Monday, February 18, 2013


So I'm praying through Luther's Small Catechism on Lutheran prayer beads for Lent, as mentioned previously. 

One of the parts that was particularly eye-opening was the reiteration of the 10 Commandments*.  Now, I know the 10 Commandments, but I had always heard them in the King's English.  King James, of course.  If you're uber-crazy Fundamentalist, you believe a mind-bending bunch of illogic that ultimately results in worshiping a translation of the Bible rather than God.  If you're a not-so-crazy-Fundy you merely sniff that the King James Version is the best or the most accurate translation. ("Fundamentalists" who lean towards NASB, ESV, or especially the NIV don't usually stay long in Fundyland.)

I think that some of it is attributable to the knee-jerk Fundamentalist suspicion of anything "new".  Some of it is because certain Fundy hangups depend upon or at least are reinforced by the KJV's phrasing - the connotation leads us to think something the denotation doesn't.  And honestly, I think some of it is just trying to keep what the Bible really says a little obscure - because if you could read it clearly, you would see the guy behind the curtain.  And we can't have that.

But back to the 10 Commandments.  I stopped short when I first read,  "You must not abuse or misuse God's name." 


My entire life, I had heard this as "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."  The usual exegesis was "this is why Good Christians® don't say "Oh my God"** or use the name of Jesus as a curse.  But not abuse or misuse God's name...  that's very different. My instant connotation of this phrase was, "Don't tell people God says something he doesn't.  Don't abuse people and beat them down with God's Word."

Now right there is Fundamentalism and conservative-to-mainstream Evangelicalism in a short phrase, isn't it.

I recently had the audacity to bring up a topic with someone on which I stand fairly widdershins to "Christianity" and have been getting bludgeoned with Bible verses since.  (Which always cracks me up -  Fundy University degree here.  Pretty familiar with that Bible there.  Thanks though.) 

But on a national rather than personal level: if you asked the majority of conservative American Christians I'd wager you'd get an earful about a number of things they God apparently has a pretty strong opinion about.  You could make a BINGO card and win every time if your squares included things like "Obama = Antichrist", "Abortion", "2nd Amendment", "Teh Gayz", "Prayer in Schools", and "Muslims".

If your card instead said, "Justice for the Powerless", "Child Abuse", "Domestic Violence", "Rape", "Discrimination", "Feeding the Hungry", "Kindness", and "Love"?***  Well good luck with that one, friend.

I've blathered on long enough, especially when Lewis Wells over at his blog "Commandments of Men" discussed this political prostitution already.  Better (and in stronger terms) than I could've.  Go read it.


*Let's also ignore for now that Luther counted the 10 commandments differently from the rest of Protestant-ville.  It's not germane, even if it is interesting.

**Even though "god" isn't God's name.  It's like saying my name is "Person".  Or "Woman".  Oh, literalists.  You're so funny.

***Not that these things can't be use to beat people over the head with either. Recently been beat over the head myself by someone at work who treated me in the most disrespectful manner I've experienced in a long time and ended by telling me I just needed to have love.  It's like getting spanked by a hippie.  Seriously.

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