Beyond The Pale

The Horse and the Rider

I don’t normally copy and paste into my blog, seeing as it’s MY blog. But I think that today, some simple passages from scripture might give some perspective to those of you who think that it’s somehow ungodly for Christians to be excited about USSF having finally taken out Osama Bin Laden, who we’ve been trying to get our hands on for last ten years.

Exodus 15: 1-10 – Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.

The Lord is a man of War? Huh?

Psalm 68: 1-3 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

Let them exceedingly rejoice? What?

But then again, there are also these passages:

Proverbs 24:17-20

Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble,
or else the LORD will see it and be displeased,
and turn away his anger from them.

Do not fret because of evildoers.
Do not envy the wicked;
for the evil have no future;
the lamp of the wicked will go out.

So we shouldn’t rejoice because we want to make sure that we don’t do anything to cause God to change his mind and refrain from judgment. But wait, if the point is that any death is worth mourning, then don’t we want to rejoice so that God won’t let as many bad guys die?

Ok, what would Jesus say?

Matthew 5:43-48 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

So love your enemy.

Don’t forget that turn the other cheek thing. But it looks to me like both towers came down. We don’t really have another cheek to turn there do we?

How about this one?

Matthew 18:6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

I guess Osama was ok to teach his radical form of militant Islam that preached violence and subjugation because the people he was teaching it to didn’t already believe in Christ so he couldn’t make them stumble?

Obviously, I’m all over the place here. And that’s on purpose. I’m not one of those people claiming that we need to go dance in the street and burn OBL in effigy. I think that’s stupid. But those of you who claim that people are sinful or in someway shaming Christ to celebrate the death of one of the most notorious terrorist leaders in the world, a man who has been followed and respected by the same men who have killed my friends and put my family in danger, and your family too, well, you should be ashamed of yourselves for judging them because they might be wrong about what God thinks on this, but you might be too, and sometimes it’s better to just shut up and watch what happens.

And maybe I should too.

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May 3, 2011 - Posted by | Army, Christianity, Church

9 Comments »

  1. I think it is fine to be all over the place…I worry more about those who think that there is one simple answer to man’s fallen nature.

    Comment by D.Jay | May 3, 2011 | Reply

  2. I appreciate a balanced presentation of scripture, something not often seen on such polarizing subjects. I guess, personally, I would have liked to see him captured and brought to trial before the world. I know, I know…no nation would take him, the USSF’s orders were to kill on sight, and I respect that. I’m glad he’s gone, and I wish it was all over. There are a couple of issues here, though. Please, as I am all over the place on this topic, too, do not take my statements to be in any way argumentative; they are intended to be discoursive.

    Couldn’t Bin Laden’s followers quote scripture,too? Could they not present spiritual and clerical foundation for their actions?

    In a hermanutical sense, couldn’t the scripture from Exodus be taken out of context? (Before you judge that statement too harshly, understand that I don’t place a great amount of value on hermanutics…I’m just being rhetorical.)

    I realize, too, that this was a spiritual war for many Americans, and especially for the troops in the field. But to our government, wasn’t it primarily about politics and retribution? Are we, then, to be God’s arm of vengence? Or do we wait for God to open the sea and swallow our enemies on His own and our behalf, rather than the other way around?

    Ummm… that’s it. Again, I appreciate your thoughts on this issue. It’s a difficult one on which to be measured and temperate.

    Comment by Poor Scribbler | May 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Mike,

      Thanks for stopping by. We’re starting to get well on our way to a little community of thinkers pollinating each others’ ideas. I’m happy. By the way, do you care if I put a shortcut to your site on my front page?

      I like your following statement a lot:

      In a hermanutical sense, couldn’t the scripture from Exodus be taken out of context? (Before you judge that statement too harshly, understand that I don’t place a great amount of value on hermanutics…I’m just being rhetorical.)

      Here’s why I like it: My whole point in this blog isn’t really to draw judgement one way or another, but rather to point out that Christians sitting in judgement on other Christians and castigating them for taking a stance that would until recently have been considered to be THE orthodox way of viewing things (think of Bonhoffer and Hitler) isn’t productive at all. I got a little pissed at our mutual friend Wordorgy for making some statements that I didn’t think were nearly as well considered as he usually is, and I was hoping to goad him into some discourse on the topic (still am actually). I’m certainly not going to judge your statement. I think that all the texts that I presented in the blog were taken out of context, and I was trying to make that overtly clear by suggesting that we should rejoice over the death of fallen enemies so that God would have mercy on them as a reaction to our sinful nature. 100% tongue in cheek.

      Honestly, I don’t think that Christians are rejoicing over the death of Osama Bin Ladin. Or rather, I don’t think that the Christians who are doing so are doing it while wearing their Christian hats. Rather they are doing it while wearing their American hats. Unfortunately, American Christians have a long history of confusing our Americana with our Christianity.

      My suggestion is that we behave as we think that God would want us to behave, both in this situation and in others, and we refrain from judging others when their opinion of what God wants from them differs from ours. After all, I also get rather upset when I get judged for having a Guinness over dinner by someone who’s confused his own social mores with God’s explicit scriptural commands.

      And every time I come back to this subject, I wonder if I’m doing exactly what I’m railing about by in some way holding judgement in my heart for the judgmental. That’s just as bad isn’t it?

      Comment by DavidJGross | May 4, 2011 | Reply

      • I just judge you for drinking Guinness because it is revolting.

        Comment by D.Jay | May 6, 2011

      • I believe the only way to respond to this comment is to stick out my tongue at the computer screen, so consider said tongue stuck.

        Comment by DavidJGross | May 12, 2011

  3. By all means, please link to my site. I would appreciate it.

    Comment by Poor Scribbler | May 4, 2011 | Reply

  4. *looking for the like button*

    Comment by Loriendil | May 16, 2011 | Reply

    • I didn’t know there was one on this rig…but it turns out that not only is there, but you found it! Thanks!

      Comment by DavidJGross | May 17, 2011 | Reply

      • Only on a different post.

        That’s what happens when you work from the dashboard instead of from the entry itself.

        Comment by DavidJGross | May 17, 2011


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