118 thoughts on “GOH: This World Is Not My Home”

  1. If this world is not your home, buddy, you’re being a terrible guest, the way you trash up the place and treat the other guests rudely.

    1. This right here.

      I recently took a job that I love working at a hotel. It’s wonderful, but we don’t recycle. Considering we probably use up a forest a day, that appalls me. In fundy land, the aversion to recycling always bothered me. If I’m here any amount of time, say, a couple seasons, I swear this place will start recycling.

      1. CS, recycling is not always free, meaning it takes time, energy and resources to actually do the recycling. And sometimes it is cheaper and more energy efficient to NOT recycle, i.e., it’s better to just make a new one. Not always of course but sometimes. I think the point is that we should be good stewards of our world, and sometimes that means recycling. Oh wait a sec, this world is not my home so nevermind…..

        1. Cheaper doesn’t make it better. Recycling is part of doing business (or should be, and hopefully soon will be by mandate if necessary).

        2. Considering that recycling in our case would mean adding a separate paper bin and using it, then setting it out on the curb, the extra expense should be pretty nil. I’ve worked in businesses that had pretty complete recycling systems, so I do know what I’m talking about, and I’m pretty sure we added little to no expense by having an extra bin or two under the counter.

    1. This world isn’t their home when they don’t want to take responsibility for things like the environment, the poor, etc., but if you try to tax them or do anything to hold them accountable, their world becomes home, and home a castle, complete with defensive measures, very quickly.

  2. The attitudes in this song show the kind of contempt fundies have for others.

    Fundies demand respect, but they give none. Fundies demand to be listened to, but they won’t listen to anyone — not those who know what they don’t, not themselves, and certainly not to the Scriptures.

    So they trash our planet, steal our resources, get large tax breaks, take rights away from others and declaratively consign their hosts to hell.

    They aren’t good guests at all. Do you think God is really all that eager to let them into His Home the way they’ve treated this one?

        1. Ahhh, yes.

          In my IFB church I once discussed the Iraq War and the morality of torture with a prominent member. I pointed out that no WMDs had been discovered, that the so-called intelligence had been lies, and that apparently Bush Jr. had been planning on invasion from before he took office, that 9-11 was just a pretext.

          He declared that he “felt safer” that we were at war in Iraq. He felt safer that we tortured prisoners at Guantanamo. And what did it matter? They were destined to go to hell anyway. That torture does not produce reliable results did not matter to him. All he wanted to do was “feel safer” by bringing suffering to others so they could not bring suffering to him.

          I never talked with him about anything after that. When facts, morality and the command to love your neighbor as yourself do not figure into a Christian’s political consideration (with the exception of abortion!), then what would be the point? I did not recognize any of his arguments as having roots in Christ’s teachings at all.

          And I think this is epidemic in fundamentalism. There is no Christ left in their Christianity. They go from His Birth to His Death, and everything in between is meaningless.

        2. Incredible–he felt safer the prisoners were being tortured who were designed to then live, according to his theology, a torture filled eternity in hell…how perverted of a theology is that?!?!?

        3. Leanne, I wish it was aberrant. But I read a study some years back noting that there were differences in reactions to Guantanamo, torture and the war among religious groups.

          And wouldn’t you know it? Conservative – Fundamentalist groups were the most supportive of war and were actually supportive of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

    1. RTG you’re right, however I remember my old fundy church collecting and recycling some things and also reusing and repurposing otherwise “throwaway” items for craft materials for the kids. Of course, that was when the Depression/WWII era folks were young and in charge of things and were loathe to be wasteful. It had nothing to do with politics but was about responsibility and resourcefulness, two concepts that seem to lost on the culture nowadays.

      I am hesitant, despite my disagreement with many typical extreme fundy views, to trash them like the Germans did the Jews in the 1930’s. It is potentially dangerous to be down on any group that is exercising freedom of religion despite their obtuseness. I want to be careful to disagree with them without dehumanizing them or becoming like them in a backhanded sort of way.

