Shame on you, Pat Buchanan

Here’s something I rarely tell people: I have two theological degrees.
Not just any theology: Judeo-Christian theology.
More specifically, Judeo-Christian, Evangelical Theology.
I am, technically, Mastered in that there Theology.

My education was a bit left of center, but still Jesus-centered. But not bible school! I didn’t go to Bible School and I’m a bit of a snob about that, i know. But, there’s Bible school — where the recipient learns one brand of Christianity and is fed answers to questions that most people arn’t even asking. Hmm, that may have been too harsh – but, I hate being grouped into that category. That type of education makes me really uncomfortable – it feels like it’s a process of creating clones, rather than thinkers. I didn’t have that education. I had a Christian theological education, which, in my opinion, was a scholarly, holistic exploration of the many facets, traditions, perspectives, and opinions that permeate the Christian and Jewish faith. A theological education, when done properly, in my lowly opinion, teaches people how to ask real questions and hopefully, instills a humility that allows the individual to admit, there may not be a knowable answer. That whole process of deconstructing ones tightly held belief system can be disillusioning to many a student, as it was for me, but it can also be freeing, as it became for me. God ceases to be a controlled substance that does exactly as your God-box allows, but instead becomes an infinite, untamed, engaging, mysterious entity that is present throughout the world, and in love with his WHOLE creation.

Why am I talking about this now? Well, I feel the need to introduce the notion that not all Christians think alike and that in reality, there are many streams that flow from the starting point of JESUS.

I’m thinking of this because of something Pat Buchanan said and because last week I read a few articles about a pastor in Seattle who tells his congregation and the world that the Jesus present in our society today is a feminized version and that the real Jesus was very male and masculine, and that women should still not have leadership roles in the church and that Reformed Theology is the real truth (some for hell, some for heaven). The article talked about this pastor’s church community, how they were all tatted up and the service was more like a U2 concert than anything else, and that thousands show up every Sunday to hear this guy, even though the theology is fairly conservative and there’s lots of talk about hell.  This is nothing new — this is why I stopped going to mainstream churches — you can dress it up as “hip” as you want — but it’s the same OLD, not-so-good news — God hates who he hates, many are going to hell and men are better.  Boring.

It just, it just doesn’t feel right to me. It’s so not how I’ve experienced the world, or God, or community, or women, or even good men. I hope the Kingdom of God is much more flexible, lovely, animated, diverse, eclectic, and womanly than some have conceived.  And I know a lot of good men that feel the same way.  It would seem, in the teachings I’ve read from Jesus and others in the OT, that God was a bit more concerned with how we treat each other, with the needs of the marginalized, with challenging greed, and with stirring up a revolution centered in self-sacrifice and humility — than he was about well, sex, sex, and sex.

But, back to the point, oh to be humble and self-sacrificial. If we took all that fervent Christian energy and funneled it into self-reflection, what would be become of the world? If we questioned every step with the wondering, “was I humble? Did I put the other before myself?” Would we need to be right? Would we need women to be weak? Would we fear change? Would we feel threatened by another’s opinions, beliefs, traditions, upbringing? OR, would we just SHUT UP and try and love our families, and our neighbors, and our friends, and our enemies?

I am no saint, ask anyone that really knows me. I am quick to stick my foot in my mouth, hot-headed, opinionated, impatient, and complain too much. I am not the loving, forgiving, non-judgmental, non-condemning Christian I would like to be. Not at all. And this post is merely a bunch of words and feelings and experiences streamed together into an opinion, an opinion that I carry deep in my heart- the opinion that, I wish a lot of Christian’s would shut up (myself included).

So, we arrive at Pat Buchanan.  I will address him personally now.  Pat, why, OH why, did you choose to say ANYTHING in regards to the mass slaying of 68 young, vibrant, hopeful teenagers in Norway this week besides, “I’m SO sorry this happened”?  Why? WHY would you think it OK to use this terrible tragedy to discuss the validity of an INSANE man’s ideology regarding Islam and multiculturalism? Why? SHAME ON YOU. Shame on you. I am horrified by your actions.

But, awful as this atrocity was, native-born and homegrown terrorism is not the macro-threat to the continent. That threat comes from a burgeoning Muslim presence in a Europe that has never known mass immigration, its failure to assimilate, its growing alienation, and its sometime sympathy for Islamic militants and terrorists. Europe faces today an authentic and historic crisis. With her native-born populations aging, shrinking and dying, Europe’s nations have not discovered how to maintain their prosperity without immigrants. Yet the immigrants who have come – from the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia – have been slow to learn the language and have failed to attain the educational and occupational levels of Europeans. And the welfare states of Europe are breaking under the burden.[…] As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right. – Buchanan

As Simon Maley said on Media Matters in regards to Pat’s blunder, “A good rule of thumb for political commentary – or life in general- is that terrorists are never right.  People who go on mass shooting sprees are never right. The man or woman who lights the fuse on a bomb that blows up a government building is never right. Their actions are wrong, and the ideas that motivated them are wrong.”

