Rescuing Jesus
Welcome to the Rescuing Jesus podcast page!
Here you will find brief descriptions and links to my two podcast series: "Atheists for Jesus: Rescuing Jesus from the Bible" and "Rescuing Jesus (and America) from the Religious Right." As the names imply, the first series will deal primarily with Biblical subjects (and will be identified with episode numbers) and the latter with religion as it interacts with political issues (and the 2010 episodes will be identified by "RJ 2.0" followed by a brief description of the topic). Both of these podcast series can also be found on iTunes by searching the Store for: "Schei". Older episodes of "Rescuing Jesus (and America) from the Religious Right" that were done in 2006 can be accessed by clicking HERE and also on iTunes. These podcast were done during the George W. Bush administration and while some of the information is, therefore, somewhat dated, I do believe that they contain useful information that is still valid today. (I plan on producing updated versions of these podcasts in the near future.) I hope that you will find the information in these podcasts to be of interest and of value to you. Please feel free to contact me with your feedback.
Sincerely,
Ken Schei



[Politics] / 10/08 6:59


Hi All,

Frank Schaeffer is the son of the late Francis Schaeffer ("Francis Schaeffer, who helped politicize the Evangelicals into the Religious Right through his incendiary books such as A Christian Manifesto (1980) wherein he called for the takeover of America in the name of Christ if, need be, by force if all else failed"). Frank helped his father to organize Evangelicals into what is known as the Religious Right.


Frank's recent article about Palin should be a must read:


Link

[Election 2008] / 09/10 10:50


The first thing that I would like to take a look at is the idea that Senator McCain should be elected based on the fact that he was a war hero and a POW. While I certainly honor the service of all of our military men and women, I question the sincerity of the Republican Party's "newly found" deference to Senator McCain on this subject.

I would like to have a Republican explain to me why this should be so important to voters in 2008, when it was so unimportant to the Republicans in 2000. In 2000 the Republicans passed over John McCain and chose George W. Bush (who was--to state it as kindly as I can--NOT a war hero). In fact, we saw the first example of what came to be called "Swiftboating", being used against McCain, with innuendos about possible brainwashing and references to the "Manchurian Candidate" effectively turning his war record and POW status against him (much as was done later by Bush supporters attacking the war record of John Kerry). Yet today we are constantly encouraged by these same Republicans to vote for McCain based on the very same war record and POW status that they rejected (and in some quarters reviled) in 2000. McCain's war record did not improve in the interval between these two elections. So, there must be another factor involved.

One thing that did change between these two elections is McCain's stated feelings about the Religious Right. In 2000, he stated:

"Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right."

There is, indeed, a great chasm between the John McCain who called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, "Agents of intolerance," and the John McCain of today who can be found courting the most radical members of the Religious Right. As was stated in the New York Times:

"To make up for a history of conflict with the Christian conservative wing of his party, Mr. McCain has in some ways gone further than Mr. Bush to reassure the right of his intentions, even at the risk of spooking more moderate voters."

Perhaps it is Senator McCain's recent pandering to the Religious Right that has been the true cause of the Republican's newly found reverence for his war record and POW status. However, since the Republicans certainly did not consider it to be a litmus test for qualifying for the Presidency in 2000, I find it to be more than just a little disingenuous for them to try to sell this idea in 2008.

To paraphrase an old line: It's the issues, stupid!


[Election 2008] / 09/10 10:40


Well, let's see what silly distraction we can come up with today so that we can avoid talking about the important issues in this campaign.

Flip to any news channel today (9/10/2008) and it is likely that before you hear the words "Iraq", "economy", "health-care", "poverty", "social-security", or "education", you will hear the word "lipstick". Have we gone insane?????

I'm 65 years old. For as long as I can remember, I've heard the "lipstick on a pig" metaphor used over and over again to describe a bad idea that someone was trying to dress up as a good idea. It was used by John McCain at one time to deride Hillary Clinton's health care policy.

Now, however, when Barack Obama uses it to describe McCain's rather lame attempt to call himself an agent of change, the McCain camp screams (and MSM listens) that Obama was calling Sarah Palin a pig. (I would invite the reader to view the actual comment. I believe that it is quite evident that Obama was referring to McCain's policies.) (link)

This type of distraction may be necessary for a campaign that is bereft of good policy points, but it speaks volumes about their disrespect for the American public. We need (and deserve) to hear about where both sides stand on the important issues of the day, rather than to be bombarded with childish stunts like this one.

I used to have a fairly good opinion of John McCain. I'm saddened that I feel the need to say that in the past tense.


[Politics] / 07/04 1:10


Episode 2 Contents:

Gay marriage

The Ebionites (cont.)

The number '666'

The Religious Right's views on homosexuality

Bush's tax cut proposals

Ann Coulter

Al Gore's new movie "An Inconvenient Truth"



[Religion] / 06/03 13:00


The most important discussion should not be the marital status of Jesus, but rather the question of whether Jesus' original followers (those who actually knew him) believed Jesus to be a god or a human being.


[Politics] / 05/28 3:00


Republicans once again show their utter disdain for all who do not share the narrow views of the Religious Right.

[Politics] / 05/08 0:00


Contents:

The Iraq War

Turning the 'Other Cheek'

Controversy Among Military Clergy

Who Were the Ebionites, and What Did They Say About the Life and Teachings of Jesus (Part One)

"Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance

[Heaven and Hell] / 02/13 14:41


LEFT BEHIND?


I recently watched a program on the Discovery Times Channel entitled: "The Rapture." Near the end of the program, Tim LaHaye (co-author of the 'Left Behind" series), made the following comment:
"Our job as Christians is to proclaim the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. Now, if people don't want to believe that, it's a free country, a free world. They can choose not to, but they have to live or go into eternity on the basis of the choice they make."

I was struck by his casual demeanor and seeming lack of concern as he delivered this statement (I would suggest that people try to watch the program to see for themselves). According to his beliefs, anyone who does not "choose" to believe as he does, will be sentenced to an eternity of unimaginable pain and suffering. However, Mr. LaHaye's affect was what I would expect from someone who was trying to convince people that mortgage rates were going to go up and that if they "choose not to believe" that was their right, but they would be stuck with higher mortgage payments.

In an interview with Paul O'Donnell, Mr. LaHaye seems to also show the same lack of concern for his fellow human beings who will be sentenced to what can only be seen as a Cosmic Concentration Camp (Hell) for all of eternity. Not for being bad people (murderers, rapists, child molesters, etc.), but merely for being mistaken in their beliefs:
O'Donnell:
Must these predictions come to pass? Can't they be avoided the way Nineveh avoided its fate?
LaHaye:
These prophecies are not based on what God is going to do, but what He knows man is going to do. He's going to rapture the church. If people reject the prophecies and reject the word, is that God's worry?

If Mr. LaHaye's God is as heartless as Tim seems to be, then I guess it would not be his "worry."

It would seem that one of the things being "Left Behind"....is compassion.

To my way of thinking, anyone who believes as Mr. LaHaye does (literal Hell for eternity for anyone who does not accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior), and wants to go to Heaven anyway, cannot possibly be considered to be a good and moral person. Enjoying Heaven while knowing that your "host" had condemned millions of your fellow human beings to Hell, would be as repugnant to a moral being as sipping tea at Bertesgarten would have been during the Second World War.
"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." (Mark Twain)


[War in Iraq] / 02/13 13:50


IRAQ: A JUST WAR?

The following article is one that I published in September, 2002. Since that time, George W. Bush launched a war against Iraq (as I predicted that he would); 2,415 young American men and women and over 200 "coalition" forces have died in this war (at least, 17,800 American troops have been wounded, many severely); approximately 34,000 civilian Iraqi men, women, and children have also died (if we want to consider ourselves to be a moral nation, this number needs to matter to us also); the search for Osama bin Laden (who is a danger to us) was put on the back burner while we chased after Saddam Hussein (who was much less of a danger to us [if he was at all]); and we have spent over 278 billion dollars (that's right, 278 Billion) on the war and its aftermath.

What have we gained by this costly and continuing undertaking? No weapons of mass destruction (the excuse used for going to war) have been found; Al Qaeda (which was not a force in pre-war Iraq) is attempting to gain a foothold in Iraq similar to what it had in Afghanistan; and our relationship with the U.N. and many friendly nations (a real necessity in the battle against terrorism) has been badly damaged; and Iraq's three major divisions (Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds) are close to--if not already engaged in--civil war. It seems to me that now is a good time to re-ask the questions that I asked before the war, so here it is:

OUR "CHRISTIAN NATION" VS. IRAQ

There are a great number of people these days--many of whom occupy high government positions--who like to claim that the United States is a "Christian Nation," while at the same time pushing for (or at least not seriously searching for ways to avoid) war with Iraq: "There are no negotiations to be held with Iraq" George W. Bush. It would seem to me that a "Christian Nation" should be very interested in following the teaching's of Jesus and in listening to the advice of Early Church Fathers:

Jesus said:

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

and

"But I tell you: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those cursing you, pray for those abusing you, so that you may become sons of your Father in heaven."

The Early Church Father, Tertullian asked:

"Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaimed that he who takes the sword shall also perish by the sword?"

and even condemned retaliatory violence:

"For what difference is there between provoker and provoked? The only difference is that the former was the first to do evil, but the latter did evil afterwards. Each one stands condemned in the eyes of the Lord for hurting a man. For God both prohibits and condemns every wickedness. In evil doing, there is no account taken of the order... The commandment is absolute: evil is not to be repaid with evil."

The Early Church Father, Origen said:

"For we no longer take up sword against nation nor do we learn war any more, having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader."

This attitude of strict non-violence held sway until Constantine (a bloody tyrant) twisted--and corrupted--Christianity into a tool of war for his own benefit. "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES" (IN THIS SIGN YOU WILL CONQUER).

We are asked to believe that Jesus--after 300 years of NOT miraculously appearing to his followers to tell them that it was OK to fight in the Colosseum to protect themselves and their families and friends--decided to appear to Constantine (a man who had his own wife and son murdered)--and tell him that not only was fighting a war to attain more power OK, but that Jesus would be on his side.

The new 'Constantianity' was a far cry from the original Christianity. Even after this major change, however, the church still gave lip service to the idea that war should be avoided if at all possible. They set up standards for what they called "Just Wars." One of the requirements that they listed for a "Just War" was:

"There can be no declaration of war until every means to prevent it has failed."

While there are a few Christian groups in the U.S. that live up to the original Christian concept of non-violence, the majority seem to subscribe to the post-Constantine idea of "Just Wars." My questions are these:
1. Does President Bush's "pre-emptive war" stance adhere to either the pre- or post-Constantine Christian position?
2. Should not all Christians be pushing for the exhaustion of all alternatives prior to advocating going to war?
3. What would Jesus do? >>>>_

That was then, this is now. This was a war that Bush started. We attacked and invaded a sovereign country without doing everything that we could to solve the problem short of war. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Powell did not satisfy this very basic requirement of a "Just War" prior to the invasion. Shame on them. If getting rid of Saddam because he is a bad man was the actual reason for going to war, then that is how it should have been presented to the American People and the rest of the World prior to the war. All comments and all efforts were directed against the alleged possession of WMDs and alleged ties to Al Qaeda (all of which turned out to be false). We are stuck with George W. Bush until 2008. However, we can--and must--do our best to show that he and those like him, who claim to be such strong Christians, are acting contrary to the teachings of Jesus and are not leading the country in a moral and ethical direction. We must also do our best to change the balance of power by countering the efforts of the Religious Right during the 2006 elections. We may be stuck with "W" until 2009, but we can at least provide some balance by taking back the House and Senate. I hope that you will consider joining with me in this important effort!
Sincerely,
Ken Schei


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