Jesus Was A Communist

Were the early Christians communists? Roman Montero makes the case that they were and backs it up with his book All Things In Common: The Economic Practices of the Early Christians.  Roman A. Montero spends a lot of time studying early Christianity, Koine Greek, early Christian texts, and the historical context of second temple Judaism.

Roman explains his use of the word “communism” in this short essay from Dandelion Salad:

“The actual classical meaning of the word, the meaning that actually represents something in reality, is basically nothing more than any social-relationship or structure where the principle of “from each according to his ability to each according to his need” is the primary moral framework of the social relationship or structure. Instead of replacing the term with something else, I went through the trouble of breaking down what communism actually means and contrasting it with other principles of social-relationships like hierarchy or exchange. The reason I stuck with the term “communism” was simple: that term is simply the most fitting term for the economic practices of the early Christians that differentiated them from the larger Roman world; the more I studied the issue the more I became convinced of that.”

 

Pacifica Radio Network
Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
Stations
Podcast

The Wisdom of the Zombie Apocalypse

The Walking Dead. The Night of the Living Dead. Sean of the Dead. Z Nation. We can’t seem to get enough of the zombies. So what is that about?
Greg Garrett is Professor of English at Baylor University, where he teaches classes in fiction and screenwriting, literature, film and popular culture, and theology. The author or coauthor of twenty books on fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, Garrett (according to the BBC) is one of Americas leading voices on religion and culture.
Professor Garrett says that we love killing zombies for a number of reasons. When societies face looming catastrophes and fears, zombies rise. His book is Living with the Living Dead: The Wisdom of the Zombie Apocalypse.

Matthew Fox: A Creation Spirituality Journey ENCORE

This is an encore podcast of my conversation with Matthew Fox that I previously released in November 2016.

Matthew Fox. Silenced by the Vatican for his views, left the Catholic priesthood in the early 1980s. Matthew Fox is a theologian and activist who has written over 30 books. He has introduced millions of people to Creation Spirituality. His latest book, published in 2016 is called A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey. According to Fox, Merton was assassinated by the CIA. We will talk more about that as well as have a candid conversation about ecology, human rights, capitalism, and resistance.

Pacifica Radio Network
Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
Stations
Podcast

Always with us? What Jesus Really Said About the Poor

Politicians like to misquote Jesus to slash programs for the poor. Republican congressman, Roger Marshall of Kansas misused a quote from Jesus to support his program to reduce healthcare benefits for the poor. This is from the article on Stat from March 3rd, 2017:

“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” he said. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

Did Jesus really say, “The poor will always be with us?” What is the exact quote? What is the context? What did Jesus really mean? How do we respond to politicians who use the Bible and Jesus to cut aid to those most in need?

Liz Theoharis is fighting back. She is the founder and co-director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and coordinator of the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Theoharis has spent the last two decades organizing among the poor in the United States and worldwide. She is the author of Always with us? What Jesus Really Said About the Poor.

Pacifica Radio Network
Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
Stations
Podcast

Stand Your Ground: America’s Love Affair With Lethal Self-Defense

The good citizen defends his castle.   Punks, thieves, thugs, and rapists don’t stand a chance against a 44 Magnum in the hands of the good guy who stands his ground.   That is the myth.  The reality is that America’s love affair with guns and lethal self-defense has not made America safer, just more violent and more afraid.

Harvard Professor Caroline Light explores the development of the American right to self-defense and reveals how the original “duty to retreat” from threat was transformed into a selective right to kill. In her book, Stand Your Ground:  A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense, Professor Light traces white America’s attachment to racialized, lethal self-defense by unearthing its complex legal and social histories—from the original “castle laws” of the 1600s, which gave white men the right to protect their homes, to the brutal lynching of “criminal” Black bodies during the Jim Crow era and the radicalization of the NRA as it transitioned from a sporting organization to one of our country’s most powerful lobbying forces.

Unlike the mythology of Dirty Harry and redemptive violence, America’s stand your ground culture and laws that accompany it do not protect the vulnerable against Mr. Stranger Danger.  Just the opposite.

Professor Light exposes a history hidden in plain sight, showing how violent self-defense has been legalized for the most privileged and used as a weapon against the most vulnerable.

Pacifica Radio Network
Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
Stations
Podcast

Atheism and Christianity: Can We Talk?

Drew Bekius was a true believer.  He prayed the “sinner’s prayer” when he was three and was immersed in evangelical Christianity, starting an award-winning ministry in his high school.  He became a minister and a leader and he was skilled at the job.

But a few years ago, the edifice began to crack.   He realized he no longer could believe the things he needed to believe in order to be a minister.   Now he no longer holds belief in God or Jesus or the church.  He is now a humanist coach and is the president of The Clergy Project.  The Clergy Project is online community for former and active religious professionals who no longer hold supernatural beliefs.

In many ways Drew is still a minister at heart.  He is a caring, thoughtful person who wants to help people overcome stereotypes and to understand each other even when they might not agree.   In particular, he wants atheists and Christians to talk to each other.

We discuss his journey and his new mission that he outlines in his book, The Rise and Fall of Faith: A God-to-Godless Story for Christians and Atheists.

The Rape of Eve: Newly Discovered Texts of Resistance (Celene Lillie)

The Nag Hammadi library discovered in 1945 has provided a number of alternative Christian texts.   They were not included in the Bible. They have been dismissed by many orthodox Christians as Gnostic or even heresy.  Yet new scholarship is discovering the complexity of these texts and the value they have for many today.
Dr. Celene Lillie discusses three of these texts in her book, The Rape of Eve:  The Transformation of Roman ideology in Three Early Christian Retellings of Genesis. In each of these texts, “On the Origin of the World,” “The Reality of the Rulers,” and “The Secret Revelation of John,” Eve is portrayed as having been humiliated by the cosmic powers but experiences restoration.  She sees these Nag Hammadi stories as affirmation of women’s value and wisdom and as myths of resistance to Roman imperial power and to Rome’s culture of rape and domination.
Celene Lillie (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary) is the Director of the recently established Tanho Center and on the pastoral and adult education staff at First United Methodist Church in Boulder, Colorado. She has collaborated on and coordinated many different research projects, most recently as Director of Translations for A New New Testament edited by Hal Taussig (2013). She is the author of The Rape of Eve: The Transformation of Roman Ideology in Three Early Christian Retellings of Genesis (2017) and the co-author of The Thunder: Perfect Mind: A New Translation (2010). Her research interests include gender, violence, and trauma in early Jesus/Christian literatures ranging from the New Testament to Nag Hammadi.
   

Pacifica Radio Network
Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
Stations
Podcast