links: this went thru my mind

 

Abuse, atonement & God: Atonement and Divine Child Abuse

“About a decade ago it became avant garde theology to contend the classical Christian theory of atonement was nothing less than divine child abuse. That is, the image of a Father punishing a Son, or exacting retribution at the expense of his own Son, or punishing a Son for the good of others — each of these became a way of deconstructing classical atonement theory. … this approach … abuses the Bible’s image.”

Boredom, happiness, technology & wonder: Everything’s Amazing And Nobody’s Happy [required reading]

“Simply put, we bore easily. Once, when giving a radio address (an older technology which once seemed like magic), Albert Einstein looked straight into the muzzle of our dilemma: ‘Everybody should be ashamed who uses the wonders of science and engineering without thinking and having mentally realized not more of it than a cow realizes of the botany of the plants which it eats with pleasure.’”

Behavior & habits: 36 Lessons I’ve Learned About Habits

“I’ve learned these lessons the hard way.”

Blessings, money, possession & prosperity: The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying

“So my prayer today is that I understand my true blessing. It’s not my house. Or my job. Or my standard of living. No. My blessing is this. I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless. I know a God who loves the unlovable. I know a God who comforts the sorrowful. And I know a God who has planted this same power within me. Within all of us. And for this blessing, may our response always be, ‘Use me.’”

Church, humility, pride, relationships & self-esteem: * Sean Palmer, the Church [essential reading]; * Civil Religion: Better Than You [essential reading]

* “Reconciliation is what it means to be church; to go “to church.” It’s what Jesus intended our gatherings to be and to produce. I can’t be reconciled alone. I can worship alone, but I can’t do and be church alone. And I can’t be reconciled with people who are already just like me. Church is more than a gathering of my friends. It’s the differences, the tensions, the partisanship, the space between that creates the opportunity for God to transform my heart from what it is not to what God created it to be.”

* “Christianity is not about being better than someone else, it is among many things, the recognition that we are better than no one else. This is not a rhetorical move, it is reality.”

Cinema: Casting the Devil Out of the Jesus Story

“Why the ‘Son of God’ film excludes Satan from the Christ story—and what’s at stake.”

Nationalism: Which Country Does God Really Love the Most?

“Sometimes we Americans think that God is an American and that He loves all the other countries, but just wishes they were like His special country!”

Parenting, technology & teens: Tips for Parenting Middle School Kids Using Texting and Social Media

“The biggest concern parents have is the undue influence texting and social media has on their children. The best way to counter undue influence is to provide quality attention and take an active interest in what is happening with your child (beyond sports and grades) and help them put the texting and social media apps in proper perspective for their lives.”

Politics & religious liberty: How to Determine If Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions

“… no matter what soundbites you hear this election year, remember this: Religious liberty is never secured by a campaign of religious superiority.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

Capital punishment & the death penalty: “Is Capital Punishment in Harmony with Divine Law?”

“The children of God can take no part or lot in the work.”

Compulsory patriotism & nationalism: No, Thanks: Stop Saying “Support the Troops”

“I do not begrudge the troops for availing themselves of any benefits companies choose to offer, nor do I begrudge the companies for offering those benefits. Of greater interest is what the phenomenon of corporate charity for the troops tells us about commercial conduct in an era of compulsory patriotism.”

Full contact sports: N.F.L. Agrees to Settle Concussion Suit for $765 Million

“The settlement, announced Thursday, will be seen as a victory for the league, which has nearly $10 billion in annual revenue and faced the possibility of billions of dollars in liability payments and a discovery phase that could have proved damaging if the case had moved forward.”

Justice, restorative & retributive: A Better Story: How Our Understanding of Justice is Radically Re-defined by the Gospel [essential reading]

“Reflecting the assumptions of the surrounding culture, Christian theology has classically framed mercy as being in conflict with justice. This goes way beyond theology however, and can be found as the assumptions underlying any national debate over the use of state violence, whether in regards to crime or international conflict and war. To ‘bring about justice’ means punishing, it means violence, it means seeking to harm. Conversely, mercy means to refrain from violence. It is thus understood as an inaction. So in short: in this framework justice means inflicting harm, and mercy means doing nothing.

“Because these are our culture’s default understandings of both justice and mercy, it is common for people to think that the only way to address crime or conflict is by inflicting harm, by the use of violent force. It is either that or doing nothing, we think. … Because the options are framed in this way, many Christians reject the teaching of Jesus to love our enemies because they think it entails doing nothing in the face of evil, which would be unloving and morally irresponsible. We need to protect the vulnerable from harm, don’t we? We need to care for the wellbeing for ourselves and our loved ones. So while people may regret the need to respond with violence, they feel they have no alternative but to respond to violence with violence. It’s regrettable, but what choice do we have? How else can we stop violence?

“The tragic irony is that inflicting violence and harm in the name of justice does not in fact stop violence at all; it perpetuates it. … the fruit of this kind of ‘justice’ is that it makes things worse. …

“That’s where the gospel comes in.”

Lord Jesus, Obama, Syria & warfare: * War on Syria? No [required reading]; * How A Reluctant Obama Ended Up Preparing For War

*”We call ‘Lord’ a man who told us to love our enemies but in his name make enemies to promote our values. We call a peaceful man “Lord” and then favor those who divide in order to conquer. … Why do we call him ‘Lord’ and not do as he says?”

* “‘It seems to me that we are going to be engaged in a strike because he had a lack of wisdom to avoid laying down a red line,’ says Rajan Menon, a political scientist at City College of New York. ‘This is the second time the red line has been crossed, so now he’s boxed in.’”

excerpts: Disciple of Peace (2)

 

Disciple-of-Peace-WattsFollowing are some more quotes from Craig M. Watts’ fine work entitled Disciple of Peace: Alexander Campbell on Pacifism, Violence, and the State (Doulous Christou Press, 2005).

* On the death penalty Tertullian wrote, “Even if he appeals to the power of the State, the servant of God should not pronounce capital sentences.” Such was the dominant position during the first three centuries of the church, just as pacifism was the prevailing position during this time in regard to war. The earliest Christians regarded all use of deadly force as incompatible with their faith. (p.113)

* The cross provides the lens through which we see the world and provides the form by which we are to live in it. It is for this reason that claims made from the time of Augustine to our own that Christian soldiers can kill in war and practice love even in that very act are not credible. Surely it is possible to kill and destroy without hate … But if love is defined by the cross, there is no room for making victims and creating misery either in one’s personal life or for the sake of a nation-state. Love reflective of the cross endures suffering rather than inflicting it and accepts death rather than causing it. Christ-centered love is cross-centered and for that reason is non-violent in all of its way. Campbell’s support of capital punishment was possible only because he failed to be cross-centered in his pacifism. (p.121)

* The cross is not an emblem of victimization so much as an eloquent demonstration of love by One who willingly took his place with victims to save both them and their oppressors. The cross is not just the means of salvation but the shape of Christian existence. To affirm one without the other is to be left with a fragmented, incomplete faith. (p.123)

* … pacifism arises from the call to be like Jesus regardless of the consequences. … It is a life lived in the conviction that God more desires to use our vulnerable faithfulness than our most clever calculation of consequences, and that God will make history come out right without our violent measures. (p.123-124)

* In Campbell’s view, to see war simply as a conflict between nations is not to see it truthfully. So long as Christians are involved in the conflict the rightful reign of Christ is distorted and misrepresented before the watching world. … Insofar as the churches throughout the world fail to repudiate the Christian participation in warfare, oneness in Christ will be treated as dispensable and subject to the Christian’s loyalty to the separated and often hostile nations. Only a nonviolent church can be united sufficiently to witness to Jesus as Lord that the world might believe. (p.125)

* Only as the church detaches itself from the narrow unity rooted in and fostered by the nation-state will it be able to develop a faithful global imagination and act in view of it to minister to the world as it ought. When the church in the United States – or any other nation – compliantly helps reinforce national unity, inevitably this compliance will weaken the credibility of the church’s witness to the God who loves the entire world. … The church does not exist to bolster any of the pieces of the fragmented world against any other, but to offer an alternative to them. The church exists to show that its brokenness is not necessary. (p.126)

* … the determination to utterly submit to God as Master and Sovereign … requires a willingness to live according to the standards of the world to come – to love defenselessly, serve indiscriminately, forgive persistently – without regard to the pride, preferences, or interests of the powers of this present world. To live in this way leaves no room for the preservation of hostile divisions or the use of deadly force but demands a willingness to share in the sufferings of God in Christ. (pp.133-134)

