Archive for November, 2010

Crossed Out zine

Posted: November 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

I am working on a new zine. I’ve unaffectionately named it Crossed Out, because it’s about my experiences of growing up in a fundamentalist church. It’s darker than I had intended, but once I really taped into what I was feeling, an unexpected dark side emerged. Also, this last week I had a terribly long overdue conversation with my parents about religion that ended sourly. So this was the week to finish the zine, and this week is soaked in sour.

I’ll try to post it as soon as I can. If you want to order a hard copy (for donation), send me an email at…    busyrusty@gmail.com

Advertisements

Posted: November 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

Fundamentalism ≠ Fun

Posted: November 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

This is post that I just wrote in a thread on the Jesus Radicals forum about interpreting the bible. I took a while writing it because it’s THE question that is asked constantly of those proposing a radical, or even just an appropriate, way of thinking about Christianity…

 

Fundamentalism has a very specific history. Much of what is called fundamentalism now has it’s roots in the original movement, but is flavored with a few more spices, like the ‘neo-orthodoxy’ mentioned in a previous reply, Pentecostalism-style belief systems that value direct revelation as a legitimate source. My understanding is that the original ‘fundamentalists’ were in fact reacting to this kind of liberal ‘personal interpretation’ just as much as Luther was doing the opposite centuries before.

Fundamentalism was a reaction to the liberal theology of the early part of this century. Many huge changes in the modern worldview had taken place over the last few centuries, from Galileo’s cosmology which contradicted the biblical ‘cosmology,’ to advances in archeology which found the earth’s geological processes were exceedingly slow (which discounts a literal interpretation of Genesis), and which would later mesh with Darwin’s theory of evolution. These changes in the modern worldview led to many changes in the hermeneutics of biblical scholarship. Fundamentalism was a reaction to these changes in general and to Higher Criticism specifically. Higher Criticism, or historical-critical method of hermeneutics, introduced the church to a new way of looking at the bible, taking into account the ‘context’ of the material, for example: who wrote the text, what other literature was being written in that time, the culture in which the text was written, etc. This is essentially how we all interpret the bible these days, even the “fundamentalists” to some extent. But the original strands of the Fundamentalist movement were a specific reaction to this type of thinking.
The Fundamentals were specifically the following:

* The inerrancy of the Bible
* The literal nature of the Biblical accounts, especially regarding Christ’s miracles, and the Creation account in Genesis.
* The Virgin Birth of Christ
* The bodily resurrection of Christ
* The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross

A series of pamphlets called “The Fundamentals” were published between 1910 and 1915 expanding on these undeniable doctrines.
But this was not the dominant thinking of the time, it was “militantly opposition” as some historians have called it, to the cultural changes taking place in modernity.

Biblical contradiction does not mean that two things can not possibly be reconciled. It means that two or more people wrote opposing things in two opposing time periods. The job of the theologian is to figure out what they were each trying to say and how it is relevant now. For example, when David was writing Psalm 23 he was having a good day. There was no war going on, things were good, the sky was blue and the sheep were safe. Yet when the author of Joshua was writing about killing the enemies and their horses, we have to wonder what they were thinking. These two passages are undeniable contradicting images of God, yet the authors are coming from two completely different places. The question still remains whether God as torturer and murderer is ever a valid image!

Pigmalia said it well, “We should be careful in judging the experience of others, we don’t know what it was like to live in their world at that time. All we can do is try and understand what they were trying to communicate, and as we find what is good in it, make it our own.”

One more comment:
WeAreLegion says: “I think what it comes down to is you’re toying with the notion of “Jesus is the only way, but people call Jesus by many names”. This is more of an eastern notion and good biblical exegesis wouldn’t begin with an eastern premise and then interpret the Bible.”

The Bible is a book from the east. The hole the church has dug itself into is that we have tried to start with a Western enlightenment-based premise of exegesis. Of course Jesus was the only way according to the early church. Look what the other options were. But I bet Paul would get his Buddha on if he had the chance : )

alcohol and dudes like me

Posted: November 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

I am hungover. I had a bad night. A good night gone wrong. It was fun til I started making stupid decisions, influenced by the inhumane amounts of alcohol that I let steep in my liver all night. As much fun as stupid decisions can be (when they don’t hurt anyone else), I am kind of starting to think that Four Loko is a stupid decision that I don’t want to make anymore. I guess the FDA has beat me to it anyway.

It’s fun to be drunk, and to party. But there comes a point when the lack of mindfulness that alcohol breeds can be really harmful, not just to myself, but to others. Only once and a while do I get drunk enough, and mindless enough to let the ‘dude’ out in me. As a feminist, I can talk all day about patriarchy and oppression, about consent and boundaries, friendship and community. Yet when my mind has been taken over by the booze monster, words don’t mean shit. I still have morals and principles, but I am often just not thinking clearly enough to enact those principles. It’s tricky, because it’s not as though I am ‘making bad decisions,’ or ‘making good decisions,’ or ‘making’ any decisions. I am drunk. I am not thinking about what I am doing. That’s what is scary. Like I said, I don’t get to that point very often. It’s not a chronic thing; it’s actually pretty rare. It happens when I drink a LOT. So I have made a decision to not drink a LOT anymore. I don’t want to get to a point where I loose all sense of responsibility, and totally disorient my moral compass. I’m purposefully being really vague cause I don’t want to write about other people’s personal stuff online… Sorry friends, the booze monster won’t be coming out anymore.

There was a recent explosion of unintended debate about sexism on Twitter and Gabby’s Playhouse that ended (or was capped off) by the witty and right-on comic response below. I share in the discouragement expressed in this comic that dudes, even (and often especially) nice dudes that claim to be  feminists, just don’t get it (or can’t admit it) when they are being sexist. I’ve seen it a million times.

I have always been friends with almost exclusively girls, and have heard the bullshit that they inevitably deal with, and I have “experienced” it to some extent being that I take it personally when comments are made about my best friends or lovers, and in that I often am the one getting shut down for “over-reacting” just like my feminist sisters are so used to.  Comics and zines have actually been an incredibly insightful avenue into the secrets of sexism,  of the things girls don’t say outloud, or only think in retrospect. Doris zines in particular have helped me better understand and be accountable for my own shit as a male-passing person. Anyway, this comic makes me love Gabby even more (but that doesn’t mean I want to fuck, read on…)

Oh also, a quick shout out to Paint It Black for up-ing the grrrl bands at Fest this weekend in Gainesville, FL. Dan (the really scary looking, huge, buff singer dude) was wearing a Bikini Kill shirt and made a point to stick it to the Fest for not having more grrrl bands, a sentiment I’ve heard expressed this year a lot, especially as a couple awesome grrrl bands from Gainesville didn’t make the cut, even when hundreds of out-of-town dude bands did. Anyway, am I over-reacting again? On to the comic…