Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Creation Care

I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to give the message at my church. The topic was "Creation Care". I was asked to write a short follow-up for the church newsletter. I thought I'd include it here:

The words "environmentalism" or "environmentalist" are hard words for some Christians to latch onto because of the baggage that is often attached to them. Many environmental groups are found in the "secular" circles of society where some Christians are loath to go. > > Both groups, the Christians and secular environmentalists, have had a strained view of each others' roles on this earth. Some Christians claim the environmentalists are only concerned about the earth, not people or that claiming to be an environmentalist is getting too close to "New Age" practices, which makes them uncomfortable. Others have the view that we (Christians) have dominion over the earth and therefore have the right to do with it as we please, and besides, Christ is coming soon and it doesn't matter how we care for the earth * Christ will make all things right very soon.> > Some "secular" environmentalists take the view that the world is in such a mess because so many Christians believe the earth is simply a resource, to be used as we please, without regard to the balance in nature or future generations. > > Care for the planet God has provided us is too critical an issue for us to continue talking past one another (Christians / Environmentalists) and playing the blame game. God has a mandate for us: Care for His Creation! > > As some of you may remember, I spoke of visualizing God as a Librarian and us as library patrons. We've been issued a "book" to use, enjoy, care for, and maintain for future patron's use. Genesis 1:31 states that God's creation was created to be good. We are a part of that creation, not apart from it. Our role is one of stewardship, not ownership of this planet. It's time for a strong commitment by Christians to taking an active role in redefining the term "environmentalist" to lead the way in Christian Environmentalism.> > Michael Frost in his book, Exiles, states: "Only a clear and biblical doctrine of Christian stewardship will give rise to a Christian environmentalism. Such a doctrine will rightly call on all Christians to recognize and honor God's ownership of all that is and to care for creation in such a way as to honor that ownership. As Christians, we believe that the world and all that is in it is deliberate, loving creation of God. God values it for its own sake as well as for its instrumental value to humans and to other creatures. And because God values nature, we, who want to honor and serve God rightly, will also value it."> > Caring for creation is part of our call to worship and serve God. As we move forward focusing on restoration, we will see that everything is connected. Creation care, justice, how we view and use money, relationships and caring for our temple * our bodies are all part of God's original plan for us to recognize, honor, and worship Him. We may find ourselves moving into unfamiliar and uncomfortable areas, challenged to change our views, habits, and lifestyles * Jesus never promised a simple life for those who take up the cross. As Frost states, "The example of Jesus, when authentically understood and appropriated, makes us ill at ease with comfort and security. It propels us into the lives of others. It sends us out to serve someone or something other than ourselves. In short, it lands us with the mission of practicing generosity, hospitality, justice and peace."

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'm without words . . . - CNN Political Ticker Coulter: We want ‘Jews to be perfected’ «

When Deutsch responded, "It would be better if we were all Christian?" Coulter said "Yeah."

Deutsch, himself Jewish, continued to press Coulter on her remarks, asking, "We should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians then?"

"Yeah," Coulter responded, adding "Well, it's a lot easier. It's kind of a fast track."

"You can't possibly believe that," Deutsch responded. “You can’t possibly. You’re too educated.”

"Do you know what Christianity is?" Coulter replied. "See, we believe your religion, but you have to obey. We have the fast track program."

This story is unbelievable. This is why I have a problem identifying myself as a "Christian" in America. The type of christian the Ann Coulter's of the world would have us believe is that Christ wants us to have an easy fast track to heaven. I wonder, where's the call for us to be war loving, greedy, environmentally destructive, bigoted, mean spirited, Republican (and for that matter, Democratic)American in her "testament"? I'm sorry, but if Ann Coulter is the spokesperson for Christianity, count me out. I'll follow Jesus instead.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"‘We Do Not Torture’" by Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)

"‘We Do Not Torture’" by Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)

