Archive for March, 2016
Suntem in plin sezon de Paste. In timp ce ne pregatim efectiv de mareata Sarbatoare, recapitulam evenimentele istorice pe care le sarbatorim in aceste zile. Imediat realizam ca evenimentul crucii si al invierii Mantuitorului nu a fost doar un eveniment spiritual, ci a inceput cu un proces politico-religios care a incitat oamenii la manie si apoi la violenta, process in care politicul si religiosul au coabitat perfid in suferintele la care a fost supus Isus. Violenta nu a fost doar o chestiune istorica, ci este si o majora problema contemporana.
Iraq, Siria, Turcia, Paris, San Bernardino, Bruxelles. Ce au in comun aceste locuri? Astazi raspunsul nu poate fi decat violenta, teroare. Privind la scena contemporana suntem uimiti de valurile de violenta care inrosesc harta lumii. Aproape ca nu este colt in lumea aceasta unde sa nu existe violenta parca fara precedent. Aproape saptamanal explodeaza o bomba undeva in jurul lumii. Orientul Mijlociu este un butoi cu pulbere gata sa explodeze cu violenta de neimaginat. In Siria sute de mii de oameni si-au pierdut viata in ultimii ani si milioane au fost dislocati si invadeaza Europa unde comit acte de violenta sau devin obiecte ale violentei. In metropola noastra faimoasa (Chicago) aproape ca nu trece o zi fara ca violenta absurda sa nu culeaga vieti inca netraite. Suntem in plina campanie electorala in America si nivelul de manie sociala este la un nivel fara precedent. Asta conduce la violenta in limbaj si chiar brutalitate fizica. Inevitabil te intrebi: “Cum e posibil ca in lumea civilizata, avansata si educata de azi sa existe astfel de manifestari primare, instinctuale a omului care se ridica impotriva omului?” Raspunsul este in istorie, in politica si religie.
Toata istoria este de fapt o istorie a violentei, incepand cu brutalul Cain si terminand cu fiecare caz contemporan de violenta. Exista o fibra de manie si violenta in ADN-ul uman. Exista o inclinatie spre violenta in care forta pumnului este considerata superioara puterii ratiunii. Violenta este motivata in general de ura, de invidie, de razbunare, de dorinta de dominare, manipulare si supravietuire, dar de multe ori, pur si simplu, de rautate umana.
De-alungul istoriei puterea politica a exploatat aceasta tendinta si a perfectionat-o prin instrumente de teroare extraordinare. In multe cazuri religia s-a unit cu politicul in a administra sezoane de violenta indescriptibila.
Datorita acestei tendinte, oamenii sunt insetati de spectacole violente, asa cum a fost in toata istoria. Razboiele au ridicat nivelul de adrenalina al luptatorilor, iar luptele cu gladiatori au fost gustate cu sadism de zeci de mii de oameni in arenele grecesti si romane. Executiile publice au devenit evenimente de deliciu public. Violenta capteaza mult mai rapid interesul si imaginatia umana. Asa se explica ca stirile despre violenta fac inconjurul lumii, iar sporturile violente si filmele brutale sunt extrem de populare azi. Oamenii savureaza violenta si sunt extrem de speriati de ea. Prin violenta regimurile dictatoriale tin oamenii intr-o stare de frica si obedienta incredibila asa cum se intampla acum in Coreea de Nord sau in alte locuri. Prin violenta, sisteme religioase incearca cucerirea lumii si, cand politicul si religiosul formeaza un mariaj al violentei, aceasta devine politica de stat si politica religiosa. Este ceea ce se intampla cu islamul radical. Ce este de facut? Politca a esuat, religia a falimentat. Democratia nu are solutii. Dictatura are prea multe solutii violente. Educatia nu produce rezultatele scontate. Cultura nici atat, doar produce o cultura a violentei. Care este solutia?
