Foreign missions is a big part of the evangelical life. In one of my childhood religions (I am from a mixed religion family) the Nazarenes had an annual drive for offerings for world missions called the Alabaster Offering or Alabaster box. I grew up never thinking about the arrogance of one set of people going out into the world to tell people how bad they are and not seeming to realize they, the missionaries, have scales on their eyes blinded by doctrines.
I read and shared one of those things of deep thought that goes around Facebook and it reminded me of lessons of life I learned by seeing other cultures. There are all kinds of Snopes trues and falses but the sentiment holds true: a man named Michael Luscombe restarted the post in 2014:
“…In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative: Dear Dr. Laura: Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them. 1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians? 2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? 3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence. 4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them? 5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? 6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination? 7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here? 8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? 9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? 10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging. Your adoring fan. James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian)…”
I shared this among a couple of close family and friends and also on Facebook, I wrote:
I don’t talk religion or spiritually much. But after 6 decades of life I maybe should offer a couple words. Every year, every decade, every county and every continent. I found myself a church and joined it. The biggest changes new places gave me was sight of bigoted nasty hypocritical so-called believers. I was in northern Egypt and met an American missionary who was trying to “save” a Christian community who had been worshiping a risen Christ for the last 1,500 years of the church existing. And this church community had been following their beliefs in the face of the changing country having other religions as the national government.
After the last few years – I have no patience with the bullies for Christ.
During the Trump presidency we saw where, for whatever reason, he had troops pulled from areas of northern Iraq through to Syria. For ages of the terrorist wars the Americans and allies have depended on different groups of locals to risk lives for us. Like with Kurds, who were sent into the front lines for these almost two decades to protect and defend American lives while we get what we and the allies want. One of the first groups bombed and left for dead by the void left by Americans was Christians. We killed them as if we had put guns to their heads on 5th avenue and it is us to blame for the burning of their church.
Voice of America’s Lisa Schlein wrote about this conflict. I was stuck by this and shared it. I try to not share news from companies that my family and friends work for. I write my own news. But I was touched and shared this.
“…VOA’s Kurdish Service provided images of an injured Christian family in the Kurdish city of Qamishli in Syria’s northeast. The city came under Turkish military attack Wednesday, October 9.
Turkey Wednesday began a military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish fighters, days after the United States announced it was withdrawing troops from the area. The U.N. refugee agency earlier warned that a proposed safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border would not protect civilians.
The U.N. agency says refugees within a particular geographical area are in need of international protection. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards tells VOA such areas offer no protection for civilians.
Edwards notes humanitarians are not able to keep civilians safe in a designated protected area in the midst of a conflict.
Edwards says the forces driving this conflict are political and have to be resolved at the political level. Without a solution or guarantees of safety, he warns civilians will be at risk from military action….”
I remember this missionary, who was staying at the same hotel we were at in Sharm El Sheikh. He and his wife were there for R n R and they were chatting about their work and how the locals were resisting and they had not made much headway. The locals were almost hostile and would not listen. The missionaries deemed those locals they were working with, failed in their belief, that their witness for Christ was dead.
I did not say much, not as much as I should have, but I did point out the community had had a Christian church for 1,500 years and that the parishioners might not be handing out tracts on the village roads to bring in new sheep, but that they have maintained a Christian community in the Middle East in now an Islamic country and that I thought the missionaries were really mean to be telling these people about their failed faith. Through the years in the holy lands Christians, like all religions, have had persecutions. But wave after wave of changes saw these old churches to maintain. They are bombed and they go back and build and go to church. They are burned out and they rebuild. What faith, what a glorious witness.
I appreciate that the religion’s Alabaster Offering goes for building and I hope that they build love. I will pray that my Alabaster Offering did not do any harm, and if it did, I pray that the harm could be relieved.
I appreciate all the great thinkers of what is right and wrong. I have my own belief of right. I pray for right. I pray to learn more everyday.
Facebook story of VOA – I am working to restore the link
The Alabaster Offering Box of my childhood
hope a better link to the page for proper credit
The Dr Laura hits from Facebook: