Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Christian Platt: The A**hole Christian Survival Guide

Christian Platt is one of my favorite Christian authors.  He is unlike the evangelical writers that write the syrupy twaddle found in WalMart and most Christian books stores. Nor is he anything like the self-righteous legalistic miscreants that head up Church of God splinter groups.  He is a breathe of fresh air in the stagnant and/or backward thinking evangelical atmosphere that permeates this country today. He also feels that Christians should laugh at themselves for many of the stupid things we do and say.

He is writing a new book called  The Asshole Christian Survival GuideThe title of his book will immediately tick off the uber-legalists and the self righteous in the Churches of God.......because......we all know that there could not possibly be any assholes in Church of God ministerial positions!  Gerald Flurry's not one!  Bob Thiel's not one!  Rod Meredith's not one! Vic Kubik can't possibly be one and most assuredly Dave Pack could NEVER be one! So where does that leave James Malm?

Platt writes:

Are You Ready for the A**hole Apocalypse?

You’ve encountered those Christians who are so self-assured about their faith it’s like fingers on a chalkboard. You’ve met the type that is only satisfied if you think, act and believe just like they do. You know the Christians that want to start a conversation with an awkward question like “have you accepted Jesus into your heart?” or left a tract as a tip, or gave crosses to kids at Halloween or…you get the idea.

One of the best sermons I ever heard started with the sentence, “I’m a Christian because I’m an asshole.” This got me thinking: maybe we do need an example like Jesus to follow because we can ALL be real assholes from time to time. But what I’ve noticed is that too many Christians believe that, once they’ve accepted Jesus, they’re all fixed and are no longer assholes.

And there’s the real irony: Thinking that having Jesus in your heart keeps you from ever being an asshole again makes you an even bigger asshole. So it’s time we talked about it.
 Elsewhere he writes:
So if we Christians are supposed to reflect God and Jesus to the world, why are so many of us such jerks?

Sometimes we Christians take everything so seriously it's a real drag. So this book is done very much with tongue in cheek, but also with the intent of getting at some real truth. And I think sometimes the best way to start healing and mending fences between us and the rest of the world is to be able to laugh at ourselves.

So the book is less about fixing us all, but teaching us how to better get along together by helping us come to terms with our inner asshole. Making peace with it, maybe even laughing about it sometimes, but still doing our best not to be too much of an asshole might actually make the world a little bit better place to live.

Where did the Idea Come From?

One of the most inspiring, honest sermons was from my friend who started out by saying, "I'm a Christian because I'm an asshole." At that moment, a little light went on inside me. It's not that I need Jesus because of original sin or to save me from burning in hell. He's not a stamp on my celestial passport. 

But I can be a real asshole. And once I have the humility to admit it, I might actually have something to learn from it. One of the biggest paradoxes, though, is when people mistakenly think that becoming a Christian makes them no longer be an asshole; in fact, Christians who think they're somehow "fixed" are some of the biggest a-holes of all.


Anonymous said...

HaHa! This is great! I have never encountered the kind of asshole Christians in my neighbors like I have with a Church of God members. With relatives in Flurry's group I have first hand experience with complete assholes. This one book I am buying to send to them.

Anonymous said...

"So the book is less about fixing us all, but teaching us how to better get along together by helping us come to terms with our inner asshole. Making peace with it, maybe even laughing about it sometimes, but still doing our best not to be too much of an asshole might actually make the world a little bit better place to live."

Essentially what he's saying is that christians need to come to terms with their tendencies toward fundamental extremism, legalim, judgmentalism, intolerance, supercilious specialness, etc. Because far from being a cure, depending on the sect you join up with, becoming a christian may be just the first step into a larger world of assholishness than you could ever have imagined, especially if you think it's cured you!

The problem with religions that operate according to some sort of supposedly "divine revelation" which, because it's only the product of human invention cannot help but be incoherent, produces the competing and conflicting tendencies toward two opposite and mutually incompatible directions: legalism and those "weightier matters." The problem with Jesus is he's the incarnate embodiment of the post hoc rationalization fallacy, who supposedly proves it's possible to pursue two mutually incompatible goals at the same time. Of course, it isn't. But hey, in a storybook, anything is possible!

Sam Tucci said...

I am not a religious person per se, but I don't think its bad to refrain from using crass toilet terms.
I think pandering to the lowest denominator with toilet humor and gutter language is kind of pathetic.

Ralph said...

I'm with Sam Tucci's thoughts on this one!


Byker Bob said...

On one hand, God allowed all of the things that happen in the bathroom and the bedroom to evolve, and said that they were good. Honestly, most of the supposedly "crass" terms of today are from old English, common words from a bygone era which have fallen into disfavor over the past 5-6 centuries. This happens with other key elements of languages, as in the case of words related to the various races of the human species, non-mainstream sexual orientation, and genetic conditions which affect intelligence and functionality.

On the other hand, some people wouldn't say certain of these words, even if they had a mouthful of them! And, though the playground and locker room are rife with them, they certainly don't want their children saying them! So, in some ways there is the potential to marginalize one's message, and in other ways, the words could provide a relaxed way of actually reaching others, by appearing down to earth, or real. The words "appropriate" and "discernment" come to mind.

Herbert's Phariseeistic Victorianism played well with those who naturally tend to like classical music, ballet, and opera. But, not so much to the rock n roller.


Retired Prof said...

One of my uncles is a family (not COG) elder who is deeply and justly respected by my generation. He once pointed out that it is not what goes into our ears that defiles us. It is what comes out of our mouths.

I'd say the same principle holds true for what we read on the screen and what we tap out on the keyboard.

Byker Bob said...

Well, let's just hope that Christian Platt's group doesn't become so big that we begin to see "God Bless Uranus" bumper stickers all over town!


Anonymous said...

A lot of you turned into crap when you left the church. But then you always were jerks; you were just hiding it behind a faced of your fake conversions. Now with nobody to keep you in line, your true nature rears its ugly head. You never knew anything about Christianity and you never will.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting to watch the delicate snowflakes get offended over the word asshole, yet never express any outrage at the offensive things flowing from the lips of various COG leaders and their emissaries. Assholes are more offensive than rapists, pedophiles, COG's breaking families up, people dying from lack of medical care, leaders living lavish lifestyles, and the list goes on.

Chuckles said...

Anon 4:27 pm...What was that stupid rant all about, obviously it's not from a Christian so what's your overall point, if you think you explained it you didn't, it just sounds like a disgruntled rant from someone self righteously judging and criticizing others. Others that most have never left the church but left a cult and others that are still part of the church which is the body of Christ, not some organized cult made up by someone who wanted to run the show and appointed himself to do so. Anyway, settle down and don't allow yourself get so worked up by your emotions whereas you have to childishly call people names, and you say in your un Christ like rant that others never knew what Christianity was all about, come on now.