The Lord’s Army? October 17, 2011Posted by Matt in Christianity.
Tags: Christianity, Islam, Jesus, The Lord's Army, Vacation Bible School songs, violent imagery
Tonight I walked into a room of our house and found my young daughters sitting in the floor, singing a song they no doubt learned in a Vacation Bible School in times past.
I may never march in the infantry.
Ride in the cavalry.
Shoot the artillery.
I may never fly over the enemy
But I’m in the Lord’s Army.
It only took a moment for the imagery of the children’s song to settle with appalling clarity in my mind. Soon, pictures of Constantine’s cross-shaped sword and the atrocities of times past danced through my head.
So, the first thought I had was of the, as my priest would say, “anti-Gospel” idea of spreading the teachings of Jesus by the might of the sword.
Secondly, I thought to myself, “What would the parents teaching these songs to their children think if a Muslim kid sang the same song?”
Your God vs. My God September 8, 2011Posted by Matt in Christian Beliefs.
Tags: 9/11, Christianity, Islam, love, peace, reactions, vengeance, violence
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Yesterday the obligatory post regarding the spiritual implications of 9/11 and its aftermath appeared on our church Facebook page. There were a few responses, religious reactions and spiritual questions, including at least one that characterized the God of Islam as one of wrath and vengeance and the God of Judaism/Christianity as one of love and mercy. Naturally, I had to insert my two cents:
I think we have to be careful not to paint all of Islam with the same brush. There are ways of interpreting their holy scriptures that portray a God of wrath and ways that show a God of peace. The same can be said of the Hebrew Bible (now there’s some divine vengeance!) to perhaps an even greater extent than the Quran. And that doesn’t even touch the violent hallucinations contained in the book of Revelation.
In the end, it seems to be a good time for reflection on ourselves and how we can best serve our world, while always being respectful and mindful of our differences.
Disinviting Division May 6, 2010Posted by Matt in Obama, politics.
Tags: false accusations, Franklin Graham, hate, Islam, martyr complex, President Obama, right wing extremists
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President Obama declared today a National Day of Prayer for America, asking all citizens to take a moment and pray for our nation and our world. It’s a reasonable request, much as it has been for the presidents who came before him, but what would anything be in this country without controversy?
Personally, I think this treads to near the invisible line between church and state, but this controversy does not involve those of us who would rather see the government stay out of religion altogether. No, this comes from within the Christian community.
The current contention comes from Southern Baptist Rev. Franklin, Graham, the son of the famed Billy Graham, and his disinvitation to today’s National Day of Prayer ceremony. The reason for Rev. Graham’s exclusion harkens back to public comments he has made in the past and still stands by today that proclaim the religion of Islam to be “wicked” and “evil.” In an attempt to avoid divisive speech, the White House then decided that it would be best if Graham were not a part of the ceremony.
Of course, to many conservative Christians this is tantamount to declaring war on Jesus, Himself. So, to fight back He has been on a media tour this week making the claim that he is being discriminated against by the Obama administration for his Christian beliefs.
Newsweek printed an interview with Graham, conducted by editor Jon Meacham and religious editor Lisa Miller, earlier this week in which he goes into a bit more detail. The interview seemed pretty contentious at times, particularly between the stalwart Graham and Meacham, who flat-out told Graham that his comments were “offensive” to him as a Christian.
There are a few things I notice in the interview that I found quite telling.
First of all, though they are obviously talking about Graham’s past comments, he goes off on a wild tangent.
Graham: 80 percent of America claims to be of the Christian faith. Ok, so there may be 20 percent that may be offended, but it won’t be 20 percent.
Meacham: I’m in the 80% and I’m offended.
Graham: That I mention Jesus Christ?
You see, this is an obvious ploy by Graham to turn the tables on the “liberal Christian” and plant the seed that he doesn’t actually believe in Jesus, even though that had nothing at all to do with the point of the conversation. It is all part of this strange martyr complex that conservative Christians drag around and thrust out into the public eye any time they either don’t get their way or they get called out for spouting ignorance.
Later Graham goes on to compare all of Islam to the terrorists from the radical fringe who attacked us on September 11, in the process trying to insinuate that Meacham must not think that was wrong. He then makes the claim that he has “not heard one Islamic leader around the world stand up and say that (September 11 attacks) was a terrible thing…If Catholics had flown into these buildings in the name of Catholicism, the pope would have been on TV that night denouncing them, saying this was wrong and what they did was sin.”
Perhaps he’s right and he never did hear them, but he might want to do a bit of research on the subject before he makes another inane assertion like that. Clearly, those attacks were denounced by the Islamic community around the world. I suggest Rev. Graham try Google sometime before spreading false information to people who believe every word he says.
He then goes on to complain about the Obama administration allowing Muslims to celebrate Ramadan at the Pentagon, but not having a Christian ceremony. Ending this particular soliloquy with the question, “Why can’t we as Christians have our own program?”
The real question is, do they need their own program? Perhaps the National Day of Prayer should be done the way Jesus intended prayer to be – not as a public ceremony. I know, I know, that pesky Sermon on the Mount always gets in the way, doesn’t it?
Graham ends the interview with this wonderful little diatribe, feeding his band of far right extremists and email spammers exactly what they want.
Graham: There’s still the concern with many people about what Obama really believes. Obama’s father was a Muslim, so the Islamic world sees him as a Muslim. Now he has told me personally that he believes in Jesus Christ, and he is a Christian. He said that to me again last week. And I said, “Mr. President, thank you for sharing that with me, I appreciate that.” So I believe what he says. The Islamic world, though, they see him as one of their own. So if the president and his administration wants to cut guys like myself out, that’s find. But it’s sending a signal to the evangelical community that, you know, our people aren’t important to him.
I don’t know what else needs to be said…
Multiculturalism At Work March 20, 2008Posted by Matt in holiday, Jesus, random.
Tags: easter, Easter bunny, Islam, Jesus, Muhammad, multiculturalism
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Yesterday I received an interesting email from a marketing counterpart in Dubai, Saudi Arabia. The headline said “Easter Greetings” and had an online card with the words “Happy Easter from our family to yours” and featuring cute little kittens and ducks, an Easter bunny carrying a basket full of eggs, and, in the background, the limp form of Jesus hanging on a cross….
At the bottom was a PS – Please note our office is closed tomorrow to mark the birthday of Prophet Mohammad.
We will resume work on Sunday, 23rd
I appreciated the sentiment, but doesn’t this seem a little strange…