“Would The Devil Write it?”

A Florida church has decided that the best way for them to publicly represent Christ is to burn copies of the Qur’an on 9/11/10.

Presumably, this church headed by Pastor Terry Jones (below) adheres to the teachings of the Son of God who when asked by His opponents what the greatest commandment is, responded with this,

‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.


Like Hilary Faye, Pastor Terry Jones is filled with Christ’s love. As if you couldn’t tell by the suit…

I fail to see how this Qur’an burning carries out the second greatest commandment. The book burning in Acts 19 can hardly be used as a precedent. What the Ephesians did there was publicly making their repentance known. By burning their sorcery books they were saying Jesus trumps sorcery, incantations and the occult. I find it hard to believe that the folks at this Florida church are repentant Muslims.

Predictably and justifiably so, there has been public outcry over this church’s planned bonfire. Young American Muslim, a Houston Chronicle blogger, has chimed in with a post titled, Burn a Quran Day is Hateful and Ignorant.

Read more of this post

Today in Houston…

The Mexican National Soccer Team (FIFA ranking: 17), will square off against Angola’s team (FIFA ranking:85) at Reliant Stadium. It’s a friendly match which means that

  • It doesn’t count for anything except extracting my countrymen’s hard earned lawn-mowing money
  • No Barkleyesque elbows will be flung in the direction of Angolan athletes.

Because it is my beloved Tri that is playing, expect to see this in the stands,


[Photo credit: Me. Took it during a México v. Belize match at Reliant Stadium]

The festivities will em, kick off later today.  No news if the wonderful folks at the so-called Minuteman Project will stage a whinefest.

That’s today in H-town, yesterday there was a protest led by none other than “local activist”, one might say “community organizer”, Quanell X.

As one might have guessed the protest had to do with racism, perceived or otherwise. Recently, a Bellaire officer, Jeffrey Cotton was acquitted of aggravated assault on Robbie Tolan, a Bellaire youth. Sgt. Cotton shot Tolan while the latter was in his front yard. By all accounts it was a misunderstanding, since Cotton believed that Tolan had stolen a car (the officer punched in the wrong tag number).

A confrontation ensued with the boy’s mother and the officer believed Tolan was reaching for a weapon and opened fire, wounding the young man. Personally, I believe the situation could have been avoided if Tolan had simply followed orders and waited for the misunderstanding to get cleared up.

Maybe it’s just me but if a cop tells me to do something, I’m going to do it and not put up any resistance. Remember folks, there are more of them than there are of you and they carry radios (not to mention guns). Besides, if you’re free of wrongdoing then that will come out in the wash, why aggravate the situation?

Quanell the Tenth decided to stick his nose in all this because Tolan is black and Cotton is white. At the protest, Mr. Tenth said,

This cop is a criminal, this cop should be in jail. If you shoot one more black man in Bellaire in cold blood, then your damn city will go up in flames.

I find his tone very interesting. Yes, it is possible that Cotton’s demeanor was influenced by the fact that Tolan is a young black man. Young black men and the police don’t seem to get along very well. I don’t find it outside the realm of possibility that the officer might not have been so trigger-happy if Tolan was white.

That said, Quanell the Tenth just made it more difficult for young black men in Bellaire. His passionate and extremely careless threat just paints a very negative image of blacks in the minds of Bellaire residents. In their minds, he’s painting an image (if not reinforcing) of black men as being violent, hot-tempered and not too hesitant to making threats. That’s a disservice to the very people he claims to represent.

To me, it’s very similar to when Muslims get their knickers in a twist when anyone suggests that some professing Muslims have violent tendencies.

As I’ve said before,

If someone says that you have a tendency to get out of control, and you don’t like it, then probably it’d be better if you didn’t get out control with your reaction…

Super Best Friends: “Fill Out Your Census Forms!”


Photo credit: Houston Chronicle

Don’t know what particular faith Sheila Jackson Lee (far left, no pun intended) represents, but then again she doesn’t need any excuse or reason to put herself in front of a camera.

And where is Mother Nature’s rep, Al Gore? Click here for the story.

“Christian” Nations and Evangelism

jesus-america

Is this logo for real? Yes, and believe it or not you can buy the t-shirt here.

Been listening to Mark Dever talk about evangelism in a 3-part series. So far it has been uncomfortably convicting. The talks are from the Desiring God 2009 Conference for Pastors at John Piper’s church in Minneapolis.

In the second part, “The Pastor and Evangelism” Dever shares an exchange he had with a Muslim friend, Bilam (sp?), while they were both at Cambridge.

Bilam commented on how corrupt this “Christian country” was of Great Britain, and I just quickly, sort of on the side, said “Britain is not a Christian country. I mean, you can’t really have Christian countries.”

Well Bilam, a very sharp friend, said very quickly, “Well, thats the problem with Christianity, you don’t have a full social, political vision of the world. We as Muslims know how to pattern society.”

And so I wasn’t prepared for that kind of argument right then. I just responded:

“Look honestly Bilam that’s because I think Christianity has a more realistic portrayal of human nature. We understand that force and coercion cannot finally bring about the change that needs to happen in people.”

Islam has an understanding of people that we’re basically good. Islam has an understanding of people that they can put a sword to our throats and make us a sufficiently good Muslim.

Well we don’t understand that with Christianity. You can’t really expand Christianity with the sword. That’s the problem with considering Europe “‘Christian”.

Friends, Europe has largely never been evangelized. It’s an unevangelized place. There have been places where the Protestant gospel broke forth and maybe some of the early monks had the Gospel right, but basically you have Charlemagne with the sword sticking it to the necks of a German tribe saying “in the river or you die.”

And that’s how Europe was “evangelized.”

But friends that’s not Christianity and that’s not what we do even on a mental sense, when we share the Gospel.

