Category Archives: Justice

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“I Will Gather Still Others to Those I Have Already Gathered”

Isaiah 56:3-8

The Lord says:

Don’t let the immigrant who has joined with the Lord say,
“The Lord will exclude me from the people.”
And don’t let the eunuch say,
“I’m just a dry tree.”
The Lord says:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
choose what I desire,
and remain loyal to my covenant.
In my temple and courts, I will give them
a monument and a name better than sons and daughters.
I will give to them an enduring name
that won’t be removed.
The immigrants who have joined me,
serving me and loving my name, becoming my servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath without making it impure,
and those who hold fast to my covenant:
I will bring them to my holy mountain,
and bring them joy in my house of prayer.
I will accept their entirely burned offerings and sacrifices on my altar.
My house will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples,
says the Lord God,
who gathers Israel’s outcasts.
I will gather still others to those I have already gathered.

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Bail Me Out to Help Fight Muscular Dystrophy!

Family, Friends, and Readers!

I’m proud to tell you that I’m going “behind bars” to help in the fight against muscle disease. I’m joining other community leaders to help raise critical funds for the Muscular Dystrophy AssociationMDA, and I need your help to reach my bail! I’ll be raising funds for two children with Muscular Dystrophy to go to camp here in Idaho.

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Justice Reformed vs Arminian Theology

Piper and Tornado Theology

Last Friday, according to the National Weather Service, at least 42 tornadoes ripped through ten states, affecting millions of lives, and in the end claiming 40. I can’t imagine the loss and pain that so many are suffering. I hate that we call these things an “act of God.” I think we mostly use that term to describe something that we could not avoid or turn back, but, unfortunately, there are some with incredible amounts of influence that take the term quite literally. Take this guy, John Piper. If you don’t know him, he’s one of the bigger voices that advocates a reformed/calvinistic world-view in which God completely and happily dictates every tragedy that befalls the earth. So, when tornadoes devastate lives, he has to come out and say that it was God’s will that those should suffer, and he did earlier today. Here’s an excerpt from his blog:

Why would God reach down his hand and drag his fierce fingers across rural America killing at least 38 people with 90 tornadoes in 12 states, and leaving some small towns with scarcely a building standing, including churches?
If God has a quarrel with America, wouldn’t Washington, D.C., or Las Vegas, or Minneapolis, or Hollywood be a more likely place to show his displeasure?
We do not ascribe such independent power to Mother Nature or to the devil. God alone has the last say in where and how the wind blows. If a tornado twists at 175 miles an hour and stays on the ground like a massive lawnmower for 50 miles, God gave the command.
But why Maryville and not Minneapolis? Why Henryville and not Hollywood?
God has spoken about these things. Consider three ways he addresses — all of us… (finish it here)

He goes on to give instances in Scripture where some were punished by God through unavoidable (kind of) acts. The lesson we are supposed to learn from Piper God is three-fold. (1) God will kill people in order to get the survivors to think the right way, (2) God will kill people in order to get more people to repent, and (3) God usually starts his judgement by killing his own people first.

This is all just weird, but I understand why Piper has to say it. Piper has agreed to this other proposition: Everything that has ever happened and will ever happen is God’s happy and desired action. He has to say God killed those people. He has to say God desired it.

I get why Piper has to hold on to these notions, but I don’t know why he has to throw them around now. Funerals are still being arranged, and he wants to tell America that the God revealed in Christ wanted to kill these loved ones? This is not the time to argue theology. This is the time to care for those who are hurting and weep with those who are weeping. This is a time to help rebuild and to give hope. This is a time to proclaim a kingdom where there is no more pain, hunger, tears, and death. We proclaim this kingdom best when we are instruments that heal pain, satisfy hunger, wipe away tears, and testify to the coming resurrection.

This is a time to heal, not a time to justify God’s actions.

While Piper comes from a tradition where God’s sovereignty cannot be questioned, I come from a tradition where God’s loved cannot be questioned. I’m learning more and more how these are related, but in times like these, there is no reason that I am forced to say God killed these people so that the rest of us would learn a lesson. The God I know is Emmanuel, God with us, who loves us so deeply that he would come and experience our pain, suffering, and death alongside of us. So, where is God in these tornadoes? God is caring for the dead, suffering with the victims, and strengthening relief workers.

There are many ways to help those in need. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is supported by United Methodists Churches, so that every dollar donated can go directly to assistance and recovery.

 

 

 

 

 

peace to your soul!†

-Ric