Monday, November 29, 2010

Is Global Heath Care the Real Solution?

Many people are looked down upon when they are opposed to government aid. A girl in one of my classes said that “people who are against health care are stupid and ignorant.” I disagree. This girl in my class could be seen as ignorant because it was clear, as she continued talking, that she had no idea what many people who opposed health care actually think or believe.

There are several reasons for being opposed to global health care (I am not necessarily opposed but I do see it going terribly wrong as it has in other countries). The main reason is that the church should be addressing grace issues. It is not the government’s job to involve itself in people’s everyday life. It is our job as individuals and Christians to be helping the people that don’t have health care.

There is a church in Spearfish, South Dakota, which had several doctors and nurses in their congregation. This church chose one night a week and opened the basement up for free heath care from these professionals for the entire community (not just the church). This is what we should be seeing everywhere. If a church has doctors, financial advisers, artists, tradesmen, mathematicians the church should be using these skills to be help people who can not help themselves.

Making health care a government issue could make situations like this illegal or greatly reduce them. The government could also start regulating more of our medical procedures. I have a friend who was a missionary in Mexico for a couple years. When she had her second child in Mexico the hospital forced her to take drugs that she had previously had the option to in the United States. This is just one example of how government control in our health care is dangerous.

I agree that it is not alright for people to be dying because they cant afford to go to the doctor and that something needs to be done. I do not believe that the government providing global health care is the best option. It may seem to be the most realistic at the moment, but if every one who supports global health care stepped up and helped someone, the need for the government may dissipate and be taken care of.

This is a challenge to the churches in America to start using their resources for people who need it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Body Piercing

I went back into some of my writings from high school and found this quote on a scratch piece of paper from my creative writing class. It depicts the most amazing act of grace that anyone can imagine. Jesus' death was the ultimate example of grace.  Even though we were still sinners Jesus died for us.  We didn't need to change for Jesus (and God) to love us.  If we can understand this, we can better understand grace and how to share grace with others.

Another part of understanding grace is that we it can be easy for people to take grace too far. Grace is not salvation. Grace is also not Christianity, but rather an aspect of Christianity. We still need to remember the truth that Jesus is the "truth the way and the life." Grace does not mean that we are on the way to the father. It does explain how a perfect man would be willing to look past all of the garbage in our lives to see the beauty in all people.

See my website featuring this poster and more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grace is A Bit Queer

The idea for this poster came from my life drawing class.  During a critique the class discussed how the model looks like Jesus.  It was interesting because the model was a friend who happened to be gay.

The text in this poster is jumbled and confusing to represent the contrast between grace and our culture.  Our culture tells us that we should get what we deserve.  If we do good in school we should get good grades, good grades will get us a good job and a good job will get us lots of money.  We earn what we get and nothing is free.

Grace, however, offers a different message.  It is free and we can not earn it.  It is different from most every aspect of our culture.

Grace is queer.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One Reason Grace is Amazing

Grace is not restricted to one culture or language...

Amazing Grace in Cheroke

Flatfoot 56 - Celtic Punk Band - he talks for a bit (about Grace). The song starts at 1:30.
More importantly I was in that mosh pit in 05 (same place).

This video better illustrates my point (that grace transcends to non Christian audiences) but the sound is not as good.  Flatfoot plays at a lot of pubs...

Lin Yu Chun Sings Amazing Grace - WOW this kid is good

Soweto Gospel Chior

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Believe that Grace can Save Lives

How can this one Biblical principal of grace save lives?

A person often chooses suicide because they believe that there is no other choice, there is no hope, they are worthless, no one would miss them, they have nothing to live for or a combination of these beliefs.

Suicide is often a brash decision.  In most cases all it takes to prevent a suicide is one conversation and a tiny ounce of hope.  This is one reason why suicide hot lines are so beneficial.

One example of grace is taking the weird kid in your class out for coffee or sitting by him at lunch.  This would show them that someone cares.

If you decided to talk to this "weird" kid during lunch and get to know him, you could show him that that you do care.  By asking questions about him you can show that you think he is valuable (not worthless).

At the end of this conversation asking your new friend if you can sit by him tomorrow at lunch will give him something to hope for the next day.  They now have a reason to live one more day. 

By showing someone the alternatives side to suicide (and suicidal ideation) you can help save their life.

Let's learn more about GRACE and how to use it everyday to save lives or at the very least, make new friends...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Grace = seeing my own flaws

Sample Poster from my site.
I have recently been working on a project for a class (the next few posts will address my project). The project is in response to looking at the problems within and among GLBTQ communities’ and the Christians communities. I think that many of the problems that strain these relationships result from a lack of two features: grace and dialog. I am choosing to focus on the issue of grace for this project. The project is composed of a website that displays some posters that I have created about the topic of grace.
Grace is such an important topic in our society and Christian community. We should all be working to better understand what Jesus did for us as well as striving to show the grace of God to others.

I was having a conversation with a friend/mentor (Anthony Johnson or AJ) about grace. He explained that when he is having a hard time showing someone grace, he asks God to show him his own flaws. After seeing his imperfections he will often remember a verse such as “we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God.”

