DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

November 1, 2006

                                                            

                                      

How DO They Know These Things?

 

I leaned across the dinner table and introduced myself to this gentleman who is not a church member at Dublin CC.  I told him that I was the preacher who was officiating the wedding the next day. He looked at me and said, “When God returns, he is going to slaughter all those people.”

 

“Say what?” I responded.

 

“God is going to slaughter all those people.” He repeated.

 

“Do you mean the wedding party!?” I asked with a certain amount of incredulity.

 

This was not the sort of small-talk that I expected from this wedding rehearsal dinner crowd. I have done hundreds of weddings in 30 years and have never had a dinner guest lead off a conversation with the phrase, “God is going to slaughter all those people.”  I am not making this up…and as you can see, my highly-trained theological mind was able to make the laser-speed, incisive response of, “Say what?”

 

I finally figured out that the dinner guest was not calling upon God to slaughter the wedding party but he was confident that God, when the end of time came, would slaughter the unbelievers. I was not certain what sort of aura I had that made him want to pursue that line of discussion. I did ask him why God would want to slaughter anyone and his response was, “God wants capital punishment too.”

 

That really did not answer my original question but I jumped right in and asked him about Jesus and what Jesus would want. He responded that he was more taken by the Old Testament.

 

Obviously.

 

But, to prove that there is a God…the waiter came over with wine and rolls and salad and we ended a conversation that had been going down hill from the very beginning.

 

I used to think that the toughest job in America would be Jim Tressel’s. How would you like to be surrounded by 100,000 people looking directly at you each Saturday…and every man, woman and child is certain that they know best what to do about the Buckeyes’ next set of plays?  And then if you consider the millions of rabid Buckeye fans across the state, you have to give Tressel credit for even showing his face in public every day. It’s a tough job.

 

 

 

 

Another sports job that I do not envy is Joe Torre’s as coach of the New York Yankees. Can you imagine competing with the ghosts of Mickey Mantle, Casey Stengel, Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth? And if that isn’t enough, Joe’s paycheck is signed by George Steinbrenner who has been known to micro manage a thing or two and Joe has to deal with the daily beating of the NY press.

 

Lately I have found myself speaking out forcefully as I try to defend God. I realize that God can probably defend him/her self, but more and more, people seem to be certain that they know just what God wants and what God will do.

 

I know that people were slaughtered in the Old Testament and that such military victories were attributed to God.

 

I told my dinner partner that I was not a big believer in “end-times” religion. He was referring to the “Rapture” when, supposedly Jesus will return and the believers will be separated from the non-believers and those pathetic non-believers will be slaughtered by God.  Have a nice day.

 

I just don’t believe that God is going to slaughter the non-believers and I had to say so. I don’t know if God is for capital punishment.  I want to know how my dinner partner knows this for sure.

 

Recently there was a good Time Magazine article which says many ministers today claim that God wants us to be rich.  Now here is some theology that I can get on board with.  I much more like the theology of a God who wants us to be rich, rather than a God who wants to slaughter people.  Yet, I still want to know…”How do these people know that God wants these things?”

 

My point? I find myself defending God these days. I don’t know what God wants. I try to discern what Jesus wants or would do, but the truth is, I just don’t know.  But there are so many Christians who do know…and they know exactly. Why do I feel that I must defend God to such people?

 

Joe Torre & Jim Tressel have it much easier, they only have to deal with the press; I have to deal with people who love and root for a vengeful God.

 

Peace,                       

Rev. Robert Tussing