Clothesline in Winter

Clothesline in Winter

Monday, October 17, 2011

The TV Christian v. God’s People

What is it these days with TV commentators anointing themselves to speak for Christianity?

Last year, we had Glenn Beck telling (really – ordering!) Christians to abandon their churches if their pastors ever dared to teach about social justice.  Social justice!  Practically every page of the Gospel of Luke is about social justice.  But this TV guy – who happens to be a Mormon – figures that he’s ordained to order Christians to abandon their churches if their pastors ever follow their Master into the sacred realm of public justice and mercy.

And just last week, we had Rush Limbaugh telling American Christians that their President was declaring war on fellow Christians fighting to liberate Uganda.  He’s talking about a group called the Lord’s Resistance Army, probably the most maniacal and ruthless killers the world has seen since Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.  Here’s what Limbaugh said:
Limbaugh: The LRA are Christians
“Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them.”

Now maybe you’ve never crossed paths with the Lord’s Resistance Army (or LRA).  The fact that you’re still alive to read this suggests that you probably haven’t.  But the LRA is abhorred across East Africa for descending upon villages, herding terrified families into the village church building, and then chopping their unarmed victims to death with machetes.
It happens that dear friends of ours have lived under the shadow of this demonic presence for many years.  Scott and Jennifer Myhre, two doctors serving with World Harvest Mission – together with their four children – have spent 20 years healing the sick and malnourished in Western Uganda along the Congo border, and now in Kenya.  Michael and Karen Masso and their children have spent their lives providing safe water to the poorest people of Uganda, and now continue their life-giving work in South Sudan.  Our children, Nathan and Sarah Elwood, were honored to serve with both of these families for two years after college.

Dr. Jennifer Myhre: 20 years saving the poorest children
All of them have felt the chilling horror wreaked by the LRA on innocent Ugandans, Congolese and South Sudanese.

So I figured I’d find out what a veteran Christian missionary, one of the unsung heroes of our day, had to say about Limbaugh’s attack on the American President and his defense of the LRA murderers.

“I am stunned,” said Dr. Scott Myhre. “I have never read a more ill-informed piece of idiotic misinformation!! What a travesty. Unbelievable.”

Missionaries – and particularly mission doctors – are tough people.  But it still takes a bit to get them to call people idiots. It looks like Limbaugh has given them that bit, and more.

Dr. Scott Myhre with AIDS victims and their babies
What is it going to take for American Christians to finally declare their independence from political ideologues spewing hateful venom on TV in the name of the Christian church?

Maybe in this political season, we will finally come to our senses, and realize that the God who made the supernovae is not a member of either American political party.  And that the TV guys certainly don’t speak for His beloved church.

To read more about the gospel and social justice, here is an excellent and accessible book by noted author and pastor, Tim Keller.
And to see what genuine Christians like the Myhres and Massos are doing in the shadow of evil incarnate like the LRA, take a look here, or here.  And while you’re there, look for the many ways you can join them in bringing true Christ-like justice and mercy to a fallen world.
Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.

J. Elwood

At grave of colleague, killed treating Ebola outbreak
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8

“On the Sabbath day [Jesus] went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read…: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
“Today,” [said Jesus] “this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”   
Luke 4:16-21

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