Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dr. Falwell, an atheist, and me

I don't know if you watched Anderson Cooper's show the day of Jerry Falwell's passing, but if so, no doubt you were as shocked and angry as my husband and I were at the inclusion of the atheist gentleman I mentioned in an earlier post. He was featured in the opening segment about Falwell's life and death. In his diatribe against Falwell and all he stood for, this gentleman used such inflammatory terms as "little toad," and "huckster," saying "he only wished there were a hell so [Falwell] would go there" and accusing Falwell of being an evil man who lied to little children. He even went so far to say that he was glad that Dr. Falwell hadn't been raptured but found dead in his office.

Shocking. Horrible. Not to mention in extremely poor taste. After all, this was the same day Falwell died. Certainly Falwell was a polarizing figure, both in evangelical and political circles. My point is not to condone nor condemn any aspect of Falwell's life or political statements, but a "toad?" "Huckster?" This from a man--and in this case, the network as well, at least by default--presenting opinions as truth. It also reflects a double standard, if you consider that should it be someone like Jesse Jackson who had died, well, you get the idea.

How can God stand by and allow such blatant, arrogant disrespect and blasphemy as displayed on national television? Does it not turn His stomach as it turns mine? Why not a few well placed lightning bolts? Right there on live tv? Talk about a display of His power!

Yet I must remember He is a God who delights to show mercy. We have been given this day because He is about seeking and saving those who are lost. Perhaps even a certain atheist. His arm is not too short to save...

While righteous anger definitely has its place, I think sometimes my cry for judgment on "them" (whoever they may be) reflects a subtle sense of deservedness on my part. Sometimes I begin to think of my "goodness" in terms of "their badness."

Sinful. Arrogant. Prideful.

I realize again my utter helplessness and total incapacity for anything good. I want to do good, I intend to do good, but I find myself doing exactly the opposite. I find myself wanting to do one thing, but for some reason choosing to do the other, despite my intent to do otherwise.

So often--too often--what I do is what I really didn't want to do.

Paul speaks of this very struggle in Romans 7:15-20,
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
He then asks, "Who will deliver me? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

I, like Paul, cannot do the good I want to do. I need a Savior. Praise God, through Jesus Christ, I am delivered. It's His grace. His favor, unmerited and unearned. We none of us--you, me, or even an atheist on tv--are deserving of His mercy. We need a Savior, Jesus Christ. He is able to deliver us!


  1. Well said and such a great reminder of the struggle and pride we all face.

    What a Savior! What amazing grace.

  2. Lisa, not to condone anyone insulting another, but the atheist was talking about a man (Falwell) who demonized and condemned hundreds of thousands of individuals simply because he disaproved of their personal lives. The atheist has only accused one single man of wrongdoing. Although it may have been in poor taste, please consider how many people each have insulted and what these people were accused of. Falwell accused innocent people of bringing evil repurcussions on America. This one atheist has accused one man of being bigoted. I think if anyone is due to apologize, it was Falwell.

  3. Wonderful post, Lis. We must all examine ourselves daily. Well done.

  4. Great post. I totally understand what you are saying about the well placed lightning bolts. I have wished for those a few times myself.

    You are a very wise woman.


  5. Hi Lisa

    Loved!!! your post, as usual! Made me wonder - if someone hops through my window at night and I catch him rifling through my cupboard and I shout "THIEF!" - am I being judgmental? No. I am simply stating a fact. Having a discerning mind and having a judgmental attitude are therefore clearly two very different things... Do not apologize for your "righteous indignation"! Even Jesus pointed his finger at the Pharisees, calling them a brood of vipers! But how true what you said in your last paragraph! Yes, we need a Saviour. It's so definitely His grace that saves us. And it's His grace that saves us AND that saves Anderson Cooper. Boy oh boy, what a lesson you're teaching me! I am no better than the slanderer, the murderer, the thief. And like the thief on the cross, Jesus extended His grace to me as openly and generously! What a fab God we serve!