June 20, 2008
June 23, 2008

June 21-22, 2008, weekend

ATHEIST BIBLE THUMPERS?

You like ironies? Try this. China, of all places, is becoming the world's biggest supplier of Bibles, this story says. Imagine that.

* * *

ON GOD'S TO-DO LIST

Robert Mugabe, ruler of Zimbabwe, says "only God" can remove him from office. Hey, God, I think this fool is calling you out. Have at him. Please. And soon.

* * *

WHEN FAITH LEADERS SPEAK FOR US

Over the past several years, relations between American Jews and some Christian denominations have run hot and cold.

Israel

Perhaps the best example of that is my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA). Several years ago the national governing body of the denomination, the General Assembly, adopted a resolution calling for the possibility of selling off investments in companies that profit from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The motive was good but the handling of it was terrible. For one thing, we had barely talked with our Jewish brothers and sisters about all of this before we did it. I wrote a column critical of the General Assembly for this.

Since then there has been talk and there have been revisions in policy and a general sense has developed suggesting that the good modern relationship between Jews and Presbyterians was getting back on track.

But a few days ago a dozen or so Jewish groups in the U.S. issued a statement bemoaning a newly issued PCUSA document. Click here for the press release from the American Jewish Committee that contains the joint Jewish statement.  And for the PCUSA statement, called "Vigilance Against Anti-Jewish Bias," click here. This statement, from the PCUSA Office of Interfaith Relations, is a revision of a previous statment that most Jewish groups found helpful and balanced. This one they don't. For the previous statement, click here.

All of this has occurred just before the opening this weekend of the General Assembly's gathering in San Jose, Calif., where no doubt all of this will get lots of talk and maybe some action.

For a PCUSA General Assembly backgrounder on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, click here. And for a Jewish group that disagrees with the other Jewish groups and sees nothing wrong with the revised PCUSA statement, click here. And then click here for another Jewish analysis of the revised statement that suggests that the revision is quite an improvement.

So what are Jews, Presbyterians and the rest of the world to make of all this? Well, it's another reminder that sometimes the leaders of faith communities get into battles in our name that we don't know a lot about -- but should. It's incumbent on people in the pews to know what our leaders are doing and to be engaged in either supporting them or working against them.

My guess, however, is that if you asked most average members of most PCUSA churches (including my own) and most average members of synagogues around the country, darn few could tell you what this struggle is all about. And yet it has important implications both for interfaith relations and for the status of things in the Middle East.

It sometimes can be a pain to keep up with all this, but when things are being done in our name, that's our job. My hope is that my denomination can speak with clarity and love in ways that people on all sides of this issue can appreciate and respect, even if they disagree.

* * *

P.S.: Ron Ballard, a Christian Science teacher and practitioner, will give a free public lecture, "Prayer and Politics: Spiritual Solutions for Creative Government," at 7 p.m. this Thursday at the Plaza branch of the Kansas City Public Library. The link I've given you has more details.

* * *

ANOTHER P.S.: If I'm slow publishing your comments the next few days, hang in there. I'll get to them. Thanks. Bill.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (When is it appropriate to leave a congregation? That's what my Saturday column this weekend discusses.)

Today's religious holiday: All Saints (Orthodox Christianity, 22nd)

Comments

Joe Barone

If churches spent more time doing and less time writing long statements, they might be better off.

I can see why Jewish groups prefer the first statement. What I read of the first statement makes it a statement of repentance for the Presbyterians. The second one lays more blame for failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestine conflict at Israel's door.

I prefer the second one. There's enough blame to go around to all the parties (including the Americans) in the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

Sometimes I think Israel is the tail that wags the American and the Middle Eastern dog.

Dolores Lear

Robert Mugabee is only saying, what I used to accept in the Lutheran Religion. We were taught that God chooses our leaders in government, and we should obey them.

So, if God chooses our Presidents, etc., in the USA, then 'he' chooses all the other leaders on our Planet also.

I do not accept this today. All the Good or Evil done on our Home Planet, are done by Fallen Mis-bred Humans, not GOD, or God, or Satan.

It is Time to Stop blaming GOD, God, or Satan, all considered Spirits by Fallen Humans, for all the Evil Humans do to each other.

