presuming THE ONE GENERAL HUMAN EXPERIENCE. This would also mean a commitment to honesty, a truthfulness that is not sugarcoated in the name of preserving personal brands. Indeed, such a view requires a taking of risks on the part of people of privilege. In order for more just relationships to take place both in the virtual world and real world, privileged persons must be informed of what are the barriers to them being considered trustworthy accomplices in the struggle for justice.

In the words of Austin Channing, “Diversity without justice is assimilation.”

In my third and final offering in this series, I will take a look at the Progressive Christian Internet and its approaches to Leadership.

h00die_R (Rod)

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Quitting the Progressive Christian Internet: Weeds Along The Moral High Ground part 1

Further Explorations Into A Liberationist Theological Approach For Online Engagement

When I made the fateful decision to start blogging I was nervous at first. What were the chances others would be reading my work? Why was I even going to try? It was 9 years ago that I would write Facebook notes and post on Xanga and MySpace as well. Remember those? I don’t want to!

The vast majority of Christian blogs I read were overwhelmingly either Calvinist or biblical studies. The center of these conversations focused on the dominant culture, the prominent megachurches (Yes Mark Driscoll, but also Kenneth Copeland). If the Christian blogosphere was a cliquish high school prom, conservative Republican evangelicals would be considered the life of the party. In 2007, I decided that in addition to working two part-time jobs during seminary, making the Dean’s list as a full-time student, and being active in several campus organizations, blogging would be my outlet. I figured, what was there to lose? I had just began thinking about what I wanted to cover for my ThM thesis — early church history and black liberation theologies — so why not blog about these topics? My aim became to network with other writers and scholars who loved liberation theologies and/or early Christianity prior to the 4th century. Since I intended to appeal to a broader audience, I also decided that I could occasionally discuss nerdy pop culture items as well. My audience, as I had intended, would be both”the Church” and “the World.”

If it were not for this blog, Twitter, or Facebook, I would not have met friends like Drew Hart, Austin Channing, Christena Cleveland, Emily Rice, and who could ever forget my homey Joel Watts, (one of my first commenters on my blog, and we still talk to each other on the phone at least once a week!). It was always sort of my dream to at least  take part in an online conversation that focused on articulating Black Liberation and Womanist Theologies, and as the years have gone by, I am definitely seeing more and more of this take place. Real dialogue can be intentional in origin, but can have unintended consequences. Perhaps there is no better example such as this than when it comes to talking about notions of civility and kindness online as I did last week.

Explaining the liberationist approach to theology and ethics in general is difficult, given the hostile environment that it is placed within (Read: racially segregated, class-stratified, kyriarchal economy, church and academy). The logic of Liberation Theology is one of viewing the world from the bottom up. It is this posture that remains the primary source for the refusal to view things from “the middle way” or “the top-down approach.” In fact, from a Liberationist perspective, given the way ideas and practices happen, “the middle way,” by default is still a Top-Down vision of the world. The differences between the Top-Down/privileged, the Middle Way/Privileged, and the Bottom-Up/marginated views of society are very real. However, there remain many persons who ignore this reality. Liberation theologians seek to emancipate the oppressed and the oppressors who are located in BOTH “the Church” and “the World” for the sake of reconciliation and love. The dominant culture resists and suppresses the voices of the marginalized because it cannot see reconciliation  in anything but its own terms: hegemony, assimilation; some call it “diversity,” others name it “THE CHURCH.”

New Vocabularies And Practices

On New Year’s Eve last year, Zach Hoag wrote about his concern for what he regularly calls now, “The Progressive Christian Internet.” I, too, share concerns with all of the Christian Internets, but since many lump me in as Progressive, I guess the Progressive Internet is my home whether I want it or not. Hoag describes one part of the PCI as:

The Progressive Christian Internet is perpetually collapsing on itself in a series of its own mini-schisms, where the other is not subversive/anarchist/feminist/womanist/affirming/allied/inclusive/academic
/philosophical/whatever enough. And these judgments of inadequacy are typically made solely on the basis of 140 character “conversations” which often begin with the other’s accidental or mistaken use of certain words or phrases, and then spiral into raging fits and subtweet rants and block wars from there.

