The Watering Hole, Monday, June 20th, 2016: God Is In Control?

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I like to check out what “Christian news” sites have to say on current events and other topics. I’ve been finding the Christian Post useful as a place to see what issues are being discussed, in an attempt to glean what self-styled “Christians” deem to be of importance.

So when I saw an article titled “God Is In Control”, I just had to find out how someone would explain that claim. The article, by Don Anderson, opened with this image:

"God Is In Control!" by Christian Post cartoonist Don Anderson

“God Is In Control!” by Christian Post cartoonist Don Anderson

[I have to say, “God” (apparently Jesus, not the OT “God the Father”, at least in the cartoon) looks a bit wild-eyed and not at all “in control.” And is that an ocean of piss that they’re navigating?]

After the cartoon, a link takes one to the following article, titled “Rick Warren: Want Serenity? Let God Take Full Control”.  Here’s an excerpt:

Rick Warren: Want Serenity? Let God Take Full Control

To achieve serenity in life, God wants you to let go and know He is in control, Pastor Rick Warren says.

Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, wrote in a recent devotional that although we as Christians may fight to take control of our lives on a daily basis, we must also remember that ultimately, everything is up to God.

“[…] stress relief always starts with letting God be God,” the evangelical leader writes. “It always starts with saying, ‘God, I’m giving up control, because you can control the things that are out of control in my life.'”

Because no one knows what will happen in the future, we need to let go and let God do the rest.

“I don’t know what you’re going to face this week. You don’t, either. But I can already tell you what God wants you to do: Let go, and know. Let go of control, and know that God is in control. Let go, and know! This is the first step to serenity in your life,” Warren explains.

Christians tend to react to stress in one of two ways, Warren explains. While some attempt to over-control a situation, others give up and pity themselves.

Both of these approaches are destructive and don’t ultimately alleviate stress, the megachurch pastor says. Instead, Christians need to surrender themselves to God and His plan.

“The number one reason you’re under stress is because you’re in conflict with God. You’re trying to control things that only God can control,” Warren explains.

A good way to maintain a high level of tranquility in the face of stress is to pray the Serenity Prayer, Warren says.

The evangelical leader points specifically to the last eight lines of the prayer, which read: “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.”

Okay, let’s look at this piece-by-piece:

“”[…] stress relief always starts with letting God be God,” the evangelical leader writes. “It always starts with saying, ‘God, I’m giving up control, because you can control the things that are out of control in my life.’

There’s a couple of things wrong with this; let’s start with “letting God be God” (this would be way too long – okay, way too much longer – if I began with “stress relief always starts with…”)

In an earlier piece, Warren talks about how [in essence], despite the fact that the Old Testament “…rarely describes God as being a father…”, somehow miraculously  “…this changes after Jesus is sent down from Heaven to save humanity…After this event, God is described as a father much more frequently…”…and now “…wants to have a relationship with us…”

So, god used to be a petty, vindictive, insecure, genocidal tyrant, but suddenly he becomes a father and is now kind and loving and wants to get to know the subjects he had previously threatened with hellfire and brimstone?  Seriously?  And yet Warren and conservative christian leaders STILL utilize a few specific Old Testament god’s ‘rules according to (some guys who wrote the OT)’ when fighting to be allowed to discriminate against certain groups, or to make others live by those particular OT rules.  Which should no longer apply, if god is really an all-loving father, right?  If we’re supposed to ‘let god be god’, which god are we letting him be?

As to “giving up control” because god “can control the things that are out of control in my life”, then where does man’s “free will” come in?  What about ‘personal responsibility’?  The conservative christians who believe that the poor are poor because they chose to be, well maybe the poor are poor because your god is in control and he really hates poor people?  And considering the chaos going on in this world, I don’t think that anyone is in control, let alone a god.

On to:  “…Because no one knows what will happen in the future, we need to let go and let God do the rest…I don’t know what you’re going to face this week. You don’t, either. But I can already tell you what God wants you to do: Let go, and know. Let go of control, and know that God is in control. Let go, and know! This is the first step to serenity in your life,” Warren explains.”

Hmm…how about ‘because no one knows what will happen in the future’, we can take steps to make our future what we want it to be?  Why “Let go”, and, if we do “let go”, what will we “know”?  One can still attempt to at least control one’s “present”, even if there is uncertainty about the “future.”