Harpers has a great piece on the issue of torture. This is something that I've commented on in the past and still find it amazing I don't hear the "church" in an uproar over this issue in the U.S. Those who call themselves Christians need to make their voices heard - particularly the leadership of the church. As Scott Horton states:
The use of torture is a criminal act, and its systematic sanctioning by this administration is a matter of the utmost gravity for the country. The nation’s reaction to date fails to accord the issue the seriousness that it deserves; it constitutes a trivialization. The nation’s opinion-makers, and in particular its religious leaders must be held to blame. They fail to see the importance of the issue. And they demonstrate unacceptable cowardice in the face of political power. The only correct response is to speak truth to power, in the tradition in which the Dissenters of seventeenth century England came to use that term. But it reflects not only the tradition of the Dissenters, but also of the Established Church and of the Roman Church.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Quick Update

My nephew is fine. Thank you God! His symptoms were not caused by the cyst (which he has), but from a migraine headache. The cyst seems not to be a cause for worry at this time. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Back in the Saddle

It's been a long time since I've last posted on this site. For those of you that occasionally check in, thank you for your patience.

I've gone through quite a lot of change in some areas of my life since my last post, which I will get to over the next postings * or not. One thing I've learned is: I'm a talker, not a writer. I love conversation and debate, verbally. Sitting down and typing up what's happening in my ADD brain doesn't seem to be my strength. I will make an effort to post more frequently.

On my mind today: My 3 year old nephew. He went into the hospital last night with a headache, lethargy, and nausea. A CAT scan shows some kind of a cyst on his brain. As of this writing we're waiting to hear from the pediatric neurologist and the results from mri and other tests. Please, lift this child to God in your prayers. As a dear soul in my church wrote last night:

We ask you for your son, Evan. We believe that he is your little boy and you love him. So we ask according to your will for full healing. We believe that you are a God that is in the restoration business and you promised healing to your children, so we claim that and believe that you will heal Evan. We believe that you have big plans for him that do not include sickness and we ask that you would remove all barriers to those plans right now. That you would surround him with your angels and that your child would be brought back to more than 100%. We also ask for that your hand would be on Barb and the rest of his family and loved ones right now, Lord. That your peace would guard their hearts and that they would rest in the confidence that you are at work. We love you, Lord and thank you for your provision and mercy in full confidence that you will do what you have promised.

"I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security." - Jeremiah 33:6

"We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive." -Jamie Tworkowski


Monday, September 17, 2007

Been a long time . . .

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

I'm looking to re-start this puppy. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Inhumane Behavior

A chaplain's view of torture
by Kermit D. Johnson
The Christian Century

The historian Arnold Toynbee called war 'an act of religious worship.' Appropriately, when most people enter the cathedral of violence, their voices become hushed. This silence, this reluctance to speak, is based in part on not wishing to trivialize or jeopardize the lives of those who have been put in harm's way. We want to support the men and women in our armed forces, whether we are crusaders, just warriors or pacifists.

Furthermore, those who interrupt this service of worship become a source of public embarrassment, if not shame. The undercurrent seems to be that dissent or critique in the midst of war is inherently unpatriotic because it violates a sacred wartime precept: support our troops.

From the standpoint of Christian faith, how do we respond? I would say that if war causes us to suppress our deepest religious, ethical and moral convictions, then we have indeed caved in to a 'higher religion' called war.

Since this obeisance to war is packaged in the guise of patriotism, it is well to admit to the beauty of patriotism, the beauty of unselfishness and love of country, land, community, family, friends and, yes, our system of government. But this fabulous beauty makes us appreciate all the more what Reinhold Niebuhr called the 'ethical paradox in patriotism.' The paradox is that patriotism can transmute individual unselfishness into national egoism. When this happens, when the critical attitude of the individual is squelched, this permits the nation, as Niebuhr observed, to use 'power without moral constraint.'

I believe this has been the case, particularly since 9/11, in the treatment of prisoners under U.S. custody.

We must react when our nation breaks the moral constraints and historic values contained in treaties, laws and our Constitution, as well as violating the consciences of individuals who engage in so-called 'authorized' inhuman treatment"

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