Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Are We Rich Yet?

I found an old newspaper clipping from 1999 about Suze Orman promoting her book The Courage To Be Rich at New York's Trinity Church, just one block from Wall Street. Orman promoted the power of mind over money, mixing positive thinking, some common sense get out of debt advice and a smattering of spirituality to make millions telling others how to get rich.
A year later a new self -help manual would top the NY Times Bestseller List, The Prayer of Jabez, prescribing one month of prayer to become successful. Soon you could buy "Prayer of Jabez" key chains, mugs, backpacks, Christmas ornaments, scented candles, mouse pads, and jewelry. The prayer certainly made its author Bruce Wilkinson rich.
That same year, George W. Bush would be elected/appointed president, mixing a more lethal brand of self-righteous spiritual-neocon snake oil. With a Born Again President and Christian Capitalists like Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, Billy Joe Daugherty, Creflo DollarBenny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Rod Parsley, Peter Popoff, Pat Robertson,  Robert Tilton all preaching the Gospel of Prosperity to millions of free enterprising Americans, who would have thought that the US would be the epicenter of the current economic near collapse.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nerds of the World Unite!

When I taught in a San Francisco Public High School back in the 20th Century, the kids all self-segregated. African Americans, Latinos, Pilipinos, and Samoans all had their territories during lunch. The few white students often ate in classrooms with the teachers. However, there was one small table in an isolated area of the courtyard that was multi-ethnic, and that was the table of the NERDS, my kind of people!

Friday, June 19, 2009

End Daze

One of the advantages of having multiple messy kids is that customs officials and Jehovah's Witnesses will cut you some slack.
A nice pair of Jehavah's Witnesses gave me this tract- rather than spend ten minutes describing the End of Days- because they had to avoid my kids' stampede down the front steps on the way to the library to enlist in the summer reading program.
It's a shame the citizens of Iraq or Iran aren't Jehovah's Witnesses who won't join the military or meddle in politics. The world is ending sometime soon, and after some unpleasantness we will have people, moose, lions and lambs all lying down together and having nice afternoons together.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today's Bible Readings

Exodus 31:12-15
12 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death

Of course there are exceptions to the kill anyone who works on the Sabbath rule like Rick Warren, Joyce Meyer, your local minister or neighborhood firefighter. Blogging probably isn't allowed, but then I'm not allowed to blog at work either.

Other capital offenses include homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13) being a wizard (Leviticus 20:27) cursing your mother or father (Exodus 21:17/Leviticus 20:9) and seeing your relatives naked...

Leviticus 18

7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness. 9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. 10 The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. 11 The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman. 13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman. 14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. 15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness. 17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness. 18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.

So remember to knock before you open the bathroom door and happy stoning!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

R. Crumb's GENESIS Project

The June 15th edition of the New Yorker features an excerpt of Robert Crumb's faithful-and therefore adult themed-comic book adaptation of the Book of Genesis. 
In Crumb's versionyou can see how God creates light on the first day, water and the heavens on the second day, dry land and plants on the third, then finally gets around to creating the sun  on the fourth day. Since a day is the time it takes the Earth to travel around the sun, the first three days in Genesis weren't "days" in the 24 hour sense. This is a critical thinking sticking point for literalists wishing to teach creationism in science classes.
Crumb also includes both versions of the creation of humans. In the first chapter, God seems to create both Adam and Eve at the same time. In the second chapter, God forms man out of dirt, then has Adam meet and name all the animals in the garden.  After finding no fitting helper, God casts a deep sleep on Adam, removes his rib, and magically transforms the rib into Eve. While the story is as interesting as any other creation myth, it won't do much to advance science or Christianity if required reading in biology classes.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Test Your Bible Knowledge

1. Can a human see the face of God and survive?
A. Yes, for "The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." (Exodus 33:20)
B. No, for "The Lord said, 'Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." (Exodus 33:20)

2. Who inspired King David's Census?
A. The Lord (2 Samuel 24:1)
B. Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1)

3. How many sons did Saul's daughter Michal have?
A. "Michal the daughter of Saul had no children unto the day of her death." (2 Samuel 6:23)
B. "The five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel..." (2 Samuel 21:8)

4. Where Was Jesus Born?
A. In a house in Bethlehem (Matt 2: 1,11)
B. In a manger in Bethlehem (Luke 2:7)
C. In Galilee, not Bethlehem (John 7:41-42)

5. How many generations were born between Jesus and King David?
A. 28 (Matt 1:1-17)
B. 41 (Luke 3: 23-31)

6. What is the name of Jesus's paternal grandfather?
A. Heli (Luke 3:23)
B. Jacob (Matt1:16)

7. How did Judas die?
A. Hanged himself (Matt 27: 3-5)
B. Fell "and all his bowels gushed out" (Acts 1:18)

8. What were Jesus's last words on the cross?
A. "It is finished." (John 19:30)
B. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46)
C. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46)

9. When was Jesus crucified? 
A. "And it was the third hour, and they crucified him." (Mark 15:25)
B. "...about the sixth hour..." (John 19:14)

10. Who was found in Jesus's empty tomb?
A. An angel of the Lord whos "countenance was like lightning, and his rainment as white as snow." (Matt 28:3)
B. A young man in a white robe (Mark 16:5)
C. Two men in shining garments (Luke 24:4)

Answers: They are all correct, and all literally true. Pay no attention to the seeming contradictions. Obviously I or someone like me copied the information down wrong.

What would Jesus put on his bumper? Part 1

I saw the bumpersticker above on a pickup truck last week. Another angry white male outraged over lazy poor people living the good life on welfare. I thought of different variations, like WORK HARDER: Dozens of CEOs need millions, or WORK HARDER millions in prison depend on you. I thought about a bumper sticker proclaiming"Blessed are the Poor" but remembered it's the Poor in Spirit. This sent me back to the bible, where I found...

Mark 10:21 ... go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

...but that's a bit wordy. There's also the great line about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven, but that's not bumper sticker material either. Maybe Jesus would simply take the bus.