Our Devastated Mountaintop (sweatshop edition)

mountaintop.jpg[You guys killed it last time we did this. Just amazing work, all of it. Thank you! Please proofread this one also? Any mistake you find—spelling, punctuation, syntax, anything at all—please leave as a comment. Thank you! It's because of you that the next edition of UNFAIR will be all it could be.] Here’s the text that needs your attention:

“If you’re not with us you’re against us.”

“What you call the middle ground I call a sinkhole.”

“You wouldn’t know the Bible from a Hello Kitty autograph book, you insufferably sanctimonious simp.”

Okay, I never said that last one. Or the other two, actually. But I know they all sound like things I might have said.

For when it comes to Certain Causes, I know I can seem like a bit of a maniac.

And by “Certain Causes,” I think we all know what I mean. That’s right: creative capitalization.

I’m so tired of not being able to capitalize whatever words I want. No More!

No, but seriously: I write quite a bit about the relationship between gay people and Christianity.

So here’s the thing: I don’t particularly love writing on that issue. I don’t do it because I think it’s cool, or attention-getting, or enjoy having rabid fundies buzz my site like fume-spewing Nazi Luftwaffters.

I write on that matter for one reason, and one reason only: I love Christianity. Love it. Christianity is the most awesome thing to happen to mankind since a few mutant chimps exclaimed, “Whoa, check it out. Thumbs!”

There is no question of the mind or soul for which Christianity does not provide an outstanding answer. In the figure of Jesus Christ is everything real and important that God wants communicated to man. Christ is the final proof of the depth of God’s love for us. Christianity is unutterably sublime, enthrallingly mystical, and philosophically complete. It’s perfect.

But people have so thoroughly trashed it that at this point Christianity is like the site of a mountaintop removal. Its whole crown has been so perniciously razed that its organic, abounding, life-supporting beauty is all but gone. What was originally majestically inspiring has been reduced to nothing so much as an appalling testament to man’s selfishness and arrogance.

I don’t write about gay people because I love them so much. I don’t love gay people any more than I do anyone else. They’re just people. But they’re an entire class of people who are every day being cruelly maligned, denigrated, bullied to death, and in every way dehumanized—by Christians. People representing the faith to which I ascribe are, in the name of that faith, purposefully, consciously, and even gleefully tending to the destruction of people whose only “crime” is that they love in a way that’s barely different from the way the majority of people love.

How can I live with that? How am I supposed to be okay with that? It’s so wrong. It’s so hideous. It’s so inexcusable. It’s the crudest, most damaging kind of transgression.

It needs to stop.

And as surely as one day follows the next, sooner or later it will stop.

First we got rid of the atrocious idea that the Bible justifies slavery. Then we (coughmostlycough) got rid of the idea that the Bible justifies the subjugation of women. And before long this final, ugly wall will also tumble down.

Writing on the gay issue is how I swing my pen-shaped sledge-hammer against that wall.

I, my friends on this site, and increasing numbers of Christians every day aren’t fighting against anything, so much as we’re fighting for something.

We’re fighting for what we know Christianity could and should be.

Can you imagine what Christianity would be if it weren’t for the reprehensible anti-gay nonsense that clings to it like dog crap you can’t get off your shoe? Can you imagine if Christianity wasn’t so easy to associate with ignorance and bigotry? Can you imagine a Christianity that immediately sparks thoughts of honor, respect, inspiration, compassion, patience, and joy?

Can you imagine a Christianity that evokes the light of love instead of the darkness that is love’s opposite?

I can. And if you can, too, then together we can usher onto center stage this new Christianity, and relegate to the wings the posturing, bellowing, utterly unconvincing old Christianity that for much too long now has been hogging the spotlight.

I’m not obsessed with the gay issue. What I am obsessed with is restoring that mountaintop to its natural state.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Drew

    Paragraph 16 sentence one: coughmostlycough = cough /i/mostly/i/ cough (spaces not showing in original)

    Paragraph nine sentence two: not sure about Luftwaffters – it’s not in my German lexicon. I assume you’ve coined it?

    • http://coolingtwilight.com Dan Wilkinson

      Luftwaffters should probably be Luftwaffers.

    • Lymis

      I’d say Lufftewaffers as well, for the humor. I think “Luftwaffen” is the actual plural, but I could be wrong, and that could be just the planes, not the people.

    • Melanie D.

      The meaning of Luftwaffe is “Air Force” so it doesn’t work as a singular or plural of a particular aircraft. If the same joke were about “American Air Forces” it wouldn’t make much sense. If you were to add another noun at the end of the sentence, turning Luftwaffe into an adjective, making it “like fume-spewing Nazi Luftwaffe dive-bombers.”, for example, that would make the most sense.

      • Lymis

        But you could certainly say “American Air Forcers” if your intention was to say it in a humorous way rather than a strictly accurate way.

    • Don Rappe

      well coined. Everyone likes making fun of the German language in English. Ever notice how few words they have? That’s why they like to run them together to get new ones. Of course it’s true we fought the Luftwaffe with the Army and Navy Air Corps.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yes, I was trying to be funny, with the smell/waft joke. Lame. (I was also trying to be funny by not doing the spaces with the cough. But maybe that does look too much like a mistake…

      • Lymis

        With the cough thing, in print you could set them off with left and right brackets, hyphens or even use asterisks in the manner of quotation marks.

