One Evangelical’s Response to Pat Robertson’s Remarks on Haiti

Jeff Foxworthy said that “Southerners are among the smartest people on Earth.  Our problem is that we just can’t keep the most ignorant amongst us off the television.”  We Christians have the same problem.  There are a lot of thoughtful intelligent Christians.  We just can’t keep the most ignorant amongst us off the television.  Here’s an example.

An absolutely horrible earthquake rocked Haiti today.  Preliminary reports indicate that the death toll may be in the hundreds of thousands.  For those who don’t know, a well-known, though embarassing, voice of evangelical Christianity chimed in on the disaster.  Pat Roberston explained, “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it.  They were under the heel of the French … and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’  True story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal…’  Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another…”  The legend of which Robertson speaks dates back to the 18th century and is of very dubious origin.  Even assuming its truth, however, what view of God countenances his raining disaster on hundreds of thousands of people who not only are not parties to such a “pact” but who are even unaware of such a legend?  I am offended that Robertson who, in theory, flies the same religious banner I do would hide his apparent personal disdain for those not like him behind the faith that I so cherish.  It’s ignorant, it’s offensive and it’s an affront to everything that Christ came to do.

Earlier in the day, I read a thread in which someone compared Robertson with Fred Phelps (the pastor behind godhatesfags.com).  I responded that, in some way, Robertson is worse.  Phelps simply spouts personal vitriol and bad theology to a limited audience whose size is determined by how slow a news day happens to be.  Robertson spouts ignorance in many disciplines — history, theology, sociology, etc. — and is much better funded.  What a dangerous combination.

I struggled over whether to write this post.  I don’t like making personal attacks on anyone — at least anyone who is identifiable.  But what should a thoughtful Christian do?  We cannot let something like this simply pass in silence.  It’s an offense to the Gospel and yet another pretty good reason for the world, who judges Christianity by the conduct of Christians, not to take Christ’s message seriously. 

I’m at a loss for further words…

Praying for Haiti,

Mark

Things (and People) That Tick Me Off

Have you ever had an inexplicably bad day?  I’m talking about a day when nothing goes particularly wrong, but when you are simply inundated with things and people that rub you the wrong way.  I had one of those days recently.  You see, like most people, I have pet peeves.  Unlike most people, I have A LOT of pet peeves.  Thank goodness they don’t eat a lot.  Besides, I’m not sure where to buy peeve food.  But then there are the shots, the worms, the fleas, the vet visits… Arrggh!  Sorry.  Small digression…

Anyway, in my immense frustration I have decided to share with you, my friends, a list of the top five things (and people) that tick me off so that you will know how to avoid annoying me.  Yeah, I know this is a little self-indulgent but it is cathartic for me.  Read it.  Consider it.  Comment and let me know if you share my aversion to any of these little vexations of life. Continue reading “Things (and People) That Tick Me Off”

Five Books That Have Rocked My World (Or At Least My Boat)

I love to read, but it hasn’t always been like that.  Growing up, I preferred to spend my time outside with some kind of ball, throwing, kicking, hitting, or shooting it.  It has only been in the last five or so years that reading has become a near obsession.  Now, I won’t go so far as to say that books have changed my life (well, maybe some have) but they definitely have prompted me to think in new and interesting ways.  Believing, of course, that everyone should enjoy reading as much as I do, I wanted to share with you five books that have rocked my world or, as the title of this post says, at least rocked my boat (by the way, I completely ripped off the title of this post from an article my pastor once wrote — sorry, Aaron).  These aren’t necessarily my five favorite or even most influential books, but each has played a significant role in my life.  So, in no particular order… Continue reading “Five Books That Have Rocked My World (Or At Least My Boat)”

We’re In Wheaton

Hello again.  I know it’s been a long while since I last wrote, but we’ve been just a touch busy.  For those of you who don’t know, my family and I recently moved from Greenville, SC to Wheaton, IL for me to attend graduate school at Wheaton College.  The months leading up to the move were, as you can imagine, quite hectic.  I have decided that there are few things in life I dislike more than moving.  You know, the first couple of times I moved, it wasn’t that bad.  However, the longer I am married and the older the kids get, the more stuff we seem to accumulate.  The “in” box definitely gets more use than the “out” box, which I’m pretty sure is packed IN a box somewhere.  Enough about moving, though.  That’s an entire post by itself.

