Monday, August 31, 2009

Gregory Boyd Speaks Out Against John Piper's Arrogant Comments

Read this first: TheoPoetic Musings: Is John Piper The New "Jerry Falwell"?

Caught from Wretched Daily Update Archives August 25, 2009---
Local Atheist Disputes Piper’s Tornado Talk---in which Todd Friel mistakenly calls Dr. Boyd an atheist because Dr. Boyd unlike the calvinazis doesn't believe that God is the author of evil and all sin and then by the same reason punishes those for doing what God forced them to do in the first place:
Did God Send a Tornado to Warn The ELCA?
August 21st, 2009
On Wednesday, August 19, five small tornados formed in and around the Twin Cities. Included among the property damage was a broken church steeple. It just so happens that Central Lutheran Church was hosting the National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and that one of the issues they were discussing was their stance on homosexuality. According to John Piper, this is no coincidence.

In a blog that unfortunately managed to make it on the local evening news John offered “an interpretation of this Providence.” He claimed “[t]he tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin.” You can read his blog here.

Now, I appreciate John as a brother in Christ and respect him as a pastor working for the Kingdom. And I have no quarrel with his view that homosexuality should not be affirmed as God’s ideal. But when he publicly claims to discern a divine warning behind the behavior of a particular tornado, I feel I need to offer a public response, if only to remind non-Christians that not all Christians think like this.

Here are six questions and objections I believe John would need to address if his speculation about why a particular tornado struck a church was to be considered remotely plausible.

1. Why does John discern a divine motive behind a damaged church steeple but not behind any other damage this tornado caused? For example, the roof of the Minneapolis Convention Center was damaged by this same tornado. Was God sending a warning by having his judging tornado damage this building? Or what about the damage cause by the other four tornadoes that struck the Twin Cities area around the same time? A middle school in North Branch was badly damaged, for example. Was this school more affirming toward gays than other schools in the area?

2. According to the National Weather Service, the United States is hit by about 1300 tornados each year, on average. Does John discern a pattern that these tornados tend to strike places that are more pro-gay, or even just generally more sinful, than others? I did a little research, and it turns out that the place where tornados tend to strike the most frequently and do the most damage is in the Bible Belt, with Oklahoma topping the list. And, interestingly enough, it turns out that those states that have the most progressive stances toward gays (e.g. Massachusetts, Vermont, New York) are among the states that typically experience the least tornado damage. Doesn’t this fact by itself completely undermine John’s speculation as to why a Minneapolis church steeple was damaged?

I have an alternative interpretation of tornado behavior to offer. They have nothing to do with how pro-gay or how sinful people are and everything to do with where people happen to live. Tornadoes strike Oklahoma frequently because it’s located in a place where hot and cold air currents tend to collide frequently at certain times of the year. Much less frequently, the same thing happens in the Twin Cities. Why can’t we just leave it at that?

3. One has to wonder why God would single out the ELCA’s discussion of homosexuality as worthy of a tornado hit while by-passing so many other serious issues. To give one example, there are over 400 distinct passages encompassing over 3,000 verses in the Bible that address issues related to poverty. Compare this with homosexuality, a topic that is explicitly mentioned a total of two times in the Old Testament and three times in the New. On top of this, the most frequently mentioned reason God judged cities and nations in the Old Testament was because they failed to care for the needy. And, finally, if there’s any sin American churches fail to seriously confront, it’s this one.

Read more: Here.

Is John Piper The New "Jerry Falwell"?

Compare these quotes from the late Jerry Falwell:
Fundies: Katrina is Gods punishment on abortionist!!!
by AHiddenSaint
Share this on Twitter - Fundies: Katrina is Gods punishment on abortionist!!! Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 09:08:36 PM PDT
So when do fundies go to far?
Two days after 9/11, Jerry Falwell took to the airwaves to proclaim that God had allowed the United States to be attacked because "the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians" had tried to transform America into a secular society. Just this weekend, wingnuts from the Westboro Baptist Church turned out at the funerals of two fallen soldiers to say that God is punishing the United States in Iraq for its tolerance of homosexuality back home.

For another disgusting chapter in the conservative book of divine retribution, look at the reaction to the catastrophic attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Men of faith such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson did not mourn the loss of life, grieve for their countrymen or even seek to rally the nation. Instead, appearing on the 700 Club, they sought to cast blame and attribute the terrorist attack to Providence angered by the sin and debauchery of conservative enemies:

FALWELL: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
ROBERTSON: "We have sinned against Almighty God, at the highest level of our government, we've stuck our finger in your eye. The Supreme Court has insulted you over and over again, Lord. They've taken your Bible away from the schools. They've forbidden little children to pray. They've taken the knowledge of God as best they can, and organizations have come into court to take the knowledge of God out of the public square of America."

Read more: Here.

To these proclamations by one of Calvinazism's leading darlings, John Piper:
The Tornado, the Lutherans, and Homosexuality
August 20, 2009 | By: John Piper | Category: Commentary

I saw the fast-moving, misshapen, unusually-wide funnel over downtown Minneapolis from Seven Corners. I said to Kevin Dau, “That looks serious.”
According to the ELCA’s printed convention schedule, at 2 PM on Wednesday, August 19, the 5th session of the convention was to begin. The main item of the session: “Consideration: Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality.” The issue is whether practicing homosexuality is a behavior that should disqualify a person from the pastoral ministry.

The eyewitness of the damage continues:

This curious tornado touches down just south of downtown and follows 35W straight towards the city center. It crosses I94. It is now downtown.

The time: 2PM.

The first buildings on the downtown side of I94 are the Minneapolis Convention Center and Central Lutheran. The tornado severely damages the convention center roof, shreds the tents, breaks off the steeple of Central Lutheran, splits what’s left of the steeple in two...and then lifts.

Let me venture an interpretation of this Providence with some biblical warrant.

1. The unrepentant practice of homosexual behavior (like other sins) will exclude a person from the kingdom of God.

The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

2. The church has always embraced those who forsake sexual sin but who still struggle with homosexual desires, rejoicing with them that all our fallen, sinful, disordered lives (all of us, no exceptions) are forgiven if we turn to Christ in faith.

Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

3. Therefore, official church pronouncements that condone the very sins that keep people out of the kingdom of God, are evil. They dishonor God, contradict Scripture, and implicitly promote damnation where salvation is freely offered.

4. Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornados.

Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:41)

5. When asked about a seemingly random calamity near Jerusalem where 18 people were killed, Jesus answered in general terms—an answer that would cover calamities in Minneapolis, Taiwan, or Baghdad. God’s message is repent, because none of us will otherwise escape God’s judgment.

Jesus: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)

6. Conclusion: The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great Lutheran heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners.

Read full text here: Here.
Caught from Wretched Daily Updates August 20, 2009.

I especially like this sentence: "Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality." What---you mean like fundamentalist Calvinists distorting God's grace into a license to excuse Calvin's theocratic tyranny and executions. I'd venture to say that the ELCA as well as the more progressive reformed, Calvinist, protestant, Baptist, Arminian, etc. bodies have already turned from distorting God's grace---that's why they are not fundamentalists of either the Reformed or non-reformed stripe.

See also He Lives: John Piper has a rare Strikeout in which a Piper fan even calls out Dr. Piper's comments.

UPDATE: Boy in coma after fall from tree dies

Here's an article from our local newspaper with further details surrounding this post: TheoPoetic Musings: Summer Long Hiatus/Tragedy In The Church: "Summer Long Hiatus/Tragedy In The Church":
UPDATE: Boy in coma after fall from tree dies

Taken off life support on Friday
By David Reynolds

Published: Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 7:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 7:49 p.m.
Belville | On Friday, Heather Skipper made the most difficult decision of her life. Her 9-year-old son Teddy Hiatt hadn’t woken up from a coma since he fell from a tree in Belville on Aug. 23.

He was dying.

If she allowed Teddy’s organs to be donated, Skipper said, maybe other parents might not go through what she has.

“I wanted something good to come out of this,” Skipper said. “It’s agony wondering whether your child is going to survive.”

Teddy of Oak Island was taken off life support on Friday, and he died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington. Skipper said his organs will be used to help eight other children.

On the afternoon of Aug. 23, Teddy was rushed from a neighborhood in Belville to the hospital after he fell out of a tree.

The Southport Elementary School student had been playing with friends outside his friends’ home at 10043 North Olde Towne Wynd when he fell.

The next day, Skipper said her son was on life support, but she was holding out hope he would pull through. She also said doctors had told her it was unlikely Teddy would survive.

Since Skipper does not have health insurance, people in the community have helped her with donations for medical bills.

Most recently, a fundraiser was held at Chaser's Beach Club in Oak Island on Saturday, Skipper said. She has also set up a fund at RBC Centura Bank in Wilmington.

On Sunday, Skipper said Teddy was adventurous and loved the outdoors. A little environmentalist, she said, Teddy would get frustrated if he saw someone throw their cigarette out a car window.

He loved to surf and already could beat his mom at chess. He is survived by his mother, his older sister Angel Hiatt, 13, and his father T.R. Hiatt.

Doctors performed surgery to relieve pressure on Teddy’s brain, Skipper said, but he didn’t recover from the serious neck and head injuries he received in the fall.

Teddy’s viewing will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Peacock Newnam & White Funeral Home at 1141 North Howe St. in Southport. Skipper said anyone who would like to attend is welcome.

The funeral will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church of Oak Island.

David Reynolds: 343-2075

On @StarNewsOnline

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Theodore “Teddy” Hiatt, of Oak Island, died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center on Friday. Contributed photo

Coming Soon Muslim Superheroes

Here's some interesting stuff for you:

World's first Muslim superheroes, the 99, are headed for British television screens
The world's first Muslim cartoon superheroes have taken the Arab world by storm, and now they are headed for British television screens.

Published: 11:00AM BST 20 Aug 2009

Jabbar, is one of The 99, the world's first Muslim cartoon superheroes
Named the 99, as each possesses one of Allah's 99 attributes, the characters include a burka-clad woman named Batina the Hidden and a Saudi Arabian Hulk-type man named Jabbar the Powerful.

They have proved a hit from Morocco to Indonesia and were recently named as one of the top 20 trends sweeping the world by Forbes magazine.

Now they are being brought to British television by Endemol, the production company behind Big Brother, with a mission to instill Islamic values in children across all faiths.

Until now, the superhero market has been dominated by the likes of Batman, Spiderman and Superman who have typically limited their crime-fighting abilities to America and the Western world.

They were created by Dr Naif al-Mutawa, a clinical psychologist from Kuwait, who felt Muslim children needed a new set of heroes to look up to, to counter jihadist role models.

“It hit me that the stories I was hearing were from men who grew up believing that their leader, Saddam, was a hero, a role model — only to one day be tortured by him,” he told The Times. “I decided the Arab world needed better role models.”

However, despite being called the 99, there will never be a full cast of 99 superheroes since it is forbidden to depict all Allah's attributes

Dr al-Mutawa hopes the cartoons will have a universal appeal.

He said: “It is based on attributes such as generosity and mercy. These are not things that Islam has a monopoly over.”

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Long Hiatus/Tragedy In The Church

Sorry for the Summer long silence, but I spent most of my Summer at our pool or playing video games as well as spending time with family and friends. We had a lot of company this Summer, too---especially since my 30th birthday was August the 3rd. Anyways, I hope to get back into full blogging mode soon now that Fall is rolling around---but I figured I'd break my silence today as we had a tragic death in our church this week. A little boy was playing with some friends and climbed a tree and fell off it and died later in the hospital earlier this week. It is always sad to lose someone so young, but his parents even in the face of tragic circumstances did a graceful thing by donating his organs to help save and give life to others and that is what following Jesus is about---acts of self-less grace. Even-though, these parents lost a life by living out their faith, they gave hope and life to others who might have lost a life as well.