        *cough*mostly*cough*

  • http://coolingtwilight.com Dan Wilkinson

    Paragraph 18: sledge-hammer should be sledgehammer

    Paragraph 19: “my friends on this site.” If this is for print, it should be changed to something else…maybe “my blog readers”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I THOUGHT it was sledgehammer; my auto-speller only gave me “sledge-hammer,” though. But your’e right! Thank you. And very good call on the other, too. That’s exactly the kind of change I need to weed out for this edition. Excellent. Thank you, Dan.

      • anakin mcfly

        “you’re”.

        :)

  • Lymis

    Eight paragraph from the bottom:

    “First we got rid of the atrocious idea that the Bible justifies slavery. Then we (coughmostlycough) got rid of the idea that the Bible justifies the subjugation of women. And before long this final, ugly wall will also tumble down.”

    Hate to say it – REALLY, hate to say it – but I’m afraid that “final, ugly wall” should be a “next ugly wall.”

    Because there are, sadly, other things on the hater horizon once the gay issue is resolved. In the batter’s circle right now are trans issues and either anti-Muslim or anti-atheist sentiments, and a whole array of lesser issues that may yet flare to full drama in time.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      yes, yours is better. thank you!

  • Nicole

    Wow. You guys are kind of awesome! :)

  • Lymis

    Eighth paragraph from the top:

    “No, but seriously: I write quite a bit about the relationship between gay people and Christianity.”

    Something about that colon looks funny to me. I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t look right. (And yes, I realize I’m setting myself up big time with a straight line about looking at colons.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      It’s a style call. There’s nothing formally wrong with it; I just wanted a real firm stop there. But it is a tad … odd. I’ll probably keep it, though. I like sort of using punctuation at the outer limits of what you’re supposed to.

    • Elizabeth

      Personally, I’m a big fan of the impact of a colon.

      • Lymis

        I’m not even going to consider touching that one.

  • James

    I’m not an expert grammarian by any stretch. But this seems incorrect to me:

    “Can you imagine if Christianity wasn’t so easy to associate with ignorance and bigotry?”

    Shouldn’t it be “weren’t” instead of “wasn’t”? I can’t remember the proper name for that tense of the verb “to be”.

    • James

      past tense, subjunctive mood. I found it on wikipedia. =)

      anyway, it appears more and more that “wasn’t” is acceptable in casual usage while “weren’t” is the preferred formal usage. so, it get’s a pass since John isn’t writing a thesis.

      • Don Rappe

        i don’ care what wikipedia says, wasn’t sounds ignorant and weren’t doesn’t.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          The “rule” is that it’s “weren’t” if it’s about something speculative or imaginary, but “wasn’t” if it’s about something real. So in this case it should be “weren’t.” Good catch, James!

          • Allie

            Yep! That one popped out at me particularly because you do use the subjunctive correctly right before it.

            I’ve been told by editors that it’s okay not to use the subjunctive in writing with an informal tone, but you need to either use it or not use it.

  • Jill

    “There is no question of the mind or soul for which Christianity does not provide an outstanding answer.”

    I’m not critiquing, John. (There are fine editors on this blog that do superbly.) I’m more just puzzling, and really, really hoping that one day I’ll get there, to that message. Like, you don’t even know.

    Serious wow. (Every day IS getting better, well mostly. Not complaining. Just dumbfounded a bit. I hope that day doesn’t take too long.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Probably won’t take too long. Christianity’s … awfully comprehensive.

  • Scott Amundsen

    If the Editorial Department is finally finished with their proofreading, I just want to say, John, that I wish I had written this.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thank you, Scott! I wish you had, too. (I have no idea what I mean by that. It just seemed like a totally funny thing to say.)

      • Scott Amundsen

        roflol ><

  • Tim Northrup

    Hi, Dan. wonderful again.

    just one thing: toward the end “this site” kinda won’t work once its in book form (although it conjures up amazing imaginings in my head about a transportable website, but I’ll digress). how about “the blog”, “my blog”, “my website”, or “my online community”?

    • Elizabeth

      Good one. I’d vote for “my online community” since John’s presence includes his blog, Unfundamentalist Christians, his email newsletter, podcasts, and people who email him to remain anonymous.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Is “throughout my kingdom” too pretentious?

        • DR

          Add “virtual” in front of kingdom, it’s very Fast Company.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            I’m doin’ it!

        • Lymis

          Kingdom has other connotations when speaking to Christians. I’d go with “my realm” or “my domain.” You could probably also reference minions.

        • Elizabeth

          No such thing as too pretentious.

  • Elizabeth

    I don’t see anything to improve. I plan to steal (with attribution), “You wouldn’t know the Bible from a Hello Kitty autograph book, you insufferably sanctimonious simp,” at the first possible opportunity.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Let me know how that goes. Send pictures!

  • http://frenchizal.blogspot.com Jenni

    “In the figure of Jesus Christ is everything real and important that God did, has, and ever will have to say to mankind.”

    I would change this to “…. that God did, has said, and ever will have to say …”

    Just to add clarity. :) Other than that, this passage rocks.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      You’re right to note that whole thoughts needs simplifying. I’ve changed it to, “is ” … everything real and important that God wants communicated to man.” That works. Thank you! Good eyes.

  • Allie

    Parallelism problem here:

    I don’t do it because I think it’s cool, or attention-getting, or enjoy having rabid fundies buzz my site like fume-spewing Nazi Luftwaffters.

    Needs to be “or because I enjoy.”

    • Lymis

      Ooh. Good catch!


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