Email #1 is from my Pastor Guy:
Stipulated: Koran burning is moronic and, in my humble opinion, unChristian.
My question is: why is the act of a preacher with a 50 member congregation in Florida getting so much play? If you poke about a bit, I’m betting you can find a storefront church with a Facebook page (it’s free and has a simple user interface, you know; Twitter is harder to use) of that size and sort doing something mildly appalling almost every weekend. All over the south, and even in Youngstown, Ohio some Sundays.
They burn Barbies one weekend, pour out thirty year old whiskey the next (sniff), and cast demons out of mp3 players on another — burning Beatles albums is much harder than it used to be, and pushing a delete button on an iPod in the pulpit just doesn’t have the same visceral impact.
So as with every time Fred Phelps is called a “pastor,” I’m more than a little peeved that this clown is getting as much attention as he is. When he burns a stack of Danielle Steele novels next weekend, will we all be there? But since he figured out the locker combination of the media’s assumptions about evangelical Christians, he can steal their lunch now. If he burns a Book of Mormon to score points off the infidel Glenn Beck next week, are we going to see that across media platforms, too?
Email #2 is from a pastor on the front lines:
As a Christian minister with a very large Christian ministry presence in Pakistan – A ministry with
5 city churches, a ministerial fellowship of over 1,800 pastors and church leaders located throughout every province of Pakistan and a wide following within the nation through Christian pastor and leadership seminars which I conduct regularly; let me unequivocally state –
The burning of Qurans by Pastor Terry Jones and Dove World Outreach, is not only one of most asinine and non-productive, un-Christian-like stunts by any church that claims to be a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ, but his wrong-headed beliefs are dangerous to all of us on the front lines of Christian outreach to the Muslim World.
We attempt to build trust within the Muslim community and attempt to foster a ‘debate’ of ideas and beliefs; and you may find this surprising, we are successful with such a strategy as Muslims come and attend our open meetings, finding solace in the ‘Good News’ message.
But now, as Pastor Jones and his congregation of Dove World Outreach Church sing “Hallelujah!” while burning Qurans, my staff of 30 Christian Pakistani workers spread across the nation, as well as every Christian in Pakistan are put at greater risk and danger through the proposed actions of Pastor Jones and his church. Instead of building bridges to reach Muslims with the Gospel message, we will now have to travel with armed security and be burdened by heightened threats because of his “carnal actions”.
I will not be grateful to Pastor Jones and his theologically deranged church, as I make a trip to the city of Quetta on the Afghanistan border in October to hold a regional pastor seminar; instead I will be watching my back by the heightened risk posed by this so-called “Defender of the Faith”!
Dr. Will Pantin
Great Joy in the City Ministries