Saturday, May 30, 2009

Twitter and Torture

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with someone on Twitter about whether or not President Bush should be prosecuted for his role in Guantanamo. My stance was "no" and my friend's stance was "yes". I have been rethinking my general opinion of it ever since.

The fact that terrorists were tortured with the intent of gaining information from them does not trouble me. I "get it" that people who are willing to absolutely sacrifice themselves - go down with the ship and take as many people (often Americans) with them as possible - are not going to willingly offer up helpful information in an American court. There seems to me to be no other way of getting any information from these people who obviously could give us a little.

However, that said, it does bother me that those who administered torture to the prisoners at Gitmo in many cases seem to have actually enjoyed doing it! Even if a person "deserves" it (in one's opinion), it is NEVER justifiable that any human being could delight in the destruction and torment of another. It is inhuman - it goes against what it means to be human and share the other person's experience of being human.

I do also believe there is a time and place for the death penalty, and many (if not all) of those who were detained at Guantanamo deserve it (in my opinion). And for the sentencing, yes, I believe they should be tried in an American court of law with due process.

Finally, my opinion has not changed regarding President Bush: I do not believe he should be prosecuted for his role in the proceedings at Guantanamo. Like I said at the beginning - there just seems to be no other way to get needed and potentially (definitely) available information from people who are willing to die not to give it. It is the meanness and general vindictiveness of the guards and administrators of the torture that I think needs to be examined/prosecuted.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Living by the Word of God

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

The "Word of God" is living, powerful, eternal and invisible. God saw fit to provide us with a readable version of His Word in the Bible, but the Word of God is not contained within the binding of any book. All the Bibles in the world could be destroyed, and God's Word would not be affected in the least - it would still stand, still exist and still be true.

We call the Bible "God's Word," and it is. But God's Word is not limited to just what is printed in the Bible. Sometimes God speaks into our current situation in life. Throughout the Bible we can read of individuals who besought God on their own behalf or on the behalf of someone else, to change His mind about something He had decided, or else to otherwise intervene to keep things from happening as they seemed decided to happen. For instance, Abraham intervened for Sodom and Gomorrah, that God would not destroy them for the sake of the righteous individuals who lived there. And God relented to Abraham - He said if He found even 10 righteous people there, He would not destroy the cities (Genesis 18:32).

Moses intervened for Israel when God was angry, that God would not destroy them. God did not destroy them. And in the New Testament, various people came to Jesus to ask Him to intervene for their loved ones - to heal them of their diseases or raise them from the dead. And He did.

God still speaks to our situations today. Hebrews 4:15 says, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." This passage in Hebrews chapter 4 tells us that Jesus became human and can identify with our human situation. Verse 16 encourages us to approach Him when we have needs - it specifically talks about temptations, and says He will help us in our times of need. But James 1:2, 3 also talks about temptations - daily situations in which we have a decision to make: whether to act or react according to God's will or according to our own will. These are "temptations" that come our way every moment of every day, and some of these trials are more difficult than others. When this kind of trial/temptation comes our way, Hebrews 4 tells us to call on the Lord and trust Him to speak His Word into our situation!

We as Christians need to live in relationship with the Lord so that we know what is on His heart and mind - we have to know what His Word is for our situation or we cannot declare or profess it in our lives. I'm not saying "name it and claim it" - I'm saying that we have to know God's Word - written and otherwise - so that we can actively establish His Word in our lives as we live from day to day and from situation to situation.

Let us live as confident citizens of His Kingdom!

"Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (We will declare it on earth to be so as You have spoken it to be in heaven!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just A Brief Thought

I find it interesting how, no matter where you go or with whom you talk, God always seems to speak the same message until you "get it". I was in Ohio for the last 3 weeks, and attended church there several times, plus a couple of Bible studies, and even preached myself a couple of times. Then I got back to Joplin and my pastor preached on the same things Sunday, and today we spent the day at the same little Memorial Day get-together, and talked about the SAME THINGS some more. It's like several different aspects of a single subject come to light over a period of time. God must have a message for this time that He wants His people to know. I've recognized this pattern in the past, too - God will speak something to me while I'm studying or praying, and pretty soon I'll hear other people start preaching on the same thing. I love it how God's Spirit is a unifying force in His Church, leading people to the same truth at the same time, even though they seem to be disconnected by space. I just find it fascinating.