Sympathy with Jesus’ Killers

Pilate presenting JesusWho killed Jesus? For some reason, this question comes up every Lent season.

Who Was Involved?

In the most direct sense, the answer is pretty obvious: Rome. Rome killed people on crosses. Jesus died on a cross. That’s pretty clear in the Gospel accounts, too. Pilate, as the representative of Rome, signed Jesus’ death order. Roman soldiers carried it out, just as they carried out many other executions, including at least two more in Jerusalem that same day.

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Benevolent Sexism

The first time I encountered the idea of benevolent sexism was a shock, particularly since it was a context of my own benevolent sexism being confronted. I had a crush on this girl/young woman in high school. I asked her out and she wasn’t interested, but it seemed like we could still get along. There continued to be some unexplainable tension, though, that got worse over time instead of better. She contacted me again about a year after we had stopped talking.

I got to the Tim Horton’s where we were meeting ahead of her and already had a drink when she got there. I instinctively said something along the lines of “go ahead and grab something first, if you’d like.” She visible twitched. That made sense as soon as she explained why she always had a hard time with me. In short, it was some benevolent sexism on my part, including things as small as giving her permission to go get something before joining me.

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Fear and Control in Winter Soldier and Bill C51

The Winter Soldier (poster)
The movie poster with the titular Winter Soldier, who I’m not actually talking about here.

On Friday night, I rewatched the movie Captain America: Winter Soldier. It’s a fantastic movie in many ways, but perhaps no more so than the central theme it forces us to consider.

Hydra, the evil organization founded in World War II, operates on the basic principle that humans cannot handle freedom. Unfortunately for them, they realized with their defeat in WWII that humans won’t just give up that freedom. Their solution is to scare people into giving up their freedom in the name of security. They help fuel wars and whatever else they can to spread this fear, while acting within SHIELD.

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The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game (movie poster)We followed up our recent watching of Selma with the watching of another of last year’s best movies, The Imitation Game. Like Selma, I thought it had several great themes, which I’ll only touch on quickly.

Playing God

Of the many great themes, this is the one that struck me the most. Studying computer science, I knew in broad terms about Turing and his work in World War II, as well as the “Turing Test” (his original title: Imitation Game) which was a key idea in my cognitive science studies. I knew the general information about the technology involved and I knew he ultimately killed himself after being chemically castrated for being gay.

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Young Marriage

Emily and Ryan
Emily and I on our wedding day. We were 23 and 25; some friends thought that was really young and some wondered why we took so long.
Copyright Emily and Ryan

Every once in a while, an article shows up promoting getting married young – by which I mean usually 18-20, not young in the historical sense when many societies got married right after puberty. There are usually two main reasons given behind this promotion:

You Get To Have Sex

Reason 1 often given for young marriage is that you get to have sex without breaking your church’s rules on sex. It is obviously true that late marriage plus abstinence can be a serious physical challenge, so a solution is to move up marriage to as close after puberty as possible, thus minimizing the time in between. You can insert the biblical citation here about being better to marry than burn with lust, if you’d like.

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Harmless Complementarianism?

Gender Authority Hierarchy
Posted to the Evans’ fridge during the Year of Biblical Womanhood project, summarizing the complementarian hierarchy

A discussion has arisen in a couple of different groups for me in the past week. On its surface, complementarianism – the notion that men and women are ontologically of equal worth but restricted to different functions – is not necessarily that harmful. Obviously it restricts people, mostly women, in what they are free to do, but is that harm in and of itself? Maybe not.

Many elements often – but not inherently – tied into complementarianism clearly are harmful. One common one would be encouraging women to continue submitting to men even when it is an unhealthy or even abusive relationship. Even within healthier complementarianism, in theory that is paired with the man doing his job of “loving her like Christ loves the Church.” Some complementarians place the blame on women for men not doing their half of the equation, though, e.g. because a woman expressed her opinion, a man felt he couldn’t and so he never became a leader like he was supposed to. Therefore, the reasoning goes, if he isn’t being a good enough leader, she should just shut up and wait for him to come around. My opinion: if a man gives up trying that easily at the presence of another perspective, he definitely should not be a leader anyway. Not nearly all complementarians would come out and say that, but some would either directly or more subtly.

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Faith Turning Points

WikiGodPod: Our Stories Shaping GodRecently I was talking about stuff on WikiGodPod, a podcast out of the Greater Toronto Area (I live close to the GTA in Kitchener) centred around our stories and how that shapes how we understand God. I’m not somebody who speaks well without preparation, so the potential questions were sent in advance and I spent a few hours the night before and morning of planning. I figure since I already spent those hours writing notes, I may as well clean them up a bit and publish them here.

Mark’s next question for me was:

What were major turning points in terms of faith and God?

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Improved Sex Ed in Ontario

Sex Ed Protesters
Some people don’t think children should learn about sex until they start experimenting for themselves.
Source: http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/26/michael-coren-why-critics-of-ontarios-new-sex-ed-curriculum-are-wrong/

Our Ontario government right now is attempting to push through new and improved sex education. And by attempting, I mean it is really a matter of time since they have a majority government, barring some disastrous uproar of protest that make them back down. One key concept that undergirds much of the curriculum is consent. Specific elements include same-sex families discussed in grade 3, puberty in grade 6, and STDs and sexting in Grade 7.

This is definitely a good thing.

Unfortunately, many are up in arms over this, including many Christians. As far as I have been able to hear, it all boils down to “we’re uncomfortable with our kids knowing anything about sex.” I’m sorry to break this to them, but that isn’t an option. They are humans. They are going to learn about sex. The question isn’t whether they will learn, it’s whether they will learn something healthy or something unhealthy.

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Thoughts on Selma

Selma movie posterI know I’m way behind on this one, but we finally went to see Selma. Best movie of the year for me, although I’ll reserve any comments on how big of an Oscar snub it was since the only of the Best Picture nominees I saw was Birdman (hated it) and part of Grand Budapest Hotel (I think I was way too tired that night to understand it).

No Whitewashed MLK

The overall aspect that I loved is how MLK was not whitewashed. He was not tamely petitioning for change the way most white people tell the story. He did not play well with the rules of respectability politics. He was firm in believing nonviolent resistance was the Jesus way and the most effective way, but he definitely stirred up a lot of trouble and was pretty unashamedly abrasive in getting his point across.

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