Monday, January 16, 2006

Pray for peace

Once again, someone has sent me this spam forward that claims that the Koran (the Muslim holy book) contains prophecies that predicted the American invasion of Iraq and that this is somehow a war that was predicted in the Bible as well. PLEASE, if you get this email too- copy and paste this blog post into a reply email. Best yet make sure you hit "reply all" so that everyone else who received the hoax email can read the truth too.

Here it is, from my column blog ( back in September 2004:

BEWARE of The 9/11 email Hoax!

There is an email hoax going around that claims that Chapter 9, Verse 11 of the Koran says something like this:

"For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace."

It's supposed to get Americans to support the War in Iraq because it coincidenttly is the "9/11" verse. Well it is NOT true!

Here's what I got at U.S.C.'s online translation of the Koran at

"YUSUFALI: But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity,- they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand.
PICKTHAL: But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge.
SHAKIR: But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and We make the communications clear for a people who know. "

Please be careful with internet forwards. They may often be fabricated by people who're seeking to advance political agendas.

If there is a problem for believing Christians with this it may be the false doctrine of "Dispensationalism," that is the belief that Jesus' work was somehow incomplete on the cross and that God will make a special allowance for Israel to accept Jesus. Other people seem to think that Jesus' second coming won't happen until Solomon's Temple is rebuilt where there is currently a mosuque- as if the Temple is some kind of stargate through which Jesus will arrive.

Neither of these ideas is found in Scripture, in fact, Jesus makes two things clear. One is that our relationship with God is no longer tied to physical, geographical, or political places. The other one is that there is nothing we can do to precipitate, or speed-up Jesus' coming.

John 4: 19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Matt 24:36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father....44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

For any politician or party to think that they are a catylist for the end times is either presumptuous or delusional. The greatest fault of Islam is it's unacceptance of Jesus as the Messiah, other than that it is not in itself a violent or malevelant religion. Muslim extremist terrorists are to Islam what the Christian Identity and other white-supremist groups are to Christianity, fanatical cults, not true believers. Please be careful about email hoaxes that perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Sorry to be so "preachy," I'll get off my soapbox now.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." ~Matthew 5:9

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.'" ~Psalm 122:6-7
...and a similar and related post from another time too:

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

~God, in the Bible; Romans 12: 14-20
Counter intuitive, aint it? I'm telling you, Jesus is a radical.
Did George Bush ask himself "What Would Jesus Do?(W.W.J.D.)" when he started planning the war on Iraq (as soon as he came into office 9 monthe BEFORE 9/11)
Please, PLEASE go read Matthew 5 & 6 and Luke 6 and THEN tell me that you can't call yourself a Christian is you vote for Democrats.
And by the way, I think that "Dispensationalsim" is heresy. PLEASE, look it up on Google and learn more about it! It is not Scriptural. Christians should reject this false doctrine and the mainline denominations like Lutherans, Catholics, Methodist, etc. need to expose it for the apostasy that it is.

"The stars may be marvelous, but not as marvelous as the mind of man that comprehended them.
This is what the biblical writers mean when they say that man is made in the image of God. Man has rational capacity; he has the unique ability to have fellowship with God. Man is a being of spirit."
~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1 Corinthians 1:8-10 (New International Version)

8He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Divisions in the Church
10I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.
And the first thing he said was "DON'T!"
"Don't what?", Adam replied. "Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said. "Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve..we have forbidden fruit!" "No Way!" "Way!" "Do NOT eat the fruit! " said God. "Why?" "Because I am your Father and I said so! " God replied, wondering why He hadn't stopped creation after making the elephants.

A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and He was ticked!
"Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit? " God asked. "Uh huh," Adam replied. "Then why did you? " said the Father. "I don't know," said Eve. "She started it! " Adam said. "Did not! " "Did too! "


Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.

Ten Guidelines From God

Ten Guidelines From God

Effective Immediately,
please be aware that there are changes YOU need
to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be
completed in order that I may fulfill My promises
to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in
this life. I apologize for any inconvenience,
but after all that I am doing, this seems very
little to ask of you. Please, follow
these 10 guidelines

Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit
and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here
to take all your burdens and carry them for you?
Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little
thing that comes your way?

Something needs done or taken care of. Put it
on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY
to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care
of the problem. I can't help you until you turn
it over to Me. And although My to-do-list
is long, I am after all... God. I can take care
of anything you put into My hands. In fact,
if the truth were ever really known, I take
care of a lot of things for you that you never
even realize.

Once you've given your burdens to Me,
quit trying to take them back. Trust in
Me. Have the faith that I will take care of
all your needs, your problems and your trials.
Problems with the kids? Put them on My list.
Problem with finances? Put it on My list.
Problems with your emotional
roller coaster ?
For My sake, put it on My list. I want to
help you. All you have to do is ask.

Don't wake up one morning and say,
"Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think
I can handle it from here." Why do you think
you are feeling stronger now? It's simple.
You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking
care of them. I also renew your strength
and cover you in my peace. Don't you
know that if I give you these problems back,
you will be right back where you started?
Leave them with Me and forget about
them. Just let Me do my job.

I want you to forget a lot of things.
Forget what was making you crazy.
Forget the worry and the fretting because
you know I'm in control. But there's one
thing I pray you never forget. Please, don't
forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! I love YOU!
I want to hear your voice. I want you to
include Me in on the things going on in your life.
I want to hear you talk about your friends
and family. Prayer is simply you having

a conversation with Me. I want to be your
dearest friend.

I see a lot of things from up here that you
can't see from where you are. Have faith in
Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me;
you wouldn't want the view from My eyes.
I will continue to care for you, watch over you,
and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me.
Although I have a much bigger task than you,
it seems as if you have so much trouble just
doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?
You were taught to share when you were
only two years old. When did you forget?
That rule still applies. Share with those who are
less fortunate than you. Share your joy with
those who need encouragement. Share your
laughter with those who haven't heard any in
such a long time. Share your tears with those
who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith
with those who have none.

I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime
you could have so many diverse experiences.
You grow from a child to an adult, have children,
change jobs many times, learn many trades,
travel to so many places, meet thousands
of people, and experience so much. How can
you be so impatient then when it takes Me
a little longer than you expect to handle
something on My to-do-list? Trust in My
timing, for My timing is perfect. Just
because I created the entire universe in
only six days, everyone thinks I should
always rush, rush, rush.

Be kind to others, for I love them just
as much as I love you. They may not dress
like you, or talk like you, or live the same way
you do, but I still love you all. Please try
to get along, for My sake. I created each
of you different in some way. It would be
too boring if you were all identical.
Please, know I love each of your differences.

As much as I love you, how can you not
love yourself? You were created by me for
one reason only -- to be loved, and to love
in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me.
Love your neighbors. But also love yourself.
It makes My heart ache when I see you
so angry with yourself when things go
wrong. You are very precious to me.
Don't ever forget......

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Merry Epiphany

The 12 Days of Christmas are just about up. Tommorrow is Epiphany, when we celebrate that Maggi bringing their gifts of gold, frankensence and myrh to the Light of the world. Me, I still haven't gotten my Christmas cards out yet.

One of the nicest things for a teacher about this time of year is that the college kids are still on break, so they come back to their old high school to visit. This morning I got to visit with Jen, a former cheerleader who is now a Junior at Georgetown University. She shared something wonderful with me, the Christmas letter emailed out by her Theology Professor. I know, we LCMS Lutherans are hyper-critical of any religious views that aren't our own, but I found his letter beautuful. I hope that you do too.

I wish you peace in your own varied holidays, and send greetings written in the final hours of my own. Forgive the imposition. History weighs heavily, and we should all speak clearly what is ours to say as best we can. So I offer you my own attempts to make sense of Christmas this year. They are inspired by conversations with some of you. I hope they are helpful in some way.

Mv favorite Christmas song has always been Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Father Christmas” which is sung in the bitter voice of a disillusioned child.

They said there’d be snow on Christmas, they said there’d be peace on earth, well Halleluia! Noel! Be it Heaven or Hell, the Christmas we get we deserve.

I always liked hearing that song. I’d try to find it on the radio as I drove to pick up my grandfather. A bitter tonic for the saccharine glaze of happy families, merry gentlemen, and all the other holiday BS that had little to do with my own Christmas most years.

Peace on Earth and... snow. Wishes ranked on the same level of hallmark sentimentality. The peace presumably of that that ideal scene of family sentimentality. “Away in a manger”—the cozy, warm stable, sweet hay, lowing cattle, and the little Lord Jesus, “no crying he makes.” As touching as it may be. it hardly seems to justify scaring the wits out of shepherds with angels singing “Peace on Earth.”

This fairy tale drops most of the Gospel framing: a vulnerable pregnant couple forced to travel because of imperial caprice, unwelcomed in a strange town, reduced to sleeping with animals. Sweet lowing or not, a horrible place to birth a child, The violence of the powers-that-be frame the story--from the Emperor ordering a census, to Herod, the petty client King, slaughtering all the male children in his realm to eliminate any messianic challenge to his power. It was as strange a birth for a messiah as the end it foreshadowed.

The deep story is so different from the fairy tale. It bears a more savage hope. In a world of violent power, God precisely does not give us what “we deserve.”

God makes all things new. Not with the sort of power we imagine--the power of coercion, of violence, of saying “No” to what we oppose, even when it is evil. But with a “Yes” that reaffirms that primordial yes that lies just beyond the horizon of our impotent, gifted finitude. . .that creative “Yes” that holds us and all things in existence

Frankly. I can’t say I much understand God’s power.

I am more familiar with the variety that says “No.” Modem Christianity is too. It fell into a great misunderstanding of God in this regard. Forgetting God’s transcendence, it imagined him as a Supreme Being. An all-powerful version of the absolute monarchs that ruled Europe at the time. A God like this can only elicit fear. God is in competition with us as another being, yet infinitely more powerful. Like mice sleeping in an elephant’s den, we hope he remembers us and we stay on his good side. But life would be much happier ifhe weren’t hulking about in our world, always threatening to step on us either out of neglect or wrath. God’s power is clear in the “No” it threatens us with.

“God” is no such monstrous tyrant, rather a mystery more about being than smiting, the ungraspable source implied in our surprising existence.

When we remake God in our own image, it’s clear enough how we should act. Impose our will on the world; eliminate other alternatives. Indeed so much of Christianity seems obsessed with saying “No” to all it finds wrong, confusing condemnation and coercion with faithfulness to the Gospel.

It’s harder to figure out how to follow the God who says yes. Creation out of nothing is clearly beyond us. But the Incarnation is about more than a baby in a manger. Jesus grew to adulthood and lived a certain way. A way that might make sense of how humans might exercise power like God. He was known to seek out the companionship of the excluded and reviled: prostitutes, drunks, tax collectors and collaborators. He reached across the no’s of excommunication. He spoke the dangerous truth against power and fear. He challenged political and religious authorities, as well as the fear and resentment of the crowds. He preached a Gospel of engagement, of attending to the desperate, frightening need of the poor, the sick, the forgotten, the imprisoned; of facing violence, without flinching and fear, but also without returning it. The Gospels are full of accounts of him practicing what he preached, engaging the bitter and broken, answering opponents, facing his would be oppressors. These yeses continued, through and beyond the world’s great “No” to him.

The core message of Jesus’ preaching (and one hopes of Christianity) is that God empowers us to do the same. We do so by saying yes to where we are, to the history and relationships into which we are born. We do so by looking each other in the eye and listening. We do so by facing those we wish didn’t exist. We do so by saying “Yes” to the obligations we encounter, even when they demand more than we think we can ever give.

A strange power indeed. A yes beyond safety, control, and certainty. One that finds the power to give in having nothing to loose.

“No” seems easier, as does, I suppose, an irrelevant fairy tale about a perfect little baby glowing in a stable. History desperately needs the new things our own “Yes” can make


Prof. Miller