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  1. Just had this pop up in my timehop of something I came across I believe at a bookstore (I believe Books-a-Million). Something to get for the fundie who has everything. I wonder how many fundies have one of those at home.
  2. Great post from Bruce Gerenscer about an hilarious Australian organ donor ad featuring......Jesus! You can see the ad in the post here.
  3. https://shadowhaunted.com/2018/01/31/how-jesus-became-a-republican/ Found this piece due to a tweet this morning. Talks about a book by Terry Heaton titled The Gospel of Self. How Jesus Became a Republican JANUARY 31, 2018 / SHADOWHAUNTED In the American South, evangelical Christianity is a looming presence. Drive through any small town in the South and you’ll see more churches than restaurants. And it’s not just churches: many of us have relatives who watch televangelists and other Christian programming on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. It’s almost impossible for a politician to get elected, even for a minor office, without at least doing lip service to evangelical Christian beliefs (even if their actions do not match up with their words). What Flannery O’Connor said back in 1960 still rings true today: “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” That continued haunting is due in large part to the influence of televangelism. One of the early pioneers of modern televangelism is Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), whose daily TV show, The 700 Club, broadcasts in 138 countries and claims a million weekday viewers and 11,000 daily callers to its prayer line. A new book, The Gospel of Self: How Jesus Joined the GOP, is by Terry Heaton, who worked side-by-side with Pat Robertson for several years during the 1980’s, becoming the executive producer of The 700 Club. This is a fascinating inside look at the inner workings of CBN during a time when Pat Robinson and others made a conscious effort to move evangelical voters closer to the Republican Party – and the GOP itself further to the right. As you can tell from its title, the author of The Gospel of Self now views the brand of evangelicalism that he helped promote in the 1980’s (and which is still being promoted by many evangelical leaders today) as a self-centered, Americanized form of Christianity that is not always faithful to what Jesus himself taught in the gospels. Terry Heaton states at the beginning of the book: “The evangelist’s message has always been self-centered, for it preaches the gospel as a means to saving one’s own ass from eternal hellfire and damnation in the afterlife. Evangelical Christianity has refined the message over the years and turned it today into the means for blessings in this life as well.” That emphasis on “blessings” is what fuels the multimillion-dollar budgets of CBN and other evangelical “non-profit” organizations to this day. Terry Heaton provides a look at how The 700 Club tried to become a “news” show as well as a Christian talk show, paving the way for other news agencies to embrace “advocacy journalism” become less objective in their reporting. “Fox News would never have found the success it has known if CBN News hadn’t blazed the trail,” he writes. Heaton doesn’t necessarily think advocacy journalism is a bad thing, as long as journalists are transparent with their biases. One whole chapter is basically an essay defending (not very convincingly) such “point-of-view journalism.” Heaton is honest about Pat Robertson’s political aspirations and how Pat was really “a political strategist who happened to be a minister” – not just during the time when Robertson himself ran for president, but throughout his career. He quotes Robertson as saying in 1985: “We must form a shadow government. We must begin to find and train Christian people, so that they can be placed in every position that matters…” in local governments as well as in national politics. Heaton is also honest about the ethics that were stretched and the laws that were broken, sometimes by Heaton himself, in carrying out CBN’s political, religious, and fund-raising objectives. As a former evangelical who watched The 700 Club and The PTL Club in the 1980’s, I found myself fascinated by the book’s coverage of how Pat Robertson responded to the televangelist scandals of 1987 involving Jim Bakker and others. Heaton describes actions taken by Robertson that he disagreed with, even while he was still working with Robertson, as well as some of Robertson’s blatant lies to Heaton and others during that era. But the book is not a tell-all scandal book; Heaton still very clearly regards Robertson with affection and some measure of respect, even all these years later. There’s no bitterness here. But Keaton’s continuing affection for Pat Robertson doesn’t get in the way of his honest assessment of the damage Robertson has done to evangelical Christianity as it is today. The book ends with two chapters that are basically appendices, one about “point-of-view journalism” and one about postmodern “Emergent” Christianity. Not everyone will find those two chapters interesting or their arguments convincing (I didn’t), which is the only reason I give the book 4 stars instead of 5. But the rest of the book is highly recommended for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of how evangelical Christianity played – and continues to play – such a prominent role in today’s political landscape, not just in the South but across the nation.
  4. Ol Tim "Jesus" Tebow is going to be a baseball player now. espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/17492336/new-york-mets-sign-former-qb-tim-tebow-minor-league-contract I sure hope if he gets to home he doesn't drop on home plate and the guy behind him runs into him.
  5. bingbangboom

