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Category: Fundamentalist

Where God Fills All Things

I’ve been reading biblical genealogies: Genesis 5, 10, 11, 22, 25, 36, and 46; Numbers 3 and 26; Ruth 4; Matthew 1; Luke 3.

I’ve noticed a pattern.

It’s a line. A man penetrates a woman (usually unnamed), and another man emerges, grows up, and goes on to penetrate another woman. Another man emerges –

Each son is a new man, and in a certain sense, a replacement for the man who came before.

I see a similar pattern in the rise and fall of civilizations, as illustrated in Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

I see a similar pattern in much of white, American Christianity, and I think it is because we do not believe in resurrection.

Christianity without resurrection isn’t just focused on the death of Jesus. Christianity without resurrection requires death. Any religion requiring death brings death.

In order to survive, Christianity without resurrection needs for its “competition” to be utterly annihilated (or erased through conversion and assimilation). Christianity without resurrection seeks the end of the world so that it might escape the world. Christianity without resurrection functions on earth as a system of violation, of oppression, of destruction, and of murder.

This pattern is the pattern of human history, and we find that this is an ancient pattern, present in all our systems, evident even in creation. But this is not the only pattern.

Each morning the sun penetrates our world, breaking into our consciousness as it rises above the eastern horizon. Each evening the sun penetrates the underworld, sinking down through the western horizon, leaving behind – at least for a time – its gentle afterglow. Every day, it is the same sun.

God also rises and sinks, penetrating both what is above as well as what is below.

“Therefore it is said,

“‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.’

“(When it says, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)”

I’ve read that last line several times. If God fills all things, then God doesn’t need to delete anything in order for there to be space enough for God. The very existence of God disrupts our efforts to conquer and vanquish.

God even interrupts human genealogies. God penetrates a woman’s womb. God emerges from the same womb.

This, then, must be why it is that the Roman centurion – a living representative of the empire that has penetrated the Promised Land – is also the eyewitness as darkness comes over the whole land. As the sun’s light fails. As the curtain of the temple is torn in two.

God breaks into the world. God also breaks out. And God returns: in the garden, in the upper room, on the road to Emmaus, on a beach cooking fish over charcoals.

The line of domination is broken. And we are called, not to destroy hell, but to break in. We are seeds, nurtured in the belly of the earth, growing up into trees large enough that the birds of the air might come and make nests in our branches.

Then, as the morning sun penetrates our world from the eastern horizon and slowly but surely climbs the sky, all people might gather together beneath our branches, where God fills all things.

Make Noise

Recently found a gem of a book called What’s Wrong with the Dance? (1935). The writer, John R. Rice, identifies himself as a fundamentalist. Here are some quotations for your edification (or entertainment):

When David danced, he leaped and praised God. But there wasn’t any embracing of the opposite sex.

If there ever was in a community some low down, dirty rake who would seduce any girl and lead her to hell, he went to a dance. Nobody will deny that.

You are not with the crowd that is going to heaven when you go to the dance.

Drunken dancers always make a noise.

What is there about the dance that makes people want to pull off their clothes? What is there about the dance that changed the habits of dress of women? Women don’t wear corsets any more to dances. Corset manufacturers agree that they have been practically put out of business by the influence of the rotten dance.

Sisters, you bunch of hens, you who have been carrying on these dances in your homes, don’t open your chops. You have paved the way for lewdness, trained boys and girls in it. You put the dance on in the public school. You are guilty in God Almighty’s sight. The lewdness will curse Dallas in the Texas Centennial. You are partners in it. You are as guilty as hell!

I am going to drive the dance out of the schools in two or three or four years or five. I give you fair warning, you bunch of hens, who would make prostitutes out of my daughters.

The immodesty, the promiscuity, the jealousy created by the dance bring thousands of divorces.

Murder goes with the modern dance. Why? Because a man that kills his wife is a man who doesn’t trust her, despises her, believes her untrue. Remember, now, the breakdown of every instinct of morality and righteousness goes on when the modern dance goes on, and murder follows.

Drunken dancers always make a noise.

Warning Signs

The warning signs are everywhere:

Conservative Christian author and historian David Barton claims that the American Civil Liberties Union has openly declared war against the country’s faith-based history and moral foundation. In a short video, explaining the problem, Barton makes it clear that an attack on Jesus is an attack on America.

Conservative Christian publisher Joseph Farah writes that believers are in trouble: “The attacks on Christianity in America are alarming. We are witnessing more than religious bigotry now. We are entering the early stages of what could become persecution and outright criminalization of Christianity if it is not exposed and fought vigorously by all freedom-loving people.”

Speaking of the increasing role played by public schools in shaping the moral beliefs of American students, conservative Christian educator Marc A. Fey reports that the modern welfare state threatens democracy itself.
Conservative Christian Ken Ham writes in his blog that the opening of Kentucky’s Creation Museum helps to defend the Christian faith against the onslaught of secular humanism.

Conservative Christians believe that their faith is under attack, that there is an ongoing ideological battle in America that could erupt any day in all-out warfare.

But these aren’t sandwich-sign-carrying crackpots, declaring the end of the world. Barton is the founder of WallBuilders, “an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes.” Farah founded and edits WorldNetDaily, a leading Internet news site. Fey helps shape education policy at Focus on the Family. Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, speaks around the world, defending the concepts of creation science.
We live in a violent world where peoples and nations respond to perceived threats, not with equal force, but with crushing force. That’s why Americans should be very afraid, not of the Russians or Iran or Al-Qaeda, but of conservative Christians.

Let me explain.

The Russians are not a real threat. Vladimir Putin has publicly expressed concern over U.S. plans to place nuclear missiles in Eastern Europe, but he has offered a compromise and has welcomed continued negotiations. His real concern is the maintenance of his position, which requires that he ensure basic levels of safety and health for Russian citizens.

Iran is not a real threat. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may very well be a madman. But it appears that his efforts toward nuclear proliferation as well as his public statements about the country of Israel have been designed for the sole purpose of establishing Iran as a world power, worthy of attention and influence. Obliterating the U.S. accomplishes nothing for Ahmadinejad.

Al-Qaeda is not a real threat. Osama bin Laden simply wants the U.S. and other foreign countries to get out of the Middle East. His organization exists for the sole purpose of removing all foreign influence from Muslim countries.
He doesn’t care if we live or die.

What, then, is the real threat?

Until the 1980s, America’s conservative Christians were generally isolated from American culture, occasionally speaking out against the social gospel, Catholics, civil rights, feminists, rock music, and Communism. The New Christian Right, founded by Jerry Falwell in 1979, brought conservative Christians out of their congregations and into the public arena, eventually leading to the Christian Coalition, the Moral Majority, and other major lobbying groups.

And although conservative Christians rant against atheists, evolutionists, Communists, feminists, humanists, anarchists, the ACLU, activist judges, public schools, Hollywood, and others. They have only one enemy – liberals – and they believe they are under attack. What this means for our future, I cannot say. But I do know one thing: as a Christian with liberal views, I am afraid.

Conservative Christians believe that their faith is under attack, that there is an ongoing ideological battle in America that could erupt any day in all-out warfare.

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