“Why Should I Let You Into Heaven?”

(Reposted from 2011 under a new title by Ron Goetz)

My sister was born with brain damage. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. The doctors waited 24 hours before deciding to perform an emergency C-section. This was fifty-two years ago, before he great advances in fetal monitoring and he massive upsurge in emergency C-sections.

I was four years old when Jill was born. Holding her in my lap when my parents brought her home from the hospital is a vivid memory. “Be careful, Ronnie. Hold her gently.”

“They called me Bitarded!”

Jill was a happy little girl.  My most vivid memory of her early years is of how she loved to sing. She didn’t start talking until she was about four, but she was singing her little heart out way before that.  I remember several times hearing her singing in the bathroom. There she’d be, sitting naked in the bathroom sink with the cold water running, singing away with joy.

School changed much of that. You know what they say about how cruel children can be. For more years than I can remember I would come home from school and Jill would tell me how bad the children had been to her, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“They chased me and called me names.” “They pushed me against the fence and hit me.” “They called me bitarded!”

Every day after school for four or five years, I listened to her, weeping for a half-hour to an hour about how mean the kids had been to her that day.

These conversations continued even when I came home from Bible college for the holidays. Jill immediately corralled me for at least the first hour of my visit to talk about all her problems.

Theology, Ideology — Deady Combat

I did my undergrad work at Simpson College, the denominational school of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (A.W. Tozer country). I dove into the theological debates that are so typical of earnest young Christians: supernatural spiritual gifts, Calvinism vs. Arminianism, and eschatology.  In my classes I learned about the different ways Christians interpreted the Bible, and about the theological debates we’ve had throughout our history.  The church was truly a diverse community, at least intellectually!

Illiterate Peasants in Hell — Accidents of Geography

The upshot of all this? In my courses I learned that Christians had disagreed over the Bible and theology from the very beginning, argued over it, and even killed over it. Somehow I knew that illiterate peasants born in Italy, England, Russia, and Saxony weren’t going to hell because their Pope, King, Patriarch, or Prince believed some “erroneous” doctrine or another. God doesn’t send people to hell because of where they happened to be born. During the Reformation Protestants killed Catholics, Catholics killed Protestants, and they all killed Anabaptists.

And I learned from Jill that the biblical and theological debates that were so interesting to me were not of ultimate value. They weren’t that important, no matter how fascinating they seemed to me, no matter how many books I’d collected on the subject. Jill had been baptized, believed in the Lord, she’d even received the gift of tongues. She loved to sing worship songs that she’d written herself. But theology? Bible interpretation. No, not even.

So, before I was barely into my 20’s I had reached a kind of doctrinal relativism, a deprivileging of theology and biblical absolutism. There are a lot of ways to describe it, I suppose.  Our faith, our relationship with God, had to be simple enough for someone like my sister.

The “If-you-died-tonight-do you know if-you’d-go-to-heaven?” Evangelistic Strategy

In high school I was brought up on the following theological evangelistic strategy: “If you died tonight, do you know if you would go to heaven?  If you appeared at the judgment seat and Christ asked you, ‘Why should I let you enter my kingdom?’ what would you say?”

Later on I learned that I didn’t need a made-up, unbiblical scenario for the judgment. A biblical scenario already existed in Matthew 25, and in Jesus’ version we don’t have to give a reason why we should be let into heaven. Jesus already knows who he’s letting in, his ultimate criteria for acceptability are clear, and there is no doctrinal exam involved.

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

Those who are acceptable to the Judge don’t even know they’re acceptable, or why.

Posted in Devotional | 7 Comments

What Would You Do With One of These?

Be honest, and be civil. What would you do with one of these?

Flag 9

Spotted in the U.S. in May 2017.

OMG! Just in time for Independence Day!

