- O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.
Robert Burns, Poem “To a Louse” – verse 8
- Bill Maher is a self-proclaimed non-Christian so the language in this clip should surprise no one. If you are offended by the language used by those outside of Christ use…good! So am I. This is from one of his shows back in May…but I am posting it now for two reasons. First, because my good friend Noel Malan posted it on Facebook and I just now became aware of it and, second, because we need to understand how the world perceives us as a religion. Even a pagan like Maher knows enough Scripture to see the disconnect between what Jesus said and how so many who claim to follow Him actually act. I hope you will view it and I hope you cringe in the appropriate places.
- Notice that he is attacking our hypocrisy, not what Jesus taught.
The truth is, if everyone who claims to be a disciple of Christ would imitate Christ not only would the kingdom explode in size but I seriously doubt that our government would be messing around killing folks in the Middle East. Why is that? Because they would see the good works of the Christians in our nation and glorify God.
When one thinks of the lives lost and the resources expended on our fruitless wars and political meddling in the Middle East it should bring us to tears. What if those same lives and resources were given to win the hearts and minds of the Islamic world? What if we were known for acts of mercy instead of violence? I’m not talking about the government here, I am talking about the kingdom of God. Peter wrote, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:15,16). Too often, as Christians we have supported our government as they meddled and murdered!
What if Christians were known for being first on the scene of earthquakes, tsunamis, famine and pestilence? What if we were known for helping instead of meddling? What if we spent money on lives and souls instead of buildings and flashy “worship services.”
We have several fine ministries that seek to do just this. Here in Abilene, we have Global Samaritan Resources that has helped many thousands. But it is a separate ministry from the church and has to struggle to raise funds like so many similar efforts. Shame on us! We had rather build buildings and divert needed funds to projects Jesus never even hinted at. Our “ministries of mercy” ought never need to go begging…they should be overwhelmed with resources to couple the gospel with the mercy of the Prince of Peace!
What excuse did we give to Bill Maher to say what he said? By not carefully following Christ in attitude, word or deed. Time for self-examination!
Peter echoes the words of Christ in Matthew 5:14 “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
Do this, and Bill Maher (and many others) will have little material for their writers.
Filed under Altruism, Atheism/Theism, Attributes of God, Christlikeness, church, Contradictions, Culture Wars, Current Events, discipleship, Evangelism, Food, Friendship, Good & Evil, Hypocrisy, Ignorance, Infidelity, Islam, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth, Middle East, Missions/Evangelism, morality, Natural Disaster, Palestine, Peace, Persuasion, Politics, Religion, Respect, Ridicule, Scripture, Selflessness, Suffering
Compassion has no place in the natural order of the world which operates on the basis of necessity. Compassion opposes this order and is therefore best thought of as being in some way supernatural.
By compassion we make others’ misery our own, and so, by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also.
~Thomas Browne, Sr.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion… – Paul to the Colossians (3:12).
There is still goodness in our nation and world. With the exception of a major disaster, this good news often doesn’t make it to page one and it isn’t particularly titillating. With evil so recently rampant, this is heartening information! So many calamities: earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes and hurricanes! In each case, multitudes of people have thrown themselves into the devastation to salve the suffering of their fellow human victims.
It really doesn’t matter how culpable one has been by building on a floodplain, too near a volcano, in the midst of fire-prone forest or bush, over a fault line, or on a hurricane-prone coast…we help anyway. After all, few of us get to choose where we work and live. Who of us, furthermore, is innocent of making a poor choice? In my own case, there is no way I can, at this stage and in my present situation, flee from tornado danger. Someday, God forbid, one may twist and tear through my neighborhood.
But here’s what I know: if it ever happens, the good people of my city, state and nation will rush to our aid as we would theirs. They will be driven by the compassion and empathy characteristic of human beings created in the image of God.
I don’t think I have ever witnessed (through the medium of television) anything worse than the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in northern Japan. This is not to say that other, equally horrible, disasters have not taken place. Speaking for myself, television and intrepid journalists have increased our awareness of such events almost to the saturation point of my emotional capacity. I have been grieving along with the rest of the world over these events and the tragedy unfolding in the Arab nations. It is almost too much to take in and process.
If the tragedies in themselves were not enough, now the religious pundits are taking advantage of them by telling us how they are God’s work of judgment and/or opportunity to further the cause of Christianity and I’m sick of it! While it is true that we live in a broken world and that every instance of human suffering offers us an opportunity to respond with the compassion of Christ, I find such pontification nauseating and a work of ignorant speculation and arrogance.
Who dares to speak for God?! Who dares to step in and pronounce His judgment? The causes of earthquakes, eruptions, floods, fires, tsunamis, tornadoes and every other violent release of energy are well known. We live in a dangerous world and sometimes we make the mistake of compounding the danger by building homes and nuclear power plants in unsafe places. Then, in the aftermath, when we have cleaned away the rubble and buried our loved ones, we do it again. God is not to blame for our foolishness!
Let us love those caught up in these events and do what we can to alleviate their agony…not add to it by ill-timed and insensitive conjecture based on ignorance at best and stupidity at worst.
In the Charamon Garden: charamongarden.wordpress.com
Whitsett Carving: whitcarv.wordpress.com
Mission South Pacific: missionsouthpacific.wordpress.com
All the flooding in Australia, Brazil and elsewhere has set me to pondering. We humans are an odd lot. Even though we know better, we build our houses and cities on the slopes of volcanoes, in floodplains, below sea level, on top of fault lines and in the paths of bushfires, tornadoes and hurricanes. Every year tragedy strikes. Volcanoes erupt, rivers flood, fault lines shift, bushfires, forest fires, tornadoes and hurricanes leave a path of destruction. When it is over, we rebuild in the same dangerous places. We usually do this out of necessity…most of us can’t afford to live where we choose. We are fly-trapped by sticky financial necessity.
For example, If your job requires you to live in Los Angeles, San Francisco or some other shaky place, do you abandon your livelihood to seek terra more firma?
If the only place to grow your crops is on the slopes or in the vulnerable vicinity of Mt. Blowapart, do you give up farming to starve on safer ground?
If the only place to build a shelter is to squat on a dangerous piece of ground or be homeless, what would you do?
On the one hand, I feel little pity for the folks with funds to live where they want but build holiday homes on the beach and then get upset because a storm spoils their fun. And then they have the cheek to expect us to help them rebuild. I question the sanity of those who have the resources to reside above sea-level but choose to live below it. Those who carelessly and perilously build in the forest because they love trees must understand that they have surrounded themselves with flammable materials.
On the other hand, there are the disastrous floods in the states of Queensland and Victoria in Australia. I have been in some of these stricken areas in the last year. No one could have foreseen the unceasing deluge that has killed, destroyed and changed lives forever. The sheer size of the flooded areas boggles the mind. But I know something of the Australian psyche. They may have to live in the same place but Australians are tough folks. They will mourn their dead and then get to work. After reminding each other, “She’ll be right, mate!” they will sluice out the mud, rebuild and reclaim what they can. God bless them every one!