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About the Author

Marcus J. Borg was born on March 11, 1942 in Minnesota. He majored in philosophy and political science at Concordia College. He did graduate work at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and at Oxford University. He taught at various Midwest universities before joining the faculty at Oregon show more State University in 1979. He taught religion there until his retirement in 2007. During his lifetime, he wrote or co-wrote 21 books including Jesus: A New Vision, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions with N. T. Wright, and Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most. He died after a prolonged illness on January 21, 2015 at the age of 72. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Marcus J(oel) Borg

Works by Marcus J. Borg

The Lost Gospel Q: The Original Sayings of Jesus (1996) — Consulting Editor — 296 copies
Jesus at 2000 (1996) 158 copies
God at 2000 (2000) 98 copies

Associated Works


Common Knowledge



Marcus Borg has taken a stab at fiction in Progressive Christianity (May 2010)
Heart of Christianity in Progressive Christianity (January 2010)


Not a great work of fiction but an excellent conversation starter. Borg serves the struggles of faith in a very friendly and unthreatening way. Although I do not agree with all the theology presented in the book or the way that conservative fundamentalism is a bit under represented, or perhaps not as richly or deeply portrayed as the progressive people in the book.

I would also like to have seen some alternative progressive views (N.T. Wright, Wolf, Mclaren etc) alongside the views of Borg himself (echoing at least in part some of the Jesus Seminars findings).

All in all a great book to introduce the troubling journey from conservative fundamentalism to a critical / postmodern faith.
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olterman | 12 other reviews | May 25, 2024 |
The First Paul: Redeeming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon by Marcus J Borg and John Dominic Crossan

-PRINT: © March 3, 2009; 978-0061430725; HarperOne; 240 pages; unabridged (Hardcover Info from Amazon.com)
-DIGITAL: © February 19, 2009; HarperOne; 244 pages; unabridged (Digital version info from Amazon.com)
- *AUDIO: © June 8, 2009; Tantor Audio; 8 hours, 20 minutes; unabridged (Audio info from Audible version)




-SELECTED: This is another book that Don had added to our Audible Library years ago, that I finally got to.
-ABOUT: The scripture scholars, Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan discuss historically and anthropologically filtered Biblical studies of Saul / Paul. They contend that Paul’s image has been exploited and altered through multiple letters in the New Testament miss-assigned to his authorship, and sometimes doctored authentic letters. They point out contradictions between the first 7 letters thought for certain to have been authored by Paul and the six letters considered not to be.
They explain that In the ancient world it was common to write documents in the name of revered figures. Not to pretend to be that person, but to borrow their authority.
The authors state that the authentic Paul was a radical who believed in equality between men and women, did not support slavery, and held that the death of Jesus was not about dyeing in our place, not a substitution, but a demonstration in the resurrection, and an assurance that all mankind is accepted, loved, and one under, God.
They also contend that in Ancient times gender identification could only be made by physical attributes, whereas in modern times we understand that it is a combination of that, chemistry and psychology.
-OVERALL IMPRESSION: I enjoy non-standard yet studied interpretations of scripture.

AUTHOR: Marcus Joel Borg - Excerpt from Wikipedia
“(March 11, 1942 – January 21, 2015) was an American New Testament scholar and theologian.[4] He was among the most widely known and influential voices in Liberal Christianity. Borg was a fellow of the Jesus Seminar and a major figure in historical Jesus scholarship.[5] He retired as Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University in 2007. He died eight years later at the age of 72, of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at his home in Powell Butte, Oregon.[6][7][8]
Borg was born March 11, 1942, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota,[9] and raised in a Lutheran family in North Dakota. After high school he attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he double-majored in political science and philosophy. Though plagued by doubt as a young adult, after his undergraduate studies Borg accepted a Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship to study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he became familiarized with liberal theology. A profound influence on Borg during his seminary years was the theologian W. D. Davies. After his studies at Union, he matriculated at Mansfield College, Oxford, where he earned both his Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.[10]”

AUTHOR: John Dominic Crossan – Excerpt from Wikipedia
“(born 17 February 1934) is an Irish-American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity, former Catholic priest who was a prominent member of the Jesus Seminar, and emeritus professor at DePaul University. His research has focused on the historical Jesus, the theology of noncanonical Gospels, and the application of postmodern hermeneutical approaches to the Bible. His work is controversial, portraying the Second Coming as a late corruption of Jesus' message and saying that Jesus' divinity is metaphorical.[1] In place of the eschatological message of the Gospels, Crossan emphasizes the historical context of Jesus and of his followers immediately after his death.[1] He describes Jesus' ministry as founded on free healing and communal meals, negating the social hierarchies of Jewish culture and the Roman Empire.[2]

Crossan is a major scholar in contemporary historical Jesus research.[1][3] In particular, he and Burton Mack advocated for a non-eschatological view of Jesus, a view that contradicts the more common view that Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher.[3] While contemporary scholars see more value in noncanonical gospels than past scholars did, Crossan goes further and identifies a few noncanonical gospels as earlier than and superior to the canonical ones.[3] The very early dating of these non-canonical sources is not accepted by the majority of biblical scholars.[4]”

NARRATOR: Mel Foster – From Tantor Media
“Mel Foster, an audiobook narrator since 2002, won an Audie Award for Finding God in Unexpected Places by Philip Yancey. He has also won several AudioFile Earphones Awards. Best known for mysteries, Mel has also narrated classic authors such as Thoreau, Nabokov, and Whitman.”

GENRE: Non-Fiction; Biblical Biography; Commentaries

SUBJECTS: Biblical scripture; translations; Paul; Crucifixion; Jesus; Rome; Romans; Augustus Cesar; Greeks; Language; Religion; Jews; Gentiles; Slavery; Equality; Genders; Greek Mythology; Anthropology; Greek language; History; Christianity, Traditional, Christianity, Liberal; Culture


SAMPLE QUOTATION: From “Paul: Appealing or Appalling?”
“Paul is second only to Jesus as the important person in the origins of Christianity. Yet he is not universally well regarded, even among Christians. Some find him appealing, and others find him appalling; some aren’t sure what to think of him, and others know little about him.
The cover of Newsweek for May, 2002, asked, “What Would Jesus Do?” The story inside referred to Paul as well, citing passages attributed to him on slavery, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and heterosexism:

'The Biblical defense of slavery is: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in
singleness of heart as you obey Christ.” Writes Saint Paul. Anti-Semitism was long justified by
passages like this one from I Thessalonians: the Jews “killed both the Lord Jesus and the
prophets.” Ant the subjugation of women had a foundation in I Timothy: “As in all the churches
of the saints, women should be silent in the churches . . . . If there is anything they desire to
know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.”
And yet in each case, enlightened people have moved on from the worldview such passages
express. . . .
And if science now teaches us that being gay may be a “natural” state, how can a reading of the
Bible, including Saint Paul’s condemnation of same-sex interaction in Romans, inarguably cast
homosexuality in “unnatural” terms?'

These are among the passages in letters attributed to Paul that many find more appalling than appealing. So we begin our story of Paul by speaking about his importance, the reasons for his mixed reputation, and the foundations for our way of seeing him.
Paul’s importance is obvious from the New Testament itself. There are twenty-seven books in the New Testament, though to call them “books” is a bit of a misnomer, for some are only a page or a few pages long. Of these twenty-seven, thirteen are letters attributed to Paul. Not all were actually written by Paul, as we sill soon report, but they bear his name. To these add the book of Acts, in which Paul is the main character in sixteen of its twenty-eight chapters. Thus half of the New Testament is about Paul.
Moreover, according to the New Testament, Paul was chiefly responsible for expanding the early Jesus movement to include Gentiles (non-Jews) as well as Jews. The result over time was a new religion, even though Paul (like Jesus) was a Jew who saw himself working within Judaism. Neither intended that a new religion would emerge in his wake.”

