Tagged: God

Midwestern Thoughts on Impeachment 2

Maybe it’s just that I enrolled in some logic courses in college, but, to begin, I want to say that I am more and more surprised how many particular expressions of logical fallacies are put in play in formal American political debate. Then again, logic is just one part of rhetoric.

However, the main reason for this post is to say the following. There are at least two separate ideas in play at the moment. The first is whether President Trump used some sort of indirect, latent, or *wink wink* vocabulary and phraseology known by supporters and which somehow commanded them to “storm the capitol.” This post is not about this idea, however interesting it may be.

The second idea in play during today’s debate is that the United States of America can be irreversibly conquered in a time period of less than seven days, whether the next seven or some other grouping. This is what I want to write about.

The USA cannot be conquered, irreversibly or not, in seven days. If you disagree with me, then this doesn’t mean that the USA can be conquered in seven days. Instead, it means that you do not believe in the concept of National Sovereignty. By this time window talk I mean to quantify that you already don’t believe in America. This is fine! Just admit it.

There are other options than National Sovereignty. Believe as you please.

But I’m here to say that the USA is not going down in seven days—not if Trump wanted it to happen, not if you feared that it could happen. Give me a break. That’s as clear as I can be to explain why I don’t care about anything he or you say or do this next week.

Should the president be impeached? If I understand political process, it cannot be completed much earlier than seven days from now. So the question is not whether the president should be impeached. The question is whether the effort is merely symbolic. If not, then as my question’s time window decreases to six days, five days, four days, etc. as time goes on, my question’s clarity increases.

Finally, if it is symbolic, then what is the benefit of the symbolism?


Follow-Up To Yesterday’s NASB Translation One

One more note. When we look at the issue as I do, then the entire question changes. Instead of, “Did ‘brothers’ mean ‘brothers and sisters’ in certain passages?” we now ask, “What should we do if the majority of believers want to make that change?”

See how that question reveals a totally different issue than what the Lockman Foundation is defending? (My dad came up with that one when following my argument through.)

I’ll leave it here with: and this is why I love the Bible.

The Issue At Hand When Translating “Men” to “Men and Women”

The NASB is the latest Bible translation to succumb to nonsense about gender confusion. Specifically, they have joined the translations who use the more “thought for thought” philosophy. For today, I just want to record my thoughts on the specific change of adding “and daughters”, “and women”, and “and sisters” etc. to verses which previously had only “sons” and “men” and “brothers”.

This post isn’t about the content of the defense of the change. This post is about how the issue at hand is not the one being defended by the Lockman Foundation on its website. See here.

I know of no one who cannot understand that in “the old days” we used one word to convey broader concepts than today. “Men” often meant “humans”. Again, whether “men”, means “only men” or “all humans” is not the issue. The issue is whether informed humans today are really so stupid as to give in to the ignorant humans. Context clues are how humans read and communicate. Period. There are no stand alone words, names being the only possible exception. (Jesus, being the name above all names.)

Are we going to describe the cross as “the cross that was used by the Romans who crucified Jesus of Nazareth near Jerusalem at the time of passover around what we call the year 29 CE (previously AD)” in,

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬


Should it say, because the non-believer of today doesn’t even know what a cross is, and in fact only says that word when discussing actions to take on travel-ways (don’t cross the street…, “For the word of the cross that was used by the Romans who crucified Jesus of Nazareth near Jerusalem at the time of passover around what we call the year 29 CE (previously AD) is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”??

Because that’s the issue. Context drives meaning. Period. If you’re too stupid to know that Paul meant, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters…to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God,” when he wrote “Therefore I urge you, brothers…(no additional word),” then that’s on you. The hard truth of Christianity is that you have to want it to be true for it to work for you.

You have to want it to be true. If you don’t want it to be true, that’s on you. I’d be happy to share the gospel with you, but it seems like an ignoramus like you would only trample the pearl that it is. So until life unfolds in such a way that you need help, as in actual supernatural assistance, leave me alone.

Lockman Foundation translators: bad decision. And worse defense. It’s not about Greek or grammar. You should know better. People react viscerally and emotionally when you change their Bibles. It’s not without reason though. And this is why I do. In this particular change, you’ve communicated that you don’t think people need to want Christianity to be true for it to be true. You’ve communicated, then, that you’re more powerful than you are. That’s a problem. We don’t have time for Hebrew and Greek. But we surely can spot vanity a mile away.

The Total of the Beast

This one’s going to put me on the map! Time to finally go viral! It’s been a long enough wait, I can assure you.

As a time capsule, then, I want to finally make written record of my interpretation of the book of Revelation’s most infamous passage. I’ll be bypassing, for the reader’s sake, all discussion of the nature of prophecy and all survey of historical interpretations. In the place of these things I will attempt to simply and eloquently write my own thoughts. Let the reader be my judge.

The passage in question:

“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭13:18‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

My interpretation hinges on the fact that there is no indication whatsoever, anywhere, that the inspired authors of Scripture, while inspired, could do math. Accordingly, the use of the word “number” in the passage calls to mind the wrong idea. Instead, the word should be “total”. With this change, the passage reads:

“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the total of the beast, for the total is that of a man; and his total is six hundred and sixty-six.”

What’s the difference between “number” and “total”? Ready? Here it is. Number is six. (Period.) Total is six cows. Or again, number is 70 million. (Full stop.) Total is 70 million people. With me? Okay, one more, then I’m moving on. Number is nine. (That’s all she wrote.) Total is nine ball players.

In my experience, some humans cannot see the distinction. For my own mind, I have not concluded yet whether I find this ability to see the distinction to be the result of nature or nurture. All I know is some people can’t see it. If this is you, if you can’t see the distinction between number and total, then this post, no matter how appealing, is not for you. Bye bye.

If, on the other hand, you see the distinction, then here’s the theological point. Contextually, the passage is clearly a warning. Lucky for us (lucky for Christians, that is), Jesus wins. So accurate interpretation of the warning is not consequential. (But we knew this already because John wrote that only some folks have understanding. I just want to record my own interpretation, because I’ve never read it anywhere and because I think the other interpretations of this passage are so moronic and childlike that they ought be cast into the lake of fire with all the other hell-born.)

The passage is a warning. And it warns of a method. How does it warn of a method? The only way possible—giving the result. This is a sticky assertion, I know. Hold on tight. And remember, it’s for fun. The interpretation does not matter.

Theologians and scholars agree that early written math in all cultures began by associating numbers to the letters of the alphabet, which otherwise recorded sounds. Roman Numerals are a slightly evolved remnant of this. To be clear, in English we might designate that the letter “A” equals a value of one, “B” , a value of two, and so on. This made for very difficult written calculations. But they were still much more efficient than having to laboriously write, “one plus one equals two.” (Easier version: A + A = B)

Our four-eyed ancestors saw something more though. They saw that a code could be developed, here, too.

Words could contain a meaning hidden to all but the intended, the “read in”, recipient. Love letters, and other private communiques could be communicated in broad daylight.

One such phrase, in Koine Greek (though not in the Bible) is, “the great beast”. Guess what its letters add up to? A value of six hundred sixty-six. But don’t miss the point. Plenty of words and phrases do, too. Quite literally, innumerable words and phrase add up to six hundred sixty-six.

But that phrase does, too. “The great beast.”

The passage’s warning is not of some creature, but of some creation—some total. What total? The total of a man. Which man? Which human? Could be me, could be you.

In other words, I believe that John told us that the beast meritorious of warning is when we mortals leave what is known as “concrete” reality (which does include the spiritual) and move to “abstract” reality (which does include “lies, damned lies, and statistics”, as Twain put it)—assuming we then base our actions on the abstract reality, to the detriment of the concrete reality.

This, of course, has never been done.

There it is. Now you know. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Then Pete and H- Sang On That Day

In three years of Seminary coursework, I never did find myself tasked with the Old Testament book of Judges much. Helping edit a friend’s chapter-a-day devotional emails, I recently have been prompted to read it. And I’ve not been disappointed. It’s like Braveheart, Gladiator, and 300 all rolled into one.

This post is my volley into the C-O-V-I-D-1-9 written commentary foray. Setting the scene a bit, I’d say it’s probably best to picture a large post-NFL game parking lot brawl (or better yet maybe COSTCO at the toilet paper aisle) and some mesomorph man annoyingly jumping in only for cheap shots and then hopping right back out again before some seasoned ignoramus can counter-attack.

