Monday, September 12, 2011
Thanks to all of you at CITN EAST who came out yesterday for the service...it was a good day. I'm very excited to anounce that we will begin Sunday services at CITN MIDTOWN on October 9, where I'll be ministering every week at 8 AM before coming to Conyers for the 10 AM service. A lot of great things are happening in both locations...check out www.churchinthenow.org for details...
I ended up watching 9/11 stuff for hours on TV last night until I was saturated with it, and I still cannot believe it's been ten years! But I do want to say that I hope the Memorial brought some healing and maybe a little closure to those who lost loved ones on that terrible day. The picture above really touched me...I think the Memorial will at least give those who have lost so much a place to go and reflect, especially because they have no cemetery plots to visit. And I'm also very grateful that we got through the day with no problems or incidents at any of the ceremony sites in NY, Washington D.C. or in Pennsylvania...maybe it's a new day...at least I pray it is...
I referred to this yesterday in my sermon, so I wanted to re-post it:
OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD (Originally posted May 2, 2011)
As an American, I join in with the rest of the country in breathing a collective sigh of relief in knowing that Osama Bin Laden has been removed from the world stage, and I applaud the obviously successful efforts of our (American-born) Commader-In-Chief (who has had a very good week, by the way) and the amazing soldiers who executed a virtually flawless raid on Bin Laden's Pakistani mansion/compound. I wish it hadn't taken so long to find him, especially since he has obviously been hiding in plain sight, and I regret that we are still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan...but at least he's gone, and at least it happened before the up-coming 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Being as patriotic as the next guy, I was moved by the spontaneous celebrations that broke out at the White House and in Times Square and at Ground Zero last night, and I certainly don't want to be insensitive to the pain of the families who lost loved ones on that horrible September morning a decade ago...families that will never have full closure from the attrocities of that day, no matter who is assassinated...but I am sober today. Relieved? Yes. Happy? Not really...at least not totally...
Just yesterday I preached on "The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness", and how we live in such an unkind world...people killing one another...hating one another. Even though what was done in Pakistan in the last few hours apparently had to be done, I can't in good conscience really rejoice in the death of anyone, no matter how evil they are. Am I glad he's gone? No doubt about it. I'm glad to know that we don't have to dread another of his videos coming out that shows he's still alive and still a threat to our safety. But I am grieved that we live in a world where this kind of thing still has to happen at all.
The President gave a short but brilliant speech last night, in which he pointed out that Osama Bin Laden does not represent Islam, and he's right about that. In fact, Bin Laden has killed more Muslims than he has any other group. But where my mind is today is that the real enemy is not Osama Bin Laden or any other person, for that matter...it's religious fundamentalism.
Fundamentalism kills...be it Muslim or Christian or that of any other religious persuasion. The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, the violence between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, the Ku Klux Klan, the Taliban, etc...it's all about religious intolerance that stems from fundamentalist interpretations of holy writ.
Today I'm proud to be an American. I'm proud of our President and of our troops. I love this country, and I want it to be safe. But I'm really, really tired of religious fundamentalism, and all the hatred and death that it inevitably causes.
Terrorism happens every day in the name of religion...believe me, I know of what I speak.
Just wanted to share some thoughts.
Love never fails...
The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness...
God bless America...
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!