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Michele Bachmannís lack of faith
The Worcester Telegram ^ | 09/09/2011 | Mathew N. Schmalz

Posted on 09/11/2011 12:22:45 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Styling herself a Christian Cassandra, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann declared Hurricane Irene as God’s warning to Washington. Now that we know she was only joking, we Christians can perhaps shrug our shoulders and leave the victims of Hurricane Irene to deal with its implications on their own.

She was serious. She was joking.

Maybe it’s her titanium spine that’s giving her the balance to shift positions. Then again, perhaps the titanium spine is a necessary prosthetic given Bachmann’s lack of Christian backbone.

If Michele Bachmann actually were serious, she could certainly have drawn upon ample biblical justification. She could have wielded proof-texts citing Sodom and Gomorrah, the prophecies of Jeremiah, not to mention passages from the Book of Revelation. Of course, if she wishes to read biblical narratives in this way, she would most certainly have to subscribe to some notion of collective and indirect responsibility. After all, some of the greatest damage was in North Carolina and Vermont — both a good ways from Washington. Doubtless many of the families impacted by Irene are as frustrated by Washington as Michele Bachman is; some of them might have even been planning to vote for her.

If we follow Bachmann’s interpretation of divine will, we must conclude that God is hitting a cosmic resend button that includes those who had already acknowledged the original email.

If Bachmann were joking, maybe those who criticized the Irene media hype might laugh along. Maybe I can laugh, too, since my Massachusetts home emerged unscathed. But my neighbors over in Monson might have a different view of things: They had just begun to rebuild after a tornado only to have Irene pass directly over their homes. I suppose Bachman might say that her jest was not intended to dismiss their distress, only to lighten their load with levity.

While one can make a distinction, theologically at any rate, between human-made and natural disasters, Bachmann is clearly conflating the two in a grandiose vision of divine omnipotence — a vision that confirms her own political vision for the nation, as well as for herself.

But in spite of her self-professed certainty, Christians like myself see a paradoxical lack of faith in Bachmann’s prophetic pronouncements, whether humorous or not.

Mainstream Christian theology has moved far away from atavistic theodicies that place blame on victims or see the innocent as necessary parchment for inscribing a divine message for those in power. Instead, suffering is rupture and discontinuity. From this perspective, an appropriate Christian response is silence and solidarity: silence with regard to any definitive “meaning,” and solidarity with those who suffer. To say more, as Bachmann has, is to do less: doing less for the victims because we are speaking more highly of ourselves.

A Christian response to Bachmann’s comments would point to the cross precisely as something conventionally meaningless. Given that some definitive interpretations of the cross’s meaning have been a pretext for inflicting suffering on others, Christians like Michele Bachmann would be well advised to remain silent on the question of whether other forms of suffering, like those caused by hurricanes, are indeed acts of God.

To use an image that Michele Bachmann might understand, one might say that a Christian backbone is the strength to resist a self-serving appropriation of the suffering of others. Faith is a struggle with and through meaninglessness that can only happen with and through our connections with others.

-- Mathew N. Schmalz is associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: academia; bachmann; bachmanngaffes; christophobia; faith; gaffes; leftuniverse; michelebachmann; religiousleft

1 posted on 09/11/2011 12:22:51 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

“Mathew N. Schmalz is associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester” and is not biased.



2 posted on 09/11/2011 12:28:25 PM PDT by verity (The Obama Administration is a Criminal Enterprise.)
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To: SeekAndFind

>>Mainstream Christian theology has moved far away from....

...in far too many cases, it has moved away from Christ and the Bible, prayer and repentance, recognizing the supernatural aspect of God. But it does do a good potluck dinner!


3 posted on 09/11/2011 12:31:25 PM PDT by Bryanw92 (The solution to fix Congress: Nuke em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure!)
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To: SeekAndFind

America has a unique elected form of government, so some responsibility for the character of its leaders rests with its people. And Irene did hit a largely liberal area. I do not think a prophet exists today who can furnish a definitive reading on whether God meant something in particular by Irene. Most Christians accept that the world of sorrow we know today is a battleground between God and Satan, and that events occurring in it reflect powers of both good and evil.


4 posted on 09/11/2011 12:32:51 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: SeekAndFind
Mathew N. Schmalz is associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester

is one of those modern day pagans masquerading
as a follower of Yah'shua who do not believe
that YHvH has punished this country for it's
actions toward Israel.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
5 posted on 09/11/2011 12:33:26 PM PDT by Uriíel-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: Uri’el-2012
Back in the late 1980s, I was managing a homeless shelter for a Catholic religious order in the South Bronx. The highlight of the week was our Sunday dinner and the priest who founded the shelter would come and say mass. For mass one Sunday, the priest decided to address the topic of Muhammad. The subject was not Muhammad as the antithesis of Jesus, nor Muslims as enemies. Instead, the subject was Muhammad as guided by the Holy Spirit and Muslims as friends. The priest pointed to aspects of Islam's five pillars--particularly fasting (sawm), prayer (salat), and almsgiving (zakat)--as practices that all Christians could admire. That the priest was politically and theologically quite conservative made his reflections surprising but all the more welcome--especially since I had just returned from Pakistan and had thought through many of these issues in dialogue with my Muslim friends.

Mathew N. Schmalz

Let's debate the Gospel
6 posted on 09/11/2011 12:40:45 PM PDT by cripplecreek (A vote for Amnesty is a vote for a Permenant Democrat majority. ..Choose well.)
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To: cripplecreek
Mathew N. Schmalz

Let's debate the Gospel

May you seek the face of YHvH in His WORD.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
7 posted on 09/11/2011 12:45:53 PM PDT by Uriíel-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Faith is a struggle with and through meaninglessness that can only happen with and through our connections with others.

I must confess that I had to read this four or five times to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong. Faith is NOT a struggle through a meaninglessness existence and can only happen by "connecting" with other. Is God on Facebook now?

Scriptures says that faith is the assurance of things hopeful and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is given to us by God if we ask. Life is not a bed of roses but it is far from meaningless.

This is what "religious" professors have evolved into.

8 posted on 09/11/2011 1:01:48 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: HarleyD

I’d love to ask the good professor if the violent impoverished world of islam is a punishment for turning away from God.

I have a feeling his answers would be “interesting”.


9 posted on 09/11/2011 1:07:08 PM PDT by cripplecreek (A vote for Amnesty is a vote for a Permenant Democrat majority. ..Choose well.)
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To: HarleyD
This is what "religious" professors have evolved into.

Sad, but true. He sounds as if he has drifted into New Age philosophy. It's rather presumptuous for one self-professed Christian to comment on another's lack of faith.

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?

10 posted on 09/11/2011 1:45:37 PM PDT by CASchack
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To: SeekAndFind
From the Father of the Bill of Rights:

"As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities."

-- George Mason


11 posted on 09/11/2011 1:57:15 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (We still hold these truths to be self-evident...)
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To: HarleyD

This was balderdash. Perhaps it passes for a “publication” in the ‘publish or perish’ game.


12 posted on 09/11/2011 1:59:19 PM PDT by Melchior
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To: HiTech RedNeck
I do not think a prophet exists today who can furnish a definitive reading on whether God meant something in particular by Irene.

Luke 13:1-5

There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”


13 posted on 09/11/2011 2:02:45 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (We still hold these truths to be self-evident...)
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