Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus

Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus

At 10,587,270 views at 11 pm on only the fifth day since it was posted, the “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” YouTube video can officially be dubbed viral.

It’s amazing to me that 685 words with the right video editing and some perfectly timed musical swells can attract such a flash flood of attention. The entire video lasts but a brief 4 minutes and 4 seconds.

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The Central Thought of Psalms in Four Words

Of all the books of the Bible, none other tops the Hot 100 chart more consistently than Psalms.

The Psalms are inspiring, poignant, prophetic, and personal. They span history, prophecy, and theology in one swoop. They reveal both the height of divine majesty and the depth of human depravity. They’re used for prayer, praise, meditation, and devotion.

But what are they all about?

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The Ineffable Lightness of Being

“Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you for a share of the allotted portion of the saints in the light; who delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”

-Colossians 1:12-13

Your portion as a Christian is “in the light.”

Gothic architecture may have been founded on similar theological notions, but the religious, creative mind of the day, in its attempt to materialize this truth in concrete terms, stripped it of its full import. Beautiful stained glass windows diffracted light into a kaleidoscopic metaphor of God and a whole new genre of religious art flourished. Medieval man’s experience of this ‘lux nova’ was confined to basking in the colorful glow of physical light. The resultant concept was that man could rise to the contemplation of the divine only through the senses- a physical experience of an immaterial abstraction.

The far reaching ripples of this objective or physical experience of God lap upon the shores of modern Christianity.

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Culture in Colossians

“We ought not to suppose that what is divine is like gold or silver or stone, like an engraving of art and thought of man.”

-Acts 17:29

I found these style descriptions on a promo website when the W Hotel in Dallas was under construction. I think they were trying to say that the W appeals to all style dispositions, no matter how your chromosomes are wired. Obviously they have made selective reductions in the style spectrum. Which one are you?

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Sonship- an Organic Theology

I wanted to say more about the organic emphasis in what’s termed sonship or adoption. If not in popular theology, at least in the Bible there is a definite emphasis placed on our growth in and experience of God’s life. As amazing as reconciliation is, the Bible itself says that there is something “much more.”

Much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled.  -Romans 5:10

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Begotten of God or Adopted by God?

Psalm 2:7- You are My Son; today I have begotten You.

Since taking a New Testament Greek class, I have been more interested in comparing Bible translations and their underlying Greek text. The Greek language is very expressive and often the nuances of certain words are strained through translation. Which version of the Bible you use makes a big difference, yet most Christians probably couldn’t tell you why they use a certain version.

Henry Alford in the 1800s, working to produce The Greek New Testament, said he labored for the “demolition of the unworthy and pedantic reverence for the received text, which stood in the way of all chance of discovering the genuine word of God.” That may be a harsh critique but it gets the point across.

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That Ubiquitous Bible

In honor of the first week of classes at UT, I’m posting the intro to the Gideon pocket size Bible… that ubiquitous little Bible.

First the pertinent facts: they come slightly larger than an iPhone and in full technicolor. And did you know the colors are significant? I didn’t.

  • Orange: for sidewalk distribution to middle/high school students
  • Green: for college/university students
  • Red: for in-school distribution to Middle/High school students
  • Digital Camouflage/Desert Camouflage: for the military
  • Dark blue: for law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and EMTs
  • White: for medical professionals
  • Light blue: for distribution by the Auxiliary only
  • Brown: personal worker’s testaments (for individual witnessing by Gideons)
  • Periwinkle: personal worker’s testaments (for individual witnessing by the Auxiliary)

On the left are three of my copies, the first of which (red) I got on Oct 13, 1989, complete with dinosaur sticker inside the front cover. But lacking this intro.

If you haven’t ever read this, enjoy!

“The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”

When “Going to Church” was Coming Home

Act 2:46 – And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart

This is a picture of the earliest discovered (231 AD) Christian home that was used for a meeting place. It was discovered in Syria and is called the Dura-Europos house church. The meeting area is on the left and the baptistery is on the right, toward the back.

I found this interesting quote from Spiro Kostof’s A History of Architecture:

“Indicative of a repressed and plebeian movement, the places of worship were exceedingly modest. Centers for the community were set up in remodeled, outwardly inconspicuous houses… To the first generations of believers the church was where the Christians were. The word ecclesia, “church,” signified the community of Christ that had no need for prescribed buildings to proclaim its faith and reaffirm its bonds. The people were the architecture. In the century or so before Constantine the random gathering places of this primitive Christianity slowly began to be formalized, and with the sudden breakthrough of the imperial conversion, the necessity of a monumental built order to project prestige and authority came to be recognized.”