    The second coming!!1!1

    Meet Jesus this Sunday! Several time slots to choose from! Saw this on the way home today and to snag a picture for FJ. I'm sure it's an ad for Sunday services, but it is gold.
  6. I knew it! Passion of the Christ II: Jesus is Back and He's Pissed Off! http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/passion-of-the-christ-sequel-plans-1.3628670
  7. Soldier of the One

    Judaism and Jesus - just some thoughts

    I am just your regular Jew sans Jesus and kind of intrigued/saddened/annoyed/mystified by the contentious relationship between Jews, Messianic 'Jews' and Jesus. First off: for me, theologically and culturally, believing in Jesus and claiming a Jewish identity or religious affiliation is fundamentally incompatible. The Jewish litmus test for Mashiach (messiah) is very simple and foolproof: if the messiah didn't fix the world, bring universal peace and brotherhood and establish faith in One God, he isn't it. Without wanting to offend my Christian brethren, Jesus did not fulfill these criteria according to Jewish definitions of messiah. Christian theology of course would present the counter-claim that Jesus provides redemption from Original Sin and offers personal salvation through his sacrifice on the cross. Within a christological worldview, I think this is internally consistent. Original Sin = Christ to absolve us from Original Sin. But it is not a Jewish view. The Jewish view is that we keep Torah (according to your denominational interpretation of what that means :)) and bring the world closer to the Messianic Age (and Mashiach, depending on your personal theology) through good deeds and 'tikkun olam' - repair of the world. In a sense, Torah is our roadmap to steer our broken world towards Redemption. And also in that sense, 'combining' Torah with Jesus makes no sense. It's an either/or option. Either, you embrace Torah's vision of the Eschaton or Christ's vision of salvation but they are mutually exclusive. To put it simply: (and this is I what respectfully tell missionaries) "Jesus is the solution to a problem I don't have". We Jews do not embrace the concept of Original Sin and hence we do not 'need' Jesus to fix that for us. Of course, fundamentalists would disagree with that perception but as we say in Hebrew, 'ain mah la'asot' - there's nothing we can do about that I'm stating the obvious here, of course, but Messianic 'Judaism' fails both faith communities. It is offensive to Christianity because it somehow distrusts the central tenets of Christianity - namely that Christ is your redeemer. And it is offensive to Judaism for all the reasons stated above and more. It negates Torah and Torah's vision of Redemption. Not to mention the historical sensitivities and issues of cultural appropriation. Now, I certainly can understand that Christians want to learn more about the faith of their savior. Placing the historical Jesus in a 'Jewish' context is a very healthy thing to do. God knows that Jesus' Jewish origins were whitewashed in antisemitic thought. I also understand that Christians might try to graft some Jewish practices into their own Christian practices. But that doesn't make it Judaism: neither culturally, historically or theologically. What I do wonder, however, is whether Messianic 'Judaism' represents an (awkward) phase of transitioning between Christianity and Judaism. Some Messianic 'Jews' may end up changing their mind about how they feel about Christ and pursuing a 'normative' Jewish conversion - sans Jesus. I would argue, however, that finding acceptance in a Jewish community after having had a 'Messianic' past is harder, though because of fears of proselytizing Jews to bring them to Christ. So... if there are Messianic 'Jews' reading this (and I am hardly the authority on Judaism, but still :)), please consider this. If you want to embrace Judaism for its own sake, go for it. We have a tradition of welcoming the stranger and convert. But if you want to hold onto your faith in Christ, please pursue other avenues. You are doing Christianity, Judaism and yourself a disservice. Thanks for listening
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