Sunday, August 24, 2008

DNC Interfaith or NO FAITH?

The Democratic National Convention Interfaith Alliance hosted an event Sunday August 24th at the Colorado Convention Center, that met much criticism and gendered much local unrest. The Denver Rocky Mountain News reported that anti-abortion protesters disturbed the event both inside and out during a speech given by my Presiding Bishop, Bishop Charles E. Blake, who was invited as a guest speaker at the event.

Just earlier this week I received a comment from an anonymous poster asking me if I thought that this was a conflict of interest. I asked the poster "let's wait and see". What we can see is that there are more than a few issues that have arisen as a result of Bishop's appearance. Here is part of the report of the Rocky Mountain News:


"Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, called on presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama to "follow through on his promise ... to reduce the number of abortions" while stopping just short of criticizing the Democratic Party for its support of the practice.
"Surely we cannot be pleased with ... millions of terminated pregnancies," Blake said to applause from the nearly full Wells Fargo Theater. "Something within us must be calling for a better way. If we do not resist at this point, at what point will we resist?"

Democrats must know about the "moral and spirtual pain so many of us feel because of this disregard for the lives of the unborn," Blake said.

In a speech focusing on society's responsibility to its children, Blake first focused on the plight of the inner-city poor as a human rights responsibility before calling abortion a practice "that conflicts with our position and our responsibility ... to human rights itself."

Although Blake intimated he was frustrated with his party's support of abortion, he praised its positions for the helpless in other ways. "Others loudly proclaim their advocacy for the unborn," he said, receiving a standing ovation, "but they refuse to recognize their responsibility and the responsibility of our nation to those who have been born. "They are presently and historically silent, if not indifferent," he continued, "to the suffering of our inner cities."

There has already been a host of commentary regarding religious leaders participation in this event. It is also presumed that Bishop Blake has joined other Pastors such as Bishop T.D. Jakes and Pastor Rick Warren in the ranks of endorsement of Obama/Biden ticket. Here is commentary from Gloria Poole RN who was one of the respondents to the Denver article:

"Bishop Blake, perhaps if the so-called ministers of this nation did not speak out of both sides of their mouth at once there would be no legal abortion in this nation? HOW DARE YOU? How dare you try to defend a man as President who never once voted prolife on anything? Who voted for legalized infanticide? Who voted to not notify parents of their minor daughter's attempt to get an abortion? Who never once voted prolife while in Congress or his state; and who wrote inflammatory articles at the Harvard Review claiming his support of the killing of innocents? What was written about you today in this article,if true, is what is wrong with America i.e. 'politically correct' wishy-washy, namby-pamby 'ministers' and 'priests' who don't know what they believe or why. GET ON GOD's side or get out of the pulpits!" ~ Gloria Poole RN, Artist

