Monday, February 23, 2009

president carter's address to baptists

ethics daily executive director, robert parham, tells us about former president jimmy carters's january 31 address at the new baptist covenant gathering. his story, (go here) is a powerful reminder of just who we have in this 84 year old christian. the account of carter in china is well worth the read, but the point of the story is carter's desire for all believers, no matter what stripe, to come together and stop the blood-letting toward each other.

parham quotes president carter as saying:

Carter’s questions and challenge came after he shared that he and his wife, Rosalynn, had visited more than 125 nations, many of which are in Africa. He had noted that discussions with national leaders inevitably turned to religion.

“What is the prevailing image of Christians in those nations? It’s not the dedicated work of our missionaries. It’s not the inspired sermons of Billy Graham or other great preachers. It is the image of division among brothers and sisters in Christ,” Carter lamented. “As we struggle with each other for authority or argue about the interpretation of individual verses in scriptures, the arguments and even the animosities among Christians are like a cancer that has metastasized in the body of Christ. This plagues us with diversions.”

the question is, how do we overcome the deep hurts done to each other? i've seen an entire denomination ripped apart. for example, on the state level an entire state staff was fired because they wouldn't or couldn't use the same words to describe the bible as those in power. i've seen careers blunted and in some cases destroyed because of these type of disagreements. so, i guess, i'm the problem. i have deep hurt and anger toward fundamentalists that cannot be wiped away with a finder snap. work with them? i can't even talk to them!