Hate Mail

The Juliann Lisanby files

His letters are in yellow, whilst mine are in black & white.

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Christ! Talk about a fuckin' recession! No jobs, sales at an all-time low and everybody I know beggin' for a lone, or handout, or whatever you've got! Everybody who used to hire has dropped off the planet and I'm even getting requests to do jobs for zero pay! They're emailing me to work for ZERO! ...And I'm considering it!

Well, luckily it takes virtually zero to keep these pages afloat so I'm not going anywhere. But I still would like to eat and have a home and see a dollar bill again, in real life, if only for the shear purpose of punching it in the ass with my new GOD IS FAKE stamp. It's an excellent economic-stress reliever.

I encourage any able person out there to consider throwing work my way, buying magnets, or something even as little as linking me up in your Live Journal, blog, or whatever sites you might be a member on. Those really help. More than you might think! I'm treading water out here the best I can, so yeah. Whatever's going on out there has also had a serious affect on hate mail. It's really thinned out to just a few pestering gnats fluttering in now and again. Or when one does swoop in for the kill it's from some loudmouth atheist! This of course has freed up my time for drawing Sheeples and other personal projects you'll be privy to in the days and weeks to come. But yeah, linking me up and writing about the site makes a difference.

One of the most irritating parts of this whole shortage of funds is all the different projects I've got lined up that're just waiting for that next couple hundred bucks to happen. Like a book of hate mail I've got ready to go, and an adorable plushie I'm keeping under wraps until I actually have something to show & sell. I was however able to scrape together the pennies needed to produce the money stamp I've had a hardon for since late summer. So much of getting items like that produced start off as strictly selfish want, then eventually morph into items for the site or store merch.

All that aside, have you seen the hot new Super Chics? Jesus! At least I'm alive and blood still pumps through my vains! It's funny, but consistently when times are dry like this hot girls show up to help weather the storm
It's really quite lovely.

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Subject: his first exposure to Jesus

Hi Bob,
Ever since a friend sent me a link to your Jesus Dress Up site a number of years ago I have been a big fan. I especially love your movie reviews.

Anyway, I am an American who has been living in Tokyo for almost 12 years. A couple of months ago, I was letting my 5 year old son play with my iMac when I remembered your site. He LOVES playing Jesus Dress Up! Especially the S/M version (probably because I tell him it's naughty and that he should stop).

My wife and I are atheists, and my son has never been exposed to Jesus or Christianity--with the exception of Jesus Dress Up. He has no idea who that guy is, nor why he is nailed to a cross. He only knows that he looks funny when dressed up in a baby's bib, a leather hood and fish net stockings.

This is just a quick note of thanks for your unwitting participation in the development of my child's worldview. Keep up the good work!

Yours,
Gene Poole

"I'm sorry for the misconceptions and misunderstandings about God that arise because of those who utterly misrepresent his true character and nature, myself included."

Subject: Un-Hate Mail

Bob,
I was bored the other night and looked up "Jesus" on Google to see what I could find. I came across your dress up Jesus. I was saddened to see my Savior demeaned in such a manner, so I went to the main site to see what it was all about. The first thing I came across was the hate mail. It was disheartening to find exactly what I expected to see: so-called "Christians" bashing someone (who clearly doesn't share their beliefs) for not adhering to their system of morals. How can you? If you do not choose to believe as they do, how can you (or why should you) choose to live as they do?

So, I want to apologize that they do not represent genuine Christianity, even though they are coming at you in the name of Jesus. I'm sorry that they don't read the Bible and apply its principles, such as, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).

I'm sorry that they forget that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23 -24). None of us can boast about our salvation, or condemn others, because everyone is or has been in the same boat, and everyone has been offered the same way out. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I'm sorry that they have decided it's okay to dish out contempt and scorn, when it is clearly stated: "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another" (Galatians 5:19 -26).

They fail to see that behaving in the same manner as those who will not inherit the kingdom of God does not actually make others want what they have. I thought this was evident in one of your replies to a piece of hate mail, in which you said, "Are you an example of a man with the magical light of Jesus sprinkled into your soul? Then um no, I don't believe in Jesus." Exactly. And why should you, when those who claim Jesus lead lives no different than yours when held to the standards in God's Word?

Another response that struck me was when you said, "Just so you know, many people like myself take our playtime dressup games about world messiahs very seriously, and your religion seems to have nothing better to do than criticize and condemn them!" I am sorry that that is how Christianity is so often portrayed, rather than how it is actually supposed to be: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27).

No one is perfect, and no one perfectly lives out what they believe. I'm sorry for all of the people who do not live out their belief in Jesus. If only we did, we would not act without love, speak without authority, or argue - at all. I'm sorry for the misconceptions and misunderstandings about God that arise because of those who utterly misrepresent his true character and nature, myself included.

Sincerely,
Juliann Lisanby

Hello Juliann,
So I've been sitting on your email for a while because I found it needed a bit more time to respond to. Time I didn't have when I first read it. A majority of your letter relates to apologizing for the angry masses of religious people who've emailed me harshly despite what the Good Book instructs. What struck me as so peculiar about all of this is the Bible also gives very strong, even destructive orders on how to treat, and what to do with people like me (nonbelievers and blasphemers).
God gives very clear orders to destroy anybody who does not choose to follow His Word. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)
Deuteronomy 13:7-12 are clear instructions to kill worshippers of other gods and/or nonbelievers by stoning them to death.
And of course people were regularly ordered to execute blasphemers. Lev 24:10-16 It's God's Law!

And you cannot say this is all just Old Testament mumbo jumbo, because not only does Jesus Himself insist that any who do not follow the Old Test. will certainly not enter heaven (Matt 5:18-19) but even states he's not here to bring peace, but the sword. Matt 10:32-39 proclaiming the Word is far more important than a mother or a father, and I can assume a nobody webhost.

Clearly I have to disagree with you and say I think followers of the Bible are showing quite a bit of restraint, and even disobeying The Bible by limiting themselves to only harsh words and name calling me.

I'm only going off of God's Own Word, which is exactly what you are supposed to be doing. And if there's passages that abruptly contradict each other in His Word I don't think it's an accident. My thoughts on the matter are that true followers must do both. They must both love with kindness those who are their enemies while at the same time angrily stoning them to death, with a loving hand, destroying even the children, wives, livestock and the unborn inside each mother's belly who do not believe. (Isaiah 13:15-18)

You have to do both, otherwise you yourself are disobeying His Word, the penalty for which is the death sentence. Sorry about that. You'd better go tell your parents what's to be done with you, and to put in an order for your headstone.

Bob

“The point is to experience God's grace so that we can experience what we were created for: dependency on him. ”

Thank you for responding to my email. I think you're right in that the emails you receive do accurately represent what's going on in the heads of those people. I don't think that's the problem; what is the problem is exactly what you said: "they defend Jesus." Jesus doesn't need our defense. When people try to defend him, it reveals a glaring misconception of the gospel. In fact, I'd bet that most Americas who claim to believe in God don't get the point of the gospel. The point is to experience God's grace so that we can experience what we were created for: dependency on him. Only through that will we have everything for which our hearts yearn. Too many people, like those who send you hate mail, use God as a means to an end - like eternal paradise...but that's not how it works. God IS the end, and we can have that now, on this earth. This "eternal paradise" is a continuation, a perfection, of the life we can have on this earth now with God.

Everyone's offered a way out of Hell... Yes, essentially. But it's far more than that. God created us to have a relationship with him, but he also gave us free will to choose him. Instead we choose sin; because God is perfect and holy, he cannot stand sin in his presence. It is our own choices that condemn us to Hell to satisfy God's justice. Because God is also perfectly loving, he created a way to redeem us - hence the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus assumed all of our sin, took the penalty (separation from God), and defeated death through his resurrection to life. So now, by choosing Jesus and keeping the cross as the central focus of our lives, we can have that relationship with God for which we were created, for which our hearts cry out.

Romans 1:18-32 describes in detail how man's choice to choose sin over God has incurred God's wrath. The key verse here, though, is verse 20, which says that God has made evident to all men who he is. He is all powerful, and he does not need us to go into China, North Korea, Japan, etc. to spread the gospel of Jesus. He calls us to do that, but it is just as much for our own growth in understanding of him as the people we reach. He can do all things without us, but chooses to do them with us for his joy of watching us grow. Perhaps this doesn't explain your question, but my point is that God created us for relationship with him; he has made a way for ALL creation to come back to him - he doesn't cut anyone out of the deal based on their geographic location.