* So long as we are convinced that the historical results we desire for our nation, our cause, or ourselves should arbitrate the decisions we make about violence, we will trust ourselves rather than trust the God who raised Jesus from the dead. The practice of nonviolence requires that we relinquish our imagined control over our consequences and rely instead, upon the eschatological power of God. Violence can be seen as an option – even if it is limited to being a “necessary” last resort – only when we insist that we know what victory looks like and that we are responsible for insuring it is achieved. (p.135)

excerpts: Disciple of Peace (1)

 

Disciple-of-Peace-WattsHave you ever wondered …

what the earliest members of what we know today as “Churches of Christ” in the United States tended to believe regarding war, military service on the part of Christians, capital punishment, self-defense, etc. …

what Alexander Campbell, the leading figure in the Restoration Heritage in that time, thought about such …

or what Bible-based arguments for nonviolence might sound like …

then I have just the book you’ll want to read. Disciple of Peace: Alexander Campbell on Pacifism, Violence, and the State (Doulous Christou Press, 2005) by Craig M. Watts discusses all of the preceding in a clear, thoughtful, and well-documented way.

Following are some quotes from this work. I’ll reproduce some additional quotes from it in a post here this Friday.

* … Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) was the single most important influence in the American religious movement that produced the Disciples of Christ, the Church of Christ, and the independent Christian church. … Many of Campbell’s convictions remain apparent in the life of the present day churches that trace their history back to him. … However, other facets of his teaching, while once widely embraced by members of these churches, are no longer a conspicuous part of the churches’ teaching and practice. One such fact that is notably absent is a clear commitment to pacifism. (pp.9-10)

* Among the first generation of those in the religious movement he helped found – which he preferred to call Disciples of Christ – virtually all who committed their views to print opposed the participation of Christians in warfare. In the writings of the early Disciples, it was support of war, rather than opposition to it, that was exceptional. … [Alexander Campbell's] peaceable views were not refuted but rather out-shouted by those who raised their loud and impassioned voices for the so-called “necessity” of war. (pp.10-11)

* The commitment of Campbell to restore primitive Christianity included a commitment to the primitive church’s practice of nonviolent love that leaves no room for war. (p.15)

* … [Alexander] Campbell’s pacifist convictions were widely shared by the early Disciples. Many of the best known Disciples leaders were pacifists. These include his father, Thomas Campbell, Barton Stone, Jacob Creath, Benjamin Franklin, Racoon John Smith, Phillip Fall, Robert Richardson, Tolbert Fanning, Moses Lard, J.W. McGarvey, and others. (p.18)

* … Campbell held that in the time since Christ, there has been no divine warrant for war. Any presence on the battlefield by Christians is not only without God’s authorization but contrary to the command of Christ. (p.32)

* Campbell deplored the practice of elevating military heroes to a stature comparable to saints and of speaking of those who fall in battle as if they are martyrs. (p.34)

* For Campbell, it is not just the exceptional heroic individual who is called to nonviolence. Rather, it is the nature of the Christian community itself that demands nonviolence, not an individualist focus on moral perfectionism. (p.34)

* Campbell stood against the idea that war is a legitimate means for a just authority to oppose an unjust power that oppresses the weak and deprives people of their rights. … Campbell considered such a notion self-deceptive, spiritually hazardous, and biblically ignorant. (p.35)

* In Campbell’s writings on war and peace no words of scripture are cited more often than Jesus’ statement to Pilate … John 18.36. For Campbell, this passage alone was sufficient reason to restrict Christians from the battlefield. (p.37)

* Campbell stated, “Patriotism, it is conceded, has no special place in the Christian religion. Its founder never pronounced a single sentence in commendation of it.” As Campbell knew, Jesus Christ had a love that recognized no borders, “and as patriotism is only an extension of the principle of selfishness,” patriotism being a love of what is one’s own, “he deigned it no regard, because selfishness is the great damning sin of mankind.” … Campbell’s objection to patriotism implied nothing critical of natural affection for one’s own country. Rather he opposed that patriotism which promotes the love for and promotion of the interests of one’s own country at the expense of other peoples and nations or to the neglect of the needs of those beyond the boundaries of one’s own country. (pp.63-64)