It’s rather unfortunate that these Social Justice Warriors use of Twitter is just so toxic and damaging to Hoag’s ecclesiology. If only they could be more relational and stop the subtweeting, and making secret facebook groups, then everything would be a bunch of roses! I know I joked earlier that the Christian blogosphere was like a high school prom, and I wish I were just kidding about the PCI but these things happen.  Anyhow, when a person creates a neologism (like a made up word), there has to be some concrete examples to go along with it. I learned that in my education from a really great Black theology professor, and for that I am grateful. So again, a new word/concept that has been defined by a writer must have a visible example, otherwise that writer is throwing flatulence to the wind.

In the days since Quitters of the Progressive Christian Internet have left behind the subtweeting and vaguebooking and all that jazz, Hoag has nevertheless returned to comment on the Progressive Christian Internet:

Subtweets are such a strange creature, but as someone once said, they always hit their intended target. A few of my friends had a few days prior writtten a letter and a few emails to an organization that Hoag works for, asking questions about the lack of racial and gender diversity for their forthcoming event.

SURPRISE IT WAS MISSIO ALLIANCE!

SURPRISE IT WAS MISSIO ALLIANCE!

There you have it. The Progressive Christian Internet are a group of “Survivor-esque” alliances making anti-sexist and anti-racist criticisms of gentrified missional Christian organizations. Not a coincidence to see that the Missio Alliance’s content/blog curator would harbor resentment — and a dismissive attitude — toward an anti-racist, anti-sexist letter writing campaign geared towards the organization. Missio, by partnering with think tanks that teach that People of Color suffer from pathologies and that the colonial church that endorsed the enslavement of Black people was good for the marginalized, has likewise shown its true colors and “commitment” to reconciliation.

I also think that part of the problem with Christian Conferences & that industry is that persons are far more concerned about platforms, and the money they have invested in them, than their investment in the lives of people. This is a problem at the congregational and denominational level. Rather than discussing what we have put in financially or how many minutes this or that speaker deserves for “leading” the movement, our questions should be, what does the Kingdom of God look like? Are we really pushing towards the “One Church, Many Tribes” model described in Revelation? The stances I see in churches and online are exactly the ones that Drew Hart criticized in his post on White Privilege last week as well as my friend Amaryah Shaye in her post “White Privilege as Inheritance.” I find the theme of even “The Once And Future Mission” (references to King Arthur, Merlin, and even C.S. Lewis) as slightly problematic because from the get-go, the idea of a “post-Christendom to begin with, as I continue to argue, is based off a narrative centered on whiteness, to exclusion of Christians who are POC who suffered under the cruelty of what emergents call “Christendom.” It wasn’t “Christ”-endom to begin with, perhaps SatanDom, in the eyes of persons like Frederick Douglass and others.

If I may quote Christian anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells, who today be cast as an angry Social Justice Warrior,

“Why is mob murder committed by a Christian nation? What is the cause of this awful slaughter? The question is answered almost daily, always the same shameless falsehood, that Negroes are lynched to protect womanhood.”

If the very notion that America is a Christian nation is a falsehood, then so must the concept of Post-Christendom when this country is gazed upon from the Bottom-Up. When my friends critiqued Missio Alliance for their all-white-male-lineup, it was one of Missio Alliance’s employees who labelled them with the dubious distinction of “Progressive Christian Internet.” My friends were called angry, impatient, prideful antagonists, violent and retaliatory. The act of writing a letter/email was seen as an act of violence. Think on that for a second. Challenges to the Brogressive status quo, the nonviolent writing of letters, is framed as an act of coercion; not only is this problematic, but it is indicative of the Top-Down approach of the Imperialist world order. It is clear American Christianity has a racism and sexism problem. Neo-Anabaptists, Missio Alliance, emergent churches are no exception to the rule.

