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January 03, 2005

Faith

Mark Gisleson is a local leftyblogger...

...no. That does a disservice to the good local leftybloggers, the Centrisities and even some of the less intensely whiny folks from New Patriot that do the Minnesota left some semblance of justice online.

No. Mark Gisleson would seem to be a sort of Walter Mitty-cum-Che Guevara; he's the fella who fantasized about starting an armed revolution if Bush won the election; he refers to conservative bloggers as "wingnuts", by the bye.

On his blog, he asks:

Steve Gilliard reminds us that the most dangerous wingnuts arenít calculating political opportunists so much as they are Bible-thumping literalists who have an inordinate capacity for outright fantasy when there is no other way to tether their beliefs to terra firma. Case in point: Did man coexist with the dinosaurs?

...

And now that Iím thinking about it, do we even know if the Northern Alliance is comprised of Christians, or are they just being politically manipulative, talking Jesus once in a while to help keep the coalition in line?

Wow. Didn't know we had a "coalition". We're bigger than we thought!

But then Gisleson - who claims to be an atheist - notes:

Shot in the Dark: nothing on the blog but a search of the archives pulled up 19 posts referencing Jesus. Thatís going all the way back to July 2002, and includes a velvet Jesus painting (for Gov. Jesse) and the fascinating thought that Wellstone could no more have been laid low by an inexperienced pilot any more than Jesus could have choked on a a blinz. Frankly, the nineteen matches include a lot of instances of Mitch quoting other people talking about Jesus, usually in a highly polticized way. Is this a Christian blog? No more so than Norwegianity.
Aside from Gisleson's dubious command of reading comprehension and dishonest selective quoting (the full quote was "Of course, one's prophet and martyr mustn't die of mundane causes: Wellstone could no more have been laid low by an inexperienced pilot any more than Jesus could have choked on a a blinz or Joan of Arc could have stepped in front of a moving draftwagon. No, martyrs must die martyr's deaths. And those who oppose the martyrs are the infidels, and nothing is too awful for them", quite different than Gisleson would have had you believe), is there a point there? Is counting Jesuses...er, Jesi...er, references to our Lord and Savior a worthwhile measure of a blogger's faith?

Well, only if you have a noxious caricature to reinforce.

Is this a "Christian Blog"? No. And U2 is not a "Christian band", and CS Lewis is not a "Christian author". Bono is a Christian with a band. Lewis was a Christian who wrote - and whose writing frequently intersected with faith. And I'm a Christian.

In Corinthians (I think...yep, I'm pretty sure it's Corinthians...I think...), it says that people are called to God with a variety of gifts; one of mine has never been especial articulation about my faith. As glib, and sometimes fluent, as I can be about many things in my life, my faith isn't one of them. I have never felt, for the most part, that my faith was of much interest to a wide audience, beyond the fact that it exists and is a huge, vitally important part of my life.

Gisleson's metric - counting references to "Jesus" - is lazy and induces mad strawmen, of course, just as would be a simple count of references to Christian, Buddhist, or for that matter Satan. But if wordcounts are what flips your toupee, one could have searched for Presbyterian or my dissent with my denomination's national political policies (in a post prominently displayed among my "best shots") not to mention the section called "Faiths and their Followers - crackerjack reporting, Mark!

Beyond that, there's the little point that this is a politics and current events blog. Not a religion blog. It's a subtle point, I know.

Is my faith of any importance to the reader? Nobody's asked. There are many better bloggers on the subject of faith: Joe Carter, Hugh, LaShawn Barber, Jared Keller, Stones Cry Out, even Miss O'Hara to name a few from my blogroll. They've got that Corinthian gift of having things to say about faith that people could conceivably want to read. Want to read about my personal experience in faith? Ask me.

Is it of importance to my blogging? Gisleson asks:

Could it be that itís difficult to trash talk liberals when Jesus is in the room? Or is Jesus no more relevant to their daily lives than he is to mine?
Question: What is is that anyone thinks I've said on this blog, ever, for which I should seek God's forgiveness? Because as a general rule, I try only to post things for which I'll respect myself in the morning. Am I perfect? No, but I'm forgiven.

Gisleson also applies the same (trite) metric to measuring the Christianity of the rest of the Northern Alliance and Hugh, committing this particular howing boner:

Powerline, whose very name is a reference to evangelical Christianity, didnít fare well. No Jesus on the front page, and only 31 references to the main man since June 2002. But donít you love that Israeli flag they have flying on page one!
Let's stop here. I've talked with the Powerguys; "Powerline" is not a religious reference. Gisleson is in loopdieland.

