Tag Archive for: christianity

President Obama met with Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu, but you’d hardly know it. There was no invitation to the press. Absolutely no photo ops. You won’t see photos of the two men standing, smiling, shaking hands in tomorrow’s newspaper. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton probably had a more substantial meeting, but even that didn’t get much attention.

You won’t hear much about Netanyahu’s concession to endorse a two-state solution, or his restricting West Bank settlement growth for ten months. But you will hear that while Vice President Biden was visiting Israel recently a new housing project was announced in the media in Israel. Oh, but not to worry, Mr. Biden punished Mr. Netanyahu by arriving ninety minutes late for a scheduled dinner.

The obvious cold shoulder shown to Israel’s prime minister may have a deeper connotation. Remember, this is the same American president who met with King Abdullah of Jordan last year, and rolled out the red carpet. The press got many photo ops. King Abdullah was here to ask the president to push Israel to accept the two-statement solution, and to push the Arab Initiative of 2002 which demands that Israel go back to the borders of pre-1967.
Remember, too, that this is the president who wrote in his book Audacity, “I will stand with them [the Muslims] should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” In that same paragraph he states that Judeo-Christian heritage will recede as an all-religions country emerges.

What did we expect would happen when he became President? Did we expect him to continue America’s long tradition of cooperation with Israel. Did we really think that he would continue to recognize the danger Israel faces by the leaders of the extreme Arab nations? Do most Americans honestly not know that Ahmadinejab prays for a world without Israel and the United States in it? Perhaps Americans should just Google “World Without Zionism” and read some quotes.

The problem we “Judeo-Christians” -we vanishing people of a previous heritage in America- face is that we have very clear reasons why we think we should stand with Israel, and they have nothing to do with politics. No, we vanishing people happen to believe in the Bible, and the Bible shows that God has chosen to use Israel as a “clock” for the timing of the end, and as a “litmus test,” if you please, to determine who is favored by God and who is not favored.

In Numbers 24 Balaam was hired by Balak to pronounce a curse against Israel, and he went out to do so. But he could not, for he saw “that it pleased to Lord to bless Israel.” And in his discovery comes the phrase directed at Israel as a people, “Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you” (24:9). Now, we Christians know that is not a commandment for us, but we cannot ignore the content.

Israel played a huge role in giving us our favorite Jew, Jesus Christ. And most of us believe that Israel still has a place in prophecy. Nations are going to come against her in the end, and God is going to cause her to prevail. We can’t talk about that in politics. It sounds foolish and naive.
It’s just the mutterings of a vanishing people, the ever-fading Judeo-Christian.

NBC is already coming out with a special show called “The Secret Life of Tiger Woods.”  Two or three of the women with whom Tiger was intimate are already on “news” shows giving interviews.  And they sound so innocent.  Not evil and nasty like him.  Not secretive or seductive.  Just sweet women minding their own business until Tiger swooped down and fooled them into having a relationship.  Do I sound cynical?

Our obsession with gossip is troubling.  We almost seem to think we have a “right” to know the sordid details of anyone’s private affairs.   “They’re in the public eye,” one commentator justified, “and that gives the public the right to know.”  We don’t think or care about the other lives affected by our pursuit of the latest, dirtiest tidbit.  Standing in line at a grocery store scanning the covers of the magazines (“We’re the First to Break the Story of…”) reminds me that gossip is a business.  A high-dollar business.

The biblical command to forgive is complicated by the daily deluge of dirt.  The admonition to pray for those who have fallen, or to “go to your brother” if you see him at fault don’t even enter our thinking when it comes to “public” figures.

Perhaps a fallen public figure gives us a sense of betterment.   Perhaps our own “private sins” are perceived as not quite as bad as theirs.  So we feel better about ourselves.  Because we’re “not as bad.”   But if the same scrutiny placed on the private lives of the rich and famous was placed on us, who could stand?  If you had all your phone records revealed, and all your internet site visits revealed, and all your angry comments made public, and all your private conversations displayed, how would you come across to strangers?  Would they disdain you?  Would they understand that none of that stuff was “the real you”?

Why does our opinion about another person’s failings matter?  Who cares what we, or any celebrity, “thinks” about another’s fall?  An interviewer asked a celebrity, “What do you think Tiger was thinking?”   I just sat shaking my head.  Who knows? Who cares?

I pray for Tiger’s wife and children.  His family suffers, probably for a lifetime.  They will never be allowed to live a “normal” life.  I pray for the women he used, and who used him.  They are not innocent either.  But they have families.  Whether they have pride in their seduction, or shame, is not the point.  They are affected, and they affect all of us in some way.  We become jaded.  We expect less and less of those held up in esteem.  We trust no one.

I pray for Tiger himself.  He may have been surprised to discover what money and fame could buy.  He may have lacked maturity to understand the consequences of his actions. He may have lacked a moral compass. I don’t know.  I just know he still needs to find forgiveness.  He still needs to find direction for the rest of his life.  He is human, after all.  Whatever you would need if your sins found you out, he needs, too.

It may surprise a handful of Christians that the Bible warns, “he that utters a slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18).  “Slander” is the Hebrew dibbah translated “evil report, defamation, whispering.”   I can’t be responsible for the programming of television shows.  But I can choose what I watch.   I choose not to watch the “evil report, defamation, whispering” of those who feed on gossip.  They are fools.