Va chem inapoi in Saptamana Pastelui. E o saptamana spirituala in Ierusalim. E cea mai importanta sarbatoare religiosa. Este insa o saptamana fatidica. O saptamana in care religia si politica isi dau mana pentru a pecetlui soarta unui singur om. Numele lui este Isus. Un om care nu crede nici in religie, nici in politica, ci restaureaza o Relatie. Ierusalimul este plin ochi de multimi care au nevoie de sange, oameni insetati de violenta. Multimi care au nevoie de spectacol. Ce spectacol ar putea sa puna in scena puterea manipulativa a religiei si forta bruta a puterii politice? Au nevoie de un om si au nevoie de instrument al violentei. “Iata Omul!” spune Pilat. “Uite Crucea!” spune multimea. Ragnetul multimii “Rastigneste-l!” demonstreaza ca ei erau deja obisnuiti cu astfel de spectacole. Crucea era instrumentul ultim al violentei romane. Si asa incepe spectacolul violentei. Din gradina la palat, de la Ana la Caiafa, de la Irod la Pilat, de la Pilat pe Golgota. Batut si biciuit, batjocorit si blestemat este condus Isus la Cruce – pedeapsa cea mai violenta. Ce spectacol pentru oameni insetati de violenta. Dar spectacolul se sfarseste ca o drama divina cu un ultim strigat de pe cruce: “S-a sfarsit!”. S-a sfarsit domnia violentei! Urmeaza invierea! Din mormant se ridica Fiul lui Dumnezeu si primele lui cuvinte sunt “Pace voua!” Omenirea poate scrie o noua istorie, o istorei a pacii cu Dumnezeu si a pacii intre oameni. La acest Paste, in timp ce suntem asediati de imagini si vesti de violenta, va chemam la Cruce. Moartea si Invierea lui Isus au schimbat instrumentul violentei in semnul pacii. Trebuie sa proclamam cu convindere adevarul care nu este corect politic: solutia la violenta care domina lumea nu este in politica, nici in religie, ci intr-o relatie personala cu Christos cel Inviat. Intr-o lume confruntata cu valuri uriase de violenta, mesajul invierii este din ce in ce mai relevant: “Pace Voua!”.
Sorin Leahu, an attorney with Mauck & Baker law firm, writes an insightful article about the long term legal and social ramifications of the Bodnariu case in Norway. I recommend this article to anyone concerned about parental rights in particular and human liberty in general.
Sorin Leahu writes:
In 1865, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, published his famous novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Readers then and now continue to be mystified by a narrative that can only be described as illogical and wholly irrational. The novel introduced readers to a world of such absurdity that it helped launch the phenomenon now known as the literary-nonsense genre.
Lately, another story has been unfolding rivaling even Carrol’s work within the same genre. Our newsletter published a brief note on this case back in January. To review, in November 2015, a loving family was dragged down a legal rabbit hole and introduced to the whacky world of institutionalized kidnapping. Barnevert, Norway’s child protective services, seized Marius and Ruth Bodnariu’s five children after suspicions that they were receiving “Christian indoctrination.” “Christian indoctrination,” of course, is a term of art; most would recognize it simply as religious education. Not content with competing education, however, the State seized the five children and placed them with three separate foster homes where, presumably, they will receive State sanctioned indoctrination instead. Without having committed a crime, and with no due process, two parents have lost their children. The parents must now overcome baseless charges and seek vindication in Norwegian courts, or alternatively, the European Court of Human Rights.
United States Precedent
The family’s prospects would be much different in the United States. Unlike Norway, the United States Supreme Court has for some time now recognized the rights of parents continue reading here
Prof. Marianne H. Skanland speaking at the anti-Barnevernet protest in Oslo. She argues effectively against the “attachment theory” and “behaviorism” which seem to be foundational in Barnevernet philosophy. Source: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC969CzdGg9szg9ikE-6Mx1g
A special man of God who impacted many, many lives in this generation, including mine, has been promoted to glory.
(Photo credit: Dr. T. L. Lowery facebook page)
Dr. T. L. Lowery was a great leader to his generation and a spiritual mentor to the following generations. He is missed around the world. We pray for the family and ask the Holy Spirit to comfort them.
