Overruled

FAI have developed a close relationship with the Kurds, desiring to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to that oppressed people. FAI have produced two films, Better Friends Than Mountains I and II, to highlight the plight of the Kurds, and the work being done to introduce them to Jesus.

The recent political betrayal by Donald Trump (initially via Twitter announcement) when he gave the Kurds into the hands of hostile Turkish forces, clearly made the Christian work of FAI more difficult.

Not surprisingly FAI organised a Night of Prayer For The Kurds”.

But what WAS surprising was the venue chosen. The Presidential Ballroom of the Trump Hotel in Washington.

I was clearly not the only one to find the lack of wisdom in that choice, and the group found the need to release a video on YouTube only a few days ago attempting to justify that choice.

But how quickly things change.

change.png

Only days after posting that video, the choice of venue was over-ruled, their chosen meeting place was denied to them, and an alternative had to be found.

While the official word is that the Trump Hotel revoked the reservation – I suspect One higher than the hotel management, One higher than the man whose name the hotel bears, One above the politics of man, stepped in and over-ruled a questionable venue choice – declining to have His name associated in anyway with Godless politics and politicians, (unlike far too many “evangelical” Americans)

 

Lost the Plot!

How the culture warriors have lost the plot by Julia Baird (Sydney Morning Herald

This fortnight, one powerful bloke insulted the religion of more than two billion people on the planet, effectively calling the Virgin Mary a lying slut. And one small teenager sat in front of a crowd in New York, wrought with grief and anger, and called for immediate, expansive action on climate change to protect the earth for her, and future, generations.

So guess which one was mercilessly trolled, denigrated and abused by our most prominent commentators?

The whole article can be found here:
https://www.smh.com.au/national/how-the-culture-warriors-have-lost-the-plot-on-kyle-and-greta-20190927-p52vir.html

[Caution – the statement from the “powerful bloke”, is quoted in the article and is offensive.]

The article writer points out that some of those responsible for the “denigration” of Greta Thunberg identify as Christian.

One of the names listed is Lyle Shelton who was managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby from 2013 to 2018.

Considering their clear willingness to condemn a young girl whose message they find offensive – where has been their condemnation of someone who basically described the mother of Jesus as “a lying slut”? [The actual statement is quoted in the article].

Why is it that professing believers in Jesus seem more interested in opposing climate change, and attacking those who recognise it’s validity, than in defending one of the most foundational truths of their claimed religion – namely the virgin conception of Jesus, the Son of God?

I’d also like to know what drives so many professing Christians to antagonism against the evidence showing the reality of climate change.

It’s not as if a changing climate, and mankind’s role in it, is somehow contradicting the Bible. The Bible makes it clear that God gave dominion over the earth to man – and that man’s sin resulted in the perfection of creation being marred, and suffering “the bondage of corruption”. However the reality of that bondage should not lead to an abrogation of Christian concern for God’s creation.

Opposing the clear signs, the science and the observable experience of obvious change to the climate is at best foolishness, and at worst inspires further contempt from the world upon believers – putting followers of Jesus into the same category as flat earth proponents (who, sadly, are also often professing Christians).

Those driving the climate change denial message are those with the most to lose from the changes needed to address the climate problem: namely those profiting from the industries that have caused it: fossil fuel billionaires, and the politicians whose careers those billionaires have financed.

So what is the motivation for Christians to align with climate change denial, if not the misguided marriage between those Christians and political opportunism, if not that unholy hybrid that has become the “religious right”: a blend of conservatism and the prosperity “gospel”?

There has been a political yoking of “Christians” to the pursuit of wealth as a sign of God’s blessing, in which the wealthy are lauded and the needy are trampled – a complete contrast to the attitude of the early church described in Acts 2:

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Apart from the different attitude to caring for those in need, that last sentence should also scream out to us – that “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” The added number being referred to clearly wasn’t a number of dollars and the saving wasn’t something associated with bank accounts.

So I’ll ask again, if its not about money, if its not about political ideology, if it’s not about theological truth – what is the reason for climate change denial among Christians?

children that you spit on

 

Greta Thunberg is a true leader by every definition” by Mitchell Adams,
Sydney Morning Herald. September 25, 2019

The lyrics in the second verse of Changes by the late great David Bowie perfectly capture the events leading up to this week’s UN Climate Conference.

“And these children that you spit on; As they try to change their worlds; Are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through.”