* At the outbreak of the Civil War, Campbell lifted his pen to call for peace and to dissuade Christians from participating in the conflict. As he had in the past, Campbell again reminded his readers that “no Christian man who fears God and desires to be loyal to the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, shall be found in the ranks of so unholy a warfare.” (p.66)

* Since the purpose of the military was to prepare for, and when called upon to do so, participate in war, Campbell saw no place in it for Christians. (p.84)

* All of Alexander Campbell’s writings on war indicate that he was an absolute pacifist. He condemned wars of aggression and defensive wars alike. Repeatedly he insisted that Christians had no place in the military because the practice of war is utterly at odds with the spirit of Christianity. Further, Campbell taught that self-defense is contrary to the Christian life. In all areas he stood for nonviolent solutions to human conflict. However, he made one exception. Campbell supported capital punishment as the penalty for the crime of murder. Such a position seems incompatible with his pacifism. However, even Campbell himself recognized as much. (p.103)

links: this went thru my mind

 

American history & the Fourth of July: Debunking the Fourth: Top 10 Unsightly Facts about the American Revolution

“The majority of the Founding Fathers weren’t Christians, but deists.”

Annihilationism, conditionalism & hell: Ask a Conditionalist (Annihilationist) … Edward Fudge Responds

“Conditionalists begin with the premise that only God is inherently immortal. For humans, immortality is God’s conditional gift, bestowed at the resurrection but only to the redeemed. Those who reject God’s grace throughout life do not live forever. When John 3:16 says the options are eternal life or perish, conditionalists say that means just what it seems to say.

According to conditionalism, at the end of the world, the good and bad alike are raised to face judgment. The righteous enjoy eternal life with God; the lost are sentenced to hell. But God does not keep billions of them alive forever to torment them without end. Instead, those in hell suffer such precise pains as divine justice may require, in a destructive process that ends in extinction. This is the second death, the wages of sin. Eternal punishment is eternal destruction, eternal capital punishment.”

Christianity, civil religion, nationalism, & nominalism, & the United States: 7 Marks of A Stereotypical American Christian

“Obviously, many Christians are more complex and inspiring than the attributes listed above, but we need to start realizing the influence American culture has on our faith. Unfortunately, many of these stereotypes are still perpetuated by American Christians who have strayed away from Christ’s example of sacrificial love and are using religion to serve their own misguided agendas. Nobody is perfect, but we need to start emulating Christ instead of subtly allowing our social surroundings to dictate our spiritual priorities.”

Climate change: Bill Nye The Science Guy Explains The Basics Of Something You Should Really Know [4 min., 34 sec. video]

“If you know anyone who’s having trouble wrapping their head around climate change as a human-driven crisis, this video could really come in handy.”

Culture, evangelism & outreach: Christians and Cultural Engagement

“… Jesus established a relationship in which he could speak and have it heard as a word of grace rather than a ‘I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong’ word of condemnation.”

Children, fatherhood, parenting & singles: The Rise of Single Fathers: A Ninefold Increase Since 1960

“In comparison, the number of single mother households increased more than fourfold during that time period, up to 8.6 million in 2011, from 1.9 million in 1960.”

Communication, credibility, gossip, lies, slander, speech & words: Don’t Believe Everything You Read or Hear

“Slander is a serious sin, and according to Paul, slanderers will be barred from the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).”

Divorce & marriage: Jesus Never Moves On

“…  he has chosen me, he has set his love on me, and nothing will cause him to abandon me. He will never give up.”

Doctors, health & medicine: Common End-of-Life Medical Terms

“Here are some terms likely to be used in such situations as defined by Dr. Darlene Nelson, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at the Mayo Clinic.”

Head coverings, interpretation & women: Head Coverings in Worship: Why Female Hair is a Testicle (parts 1 & 2)

“Recently, my colleague Trevor Thompson, who is a New Testament scholar here at ACU, shared with me some of the work of another NT scholar, Troy Martin, who is a friend of Trevor’s. One of Martin’s areas of expertise is using ancient medical texts to illuminate NT passages, particularly passages that seem confusing to us. In various studies Martin makes the observation that some of these confusions stem from the fact that we don’t share the same medical understandings of the NT writers and their audiences. When ancient medical terms or ideas are used we often miss the meaning. A good example of this comes from 1 Corinthians 11.2-16.”