Posted in Dominionism | 10 Comments

The Bible, Our Inerrant Guide to Slavery, aka Human Trafficking

If you’ve been reading the headlines over the last couple years, you may have noticed the incredible surge of interest in fighting slavery around the globe.  This campaign is now promoted using the label “Human Trafficking.”  Do Not Be Deceived!  When dealing with serious human and social problems, Check the Manufacturer’s Handbook!

The modern day anti-slavery campaign has been underway for decades.  When one form of slavery was legal on a state-by-state basis, one disapproved form was termed “white slavery,” referring to prostitution. Now the strategy is to re-label slavery with different language: “Human Trafficking.”  Fortunately their own literature shows the propaganda technique. Just look at a few of the titles:

Intelligent people are not misled by such tactics.

How should you respond to the success of the anti-slavery movement?

God’s acceptance and endorsement of slavery is abundantly clear — He allows slavery in every age.

  • In the Patriarchs (Genesis 9:26; 16:16; 17:12-13; 20:17)

  • In the Law of Moses (Leviticus 25:44-46)

  • In the Old Testament Historical Books (Joshua 9:23)

  • In Wisdom Literature (Proverbs 11:29; 12:24)

  • In the Prophets (Jeremiah 15:14; 17:4)

  • In the New Testament Epistles of Paul and Peter (I Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9; I Peter 2:18)

  • In New Testament Historical Book (Acts 2:18)

  • And from the Mouth of the Lord Himself in all four Gospels! (Matthew 24:45-46; 25:14, 23, 26; Mark 12:2; Luke 2:29; 7:2, 8; 12: 37-38, 47; 17:10; 19:22; John 13:16)

Why have anti-slavery interpretations of Scripture been so successful at persuading so many? Simple: people want to be convinced. Since the Bible is so clear about the issue, sinners have had to defy reason and embrace error to quiet their accusing consciences. As Jesus said, “Men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19-20).

What should be your response to the anti-slavery agenda? Make it a biblical response—confront it with the truth of Scripture that ACCEPTS and ENDORSES slavery and all who practice it.

Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by anti-slavery critics and their futile reasoning—their arguments are without substance.

To claim anything else is to compromise the truth of God.


Note: Originally published in 2010 in a slightly different form, and is filed under SATIRE.

Posted in Inerrancy, Satire | 2 Comments

I Awoke from a Dream this Morning

It is, at this moment, 9:39 a.m. I awoke from a dream this morning. It was a vivid dream, short.

I lay in bed for a few minutes, pondering the dream. I realized I had to post it, this morning.

I went to my computer to check the time. It was 9:05 a.m.

I dressed and poured myself a tumbler of coffee as I pondered the dream and the meaning of the dream. “This is weird.”

I deliberately reviewed every detail, since I knew I would soon be writing down the dream. I know what happens when you don’t record a dream immediately upon waking. You walk away and forget.

I paced around my two-room flat, thinking about the dream, and the meaning of the dream, and the urgency of posting the dream. No, God had not threatened to take my life if I did not publish it.

But I knew I must. 

I got in my car. The dash clock read 9:15 a.m. I drove down the driveway to the frontage road to the local county library. When I turned off the engine it was 9:29 a.m. I stopped briefly in the parking lot. A man was handling book carts in the back of a large, library  utility truck. “Strapping them together so they don’t rattle around back here.”

Knowing that he might handle such deliveries, I chatted with the bookish man about interlibrary loans as he strapped three carts on the right hand side of the compartment, and bound another two on the left side. He had obviously done this before. He worked systematically until all the wheeled carts were securely tightly in place.

As I walked between the automatic doors I glanced at my cell phone. 9:31.

In the dream I was seated with two people at a long table, the kind they have at church pot lucks after the service. I was sitting across from someone I haven’t seen in decades. Patty.  I told her I was going to speak with someone at the Bible college.

She looked at me skeptically. “Going to cause trouble?”

I responded dryly. “Me? You know I would never do that.”

In the dream I was suddenly escorted into a wood-paneled office decorated with a potted plastic plant, by a man several years shy of middle-age. He gestured toward a chair.   

