Matthew Clanahan; ISFJ; 25-year-old graduate student; Learning Support Specialist and adjunct instructor at Three Rivers College; Bachelor's of Science in Mass Media/Radio with a minor in math from Southeast Missouri State University; Apple enthusiast; total geek; coffee connoisseur; flannel lover, multiple-instrument musician; drummer for Berlin Airlift; caffeine addict; LGBT ally; Christ follower; ordinary radical

Interests: peace, love, equality, people, social justice, human rights, feminism, music, vinyl records, lyrics, quotes, art, poetry, films, books, technology, coffee, tea, demilitarization, sustainability, community, community development, community gardening, historic preservation, Jesus, theology, orthodoxy, heterodoxy

Read the Printed Word!

I listen to a lot of music.

I spend a bit too much time swooning over pictures on Tumblr of people I find attractive.

I appreciate meaningful/artistic/literary/lyric tattoos.



 

The people that I know who love, quote, and believe the Bible the most happen to be the least aware of the Bible’s concern with/critique of Empire. What is fascinating to me is that those who are most unaware of the nature of the American Empire (Imperial reign) are also those who claim to take the Bible the most seriously.

The moral outrage evoked to provide a rational cover for the compulsion-to-intervene—“We cannot allow the use of poisonous gases on civil population!”—is a such a sham, it doesn’t even take itself seriously. As we now know, the United States more than tolerated the use of poisonous gases against the Iranian army by Saddam Hussein. During the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-1988, the United States sided with the Iraqis to quell Iranian influence in the Gulf, despite being well aware of Iraq’s liberal use of mustard and tear gas, according to declassified government reports. The United States even secretly supplied Iraq with satellite images of Iranian battlefield weaknesses to aid in the targeting of Iranian troops. Where were moral concerns then?

If your freedom is married to your American rights, will you still be free when America dies? What does it mean to be free? Bondage is a spiritual state, not just physical chains. Realistically most Americans are still enslaved. Mastered by their own desires, aspiring merely to aspire higher, driven by their insatiable appetite for material wealth and physical pleasure, wondering whether their labor will ever end, slaves in need of liberation.

When America Dies - Micah Bournes (via danieleatscalvinists)

israel: (forcefully sterilizes ethiopian jews)

america: (silence)

israel: (demolishes the homes of palestinians on a huge scale)

america: (silence)

israel: (segregates buses so that palestinians have to ride separate buses from israelis)

america: (silence)

israel: (forcibly makes it so palestinians cannot visit parts of their own homeland)

america: (silence)

israel: (kills and oppresses the palestinian people in the name of a pure jewish homeland)

america: (silence)

palestinian civilian: (throws a rock)

america: OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG VIOLENCE!

Let’s start with a premise that I don’t think a lot of Americans are aware of. We have five percent of the world’s population; we have 25 percent of the world’s known prison population. There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States, or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice.

RK: Christians: Stop Using Tragedies as an Appeal to Days That Never Were

gospelofthekingdom:

imageA friend of mine showed me a Facebook group titled “Jesus, Please Save America” which is where I found this photo.  After my initial shock, I then moved to a state of sorrow about how wide spread this belief is.  I first want to address the caption and then the comments.

“What has our country become?”

Let’s first tear back the presupposition of where this country began. If we are to ‘take America back for God’, it must have once belonged to God to begin with.  There is a perverse belief in the heart of the evangelical church in America, that America was founded as a Christian nation but has simply went off course.  The line of thinking is that:

  • If we can just get the power of Caesar again, we can take it back. 
  • If we can get prayer (Christian prayer, of course) back into schools
  • along with the Ten Commandments and creationist teaching, we’ll be restoring our country’s Christian heritage. 
  • If we can protect the sanctity of marriage, make it difficult, if not impossible, to live a gay lifestyle,
  • and overturn Roe vs. Wade, we’ll be getting closer.
  • And if we can keep ‘one nation under God’ in our Pledge of Allegiance we have won this nation back for Jesus Christ. 

I repeat, If we are to ‘take America back for God’, it must have once belonged to God to begin with. 