RATING: 5 stars.

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TraSea | 9 other reviews | Apr 29, 2024 |
An exciting book that seeks to explain who Jesus actually was based on the gospels and scripture, stripping away the mythic superstructure that Christians built after Jesus' death, and demonstrating that what has become the dominant mode of understanding Jesus' life through scripture is only one of several metaphorical threads that are present in the Bible and understood by early Christians, and this narrowing of meaning has come at significant cost to the imaging of what religious life for the Christian should be.

Borg argues that Jesus never knew himself to be the Son of God in a unique sense, or as one whose mission was to die for the sins of the world. That picture comes out of the Gospel of John, which contains the great "I am" statements of Jesus, which are agreed by Biblical scholars to be ahistorical. John, the latest of the gospels, presents Jesus as he had come to be understood by Christians of that time. The earlier gospels do not show Jesus speaking in such a manner.

Rather, Borg sees Jesus as what he calls a "spirit person", one who has visions and direct experiences of the reality of God. People who have such experiences are found across cultures and times. Born into a culture whose social structure was rigidly based on a purity scheme, whose vision of religious life was to be as "pure" as God demanded, Jesus did not recognize his culture's social/religious constructs as consistent with his experience of God. His teaching sought to replace the "Be holy for I the Lord your God am holy" command of Leviticus with a "Be compassionate as God is compassionate" instruction (Luke).

His public life also contained an argument for moving from secondhand religion to firsthand religion: moving beyond secular and religious conventional wisdom, which is what we are taught to believe by others, to a subversive wisdom that comes from personal relationship and experience with God. The religious life is thus about relationship, not measuring up to a body of rules and regulations and expectations.

Borg brings out three main story narratives in the Bible, which originate with the experiences of the Hebrews but extend to have meaning for everyone in every time:
1)The Exodus story is saying that the human condition is bondage (to what? a great many things...) and the solution is liberation, which involves a journey through the wilderness, toward God and with God.
2)The Exile and Return story says that we feel separated from our true home and long to return. Exile is often marked by grief, and the religious life is a journey with God back home.
3)The Priestly story says that we are sinners who are guilty before God, in need of forgiveness. Religious life is not so much a journey as a story of sin, guilt, sacrifice and forgiveness.

All three of these stories were important to Jesus and early Christianity, but over time one of them came to dominate the popular understanding of Jesus and the Christian life. Obviously that would be the Priestly story.

Borg lays out six "severe distortions in our understanding of the Christian life" that result from the dominance of this priestly story:

1)Produces a static understanding of the Christian life, a repeated cycle of sin, guilt, and forgiveness.

2)Creates a passive understanding of the Christian life. Rather than seeking transformation, in ourselves and in our culture, we see that God has already done what needs to be done. It is a politically domesticating story... which suited the rulers of those societies where Christianity became the official religion quite well.

3)Tends to an understanding of Christianity as primarily a religion of the afterlife: better get right with God before you die!

4)Imagines God primarily as lawgiver and judge, whose forgiveness becomes conditional on our believing a certain dogma, that of Jesus' atoning death.

5)Creates a narrative that is very hard to believe: God's only and literal son came to this planet to sacrifice himself for the sins of humans, because God could not forgive us otherwise, and we are saved from damnation only by believing this. It's a powerful metaphor, but argued literally it alienates many people from Christianity.

6)Some people don't feel much guilt, for whatever reason. Yet they may recognize their state of bondage, or their feelings of alienation and estrangement. The priestly story offers them nothing, while the other Biblical narrative stories do.

In all, the book is a great popular level manuscript that demonstrates a less well known historical understanding of Jesus and his teachings, and offers an alternative to the dominant theological interpretations present in our culture.
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lelandleslie | 18 other reviews | Feb 24, 2024 |
I’ll try to keep this part of the review brief—this is actually the (albeit edited) pre-review—but I’m not reading this to see if I can be a Christian per se. The great bulk of the history of the Christian church is that of being bullied into asking permission to have or not have a belief, or in trying to win the cock fight in the men’s God meetings so you can be a free tyrant and not a mental slave, you know. Christians can be shocking with their lies, and it didn’t begin with Fox News flying the flag of Christianity.

That said, I am going to read this book so that I can have a reason prepared for the lack in me of what is for you—apparently—is hope. Although it’s mostly for my own internal benefit. Usually religion talks aren’t safe, really. (Use your imagination.) Even when they’re not unsafe, they’re basically just not possible, you know. “I’m a Christian. I believe in facts and received opinions, like everyone else; I hate rich people; I don’t want the kids watching cartoons; (the characters on the show hate rich people? Well, that’s not really what I meant); I like safe music and people not threatening me or doing improper things; I like vaguely pleasant and perhaps snobbish holders of 30-year mortgages—although I have a story to tell you about the schmucks who work at the bank. I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus. Wanna watch the Super Bowl with me? We can talk about our kids. You do have kids, right—or are you getting your share of college debt under your belt? God, America…. It’s great! Except for the rich people. You know, when my mom dies, that bank better not stiff me the moolah….”

(There’s also sex, you know. Sex rules for: men; women; your teenager; your governor (same party); your governor (different party). And just the old…. Don’t have sex. But don’t stay single, either.)

And there’s no way to suggest even the smallest reform in Christianity without the heretic hunting riot squad going head hunting; and yet those people are also your “fellow Christians” if you’re a church rat; you have to make excuses for them. You have to try to make common cause with them (as they try to assassinate you). You have to try to save their project from themselves.

You have to feel guilty for their bullshit; you have to watch the warm bodies in chairs who ignore you and everything that matters to you passively ignore whatever reforms you don’t get harassed and gossiped about for.

Christians often have no morality; they just desire power, really. A hate crime is a hate crime if the targeted group votes Republican maybe 25% of the time and they represent the one convenient exception to official bigotry; if they vote Republican 3% of the time and they’re dark censoreds you can forget it. And you can forget about acknowledging unofficial Republican bigotry against the Near East outpost puppet state population, you know: that doesn’t count either.

And you can see how even in addressing the lies, it can make you sound like a liar. This is the inevitable result of engaging with tribal Christians and their history of hate, you know.

Nobody should have to deal with tyranny because some unstable religious people want power.

I mean, honestly, in good faith, supporting minorities isn’t the same as conveniently using them as a tool: these Israel Christians love Jews, until their kid becomes a Jew by Choice ~~because Jesus wasn’t really the Messiah~~ ‘aw, shit, boys! The Jew boys are calling our lord a madman, a criminal, a BUddha, an Antichrist—this is America, Jew boy! The flag still stands for freedom; they can’t take that away! Merry Christmas, Jew boy—Merry Christmas! It’s the only happy holiday, dammit: the rest is the Jews!—and then do you an impromptu cover of the Beatles’ “Run for your Life”, you know. Run for your life, little girl; Jesus got a jealous mind, and ain’t in no mood to have you seeing Jew boys and censoreds….

(Now you don’t have to imagine, lol. I imagined for you.)

Although as stereotypical as it is worry about the (obviously threatened) Jews, I also am a little muffed about how the church has treated Gypsies and witches, and how even today those groups tend to get ignored if they’re lucky. The rationalist Christian greets their existence with a blank stare, and a confession that he never heard of them on the champion grand duke chess tournament; and the folk Christians, well.

