Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dietrich Bonhoeffer On The Church

So I was skimming through Letters and Papers from Prison as I haven't read it in awhile and I stumbled upon this paragraph on pgs. 382-383:

The church is the church only when it exists for others. To make a start, it should give away all its property to those in need. The clergy must live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling. The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live in Christ, to exist for others.

A big contrast from the mega-church movement and the health and wealth gospel, wouldn't you say?

Baptist News And Views

Here are a few interesting and recent articles from the Baptist world by way of the Biblical Recorder:
Survey: Megachurches attract many under 45

10. June 2009 by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

Megachurches are most attractive to younger adults, and almost all who arrive at their sanctuaries have darkened a church’s door before, a new survey shows.

The study by Leadership Network and Hartford Institute for Religion Research, released June 9 found that almost two-thirds (62 percent) of adults who attend Protestant megachurches are younger than 45, compared to 35 percent of U.S. Protestant congregations overall.Researchers found that just 6 percent of those attending a megachurch — defined as a congregation attended by 2,000 or more each week — had never attended a worship service before arriving at their current church. Almost half (44 percent) had come from another local church, 28 percent had transplanted from a distant congregation and 18 percent had not attended church for a while.

“It appears that megachurches draw persons who want a new experience of worship — contemporary, large-scale, professional, high-tech,” said Scott Thumma, co-author of Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America’s Megachurches.

“For the nearly 30 percent coming from a distant church previously ... they want a place to plug in immediately to a community, missions and small groups.”

Read More: Here
Sadly this seems to be the growing trend these days as traditional mainline churches shrink in membership.

Campbell Law juvenile program receives grant
June 4 2009 by Campbell Law

BUIES CREEK — The Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University announced June 4 the receipt of a two-year grant in the amount of $144,904 from the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission for use in the Law School’s Juvenile Justice Mediation program. This grant will enable the program to be expanded to serve Wake County when the Law School moves to its new location in downtown Raleigh...

Read More
This is great news for Campbell Law school.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran Erupts In Violent Protests

It seems Safari is doing better today though I still think all my Blog widgets also may be partly responsible for loading problems as well as Summer time web traffic. So let me know if you're having trouble too?

Anyways, over the weekend Iran erupted in violent protests almost akin to 30 years ago---except this time the cry is for a regime change that supports more progressive leaning political aims rather than the all familiar theocracy that was established 30 years ago. Americans who were alive then remember watching with much trepidation the unfolding drama of the Iran Hostage Crisis which was our first taste of the newly established Iranian theocracy---so of course this sole event colors any American political commentary on Iran. What can I say, we are biased by it---because most average Americans don't realize all the complex details that have shaped the Iranian political climate.

The Iranian Revolution is one of the single events in human history which shows us that theocracy is a bad idea. Though the Iranian theocracy is one built on militant Islam---we Christians don't have bloodless hands as we had our own Irans such as the Christian Iran of the 16th century---Calvin's Geneva. See also: TheoPoetic Musings: Fundamentalists Never Cease To Be Laughable and TheoPoetic Musings: Respect For John Calvin. Thankfully the majority of Christians moved beyond theocracy especially Baptists. Anti-theocracy tendencies have always been a part of the Baptist heritage. Consider these statements:
"Enforced uniformity confounds civil and religious liberty and denies the principles of Christianity and civility. No man shall be required to worship or maintain a worship against his will.”
“God requireth not a uniformity of religion to be enacted in any civil state; which enforced uniformity (sooner or later) is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls.”
“All civil states, with their officers of justice, in their respective constitutions and administrations, are proved essentially civil, and therefore not judges, governors, or defenders of the spiritual, or Christian, state and worship.”---Roger Williams

Wee do freely profess that our Lord the King hath no more power over their [Roman Catholics’] coonsciences than over ours, and that is none at all ... let [people] be heretikes, Turks, Jews, or whatsoever, it apperteynes not to the earthly power to punish them in the least measure.
Thomas Helwys

"When they [the Church] have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, etc., and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day. And that therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and Paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world, and all that be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the World." Roger Williams, "Mr. Cotton's Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered," The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, Vol. 1, 108.

"Religious matters are to be separated from the jurisdiction of the state, not because they are beneath the interests of the state but, quite to the contrary, because they are too high and holy and thus are beyond the competence of the state." Isaac Backus, colonial Baptist from New England, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty.

"The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever. ... Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians." John Leland, "A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia," The Writings of the Later Elder John Leland, published in 1845.---Assorted quotes on Baptists and liberty

It should be noted that a large majority of Muslims have followed suit and are believers of separation of religion and government like the Republic Of Turkey. And like our Muslim friends, we too have nutcases in favor of theocracy: Pat Robertson, Worldview Weekend, the Religious Right, etc. to name a few.

We can only hope that an Ataturk will rise up in Iran to free his/her people someday for the sake of all the Iranians who are longing for a government that truly promotes freedom and democracy. More on Iran later until then see also: Shuck and Jive: Yeah, right..

Friday, June 12, 2009

On Socialism and Capitalism and Theology

Here's part of an interesting post from Wes Ellis' Blog---Living In The Kingdom:

Both Capitalism and Socialism fail to dream theologically about work. Both views primarily relate work to money (wage-labor) and not to creation, thus we fail to see ourselves as co-creators with God and we deceive ourselves into understanding our work and ourselves as commodities for the production of wealth. I find it interesting that the second you criticize capitalism, People think you'd prefer socialism, people call you a socialist (or even a communist). I think this reality is a testimony to our apparent lack of imagination. Can't we do better, can't we try harder than both of these systemic options. Can't we come together in love and work together to give life and harmony for the sake of creation and not only for the sake of capital.

Too often we are alienated from the productivity of our work. It's just for money, so what we're actually producing, what we're contributing to the world becomes second (if that) when it should be of primary importance. Rather than finding ourselves alive in our work, offering life through our time and energy, we find ourselves experiencing a sort of death from which we can only escape in our "time off."

(Read On: Here).

Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

See also: TheoPoetic Musings: Flaws Of Communism And Capitalism.

Technical Difficulties---June 12, 2009

I seemed to have had some problems Blogging today so I had to switch from Safari to Firefox to get any Blogging done. It's pretty crazy having to switch web browsers midstream. I'm not sure if these difficulties are due to Safari's recent update, all my gadgets, network problems or what---but anyways, luckily I have more than one web browser to fulfill my Internet needs. I haven't had any problems with Blogging with Safari before as Blogging is all I use Safari for---since I switched from Blogging Internet Explorer to solely Blogging with Safari awhile back. Internet Explorer I use for everything else. Anyways with that said---Safari seems to run more efficiently when I post a bunch of text-only posts after posting a bunch of high media content posts, so that is what I'm trying to do.

