Tag Archives: American

Let’s Help the Refugees

Given the current refugee/migrant crisis, there are many people that want the U.S to open up its borders and bring in as many refugees as possible. It is our sacred nay, Christian duty to do so. But of course there are also those that express a vehement desire to keep these poor refugees out. We at Forgotten Paths, Inc. have put our heads together and come up with a brilliant solution

Given how many apps there are for solving practically any problem you might have, we believe we can create an app that relieves us of this ugly refugee business. This app will allow those willing souls to invite refugees into their home. The app will allow you to sponsor a certain number of refugees dependent on the size of your home. As a sponsor, you will be responsible for paying all travelling expenses for each refugee you sponsor. Given the number of very wealthy refugee supporters, this shouldn’t be a problem. Think Airbnb for refugees.

Now, we realize that not everyone who wants to help these refugees has that kind of money; therefore, the app will also allow for those without huge amounts of wealth to help fund others willing to take on the responsibilities of becoming a sponsor. Suppose we have a landlord who has the space and heart for refugees. He wants to allow refugees to live on his property but he won’t be able to pay the bills without paying tenants. Through this app, those without this sort of property can pledge a certain amount a month to help the benevolent landlord house the refugees and pay the bills.

In this manner you could help fund a new life for the refugees directly, as opposed to say, buying a cup of coffee from Starbucks and then hoping that corporation actually does what it promised to do.

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We now arrive at what will likely be the most important part of this app. Given the ubiquity of Facebook filters and Twitter hashtags, it should be obvious that we need a way for the kindhearted souls above to signal their virtue. After all, why let a good deed go unnoticed? The app will provide for various “tiers of virtue” depending on your contribution. Have you been contributing a bit of money consistently to house refugees? We’ll partner with Facebook to give you exclusive filters that you can show off on Facebook. Contribute more and we’ll have our social media geeks start hashtags in your honor. For those that REALLY contribute, especially at the expense of their own families, Those magnanimous souls will receive the ultimate prize: an official Forgotten Paths, Inc. safety pin for each refugee you fund; that way, you can display your virtue in meatspace as well as cyberspace. Let everyone know just how many refugees you’ve helped create literal safe spaces for.

Finally, we must remember those willing to give up their lives for these poor, starving refugees. These shining beacons of progressive morality will have a unique, hand carved stone placed upon our future “monument of martyrs”*. Those of us at Forgotten Paths, Inc. have come to an agreement with a major metropolitan city to donate property upon which this monument will be built and displayed. We hope this monument to be seen for miles in every direction but remember, this can only be constructed upon the lives of those noble souls willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the refugees.

Xenophobes and racists that refuse to help the refugees can now stop complaining as they will not be involved while those that desperately need refugees imported will have multiple ways of fulfilling this desire and letting the world know about it. We really do believe in this app and we hope you will too.

 

*This name is more of a placeholder as we are having difficulty coming up with a name that fits.


On the Arrogance of American Christianity

I have been asked before whether I read the Bible literally. Honestly, I think that’s a very stupid question. Nobody takes the Bible literally and I would be terrified of anyone who tried. It would make no sense to take the entire Bible literally. However, many Christians, especially American Christians, step around this and tell me that they take the Bible literally unless it’s obvious that the passage/verse in question should be taken metaphorically or allegorically. I have a huge problem with this reasoning. Who should it be obvious to? An ancient Babylonian peasant? A 17th century Japanese samurai? A medieval monk? A modern American lawyer? What is obvious to the ancient Babylonian peasant will NOT be obvious to the modern American lawyer and vice versa.

Many American Christians fail to realize that a huge majority of people past and present do not think the way we do. In fact, probably more than 90% of people that have ever lived do not share our values, our mores, or our perspectives about the world. Here’s an example. I was reading about a missionary in Indonesia who was confronted with a problem. A few leaders of a local Indonesian Christian church came up to the missionary to ask for him advice. Apparently there was a couple who had eloped against the wishes of the parents. Now they wanted to be back in the church. The local leaders were hesitant to welcome them back. The missionary asked what they did wrong. The leaders immediately turned to Ephesians 6:1 which commands children to obey their parents; the couple disobeyed to their parents. The missionary thought about this and then asked the leaders how old the couple was; both were in their thirties. At this point, the missionary did not know how to respond*.

Here, it was obvious to these people living in Indonesia that children are supposed to obey their parents no matter their age. For Christians living in the US, it’s “obvious” that this verse only applies to children under 18 or children living with their parents. So who has the correct interpretation? Most Americans automatically assume that they have the correct interpretation. In fact, I know many people who would read this in shock and automatically condemn those Indonesian leaders as backwards. Why? Because here in America, when you turn 18, you no longer have to listen to your parents. You shouldn’t have to listen to your parents when you are old. We automatically take a verse like Ephesians 6:1 and only apply it to little children because in our culture children don’t have to listen to their parents once past a certain age. We assume children means those under 18. We don’t imagine anyone could possibly think anything different and when they do, we automatically think we’re right. I should not have to say how arrogant this is. What makes us think that only we Americans have the correct interpretation of the Bible?

I don’t think many of us realize just how much our own culture influences the way we read and interpret the Bible. Even when confronted with a simple verse like Ephesians 6:1, we can see how our culture influences our interpretation. We need to understand that what is obvious for people immersed in one culture won’t be so obvious to people living in another culture.

So then, do we read the Bible literally or metaphorically? Well, neither. We should read the Bible in the manner the author intended. That might mean doing a little research into the context of the passage in order to figure out what the author intended the passage/verse to mean. It might mean learning what kind of world the author lived in. It might mean doing a lot more research and learning in order to figure out how we should interpret the Bible and what the author meant to say. Sadly, I fear too many Christians might be too lazy to do this. What do you think?

*this story is taken from the fantastic book, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien.