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  • ivanildotrindade 12:53 am on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Baltimore Ravens, CBS, evangelicals, god, , Lewis, NBC, Person of the Year, Rahab, Ravens, Ray Lewis, speaking for evangelicals, speaking for God, Super Bowl   

    Ray Lewis Doesn’t Speak for God 

    Ray Lewis will probably have a statue of him erected at the Ravens stadium commemorating his storied career. But no amount of rings or statues will ever erase the cloud of suspicions which still hover over the murders of two men, after Super Bowl XXXIV, as a result of which Ray Lewis was convicted of obstruction of justice, after striking a deal with the prosecutor. He also allegedly settled for an undisclosed amount with the family of the murdered men later on before the matter went to trial on a civil court.

    Ray Lewis is undoubtedly a gifted athlete. He also seems to be a sincere man. He claims to be an evangelical Christian, even a preacher. So that means that by virtue of his celebrity status he will at times speak for all evangelicals.

    And that is the matter with Ray Lewis. As far as I know, He is not theologically trained and has no authority to speak on biblical matters as if he were some kind of an expert. And I deplore his attempts to appeal to God in explaining away the questions surrounding the issues of the murders of two innocent men. And that is exactly what Ray did on the eve of the most recent Super Bowl. If you didn’t see the interview, here is the critical moment of it. I reproduce the question the CBS reporter asked him and the unmistakably bizarre answer by Ray Lewis:

    CBS: “What would you like to say to the family?”

    LEWIS: “It’s simple: God has never made a mistake. That’s just who he is, you see. If our system — and this is the sad thing about our system — if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have gotten to the bottom line. But the saddest thing ever is a man looked me in my face and told me, ‘We know you didn’t do this, but you’re going down for it anyway.’ To the family: If you knew, if you really knew the way God works, he don’t use people who commits anything like that for his glory. No way. It’s the total opposite.”

    If you want to read the full report, go here, but in essence Ray is saying that his innocence is proven by the will of God. I say: nonsense.  (For a more incisive analysis of Lewis’ interview, read this story by NBC). The thought that God does not use someone who is decidedly “bad” for His glory is preposterous.

    First, you have to establish whether God is really bringing glory to His name through the individual in question (in this case, Ray Lewis). In the absence of unbiased evidence, are we expected to take Lewis’ own words that God is indeed using him for His glory? How many people have been so successful and done so much good and yet have been so far away from God and don’t care to state that publicly? Goodness is not a propriety of the religiously initiated. Ignorance of God does not make one automatically evil.

    Secondly, all you have to do is take a cursory look at some of the Bible stories. David was a murderer, he was an adulterer, and a thief. Saul was a murderer before he became Paul. Rahab was a prostitute before she became an ancestor of the Messiah. The list goes on and on. And may I tell you about me?

    Look, I am not calling any of these people “bad.” I am just saying they weren’t exactly walking on the straight and narrow. At a certain point in their lives they were not candidates for the “Person of the Year” award. They were not your hometown heroes, they were not someone you would ask to babysit your children. But fast forward a little and each of those folks ended up being used by God to do some significant things.

    Ray Lewis has missed the opportunity to show a little humility. He doesn’t have to admit guilt or confess to something he didn’t do. But I would appreciate if He would just leave God out of his lame explanation. Don’t taint God’s honor with man’s foibles. Don’t think you can fool us by just saying that you and the Almighty have a special deal where He has given you one of a kind killer insight. I cannot bear the thought of hearing that type of nonsense anymore.

    And if Ray Lewis really wants to speak for God, I recommend that he should at least start doing some serious reading and systematic studying of God’s Word, now that He will have plenty of time since he is retiring from professional football. And by all means, express some sorrow to the families for the pain you have, intentionally or unintentionally, caused them.

    And if you change your mind and decide to accept a coaching position with the Ravens, please don’t hire God as your assistant. You may end up embarrassing Him… again!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Ted Beaver 9:26 am on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Ray has some interesting theology, for sure. I’ll be paying attention to how he lives his life now that he isnt playing, and doesn’t have the world telling him how great he is on an hourly basis.

    • Derek Johnson 7:13 pm on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The vague reporting in the Lewis story is the result of the media lumping all Christians into the same category, without bothering to learn the specifics of what they believe. Ray, if you want credibility, say what church you belong to. With the public reporting, it’s possible that he’s religious but doesn’t go to church.

      • ivanildotrindade 11:38 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        not sure revealing which church he goes to will give him credibility, but I understand that u r making a larger point: show me your confession with your deeds. thanks for posting!