In the second part of this essay, I shall take a critical look at the Incarnational ecclesia that Quitters Members of the [actual] “Progressive Christian Internet” have formed.

h00die_R (Rod)

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I guess I’m old fashioned but I would let my son watch My Little Pony #MLPFIM

mlp fim

OH MAH GAWDZ WHAT ABOUT THE MENZZZZZZZ! THIS ONE LITTLE CARTOON IS MAKING ALL THESE 21ST CENTURY MALES INTO WOMINZ. WHAT EVER SHALL WE DO????!!!!!

And now for the rebuttal to idiocy and opinions based off of ignorance.

First of all, I don’t know if there’s a rule book or something out there, but I know that it was up until the mid-20th century before colors like pink were assigned to femininity. Second of all, as a Brony who is also Christian and straight, let me just say that the people who are really old fashioned VALUE THE LIVES OF WOMEN AND THEIR THOUGHTS. The dogmatic view that pink means girly is RELATIVELY NEW.

Walsh:

“I’m not actually sure if this is true — and I suspect it isn’t. If the kid was literally assaulted by groups of boys, I find it hard to believe that none of the offenders have been punished.”

Myself:

No offense to survivors and current members of homeschooling, but Mr. Walsh, stick to speaking at homeschooling conferences. You have no idea what it means to work in a public education setting. You see, kids can getaway with a lot, and they find the most ridiculous ways to hide what they do. And hey, how about we not shame victims of violence? Oh that’s right, you are already doing so. 11 year Old Michael Morones, a boy who loves Jesus and Pinky Pie was bullied into feeling worthless and attempted suicide. Here is a boy who carried his Bible everyday and went to church regularly. And he liked the emotionally excessive party pony Pinky Pie. I used to carry my Bible in my backpack to school when I was his age, and I had very few options, so I watched X-Men the Animated Series and Eek the Cat, and The Tick and oh Power Rangers. Boys and Girls used to love power rangers, then they became stale and uncool. If it was okay for girls to like MMPR back in the 1990’s (something marketed at boys) I don’t see the problem with young and old fans of MLPFIM.

Walsh:

“They say the school is wrong, the boy should keep wearing the backpack, and we should all celebrate the individuality and self-expression of a male who watches a TV show about unicorns.”

and

“It isn’t fair or right that a boy’s enthusiasm for a show called My Little Pony – featuring unicorns named Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie”

Me:

YO DAWG DON’T YOU KNOW THAT UNICORNS ARE IN THE BIBLE! YES THE BIBLE ACCORDING TO THE BONAFIDE LEGIT INTERPRETATION OF THE PEOPLE FROM ANSWERS IN GENESIS, UNICORNS ARE IN THE BIBLE. YOU MATT WALSH SIR, HAVE AN UNCHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW!

Also, the show (which has great animation and storytelling btw), has more than just unicorns. It’s filled with Earth Ponies, Pegasi, Alicorns, Dragons, Dogs, fairies, Griffiths, and Buffaloes, just to name a few other creatures. Any show with Dragons should definitely begin a chance. Except for Game Of Thrones.

Speaking of Game Of Thrones and why I don’t watch it.

MLPFIM is a cartoon that does not show violence. “Boy stuff” G.I. Joes to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can glorify violence at times. Why must masculinity be defined by violence? Enter Walsh once more:

“If Grayson were my son, I certainly wouldn’t tell him that he deserves this treatment — far from it. I’d take him aside, as my dad did with me, and tell him that he must always be prepared to stand up for himself. I’d tell him that nobody ever has the right to abuse him. I’d tell him that he may even need to respond physically, and I’d give him the two caveats that my dad gave me: 1) You may hit back in self-defense. 2) You may hit back in order to defend some other innocent person.