(Romans 3:23 or Isaiah 53:6)

If you don’t read anything else from this page, I would like you to take the idea that a gracious attitude toward someone can be as simple as looking at your own flaws first.
hey God, please show me my flaws and 
help me to see that we all fall short of your glory and therefore 
we ALL need your grace.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Athestic Satanism and Satan

My previous question prompt:
Even though Satanism claims to not believe in the spirit world or Satan, from a Christian perspective I would argue that they are playing into Satan’s plan for the United States...

Our beliefs do not affect TRUTH.  There are various types of truth (scientific, personal etc.) but I also believe in an ultimate TRUTH (like Platonic TRUTH).  This ultimate truth is not affected by my beliefs or the beliefs of anyone else.  I believe that the fact that Satanists do not believe in Satan, does not mean that he doesn’t exist.  Not believing in him or his demons causes people to not be on guard (Ephesians 6)…
Satanism Documentary
Post Options

One of the ways that I believe Satan works in the United States includes the attempt to convince Americans that there is no such thing as morality and no such thing as a God. We are not as spiritual as other countries (Africa for example). Instead of using demons and possession to attack America, Satan is using an approach that we do not notice as easily. This approach still takes people away from God and I believe that Satan is more interested in keeping people from God than he is interested in being worshiped (although this happens too, and I would guess that he likes that as well). As a society we are beginning to support the John Hick idea of “many paths lead to God,” thus being drawn from the one Judeo Christian God.

I think that Satanism (one specific type of Satanism) in the United States plays into this belief. They do not believe in God, nor do they believe sin. Satan represents the philosophical ideas that they believe.  

Philosophical, Hedonistic, Atheistic, or Neo Satanism Defined  (for these posts I am simplifying the idea of Satanism; this girl complicates it.  She does define the terms well)

4:10 – Defines Philosophy
4:40 – Defines Atheistic and Modern Satism
(5:10 – 8:00 This is the type of Satanism I am talking about and seems to be the most common in the US.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is Satanism

Satanism Defined

Anton Lavey’s Satanic Bible is the origin of LaVey Philosophy. This philosophy is based on the idea that you are your own God. This philosophy adheres to the belief that there is no spiritual world, no heaven or hell, no Satan, no God and therefore no reason to avoid sin (because it doesn’t exist). This group of individuals could also be considered atheists because of their beliefs.

However, there are reasons that they do not consider themselves atheists or humanists. Their name originates from the ancient word Satan which means opposer. Satan can be seen as the ultimate analogy of rebellion. Watch this video for a one minute explanation of why Satanists call themselves Satanists if they don't believe in him.

Some of the ideas that Satan represent include: kindness and love to those who deserve it; vengeance for those who deserve it; indulgence and the animal in man.
This video discusses the 9 Satanic Commandments and the representations of Satan.

Even though Satanism claims to not believe in the spirit world or Satan, from a Christian perspective I would argue that they are playing into Satan’s plan for the United States.

What do you think?
I will respond soon.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'll Fly Away (Flatfoot56) & Bad Brains

Watch video on YouTube.

Ok so for those of you who don't know much about my music tastes, I think that this song fits me just about perfectly.  I love Celtic punk and old spirituals.

I guess this works because I go back and fourth between a punkish style and more traditional natural (hair) black style.  I am black and white. 

I guess, I should post a black metal band too...

The Video on YouTube

Ok, So which was your favorite?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Violence Against the GLBTQ Community

The Crazy People In Kansas - They are NOT an accurate representation of Jesus.

The Child Should Come First!

This article discusses a 4-year-old girl being turned down from a private school (I think it is Catholic). The school’s reason for turning the child down is that the child will be learning values that are significantly different from those that her lesbian parents will be teaching and these contradictions will be confusing for the child.

I understand that this issue can be seem from purely a social justice perspective; however, what is best for the child needs to come first. 

The statement regarding possible confusion is true.  The conflict could be damaging. The parents would be faced with an extremely difficult task. They would have to help the child understand the contradictions taught to her by her peers, teachers and parents. If the child were older, I think that it would be easier to explain and dialog with the child about these contradictions in a way that wouldn't cause the child to become angry and bitter towards her peers and teachers. The parents would need to find a way to help the child balance the ideas of the family disagrees, the school and the child’s peers. At the same time helping the child gain a respect for her teachers and make friends with the other students. I am not sure that a 4-year-old is old enough to be in this situation.

I also understand the frustrations of the parents and assume that they are aware of the fact that they can not change the schools teachings. I can’t see the parents being happy with the teaching that the child will be learning. This could also lead to future problems between the parents and the school. It would then be the parents’ responsibility not to let these potentially negative interactions affect the child. 