    • lionjudah 1:08 am on February 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      God’s name gets used, blamed and brought into the courtroom of daily living for lots and lots of things that goes against his righteous attributes. Unfortunately, good folk like us justify our selfish and unholy living by involking his holy name. When instead, God should be simply obeyed, revered, feared, and understood as someone to whom we will ultimately stand in judgement.

      The beautiful thing about all of this is that God will be the final judge and we will all–each one of us–answer for the unrighteous deeds we have done. The “lake of fire” is waiting for us unless we confess and own our sins before we make that final “touch down.”

      Knowing this, each of us should come to the foot of the cross of his son, Jesus, to find refuge and forgiveness–that includes me, you, rulers, the high and the low, the rich and the poor and SPORTS HEROS, too.

      Here is a simple story that I used to tell to children. The officials of a local town offered a beautiful bicyle as a prize to any child catching the largest fish in a contest on a given Saturday. So a young lad decided to spend a couple days fishing, then select his largest catch and freeze it until the day of the contest. Sure enough, he was being celebrated for catching the largest fish until the judges weighed his prize fish. But the judges had to disqualify the lad’s fish when they discovered his fish was FROZEN!

      • ivanildotrindade 11:34 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        thanks, Harold. appreciate your taking the time to comment. not sure how the story relates to ray lewis but i loved it.

  • ivanildotrindade 10:42 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , farm house, Farmhouse, god, hanging things, History, hooks, horse barn, hustler, new things, Norman Rockwell, , old farm house, old houses, old things, World War III   

    Unmovable Hooks 

    I am living temporarily in an old farm house. The house is 150 years old and though everything works pretty well, it is still 150 years old — no amount of make up can hide. At night, because the house is heated by oil, you hear noises coming out of the metal plates on the floor – and there is no pattern, no logic, and no apparent rhythm to the cacophony of sounds.

    The house sits behind a cluster of newer homes, not on the street, but back about one-tenth of a mile, as you follow a gravel road. The GPS lady can never find us. It has an old basement that looks like a dungeon and a red barn that used to house animals. The barn may be as old as the house, I am not sure, but it has the character of a well-built structure that might survive World War III. With enough hard work and artistry, it could be converted into a quaint little house where the occupants might live happily hereafter.

    Down to the east there is a farm, which is part of the property. It is an 8-acre parcel of land, I am told. A beautiful descending field takes you to the other, where a dog is always barking and I am told that people go hunting for deer and walking on Sunday afternoons when the weather is nice. I can’t wait to go there some time in the future, but I will stay away from the dog’s path.

    Though the house is small and we are not even totally moved in yet — our stuff is not coming until 1/25; Though we have no garage and the sink in the bathroom has only one basin, we love the element of simplicity our lives gained since we moved there. We love the quietness and the fact that our neighbors are far enough they will not complain about our two dogs. We love the beautiful mornings when the sun comes up against the fields. And we love not having to pay mortgage, most of all (it will be better once our house in Ohio is sold!).

    But by far the most peculiar thing about this house is none of the things I mentioned. It is rather the unusual number of hooks and hanging gadgets of all sorts and ages I have found around the house. There are original metal hooks painted over multiple times in years past. There are some shiny new metal strips, old nails of all sizes and shapes, hung at different heights over walls, doors, on the sides of cabinets and the showers.

    This interesting phenomenon has made me ask the question: Why do we have so many of these objects in our homes? Obviously, to hang things. We hang pictures, calendars, dish towers, coats, hats, charts, boards, bags, belts, etc. But why do we hang thing? I guess we do it because we love to hang things because the stuff we hang gives us a sense of permanence in a place. They help us build a history, make memories, leave a trace. The proximity to things give us more of a sense of home, I guess.

    The things we hang say a lot about the kind of person we are. Whose picture goes on the wall of the living room? What type of calendar — Norman Rockwell paintings or Hustler magazine’s? Clean or dirty towels? Expensive or cheap china? Diplomas or Birth certificates?

    But we also hang things to try to make our lives easy. If I hang my coat by the door, I don’t have to look for it deep within the house if I have to go somewhere in a hurry. We are too busy to waste even a couple of minutes looking for something that is not obviously in front of us, so we transform what could be a beautiful, plain, empty wall into a utilitarian space always at my service.

    But life is so transitory and things pass away. No amount of hanging will prevent you from having to part with things. And your organizational scheme will some day fail you. We have all experienced the pain associated with a relocation and the feeling of empty walls that had for long been occupied with stuff. The pristine, bright paint in the space where the picture once was serves as a vivid reminder of how new things used to be.

    I can’t help but think that the only secure place to “hang” things is the wall around your heart. If you have hooks there, they will remain with you no matter how far you go. So I encourage you to cultivate your heart with wisdom and love. Wisdom is the application of solid principles to daily living. The Book of Proverbs says that a healthy reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom. I couldn’t agree more. And love is the irresistible force to accept even when logic pushes you the other way. “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

    Wisdom and love will never need to be unhooked from your soul. Happy travels.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • lionjudah 12:49 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Pastor, Ivanildo, what a illustrive musing about hooks in the “Farm Camp!!” You are in Pennsylvania now, one of the 13 original colonies! One connects to yesteryear in an old Pennsylvania farm homestead, which I have affectionatly dubbed, your “Farm Camp!”

      Sylvia and I have spent a number of years of our lives in fasinating old houses. With these, you have rodents, flying things and creeping things. Not always pleasant, but it goes with the teritory. As do dungeon like basements which harbor all of the above mentioned residents.

      At the funeral of Ammon Stoltzfus, one of Sylvia’s many cousins, it was mentioned that he wished to build a house of all doors, because then there would be enough room for everyone to drop their shoes and other items that folks wanted to leave by the doorways. I suppose that goes for hooks as well. When we move into a house I am always grateful for ever waiting hooks for my wraps–that is coats, handbags, etc. In new houses one always hesitates to make a new hole in the wall or your landlord wraps your knucles if you do!

      • ivanildotrindade 3:14 pm on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        we, thankfully, have great landlords. a house of all doors — i love that concept. and with as few pieces of furniture inside as possible. open spaces fascinate me, even if it is indoors. and considering how much time we spent indoors, we should find the most comfortable and amiable environment possible inside our homes. i have a friend who calls himself “an indoor enthusiast.” i would’t go that far…

  • ivanildotrindade 10:51 pm on May 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anti-gay preaching, Baptist, bible and homosexuality, fence against gays, fence the gays, gay bashing, gay sermon, god, homosexual lifestyle, , jesus and homosexuality   

    "Pastors" Who Hate 

    I have little patience for people who promote hate. I don’t care whether it’s in the name of religion or politics. I don’t care if they claim to be speaking for God or for Satan. But when they pretend to be ministers of the Gospel, that tends to put me over the edge.

    Case in point: Pastor Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C. , who preached a sermon on May 13 calling for gays, lesbians and transvestites to be gathered and dropped off in an area 50-100 miles long, fenced in, and left there to die — by natural causes, of course, since he did advocate that food be delivered to them by a plane from time to time (how nice of him!). The video is a big hit on YouTube and once more evangelicals end up with more than a black eye over the issue of homosexuality.

    I think this sort of outrageous preaching is an affront for the Gospel. Somehow, when I look at the New Testament, I don’t see Jesus making these kinds of pronouncements. Yes, Jesus did speak harsh words at times against those who had abused the power given them by way of their ecclesiastical position. Jesus did speak against sin and he was not afraid to confront merchants who had transformed God’s house into a “den of thieves.” He even picked up a whip and scared them away!

    But some preachers take that too far. They seem to live by the philosophy of the “word of the day,” only in their case it is the “hate of the day.” Whether they have an actual “hate list” or not, judging by the explosive nature of what comes out of their mouths, you would think they have put some thought into it or maybe they are just naturally stupid.

    Had Jesus heard the sermon by Rev. Worley, he would more than likely walk out in disgust. He would then draw a crowd and explain why he left. He would say that he didn’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle but he was more appalled at the way one who claims to speak for God handled the issue. Then he would more than likely seek to dialogue with those who held a different view from His own.

    He would be firm in his position but he would not raise his voice. And for those who would ridicule his views, he would plead with them to come to God on His terms. He wouldn’t compromise on what He believed His Father wanted, but He would never make anyone feel inferior or unworthy of His grace. He would remind all of us that everyone was made in the image of God and as such deserve love and respect. And love is what Jesus did best, even love to the ones who hated Him — a high calling He passed on to all His followers.

    Just about the only ones Jesus had no patience with were the religious leaders who acted like they had it all together but were only putting on a show. Those, he called “hypocrites,” “oppressors of widowers,” “brood of vipers,” “like a cup and dish clean on the outside, full of greed and self-indulgence on the inside, “white washed tombs — beautiful on the outside and rotten on the inside,” etc., etc., etc.

    On behalf of all the evangelicals who despise this kind of misguided, misconstrued, pseudo-Christian sermon, I would like to express my utter embarrassment and say sorry to all those who may have been offended by Mr. Worley’s remarks. I may not agree with your lifestyle, but I don’t hate you. Jesus would never give me that option.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Julie 8:13 am on May 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for sharing these thoughts. It amazes me the license too many pastors take in promoting and spreading hate. I think that the number one reason that people stay away from church is hateful, judgmental, self-righteous pastors and church-goers. I believe that Jesus’ principles of love contrasted with hate in the Christian community, especially in leadership, is what keeps so many people away from church. Jesus preached love and too many churches sow or passively accept hate and condemnation. It’s so incredibly sad to me how many people I’ve spoken with who, at the mention of God, get a horribly hurt face and begin to comment on their experience of church. Then they just get mad. They equate God with church and because they have had such disappointing, non-loving experiences with church and church leaders and church attenders, they don’t want anything to do with God. And that means they reject everything that is Bible too. I often feel that one of Satan’s greatest allies is the dysfunctional Christian church and it makes me very sad.

      • ivanildotrindade 11:48 am on May 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Jesus was tough on sin, no question about it, but he always was gentle with people who sinned, except the religious leaders — he was more than rough with them! he confronted people for focusing on the outside only while the inside was rotten. He was willing to challenge the status quo — like healing on the Sabbath, because he cared about people’s needs first. of course, this didn’t mean that he was an “anything goes” person, as He always sought to obey His heavenly Father. But some Christians have missed the point — they want to focus on cultural wars and forget that the real war is the one being waged inside the person — fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of loneliness, and ultimately, fear of death. Jesus offered Himself as the solution to all of this, but when many Christian offer Jesus to the world today he has little resemblance with the Jesus of the New Testament.And that is sad. Thanks for your words, julie!

  • ivanildotrindade 6:28 pm on May 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian, , church challenges, god, , Holy Land, reconnecting to church,   

    No Easy Trip to Church 

    Walking through the hallways of the church this morning reminded me of how difficult it is for a person who is attending a church for the first time. I met a couple with three children, one of which was on a wheel chair and severely handicapped. They didn’t know where the services were. Since they had kids in different age groups, they had to go to different rooms where their classes were.

    The girl on the wheel chair was too old for the nursery, but they asked to leave her there. “She will just sit that and play with the toys. She may roll on the carpet but she will be okay.” The volunteers at the nursery didn’t know what to do, but they reluctantly agreed. The girl was fine, but since she made loud noises, they had to separate her from the other kids. We have a class for children with severe handicaps called “Special Friends,” but they don’t meet until 9:45. The girl came back for the special class, but this time it was the other kid in the class, much older than her, who was making too much noise and scared her!

    The couple had looked online and were interested in a class that was going through a DVD series on the Holy Land. I took them to the right room (our campus is huge and not well marked!). I dropped them there and left, but as soon as I left, I knew something was not quite right. I came back and they were still standing there — the class was for people a lot older than them. They were reluctant to join in. They suggested another class but I knew that one would not be a good fit for them either. I told them about a class that was their age group but they met during second hour at 9:45. So they decided to go to the service and then come to the class afterwards. But they wanted to go to a contemporary service and at 8:30 we only have a traditional service.

    In the end, they did go to the traditional service and later attended the class I had recommended, but I felt bad that everything was so complicated. When I found them at the end of the class, the lady said, “Sorry we were so difficult,” and I said, “No, sorry we weren’t ready for you.”

    That experience reminded me that coming to church can be a hair-raising experience. This was a couple that was motivated — they did their research online, they came in early, they were asking the right questions. Still, it was not an easy experience for them. Now, granted, not everyone will have a child with severe handicaps, but whether it is a child or not, every one who comes to a church for the first time or is re-connecting to church after a long time, is dealing with unique challenges: What should I wear? How can I walk in and out of there without being bothered by anyone? What if they put me on the spot and ask me to stand up? Will they ask me to give money? What if I run into my ex there?

    The questions are interminable but we dare not minimize them. In this case, I think those two were Christians; what about people who don’t even claim to believe anything? The fact that someone even makes the decision to come to church is incredible by itself. We have no control over that. But the moment they drive into our parking lots, we should be in control, and we should strive to make sure that they have the best experience ever.

    I was glad when that couple told me they would be back next week.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Julie 8:30 pm on May 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      You treated them beautifully. What an excellent example and reminder of how to treat people. I think you hit the nail on the head in expressing the complication that going to church can be. All the anxiety and nervousness. All the unknowingness and wondering if one will be appropriate and accepted or embarrass oneself. I think that when we visit a local church, we’re often looking for a place to belong and be loved. Today is Mother’s Day in Bolivia. A particularly rough day for me. Two things in particular stood out for me after church. I got an amazing hug from Robert, the Canadian, and Yoshi spontaneously took me to lunch and we talked for hours. I think that even when church is tough, God often provides gentle surprises to pull us up and out. It sounds like you were one of those surprises for your new guests.

      • ivanildotrindade 9:21 pm on May 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        i think it is imperative that people who r “veterans” in church things should try 2 get into the shoes of those who r on the outside. after a while, i am afraid, most christians only know other christians. they have no clue what the life of a non-christian looks like. they would join the ranks of those who complained that Jesus of being friends with tax collectors and “sinners.” Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a lover of wine. how many of us would have a chance of being even falsely accused of that? i am always fascinated that those who were considered “the least of the least” flocked to Jesus like you run to a magnet. they couldn’t have enough of him. many people who go to church regular only scare and humiliate the poor today. and that is a tragedy, but that is another subject. we all have so much 2 learn. i know i do.

  • ivanildotrindade 10:10 pm on March 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Atheism, Berlinski, David Berlinski, Existence of God, god, , Richard Lewontin, Sam Harris, science debunks religion, the devil's delusion   

    A secular Jew takes Richard Dawkins to school 

    Give credit to whom deserves credit. An atheist friend of mine recommended me a book. Do you have atheist friends? I do! It’s The Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinski. The subtitle should say all: “Atheism and its scientific pretensions.” Dr. Berlinski has the academic credentials and he also has no pretensions of being a believer. He calls himself a “secular Jew,” but proceeds to build a very convincing case against the idea that somehow “science” has debunked religion or that scientific discoveries have made it impossible to believe in the possibility of God.

    This book is a must read whether you agree with the premises or not. Basically, he is reacting to popular writers, such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and others, who are among the most militant atheists and who have no use for God or religion. On the contrary, they see believers as a danger to the progress of society, a group that must be closely scrutinized, and if possible, silenced. And they believe science is on their side, and have made millions writing about it.

    It is against the idea of science delivering the fatal blow to religion that this books comes out swinging. Already in the first chapter, Dr. Berlinski sharpens his intellectual saber. He says, “Confident assertions by scientists that in the privacy of their chambers they have demonstrated that God does not exist have nothing to do with science and even less to do with God’s existence.”

    He highlights the two ideas that are at play here: “The first is that there is something answering to the name of science. The second is that something answering to the name of science offers sophisticated men and women a coherent vision of the universe. The second claim is false if the first claim is. And the first claim is false. Nothing answers to the name of science…” And he uses the next 225 pages to demonstrate how inconsistent and plagued by interpretation the “scientific” scheme is. And how this scheme cannot utter one iota of information that is for certain about the existence of God.

    The book in meteoric is its assertions and thus has received criticism from the militant camp. It’s been called “incendiary” and “polemical writing,” but it is a fascinating and sometimes even funny book, if you like dry humor and quaint words. I am loving it so far. Just to give you one example of Dr. Berlinski’s indictment against the premises of the new high priests of scientific revelation, he quotes the geneticist Richard Lewontin: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…in spite of its failures to fulfill any of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories.” And why do we do that, he asks. Well, Mr. Lewontin responds, “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” And it only gets better from here.

    And who would have thunk that we would have to turn to a secular Jew to offer us a spirited defense of the “religious thought and sentiment”? Nothing surprises me anymore!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 10:26 pm on August 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: god, god's approval ratings, obama, performance   

    In spite of evidence to the contrary the… 

    In spite of evidence to the contrary, the results are in and God seems to be doing all right, thank you very much. That is, if you were to take seriously a survey by the Public Policy Polling. Or maybe it’s not as good as it sounds, since atheists were not included in the survey… According to this recent survey,

    52% approve of the work God is doing

    9% disapprove how God is managing the universe

    50% agree on how God deals with natural disasters

    56% give God OK for His performance in relation to animals

    71% approve of God creating the universe

    So I’m just wondering if the angels in heaven are celebrating or trying to “hide” the results from the Almighty. Is God tickled or ticket off? What do you think?

    For a funny take on this by NPR’s Scott Simon, click here.

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