Sunday, April 5, 2015

Whose Burning What?

Susan posted: They are burning books and false idols in Pahrump this weekend. Maybe next weekend they could bring some witches.
(News report) Pastor Tony Falcone of the Mountain View chapel is preparing to cast aside the sins of the world.
"We are not going to make it that big," Falcone says as he points out the pit for the fire."I asked God to give me a vision of something I could do to help the citizens of Pahrump." Pastor Tony says.
He came up with the idea of a public bonfire. "I'm taking this yucky sin stuff I've been carrying around and I'm going to burn it," Falcone says. "It becomes like a sin offering."
The pastor invites people to bring books, statues, anything they think is not giving glory to God. "I still have an (sic) Ouija board in my house," He says. "I'm still reading my horoscope or I have tarot cards. I have statues of this. God says have no images before me."

Lois responsed: Susan, that's quite a LEAP.  Actually, they r following a practice of the early church, Acts 19:19.  We r NOT a Theocracy!  I don't know if ANY Christian who wud condon the murder of witches or people of a different life-style persuasion.  I don't know this particular group. But I DO know a LOT of Christ Followers in Phrump and they r good and compassionate people.   L.

Susan:  Supposedly we have evolved since the days of the early Christians. They thought the earth was flat. We know better. They burned books. We know better. More recently, there were some Christian good old boys who thought raping and killing black people was very acceptable in the eyes of the church. They still do. Christians used to burn women up in my neck of the woods. Now they kill doctors. Not such a big leap Lois. Many Christ Followers are good and compassionate people. Sadly, many are not.

Lois:  Many atrocities are committed in the name of Christianity. Too many believe because they are 'Christians' they can say or do what they feel without thought to how their actions affect others. Way too many 'Christians' are not very Christ-like...nor do they try.

Interesting! Just what I needed on an Easter day.  As a devout, but not church attending, Christian, I find this very provocative conversation.
I am pleased to note that the two of you came to a similar conclusion at the end, one which I also share.   That is, many self-styled Christians aren't very Christian, but I still would like to make a few comments. 
Those who know me are well aware that I consider any extremism to be a problem. I can be very tolerant toward many different attitudes as long as they don't go to extremes. I can understand Pastor Falcone's desire to draw a clear line and to assist people in cleansing their lives of what he regards as temptations and sins.
Think of a person who is addicted to drugs. They might wish to begin cleansing themselves by burning or otherwise symbolically destroying their paraphernalia. The problem is that book burning is historically associated with the most extreme of extremists. Obviously, it immediately brings up images of the Nazis burning up "Jewish" literature and scientific texts.  And who can forget the Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola, whose bonfire of the vanities destroyed much great art which sadly no longer exists in this world? (
When such actions have happened in the past, and when some Christians do currently believe in murder in the name of Christ, and when groups like Rushdoony's  Christian Reconstructionists want to bring back stoning, many of us feel there is cause for serious alarm.  (
I'm sure  Pastor Falcone does not want to go around stoning or otherwise killing people, but his choice of symbolic action was unwise.
Also, I can't help note that some of the interpretations of acts 19:19 do include witchcraft.
Let me conclude by noting that as a child I wanted everyone to be saved. It just felt right. It felt so wrong for people to be punished or rejected. But now I find myself more in agreement with Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

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