Westboro Baptist Church & God
This is quote from a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 3, 2006, "Radical Westboro Baptist Church Claims Amish Community Was Punished by an Angry God".
[Quote] SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER, WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH: The message is that God has put a standard in the earth. He expects his creatures to obey it. If you obey, he'll bless you. If you don't, he'll curse you. America has sent away her day of grace. America is doomed. [Unquote]
I've been bothered by this group since they made the news protesting at the funerals of dead soldiers. Granted, America has some serious issues with sin. At times I'm amazed that God doesn't just write us off and start over with another nation. Even conservative Fox News uses sex to sell the news (higher tables, longer skirts, and fewer sex-related videos on Bill O'Reilly's hour, anyone?)
But apparently, God's not finished with us as a nation, yet. It's also sad that Ms. Phelps-Roper didn't get it right. It helps to quote from the Scriptures rather than paraphrase, as it tends to keep us from making ourselves look like fools.
I've been a believer since I was 11, 43 years ago. I've been through many stages in my Christian life, from spiritual baby, to hyperfundamentalist, to outcast, and to where I am today. I'm comfortable with my life. I've learned many things about my faith, but the most important is that it all boils down to just three things. And you're going to have to find a Bible and look those up. [smile]
It isn't complicated to live a Godly life, really it's not. If you ignore all of the "rules" made up by well-meaning Christian leaders and just follow what God said in the Bible, you can't go very wrong. Besides, God is quite forgiving when we get it mixed up, if we're honest enough to admit that we goofed. And if you're using original language texts to double check your English translation of the Bible, it almost doesn't matter which translation that you use. (I'll bet that gets somebody riled.)
In Hebrews, Christians are admonished to submit to their spiritual leaders. Many times I've heard this one used to make believers obey whatever their pastor tosses out from the pulpit. But if you go back into the original langauge of that passage, you find that we're admonished to voluntarily submit to those leaders, but only if their testimony is on the up and up. In other words, their lives should appear to be "Jesus Christ... the same yesterday, today and forever."
If they're not living like Christ, then I'd like to humbly suggest that you consider finding another leader.
They're the ones who have to go before God's review board and fess up to their own lives and how they led God's people, not us. If we see anything in their lives that isn't Christ-like, then we can choose to not submit to their authority.
For example, how many times have you heard a pastor claim from the pulpit that they were pulled over by a policeman for a traffic violation? And heard him joke about it? Maybe he needs to read Romans 13:1-7 a few times until it hits him that Christians are supposed to obey civil laws, which, interestingly enough, includes all of the traffic laws.
(Can you imagine the effect if every professing believer in the USA started obeying the traffic laws? The lives saved and property undamaged? My, my...)
This leads into what I wanted to say about Westboro Baptist Church.
I can't see myself as anything but one of the lowest sorts of Christians out there today. Nothing to brag about, I don't even go to church very often anymore (long story.) But amazingly enough, I see my prayers answered on a regular basis. Sometimes scarily so. I frequently let God know that I do NOT understand His mercy and grace. I'm not sure that I will ever understand the scope of either of those.
My wife died from a rare mitochondrial disorder (MELAS Syndrome), we lost three babies in death before she died, and our remaining son (23 yo) has been diagnosed with the same disorder that his mother died from. So I understand that God doesn't always answer our prayers in the manner that we would like Him to. A very definite "been there, done that." And all of those experiences, save for my son's diagnosis, were during my hyperfundamentalist phase!
I've even had well-meaning believers simply destroy what remained of my life, trying to "fix" whatever was wrong with me. Gotta love 'em.
Yet, I still pray, believing that God will answer in His own time and way.
Here's what I propose to do.
I'm going to pray for Westboro Baptist Church. No kidding.
I'll ask God to deal with them in any manner that he chooses, but I'm going to ask Him to think about the people that they're hurting. Death sucks. I've been there four times, five if you include my grandfather, and I really hated all of those experiences. My wife dying sucked the life out of me and I don't know if I'll ever be able to get back to feeling normal again.
So I really do not like to see so-called "Christians" deliberately hurting those who have lost loved ones. Really, I don't.
If Westboro Baptist Church is in the wrong, then God will sort them out. If not, well, God knows what's best.
Every day, I will pray a one line, heartfelt prayer involving Westboro Baptist Church, starting right now at 1945 hours on 05-21-10. Feel free to join with me in this effort.
I have every hope that God will deal with them in a way that He is satisfied with. And since they've been very vocal and in the media, I wouldn't be surprised at all if we heard something about it, maybe sometime soon.
I wonder if I should call their neighbors and let them know that Westboro Baptist Church may be getting a visit from God? It might not go as well as Westboro Baptist Church appears to anticipate.
(I would have put this up on FaceBook or some other social network, but I don't use them and would expect folk to post rather nasty responses to the subject of my commentary. Someone will find this page eventually. [smile])
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