These incredibly potent words swirled through my head while I watched in awe as 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg gave heads of governments a well-deserved spray over their lack of action regarding climate change. Some of them, including our very own Prime Minister, couldn’t even have been bothered to show up to the conference.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/greta-thunberg-is-a-true-leader-by-every-definition-20190925-p52uqd.html

Amazingly, over the past few weeks, seemingly every conservative commentator, every internet troll and every tin hat-wearing conspiracy theorist has thrown one giant co-ordinated tantrum over Greta, all using some form of dehumanising and degrading language to describe her and paint her in as negative light as possible.

Under the weight of this constant harassment for weeks on end, even the toughest and bravest of adults would probably have a severe mental breakdown.

But instead, Greta responded in a manner that showed she possesses more maturity and leadership than any of her critics. Taking to Twitter, she said:

“When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning! I have Aspergers, and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower.”

Morrison loves Mammon

In response to teenage climate activist Greta Thurnberg’s well-publicised speech to the United Nations, Scott Morrison, Australia’s Pentecostal Prime Minister, warned children against ‘needless’ climate anxiety, saying:

he wants to give children confidence they will have ‘an economy to live in’

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/25/morrison-responds-to-greta-thunberg-speech-by-warning-children-against-needless-climate-anxiety

I’m quite sure that Morrison’s “economy to live in” would have little in common with:

all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need (acts 2)

And would be more like the fairytale of eternal growth that Thurnberg denounces.

…all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/23/763452863/transcript-greta-thunbergs-speech-at-the-u-n-climate-action-summit

He made his remarks from America, where he has been the guest of Donald Trump. Despite being in the US at the time, unlike other world leaders, Morrison chose not to attend the UN conference, but instead visited a McDonalds in Chicago to see a new drive-thru system.

Morrison also broke protocol by appearing as support act at a Trump rally, seen as an early promotion for Trump’s re-election.

Addendum to Previous Post

What is usually denounced as “communism”, “socialism” or “left wing” by conservative “christians”, is in reality the kind of compassionate, needs based practice of the very early church as described in Acts 2.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 

Sadly political dogma has too often replaced biblical example in the lives of professing believers. And decades of political indoctrination has undermined and compromised the gospel witness of many.

Instead of caring for the needy, the needy have been increasingly demonised, considered lazy, undeserving, and in someway responsible for their own difficulties. While those who are doing well are seen as either being “blessed” or deserving, and therefore entitled to hold onto, and increase, what they have, even if it means others going without.

“distributed to anyone who had need” (recommended article)

A recommended article from Steve, posted on his Cross Purposes blog.

I’ve always wondered what “Christian conservatives” make of Acts 4:32-35 ?

If they read it at all, that scripture should raise some uncomfortable thoughts…

https://cross-purposes.blogspot.com/2019/09/socialist-christians.html

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need”. Acts 4:32-35

Does it Really Mean What They Say it Means?

A while ago I posted some thoughts about the “great delusion” referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2.

That reference relates to God’s future response to those who lack a love of the truth, a condition that will lead them to fall for the lies of the man of lawlessness (commonly known as The Antichrist).

Within that post I mentioned two cases of where that reference to “great delusion” had been adopted to illustrate contemporary events; with the suggestion that the God-sent great delusion had already been, or is currently being, fulfilled.

I tried to point out that those two examples were using scripture to support beliefs that the actual context of scripture didn’t support.

Similarly, my friend Steve recently posted an article on his blog, addressing the way that biblical instructions to pray for our leaders (for a very specific reason) had been subverted, and used in regard to praying for leaders for other purposes – that are different, and arguably contrary, to the reason given by Paul

I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I recommend a visit to Steve’s blog and read what he has to say.

https://cross-purposes.blogspot.com/2019/06/false-leaders-falsified-scripture-false.html

Recently I’ve been seeing another example of  scripture being used questionably:
2 Thess 3.

“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” .

That statement is mostly used as a text opposing welfare aid – assuming that the “unwilling to work” are those in poverty who are relying on government help.

Little if any thought is given to applying it to the idle rich. Those who don’t work because of family wealth, or those who take phenomenal payments for comparatively little work.

It seems that believers and Christian leaders can so easily fall into the trap of using scripture to prove a point, or to promote an agenda, that scripture does not actually sanction.

Is that something that should concern us?
Or is it okay to use scripture as a tool to justify behaviours, beliefs and political dogmas that aren’t being addressed in the verses that are referenced?

How confident do we need to be that quoted verses are saying what we are being led to believe that they say?