What It Means To Be Baptist

My new Facebook friend, David Harmon-Vaught, recently posted this article on Facebook:
Give me those old-time Baptists
By Joe Phelps • Special to The Courier-Journal • June 10, 2009

Read Comments(18) Recommend(5)Print this pageE-mail this articleShare

Minister and gadfly Will Campbell, speaking at a Baptist college chapel, asked "How many of you are old-time Baptists?" Hands went up across the chapel. "How many would serve on a jury?" Again, hands went up. "How many would fight in a war if asked?" Hands quickly rose. "How many believe in capital punishment?" Same result.
Campbell then observed, "Old-time Baptists, those from the 16th and 17th centuries, wouldn't do any of those things." He paused. "Students, you're not old-time Baptists, you're 1950's Baptists."
Baptists come in all flavors and sizes. With the Southern Baptist Convention's annual gathering taking place in Louisville later this month, and with a recent SBC vice-president saying in an interview that he prays for the death of President Obama, it is timely to recite the old adage, "No Baptist speaks for another." I don't speak for them, and they surely don't speak for me.
Sometimes it's hard to be a Baptist, or at least to admit it in good company. Our caricatures aren't pretty.
But this year is the 400th anniversary of the birth of the Baptist movement within the Christian faith, which seems a fitting time to reflect on "old-time Baptists" and to celebrate the contribution of Baptists to the global religious landscape; namely, our advocacy for uncoerced faith grounded in the right of conscience and the inevitability of dissent from either the government or any religious hierarchy.
Like many of our American freedoms, religious liberty seems an obvious, even innocuous right to us today. But Baptists were born in a day when freedom to declare one's belief or disbelief was prohibited by the laws of the land. Baptists refused to yield to the assumption that faith could be co-opted and exploited by the state. Faith, or no faith, was too sacred to be simply a precondition of citizenship.
You may have been taught that the Puritans came to the New World for religious liberty. In fact, early settlers came for their religious liberty from England, but not necessarily for others. State sanctioned religion was still in vogue, just Puritan state-sanctioned religion.

Read More: Here.

See also:
Why I Am a Baptist
By Professor Walter Rauschenbusch

Baptists emphasize the primacy of personal Christian experience
Baptists practice democracy in our organized church lift
Baptists insist that a Christ-like lift, not ritual, characterizes true worship and pure religion
Baptists tolerate no creed the Bible alone is sufficient authority/or our faith and practice

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Doctor Who And Theology

Doctor Who and the Theology of Identity
By Abigail L. Sines

I admit it: I’m a sci-fi fan. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a sci-fi “geek;” I don’t think I’m technical enough for that. For me the realm of sci-fi is interesting and entertaining because it allows so much latitude to explore what it is to be human: We learn about ourselves when we encounter what is different. In the imaginary worlds of sci-fi there are infinite possibilities to explore human identity.
Plus, today’s CGI and special effects produce some spectacularly cool-looking aliens and interstellar shoot-em-ups! This is fun.

Star Trek has always been my sci-fi flavor of choice and it was always the conflicted characters that captured my fancy: Mr. Spock balancing his human and Vulcan halves; Lt. Worf, a Klingon, making his way through the ranks of Starfleet; Lt. Commander Data, an android, making forays into the world of human emotions; even the holographic doctor in the Voyager series coming “alive” through his increasingly complex and personal interactions with the rest of the crew.
Recently I’ve taken to watching the latest version of the BBC Doctor Who franchise, featuring David Tennant as the 10th Doctor. (If you care to watch the last couple of years of Doctor Who on DVD in the U.S., you're looking for sets labeled “Third Series” and “Fourth Series.”)
Tennant masterfully presents a quirky, boisterous, and witty Doctor. Who could resist the ongoing battle between good and evil in a universe still plagued by vintage Daleks and Cybermen? Like a bad penny, they just keep turning up. Those ‘70s era robotic designs and digitized “exterminate” and “delete” refrains seem clunky by today’s slick sci-fi standards, yet they still manage to embody evil. But, I'm most interested in the Doctor’s interaction with his human companions, all women: Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Donna Noble.
The Doctor is fascinated by humans. Yes, us. You see, the Doctor really is a lonely Time Lord with all of time and space at his doorstep thanks to his faithful TARDIS contraption (shaped like a telephone booth on the outside). The Doctor is so far advanced beyond humans that he almost seems omnipotent by comparison—yet, at times, he seems quite in awe of us. He remarks on the human inclination for curiosity, exploration and survival.


But this current version of Doctor Who is far more than a sci-fi action flick. Yes, there’s a lot of fun and high adventure in these episodes—but there are deeper questions as well.
In fact, when the human John Smith is confronted with giving up his life to resume the Doctor’s cosmic duties, he is not pleased. In one scene, he cries out: “I’m John Smith…that’s all I want to be…John Smith. With his life and his job and his love. Why can’t I be John Smith? Isn’t he a good man?”

The climax of the drama is remarkably gripping. One schoolboy looks to Smith as an important mentor in his life, describing his beloved teacher this way: “He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like a knight and a storm in the heart of the sun…. He’s ancient and forever and burns at the center of the universe…. And he’s wonderful.”
John Smith realizes that he is being asked to make the ultimate sacrifice: He is being asked to die so that the Doctor can resume his bodily existence and foil the plans of the Family. As he holds the watch in his hand, he pleads desperately for a way out, “I should have thought of it before, I can give them this, just the watch…. Then they can leave earth and I can stay as I am.”
I won’t spoil the plot by revealing more, but the script is pointing at larger theological reflections.

As I watched these scenes, I thought of Psalm 139: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (vs. 14). The psalmist marvels that humans are the object of God’s attention, that God even takes note of us: “When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (vs. 14b–15). The psalmists reaches out to God: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand” (vs. 17–18).
These themes echo throughout the Bible. Read Ecclesiastes, 3:11: “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Or, think of Romans 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” These biblical writers are grappling with the mystery and perfection of divine love—and human limitation within that divine relationship. “For we know in part…but when perfection come, the imperfect disappears…. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (I Corinthians 13:9,12).

(If I wetted your appetite, read the full article: Here).

Originally caught from Peter Wallace's Blog.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shooting At The Holocaust Museum

This is what my sermon would sound like if I were to preach about this tragic event:


Scripture Text:
"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. (Genesis 9:6---NASB)

Violence, violence, everywhere---there is violence. There's nothing one can really say about this (the Holocaust Museum Shooting)---not because violence has always been around---but because of the sheer fact that violence is a cowardly act and against God. Violence is the very opposite of what God is like, so the church must always lift it's voice up against violence, racist ideologies and injustices everywhere. Hearing about this shooting reminded me about the stirring feelings that I felt when I visited Dachau and how you were left with an overbearing sense of melancholy, anger, guilt and helplessness---perhaps even from the souls that were violently murdered there. Dachau is a silent and ghostly memorial to a time when humans showed just how inhumane they could and still can be. There is that moment where you want to disbelieve the reality of the Holocaust, because we are humans, afterall---we are suppose to be better than animals---but yes, it really did happen all those years ago and events just like it are still happening worldwide today. I am also reminded of the Jewish philosopher and literary critic---Theodor Adorno's quip: “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric, and this corrodes even the knowledge of why it has become impossible to write poetry today”

Truly it is hard to write and think positively with such violence around us everywhere, but we as Christians always have hope---for our hope is found in Christ. Or as Paul succinctly puts it in Romans 5:1-5:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Also as the author of Titus puts it:
Titus 2:11-14---NRSV:
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
And so we as the church, the body of Christ---must work to foster this hope in this world around us full of violence and hatred.