      1. I appreciate the cautionary note. I don’t think that I am dehumanizing them, though. And I am not trying to take away their rights, despite what they are doing to others.

        Ben Carson just recently talked about withholding funding from colleges that allowed liberal voices freedom to speak. Conservative talk he will fund freely! He would do his best to deny freedom to those who don’t go along with his theocratic philosophy.

        I don’t believe that pointing out their egregious faults is in any way close to becoming like them. I WAS like them, once, for I was them. I just want to deny them the ability to have dominion over anyone. They should be forced to play nice, by a set of common rules that guarantees the freedom of everyone.

        1. I went to a state university for my degrees in the 1970’s, having been blessed with academic scholarships and parents who were too cheap to send me to a church college. Having conservative views on morality etc, I had to suck it up and re-spew on my tests the communist and anti-family drivel spewed at me in my humanities, psych and history classes. In the required American gov’t class I took, there was no teaching whatsoever about the constitution or even the Declaration of Independence, just a lot of off-the-wall theories that were obsolete the following semester. I learned very quickly that I had no rights or tolerance there as a conservative and if I wanted to get my diplomas I had to play along and, well, essentially be an actor. Fortunately once I was in the hard sciences it wasn’t as bad. Freedom of speech was OK if you agreed with them, persecution, ostracism and lowered grades if you did not. So don’t be so hard on Mr. Carson, maybe a turnabout wouldn’t any different.

        2. nomoreculottes, I was in college somewhat later than you. I went to BJU where there was no room for a liberal point of view. At that time I would not have been able to receive a liberal point of view, either, since I was thoroughly steeped in my conservatism.

          After that I went to Clemson. Clemson was more liberal, but not very much. It was liberal to me, but looking back it was definitely very conservative. It still is, today.

          From your description, I am not sure I would call the philosophical positions you encountered “liberal” so much as “countercultural” and “reactionary.” Many people think the opposite of an extreme is the “other” extreme, but that isn’t the case. Logically and mathematically the opposite of an extreme is moderation. The opposite of hysteria in one direction is not hysteria on a 180-degree turnabout.

          In my perspective, education should challenge our preconceptions. There should be conservative, moderate, liberal and even radical voices striving to create a dialog. It isn’t easy and it usually isn’t done well.

          But somehow, my education and experiences over the years have taken a hard-core conservative and turned him into a liberal, and I am grateful for the transformation. Part of that involved my immersion in mathematics and the hard sciences, seeing the necessity of actual evidence and coming to realize that belief does not equate to reality.

        3. I think there does need to be more of a balance in the conversations held on college campuses. From what I’ve seen of colleges lately, I’m not impressed with what passes for public discussion. Diversity and tolerance are buzz words and not actual doctrine. Anything off-beat and unusual is applauded, but anything that might reek of conservative/old-fashioned/traditional viewpoints is shouted down.

          I get that being in college and away from home should be a time to challenge one’s thinking, but it should be done in a civil, thoughtful manner. There’s no need to be shouting down one another and vilifying the opposing side. Antagonizing people isn’t right; I don’t care who is doing it.

      2. rtg – You are a trip….I want to see this study …I’m sure someone spent money to find out about what IFB’s thought about war and enhanced interrogation…..give me a break….But at SFL you’re probably considered one of the bright ones……

  3. What’s with the weird hand-waving that fundy “music pastors” seem to like?

    Indeed–if there’s musical accompaniment such as a white piano, why bother to “conduct” the congregation’s vocalizing?

    The summer between high school and college lo, these many years ago, I actually worked in a Baptist camp. They sang only first and last verses, even “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” where the first and last verses are almost identical.

    I asked a camp staffer about that. He thought about it a bit and then replied, “To save time.”

        1. Yes, most of the videos I post are from the British Broadcasting Corporation’s “Songs of Praise.”

          They’re British churches, with occasional forays into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I enjoy the British accents. They’ve been broadcasting this program for fifty years.

