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Johnnie Moore is the author of Dirty God (#DirtyGod). He is a professor of religion and vice president at Liberty University. Keep track of him @johnnieM . Johnnie thinks that Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture. He thinks that despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God. Matt Steen and I discuss the book and the concept in this short video. dirty dirty god

Watch Jesus was a Dirty, Dirty God now…

From the CNN article: Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture. You know the image. It’s the one where Jesus is walking like he’s floating in robes of pristine white followed by birds singing some holy little ditty. He’s polished, manicured, and clearly – God. But despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God. He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall. To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem. What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two. Someone said, “You mean that Jesus might have had severe diarrhea?” “Yep,” I replied, “That’s exactly what I mean.” It seems like an obvious statement if you believe that Jesus was “fully God” and “fully man” (as most evangelicals believe and call the Incarnation), but to some of us it seems in the least, inappropriate, and at the most, sacrilege, to imagine Jesus in this way. We might believe that God was also man, but we picture him with an ever-present halo over his head. But, actually, the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think. I call this the dirty side of Jesus. He was grittier, and a lot more like us than maybe we believe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many thousands of people followed him so quickly. They could relate to him.  

According to CNN, Washington’s National Cathedral is set to bless and wed same-sex couples: When laws went into effect in three states for same-sex couples to marry, many were quick to line up at their city halls to exchange vows. Now they may do so in one of the nation’s most prominent churches – the Washington National Cathedral. Most Americans know the house of God, also called the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, as a place where sacred rites are carried out on behalf of the nation. It has been host to the funerals of numerous presidents and of inaugural prayer services for four presidents, including Barack Obama. But it is also an active house of worship in the Episcopalian Church, said the Cathedral’s dean, Gary Hall. The denomination has developed a blessing rite that mirrors current wedding ceremonies for heterosexual couples and allows each bishop to decide to allow same-sex marriages in their churches or not. Bishop Mariann Budde decided to allow the rite, since same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia and now in neighboring Maryland as well, Hall said. It was Budde’s decision that led Hall to create the same-sex rite. He sees it as “another historic step toward greater equality.” The states of Washington, Maine and Maryland all legalized same-sex marriages in referendums during the 2012 general election. It was already legal in the nation’s capital. // Read the whole story here… Thoughts?
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OK… see if this intro does not make you want to read the whole article: Andy Stanley walked into his pastor’s office, filled with dread. The minister sat in a massive chair behind an enormous desk. He spread his arms across the desk as if he were bracing for battle. His secretary scurried out of the office when she saw Andy coming. The pastor had baptized Andy when he was 6, and groomed him to be his successor. But a private trauma had gone public. And Andy felt compelled to speak. The minister stared in silence as Andy gave him the news. The “unspoken dream” both men shared was over. After Andy finished, the pastor looked at him as tears welled up. “Andy,” he said, “you have joined my enemies, and I’m your father.” In this exclusive CNN article, Andy and Charles share what really happened when Andy quit First Baptist Atlanta and started North Point Ministries. It’s a pretty inside and open look at two of America’s more popular preachers. You can read it all here. I’d love to hear your first impressions after reading it.  Please leave a comment. Todd

Franklin Graham on CNN election night:
“If we are allowed to go down this road in the path that this president wants us to go down, I think it will be to our peril and to the destruction of this nation.”
Do you agree, or do you think this is an overstatement? Regardless of the election results, is America’s ‘peril and destruction’ imminent? Your thoughts? More here… Todd

We’re all heard it before:  “I consider myself spiritual, but not religious.” Alan Miller says that’s a copout.  Check this out… posted over at CNN’s religion blog: Christianity has been interwoven and seminal in Western history and culture. As Harold Bloom pointed out in his book on the King James Bible, everything from the visual arts, to Bach and our canon of literature generally would not be possible without this enormously important work. Indeed, it was through the desire to know and read the Bible that reading became a reality for the masses – an entirely radical moment that had enormous consequences for humanity. Moreover, the spiritual but not religious reflect the “me” generation of self-obsessed, truth-is-whatever-you-feel-it-to-be thinking, where big, historic, demanding institutions that have expectations about behavior, attitudes and observance and rules are jettisoned yet nothing positive is put in replacement. The idea of sin has always been accompanied by the sense of what one could do to improve oneself and impact the world. Yet the spiritual-but-not-religious outlook sees the human as one that simply wants to experience “nice things” and “feel better.” There is little of transformation here and nothing that points to any kind of project that can inspire or transform us. At the heart of the spiritual but not religious attitude is an unwillingness to take a real position. Influenced by the contribution of modern science, there is a reluctance to advocate a literalist translation of the world. But these people will not abandon their affiliation to the sense that there is “something out there,” so they do not go along with a rationalist and materialistic explanation of the world, in which humans are responsible to themselves and one another for their actions – and for the future. Theirs is a world of fence-sitting, not-knowingess, but not-trying-ness either. Take a stand, I say. Which one is it? A belief in God and Scripture or a commitment to the Enlightenment ideal of human-based knowledge, reason and action? Being spiritual but not religious avoids having to think too hard about having to decide. // More here… Thoughts? Todd

Joel and Victoria Osteen appears tonight on the new Piers Morgan show, and Joel was asked point-blank about his views on homosexuality.  CNN provided a clip (below) of the interview. Take a look: OK… what did you think of what Joel said? On a scale of 1 – 10; one being a massive failure; and ten being a huge win, what score would you give Joel on this one. Before you answer… think about how you would answer… off the cuff… in front of cameras and a million people or so… and after the drill down four or five times by an interviewer? Good or bad performance?  I’d love hear what YOU think… Todd

A defiant Christian Singer Jennifer Knapp takes on a pastor of last week’s Larry King Live… Watch the video, then let’s discuss: First of all, while I do think that homosexuality, biblically, is a sin, I think Jennifer makes a couple of good points: 1.  She is correct when she asks why this one sin is chosen to debate.  Homosexuality is the big taboo sin in Christian culture these days.  I’m not saying that is a bad thing; but it is seen as a much greater sin than any number of other sins combined:  lying, cheating, divorce, living together before marriage, guttony, gossip.  Many of these are tolerated.  We very seldom ask the glutton or the gossip to turn from their sinful ways.  We just assign them to a different committee. 2.  She does, I think, have a point against the pastor.  He is not her pastor.  He does not have the power/privelege of speaking into her life; privately or on national television. That said, 1.  Jennifer cannot condone her sin by saying that other people who sin are getting a free pass.  It might be true, but it doesn’t allow her to play the ‘they’re sinning so I can sin’ card. 2.  Unfortunately, Jennifer has (as have many other gay christians) found a spiritual leader that has said that homosexuality is acceptable under scripture. This is not the first time that a Christian singer has come out of the closet.  Ray Boltz came out a few years ago (no one ever say that one coming!).  Kirk Talley shocked Southern Gospel fans with a scandal a few years back as well.  I’m sure there are others that will happen in the future. How will/are you responding to Jennifer’s announcement?  Will you buy her album (if you’re a fan?)  Will you continue to use her music in your services?  Would you attend her concert?  Would you have her sing in your church? And what do you make of her defiant attitude on Larry King?  Justified or not? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Todd