Tag Archives: Christianity

Not My Jesus: My Very Christian View on the Muslim Ban

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“We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives – but in what we do for others”
Harry Truman

I am a Christian. I love Jesus. I am scared for America.

I never thought about whether people were upset or protesting during the Crusades until this weekend. To see “armies of Christians from Western Europe respond to Pope Urban II’s plea to go to war against Muslim forces in the Holy Land. “ – (source) . Do you think there was extreme outrage by any of the Christians at the time?

The executive order to temporarily ban visa holders from the 7 countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen has sent shock waves through this country and across the globe. There are a number of reasons it just doesn’t make sense. There are a number articles that detail the countries selected for the ban did not include the Islamic extremists who have been a part of the major terrorist attacks:

“None of the perpetrators of the major US terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam in the past 15 years have come from the nations on that list. In fact, the country home to the biggest number of terrorists who have carried out successful attacks inside the US is the US itself.” – (Source)  and (source) 

So let’s just be really clear, is this really about safety? ISIS is a problem. Islam is not. I am totally okay with the destruction of extremists of any kind, from any religion, sect, ethnicity, you name it. Let’s crush the threat. I am no pacifist. But neither is my God.

I had to stop and think about something. I am currently reading Jeremiah, a book from the bible, that details the destruction and impending captivity Yahweh (God) inflicted upon his own, chosen people for their complete, utter disobedience and disregard for his law. Not to mention their incessant participation in idolatry that was occurring in Judah and Jerusalem. Like… do you understand what I am saying? God used destruction against his OWN people, but not just for any old reason. Through the bible, he used war, pestilence to show his will, strength and love. Talk about some tough love, right. So of course, it’s cool to kill people, discriminate against people who don’t believe in God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit?

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Throughout time, Christians have found numerous ways to inflict war against whole groups of people. Yet, no one has been successful in completely wiping an entire race. (Caveat: I know there is probably one example, but you get my point… think about it). The bible tells Christians that we will grow, live and be surrounded by “tares” a.k.a. no-believers, but we are supposed to be a light, not this BEACON OF DARKNESS. Like what are you people doing? Christianity has nothing to do with the mistreatment of whole religious groups.

This ban smells like Islamophobia and just appearing to do something to fight against ISIS when in fact what has been done is completely missing the mark AND allowing us to become a bigger target from real extremist threats. Throughout the bible, God used “foreigners”, some who were believers and non-believers, for his purpose based on their heart which he intimately knows.

And here’s the other thing, empathy is important, but not about this. I am a firm believer that trying to walk in someone else’s shoes is important and having a positive experience with a marginalized group makes you more willing to speak up for them. However, you don’t need a warm and fuzzy experience with a Muslim to understand why the complete disregard for the people who are being detained. It’s like lumping all Catholics and Christians as a breeding place for sexual abuse. There is a long list, which continues to grow, of Christian leaders of all races engaging in that type of behavior, but we’re not banning every priest and Christian pastor from going to schools or having youth programs at their church. That would be ludicrous, but to some extent could be useful to save our young boys and girls who get abused. But there are so many more who do positive things for kids, so we have to be vigilant and strategic to protect our kids from people like that.

So let’s work on the ISIS problem, it is not a Muslim problem. We cannot unilaterally discriminate against all Muslim countries. Now, people are talking about the fact Muslim counties in which Trump has investments, but including them doesn’t change it though. Let’s include Saudi Arabia, which would probably never happen, we would still be having the same conversation. Don’t fall for that distraction conversation. Don’t.

Some people may be reading this and saying that there was no mention of Christianity as part of the reason for initiating this ban. But as the Republican Party, which I am a part of some days, they are using their beliefs as a basis for every decision that they make and I have just had enough, because you do not own his Holy name. Neither do I really, it stands on its own, but I will not stand idly and allow people to continually misuse it. It is time that the Christians who are standing idle while watching the bastardization of Christianity to justify these actions in these United States America to stand the heck up! We wouldn’t let a non-believer paint such an ugly picture of God the Son, why are we letting those who profess his name act as such?

As a group of people, we cannot allow this. I am not sure what is more frustrating, the complete discrimination of a whole group of people or people standing behind a shroud of Christianity to cover their bigotry. Either way, you will not use my Jesus in this way.

Luke 9: 52-56

“… And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.”

M/P

To Err is Human… And We Can’t Get Enough of it

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“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.” – Martin Luther

This is not another blog post about politics, I promise, but I am kicking off with Hillary. Yes, Hillary Clinton, you tired of her too? Me, three times a million, but it’s not her fault. As I read another story, commentary, or opinion about Hillary Clinton running or maybe not running for office, I think my mind might explode. There are a number of commentaries that discuss whether her heart is in it anymore. Either way, I don’t care. Her eventual campaign is the same reason millennials are increasingly less and less likely to be interested in the political system or are aware of the current state of affairs.The pursuit of power is her motivation. It’s at her fingertips, and even though she may fail, right now that pursuit is stronger than the fear of failure.  Do they really expect us to believe that she is the best candidate in 2016? Maybe at some point she was, if she’s your cup of tea, but she’s out of date. She and Bill have made mistakes, but no one is listening. It’s not quite the same as Mitt Romney, because she is at least married to Bill. The Republicans love to hate that democrat less than President Obama.

