Is Philip Sasser’s Our Man in the Pews. I wish he updated it more, but honestly it’s well worth the wait.
Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
Posted in Religion, tagged Augustine, Christianity, Confessions, Divinity, Existence, God, I Am, Infinity, Literature, Mysticism, Personal Revelation, Religion, Revelation, Saint Augustine, Spirituality, Truth on April 23, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
And I said, “Is truth, therefore nothing, because it is not diffused through space–neither finite nor infinite?”
And you cried to me from afar, “I am that I am.”
-Augustine, Confessions 7.10.16
Posted in Literature, Religion, tagged Art, Aslan, C. S. Lewis, Christianity, Chronicles of Narnia, Heaven, Jesus, Literature, Lucy Pevensie, Magic, Narnia, Religion, Spirituality, Voyage of the Dawn Treader on April 16, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
“I’m sorry. But please-”
“Speak on, dear heart.”
“Shall I ever be able to read that story again; the one I couldn’t remember? Will you tell it to me, Aslan? Oh do,do,do.”
“Indeed, yes, I will tell it to you for years and years.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Posted in Literature, Religion, tagged Art, Christianity, Crescent, Cross, Duty, Hope, Humanity, Interview, Jean Stein, Literature, Math, MAthematics, Morality, Paris Review, Religion, Sacrifice, Southern Lit, Southern Literature, Suffering, William Faulkner, Writing on August 6, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word. It is every individual’s individual code of behavior by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol — cross or crescent or whatever — that symbol is man’s reminder of his duty inside the human race. Its various allegories are the charts against which he measures himself and learns to know what he is. It cannot teach a man to be good as the textbook teaches him mathematics. It shows him how to discover himself, evolve for himself a moral codes and standard within his capacities and aspirations, by giving him a matchless example of suffering and sacrifice and the promise of hope.
Posted in Parenting, Religion, tagged Alaska, Christianity, Creation, Family, Hiking, Insects, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Marriage, Mosquitos, Mysticism, Nature, Parenting, Pests, Prayer, Religion, Revelation, Wisconsin on August 3, 2012 | 3 Comments »
One time I went on a short hike in the Wisconsin woods with my beautiful and sexy wife and our kiddos. We were mobbed by mosquitos–-more than I have ever seen at once in my entire life, and I spent a chunk of my childhood in Alaska, where the mosquito is the state bird. We showered ourselves in industrial-strength, hazardous-chemical, deep-woods mosquito repellant until our skin was on fire, but it did nothing. My exasperated five-year old son finall asked in anguish why Jesus made mosquitos, to which my wife replied “I don’t know, why don’t you pray and ask him.”
A moment of silent hiking later, my son pipes up, “Mommy, Jesus says he didn’t do it.”
Posted in Religion, tagged Anxiety, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cowardice, Depression, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Integrity, Internet, Isolation, LDS, Marriage, Missionary Work, Missions, Mormon, Mormonism, Obedience, Priesthood, Regret, Religion, Sacrifice, Scripture, Spirituality, Study, Telephone, Television, Temple, Temple Marriage, TV, Virtue on July 18, 2012 | 1 Comment »
I served a full-time, two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1998-2000. For two years, I spent every waking moment (when I wasn’t in the bathroom) with a missionary companion. I got up in the morning every day for personal and companion study. I spent all day proselytizing, with short breaks for meals. I didn’t watch TV. I didn’t use the internet. I was only supposed to read Church-approved books and publications. I talked to my family back home on the phone only on Christmas and Mother’s Day. I had (part of) one day a week off from study and proselytizing to spend cleaning my apartment, doing my laundry, going grocery shopping, writing letters to my friends and family, and then, if I had any time left over, for recreation or relaxation. I wore a suit and tie (or at least a shirt and tie) and a name-tag every day. For two years, I was not Kullervo; I was Elder Kullervo.
And even though I am no longer a Mormon, I don’t regret it at all.
I was reasonably faithful, I worked reasonably hard, and I did my best to follow the rules most of the time. I matured a lot, I learned a lot, I made a lot of great friends, I learned a foreign languauge, I had a lot of life-changing experiences, and I’m a better person for having gone.
There were a lot of downsides to it, of course–I struggled with feelings of depression and unworthiness the same as many (most? all?) missionaries, but it wasn’t like a constant, horrible black cloud. I manifested the first signs of some problematic anxiety issues that would plague me for years to come, but honestly they run in the family, and so I figure I was prone to them anyway. There were good days and bad days, same as any other time; maybe a little more intense on both sides of the spectrum but it’s an intense couple of years, so it’s sort of to be expected.
