Ask a Christian 

hand of god

Well, you’ve done it Internet. You’ve broken me.

Just when I think there are no more ways people can get Christianity wrong, I see stuff that doesn’t even make me upset; it just leaves me scratching my head and wondering how anyone living in the United States or Europe could be so wrong about the underpinnings of the last 2,000 years of our civilizations.

The point you

And then I remember that the United States and Europe are far different than they were even 50 years ago.

So as a part of my mission is to clear up misconceptions and change perceptions, I’ve decided to set up my booth, so to speak, and talk about some of these things people think they know about Christianity, but have way, way wrong.

I’m not trying to convert anybody (but if you want to visit a Greek Orthodox Church to see what it’s all about, that’s great!) but I would just like to change contemporary American’s perceptions about what it is us Christians do and believe.

–From “How We Do: On Missions and their Statements

This is not done in anger, but as a relatively quick way to clarify some Christian beliefs. And I am not trying to convert anybody, just attempting to do a bit of level-setting so we’re not all talking past each other when we discuss Christianity.

Mind you, I’m approaching this from the perspective of my church, the Greek Orthodox Church, so your mileage may vary.

Before we begin, I have to point out that these are actual questions I have gotten and actual things I have seen on-line and elsewhere. I’ll only go over a few in this post, mainly focusing on the Bible itself, because if I don’t control myself I could go on about this stuff for days . . .

“You think God wrote the Bible, so you can’t disagree with it even when it’s wrong because Christians are all superstitious (and dumb).”

No Christian believes that God Himself wrote the Bible. If anyone’s been taught that God literally sat down, uncapped his pen, and scribbled down a few notes, than they seriously need to find a new teacher. Continue reading “Ask a Christian “

Can’t Shake It

I would love to not pay attention. 

And yet, I feel compelled to do more than while away my time as the world goes on around me. 

So I try to put what’s happening together, to paint a coherent picture, and I usually don’t like the results. And so I worry. 

I worry about how we use history as a how-to guide and not a cautionary tale. No matter the lessons the record provides, we seem to return, like a dog to its vomit, to the worst of what humanity has to offer. 

I worry about what kind of world I’ve brought my son into, what kind of inheritance he and his progeny will have–though I will be dead, I still worry about them. 

I worry about eternity

And I worry if there is any hope for us in the here and now. Continue reading “Can’t Shake It”

Being a Church Man

Being a man. Much of it involves standing up for yourself, for your friends and family, and the weak. And a lot of times, “standing up” means fighting back, physically or with words. 

And then there’s being a Christian. Love your enemies and pray for them, even as they revile you. Be meek, because the meek shall inherit the Earth. Turn the other cheek. 

These are in conflict, right?Yet there’s something strange brewing in the realm of Christendom. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

You see, something I’ve noticed, thanks to the Internet, is that there are a lot of young, passionate Christians–far more than I remember growing up. And these Christians fight back.

When the culture punches them, they punch back. Hard.

There is even some armed resistance in regions of the world where Christianity is being stamped out by evil religious fanatics who claim to worship the same God. There’s not enough, but at least it’s there.

I applaud this and am energized by it.

Here in America, things haven’t yet come to blows (though the so-called Antifa thugs are starting to change this).

In a culture hellbent on denigrating your beliefs, sitting idly by gets you nowhere.

And this is important, because culture is far more important than politics in and of themselves.

So three cheers for Christians who actually defend themselves. Using the weapons of Scripture and snark in equal measure, logic and reason coupled with fearlessness and effective rhetoric, we refuse to go quietly into that dark night of decline. In fact, the goal seems to be to increase the numbers of the faithful, and bolster the strength of our various churches.

You see, the prevailing culture has successfully turned Christians into John Lithgow’s character from Footloose (1984). 

I’ve never seen the movie (there’s only so much Kevin Bacon I can take), but I know the stereotype all too well. In Footloose, Lithgow plays the villain, Reverend Shaw Moore, a fiery Christian preacher who hates dancing and bans dancing and music in his community.

Now, it doesn’t matter that Reverend Moore has powerful personal reasons for hating dancing and music, and later has a change of heart when he realizes that dancing and music are not the problems he thinks they are. Christianity in movies gets associated with hating fun. You see this in so many films, TV shows, and books. 

The Jesus freak is always puritanical, bigoted, and violent. And nine times out of ten, a complete and utter hypocrite, who is usually stupid for good measure. 

Why? Because Christ, of course.

I see a lot of this edifice eroding in the face of Christians who prove that you can be a churchgoer and bite back. Have a sense of humor. A sense of mischief, even. 

This is all well and good . . . but is it really Christ-like?

In other words, is fighting back contrary to Christian teachings?

Is being a masculine man incompatible with being a church man? Continue reading “Being a Church Man”

Other People

It’s always about “other people,” isn’t it?

When we judge, we act like we alone are uniquely above any criticism. Everyone else is the problem. We’re the solution. 

We all do it, even those of us who try to be aware of it

Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Words to life by right? 

Yes. But this isn’t a command to never judge–take a look at the next part:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

–Matthew 7:1-2

In other words, be very careful what you say to others. And don’t be a hypocrite. 

Of course, evil should be judged harshly. Or things that can lead to evil. But don’t be so self-righteous to think yourself immune from this, or bristle when you get the same treatment from others. 

