22 things bin Laden’s death has revealed about Christians for all the world to see

This is my final post regarding Osama bin Laden. Given what I have witnessed over the past ten days in my deliberate and deep observation and investigation into what I hear and see Christians “of all tribes” speaking and writing concerning the death of Osama bin Laden, I have come to the following conclusions.

A great number of Christians are apparently:

  • reluctant to value all human life as equally valuable before God.
  • unaccustomed to feeling remorse for, or even grieving, the death of any and all who die outside of a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ, unless they be a close family member or dear friend.
  • quick to go with the flow of the cultural and political river that surrounds them, rather than, if necessary, deliberately swimming against the tide with Scripture as their guiding light.
  • want to confuse American nationalism and patriotism with Christian faith and worship of God.
  • resistant to even the suggestion to pray for all people, especially those who would be rightly construed as “enemies,” even though they are commanded to do so by their Lord.
  • quite inexperienced in praying about any and all matters pertaining to war except for offering up pleas for God’s protection on “our troops” and for those troops to come home safely and quickly.
  • suspicious or even frightened by the revelation that others might interpret the Bible differently when the subjects of government or military service are raised.
  • not above making broad, sweeping statements of judgment about entire populations and ethnics of people on the basis of little or no real knowledge about such people.
  • content to have their understanding and perspective of global happenings shaped by a very limited number and kind of media sources; that is, they like to have their news thought out for them and presented from only one angle.
  • more concerned about their own national security, yes, even their own personal safety, than they are about confessing and living out the cross-shaped life of Christ, to whatever end that might lead them in this life.
  • persuaded the protection of their life is shaped and determined more by Heckler & Koch, Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, Sikorsky, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, etc. than the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • numb or callous to, perhaps even comfortable with, physical violence and killing.
  • unafraid to glory in such undertakings as we have come know as “just war,” surgical strikes,” and “acceptable collateral damage.”
  • convinced that anything even remotely resembling a pacifist understanding of the teaching of Christ and the apostles should be immediately labeled, without real investigation and consideration, as cowardly and foolhardy at best, and more likely dangerous, demented, and damnable.
  • more enthusiastic about their trust in political and military power than they are about the power, purpose, and purity of the Almighty God.
  • Biblically illiterate, being largely unfamiliar with the writings they claim are sacred and will determine their destiny, and so, are unable to converse coherently and correctly with others who inquire of them as what they believe and why in regard to current events.
  • ashamed of God, for they rarely think first of, or make mention of, him or the teachings of God’s book, the Bible, when formulating or stating their perspective of major world events.
  • divided over even the most fundamental matters of Christian faith, such as doing to others as you would have them do to you, the “Golden Rule.”
  • oblivious to the fact the world is constantly watching our reactions to world events and, on the basis of their observations, deciding whether or not there is real life-changing power in Christian faith.
  • not mindful of the fact that the only thing that separates any and all of us from someone like Osama bin Laden is a difference not in kind, but only degree, for there is none righteous, no not one; all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
  • not much different from those who are yet to believe.
  • like myself, have a very long way to go yet in terms of complete imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I say these things to our shame and do so with the humble prayer that all who believe – myself first and foremost – would be humbled and repent of all that does not reflect the light of our Holy God. May we come to give greater and more authentic witness of the only true, holy, and living God. May more come to believe, not stumbling over our failings to submit completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Father in heaven, may your Holy Spirit bathe our minds with your will and wisdom. May conviction well up in our hearts. May the blood of your Son Jesus wash our sins away. May every knee come to bow to you before their fleshly knees fail them and die. In the name of Jesus, our Lord, we pray. Amen. And amen.

this went thru my mind

Capital punishment: “Texas leads the nation in the number of executions since death penalty was reinstated in 1976.” Before you immediately sign-off with fellow citizens seem to overwhelmingly approve, consider, as a Christian, that your citizenship is not really of this state, but of heaven. Did the Son of heaven, Jesus, have anything to think or say about capital punishment? If so, what ought we believe about capital punishment? Greg Boyd’s simple, but thought-provoking piece – Sinful Accusers and Capital Punishment - only deals with one specific piece of evidence, but deserves serious attention.

Christian parenting: It’s quite possible to smother your child’s development of faith with your faith. Katy Perry’s experience is a costly reminder of such. Katy Perry Laments Lost Childhood.

Church: When Thom Rainer speaks, I listen. Ten Warning Signs for Churches.

Civil religion: I’m a speech major, a history lover, and a preaching minister. Those three factors alone make me very interested in listening anytime a President of the United States gives a prepared speech. But you need not have either of those in your head to have a care for such. John Hobbins offers some helpful thoughts and provides some very god links in his post entitled Civil Religion: The Speeches of Barak Obama.

Etiquette, manners & respect: Rachel Held Evans’ piece entitled A Christian’s Guide to Not Being a Jerk on the Internet is required reading.

Osama bin Laden: If you look, there’s a lot of good stuff being written right now regarding how Christians should respond to the death of Osama bin Laden. Following are four quality posts that captured my attention this past Thursday morning: (1)
My Take: My Prayer After bin Laden’s Death by Karen Spears Zacharias, (2) Osama bin Laden is All of Us by Colin McCartney, (3) What About Victims? by Ted Gossard, and (4) Who Will Be the Next Monster for Us to Fear? by Brian McLaren.

