Denominations of Donuts

What is the difference between a Baptist and a Methodist and a Bible church? How is a Lutheran different from a Catholic? When a group of Christians declares it is right to behave abominably to the world at large, how is the rest of Christianity to distance itself in the minds of the world?
This mission started when a friend of mine had to tell her co-worker that she wasn’t one of the “kind” of Baptists that harass military funerals. It is confusing those looking at Christianity from the outside that there are so many groups inside of it. On this great mission, we need a simple way to convey what it means to be Christian.
Thus consider the donut. There are many types of donuts. Crullers, yeast, cake, dunkers, filled, long johns, apple fritters are just some of the types, and everyone knows it. Add the different frostings, nuts, jellies, and other toppings and you’ll never be at the end of all the types of donuts. But you’ll never convince me that a muffin, bagel, or croissant is a donut.
What is a donut? Well, it’s a type of pastry that is made of dough fried in fat. If those requirements are the standard, then we can see easily what is and what is not a donut? Is an apple fritter a doughnut? Yep. A bagel is not. Donut-ianity is obvious.
Some donuts are nutty. Others are frosted. Some seem awfully plain. Some are wacky-covered in psychedelic colors. Some are meaty. Some are greasy. Some are light and airy. Some are soft and tender. Others are fried enough to be a bit crispy. But all donuts are donuts.
If a bagel came into the donut shop and told the donuts that it too was a donut, all the donuts would immediately point out the Non-donut-ness of the bagel. The bagel could argue that it’s the right shape and made of dough, but all the donuts would be perfectly right in saying the bagel was no more a donut than a piece of fried chicken.
By the same token, if all the cake donuts were to say that cake-iness was the sign of true donut-ness, the other donuts could rightly condemn such a ludicrous notion. But neither the cake donuts nor the glazed yeast donuts would be any more donuts than the other—although their attitude might just sour the whole batch.
Christianity is basically the same. The requirements for being a Christian are to believe that Christ Jesus is God, Savior, and Messiah as revealed in the Bible. That He died to save us from our sins and one must accept this divine pardon by faith. That’s Christianity; those that believe it are Christians.
It doesn’t matter if they are a little nutty, frosty, wacky, light, or crispy—they are a Christian if they truly believe that. And no matter how nice a person might be, if they don’t believe that they are no more a Christian than a donut. There are many donut imitators—things that are NOT donuts in the donut shops around the world. In the same way, many people will say they are a Christian, but they aren’t. They are a muffin or bagel trying to convince you that they are really a donut. If they don’t meet the Christian requirements, they might be a nice person, but they aren’t a Christian.
Now being a donut, one has certain goals (of satisfying hunger). Being too greasy, sweet, sour, salty, etc. will stop that goal. The donut that does that will be a poor donut that no one would like. In the same fashion being a Christian, one can reach their goal—being like Jesus Christ—or fail. Being rude, sentimental, wishy-washy, or sinful will stop that goal. Christians like that are being “poor” Christians. They need to stop that and be a better “donut.”

