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No More ‘C’ At The ‘Y’

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The New York Times carried a story this morning that the YMCA is changing its name formally to just the Y. While the article cites several good reasons for doing so, I can’t help feeling a little sadness at seeing yet another venerable institution purge itself of references to its Christian beginnings. Founded in 1844 by George Williams as “a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets,” the YMCA came to the United States in 1851 and now serves thousands of men and women every year. But along the way it has lost its spiritual purpose and become a health and fitness club.

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“Christian” Militia

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The New York Times carried an article today about the arrest of nine members of a so-called Christian militia in Clayton, Michigan. They are charged with plotting murder and sedition. The Times uncritically labels them “Christian” apparently because that was how they described themselves. Calling themselves the Hutaree, they “saw the local police as ‘foot soldiers’ for the federal government, which the group viewed as its enemy, along with other participants in what the group’s members deemed to be a ‘New World Order’ working on behalf of the Antichrist.”

To the secular world, religion or every kind is without meaningful content, so it should come as no surprise that a group espousing murder and hatred should be able to call itself Christian. To those who follow Jesus Christ, however, it is an offense. Jesus laid down his own life and taught his followers to lay down theirs. Search the New Testament for any passage that justifies murder, sedition, or even forming a citizen militia, and you will search in vain. Paul tells the Christians in Ephesus to arm themselves for battle but makes it clear that the struggle is against spiritual, not physical, enemies. Likewise, he tells believers in Corinth that the gospel has powerful arguments capable of demolishing strongholds, but it is minds and hearts he wants to capture, not people. Even the apocalyptic passages depict a ruler making war on the saints, not saints making war on anyone.

Jesus taught his followers to love their enemies, do good to them, and pray for them. Those who claim to follow him must at least try to do what he said. But anyone who claims to follow him and continues to do evil is a liar. Such a person does not deserve to be called a Christian. If the charges against this militia in Michigan are true, then they are not Christian; they are domestic terrorists masquerading as Christians.

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America’s Poor Are Rich

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Christina Johnson, my nephew’s wife, has a blog where she normally shares pictures and stories about her new baby. But yesterday she posted a full blown rant. Having spent a year in Davao, Philippines, she has had some first hand experience seeing real third-world poverty, and her assessment of American malaise rings true. If you haven’t read it, do so.

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