That’s where Paul found himself. But God refused to leave him there. And so, deep in the dark night of the soul, with prison shackles on his wrists and his ankles, the apostle made a life-changing discovery: “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” And I’m here to tell you that, because the Spirit of the Lord is in this place, we are free.
Must we choose between belief-less Christianity and fundamentalism?
John Shuck is a Presbyterian pastor in good standing who doesn’t believe a single thing you learned in Sunday school. In a recent Patheos post, Reverend Shuck issued a list of six affirmations designed to boil the blood of every right-thinking American:
- Religion is a human construct
- The symbols of faith are products of human cultural evolution
- Jesus may have been an historical figure, but most of what we know about him is in the form of legend
- God is a symbol of myth-making and not credible as a supernatural being or force
- The Bible is a human product as opposed to special revelation from a divine being
- Human consciousness is the result of natural selection, so there’s no afterlife
You may be wondering why, having jettisoned God, Jesus, the Bible and heaven, Rev. Shuck still wants to play church. What’s the point? (more…)
American slavery Hollywood style
By Alan Bean
Dexter Gabriel thinks Americans have a hard time conducting a public discussion on the subject of slavery, so we ask Hollywood to address the subject on our behalf. Because most movie-goers are white, however, we get films that never take the subject further or deeper than white America is willing to go.
Consider the fact that, prior to the 1960s, depictions of slavery in American cinema were unabashedly positive. Now that tells you something about the white American psyche!
This year, two high-profile Hollywood films, ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Django Unchained’, address the slavery issue in ways which, predictably, leave America looking pretty damn good. At least we have advanced from the days when slavery was rendered positively, but Gabriel thinks we’ve got a long way to go.
This analysis is pretty much on target. There are plenty of objective scholarly treatments of slavery, of course, but they are generally read by scholars and a handful of justice activists. If you want the non-Hollywood take on slavery check out this piece in Colorlines. (more…)