          You can find them regularly on http://www.mrkariobangi.com.

    1. In this projected-lyrics-on-the-wall-rock-band church era, I don’t often see anyone directing the congregational singing as a trained choir director would. The purpose of the hand movements is to count time. It seems this guy’s gestures are a bit self-styled rather than conventional, probably not trained. I find this song sounds better when played in a more R&B Pentecostal style, which, of course, would be considered blasphemous by the average IFB’er.

  4. That pianist is a lot more comfortable with syncopation than that song leader.
    Speaking as a pianist, it always made me batty when the song leader would constantly get a half-beat off. It’s so hard to correct without making it worse.

    Also, love that bearded Baptist! I didn’t know they existed.

      1. Haha. It the MOG does it, it’s OK. I know of a quasi-cultish nondenominational church in my community where the guys all seem to have the same haircut, like their pastor’s—-a modified crewcut with the top plastered forward. Creepy.

  5. The pianist is playing well EXCEPT . . . his or her job is to follow the song leader. Playing faster than the songleader and the rest of the congregation is singing doesn’t show your skill; it just indicates that you’re either oblivious or stubborn (or maybe trapped at a church where you desperately want to liven up the music so you do the only thing you can — play a little faster than everyone is singing. But as an accompanist you really shouldn’t do that.)

    And I must say that I’ve worshipped with more expressive Chrsitians now, and it’s sad to me to see how robotic and stiff they are. They congregation sounds like they’re singing relatively robustly, yet they refuse to allow themselves any emotive expressions. Not a sway. Not a smile. God might not approve.

    1. I’m not sure if it was Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, but I always love the line that “this guy is so stiff & strict that even the part in his hair is stark & severely divisive”.

  6. In reading the Genesis Creation Stories, if you are letting the text speak rather than putting your own theology and doctrine back onto the text, you realize these stories tell purpose. It seems to me that the garden was created to hold life–to hold humanity. This earth is our home. It is the broken systems we have created which are not our home. The earth fully restored as part of God’s Kingdom is our home. We fully restored are meant for the fully restored earth.
    But the fundamentalist narrative has created such a dualistic nature between the physical world and the spiritual world they cannot comprehend the redemption of all creation without destruction of all creation first. They have created a narrative where they are always the victim of persecution and their enemies have to destroy all who are not part of their club.

  7. Off Topic, in anticipation of next week:

    I don’t think I ever believed in Satan. What I believed in, growing up, young adulthood, until now…was The Devil.

    And there’s a difference.

    Growing up in my few hundred sized fundamentalist church in Wisconsin, we had all the best traveling evangelists come to scare us up, share stories with us, scare us into the walking the aisle to get right with God every night…but we also had a firm distrust of both culture as well as Contemporary Christian Culture, those liberals and apostates. As a result, we were always behind the times, getting most of our news from Focus on the Family or whatnot (yeah, it was a bizarre mix).

    We also had all those great classic fundy separation issues, so no movie theatres, no playing cards, no Internet, etc.So it took several years before we heard sermons against the evils of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nine Inch Nails, KORN, Quake, whatever.

    What I did have though, was fantasy and science fiction books (my mom giving them to me with the stern recommendation that if I had a problem with them, then to stop, otherwise go ahead and enjoy), plus the Bible which I took literally in how it described the devil and demons and hell. But my fantasy books were full of stories of demons and ghouls and witches and whatnot. There was a clear divide however between what was true about demons and what was creative fiction about demons.

    For many, the lines blur. It’s all true. As a result, we have The Great Satanic Panic and other scares, which people take seriously. That Halloween really is the most high evil holiday (“evil holy day”?). That ouija boards really do scream when burned and communicate with the dead. That Ozzie actually is a devil worshipper. That the Hollywood Agenda really is to promote satanism and witchcraft, etc.

