Message from discussion This preacher *almost* gets it...
From: stoney <sto...@stoneynet.net>
Subject: Re: This preacher *almost* gets it...
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Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 05:22:42 GMT
On Sun, 02 Dec 2001 03:58:01 GMT, west...@visi.com (Brian Westley), Message ID:
<dFhO7.35484$H7.4680...@ruti.visi.com> wrote in alt.atheism;
Yes, he almost does...what I find really interesting is some of his comments
mirror Bishop Spong's in the article posted by Betty West.
Sometimes we just don't get it
By James N.Coffin | My Word
Posted December 1, 2001
First, the disclaimer: What I'm about to say isn't for atheists and agnostics --
although they're welcome to listen in. My comments are for believers.
Christians. Jews. Muslims. Those sorts.
Now some facts: I'm a Christian. A preacher. But, surprisingly, I'm not
altogether happy about some of the ways God's name has crept into public
discourse since Sept. 11. Let me explain.
As the dust of devastation settles, heartening accounts of survival continue to
emerge. Traffic jams, family interruptions, even the decision to buy a bagel --
all are part of the saga of lives spared.
Then there's the other side. People at a new job for the first day, security
officials incorrectly announcing that a building is safe, police and
firefighters just doing their jobs -- all are part of the saga of lives lost.
So when I hear the survivors praise God for looking out for them, I cringe on
behalf of those to whom fate dealt a different hand. If God put it into the mind
of one person to buy a bagel, couldn't he have put it into the minds of airport
guards to detain the bearers of box cutters?
In our gratitude to be alive, and in our desire to give God the glory, we too
often fail to consider the implications of what we're saying.
In my denomination, we have a fund-raising program we call "Investment." The
concept is simple: A person commits to God the income from some venture,
inviting him to bless it.
Back in the mid-1980s, a man promised God he would give 25 cents for every extra
shave he got from his Bic disposable. To his amazement, he began getting 80 and
90 shaves instead of his usual four or five. Other men from his church joined
in, with similar results.
At the time, I was an editor for a denominational magazine. We thought the story
inspiring and published it. On the cover we featured the participants -- all
lathered up and holding aloft their razors. What a miracle.
But the readers didn't all share our enthusiasm. One poignant letter went
something like: Yesterday a young mother of three learned she had terminal
cancer. Yesterday a little boy chased a ball into the street and was killed.
Yesterday millions went to bed hungry. And where was God during all this? He was
busy sharpening Bic razors.
How do I explain the sharp-razor phenomenon now?
There are some things for which satisfactory explanations elude us. But I do
know that such stories, when viewed in the broader context of world suffering,
not only add to the pain of those who already suffer, but raise disturbing
questions about the character of God.
There are times when the most appropriate response -- for the sake of our fellow
humans and even God -- is to simply be grateful for any good that comes our way
and to refrain from opining about ultimate causes.
James N. Coffin is senior pastor of the Markham Woods Seventh-day Adventist
Copyright © 2001, Orlando Sentinel
"Designated Rascal and Rapscallion
When in doubt, SCAMPER about!
When things are fair, SCAMPER everywhere!
When things are rough, can't SCAMPER enough!