Is your church a club for the cool kids? One of the biggest problems people have with religion in general (pick your dogma) is when its adherents turn it into an aesthetic as they live their Faith (what they wear, what they do, where they live, how they vote) and it interferes with doing things that Jesus directly tells us to do. You won’t bump into these folks when you’re feeding the hungry or visiting people in hospitals (see Matthew 25 for details).

Many people use their image of what a Christian should be to gatekeep the Faith. To keep people away. Because they don’t fit the aesthetic. And that’s the sermonette.

 

 

 

Kiki mentioned in comments last night that THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: DIRECTOR’S CUT is available on Amazon Prime for viewing. It is an OUTSTANDING film and one of my very favorites. Check it out.

As a cautionary note, while the film is loosely historical, there are some serious deviations from what specifically happened. The Sybella story in the film is very compelling but it’s not accurate. Does that invalidate the value of the film? Not at all.

 

London Boroughs by Religion, 2021

 

Nutex Radium Condoms 

Produced in Philadelphia, PA somewhere between 1927 and 1940 when they were banned by the FTC, not for their radioactivity -they did not actually contain radium- but for their false claims of preventing diseases. Radium had been a decade-spanning health fad around the turn of the century, is included in toothpaste, chocolate, and even cigarettes, but it is not known if actually radioactive condoms were ever produced.

Would they discourage unwanted pregnancy?

 

Where is topless dancing legal?

Not all of the Bible Belt discourages topless clubs. Is it only me who finds that interesting?

 

Parting Shot:

What should a Christian civilization look like? It is the sole example in all history of attempting a social hierarchy based on service to others, not based on the strong brutalizing the weak.

This can not be realized through increasing gross the domestic product by infertilizing women into worker drones, generating taxable income.

A society that is devoted to children and supportive of child-rearing is a healthy society. We have seen what a society devoted to selfishness looks like, and supportive of child murder. We can see it by looking out the window: It is a suicidal society.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I had Kingdom of Heaven (Directors cut) on DVD but the 1st disk got damaged. The directors cut tells the story so much better but I can only find the directors cut on Blue-ray.

    • It’s one of the few box sets that I revisit. Depending on the size of screen that you view it on, Blue Ray may be the better choice.

  2. Might need a KoH viewing again, we have the director’s cut on DVD.

    Modern Christian’s need only look at Jesus’ teachings and manner to determine know how we are to operate within the faith. Bolster that with Paul’s clarifications and you get a more complete picture. Add a few modern language touches for relevancy and you don’t fall into the trap of shading the Gospel from the secular to the divine.

    But mans sinful nature tends to get in the way of simple admonition and direction, wandering off the straight and narrow path.

    • Even in Paul’s day, there was a tendency in some congregations to exclude the poor and wretched. In many places, that practice remains. As you point out, it is our nature.

  3. Looking at your sermonette through completely different-colored glasses, particularly the section entitled Worship Attendance, I feel there may be a huge gap between attendance at services and an individual’s relationship to his Maker; like a rapidly mumbled prayer giving thanks before dining: is it meaningful or rote?
    A priest (or pastor or rabbi) may have said/done something that irritated the individual so much so that the individual no longer feels that the man leading the congregation in prayer has any right (in his and the eyes of G*d) to do so; so much so that the individual may change denominations or may just stop attending services at the House of G*d. This does not mean that the individual is any less “religious” or has otherwise changed his relationship with/to G*d.
    In the fall of ’69, a few months after I had come off active, I was at Yom Kippur (what I believe to be the holiest of the High Holidays) services with my folks at a conservative Jewish synagogue (the same one where I was bar mitzvahed 15 years earlier). The rabbi began his sermon, which turned into a rant about Richard M. Nixon and the VietNam War. I got up, made my way towards the central aisle (never, ever done during a service if one must leave), and walked out. Later, afterwards. my father told me I had at first embarrassed him, but when another half dozen families found their annoyance/anger (their testicular fortitude?) too great and followed me (particularly from the pews up front) I was (partially) forgiven.
    I would never again enter that particular synagogue while that rabbi was the spiritual leader; I didn’t look to attend a different schul nor did it change my relationship to G*d; I remained just as (ir)religious as ever.

