Good News and Better News … May 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Good News Appomattox 2

On Sunday morning, I had the privilege, honor, joy and excitement to be with the congregation at the Memorial United Methodist Church in Appomattox, Virginia.

One hundred fifty-one years, one month and one day earlier, on April 9th, 1865, just three miles down the road, Robert E. Lee surrendered the 28,000 remaining soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant, thus, for all intents and purposes, ending the Civil War.

I admire Lee for that.

Good News Appomattox 1I don’t agree with all the things that he did or set out to achieve, but I am greatly impressed by the fact that Robert recognized when the cause he was pursuing had taken a sharp left turn–and rather than being an expression of states’ rights, had become the oppression of the black race.

He could have continued to fight, hiding in the mountains and the forests which permeate Dixieland, and probably prolonged the conflict for months or even years.

He brought it to an end.

He surrendered.

He had the wisdom to know there’s a time to attack and a time to surrender.

So many lovely human beings I met on Sunday at Memorial United Methodist. Story after story, human feeling after feeling–each one deeper in its expression.

Pastored by a fellow named Russell, who seems to have discovered the correct balance of humanity and leadership, the folks have come to the same impasse as Robert E. Lee.Good News Appomattox 3

Surrounded by a religious community which continues to believe it can force its convictions on others who do not share in the faith, these people at Memorial are at a crucial crossroads.

For I will tell you, as Christians, it is time for us to surrender before we become as irrational as the extremist Muslims.

And the terms of the surrender are very easy:

“I will no longer use the Bible to attack other people.”

Instead, I will use it to help me become a better person. I will use it for encouragement. I will use it for beautiful language at a wedding or funeral. I will use it to remind me of my need for the goodness of God. But I will never use it again to attack other people.

The war between the state of human beings in this country needs to stop. There is no sign that the Republicans and Democrats will cease fighting.

No, it falls the lot of intelligent, Jesus-loving people to step in and surrender.

  • We need to live.
  • We need to learn.
  • And we need to love.

Good News Appomattox 4We need to live our lives to the fullness that we understand.

We need to learn whatever else comes from the heart of God and the truth of knowledge.

And in the meantime, we need to love without fear of it being insufficient to the need.

That’s the good news.

The better news? If more than living, learning and loving is necessary, we’re all screwed.


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