I was leisurely perusing the newspaper when I was glancing at the photos of the Cruz rally. For some unknown reason I removed my glasses in order to read the sign Nancy Pace had prepared for her protest. I see this person is as misguided and uneducated about what Jesus actually says as she seems to be about basic biology and gender, the subject of her protest.

Jesus never said “peace on earth, goodwill to all.” The angels who alerted the shepherds to Jesus’ birth were the ones credited with those words. It makes a difference. Jesus did say, “Do NOT think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace But a sword” (Matthew 10:34). That message is repeated in numerous places enough to get the idea that peace, as people generally think of it, was not Christ’s focal point. He does bring peace, but not as the world thinks of peace (John 14:27). If someone wants to shame Christians into rejecting clear teachings in God’s word, they might start — and be more convincing — if they knew what the Bible actually says and who is saying the things they are claiming.

Instead, they diminish their platform and hurt their own contentions with such a lackadaisical approach to facts and truth. Further, it behooves others to check things out for themselves or they might just be sucked into the same kind of error, agreeing on the basis of a political correctness when they might just be buying that proverbial bridge, which offers about the same support.

Joyce C. Mayer

Knoxville

(50) comments

nancypace

The Dalai Lama, when asked at the turn of the century to characterize the upcoming one hundred years, said he thought it would be "the age of dialogue." How wonderful that we can all speak freely, listen to one another, debate issues (often delightfully humorously, thank you!) on the internet...and learn from each other. I suspect Ms. Mayer, like the rest of us, is trying her best in a confusing, fast-changing world, to understand how best to go forward, considering her beliefs, her values, her experiences, her understandings.... (Me too.)
I've notice how, even in a small church, no two members (or leaders) seem to agree on the simplest biblical and faith interpretations or their implications, which adds to the confusion. I am sure Ms. Mayer has enormous Christian love for many, and tries to live according to her understandings. It's not easy to do, but well worth attempting.
I made a conscious decision not to over-punctuate my little sign, thinking too much punctuation might detract from what I hoped to convey--that the God/Jesus of my understanding is loving, compassionate and merciful. I wanted to connect with the many Christians who would be at the event who I knew would totally agree with that. I decided to capitalize and enlarge various words for emphasis instead of using lots of distracting punctation.... The words GOD IS LOVE and PEACE ON EARTH GOOD WILL TO ALL in huge letters, all caps, at the top and bottom of my sign were intended to begin and end with my strongest messages. I also wrote in large caps in the center: EVIL ANGER HATE to call attention to Cruz's apparent contradiction to these. Perhaps he misspoke but so far he hasn't yet said so. I hope he will.
If I had used proper punctuation, my sign would have read:
GOD IS LOVE.
TED CRUZ's
merciless, murderous
carpet-bombing "GOD"
doesn't speak for me;
can't have my COUNTRY;
won't get my VOTE.
EVIL, ANGER & HATE
have no place in the
White House.
JESUS said:
Love thine enemies.
PEACE ON EARTH,
GOOD WILL TO ALL!
But all those semi-colons and exclamations and periods might have complicated an already lengthy msg. I DID paint the sign with my watercolors and brushes--that was fun!
It's really hard to get life right; most of us just muddle through the best we can; I suspect Ms. Mayer makes mistakes, as we all do. I suspect she is also forgiving. I'm sure God speaks to her, but since he clearly doesn't say the same thing to all of us, it gets confusing whom to trust that he is speaking to the loudest. Or something. In any case I really really don't want a frightened, reactive, violent person in the White House hearing whispered urgings to do something so harmful. His assertion that he will "carpet-bomb ISIS... into oblivion" implies that he would lay waste and destruction to an area the size of Maryland, full of cities and towns full of frightened and confused mostly poor folks trying to get by and raise their families the best they can, all being pushed around by about 1% crazy people. (I'm not sure I have the quote right, but that's the gist....) It somehow doesn't sound, you know, safe, or presidential. Or nice. Or Christian. Or religious. Or thoughtful. Or sound. It sounds incendiary, knee-jerk, uninformed, scary and angry. And murderous, hateful, judgmental, vengeful, violent. What some Christians would call "evil."
But then, one person's demagogue is another's saint. With so many believers in the world experiencing and interpreting the Sacred differently, however, I can't quite accept that my humble conclusions (or the conclusions of my favorite leaders and scholars') are anything but hopefully informed, inspired and thoughtful OPINIONS.
BTW, I spent some time trying to figure out from Ms. Mayer's comments what gender issues my sign raised that disturbed her, but finally looked again at the photo in the paper, and noticed that wonderful FNP photographer Sam Wu had managed to include a broad variety of colorful political speech in addition to mine--both protest and support (many pro-Cruz buttons too). I hope that the "Equal Rights" sign wouldn't be one that Ms. Mayer (or Mr. Cruz) would consider a protest of their perspectives? There were indeed many there who conscientiously disagree with Mr. Cruz, though, and I was proud to see that, especially the young, turned out toexercise their individual freedoms of political expression. It takes courage at that age.
I hope we get a president (of whatever religion) who has a Christian (and Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, humanist, etc.) spirit of compassion, respect and support for the worth and dignity of all Americans--and all people--everywhere.
Thank you everyone, Ms. Mayer included, for writing, responding, and continuing the dialogue.... Putting ourselves out there, sharing our best thoughts, contributing our considered views to the national dialogue, getting feedback, learning from our mistakes, and doing it all over again is a challenging experience, but a useful one that helps not just us, but everyone, learn and grow. All our views change in interesting ways as we get older and wiser. "When I was a child, I spoke as a child...." Some day, we will all see more clearly. Until then, I hope we keep talking with each other, learning, living, loving. All the best to Ms. Mayer and Frederick's wonderful FNP opinion response team of commentators.... - Nancy :)

