Monday, June 1, 2009
The Gift of Meekness: A Counter to N.T. Wright's Case For A Stronger United Nations- my 3 part series
Here is his piece:
NT Wright on a stronger United Nations
Here was my response:
Gift of Meekness, part 1
Gift of Meekness, part 2
Gift of Meekness, part 3
Monday, May 11, 2009
"Lewis Rothschild: You have a deeper love of this country than any man I’ve ever known. And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of Americans have begun to question your patriotism.
President Andrew Shepherd: Look, if the people want to listen to-…
Lewis Rothschild: They don’t have a choice! Bob Rumson is the only one doing the talking! People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.
President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”
Recently, on the biblio/theo-blogosphere, there has been some outrage expressed at the latest study Bible published by Thomas Nelson called The Patriot's Bible. Pastor Greg Boyd was so disturbed by the nationalism and violence promoted in this book that he has begun to write a series about it on his blog in addition to a book review on it. My friends Celucien and T.C. authors of Christ My Righteousness and Theological Graffitti have shared their concerns for the Patriot's Bible as well.
I believe that the real problem is not so much American Christian nationalism, per se, but that our dilemma starts with the fact that most North American Christians do not know the difference between the true religion of Jesus the Messiah and the American brand. Like Lewis Rothschild shouts to President Shepherd, that the people do not have a choice and so that they will listen to whoever offers the truth. Rather than being offered Gospel Truth by religious educators and preachers, lay persons, thirsty for knowledge and hungry for truth, run to their closest Christian bookstores and buy the latest, most fashionable study Bible. There are markets for study bibles for teenagers, women, men, African Americans, followers of Joel Olsteen, etc. What's next? A study bible for Democrats and another for Republicans? I forgot, they already exist, the New Revised Standard Version (D) and the English Standard Version (R).
President Andrew Shepherd is also right. The people when they are thirsty do not know the difference between sand and water. North American Christian education ministries have failed to equip the saints to be discerning between the truth and untruth. So, we should not be surprised when a book called, "The Patriots Bible" comes off the presses. What needs to happen is that alternative voices need to begin to speak out, to put to shame the liars and the false prophets. Otherwise, I can start doing research for the creation of the Libertarian Study Bible. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
Friday, May 8, 2009
I am ashamed to report that the American evangelical church has fallen to a new and horrific low by producing what can only be described as the most blasphemous, idolatrous publication I could imagine.
Thomas Nelson publishing has released a "study" Bible that interweaves stories from American wars about American soldiers, quotes from American politicians and generals, and editorials about American history into the TEXT OF THE BIBLE!!!
Replacing the nonviolent Kingdom ethic of Jesus is the nationalistic, violent ethic of just about any nation in world history.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I would like to take my first post on the Tanks to Tractors blog to describe one of my many conversions during my spiritual journey. I originally was “saved” when I was eight years old when I accepted Jesus the Messiah as the LORD of my life in a Baptist church one Sunday morning. However, there are times, in the Christian life, where one reads Scripture, hears the Holy Spirit all the while the environment and circumstances in one’s life changes, and God is able to transform a person from an old creation to something completely new. Let me say, that from a young age, I was a committed political pacifist, accepting the secular arguments for pacifism and peacemaking and international cooperation and then, reading that political stance into my interpretation of Scripture. The revelation of Jesus the Messiah in his death on a cross was irrelevant to my political views. Even when during the first days of the Iraq invasion, I was loud in my maverick stance of not watching the news when it was showed in the hallways of the university’s student center. People came up to me and asked me why would I not stop to watch the news, and I told them all, with George W. Bush’s 80% approval rating and all, that I would not support this war because I was committed to peace. My friends ridiculed me for attending Amnesty International meetings where two to three people would show up and we would have conversations about our disgust over how the student population was apathetic and blindly pro-war. I had not yet developed the theological skills or the lexicon of postcolonialism, but I still knew what imperialism looked like. I was fed up with George W. Bush and his God-talk about liberation for the Iraqis as well as the naïve, condescending attitudes of the liberal establishment who praised Bush for bringing democracy to the Middle East (as if America was created as a democracy itself).
My discontent was caused by my religion being divorced completely from my politics. I had essentially been taught (implicitly) that it was okay to hold to orthodox Christian doctrines while at the same time adhere to a political belief system without reflecting on the political implications of Christian doctrine, i.e., to the exclusion of orthopraxy—a word we never hear in Baptist churches, let alone evangelical and conservative congregations. I eventually came across Roman Catholic moral teaching while taking an undergraduate Religious Studies course on Vatican II. After reading his work, The Gift of Peace, I became obsessed with the teaching of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernadine, who taught the seamless garb, or the interconnectedness of all of life. He took very strong public stances against abortion, poverty, reckless nuclear war, euthanasia, and capital punishment. Here, for me was my first real example of someone preferring to allow her/his theological preferences dictate her/his political stances. Then, I started to look back at the life of Jesus Christ, and the meaning of the Gospel, and trying to find the center of the GOOD News and what the Triune God required of me, as an individual Christian. Four years later, I read John Howard Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus for the first time. I had already read many of Stanley Hauerwas’ works, which dealt with Christian nonviolence and the separation of church and state. After I read TPOJ, my conversion to Christian nonviolence had begun. It was not the words of Yoder, per se, or the book itself, but the fact that Yoder’s book made me go back to the Bible to realize that is the crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah that stands front and center of all Christian social and personal action. Jesus’ victory on the tree at Golgatha paved the way for us to live free, to govern ourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2). All righteousness comes from the Lamb that was slain, and so does any Christian moral reasoning for taking action within the world. By making the crucifixion my starting point for my ethic of Christian nonviolence, there was no question about why do I do what I do because I now know why: the cross of Jesus the Messiah, the Wisdom of God, foolishness to the wise of the world, but unto us, it is the power of God.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:
- Over 900 Million people in the developing world are hungry (read: starving to death)
(More than the combined populations of the US, Canada, and the European Union)
(The Director of the WFP says since 2007 it has reached more than a Billion!)
- 25,000 people (adults and children) die every day from hunger and related causes
Just to put this in perspective. The budget of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) in 2008 was just under 3 Billion dollars (2.9). With it, they fed 73 Million people in 78 countries, less than a tenth of the world's hungry. Guardian Article
If this math holds, it would take over ten times this budget to feed the world's hungry. Let estimate: 60 Billion dollars.
The war in Iraq has already cost the United States over 600 Billion dollars. (And some estimate that it could reach 2 or 3 Trillion before its all said and done.) What it has cost already is 10 times a generous estimate of what it would cost to feed the world's hungry.... 10 TIMES!!!
So, upon whom is the real war being wagged? I submit that each day the 25-26 thousand human beings (many of whom are children) who die of starvation are deaths that are preventable and the cost of war is greater than its financial impact. The cost of war is millions of preventable deaths.
That is why we pray and work for the day when tanks will be beaten into tractors!!
"Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."
- Is. 58.5-9