BY STEVE DUNN
What I am about to say will cause some to pronounce me to be intolerant, a religious bigot. That would be untrue, but I feel I must speak a truth, nonetheless.
The National Cathedral in Washington last Friday was the site of an event that betrays its Christian purpose and identity. It sends a deeply confusing message that is already confused about anything “holy.”

Let me note this report from the Associated Press:

Reverend Franklin Graham, son of world renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said the Muslim prayer service on Friday at the Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church established under a charter granted by Congress more than 100 years ago, is “sad to see”  because the church should only open its door for  worship of “the One True God of the Bible.”

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Nov. 13, Rev. Franklin Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said, “Tomorrow, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. — one of the most prominent Episcopal churches in America — will host a Muslim prayer service to Allah.”

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Facebook post by Rev. Franklin Graham, Nov. 13, 2014.

“It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins,” said Graham.  “Jesus was clear when He said, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ (John 14:6).”

Muslim prayer carpets will be laid out inside the cathedral facing east, towards Mecca,  for the prayer service. They will also be “to the side of the sanctuary,” reported Voice of America, so that worshippers will not see the crosses or Christian icons, because “Muslims are not supposed to pray in view of sacred symbols alien to their faith.”

According to Pew Research, Muslims represent about 0.6% of the U.S. adult population.

I cannot agree with Mr. Graham more.  Although it is a church that received a charter from Congress, it is still an Episcopal Church–and the last time I looked Episcopalians were still proudly proclaiming that “Jesus Christ is Lord.”  The “rearrangement” of the sanctuary dedicated to the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make it inoffensive to Muslim worshippers dishonors the One True God that Christians worship.

I cannot imagine a Grand Mosque in any city in the world allowing a pastor or a priest to celebrate the Lord’s Supper within its walls, nonetheless proclaim “Jesus as our Savior and Lord.”

There. Now I’ve said it.

.BY STEVE DUNN

Football is working hard to combat a “bad boy” image. The recent highly publicized assault of Baltimore Ravens star, Ray Rice, has led to NFL players joining “NO MORE” Campaign giving the serious problem of domestic violence a platform. Although we have a tendency at times to elevate athletes to a celebrity status that excuses bad behavior and encourages immature athletes to have a foolish sense of self-entitlement, it is always great when we see our athletes to use their celebrity to combat dangerous trends in our culture. This video is worth sharing again and again.

Way to go NFL. Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry and Pop Warner would be proud.

BY STEVE DUNN

 
BY STEVE DUNN

I have a confession to make. I don’t remember if I registered to vote. I moved to a new community early last year and was out of town on election day. Because I work as an Intentional Interim Pastor, I anticipated being in a new community at this time. My job, however, depends on someone dying, being fired, unexpectedly quitting, or retiring. I would not wish the first three on anyone. There have been no such changes since I completed my last assignment, so I am still living in this community.

Tomorrow is election day and I need to call the election board and see if I am registered. If I didn’t or if I did and don’t go the polls, I will be part of what is wrong with our nation. People don’t vote. They do not participate in the process. A healthy body politic requires an informed and responsible citizenry who actively participates in the political process and then holds those they elect accountable to do what is in the best interests of the nation.

But a healthy body politic, especially in a democracy requires more. It requires a civil citizenry that is concerned with what is best for all its citizenry–not just its party or special interest group. We are often so divided and hostile before we go to the polls that we elect leaders who reflect this and the nation suffers accordingly.

On Facebook this week I came across a post that reflects an attitude I believe we need to embrace if ours is to be a nation that works for the good of all of its people–and makes us a stronger and more unified nation as a result.
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I know that many young people have opted out of the political process because they no longer have confidence in their politicians and are fed up with our political parties.Maybe we would restore their confidence if as Americans–voters, citizens, leaders – we heeded this simple counsel.

BY STEVE DUNN

miguel-cabrera-mlb-detroit-tigers-baltimore-orioles

I just finished watching the Baltimore Orioles sweep my beloved Detroit Tigers and eliminate their World Series dreams. I really still cannot get my mind wrapped around a team with Cy Young pitchers and the powerful bats of that of venerable law firm of Cabrera, Martinez and Martinez succumbing to anyone. Yet it has happened. In recent weeks the general diagnosis is that the Tigers suffered a fatal infection of “bullpen meltdown syndrome.” I know I was frustrated along with 40,000+ fans in Tiger Stadium each time those guys could not get anyone out as lead after lead slipped away. I am probably not as frustrated as the likes of Max Sherzer, David Price and Brad Ausmus; but the exasperation borders on the homicidal.

Yet I am not giving up on baseball and for the next few weeks will shift my loyalty to the Orioles as they seek to win a World Series that has long eluded them. The 2014 season was incredibly entertaining and the expanded Wild Card kept that excitement alive until game 162 for many teams. With the Tigers and Royals still alive in the AL (I am pretty sure that the latter will ultimately put the Angels away); I will watch it through until last World Series out.

For a true baseball lover, it is the game–not just a player or a team. It is the tradition, the strategy, the skill and the surprise that occupy that diamond each day from April through October that compels us most. It’s called “the love of the game..”

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BY STEVE DUNN

Reading: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:8

Many years ago Dianne and I had the great privilege of attending the Billy Graham School of Evangelism in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. The School itself was housed at the Chateau Lake Louise, a magnificent five-star hotel next to pristine Moraine Lake, fed by a glacier.One afternoon, the two of us and our friend George Reser decided to hike out to the glacier.  This was November. The path, which was quite narrow and snow-covered was not easy-going.  On one side of the path was a fairly steep drop into the icy waters of the lake.  The other side, a mountain side with more ice, a little brush, snow, and nothing to invite anything but a veteran climber to tackle it.  I was the epitome of the word novice.

That region was inhabited by some magnificent creatures, the Rocky Mountain Goat.  Bigger than a man, strong, somewhat gruff-looking, agile and sure-footed.  They really are an awesome part of God’s animal kingdom.

As I reached midpoint on the trail, now as narrow as two feet placed sided-by-side and even more perilously close the the frigid lake waters, I saw one of these creatures heading straight down the path towards me.  I quickly began to assess my situation and had no desire to meet the goat head-on.  Between us perched next to the path was a large boulder.  I moved to it, stepped off the path (on the upward slope) and hid behind it.  I figured I’d let him pass before I continued on.

I waited, and waited, and waited.  No animal passed by. Finally I crept towards the front of the boulder and stuck my head out to see what had happened.  And my face greeted the goat’s face on the other side of the rock looking at me, engaged in the same investigation.  Sizing m up, the goat perked up, then turned and went straight up the steep hillside to higher ground.

The goat saw no reason to challenge me on the path, or maybe just took pity on this two-legged mountain novice.

In a world of confrontation, demanding of our rights, asserting ourselves, and just plain belligerence; we are reminded that such attitudes and the actions that result are often in conflict with God’s purposes and inflict unnecessary pain on the persons we cross paths with crossly.

Maybe it’s time for us to re-embrace Paul’s counsel and find God-honoring ways to live at peace with people.

(c) 2012 BY STEPHEN L DUNN   This post originally appeared on my devotional blog THRIVING IN CHRIST

BY STEVE DUNN

 

I have long been a fan of Bill Watterson and his comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. His is not as overtly theological as was Charles Schulz in Peanuts, but every once in a while (I suspect inadvertently) Calvin makes a profound statement that triggers a scriptural truth. Here are two that I find in this particular strip.

The first is from James 4:17: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” New International Version

Then Galatians 5:6.” The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” New Living Translation.

An authentic disciple understands that omission can be every bit as significant as commission when it comes to sin. Too many of us have changed the focus from loving our neighbor as ourselves to love myself and then give my neighbor the leftovers. Or be careful of loving my neighbor too much lest I not have enough for me. Or this one – love myself spontaneously but be sure and schedule how much I will do for my neighbor in need.

Maybe we need to walk through life with eyes wide open to opportunities to be a blessing to others, praying that our love will find greater expression than merely intellectual assent or carefully orchestrated projects.

BY STEVE DUNN

Meet two very important people – my son Michael, the oldest of my son’s and my second child (pictured here with his family-wife Melonie, daughters Natalie and Ashley.

The other is my daughter Katherine Marie, a.k.a. Katie (now Huther). She is pictured here with her son Caleb (husband Jason is probably taking the picture).

Katie is the “baby” of the family-the one her other three siblings were convinced was spoiled rotten by her Daddy.  (Katie winks and says with a wry smile, “You’re right.”) Besides being children of a brilliant father, they have two things in common.  Both are two of the most conscientious parents you will ever meet.

The second is that they have the same birthday. (Actually they were both born in the same hospital as that brilliant dad of theirs).   Seven years after Michael boldly entered the world, his younger sister was born–July 1st.  Michael, when discovering that Katie’s impending arrival was about to rain on his birthday parade actually asked his Mom to stay in labor so that this little intruder would be born July 2nd.

But they are different as well.  Yes, it’s obvious from the photo that Katie is a brunette and Michael a blond.  What I mean is they are different persons with different skills, experiences, and dreams.  Michael is an entrepreneur, Katie the quintessential penny pincher.  Katie has always been a great administrator and resource manger.  She worked in the cash office of a Walmart at age 16 and until son Caleb came along, was in demand in banking.  Michael is a master of managing people, especially people whose lives are struggling and out of focus.

Dianne and I did not raise these two the same–nor treat them the same.  We sought to foster their dreams and empower their passions.  We tried to see them as God saw them and challenge them to aspire to the same.

“Train up a child in his way to go and when he is old he will not depart from it,” says Solomon in Proverbs 22:6.  His way as God designed him is another translation.  Good parents don’t treat their children equally – except to love then equally.  Good parents do not cookie cut kids into their own image but help them be shaped by their callings from God.

I hope my children considered me a good parent.

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