And let’s put it bluntly, “Pastor” Warren:  you and your megachurch/televangelist ilk have plenty of money and are living quite comfortably on the fleecing, er, ‘tithings’ of your sheep and your speaking and appearance fees.  You truly don’t have to worry about many of the day-to-day issues with which we poorer folk struggle.  The main cause of stress in most civilized societies, i.e., lack of MONEY to live and to feed yourself and your family, is not stooping your shoulders or affecting your health, mental and physical.  And that goes for christians just like any other demographic, despite Warren’s assertion that “The number one reason you’re under stress is because you’re in conflict with God. You’re trying to control things that only God can control…”  Um, no, nope, I think the number one reason is money (which is currently how most people access the basic needs of life.)  Sorry, Rick, you’re just wrong.

Next, what about:Christians tend to react to stress in one of two ways, Warren explains. While some attempt to over-control a situation, others give up and pity themselves.  Both of these approaches are destructive and don’t ultimately alleviate stress, the megachurch pastor says.”   [Well, DUH!]

I hope that Warren is oversimplifying here, otherwise those two ‘reaction to stress’ choices make christians sound like two-dimensional fools.  Humans of all types generally react to stress in all kinds of ways, not just the two extremes given.  And often, we react to stress in any number of ways at any given time, the key being our own control over our own lives and reactions.  Again, what about the conservative mantra of “personal responsibility”, so hypocritical from people who never, ever, not-freaking-ever, admit to any fault or wrongdoing. 

And lastly, on to Warren’s “Serenity Prayer” solution.  Which can be dismissed, because it’s about as useful for solving real problems as the “moment of silence” is for “honoring the victims” of the mass-shooting-du-jour.  In either case, one might just as well ‘count to ten.’

For CP’s “Christian”-colored view on current political issues, see here. Plenty of fodder for discussion there, too.

This is our daily Open Thread–so, what’s on you’re mind?

21 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, June 20th, 2016: God Is In Control?

  1. For close to sixty years I’ve ‘let god be god’ — i.e. the mythical creation critter revealed in the Bible, that “antique volume written by faded men.” Over that same span of time, I’ve frequently asked “believers” to offer me even a single shred of verifiable evidence that any god exists or ever has existed. Nothing yet, other than re-spouts of biblical mythology.

    Meanwhile, wild-assed belief in said mythology is driving billions of ppl around the globe nuts, causing them to start wars, murder the infidel, and commit each and every level of atrocity imaginable, all in the name of one or another mythological (and totally unnecessary) “god.”

    Humans appear to be the only critters on the planet that believe in religious nonsense, a factoid that offers at least one shred of verifiable evidence that Darwin nailed it when he wrote of “the Descent of Man,” proof that our genetic forbears on the tree of life were, each and all, mentally superior to our miserable and destructive species.

    Question of the day: why would an all-powerful and all-knowing god ever create a living creature with really really bad hair, like Trump’s?

    • I think it was Samuel Clemens, who building on the work of Darwin observed:

      “Man descended from the higher animals”

      and

      “while the rest of the species descended from apes, redheads descended from cats”

    • Too bad no one has released the video of Drumpf telling him “You’re ^&*(^*&Fired!”

  2. Trump is a con man but, we already know that.
    Some other folks don’t.
    Like a whole lot of other folks.

  3. Is there any legal way to place a restraining order on Trump so that when he leaves the country he won’t be readmitted?

  4. Something very telling happened in this brief clip from the House floor and it’s not the Representatives leaving. The maddening part is when Ryan keeps banging his gavel and yelling “without objection” while it sounds like a good many of the Democrats are loudly objecting. Sigh… I guess that Democrats don’t even have a voice in the GOP’s House and they damned-well better remember it if Trumpy gives them back the House, Senate, or both.

    • That’s the problem. The Democrats are wimps who let the Republicans bully them on everything. If the Ds ever do run things just like the Rs did, the Rs would scream and complain until they got their way, which is what they do on every goddamn thing. But the Ds should do it anyway, and just say “Screw you” to the Rs who, quite frankly, never wanted to do their fucking jobs in the first place. And the Speaker should just say that when the Rs object to the rules not being followed. Just say, “We’re running things the same way you did. If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with yourselves. Now STFU and do your jobs.”