Faith News Network (http://www.faithnews.cc/?p=22016) writes under the sharp pen of Cameron Fisher:
Cleveland, TN–One of the Church of God’s most iconic leaders, Dr. T.L. Lowery, was memorialized by family and church leaders on Thursday, March 3, in the second of two Remembrance of Life services following his death on February 21.
Hundreds gathered at the North Cleveland Church of God, a church which Lowery served as senior pastor from 1969 to 1974. During his tenure there he grew and built the church into one of the most dynamic congregations of its time.
A first service was held earlier this week on Monday, February 29 at the National Church of God in Ft. Washington, Md. Like North Cleveland, National was a church Lowery served as senior pastor (1981-1996), growing and building it into an influential and powerful ministry.
The two services mirrored one another with many of the speakers traveling to both locations to speak on behalf of a portion of Dr. Lowery’s life. The church choirs performed at both locations, as did spiritual daughter Judy Jacobs Tuttle. Rev. Steve Brock also sang songs of worship and celebration at both locations. George Henderson, a representative from the National Church’s Pastor’s Council, greeted both services. The three grandchildren – Aimee, Stephanie and John – spoke on behalf of the family, while two former Church of God General Overseers – Dennis McGuire and Lamar Vest – also spoke to the gathering.
Several well-known ministers felt compelled to attend the funeral of the “apostolic statesman.”
Evangelist Kenneth Copeland prayed a prayer of anointing and “passing of the mantle” on Steve Lowery.
“I knew by the spirit of God that I was supposed to be here,” Copeland stated. “The healing anointing of T.L. Lowery is in this building,” he said followed by a prayer of healing proclamation.
Randy White, pastor of Without Walls International testified of the years of mentorship working directly with T.L. Lowery.
Evangelist Perry Stone, speaking on behalf of Lowery’s effect on world evangelism said, “Everywhere he preached, he imparted,” Stone said of Lowery and reminded everyone that because of the establishment of the T.L. Lowery Global Foundation, “there will always be a generation that will know the anointing and ministry of T.L. Lowery.”
Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, sent condolences through a video message.
Current General Overseer Mark L. Williams addressed the gathering at both Washington National and North Cleveland on behalf of the Church of God.
“T.L. Lowery walked across the history of the Church of God as one that was sent forth,” Williams said. “Because of his ministry, hundreds of thousands were swept into the Church of God.”
Rev. Stephen Lowery, the only child of T.L. and Mildred Lowery, concluded the services at both locations and testified of a lifetime of influences from his father.
“Many in this room have known my dad as pastor, evangelist, church leader, or businessman,” Stephen Lowery shared. “But in every situation, he was always T.L. Lowery and always a man of God.”
Dr. Lowery is to be laid to rest next to his beloved Mildred in a private family ceremony. Mildred Lowery passed away nearly one year ago on March 8, 2015.
T.L. Lowery was born on January 12, 1929 and spent over 70 of his 87 years ministering the gospel throughout the world. By the time he was 25 years old he had pastored four congregations, but in 1954 he launched into full time evangelistic work where for the next 15 years he crisscrossed the United States proclaiming the gospel to thousands, preaching from a tent that held up to 10,000 people. Following his pastorate at North Cleveland, he was elected to the Church of God Executive Committee where he served for the next eight years as an assistant general overseer.
In 1981, following a 40-day fast, Lowery accepted the pastorate of the National Church of God and, like North Cleveland, grew and built the church into a congregation of thousands. He was elected for a second stint on the Executive Committee in 1996 and he served until 2004, rising to first assistant general overseer. The final 12 years of his earthly ministry were spent mentoring the next generation of ministers as he conducted crusades and hosted events through the establishment of the T.L. Lowery Global Foundation.
More information on the life of T.L Lowery and other aspects of his ministry can be found by visiting http://www.tllowery.org”
–Cameron Fisher, Church of God Communications
– See more at: http://www.faithnews.cc/?p=22016#sthash.5kL8Iv5R.dpuf