Early in the book of Judges, an account begins which involves the rare-to-scripture female protagonist. This Deborah is a prophetess who encourages the military leader, Barak, to fight a war. She then warns him, or advises him, however, that the honor (consequent to winning) will be given to a woman. Skipping ahead in the story, we learn that the defeated, fleeing king, Sisera, thinks he has found safe keeping in the house of a friend–having accepted the invitation of the friend’s wife. Picking up the story there, the Bible records, “But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died. And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, ‘Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.’ And he entered with her, and behold Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.”

That’s all interesting, fine, and dandy (reminded me of the antler-to-the-neck in Braveheart). But it’s just the setup. What I want us to focus on is Deborah’s (and Barak’s) celebratory song–or the last part at least. It goes:

Out of the window she looked and lamented,
The mother of Sisera through the lattice,
‘Why does his chariot delay in coming?
Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots tarry?’
Her wise princesses would answer her,
Indeed she repeats her words to herself,
‘Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoil?
A maiden, two maidens for every warrior;
To Sisera a spoil of dyed work,
A spoil of dyed work embroidered,
Dyed work of double embroidery on the neck of the spoiler?’

Mockery. Blatant, pure, and chilling mockery. Deborah goes two levels deep in her scoff. She doesn’t just mock the dead Sisera’s mother, but adds the consolation that she can imagine the “wise princesses” offering. Cold-blooded stuff.

Which brings us full-circle to the hysteria. Here’s our victory song:

You thought government was god of the universe–God in the flesh.

You thought the government could solve all problems.

You bet hearth and home on the government.

And now you’re buying *extra* toilet paper.


You don’t even know why!


And you have to explain it to your kids.


The look on your kids’ faces is judgement from your maker. They know you’re unhinged. They can’t do math. They can’t read. They wouldn’t know what critical thinking was if it hit them square in the jaw. But they know what too much toilet paper looks like.


H- said, wide-eyed and earnest, “I hope they buy some plungers too–if they’re going to be flushing all that down the pipes.”


Seeker Friendly vs. Denominations–A False Dichotomy

This is more for so-called Church leaders than lay-folk, but feel free to engage it in either case.

At the seminary, I learned about high-brow, denominational Christianity’s generally negative view of “seeker friendly” churches. (For the uninitiated, this “seeker friendly” designation means “churches folks enjoy going to”.)

There was a feeling of, “‘seeker friendly’ is fine, and it has a place. But after conversion, the new believer will find themselves desiring something more than easy-to-repeat and easy-to-digest platitudes, encouragements, and affirmations.” Then, the thinking continues, at that moment, the mainstream denominations (the “churches folks attend begrudgingly Sunday after Sunday, Wednesday after Wednesday, painfully bad sermon after painfully bad sermon, while always stubbornly ignoring all signs that something is amiss if everyone keeps leaving”) will step in and save the day.

Subsequently, curiosity grew and I began going to “seeker friendly” churches, too. I have been back and forth between the two ever since.

Here’s an observation that I didn’t expect. Week after week, the “seeker friendly” churches say something like, “I grew up, like you, at a (insert mainstream denomination) church.” The leader will then add some personal anecdote about how “…only later did I realize the full freedom allowed by the Holy Spirit to break from tradition, conservatism, etc.” And in so doing, the “seeker friendly” leader, will have made his or her appeal to those who are seeking to go “deeper” or seeking greater “meaning.”

In other words, no different than the stoic, wise, and time-tested denominations, the “seeker friendly” churches were hocking that they are the place to find real, deep meaning. “The denomination gets you started, but ultimately fails to satisfy,” they say.

For this reason, because you’re both suggesting you’re the place to “go deep,” I confidently say, “You’re both wrong.”

I’ll add this. Two thousand years ago Paul wrote, in a letter to one particular church of his day, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.”

Here, we have some options.

We can say, A: “Paul was talking only to that particular body of believers alive some two thousand years ago which was manifesting itself as ‘fleshly’ as opposed to ‘spiritual’ and his words have nothing to do with me.”

Or we can say, B: “Paul was talking only to believers who manifest themselves as ‘fleshly’ as opposed to ‘spiritual’, no matter what era they live in, including contemporary believers,”

Or we can say, C: “Paul’s admonishment, unbeknownst to him, was to all believers. (Period).”