To many, evil is subject to interpretation. I tend to stick with immutable principles like those given by God, but your mileage may vary. 

So that’s evil. But what about stuff you disagree with? Or that you just find silly or annoying?

What about other people’s habits and mannerisms that just irk you?

“They do this, they do that, they just piss me off!”

But maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s you.

If what other people do doesn’t affect you, or isn’t evil or doesn’t lead to evil, who cares?

In other words, pick your battles. Make them worthy of your time, energy, and judgment. 

As with most good things, though, this is easier said than done. 

I fall into this all the time. Social media makes it easy. 

Mockery is fun. Ridicule is a coping mechanism. Complaining lets off steam. 

But I wonder: What do people say about me and people like me?

Probably stuff I would object to as untrue

Exactly what other people say. 

Someone has to be right though, don’t they? Something has to be true and the other false. 

Usually. 

I know we’re a divided nation, and that’s fine. There needs to be a contrast between different ideas and their consequences. 

This is why my maxim is to attack ideas and not people. Continue reading “Other People”

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy the day with your family and friends and enjoy God’s blessings. It’s a time of hope and renewal, a bookend to the resurrection. 

And for those who are secular, atheist, or non-Christian, have a wonderful few days off and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. 

All my American friends: This is still a great country. Don’t get bitter. 

To my international friends: All the best from over here in Hamburger Land. Whatever your traditions, enjoy them. 

No politics. No bitterness. No snark. 

Sincerety. 

Joy. 

The flat-out corny earnest niceness of it all

Even if only for one day. 

Merry Christmas.

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here

The Mother of Reinvention

Sometimes I feel like I’m not supposed to be here. 

Not like I wish I’d never been born, though I, like everyone ever in the history of humanity, have struggled with this feeling. More like I was never supposed to be born at all. As in, as me

You see, my mother had a miscarriage between my older brother and me. That miscarriage had the same due date that I did. Given the strange…dislocation and lack of interest I’ve felt my entire life, sometimes I wonder if that person–that “me,” if you will–should have been born and I should have been the miscarriage, or not conceived at all. 

My mother, of course, has a different take. She likes to say that I “just wasn’t ready yet” (mothers are great like that, aren’t they?) This calls into question what we are before we are born, if anything. A life is literally something created out of nothing (okay, I know sperm and eggs aren’t “nothing,” but where did the original come from? Quite honestly, the “primordial goo struck by lightning” explanation isn’t very satisfactory to me.).

If the soul is immortal, is every human soul just somewhere waiting until the time is right? Or are we all pieces of God, who breaths the Holy Spirit onto the zygote at the moment of conception?
These are deep philosophical and theological questions I’m not going to get into now. I am more interested in the first part of this post, the idea of birth and rebirth. Reinvention. 
Continue reading “The Mother of Reinvention”

Recalibration

You know, I had another post ready to go. But after I put the finishing touches on it, I decided not to publish it. 

For starters, it was very solipsistic. Nobody wants to read a diary. People read   blogs for interesting stories that teach something or provide some insight, not for dour lamentations and narcissistic howls into the digital wind. 

Let’s just say I’ve been feeling restive lately. Discontented. Or in the common parlance, down

And so the other day, as I’m wont to do when I get like this, I opened my Bible at random and read the first verse that caught my eye. It was so apropos I had to underline and highlight it. 

It might have just been a coincidence. It probably was. I don’t care. I’m running with it. 

It’s precisely because this world is how it is–oh-so “advanced,” you might say–that I need to trust in Him more than ever, desolate as I am. 

And it’s why I still enjoy the ancient rituals and elaborate services of church. 

My church has changed very little in 2,000 years. Orthodoxy is no feel-good sect that glosses over the so-called naughty bits of Scripture to appeal to a modern audience. Our liturgy was written in the 4th century and is performed in a dialect of Greek no one outside of the clergy speaks anymore. 

It’s the definition of old-school. And this is why I love it. In the face of a world that feels unnatural, all of that tradition feels more real. It’s like an escape to a time and place where things were more rooted. 

Many Christian services are attempts to recreate the kingdom of heaven here on Earth. And sometimes during a service in a Sunday, when I smell the incense and I hear the chanting and see the icons, I swear I can almost feel it. 

Regardless of your religion, chances are it’s centuries old, probably millennia. The fact that it’s still around is testament to the truth and purity of its ideas. 

There’s nothing incongruous about performing ancient rites in an era of high technology, fast travel, and instant communications, of unprecedented comfort, leisure, and ease. 

If anything, it reminds you of what being human is, that we don’t have all the answers, and that there is something to aspire to. It provides some recalibration in a society that’s hellbent on consuming you while. 

If I may get a little solipsistic here after all, please indulge me. I have been feeling so unfocused lately. My personal energy is at an all-time low, and I’m having difficulty figuring out what’s the point of anything it is I do, whether it’s my work or my writing or anything else, even having a family. If my offspring is condemned to have these same issues, then what’s the point of it all?

Focusing on the divine can at least provide some kind of purpose beyond the endless cycle of live-work-die. 

Maybe you don’t need that. That’s cool. As for me, I’ll be taking my regularly scheduled detours into the past so I’m better equipped to handle the future. 

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here

PS I still don’t even really know what the purpose of this blog is, either. Maybe I’ll figure this out one of these days too.