Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What ticks God off . . .

By Maria Boccia, PhD
Professor of Pastoral Counseling and Psychology
Director of Graduate Programs in Counseling Charlotte campus

February is “Black History Month” and GCTS-Charlotte has decided to celebrate this with a series of special chapels during our Saturday classes. This past Saturday, our own Dr. Rod Cooper, the Kenneth and Jean Hansen Professor of Discipleship and Leadership Development, was the speaker. I would like to share with you some of his thoughts from Saturday. He started with the story of a confrontation on the steps of a church in Jackson, Mississippi in 1965. “. . . at the top of the front steps stood a row of White ushers, arms linked barring the entrance to the church. There were 4 or 5 Black men dressed in suits standing at the bottom of those same steps, facing the doors. As one of the Black men approached the top step, an usher disengaged his arms from the others and smashed the would-be visitor in the face sending him sprawling down the steps to the ground. Inside, you could hear the congregation and the choir singing the hymn, >Love divine, all loves excellingY= Do you know what really ticks God off C its when people who say they belong to him don=t act like HimCespecially those who say they believe in HIS word.”
Dr. Cooper reminded us of the history of Israel. They were God=s chosen people, chosen to represent God to the rest of the world, different from all the cultures around them. Or they at least they were supposed to be. Instead, however, they tended to conform to the surrounding cultures - wanting a king, worshiping other gods, making unholy sacrifices. But AGod will not stand for his name to be trashed and his word to be broken. It is at those times that God sends a prophet. Prophets speak thus saith the LordCProphets get in the face of people who claim to know Him and admonish them to get their behavior in line with their belief system. . . . In the fullness of timeCGod sends prophets.@
AThere was another nation that rose up and proclaimed that it also believed in God and his word. The critical documents written for that nation were based upon the principles and beliefs of ONE bookCthe Bible. In factC180 of the first 200 colleges of this nation were Christian. God takes his word seriouslyCand those who say they believe it and when their behavior doesn=t match the wordChe sends a prophet. For you see if there is one thing that God cannot stand B it=s when people who say they know him don=t act like him and trash his reputation.@
We now have a national holiday celebrating the contribution of Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr King is a national hero, and his reputation has been sanitized - he was a great civil rights leader, a man pursuing social justice, etc. Dr. Cooper told us about how Dr. Martin Luther King saw is calling. After his first arrest and night in jail in 1963, at the age of 26, he questioned whether he was doing the right thing, especially putting his wife and child at risk for this cause. Dr. King prayed, and God spoke to him in Micah 6:8 A And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?@ Dr. Martin Luther King was not a social activist. He was a Prophet of God called to a people who claimed his name but did not live as God had called them to live.

Micah 6:8 describes the work of Dr. King, and tells us what are the distinguishing characteristics of a people who belong to God. This is not a suggestionCthis is a direct command. In fact it is a requirement to be called Amy people.@
To do justice: ADoing justice means to be ethically responsible and to take action. God is not a God who passively sits by and does nothing but he invades history to change the system to right wrongs. He did this when he said to PharaohClet my people goChe came to set the captive free. When we are prophetic about injustice and invade the system to change the systemCwe are acting on God=s behalfCwe are doing what a Good God would doCwe are doing justice.@
To love kindness: ATo love kindness literally means to respond to others with a spirit of generosityCgraceCand loyalty. It is the belief that love overpowers evil and truth overcomes wrong. It is the belief that essentially in the other person=s heart. there is a desire to do the right thing.@
To walk humbly with your God: ADr. King knew that in order to change the system with an attitude of love it would take a strong abiding relationship with God. Dr. King knew that when you attempt change in God=s power and in God=s way you will get God=s results. The word Awalk@ means to accompany. To stay close enough to God to get your orders from Him. Humility says I know where I have come fromCand it is only by God=s grace. Humility says that the battle is the Lord=s Humility is standing stillCand watching the salvation of God.@
Dr. Cooper told the story of a inventor who developed a new car. He brought the blue-prints to potential investors. The investors questioned whether it would work. The inventor invited them outside, where a model of the car waited. They went for a ride and discovered it was exactly what the blueprints said it would be. Then Dr. Cooper challenged all of us: the Bible is God=s blueprint for how we should live. Can others look at our lives and see the same thing in there as they read in God=s Word?

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