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14 Responses

  1. RollieB says:

    Oh Man! You’ve hit the core of the toxic Christianity problem! Great piece!

  2. Jack Russell says:

    Haha so we have gone from “toxic masculinity” to “toxic Christianity” are there any more “toxics” we can point the finger at.

    The reality is that no human religious observance, ideology, political movement, philosophy etc can offer real security. So when we describe something as toxic, we show where our affiliation lies and it’s often considered cool in the current climate to equate both religion (apart from Islam of course) and masculinity with evil or how evil is perpetuated.

    Not so “cool” to do the same with that lovely femininity and atheism is it ;).

    On the first part – about the masculine and religious – love the cartoon David – there sure are some idiots out there. I remember one tie sharing in a prayer meeting about loving yourself to then be able to love others. This moron of an elder rebuked me in front of everyone saying he didn’t have time to debate with me about what I mentioned about loving yourself. Haha I’m sure he thought I had the “good old fashioned sin of pride”. Not sure he was quite prepared for my response when I pushed back and said “if you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else!” Hid head dropped and he cowered away. Just goes to show that bullies come in all forms, all bullies are cowards and if you stand up to them they show there true cowardly nature.

    Wondered if you had seen this idiot in action doing this before? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNCoevpt5TE

  3. RollieB says:

    Mr Russell,
    Yes, I believe there is such a thing as toxic (virulent, noxious, deadly, dangerous, harmful, injurious, pernicious) Christianity. I’ve experienced it. I now try to follow the way of unconditional love, of radical hospitality, of loving-kindness, of compassion, of mercy, of speaking truth to power, the way of forgiveness, of reconciliation, and the pursuit of justice. How would you describe the elder you mention in your comment above, other than being a moron?

  4. Jack Russell says:

    RollieB,

    Thanks for your question about describing the elder as a moron. As you know Jesus will have described others as hypocrites, vipers, fools pigs and dogs at times. So if Jesus is the personification of love then it seems not to be inconsistent with love to describe people as such when appropriate doesn’t it?

    I would also describe the elder as someone created in the image of God and not without sin. Just as there is good an evil in me, you and everyone else.

    How would you describe Christianity other than being toxic?

  5. RollieB says:

    As mentioned above: I hear Jesus describing the way of unconditional love, of radical hospitality, of loving-kindness, of compassion, of mercy, of speaking truth to power, the way of forgiveness, of reconciliation, and the pursuit of justice.

  6. Jack Russell says:

    I agree with you about how Jesus described “unconditional love.

    So, just to check that I understand you as you intend, do you perceive this to happen within Christianity as well as the “toxic” elements?

    Also, what is your opinion about using words such as “idiot” or “moron”? In the light of Jesus using similar words, if you object to their use, then why?

  7. RollieB says:

    I’m not sure why you have so much interest in my ‘intent.’ My first post on David’s cartoon was an affirmation of the problem with ego-driven preachers who stand in judgement. Heaven and hell are not places to which one goes. David’s cartoon preacher has no authority over anyone – yet the narrator seems to assume he does. That to me is dangerous, harmful, and potentially injurious (toxic). There is no room for ‘personal salvation’ in my understanding of Jesus’ teaching.

    As to the use of words to marginalize another, I try (often unsuccessfully) to not use them.

    Peace,

  8. Jack Russell says:

    Rollie – just looking to understand and be understood. That’s all – nothing nefarious going on.

    It seems to me that we are all in agreement about ego driven preachers. I agree with you about what you say about heaven and hell not being physical places.

    I am not sure where you stand with regards to unconditional love and the word’s quoted as recorded by Jesus or what you mean by there “no room for ‘personal salvation’” in your understanding of Jesus’ teaching. When I think of the word salvation I think of it in terms of “total well being” at least in part. I get that Jesus’ teaching can be a difficult pill to swallow at times. The bit about having to lose your life in order to have life and holding onto your life resulting in losing it is not easy to hear. On the other hand it is no fool who give up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.

