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HOLLYWOOD JESUS NEWSLETTER #29
Pop Culture From A Spiritual Point of View

HJ News#29 Main Page
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Comments Page 3
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November 5, 2001
Greetings from David Bruce, Web Master

This page was last updated March 28, 2002

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Main Topic:
THE REVISION OF JOHN 3:16
IN CHRISTIAN POP CULTURE

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Contents

1. The Revision of John 3:16
2. Hollywood Censors Hollywood
3. Latest Reviews
(What Hollywood is Teaching Us About Evil)

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1. THE REVISION OF JOHN 3:16
IN CHRISTIAN POP CULTURE
"For God So Hated America That He Sent Planes..."
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Christian Pop Culture is in sad shape these days.

John 3:16, it would seem, is being revised:
"For God So Hated America That He Sent Planes..."

I know I will get my usual batch of cancellations to the HJ newsletter for what I am about to say --but I feel as though someone must address this issue of intolerance and hatred toward others in our culture -and especially when that intolerance comes from those I count as my sisters and brothers in Christ.

There are two ways to look at pop culture and current events.
1. While aware of evil and its consequences, keeping the focus for what is noble and good (Phil 4:8). -This is the approach I use in HJ..
2. Disregarding the positive aspects and ever focusing on what's evil and wrong. -This latter approach has possessed the Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian community by and large -I am very sorrowful about this, because I consider myself an Evangelical -although I, with Billy Graham, do not consider myself a Christian Fundamentalist.

Some of my sisters and brothers have used the 9-11 attack on the WTC as an opportunity to blast "non-Christians." Paradoxically they become the "friends" of Osama Bin Lauden. They say America is evil and that the World Trade Center destruction was part of the judgment of God on America. Even though they are American Christian fundamentalist, they are saying the same hateful things about America as certain misdirected Islamic fundamentalists.

As many of you no doubt know, immediately following the enormous tragedy and evil of September 11, Jerry Falwell made a big mistake. On Pat Robertson's 700 Club broadcast of September 11, Jerry Falwell said, "The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this...throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle...all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'" Pat Robertson sat there nodding his head in agreement with Falwell.

Falwell later apologized in a press release stating: "I do not know if the horrific events of September 11 are the judgment of God, but if they are, that judgment is on all of America-including me and all fellow sinners-and not on any particular group."

http://www.demossnewspond.com/falwell/releases/falwellapology91701.htm

But still, even in the apology, is the thought that the horror of 9.11.01 may be a judgment of God on America. Imagine. God hates the USA because America is a pluralistic and tolerant society. Bin Lauden could not agree more. As Focus on the Family (James Dobson's organization) notes, "Citing pornography, materialism, and a high divorce rate, radical Muslims see the United States as a failed Christian nation. One scholar observed that Muslims 'would respect the U.S. much more if we did not separate God from governance.'" This is the same exact view of noted Christian Fundamentalist.
http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/a0017764.html

Professor George Braswell, a scholar on Islam at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., states that certain Islamic fundamentalist "view the Western world, for the most part - and Judeo-Christian backgrounds - as corrupt, immoral, secularistic, humanistic, (and) against Islam." They want to see America fall. It is God's will.

Unbelievably to me, the popular evangelist David Wilkerson, author of Cross and the Switchblade, said the attacks were a warning of a greater destruction he's already predicted, "unless New York City repents."

What! Those wonderful people of New York City with their wonderful Mayor who did so much to help the victims need to repent? And if they do not repent -what?, God's judgment will bring greater destruction on innocent New Yorkers? This kind of thinking makes Osama Bin Lauden an agent of God. Am I alone in my outrage to such misrepresentations of God?

Further, Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth, envisions more terrorists attacks, setting the stage for the collapse of America. He says, "The decline of the United States has begun."

Lindsey, by the way, has a huge following even though his prophetic predictions have consistency failed. For example, he predicted the return of Jesus in 1988 (Israel 1948 + 40 year generation = 1988). For more of his failed predictions see church historian Samuele Bacchiocchi book "Hal Lindsey's Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle: Five Predictions that Failed!" -1987 citation of award given by the ASSOCIATED CHURCH PRESS
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1930987021/hollywoodjesus

Another Evangelical Christian writer John Hagee told his congregation, "You can hear the Four Horsemen riding to Armageddon."