public-redux

"And murderous, hateful, judgmental, vengeful, violent. What some Christians would call "evil."

I call that "biblical".

Rogerboothe

I have been reading the FNP for about 20 years now and in that time this is by far the best and most right on letter to the editor I have seen. Thank you Mrs. Mayer, very well said.

armillary

I move to nominate Joyce C. Mayer for the first annual Jim Devereaux award for bible-based political puffery.

public-redux

Annual? Tri-fortnightly seems a more suitable frequency for this paper.

DickD

ar, please allow me to second your nomination. [lol]

threecents

Oh, it was the angels who said that, not Jesus. OOOh Kayyy. Thanks very much for that important distinction. I'll check out the YouTube video for that.

DickD

Not wanting to vote for anyone on the basis of their religion, I do not care.

bosco

One part of the bible I really take to heart is 1 Timothy 5:23. Check it out.

public-redux

I think the words "a little" are a later interpolation by the no-fun-nicks. In fact, I believe that as an article of faith and no evidence to the contrary, no matter how convincing, will ever persuade me to change my faith.

bosco

And what constitues "little" is open to interpretation. I prefer the more liberal interpretation.

teapartier

From author Jack Kelley:

Here are some things to consider. First, if you believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God given to man for guidance and direction then you have to ask yourself why He would allow it to become corrupted. Doesn’t He have the power to prevent something like that?
Second, most of what you read about the Bible’s authenticity is written by people who are trying to convince you that it’s unreliable. The fact that they have a PhD in Theology makes no difference. Many theologians don’t believe that the Bible’s really the Word of God, because many seminaries teach them that. But the fact remains that it’s the most thoroughly validated book in history.
According to Christian Apologetics and Research Ministries (www.carm.org), New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous than those of any other ancient writings. There are 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament, thousands more than for any other ancient text. Because the copies are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy. This process has determined that the internal consistency of New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000 manuscripts.
Do you realize the magnitude of the conspiracy that would have to have existed over the centuries in order to pass off an adulterated work as pure? Many of these manuscripts pre-date the Catholic Church by several centuries. People who promote this kind of nonsense are only able to do so because of our lack of knowledge about the Bible’s origins and our lack of faith in God’s word.
Third, you’re concerned about the claims of non-believers whose only source is a TV “documentary” that you’ve never seen and whose authors you know nothing about.
But really, it all boils down to this. If you believe the Bible and it turns out to be wrong, you can always tell God that you took Him at His word. And if there is no God, you won’t be any worse off for knowing that. You’ll only be as dead as when you found out. But those who don’t believe the Bible and find out too late that there is a God, will have to admit that they refused to take His word for things and will suffer an eternity that’s disagreeable beyond imagining. In short believers have nothing to lose by believing and may gain incredible blessings, and unbelievers have nothing to gain by not believing and may suffer incredible punishment. Who are the winners and who are the losers?

vicdavy

My condolences Tea Party

bosco

[thumbup]

public-redux

