...here's a TV report on how to do a TV report:
4 hours ago
The image of black slaves shedding their chains and taking up arms contributes far more than any hobgoblins of the evangelical imagination to the historical “curses” that have kept Haiti poor and troubled. The history of American relations with Haiti has been indelibly tainted by America’s true devil – the lingering effects of our own schizophrenic founding as a nation insistent on liberty yet practicing slavery. Just as racist terror helped shape the stereotype of Voodoo as devil worship, so too racist attitudes have dominated the history of American relations with Haiti, from the fearful to the patronizing, from clandestine political machinations to occupation by military force.
One hopes that more Christians, in an empathy exercise, will picture themselves as devotees of minority faiths, having to listen to people like Hume downgrade and demean them. What is striking is that the American Christians who most readily criticize Muslims or Hindus for using the “superiority” of their faith as a basis for penalizing Christians, often do the best job of imitating these others.
It is because the evidence for evolution is overwhelmingly strong and I am passionately distressed that my opponent can’t see it – or, more usually, refuses to look at it because it contradicts his holy book.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Scripture Reading: Revelation 21:1-4
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
"See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away." (NRSV)
The kind of Christianity I grew up in was all about what happens when you die. The goal of life was to make it into heaven instead of hell, and the way to do that was to profess faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior--which really meant to accept a narrowly defined list of doctrines as the absolute truth. Apart from this kind of "faith" and this kind of orthodoxy, neither truth nor eternal life were possible.
After many years of wrestling with this kind of Christianity, and with the help of many faithful companions and spiritual leaders, I arrived at the conclusion that this is not what authentic Christianity is about at all. Instead, Christianity is about the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God that Jesus talked about is right here and right now. Life isn't about preparing for the afterlife. The gospel isn't good news deferred; it is good news for today. It is the hope and promise and inspiration for nothing less than the transformation of the world.
That is what John of Patmos envisioned when he wrote about a new heaven and a new earth. It isn't about us going to heaven; it's about heaven coming to us. As Jesus put it, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
This is some good news that the world needs to hear from the church. Let's not be timid about sharing it.
God, help me to be an active agent of your transforming love. Inspire me with a vision of your kingdom, and give me the courage to be a part of it now. Amen.
Written by John W. Vest,
Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago