A Mighty Rant

Rant alert, Rant alert.

If the thought of an big, bearded religion writer shouting at the top of his lungs about world hunger, the war in Iraq, and gay marriage, is disturbing to you, please leave this blog. (Try this one--it's make you smile.)

I mean it.

You have been warned.

Let's get one thing straight. I am one of those people who thinks gay marriage and practicing gay clergy are un-Christian ideas. That is, they fall outside the bounds of historic Christianity.

OK. Got that off my chest. Now let’s move on.

Someday, we can talk more about these serious and important issues. But right now, they are on the bottom of my to-do list. Way down, like maybe 25 or 26 million items down. And they ought to be even farther down on the church's list.

That's the point I wish the African Anglican bishops would get. OK you think Bishop Gene Robinson ought not to be sleeping with his boyfriend. You've made your point.

Now please can get upset about something that matters.

Like the five-alarm fire raging in your home continent.

What we need to hear more about, more anger and fire and outrage about-- from African bishops and US clergy of all kinds-- is the devastation that is racking Africa, and what we can do to help.

Tell us about the26 million people with AIDS and what we need to do.

Tells us about famine.

The catastrophic civil wars in Congo and Sudan. Especially Sudan, and the 100,000 people expected to die in Darfur.

Tell us till our heart break and burned and bleeding and we wake up. And we put away our childish infighting and do something.

Toward the end of his life, Jesus told two parables about the afterlife. They are the rich man and Lazarus where a rich man burns in hell for ignoring the poor man who lived at his gate, and the sheep and the goats,

That parable ends like this.

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

So here's the deal. By fighting over music, and homosexuality, and women in ministry, by building a consumer culture that eats everything is sight, while the world goes to hell in a hand basket, we have put our immortal souls in danger.

And we need someone to help us snap out of it before it's too late.

Two more thoughts.

There are two theological problems with this war in Iraq.

One is this--we thought Saddam Hussein was the devil. Turns out he was only one of the devil's minions.

I don't know who the devil is, but we can at least see where he's been the last few years. In Rwanda. In Congo. In Sudan. And anywhere there is AIDS.

Here's the other thing.

We are spending 87 billion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan -- money that's being drained away from other desperate needs.

Even if you buy that Iraq was an imminent threat, here's the deal. We have decided that preventing a few thousand more American deaths by fighting terrorism is more important than saving hundreds of thousands of lives of people with AIDS, or starving to death, or facing ethic cleansing in Sudan.

It's good politics. It's good nationalism.

But good religion?

Not to the Jesus I know.

Heaven help us.


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