(There might be other options too.)

I choose C.

I choose C for the following reasons.

1. It’s not A, because I wouldn’t have heard of the Gospel, Paul’s letter, or the Bible if Paul was only talking to his immediate audience. (There should be no surprise here. This is kinda inherent to a Bible-believing Christian’s view of Scripture.)

2. It’s not B, because there exists in all of us a shameful little thing called “pride”. The moment I believe that “I made it” (in this case, ‘I’m spiritual’), I, again, lost the battle.

3. It’s far more exciting and interesting to live a life which never summits. And, it’s a nearly impossible mental gymnastic to defend spiritual maturity, and simultaneously maintain that the Christian’s satisfaction and fulfillment is only found in actual (neoconcrete?) life with Jesus–after whichever happens first, the Second Coming or death.

In short, if you’re a Christian leader, please return the “I’ve got a secret” tactic to the get-rich-quick, make-friends-easily, persuade-people-now motivational guru’s you stole it from and pass the milk.

Dear Evangelicals, Now You Wan’ Ta’ Get Nuts?!

Dear Evangelicals,

“Now you wan’ ta’ get nuts?! Come on, let’s get nuts!”

You probably missed it, because the speaker was *shh* a Catholic, but the Pope just said, “We are no longer under a Christian regime because faith – especially in Europe, but also in large parts of the West – is no longer an obvious prerequisite of common life, and on the contrary, often it is even rejected, mocked, marginalized and ridiculed.”

As you know, the Bible writer’s believed you’d be persecuted for your faith in Jesus. But that’s not what the Pope was talking about here. No, he was talking about the world-over response of folks to people who say something that means nothing. Most recently, one example I believe he is talking about is Evangelicals’ political pronouncement: “God uses imperfect people.”

Evangelicals love to hide behind this statement. You seem to believe it is meaningfully a “mic drop of mic drops” with which to naturally conclude your squirming, vacillating defense of your loyalty to the idea that President Trump was a good choice.

But all the world over, if it has the time to spend on your ideas, only laughs at you. They reject you. They mock you. They marginalize you. And they ridicule you. And, in this case (among others), they are absolutely right to do so.

Saying, “God uses imperfect people” is the same as saying, “legless reptiles are snakes” or “large bodies of water are oceans” in response to, “I think it’s poisonous,” and, “Looks wet to me.”

You haven’t defended anything. That’s why so many folks think you’re irrelevant.

Defend Trump, I say. Defend him. Defend your choice. Defend your savior. Defend your vote. Defend your mind. Defend, defend, defend. That’s where you make your money. So do it.

Or maybe you don’t know how.


The Bible Is Not About Abortion

“So, Pete, if someone asks you what the Bible says about abortion, and you don’t think it teaches on abortion, what would you say to them?”

“First, my strategy always begins with the goal of staying as the ‘question-asker’ for as long as necessary. In this case, then, I’d respond by asking, ‘To answer your question, I’d like to pry into your knowledge of all-things-ancient a bit. What do you know about the purposes of ancient people’s writings as far as they differ from today’s purposes?’ I’d ask this with the aim of illustrating that Bible times didn’t exactly include political flyers or any other kind of contemporary-style propaganda. Then I’d ask (in sincerity), ‘What do you know about how ancient people performed abortions?’ And, ‘Do you think people alive during Bible times had more or less abortions than today?'”


“I can assume that the average person would confess they don’t know anything about ancient writings’ purposes (nor that they had much considered the notion that folks in the past used the written word with a different purpose than we do today). And the average person would confess that ancient peoples’ abortion rates were similar. But that they doubt ancient abortions were as controlled as abortions are today. Most people probably acknowledge in the old days the more common activity wasn’t so much abortion as discarding newborns.”


“Then I’d steer the conversation with the following question(s), ‘So you think at a time before literacy was widespread, before the materials to easily record information were invented and/or widespread, and before the time when the practices which we really mean to describe by ‘abortion’ were being committed were widespread, that the Bible writers–who seem to have a singular goal of declaring their god to be the only god–will have specifically addressed the practice of ending pregnancy before delivery?'”

“I see.”

“You see? You see. Okay. It’s not even working on you?”