The kids are doing well.  They’ve been in school since August 25th and, despite the expected bouts of homesickness, are adjusting quite nicely.  My daughter is beginning to find her niche in 5th grade.  She’s now on the safety patrol and is beginning band next week.  My son is settling into school a little more slowly but has found a great pasttime — playing sports with the college guys (we live in campus house that backs up to an undergraduate dorm).  So far, he has joined in games of Ultimate Frisbee, Soccer and just today was holding his own in a game of “HORSE.”  I’ve got to say that the college kids here have been great around my children.

Our move up here was a total move of faith (not that our faith has anything to do with how “holy” we are.  Someday, I’ll tell you the story of how we ended up at Wheaton and you’ll see that it really wasn’t that hard of a decision — sometimes, God just makes it easy).  Neither my wife nor I had jobs and we had (still have just) enough money to last us a couple of months.  A week after we moved, Amy got a call from a local hospital asking if she could come for an interview (she is a nurse, by the way).  She interviewed with the HR and management on Wednesday, was asked back for a peer interview on Thursday, and received a job offer on Friday.  From the first contact requesting the interview until the job offer was less than 72 hours.  Wow!  So, she starts tomorrow.

As for me, I’m having a blast!  I recently received an email from a friend who made the comment that he hoped I was containing myself.  I replied that not only was I not containing myself, I wasn’t even trying.  This is a great gig!  I get to read, write, pray, study, meditate and interact with some really brilliant and charitable people…full time.  When I’m not eating dinner with the family or catching an occasional movie with the kids, this is what I do.  I’m pretty stoked.

Anyway, I had promised some folks that I would post periodic updates on this phase of my family’s journey.  This is the first one.  We’re here.  I have to go read some Tertullian now.  Until next time, blessings to you all.

Plato And The Bible

Just wondering what everyone else thinks…

Genesis 50.20 says “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring about this present result…”

Plato said (Apology) “For which reason, also, I am not angry with my condemners, or with my accusers;  they have done me no harm, although they did not mean to do me any good.”

Paul said in Philippians (1.21) “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Plato said (Apology) “Now, if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night.  But if death is the journey to another place and there, as men say, all the dead abide, what good, O my friends and judges, can be greater than this?” (OK, admittedly not the greatest translation.  Probably better is “[regarding death] I say, for my part, [it is] gain.”)

Two questions:

Do you think Plato read Genesis or at least was familiar with the narrative of Joseph?

Paul was almost certainly familiar with Platonic philosophy, but did he actually read Plato?

Just wondering…

Excerpt Of The Day — June 17, 2009

“Each of the Gospels has a different starting point.  Matthew begins with Abraham, Mark with John the Baptist, and Luke with Zechariah and Elizabeth.  But John’s Gospel begins at the beginning — in eternity.”  (Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone.  Orlando: Reformation Trust, 2007, p. 11)

It’s true.  Does anyone want to venture a guess as to why?

Quote Of The Day

“‘Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.’  It has almost seemed that in every epoch there were some who were primarily interested in naming the name of Christ, clarifying its doctrinal and theological meaning, and defending that meaning against its enemies — but who named the name without giving the cup of water.  Yet it has seemed possible for others to give the cup of water, to provide the healing, and to improve the social lot of the disadvantaged — but to do so without explicitly naming the name of Christ.  Does that saying of Jesus mean that each of these ways of responding to his summons is only a partial obedience to this dual command?”

       –Jaroslav Pelikan, Jesus Through the Centuries.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1985, p. 228.