The Christians have acted very badly, against many different groups of very different people (Muslims, witches), and it seems like too much for even a good person, even to behave morally in that context. Which begs the question, why not do something entirely different? Solving Christianity, attempting the reparations that most Christians do not even acknowledge, would seem to suggest the necessity of bilocation, from a tribe that swears off magic….

~ Why, because (glib statement about Jesus).

(rolls eyes)

That, and I guess I also have a problem with ‘Love your enemies’. I think it should have been ‘mind your business’; that would have gotten us a lot closer to fair interactions and respect, than church going really has. I feel like ‘love your enemies’ is a lot to ask of people who have been told that there’s no other way. Maybe that’s why most of them make no attempt to do that anyway. It was never their own choice; it was almost a trick.

That, and have you ever considered if maybe your enemy doesn’t want your love? Maybe that’s why they’re your enemy. Mind your business.

However, growing up Christian, and living in a majority Christian-colonized country that throws a minor temper tantrum every December that it’s not as Christian as it feels obligated to be, ~has~ kinda made the Bible my business. I can’t avoid it, without avoiding things that really do change my life (ie, I can’t avoid it at all). And since you can ‘meet someone again for the first time’, in this case, that person being Bible Boy in general, basically, (I try to avoid buying Christian books anymore, and I might like this better than the more famous book the library doesn’t have anyway; maybe not as much as the witchy books the library doesn’t stock, lol…. Although I have some money now), and since, realistically, you will encounter the Christian god again and again on your journeys, and because this is an interesting time to do so, since I no longer go to church—a big change for me—I’ll read this book, although I won’t buy it. I used to love buying books, but sometimes now I want to save my money, especially when it comes to things that aren’t necessarily good, really.

But then, I also don’t read Christian books that are flat-out insults to the human heart, out of misplaced loyalty to my enemies, anymore, you know; I’m not a Christian, but….

—re: ‘When it’s over, is it really over? When it’s over, that’s when I fall in love again’….?

—Southern Sam, I reckon I gone an ast you how naive Naive Nancy is.
—Shucks, Toothless Fred, how naive IS Naive Nancy?
—I heard tell she gone and believed that the Christians done right, that’s how naive Naive Nancy is.
—Goblins and Goebbels, if she that naive, I done reckon I got a shot at her!
—We all takin’ bets on it, Sam.

(Child Hermes) Hear now the Eternal Law of Grace: if it is true, it is of the Holy Spirit…. UNLESS: you don’t like that person.

Always tell the truth.
EXCEPTIONS: —It’s unpopular/unpatriotic
—It’s popular/makes people happy/‘dah woirld’
—It’s rude

Good examples of when you need to tell the truth:
—When a teenager with alcoholic parents speaks out of turn, remind her that in Victorian times, children were ‘seen and not heard’. When she says something rude in response, reflect on the value of historical truth.

That, and at a certain point it’s just an incredible disservice not only to yourself, but to the church, to promote the captive audience theory of ‘discipleship’ or whatever. It just promotes incredibly lazy, dishonest, entitled thinking. And when people vote with their feet, which is the main kind of participation allowed in many churches, the remnant often just adds ‘resentful’—lazy, dishonest, entitled, and resentful. Not all church people are resentful, of course, but they often just value taking your foot off the gas, coasting, and never saying anything rude. It’s actually the classic addict/codependent thing. Some people have to be totally powerless and weak so that other people can have an empire and act out, you know.

And aside from racism etc, folkish Christianity is just so narrow it can’t even handle its own demographic, really. Like if you come from a different culture/custom of life, you have to either disappear into conformity or they’ll ferret you out basically. If you change to be like them, even, they’ll just dismiss it until your whole custom of life is the same; you can’t reason it out, or expect any compassion. Like if you’re Bono or whatever—an archetype chosen because it should be an easy one for the church to handle, not because he’s the most alienated or oppressed, you know; he’s the most willing—if he eats pizza, he’s an idiot, and if he talks about world hunger, he thinks too much, and if he alludes to Jesus in a song, well, Pastor Dick says liberals are a different custom of life, I wonder what he would say about the song—I bet it’s Not Really Good; I wonder if he would criticize it; he better!…. Like, not only does the custom person persecute Jews, Wiccans, Muslims, Buddhists, and eco-Christians, they’d literally want to persecute their own church leadership to the extent they could pull it off if they were to offend the Eternal Law of Grace, you know. But I’m supposed to feel guilty if I just walk away.

And, you know, there are the blue blood Christians, right. Ah, I love Bono—which group was he in, again? I hope it wasn’t one of those Young groups…. World hunger, yes yes…. It makes my warm, affectionate heart cold to think that—what were we talking about again?….

But yeah.

There are different people, different levels, it’s not right or wrong. I do think it’s useful to know about Jesus because he’s everywhere. The man is a gangster, a spiritual gangster (I misspelled gangster and the spelling spies thought I meant hamster), you know. He’s out there.

…. But it’s not going to get better in my lifetime, and I’m not going to pretend. I’m not going to save these people.

“I’m tired of people with a mouth full of Jesus and a heart full of hate.”
~a Christian

“BURN Joel Osteen! RAPE him! Rape the happy people! Once you stop being UNhappy, you forfeit your rights, dammit! The prophets from the desert will bring us back to the Middle Ages, and things will be alright! But happiness, never! Ban money! Promote JESUS!”
~the same Christian, twenty-two seconds later

Yeah…. I’m tired of Jesus, too.

It’s like…. I can only entertain Christianity in the most pagan way, you know: as the notions of a still largely-Christian world, as the ideas of the world. Which underlines one of the gratingly-unrealistic, dishonest ways that the Christian church promotes itself, you know: we’re so different…. “You may never have heard the name John Smith before, little dark child, but…..”

You know, like; Arthur is still a Christian king; we haven’t made it back to (the new) Avalon yet, you know. So, in that context, Christianity is here, you know. So maybe try to choose among the Christianities, you know: the openly hateful, the deceitful, the reformist. It’s funny how quick they are to scapegoat, though. “The Christian colonial slave trade centuries made capitalism look pretty bad…. Yes, yes; we can make the rich boy take the fall for us, my poppet….” (stroking villain cat, laughs)….

It kinda makes showing up to any building with the word ‘church’ in front of it border on a non-starter, when you’re trying to rehabilitate those people in the eyes of a newly-skeptical public, albeit one that hasn’t yet really counted the cost or taken stock of the damage of those churched centuries, you know….

It’s like: if you want, you can make money and change the world. But only if you can ignore the Christian who’s going to get up there on a pulpit and demand that you do NEITHER of those things; feudalism rules, bitches!…. And the toxic polite people who will just…. Passively exist, sucking the air of out of every room they find themselves in, throwing a blanket on every creative, spiritual fire….

…. And you know, the odd thing is, deep down, they know. They know. But they won’t admit it. This Christian on Threads is defending Taylor Swift, you know—classic almost Vietnam thing, you know, un-winnable for truth: the person who’s like Fuck Everything And Run (FEAR) and the sorta Christian and quasi-Christian thing about women, you know~ that’s all the average person can process, just shut up all women, unless they’re an obedient family member, or else create media that just drops culture and RUNS, you know…. In a way it’s worse than rap, really. A lot of rappers come from bad circumstances and will tell you about it; but Taylor for all her bad boyfriend ballads, isn’t going to be saying the word “women” really any more than that 90s show “Charmed”, which was epic lies anti-feminism, you know. I don’t like my boyfriend…. I don’t really like other girls, either: but I HATE my ex-boyfriends…. I’m a feminist!