Never instigate. Never provoke. But always stand tall with conviction and courage.”

Well, way to vaguely approve of violence, my friend! See, the positive feminist values taught by My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, are that from a relational perspective. I would prefer to teach my son (if and when I ever get married and we choose to have kids), the way of persuasion and dialogue. See, just because MLPFIM is a cartoon does not mean it can’t teach anything. In fact, one of the things about books, television, and other media is that they have a teaching function, since all media is value-laden. There’s really no such thing as a neutral sphere. I mean when I was a kid, The Flintstones and The Jetsons learned us about family, The Smurfs about communism, G.I. Joes about Patriotism, He-Man: Masters of the Universe about well, just plain awesomeness. I want to teach my son to love his enemies, and forgive those who persecute him, just like Jesus would. This means a complete rejection of worldly (read: violent) definitions of manhood. I also plan on teaching my daughter(s) and/or son(s) to be anti-racist as well; and as I have mentioned before, MLP:FIM has a few episodes dealing with race and empire. If a show like My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic makes it that much easier for me to do so, then a show like that is okay by me!

cutie mark crusade solidarity

h00die_R (Rod)

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Doctor Who’s Alternate New Calvinist Timeline

*The only way I could respond to this TL is with humor.

Doctor Who’s Alternative New Calvinist Timeline

To see the full timeline, download the PowerPoint here: Doctor Who’s Alternate New Calvinist Timeline

kanye-interrupts-god-w-sega-genisis

3616 B.C.: In the Beginning, The Doctor hears God say “Hip Hop Music is good.”

First written in 1175 A.D.

1175 A.D.: Joshua Harris writes “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and is placed under a sleeping spell by The Doctor (who used his Sonic Screwdriver) to wake up in the 20th century. As Harris brings back courtship, he ruins the lives of desperate Christian men everywhere.

1721 A.D.: Revivalist Jonathan Edwards tells the Doctor that he is going to bloody hell but Jesus loves you. But he really, really, really wants to destroy you. And if you’re white, God wants you to own black people as slaves!

1845 A.D.: In Augusta, Georgia, a group of slave owners decide to start their very own denomination called the Southern Baptist Convention.

nazi confederate flag

1866 A.D.: The Doctor witnesses God putting His stamp of approval on The Lost Cause.

2005 A.D.: The Doctor discovers that Paleoconfederate Doug Wilson’s rewriting “Southern Slavery As It Was” as the still White Supremacist propaganda “Black And Tan” is a fixed point in time and cannot be erased by John Piper’s 2013 declarations that Wilson “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”

*Several thanks a few friends who helped inspire me to write this post.

h00die_R (Rod)

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A New Christmas Song (towards being honest)

This song is:

1) An attempt to respectfully add to our repoitoire of Christmas songs, while trying to be as truly historical as the other songs before it.

2) Making an attempt to reflect not only what Christmas is really about in our belief system, but also what we truly want from our All-Father.

Link to youtube video: here

Optimistic Chad

Chad really really hopes things are going to turn out ok. He loves his wife - with the passion of 1000 exploding suns, and is a diligent, but surely mediocre father to his brilliant and subversive children. He likes Chinese food.

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So You Want To Make A Parody Account on Twitter: A Few Suggestions

From time to time, I like to write about blogging ethics, at least postulate about them in the abstract. So, I thought I would share my thoughts from Twitter the other day!

And there’s nothing like:

So, do us all a favor and at least become vaguely familiar with the groups/stereotypes you’re making fun of.

h00die_R (Rod)

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when i’m asking you to start blogging

If you’re NOT blogging, even if you do not have a platform, please START.

We do not have enough voices in cyberspace speaking out on religion (or non-religion), politics, or social justice. We need more treasures to pile up and stack really really high.

(Please keep reading my post here. You will catch the point if you keep reading).

