Daily Archives: March 16, 2010

The Fruit of Glenn Beck’s Spirit

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Unless we have the courage to fight for a revival of wholesome reserve between man and man, we shall perish in an anarchy of human values…” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Any Jesus that would advocate for women and girls to murder their innocent (meaning not conceived through rape, not a grave threat to the life of the mother) unborn children would be considered EVIl, not just psychotic, in my book. Also. the whole notion of socialism is against the biblical work ethic

Your attacks are usually the reserve for desperate people who have no real facts to back up their opinions. It is a classic liberal tactic that I have been unfortunate to have suffered from by Progressives, Liberals, Marxists, Socialists, Anarchists, anti-Semites, KKK type radicals and other Leftists and far right anarchst/libertarian kooks for over two decades. You are nothing new.

I don’t mind that you attack me, but if I am right, you can take your humble place to suffer for the children of God, or decide to beat them until the Lord comes back.

BTW, it is not I who hate you, since if I did, I would slash and burn you with such intensity that it could be considered an art form. I instead CHOOSE to give you a bruise, instead of a kiss….”  777Denny in response to me on his blog.

Glenn Beck-Fox News Photo

Glenn Beck has an interesting way of coming back and I found today just what “the fruit of Glenn’s spirit” is. Believe me it is about 180 degrees out from the passage in Paul’s letter to the Galatians which says “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” Galatians 5:22-23

Well sports fans life remains interesting just as I was about to let go of this I received the text in bold above from 777Denny after which I decided that there was no use trying to reason with him.  I guess it didn’t help matters that after trying to be polite that I said that he sounded psychotic, but even with that I was pretty gentle on him and a even a bit witty. However Denny has no sense of humor and this was his response.  I found it interesting that he mentioned abortion because I had never brought it up and if he had read this website he would know that I am pro-life and the church that I am ordained in has one of the strongest pro-life and anti-abortion ethics of any church in this country.  I have written against people who have killed abortion providers and those who urge that they be killed but that does not mean I am somehow I am not pro-life I just believe the “born” have a right too and that no person has the right to simple go to someone’s home, church or business and kill them, even abortion providers.  However with some people like Denny who have been fed on 20 plus years of “conservative” talk radio and Fox News there is no-reasoning. Until I came back from Iraq I listened to or watched this stuff on a non-stop basis with the result that I was nearly always spun up and mad at someone.  When I came back from Iraq the invective and continuous drumbeat of hatred convinced me that that in spite of the claims that these broadcasters were “pro-God, pro-life and pro-family” that they only used this to gain the support and thereby the market share and profits of Christian conservatives.

Stirred up by the likes of Beck people like Denny have sacrificed their faith on the altar of extreme right wing intolerance.  Now I am NOT saying that everyone who listens to talk radio or Fox News has sacrificed their faith, I said people like Denny.  Personally I know a huge number of very conservative Bible believing Christians from all denominations who live their faith as loving and caring members of society who even when the disagree vehemently with liberalism would never treat people that Jesus died for as enemies to be destroyed by Denny’s “Angry Jesus.” In fact the comments generated by the last couple of posts with the exception of my new friend Denny are quite complimentary which gives me some hope.

As I came out of my fog from my post surgery pain I began to think about this. In doing so it came to me is that what really bothers Denny about me is that I stood up to him.  Denny is a classic bully.  Bullies don’t like it when people stand up to them.  I did not roll over when he attacked and called me all sorts of names and condemning me to hell thinking that I was Roman Catholic and as such a member of a “false religion.”  He still thinks I’m in a false religion but that’s okay.  In fact I like the labels that he has for me and that he says that I have “no real facts to back up” my opinions.  This is learned behavior. I have heard guys like Beck, Michael Savage and others treat callers who disagreed with them the same way back when I religiously listened to them.  Denny has learned well.

Denny and those like him really do serve to discredit conservative Christians who live their faith and treat others with kindness, respect and love.  Unfortunately for these Christians people like Denny and the folks like him are loud and because of Beck, Savage and others are now considered by many Americans not only to be representative of conservative Christianity but to be its authentic voice.  I have a lot of friends that are not Christians both at work, in the community and with whom I have gone to school or served with in the military that have been abused by “Christians” like Denny and the “churches” that echo his thoughts. Many have left the faith for various alternatives.  I am sure that some like Denny would say that they “were never saved to begin with and that’s why they left” but such talk is used only to justify themselves and their mistreatment of others.  If people wonder why many young people want nothing to do with the Christian faith all they have to do is look at people like Denny who have so entwined their faith with extreme right wing politics that there is no longer any way to determine where one begins and one ends.

Glenn Beck has resumed his attack on churches and religious leaders that have dared to disagree with his statements from last week turning his attention on Jim Wallis of Sojourners Magazine. Wallis is an evangelical Christian who is politically a mainstream liberal.  His magazine and organization have a strong emphasis on social and economic justice.  But if you really want to know how people like Beck would treat those who disagree with them should they ever come into power this should chills through your body…

“So Jim, I just wanted to pass this on to you. In my time I will respond my time, well, kind of like God’s time, might be a day, might be a week to you, I’m not sure. But I’m going to get to it in my time, not your time. So you go ahead and you continue to do your protest thing, and that’s great. I love it. But just know — the hammer is coming, because little do you know, for eight weeks, we’ve been compiling information on you, your cute little organization, and all the other cute little people that are with you. And when the hammer comes, it’s going to be hammering hard and all through the night, over and over…”

Since Beck has the nearly unlimited resources of Fox News and News Corp at his disposal this is no empty threat.  When his “fair and balanced report” comes out it will be hailed by conservatives who will congratulate him for “taking down” one of their opponents.  It will be about as “fair and balanced” as Josef Goebbels Völkdeutscher Beobachter during the 1920s and 1930s but that will make no difference.  Wallis and others like him are considered the enemy to Beck. They are to be discredited and vanquished.  Unfortunately there will be many Christians who will applaud Beck at the expense of a brother in Christ and that shame will be with us for a very long time.  This kind of worldview is exactly why Bonhoeffer said that “politics is not the domain of the Christian.” Bonhoeffer saw the passions of Christians being whipped up by extremists on the Right and the Left in Germany and those same demonic forces are at work here through people like Beck.

You see Denny is not the problem.  He is a symptom of a vicious political climate where politicians and the media often funded by immense corporate enterprises such as News Corp attempt to convert Christians to ideologies that have no resemblance whatsoever to the Gospel. Denny talks about the “biblical work ethic.” However, if one examines Scripture there are far more commands to take care of the poor than “he who does not work shall not eat” verse that is the basis for Denny’s “biblical work ethic.”  Comparing the agrarian society of most of the biblical world to the modern era is an intellectually dishonest tactic as the eras have little in common.  I’m sorry what I see Jesus teach in the Gospels and shown in the book of Acts looks a lot more socialistic than capitalistic to me.  Unfortunately Denny really does believe this perversion of the Gospel and in large part due to what he is being fed day after day. I guess that is why Andrew Schlafly at the “Conservative Bible Project” wants to re-write the Bible to conform to this political and ideological point of view, that Bible should be quite popular with folks like Denny when it comes out.

The fact that closes his comment with a veiled threat, “it is not I who hate you, since if I did, I would slash and burn you with such intensity that it could be considered an art form” seems to indicate that he believes that I am worthy of such a fate.  This is the kind of thought that embraced Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.  It is reflective of a moral sickness and social decay.  As I finish this I received Denny’s reply to me after politely backing out of the discussion on his blog site so I guess what I said really struck a nerve.  Here it is:

“Social Justice” has nothing whatsoever to do with abortion-on-demand rights, but rather a SOCIALIST AGENDA which is against the tenents of of the biblical work ethic. No amount of personal digs at me is going to change this FACT. If you do not like these FACTS, then ignore them.

I certainly do NOT want you coming back here and spout your attacks and nonsense about S.J. and me. And if you attack those who attack evil when they attack it, then expect some blowback. I am on their side. Get it? So don’t attack if you don’t want to back up your ideas with FACTS.”

I grieve for the church, the country and Denny when I read this.  Since I was not defending abortion on demand rights I have no clue why he says this especially when I assured him that I am pro-life as is the church that I am ordained. I do pray that things will get better and not end like they did in Germany and to this end as a Priest I will speak out.

It is funny. Had I not been laid up with a Kidney stone for most have Lent I probably would not been as reflective or as engaged as I have been on this subject but I can legitimately say that I am compelled by the Gospel to do so.  The danger to the church is growing as is that to the republic and as a Priest, Christian and American I must speak out.

Denny is certainly not an enemy to me, the more interaction that I have had with him the more I grieve for him.  Whereas I could have ended up hating in previous times I cannot now because I have decided to pray for his.  At the same time I cannot be more concerned for our country as anger like Denny’s becomes more widespread through the likes of Glenn Beck.  As Bonhoeffer said “I can no longer condemn or hate a brother [or sister] for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed through intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died.”  At the same time I cannot ignore their words and thereby cede my responsibility to proclaim Christ crucified.  Thus with Martin Luther I now end:

“Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

Peace,

Padre Steve

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