Fatal Distraction.

This past week, this post has been circulating around the more evangelical corners of the interwebs.

While I understand the desire to focus on holy week (trust me, liturgical seasons are big in the Anderson household), I think it’s complete BS. For those of you who didn’t read the post, it essentially says that the “paint the internet red” campaign by HRC is Satan’s way of distracting us from holy week.

Seriously? That is some of the most transparent BS I’ve seen ever since the “women’s bodies can stop unwanted pregnancy from happening” thing occurred a few months ago. I shouldn’t need to write a post on this. But yet, here I am.

Try to stop me from talking. I dare you. DENIKA NEVER STOPS TALKING.

This whole thing seems like a not-so-clever ploy for conservative Christians to not have to deal with the world that is changing around them. A massive social movement of solidarity with the GLBT community has swept the internet; marriage equality is a-comin’, and they don’t know how to deal with it. So, they either fight back (enter Pat Robertson & co.), or they try to write it off as a “distraction,” and so they don’t have to deal with it–in fact, it would be better if they ignored it completely so as to not give in to Satan’s temptations.

But let’s back up a bit. 2000 years or so. There was a man wandering around Galilee with a ragtag group of the not-so-elites, the working class, the terminally ill, the unclean, the outcasts, the sinners, the unloved. He talked about some crazy ideas like unconditional love and self-sacrifice and radical inclusiveness. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, touched the untouchable, loved the unlovable.

But the people in charge didn’t like this. They had a system that had been working for hundreds of years. They didn’t want to change, because they liked the way things were.

But they let him play around for a while. At first, he was just another crazy person in a sea of misfits. Soon, though, he started to have too much influence. A movement was rising like a tidal wave, imminently bound to crash over their perfect little world. He was too strong.

So they killed him.

But this man, the man who was love embodied, wasn’t going to let that be the end of the story. Death only held him back for a weekend–I’ve had colds that have kept me out of commission for longer. He rose again, stating once and for all that love is stronger than anything else, even death.

That, dear friends, is what we celebrate today. That is what holy week is about.

And I dare say, if Jesus were on earth today, his facebook profile picture would have looked a little something like this last week:

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This campaign was not a distraction from holy week. Actually, I think it was one of the most well-timed social campaigns I’ve ever seen.

In the week when we remember his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus would not want us to ignore what is happening in the world around us. Not once did he put on blinders to the social situations surrounding him; neither should we. I believe this has been a call for us as people who follow Christ to rethink our systems, to see where we have tried to impose an archaic and oppressive set of social standards on a world that no longer fits within them, and to be advocates for those who are still fighting for rights that most of us take for granted.

Jesus didn’t die for your sins. Jesus lived to show us how to be beacons for God’s love on this planet. That’s what holy week is about.

So today, as we celebrate the blessed life of Jesus, the one who was love embodied, let us take a good look around us and see where we perpetuate injustice. Let us stand for the people Jesus stood for. Let us pour ourselves out so that others might be filled.

For Christ’s sake, let us be love.

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God in the Garden

Hey all. I know it’s been ages since I last wrote–school and a significant health issue have eaten up all my free time, and then some. I’m back, but only sort of. Today, I’m posting a section from a paper I just wrote concerning the Trinity. Since I’m not a huge fan of classical theology, and I bet a lot of you aren’t either, I decided to give you a taste of a different understanding of the Trinity. Enjoy!

As a person who has a deep theological persuasion towards connection to the created world, it seems rather natural (at least to me) that my understanding of the Trinity would utilize an agricultural metaphor. Instead of using terms like “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit,” which I find to be somewhat restricting, arcane, and oppressive, I have chosen the terms “Creator,” “Gardener,” and “Harvester,” respectively. One may think of the plant being tended by this Trinity as many things, from the broad—all life—to the specific—a given individual or, perhaps (for the purposes of this response), congregation. I will address them in this order based on functional chronological process, not any form of hierarchy or preference.

The first of these, the Creator, is the one who builds the environment in which life may flourish. In this metaphor, the Creator articulates the rhythms of the Sun and Moon, sets in motion the patterns of the weather, providing essential sunshine, rain, temperature, and the like, and tills the soil and fills it with nutrients. Though one could make these claims literally of God, I intend them metaphorically. The Creator is about origins, or, to put it differently, is the source of life and the provider of the necessary elements by which such life may be sustained.

The second person in this Trinity is the Gardener, who cultivates life in the environment crafted by the Creator. The Gardener plants the seeds, tends to the sprouts, waters and fertilizes them, weeds the garden, provides stakes and trellises when necessary, and, overall, helps the plants to grow to their full potential. This role requires intimate connection with the plants. This means that the Gardener is, essentially, the one who teaches and guides the plants and provides them with the sustenance they need.

The Harvester, then, is the third person in this Trinity. I am sure this appears to be quite an odd title for such a being, and thus I must clarify, the act of harvesting in this metaphor is not an entirely accurate mirror image of the act of harvesting completed by actual farmers. The Harvester is not taking the fruit of the plants and selling it for a profit, or even using it as personal sustenance, but is rather helping it to fulfill its purpose. Fruit that stays on the vine is not doing much good, and will eventually rot without ever having nourished a single being. The Harvester takes that which has been cultivated by the Gardener and puts it to work in the world, or, rather, the Harvester is about commission, sending that which has been brought to fruition in the plants out to where it will be of the best use.

I am aware that this appears to be rather modalistic, but I would counter this critique by stating that it is not really possible to explain Trinitarian mathematics in any way that does not push the bounds of modalism, subordinationism, or Unitarianism. Thus, I have made my best attempt to develop some semblance of a working theology, a process that is by no means complete. The picture given here is a snapshot of where I am in this process, flaws and problems included. As a final note in this train of thought, I would like to press the point that while these three roles are distinct, I have yet to meet a farmer or gardener who does not fill each of these roles at some point in the fertile season. The three roles are indeed one person.

Please note that any phrases that seem out of place are likely connected to other parts of the paper or the class itself. I am happy to clarify if necessary.