Paul Crouch of the Trinity Broadcasting Network said that this was the "beginning of sorrows" ..."as predicted by Jesus".

I remember all the devastating Y2K predictions that came out from various Christian Radio and Television ministries. America was so evil, they claimed, that God's judgment would fall on America this past Jan 01, 2000 via the Y2K problem. It did not happen.

Remember back masking and how Satan was taking over the minds of our youth via pop music? Remember the so-called Satanic Cults that where kidnaping babies and sacrificing them to Satan? Remember Mike Warnke? Remember how John Lennon and the Beatles were supposedly trained by the Communist? Remember how the drum beat in Rock music was somehow designed to alter your mind?

I also remember the false predictions by certain Christian Fundamentalist concerning Catholic JFK and the so called take over of America by the Pope ("anti-Christ") if he were elected.

I remember listening to the false predictions by some Christian Ministries on Christian radio in the 1960s accusing Martin Luther King Jr. being a Communist and part of a godless conspiracy to create a Soviet Negro State within the USA. Does anybody remember Billy James Hargis? Needless to say, I was thrilled to see Evangelist Billy Graham march with MLK Jr.

I remember the Domino Theory proposed by certain Christian Doom Dayers in support of the Viet Nam war. The Communists, they predicted, were going to take over the world. Part of God's judgment they would say pointing to certain so-called proof texts in the Bible.

Why all this "Christian" intolerance toward America?
Why do some believe that God's judgment is on America?
Why all this "Christian" hatred toward those who hold different points of views and practice alternative life styles?

I would like to quote John 3:16-17, to once again highlight the love and compassion of God. And to underscore how God operates:

(John 3:16) "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. (17) God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. (-Message Translation)

A LITTLE SANITY PLEASE. The acts of terrorism that occurred in New York and Washington occurred because of ungodly hatred and evil, not because of God's retribution on the American people. John 3:16 reveals a God who acts out of love, not hate. Additionally, America is a great nation. Pluralism, and freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly are some of the reasons why it is great. I may not agree with others, but I am glad to be in a country where it is okay to disagree. I value our freedoms. I value our diversity. I value our pluralism. I value our free society. I also value our right to follow Jesus.

Here is some Godly advise from a "godless rock n roll" song:
"Come on people now,
Smile on your brother,
Everybody get together,
Try to love one another right now."

May God forgive certain members of the Christian community for their intolerance toward others. And may God continue to bless America.

GOOD NEWS FROM 9-11

Instead of looking at headline news as being part of apocalyptic judgments of God why not see news events in light of Philippians 4:8?

For example: The first Gallup poll on religion after 9-11 provided more evidence that faith has gained importance in the lives of Americans since the terrorist attacks. 47% said they attended religious services. Additionally 64% said that religion was "very important" to them. The only time that percentage was higher was in 1965, when 70% gave the same response. Now that's good news!

Oh, so what does Philippians 4:8 say? Well here it is:

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse." -Message Translation

I welcome your responses -both pro and con.

I will post your comments below


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON REVISING JOHN 3:16
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IF YOU DISAGREE, AND BELIEVE GOD IS JUDGING AMERICA
Email here


ARE YOU A NON-CHRISTIAN BECAUSE OF CHRISTIAN INTOLERANCE?
Email here

ARE YOU FED UP WITH CHRISTIAN DOOMSDAY PREDICTIONS
Email here

DO YOU LIKE JESUS BUT ARE PUT OFF BY FUNDAMENTALISM
Email here


DO YOU HAVE SOME GENERAL THOUGHTS:
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2. HOLLYWOOD CENSORS HOLLYWOOD
"
Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again."
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HOLLYWOOD RESPONDS TO THE TERRORISTS
I read a brilliant article in Rolling Stone Magazine by Peter Travers entitled "Hollywood Under Siege." I agree with the writer in that the censoring of certain images and issues in light of the 9-11 may not be a good idea. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the article. Let me know what you think.

"It's also a given that movies can help us mend, be it through laughs, tears or - at their best - artful provocation. And there is something else: Just showing up at the multiplex defies an enemy that seeks to disrupt our normal life. In the words of film critic Pauline Kael, who died a week before her country was attacked: "Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again." Hollywood, out of misplaced or perhaps self-serving sensitivity, seeks to coddle us like children. It's one thing to pull Collateral Damage, the Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller that features Colombian terrorists blowing up a US consulate; it's another to delay the opening of the romantic comedy Sidewalks of New York because of its Manhattan location, or to delete the World Trade Center from the upcoming Spider-Man. Is that how to best serve an audience: by pretending the scene of a tragedy never existed? "

"Now pundits are calling for an end to terrorism as entertainment. Two Disney films that fit that bill - Big Trouble, with Tim Allen, and Bad Company, with Chris Rock - have been delayed indefinitely."

