where are the teeth?

Bless y'allz.
This weekend it felt like I had so much “binned” for today’s entry, I slacked in thinking up topics today. Then, when I logged in to check my almost-finished post – it was only a few topic-sentences and one fully-formed paragraph. Well, so much for not having to write tonight, to the keyboard the fingers fly. Lotta God-talk today, so my heathen brothers will simply have to bear with me.

First things first, thanks to those of you who started populating the sounds familiar Frappr page, it’s a good start (although, as of last night, Frappr’s little pushpins were noticeably absent). If you missed the link yesterday, I’ll be putting it in each entry this week to give you plenty of chances to add yourself to the roll. Hit it now! Be there or be somewhere else.

By luck the other day, I caught a preview for a two-part show on the History Channel called The Crusades: The Crescent and the Cross. I set the TiVo with anticipation, as the preview made the program look amazing… a mix of historical storytelling and live-action reenactment. I watched the first two-hour installment tonight and am happy to say it was excellent. A little reminder of the brutality that was the Christian vs. Islam battle of the initial crusade. The history of religion is simply fascinating to me – as are the concepts of religion and faith in general. Anyway, if you get a chance and there’s an encore presentation or something, I highly recommend the show. Whether or not you claim a God, it’s chock-full of world-altering history that provides the setup for so much of the modern global stage – you’re bound to appreciate it. One day, when I have tons of spare money and gobs of spare time, I’d like to take some college-level theology/religious-history classes… maybe this is worth another paragraph…

Sharaun got a bit peeved with me this Sunday on the way to church, as I freely offered my opinion that I thought the pre-service “classes” we attend were of little value. To me, the classes are all the same – always the basics, perennially for the noobs. “God is love,” the Sermon on the Mount, the death, burial, and resurrection; Christianity’s Dick and Jane, the ABCs of faith. Over and over and over, the same simple stories are told, the same banal comments are made, a mass-hypnotized crowd nods in unison to tired themes taken out and trotted around since Reformation Day One. OK sure, so you have to properly indoctrinate the fresh blood… give them them sacred precepts, the bare-bones tenets; fine. But, what got under Sharaun’s skin was my comment, “Where are the teeth?” Where’s the real history, the interesting stuff: the politics, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnosticism, the scholarly review? How many times have you sat through a Sunday School lesson on the Prodigal Son? Tired of it? Know it? Me too. Let’s have a series of lessons on the defining years of Christianity, the first-thousand years AD, the ecumenical councils, the canonization of the Bible. Let’s get into the grey areas, let’s air the dirty laundry, let’s talk about all the stuff we’re afraid to talk about, the hard-to-reconcile, the obviously exaggerated; yeah, all that.

Why do modern Protestant faiths ignore the roads that birthed them? I can somewhat understand the focus: evangelize; win souls; spread the Gospel. After all, those who most need salvation are those least likely to care how 1st Peter came to be in the New Testament and more likely to care that their new God will take care of them in rough times. The problem here is that you end up with an army of blind followers… a mass of believers hooked only on the charisma of Christ, the hope of forgiveness, the promise of something better than today. Is this wrong? I have no idea… maybe not – but I can see how it could be dangerous. Simply flipping the faith switch, just believing – exactly the scenario Bible-toting Christians pray upon non-believers – could be cause for concern. Think about it: this “God,” this supreme being beyond all human comprehension – He will feed your hungry children, forgive you your deepest trespasses, provide for your every need; but what do you really know about Him? Would you die for Him? How about kill for Him? What does it even mean, where does what you hold dear really come from?

Wait.. what’s that? You’re tired of this crap, I’m not making sense anymore? You say that, instead of this junk, you wanna know what the hottest tracks have been in my personal rotation last week? OK, here’s a quick snapshot (more details in my ‘scrob link in the sidebar) of what I’ve been swaying my head and slapping my thigh to (all with linky goodness for the curious):

Arctic Monkeys – A Certain Romance
The Joggers – Night of the Horsepills (sadly linkless)
The Strokes – You Only Live Once
Rogue Wave – 10:1
The North American Halloween Prevention Initiative – Do They Know It’s Halloween? (wait for it to load, or grab it impatiently with this nifty Firefox extension)

Ummm… OK, I have nothing more to write (actually, I do, and did, but once again “binned” it for tomorrow). Goodnight.

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One Reply to “where are the teeth?”

  1. We talked about a lot about the Christian history you mention in Catholic school . . . I think Protestant faiths avoid it because their original key differentiator was break from Catholic doctrine. Studying early Christianity means studying early Catholicism, and presents a philisophical dilemma. If you fully explain those common roots, you evangelize a rival faith and show that your own theology still contains some arbitrary facets. The challenge is biggest for evangelical faiths built on the omnipotent purity of scripture.

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