    But I…never really believed any of that. There was a divide. This is what is true, this is what is false. Because the Bible tells me so. And over time, I kept thinking how stupid and ridiculous the lines blurring were. My parents still hide in the basement and black out all the windows on Halloween, but I think mostly now because they don’t want people knocking. I remember how stupid everyone was acting back on 6/6/06, and how I was a scoffer for mentioning it was 2006, adolescent Jesus must have been terrified way back when.

    I’ve studied The Devil some. Besides what’s in the Bible, I’ve read a lot of popular works as well as Greg Boyd. It’s fascinating how he came about. I don’t believe in him in the slightest anymore. He doesn’t and has never existed. Neither does some creative Satan that has so scared the world. Men and women, everyone, does evil things. The definition of evil always needs a point of reference to what is “good”, and it’ll vary from time and place. We don’t need some creator of evil in an act of rebellion. We need encouragement not to act evil but to love others as ourselves. There is nothing to fear in the darkness besides the unknown, nature misunderstood, and the actions of others.

    What you believe is true often has power over you. Doesn’t mean it’s true.

    When you grow up in the fantasy world of fundamentalism, complete with satanic panic, purity culture, intentional deception, distrust of the world and outsiders, and so much more, and find your own escape into different realms of fantasy, it’s hard sometimes to tell what’s real and what’s not real.

    The idea of beliefs not being true and thus powerless over us often doesn’t even occur. And it can take years to realize that and to break free.

    Grateful for friends and people who are free who can show the way out.

    But sometimes…just like with the satanic panic believers…I wish it were all true, at least the popular idea of Satan and demons and evil. Sounds exciting. Sign me up as a knights templar exorcist ala Van Helsing or Constantine.

    1. Nice! I wish we could get together over coffee, beer or whatever. Over the years I have gathered enough questions about hell and the devil and such to ensure that I cannot believe in them.

      Now I wish I could. There are some in “high” places acting low enough to qualify for an extended visit in the warmest climes of the nethermost. And there is no need for a Devil when I can take responsibility for my own actions.

      But on a more “anime”-type level, demons and magic would be cool and cool-scary.

      I have thought that if I go to Japan I’d visit some of their shrines. I would try to understand the concept of what the people were honoring. They acknowledge the unseen world as coexisting with the visible world. They also see extremes of negative emotions as making people less human and more demonic.

  8. This world may not be your “home”, but it sure as shit doesn’t give you the right to be a pig and wreck the environment, conduct mass murders of poor people in the name of “profit”, cheat working people out of wages, and avoid paying taxes on your incomes.

    Note the selfish hedonism they espouse: they don’t think wrecking God’s creation will affect them! And if children and grannies on the other side of the world (or even here at home) are dying from poisons unleashed by their nuclear bombs or chemical spills, these fuckers will gloat at their sufferings because God didn’t “save” them.

    1. I would say that you’re blaming a lot of working class fundies for what could better be attributed to big corporations, i.e. big money, big tax breaks, shale fracking, not to mention the destruction wrought by wars instigated by powerful people. It seems that places like Russia and China have pretty piss-poor records regarding pollution. I’m thinking they’re not fundies, much less Christian. As for church tax exemption, that also applies to all churches such as the Church of Scientology, The Roman Catholic Church, Mosques, plus any number of other kinds of non-profits. I don’t remember any church members being tax exempt, we certainly were not.

      1. It seems that places like Russia and China have pretty piss-poor records regarding pollution. I’m thinking they’re not fundies, much less Christian.

        A lot of pious, devout Russian Orthodox might be surprised to learn that they’re not Christian. 😉

        1. Not talking about the Russian Orthodox church or other brands of Christians who managed to survive atheistic Communism’s gulags. Blatant disregard for the environment by the former Soviet Union’s gov’t in order to compete industrially is no big secret.

  9. Dear SFL Reader:

    If this world isn’t my home, neither is this t my church home.

    Christian Socialist

    PS: This world isn’t my home because I am a Gnostic. Gnosticism, you should know, is the most blasphemous belief system devised ever in the history of the world.