In Greg Boyd’s brilliant book, “The Myth of a Christian Nation” he asks when this golden Christian age was:

“Were these God-glorifying years before, during, or after Europeans ‘discovered’ America and carried out the doctrine of ‘manifest destiny’ — the belief that God (or, for some, nature) had destined white Christians to conquer the native inhabitants and steal their land? Were the God-glorifying years the ones in which whites massacred these natives by the millions, broke just about every covenant they every made with them, and then forced survivors onto isolated reservations?  Was the golden age before, during, or after white Christians loaded five to six million Africans on cargo ships to bring them to their newfound country, enslaving the three million or so who actually survived the brutal trip?  Was it during the two centuries when Americans acquired remarkable wealth by the sweat and blood of their slaves?  Was the time when we were truly ‘one nation under God,’ the blessed time that so many evangelicals seem to want to take our nation back to?

If we look at historical reality rather than pious verbiage, it’s obvious that America never really “belonged to God.”

He writes earlier in the book,

“This myth harms the church’s primary mission. For many in America and around the world, the American flag has smothered the glory of the cross, and the ugliness of our American version of Caesar has squelched the radiant love of Christ. Because the myth that America is a Christian nation has led many to associate America with Christ, many now hear the good news of Jesus only as American news, capitalistic news, imperialistic news, exploitive news, antigay news, or Republican news. And whether justified or not, many people want nothing to do with any of it.”

Now that that is out of the way, I want to address the comments:

“We need to let God back in our country and stop trying to keep Him out of our country.”

and

“We need to bring GOD back….”

If I had a dollar every time I had encountered this line of thinking; that we can ‘keep God out of our country’ (from this post alone, I’d have $832).  In the words of Rachel Held Evans in her brilliant post God Can’t Be Kept Out:

Brothers and sisters, let’s call this one for what it is: bullshit. 
God can be wherever God wants to be. God needs no formal invitation. We couldn’t “systematically remove” God if we tried.

God did not ordain this tragedy to pour out wrath.  Neither did this tragedy happen because we have “kicked God out”.  God cannot be kept out.  Stop using this tragedy as an appeal to days that never were.

A step in the right direction isn’t towards days that never were, but for the Christians in America to separate the Christian “we” and the American “we.”  Where we regain our prophetic voice in order to speak truth to power.  To “come out from Babylon,” to divorce ourselves from the empire once again.  And to drop the American narrative that is full of oppression, consumerism, violence, and individualism (the sword) and pick up the Christ narrative of liberation, solidarity, nonviolence, and community (the cross).

We need not go back to days that never were but to begin living as an alternative and prophetic community where we learn to cultivate the characteristics of a Christ narrative.  To create a counter liturgical society from the shell of the American narrative we are so steeped in.

brandtrusso:

I must admit, I find it suspect when fellow Christians fight harder to preserve the rights provided by the Constitution of the Unites States of American than they do to live the teachings of the sermon on the mount. May we never forget that God’s Kingdom, of which we are a part of, is NOT of this world, and our battle is NEVER against flesh and blood. Our law is self-sacrificial love, and our Commander and Chief is one who died willingly for and at the hands of His enemies. Long live the slaughtered lamb.

brandtrusso:

I must admit, I find it suspect when fellow Christians fight harder to preserve the rights provided by the Constitution of the Unites States of American than they do to live the teachings of the sermon on the mount. May we never forget that God’s Kingdom, of which we are a part of, is NOT of this world, and our battle is NEVER against flesh and blood. Our law is self-sacrificial love, and our Commander and Chief is one who died willingly for and at the hands of His enemies. Long live the slaughtered lamb.

Objecting to 400 people controlling half the wealth in America doesn’t make you a socialist. It means you have a basic understanding of human fairness and equity, and don’t approve of millions of people starving when there’s plenty for everyone.

William Hamby (via zeitgeistmovement)

(Source: socialuprooting)

The myth of America as a Christian nation, with the church as its guardian, has been, and continues to be, damaging both to the church and to the advancement of God’s kingdom. Among other things, this nationalistic myth blinds us to the way in which our most basic and most cherished cultural assumptions are diametrically opposed to the kingdom way of life taught by Jesus and his disciples. Instead of living out the radically countercultural mandate of the kingdom of God, this myth has inclined us to Christianize many pagan aspects of our culture. Instead of providing the culture with a radically alternative way of life, we largely present it with a religious version of what it already is. The myth clouds our vision of God’s distinctly beautiful kingdom and thereby undermines our motivation to live as set-apart (holy) disciples of this kingdom.

Gregory A. Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation