“Christians Only?”

 

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We are all trying to figure out the best path to peace out of the terror that is in our world today. One path chosen by some Presidential candidates is to make sure that the only refugees allowed to take a path into the U.S. are Christian. To steal a line from SNL, “Isn’t that special?”

The basis for the “Christian only” policy?

In one candidate’s own words: “There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror.”

Let’s stay away from the political and go with the theological. I’ve got to ask:

First, How do we screen the refugees to ensure that Jesus is just all right with them? How do we prove someone is or isn’t a Christian? Is it a baptismal certificate? A fish bumper sticker? A date of when they walked the aisle, written in the front page of their Bible? A secret handshake? Do we go back to Biblical times and follow the pattern of identity given by God to Jewish men? Yikes.

Second, What if some non-Christian just pretended to be Christian in order to sneak into America?

Third, No Christian terrorists? “There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror.” Really? Maybe this is about history as well as theology.
History has in it plenty of episodes of “Christians committing acts of terror”: 700 years of “Inquisition.”

The politician goes on to say, “If there were a group of radical Christians pledging to murder anyone who had a different religious view than they, we would have a different national security situation.” We could ask the Waldensians about what happens when you have a “different religious view” than the established church. We could ask the people of Oklahoma City and Charleston about the reality of Christian terrorism.

Then there is this page from history expressed on the pages of Jews, God, and History by Max I. Dimont, “New industries develop special skills, and the Nazi concentration camp industry was no exception. Adept Sonderkommandos learned to apply grappling hooks with skill to separate bodies. Trained technicians learned to pry dead lips apart and deftly knock out gold-filled teeth. Talented barbers dexterously shaved the heads of dead women. Six days a week, the new elite worked in the concentration camps. On Sunday, they rested, went to church with their wives and children, and after church talked with horror about the eastern front where Russians were killing German soldiers, and commented on the barbarity of the Americans, who were dropping bombs on civilians.

 History has shown that followers of Jesus have not always acted like Jesus.

Another candidate, proposing the “Christians only” view, was asked by a reporter about how he would determine who is a Christian. Here’s his answer “I mean, you can prove you’re a Christian.   I think you can prove it. If you can’t prove it, you are on the side of caution.”

 “How do you know if someone is a Christian?” is a legitimate question. Here’s Jesus’ answer:

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

“We know that we have passed from death to life because we love each other”
(1 John 3:14).

Just in case some interpret “each other” and “one another” only to apply to “other” Christians, there’s this zinger:

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).

As usual, I have more questions than answers:

If love is the proof of following Christ, then how many of us would be allowed in?

Should refugees pass a test before being allowed in? My limited understanding of the process in place leads me to believe that there is some kind of test.

Is Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals onto something when he says, “Of course we want to keep terrorists out of our country, but let’s not punish the victims of ISIS for the sins of ISIS.”

Does proposing a “Christian only” test show a misunderstanding of both Christianity and Islam?

How do we express the life and ways of Jesus in our world?  A member of a small group I attend is posing this question for discussion at our group’s gathering tonight: “What would Jesus do with a murderous Parisian terrorist?”

Your answer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas on a Cup?

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In the ongoing “War on Christmas” the secularists have fired the first caffeinated shot against the Baby Jesus. Have you heard? Starbucks hates Christmas. The coffee giant has unveiled its new holiday cup seen above.

It’s solid red.

No Christmas designs.

No stars, reindeer, snowflakes or ornaments.

No manger scene.

Just a plain red cup.

 

So clearly, they hate Christmas – and they hate Jesus.

 

So says, Joshua Feuerstein in a Facebook post that has been viewed over 11 million times. His exact words, “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus…SO I PRANKED THEM…and they HATE IT!!!

 

He’s not alone. Raheem Kassan on breitbart.com says that those of us who indulge in a delicious drink from Starbucks out of a plain red cup are being “told/reminded that this time of the year is no longer about Christmas.” It’s almost like he could see me rolling my eyes because he ends his column with, “And no, ‘I’m not reading too much into it’. This is happening. And it’s as disgusting as an Eggnog Latte.” Well, he doesn’t need to drag eggnog into it.

 

Are Mr. Kassan, Rev. Feurestein and those who agree with them “reading too much into it”? I think so. Here’s why:

 

-I think this is one more sign that some Christians in the USA have a persecution complex.   One Presidential candidate said “We are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity.” Really? Is there any movement to prevent us from worshipping Jesus? From following Him? From living like Him? From loving our enemies? From blessing those who insult us? Paul writes that the fruit of the Spirit, the evidence of living a Christian life  is “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  Then he ends with, “There is no law against these things.”  No chance of these attitudes and actions being criminalized.

 

I remember being taught in Youth Group to expect “persecution” for following Christ. I wonder if Christian culture has caused us to look at anything that doesn’t fit into our particular religious/moral/cultural box and see anti-Christian discrimination.

 

-Is Christmas really defined by what is written or not written on a cup? Isn’t it a better celebration of Christ’s birth and a better recognition of Christ to actually live like Him?

 

“Those who claim to belong to him must live just as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

 

Isn’t it better to listen to and live out the angelic announcement of “peace on earth – good will toward men?”

Putting a Christmas message on a cup doesn’t compare to living out the Christmas message.

 

So, buy yourself a coffee in a plain red cup.

Buy one for the person behind you.

Buy one for the person at the intersection holding a “Homeless” sign.

Do something “good” for others.