    1. Well, I am investigating gnosticism — not so much to adopt is as to understand it. I certainly have come to a place where much of the “orthodox” positions are either meaningless or hateful to me.

      It is difficult. I wrestle with ideas a long time before I change. I want some definition more than I want mysticism. I have a mathematical and scientific bent. But the people I have been meeting with lately have emphasized that much (most?) of Scripture and experience actually defies pinning down, so mysticism is all that is left. And mysticism is inherently contradictory internally and externally.

      So it looks like I will be struggling for the time being.

      1. Mysticism is often what happens when you want to hang on to some results or ideas of how the world is but refuse to acknowledge the steps in between to get there.

        So, something like, there is a God and he wants me to be healthy and wealthy. All good things come from God. Therefore health and wealth only come from God. So, do these things, believe these things, pray these things, any health and wealth that occur come from God. With no acknowledgement of our own actions and ability in and of ourselves without a God to create health and wealth for ourselves.

        Or so a lot of mysticism seems to me. I had an experience…where I could say it was my brain and chemicals and whatnot combined with a time and place and sequence of events…no, it’s instead some spirit whispering to me.

        It seems to be a way to hold on to fantasy instead of admitting, no, I was wrong for so many years, many others are wrong, and this is what is and maybe all there is.

        1. What I find funny is that so much of the Bible is essentially a lament that wicked people get fabulously wealthy and healthy. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there is no moral arc to the universe, but it isn’t a stretch to imagine. Which adds a significant amount of pressure to me. Because we humans are the only will in the universe to overcome injustice.

        2. “I had an experience…where I could say it was my brain and chemicals and whatnot combined with a time and place and sequence of events…”

          Sounds a little baked. Was weed involved? 🙂

      2. Dear rtgmath:

        Just to clarify things for others [as I’m sure you saw what I was doing], I am no Gnostic. I am unabashedly Christian. But in my opinion, ‘Christian’ fundamentalism and great swathes of evangelicalism evidence a strong bent toward the Gnostic heresy.

        The ‘not my home’ motif implies that the present age/world is at best a very distant second reality where we bide time until what is really real — happens. This explains why so many have no problem exploiting planetary resources/people/societies etc.

        In contrast, Christian thought postulates no such distinction between present existence and eternal existence. In Christ, the believer has entered into life already, and rather than being trashed, the earth is to be renewed. Christian eschatology is radically different from what passes for it in Christagelical evanjihadist ‘churches.’

        Gnosticism is maddeningly difficult to describe because it assumed a different form in every city where it took root.

        Close to the heart of it is the dualism — the inviolable distinction between the physical and spiritual. In Corinth, incipient Gnosticism justified general debauchery. Since the body really isn’t what matters, we can do with it what we want. In Colosse, incipient Gnosticism led to extreme depreciation and repression of the body — hence Paul’s reference to ‘delighting in self-abasement’ and ‘fleshy mind’ [Col 2:18] remark.

        To many, the indulgent lifestyle of the Corinthians and the rather anal repression of anything bodily related by the Colossians seemed antithetical. But both were based on the separation of the physical [body] and spiritual [spirit]. But each community took that premise in very different directions.

        As well as in other places, Paul addressed the Corinthian variant in 1Co 6:13.

        Food for the stomach, the stomach for food!

        This was one contemporary ‘sayings’ at Corinth. Paul replied tersely — Yet God will do away with both.

        Likely, vs 12 was another such saying: all things are lawful for me, to which Paul replied but not all things are profitable.

        Some consider Gnosticism a bridge between antiquity and modernity. It was the last dying breath of the ancient world, and the first truly modern philosophy. It was never really extinguished. Across time, it has both ebbed and waxed stronger.

        The answer to Gnosticism is Jesus Christ — God who is spirit — incarnated in human flesh. No dualism allowed!

