The Next Beer Summit?

          “How can he possibly say that God told him to burn the Qur’ an?”  That’s the question that was asked this week in conversation with some church folk.  True enough, I thought, but then how’s come I’m going around saying God called me and my family to move from Indianapolis to east Texas to minister with a new church there?  What’s the difference?
          Community! 
          Now, I don’t know much about this preacher or his church in Florida which somehow feels like God is asking them to burn someone else’s sacred book.  But I do know he is not a Disciples of Christ minister and his is not a Disciples congregation!  Nor does he connect with any other denominational affiliation.  Clearly they are an isolated entity and he is an isolated theologian.  But you can’t do theology alone! 
          I don’t know a single theologian that would condone his act or claim about God’s call.  I don’t.  I don’t know anyone who would support such an act that seems to so violate Jesus’ central ethic of love.  I would love to know who he discussed this “call” with.  I would love to have been in the room when the idea was suggested.  I would love to examine the inner workings of the church and see how authority played out in their conversation and deliberation.   However, not having that privilege, I believe that most ministers outside that circle would agree that this event  is clearly the result of a pastor who is isolated.  I cannot imagine a communal conversation with compassionate and spiritual people that would come to the conclusions they have!!
          Community and connection is the key to understanding God’s call on our lives and for our institutions!  We have all kinds of choices these days.  We live in a complex and highly connected world.  It is vitally important that we stay in relationship with all the many conversations around us.   The act of burning someone else’s sacred object only ends that conversation.  Remember when they used to burn crosses?
          Thank goodness the discernment of God’s call in my life was a shared process.  My family, several search teams and church leader conversations, much prayer and even a few trusted friends clearly affirmed for me the direction God had for my life and the lives of my family.  But it’s not just the affirmation that I was seeking- it was the questions!  If all we are getting is pats on the back, then all we will do is continue that behavior.  If no one is questioning or doubting or wondering, then who’s to say you can’t go off the deep end while people are cheering you on!??!  It is the questions that you are able to ponder for a time, and the challenge they offer that spur on the conversation.  I am convinced that the conversation, as long as it is honest and mutual, is what genuinely leads to clarity of God’s call!          

          I sincerely hope that this issue is resolved in a positive and spiritual manner.  But I’m really curious about what kind of “Beer Summit” they’ll have at the White House with the preacher and the Imam when I doubt either one of them really drinks!

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One Comment on “The Next Beer Summit?”

  1. Amanda Page Says:

    I’m sad to say that I’ve known plenty of Christian men and women who would agree with the plan to burn someone else’s holy book. It’s the same mentality that had med fighting crusades in the name of Christianity, once upon a time. It sounds so much like the attitude I was raised in. And these churches may seem isolated to you, but there are MANY of them! They believe they are taking a firm stand for their faith. You kinda have to admire their willingness to go to extremes for Christ. But it’s sad that they really have no cluee that Christ was all about love and would probbably be horrified that they are acting this way.


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