As you can see this is a very heated discussion especially in light of what Senator Obama said at Saddleback Church just a few days ago:(8/17/2008)
WARREN: ..."Now, let's deal with abortion; 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. As a pastor, I have to deal with this all of the time, all of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?"
OBAMA: "Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade."
WARREN: Have you --
OBAMA: "But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion, because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I'm absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And so I think anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue, I think, is not paying attention. So that would be point number one. But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I'm pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don't think women make these decisions casually. I think they -- they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors or their family members. And so, for me, the goal right now should be -- and this is where I think we can find common ground. And by the way, I've now inserted this into the Democratic party platform, is how do we reduce the number of abortions? The fact is that although we have had a president who is opposed to abortion over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down and that is something we have to address."
WARREN: "Have you ever voted to limit or reduce abortions?"
OBAMA: "I am in favor, for example, of limits on late-term abortions, if there is an exception for the mother's health. From the perspective of those who are pro-life, I think they would consider that inadequate, and I respect their views. One of the things that I've always said is that on this particular issue, if you believe that life begins at conception, then -- and you are consistent in that belief, then I can't argue with you on that, because that is a core issue of faith for you. What I can do is say, are there ways that we can work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, so that we actually are reducing the sense that women are seeking out abortions. And as an example of that, one of the things that I've talked about is how do we provide the resources that allow women to make the choice to keep a child. You know, have we given them the health care that they need? Have we given them the support services that they need? Have we given them the options of adoption that are necessary? That can make a genuine difference" Transcript Courtesy CNN Forums.
The figures on abortion have been placed at 100% Change Man for your review. I would ask the question to Senator Obama,
When you found out that your wife was pregnant with either of your two daughters, WHEN were human rights conferred upon them? Did you or did you not feel that they were entitled to human rights in the womb? Finally, and I strongly assume that you believe that they were entitled to HUMANS rights in the womb; why should anyone else's children be considered less valuable, less important, or less entitled than yours?
Will This make me vote for McCain...I'm afraid not. Should you assume that I will vote for Obama...DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH! Does this blog endorse either candidate....NO!
Opportunities are Golden. Did Bishop Blake say enough or go far enough? Do you feel his presence sent a confused or wrong message? I would like to hear from you on regarding this. May the Lord bless and keep you is my humble prayer. In Jesus Name!
Blessed!

19 comments:

  1. Greeting Pastor Burnett,
    I would like to say I really enjoy your blog and appreciate the stand that you ar taking. We need more preachers such as yourself, who are more worried about sounding the alarm and taking a stand that promotion in the church. It good to see a pastor who will stand up for COGIC as the way you did on pulpit pimps.org and also call out stuff that is not right in the church. Now in response the article you posted it is my opinion, Bishop Blake's appearance at the Interfaith Gathering did send the wrong message. I feel that it sent the message that as True Christians(one who believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God the Father, died on the Cross for our sins and rose on third day and also believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation and live their life according to the word of God),and it is shame that we must now define what a true Christian is but it sends the message that is okay to have a religious gathering regardless of one's belief to solve social or economic problems. I have never read in the Bible where the prophets of God and the prophets of Baal had a meeting to fix the ills of Society. I do remember in the word where Ellijah and the prophets of Baal had a showdown to see who's god was Superior and we know who won that battle. I will say that I am glad that Bishop Blake did address the issue of abortion but I still believe he should have declined the invitation. I believe that we do not need to link together with different religious groups to solve problems in the country. I believe that if preachers today would preach the uncompromising word of God with power and authority then society would be a whole lot better.

    C. TERRY

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  2. Bishop Blake is homosexual! And he is a closet inclusionist.

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  3. Allrighty then.....

    Terry, I understand your viewpoint. It seems as if the DNC views the church as a problem that must be analyzed, monitored, and regulated. That's what I get from it. They also want to deal with what they consider mega-ministries as to get the most attention. I don't like the politics/religion mix anyway.

    So far as Blake is concerned personally, and since he did go, I'm yet unconvinced either way that his presence was either positive or negative. Not considering the comment just before this one

    I am willing to field thoughts such as yours. I thought that you delivered well.

    I guess the thing for me is that, he could have avoided issues of substance and especially abortion if he was insincere. I believe that it is unfair to judge him as calculating enough to insincerely step into an issue that he knew would be so divisive. Contrary to popular opinion, I don't believe that he just wants the "spotlight" either. I mean he could buy up all the TV time in the world right now if that were the case, because he has the money.

    As you said, the gospel is without equivocation and should be preaced in every venue for a gospel preacher.

    Now I didn't touch on the event coordinator who is a Muslim...but that's another story.

    Thanks and God bless.

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  4. Praise The LORD!

    Pastor Burnett,
    I want to thank you and commend you for keeping it real with the saints on these revelant issues of our time. Our LORD and SAVIOUR told us to render to Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto GOD the things that are GOD's.