However, "Blockbuster reports brisk rentals of films that feature terrorists getting their butts kicked - like True Lies, in which Schwarzenegger straps an Arab dissident to a missile and launches him through the windows of a Miami high-rise."

Read the entire article here:
http://www.rollingstone.com/features/featuregen_base.asp?pid=56

Could it be that Americans need films like "True Lies" right now to help them work through the 9-11 attacks? Art should never be silenced. What do you think?

YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOLLYWOOD CENSORING HOLLYWOOD:
Email here
I will post your comments below



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3. WHAT HOLLYWOOD IS TEACHES US ABOUT EVIL and FEAR
-LATEST REVIEWS
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I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN YOUR REACTIONS TO ANY OF THESE FILMS

Click to go to MONSTERS, INC.1. MONSTER INC.
This fun film helps us to work through our fears in a fun way. Set in Monstropolis, a thriving company town where monsters of all shapes and sizes reside, the film follows the hilarious misadventures of Sulley and his best friend, roommate, and coworker, Mike. Both work at Monsters, Inc., the largest scream processing factory in the monster world.
HJ Review is 5 pages long.

Click to go to K-PAX2. K-PAX
Throughout the film the claims and teachings of Jesus are brought up and the characters are challenged to practice those teachings. Prot happens to be the primary character challenging those around him with these teachings, briefly in word but largely by his actions. Prot appears out of nowhere, from the light of the station entrance to give money to a disabled veteran asking for money. Prot then goes out of his way to assist a woman robbed at the train station. All of this kindness in a world surrounded by people who don't seem to care about the hurting of those around them. Upon seeing Prot, the police find out that he is different and then takes him to the mental hospital...
Mike Furches reviews

Click to go to THE LAST CASTLE3. THE LAST CASTLE
The Last Castle is as good of an analogy of Christ as I have seen in a movie in some time. General Irwin is a wonderful Messiah figure. He seeks to set the captives free. Those that choose to follow him are eventually set free but not in a physical way but instead in more of a spiritual way....
Mike Furches reviews

Click to go to RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS4. RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS
Drew Barrymore plays the lead character, Beverly D'Onofrio. Smart, pretty and with big dreams to be a writer in New York, Beverly proves you don't have to be dumb to make dumb mistakes.... We are all like Beverly. We form our lives by the choices we make, good or bad. But in the background we have a support of family and friends who try their best to help us. Even better than that we have a God the Father holding us up through our good times and bad. Like Beverly's father, He loves us through our mistakes and wanderings. But unlike Beverly's father He never fails us. That close, loving relationship with our Father is there anytime we reach out to Him. It doesn't mean we'll have a flawless life or make all the right choices. But it does mean we will have unconditional love and support - no matter what happens."

Annette Wierstra reviews

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THESE FILMS:
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I will post your comments below


I am very interested in your thoughts.
Email your response
I will post your comments below


May God continue to bless you.
Warmly,
David Bruce
Web Master, Hollywood Jesus.

PS To chat directly to me, email: 0_E-mail

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CORRECTIONS
When this newsletter went out as e-mail there where some interesting misspellings. So I sent out an apology and a revised newsletter with the following notice:

SORRY for the MISSPELLINGS!
Yesterday I sent out HJ Newsletter #29 with some inappropriate misspellings. The computer's automatic spell checker changed certain words. And, worse, I was not paying attention. Several readers felt I was name calling. Jerry Falwell became Jerry Falafel. Y2K became YAK. Dobson became Doubloon. Braswell became Brawl. Humorous but embarrassing. Please forgive my lack of attention and diligence. No harm was intended. Those of you with automatic Spell Checkers are smiling, I hope. Below is the same Newsletter without the benefit of the Spell Checker. Warmly yours, David Bruce

Here are some of the responses I received to the spelling dilemma:

From John
I like the new names better!!