“Have you filled out your EFCU financial aid packet?” 

“No, I haven’t.”

He looked mildly impatient, and started talking about something.

I said to him, “I have a question.”

He accepted the interruption. “Yes?”

“Do you do any financial counseling with your students before you enroll them?  Do you tell them they will be in debt tor thirty, forty or seventy thousand dollars when they graduate?  Warn them about the chain around their neck for the rest of their lives, in debt up to their eyeballs?”

And I woke up. I considered the dream and the meaning of the dream. They think that if God leads you to Bible college, he will provide a way.

There is a way, a tried and true way used by many. And that path leads straight to a bank.

At this moment, it is 10:20 a.m.

Dream. Verbatim. What I do not understand I leave unedited.

Posted in Abomination, Banks, Christendom, Christian Colleges, Church of the Nazarene, Deeper Life, Discipleship, Simpson University, Southern Baptist | 2 Comments

Got It


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God Bless You and Your Ministry, Pastor Berman

Pastor Berman, I want to thank you for your comment on the “Who is Ronald Goetz?” page. I took the initiative to check out your Christian Life Fellowship website. Your congregation has an vibrant ministry to multiple age groups, a ministry that I’m sure is appropriate for Swanzey, New Hampshire. Congratulations and glory to God. I am certain you have witnessed many personal miracles.  I’d like to introduce my readers to your vital ministry.

Man-Up Men’s Ministry

The priorities of your men’s ministry are excellent, just what we need in our success-driven, hierarchy-obsessed, bullying culture. The goals of your organ-ization speak for themselves.

The Man-Up Men’s Ministry is dedicated to teaching men how to be strong Men of God, good husbands and fathers. It is also dedicated to influencing, guiding and mentoring young men in the ways of God.  The Man-Up Men’s Ministry is solidly based on the teaching of Jesus Christ.

The activities you sponsor sound great for aspiring men of God, young men needing direction and structure for their lives, and wholesome opportunities to socialize: especially your edgy skeet shoots and your March Meat Madness (grills and meat). The various other events, focused on “cars, guns, camping, fishing, hunting and more eating”, sound fun as well.

Children’s Faith Factory

Your Faith Factory sounds great, possibly in keeping with Jesus’ example of how to recruit, train, and motivate large numbers of disciples, all of whom will one day conform to strict measures of virtue, the righteousness of self-control, and a sober world view.

Virtue Women’s Group

The girl’s nights, shopping trips, and parties you organize for young women, moms, grandmas, and teens sound like a real draw, and your goals of growing closer to God, women understanding their callings, strengthening marriages and families, and increasing women’s knowledge of the Bible are totally appealing in our rootless culture, as inundated as it is with cultures and values that undermine our God-given stability and order.

Illuminate Drama Team

Your drama team sounds like dynamite. Involving people in special celebrations like Christmas and Easter is an excellent way of making sure people stay involved. In my youth I used to pooh-pooh church musicals as unspiritual. My mind was changed when one young professional man said, “This musical has been the most important church experience in my life.” You know the saying, “Use ’em or lose ’em!”

Women’s Jail

I really like that you have a ministry in the jails. Many churches prefer to reach out to nice, middle-class folks, who share their same bourgeois values, who can help keep the lights on. The fact that you’re in the trenches with unwed mothers, women suffering from opiate addiction, sex workers, and women who have been abused and crushed by worldly systems–what can I say? Bravo!


Kingdom Disciples Motorcycle Ministry

Your motorcycle ministry sounds radical! You seems to have found an interesting balance between being inclusive (allowing both men and women to participate), and drawing expected boundaries between insiders and outsiders. (“Non-Christians are welcome to ride with KD MM but cannot wear the colors as this is a Christian Ministry.”)

For people interested in an outreach to and ministry for bikers, you can read their guidelines here: BY LAWS.


I think that the hardest thing for many Christians is to give other Christians space to live out their Christians lives and ministry in our own communities according to their best lights. I am genuinely torn, though, when Godly virtues like love and justice seem, from my perspective, to be ignored and violated.

