First Day – September 2018

Beware If Your “Religion” Makes You Mean / Sept. 11, 2018 …

Seventeen years ago 3,000 Americans lost their lives in attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in a plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Our nation grieved in shock. Ever since we have watched as attacks of various types have been perpetrated upon innocent people throughout the world in the name of “Allah.”

The phrase “extreme Islamic terrorism” has since been widely used and hotly debated. The origins to these attacks arise from a variety of suggested causes. They include “fundamentalist” frustration that the Islamic teachings and lifestyles were not being followed, and were being replaced by “secular” society. Other sources include revenge for Western society’s domination through colonialism in centuries past, resultant – at least in the minds of some of these perpetrators – as the reason for many Muslims living in poverty.

Most of us are abhorred that such hatred, devastation and taking of life could find any link to religion. However, some “Christians” in centuries past despised Jews because of the role of Jewish religious leaders in the death of Jesus of Nazareth.

We are amazed and appalled that people far away and/or long ago could do such things. However, almost daily I read, listen or watch people who “get mad” over religion – the Christian religion and its Bible. And this is Christian versus Christian. They argue vehemently. They get emotional when defending their position (or sometimes just their preferences) and attacking (or misrepresenting) those of others. This even leads on occasion to demeaning the character, intelligence and even the “Christianity” of those with whom they disagree.

In his “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus spoke to the relation of killing a person, the anger behind it and warnings of “killing” others with our words (Matthew 5:21-22). He got plain about it.

Long before I was born a chorus was sung in churches. (By the way … the idea that choruses, including those that repeat the same line several times, just came along in the last 20 years isn’t true.) The title, “Old Time Religion,” itself is dated. Singing it in church would get a lot of rolled eyes. But sometimes I actually sing it when I am alone. I pray the third verse can be said of me:

“Makes me love everybody,
Makes me love everybody,
Makes me love everybody,
And it’s (that’s) good enough for me.”

Beware if your “religion” makes you mean.

dgk