And then this same Christian attacks Joel Osteen, who certainly is NOT more commercial than Taylor Swift, you know. But he’s a preacher: he’s a man who preaches. And somebody’s gotta be the Leviticus sheep, you know: because that’s how Christians roll, and even Christians aren’t stupid enough to think that there’s nothing wrong with men and the church. So pick a preacher you don’t like—one with the nerve to smile. Or your daughter’s boyfriend, you know. If men have hurt you; take it out on a man who’s vulnerable for a reason unrelated to feminism and everything, you know. But don’t ask for equality. Don’t solve the problem. Don’t even try. Aren’t you a Christian? You can’t solve problems AND be a Christian! For Two Thousand Years we’ve been stewing in the Sinai, and you want us to leave? You know, it’s like: don’t walk away. You know it’s not moral, deep down. But don’t walk away. Jesus and his Tribe come before morality. Deep down you know that’s not right. But don’t walk away. Blame someone else, but never blame ~Jesus~. Right? Keep watching TV, Jesus. I’ve got a tribute lined up to get on that cross of yours for you. I think I can live with that easier than admitting that something with JESUS (x9) BLESSED ART THOU JESUS THE TINY POINT OF LIGHT AT THE CENTER OF A VAST DEMONIC UNIVERSE is wrong. So if I can live with that, even knowing deep down that’s it’s wrong—that’s what we’ll go with, right.

…. Deborah the Christian knifes Dionysus in the gut. He bleeds out, just as Hermes comes across his dead body. He points at Deborah the Christian menacingly. “I blame—JESUS!” “No, no! Don’t blame Jesus!” “I blame…. JESUS!” “No, no—if only I had never existed!” (poof) (Dionysus is okay again) (Hermes and Dionysus dance)

…. Yeah: so now that I’ve alienated, ~~all~~ the Christians, lol….

…. He sounds very similar to the experience of Christianity I’ve already had and rejected. More polite well-read Episcopalian etc guys aren’t going to turn the ship of shame around. They’ll just muse on the fall of Rome as it slowly sinks into the icy Atlantic…. He really doesn’t see a problem with presenting a scholarly viewpoint that scholars have known for decades, that hasn’t made the people who hear it any less timid, aggressive, or timid-aggressive?

And incidentally, re: “The test of our subjectivities…. is whether they make sense to others” is something I reject without shame. What is this, “Gossip Girl”? Hey Marcus, your subjectivity doesn’t make sense to me: snap-snap! On the deck and give me twenty, while singing the Marine Corps Theme Song!…. You know, it’s like, we’re not out of the Roman numeral pages preface and the “Christian liberal” has already taken down the Union Jack or whatever and hoisted up the Jolly Roger, you know. Tyranny! Destruction! I get to decide for you! [Or “Mean Girls”, which somebody was watching in the living room. ‘The problem with you people is that you think everybody loves you—when everybody hates you! (And since everybody hates you, go ahead and kill yourself now, so I don’t have to turn my edition of Das Korruptcion der Welt into a murder weapon! A reasonable request, wouldn’t you say!)’]

The test of my subjectivities is whether they work for me to do what I asked them to do. The only ones who can judge me are the Fates, and, realistically: I get to decide how I react to their judgments. Plenty of people get judged by them and don’t even pretend to get it. The reason not to play that game is that you won’t be happy: NOT because the fucking Borg Cube of Christ has issues with it, you know.

…. —Things were good before the rise of the modern fundamentalists. (makes a chess move. The other guy moves.)
—But, Borg King, wasn’t that when they burned the witches, etc. etc. etc.
—(holds up finger) Quiet. I am playing chess. (“But you know you’ll never win!”)

That said, some of what he says is true; it’s just…. No. Not worth suffering for.

…. I guess I just don’t get the whole idea of “scripture”, really, the whole closed book that we can’t add chapters to or take chapters out of, even as the world changes and we admit that our view has changed; or possibly as we use it to bludgeon our neighbor/non-medievalism, etc. Like we’ve got to stand guard over the Bible and growl; or else sneak by the dog to get a look at how things used to be.

“Why can’t we add to/subtract from the Bible?”
—Because GOD SAID. You’re bad! You’re not worthy!…. And if you don’t Realize that you’re not worthy—you’re, ~bad~; like, really really bad.
—(shrugs) Because then it would be like “Twilight” or something; some popular girl would get to have her say. The whole chess club is against ~that~. You don’t like “Twilight”, do you?

…. I guess I just haven’t gotten over how he doesn’t try to explain the benefits of reading the Bible/accepting it as scripture, you know. I guess it surprises me how quickly, after years of being a rather (over-)earnest Christian, I’ve reverted to my earlier stage of life where the Bible was Obviously not to be automatically taken as much of ~anything~, really. I’m not quite as teenager-y now; but I’m not willing to be lectured to and have things assumed about me and everything else anymore.

But yeah: feudal lords don’t sell. They command: sorry, ‘teach’.

—Since you will all be learning algebraic grammar, kindly turn to page—
—(Why do we even have to learn algebraic grammar.)

You know, like: what else could education ~be~, aside from learning how to figure out what you want to study in the first place. And how could that ~ever~ be Christianity?

I guess I just haven’t gotten over how school teacher-y the Borg Cube is, you know. How grammatical. It’s like—to be a mean girl—I don’t know whether he is here to teach stupid people, or considers them stupid, or is stupid himself, you know. Now, I’m sure that you could argue that some people are indeed stupid, and he’s performing a public service with introductory education. But introductions aren’t meant to be like this—learning how to pretend. At some point, to talk about metaphor, you have a start telling a story. To have a story to analyze, first tell a story. Instead he reaches for the dictionary, and asks us to consider the ~story~ of, grammar, basically. It’s like Immanuel Kant has been assigned to oversee story-time, you know. “There have been seven suicides in the nursery, headmistress.” “Remove Immanuel Kant from the nursery department immediately.” “Yes headmistress.”

You know, like: sometimes being really book-y and smart requires you to follow the rules and be really, really ~stupid~, you know. And you can even effing ~talk~ about all your problems and the things you do wrong, while following the Prime Directive: not ‘non-colonialism’, heavens, no! It’s ~~pretend~~, Mr. James! It’s ~~pretend~~! Lay out all the reasons for being open to change without the —slightest— fucking intention of even getting up out of your chair to see who’s knocking at the door when change comes knocking, you know.

After all, what difference could ~emotions~ make! What difference could ~style~ make! The last time I checked, we are all ~men~ in this room! (And if we are not men yet, we intent to stay in this room until we become one! It’s like the old Masonry saw: ~~building men~~!!)

…. Anyway, I don’t think something can be “too” metaphorical, merely that some things are unhealthy metaphors. In Augustine’s parable interpretation mentioned, in the end all it means is that demons are bad and they bludgeon people, and that everybody ought to go to church. It has nothing to do with being cautious about authority or compassionate. Most of the trad Augustine/Aquinas etc. stuff is unhealthy metaphor. They wanted control, and metaphor was the way to do it—they’d spin metaphors so you could remember that it was your job to throw rocks at the Jews, Gypsies, demons, etc, you know. But the problem isn’t that they’re “weird”, you know. You don’t need to open up a whoop-ass can of normal on that ugly frog and pour that water down on him until he becomes Prince Normal, you know. (“Prince Nermal?” “Normal. It’s a very old German house, it dates to the—“ “The, ah, older period?” “Precisely.”)