One of the reasons I don’t regret my mission (or anything else I did as a Mormon), is that now, in retrospect, I don’t question my motives for leaving the Church. I don’t second-guess myself and wonder if I “decided” the Church wasn’t true in order to give myself a break for being unfaithful. I did everything right. I wasn’t a superhuman (supermormon?) but I did all of the things a Mormon is supposed to do, up to and including an honorable mission and a temple marriage, with reasonable effort and a basically good attitude. So I am confident that I am not now making excuses to cover my guilt, and nobody can tell me that I am. I can look at myself in the mirror and say that I’m an ex-Mormon now because I don’t believe that the Church is true, and I don’t think it’s a good church if it isn’t true, not because I am too cowardly to live up to the expectations of Mormonism.
Are there other, better things I could have done with those two years? Other ways I could have spent my time? Sure. And maybe some of them would have been fantastic. And maybe I wouldn’t have had to make some of the sacrifices I did. But you know what? I was born into the Church. I was raised Mormon. I was always going to go on a mission and get married in the temple, and it’s pointless to imagine fantasy scenarios where I didn’t.
I did what I did because I thought it was the right thing to do, even though, in retrospect, I was wrong. I’ve grown and changed since then, but I am proud of myself for acting with integrity. I strongly suspect that we’ve all done a lot of things like that, both related and unrelated to religion. It’s part of growing up: you do the best you can with the tools you’ve got, and maybe with more experience or maturity you would have done something different but hey, you didn’t have more experience or maturity back then. So no sense regretting it now.
I regret the times in my life when I have acted out of selfishness or cowardice, not the times when I did what I believed in. When I served my mission, I was doing what I believed in, and so I have no regrets.
Posted in Religion, tagged Analogy, Anointing, Appalachia, Appalachians, Bigotry, Blogging, Charismatic Christianity, Christianity, Chuch, Conversion, Death, Denominations, Fanaticism, FLDS, Fundamentalist Mormonism, George W. Hensley, God, Gospel of Mark, Ignorance, LDS, Mainstream, Mark, Mormonism, Mormons, Mountains, Mysticism, Outsiders, Pentecostalism, Personal Revelation, Poison, Polygamy, Prayer, Prejudice, Religion, Revelation, Serpents, Shane, Signs, Signs Following, Snake-handlers, Snakes, Strychnine, Tim on June 20, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Uh . . . no. No Pentecostal did that until George W. Hensley started the practice in 1912, 12 years after Pentecostalism began. He was still a rather new convert and was praying in a mountain reading a passage in Mark when he received some weird revelation. Pentecostal denominations quickly labeled serpent handling as fanaticism and it has only ever been a feature of some churches in Appalachia. It is not a characteristic of Pentecostalism, neither now or in the past.
Why do you ask?
All I know about it is what I’ve read (having never encountered a serpent handler before). They believe, according to their interpretation of Mark 16:17-18 that serpent handling and drinking poison (some serpent handlers may also consume strychnine) are commanded in Scripture.
These activities will only take place when participants perceive the direct intervention of God. In other words, they wont do it unless “the anointing” is present. Deaths are explained by these people in the following ways: 1) the anointing was not present, 2) such deaths prove to outsiders that the snakes are poisonous and have not been defanged, 3) God wills their death.
I do hope you realize that the vast majority of Pentecostals are not serpent handlers. I would point out that people who assume that will be looked on as terribly ignorant and offensive by Pentecostals.
Now, I realize that the historical and organizational relationship between Appalachian snake-handlers and mainstream American Pentecostals is not even remotely similar to the relationship between fundamentalist polygamist Mormons and the mainstream Mormon Church, but Shane’s response may as well have been cut-and-pasted and searched-and-replaced from a mainstream Mormon’s reaction to being confronted about polygamy.
The only difference is that, as a bonus, Shane’s response also just drips with prejudice and snobbery towards Appalachian people.
Posted in Religion, Spirituality, tagged Agriculture, Bible, Christ, Christianity, Crucifixion, Eagles, Farming, Flood, Food, God, Good News, Gospel, Heaven, Homosexuality, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jesus Christ, King James Version, Kingdom, Kingdom Of God, Latin, Lesbianism, Life, Lightning, Lot, Luke, Marriage, Ministry, Noah, Noah's Ark, Pharisees, Rapture, Sermon, Sodom, Son of Man, Suffering, Theology on June 15, 2012 | 16 Comments »
Let’s talk about the Bible, fratres et sorores.
Luke 17:20-21 says,
20. And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21. Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
This passage comes from the end of a big section of the Gospel of Luke that contains things Jesus taught on the way to Jerusalem, in the transition between his earlier Galilean ministry and the final road to his Crucifixion.
For the sake of context, verses 20-21 are the lead-in to a longer sermon about the coming kingdom:
22. And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
23. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
24. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
25. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
26. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
31. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
32. Remember Lot’s wife.
33. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
34. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
36. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
37. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
What I really want to focus on, though, is that bombshell in verse 21: “for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”.
So think about it, chew on it, put it in your gospel pipe and smoke it for awhile, and then come back and leave a comment about it. Feel free to let your theology hang out boldly, whatever kind of a dox it is. I’ve got a follow-up I’ll post once we get some ideas in the air.