I don’t think that the examples, in the article, for possible rejection are the same as this situation. I am not sure why agnostic or Muslim parents would want their children at a private Catholic school. I also think that the mentioned specific moral beliefs are smaller issues. The parents of a 4-year-old would probably not teach her about abortion, but a 4-year-old will realize that she has two same sex parents and that will surround her every day at school. People will ask her why she has two mommies and she will not understand (the same way I didn’t understand when kids asked why I had two white parents).  I would not have wanted to be in a school that taught interracial marriage was wrong nor would I want my parents to put me in this situation.  It would have confused me more than the contrasts I was surrounded by already did.  (Listen to my "I Believe in Stories" essay to hear about some of the very basics.)

From the given information, I do have to side with the school because the confusion could be damaging to the child; however, if the other school options in the are dangerous or are likely to cause more significant problems for the child, I would change my opinion. I could also be pursuaded if the other schools are significantly worse. But I do believe that the politics and the parents should not be the focus; the child needs to come first. As the child gets into high school a catholic school could be a much better fit. High school is a good time for kids to learn about social justice, finding who they are and to begin fighting for their beliefs.

I would love some responses as to why a 4-year-old would be better off in the situation (not why it is unfair toward the LGBT community, which I agree is is. The same a school rejecting me based on the grounds that I was the product of an interracial marriage).  There are a couple possible ideas that I can think of that definitely apply to older kids, but I want to hear them from you.

Religion Blog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Black Liberation Theology and the Gay Community

This NPR interview helps the listener to understand more about Black Liberation Theology by interviewing James Cone, the main theologian. Cone was writing largely in the 60s. He striked a respectable balance between all that was going on. There is a little Malcolm, MLK Jr. and a little panther (but not too much).

The interview begins by defining Black Liberation Theology. This theology sees God as concerned with the poor and the weak in society. The thology comes from the black community so it is called Black Theology, however, it is not just for blacks. It represents concern for every one who is poor, weak and oppressed. It sees justice for the poor and weak and believes that we were not meant to be slaves or to be exploited. Cone believes that God takes the side with the poor and the weak

The interview discusses the origins of the theology. This denomination of Christianity was inspired by MLK Jr. and Malcolm X. Malcolm contributed the black identity aspect of the religion and King represented the Christian aspect. Cone simplifies this by explaining that king taught us to love our enemies, but Malcolm taught us to love ourselves first.

Leaving the argument of whether being gay is a sin or not behind, it seems that Black Liberation Theology would relate to the gay community the same way it does to the back or any other oppressed people group. There are many similarities between the black struggle and the gay struggle and I realize that , the GBLTQ community hasn’t experienced the same struggles that the black community has, I still believe that God is their God and he wants them to be a part of the same body of Christ (Rom 12).

Versus or stories that Cone references
Exodus out of Egypt – deliverance from bondage is a central theme
The prophets (Jeremiah, Amos, Isaiah, Hosea Malachi) – all spoke for the poor/weak
ex. Let Justice roll down like water and righteous like an ever-flowing stream (Amos)

Verses Against Segregation
In Christ there is not male or female, no slave or free we are all one in Christ Jesus (Paul in 1 Corinthians). 
Out of one blood God has created all people (Acts 17)

Cone Quotes
“The Gospel is not about what happens when you die.” James Cone
“We are God’s children and not someone else’s maid…or janitor.”

My Suggested Readings
Strength to Love – MLK Jr Sermons, I am currently reading this - Maybe I will post on some of the sermons some day.  If you have never read theology or black theology this is a good start for both.  Simple, true, intelligent and bold.
Black Theology and Black Power – Cone, I read this one about 4 years ago. This book influenced many of my social justice beliefs.  That is a whole different topic.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A different Approach

**This reading is the story of a pastor, Jim Pace, at Virginia Tech. Pace decided that it was time to start taking a different approach when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. Pace was sick of the misconceptions, judgments, and ignorance that others often direct at Christians. Pace worked with a group of the leaders to come up with an idea that could help bridge the gap between the GBLTQ community and the Christian church.

The story shows the pastor beginning to understand more of the problems that the GBLTQ community faces. He learns from individuals as well as God. He gains wisdom on the topic and how to address the topic without giving up on his own beliefs.

The story begins with a lot of hate toward the Christian community and misunderstanding from both sides; the story ends with a pledge where both sides agree to stand up for one another when people are being ignorant. This makes it seem like there is hope for Christians and the gay community to get along and defend each other, even if they don’t agree.

One frustration the Christian community faces is the choice of “either denying civil rights or condoning clear sin.” This is a frustrating position to face. It is even worse when the groups are accusing you of being bigoted, ignorant, unintelligent, irrational and hateful. In my opinion, this story is a good example of how the two groups can get past their own prejudices and see people for who they really are.

I didn’t expect the stories on the Exodus website to be as positive as they are.  Most of what I have heard is from the GBLTQ community and extremely negative.  I have not looked at the whole site but many of the stories that I have read are from loving people who are just trying to do what they believe is right.  This specific story was honest and uplifting. Both groups involved ended up better than they were before. They are now better and more informed individuals and they have gained support from unexpected individuals.

**If the direct link doesn't work go to and find "Read some real-life stories"
under "Youth."  Select "Pastors and Counselors," then select "A Differnet Approach."

Pace, Jim. “A Different Approach.” 2005. Exodus International. Nov. 1, 2010. []