Elijah.

Often, the Christian defense of what they believe is their religious liberty is framed as fundamental hatefulness, homophobia, and misogyny, rather than disagreement grounded in morality. Much to the shame of the faith, a few who claim to be Christian really are motivated by hate. Those who disagree with them see little point in engaging with them on these issues, which is understandable, but it’s unfair and counterproductive to extend that attitude to all evangelical Christians. If the evangelical worldview is deemed invalid in the public sphere, then the public sphere loses the value of being public. American discourse will be marked by paranoid conformity, rather than principled and earnest disagreement. And our ability to prophetically speak to one another and to our nation’s troubles will be restrained.

If there is any human activity which should be approached with caution, or rather which should be avoided by all possible means, resisted and shunned, that activity is war, for there is nothing more wicked, more disastrous, more widely destructive, more persistently ingrained, more hateful, more unworthy in every respect of a man, not to say a Christian.

—Erasmus (via hipsterlibertarian)

bombing:

fun drinking game: take a shot of water every couple hours to make sure you’re healthy and hydrated

marksable:

THE SLAP

Remember that video where all those strangers kissed one another on film for the first time? Could anything be more beautiful than that? Yes. Something could.

My friend Max Landis made a video of strangers slapping each other. It’s by far my favorite thing he’s ever done.  Here’s Max describing what he did:

"I gathered acquaintances, friends both casual and close, paired them randomly, put them in a void, and asked them to hit each other in the face. No one was pressured, and everyone was hit as hard as THEY asked to be hit. To go beyond the parody for the full story of what happened, be sure to watch Point of Impact."

The world has never invested in nonviolent solutions or theories the way we have invested in violent solutions and theories. If you doubt preemptive love can work, I would suggest that compared to the trillions of dollars and thousands of lives spent on terrorism and war in Iraq alone, preemptive love has barely even had a chance.

Letter From a Former Self

This is part of a program that my RA ran on our hall. He asked the graduating seniors to write a letter to their former selves, describing some of what they have learned at college. I felt this letter, by my friend Dan, was particularly compelling.

Dear Dan,

If I remember correctly, you are probably reading this while sitting on my favorite red chair in the family room. I used to sit there for hours just imagining things.

Both of us tend to be dreamers. We would rather talk about a semi-formed idea than think it through and write it down. We would rather follow just a few more random Wikipedia links than read a classic book. We would rather circle through the kitchen than call a friend. This lack of focus has let us think broadly, but it keeps us from making a difference.

There is real power in focus because it acknowledges reality. Without it we waste our lives in a prideful refusal to believe that we are limited. Limited by time, by money, and by our profoundly finite intelligence. When we give in to that pride we put off the things that matter. Focus builds companies, wins battles, builds muscles, raises families and chases dreams. Pride tries to do everything. Grasping at any good thing that we see, it fills up our minds and our schedules. In time we begin to ignore the one who asks for our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Be aware that the goals you set will probably disappoint you. Success on earth fades fast. Companies fail, wars return, muscles wither, families split, and dreams end up in dust. But remember that our hopes rest on Jesus. He focused on the ultimate goal and achieved it. Salvation for us who believe. At the end of his life his To-Do list was done and he rightfully said “It is finished.”

After four years of college I warn you—choosing gets harder with age. As a fellow dreamer, though, I want to remind you that this kind of relentless focus on eternity is what the good life is really about.

“Find your joy in something finished and not a thousand things begun”

Yours truly,

Dan

"Lord Jesus Christ, you did not come to the world to be served and thus not to be admired either, or in that sense worshiped. You yourself were the way and the life—and you have asked only for imitators. If we have dozed off into this infatuation, wake us up, rescue us from this error of wanting to admire or adoringly admire you instead of wanting to follow you and be like you.”

- Kierkegaard, Practice in Christianity

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

- Wendell Berry

It troubles me that a lot of people’s favorite Jesus story is the Cleansing of the Temple. I suspect that the Powers That Be of the time were hopeful that this was a new trend in Jesus’ ministry. I personally think is one of the most abused events in the life of Christ. It is not a justification for violence or scourging whoever happens to be your favorite target. It does not justify guns or bombing people. It is not proof of the wrathful vengeance of God. Those who want a wrathful, vengeful deity should be grateful that they won’t get one. Never pray for justice. You wouldn’t like the result.

—Fr. Stephen Freeman (via gospelofthekingdom)