    5 questions.
    1. What does Bishop Blake stand to gain for being at the DNC Interfaith?
    2. Was the Bishop invited by "formal" invitation only or did he invite himself?
    3. Who's paying for him to be there--the whole process?( There are few, if any big time pastors that do events of this magnitude for free, i.e. what's in it for me and my church...)
    4. Did the DNC have to approve of what the Bishop said...political pandering?
    5. Finally, How is CHRIST glorified by the Bishop being there...Bishop Blakes attendance SPEAKS ENDORSEMENT of Obama and the DNC,...Yes?

    Now, I see that the devil was mad with his imps protesting the Bishop's speech, but I do not read where men were cut to the heart like with Peter's type of preaching. We would have to know how much Bishop Blake is tied up in "faith-based grants" because from what my ministry friends have told me, this thing has been a millstone around a lot big time pastors and churches neck.

    This is a very complex election process and very very discouraging--Pastor, I am discerning this election as No Vote, but to me it seems like it is getting harder and harder to differeniate the between Democrats and Republicans. I wholeheartedly agree with the statement you posted earlier this summer from your late Former Presiding Bishop Of The Church Of God In Christ, Bishop Dr. G.E. Patterson who said,"The Republican, religious right is for every human right except when it comes to the rights of leveling the the playing field of racial equality and seriously addressing the issues of the minority community."

    I grew up in the South, the Bible Belt, in Jerry Falwell country. These right wing Christians (white folks with influence and money) were about themselves, they spoke a form of godlinessness but they did not have the fruit of CHRIST.
    I remember they attacked black welfare mothers vicisiously in the 80s and 90s and it was more whites on welfare than any other race. McCain cannot relate to the common man--he is out of touch.

    I just can't see myself voting for McCain. I can't vote for Obama because of his views on abortion, gay rights, and really anti-christian views. Back in 2004, at least with John Kerry(a Catholic), he was liberal but he was pro-life and believed in marriage from GOD's view(he did believe in civil unions--the man is a politician, not a theologian) I saw right through George W. Bush's "phony" christianity. There were a lot of big time black pastors here in DC, one was Bishop Harry Jackson, that endorsed voting for Bush..but Bush used Christians to get elected. He was a liar then and still a liar.

    I say stand for CHRIST. Don't take sides with the Democrats or the Republicans. I am a registered independent. If that means, I voice my opinion by not voting for either one. So be it!
    I want my voting record to be recorded in heaven for voting for GOD, not with man and man's agendas!

    Now, (A big if) if I discern that McCain will stop abortion and gay marriage with Supreme Court nominees, legislation...I will have to deny myself and vote McCain. This could mean it might be 10 years down the road before this comes to pass?

    Pastors must get back to preaching the wages of sin is death but the gift of GOD is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST ALONE. W must live holy. We will ALL answer to GOD. The churches, especially the black churches must repent and get our voice and witness of relevance back because we have fallen! It is the churches (black and white) fault that we have the spiritual condition that is in America today and we have no solid moral choice for next President.

    GOD bless you and protect you Pastor Burnett for proclaiming boldness in this late hour!

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  5. Pastor B, I was actually pleased that Bishop Blake came out of the comfort zone to condemn the complicit killing of the unborn by the dems. There are gop who do the same thing, but from my understanding it is not widely supported like it is in the democrat party.

    I read the press release of a man who was there he said that while Blake spoke, an uncomfortable silence filled the room.

    On the other hand, he should consistently speak out for the unborn not just when he can speak at the DNC every 4 years.

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  6. Enochwalked~ "1. What does Bishop Blake stand to gain for being at the DNC Interfaith?

    [Nothing as far as I can tell, but additional criticism]

    Enochwalked~ 2. Was the Bishop invited by "formal" invitation only or did he invite himself?

    [He was given a formal invitation to speak and I suppose share his views.]

    Enochwalked~ 3. Who's paying for him to be there--the whole process?( There are few, if any big time pastors that do events of this magnitude for free, i.e. what's in it for me and my church...)