“Well, let’s put it this way. Pretend you’re a preacher in front of a congregation. The people want to hear what you think about abortion, the people want to hear what you think the Bible says about abortion. What will you say to them?”

“Okay. Ready? Here you go. Take notes. Ahem. (Cough). ‘The Bible writers never teach about abortion. It’s not in the Bible. Every time a Christian thinks the Bible is talking about abortion, they are proof-texting. That is, they are using the collection of writings known as the Bible to defend an idea that they have, rather than letting the Bible have its own day and stand on its own merits.

“‘Does this mean abortion is unimportant or inconsequential to the LORD, the god of the Bible? No. Does that mean abortion is moral? No. Does that mean Christianity is pro-choice? No. Quite the opposite. Abortion is immoral. Abortion should be a crime. Abortion is evil. How do I know? Here’s how. Show me a pregnant woman who confesses publicly that she is filled with the Holy Spirit. (You know the Holy Spirit, right? God himself? Indwelling in people’s bodies? Acting as a conscience of sorts, guiding us along our way. Convicting us when we’re about to misstep, and encouraging us when we aren’t yet used to the feeling that accompanies righteous living? You know, the Holy Spirit.)

“‘Show me that woman who also is willing to confess that the Holy Spirit is moving her, convincing her to have an abortion.

“‘That’s how I know abortion is immoral, evil, and should be illegal. Because you will never find that woman. And if you do, everyone from both sides of Sunday will concur that she’s out-of-her-mind, no different than how the uniform public consensus forms on those highly publicized mothers drowning their kids because they say Jesus told them to. Without any subsequent knowledge or teaching on who Jesus might be or which Jesus she’s talking about, everyone knows those mothers are insane.’

“That’s my abortion sermon.”

LGBTQ Showdown: Rockstar James Hetfield vs. Reverend Adam Hamilton

Metallica broke attendance records in both Wichita and Kansas City last week. As most of you know, H- and I were at the Kansas City show.

During the concert, as usual, James took a moment to thank the audience. He then said something like, “I want you know that I don’t care who you are, what god you worship, or what is between your legs. I do not give a shit.” For the uninitiated, this is about as political or current-eventee as Metallica ever gets. (Thank you, Jesus.) It’s about the music, people.

Last week also was a big week for the United Methodist Church as their conference had voted to essentially fire Ministers if any of them subsequently ordained LGBTQ folks or performed marriages between anyone but one man and one woman.

Reverend Adam Hamilton, pastor of the largest UMC congregation–located in KC–in America, voted against this change and spent many hours last week explaining his reasons to his congregation. For our purposes, it is enough to say that he has declared that the LGBTQ community is still welcome at his church while the UMC figures itself out.

Why the comparison between Mr. Hetfield and Rev. Hamilton?

Here’s why.

I recently told one friend that I am uncomfortable at almost every group setting I attend. I am uncomfortable at my church (it’s a black church–I am as white-bread as it gets). I am uncomfortable at most of the other churches I have visited (I prefer African churches, even if they’re in another language, but I usually visit churches from different cultures if I skip my service as I nearly reject my culture outright–I am as white-bread as it gets). I am uncomfortable at work (I work with what other white-breaders call ‘low-skilled immigrants’ and if my co-workers aren’t immigrants they are usually addicts, ex-cons, uneducated, or family members of one of the above).

My friend then queried, “Where are you comfortable?”

After a long pause I answered, “Ha. Truth be told? Metallica concerts. That’s when I feel like I can simply let go and be me.”

Rockstar James Hetfield would probably enjoy hearing this fact. And Reverend Adam Hamilton would probably be thrilled for the chance to compare notes with James and see what he could learn from him about creating a welcoming environment.

The trouble, of course, is there is one big difference between the Christian church and Metallica concerts. Can you name it? I’ll help. The one are entertainment. The other believes this world is going to burn. The one are fun. The other believes the shedding of Jesus’ blood altered the course of history. The one are going to end in less than fifty years. The other, with or without you, is never going to end. (Hallelujah.)

Can we tell the truth? It goes like this, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Are LGBTQ folks welcome in the Christian church? Before I could ever answer, I’d need to hear what their intentions are.

But if you’re looking for comfort, I’d try to catch the next Metallica concert.