2017-07-28

The Letter to Diognetus


In an age when there seems to be quite a bit of anxiety about the place of the Church and Christians in the world, perhaps it is a good thing to return to our roots. Writing in the second century, when Christianity was powerless and illegal, an anonymous Christian philosopher penned what we now call "The Letter to Diognetus". In chapters 5-6 he lays out a breathtaking vision of Christian identity and mission in the midst of a pluralistic, nationalistic, materialistic Roman Empire:

2017-07-25

On Noah’s Flood and the Nephilim


I often have friends and congregants who decide to read the Bible from front to back. But getting past the first few chapters is a formidable challenge, because the literature is so very different from what we expect from the Bible. We expect a Law Book or a History Book or objective reporting like a Newspaper. But what we get is something that is neither history nor fiction nor poetry nor prose. It is not until we reach the story of Abram and Sarai in chapter 12 that the story becomes predictably “human”. Until then it is a bit… weird.

If modern readers can get past the conflict between the two Creation narratives in chapters 1-2 (and their conflict with the narrative of evolution), and then make it past the talking snake in chapter 3, the next big shock to the system happens in chapter 6:

2017-06-16

Holy Crap


This is a poem inspired by Philippians 3.8 and it is not for the easily offended. So if you are easily offended, please read something else. With that said, here we go…

2017-06-08

Brief Thoughts on Purgatory and Indulgences


Recently I saw a Protestant Christian railing against the idea that retweeting Pope Francis could "earn" time off from purgatory as a kind of "indulgence" found in this 2013 news story. The person who reposted the story asked for someone to explain what was going on with "retweeting" as an "indulgence" to lessen time in "purgatory". So I responded with this:

2017-05-09

The Fallacy of the One True Church™

Recently a sincere and well intentioned person approached me on social media with a raft of questions about the Anglican Church, the Episcopal Church, and Christianity in general. This questioner is seeking to convert, and one question above all dominated his concerns: Which is the One True Church™ that he should convert to? After all, as he put it, the Church was “united” for the first millennium, so one of those churches that split off must be the One True Church™. Which one is it?

2017-05-07

When Jesus wrote

Jesus only ever wrote down 
one thing
and it vanished from the ground
taken by the wind
washed away by the water
just like the shame
of the woman caught in sin

2017-04-17

On Privilege and Ignorance and "Showing the Work”



I recently read someone on the left decry a right wing commentator by saying his "white male privilege allows him to make sweeping statements uninformed by history and never once question his position". And in the case of this comment, they are substantively correct in their critique, and yet they offer none of that substance in the critique itself. All that is offered is, ironically, a sweeping statement without evidence. In math terms: They get the answer right, but show none of the work. This is a problem. 

2017-04-15

A Brief Theology of Tax Day




I see posts going up for Tax Day which say "Taxes are Theft". I'm proud to pay taxes. I'm proud that my taxes go to benefit the common good in a number of ways, from roads, to water treatment, to education, to veterans, to prisons, to helping the needy, to a thousand other public benefits. Granted, some of my tax money goes to pay for military actions I don't agree with, or welfare for rich corporations, sponsored by corrupt politicians. And of course there are policies I vehemently disagree with the current administration about. But you are never going to agree with others about how every dime is spent. Heck, my wife and I don't always agree about how to spend money. Much less me and a government of, by, and for 350 million people.

2017-04-14

Mary Magdalene versus the Patriarchy




So the controversy over who Mary Magdalene was has jumped out of the pulpit and lecture hall, and into the Washington Post. For some on the "Right", Mary is a lowly prostitute who Jesus cast demons out of and saved to be one of the "little women" in the Gospel story. For others on the "Left", Mary is one of the leading Apostles, the patron saint of feminine empowerment, who was unjustly and unfortunately silenced by the growing patriarchy of the early Church. Both sides of the debate paint this as an either-or. Either Mary is a barely redeemable ex-whore, or she is an unjustly maligned Apostle. But perhaps the battle lines have been drawn based upon the logical fallacy of the excluded middle.

Today is called "Good" Friday

Today is called "Good" Friday

Let us take a moment of silence and remember

Jesus has been murdered on a cross

Jesus has been murdered in a concentration camp

Jesus has been murdered by a terrorist machete

Jesus has been murdered by the Mother of all Bombs

Jesus has been murdered by Sarin gas

Jesus has been murdered by systematic starvation in an underdeveloped country

Jesus has been murdered by a preventable childhood disease

Jesus has been murdered on the Trail of Tears

Jesus has been murdered on a transatlantic slave ship

Jesus has been murdered in a refugee camp

Jesus has been murdered as a sex slave trying to runaway

Jesus has been murdered in Jerusalem and in Flint and in Syria and in Wounded Knee and in Sudan and in Iraq and in Ferguson and in Yemen and in Auschwitz and in Hiroshima

Jesus has been murdered by hatred and by apathy, by neglect and by oppression, by overt acts of terror and by looking the other way

After all, didn't Jesus say "What you have done to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have also done to me"?

Thanks for reading my incoherent babble. May strength and compassion and wisdom fill your life. // Nate.

2017-03-15

The Hyphen In Between


In memory of Ron Bostian (November 28, 1946 - March 14, 2017)

Today we mourn the death, but more importantly, celebrate the life, of my Dad Ron Bostian. He was 70 years old, stubborn as hell, easy to talk to, and fun loving to the end. It was from him I got my announcer's voice, my cocksure sense of self confidence, my ability to make a joke during any circumstance (no matter how inappropriate), my physical frame, and my stunning good looks. Did I mention he was sarcastic too? I inherited that as well. 

Popcorn


I went to go see Logan 
Tonight
After my dad died
Today
It was a movie he would have enjoyed
It was a perfect movie to celebrate his life
A perfect movie to mourn his death
Alone in the theater
The smell of popcorn
Assaulting my nostrils 
As I walked through the doors
Flashbacks
To childhood matinees
Side by side
The warmth of dad next to me
Buttery fingers
Digging in the popcorn bucket
Together
Or the late night treats
Way past my bedtime
With content rated for eyes older than I 
But he still wanted to take me
Star Wars
Indiana Jones
Terminator
Aliens
We keep saying "I'll be back"
Until that one day we won't
Until that one day it really is
Game over man
Game over. 

2017-03-11

It's Fundamental

A rap song designed to teach the early history of Christian Theology. Originally written in 2010.
This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.