        When ‘eternal security’ vs ‘antinomianism’ are discussed, people often lapse unwittingly into Gnostic thought. Ditto for evangelists/preachers who stress saving ‘souls’ apart from bodies.

        One of fundamentalism’s most offensive traits is a ‘gospel’ which is little more than provision for removing legal obstacles [guilt and sin] standing in the way of salvation.

        The point is not whether fundamentalism confesses Jesus’ resurrection. The question is whether Jesus’ resurrection makes sense or is even necessary in a theology where the body doesn’t matter ultimately.

        This is why I situated myself as a ‘fundamentalist/Gnostic’ in my earlier post.

        Blessings!

        Christian Socialist

        1. Hi CS,

          You would like N.T. Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” in it he explains how the resurrection Of Jesus is exactly what humanity needed. I do not necessarily agree with everything in the book however. Wright is brilliant but I wish he would limit himself to redemptive history instead of applying history to the bible.

        2. Dear alex:

          N. Tom Wright is a fine scholar; anything he writes I can read with appreciation. Thank you.

          Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

    2. CS–pulling out the gnostic card…
      That is the thing–the fundamentalists pride themselves in holding to the fundamentals, calling others who believe differently than they “heretics” and yet they fall into some of the oldest of heresies–gnosticism, dualism, idolatry (KJV only)

      1. As a teenager I used to think of fundies as people with “dueling bibles” and while on rare occasion they might admit someone from a “less spiritual” church might be right about something they could never be as right as “our church”. It used to really irritate me and I often wondered why my parents put up with it.

  10. Thought the folks here might like this one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CJfxaWRkNs&index=13&list=RD9wxZeBClJTI

    I don’t generally like the genre of white folks fronting black gospel bands, but Alison Kraus is singing it straight, her silvery voice is a perfect counterpoint to the powerful sound of the gospel choir, and, oh yes, these folks are the real deal, not independent ignorant Jesus-fish-flourishers who think they’re all that and a bag of chips.

  11. OK, I haven’t yet listened to the song in the OP video, so take it from whence it comes. But…isn’t the idea of this world not being our home kind of integral to Christianity? “A better country” and all that. Yes, of course, we are called to be stewards of Creation; we are called to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, etc., in THIS world; and we are allowed to enjoy this world’s goods in moderation. But finally we are not made for this world (which ismkind of a vale of tears, frankly) but for the next.

    Many of the great shape-note hymns of the early 19th century were all about death, dying, and the next life. I figure that’s partly because the people who wrote and sang those hymns led pretty crappy existences in this life — which does kind of tend to sharpen one’s focus on the hereafter!

    As Americans became more prosperous, our homegrown hymnody became more self-absorbed (“When I survey, when I see this, when I do that’) and less focused on the stark drama of the Four Last Things. Personally I think we lost a lot in the process.

  12. I love this old hymn. Couldn’t get the video to play but judging by the comments those guys probably didn’t sing it right.

    Never sang it much in church but used to sing it exuberantly around the piano with my mom and siblings as a kid. We never extrapolated its message to imply that we shouldn’t care about the planet and others who live here. I love the imagery of the Christian as a traveller and pilgrim because I see life as a journey/ adventure and I love to travel. Perhaps as a child it also subconsciously made me feel better about not fitting in with most other kids my age and having to live with an abusive father.

    Also love the imagery of “heaven’s open door”. Jesus compared himself to a door. I still sing this hymn from time to time, usually while walking briskly with one of the kids on my shoulders and watching the moon come up.

  13. The dominion mandate, the Great Commission and the fact that God created us all and placed us in this world means to Fundies….hurry up and get out of here.

    Yeah, no reason to exercise any of those things or *gasp* enjoy any of this present life because ya’know, it ain’t your home.

    Idiots.

  14. It frustrates me that even though I have no intention of singing like a hillbilly, the way my mouth goes from the end of “just” to the beginning of “passing” at the speed the song is written, i have no option but to sing just a-passing through. At least in honor of the Great Enunciator Joan Baez I do get the full -ing out.

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