But If she were to do an evaluation of herself and those surrounding her did too, she is not the best candidate, and that doesn’t matter to her or her team, cause its all about the pursuit of power. I know there are plenty of people who would disagree with me.  And this opinion has nothing to do with partisan politics. I think there are other democrats that could do better and I think there are Republicans that could do better.  But this story isn’t unique to good ole Hilary, and there are further implications that are important to our generation and those that follow us.

As we teach our young kids to work hard and reach for their dreams, there is this thing that is called failure, that’s not really failure. But it comes with being successful and smart. Is that you can’t always be a winner or the winner, but you’re not really a loser. You can not always lead, or be in control. Your time is not all the time. Now many would say that Hillary hasn’t had her time to shine and has been in the shadow of Bill. But she won her own senate elections and was selected as the Secretary of State. She is NOT chump change. If she never becomes President, that doesn’t make her a failure. What’s a bigger problem, is having people who entered the political scene 40 years ago still attempting to lead this country.

Why am I pointing this out? It’s easy for Americans and citizens across the globe to recognize politicians often serve too long, such as the soon to be Congressional retiree, Barbara Mikulski, or there are political families who shuffle in and out of power. But the reality, this is not just in politics, its also in another, probably more important institution, religion.

Although some humans can resist the temptation of power, it can trap even the most pious. So why do we have people serve in positions that are surrounded by money, power and fame for so long and then act surprised when a scandal comes out, or more foolishly, believe that they are some how incapable of making mistakes, or acting inappropriately. For politicians,  it’s easy to notice the slow contamination from when they enter the political world, fresh faced and full of optimism to the point when they are tainted; mostly bought and paid for by billionaires. We get it. But let me ask again, what about leaders in our churches, temples, mosques or religious leaders who fall into the exact same or similar trap.

I ask this, because the studies show that millennials are affiliating less and less with a religion.  “In 2012, Pew Research Center released data showing that 32 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 are religiously unaffiliated. This was an 11 percent increase over any other age group that year, and a 7 percent jump from the 25 percent of young people who responded this way in 2007” (source) 

Now we know that religion is flawed, because it is made by humans, so there is no expectation that it should be perfect. But there is also evidence that despite churches (specifically christian) are failing at an unbelievable rate, researchers are seeing “churches planted at a rapid rate….. It’s a transition from an outdated model to one that’s hopefully working better”  (Source) . So it’s not that the people don’t want to try something, which is supported by the fact that although there is a decrease in millennials affiliating with a “religion”, the latest Pew survey from 2014, states that “86 percent (of Millennials) still profess belief in God” (source) 

So then why are Millenmials running from religion? Because it’s being run by like many other institutions. Instead of being a shining light, we are falling for the same ills: power, greed, and fame. And more than any other institution, those three things make it hard to lead something where humility is kind of the number 1 ingredient in leading a group of believers. I would love to speak to a member in televangelist Creflo Dollar’s congregation. Last week, he created a gofundme account for a new jet, and the fact he still leads a church baffles me. He is one of the many national pastors, who could almost cover T.I.’s song, “If it ain’t about the money”.

This generation has grown up with some of the richest, most famous religious leaders, not to mention we grew up with the catholic scandal actually being out  in the open versus behind close doors, tell me why it’s crazy to think we’re less likely to want to be affiliated with a religion or religious groups. Certain culture, racial groups, and religions differ on the statistics, but across religions lines, one thing that is certain, millennials need for religion is declining. Maybe it’s as more people are educated, they need less religion?

Some people believe that, “young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice …… young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness….. What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.” (source) 

While I agree to an extent, when you look at alternative churches, or what some call the “feel good” churches, their leaders start a church and lead the church for YEARS, as many of the traditional churches do. As churches grow,  certain things flow in, more money, radio or TV deals, more attention, power, and fame. Now for some, can they stay grounded? I am not so sure. We are human, and to err really is human. When you ask people no longer affiliated with a belief system, its often something that happened to them or some religious drama.

Religious leaders serving for their whole life was always an interesting concept, especially in the Christian faith, when Jesus only served in his ministry for 3 years on earth, are those leaders greater than he? Is he not the example?

My mother, a very devout woman, has always made the point that you should never discuss a spiritual or religious matter over and over, but in today’s society it feels as if we don’t have any conversations about religion, too contentious. Religion, spirituality, or your belief system, isn’t like race, there are times you should be surrounded by people who are just like you, but if we never talk about differing views and ideologies, we are doing ourselves a disservice. So I want to hear from you,

 Why do you think Millennials are less religious? Or why are millennials finding less need for places of worship?

Comment below or tweet me @TheDSTLawyer or @missinperspctiv