Never mind. Both points might be addressed by the fact that at least one Powerguy (Scott Johnson) has referenced being Jewish on the blog many times, including recent days (I can't recall if Paul "Deacon" Mirengoff is Jewish; the name says "oy, yes", but I won't assume).

To go back to Gisleson's original question - do "we" use faith to keep "the coalition" in line - no. While I can't speak for the rest of the guys (and the Northern Alliance includes, by my count, a couple of observant Catholics, a Lutheran, a Presbyterian, somewhere between one and three Jews, a Drunkard, a few of indeterminate faith...a mixed bag), I think it's a safe bet that it has more to do with keeping ourselves "in line" than any "coalition"; for that, all we have is our magnetic charisma.

But for those who are curious; I'm a Christian. I worship at the Presbyterian Church, because I believe John Knox' theology is the best, clearest, least obtrusive framework for Christian fellowship there is (leaving aside the rank idiocy of the PCUSA's General Assembly). I have had one very profound religious experience - I'll write about it someday. I try to act like a Christian should act; I don't always, but I try. My faith has sustained me through the most wretched times of my life, and through the good times as well. I credit Christ for my living a life, so far, that is not especially full of regret. It's a long, long story.

Does it prevent me from trash-talking liberals? For starters, they usually start it. And the Ten Commandments enjoin me from bearing false witness; I am pretty usually found telling the truth.

God has blessed me vastly more than I deserve; I want to pass as many of them on as I can.

Like the extra hits that Mark Gisleson will get from this link; like most lefty blogs in the Twin Cities, their hit counts spike sharply when the NARN links 'em. Glad to help! Bless you, Mark!

Now get to work on that reading comprehension!

Posted by Mitch at January 3, 2005 04:50 AM | TrackBack
Comments

For not being articulate about your faith, you just did a commendable job explaining it. Certainly better than the misguided critic.

And by the way...Happy New Year!

Posted by: DC at January 3, 2005 07:54 AM

1 Corinthians 12 to be precise. If you have a copy of The Message (a Bible translation by Eugene Peterson), I think you'll find exactly what you talk about here.

Posted by: kb at January 3, 2005 10:19 AM

Giselson is obviously a kook. He'd probably realize this himself if he would ever bother to take even half the time it took to "research" the blogs he criticizes to research his own credibility.

Posted by: Jinx McHue at January 3, 2005 01:43 PM

Mark sez: "Despite my rough language and attitude and complete lack of faith, I do consciously live my life in accordance with Jesusí teachings."

Is he sure he knows "Jesus' teachings?" For an atheist he sure thinks he knows more about Christians than Christians do. I never knew that Evengelicals were to be the benchmark Lutherans' and Catholics' "Christian-ness" would be measured by atheists like Gisleson.

Should non-Norwegians get define Gisleson's "Norwegianity" by Quisling? Or get to define his Norwegianity by how he measures up to our perceptions of what makes an ideal Lapplander?

Huh. Is he aware there are such things as "denominations" and other divisions Christians themselves have created? He doesn't show it, but then he didn't want to acknowledge it if he did consciously know it. Too inconvenient for the amateur atheist deconstructionist.

It speaks volumes about Gisleson that he thinks those he marks as Christian must be measured by his Jesus-penis. Sort of like how the frequent Norm Coleman column that dumps on those to the right of him does.

He is one deeply confused man.

Posted by: Eric Anondson at January 4, 2005 01:25 AM

Well, shazam. Thanks for the shout-out, my friend. It's a bit intimidating to be thrown in with such distinguished company, though I certainly consider it a compliment.

Posted by: Jared at January 4, 2005 04:54 PM

Eric said:
==================
Mark sez: "Despite my rough language and attitude and complete lack of faith, I do consciously live my life in accordance with Jesusí teachings."

Is he sure he knows "Jesus' teachings?" For an atheist he sure thinks he knows more about Christians than Christians do.
==================

I couldn't begin to tell you the number of people who, while proclaiming their utter disdain for religion on the one hand, have freely insulted me for failing to live up to that religion's teachings on the other hand.

I call them the "you-firsters." To them, the world would probably be a better place if EVERYBODY ELSE followed those teachings. But they're certainly not going to do it themselves.

There is the beginning of wisdom there. I have to give them credit for that.

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