As far as boasting, you ask how someone can refrain from boasting about the gift of eternal paradise (meaning eternal life with God) - they can't! But here's the catch: they boast in God, not in themselves. I'll bring up a verse I previously used, Ephesians 2:8-9: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." In other words, no one can claim that they earned salvation.. It is available to all, based on God's choice to redeem us for his glory. We can do nothing to earn this. We are all equal before God in our need for his grace. Galatians 6:14 reiterates, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

This leads me into your last point, about salvation being earned. If it was something we earned, no one could ever earn it. We would all be doomed to eternal separation from God. Because he cannot stand any ounce of sin in his presence, we could never do enough good works to outweigh the bad. Look at it like this: there is a pile of vomit on the floor. You can do whatever you want to try to cover it up, but you still don't want to get close to it. You can stick flowers in it, you can spray perfume around it - but it's still vomit. No matter how much good you add to it, it's still vomit. You're not satisfied until the vomit is taken away. That's how God looks at our sin. No matter how many great works we have alongside it, it's still sin. It can only be taken away through the cross of Christ, and we must individually choose to let him take it from us. It doesn't mean that we become perfect once we surrender ourselves, but it means that God looks at us through the sacrifice of his Son; we're no longer sinners in his sight. And because of the grace and mercy we have received, it compels us to work in his strength to eradicate the sin in our lives. Once we have faith in God, it compels us to do good works - but the faith must come first (James 2:14-26).

Maybe none of this satisfies you intellectually. Maybe some of it does. Either way, this is what I believe to be true about God, derived from studying his Word, the Bible. In it I find no contradictions; paradoxes by the many, but they all align under the sovereignty of God.

Sincerely,
Juliann Lisanby

Wow. You declaring that what we were created for was "dependency on Him" has got to be the most unsettling fact about Christianity. Yet, that's exactly what it is. Keeping people children is the destructive fact about the belief. And this actuality of it explains so much about why believers act as the do, discourages some of the basics of becoming a thinking, independent adult, and molds us to be victims of anyone who presents him/her/itself as an authority figure.

Life's purpose is to be dependent on Him. What a disturbing belief.

Everyone knows preparing people to NOT be dependent in this world is proper parenting. To instruct a child they must remain dependent is so counterproductive and exactly the method to use if you're wanting to retard someone's growth. How is this not clear evidence to you it's not God's Word you're following, but the word of men who want to subdue and use you?

B

“He could remain both perfectly loving and perfectly just by completely obliterating humanity.”

Hey Bob. Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you. I didn't want to give a flippant response so I mulled over this one for a while, and I'm just now getting a chance to reply.

Understanding the Old Testament is hard. There is much controversy over differences of opinion, theological interpretation, etc. This is why a lot of Christians pass it off as "Old Testament mumbo jumbo." However, I'd like to offer you a different point of view that heeds the verses you brought up, and attempt to explain them in light of the New Testament. For the purpose of this discussion, let's presuppose that the Bible is God's Word, and that it is wholly inerrant. On that note, 1 Corinthians 15:14 says that "if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." Therefore, Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection to life are the heart of the gospel, the heart of true Christianity. This is the climax of the Bible, and everything in it points to this one thing. But to understand this one thing, one must first understand its necessity.

God is triune; he exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In God's self-existence, he is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, loving, merciful, truthful, faithful, good, patient, just, etc. He is lacking in nothing. When he created the earth, he specifically created man in his image, and he loved man - enough to give man the free will to choose a relationship with God, his Creator, or to turn away from God. In God and God only there is life; apart from God there is death. This is what it means to be dependent upon him; not such that hinders our personal growth, but rather that is necessary for life. It is not the kind of overgrown dependence of an ill fitted child on its parents, but instead the kind of dependence that we all have upon oxygen, food, and water for our survival. Surely you cannot say that this kind of dependence is unsettling; simply stop breathing for a few minutes, or go without food and water for a few days and you'll see what I mean. You quickly begin to notice a progression away from life and towards death. Such is our relationship to God. In God there is life, apart from him, death. Yet because we live in a world of lies, we desire such independence. "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:15).
"It is not the kind of overgrown dependence of an ill fitted child on its parents, but instead the kind of dependence that we all have upon oxygen, food, and water for our survival. Surely you cannot say that this kind of dependence is unsettling..."

So when the first man and woman chose to turn their backs on God, the consequences of that action were imputed to their descendents. Everyone today is born into sin, born into death, and now must choose to turn back to God, to be reborn into life as his sons and daughters, the way he intended. This is where God's loving, merciful nature comes into play. He could remain both perfectly loving and perfectly just by completely obliterating humanity. (If you created a bunch of little peons and they decided to peace out, spitting on you before they left, you'd probably display your power over them by wiping them out and starting over. And you'd be right in doing so, because after all you created them.) But God didn't do that. He exists outside of time, and he looked ahead and saw the cross. The Father purposed redemption, the Son secured it, and the Spirit applies it.