Eternal Physical Life is for Humans After Birth, like Jesus and the Father of Human Life on Earth, not for the Dead Humans After Birth.

Dolores Lear

An after thought.

If we work against the Person, God puts in Power of a Country, are we working against God?

We should examine all these God teachings, that have been handed down from Humans in Religions, and see if we are for GOD/LIFE, or for Human Gods.

LIFE is for the Living Humans, not Dead Humans.

Dolores Lear

Prayer and Politics: Spiritual Solutions for Creative Governments.

What are Spiritual Solutions? We need Physical Solutions if we want to remain on Earth.

We have the Physical Last Days 'Arm'ageddon set up all over the planet, with our nuclear bombs.

We have the Physical Judgement Day Fire set up, with our Pollution on land, sea, and in the air, and with our nuclear waste sitting on the land and buried in the sea.

All this along with our oil spills and other means of Physically Burning Up Life and our Eco System, as we Know it, what Spiritual answers can we get from God to stop this Fallen Human Killer Madness?

Dolores Lear

So what are Jews, Presbyterians, and the rest of the world going to do about the Israli-Palestine Problem?

Leave it up to God, or Fallen Human Governments and Religions?

What does it mean God has Control of Planet Earth? All the Hate and Killing of our Brothers/Sisters is not under God's Control, but under Human Control.

Why keep Killing and having War's over God's Resources of our Home Plaanet? God 'said' to Humans, be Take Charge of My Physical Creation, as Equal Male and Female Caretakers, not Unequal Killers.

Why do Unequal Brothers/Sisters of God/Life, Kill each other over Necessities, as Enemies, instead of Sharing Equally All Human Needs, as Children of GOD/LIFE on Spaceship Earth?

Dolores Lear

More Bibles from China, will make everyone aware of Genesis and the New Testament. More religious denominations may be possible, until a High Tech Science translation is made.

A High Tech translation of Genesis and the New Testament, does not have anything to do with Religions, looking for Eternal Life After Death.
As far as Humans Know, the Invisible Elements do have Eternal Life, that make Visible Life.

Humans without High Tech Science, could only write descriptive words about our High Tech today, of flying up in the air on thrones, and out into space in fiery chariots.

Humans need to see all the High Tech activity in Genesis, and in the New Testament about Jesus, proving Humans can have Eternal Human Life After Birth.

Jesus is a Human, Alive, going with the Father of Life on Earth, Alive, up into Heaven, a spaceship, not a Spirit. People on Earth saw Jesus leave Earth in a Human Body.

Creeds state, he was sitting at the right 'hand' side of the Father, and going out into Space, to Heaven, another Planet. Humans today go out into Space, supernaturally.

Here's to the final spread of the Truth in the Christian Bible! High Tech Science and the Bible, are about the same Physical Life on Earths, and in Spaceships.

Just Thinking

Loved the weekend article about sticking with your Church, Bill. There'll always be excuses to leave a Church and go somewhere else. "A fool is unsteady in all his ways." People who will turn and run from conflict will be doing that for the rest of their lives. Dealing with difficult conflict in a correct manner is perhaps one of the most valuable skills a person can have, whether it is in a Church, in a marriage, or in a job. If you're not careful, then you can wind up pushing yourself into outer space!

Jesus is the example to follow. Jesus didn't turn and run away from conflict, but he worked to make situations better. Jesus was a perfect Jew, and people seem to have forgotten that. He tithed, for example, probably in some of the very same places where people plotted to kill him! Jesus could have turned and walked away on his approach to the cross, but at what cost to all of us? God's expectations are high.

Just Thinking

A major chunk of the New Testament would not exist if the Apostle Paul had run from conflict, instead of learning to deal with it correctly. His Epistles, letters to the Churches, were instructions on how to deal with conflict that arose. These are rich, relevant instructions that pertain in this day and age as much as ever. Paul didn't run and he didn't avoid conflict, neither of which is healthy.

Jim J

As a member of a PCUSA church I think most of the folks in the pews would be surprised at some of the positions of the PCUSA. It's odd that you rarely ever hear anything about what they're doing at the church level, and if you do, it's some non-controversial mission work or church opening. I found out about the divestment in Israel move from Dennis Prager.
I like your blog. I found it by reading one of your books over the weekend.

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