Pascal's Wager (the last paragraph) works if and only if there is at most one god AND that the believer opted for the right one. Here's an alternative Wager:

The top god has a rule: "Have no other gods before me." Everyone who follows that rule goes to heaven. That includes anyone who believes the top god is the top god and it includes atheists because they do not put any other gods before the top god. All other believers go to hell. In short, people have everything to lose by believing in the wrong god -- of which there are many -- and nothing to lose by not believing in any gods.

DickD

public, you seem to be referring to the Ten Commandments, which are Jewish and not just 10.

public-redux

No, I wasn't referring to any particular deity. Just describing one alternative to Pascal's Wager and applying game theory to show how the decision matrix is different.

You can do it yourself. Invent any rule(s) you want and see how best to play the game.

public-redux

Here's an example of fun: God loves all creatures but one particular group of species is her favorite. An eternity of bliss awaits those who help that Order and hell awaits those who harm it. How should you behave?

DickD

I played the game and elected to have fun. This is a great game. Oh, my priest says it can't be a her, as the church will not allow a her. [whistling]

public-redux

Why did you decide your church should be part of the game?

By the way, there were two winning strategies: help all species or help insects. Insects were the gods favorite group of species in that particular Wager. And beetles were her Chosen Insects. Any human who has wantonly killed insects is doomed to hell.

teapartier

Same to you

DickD

You have converted me, I am now sure God will not allow any Republican to win in November.[batman]

Nicki

[thumbup] DickD

BlueDawn666

Teapartier..In short believers have nothing to lose by believing and may gain incredible blessings, and unbelievers have nothing to gain by not believing and may suffer incredible punishment. ..you actually believe this? Get outta here...

bosco

And what about the millions and millions of folks who follow other religions and those who lived and died before the common era and had no chance to worship the christian god? I guess their best hope is for the Mormons to do a retro-baptism and yank them outta whatever happy place they may be in.

DickD

But in the end, it still was written by men.

DickD

tea, that is the same argument the Catholic Church has been using for at least the last 100 years, maybe more. Catholic belief holds that the Church "is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth" and that it alone possesses the full means of salvation.

public-redux

I do take issue with the LTE author's understanding of John 14:27. From the KJV: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." From the NIV: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives."

Mayer has put the emphasis on peace but it appears to me that the object lesson here is on giving. Jesus is saying that he gives differently and not that his peace is different.

There is also the dispute about whether the angels said "good will toward men" or "peace to men of good will." Not to mention the question of whether or not angels exist at all or which languages they speak.

Dwasserba

The peace is different. Not as understood by the world.

public-redux

That may be correct -- but John 14:27 doesn't seem to get one to that conclusion. It may be the case, as you imply, that John 14:27 is incorrect. There were multiple shepherds listening and lots of angels all talking at the same time. The sheep were likely raising a ruckus. And it was probably dark which tends to increase disorientation. The whole scene sounds confusing and we all know that eyewitness accounts don't usually gibe. John is silent on whether anyone took notes. So, we have what we have.

