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Why Political Speech Is Inappropriate from the Pulpit!

For years now, I have been criticizing the preaching of politics from the pulpit. Why? What's so wrong with talking about issues and can...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

God, Muslims and Guns

In predictable fashion, the Orlando tragedy has been used by two of the largest splinter groups from the old Worldwide Church of God (United Church of God and Philadelphia Church of God) to echo the rhetoric of the political Right in the U.S. and attack those on the Left. In an article by UCG Elder Tom Robinson (https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/current-events-trends-muslim-terrorist-carries-out-most-deadly-shooting-in-us), we read: "Yet when President Barack Obama spoke in response immediately after, he would not refer to what happened as Islamic terrorism, following his established pattern, and used this as an opportunity to declare the need for more gun control." Robinson went on to say: "The attack has thrown the progressive left into a quandary. Had a 'right-wing Christian' perpetrated this act, it would have been used to vilify all conservative Christians who want to deny gay rights. But as it was a Muslim, great effort is made to distance him from 'authentic Islam'—lest the left’s alliance with Islam against traditional Christianity be put in jeopardy. The shooter was portrayed as a troubled, unbalanced person—but what Islamic terrorist is not? ... This should be a wake-up call to those on the left. Radical Islamists are not their friends. In a number of Islamic countries, homosexual behavior is punishable by death and gays are routinely jailed and/or executed." Over at PCG, the tease for the Trumpet Daily Radio Show sounds like something that could have been borrowed from a FOX News broadcast or a Donald Trump speech (https://www.thetrumpet.com/radio/shows/1/episodes/578/253-orlando-you-can-t-call-it-islamist-terrorism#player). We read there: "Once upon a time, the media labeled anyone who said 'Islam is a violent religion' as Islamophobic. But after the Orlando shooting this weekend, all you need to do to earn that label is mention that the terrorist was Muslim...No one wants to talk about radical Islam. Even after news media reported Omar Mateen's pledge of allegiance to the Isalmic State, United States President Barack Obama said he had no 'judgment on the precise motivations of the killer.' ... Trumpet writer Richard Palmer explores America's muddled response to Sunday's shooting and shows why America cannot solve a problem that it refuses to see."

The folks over at UCG/PCG seem to be saying that they would like to see the leaders of the United States acknowledge that we are in a war with Islam, they're not as bad as Muslims on the issue of homosexuality, and they are against gun control. They appear to be pining for the good old days when Christians weren't skiddish about declaring war on Muslims (remember the Crusades). Never mind that this is exactly what the terrorists would like to see the fight against terrorism become! Shame on the President for attempting to isolate these radical extremists from any association with the larger religious community of Islam. They can't seem to comprehend why anyone would want to draw a distinction between this violent and perverted minority and the peace loving/seeking majority. Nevertheless, the Left should be willing to acknowledge that shunning homosexuals and declaring them to be bound for hellfire is not as bad as shooting them or throwing them off of a building - there is a difference.  As for guns, what do our friends over at UCG/PCG make of the prophecies about converting implements of war into tools of agriculture in God's Kingdom? If guns aren't part of the problem, then why bother to get rid of them? I also seem to recall something about those who live by the sword dying by the sword (oops, forgive me - that's swords - we were talking about guns). Still, maybe God's not as in sync with "His" churches on this one as "He" should be. What do you think?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Allah/Elohim needs YOU to do His dirty work!

Many of us were sickened by the news from Orlando.Unfortunately, there are also folks who share this planet with us who will rejoice and celebrate. For them, the gunman was doing God's work.

Allah/Elohim hates homosexuals, so it is OK for His followers to hate them too. In fact, it's more than OK. Doesn't God demand that His true followers execute/stone these perverts?

The gunman's father said that his son may have been motivated by the fact he witnessed two males engaged in public displays of affection. How horrible is that? That one of God's children had to witness such behavior!

At least 50 people dead, and that many more injured. Allah/Elohim must be grateful that there are folks willing to do His dirty work. My question is: If that's what God wants, why doesn't He do it Himself?

Friday, June 3, 2016

God's Peace

An ACOG friend, forwarded an article to me the other day about a Christian Rock star who recently revealed that he is gay. The article about Trey Pearson (lead singer for Everyday Sunday) by Julie Zauzmer appeared in the May 31, 2016 edition of The Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/05/31/i-never-wanted-to-be-gay-christian-musician-comes-out-in-moving-letter-to-fans/). In a letter to his fans, he talks about the impact that his suppression of his sexual orientation has had not only on his life; but how that has affected the people he loves the most (including his wife).

Trey's revelation, and my friend's decision to forward the article to me, provide hope/encouragement/evidence that Christian attitudes are changing on this important topic. I think Trey's words point to a fuller understanding of exactly what constitutes the "peace of God."

He said: "I have progressed so much in my faith over these last several years. I think I needed to be able to affirm other gay people before I could ever accept it for myself. Likewise, I couldn’t expect others to accept me how I am until I could come to terms with it first.

I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about who I am, and who I was made by God to be, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom."

Yes, Trey, I know what you mean. God's peace does exceed our ability to fully understand or describe it!