    I think anyone who is a decent kind of person and knows what it is like to be marginalised wouldn’t want to do that to someone else. Although I have to say – there are people I would choose not to be in a room with if at all possible.

    Good to chat with you :).

  9. RollieB says:

    Jack – Regarding personal salvation: This gets us to the topic of atonement theory. I reject the requirement of a payment to the creator of all things for any shortcoming we exhibit. The notion that you must be ‘saved’ to experience eternal life with ‘God’ simply doesn’t make sense to me. Any religion that promises you a better life in the next life is robbing you of the life you are now living.

    Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” helped me sort through some of my thoughts. I don’t have any trouble with any quotes attributed to Jesus. I don’t think of them as “a difficult pill to swallow.” I do not take them literally. I receive them, as Joseph Campbell explains, as the Christian Myth (story). – the Bible being a collection of stories about trying to understanding the human concept of ‘God.’

    Regarding

  10. Jack Russell says:

    Rollie, I too have issues with atonement theory but I don’t see the link you are making with Jesus’ teaching on salvation with that.

    I see the salvation process as part coming to an awareness of what you already are, created in the image of God or what some may call being born of the Spirit and given the gift of faith. Then becoming more like God through a process and also having hope for life after death.

    So my understanding of giving up your life in order to have life is in letting go of and grieving the loss of things in your life that you have and have maybe even been beneficial for you for a while but are hindering you having life in its fullest.

    If we treat the bible is a collection of stories about trying to understand God and doesn’t have any direct relevance to or influence on our lives then that significantly reduces the relevance we let it have to our lives.

    Love gives us the freedom to choose what we do with that and with choice comes the responsibility for the outcomes with the consequences of choices.

  11. RollieB says:

    Jack, “…I don’t see the link you are making with Jesus’ teaching on salvation…” That’s because I didn’t make any. I don’t recall attempting to make said link. I also see “giving up your life” as surrendering one’s ego for harmony with God. I also did not say scripture is irrelevant nor non-influential. Unconditional love is simply living ones life as it’s designed to be lived. When we do that, as best we can, there’s no worry about consequences.

    Pax

  12. Jack Russell says:

    Rollie you wrote “Regarding personal salvation: This gets us to the topic of atonement theory.” Earlier you wrote “There is no room for ‘personal salvation’ in my understanding of Jesus’ teaching.” Either I have not understood you as you intend or you have not communicated your intention well. By saying there is no room for “personal salvation” in your understanding of Jesus’ teaching and then claiming that personal salvation gets us to the topic of atonement theory – what was it that you were wanting to say if not making a link between atonement theory and salvation? And what were you referring to with there not being room for “personal salvation” in Jesus’ teaching?

    I don’t have any problem with what you perceive with giving up your life as surrendering ego for harmony with God. I perceive what you have said about that to be complimentary with letting go of things in life that are hindering having life in the fullest. I agree in principle with what you say about living live as it is designed. For it to be designed implies there is a designer and to be in the image of God to be created and seen as being good meaning that in your truest sense of who you are, you are good and if that is brought to the for you can’t help but do good – it being like breathing,

    I’m not sure where you are coming from with saying you did not say scripture is not relevant or non-influential. If all it is about stories to understand God alone – to study God but not to have any direct relevance or influence in our lives then that’s theology without applying theology. I heard someone say once that theology is useless unless it is applied. Some people lump bad theology in with good theology and perceive all theology as bad or diminish it with “this is not just theology”. To my mind applying theology is what we are doing with this conversation i.e. talking about what it means to lose life in order to have life and life in its fullest.

    Isn’t that consistent with “spiritual freedom?”

  13. RollieB says:

    Let’s chalk up this back and forth to my poor communications skills. I don’t have the time to write a 1000 word explanation. Nice chatting with you.

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