Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blog Series: Sunday Sermon Podcasts- The Vicious Circle

This Sunday's podcast with the Rascally Rabbi Rami Shapiro is entitled "Vicious Circle: Theology and the Demonization of the Other" which was recorded back in March of 2012.Enjoy.


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"Boxes are everywhere. Once they're set and once we've agreed to live within them our notion of truth and what's right is pretty much fixed....The more locked in we are the easier it is for us to not simply lock the other out but to assure on a very deep psychosocial level that the other is actually evil."

I love listening to talks by Rabbi Rami because he introduces questions which I find helpful in sweeping the mind of our images and ideas of Reality (God, etc.). Are UUs a religion of neti neti? I'm not sure, but then how do you avoid the vicious circle? How do you escape other boxes while keeping one foot in new one ( the UU box)? Sound off in the comments.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I am the One Who Knocks

Although this post doesn't contain any spoilers about Breaking Bad there may be spoilerish moments via the link. Ye be warned.

Breaking Bad is one of my all time favorite shows and is one of the few shows which still causes my heart to race. I never really thought too much on the intersection between religion and Breaking Bad mainly because I'm completely drawn into the story that I miss what can be very some very intriguing concepts where this show intersects with religion. While I was cleaning around the house my mind wandered to this scene where Walter was correcting Skylar, his wife, as to who truly is the enemy of the story. In this scene Walter exclaims he has no reason to be afraid of someone knocking on his door to shoot him, but instead in one of his best moments he says that HE is the one who knocks. It took me all of 4 seconds (yeah, I'm embarrassed it took so long, I really should dust off my Bible more often) to realize where I've heard this particular string of words. The next most memorable scene (at least to me) has Walter White dealing with a meth distributor in the desert. Declan, the distributor, asks Walter who he is, in which Walter replies by saying they all know who he is and eerily demands that they say his name. He wants people to know who he is. This is in contrast to Jesus in Luke 9 asking his disciples "who do you say that I am" and then warned his disciples not to reveal his identity to anyone. The following video also highlights some other moments most notably Walter coughing up drops of blood on his hands. Warning: this video DOES contain spoilers and violence.

This led me to a treasure trove of images on the internet (the one pictured being my favorite) merging Jesus with Heisenberg: both are associated with life and death.

If you haven't seen Breaking Bad then I highly recommend catching up on Netflix before the series conclusion this Summer. (And on a similar note I thought this picture merging Ned Flanders and Walter White was too good not to share).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why Do You Get 18%?

This image has exploded on the interwebs and even hit the news. I've seen some humorous (and plain awful) restaurant receipt images but what's sad about this one is that this pastor played the religion card to justify not giving a tip (although Bell and company claimed they left a $6.29 cash tip on the table).

She apologized stating she's embarrassed by her lapse in judgement, but frankly, as many in online forums have stated, she wanted someone to see it she's just ashamed that her unchristian behavior went viral. So let's break it down shall we?

"I give God 10%"
 Bell is boasting how faithful she is to God by proclaiming she renders to God what is God's. This holier than thou attitude is a cry for attention and acceptance. We all want to be loved but why go out of your way to get someone fired over your wounded pride?

"Pastor Alois Bell"
I understand why some doctors prefer being called doctor, they worked hard for their title (as long as they don't let it get to their heads), but why mention you're a pastor on a restaurant receipt? Writing pastor on a receipt is not a get out of jail free card,  they're not going to look at that and say "she's not being rude, she's a pastor". It doesn't allow you any special privileges in society. It's like walking into a room and "declaring bankruptcy", it's not anything.

"Why do you get 18%"
This reads "why should I be more generous to you than I am to God?" Forget that she's a pastor or even Christian for a moment, and focus what this says to you as a human. This is saying my loyalties to my ideals and beliefs deserve more of my attention and resources than my fellow man. Everything is second to _____ and if anything threatens or is elevated above _____ then I will reminder you/ it of your/its place. If you can't connect with or even have a shred of compassion for your fellow man (never worked in food service but I'm sure it is rough) then you can't call yourself a pastor.

I feel for the fired waitress, even though she did break corporate policy, who only posted it as a comical example of a bad tipper. Hopefully she won't be out of work for too long but this is a clear reminder how interconnected we are to each other and even the smallest of actions can have serious consequences.