From Rausch
David, I noticed the spellings and thought that they were appropriate for the personnel listed. The name Jerry Falafel seemed to fit very well. A Christian terrorist? I am Right: anyone who disagrees with me is wrong! God needs my help to correct His word! That is the message that I get from Jerry Falafel. No need to correct that spelling on my behalf.

From Mark
Oh that's hilarious David...I thought Falafel was a joke! Too funny....

From Owen
David Fantastically hilarious. Shoot, I wish you had done it on purpose. I'm keeping the carnal misspell checked version, it's much better. Jerry Falafel...oh man, I'm dying. There's a new name written down in glory... LOL!

From Marsha
The damage is already done-intentionally-like we are supposed to believe this horseshit from you. Get real. We know you hate conservatives.

From Chris
I honestly thought you were making fun of Jerry (Idiot) Falwell. Darn!

From David
that reminds of me of the time, and I'm quite serious here, I sent a letter to a guy named Paul C. O'Brien, and my Spellchecker changed his name to Paul C. Nymphomaniac!! fortunately, he kinda saw himself that way!!

From John
I appreciated your follow-up. The misnaming of Jerry Falwell struck me as odd given your graciousness and Christian spirit that I have noticed so far.

Dear Juanita
hey, Bro'! I just caught your correction after I careful exhorted you about calling pastor Falwell - Falafel. That is a bit of comic relief from these very serious matters! :)))) I hope you are encouraged that your newletters are being thoughtfully read. Romans 8:28 - Juanita

From Gianmario
And... Osama Bin Laden became OSAKA... (is he Japanese?) ;-) Thank you anyway

HJ News#29 Main Page
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BULLETIN BOARD
Email your response

MY POINT OF VIEW: BOTH AGREE AND DISAGREE
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002
From: "Kevin Hooper"

You may or may not have seen this, but it was forwarded to me in email, and I believe it brings up an interesting point:

Bryant Gumbel recently interviewed Billy Graham's daughter. Gumbel: "Why didn't God stop this or do something about this?"
Billy Graham's daughter: "For years we have told God we< didn't want Him in our schools. We didn't want Him in our government and we didn't want Him in our finances and God was being a perfect gentleman in doing just what we asked Him to do. We need to make up our mind do we want God or do we not want Him. We cannot just ask Him in when disaster strikes."

 Bryant Gumbel was silent. On the day that it happenned, I was asked by a friend of mine what I thought. I told him that the terrorist attack was a wake up call. We here in America had gotten complacent, arrogant, and lazy. Most of our nation had either forgotten about God, or forsaken Him altogether. The past few generations have come along never experiencing a tragedy of this magnitude, and many lived under the false premise that we couldn't be touched, that our nation, as a whole, could never be hurt in such a big way. We thought that we were impervious to outside threats, that all we had to do was play nice with the world, and the world would play nice back... We were wrong...

 On the morning of September 11, 2001 the whole of the United States of America received a wake-up call. For the first time since the attack on Pearl Harbor, we had sustained an attack on our nation's soil. For the first time in our nation's history, the mainland was attacked by unforseen outside forces. Whether or not it was God sending His judgement through that event I feel is not the real issue here. In hindsight, the events that transpired in 9-11 and for a few days following that, thanks to the strong faith of our president and a rather impromtu gathering of spiritual leaders, the Reverend Billy Graham included, God received His first bit of positive PR from many outlets in the mainstream media in decades. More to the point, I do not believe that God sent His devine judgement on us through this catastrophe, but rather, He USED this tragic event to bring a nation, which had publicly despised Him in recent years, closer to Him.

In Christ,
-Kevin Hooper

Response: I totally disagree with Anna Lotz Graham. And I totally agree with Billy Graham. They each expressed two very different views. Billy Graham said it was an evil act which God is against. He stated that his greatest struggle has been to understand why God permits such evil. It is a mystery he said. Anna, however, has it all figured out. She would do well to listen to the wisdom of her father. Anna is basiclly saying that God took revenge on innocent people because of abortion etc. There is a judgement coming, but 9/11 was not it. God does not kill innocent people to get people to love him. Does anyone see this simple truth? Evil exists and it is not God in disguise. I agree with you that God USES such events, however. -David

REVISIONIST REVELATION
Subject: Newsletter_29_Revising John_3_16
Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002
From: TFTD

Hi David,
I was wondering when you were going to hit on the WTC tragedy ( another great door to open for Christianity) . The problem with evangelists, fundalmentalists and anarchists is they try to redefine the meaning of the words to suit their agendas . . . very much like being politically correct. The fundamentals of Christianity are very simple and very clear cut as laid out by Jesus . . . "Love one another as I have loved you" and "What you do to the least of you brethren, you do to me!" and that prety much sums it up. Everything else is an attempt to side skirt the "LAW" and justify abuse of each other, and at worst in the name of God.

The key to all of this is, after Love, is freewill. There is no judgement by God only the perception of punishment by God for everything we do wrong in this world, and that concept is mostly promoted by the church in some vain attempt to keep us all from sin. " There is an appointed time to die, and then the judgement" what that says is twofold, first somewhere up in the great somewhere there is a calendar with your name on it, and when that day comes you are going to die . . . no if's, and's or but's. Your dying does not matter, it is your living that does. Since we do not know when that is, it would make sense to make the most of each day we live, as though it may be our last . . for well that it could. The second part is the judgement, and that is clearly a pandora's box for sure. Most religious would like you to believe that this is where you will either go to heaven or hell, but there are an infinity number of possibilities. One of the most profound statements by God is " It is the Father's will that not one should perish". Pitting Satan against God, whose will do you think will prevail . . my money's on God! All this evil in this world is absolute proof that God gave us freewill, the problem is most people think some people should not have any . . Too bad! . . God is an equal opportunity gift giver, He does not discriminate. If He gives you freewill, everybody gets freewill . . if He loves you, He loves everybody. The commandment by Jesus is clear, we are to love everybody in spite of what they are, that's what Christianity is, if you can't go there, don't call yourself a Christian. Call yourself anything else, but you are not a Christian, and you are giving Christianity a bad name " Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do!"
LUV 2 ALL
MAT

GOD IS JUDGING
Subject: Newsletter 29
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002
From: "David Alfeld-Johnson"

I'm weighing in pretty late and didn't have time to read all of the other responses, so forgive me if this is redundant. I do not pretend to know all of the ways that God was active, present, or involved in the events of September 11. I would simply make three comments:

1) once again it is ironic to find the liberal and conservative extremes proclaiming similar ideas (just slightly different content) with regard to who is "responsible" for the attacks. While conservative voices suggest God is punishing America for its participation in their favorite sins, liberals also voiced a sentiment that "America brought this on itself" because of our policies and attitudes in the world.

2) You mentioned that the idea that God would work through someone like Osama Bin Laden was outrageous. Yet OT prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah often suggested that Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon were God's instruments without suggesting that what they did was in any way righteous. God seems willing to act in all kinds of outrageous ways.

3) Love is sometimes painful. Loving America may sometimes involve pain. The problem is that one can't discipline a nation without bringing harm to its individual citizens. One problem we have understanding terrorism is the way it blurs the lines between nations and individuals. Attacking a nation can be justified, attacking individuals is unjustifiable. It feels like Bin Laden and followers viewed themselves as attacking a nation and a culture, while we experienced the attack as an attack on innocent civilians. Conversely, our actions in the world are directed at nations and markets and are easy to justify, but these same actions are likely taken personally by individuals and fuel some of the anti-american sentiments around the world.

I mention these random thoughts in my attempts to understand (not condone, although in the current climate, understanding is often confused with condoning), these terrible and destructive events.
Thanks for listening.
David Alfeld-Johnson

GOD'S RESPONSIBILITY AND GOD'S NON-JUDGEMENT
Subject: Newsletter 29 Revising John 3:16
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001
From: Chris S

David,
You disagreed with Steve Slesinger's "backdoor approach" which held God "responsible" for 9/11. If God is omnipotent, He had only two choices that day: prevent the attacks, or permit the attacks. The latter (the choice He took) did not prevent Him from reducing their damage/impact, and I believe He did a lot of that. Certainly, dragging the Pentagon plane along the ground that far dramatically reduced the damage it did. Yes, evil was responsible, but nothing happens that God doesn't allow, so yes, He is responsible. The buck stops at His throne. He's a pretty big God. (Cute. But, there is a third possibility: The cosmic struggle between good and evil is beyond human understanding. The ways of God are beyond us and rest in insolvable mystery. But what we do know is, God is love. And even though we walk through the very shadow of death itself, God goes with us. -David)

But the real difficulty I have had dealing with this tragedy has been in understanding which position to take about God's judgment. Is it possible that the God of the Old Testament is alive today? I've wrestled with my tendency to compare 9/11 with His repeated use of neighboring nations to discipline the Children of Israel. He kept trying to bring them back to Himself. Like a father who loves his child, God wasn't afraid to discipline His children, especially when love and restored relationship were His goals. (God uses all things, even evil. Evil never wins ultimately. The story of Joseph has a good lesson -Genesis 50:19-21: But Joseph told them, "Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people. No, don't be afraid. Indeed, I myself will take care of you and your families." And he spoke very kindly to them, reassuring them. -David)

Why is it now considered sacred truth that God loves America better than all other countries, and would never let anything happen to us? Why can other countries be bombed and terrorized, but America is still great and free, when we know that, sadly, our freedoms are reduced every year? Our media _is_ disgusting and prurient; why does Hollywood's location in America automatically make it okay with God? (Are you saying God should destroy America because of Hollywood? What are you saying? Hollywood is like anything else. There are people there that are trying to make a difference (Roaring Lambs) and others that are in it for selfish reasons. -David)

I, too, dislike the constant attacks and naysaying from Donald Wildmon, Jerry Falwell, and all the Christian harpies, but a calm self-examination reveals that, as evil as Islam is, their criticisms of us are quite apt! We _do_ produce filth which tempts and derails minds around the world, drawing civilizations away from God and toward commercialism, materialism, and relativism. (Hmm, yes and no. We also have more mission agencies, more churches and better church attendance, etc. America is a mix, sweet and sour. -As a Democracy should be. In many Islamic countries the preaching of Jesus is forbidden. Not so in America. -David)

Please tell me where you find proof that: (1) God no longer judges, or (2) God judges others, but would never think of judging America. I'm not saying 9/11 was the judgment of God, but I want to know "why?" Not "Why did it happen?" because that's God's business and He doesn't have to tell us. But "Why is it Biblically impossible for this to have been God's judgment?" The answer has to be found in either (1) or (2), if it can be found at all. (In our culture we always ask "why." We are obsessed with the question "why." In other cultures they ask "who." --Who was hurt. --Who did this. --And who can help us. Again I do not know we can fully understand "why" -it is a mystery. But, we do who cares for us -God cares! Perhaps God will fill us in on the why question when we get to heaven. -David)

Your response to Dale indicates you have difficulty connecting the need for punishment of American sin with God's permitting of the WTC attacks. The connection is right there! (No it is not. You are wrong. You do not have God trapped within your logic. You do not have it all figured out. -David) God permitted the attacks (Did God? -David), if we may presume to know His motive, (dangerous ground here -David) because He wanted to wake America up and correct our misbehavior. (Nonsense. How can you know the mind of God? Perhaps you are placing your own frustrations on God. Perhaps you are creating God in your own image. -David) Dale wrote quite eloquently of the examples of Sodom and Gomorrah and ancient Israel. God does chasten those He loves--it's in Hebrews, (individuals -yes! The context of that passage does not speak to nations such as America. -David) the same book that says He's the same yesterday, today, and forever (The context of this passage is not about judgment as you are suggesting. The passage in context reads: Hebrews 13:5-8 "...For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you." That is why we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?' Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." -David) Even if you remove the direct punishment aspect (for it was not His hand which slapped America, but that of the evil one), He is God, and may stand back and allow the slap. He did it with Job, a righteous man. How much more reasonable for Him to allow a slap to a decadent nation of God-lovers such as ours? America is not such a teacher's pet that we can't be punished. Rather we may be so prized that He will hasten to the act of discipline!
Chris S

Response: You seem to have a moralistic and political agenda. Please avoid connecting it to God. Take a lesson from the disciples of Jesus when they wanted Judgment to fall on Samaria: --Luke 9:51-55 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them.

Also in Luke 10:13-16 Jesus says God speaks to God-less nations through miracles (kind acts of God), and not through Judgments (which will come at the end of all things). Your arguments are based mostly on logic. I would recommend giving more place to wonder, and mystery. --1 Cor. 13:12-13: "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! [13] But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." -David

SATANIC HYSTERIA
Subject: satanic hysteria Newsletter 30
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001
From: Jennifer Alexander

I plead guilty to satanic hysteria. I feel so much better having read your opinions on Harry Potter, ect. For so long I have listened to dolts like John Hagee and thought that I HAD to agree because, after all, he was so much smarter than I. And the latest...Europe's conversion to a common currency leading to a one-world gov't. A sign of the end times? Of course. But what am I supposed to do, appear before Parliment with a Bible open to Revolations???

But I digress. My point is, I am tired of being afraid. As my mom (a non christian) recently pointed out to me, "If you have all this faith, what are you so worried about?!"

It was a good point. It is time for Christians to lighten up, enjoy the fact that we're leaving this place for something better, and see that our behavior, attitude, and lack of fear and anger is the strongest ministry tool there is.
Jennifer Alexander

Response: Wow! You are on the right track. Blessings on you. -David

GOD JUDGING AMERICA?
Subject: Newsletter 29
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001
From: "Tina Rae Beckstedt"

I believe the confusion about the Sept. 11 attacks on the WTC stems not from hatred, but from a lack of understanding and miscommunication. I think what the "Fundamentalist Christians" (as you call them) are trying to expose is a contradiction that many Americans have called "tolerance" Are we followers of Christ, or not?

You quoted John 3:16; here are also the verses that follow:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved" (emphasis mine)

This passage states that there would be those who would hold their own lifestyles in higher regard than the Son of God Himself. Good and evil are known by their deeds, are they not? (Matthew 7:17-19, Matthew 12:33). The deeds of good and evil are clearly differentiated throughout the Bible, the difference of sin and holiness. Hatred, abortion, selfishness, murder, arrogance, homosexuality, indifference, greed; ALL are sins and equally unacceptable to God, (clearly outlined in the Bible). The truth is, God tolerates no sin, but rejects no person. A person can commit a sin and still be acceptable to God (read the story of David), but the sin is NEVER acceptable. But when a person refuses to acknowledge a sinful deed as sin, that person is aligning him/herself with darkness rather than light, becoming their own "moral agent" rather than agreeing with God's morality. And, like a child who refuses to walk behind his father but chooses instead to walk beside him, abandons the protection his father would provide in the event of a frontal attack.

God did not send those terrorists to attack our country, but our actions as a country have kept us from walking in the fullness of His protection. There are countless stories of those whose lives were spared due to His intervention, proving His mercy and goodness. But as a whole, our country has chosen to align itself with sin, therefore becoming subject to the law of sin and death (see Romans chapters, 6, 7 and 8). God did not bring judgment to our country, we opened ourselves up to that atrocity through our own disobedience, because we rejected His Law; we chose darkness rather than light, and became subject to the forces of darkness rather than light. We cannot accommodate sinful deeds without accepting the consequences of that sin. God has outlined sin and requires that we abandon it, when we choose not to, we abandon Him, not the other way around (see .Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, 1 Kings 8:57, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Nehemiah 9:31, Hebrews 13:5 )

I think perhaps the "Fundamentalists" were very clumsily trying to call our country to abandon the sin. Jesus never tolerated sin, He tolerated the sinner and through His love enabled the sinner to abandon the sin. Sin should be abandoned for the love of God; the love of God should not be an excuse to sin. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." 1 John 5:3 "And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him" 1 John 3:23, 24.

Psalm 91 (among others) promises protection to those who abide in Him. How can He protect those who refuse His protection?

In other words, do we as a nation want darkness or light, protection or vulnerability, blessings or curses? (Deuteronomy chapter 28) "Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." Exodus 19:5, 6 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light" 1 Peter 2:9

Let's quit kidding ourselves....sin and holiness can never dwell in the same place. Are we followers of Jesus "who knew no sin", or followers of our own convenience? Obedience is a prerequisite for good consequences, disobedience brings calamity. A child can understand that, why can't we? Should America be known for its "tolerance" or as a holy nation? God knows the difference, and so do we, when will we admit it, take up our cross and follow Him openly?

Response: You have ancient Israel, a theocracy, and America, a democracy, all mixed together. America was designed to be a nation of religious freedom. And so it is. Ancient Israel was very different. God's protection is as much over America as it is over ancient Samaria, which, like many in America, rejected Jesus.

Luke 9:51-56 As the time drew near for his return to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But they were turned away. The people of the village refused to have anything to do with Jesus because he had resolved to go to Jerusalem. When James and John heard about it, they said to Jesus, "Lord, should we order down fire from heaven to burn them up?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.

Jesus protected Samaria and Jesus protects America. It is terrorist -like Adolph Hitler and Osama- that do not merit God's protection. This is a no brainer. -David

Continued

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