It’s just that if YOUR kind of weird is the only kind of weird that there is, except for the Gypsies and the witches and the demons, then you’re probably about as sick in the head as one of those kids in a Judd Apatow movie, you know. And I mean, don’t watch Judd Apatow, right. But don’t fucking act like a Marine general on a parade ground because you don’t, right. And don’t pretend that that’s not the Christian way. Augustine was carrying on about plays that were written in Ancient Greek or whatever; one of Jane Austen’s guys hated Regency-era plays; I guess there must be some Bible verse or another about it. That’s the odd thing about unchanging scripture. You make a rule about one group, and then you persecute them into oblivion, and then you keep trying to apply the rule. It’s like, you changed the world, buddy. I guess maybe your book has to change now?

(shakes head) (mutters about the classics, the ignorant women and the wise men, and the rise of the proles)

…. But I would also say that really there are ZERO “completely metaphorical, completely not literal” stories. Even if no science-whale got anywhere near Jonah, SOMETHING happened to him, LITERALLY. He did not have an unusually good hair day, get offered sex and turn it down, and go home and read ‘good’ poetry to himself with a snide internal voice. We know that didn’t happen. There wasn’t a whale.

(shrugs) But maybe the Christ Cube isn’t as stupid as some people are. Maybe—this is almost the worst insult for a spiritual teacher—he’s better than the average person, you know. (chuckles) Well, he knows more, I mean.

…. “My god defeated your god in battle. He has a bigger cock.”
“Yeah, well my god invented the whole world—the One, the god of the all that is, is really my personal slave, and I keep him on a short leash; I don’t let him play with the other races. He doesn’t need a woman, either. So be careful—or I’ll sic my god on you and your woman and your big cock.”
~ the “counter-world” that is an “alternative to empire” that leftist Christians preen and get macho about

It’s just amazing how Christians or whoever can sic their god on people while assuming that they have no rights before him; getting macho and preening about how the world belongs to them, because otherwise who would take care of the children, if somebody else were allowed to live in the world that belongs only to their god and not to the One; their god ~is~ the One, you know: and to be the One he doesn’t have to be impartial; all he has to be is their village strongman, you know…. 😸🤪

…. I guess I just wish I thought/felt less like a Christian, you know. Christians get offended to defend their Bible ideas, Bible chapters. There’s an old, practiced part of me that gets offended, albeit about happiness: people rejecting happiness as unworthy; militating against it, you know. (They say all anger is anger against the self.) And there’s always some Christian saying I hate you (or I love you but I think you’re scum) because of XYZ that you have no control over, right. It’s so Marxist. There’s always some hairy testicles Brain or little baby boy Bully who wants to solve all his problems by crawling into a boxing ring and slapping you with his dick, you know: some naive, immature masculinist little bully…. And they don’t want to be happy; and they don’t want me to be happy. And that’s what you’re like until you stop being a Christian: which is a journey, you know. It’s not over the day you dynamite some church, activated by the lasers in your testicles, of course, and proclaim the Great Revolution, right…. Radicals are so conservative. They want things to stay bad so some DOA activist can be right about happiness being a scam, right. Noam Chomsky probably gets a hard-on every time he watches It’s A Wonderful Life, you know. That paternalism is what he lives for. It’s his life. Radicals want the Middle Ages back. They want their Jesus, you know. They want him to crawl into the ring, dick swinging.

…. I guess I just find it odd the concern that is given to a book, you know: pretty much for being a book, basically. Maybe that’s why it’s so common for people to have such bad energy—you practically have to be a pop rock pariah to think that emotions have anything to do with this book of universal knowledge. Your emotional state could be that of a giant sink hole, you know: and the Bible’s contribution will be to let you know that, long ago, God saved the tribespeople from Pharaoh. Ass-breaker triumphed over Pharaoh; the slaves now break asses of their own in the new world: praise…. Jesus!

Good thing we didn’t make it too complicated, by exchanging the ass-breaker/slave dialectic for a reduced shame, gluten free version, you know.

I mean, he calls this book, “The History of the Bible re-examined: Book-worms crawling over sacred scripture in the 21st century”, then shame on me, you know. But he called it, READING THE BIBLE AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME; and it’s like…. You fucking sleep at night, homie? After you fucking Lie to people? 🤨

…. —Hermes, instead of just explaining that the Bible was indeed written down, first on parchment or whatever and then on paper, you could ~also~ explain its putative value in the believer’s life. You know, like: not ~just~ in the Royal language—but also in the language of the Common people.
—(tearing up) Mommy doesn’t want me to write in Royal; Mommy doesn’t want me to write it all in ROYAL?…. Mommy doesn’t want me to be a prince? Mommy wants me to have ~feelings~? Mommy wants us to be dumb! O, cruel, cruel world! O cruel world, that I was born into a place of lasting, unending pain! (freaking out)
—It was just a suggestion, Hermes: come here….

…. (Hermes is fapping to Walter Brueggemann) I love my penis…. Oh yeah, Walter: violate me! Show me that you mean it! You ain’t no pansy-pants, you sexy beast! You mean business! You’re like Hercules, bringing down the pillars of the Temple of Sin with the priestesses still inside! Ah! Ah!…. Ahhh!…. Ah, ah. Ok.

…. Jahweh is the lover of Ares: a man of threats and war….

…. Thus says the LORD: It is because I love peace that I will nuke the world; it is because Papa Bear wants to get some shut eye that he will wipe out the human race.

Thus says the holy one of the Tribe: truly are happy people a plague: a sickness that shall be raped with a hard cock….

…. I mean, imagine if this god were a rapper, right. He’d be in jail and Walter Brueggemann would strictly forbid his daughter from listening to him, you know. I mean, at least rappers are entertaining. You have to give them that. And they’re usually not really averse to happiness; they just see themselves as, and for the present to a very large extent are, kinda hemmed-in in terms of options, you know. But I don’t think even a rapper would go around eating poop like cake because a war was coming in a few months, you know. What is that, a prayer for the poop diet for the masses, you know—it’s almost a spell! Imagine if EYE did something like that! 😸

But yeah: you’re an uptight old white man who reads too many books, and too many ‘good’ books, and you need some epic stink quotes to sink your wife and get magazines: read the prophets…. 🤓🧨

…. And I’m not saying that rappers are better than uptight white men (“prophets”), because rappers are entertaining and therefore trivial, non-threatening. (Not “non-threatening” enough to play in stores, even, let alone churches, and the precious, precious Episcopalians are okay with that.) I mean, if you’re a rapper you might shoot your wife’s lover. You might not even feel bad about it. That’s one sort of thing. But if you’re an uptight white man like Vlad Lenin—or Vlad the Impaler, Apostle to the Russians, and beloved Orthodox Saint—you might kill a million people, you know. You’re a man: you deny the life principle. “If you’re a real man, you deny the life principle. It’s what you do. If you want to save money on your car insurance….” If you’re a rapper, you don’t shoot a million people. You don’t know a million people. “Oh, but the robots are better than we are: Jesus came to earth so we could not have feelings anymore….” Fuck this god of yours, then. 🙄

…. He’s such a nostalgic radical, you know: I’m surprised he doesn’t quote “The Grapes of Wrath”, basically. “Children, once upon a time, when there were no Mexicans, blacks, or red men in the Great American West, when a good man was poor, and a poor man was white, one day, when our story opens…. THERE WAS A MANN!!!!” 😹

I can’t write plot, but somebody needs to write a book called “The Nostalgic Radical: A Novel”. In spite of everything, it’s still the great undigested cultural thing lining the collective belly, you know.

…. “The Bible: A Compendium of Specialist Knowledge for the Everyday Fapper” 🤓~ And yeah: I get that’s it’s one normal-priced book, and not a five-volume $40 600 pages each sort of project: but sometimes, if you can’t spare a line or two to a certain mood or feeling in a regular book of a few hundred pages, adding another thousand or two thousand pages will only compound the problem. Not always, but usually.

