Save Ourselves

Of course the heresy hunters came after Raphael Warnock over his tweet about “saving ourselves”. I would argue this comes down to an issue of exegesis.

In this case I’ll call it the Underwood vs Offerman hermeneutical conflict.

As I read the tweet I took it to mean “saving ourselves” in the corporeal sense.

That is, relating to worldly matters as opposed to salvation in the sense of Jesus’ victory over the powers which hold mankind in bondage: sin, death, and the devil.

So the tweet would present a hermeneutic that we have been released from that bondage by Christ’s victory; that by the guidance of the Holy Spirit we are empowered to save ourselves & our neighbors from powers & principalities that oppress us in the here and now with our own actions as we work to build God’s kingdom based on grace, compassion, and justice while awaiting His return, rather than relying on faith without works.

NOT that we ourselves need to achieve ultimate victory over those same powers, which would be unnecessary since that victory has already been won by Christ.

Further, that the actions wrought through our love of Christ & neighbor to fulfill God’s command that we begin building His kingdom on earth, are worked by those that confess their faith in Christ as well as those who are called to fulfill God’s purpose regardless of their standing with any church or creed.

These critics apparently have a different hermeneutic.

They all seem to believe that God calls us to no action in his creation other than to maintain their orthodoxy of disempowered faith that generates no change in the world to advance God’s kingdom as we await the return of Christ.

As I said earlier, the Underwood vs Offerman hermeneutical conflict:

They all seem to seem to propound the theology of “Jesus, Take the Wheel” as written by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson, and Carrie Underwood.

In contrast, my analysis of this tweet coincides with the theology of “Pray While Turning Into The Skid” as proposed by Nick Offerman

On the Underwood side, we surrender all action to God produce nothing by our faith.

On the Offerman side, upon accepting God’s Grace we embrace our call to do good works as He has commanded.

Of course, perhaps there is no exegesis here at all. Perhaps this has been an exercise in eisegesis. Eisegesis being the process of interpreting text in such a way as to introduce one’s own presuppositions, agendas or biases.

Hard to know*. We’d have to ask Warnock as well as the self-appointed heresy hunting defenders of the faith.

But ultimately it’s irrelevant because this has exposed the underlying theology of the critics which represents a divide in two of the many forms of Christianity that are ultimately and fundamentally irreconcilable.

*it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been reading my own thoughts into this situation 😉

Continue reading “Save Ourselves”

Freedom

There is a repeated trope that is sometimes derived from some understanding of neurology that we don’t have free will.

But it’s a twisting of facts.

We do have free will. The truth that’s being twisted is about the form free will take, because it’s often different from the way we imagine it.

We often think if free will as the ability to make a decision in the moment.

What’s true is that we often don’t make a decision in the moment but instead rely on habits we’ve built up over time when determining behavior.

But we can change our habits. The the lie or manipulation is ignoring our ability to alter our habitual reactions. It’s an inherent neuro-cognitive process of the brain that we can evaluate the outcomes of our habitual behaviors and alter them in order to secure better outcomes.

Changing habits can be hard for sure. But it’s not impossible. And it’s the best way to ensure that we are making decisions about our behavior instead of relying on our pre-existing habits unthinkingly.

A sort of logic

Many of the things we believe come down to our assumptions. We might look at someone else and think their beliefs don’t make sense, that they are irrational.

Sometimes true.

But frequently we are missing something. We are missing the set of assumptions they are relying on.

For example, think about climate change.

Then assume that the world is ending. Not that you think it might be ending or could be ending. Assume that you are 100% positive the world will come to an end in the next decade or two.

Not just a generic eschatology either. Assume one of the more common and ostensibly orthodox western evangelical Protestant Christian eschatologies: the world is about to be utterly destroyed by a supreme deity that will then bring into being a new, perfected creation.

Assume that you know for sure that those events are about to play out. Or that they have already begun.

If so, why would climate change matter?

Why would mass extinctions and biodiversity loss matter?

Why would overpopulation and population sustainability matter?

If that assumption is true then none of those things matter.

I know that it is easy to shrug this topic off. Easy to say to ourselves: no one really believes that eschatological stuff.

But they do. Some believe it fervently and it informs their every decision and defines their entire thought process.

Many have a more dynamic thought process influenced by a host of other assumptions. But this end times belief is still one of their foundational assumptions about the world. It still informs and shapes their beliefs and actions. Even if they don’t think about eschatology with any regularity it still has an influence on all their cognitive processes.

the most direct offense against the Truth

I am definitely not a Roman Catholic but I do find that faith very intriguing.

I especially enjoy the faith and history of the Maronite Catholic Church, which is in the full communion with the Pope and the Roman Church.

But today I have a particular excerpt from their Catechism on my mind:

Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man’s relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord

-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2483

In today’s world, in our media forms and practices, I feel this is particularly applicable.

I am increasingly concerned about the modern practice of following news sources that we identify with ideologically and ignoring all others.

As well as searching out online resources we already agree with. Then accepting everything that source says as fact.
If you don’t double check those claims and they turn out to be false, you’ve been lied to.

And I’ve started to wonder if failing at our own due diligence in regard to the information we accept and spread falls under the same category as the lies described in the Catholic Catechism.

Doesn’t the spread of information we don’t know to be true or false count as a direct offense against the truth?

Doesn’t it injure our relation to truth and to our neighbors?

I believe that spreading information without verifying its accuracy is equivalent with gossip.

The Catechism denounces that as well:

Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury

-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2477

And even if the Catechism means nothing to you, turning to the Bible brings the condemnation to another level.

In this👇text the level of evil associated with gossip is unambiguous.
Because wow, I don’t see many protesters with signs that say “God Hates Gossip”

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God–haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.

Romans 1:28-32 NRSVCE

Some would say this👆passage is about the consequences of being homosexual. But after running through that list, I recommend having a long think about the thoughts and actions being condemned here. I’m sure you’ll agree that those traits are common everywhere across all demographics

I believe that spreading unverified information on the internet is clearly a form of gossip. And if you believe that what the Bible says is true, have a think about what it means to gossip.

What a person’s insides are like if they are willing to spread gossip.

Agree or don’t; think on it.