We are in the season of Lent, that period of time where some Christians give up something for 40 days. Most choose vices like coffee, fast food, or alcohol. I saw one list that included gossip (which of course caused me to think “why not give that up for good?”). In this piece, I’d like to suggest a different approach: A theological Lent. Yes, that’s right, I propose Christians give up the following theologies/beliefs for at least 40 days (and hopefully beyond). Why? Because 2021 needs to be a time of cleansing, and what better way than to detox from all the toxic doctrines and dogmas.
I. The Inerrant Bible
Put that inerrant Bible down. It’s boring. And toxic. And heavy. Now, pick up the messy, wonky, fun Bible your grandparents never told you about. It’s way more interesting, and allows you to breathe a little – kinda like ripping your mask off after an 8-hour shift in your cubicle.
II. Penal Substitutionary Atonement Theory
Here’s a PSA on PSA: It leads to a distortion of the character of God and her relationship to Jesus. Slice it however you’d like; PSA is bootsie. It’s not “orthodox” unless you think Calvin was one of the 12 apostles (spoiler alert: he wasn’t). It can go. Yesterday.
III. Eternal Conscious Torment
To hell with hell. That’s all that needs to be said.
IV. The Rapture
See III. Replace “hell” with “the Rapture.”
V. Christian Nationalism
Some of y’all may want to throw me from a cliff, but please hear me out. To my non-American readers, I’m probably not talking to you. Maybe a little, but not as much as my American readers. We seem to like our nationalism like we like our baseball: Juiced up on steroids. Let’s give that up for at least 40 days. Hopefully more.
VI. The Jews Killed Jesus
Just stop with this one. It’s led to way to much anti-Semitism. And it’s historically inaccurate. Rome crucified folks. Judaism didn’t. Learn your facts.
VII. Straight is the Way
If you’re straight, that’s great. But human sexuality, like God, cannot be confined to a rigid box. Being gay is also great. So too is being bi, queer, trans, and every other gender and sexual minority. Bigots, get over it!
VIII. Jesus is Coming Back
Maybe Jesus is coming back. But maybe he isn’t. Let’s act as if he isn’t coming back any time soon. Why? So we can get to work and take care of the problems that need taking care of. This whole notion that “Jesus will come back and fix things” is a form of escapism that allows us to do nothing about the world’s problems.
IX. Christianity is the Only Way
Maybe Christianity is the only way to God. I don’t believe that, but I could be wrong. Either way, let’s give up the notion that it is so that we can actually learn something from those who aren’t Christian. I guarantee Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and everyone in between can teach us something we wouldn’t otherwise learn if we had an exclusive Christianity.
X. God is in Control
Look around you. I don’t know if this is true. And if it is, then maybe we should rethink the word “control.” Hell, maybe we should rethink the word “God” for that matter. Either way, let’s put aside the notion that God is in control and stop trying to explain away suffering. Bad shit happens and typically our explanations only make things worse.
If you have other theologies that need to go, let me know in the comments. If you are like the countless other trolls who are only here to talk shit, you’ll get a block. I’ve given up dealing with trolls for Lent and for me, it’s always the Lenten season.
If you wanna get to know me better, please follow me on social media. I’m pretty active on all platforms:
Also, if you’ve been digging my work on here, and want to see me be able to continue writing as close to full-time as humanly possible, please take a look at my Patreon page at www.patreon.com/mjdistefano. Even $1 a month helps bigly!!!