Good stuff.

Still Waiting on Rioting Hindus…

Some facts:

It has been 2 weeks since Halloween

This is supermodel Heidi Klum:
klum

This was supermodel Heidi Klum on Halloween dressed up as Kali:
klum halloween 011108

Predictably, Heidi won best costume according to this story:

Heidi Klum faces flak from Hindus for posing as Goddess Kali in Halloween bash

Read more of this post

Obama Votive Candle

A pic of someone’s version of San Barack was taken in the city of San Francisco:

Photo credit:A National Review reader

What’s next? Sen. Obama on a Cross? Someone should ask the Senator what he thinks of this.

I know for a fact that we won’t see him ascending to heaven on Mohammed’s horse (below)

I don’t know where they were going with this, but I do know that this will drive all the Left Behind folks into a frenzy (“See, he is the Anti-Christ!”) and tick off devotees of San Martín de Porres (below)

Coexist

I’m not sure what the artist who created this sticker had in mind. If his point is to call (command? Gasp!) upon people who hold these differing worldviews to get along, who can argue with that?

Hopefully our artist realizes that this is nothing new. In fact in the Gospels, Jesus ups the ante by commanding us to love God and to love our neighbor. Of course, “neighbor” encompasses unregenerate people of any stripe (Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Wiccan, etc).

However if his point is that these worldviews are ultimately reconcilable (let us not forget that the same Jesus who told us to love God and our neighbor firmly stated this), then I’m afraid he is sadly mistaken and tragically anachronistic in the sense of extrapolating current moods to older traditions. As noted Christians apologist Ravi Zacharias said,

Anyone who claims that all religions are the same betrays not only an ignorance of all religions but also a caricatured view of even the best-known ones. Every religion at its core is exclusive.

Whatever the artist’s motivation, this story might be an example of my first speculation:
Fighting for their whiskers

The story is about the D.C. Fire Department making their firefighters shave their beards. However there are Christian, Jewish and Muslim firefighters that for religious reasons will keep theirs. In a sense they are banding together to keep their fuzz.

What better way to Coexist than standing up for beards?

Ravi Zacharias succinctly contrasts Christianity and Islam

I’m thoroughly enjoying Ravi’s 2000 book, Jesus Among Other Gods. The man has a way with words without being verbose and thus inhibiting the presentation of the Gospel.

While a post a day quoting a great insight from this book is doable, I’ll try to contain myself.

Before I cite the words relevant to the title of this post, I sense the urgency to quote Ravi’s words from a few pages earlier,

Jesus’ kingdom was of such nature that it was not procured by military might or power. Its rule is neither territorial nor political. If history has proven anything, it is that the spread of the gospel by the sword or by coercion has done nothing but misrepresent the message and bring disrepute to the gospel.

Now to the main quotation,

The teaching of Jesus is clear. No one ought to be compelled to become a Christian. This sets the Christian faith drastically apart from Islam. In no country where the Christian faith is the faith of the majority is it illegal to propagate another faith. There is no country in the world that I know of where the renunciation of one’s Christian faith puts one in danger of being hunted down by the powers of the state.

Yet, there are numerous Islamic countries where it is against the law to publicly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and where a Muslim who renounces his or her belief in Islam to believe in anything else risks death. Freedom to critique the text of the Koran and the person of Mohammed are prohibited by the laws of blasphemy, and the result is torturous punishment.

One must respect the concern of a culture to protect what it deems sacred, but to compel a belief in Jesus Christ is foreign to the gospel, and that is a vital difference. The contrast is all too clear.

Moses was High on Mount Sinai?

According to this story,
“‘Moses was high on hallucinogenic drug when he received Ten Commandments,’ claims top academic”

Moses was high when he saw the burning bush as well as when he received the Ten Commandments.

Check out the story to read the details according to Dr. Benny Shannon, a psychology professor, who came up with this theory.

I wonder if the good doctor will reach (has reached?) the same conclusion in regards to Muhammad claiming to have been visited by Jibril at Hira? And if he does (did), will he make his “studies” public?

If the Muhammad cartoon and teddy bear debacles are any indication, I wouldn’t count on it…

Peace Village: More Interfaith Confusion

We believe that all religions are basically the same –
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation. — from Steve Turner’s “Creed”

Many Christians are angered or disturbed by so-called Interfaith groups. Anger isn’t really an emotion that bubbles up within me when I read about these kind of well-intentioned groups (truly the quip about the road to hell surely applies here).

Confusion is probably what besets me when I read about these types of efforts (previously blogged about it here).

After reading a related article in the Houston Chronicle’s Religion section, I was again puzzled.

“Bound by the Golden Rule”

The story is about a woman, Janie Stevens, who has brought something called “Peace Village” to Houston in order to,

“It helps Christians of all ages learn about their fellow human beings on Earth, within the context of their faith,” she said. “It has been a real eye-opener to see how we all have prayer lives of one form or another and we all acknowledge a higher being.”

Well and good, I for one don’t mind learning about other beliefs. It is somewhat enlightening and astonishing how humans utilize their imagination to worship everything and anything instead of the Living God.

I’m not sure if Stevens’ venture seeks to pretend that these different faiths are all the same and they worship the same god.

Anyone familiar with any of the major world religions can see that as Turner points out in his poem they differ vastly on the important stuff. That there are threads of commonality is beyond dispute but this does not mean that they are the same.

Though this seems to be espoused by a Christian Reverend quoted in the article,

“It’s a wonderful depiction of the major world religions,” said the Rev. Gary H. Jones, director of chaplaincy services for St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Care System. “What I saw as the thread is a way of blessing people — the many ways of blessings, of calling for prayer and calling God in times of need.”

I wonder what Rev. Jones makes of Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman,

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”