    [I believe the DNC has a budget for their speakers and who they invite. So I'm almost sure there was an honorarium as is common and expected. So far as the church, it's already noteable and COGIC already has a presence, so I can't see anything that would be "gained" or any type of quid-pro-quo benefit etc"]

    Enochwalked~ 4. Did the DNC have to approve of what the Bishop said...political pandering?

    [Once again, as far as I know, NO. As a representative of COGIC however Bishop would have to be careful about opening up any "unauthorized can of worms". I mean he can't assert certain positions unless the church was in agreement with those positions, hat much I know, but his message wasn't regulated by the DNC]

    Enochwalked~ 5. Finally, How is CHRIST glorified by the Bishop being there...Bishop Blakes attendance SPEAKS ENDORSEMENT of Obama and the DNC,...Yes?

    [This is probably the catch here. If he doesn't go, who brings forth the message that he does? If he goes is he partaking or fellowshipping with the world too closely? This is Jesus's struggle in dealing with publicans and sinners. When they "invited" him was he guilty of endorsing their sin?

    The critic says yes as the Pharisee's did, but the truth is that Jesus had to go to them to deliver the message.

    Am I drawing an incorrect analogy here?

    I agree brother Enochwalked, I may be a NO VOTE also. I don't see us being able to change or draw Obama more to the center and McCain...anyway...

    Thanks my friend and God bless.

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  7. GCMWatch~ "On the other hand, he should consistently speak out for the unborn not just when he can speak at the DNC every 4 years."

    I agree my friend, but I also see that other ministers within teh church need to be openly vocal on the issue also. All pressure should not solely rest on the Presiding Bishop's Office. We need more men and women to stand up and fight against this within the church.

    In honesty, I haven't been to a meeting where this topic and other (pertinent) important topics were addressed openly like this. That's a shame because we're the most "meetin'" church in the world.

    Thanks my brutha!

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  8. True that, Supt. I would argue that the office of the PB, if it were to openly and frequently use its influence in house to highlight the tremendous disparity of known abortions and how they disproportionately affect the women of our community, perhaps men would speak out. Additionally the Women's Department should openly address them as the Bible instructs the older women to teach the younger.

    Despite that, I am thankful he took that opportunity to challenge all listening to not be complicit by silence in the slaughter of the unborn.

    And not only him, but the quorum of black religious leaders could make a tremendous difference just by bringing attention to the plague in our midst. It takes a lot of effort to ignore over 1400 known black baby abortions per day.

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  9. Praise God Pastor Burnett,

    I am really praying for our Christian Leaders because they have become "Religious" Leaders instead. They say what is morally correct but are they really standing up for Holiness?

    Hmmm...... I'm not sure and to me that is not good enough! Using words like "Something within us must be calling for a better way." See I have a problem with such vague words. The world has no problem saying how they feel with boldness and confidence no matter how right or wrong they are, but we as Christians when given the same opportunity to stand up for Christ become timid or just tow the line.

    I feel that if it is sin, call it sin. If it is wrong say it's wrong.

    The mysterious "something " within me is Jesus and He is crying out to a dying world "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ!"

    America is going to pay and has paid a heavy price for going against God's way. We have brothers and sisters in foreign countries dying everyday because they are standing for the cause of Christ yet we are here with the freedom to speak without incurring physical persacution and/or death and still keep silent? Why? Don't we believe God's Word that says that there is no weapon that can be formed by the enemy that shall prosper, but then it also goes on to say that any word that rises up against me I shall condemn. So, I ask why the silence. This is what the Word of the Lord says concerning those He has placed as watchmen:

    The Word of God declares this: Isaiah 62:6- 6 "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,"

    Then there is another verse of scripture the gives warning to those are keep silent :

    Where are the watchmen? Why are they keeping silent? Or when they speak why do they not mention the Lord?

    I am earnestly praying for the "Watchmen" I pray they will stand up for Holiness, Righteousness and for the Cause of Christ!!!