Ministry & preaching: * I Am a Preacher; * 10 Things You May Not Know About Senior Pastors

* “I offer this in tribute to all the brave men and women of God who bear up under the weight of our call. I hope it articulates some of the ambiguity, beauty and tension wrapped up in saying ‘yes’ when God summons you to the pulpit.”

* “… I know this is a representative list for many.”

Poverty: Greg Kaufmann on the Truth About American Poverty

“Greg Kaufmann, poverty correspondent for The Nation, says the poor in America are stereotyped and demonized in an effort to justify huge cuts in food stamps and other crucial programs for low-income Americans.”

Tipping: Tipping: To Ban or Not?

“If I had my way, we’d take this idea to its logical conclusion and get rid of the practice of tipping altogether. Just outlaw it …”

Worship: Ready to Worship

“As we prepare ourselves for worship each week here are three things we should keep in mind.”

this went thru my mind

 

Belonging, connection, self-worth & vulnerability: The Power of Vulnerability [20 min. TED Talk by Brené Brown]

“… the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees.”

Church dropouts, evangelism, outreach & restoration: An Open Letter to the Church: How to Love the Cynics [required reading]

“We left for a hundred different reasons, none less real or important than the other.”

Film: The Bible Series from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey- A Sneak Peak

“… brand new epic Bible Series … starts this Sunday evening on the History Channel (channel 269 on Directv).”

Homeless & homelessness: 10 Ideas For Helping Homeless People

“There is no template, one-size-fits-all plan that works for what we think of as ‘giving a cup of cold water’ to our friends on the street.”

Nationalism: Is the Pledge Good for Our Kids?

“Please stop and consider how we evangelicals have been conditioned not to see any conflict with nationalism and Christian discipleship. Will we allow another generation of our children to be taught that America is the hope of the world, or will we tell them the truth about a King whose Kingdom is not of this world, but is for this world?”

Quotes: Knowing Christ with Dallas Willard and John Ortberg

“In our world, relationships are based on attack and withdrawal. In the love of God, we don’t attack people. We don’t withdraw from them. We accept them.”

Sequester & tax cuts: * Today’s 3 ‘Should-Read’ Stories About The Sequester; * Impact of March 1st Cuts on Middle Class Families, Jobs and Economic Security: Texas [wow!]

“… get ready for “the sequester” — the $85 billion worth of across-the-board cuts in federal spending that would begin to kick in that day if lawmakers don’t strike some sort of deal before then.”

“If sequestration were to take effect, some examples of the impacts on Texas this year alone are …”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceAustralia & gun control: I Went After Guns. Obama Can, Too. by John Howard

“… nothing trumps easy access to a gun. It is easier to kill 10 people with a gun than with a knife.”

Children, culture, guns, heroes, power & violence: Giving Up Chuck and the Daisy Red Ryder [required reading]

“My heroes have always been powerful. Heroes are and should be powerful, but how you define power… that makes all the difference. … The American definition of “power that solves problems” is intertwined with the cultural mystique of guns and violence. Once my definition of power changed, a few years ago, my heroes did as well …”

Christ’s cross, discipleship & violence: A Meditation on the Cross by Paul Smith [required reading]

“I’ll say it again. If you are nailed to a cross you cannot hold a gun. If your hand is wrapped around an instrument of death you cannot grasp the hand that was pierced with an instrument of death.”

Deception, fake quotations, & lies: Did Jefferson Really Say That? Why Bogus Quotations Matter in Gun Debate

* “‘The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.’ … staff ‘have not found any evidence that Thomas Jefferson said or wrote’ those words.”

Drone strikes: The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child

“The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported last August that in Pakistan’s tribal areas alone, there are at least 168 credible reports of children being killed in drone strikes.”

Faith & guns: If I Can’t Take My Gun, I’m Not Going by Neal Whitlow

“Modern weapons and an individual’s right to possess them are not dealt with in scripture. All the texts dealing with warfare don’t seem to apply. However, there a few principles from the New Testament that inform my thinking on the subject.