I have joy. Inexplicable joy. Because when I blog nowadays, I do it because I want to. I write on what I want. I don’t believe in deadlines (except if its for a synchroblog). There’s no need to brand myself or go after a Christian publishing deal, because I want to write as me (but good for you if you are published).

I am telling everyone who is an experienced writer or a novice that you need to grow as a writer, and interact with people who may not agree with you.

What I am saying is this, because I am called by the Holy Ghost, I want everyone to be decolonized and literate, and turn off the t.v. for a few hours each day, and write. You need to add to the noise, even on the days when you don’t have the fire in your heart and you’re tired of being tired.

We’re doing Kin-dom work here, and everyone in the church is called to be a theologian. Blogging is not the same as having the gift of tongues or the call to preach. Throughout history, people of all faiths have written in their journals and described their experiences with the Divine.

I believe in you. I believe in all of you. When you tell me you are struggling to say just the right words, I will lend a listening ear. Whether you blog to help the poor, or to take pictures of your loved ones, it does not matter. Write because we as human beings are confessional creatures, and writing is part of the confessing process.

We may disagree on the type of tone you should have in the blogosphere, but I am not going to tone-police the space you have created.

All are called to be cultural creators. All are called. We were made in the Image of God, no less, and we are called to be co-creators with the Triune God.

It does not matter what the numbers are. Write for you. Stay true to you.

Thank you for answering the call, which is extended to all.

Even if you do have a platform that’s all about power, even if you do want to be famous on the interwebz, blog on, and blog on some more.

Carry on my wayward sons, and daughters. Don’t you cry no more.

glory for Glory

h00die_R (Rod)

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John Piper Doesn’t Want Us to Read Doug Wilson’s Black And Tan Anymore

SOOOOOOO STAHP IT YOU GUYS!!!!! JUST STAHP IT!!!!!! DON’T LET THE TRUTH OR FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF CALLING OUT “PALEOCONFEDERATE” BIGOTRY!

I just find it so funny that it was just last year Wilson invited everyone to get a free pdf copy of his book, and decide for themselves, but now, Pastor John Piper is urging (more likely his white evangelical followers) people to STAHP reading Black And Tan, , formerly known as “Slavery As It Was.” The original title proves that John Piper lied on the video linked to protect Doug Wilson.  The book was not about abortion, only mentions abortion once; it’s a defense of the Confederacy, and the enslavement of African bodies, a defense justified by Wilson’s biblical hermeneutic and his version of Calvinist theology (what Piper refers to as “The Gospel“).

 

Okay, John Piper, and Doug Wilson, I thank you for the invitation. I am going to re-read Black And Tan all over again, and live-tweet, and live-tumblr, and blog on every single line that’s racist [hint: the entire book], and I am not gonna be merciful or kind in the hopes of persuading Wilson’s followers; whoever endorses this man, yes this means you, Christianity Today, is too far gone to begin with, too emotionally invested to for “holy confrontation.”

It’ may not be this month, but I am re-reading Black and Tan, and making it an event.

 

#sorrynotsorry.

 

 

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h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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#AddAWordRuinAChristianBook: Storify Version

Last night, Twitter was a-buzz with the meme making fun of Christian book titles. Take a look!

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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When Your Biblioblog Is Not Political Jesus

Lots of folks who have had the privilege, nay, the honor of reading the Political Jesus Biblioblog on a regular basis would surely tell true tall tales that it often feels like the most holy event since the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. PJ’s ridiculously awesome exposition, variety, and utter lack of nuance or subtlety often leads to powerful truth spoken to obnoxious and oblivious power, and a feeling somewhat akin to religious ecstasy. After having read a blog series on PJ, many readers leave wondering if they had not just read something that will surely be accepted into the canon of scripture upon Rodney’s death.