    Your In Christ,
    Alicia

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  10. I meant to put this scripture in there for the watchmen who do not warn the people -

    Ezekiel 3:17-21 :
    17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.


    Your In Christ,
    Alicia

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  11. I have provided a link to where you can view the entire service.

    C. Terry

    http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=280663-1

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  12. Hello, and thank you for everyone's posts. Although I am not an American, I follow the Amercian politcal process very closely, as what happens south of the border ultimalety has an affect on my country's (Canada)way of life.

    I quite enjoyed viewing the interfaith gathering, and listening to the various religious representatives. It was clear that no mention of a particular god, was quite intentional and protocol driven. Although, I always find it amusing when Imams so piously use the word "prophets" at gatherings such as these, and I wonder if it isn't their way of attempting to belittle the One True God, Jesus Christ.

    In so far as Bishop Blake is concerned, and what and how he said it, all I can say is, is anyone really surprised? In this culture of political correctness, and the enormous push for western nations to become secular (all the meanwhile fighting a more aggressive Islamic world...which is a separate blog topic - hint, hint Pastor Burnett), there is no mainstream polictial platform (Democrat, Republican, etc.)that would ever conceive to allowing an absolute worldview, namely the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all creation.

    I too try to fight the culture war, but alas, I cannot and will not fight, within the constraints of what we all know as typical political process. The reality is folks, there is no political party that allows for a true belief in Jesus Christ. So, we either stay out of the mainstream, or if invited in, we proclaim our Lord and His commandments boldly, and allow the chips to fall where they may. The Bishop, within these constraints, perhaps did the best job he knew how, in articulating his faith without invoking the Name that is above all Names. And guess what, it doesn't work. It just doesn't work. And Jesus knew it wouldn't. We are not of this world.


    God Bless you all!!! Jim, Edmonton

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  13. Terry,
    Thanks for the link my brother, unfortunately, I've got to make it to the library because I'm having trouble with my sound card. But hopefully others were able to check that out.

    Jim,
    You're right on point as usual and I appreciate your interjection. You are a Godsend.


    To All Them Who Have Read This Far,

    This post, for some reason, generated a particularly high amount of interest from the Presiding Bishop Blake's office.

    Monday, 8/25/08 I entertained about an hour's worth of what I considered to be pleasant but inquisitive conversation from certain individuals at West Angles COGIC concerning certain aspects of this blog and information contained within this particular post.

    To openly address certain issues, there is nothing in the content of any of my posts that is not common knowledge or readily made avaiable at various internet or printed sources.

    Much of the information on this blog may not be in the form or format or in the light in which others provide information, however all assertions that I make are well founded and should be diligently researched.

    Comments by all commentors anonomyous or otherwise are just that and are welcome without vulgarity. Anyone wishing to establish validity for any claim is welcome to do so as long as it is in a non-vulgar manner.

    I am a COGIC member but I am FIRST a Christ Advocate. There is NOTHING and NOONE that deserves as great of reverence in my life as JESUS CHRIST, the one who hung on the Cross and died for my sins and not only mine but the sins of the whole world.

    It is unreasonable to expect that public actions and comments will not be discussed in the public domain. Even private actiosn sometimes make it to public attention. As is my experience, a pure, true and holy life will stand the criticism of all enemies.

    I am glad that I am welcome in the COGIC but be it known that God has called me to "cry loud and spare not". and my allegience is to HIM first and the delivery of HIS truth to all men.

    Please continue to comment, and righteousness is welcome here at The Dunamis Word.

    Thank you and May God Forever Bless HIS Church.

    Supt. H. Burnett

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  14. Pastor Burnett,

    Thank you for this blog, and thank you for standing on His Word. As someone who strives to become more like Jesus Christ, your teaching and commitment to the Truth, works as a role model for me.

    Keep reaching out to His flock my brother.

    Jim, Edmonton

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  15. Supt Burnett, I am quite surprised that individuals inside the PB's office would take and interest in this blog when the story made headlines across the country. That is strange indeed.