Artistic Responsiblity

This morning was Friday, July 20, 2012. I went shopping; I had a ten dollar gift card to use. As I walked into the store I saw the blue-ray of The Dark Knight-$9.99. I thought about it, but I had told myself I was going to be practical. I bought a large bottle of dish soap and a bag of rice. Much later, I found out what else happened this morning. While most people slept, the joy of a mid-night release of the new Batman movie was destroyed. A man in Colorado went into the theatre and started shooting. It was one of the worst shootings in history.
I haven’t seen the new Batman movie and don’t care to do so. I enjoyed The Dark Knight, but I didn’t enjoy what it taught about morality. The man who decided to embrace his evil nature and shoot those people this morning will face God in eternity and hopefully the death penalty in Colorado. But I do believe another villain is loose that must be addressed and as a writer I have the ability to do so.
People are affected by the stories they listen to. Dark Knight, along with many other movies, books, and songs, teaches a dangerous idea that must stop. Artists who teach that absolute morality doesn’t exist cannot expect people to leave that idea behind with the tubs of popcorn and the theatre’s sticky floors.
In Dark Knight, every single character has to violate what they knew was the standard of right and wrong. Starting with bank robbers to Batman, each person makes a conscious decision to do something that they knew was wrong. Joker plays Gotham City, the underworld, and Batman like a flute—suffering only a few punches, Joker’s life is saved at the last minute by Batman. In the end, Joker destroys Gotham’s peace and murders dozens, but he is left unpunished. He’s a problem that is supposed to be dealt with by a therapist.
One thing The Dark Knight did better than most was put a moral question before the public—unfortunately, it’s answer was plain wrong. Dark Knight taught that one should do what they think will serve the greater good, even if it happens to be wrong. People lie, violate others rights, even attempt and commit murder because it’s what is “best.” Do the writers believe that?
Wrong, sin, and evil are actual things. For us to discount them as myth is to dream up a fantasy far too outlandish and foolish for man’s evil nature to withstand. Mankind has proven time and time again that despite all our hopes to the contrary, man is evil through and through. A mental disease didn’t cause a man to shoot movie goers this morning, but you will hear many people say that. It’s called evil and sin. Calling it a sickness is akin to calling Agent Orange a variation on a cold. Mankind’s evil is a real fact that must be remembered.
As an artist, I can create a world. And what’s better, I can invite others into my dream world to play. We can have a wonderful time and I can help brighten their days. But while they are there, I have a moral responsibility to put certain ideas into my world and keep others out. To teach that morals are just conventions that can come and go at will is not only false but morally wrong. Why should I develop a dream world where the good guys differ from bad guys only in the amount of their reluctance to commit evil? How can I let men in my world choose evil and not suffer for it? Such things are not only an affront to God and His morality, but foolish. Men want excuses for their evil, if I make evil acceptable, misunderstood, or worse of all sophisticated and funny, I allow them to get those excuses. And history is full of the horrible answers to the question, “What has mankind done with excuses to commit evil?” Hitler, Stalin, David Koresh, Jim Jones prove time and time again, that we artists cannot expect nothing to happen when we give people excuses for evil.
Another instructive thing happened today, I watched the musical Gigi. In it, a rich Frenchman’s uncle teaches him the fine art of social life in the late 1800’s. With total resolve to being a “gentleman” he teaches his nephew to go from one worthless trivial affair to the next, using women like extravagant prostitutes that get paid off with expensive jewelry and luxurious apartments. Through the whole story, the young man is bored senseless unless he is with real people—not the fake society crowd. The story climaxes in the young man turning Gigi, a real person, into his charming phony mistress. In anger, he realizes the stupidity of it all and then marries her, turning his back on his uncle’s “gentlemanly” life.
The Dark Knight and Gigi have very little in common. A gritty special effects action adventure has little to do with a period musical. But artists should learn that like the uncle in Gigi, artists have the opportunity to introduce bored people to wonderful worlds. And like in Gigi, this world is fake; the society page is as much fiction as any of the D.C. comics. But this fake world affects what one thinks about the real world. The nephew frantically tried to apply his uncle’s advice to real life; he viciously dumps his mistress and then throws dozens of parties to prove he doesn’t care about her or her failed suicide attempt.
Are we artist, writers, and storytellers bad uncles?
Stories teach, whether we like it or not. If they teach immorality, should we be surprised if the students act immoral? If they teach violence, should student’s violence surprise us? And worst, if they teach that right and wrong do not matter should we be surprised that our world is becoming lawless? Our story telling is coming back to get us. We can no longer afford to have immoral heroes and heroines. If we continue with our imaginary gladiatorial games, teaching boys and girls that right and wrong are mythical and violating them has no consequences, what will we say to them when we are staring down the barrel of gun in the real world?