Gay and Christian?

August 31, 2010

This is a repost of a blog I wrote back in January.  Why am I recycling posts?  Partly because it’s late, I’m tired and I wanted to put something up tonight.  But, I was also reminded of this when I read the story of Reverend Jane Spahr.  Rev. Spahr, now a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church, performed marriage ceremonies for 16 gay couples in violation of PCUSA policy.  Here’s my take on the subject of homosexuality:

I’m probably going to regret this, but I’m doing it anyway. First things first: no, I’m not  gay. I say this because today’s topic is divisive enough without extra distractions. I’m writing this due to something I read on “Jesus, The Radical Pastor”, by John Frye. The entry in question is titled “Jesus Goes Postal“, in which Frye contends it was not Jesus’ sole intent to clear the vendors out of the temple when he went off, he was also sending a message that the exclusion inherent in Judaism and displayed in the Temple was over. Frye makes his point best:
Exclusion in the Name of faith. The Temple in Jesus’ day maintained a rigid hierarchy of who was closest and farthest from God. God-seeking Gentiles? Hey, let’s build a flea market in their spot. Never mind there are all kinds of markets already available on the Mount of Olives. Competition is good. Who cares that the traditional laws forbid carrying your wallet into the Temple area? This is AD 33! Get with the times. Your wallet: don’t leave home without it. But, keep the women out. Keep the cripples out. Keep the Gentiles out. Keep the am ha’aretz out! We are Jewish, well-bodied, well-educated, righteous men. We’re in! By his unexpected drama, Jesus declared that the days of exclusion were over. Are Christian gays welcomed into our ’sacred space’?”

It was that last sentence that caught me. Not too long ago, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina amended their Articles of Incorporation to say that a church was not in “friendly cooperation” with the Convention if they “knowingly act, approve, endorse, support or bless homosexual behavior” That’s verbatim from their website, by the way. What happens to churches not in friendly behavior? Ask Broadway Baptist Church in Texas. The Texas convention terminated a 127 year relationship with that congregation because they were too lenient with homosexual members. The Oklahoma convention passed a resolution that asked businesses, organizations and government to restrict their grants to two types of families: those with a headed by one man and one woman and those with single parents. Doesn’t that sound welcoming?  But, at least they’ve taken a stand, however wrong-headed.  Here’s what my own Methodist church’s Book of Discipline says about homosexuality “Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth. All persons need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. Although we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching, we affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.”  But, “Since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals* are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”
*Footnote –- “‘Self-avowed practicing homosexual’ is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual.” 
 Wimpy, mealy-mouthed and lame.

What’s all the hubbub about homosexuality? According to those opposed to it, it’s based on scripture. Not that there’s a lot of scripture on the subject. In fact, Jesus himself never mentioned much about sex in general outside of adultery. Most of the condemnation comes from the Old Testament. Mosaic Law seems pretty harsh about the subject. But, it’s also pretty harsh about other things . Like stoning adulterous women (but, not men); sacrificing children to Molech; that if a man dies childless, his widow is to sleep with his each of his brothers in turn until she becomes pregnant so that the dead man’s line continues and others even more outlandish by our standards. We don’t any of these things anymore. Why? Culturally, we have progressed from such things. Yet, if you apply the same measures to homosexuality, you’re accused of “moral relativism“, which has become a club fundamentalists use to beat up anyone who disagrees with them.  Morally relative or not, the current view on homosexuality marginalizes a large group of people and that’s contrary to the Gospel.

Think about this: Who did Jesus spend most of his time with? The elite, chosen Pharisees and devout Jews or the dregs of society, including prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers. You know the answer without even looking it up. And, when confronted about who he was with by the Pharisees, Jesus responded that these were the people he came for. The poor, the disenfranchised, the outcast. In His words, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick”. If he was here today, who would he be hanging around with?

Finally, I come to the question posed in the title of this entry: Gay and Christian? That is, can you be a practicing homosexual and be a Christian also? Some would argue not. That continuing the sin of homosexuality somehow supersedes belief. I notice, however, that any sins these folks might be complicit in aren’t mentioned. Funny how that works, huh? For myself, it’s not my place to say who’s in and who’s out.  Mine is to love everyone as Jesus loved: unconditionally and without reservation.


Jesus Saves

August 29, 2010

 I love weird stuff.  If that weird stuff has a religious connotation, I love it even more.  And, if you add a southern twist to said weirdness, that’s the ultimate.  A good example is a type of sign you’ll see throughout the rural south: the “Jesus Saves” sign.  The variety of these signs are amazing.  There’s the neon church sign:

The car sign:

One of my favorites, using Jesus for a little bump for your business:

Another attempt at receiving a divine bump:

Jesus Saves graffiti:

More graffiti, this time by someone punctuation issues:

Then, of course, there’s the sarcastic stuff:

“Jesus Saves” scroll saw art:

They’ll even put it on a pocketknife:

Finally, just because I’m that kind of guy, I’ll leave you with this joke:

Jesus and Satan were having a discussion as to who is the better programmer.  This goes on for a few hours until they come to an agreement to hold a contest, with God as the judge.  They sit themselves at their computers and begin. They type furiously, lines of code streaming up the screen, for several hours straight.

Seconds before the end of the competition, a bolt of  lightning strikes, taking out the electricity. Moments later, the power is restored, and God announces that the contest is over.  He asks Satan to show what he has come up with.  Satan is visibly upset, and cries, “I have nothing.  I lost it all when the power went out.”  “Very well, then,” says God, “Jesus, show me the results of all your typing.”

Jesus enters a command, and the screen comes to life in full color,  a YouTube video begins playing and you could see and hear the voices of an angelic choir from the surround sound speakers.  Satan is completely astonished.  He stutters, “B-b-but how? I lost everything, yet Jesus’ program is intact.  How did he do it?”  God smiled all-knowingly and said, “Jesus saves.”

Honor Restored?

August 29, 2010

Yesterday was Glenn Beck’s big day.  His “Restoring Honor” rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial came off without a hitch.  At least, I assume it did, I didn’t watch it.  I tried, but it made me want to vomit, so I stopped.  It’s no secret I don’t care for Beck.  I think he’s an arrogant, pompous blowhard who’s only interested in self-promotion and is exploiting the current wave of dissatisfaction in this country to his own benefit.  What that benefit is I’m no longer sure.  Before today, I thought it was selling books, pimping his TV and radio shows and some general “Look at me!” ego-stroking.  Now, I’m not so sure.  Along with his co-speaker today, Sarah Palin, Beck is a darling of the Tea Party movement and those people hang on his every word.  Lately, he’s been injecting a lot of religious rhetoric into his speaking and a recent CNN article speculated that he’s setting himself up as the new leader of conservative Christians.  And, that’s a cause for concern.

It’s not so much about what Beck, himself, might do; it’s about what he brings out us.  On her blog today, Karen Zacharias listed a series of Tweets (if you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, read the blog post linked to her name.  She explains better than me) about the rally today and they’re not very nice.  And, those were the tip of the iceberg; I found worse ones when I looked.  Accusations of racism, irresponsibility and unAmericanism were flying hot and heavy from both sides.  Why am I worried about what’s being said on something like Twitter?  Because it’s indicative of the way polite discourse has gone in the toilet in this country.  Used to be, we could agree to disagree on things like politics and religion.  Not any more, both topics are a short-cut to an argument and not a friendly one.  Conservatives have a chip on their shoulder and liberals think they’re the only ones who care about what’s happening in the world and when the two get together, things turn ugly quickly.  Add in some of the  good, old-fashioned rabble-rousing a la Beck and things go to hell even faster. 

What’s bothering me more than anything else is that, for all Beck’s supposed piety, most of what I hear coming from him doesn’t square with the Christian faith I’m familiar with.  To my understanding, as Christians, we are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the prisoner.  And, that we should work to change systems that perpetuate these conditions.  These are the basic tenets of social justice and liberation theology, both of which he has intimated as being Christian doctrines perverted by Marxism or socialism.  I hate to break to all my conservative Christian friends, but Jesus and the early church had more in common with Marxists and socialists than a hard-core capitalist like Glenn Beck. 

So, what do we do about this situation?  The honest answer is: I don’t know.  Ignoring people like Beck isn’t really an option, that’s what got us where we now.  Yet, shouting them down won’t work either; not only is that unAmerican, it’s not Christian.  What I do know about this situation is that what we’re doing now isn’t working worth a damn.

What Are We Afraid Of?

August 27, 2010

Today, one of my favorite bloggers, Matthew Paul Turner of Jesus Needs New PR, posted a video with content that’s all too common among some Christian groups.  CitizenLink, which appears to be the political wing of Focus on the Family, published a report about the gay agenda in public schools.  Matt’s post was snarky, funny and right on the money.  And, since he already covered that ground, I was thinking of how I could steal something of this and write about it myself.  As I watched the video, I was struck by the fear these people had and were doing their damnedest to inspire in others.  I know it’s a little long, but watch at least a little of it:

She goes on and on about the “gay agenda” and every time she mentioned that phrase, I thought “What about the Christian agenda? ” You know, the one causes us to marginalize anyone who’s not exactly like us?  Where we ignore (at best) or demonize (all to often) anything that makes the least bit uncomfortable?  Gay people are the most visible group dealing with this right now, but they’re far from alone; homeless people, people struggling with addictions and folks that just look different get it, too.  Walk into a new church looking alternative in any way, be it dress, tattoos or lifestyle, and prepare to be ignored.  They could ask you to leave, but I doubt they would; it wouldn’t be polite.  Of course, walk in holding hands with your same-sex significant other and all bets are off.   

What exactly are we afraid of?  That we might catch “The gay”?  That if we associate with homeless people, we’ll end up like them?  No, what it really is that folks like this make us uncomfortable.  People on the margins need to know that God loves them just as much as anyone else and the only way they’re going to know that is if we tell them.  We can’t do that if we give into this fear of being uncomfortable.  Staying in our comfort zone causes us to act in very unChristlike ways.  When he was here, the people Jesus spent the most time with were the ones on the margins of society and not the overtly religious ones.  Usually, when he did interact with religious folks, they didn’t come off very well.  Why is that?  Because, they’d forgotten the spirit of the Law.  Namely, that we are our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper.  And, it makes no difference who that brother or sister is, what they do, or who they’re attracted to.

Is the President a Muslim?

August 25, 2010

I thought we’d settled this question back during the election, but I guess not.  As of this moment, 18% of Americans think our President is a Muslim.  Narrow the scope to just Republicans and it jumps to 31%.  This is despite the fact that President Obama has repeatedly told us that he is a Christian.  Today, I read a Slate article about how no Republicans will condemn this myth (myth?  More like steaming pile of crap).  Basically it’s about how the Republicans not only aren’t stopping this ludicrous idea, they’re riding for all they’re worth.   On Meet the Press Sunday, Republican leader Mitch McConnell was asked whether he shouldn’t try to correct this misinformation.  McConnell answered: “The President says he’s a Christian, I take him at his word.  I don’t think that’s in dispute.”  You’ll notice he never says outright whether he believes the President.  Just that he’ll “take him at his word”.  It also seems deliberately vague, with the comment “I don’t believe that’s in dispute”.  What’s not in dispute, that you’ll accept his word or that he’s a Christian?  The man is so oily, if you threw him into the Gulf of Mexico, he’d give Deepwater Horizon a run for its money.  Franklin Graham, a man of God who’s supposed to be above this kind of thing, was almost as bad.  On CNN, he goes off on some confusing tangent about how Obama was born a Muslim.  Thanks, a lot Frank.  Way to put this to bed.  To top it all off,  just a few days ago, RNC new media director Todd Herman tweeted “Watch – Is @BarackObama amongt (sic) the 20% who think he’s Muslim? #tcot” referring to a 2008 interview with George Stephanopoulos where the President was talking about how John McCain didn’t make a big deal about his faith.  In it, he misspoke and said “Muslim” instead of “Christian” faith.  George caught it, called it to his attention and Obama corrected himself.  You know, considering our last President’s history of gaffes and use of made-up words, the Republicans may not want to open that particular can of worms. 

Yesterday, Stephen Colbert weighed in with this bit of inspired lunacy:—oyster-sluts–japanese-hackers—israeli-regulators?xrs=share_copy

For snarky, smart-alecky humor, no one surpasses Colbert and his mentor/sponsor Jon Stewart.

I’m sure my Republican friends have branded me an Obama supporter and flaming liberal the last few days, because I’ve had a lot to say about this and the Park51 project (Ground Zero mosque) and none of it has dovetailed with their ideas on either subject.  They’re only partially right, though.  While I’m much futher to the left than I used to be (two steps right of Gheghis Khan), I’m not a full-fledged Obama-ite, nor am I a flaming lib. I retain some of my small government, Libertarian ideas; just not as many as I used to.  It’s not what I support that’s the issue here, it’s what I don’t support: ignorance, rabble-rousing and intolerance.  And, believe me,  all three are available in abundance these days.  And, none of this does justice to the Christian principles that so many people claim our country was founded on.  There’s no forgiveness and no acceptance at work here.  Hell, even basic tolerance is in short supply.  Here’s the deal, people: This is the United States of America and the free practice of one’s own religion is one of our founding principles.  What difference does it make if the President is a Muslim, a Christian, an atheist or even a Reformed Druid (a M.A.S.H. reference that I thought was made up, but they’re real!).  As long as he’s a decent man, a good leader and doesn’t run the country completely into the ground, I’m cool with whatever he believes.  He’s certainly not doing any worse than some of his overtly Christian predecessors.

Follow the Bouncing Ball

August 23, 2010

Park51, also known as Cordoba House and “the mosque at Ground Zero”, continues to stir up rhetoric.  Unfortunately, that rhetoric is taking the form of really bad songs. The way this thing is unfolding, it feels like we’re in the Twilight Zone (the classic TV show, not that stupid vampire crap).  Submitted for your approval:

A friend of mine posted this stinker on his Facebook page today with a rather angry message.  With lines like “Everything we need to know, we learned on 9-11” and “all you wanna do is rub salt in the wound”, you can see it’s the epitome of tolerance.  My favorite line in the whole song is “that’s hallowed ground, back off you vultures!”.  Yeah, it’s hallowed all right.  Bars and topless clubs are the first thing I think of when the word “hallowed” is mentioned.

This one makes an actual attempt at tolerance with the opening line “We’ve got freedom of religion, I understand”.  Then, it goes down hill with “but Ground Zero is one location where mosque shouldn’t stand!”  It also hits the sacred/hallow thing too with “It’s a sacred place and that’s a cold, hard fact”  This line is interesting, “If we let ’em build it, can’t you see, they’ll turn 9-11 into a mockery.”  The sponsors of Park51 say they chose the original name of Cordoba House to invoke 8th-11th century Cordoba, Spain, a place where Muslims, Christians and Jews all co-existed peacefully.  Yeah, I can see where that would mock the 9-11 tragedy.

I didn’t pull any lines out of this song because I couldn’t decide which ones to use.  As soon as I thought I’d found something that characterized it, he’d up the ante yet again.  Most of these songs (and the rest of the insane crap being spouted) lump all Muslims into one big nasty pile, but I think this guy does it better than most. 

You know, it’s bad enough that these songs are hateful, bigoted and just plain intolerant.  But, on top of all of that, they’re bad.  I mean, really bad.  I’m talking mind-boggling, brain-melting bad.  You know, I thought some of the post-9/11 songs were bad, but they’re Grammy quality next to these.  I know these songs are an expression of people’s frustration over something they see as an affront.  But, maybe we all need to think it over and see if we aren’t guilty of the same kind of insensitivity in the Middle East.  And, even if we aren’t, somebody needs to be the adult and stop this pissing contest.  So, why not us?

The New Generation

August 22, 2010

If you don’t already know, I work with the youth group at my church and I’m always on the lookout for anything that will help me in that endeavor.  Earlier this week, I saw where Beloit College had published it’s annual Mindset List.  Started in 1998, it looks at the cultural touchstones of each group of incoming freshmen and serves to remind teachers and professors at the school that references that seem current to them might possibly fly right over the heads of their students.  The list has such information as:

  • Few in the class know how to write in cursive.  I know how, but I don’t do it. 
  • Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.  I’ll agree that snail mail is an appropriate name, but email is too slow???
  • Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.  I find this interesting since I not only remember the first PC’s with their two 5.25″ floppy drives, I remember when any computer at all seemed like something out of a science fiction novel.  I knew what they were and that they existed, but never thought I’d see one in person.  Much less be sitting here with one on my lap. 
  • Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.  This just makes me feel old.

As I was reading the list, the differences in generations jumped out at me.  I’m 49 years old (born in 1961), caught between the Baby Boomers and Gen X and, depending on what defintion you look at, I could belong to either group.  I was discussing this with a friend of the same age the other day and she was adamant that we were boomers, not Xers.  But, as I looked the things that defined Generation X, the era they grew up in, and I was right in the middle of it.  I came of age after the Vietnam War and my perspectives were shaped by the Cold War (I was a rabid Cold Warrior in my teens and 20’s) and the political upheavals of the 70’s.  Even though I grew up in an era of relative peace and prosperity, there was always an undercurrent of uncertainty about money and security.  But, at the same time, I got a healthy dose of Baby Boom idealism.  I was caught between generations, neither fish nor fowl.  But, it’s worked to my advantage over the years.  It gave me a flexibility in dealing with both groups that many people never understood. 

That flexibility has also helped me in my work with youth.  I’ve tried to remember what it’s like to be teen-ager and temper my interactions with that knowledge.  Some times, it works; sometimes it doesn’t.  But, I always try.  Partly, because I don’t want to become that old fart who chases the neighborhood kids out of his yard all the time.  I still don’t understand some their choices, no matter how hard I try.  Teens listening to country music blows me away.  No self-respecting teen-ager of my time would ever listen to anything their parents would. 

 Sometimes, I hear older people wondering what the kids coming up now are going to do with the world they inherit.  And, some of them aren’t very hopeful.  I am, though.  After spending almost 5 years working a church youth group, I can say the young people of the church are dedicated, caring Christians.  They believe in the Gospel and that it’s good news for everyone.  They actively work in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.  They don’t, however, necessarily believe that the way we’ve been going about it is the best way.  That’s why you’re seeing Emergent ideas gain more traction in the mainline church.  It’s why people like Rob Bell and Shane Claiborne are finding a ready audience for their message.  Things like the Big Tent Christianity meeting in Raleigh in September would’ve fallen flat 15 years ago, but not today.  There is a change taking place in the big C church and no amount how hard we dig in our heels, no matter how loudly we cry “HERESY!”, it’s not going to stop.  And, that’s not a bad thing.

Church signs

August 17, 2010

I love church signs.  The good, the bad and the ugly; they’re all the same to me.  But, some of the funniest aren’t real.  There are a ton of church sign generators online.  Heck, there’s even a Simpson’s church sign generator.  I’m going to share some of my favorites with you, but I’m not guaranteeing whether they’re real or not.  You’ll have to figure that out for yourself.

One for the ladies.

Well, that’s a ringing endorsement.

I’d like to think that might actually work.  But…, nah.


Wow, these guys have that tolerance thing nailed, don’t they?
Ah, yes.  The “let’s scare the crap out of them” approach.  And, it’s always so successful!
The Christian Scientists aren’t the only ones with this attitude.
Yeah, I don’t need any help with that.  Thanks, though.
You know, this one’s actually scripturally sound. 
I might not have attended this church, but I love the name.
Well, there’s a few choice selections.  Hope you enjoyed them.

Muslims at Ground Zero?!?

August 17, 2010

Lately, the news has been abuzz with talk about a Muslim mosque being built at Ground Zero.  There are a couple of problems with that statement.  First of all, it’s not a mosque they want to build, it’s a Muslim cultural center. Think Muslim YMCA.  It does have a prayer space, but it also has a banquet hall and a swimming pool.  Second, they don’t want to build at Ground Zero, but 2 blocks away.  And, there are already 2 mosques in the same area.   Not to mention strip clubs, bars and an Off Track Betting office.   So much for the “hallowed ground” argument.  But, the question is are the Muslims being insensitive?  Or, are the Republicans playing politics with this situation?  The answer is yes and a resounding…, yes!  Let’s face it, it is a bit of a dick move to build anything Islamic within shouting distance of the site of the one of the greatest tragedies in American history.  A tragedy perpetrated by Muslims, even if they were extremist nut job Muslims.  But, it’s an even bigger dick move to say they shouldn’t be allowed to build it.  However, the ultimate dick move is to use this situation to make political hay and inflame people against the government because your party isn’t in power.  The Republicans are the masters of this particular dickishness.  They’re the people who brought us the culture wars over abortion and gay rights.  What makes the debate over these all these areas dickish (yes, I made that word up.  But it fits) is that they’re either non-issues or so complicated that no compromise will be found in my lifetime.  And, the mosque issue is a real coup.  They can whip  up hysterical, foaming-at-the-mouth crowds with absolutely over-the-top nasty rhetoric; then, when they’re called out on it, they can dial it back and say they’d never advocate violating anyone’s civil rights and accuse the Muslims of being insensitive.  The only problem with these things is that they usually don’t have legs.  Abortion and gay rights notwithstanding, (they are the gold standard), something else usually comes along to knocks it off the radar and  it becomes old news.  Then you sound like an asshole if you keep pushing it.  So, to help the Republicans out, I came out with some new ideas for use when the mosque is built and everything’s fine:

Curing HomosexualitySure, every major mental health professions and almost all mental health professionals have rejected the idea that homosexuality can be “cured”.  Why let that stand in the way of a good controversy?  Let’s start a campaign saying that homosexuality is a disease and we need to find a cure.  Not only will it divert attention from real issues, it might even provide a few jobs.  Kind of like Ken Ham’s creationist empire has.

