9.29.2006

A Fine Line

Rodion, had the time to respond to the Muslim’s response to the Pope’s comments. I ditto what he said. But I also think he and I (and maybe a few others) are missing something. From a radical Muslim perspective, Christians are responsible for the death of between 60,000 and 160,000 Iraqis and Afghan’s in the past five years. Which would put their terror killings in perspective, but then I disagree with their perspective. I suspect you do as well, but why?

Here is part of what Rodion said:

If you have watched the news recently then you probably know that some Muslims have decided to prove the Pope wrong by killing Christians in the Middle East.

This is completely ridiculous. Several months back when Danish papers published cartoons of Mohammad being portrayed as a terrorist many Muslims did the same thing. "We're not terrorists and to prove it we are going to blow up churches."

The fine line I walk is that of the position somewhere left of a blanket "War on Terror" and somewhere right of "Islam is a peaceful religion." Islam is not a peaceful religion in any history we know.

The other thing I love is that the news always finds that Imam from Orange County who says that "true Islam" preaches peace and love. Really? That is true Islam? So you are telling me that those living where Islam originated and has thrived for the past 1400 years have it wrong and this white skinned Californian guy has it right? Maybe so but it is hardly convincing.

The fine line I walk as a Christian must love our enemy as ourselves but still have the capacity to label the enemy as an enemy. I don't want to go on a rampage against Muslims or support military action against Muslim countries. Neither am I going to pretend that the message of Isalm is not dangerous. I am not going to pretend that they have the same truth and worship the same God has I do, because they don't. Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and the Father is God and together they are one God. Any understanding of God that falls short of this triune representation is inherently lacking a full picture of God.

We must develop a sense of unity with our Christian brothers and sisters in those regions where they are persecuted by Islam. Three Christians were killed today that were reported by the news. These are martyrs. Martyrs have always been venerated by the church sense the earliest times and yet we care more about our jobs, our houses, our cars, and our "way of life" than we do about them.

Read the rest here.

9.24.2006

Anyone Want a Cigar

So I’m now a Father. On Wednesday September 20th, (the same day my father was born) my amazing wife gave birth to an eight pound two ounce little boy at 6:44 pm cst. His name is Nicholas David Napoli Best. He’ll be a “Nick”, and Napoli is Joey’s maiden name. Both Joey and Nick are healthy, so naturally that’s a huge answer to prayer.


Nicholas David Napoli Best


Nick and Me

9.16.2006

Church & State Paper

I just sent off my 30 page Church and State paper. I enjoyed doing it. It served to help me ground my own understanding how many feel the Church should relate to the State. Below is an out line. In the next few day's I'll put up some excerpts.

An Introduction

  • A Short History
  • The Basis
  • Principles

The Form of the Christian Witness to the State

  • A Separate Witness
  • An Indirect Witness
  • A Direct Witness
  • Which Method: Separate, Indirect, or Direct?

Objections

  • Faith is Private
  • The State is already Christian
  • The State is beyond being rescued

Conclusion

  • On Paradox



9.11.2006

Lectio Divina for September 11th

Matthew 5

38
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

9.02.2006

Joshua's Prayer

Rodion, has a nice post here, on the topic of Israel typology, violence, national identities, and the Christians identity in Christ. I don’t agree with all of it, (I’m not completely a pacifist, though I wish I could be) but I think it’s worth your time. Here is an excerpt of Rodion's post, followed by the comment I left, Joshua's Prayer.

Rodion:
Most Christians in the U.S. revel in the fact that God has blessed them with this wonderful and righteous country. Most are basically convinced that God has blessed us with the promised land and delivered us from our enemies (the Native Americanites, the Spanishites, the Frenchites, the Britishites, and the Mexicanites) in order to fulfill his promise to us of possessing a land filled with milk and honey.

Second, one thing that is usually bypassed in our parallel of modern America and OT Israel is that before Israel headed into the Promised Land, after forty years in the wilderness for their disobedience, God specifically told them that they were not getting the land because they were a righteous people. No, they were sinful and unfaithful but God was faithful and God had made a promise to Abraham and to Moses and God was going to make good on it. In our country we often assume that God has chosen us and given us this land because we deserve it ("God helps those who help themselves").

So how does this apply to our topic of Israel Typology? I claim that if we appeal to creation as the norm by which to understand Jesus' purpose (after all John claims that it was Christ who created in the first place and, thus, it should be him who creates everything new), then we can understand why we should not use books like Joshua to justify our Christian violence. God's promise to Abraham was esentially this: After the first eleven chapters of Genesis humanity had gone from good, to bad, to worse. The unity of man and woman had been destroyed, families (tribes) began to fight with one another, as the tribes grew bigger nations began to war with each other (Noah's curse of Ham ensured that this would be the way of nations in the future), and finally at Babel the tongues were divided. Therefore, the unity that God had created had been increasingly more and more hidden under the sin of humanity. God essentially promises Abraham that God will put things back the way they were before all of this happened by blessing every tribe, tongue and nation all of which were removed from their original created purpose.

I said:
Rumsfield is a prophet in the order of St. Joshua, and to him we pray:
"St. Joshua in the promised land, holy is your name, your kingdom come and bloodshed be done, today, as it was in your day. Give us this day our daily orders, and punish our timidity as we punish those who act timid with us. And lead us not into the temptations of the Left, but deliver us the victory. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever and ever, Amen.