27 Ways to Lose your Balls

Few movies promise to be as utterly emasculating as this year’s 27 Dresses. As the title and trailer indicate, this movie ought to contain nothing that appeals to the typical male viewer. It’s refreshing, really, to see a major studio sending out a big #$&* you to their primary demographic.

“But it’s got Katherine Heigl,” some might argue. “She’s supposed to be hot.”

So was Princess Diana. Do you see me reading the biography?

What baffles me is that they’re not even trying for cross-over appeal. This isn’t a date movie. This is a cut-off-your-balls-for-a-few-hours-and-sew-them-back-on kind of movie. (Don’t ask me how they get sewed back on; I’m not a doctor; and yes, it’s “sewn.”)

In short: the title says it all. If your girlfriend/wife/signif-oth drags you to this one, she owes you big time. You just surrendered your manhood.

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If you don’t believe that Jesus is God, why not Tom Cruise? Or FM-2030?

If you’re not sure Tom Cruise is crazy, check out his interview expressing his hope to “create a new reality… with enough love, compassion, and toughness.”  I miss Jesus already.  (Helpful explanations of his jargon here.)

Yet Scientology is part of the larger movement of transhumanism, and they’re not even the craziest ones in the movement.  Not to be confused with transsexuality, which this is not the place to discuss, transhumanists hope to incorporate advances in technology and “spirituality” to become immortal, post-human entities (and sometimes cyborgs).

I originally entitled this post “Science Fiction + religion – God = 😦 ” but changed when I realized that some might infer atheist non-cult-members, many of whose views I greatly respect, as being lumped along with self-theist psychos. I value dialog with people of other beliefs, but even I have my limits and and some point have to cry, “Dude, that’s loco!”

Worship someone, please, but not your future self.

Speaking of Conspiracies….

 Chris Paine has given us one more reason why open-minded Republican-sympathizers (they exist!) should be careful what they watch.

His 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? only mounts a secondary attack against right-wing politicians.  Big business and big oil are center-stage.  They seem to have screwed over the little guy, yet again.

I feel angry and sad, but mostly angry.  I tried to think of other historical incidents when the very technology we had longed for was within our grasp – we already had it! – and we let it slip away.  I tried, but I couldn’t find anything else this collosally depressing.

We have lost great technologies before, only to later regain them.  But have we ever lost them on purpose?

Kind of reminds me of what Dark Helmet once said: “So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”

Evil can be pretty dumb, too.  If we were not dependent on foreign oil….

God Promises Health, Wealth,… and Good Looks?

Bible B.S. + American Dream = Poison

“God is good and wants good things for you,” the preacher says.  By good things, he (or she) means money, cars, and easy living.   Who wouldn’t want to believe that?  “For you to reap the harvest of God’s blessing, you have to plant a seed and water it.”  And by plant the seed, the preacher means give his (or her) ministry money.  This is the “prosperity Gospel.”

The Bible teaches the principle of tithing, of giving a portion of our earnings to His work.  The Bible also teaches that God does want to bless us, but those blessings happen in the context of a relationship, not of a business contract; and while He blesses some people materially, it is never deserved and it is never a promise.

Such promises are believable because: 1) the preacher preaching them is has obviously been so blessed, judging by his (or her) suit; 2) we live in a very money- and image-driven culture, so we want that kind of blessing; 3) key Bible passages are taken out of context or are redefined in a way that makes such promises seem plausible; 4) the people in the greatest financial need desperately want a way out.

After encouraging a community to help those in need, Paul reminds the Corinthians: “And God is able to make all grace come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Joyce Meyer, in her booklet “Prepare to Prosper,” transforms into this this passage into: “And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].” (p. 21, Warner Faith, 1997)

Grace has everything to do with God’s favor, but it is, by definition, unmerited.  Grace can have material benefits, but not always.  This self-sufficiency should not be interpreted individualistically, as we Americans are wont to do; Paul uses the you-plural and this is a letter written to a community.  They together will have enough together for whatever material, emotional, and spiritual circumstance may arise.

Later in 2 Corinthians we see Paul wrestling with grace in a way utterly foreign to the prosperity Gospel:  “…there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’…” (2 Corinthians 12:7b-9a).

Paul was in pain.  We don’t know the details, whether it was some physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual problem.  But we know that he asked God to take it away, and God said, “No.”  Why?  Because God’s unmerited favor is enough, Paul, so you will have to live with the pain and be humbled by it.

God wanted Paul to suffer, the same way that He wanted Jesus to suffer, the same way that He wants you and me to suffer: that is when life is the most real, when we can draw closest to Him, and when we might draw others closer to Him.  (Romans 5:3-4; John 12:24; Philippians 2; etc.)

God promises that life with Him is good, but not easy.  The prosperity Gospel is a big fat lie.

Tirade Against Christian Bumper-Stickers

The Ends vs. the Means

Why do so many of us feel compelled to put religious bumper stickers on our cars?  Is our motivation to bring people closer to God?  Or is it to make them angry?  I wonder, because if bringing people closer to God is the goal, these stick-on slogans may be having the opposite effect.

I don’t know of any numbers.  I haven’t conducted any sociological surveys.  But every time I see “Got Jesus?  It’s hell without him,” or “Have you read my #1 best seller? There’ll be a test.  — God ,” I think: Would Christians say these things to someone’s face?  I hope not.  So why do they slap these messages on their cars, where they can invade other drivers’ lives?  Is that really “speaking the truth in love”?

Even though “His pain, our gain” is less offensive, it is so cheesy that the cheese may impair whatever epiphany it was supposed to bring.

And have you thought about how your driving might not be consistent with the Christ-like demeanor your bumper-stickers imply that you have?  I cuss and pray to God every time a mini-van with a Jesus-fish cuts me off.

Bumper-stickers in religion are like bumper-stickers in politics.  For the most part, they are not messages of love, but are propaganda.  They get people fired-up who already agree with you, but they put up a barrier between you and the people you think you are reaching.  They’re not a bad idea in theory, but they end up being a bad idea in practice.

Check out some other awesomely bad examples.

I praise God that He is bigger, more powerful, and more loving than us, even in our feeble attempts at serving Him.