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If:

1. Abortion is immoral

2. Birth control reduces abortions

3. Government mandates that increase the cost of insurance are equivalent to wealth redistribution

4. Wealth redistribution is immoral

5. The government mandate reduces abortion and redistributes wealth

Then:

Opposition to government mandate indicates wealth redistribution is more immoral than abortion, therefore money is of higher value than human life.

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I’d like to take this opportunity to tell my friends and fellow-biblibloggers about a new book I have coming out from Major Evangelical Publisher. A few months ago, MEP contacted me about a book opportunity to continue a series exploring the church life and theology of the Fathers. I must admit, I was surprised that they chose an obscure grad student for the project, but when I confronted them about it they replied, “Who is willing to work cheaper than a grad student?”  Who indeed? After accepting their offer, I got to work right away.  I thought I’d use this blog to provide a preview of the content of the book.  The first chapter focuses on Ignatius of Antioch and examines his three point rhetorical strategy, a strategy that I dare say would remain effective even today.

Step I: Dehumanize

The easiest way to challenge the legitimacy of your opponents is to portray them as somehow subhuman. After all, nobody goes to the zoo for theological advice (except perhaps a “pastor” whose name rhymes with Lark Griscoll who pioneered the quadrant-based flung-monkey-poo method of discernment). Watch as Ignatius elbow drops his opponents with the gospel. His opponents are:

  • “wild animals” and “raving dogs” (Ign. Eph. 7.1)
  • “seemingly trustworthy wolves” (Ign. Phil. 2.2)
  • “beasts in human form” (Ign. Smyr. 4.1)

Step II: Demonize

Once you show that your opponents are subhuman, you really have to prove that they are evil instead of just stupid. Try finding as many ways as possible to associate your opponents with the Devil. Be creative like Ignatius, he said his opponents were:

  • “a weed planted by the Devil” (Ign. Eph. 10.3)
  • “filthy” and they “will depart into the unquenchable fire” (Ign. Eph. 16.2)
  • an “evil offshoot which produces deadly fruit” (Ign. Trall. 11.1)
  • bearers of “the stamp of this world” (Ign. Magn. 5.2)
  • promoters of “evil teachings” (Ign. Eph. 9.1)
  • doomed to become bodiless daimons (Ign. Smyr. 2.1)

Step III: Delegitimize
Finally, find ways to smear your opponents with unpleasant titles, and whenever possible exploit the prejudice of your audience. You can call your opponents names:

  • those who say he only appeared to suffer are “atheists” (Ign. Trall. 10.1)

You can exploit the growing Anti-Judaism in Christianity by characterizing your opponents as:

  • partakers of the “bad yeast” of Judaism (Ign. Magn. 10.2)
  • believers of “old fables” who by living “according to Judaism” “have not received God’s grace.” (Ign. Magn. 8.1)

And you can attack the legitimacy of their worship:

  • Their eucharist is “invalid” without the bishop (Ign. Eph. 5.2; Ign. Smyrn. 8.1)

Obviously the church fathers give us powerful examples of theological reflection, prayer, and worship, but they can also help us deal with divisions in our churches. A quick rhetorical rout can leave your opponents decimated, and bring your church back under your impartial, divinely-appointed control with great speed. Watch for the book to be published later this year, and check the table of contents below to see what other church fathers I mine for that decisive rhetorical victory today’s churches really need.

Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1: Irate Ignatius
  • Chapter 2: Mighty Justin Martyr
  • Chapter 3: Indomitable Irenaeus
  • Chapter 4: Testy Tertullian
  • Chapter 5: Combative Chrysostom
  • Chapter 6: Antagonistic Augustine

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Excommunication Letter

I saw this on failblog and thought you all might enjoy it.

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I had a Facebook interaction that I found so amusing I decided to share with all of you. First, a little background. I went to a semi-conservative undergrad, the sort of place where professors are tolerant of views both more liberal and more conservative than their own but the official positions of the school say all the “right” things. I’m Facebook friends with a former classmate of mine who even then displayed a certain level of mental instability. I recall the stunned and awkward silence as he gave his sermon in our preaching class and used it to suggest that Christians should support the summary execution of any person who engages in homosexual activity. He was one of those people who espouses extreme views, but simultaneously is generally very nice and otherwise pleasant to be around. Even though I know it is futile, from time to time I attempt to comment on his more extreme postings and nudge them back towards some sense of sanity. It was his response to my gentle prodding which is prompting me to write this post. His comment is many things: loony, bizarre, uncharitable, and sad, but above all it is sort of hilarious. This man made a post about how he will enjoy murdering U.N. troops when they come to take over the U.S. for their “One World Tyranny.” I suggested that such an attitude does not correspond to the advice given by Jesus in the Gospels. I reproduce his response in its entirety:

Right, like Jesus Christ Himself [sic] wasn’t a Radical [sic]. Like He didn’t say to “put away you [sic] sword” for later use. Not Get[si..oh nevermind] Rid Of It! Like We Aren’t Supposed To Fight Tyranny And Evil… Dude, Your Social Justice Christianity has your head screwed on wrong. I am Scripturally Sound and your wanna help Pussify The Nation God Gave Us And Turn It Over To The Evil Of EDOM HE HATES. Go Ahead, But Not This Republic. Move To Canada Where Pussification Has Already Taken Hold But Don’t Dare Try To Un-Do The Christian Nation God Has Blessed Me With. Your Liberal B.S. Is Exactly Why Our Troops Get Spat Upon In Airports By Those Claiming To Love Our Country Then Turn Around And Fist Those Of Us With Balls Enough To Defend Her. Perhaps You Don’t Dig My Kind Christianity But At Least My Balls Have Dropped Enough To Be A Good American Hard Core. Time To Grow Up And See It’s Not All About Love And Flowers J.B.[that’s me] … Perhaps It Is That You Just Never Knew Who I Am? I Use Scripture As A Sword… You Must Be An Awfully Protected Guy Not To Have Your Eyes Open To Reality Yet. Grow Up.

Is it wrong that I cracked up reading that?

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In a stunning victory for Christianity, Mark Driscoll has converted Lisa Frank to Christianity and she has joined his Seattle church. Already, the artistic genius of Ms. Frank is making itself visible in the life of Mars Hill Church. In the recently unveiled “Peasant Princess” series found here, Frank’s talents have been put to good use. When asked for comment about Frank’s participation on the Mars Hill team, Mark Driscoll responded, “When I first met Lisa, I wasn’t sure I wanted to preach her the Gospel. After all, Jesus would never carry a Lisa Frank binder. But then the Holy Spirit TV Screen™ kicked on, and the Lord showed me her talent. I thought ‘You know, cute neon woodland creatures would be the perfect thing to go with a discussion of the sexually charged Song of Solomon.” Frank reported being happy with the move. “I’m just so excited. I’ve always wanted to use my art to reach people older than 11.” Truly the angels rejoice.

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A Song For NASCAR Jesus

Words fail me.

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