Poverty: Larry James draws our attention an eye-opening infographic as to what it means to be poor in the U.S. in his post It Costs to Be Poor!

the death of Osama bin Laden: a collection of Christian reactions (2)

A Christian Response by Mike Slaughter

Al-Zarqawi-bin-Laden-Same-Story by Collin Packer

Bin Laden’s death and Biblical Balance by James Michael Smith

Bloody Shirts and American Unity by Andrew Finstuen

Death-Celebrating Americans: “You are the ultimate barbarians!” by Andy Alexis-Baker

My Take: Why Partying Over bin Laden’s Death Makes Me Cringe by Stephen Prothero

One Christian’s Response to the Death of Osama Bin Laden by Tim Spivey

Osama bin Laden by Steve Kinney

Osama bin Laden by Kevin Raynor

News: Michael Moore is Right by Peter J. Leithart

Should Christians Celebrate Death? by Roger E. Olson

Thought Question: How Should Christians Feel About the Death of Osama bin Laden? by Jay Guin

What to Say? by Richard Beck

And just how does John Q. Public in the United States see things? The Pew Research Center’s post entitled “Public “Relieved” By bin Laden’s Death, Obama’s Job Approval Rises is worth noting.

It’s time we pray.

Heavenly Father, shape our conscience by your word into the likeness of your will. May we be ever open to your work at such and may we be active, not passive, in the process. Amen.

now that Osama is dead, wdJd?

“When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.” (Proverbs 11:10)

But who are the righteous and over what, or in whom, does the city rejoice?

There has been mass celebration, singing, and dancing in American streets of late … because a murderer was killed. If these things are all good, or at least innocent, why is it not possible for me to visualize Jesus joining in with us all, doing a fist pump and shouting, “Get ya’ some, Osama!”

No small number of Bible verses have been cast about in conversation and print attempting to justify the elation of these days. Passages like the one at the front end of this post. So why can’t I imagine Jesus thinking, “That’s right, people. Word up! It’s time to paarrrrty!”

Many take comfort in thinking the thousands of innocents who have died have now somehow been served or vindicated by a tap to the head. So why can I not conceive of Christ pulling the trigger? Is it because I know the Christ did not resist his own death?

We need to pause and ponder our prompts and purpose as people made in Gods image. We need to rethink what’s going on. “Everybody look what’s goin’ down.”

What’s going on is an unrepentant soul no longer has an opportunity to repent. And maybe that’s why I can picture in my mind Jesus weeping for a prodigal who never came home.

What’s going on is retaliation is coming. We know the question is not “if,” but only “when,” “where,” and “how.” The useless, ceaseless cycle of human anger and hate goes on. And so, maybe that’s why I can envision Jesus’ face hard as flint, his eyes never leaving us, drinking it all in, simply waiting for his Father’s word, “Enough!”

What’s going on is idolatry. The jubilation I am witnessing that comes up from this part of the globe to heaven does not give glory and praise and thanksgiving to the living God for his mercy and his justice, but substitutes nationalism and exalts patriotism to his place. It is substituting red, white, and blue as the colors to honor rather than God’s whiteness of holiness, all the while loudly proclaiming itself “a Christian nation” and “the light of the world.” And so perhaps this is why I can see a tear roll down Jesus’ face as his Father is denied the true worship and honor due only to him.

What does Jesus do? Why do we do what we do? Who is it, not with our words, but with our actions, that we truly put in the highest place? And … how long, O Lord, how long?

Heavenly Father, forgive our foolish ways. Have mercy on us when we delight in ourselves, rather than live like your Son. Bring us to our rightful mind, set right in you, and prospering in the abundance of simply living rightly to your glory and praise in humble service. Remove from my heart anything and everything akin to anger or hate, retribution or vengeance, pride or arrogance. And come, Lord Jesus!

Osama bin-Laden talks with God

While your friendly reporter was engaged in a brief, desperately needed, post-lunch “power nap” this afternoon, he was enabled to overhear a snippet of conversation between … Osama bin Laden and God Almighty! Your reporter quickly arose and recorded what he overheard and now, is privileged to share it with you here. He has taken the liberty of inserting into the conversation in () references in the Bible of which the conversation reminded him. We join the conversation already in progress.

Osama: Why me, God? Why now? Why this way?
God: It is mine to avenge; I will repay. (Deut. 32:35)

Osama: Oh, you enjoyed this, did you?
God: Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? … As surely as I live I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. (Ezk. 18:23; 33:11)

Osama: Well, it seems clear to me you’re in bed with the Great Satan.
God: My kingdom is not of that world. (John 18:36)

Osama: Okay, you tell me then, what was it you wanted me to do?
God: I, the Lord was patient with you. I did not want you to perish. I want everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

Osama: Repent? Tell that to those people of yours! They’d be dancing on my grave right now … if I had one!
God: I have told everyone: “Do not gloat when your enemies fall; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.” (Prov. 24:17-18)

Osama: Your people were some of the cruelest of all to me and mine. What do you have to say about that?
God: This is what my own Son told my people: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:43-44)

Osama: Then you contradict yourself for I know what is written in your book. It says: “… the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.” (2 Chron. 20:27)
God: They are to rejoice in me, not themselves. (Philippians 4:4)

Osama: Ah, but they do rejoice in what they believe they have done themselves and they give glory not to you, but to their nation, their troops, and their flag! Can you not hear or see?
God: You are confused as to who are my people. My people have no nation, troops, or flag. The one who sins is the one who will die and I am merciful to whoever I choose to be merciful. (Ezk. 18:20a; Rom. 9:15)

At this point, the interview was drowned out from your reporter’s hearing by a large chorus of angels who broke out in song saying:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” (Rev. 4:11)