There’s a feeling I don’t have a word for. It’s the mixture of disgust, embrassment, and indignation. I feel it most often when people claiming to follow Jesus engage in acts that are just so opposite to what Jesus is about.
I know that I’m not supposed to feel this way, and I’m working on that. But I don’t really want to write about that today. What I want to write about is one of the specific things these buttheads do to that evokes these feelings from me.
What they do is this: For almost any disaster you can mention, there is some moron with an axe to grind who is going to broadcast his idea that it was God’s will for this disaster to occur. Usually these people have decided that a single, particular sin is worse than all the rest and they’ve further decided that the people who suffered this disaster were a prime example of that sin.
When the World Trade Center fell, there were two groups who said this was God’s will and a punishment for America’s sins. One group was extremist, militant Muslims. The other group was extremist, militant Evangelical Christians. Ironic bedfellows, there.
When I read Luke 13 this morning, I thought of these knuckleheads. An interesting passage I never much noticed before. Jesus is in the middle of teaching at the end of chapter 12. Chapter 13 begins”Just at that time there (arrived) some people who informed Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifice.”
And he (Jesus) replied by saying to them , “Do you think that these Galileans were greater sinners than all the other Gallileans because they have suffered in this way?
A few verses later comes the portion that struck me:
“… those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them– do you think that they were more guilty offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalum?”
It’s a hard to come to grips with the simple truth that our very existence is gratitious, unearned, and more than we deserve. Jesus words aren’t exactly reassuring for any of us. The people inside that tower in Siloam weren’t any more or less deserving than the rest of Jerusalem.
More to the point here, though, is that the people inside the World Trade Center weren’t any more or less deserving than the rest of us, either. The idea that God some orchestrated a special, Earthly judgement on 3,000 men, women, and children, is just so ludicrious.
When God says not to take his name in vain, I have to believe that he was worried about more than people saying “Oh God” or even “God Damn it.” Somebody who claims that the World Trade Center’s fall is God’s judgement, they are triviliazing God’s love in a way much more profound than any exclamation ever could be.