I know that I can get pretty steamed up about how some Christians treat various moral and ethical issues, and I know that they sometimes get just as steamed up about people like me. In the typical state of ideological conflict, I think one of the most appropriate passages for us is this one in Mark.

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.”

I know this is not a slam-dunk proof text that will shut down anyone who disagrees. Goodness, I know there are limits to tolerance. I hope I wouldn’t have “tolerated” the “German Christians” who surrendered Lutheran, Evangelical, and Catholic churches to Nazi domination. I hope I wouldn’t have supported segregated churches and anti-miscegenation laws in America. And I hope I would never have driven my gay or lesbian child out of my life, out of my congregation, or out of life itself, because of some rejection of their affectional inclinations.

But you know what? I was raised by white, middle-class activist(!) parents in the sixties, in East Oakland, right in the middle of free-speech Berkeley and flower-child San Francisco. Lived in Lockwood Gardens Housing Project at 65th and East 14th: family was on welfare, surrounded by drugs and out of wedlock playmates, To get to high school I used to transfer buses at 90th and East 14th, right across the street from Black Panther headquarters.

By temperament and upbringing, I was doomed to be a questioning, skeptical, left-wing intellectual. In all seriousness, my adolescent rebellion was to become a GARB Baptist. I took a long detour into fundamentalism, evangelicalism and neo-monarchism. I dwelt for many years in the land of A.B. Simpson (was even licensed in the C&MA for a while), graduated from Simpson College when it was still in San Francisco, before they fled the gunfire of the urban jungle.

If I’d been born ten years earlier, in 1945, in Biloxi, Mississippi, to some equally solid, equally white citizens, I have no idea what would have happened, or who I would be.

It is a cliché, that we are all so different from one another, and have such different backgrounds and upbringings. But for being such a commonplace, it is remarkable how little we take it to heart. Let me recommend a highly underrated Christian virtue: humility.


So you won’t be left in the dark, here’s Pastor Berman’s comment.

That is absurd. if you are against a sin and the person says the sin is ok, you can’t allow that person to be a bible leader. Its not the struggle with the sin, its the acceptance of it. If you reject a person committing adultery from being a Pastor and he says its ok, to commit adultery, does that make you a hater of the person? Or does it make you a person who says you can’t continue to commit adultery, say its ok, and at the same time be a pastor? you know the answer! your logic is absurd and you are deceived.

Posted in Autobiography, Biker Ministries, Humility, Institutional Religion, Liberal Devotion, Pastoral Ministry, Prison Ministries | Leave a comment

Durban Muse

Image may contain: sky, ocean, twilight, cloud, outdoor, nature and water

photo by Nicky Lucas


My Facebook friend Nicky took this picture from the porch of her home in Durban, South Africa, and posted it. I think she posts one every day, but I don’t know for certain. I’m not on FB regularly.


There’s a beach, of course, several piers that extend into the water, and a worn cliff that juts out into the ocean. I was pretty sure it was the Indian Ocean, but I just searched maps to make sure.
Her pics of Durban bay have been a treat for me for years. Sometimes the sky is sunny and clear, other times overcast. Occasionally there is a freighter or a tanker in view, but not always. Some shots focus on the beachgoers. They make me feel a connection with a place that, previously, I only heard about in news stories about apartheid.
Nicky seems to always be in roughly the same spot, so the same piers and docks appear regularly. Dramatic storm clouds, calm sunshine, vision-obscuring rain. Some of the shots have the orange hue you can see in the photo above. She obviously used a filter of some sort, but I that’s all I know.
I live a short distance from the Pacific, and for the last three-and-a-half decades the “eternal” pounding of the surf has been one of those “fly speck in the galaxy” reminders for me. Before there was a Homo Sapien on the planet inclined to kill its Neanderthal cousin, the same water was rolling up on these same beaches. The water flowing past San Diego the last few months has been here before, around the time Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for heresy.
There’s a comfort in that eternal beach feeling. I prefer to walk on the beach early in the morning, or after dark. Fewer people, less visual discomfort. They say the gentle roar of the surf is like the gentle roar of the womb. Makes sense to me, but I don’t know if it will be proven empirically.
I’ve heard people say that the fact that God is in control of everything comforts them. That never resonated for me. But it just occurred to me that my experience with the eternal surf seems to be my equivalent, and to me it seems like a real equivalent.  I suspect that all those other feelings, of reassurance, relaxation, calm and peace–they are part of the experience, too.
Posted in Devotional | 2 Comments

