Thursday, March 05, 2015

embrace of the (evan)jellyfish

Read more about the table I long for...

Image version for benefit of mobile users:

#evanjellyfish everyone welcome at the table apdegrado robgoetze more arms to embrace and welcome others

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

are you an evanjellyfish?

jesus prays about the evanjellyfish. drawing by robg

Ah, yes. We're living in 2015 and when conservative religious people want to insult someone who claims to be evangelical but who is not keeping the law well enough, who is not standing on the gospel, who is not faithful the way they define it, who is loving people too much, the slur of the day is "evanjellyfish".

Michael J. Kimpan, after being called an evanjellyfish, wrote a great post about it and started a hashtag #evanjellyfish, inviting people to share what makes them an evanjellyfish.

Read his post and then ask yourself: what makes you an evanjellyfish?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

looking for love in all the wrong places

looking for love in all the wrong places. cartoon by rob g

When it is said about someone that they are "looking for love in all the wrong places", the reference is usually to places like bars and clubs, or the arms of other people who are considered unsuitable. And implied by the phrase, is that there are "right places" to look for love. Yet I don't recall ever having heard discussions or presentations about the "right places", except perhaps in an ultra-spiritualized way.

The right places to look for love. Ironically, one both expects - and doesn't expect -  a church to be a place to find love. We expect it because we know it should be that way. We don't expect it because we know it often isn't that way.

And so, for Jonesy and others, the church might well be the wrong place to look for love. Pretty sad, I'd say.

Check out an earlier related post.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

pop psycholojesus

pop psycholojesus cartoon by rob g

Just some trite sayings from everyone's favourite pop psychologist, western jesus.

On a serious note, I've been thinking about two of these phrases recently: "looking for love in all the wrong places," and "attention-seeking." Here are two examples of how they might be used:
She's looking for love in all the wrong places.

There's that attention-seeking behaviour again!
I've been wondering whether these phrases actually function as ways of dismissing someone. If someone is looking for love in all the wrong places, well then, poor guy, he just needs to learn to look in the right places. Or the attention-seeking woman needs to stop focusing on herself, and focus on others for a change.

The phrases seem to ignore the underlying need or reality: the reality that he is looking for love and having difficulty finding it; the reality that for some reason or other, she is drawing attention to herself.

How do we move beyond labeling and instead see the person behind the behaviour?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

[de-baptize me]


"Please de-baptize me," she said.
The priest's face crumpled.
"My parents tell me you did it," she said.
"But I was not consulted. So
Now, undo it."
The priest's eyes asked why.
"If it were just about belonging to
This religion and being forgiven,
Then I would stay. If it were just
About believing
This list of doctrines and upholding
This list of rituals,
I'd be OK. But
Your sermon Sunday made
It clear it's
About more. More
Than I bargained for. So, please,
De-baptize me."
The priest looked down, said
Nothing. She continued:
"You said baptism sends
Me into the
World to
Love enemies. I don't. Nor
Do I plan to. You said it means
Being willing to stand
Against the flow. I like the flow.
You described it like rethinking
Everything, like joining a
Movement. But
I'm not rethinking or moving anywhere.
So un-baptize me. Please."
The priest began to weep. Soon
Great sobs rose from his deepest heart.
He took off his glasses, blew his nose, took
Three tissues to dry his eyes.
"These are tears of joy," he said.
"I think you
Are the first person who ever
Truly listened or understood."
"So," she said,
"Will you? Please?"

- Brian McLaren

Reprinted with permission. From Brian McLaren's blog.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


A meeting I attended recently started with this delightful prayer:

The water I live in is full of piranha

and it doesn't do to have a bleeding heart in this locality.

Please God get me out of this water

or give me a shell or teeth . . .

Just don't leave me here with nothing but the conviction

that piranha are all God's children too.

Evangeline Paterson
from Life's Little Prayer Book 
compiled by Gary Lahoda

Well, it certainly got me thinking many thoughts. For starters, are piranhas all God's children too? I'm referring not to actual fish but to people who attack others. So to be practical, what about piranhas like Darren Wilson? Is he one of God's children? How do I love him?

Secondly, perhaps I'm a piranha too, but don't know it 'cuz, having eyes on the side of my head and no mirrors in the sea, I don't see that I also have big teeth like the piranhas around me. Seriously, though, we know how easy it is to consider our own sins, faults and shortcomings as "not that bad" compared to those of others. And how easy it is to think I'm okay (am righteous) and others are not okay (are sinful), instead of seeing our common humanity. Much easier to split the world into us and them.

Hmm. And should I be listing Darren Wilson as a piranha? Or is he just a cog in the systemic racism principality? Not asking this to make any excuses for his actions, but wanting to affirm that there is a bigger picture here than one person's racism.

What do you think?
I'm hoping that at least one of my 100,000 followers (I wish!) is brave enough to comment....

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

[jesus leper]

Photo of portion of a page from Jesus Visual Edition by Philip Yancey.

In the Middle Ages, 

Christians widely believed that 

Jesus was a leper.

From Jesus: Visual Edition by Philip Yancey.

We've come a long way, baby! Being sophisticated and civilized, today we know that Jesus was really the first Adam -- oops, I meant to say, the first American Sniper.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

chris the messiah

chris the messiah (a.k.a. american sniper). cartoon by rob g

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43 - 48 (NIV)

This cartoon was inspired by an article "Why Are So Many Christians Worshipping The American Sniper?" by Benjamin L. Corey. Read it here. HT to Jim Robertson for sharing it on FB.

Update: It seems my cartoon has inspired a HuffPo article. Not really, but wouldn't it be nice?
Read Clint Eastwood's Sniper, and the American Messiah.

And read Chris Hedge's article, "American Sniper": Killing Ragheads for Jesus to understand more of the connection between religion and hostility.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Slurs are not oppressive because they are offensive, they are oppressive because slurs by nature of being slurs draw upon certain power dynamics to remind their target of his/her/their vulnerability in a certain relation to power and as an extension of that, to threaten violence and exploitation of that vulnerability.