    • I’m not opposed to organized religion because people draw strength from each other. At the same time, you need to ask yourself who YOU are, because “howsoever you are played or by whom, your soul is in your keeping alone, even though those who presume to play you be kings or men of power. When you stand before God, you cannot say, “But I was told by others to do thus,” or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice.” (from The Kingdom of Heaven)

      • I c/would never argue against organized religion; I know many who require it for their daily lives, just as there are those of us who require a pacemaker. There are many who require constant verbal reinforcement, a weekly shoring up of their belief in G*d, as well as a continual explanation of the Ten Commandments, the simplest possible statement of how one should live his life in relation to his community and G*d.
        On the other hand there are many of us who believe that G*d is truly ubiquitous and find it difficult to believe that man can find Him only within stone walls (or a wooden Ark), that everyone can pray to Him any time anywhere (might just be one reason why the houses of belief are finding it more difficult to attract large congregations).
        Many of us draw strength from our very close friends with whom one can discuss one’s beliefs without rancor or evangelizing (not one of mine, BTW, are Jewish), from our immediate family, and primarily from the people who brought us up and took us to church every week, those who taught us right from wrong, the meaning of good and evil, instilled in us our core values, and placed Jiminy Cricket on our shoulders to whisper in our ear from time to time.
        And I carry a copy of the first cantica of La Divina Commedia – nobody would ever accuse me of being consistent.
        Wow! Did I just write all that?

          • Religion and spirituality are two different aspects, one is man made, often doctrinal oriented, the other is our souls connection with our Creator. Worship is the third aspect, as today’s post so well stated. We are tasked with coming together as described in Acts, as a way to acknowledge God and draw from each other.

            After 16 years in the pulpit, and all that entails, and living rural, we do not drive an hour to service. Aside from our daily devotionals, or ranch dinners together, we instead have smaller get togethers on important liturgical events where I may do a mini message with discussion.

            Service to God is not a daily checklist, it is a heart driven lifestyle…and He knows our hearts.

  4. LDS country.
    I have no problem with Latter Day Saints. While I don’t agree with their dogma, I admire their values. My autistic son was in a LDS sponsered Boy Scout troop for many years.

    However, driving in Utah is challenging. Too many Saints drive like they are on their way to meet their maker. In addition, since all are considered to be missionaries, they don’t mind taking you with them.

  5. “What should a Christian civilization look like?”
    It would establish hospitals, have mechanisms to feed the poor, encourage work, have mercy yet justice in the courts. Abolish slavery, and promote liberty.
    And everybody would be armed. I’m guessing at the last one.

  6. When I was young and travelling the country by car, the Deep South was the first place I ever saw giant billboards advertising strip joints on the approaches to every town. Always thought it’s a hoot.

    This coming from Rhode Island, where prostitution has only very recently been made illegal, although public solicitation for the purposes of prostitution has always been illegal.

    -Kle.

  7. Interesting points, and yes the ‘Bible belt’ tends to have less Catholics, I think because many were ‘escaping’ into the Protestant faiths. The irony is that the spread of Masonry parallels this, as the Catholic faith ‘forbids’ membership in Masonry, requiring membership in Knights of Columbus, which interestingly has very similar rituals, organization, etc…

    • In the Old South, the ‘joke’ was that KKK stood for ‘Kikes, Koons and Katholics.’

      Hey, I’m just reporting, so don’t ban me.

      As to fraternal organizations, back when they were an actual thing (30’s to 70’s) the Elks’ Lodge became very popular because they allowed Catholics, while the Moose Lodge did not at one time accept Catholics. Fond memories of going with my dad to Elks Lodge cookouts.

      • The megafauna clubs and even the fake clubs like the Mystic Knights of the Sea always struck me as odd. The Elks had bars that poured straight, cheap shots. Alcoholics I knew seemed to flock there. The Moose (Meese plural?) or Mooses seemed to follow suit. Kind of like the VFW hall. I never was much of a joiner, though even though, yes, I did attend some membership drive cook-outs that were excellent. There were some pseudo-masonic initiation rituals from what I was told. That was a long time ago, though. Nobody asked me where I went to church or if I went. They wanted a dues-paying member who would do direct deposit.

  8. Not long ago, driving southbound on I-75 in southern Georgia, I was greeted for some miles along the way by giant billboards for an adult shop along the interstate. Is there still a Bible Belt?

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