Because God is holy and nothing evil exists in him, those who are evil cannot exist with him the way he designed it. But in his grace and mercy, he planned for his Son to lower himself to humanity and ultimately submit to death to secure justification for a lost race. Only could One without sin willingly take upon himself every sin ever committed, assume the penalty for those sins (death), thereby suffering more than anyone else ever will. Yet because he is God, death cannot hold him, and so he was raised to life and now sends the Holy Spirit to live inside all who believe in him, so that we may be guided away from our sin and towards the image of Christ. We still have free will and can make our own choices. We still must learn and grow. Yet only in the eternal life God gives us can we mature to any end. Worldly maturity leads only to death and is worth nothing. But because of Christ's sacrifice on our behalves, that we did nothing to deserve, we can be reconciled to God, and so have that which is necessary for the life we were created to have. That is the heart of the gospel, and the moment in history that is central to the entirety of life. Everything hinges on it.

Because the events in the Old Testament happened before Christ came, the ways in which God dealt with humanity had a different feel to them - not that God changed between the Old Testament and the New Testament, but his covenant with his people to send Someone to redeem them had not yet been fulfilled. This is why God gave his people a law to live by in the first five books of the Old Testament (called the Torah). Essentially the law was given to show man's insufficiency and God's supremacy. The main purpose of it, like everything else in scripture, is to point to Christ. The law exposes our sin because it lets us compare our lives to a written standard from God. Galatians 3:24 says, "the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith." Even if we did live out every aspect of the law perfectly, we're still born into sin and we still die. The law is meant to point us to Christ so that we can by God's grace have faith and therefore receive the eternal life we were meant to have. Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." God's standard is still the same, only now every aspect of it is fulfilled. Because of his sacrifice, we can be accredited with his record of perfection in light of God's law.

For example, God required in the Old Testament that his people perform animal sacrifices. It is not because God is bloodthirsty or sadistic, but because the sacrifices pointed forward to Christ. God was reminding his people that one day he would send One who would once and for all sacrifice himself on our behalves. God instituted the sacrificial system to illustrate that blood is what forgives sin. That's why a perfect lamb was chosen, and that's why the priest placed his hands on its head to symbolically impart the sins of Israel and himself onto the object of sacrifice. The sacrifices, in and of themselves, didn't do anything. But they represented what Christ would one day do for us. When animal sacrifices were offered, God looked forward to Christ's sacrifice and was able to be gracious to His people based on the future merit of Christ. Since Christ's sacrifice, God no longer requires us to make animal sacrifices. We have been atoned for. Through faith in Christ, his perfection is imputed to us.

In light of this, God's command to execute idolaters doesn't seem out of line in the context of the Old Testament. In order to make his holiness and perfection known, God often wiped out those who didn't follow after him and keep his commands. And he was completely just in doing so. If God is the creator of the universe and is holy and perfect, anything that falls short of that standard can be wiped out. God doesn't have to spare us from his judgment. Due to selfish and small views of fairness, humanity doesn't like to think that God has this right over his creation...but he does (Romans 9). He created man, man rebelled, and right then and there he could have been completely just and wiped them out for eternity. But instead he manifested his love and grace by giving us the law (showing us our sin), and providing atonement through the sacrifice of Christ. The covenant we're under now is different from the Old Testament. We're not required to keep the precepts of the law and sacrifice animals when we sin, because that's been accomplished in its finality through Christ. Back then, however, if sin wasn't atoned for then you were under God's judgment and could be executed. And I think, although I could be wrong, that God mandated the execution of non believers to symbolically represent the importance of purging sin from our lives. "Due to selfish and small views of fairness, humanity doesn't like to think that God has this right over his creation...but he does (Romans 9). He created man, man rebelled, and right then and there he could have been completely just and wiped them out for eternity."

So yes, if you lived in the times of the Old Testament, a Jew would have had permission to kill you because of your rebellion against God. But that isn't the case now - because of Christ. He has come to fulfill the law and the covenant God made with his people, and God is withholding his judgment until Christ's second coming. This is to give everyone, you included, a chance to repent from their sin and trust in the perfect sacrifice of Christ to atone for their sins.

