Sunday, July 4, 2010

302: Counting Hairs

Luke 12-13
"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." - Luke 12:7

Chapter 12 starts out with Jesus telling his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees. Unlike the other gospels, Jesus immediately explains that this is a metaphor for the Pharisees' hypocrisy. Why does Luke's Jesus avoid this perfectly good opportunity to call his disciples faithless idiots?

Next, Jesus tells us not to fear those who can merely kill us, but to fear those who can kill us and send us to hell. I can only assume that he's talking about God. Are we supposed to love God or fear God? I'm not sure how you could do both at the same time.

Jesus then goes on a strange tangent about how we are more important than sparrows to God (one would hope so). In fact, Jesus says, we are so important that God counts every hair on everyone's head. Maybe that's what's wrong with the world. God is too busy counting hairs to cure cancer and prevent natural disasters.

Jesus then says a lot of things we've already heard. Don't worry, God will take care of you even if you have nothing, be ready for God's return at all times, and that Jesus hasn't come to bring peace but division.

The chapter ends with Jesus chastising his crowd of followers for being able to predict the weather, but not the signs of the times. I'm not sure what Jesus expects of them. Is the common man supposed to be able to predict the future?

Jesus starts chapter 13 by saying that if anyone doesn't repent they will perish. Needless to say, this isn't true. There are a lot of unrepentant people that go right on living.

Next is what seems to be a metaphor for getting into heaven. Jesus tells us to work hard to try to get into the "narrow door". Jesus says that many who try to enter this narrow door will not be able to, and once the door is closed nobody else will get in. Assuming Jesus is talking about heaven, isn't this contrary to the idea that you need to just accept Jesus and you'll be let into heaven?

The chapter ends with Jesus being warned by the Pharisees to leave because Herod is going to kill him. Jesus says that he is going to stay in Jerusalem because all the prophets die in Jerusalem.

You've probably heard about the opposition to the mosque near ground zero (if you've been reading this blog you definitely have). But that's not the only place where a mosque is being opposed:
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Opponents plan to march this month to protest construction of a new Islamic mosque in this Middle Tennessee town.

"The people have spoken clearly that they don't want this mosque proposal that is before them," march organizer Kevin Fisher said Friday.
This is all after the town planning commission already approved the building of the new 52,000+ square foot community center (why wouldn't they?). I'll give these people the benefit of the doubt and assume they have a perfectly good reason for their opposition of a community center. Let's see what the article says:
"We are petitioning (the county) to have another meeting to give people a chance to air their concerns," Fisher said. "It's to stop the process and go through it the proper way and give people a chance to be heard."

Some opponents have said that Islam is a political movement, not a religion, and that the mosque could also be used as a training center for terrorists.

"Most people don't understand what they are dealing with," said Rutherford County resident Bob Hayes, who was among the speakers to voice opposition before the county commission last month. "You are dealing with a terrorist organization. They want to rule the world."
First of all, there is no indication that they didn't go through the proper channels the first time. These people probably don't attend city counsel meetings (who does?), but that doesn't mean city officials in some way slipped this Islamic center under their noses.

More importantly, these people are taking fundie to a whole new level. I've heard people imply that we should be weary of Muslims because of terrorist attacks, but to openly say that every follower of Islam is a de facto terrorist is a level of ignorance that, until now, I hadn't seen. I would imagine that these are the kind of people that tout racial epithets as fact.

From what I read in this article the only reason these people oppose this mosque is their baseless fears about terrorists. That's like opposing a black cultural center because all black people commit crimes. I fear that a similar sentiment is behind the opposition to the New York mosque. But they're just not stupid enough to say it out loud.

(via USA Today)


  1. Luke 12

    Luke 11:14-13:9. This section is all part of one day. First Jesus is driving out a demon in front of an audience. Then the crowd starts to increase in size as he rants about the sign of Jonah. A Pharisee inexplicably then invites Jesus in for a quick bite while he takes a break. While he's indoors insulting his hosts, the crowd swells to such size that the people are trampling on one another, like at Riverfront Coliseum in 1979. Jesus seems strangely unconcerned about this. He also doesn't seem to be worried about how to feed the crowd of "many thousands" - maybe he was pulling the multiply-the-bread-and-fish trick at all of his rallies. He then goes back out for the encore, 12:2-13:9, alternating between talking to the crowd and his disciples, to the point where even Peter (12:41) is confused about whom Jesus is addressing.

  2. BRIAN: Yes. Consider the the field.

    ELSIE: Consider the lilies?

    BRIAN: Uh, well, the birds, then.

    EDDIE: What birds?

    BRIAN: Any birds.

    EDDIE: Why?

    BRIAN: Well, have they got jobs?

    ARTHUR: Who?

    BRIAN: The birds.

    EDDIE: Have the birds got jobs?!

    FRANK: What's the matter with him?

    ARTHUR: He says the birds are scrounging.

    BRIAN: Oh, uhh, no, the point is the birds. They do all right. Don't they?

    FRANK: Well, good luck to 'em.

    EDDIE: Yeah. They're very pretty.

    BRIAN: Okay, and you're much more important than they are, right? So, what are you worrying about? There you are. See?

    EDDIE: I'm worrying about what you have got against birds.

    BRIAN: I haven't got anything against the birds. Consider the lilies.

    ARTHUR: He's having a go at the flowers now.

    EDDIE: Oh, give the flowers a chance.

    BRIAN: Ohh. Look. There was this man, and he had two servants.

    ARTHUR: What were they called?

    BRIAN: What?

    ARTHUR: What were their names?

    BRIAN: I don't know. And he gave them some talents.

    EDDIE: You don't know?!

    BRIAN: Well, it doesn't matter!

    ARTHUR: He doesn't know what they were called!

    BRIAN: Oh, they were called 'Simon' and 'Adrian'. Now--

    ARTHUR: Oh! You said you didn't know!

    BRIAN: It really doesn't matter. The point is there were these two servants--

    ARTHUR: He's making it up as he goes along.

    BRIAN: No, I'm not! ...And he gave them some ta-- Wait a minute. Were there three?

  3. Luke 13

    Luke 13:4-5. "Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

    First of all, even if someone repents they're going to perish anyway. Second, doesn't this undercut the whole argument that bad things happen to people because God is punishing them? Maybe it's just bad luck.

    Luke 13:6-9. Luke has turned the nonsensical story of Jesus cursing the fig tree when it doesn't produce fruit into a nonsensical parable about a fig tree being cut down because it doesn't produce fruit. At least Jesus doesn't look like a spoiled brat here.



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