I'm not disputing the factual accuracy of that particular verse. I'm questioning Mayer's understanding of it as it is written. People really should read their scriptures carefully.

richardlyons

How does the writer know what Jesus Christ said or did not say during his 33 or so years on earth? I suspect the Bible only reflects a fraction of his words.

vicdavy

Although some of the words are very profound and moral. Men wrote the book.

bosco

That sums it pretty well vic. I have it on my shelf with my Koran, Book of Mormon, the Power of Positive Thinking, and The Secret.

BlueDawn666

I laughed when I read this letter, a god believer calling out another god believer about what a mythical being may or may not have said.
"I see this person is as misguided and uneducated about what Jesus actually says as she seems to be about basic biology and gender, the subject of her protest."..Jesus is not real.....so you cannot ever really be sure about what he actually said, now can you?

She will probably read this letter and see you as misguided as well, maybe she will write a LTE and explain why you are misguided? Must be nice that what a mythical being may or may not have said is all you have to write a LTE about. I can think of many more pressing issues.

Dwasserba

Faith is a gift not everyone gets. Laughing rrlieves tension. It's a start.

vicdavy

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God"

olefool

Conflating "scriptures" with peace has to be the biggest joke ever. Mark my words, whoever has and uses the biggest guns will bring "peace on earth", let's roll.

vicdavy

The Bible was written by men and has been interpreted and reinterpreted for centuries.
This letter sounds like the kind of interpretation that ISIL has of the Koran. No wonder you Christians are so blood thirsty.

bosco

I suspect lots of folks who quote the bible as "God's word" have actually read very little of it and have never studied the origins and history of the book. It was written by men, edited by men, and abridged by men. It is an interesting book to read, except for all the begats, but should not be taken as the literal word of God. It's just men telling stories and deciding what they wanted God to say. [innocent]

DickD

Yes, but I know some if it doesn't or does say something in the bible, that will be how they think and act.[whistling]

bosco

Yeah, Dick, and the ones that really get me are the ones who tell me that God told them to do something or another? They never have a good answer for how God told them, but do tell me that they have faith and therefore it must be true. Wasn't it Karl Marx that said " Religion is the opitate of the masses"?

DickD

Yes, It was translated from the German original, "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" and is often rendered as "religion... is the opiate of the masses."

public-redux

Outstanding letter!

I concur that people of faith should read their scriptures in full and understand them.

vicdavy

Coming from an Atheist your comment is hilarious,Gladys.

public-redux

Hilarity is in the eye of the beholder, of course. I'm pleased to know that I have brought a twinkle to your eye. Be that as it may, my comment is sincere. I have always urged people of religious faith to read their scriptures in full and to think about they have read.

I don't know what you mean by "Atheist". Is that a follower of Athe? I'm atheist with respect to deities and afaithiest with respect to faith.

vicdavy

I believe in a metaphysical reality and Universal consciousness and I don't believe in an anthromorphic god. I know you don't want that means but it's what I believe in this from 50 years of study and I came to these beliefs. Buddha said the same things Jesus said 500 years before him. Buddhist don't worship the illusion

public-redux

Yes, I understand that you are a person of faith. The substance of your faith is immaterial to the question of the fact of your faith.

vicdavy

Gladys I think I've been going to understand what you believe.An Afaitest has faith in their beliefs. I also have faith in my beliefs but I also have experience with the metaphysical. So while faith is an element of any belief science and personal experience bolster my belief system. If your belief is founded on psychological confidence then that's a good thing. Personal perception while subjective subjective is how we all operate.

public-redux

I disagree that faith is an element of any belief. Some beliefs are based on evidence. Some on faith. Some on a combination of both. And of course I have some faith-based beliefs. I try very hard to keep those restricted to trivial matters.

DickD

The few times I tried it, it put me to sleep.

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