Sunday, September 14, 2014

Defenders' Day

Today, Defenders' Day, September 14, 2014, is the bicentennial of the Battle of Fort McHenry.  It was on this day Francis Scott Key, in Baltimore, MD,  penned the Star Spangled Banner which would become our national anthem.  How separate were church and state less than 40 years after Independence and less that 25 after the US Constitution?  Check out these lyrics from stanza #5:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust." And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of


Take that, Allegheny County Executive Fitzgerald.

Or how about these excerpts from America the Beautiful:

America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

 America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

 America! America! May God thy gold refine Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine!


I'm sure I don't need to post the words to God Bless America.

[And can someone explain why Google featured Tolstoy on their banner on his birthday but not a flag on Defenders' Day?]


 





Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fairness

 
Where did Christians get the idea that (the world's concept of) "fairness" is more important than sharing the gospel?  Jesus taught.  He didn't get a bunch of people together to each state their opinion and then let the disciples pick who made the most sense.  He simply told them what God says.  People today might not consider that fair, but, as King of the Universe, Jesus knows best.  Paul proclaimed.  He didn't debate or dialog with the Greek philosophers or Jewish religious leaders.  A lot of Christian schools and seminaries feel compelled to give other (false) religions equal time, but we don't find that in the Bible (except maybe when Elijah defeated and slaughtered the prophets of Ba'al).  If we really believe that the gospel is a matter of life or death -- eternal life or eternal death -- shouldn't we use every avenue, every advantage we have to get the message of salvation out there?  And if that means Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms or the Ten Commandments on courthouse walls  or exemptions for faith groups regarding healthcare law, then so be it.  This week the leader of that other Lutheran denomination spoke at an American Muslim conference to a group which is committed to "non-violent Jihad."  She didn't preach salvation through Christ; she talked about how Muslims and Lutherans are facing the same issues   Really.  Really?  Really!  Could it be that in the afterlife voices will rise up from Hades saying, "Thank you for treating me and my religious beliefs with fairness and equity.  But I really wish now you would have given me the gospel for the redemption of my soul instead."  [Of course, many so-called Christians today actually believe there is no meaningful difference between religions and that all people are saved, so logical/Biblical arguments like this are lost on them.]

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Bible in the News

Two stories about the Bible in today's news reports: 

I copied this from The Blaze -- "Scholars and faith leaders are hoping to fully reveal the hidden text in a well-known New Testament document — a manuscript that is crucial to helping shed light on the Christian faith."  The Codex Zacynthius is what is being referred to here. It's an ancient  manuscript that has been known since around since 1861.  What makes it interesting is that it appears a part of Luke's gospel was written on the pages made from animal skins in the 7th century; then, in the 13th century, the original writing was "erased" and a new translation written on the page.  Modern science will help them get a better look at what was originally there.  Don't expect any revelations that end Christianity as we know it like the Gospel of Judas did.

Penn State is removing the Gideon Bibles from the rooms of the two hotels they operate.  I guess now that the NCAA sanctions have been lifted related to the Sandusky situation they don't need God anymore.  The Bibles will be available from a library in the hotel with other donated religious texts.  Why not just leave the Bibles in the rooms and let people know that reading them is optional.  If someone is really offended the housekeeping staff could take them out of the room during the guest's stay.  And what counts as a "religious text?"  Could I leave copies of my sermons there?  What if a person claims Aryanism is their religion and wants to donate "Mien Kampf?"