Browsing Archives for February 2011

Peanut Butter and Crackers

February 10th, 2011

The Country Doctor has been building a bar in the basement.

The lower cabinets in the above photo are stock cabinets from the Home Depot which he painted black.

After weeks of excruciating debate, he chose an intensely red stain for the oak counter-top of the back bar.

He then set about building the upper shelves.

And then he put it all together and added a small bar sink.

(The plumbing for the sink was put in place when the house was built.)

He is currently working on the ‘front bar’.

I think it’s going to be very nice when it is finished.

Early last Spring, I attended a debate featuring Bart Ehrman author of Misquoting Jesus versus some other guy. This debate was held at an enormous church called First Family in Overland Park, Kansas. Set on 51 acres of land, the church ‘campus’ is located in Johnson County which ranks 46th among the wealthiest counties in the US.

A slew of financial problems have haunted this church for years. Unpaid county taxes, unpaid payroll taxes, and now an unpaid mortgage payment has led Regions Bank to call for the immediate payment of a 14 million dollar loan.

The ambitious pastor, Jerry Johnston is known for his anti-gay stance and for his attempts to politicize his congregation. However, the 14 million dollar tab has come due and it doesn’t look like First Family will be able to find the necessary funds to pay up.  The interest on the mortgage alone is over two thousand dollars a day.

I do have to credit First Family for hosting a very interesting debate featuring such a credible opponent as Ehrman. Now that I have read a bit more about Johnston, I understand why Ehrman was so adamant that religious doctrine built on shaky texts such as the bible which are clearly riddled with mistakes, textual variants and politicized additions over the years should not determine public policy. Ehrman stated several times during his portion of the debate that the bible should not determine the civil rights of people – especially gay people. I figured that Ehrman was using gay rights as an example of how the bible informs societal laws, but now I think he was also directly attacking the political and religious beliefs of Johnston himself.

So First Family is probably moving to smaller digs. I am sure they will claim that this is all part of their god’s plan, but I will never understand how any god would want a church to take a loan for 14 million dollars when there are people in the world dying from a simple lack of food. However, as an atheist, what do I know of god and his oh so mysterious ways?  I will say that enormous church debt is one of the critical issues that made me want to escape religion for good.  When I gave my former tithe, I wanted it to actually help someone in need and not pay down a loan on a fancy new building.  These days when I donate money – I give directly to the people in need or to well-researched relief organizations.  There is no enormous, fancy building keeping my funds from directly benefiting a fellow human in need.

Thanks to Kelley for sending the article.

A few photos of the luxurious ‘campus’ of First Family…

After the debate, Ehrman was isolated on stage for his misdeeds while the heroes of the faith held a Bible love-fest.

Johnston and son fail to disguise their contempt as Ehrman assails their holy text.

The interior of the sanctuary of the fancy church.

Children’s play place inside of the church.