    Save one comment, neither your post nor other comments were out of the ordinary. I mean there arent even that many comments. Why would that warrant a call from the Presiding Bishop's office?

    Something else is afoot and it doesnt sound like their motivations are pure.

    Thanks for providing honest balanced observations on the actions of church leaders. Let the wise take heed and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

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  16. Pastor Burnett,
    I will be praying for you and the ministry that God has placed in you. It may appear that "righteous persecution" may come upon you from the very "denomination" that you are a part of. I can hear David in Psalm 41, it wasn't his enemies but his familiar "friends" that he broke bread with that lifted up heel against him.

    Stand strong Pastor Burnett and continue to let the glorious light of the Gospel of Christ shine in you and through you.

    And for the discussion of this thread, religion and politics have no place on the same platform.
    I will not vote for Obama nor McCain...but I will continue to pray that the "Lord's will" be done and pray for "whomever" gets elected into office.
    Bottom line, it's a moral issue for me and I cannot and will not vote for any one that condones of abortion and the homosexual agenda.
    That's my decision and my right and I will excercise it. I respect the rights of others just as others are to respect my right.

    Stay blessed man of God!

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  17. Than you Godlysoldier and Jim and of course GCMWatch,

    We are marching on.

    I like what the Pastor did who closed out the DNC. He stopped at the end of the prayer and asked that each one close the prayer in their own way....he kindly said "In the Name Of Jesus."

    I had been watching and every prayer was prayed to God, Creator, etc some generic way. That was the only prayer where Jesus was pronounced before the people...I mean HIS name is so powerful, people can's even stand to say it...That was too funny.

    GOd help us...and I agree Godlysoldier, Politics and religion just don't mix, but especially politics and Jesus...Just don't mix.(LOL)

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  18. I’m just curious to know how many “fewer” abortions does the Bishop (“…follow through on his promise…to REDUCE the number of abortions”) think would be acceptable to God. How low would we need to go to appease Him? How about if we reduce the number by 10 percent over the next couple of years? Or, what if we did 25 percent fewer abortions during Obama’s administration? Do you think God would smile at that? This reminds me of the approach many of our leaders take when other leaders have been caught in sin: “At least they didn’t do it with a man”, or “They only did it once”, or, "to my knowledge, they only have one child out of wedlock". People of God, THINK!! We are caught up in the same “slow boil” we love to preach about (when we’re condemning others, that is).

    Our leaders have deceived themselves in to believing that they have discharged their duties and appeased God simply by speaking out against the sins; and we, the people in the pews, have deceived ourselves by believing that we have discharged our duties by bellowing out a hearty “AMEN!” and "Tell it!" to what the preacher said. So, now we can all walk leisurely out of our churches, and with excitement and ethnic pride, vote for what we just condemned in sermon and response! Have we lost our minds?!! It is as if we have allowed ethnic pride and the possibility of finally getting some respect, and possibly being able to boast about being invited to the White House (if Obama wins), to trump our responsibility to God’s Kingdom!

    Across this country over the last year or so, I have observed the Saints seemingly more excited about the possibility of electing a black man to the Presidency than about our great call to holiness and the gospel message – even to the point of speaking disgracefully about others, whether you like them personally or not, whose views are not as radical. We have stopped reading, thinking and praying, and have given ourselves over to cheering and waving the same banners the world waves. We proudly say, "We’re finally coming together as a “people”! Can’t we see the road this country is being led down? And the Church is trying to walk right in sync with the world – thinking that we’ll get back on the straight and narrow after our man gets elected. Then, we’ll be the first to come up with a whole new set of snappy sermons condemning what we ourselves condoned with our voices and our votes. May God help us all!

    Pastor Burnett, please rebuke me if I’m wrong.

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  19. Anonymous October 24, 2008 5:58 PM,

    Ya gets NO rebuke from me...Please tell it LIKE it is. That was powerful and on point. Thank you for sharing. May the Lord bless you...4-real!

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