For those who have by grace placed their faith in Christ, they receive a peace that transcends all understanding, and only comes from God. But that peace is not what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 10.When Christ said, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword," he meant that he was not coming to erase tensions between people and create a superficial, lovey-dovey culture. Ephesians 6:17 describes the Word of God as the "sword of the Spirit." John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Jesus is the Word of God; the Word is a sword. Jesus is therefore, in essence, a sword. When he says that he is bringing a sword, he is referring to himself. By coming to this earth, he brought a sword meant to fight sin. Ultimately he will have victory - he already has victory in that he succumbed to death, but defeated it by rising back to life and returning to his glory with the Father. The battle is still being fought, but the victory is already secured.

Bringing the sword, the Word, the light of truth, into a darkened world that's full of lies, will inevitably stir up dissension. This is what Christ meant when he said that he did not come to bring peace. It will turn "a man against his father, a daughter against her mother," etc. Because those who, by God's grace, step into the light will be scorned by those still in darkness. Indeed we see this in our own relations!

I hope I'm not watering down scripture or avoiding anything that you're asking about. The American church has done God an injustice by diverting teaching away from the gospel and turning God into a boring circus sideshow. God is a commodity, the American church tells us, that you can put in a box and take out whenever you want a blessing or two. God will give you a good job, a nice home, and kids who don't swear, the church tells us. Add God to your life, and you'll get nice things and be happy. NO! God is not something you add to your life; God asks that we give him our lives. After all, they're not our own. John 1:3 says, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." He is the sustainer of life, and living apart from him therefore only leads to death.

Juliann Lisanby

Juliann. Whoa. Stop a minute and pull your thoughts back into this world. Let me ask you a question. It's a very important one. One that might completely head this predicament off at the pass. Do you know what a myth is? Do you think you'd recognize a myth if you had one presented to you? Like for instance, the myth of Atlas carrying the world on his back. Do you immediately hear an outlandish claim such as this and say to yourself, "Yes, that's a myth. An untruth which was once believed real but is clearly an outlandish tale that doesn't fit in any sensible way with all we know about the natural world. In fact, it completely mirrors every other god-myth humans have dreamt up over the centuries. I'm no fool. I recognize a myth when I hear one."
That's what you'd say, right? You have sense enough to take your "let's presuppose the Bible's God's Word & wholly inerrant" and also presuppose it a myth? I mean, reading over all you've written here I can't see how you could listen to any of this the first time and NOT assume it's pretend.

1. A dependence on God equal to our dependence on oxygen, food and water isn't unsettling? A dependence on anyone to that extent sounds extremely unsettling to me, and if I were a perfect, loving being the last thing I'd ever require of my creations is that much dependency on me. In fact, at the top of my list would be their utter independence from me, completely and without retribution or penalty. What healthy creator of life would have it any other way? You only need to understand the most basic human psychology to see the enormous flaw in this plan.

2. If I was all loving and perfect in every way and I created a flawed race of living beings (God's perfect, but the things he creates are criminally flawed. Huh?) no, I would not obliterate them. You'd do that to your children if they were flawed and went against you? Seriously? I wouldn't. And I'm not even perfect! I'm flawed and I'm merciful and compassionate enough not to do such a thing to living, feeling beings. How do you talk yourself into some of these concepts?

3. An innocent can take on every sin ever committed, assume the penalty for those sins and die, taking the sins with him? Does that sound just to you? Someone else assuming the penalty for someone's crimes? How does that work? Would criminals learn lessons if there were a line of innocents willing to serve the time or be executed for their crimes? This sounds more like the fantasies of a criminal! Which in itself would make me analyze this concept with an extremely critical eye, leaving zero room for faith! What an ugly bloodbath of a justice system it is to imagine! Innocents paying for the crimes of criminals. What could be a more obvious myth dreamt up by beings searching for easy ways to relieve guilt?

What I don't understand is how after all of this you don't start first by saying to yourself "let's presuppose the Bible is NOT God's Word & wholly inerrant."
It's a belief telling you to cease normal thought and instead simply take it on faith! It's a belief that backs you into a corner from the get-go, accusing you of being guilty and in debt to the author before you're even born! It's a belief that promises the hugest punishment if you don't believe, and the hugest reward if you do! If you are any sort of grownup you immediately recognize these crooked salesman methods. They are the building blocks of selling a lie! Are you a grownup? Is it healthy to promote this brand of "critical thinking" to people of this world? Do you submit to these sorts of reasons in other aspects of your life? Could I sell you another myth if I used these methods as well?

Julianne, I hope you can at least see where I'm coming from and nonbelievers have very reasonable reasons for not believing. That's all we really ask. That you understand how we're all being quite sensible in our decision to doubt and question, and even critically examine more than usual because it does indeed sound like the fantasies of a criminal. You know what I'm saying? Please say that you do.

Bob

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