Turning our thoughts back to Dachau: one of the famous inmates of Dachau was Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor and an early supporter of the Nazi Party, who later along with Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer became one of the most vocal Christian critics of the Nazi Party. When asked by fellow inmate, Leo Stein,
why he ever supported the Nazi Party, Niemöller replied:

"I find myself wondering about that too. I wonder about it as much as I regret it. Still, it is true that Hitler betrayed me. I had an audience with him, as a representative of the Protestant Church, shortly before he became Chancellor, in 1932. Hitler promised me on his word of honor, to protect the Church, and not to issue any anti-Church laws. He also agreed not to allow pogroms against the Jews, assuring me as follows: 'There will be restrictions against the Jews, but there will be no ghettos, no pogroms, in Germany.'"

"I really believed," Niemoeller continued, "given the widespread anti-Semitism in Germany, at that time—that Jews should avoid aspiring to Government positions or seats in the Reichstag. There were many Jews, especially among the Zionists, who took a similar stand. Hitler's assurance satisfied me at the time. On the other hand, I hated the growing atheistic movement, which was fostered and promoted by the Social Democrats and the Communists. Their hostility toward the Church made me pin my hopes on Hitler for a while.

"I am paying for that mistake now; and not me alone, but thousands of other persons like me."

Niemöller is also credited with composing this poem:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
Then they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
I did not protest;
I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me.

It was the same evil spirit of oppressive violence and hatred---bigotry and racism that inspired the Holocaust, which caused James W. von Brunn to shoot those two people at the Holocaust Museum. And so today, I must lift my voice up in solidarity with all the saints living and deceased and denounce violence and hatred---in the name of Christ, I implore you to end the violence, now! Work against injustices at home and abroad and stop the spread of racist and bigoted ideologies. We as a church, a community centered around the living and loving Christ must never be afraid to stand up and be counted among the saints who stand up for the rights of the oppressed, the victims and the marginalized of society and who in unison stand against hate speech. Hate speech is the germ of violence and violence is the reason hate speech must be stopped. Hate speech must end, now! And may we as the church, the bride of Christ never fail to always place Christ at the center of all our speech as well as all of our deeds so help us, God. Amen!

Ben Currin.

For those of you interested, here is the accompanying article to the video above:
Gunman Opens Fire at Holocaust Museum
posted: 31 MINUTES AGOcomments: 2409filed under: Crime News, National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

WASHINGTON (June 10) - An 88-year-old gunman with a violent and virulently anti-Semitic past opened fire with a rifle inside the crowded U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday, fatally wounding a security guard before being shot himself by other officers, authorities said.

The assailant was hospitalized in critical condition, leaving behind a sprawling investigation by federal and local law enforcement and expressions of shock from the Israeli government and a prominent Muslim organization.

Von Brunn has a racist, anti-Semitic Web site and wrote a book titled "Kill the Best Gentiles," alleging a Jewish "conspiracy to destroy the white gene pool."
In 1983, he was convicted of attempting to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board and served more than six years in prison. He was arrested two years earlier outside the room where the board was meeting, carrying a revolver, knife and sawed-off shotgun. At the time, police said von Brunn wanted to take the members hostage because of high interest rates and the nation's economic difficulties.
Writings attributed to von Brunn on the Internet say the Holocaust was a hoax and decry a Jewish conspiracy to "destroy the white gene pool."
"At Auschwitz the 'Holocaust' myth became Reality, and Germany, cultural gem of the West, became a pariah among world nations," it says.

Read Full Article: Here.

Clement Of Rome On Mutual Submission

Here is one of the articles from the study referenced in my previous post:


Mutual Submission in Clement

There has been a great deal of discussion on whether or not mutual submission is actually possible. Here is an except from Clement's first epistle to the Corinthians. The date is early, in the late first century AD.
1Clem 38:1
So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject unto his neighbor, according as also he was appointed with his special grace.

1Clem 38:2
Let not the strong neglect the weak; and let the weak respect the strong. Let the rich minister aid to the poor; and let the poor give thanks to God, because He hath given him one through whom his wants may be supplied. Let the wise display his wisdom, not in words, but in good works. He that is lowly in mind, let him not bear testimony to himself, but leave testimony to be borne to him by his neighbor. He that is pure in the flesh, let him be so, and not boast, knowing that it is Another who bestoweth his continence upon him.

1Clem 38:3
Let us consider, brethren, of what matter we were made; who and what manner of beings we were, when we came into the world; from what a sepulchre and what darkness He that molded and created us brought us into His world, having prepared His benefits aforehand ere ever we were born.

1Clem 38:4
Seeing therefore that we have all these things from Him, we ought in all things to give thanks to Him, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I hope that this can contribute to some of the conversations on exactly what submission is. The Greek verb hupotasso occurs in line 2 as "be subject unto." It does, of course say "each one" and not "each man" in Greek. The word man was added in English. What do you think?

I'd also like to know your thoughts.

Interesting Egalitarian Study

Suzanne's Bookshelf: Index: CBMW, Grudem, kephale

This is well worth checking out as it provides unique materials which refute the complementarian view of gender roles.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Remembering D-Day

I know I am a few days late in remembering D-Day but I thought it was appropriate considering that my grandfather, Jack, arrived on the shores of Normandy a few days after the main invasion. He was part of the clean up crew. I guess that's one of the reasons he survived the war---the sheer luck of avoiding the most dangerous part of the D-Day Invasion.

My late grandfather, Hank, was an aerial photographer in the United States Air Corps in England and France. I forgot what part he played in D-Day, but anyways one of his favorite war stories to tell was how he dated the mayor of Vert-le-Grand's daughter, André LeBlanc and how her dad sent her little brother to chaperone them. I wish we had recorded all his war stories for posterity before he passed on.

I had other relatives that served during World War II as well including a Great-Uncle that was stationed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th. He never liked to talk about Pearl Harbor up to his passing.

Anyways, world history should never be forgotten and world history was certainly made on that day---June 6, 1944.

RARE COLOR FILM D DAY - JUNE 5th 1944 - Click here for this week’s top video clips

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rethink Church: Mainline Denominations In TV Ads

Here's something from the Blog--- Confessions of a Recovering Pharisee:

Protestant groups use ads to lure members
Posted at 4:00 am under church, denominations

[Washington Times]

Shrinking mainline Protestant denominations are turning to marketing to help stem decades of membership losses and stay afloat.

The United Methodist Church recently released a $20 million rebranding effort aimed at attracting younger members to the large but diminishing Protestant sect. The new ads will appear over the next four years as part of the denomination’s “Rethink Church” campaign.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has invested nearly $1.2 million in the past two years launching a similar branding effort based on the theme “God’s Work, Our Hands.”

The denominations are trying to bounce back from losses that began in the mid-1960s.

Interesting stuff! I just saw the United Methodist Church one, tonight---here it is:

Here is the ELCA one:

So are these ad campaigns a necessary consequence of the imminent collapse of American Evangelism from within or what? Do you think other denominations should follow suit? Will these ads help revitalize interest in the church and church life among the younger generation? What do you think?

Current President Of The SBC Denounces Wiley Drake's Prayers

My how things have changed---now, lets compare Pastor Drake's prayers with some of Jesus's words---

First, Pastor Drake's prayers:
“I think it’s appropriate to pray the Word of God,” Drake said. “I’m not saying anything. What I am doing is repeating what God is saying, and if that puts me on somebody’s list, then I’ll just have to be on their list.”

“You would like for the president of the United States to die?” Colmes asked once more.

“If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct.”

Now, here are Jesus's words:
"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" - Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in Matthew 5:44 (NIV)

Matthew 6:9-13 (New International Version)

9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

This is exactly why we must always read the bible in light of Christ, because while some things may be 'biblical' not everything in the bible is Christ-honoring, Christocentric nor Christian. Thankfully, current leadership of the SBC---President Johnny Hunt knows this and has denounced Pastor Drake's hate speech:
The current President of the Southern Baptist Convention has denounced Drake: Pastor’s comments on Tiller ‘unbiblical’.

Dr. Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, and president of the SBC, says Drake’s comments are out of line.

“[That’s a] terrible statement, [a] very unbiblical statement,” Hunt responds. “I’m still encouraged that the [Book of] Proverbs teaches that God has the water in a channel — and my prayer has always that God would turn hearts.”

Related Post: TheoPoetic Musings: Former Vice President Of The Southern Baptist Convention Praying For Obama's Death.

Former Vice President Of The Southern Baptist Convention Praying For Obama's Death

This is a good illustration of the absurdity of bible literalism and why belief in biblical inerrancy is meaningless:
Wiley Drake was interviewed by Alan Colmes. In that interview, Drake admitted without hesitation to wanting Obama to die.
Asked if there are others for whom Drake is praying "imprecatory prayer," Drake hesitated before answering that there are several. "The usurper that is in the White House is one, B. Hussein Obama," he said.

Later in the interview, Colmes returned to Drake's answer to make sure he heard him right.

"Are you praying for his death?" Colmes asked.

"Yes," Drake replied.

"So you're praying for the death of the president of the United States?"



This is exactly the type of nonsense that comes about from replacing a Christocentric reading of the bible with the false premise of biblical inerrancy.

Here is an atheist's response to this news:
Drake says that imprecatory prayer (praying for the misfortune or death of one's enemies) is found throughout scripture, particularly in the Psalms.

And he's right about that. Here are some of the verses from Psalms that Wiley especially likes.

Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them. ... Let destruction come upon him at unawares Psalm 35:6-8
Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell. Psalm 55:15
Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth ... let them be as cut in pieces. ... The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.Psalm 58:6-10
Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. ... they make a noise like a dog ... Behold, they belch out with their mouth ... But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. ... The God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies. Psalm 59:5-10
Consume them in wrath, consume them ... let them make a noise like a dog. Psalm 59:13-14
But God shall wound the head of his enemies ... That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same. Psalm 68:21-23
Read On: Here.

Is it any wonder then that the worst thing to happen to the SBC is when they kicked the Moderates and Liberals out? After all Fundamentalist Christianity is not the same as following Christ as Fundamentalism is a Modernist invention itself. There is no distinct difference between Extremist Fundamentalist Christianity and Extremist Fundamentalist Islam either as both are born out of fear, hatred and a will to violence. However, there are some relatively decent fundamentalists---but can they really be called fundamentalists?

I agree with Chad Crawford over at Homebrewed Christianity in that this makes one embarrassed to claim a Baptist identity. Thankfully, there are Southern Baptists like Wade Burleson who denounce the violent tinged words of Pastor Drake.

See also Big Daddy Weave:
Wiley Drake is an embarassment to all Baptists, an embarrassment to all Christians and an embarassment to all Americans.

Updates: *Edits* 4

So I finally added a Recent Comments Widget above my Labels Widget, after all this time---I hadn't had much luck with getting Blogger template edits to work for me so I used the simple way of adding widgets. I figured that adding a Recent Comments Widget would help visitors know what posts are being commented on and give them a preview of comments so that they may decide to leave their own.

Since I haven't posted about it yet, but you've already noticed it---I just wanted to say that I added a Labels Widget awhile back. The pro of this is helping visitors locate content blogged about easily. The con of this is that it makes my Blog look longer than it really is---because of the vast amount of content published.

Also awhile back, I added the tool Site Meter to help keep track of visitor statistics and all that good stuff. Site Meter is at the very bottom of my Blog underneath my ClustrMap Widget.

Today I neatened up my Profile---after a long time of putting it off and because it makes my Profile easier to read. I may have to eventually take off some non-essential Widgets for the sake of loading times, but while everything is up and running smoothly they will remain.

Oh one other thing here is the 2009 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Of North Carolina General Assembly Edition of my Blog card:
I didn't have an exhibit there in case you are asking but I did hand out this card to various people there.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Church Of Guns

scott... diagonally parked in a parallel universe

Church Welcomes Guns at July 4 Bash
posted: 1 HOUR 50 MINUTES AGOcomments: 329filed under: National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 5) - A Kentucky pastor is inviting his flock to bring guns to church to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Second Amendment.
New Bethel Church is welcoming "responsible handgun owners" to wear their firearms inside the church June 27, a Saturday. An ad says there will be a handgun raffle, patriotic music and information on gun safety.
"We're just going to celebrate the upcoming theme of the birth of our nation," said pastor Ken Pagano. "And we're not ashamed to say that there was a strong belief in God and firearms — without that this country wouldn't be here."
The guns must be unloaded and private security will check visitors at the door, Pagano said.
He said recent church shootings, including the killing Sunday of a late-term abortion provider in Kansas, which he condemned, highlight the need to promote safe gun ownership. The New Bethel Church event was planned months before Dr. George Tiller was shot to death in a Wichita church.
Kentucky allows residents to openly carry guns in public with some restrictions. Gun owners carrying concealed weapons must have state-issued permits and can't take them to schools, jails or bars, among other exceptions.
Pagano's Protestant church, which attracts up to 150 people to Sunday services, is a member of the Assemblies of God. The former Marine and handgun instructor said he expected some backlash, but has heard only a "little bit" of criticism of the gun event.
John Phillips, an Arkansas pastor who was shot twice while leading a service at his former church in 1986, said a house of worship is no place for firearms.
"A church is designated as a safe haven, it's a place of worship," said Phillips, who was shot by a church member's relative for an unknown reason and still has a bullet lodged in his spine. "It is unconscionable to me to think that a church would be a place that you would even want to bring a weapon."
Phillips spoke out against a bill before the Arkansas General Assembly that would have permitted the carrying of guns in that state's churches. The bill failed in February.
Pagano, 50, said some members of his church were concerned that President Obama's administration could restrict gun ownership, and they supported the plan for the event when Pagano asked their opinion.
Marian McClure Taylor, executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, an umbrella organization for 11 Christian denominations in Kentucky, said Christian churches are promoters of peace, but "most allow for arms to be taken up under certain conditions."
Taylor said Pagano assured her the event would focus on promoting responsible gun ownership and any proceeds would go to charity.
"Those two commitments are consistent with the high value the Assemblies of God churches place on human life," she said in an e-mail message.
Pagano is encouraging church members to bring a canned good and a friend to the event. He said guns must be unloaded for insurance purposes and safety reasons.
He said the point was not to mix worship with guns, though he may reference some passages from the Bible.
"Firearms can be evil and they can be useful," he said. "We're just trying to promote responsible gun ownership and gun safety."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2009-06-04 21:53:44

Yeah, yeah, I know I already covered this story on a recent post but I thought I'd offer my own response. What's next bring your grenades or rocket launchers to church day or how about land your F-14 on the roof of the church day? However that said---I'm all for gun ownership and I agree with Pagano in this: "Firearms can be evil and they can be useful." I believe Dr. Prescott said it best though---Mainstream Baptist: On God and Guns at Church:
I've never carried my gun to church. Not even when I was a police officer and required to keep my gun with me at all times. I left it in my car when I went to church when I was a police officer.

In my mind, if there is one place to take the command to put up your sword (John 18:11) and turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-39) literally it is at church.

The Bible issues no command to promote gun ownership and gun safety. It has a lot to say about giving a faithful witness.

See also: Who Would Jesus Shoot? UPDATED after Virginia Tech Shooting, A Stupid Move by a Church and Bring Your Guns To Church, Boys.

Heaven's Highway: After Emergent - the Post Emergent Church?

Here's an interesting post worth checking out:

Heaven's Highway: After Emergent - the Post Emergent Church?

There's a lot of narcissism going on with Western Christianity. We are more into navel-gazing theology and self-centered systematics than ever before. We want the Church to be what we want and if we do not find the right shape to fit our individual soul, we'll make it into whatever pleases us or we'll go and start a new one.

Western Christianity is dying on the vine right now and we're scrambling to find the last great hope to make us relevant, effective, and heard. Elsewhere in the world, Christianity is thriving because people know that our faith is really about life and death, not lifestyle and dying traditions.


I have to say I like a lot of what Stushie (John Stuart) has to say even if we are on different sides of the pole and spectrum theologically wise.

Friday, June 5, 2009

There Is Something Very Wrong With This Picture

Thanks to Ruckmanism.Org:
Can you believe this? The latest book by Peter Ruckman features a painting on the front cover of the KJV dying on the cross instead of Christ. Click here to see the cover.

I found the link for Ruckmanism.Org on the Fundamentalist version of Wikipedia: The Ministry Of EJ Hill & Friends' article on Peter Ruckman. They are right on Ruckman, but you should check out what they say about Billy Graham:
Abortionist [1|3] - Ecumenical [2|7|8] - False Teacher [1] - Freemason [4|5|6]
I wonder how anyone in their right mind could call Billy Graham an abortionist? Another article to check out is the one on Brian McLaren, if you can stomach it. Ahh....the joys of late night web browsing.

Anyways, if you got yourself with something more refreshing: The Rev's Rumbles: America's 'Emerging Church:' Will a New Post-Evangelical Christianity Reflect More Tolerant Views?, since the retired Rev. Anderson gave me a shout out:The Rev's Rumbles: Todd Friel Responds To Dr. Tiller's Murder---I figured I'd return the compliment.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Todd Friel Responds To Dr. Tiller's Murder

Once again, Todd is full of hot air and his kind of rhetoric is what ultimately leads to these type of acts of "Christian Terrorism." I have nothing further to add, so what are your thoughts?

Also, here's something just as disturbing---John Meunier’s Blog: Bring a gun to church day. No not John Meunier, but the subject of his post:
I am not making this up.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Kentucky pastor is inviting his flock to bring guns to church to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Second Amendment.

Day of prayer unites many across Southeastern N.C.

Day of prayer unites many across Southeastern N.C.
By Amanda Greene

Published: Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 11:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 11:12 p.m.

Carrying a red flag bisected with a diagonal black bar – the flag of her native Trinidad and Tobago – Lisa Hamilton gazed and smiled at the people applauding as she and dozens of volunteers walked around the basketball court at Trask Coliseum Sunday. But the event wasn’t an off-season basketball game.

The flag bearers carried the symbols representing many nations of the world for the second Global Day of Prayer that focuses on praying for our nation, world or specific causes.

The event was sponsored by the new nonprofit Pray Wilmington, Inc. About 1,000 people attended this year’s two-hour event that included collective prayers, individual prayers and worship music.
“This is my first time at the event, but just the notion of the churches coming together to pray is awesome, especially because I’m not from this country,” Hamilton said.

Members from her congregation, Global River Church, carried the flags.

The interfaith event in Wilmington was part of similar Global Day of Prayer events happening simultaneously in every country in the world. The event started in Fiji and will end in this hemisphere.

To begin the prayers, a choir of five shofar blowers blew a long note in their hollow dissonant tones. A shofar is typically made of a ram’s horn and is one of the earliest instruments used in Jewish tradition.
The 50-member Global Day of Prayer Mass Choir sang cross-denominational hymns such as Open the Eyes of the Lord and A Mighty Fortress is Our God between prayers as members of the audience came to the microphone to offer prayers for homelessness, Christian unity, forgiveness, persecuted Christians and mercy and grace for the world.

“Let us labor together as partners to bring unity between Gentile and Jew, between the cultures, between the races. We thank you Holy Spirit,” one woman prayed. “Give us ears to hear what your spirit is saying to the modern day church.”

A man sat in the bleachers with his head in his hands, his forehead wrinkled in concentration. A mother held her baby in a sling as she swayed at her seat, her hands raised to the ceiling.

Lydia Gaster, a member at Wilmington Pentecostal Holiness Church, brought her teenage daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend to the event because “I came last year, and I think it’s a really good, edifying time for Christians in this community,” she said. “It’s good for the city; encouraging.”

When it came time for the group to pray The Apostles’ Creed, an announcer invited everyone in the crowd to pray it in their native languages.

James Halls, a member of Port City Community Church, said the event gave him momentum to start his week.

“Just to really get a more global view of how real God is all around the world is great,” he added. “I’m going to meditate on that throughout the week.”

Unfortunately I didn't get to go to this event, but it looks like it was a great ecumenical gathering to celebrate global and religious diversity.

Interesting Critique Of The Condition Of The Church Of America

Thanks to my friend and fellow Camel and CBFer, Christina Whitehouse-Suggs, here is part of an interesting posting from Jim Mark's Blog:

What is it we’re all searching for?
Posted by Jim Marks under Uncategorized
[2] Comments

It is at this point well documented that young adults abandon church in droves. Many, but not all, return when they have children. Both the growing hordes of “seeker Christians” (and seekers across religions) as well as the problem of “commodity Churches” have been discussed at length and well, by many people and I’m not going to attempt to improve on the ground already covered. But a dear friend just said something that caused a spark, so I’m writing it down here to share it.

I haven’t felt that way since I was in the church I grew up in, with all it’s flaws, at least it was a family… I think perhaps I loved it then because I didn’t know any better.

This is a shockingly succinct and beautiful summation of what church, and by extension religion, means for children. Church means family in the big, broad, old fashioned sense and family is something you love because you don’t know any better.

We all have families. Some of us may not have any living family left, but at some point we did. Some of us may not have any kind of relationship with our family, but at some point we did. And these things shape us in (nearly) indelible ways. But at some point all of us grow up and there is a kind of opening of the eyes. Even if our families are nearly perfect, at a certain age we discover the imperfections. It can, for some of us (not necessarily me), take a long time to get over the disillusionment that can come with these realizations; especially if the imperfections in your family are substantial.

Church really is just like this. So many of us have this gnawing sense that there has to be something better. Something more genuine. Something more engaged. Something more radical. Something more authentic. Something more intellectually honest. Something more. We (and now I do mean me) are still deeply disillusioned with the church/religion of our childhood. We have not yet recovered from the shock of the discovery that our “family” was disfunctional.

And this is why, really why, I think the commodity church reaction to the seeker Christian phenomena is so wrong headed. Not just because turning church into a consumer product is idolatrous and blasphemous (which it is). But much more so because many of us who might be seen as “seekers” aren’t really seeking at all. We know what we want. We want to go Home. We don’t want to return to the actual church in which we grew up. But we want to come Home, and return to that Wide Eyed Wonder of our childhood that allowed us to love a flawed family; because we didn’t know any better.

(Read More: Here).

Well said---Jim Mark, after such an aptly written articulation of what's wrong with the American church---I can add no further comment.

Forever Young: Icaria

That Baptist Ain't Right: The Island Where People Live Longer: Icaria:
MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2009
The Island Where People Live Longer: Icaria
The Island Where People Live Longer : NPR

A Greek island in the Aegean Sea. The island of Icaria. Modest. Not much to write home about. Except it is one of those rare places on earth where people just live longer than everyone everywhere else.

Why? Well, it seems they do things the European way in the extreme, the exact opposite of what most Americans do.

(Read More: Here).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Youth And Religion

Here's part of an interesting posting from Drew Tatusko:
teens are functionally illiterate when it comes to religion
Jun 3rd, 2009 by Drew Tatusko.

This can be classified as a major church FAIL. It is not that all teens are functionally illiterate, but most teens indeed are. They have not acquired and thus have not practiced using the tools to articulate their religion. This was a finding Christian Smith reports in the book Soul Searching where data from the National Study of Youth and Religion is presented. The following is worth quoting in full.

We do not believe that teenage inarticulacy about religious matters reflects any general teen incapacity to think and speak well. Many of the youth we interviewed were quite conversant when it came to their views on salient issues in their lives about which they had been educated and had practice discussing, such as the dangers of drug abuse and STD's. Rather, our impression as interviewers was that many teenagers could not articulate matters of faith becuase they have not been effectively educated in and provided opportunities to practice talking about their faith. Indeed, it was our distinct sense that for many of the teens we interviewed, our interview was the first time that any adult had ever asked them what they believed and how it mattered in their life…Religious language is like any other language: to learn how to speak it, one needs first to listen to native speakers using it a lot, and then one needs plenty of practice at speaking it oneself. Many U.S. teenagers, it appears, are not getting a significant amount of such exposure and practice and so are simply not learning the religious language of their faith traditions (p. 133).

How would you characterize the religious literacy of your youth, and your adults in church? And then, what are you going to do about it?

I wonder how much of this is related to our technology-driven culture and how much of it is related to churches failing to provide teenagers with the tools to articulate religious viewpoints. I know personally that I didn't know much about Baptist principles until minoring in Religion at Campbell University---even-though, I grew up in a Baptist church and have been in a Baptist church ever-since. I did know a little bit about Baptists before though and how we were different from other denominations. Mostly because my Scout troop was connected with a Presbyterian church---also, one Summer, when I was staying with my grandmother at the beach she enrolled me in a Presbyterian VBS to give me something to do. Also, in my Youth Group at FBC-Laurinburg, we had members who regularly attended a Methodist church. I also saw Pope John Paul II and Catholic services in Europe and I went to the blessing of a friend's family's new pastor’s house in the Anglican tradition, so I've always been aware to some degree of denominational differences. I'm not sure how denominational distinctions play in the National Study of Youth and Religion's findings, but it is true that different denominations as well as churches phrase religious matters differently. I also know that technology is useful for disseminating religious information though there are times when technology gets in the way.

See also: Al Mohler On Text Messaging and Technolatry.

As far as Drew's questions go: "How would you characterize the religious literacy of your youth, and your adults in church? And then, what are you going to do about it?" I'm not sure how best to answer the first question as FBC-Wilmington may be a Baptist church but a large number of our congregation grew up and moved their memberships from non-Baptist churches and since we are a large church with a congregation spread between two different services---we truly have a diverse and ecumenical group with various religious opinions in that respect. Also, our members have a wide range of religious knowledge and aptitudes, because of this fact. Hect, we even have a lot of retired pastors in our congregation. As far as the youth in our church goes, I'd say that they are about the same as our adults---but with all that said it is still hard to tell who is religiously literate or not---because of the sheer size of our church. In regards to the second question, because I am the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina co-advocate for FBC-Wilmington, I try my best to spread information where I can about Baptist religious principles while remaining denominationally neutral and ecumenical and always Christocentric.

This Is Sad

Couple Jump From Cliff With Son's Body
posted: 1 DAY AGOcomments: 480filed under: World NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

(June 2) -- British police are investigating what one resident has called a "terrible tragedy" -- the apparent suicide of a couple whose 5-year-old son died of natural causes.
The bodies of Neil and Kazumi Puttick were spotted Sunday at the base of Beachy Head, a notorious suicide spot in East Sussex, London's Daily Mail reported. The couple had placed the body of their son, Sam, in a rucksack before they jumped, police said, and it was found next to them.

Sam, whose spinal cord was injured when a car hit him at age 1, was paralyzed from the neck down and used a ventilator 24 hours a day, the newspaper said. He had been hospitalized with pneumococcal meningitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and was discharged Friday so that he could die peacefully at home, a hospital spokesman told the Mail.
Sam died that night. Police said that the Putticks made the 100-mile trip from their home to Beachy Head on Sunday. There were two rucksacks found near Neil and Kazumi's Puttick's bodies. One contained their son, and the other held some of his toys.

Police are investigating whether the Putticks "were so overcome with grief at their son's fairly sudden death that they decided they could not bear to go on without him," a source told the Mail.
The family's neighbors were stunned by the deaths.

"It is a terrible tragedy and I can't believe it has happened," one told the newspaper. "This is too shocking for words."
Another said that Kazumi, 44, and Neil, 34, were devoted to their child. "They were a lovely couple and they did 150 per cent for that boy."
The Daily Mail has more details on the probe.

2009 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved.
2009-06-02 08:54:32

People deal with grief in different ways, but it is always sad to see grief carried out to such tragic consequences. When this happens---we are always left with questions of how, why and what if? We also wonder---could this event have been avoided or not? What should have the church done to have helped this situation before it got to that point? Anyways, my condolences to the Puttick family and may God be with them!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When Baptists Go Wild

Here is a video from our Youth fundraiser at our traditional Winter Follies gathering:

I do have to say I am proud of our Youth and how they serve Christ and the world around them---so since I saluted the elderly in my last post, it is only natural that I salute the youth as well as part of the celebration of Pentecost. This Summer the Youth of FBC-Wilmington are going to Carolina, Puerto Rico (which ironically enough I got a hit from the other day). Anyways, I must salute the Youth Group of FBC-Wilmington as well as Youth Groups around the world who serve Christ, their churches and communities.

My Grandfather: Deacon Emeritus Of Oxford Baptist Church

This Sunday we went to Oxford, North Carolina to celebrate my grandfather's service as a deacon of Oxford Baptist Church. We really surprised him, which was nice! Unfortunately he wasn't feeling well that day but at least he was honored. It truly is a sad thing to watch loved ones grow old and slowly wither away especially since medical science makes life seem to go on and on far past the point it should. However, we must always rejoice in all the triumphs the elderly undertake just to make it through the day so I count it a blessing to have three grandparents still living at this point! Anyways, my grandfather was the second ever recipient of a Deacon Emeritus Award at Oxford Baptist Church, so it was neat to spend Pentecost Sunday with family that has served Christ, their churches and communities for many years and beyond---even my Uncle Cameron got to take time off of the church he pastors to be there. Here is the bulletin from that day though there is no mention of my grandfather which helped aid to the surprise element:

Frederick Buechner On The Issue Of Abortion

I found this quote on my friend Justin's response to the violent murder of Dr. Tiller: A Noggin' Full Of Noodles: On Abortion And Murdering Abortionists:
I value Frederick Buechner's thoughts on abortion, and I think they really ring true with what I have seen and heard today:
Speaking against abortion someone has said, "no one should be denied access to the great feast of life," to which the rebuttal, obviously enough, is that life isn't much of a feast for children born to people who don't want them or can't afford them or are one way or another incapable of taking care of them and will one way or another probably end up abusing or abandoning them.

And yet, and yet. Who knows what treasure life may hold for even such children as those, or what treasures even such children of those may grow up and become? To bear a child even under the best of circumstances, or to abort a child even under the worst-- the risks are hair-raising either way and the results are incalculable.

How would Jesus himself decide, he who is hailed as Lord of life and yet who says that it is not the ones who, like an abortionist, can kill the body we should fear, but the ones who can kill body and soul together the way the world into which they are born can kill unloved and unwanted children (Mt. 10:28)?

There is perhaps no better illustration of the truth that in an imperfect world: there are no perfect solutions. All we can do, as Luther said, is 'sin bravely', which is to say, (a) know that neither to have the child nor not to have the child is without the possibility of tragic consequences for everybody, yet (b) be brave in knowing also that not even that can put us beyond the forgiving love of God. (Beyond Words: Abortion Entry. Emphasis his)

Here are some other responses to Dr. Tiller's violent death:

Shuck and Jive: Condolences for the Tiller Family

Laura Barclay, a fellow CBF Blogger posted this entry to The Fellowship Portal Blog: The Stain of Violence

Monday, June 1, 2009

Violence And The Church Never Mix

Suspect Jailed in Abortion Doctor's Killing
posted: 8 HOURS 55 MINUTES AGOcomments: 7957filed under: Crime News, National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

WICHITA, Kan. (June 1) —A man suspected of fatally shooting abortion doctor George Tiller in church was in jail Monday while investigators sought to learn more about his background, including his possible connections to anti-abortion groups.
Tiller, 67, was serving as an usher during morning services Sunday when he was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, police said. The gunman fired one shot at Tiller and threatened two other people who tried to stop him. The suspect, identified by one law enforcement agency as Scott Roeder, was taken into custody some 170 miles away in a Kansas City suburb about three hours after the shooting.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston (FOHL'-stuhn) indicated that charges will not be filed Monday. Foulston noted that the state has 48 hours to charge anyone who is in custody and said she planned to take the full two days to decide. She said any charges would be filed in state court. Also, a law enforcement official says investigators have searched two homes as part of the inquiry into Tiller's killing. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation, says the homes are in Merrian, Kan., and the other is in Kansas City, Mo.
The official did not know what turned up during the searches.

"We have taken jurisdiction," she said. Tiller had been a lightning rod for abortion opponents for decades. The women's clinic he ran is one of three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy, when the fetus is considered viable, and has been the site of repeated protests for about two decades.
A protester shot Tiller in both arms in 1993, and his clinic was bombed in 1985.

Roeder, 51, was returned to Wichita and was being held without bail on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Outside the clinic Monday morning, flowers were placed along a fence, and the anti-abortion group Kansas Coalition for Life left a sign saying members had prayed for Tiller's change of heart, "not his murder."
In Washington, the U.S. Marshals Service said that as a result of Tiller's shooting, Attorney General Eric Holder had ordered it to "increase security for a number of individuals and facilities." It gave no details.
Tiller himself last had protection from the U.S. marshals in 2001, and he and other doctors received such protection at different times in the 1990s.

A man with the same name as the suspect has a criminal record and a background of anti-abortion postings on sympathetic Web sites. In one post written in 2007 on the Web site for the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, a man identifying himself as Scott Roeder asked if anyone had thought of attending Tiller's church to ask the doctor and other worshippers about his work. "Doesn't seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller," the post said.
But police said Sunday that all early indications showed the shooter acted alone.
Operation Rescue condemned the killing as vigilantism and "a cowardly act," and the group's president, Troy Newman, said Roeder "has never been a member, contributor or volunteer." He may have posted to the organization's open Internet blog, Newman said, but so have thousands of nonmembers.
But Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, whose protests have often targeted Tiller, called the slain doctor "a mass murderer," adding: "He was an evil man — his hands were covered with blood."

In 1996, a 38-year-old man named Scott Roeder was charged in Topeka with criminal use of explosives for having bomb components in his car trunk and sentenced to 24 months of probation. However, his conviction was overturned on appeal the next year after a higher court said evidence against Roeder was seized by law enforcement officers during an illegal search of his car.
At the time, police said the FBI had identified Roeder as a member of the anti-government Freemen group, an organization that kept the FBI at bay in Jordan, Mont., for almost three months in 1995-96. Authorities on Sunday night would not immediately confirm if their suspect was the same man.
Morris Wilson, a commander of the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia in the mid-1990s, told The Kansas City Star he knew Roeder fairly well.
"I'd say he's a good ol' boy, except he was just so fanatic about abortion," Wilson said. "He was always talking about how awful abortion was. But there's a lot of people who think abortion is awful."

The slaying quickly brought condemnation from both anti-abortion and abortion-rights groups, as well as President Barack Obama.
"However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence," Obama said in a statement.
Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said Tiller apparently did not have a bodyguard with him in church, although the doctor was routinely accompanied by one. An attorney for Tiller, Dan Monnat, said the doctor's wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time of the shooting.
Monnat said in early May that Tiller had asked federal prosecutors to step up investigations of vandalism and other threats against the clinic out of fear that the incidents were increasing and that Tiller's safety was in jeopardy. However, Stolz said authorities knew of no threats connected to the shooting.
Church members said anti-abortion protesters have shown up outside the church on Sundays regularly.

"They've been out here for quite a few years. We've just become accustomed to it. Just like an everyday thing, you just looked over and see them and say, 'Yup they're back again.'"
The last killing of an abortion doctor was in October 1998 when Dr. Barnett Slepian was fatally shot in his home in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. A militant abortion opponent was convicted of the murder.
One of Tiller's lawyers and friends, Dan Monnat, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that Tiller had been supported by his wife and children in his decision to continue providing abortion services.
"If Dr Tiller is not going to service a woman's right to chose, who will do it?" Monnat said.
"Many of those have been terrorized and run off by protesters," he said about other abortion providers.

Associated Press writers John Hanna contributed to this report from Wichita, Devlin Barrett from Washington.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2009-05-31 14:02:12

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Politics Daily Commentary: Pro-Crazy Is Not Pro-Life | Finding Common Ground

We as the church need to prophetically speak out against violence and injustices as violence is never the answer. Christ is and Christ's way is not a way of violence, but one of love and self-sacrifice---the way of the cross. Hear these words of Oscar Romero:
You that have so much social sensitivity, you that cannot stand this unjust situation in our land: fine – God has given you that sensitivity,
and if you have a call to political activism, God be blessed. Develop
But look: don’t waste that call; don’t waste that political and social
sensitivity on earthly hatred, vengeance, and violence.
Lift up your hearts. Look at the things above.103
Death is the sign of sin,
and sin produces death right in our midst: violence, murder, torture (which leaves so many dead), hacking with machetes, throwing into the sea – people discarded!
All this is the reign of hell.
JULY 1, 1979

A Modern Day Abelard

...only this time, it's not for the love of a woman, but the love of women:

'Father Oprah' Focuses on Forgiveness
posted: 11 HOURS 45 MINUTES AGOcomments: 391filed under: National News, ScandalsPrintShareText SizeAAA

MIAMI (May 31) - A popular Miami priest nicknamed "Father Oprah" said Sunday that "church is about forgiveness" during his first sermon since leaving the Roman Catholic Church to become Episcopalian amid an uproar over published photos of him kissing his girlfriend on the beach.
The Rev. Alberto Cutie gave the sermon at the Episcopal Church of The Resurrection in Miami. Episcopal priests can marry, unlike their Catholic counterparts. It will take him at least a year to become a priest in his new church.
The cozy church was overflowing with supporters, most having to stand along the aisles or lean against the walls. Many in the crowd said they were not members but came to support Cutie.
"This little church has been neglected, and membership is not great," said Jackie Fernandez, who attends another Episcopal church in the Miami area. She said within the year that will all change thanks to Cutie.
Cutie said in a TV interview in early May that he was in love with the woman in the photos and that they have been romantically involved for about two years after being friends for much longer. His girlfriend has been identified in local media as 35-year-old Ruhama Buni Canellis. He has not said if he plans to marry her, but noted in a statement this week that as he became an Episcopalian, he "has seen the ways that many of my brothers serve God as married men."
"If love was his mistake, then I'll still support him. Love makes the world go round," said Ysset DeCarlo, 44. She brought along her 17-year-old daughter Stephanie, who made her confession to Cutie for her confirmation.
Cutie received a standing ovation and told several jokes, quipping that "my stuff is in storage." He didn't directly address his relationship with his girlfriend.
"The spirit of God has been with me," he said. "And I'm going to tell you something: God is the only one we follow."
He also said church was about seeking God, not people, and added: "Church is about forgiveness."

Cutie has said his decision to switch was made over time, not since the photos in a Spanish-language magazine rocked South Florida's Spanish-speaking community, where he was known for his good looks and as the host of a TV show on which he gave relationship advice, earning him the "Father Oprah" moniker.
He was removed from his Miami Beach Catholic parish after the photos surfaced in early May.
His decision to switch has drawn harsh words from Archbishop John Favalora, who said he met with Cutie after the photos were published and the priest didn't mention changing churches. Favalora has admonished Cutie and Episcopal leaders in Miami.
Cutie headed the archdiocese's Radio Paz and Radio Peace broadcasts, heard throughout the Americas and in Spain.
The Cuban-American priest was born in Puerto Rico and previously hosted shows on Telemundo, the second-largest Spanish-language network in the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere. He is also a syndicated Spanish-language columnist and author of the book "Real Life, Real Love: 7 Paths to a Strong, Lasting Relationship."
Ignacio Bolivar, 65, said he thought Cutie was intensely conflicted about his relationship with the woman and his views on marriage.
"I think he tried to tell the Catholic Church what he wanted to do. That he wanted to get married," Bolivar said.
Bolivar also joked about Cutie's talents as a speaker and good looks, in light of his switch: "The Catholic Church has to put ugly priests up there."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2009-05-31 12:58:15

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