…. He doesn’t really care about the wisdom literature, although he’s too grand to admit that he has wants/preferences. He just sorta quotes from it, and dawdles through it, but it lights no fire in him. It’s too individual/men-women/money, you know. “The writer of Proverbs thought that being rich was fun. That’s funny; I think watching wrestling on TV is fun. Of course, one time, they cut off the power, and I didn’t know what happened—but it increased the suspense. Just by being a man, I’m living my best life.”

…. Christians are good at masking apathy, because they’re so unemotional to begin with. “I’m just considering all the angles, (yawns), although first—(yawns) I gotta go asleep….” 😴

…. The historical-metaphorical approach is like a husband-wife team. History, the male, controls 95% of the decisions and drives the team on with a Hitlerite drive to succeed. Metaphor is the humble, good-wife, who makes 5% of the decisions, (as long as they’re good ones!), and whose name and photo go on the ad posters. It’s teamwork! It makes the dream work!

…. And then he talks about second-hand religion— religion without experience. “I read that somewhere. I have no idea what it really means, but I can explain it to the children….” Bro!

Bro! 😹

…. It’s almost odd that he literally waits until the gospels to mention Jesus (and starts the gospels with a talk about the two civilizations or whatever of Christianity and Judaism.) It’s certainly true that Christians have vented their existential dread at Jews, perhaps enough, you know; and I guess more relevantly, it’s more historical-rational (certainly what the Borg Cube is) to see Jesus as a historical event that didn’t exist before his birth, and perhaps not as a god—perhaps not as a person, even; he’s an event!—than as the central metaphor for Christians, one would assume. It IS almost more empire-y, to see Jesus as history, as fact-event, as civilization. The only thing you have to decide is whether or not to ally with the Jews; and if not the Jews—who to consign to the fires of history?

…. I remember Rodney Stark’s book; he was such a little bitch. He started by saying that Christianity satisfies the needs of modern liberalism, and ends by saying that conservative Christianity needs to chew and eat liberal Christianity, you know. I guess he was a historian, though, lol…. I guess that wasn’t enough to keep the book un-deleted, though. It’s embarrassing, some of the people I give my time to.

Rodney also wasn’t a Christian by way of faith, but by way of civilization/empire/Bach, etc. He was almost a liberal, except he was very reactionary.

…. Borgie is defs historical-rational, you know. “The Jesus of mythology, is interesting…. (pause) and humanity is not a very interesting race. Men, reality is ~boring~…. It’s good! Yes, you. You there in the back…. Kant, Kant. Immanuel! You’re speaking German, dammit! Switch to English, for fuck’s sake!”

…. (end) All is not well in the Episcopal etc church.

…. (end 2) Anyway, like a lot of smart fuckers I can be an unbearable little bitch; however, I’m not ALWAYS an unbearable little bitch, right: maybe sometimes-liberal Jesus rationalists are just acting out part of their soul’s evolution, you know. I certainly think that atheists are sometimes working out their soul’s evolution….

…. Christians tend to be either abusers or non-entities. Cf the famous Yeats quote about “passionate intensity”. 1920 was a very Episcopalian time, you know; most Episcopalians are still living in those times—most presidents, too, I guess…. I mean, maybe not Obama or Trump, which covers many of the last few years—but the old sense of “presidential” is still basically Biden, you know. A lot of people hate it, but there’s not a lot of “give” in the “presidential”/“Episcopalian” system for there to be an alternative that’s not a “Scots-Irish” “frontier fighter” type, who doesn’t pretend not to want to burn down the governor’s mansion and the red villages. And even a very, very well-behaved and smart Black man isn’t quite what the Episcopalians are all about, you know. They can vote for him to be their national president and their church president or whatever, but it’s only a compromise so far: I’ve got this. But I like you—hey! I’ll adopt you! ~Right?…. There’s no entering the Black space or even seriously re-imagining the white one, just a sign that says, you know, Assimilation welcome. You can be different…. You’re not, though, are you? You’re not one of those…. (a) you could be my kid! This is crazy! Do the kids still use that word!, or (b) Oh God—you could never be my kid! 😨

But yeah the Episcopalians have updated their liturgy twice since 1920, technically: every couple of decades, like say, the distance between the height of The Bee Gees, and, yeah, we’ve had several ~generations~ of rap and rap-era pop, and they haven’t changed a line of the liturgy. And why bother—they never really changed it, ever. It’s like the Bible. The Book of Common Prayer now is pretty much what it was in 1662, you know—they literally just took out ‘thou’, and ‘thy’: actually, come to think of it, I think ‘thou’ and ‘thy’ are OPTIONAL, you know. God knows that Bono is risqué, practically criminal, but say, what if a traveling Shakespeare circus/vaudeville act wandered in, and they wanted to get saved? We could use the optional ‘historical reenactment’ liturgy! ~The whole liturgy is historical reenactment. It’s basically the old, Latin, medieval liturgy—just literally translated into (Latinate) English, you know. It’s like the commoner can tag along with the kings and queens, you know. Tag-along. It’s like how in 1920, if a woman wanted to go to college, she could, as long as she was “good” and cooperative, basically, and received the honor of being allowed to sit in on a male part of society with the proper amount of respect, you know. Not a peep of can we up that 2% female authors studied in lit class to 2.5%, or (ambitious bitch! Savages!) 3%, you know. College is for the lads, you’re just here. Incidentally that’s how it is for female clergy: they’re allowed to sit in on it, to show up for it, you know: but it’s basically male and monastic and grandfatherly, you know. Mrs. Claus can show up, but it’s not her show. Imagine if something soft and fuzzy and feminine and motherly were to happen in a Christian church—an Episcopalian church! And really, it’s the same with the whole general populace, really. You’re there to tag-along. The kings and queens and the antique scholars and the good people have the church, you know. You’re just there as filler. Be passive. None of this is really here for you, really. I mean, not ~you~…. “people”, someone. Good people. Obedient people. Important people.

And that’s as good as the common church gets, you know: otherwise it’s like the Long Kesh prison or something, the ‘Maze’ prison for Northern Ireland’s terrorists, you know.

—God came to earth to crush you. To crush you! Utterly! Utterly!
—God came to earth, but, (embarrassed)—no C-SPAN yet. Whoops! (makes a comment about someone’s home-baked cookies, and then another one about politics)

…. It’s like Christians still act like they’re either interior Indian-hunters, or coastal slave-owners, you know. It’s unreal. Like if it was Britain, it would be like, The Shankill Butchers, butchering Catholics since 1975 (“the native Irish”, they used to call them—like the Native Americans of Europe), or like these little BBC period drama people, you know, “Look at this! Irish people have money! They literally print pound notes! I didn’t know they had it in them, I thought they used the barter system like the Hottentots or the Arabs…. And look at this: they’re not ~British~ pound notes; they’re ~Irish~…. You know, you forget that the native Irish have their own government, nowadays—for almost fifty years, I think!…. You know, sometimes I rather almost think that sometimes some of the Irish want to be good!”

You know, it’s like: pretty much the ONLY difference between 1920 and today is that people don’t literally do that to micks and dagos anymore, you know. (Pizza! But is that AMERICAN food?) But it’s all the same bullshit with updated gerrymandering, you know. Nothing has changed. It’s still those same two groups of people—the psycho common white men and the neurotic elite white men. The two groups of Christians.

…. It’s almost enough to make you believe the Eights, you know, with their mania about betrayal, because the micks and dagos DID betray the people left out, you know. It’s all the same, except you can be Irish and go to an Episcopalian church and no one wonders if you’re the good sort or the “native” sort, and you can have pizza, right.

