Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Key is Which Radicals Win?

Debbie Pelley has a friendly intellectual joust with the esteemed Paul Greenberg for his "looney extremists" column. Click "comments" below for article.


Blogger Debbie Pelley said...

"Greenberg - article on extremist & hot-cold"

Your article today about extremists, reminds me of an illustration a well known youth director used with church kids. The youth leader was addressing the youth on the bus before departing for a spiritual retreat. He went down the row one by one asking them where they would fit on a continuum of very committed, or not committed at all. One by one they all answered they were more or less in the middle, some just a tad bit to the left and some just a tad bit to the right. He then opened the Bible land read this passage. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot (read extreme): I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Rev 3:15-16

He got these kids' attention. Now, can you imagine a loving Savior, Priest of the Christian world, uttering such bigoted. inciteful extreme words. Sounds almost as nutty as the Reverend Roberson, doesn't it?

(This youth leader, Bill Gothard, could expect ,in several major cities of 30 to 40 thousand people to attend a week long seminar in the 1970's & 80's.) He now has seminars around the world, including Russia.

I used to ponder that scripture above and try to figure out what it all meant. Surely God did not want people to be extremely evil, extremely good, yes, but not extremely evil. Then it dawned on me one day that this world is run and changed by a very small percentage of people, the so called radicals. Most people don't even get in the battle and don't even know what the battle is all about - which is good and evil and eternity. Those who want to stay in the center and be well respected by man (Jesus had a lot to say about the Pharisees and their rewards) are not even in the battle.

The philosophy of the radical becomes the philosophy of the well respected (read lukewarm) in the next generation. If you are over 50, you have seen that happen in our society more than once.. What was radical 10 to 20 years ago is accepted today. So the future generation depends on which radicals win - the good or the evil ones. If you are not hot or cold (radicals), you are not even in the battle and probably don't really understand the depths of good and evil. God has more respect for those who at least know what the battle is about and enter into that battle than he does for those who are lukewarm and just enjoying this world and the favor of man.

Now I am sure you will accept this just about like Emily Dickinson's poem describes below and will think I'm "dangerous and should be handled with a chain.

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye
Much sense the starkest madness
If it is not the majority
Assent, and you are sane
Demur, your're straightway dangerous
And handled with a chain.

Somehow those lines remind me of the lines from the scripture above. I guess that is because I am one of those looney extremists.

9:16 PM, October 26, 2005  
Blogger AR1836 said...

Christian 'extremists'(Debbie's view?) run the risk of becoming as the pharisees the Christ felt compelled to combat, since they practically ran the region of his birth as long as they paid fealty to their Roman overlords. Folks like Pat Robertson once mainstreamed and branded as acceptable in political matters are in danger of becoming the problem, not solving problems. Robertson has a number of ethical problems because he is ,first, a multi-millionaire and if that doesn't brand him as establishment, I don't know how else to characterize him, and second, he has done business with some ethically dubious human beings, including his fellow Baptist from Liberia Charles Taylor, wanted war criminal. Robertson's father was a Senator, thus, he is most certainly part of the 'establishment'.

The problem is people are manipulated thru their faith to do the bidding of gigantic corporations and interests who don't care one wit what happens to their home country as long as they turn a filthy profit. Exxon-Mobil have reaped filthy profits from the misery of common folks in America. As a youth, growing up in a church community, I never heard a pastor instruct the congregation for whom to vote. I always heard an adjuration to exercise one's freedom at the polls, but never which candidate to choose.

Religious radicalism isn't remotely close to being extremely good. I don't believe Eric Rudolph is good in the least(other than his being as a creation of God). Nor was David Koresh. Nor Jim Jones. Please don't rationalize the behaviors of the wrong kind of radicalism. Maybe you need to define 'radicalism' more clearly.

7:56 PM, October 28, 2005  
Anonymous mark m said...

Maybe Paul Greenburg needs to define what he means by "radicalism" more clearly. It was his editorial about extremists that prompted Debbie to respond.

To some folks, anyone who's faith infuences there judgement on public matters is an "extremist". As for me, I can't imagine having a geniune faith that DOESN'T influence my judgement on matters public and private.

5:46 PM, October 29, 2005  
Anonymous Harvey Edwards said...

God guides me each day, If it aint his will then it is wrong.
Signed: happy extremist right wing Christian Conservative who will be a State Representative next year with Gods Blessing. Also a Constitutionalist

10:53 PM, November 01, 2005  
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9:43 PM, February 21, 2007  

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