“It is not the responsibility of God’s people to overwhelm the darkness by force of arms. We use other tools to fulfill our mission. Our weapons are truth, faith, patience, love, forgiveness, and hope. … God’s people defend the defenseless. …  Jesus calls us to abandon our compulsions of power and control. Let’s face it. A big part of the reason that Americans can’t let go of our guns is we are enamored with the feelings of power and invincibility they give us.”

Faith & nonviolence: Jesus’ Way Doesn’t Work by Tim Archer [required reading]

“The church heard Jesus’ message. They didn’t run away. They didn’t fight. They endured patiently. For more than two hundred years. They suffered. They died. They loved their enemies and prayed for them. They turned the other cheek. And they were killed for it.

“Because Jesus’ way doesn’t work. It doesn’t protect your from suffering. It doesn’t protect you from death. (well, not immediately) It doesn’t bring your enemies to their knees. It doesn’t protect the weak nor avenge the innocent. In the eyes of the world, Jesus’ way is a complete failure.

“If you’re looking for something that works, don’t look to Jesus’ teachings. But remember one thing: if you choose what makes sense to men, you’re choosing something that God despises.”

Gun control & President Obama’s plan: * The President’s Plan to Reduce Gun Violence [required reading; download the .pdf file]; * Joe Biden Addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Jan. 17 [55 min. video; skip to 10 min., 20 sec. to begin]

* “Download the full text of the President’s plan.”

* Scroll down to the Opening Plenary Luncheon to find this video.

Gun control & public opinion: In Gun Control Debate, Several Options Draw Majority Support

“Fully 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents. Similarly, 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support across party lines. But this bipartisan consensus breaks down when it comes to other proposals.”

Gun control & the states: * Gun Laws in the US, State by State – Interactive [very interesting & helpful]; * The Gun Challenge

* “… the majority of gun legislation in the US is enacted at the state level. That has brought broad variations across the country, with states taking different approaches to issues ranging from sales, permits, licensing, self-defence and carry laws.”

* “Inevitably, a bill like Wyoming’s has been filed in Texas.”

Guns & self-defense: * How Often Do We Use Guns in Self-Defense?

“We don’t know exactly how frequently defensive gun use occurs.”

Guns & the escalation of danger: Lessons From Guns and a Goose by Nicholas D. Kristof

“… that episode … underscores the role that guns too often play in our society: an instrument not of protection but of escalation. … One study, reported in Southern Medical Journal in 2010, found that a gun is 12 times more likely to result in the death of a household member or guest than in the death of an intruder. Another study in 1993 found that gun ownership creates nearly a threefold risk of a homicide in the owner’s household.”

Gun ownership: Why I Don’t Own a Gun by Brian Zahand

“I don’t own a gun because I don’t need one and I don’t want one. And that is perfectly acceptable. Please try to be at peace with this. As I said, I don’t own golf clubs either, and that’s bound to upset some people too.”

Gun violence & statistics:* Lack Of Up-To-Date Research Complicates Gun Debate by Carrie Johnson; * How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown? [interactive map]

* “Public health research dried up more than a decade ago after Congress restricted the use of some federal money to pay for those studies.”

* “The answer to the simple question in that headline is surprisingly hard to come by. So Slate and the Twitter feed @GunDeaths are collecting data for our crowdsourced interactive. This data is necessarily incomplete. But the more people who are paying attention, the better the data will be. You can help us draw a more complete picture of gun violence in America. If you know about a gun death in your community that isn’t represented here, please tweet @GunDeaths with a citation. (If you’re not on Twitter, you can email slatedata@gmail.com.)”

Military & prayer: How Do We Pray for the Troops? by Craig M. Watts [required reading]

“The language of public prayer should express a reality shaped by the creative and redemptive activity of God, not simply one that can be read from the pages of the newspapers or heard from the mouths of either marketers or politicians. …

“So when I stand to pray in worship I never pray that God protect our troops for the simple fact that we don’t have any troops. We do not gather as Americans who plead on behalf of national interests or partisan favor before either God or the world. We are the church. Who we are has been determined by whose we are. We are people of God. We gather as the body of Christ united with Christ’s body throughout the world. Yet I do pray for the protection of soldiers and civilians alike. I pray indiscriminately, without regard to borders because all people are creatures made by the hand of God and are so loved by God that God sent God’s only begotten Son on their behalf. May they be preserved from danger and be restored to circumstances where they can live without the threat of violence either to them or from them.”