  5. Got into it with my dad today on Brexit – here is the exchange:

    “I’m not a voter anymore (although if I was Irish in the UK, I could be… weird that is).
    I just look at the list or people who back Brexit and that’s enough for me:
    Boris Johnson
    Michael ‘whisper, whisper’ Gove (you might forget I know Michael Gove from UofO – he was in it for ‘Michael Gove’, whatever ‘it’ was)
    Nigel Farage
    Vladimir Putin
    Donald Trump

    And I think Brexit will be followed quickly by Scot-exit from the UK – and maybe the Welsh too (especially after their Euro2016 performance) though that’s not as easy to see how. And Northern Ireland – what will they do?

    I suppose I am expecting the Leave vote, took most of my money out of the pound now.”

    So in reply I got this:

    “Dear Terry
    I am not deciding to vote “LEAVE” because of what those listed below say . I base my decision to LEAVE because of my own thoughts. And the biggest one is this ___ “If we were NOT already members of the EU, would I want to join it now , the state of things therein ? Most DEFINITELY NO, NO, NO !! Both sides have their “FEAR” factor which they are playing up like hell, but I think the “REMAIN” lot, particularly the Government organisation, are hiding a lot of adverse information. The PM is coming over as an untrustworthy person, who changes his mind as often as I change my underpants. I have NO FAITH nor TRUST in him nor his cronies .

    Heaven help us if we end up “REMAINING” , because the “EUROPEANS will walk over us with hobnail boots, and gloat over it into the bargain. We will be a “spent force”, and unable to influence or gain any decisions within the EU, for the benefit of the UK. And we will be stung financially with more demanded from us as our “contribution” HA!!!

    Of course times will be hard if we come out. Until things settle down, we will find it tough going, BUT we will be making our own way with our laws , common and legal rulings, back into use without having to be BOSSED over by Brussels.

    I think the EU is on the way down and will go out in a big bang in the very near future. I would not like to be a member when that happens . It will be pure chaos. If you think the EU is “working”, just look at the state Greece is in and Italy to some extent. And these poorer Eastern European countries applying for membership, will be allowed in despite falling far short of conditions appropriate to membership. Anybody can join, the way it is run now , no hard and fast rules about internal conditions within the applying country !!??

    Then there is “freedom of movement” ???? Just an excuse to get into the countries like UK, Germany and France , and milk the systems therein dry. Immigration is a big shadow over the whole of Europe, and we are not handling it well at all. We are being flooded with economic migrants from both inside and outside Europe. Those who come from OUTSIDE , get in illegally, shout “Asylum” then make for UK, or Germany or the Scandanavian countries . Never mind, we’ll give them everything they want at the expense of our own people. Genuine refugees are few and far between, in comparison to the rest.

    This is MY country and I want MY Government to control STRICTLY those who wish to come here. Of course we need new blood, but let us CHOOSE who comes in, AND make sure the illegals are sent packing STRAIGHT AWAY, with no appeals paid for by the British Tax Payers. We must protect ourselves and govern ourselves. “ LEAVE” must win or we are DOOMED to a hell of an existence here.

    I am very worried about the way things may go and hope for the best decision. It must be “LEAVE” !!
    Dad.

    Ps I don’t think Scotland can afford to leave the UK now they are not financially sound. The Welsh are too small and Northern Ireland is MORE British than England !!!!

    Taking your money out of the pound.? A rat leaving a sinking ship ???? I don’t think we will go down, hope you don’t regret it !”

    Well then….. my last word on this back to him… the politics of violence and rhetoric and division…. one murdered MP and young mother, shot and stabbed in the street…. a long summer yet to come…fascists and demagogues walking the streets in broad daylight – its not over yet.

    “Nice – my dad called me a rat.”

  6. Absolutely fucking nuts…. all of them….dangerously so because these fuckers are rich and determined

    1826 – Smith is convicted of fraud for using ‘seer stones’ to see treasure under the ground.
    1827 – Smith uses a ‘seer stone’ hidden in his hat, to translate some golden tablets that no one ever sees, into 16th century English….. and… converts a bunch of mor(m)ons to Mor(m)ons and well …. for fuck’s sake, really, I mean really…. no wonder there are Flat Earthers and shit.

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