I guess not everyone is a Christian anymore, but only at the edges, and what there is freaks people out. Basically, there are still those two kinds of Christians controlling everything, and they’re both ill.

…. I don’t hate everything biblical, Hebraic, Jewish, all that, though—you have to admire the Jews. They were the ones who were excluded and shunned and yet changed how everyone (at least in the West) thought about everything—right down to the local Tarot reader reading her Kabbalah book in between readings. As opposed to the Irish and the Italians, the salt of the earth white Americans, who were assimilated by the system and changed basically nothing about it, you know. See? Opposite.

…. I’m not saying you can’t go to a wedding and talk about the meaning of life—after all, you have the day off—but just that he gives the impression in the whole water-to-wine wedding, that he’s never Been to one. Not just that he never went to a anecdote-generating wedding, but that he discovered the existence of weddings from the White Boy Bible Dictionary, and now defends the legend of the ancient “wedding” as containing a kernel of historical truth from the skeptics who laugh at the very idea that any such ceremony Ever took place, you know. It’s all there in the White Boy Bible Dictionary, lads!

And the same with ‘metaphor’. I feel like I’m listening to a Picard-Data dialogue abstracted into a single voice, you know.

And you know: Christians don’t believe in dying and rising—neither one. They believe in stasis. No trust. Zero. If change were to happen, that would be the end—the end, forever.

…. It’s hard to sing that song, ‘I want to be a moderate but the religious system is drawn to extremes, extremes of misery’, you know. Everyone acts tough and reaches for the AK-47 so that they’ll have friends for sure, them and their internet commie friends, you know, working for the revolution via mean tweet assault, you know.

As if the religious system cared about whether you have enough money to go on a vacation, or whether you and your boss get along, right. I don’t know how to say it, but it’s like you’re fighting their battles for them, you know.

As long as people stay stuck and miserable, we’ll get to keep the old America, you know. It almost doesn’t matter which of the two—stuck radical or miserable moderate, you know. It’s that you’re letting somebody else write your story.

People rant about individualism to pass the time, but very few mainstream religious teachers end their book like, And that’s how I got to be this happy person! ~you know. Or Jesus— “and that’s how Jesus got to be such a happy person”. Look at the poor fellow, right. That’s how we see him. It just doesn’t make any sense. Surely SOMEONE must benefit from our intellectual edifices that we defend, if everyone has to ‘die for the Faith, die for Ireland’, right? 😸 Oh wow…. What an interesting idea. But wait: that would require change. One of you new peasants wants me to change? I like how it is in the books. 😔 Who wouldn’t want it to be like that for him, right?

…. And that’s why I’m not a Christian; I trust I won’t be taken for Bertrand Russell. It’s been seven months, and now I know I’m not going back. Not going to darken the door of an evangelical, Catholic, or liturgical Protestant church. I might go to a pop church, but it can never be like it was before. I’d go as a heretic. The days of loyalty are over. Loyalty is my personal sin….

Moderation in moderation.

…. Book X “wasn’t really written by Paul”? Well, I guess we’ll just take it right out of the lectionary, then! We won’t have to acknowledge that it’s part of the Christian tradition, read books about it, or encounter its ideas in other books and conversations with Christians! What’s that? No? You were just bullshitting? Oh, ok! I can do that, too! I have a friend that I really like; she’s from Detroit. She doesn’t speak English, though. I have to use my animist skills to talk to her, but I enjoy sitting inside her, this time of year, when it’s nice and warm inside her unlike the outside. Why doesn’t she speak English if she’s from Detroit? Because she’s my car, silly. I named her Amanda. 😋

—“I can’t really reform the Christian tradition, but I can rehab a theologian dead for thousands of years by caviling over who wrote what.”
—I can buy a balloon. 🎈

…. I’m not taking back what I said about the creative Jews and the uncreative micks, dagos, and precious, precious Saxons, but much of this has to do with how the Bible is presented in Christianity—it’s a closed book, both in Protestantism, liberal and conservative types, equally, and even, yes, Catholicism, where the Bible is a closed book—the popes closed it, and bless them, it’s going to stay closed, if my dead, skeletal hand clenched about it has anything to say about it, albeit preached by numerous colonial-style saints getting us into this story that basically ended before our time—the negotiations are over, the monitoring continues! Have as many saints preaching that as you like, god bless you! You know. The secular Victorian world did the same with the Greeks—the Greeks are the creative ones and we suck, BECAUSE we just copy their awesomeness, you know.

It’s funny how even a “liberal” book about the Bible includes basically nothing about our own times; once the Jews/Greeks and the Creative Period is over, it’s a closed book. There aren’t even anecdotes, let alone any sort of adaption-negotiations to radically changed circumstances. “Hi Merlin; I’m a Christian. You’re going to be a Christian, too. Bonus: You have to, so. Malus: This story is not about you.” Or women, ordinary people…. Certainly not the fucking slaves and colonial natives, right! 😹

We need Western/modern Christians to: 1. Be the Kant-computers chugging through the numbers/analysis 2. Suitable numbers of people to serve as useful furniture—a full church! Almost as beautiful as my coffee table! 😇

But it’s definitely not about ~you~, you know. Not every preacher is rude enough to say, “I don’t care what you say—I care about what the Bible says”, (although I did hear that preached once), but, God, he’s not the only one who knows if you hear somebody say, “This is Paul’s argument—why don’t you respond with your own idea”, even if you’re not easily offended, most Christians hear that and are mildly dismayed: that’s not what religion is about. It’s not about us. It’s about those wise men, from the Graeco-Jewish period, you know. The computer men of our time get to preen because they know about those times, so “everything’s okay”.

It’s not “supposed” to be about me and my problems, or my happiness—or anybody’s happiness. Most Christians are offended by the idea that the ideas in the Bible are about anybody’s happiness, you know. Or else they just don’t understand. Let me see, let me look up, “history of the idea of happiness in the Bible”; okay: “history of the idea of happiness in the Pentateuch, Jesus, Paul….” Okay: “history of the idea of happiness in Paul as it relates to Second Temple Judaism….” Okay: first I need to date all of Paul’s letters…. We’re really making progress, though; this is great….

…. —Paul wrote once-practical treatments on the role of meat sacrificed to idols in the life of the church. I think we should write material on the role of technology and fashion in the life of the church. These, for us, would be just as useful for practical and even metaphorical purposes.
—(shakes head) I think you’ll find that if you add the “secret sauce” of philosophy, you’ll find that Paul implicitly addressed everything we need to know about technology and fashion in his treatments of meat sacrificed to idols.
—That might work in your experience, but I think there’s more than one way.
—(shakes finger) No no no; nothing new. There is one god and one way; it’s called the “go fuck yourself” path. Everything I need to know about technology and fashion, I learned from the “go fuck yourself” path.
—(3rd person) I like to wear purple because it symbolizes spiritual consciousness. I like to think of it as a very Aquarian color.
—Go fuck yourself.

…. —(4th person) I wear brown because I think it’s ugly. That’s why I became a Franciscan.
—(3rd person) Yeah, yeah…. Okay: (holds up 5 fingers behind his back, like: we’re leaving this “party” in five minutes, on the dot.)

…. Encounters with Christianity usually leave me incredibly drained, and usually pretty irritable, to be honest. “I don’t care about what you say; I care about what the Bible says” IS pretty much the consensus. Jesus will save you, but only if you come with me on a magical mystery tour of the interior hell-realms, where you don’t exist, and that doesn’t matter…. It’s not that “nothing is real”; it’s that things are real…. That can’t exist, and you’re responsible for what they do, even as they order you about….

