By this all people will know…

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:35

Jesus said that the second greatest command was to love your neighbor as yourself. Between this and the command to love God, all other commandments would be accomplished. He goes on to tell us who our neighbor is, through the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’. For those whom are unaware, it’s everyone.

With that in mind, I’m not sure what these guys thought they were going to accomplish, or rather, how they thought this could glorify God. Look, even if you think Muslims are the worst thing ever, some great evil, and the greatest threat in the world, this doesn’t accomplish anything. Paul, in Romans, tells us that we do not overcome evil with evil, but with good.

Two guys playing army (or marines) like we did when we were kids, pretending to be tough from far away, while calling for violence and death, does not accomplish good, and most certainly does not overcome evil.

As American’s they have the right to hold the ‘protest’ and to say what they said. We have a legal guarantee to assemble and speak freely. However, one of these guys is a pastor, so presumably, he does this in the name of a ‘Christian.’ That’s what bothers me as a Christian, that they would hold this rally in the name of God, without following his commands.

Luckily, no one showed up. The news yesterday morning in Atlanta was one of concern. You have a few guys urging other people to show up armed and angry. This was disconcerting to police and citizens who worked in the area. In the end, it was just two guys interested in hearing themselves talk, standing alone in front of numerous media.

 

They Sell…the Needy for a Pair of Sandals

6Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals—
7those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;

-Amos 2:6-7a

We have here, God stating that he will not relent in his punishment of Israel for, among other reason, their treatment of the poor and needy. The Israelites valued, whether literally or metaphorically, the needy as worth less than only a pair of sandals.

Meanwhile in America, a new study shows that men in the top 1% of income live up to 15 years longer than those in the bottom 1%. It’s not even that our rich have super long life expediencies, it’s that our poor can only expect to live as long as some of the worst off in third world countries. There are myriad reasons for this, none of which are defensible, that I won’t get into.

Only Nine Percent – The percentage of American Christians surveyed who say that faith impacts their view of lending practices. To be fair, 23% say they haven’t thought about it. Still, that means only one in eight whom have considered the issue, let their faith influence them. I think most Christians would say that faith should influence all decisions and views on public policy practices.

In fact, on thinking about it, 86% said they thought regulators should limit the amount of interest charged. With 55% saying that the maximum charge should be 18%. In reality, the typical charge is about 400%. This is another reminder of how expensive it is to be poor in America.

These are things that American Evangelicals should take seriously and considered with a Biblical view. If we do indeed consider ourselves to be a Christian nation, like Israel was a chosen nation, then we have a long way to go in addressing issues that God felt were series enough to being destruction.

Remember those in Prison

I was watching the replay of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight about prisons and I started getting angry. Obviously, the stories he shows would make anyone angry and, well, sad, embarrassed, etc., but it made me angry thing about the general response from Christians. First of all, I never remember hearing about visitation of prisoners growing up. But worst of all, in the same was we don’t like the camel through the needle, we like to down play our commands to visit those in prison. I have heard it argued that these verses refer to something different. In the Ancient Near East, it was mostly debtors in prison and the only way they could get food would be if family or friends delivered it to them. Now, that could quite possibly be true (though there are many people in jail because they cannot otherwise pay their fines) but does it really matter? Aren’t we using that as an excuse to ignore? As Oliver rightly points out, it is easy to not care because these people are quite literally criminals. If you were a Christian Dictator, is this how you would have prisons?