Giving Up God for Lent?

Eckhart rid me of GodAn article by Brandon Ambrosino in the Religion section of the Hufington Post sent the wheels in motions. I am indebted to Pete Rollins  book the Idolatry of God as well as his video Atheism for Lent for providing me with the courage to preach this sermon. Lent 1 – February 17, 2013 – Listen to the sermon here.

I swear to you it happens to me every year! It usually happens when the first person asks me what I’m giving up for Lent. When you’re in the line of work that I’m in, I suppose you should just get used to it. But somehow that particular question makes me wish I did something else for a living. People don’t usually mean much by asking the question. At this time of the year, “What are you giving up for Lent?” is sort of like when people ask you, “How are you doing?” They’re not really interested unless you have a pithy answer. I I must confess that over the years, I’ve come up with more than a few pithy answers. Like the time, shortly after I first came to Newmarket to be a pastor and my Mother, who does not observe Lent asked me what I was giving up for Lent and in a feeble attempt to make my Mother laugh, I told her I was giving up drugs and sex for Lent. Things went very quiet on Mom’s end of the phone line.  The truth is that the answer I most feel like giving when people ask me what I’m giving up for Lent requires so much time to explain that I rarely answer the question truthfully. But t’is the season for confession, so please forgive me but I’d really, really, really, like to give up Lent for Lent! I mean who among you, woke up this morning and said to yourself, “Oh goodie it’s the first Sunday in Lent! Yippie!!!”

I remember when I first started going to church, I was a teenager, and I don’t mind telling you that my first experience of Lent almost sent me packing. All I heard was that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. All that talk about sin made me feel so guilty and worthless. I was just 15 years old and I hadn’t had much of an opportunity to commit much in the way of sin, and all I kept hearing was repent, repent! The message I received loud and clear during those first few Lents in the church was that I was nothing but a wicked sinner, a worthless worm! Poor, poor, pitiful me! But have no fear, cause Jeeezus can make you better. And all you have to do is give something up for Lent!!! Jeeezus, he’s on his way to be executed on a cross, because of you, so you owe it to Jesus to feel lousy because he’s going to sacrifice everything for you. They’re going to nail him to a cross because of you. You wicked sinner. The least you can do is give something up for Lent. Continue reading

Atheism for Lent Class 5: The New Atheists

Our final class in this series provided an opportunity to explore the so-called New Atheists: Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss. The video below includes the keynote and videos that were used to stimulate conversation in the class.

ATHEISM for LENT: WEEK 5 – The New Atheists

AfL 5 New AtheistsOur last class in the series will be an introduction to what has been dubbed New Atheism. We will explore the work of the 21st centuries New Atheists who have become famous or infamous for the careers they have carved out of their “unbelief.” The videos below “The Four Horsemen of New Atheism” provide an introduction for the class. The Four Horsemen include: Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennet, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

Atheism for Lent Class 4: Delusion

4 AFL UNBELIEFOur fourth class explored the critique of religion found in the work of Sigmund Freud. Out of our conversation about Freud we began to look at Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.” The video clips used during the class are included below along with the slides of the keynote presentation. Next week we will move on to the New Atheists’ critique of religion. Below, you can view a video of the Keynote/PowerPoint that was used during the class. A pdf of the class hand-out can be found here

ATHEISM for LENT: WEEK 4 – Delusion: Sigmund Freud

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Watch Richard Dawkins’ THE GOD DELUSION
and then join us for conversation on
Wednesday April 2, at 10:30 am
when we will explore Sigmund Freud’s critique of religion.

ATHEISM for LENT: WEEK 3 – History of Unbelief

AFL UNBELIEF 3We will wrap up our conversation on Nietzsche’s critique and how it might help us to examine our own expression of Christianity. You can read a summary of Nietzsche’s views on Christianity here and watch a short lecture on Nietzsche and Christianity below. Please watch episodes 2 and 3 of Atheism: A Brief History of Unbelief (below) to prepare for our next class on Wed. March 23 so that we can begin to look at the critiques of Marx and Freud. 

ATHEISM for LENT: Week 2 – History of Unbelief

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Watch Episode One of “Atheism: A Rough History of Unbelief” and then john us for conversation March 19 at 10:30am – For details of the program click here

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Atheism for Lent: the Strawman

strawmanDespite a snow-storm, our Atheism for Lent Study is of to a great beginning! Posted below is the Keynote presentation that was used to facilitate the class. Each slide will play for 5 seconds and can be stopped by using the pause button. Videos used in the class are included in the Keynote presentation. 

Atheism for Lent begins: at Holy Cross Lutheran Church Wednesday March 12 at 10:30am

AFL Strawman

For details of the program click here

Pyrotheology – Peter Rollins

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Peter Rollins recently spent a weekend lecturing at Holy Cross. His refreshing perspective and keen insights were a gift to our community. We learn a great deal from Pete and our conversation continues. Here are several new videos that will give you a taste of Pete’s work.