“Or else you’re SO Uncivilized.” (sniff)

…. I reject consensus Christianity, and that’s what this is, you know. It’s like one of those ‘Four or Five Shades of Consensus Christian Opinion about’ series, you know. Like these unlikable white men bonding over how they don’t like anybody, and they pat themselves on the back for bringing it all together. And the other 99.5% of us are supposed to say, I’m not qualified to be part of that club of the unlikable men, but I do know, blah blah blah, no hope for humanity, basically: because here I am.

(Commander Adama) As Christians we reject the life principle, especially in its feminine form, and all shunned, uncomfortable unpleasant yearning for existence. This is the rock. So say we all.
—(mumble mumble mumble)
—So we’re agreed, then. Good. Good.

…. The Christian Guy should just stop being a(n effeminate, incidentally) woman-hater, you know. A woman could be just as good an incarnation of the One as Jesus, you know. But that’s not~ Consensus Christianity, you know.

Consensus Christianity: “Blessed shall she be for a woman, the perfectly submissive woman of pure patriarchy, who bears a son unto the children of men.” (holds up Gospel Book)

Consensus American Christianity: “My father was a settled white man, who left Europe with few people, and became a holy terror unto the races he found had gone out into this place before him. The Word of the Lord.”
(mumble mumble mumble)
—Thanks be to God.
—Praise to You, Lord Christ.
—Bro, you got it wrong: you fucked up the first and the second response!
—Censored, step off! I’m a’right; I’m cool!
—Fool! Do you not know that your life may be demanded of you this very night!
—Censored: is that a threat? I said: Is that a THREAT?
—No, no…. I was sharing my faith. I was doing the Bible—I was being good! I love you!
—A’right…. A’right. I don’t want to step on your faith. You know how people get offended nowadays; wouldn’t want to do that shit, right.

Good times. Good memories.

…. (singing Bach’s lame cousin)
—(white gossip boy) (whispers) What happened?
—(white gossip girl) (whispers) ~he~ said (points head subtly at him) (mouths the word)

…. Even when it’s not CNN-worthy, though, Christianity can boggle the mind:

—Jesus and Paul were Jews; they didn’t consider themselves as part of a religion called Christianity.
—But the Christian Bible, it’s over with them, yeah; no actually people who consider themselves Christians can write the Christian Bible: it’s over forever.
—Yeah…. Yeah, pretty much; it’s not about you. If it makes you feel better, the story of Israel isn’t really about the Jews anymore. We all gotta come together and say…. We are all Jews…. BUT, you know, the Israel people have got to pull over to side of the road and let us drive their story.
—I don’t mean to sound anti-Semitic, but aren’t the Jews the ones who control Israel?
—Yes, but…. I mean, really we Christians should control everything. Certainly the whole Middle East is like, the Bible land, and we need the Bible. If we don’t control our mythology, who does? The Jews? Just because they were there first? Next you’ll be saying that Merlin should be left in peace with Druidry and that Arapahos shouldn’t be Hitlered away.
—I thought you said it wasn’t about us.
—I went to a good school; I get to decide these things. I said it wasn’t about YOU: the church needs loyal people, useful furniture, who will suit its purposes and just kinda be there as the little people, you know.

Sounds good to me! Wait, just to clarify: I’m the important one, right? 😹

…. Well, I’ll sleep easy tonight, knowing that the Christians see it as their sacred duty to secure social justice for themselves—I mean, for all of us. (laughs)

(laughs and laughs and laughs)

…. There always has to be some WOMAN, some WHORE, who’s maliciously crushing and oppressing the children, and grinding out the pure innocent helpless male men of god into the dust, you know. And really it’s often men who have very very strong unacknowledged sexual feelings that create a myth like that, you know. “I believe in Almighty Lack and His Son, Violence, who together created the world, the secrets of which I know. I am NOT happy.”

And of course, perhaps Revelation John was also cooking up in his fevered mind the ideology of the apocalypse of colonialism, you know. Kinda the “practical” meaning Revelation and things like it have had in history, you know—God’s bloody justice. “God justice IS bloody!…. Say, just over there in Mexico….” 👹 ⛪️

Was it what Revelation John “really meant”? Only the Christians know, I guess. All I know, again, is that I’ll rest easy tonight knowing that Jesus and his minions will come to secure justice for themselves, you know…. Justice for ALLLLL the Christians, you know…. 😹

…. “And death will be no more.” (beat) “But not right away: first we gotta take care of the Mayans as though they were dinosaurs….” A space rock gets rocketed into the earth, lol. (There are like twelve different words for space rock based on whether they actually hit the earth or whatever, so I just said space rock.)

But yeah. (everyone is dead) OK: NOW there will be no death— 😎 👹 🪨 🇲🇽 💀 🌺 ….

I feel like I disagree with the Christian endgame, anyway. A garden and a city are alright, and one day life will be the way it ought to be, unless we take the billion year detour of destroying ourselves, but I don’t think that there has to be no death, no birth, you know. Plants die; it’s ok. Even animals die—and that’s ok, too, as long as they’re not being fed, bloodied but alive and conscious, into a meat processor, you know. And we die. “Cattle die and kinsmen die, and so one dies oneself. One thing I know, that does not die”, and once you find something that doesn’t die, whatever it is, you can be happy. Maybe that thing can even be yourself. “Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.” We are supposed to live die and live again—and it is all life, really. We do not have to run from death, from birth, and create a world (if we could!) without change, without joy, without birth, without…. Well, maybe we’ll kill a few people…. 😜

…. I will just never get over though, how over-educated pseudo-liberals can write sentences like, Don’t blame Joey! He’s my friend! We talked about the meaning of life and shit together! He’s my friend and I gotta protect him! ~ and neglect to mention that the more pressing point to make is not to ACTUALLY DO those bad things that people got, fairly or unfairly for its author’s fucking reputation, “from reading Joey”, you know.

Fucking loyalty to books—it’s a killer. Sometimes, literally!

…. Revelation John was also an incredible fucking sexist. Moving on to more important, manly topics:

Your girl wants you to dress classy and stop physically assaulting her every time she buys a dress because she’s, (draw out the word), baaaad. It goes without saying that big people like me are against little people like her—people who are, baaad. People who don’t know the chauvie rad maxim, Emotions ain’t shit. They’re dog poop!

So get yourself a girl who has strangled the goddess-child within her, and who will help you murder your own anima on the altar of Lack and Violence, and Justice, and Chess.


It has been a pleasure to address all of you gathered here today. And until the god of peace brings us together again, may the god of the micks hold you safely in one of his hands, while using the other to wield a flaming sword of death to destroy feminine men and girls. Amen. 👨🏻‍🏫

…. (In the parking lot, ten minutes later) OMG IN THE WHOLE TALK ABOUT EMPIRE AND OPPRESSION I FORGOT TO MENTION BLACK PEOPLE. (shocked, stunned, defeated) (beat) Well, at least I remembered to crucify those damn individualists. Dress classy, attract women—I’ll show them! I’ll show them all! Terrible things will happen to the world if people don’t go to my talks. (does a little dance, like: yeah!)
… (more)
goosecap | 17 other reviews | Jan 27, 2024 |


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John Dominic Crossan Contributor, Author, Speaker
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Alan F. Segal Contributor, Speaker
Jack Kornfield Introduction
Seyyed Hossein Nasr Panelist, Contributor
Desmond Tutu Panelist, Contributor
Lawrence Kushner Panelist, Contributor
Joan Chittister Panelist, Contributor
Karen Armstrong Panelist, Contributor
Thomas Moore Introduction
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