I've been listening to the national conversations about, between and with the fool pastor in Gainesville, Florida who is planning to burn the Qu'ran this coming Saturday. I'm glad that nearly the entire nation is against the burning. As far as I can tell, the pastor's church has about 35 members and that the Gainesville population is against him as well. The video I saw of Pastor Jones at the lectern showed four in the audience, so I guess not all of the 35 are church goers. And everyone from all of the nation's religious leaders to the President and the Pope has told him not to burn the books, yet he marches on, determined to burn the books. He was asked if he thought Jesus would tell him to burn the books. "Yes," he said, "He would tell me to face the Devil," or words to that effect.
"You really believe Jesus would tell you to burn the books?" the questioner asked again. "Yes," he answered, again.
I heard this morning that he would not burn the books if the President, Secretary of Defense of Secretary of State called him and told him not to burn the books. So there you have it. Any of those three can overrule Jesus. My head is reeling.
You have to wonder about the miraculous thing we call a brain. In a guy like Einstein, it can divine the laws of the Universe using nothing more than a blackboard, a few sheets of blank paper, a piece of chalk and a pencil. In a guy like Gandhi, it can move a nation to shed its colonial rulers and stop a Hindu-Muslim war. In a person like Jimmy Carter it can reason with nations to resolve diplomatic stand-offs and bring peace. I admire these three because they did what is humanly possible using methods, reason and tools available to humans yet with a brilliance not found in the every day Joe.
But, at the other extreme, the brain in people like Charismatic Evangelicals can create illusions of grandeur that they, and they alone, know God's will. They claim to know which religion is evil and not. They claim to have direct talks with God and to receive instructions directly from him. People like Pat Robertson (700 Club), Paul and Jan Crouch (Trinity Broadcasting Network), Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Ted Haggard and others who collect millions of dollars from those they scam, all of them Charismatic sects. There are a lot of Charismatic churches now days, and the number is growing and all seem to have a common characteristic of pastors who have visions of grandeur, speaking in tongues, communicating with God, or Jesus, and some, like Jim Jones of Jonestown, Guyana 900 suicides fame, believe they are the second coming. I'll bet that if Pastor Terry Jones would admit it, that deep in his very warped mind, he would admit that he believes himself to be the second Jesus.
The idea that one man can conjure up an idea that holds the world hostage without a single thought that he is grossly overreaching all common sense or without the slightest tinge of self control is mind boggling. Maybe it's time that all Charismatic Evangelicals who believe they are Jesus step forward. We need to identify you before you create a catastrophe. Also, put a sign on your forehead if you're hearing directly from God. We need to know who you are, too.