Polygamist sects. Why stop with gay marriage?  People having more than one wife have to be as much danger to the institution of marriage as gay couples.  Ooh, what about gay polygamist marriage?  That would be the trifecta: UnChristian (Mormon) gay people marrying more than one spouse.  Jackpot!

The Crucified Santa. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  And, apparently, the Japanese crucified him.  Of course, it’s an urban legend and never happened.  But, it will get everyone riled up at the Japanese and isn’t that better than everyone being riled up at you because you suck as an elected official?

Banning Christian broadcasting. This one has been around for a while and resurfaces periodically.  But, for some reason, no one has seen the enormous potential benefit it packs.  Government persecution against Christians is always a blockbuster.  Glenn Beck needs to pick this one up and run with it.  It’s not true, of course, but neither is the “Obama is a socialist” line and he’s still beating that dead horse.

Book Burnings. ” To hell with the First Amendment!  We have the right to a country free from any disagreement with our views!”  How’s that for a rallying cry?  And, let’s not stop with smut like “Catcher in the Rye” or “Huck Finn”, either.  Burn any Bible translation with don’t like either!

Save our children from Satan. Games like Dungeons & Dragons, books and movies like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and any music other than hymns are ways Satan works his way into our kids lives and they must be banned!  Again, not true; but, why let reality stand in the way of a good fight?

Immunization. I’m not talking about that crazy Jennie McCarthy idea of shots causing autism.  No, the government is using the immunization program to inject our children with brain-washing chemicals to turn them against God, truth and the American Way.  Of course, but that I mean the God I believe in, truth as I interpret it and the American Way of spending my ass off to prop up Big Business and never hold it accountable.  Because what’s less American than accountability?

That’s just a few of the ideas I came up with.  I doubt the Republicans need my help, though.  I’m pretty sure they have think tanks  that do nothing but come up with ways to cloud the issues and blur the facts.  Otherwise, we’d realize what a disaster they are and send them packing.

I love bumper stickers.  And, the tackier they are, the more I love ’em .  This all started when I was a kid.  When we would take a trip, I’d see cars with bumper stickers from all the places the owners had been and I thought it was wonderful.  I was always drawn to the racks of stickers in every dumpy little shop, gas station and Stuckey’s we stopped at.  I loved them all and wanted every one of them.  My mother would always try to steer me to the post cards, but they were never as good.  How can a namby-pamby post card saying  “Wish You Were Here!” compete with “Hot Today, Chile Tamale” (South of the Border) or “See Rock City!” (Rock City, of course)?  As I grew up, my fascination with bumper stickers never left me and I found a whole new (for me) genre of stickers: funny (?) religious bumper stickers.  Let’s look at a few:

Who’s deciding what God said and what it settled? 

A classic.

Do these people know how to work the guilt angle, or what?  Here’s another:

Wow.   All I can say is…, wow.

Jesus wants raccoons?  And, if does, couldn’t he get His own?

That “fishers of men” thing never gets old, does it?

What, He doesn’t love people who drive cars?

As a play on words, it’s remarkably lame.  As a kitschy, tacky bumper sticker, it’s genius.

Of course, no Christian bumper sticker list would be complete without a rapture reference.

A sub-genre of the religious sub-genre (would that be a sub-sub-genre?) is the snarky, anti-religious religious bumper sticker.  I love these because they appeal my own smart-alecky tendency to tweak the nose of people who take themselves just a little too seriously.  Some examples:

Ain’t that the truth.

I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve actually said these words.

So, Kilroy was inspired by God?

Business in the front, party in the back!

You know, a little Immodium would fix that.

One of my favorites.  And, true too.

Another favorite and a message I desperately want to impart to certain people.Yet another desperately needed message.

Hmm, I’m seeing a trend here…

Yeah, I know it’s not a bumper sticker.  But, I like it anyway. 

Counterpoint to the rapture sticker. 

And, finally, my favorite bumper sticker of all time:

A Christian fart joke?  That’s a first.

 I realize some of the snarky ones may be offensive to certain people.  But, it’s only fair; some of yours are offensive to everybody else.  Don’t worry though, I’m on the always on the lookout for new ones and I’m sure I’ll find something even more offensive.