With so many “hot spots” around the world, it is difficult to focus upon but one. Before I get going, however, I would commend to you delanceyplace [email@example.com] as a source of daily pieces that are well written and important reading. Of late they have featured the role of bananas in US foreign policy and the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants to this country.
However, the very hot topic for today is the plague called EBOLA. Some reactions to this international event include a statement about US Doctors shouldn’t be there in the first place – they were given due warning and there are Christians in Africa to respond to the epidemic. The soul of our nation is in very bad disrepair.
Even more disappointing is the response of some citizens in the afflicted nations. The President of Liberia said, “Relying on His divine guidance for our survival as a nation,” she announced, “I call on all Liberians to observe three days of national fast and prayer to seek God’s face to have mercy on us and forgive our sins and heal our land, Liberia, as we continue to fight against the deadly Ebola virus.”
“That followed a recent recommendation by the Liberian Council of Churches, which said in a statement last week the outbreak has Biblical implications. “God is angry with Liberia,” the religious leaders said, according to the Daily Observer. “Ebola is a plague. Liberians have to pray and seek God’s forgiveness over the corruption and immoral acts (such as homosexualism, etc.) that continue to penetrate our society. As Christians, we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness.”
They must have a lot of TV Evangelists in Liberia. Shades of Pat Robinson and Jerry Farwell – or the late Mr. Phelps of picketing funerals fame.
Liberians are frightened by the doctors and medicine attempting to restore them to health. This fear has been called superstition. Is this the teaching of religious leaders in Liberia? It sure does not make me want to do “African Bible Study” so popular twenty years ago. But we call many things we do not understand “superstition.” Our reaction to immigrant children could be called superstitious. Any of our knee jerk reactions could be call superstitious.
The readings in the daily lectionary include stories I would consider superstitious. Consider the fate of Abimelech in Judges 9. How does one understand the fate of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5? I have trouble understanding ”Creationism.” Last week PBS carried the last of their series on Mark Twain, a person with great ability at showing us our own folly. The superstition of racism is featured in Tom Sawyer and now we have people wanting it removed from school and public libraries for being racist. I would call that superstition squared.
Somehow we all need to get the picture of a loving God as displayed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Perhaps all the “good news fellowships” have forgotten the call to preach Christ and Him Crucified. It must be because the crucifixion is a very difficult scene in which to talk about loving even those who offend us. “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” I would wager that the process might well also include those who think they know what they are doing.