“Rapture Ready” Lee, Thank You So Much!

A “thank you” to “Rapture Ready” Lee. He sent confirmation of a thesis of mine. I am chagrined that I didn’t discover this reference myself.

In the Bible, in addition to this word’s more typical meaning, the word grind also refers to sexual intercourse. (Brown, Driver, & Briggs)

A primitive root; to grind meal; hence to be a concubine
(that being their employment):—grind (-er).

I must disagree, in one regard, with the Brown, Driver, and Briggs acknowledgment of grind‘s sexual usage. The Biblical examples do not support the “concubine” spin, unless rape victims qualify as concubines.

  • Then let my wife grind unto another, And let others bow down upon her. (Job 31:10) *
  • They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood. (Lamentations 5:13) **

Here is the full reference Lee provided.

#2912 טָחַן tachan {taw-khan’}

a primitive root; TWOT – 802; v
—Hebrew Word Study (Transliteration-Pronunciation Etymology & Grammar)

1) (Qal) to grind, crush
—Brown-Driver-Briggs (Old Testament Hebrew-English Lexicon)
A primitive root; to grind meal; hence to be a concubine (that being their employment):—grind (-er).
—Strong’s (Hebrew & Chaldee Dictionary of the Old Testament)
tachan (377c); a prim. root; to grind:—
NASB – grind(3), grinder(1), grinding(3), ground(1).

Examples of the sexual use of grind in the Hebrew Bible include the following verses.

  • And the Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison-house. (Judges 16:21)
  • Then let my wife grind unto another, And let others bow down upon her. (Job 31:10)
  • Take millstones, and grind flour, Remove thy veil, draw up the skirt, Uncover the leg, pass over the floods. (Isaiah 47:2) *
  • They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood. (Lamentations 5:13)

FYI: Discussions of Wartime Rape of Males & Children

*  Parallel meanings is the hallmark of Hebrew Poetry. “Grind” in line one is parallel to the gang rape of line two (“let others bow down upon her”). Hebrew parallelism applies as well to the phrases in Isaiah 47:2.

** The venerable Catholic translation renders this verse more clearly, though less literally. “They abused the young men indecently: and the children fell under the wood.” (Douay-Rheims Bible) “Wood” is a ubiquitous phallic reference, e.g., “morning wood.” Yes, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes it’s not.


Posted in Grinding, Lesbian Grinding, Poetry, Two Women Grinding Together, Two Women Grinding Together | Leave a comment

Hating Sin: A Motive for Ministry?

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Meet My New Online Friend!

I logged on today to find several interesting comments from Lee, a chap in the U.K. Here’s the dialogue.


Ron:  “Lee, you made an interesting assumption here.”

Lee:  “Romans 1:27
‘And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.’”

Ron:  “Here’s another one, Lee.

I Corinthians 14:34
‘Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.’”

Lee:  “1 Corinthians 6 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Ron:  “Very good, Lee. Have you heard the one about the monogamous married couple?

Leviticus 20:18
‘If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from among their people.’”


Lee’s cut-and-paste passages were relatively short, for which I’m grateful.

In the future, when I get really lengthy chunks, do you think I should remind the poster of Fair Use Laws, or would it be adequate to inform them I own over a dozen Bibles, have access to scores of translations online, and have read already their proof text in numerous versions?

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