|The Death of James Foley|
The death of James Foley in Iraq/Syria reminds us that immorality is perhaps not the "Gay Aggenda", but of religion itself, the man centered effort to please the gods that they worship. The killing of James Foley was brutal and evil. Foley a religious liberal Roman Catholic met a nasty reality in the deserts of Syria that religion can be very evil. In reality Faith can either be for good or evil.
The liberal Protestant Christian mantra that all religions are the same and that all you need is love is the biggest casualty as religious people of faith slaughters Christians in prime time TV brutality executing people. Even Obama is forced to go back into Iraq, into an unjust war which created the mess in the first place.
In the border regions of Syria and Iraq, the pictures of Christian children being killed mercilessly in a large scale targeted fashion by the religious zealots even bought the Pope into agreeing to military action. In such a lawlessness environment governed by different sectarian groups, it is surprising that Christians did not armed themselves for self defence. The deaths may bring a shift into more convervative minded Christianity.
Britain and Europe have become less Christian and more secular ending up in the killer having a London accent! Apparently there are thousands of radical religious activist from Europe in this brutal religious group. There is needed a Christian revival of God's Grace, Mercy, Salvation, and Love in Europe in the very birth place of Protestanism.
The plain outcome of the failure of Liberal Christianity in UK and Europe is the rise of the religious zealots of faith who used the liberty and the space given in the liberal environment to recruit like minded zealots who is blinded by religion with no conscience of causing harm.
The online blog Patheos claims that America is becoming more secular with the headline "The Coming Secular Era" with its typical rant blaming the shrinking Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists, and claiming "no growth" for the mega churches. This they claimed has to do with driving out the liberals and clinging to old world views.
They couldn't count as the RC is definately not shrinking and the Charismatic Evangelicals are growing. They are desperately generalising because the attendance of Protestant Mainline liberal churches has fallen vertically. They wanted to believe Bishop John Spong's assertions that Christianity must change to be more liberal or die. But they too have no solution.
Yet, we are reminded of John Shore's incredible assertion of "the inevitability of the rise of Progressive Christianity". Liberal Christianity has won in making the US and the World a better place, with justice and equality for all eg Gay marriages and the rights and dignity of the marginalised for health care and welfare benefits. It just didn't stop the collapse of the mainline liberal churches.
There is a Liberal President who really cares for the stranger in our midst. It's just that this did not translate to the growth of liberal Christianity even the race based liberal theology of Rev Jeremiah Wright. Progressives didn't rise even with a liberal President in the White House because it is not based on numbers and growth but about freedom and causing no harm.
Ironically, the Liberals had embraced all the "Progressive" stance that Patheos had required. Yet the mainline Protestant churches which are Liberal to use the words in the Patheos article "had dwindled to the shadows of their former self from the dominant cultural power in the US". They don't grow because they feel that Salvation is not necesarry. Perhaps the Evangelical churches are "consolidating" from the mainline Protestants.
Yet, Progressive/Liberal Christianity has not fallen. Their Protestant variety may have fallen, but the Roman Catholics are extremely liberal although outwardly may appear conservative in its hierachal structure. Many of the Catholic friends have the same faith beliefs of Progressives.
The killing of James Foley by quite possibly a radicalised religious Londoner of faith may be the end of the Christian liberal political correctness and religious inclusiveness in Europe and US. We can't blame the liberals! It is the Evangelical Christians who had failed to preach the Gospel of God's grace, love, and mercy when they become moral crusaders against gays.
There is definitely no religious reciprocity in the Middle East where Christians are tortured for their faith. This is seldom mentioned in liberal nor conservative churches with the liberals repeating their mantra that religion is about love and the conservative, their regular anti-gay rant. But who are the least of our bethren but those who are persecuted because they are Christians.
The scenes of gross religious violence against Christians in the Middle East is a reminder of how Christianity has fallen. We have become too liberal and too conservative at the same time personified by a self centredness. It's all about ourselves - either about our humanity and love for others, or our moral good works in following God's commandments and becoming moral gate keepers. We have forgotten the world outside our comfort zone. True Christianity is centered in Jesus Christ not our love for others or our morality, but His Love and His righteousness.
The news of the Rev Dennis Balcombe, the missionary and evangelist being arrested in China for preaching the Gospel is a reminder of the spiritual battle for souls against the devil. This is the real Crossover as compared to attempts via pop music by City Harvest Church. There is no first class travel or living in luxury here.
The death of James Foley marks the start of the end of current ways of Protestant Liberal Christianity and Protestant Conservative Christianity. In the liberal RC Jesuit circles, even the Pope has agreed for armed action against the radical religious groups. It may also start a realization that if the Kingdom of God is not agressively expanded, the kingdoms of this world will take over. Taking over the mountains of secular powers through Dominism or influencing culture has not worked. Once we joined to the world, we become the world.
Christianity is not expanded by violence or compulsion nor the demands of religious compliance/good works or having moral gate keepers, but with a humble heart to admit that we are sinners needing God's love, grace and mercy found in Christ's death and resurrection at the Cross of Calvary. It is nothing of us, but all of Christ that He may live in us making us the hands and feet of God to preach the Good News.
In Christianity, Salvation is not found in the desert killing others whom we deemed as sinners so that we can get to heaven by our good works. It is found when we fall from our camel by the blinding light of the glory of God just as Saul became Paul in the desert from Jerusalem to Damascus.
It is not what we do, even how we love others, or how holy we are compared to gays that will save us. It is all about Christ, His Holiness, His righteousness, His grace. We are saved, if we belong to Jesus Christ, by faith in His completed works at Calvary.
The Protestant liberals are falling, the religious hordes of armed bandits are rising. The conservatives are indifferent blaming gays for the end of the world. Yet, there is a rising armed response which may turn the Western liberal/secular environment into more conservative faith stance. The world may have just changed with the public execution of James Foley.
The kingdom of darkness shall not prevail over the Light of God in the Church born out of the risen Christ. For the light of God's glory shall shine brighter in the midst of darkness.