Monday, March 25, 2019



The mainstream media has given us extensive coverage of the reprehensible mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand a few weeks ago. And they should. It was a horrific event that the world should absolutely mourn such a senseless act of violence.
While the world expresses its outrage at still another murderous attack upon a place of worship and the targeting of people because of their religious faith, the mainstream media in the US has largely ignored what some have termed a "genocide" going on in Africa,
Church Militant reports (backed up by credible news sources around the world) these facts.
“At least 120 Nigerian Christians have been killed since early February in a string of violent attacks that are being attributed to Fulani militants.
On March 11 alone, a string of attacks left 53 dead and 143 homes destroyed in the villages of Inkirimi and Dogonnoma in the Kajuru Local Government Area in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
Just a day before that, an attack on the village of Ungwan Barde killed 17 people and destroyed dozens of homes. One month prior, about 16 people had been killed in Ungwan Barde village in a series of attacks on Feb. 9 and 10.
The governor of Kaduna State imposed a curfew last week on the local government area owing to the deadly outbreak of violence.
On Feb. 26, some 32 Nigerian Christians were killed in the Maro district of the Kaduna State. The attackers burned down an evangelical church and shot people fleeing. This violence was also suspected to be the work of Fulani militants.
Local lawmakers say the recent attacks have displaced at least 3,000 locals, with many people’s homes destroyed and many others fleeing for safety.
In Benue State, Fulani attacks on several villages on March 4 left 23 dead.
They explain that such acts of violence began about a year ago, and stem from longstanding tensions between the majority Muslim Fulani herdsman and the majority Christian farmers.
In 2017, the Nigerian government passed laws that would prevent the Fulani herdsman from allowing their livestock to graze on the farmer’s private property, hoping it would ease tensions between the opposing groups, but it only made things worse.
And now, hundreds of Christians are dead.”
And so I am compelled to ask, why is this being largely ignored by the press in this nation?  I am not someone who sees a conspiracy behind every troubling development. I am suspicious of the “Jesus’ teaching” ignoring that marks much of American Militant Christianity.  Nor am I a person who believes that such outrages by people from religious group against another (especially when it’s mine) is an excuse to demonize someone else’s faith or justify the same senseless, hateful violence on our part.
But this needs to be a matter if prayer.  It needs to be a matter that is brought clearly into the light.  It is a matter that our nation (and our press) need to take action against.
 And we need to remember that such religious hatred expressed against Christians occurs in all corners of the world.  In some nations like China, it is government sanctioned.
The prophet Hosea reminded us that working for justice is a command of our faith.  It applies to victims and the oppressed regardless of their faith.

More on the subject 200 CHRISTIANS ATTACKED

Wednesday, March 20, 2019



I am in the process of reading through and reflecting upon the Sermon on the Mount.  Today I found myself in the following text.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.: - Matthew 5.  

We live in an angry, combative and passionately intolerant world today.  Unfounded accusations delivered with virulence, unbridled angry tweeting, the demonization of anyone who does not agree with us--all of become a part of the communication of our culture.

This passage was delivered by Jesus to a 1st century audience that would have contained people who considered themselves religiously superior, others who were tired and/or cowered by such self-righteousness, and others who were relegated to the fringes of their society as sinners and probably chafing under perceived injustice and prejudice they had experienced.

In pronouncing these words, Jesus was not trying to further fuel that contempt and division that marked that 1st century community.  But he WAS attempting to reframe the discussion and open their minds to a difficult truth that their narrow minds had been closed to.

I would say it in this way.  The language of unbridled contempt is the front door to hell for such contempt violates the Law of Love—both of God because it is despising someone for Whom Christ has died and of your neighbor because we are saying that we are worthy of God’s love and respect than another.

Many would, and did, reject this teaching because they were trying to organize their lives and society around the values of a sinful humankind.  Both those then and today, who accept this truth could begin to bring about healing and reconciliation to this troubled American landscape.

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Monday, March 18, 2019



Last Saturday I celebrated my 68th birthday doing something that I really love.  I managed my first trip to Spring Training in almost 10 years.  Dianne and I journeyed to Lakeland FL to spend a week with friends Dennis and Ruth, who have recently retired to Lakeland.  Lakeland is the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers.

Those of you who have followed my blogs for very long know that I a diehard Detroit Tigers fan, the love of both the game and that team planted in my DNA while still a young boy.  The Tigers were hosting the Pirates, the favorite team of my friend Dennis.  The baseball “gods” favored me that day with a Tigers win and my friend Dennis was quite gracious about it.  In fact, he even had arranged for the announcer at Joker Marchant Stadium to wish me a happy birthday.

The joy of that day may be short-lived.  The Tigers are in the second of what may be several “rebuilding” years.  That’s baseballese for “a losing season”, maybe even a “big losing season.” Although Rod Gardenhire’s charges looked pretty good, I suspect there will be some disappointing days ahead in the next few months.

Rebuilding times are often tough to endure.  We have seasons of fruitfulness and success but as the world changes, we find that those changes have rendered us ineffective or out-of-touch.  Successful teams age.  New players come into the league.  Injuries happen and players lose their speed.  For teams to win they often have to stop, shed some old players, disengage from old tactics, and learn how to win in that new day.

In our faith life we can experience the same dynamic.  What used to inspire has lost its edge as we have lived more by habit than expectancy.  Distance from when we first believe has a way of tamping down the holy fire.  The insistence on holding on to past practice keeps us from exercising the faith that steps forward into a fruitful future.

As Christians we affirm the constancy of Christ.  “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.”  But we also embrace the truth that “behold I am making all things news.” Psalm 30:5 tells us, “Weeping may come in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”  The grief and frustration of those times of rebuilding when we are anchored in faith will be bring joy in the morning.  Count on it.

Saturday, March 16, 2019