Amen.  Just shut up, Pat Buchanan.  Shut up.

I could say more about Jesus, and Christian theology, and American politics, and tollerism, and what COULD be.  But I’ll just take my own advice at this point and shut up.


LA is on Fire!

DSC00186

My car was covered in ashes this morning.  It’s such a sad, terrifying thing to see the mountains on fire.  This is the view from our office.

Right now I hear the security guard yelling by my window, “YOU HAVE TO HAVE A SHIRT ON! I ALREADY TOLD YOU!”  Working at a homeless shelter is never dull.

Oh Great.

According to the photograph the plan that many countries have enlisted is hand sanitizer and coughing masks.  Uh, really, that’s all we got? Maybe I should change careers and be a health adviser to all the countries in the world.  What’s the problem? People dying?  Oh easy, okay, two words: Hand. Sanitizer.  And while you’re at it, stick over everyone’s mouth a piece of cotton that will, in two seconds, get soggy from wet breath and provide no preventive help.  P.s. we’re all gonna die. 

Hong Kong child given swine flu precautions
Many countries already have swine flu precautions in place

 

BBC report:

WHO ‘set to declare flu pandemic’

UN health officials are expected to declare the first global flu pandemic in 40 years, after holding emergency talks on the swine flu crisis.

The World Health Organization called the meeting after a steep rise in the number of cases in Australia.

A BBC correspondent says it has little option but to declare a pandemic now there are nearly 28,000 recorded cases.

Reports say that the WHO had already told member countries it had decided to raise the alert to pandemic level.

Hong Kong said it was closing all its nurseries and primary schools for two weeks following 12 school cases.

The last global flu pandemic came in 1968 over the Hong Kong flu.

That pandemic killed about one million people.

A disease is classed as a pandemic when transmission between humans becomes widespread in at least two regions of the world.

Anxiety management

The latest virus emerged in Mexico in April and since then thousands of cases have been confirmed throughout North and South America.

The H1N1 strain has spread to 74 countries but the WHO has so far resisted labelling the outbreak a full-blown pandemic.

 

SWINE FLU – THE BASICS
Symptoms usually similar to seasonal flu
It is a new version of the H1N1 strain which caused the 1918 flu pandemic
Current treatments do work, but there is no vaccine
Good personal hygiene, such as washing hands, covering nose when sneezing advised

WHO chief Margaret Chan talked to officials from eight countries with large flu outbreaks on Wednesday in an attempt to confirm the spread of the disease.

She said she believed the situation could be regarded as a pandemic but wanted clear evidence before making an announcement.

The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes, in Geneva, says that while the number of cases has made the declaration inevitable, the problem is that the pandemic phase system is designed for a very different type of virus.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said it had been expecting something more like the deadlier bird flu.

“It was believed that the next pandemic would be something like H5N1 bird flu, where you were seeing really high death rates, and so there were people who believed we might be in a kind of apocalyptic situation and what we’re really seeing now with H1N1 is that in most cases the disease is self-limiting,” he told the BBC. 

“Let’s say 98 or 99% of the people we so far know to be affected recover without any need of hospitalisation.

The WHO will have to manage the global anxiety the declaration of a pandemic will generate, our correspondent says.

It is concerned not to trigger panic measures such as border closures and travel bans and is expected to advocate careful medical management, including the moderate use of anti-viral drug tamiflu.

Using it on a widespread preventative scale could simply create drug resistance, our correspondent adds.

Clear signal

The WHO’s move follows Australia’s confirmation of more than 1,200 cases – a four-fold increase in a week.

All primary schools and nurseries in Hong Kong are to shut for 14 days from Friday in a bid to contain the virus, the territory’s chief executive Donald Tsang said.

It follows confirmation that 12 secondary school pupils have contracted the illness. Secondary schools are not yet being ordered to close.

At least 50 people are now confirmed to have the virus in the territory.

The head of the WHO’s global influenza programme, Keiji Fukuda, said the situation had “evolved a lot” in recent days.

“We are getting close to knowing that we are in a pandemic situation,” he said.

Although most sufferers experience normal flu symptoms and make a full recovery, the WHO has confirmed 141 deaths from 27,737 cases.