Then they go back to Facebook or their own piddly pet “biblio” blog, where there is a lot that doesn’t measure up to PJ. Thankfully, these blogs are still marginally useful, if boring and banal, just like toilet paper is useful, despite its lowly station. It is even likely the case that these “bloggers” still are Christians, despite the fact that they lack even a modicum of the blogging abilities of the absolute ROCK STARS at Political Jesus.

Unless you happen to faithfully read blogs written by some of the other celebrated (but clearly still not as good as PJ) bloggers, such as Theological Graffiti, Unsettled Christianity, Notes From the Pastor’s Office, Homebrewed Theology, TheoNerd, Exploring Our Matrix, Near Emmaus, or Keep The Faith, you have likely faced this heartbreaking situation. You may have read an exciting biblioblog at some point, but daily you are reminded that the theo-gods that you once read are so far above your second rate blog (which will never have thousands of readers, a twitter feed, a tumblr, or any other social media tied to it) that you are simply shattered.

What if YOUR blog is simply suckier than Political Jesus? Well, it is. Should you stop reading other blogs? No. Here is my advice.

Five Suggestions

First, rejoice that your internet is working in the first place. There are kids in… some place that can’t even check their facebook walls… because they don’t have facebook… because they don’t have internet access… or computers… or food.

Also, rejoice that your blogger of choice has not tried to publicly start a twitter war with Rodney. The fact that your blogger is still blogging and not trying to hang themselves means that they have kept their noses relatively clean, or the bloodhounds of biblioblogtown would have already attacked, and frankly, this is more than most can handle.

Second, realize that some people are meant to blog to a worldwide audience. Your blogger is probably actually you (admit it, the only people reading your blog are the 2-3 women in your life, your best friend who really doesn’t even read it, and your frenemy who you love to argue with). And you simply don’t cut the mustard. Your whole “find myself through blogging while I am in seminary” thing is just pathetic. I’m not saying give up… or am I?

Your sucky blogging might be tragic, but keep it up. It makes the rest of us look like the all stars we are.

Third, if your blog is honestly lame, but it at least brings up interesting topics, even as it doesn’t have any meaningful commentary, a little statement I once heard might be helpful for you to remember: “The truly spiritual person is usually very dull (at least in many Western Post-Christendom areas), and thus doesn’t need intellectual stimulation, just lies that back up their already deeply misguided, but equally deeply held religious views.” Just repeat something that you heard one time that sounded interesting, even if you can’t back it up with facts. When someone corrects you, you can cry persecution and your religious wacko followers will come to your defense, painting the intelligent one as the non-believer.

Fourth, don’t actually read blogs. Just respond in the comments section about what you THINK the blogger was saying in the title, or based on how you misinterpreted an earlier blog of theirs. Again, truth or honesty isn’t as important as consistency. In my experiences of both writing and reading blogs, I can confirm that intent readers with fine tooth combs make factual and relevant biblioblogging less interesting, while angry, one-dimensional, fundamentalists inspire much more lively discussion.

Fifth, take the time to write to your blogger. Don’t use email or the comments section, as this would imply that you took the time to read the article and respond with equally thoughtful commentary. No, use a postcard and hand deliver it to them. That way, they will read it, unlike the comments on your blog, which get deleted once ANYONE begins to level serious critique. Every blogger who is not extraordinarily and divinely blessed to the vocation of being a better blogger than you has read a better blog and moaned, “after reading that, why do I even try?!” That, frankly is a good question. Upon reflection, I really don’t have an encouraging answer to that…

We should praise the Lord for giving us outstanding, well-known bloggers, but let us not forget Paul’s command to Timothy, “don’t be a pretentious douche, Tim. Leave that for the Gospel Coalition. They will do it far better than you can.”  – (face) Palms 34

 

The above is a parody of the utter nonsense that is this post. 

Optimistic Chad

Chad really really hopes things are going to turn out ok. He loves his wife - with the passion of 1000 exploding suns, and is a diligent, but surely mediocre father to his brilliant and subversive children. He likes Chinese food.

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