Stupidity, Hate and Giving Church a Bad Rep

September 7, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

I’m back here at the old computer on a Tuesday morning (feels like a Monday) after a long weekend.  We made a whirlwind trip back to Cabot to pick up some stuff from the house.  Haven’t been on the computer all weekend, shocking I know.

So, I’m catching up on the old news cycle to see what I’ve missed.  Apparently, I have been way out of the loop on something.  There is a “church” that is planning on burning the Quran on Saturday to commemorate (?), honor (?), remember (?) 9/11.  This apparently was announced in July, but just made my radar screen because General Petraeus is warning that it is not a good idea (you think?) and could endanger the troops.

There are so many rants to be had here, I don’t know where to begin or how to get them all in effectively apart from a 3000 word post that only my mom would read.  How about we take some of them popcorn style?

NEWS: Church of 50 people plans to burn Quran.  IN OTHER NEWS: 4 teenagers from Southeast Arkansas plan to tip over cows after talking older brother into buying them cheap beer at convenience store.

This is not intended to be a knock at small churches.  More than half of the churches in America are less than 100 people.  Many people find and worship God there every week.  On the other hand, since when do the actions of 50 people become worldwide headlines?  Groups of 50 people do stupid things all the time.  Can we just agree that we give the lunatic fringe in our society way too much publicity?  I understand outrage.  I’m outraged by this.  But what do you think would happen if we just ignored publicity-starved, attention-hungry stupid people? (That wasn’t popcorn style. My bad.)

“The goal of these and other protests are to give Muslims an opportunity to convert, he (Pastor Terry Jones) said.”

Really?  Really? That’s the goal.  Imagine that committee meeting.  “Guys, what can we do to help Muslims see that they need Jesus?”  “Hmmmm…”  “How about we take the book they take to be most holy, collect a whole bunch of them, and burn them?”  “Yeah, then they’ll see that true forgiveness is found in Jesus.”  “Ok, is it going to be a potluck?”

Now this won’t come as a surprise to most of you, but I am neither a universalist or a pluralist.  (Universalist–believes that ultimately everyone is or will be in good standing before God.  Pluralist–believes that there are multiple paths to God.)  As such, I believe that everyone needs the forgiveness that is offered through Jesus and his sacrifice.  I understand that is controversial in many circles.  It is that belief combined with a love for people that compels me to be a pastor and to tell people about having a relationship with God.

What compels the burning of the Quran?  Does that Pastor’s heart break when he thinks of people separated from God?  Or does it make him angry that people follow another religion?  Why would it make him angry?  Does he think he is better than them?  If Ephesians 2:8-10 is true (hint: I believe it is), then there is nothing special about him that made him worthy of a relationship with God.  There is certainly nothing particularly great in the mind of God that he was born in America that makes him more worthy than another.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with the basic premise that all people need Jesus, I would like to think that we could all agree that the best way to communicate that message is with love, compassion and grace.  The same love, compassion, and grace that Jesus modeled when he was here and the same that he showed those that follow him today.

We certainly don’t want to show hatred and contempt to 1 billion Muslims because of the acts of violent extremism that some of their followers showed us any more than we want them to do the same because 50 people in Florida had a bad idea.

Thanks for indulging that.  I feel better now.  Anyone want to go cow tipping?

“But Hate is Such a Strong Word” (video)

December 1, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Teaching