Saturday, May 15, 2010

Faith Debate on Bill Maher's Show

The headline on this video clip is actually pretty misleading. It is a question that Bill Maher raises, but the longer conversation is on faith and atheism. Maher’s guests were: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, author John Avlon, and author S.E. Cupp. A centerpiece of this conversation was Cupp’s book, Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity.

On one level, Maher, a staunch and zealous atheist, attacked the premise of Cupp’s book and, frankly, did an effective job. Cupp, who is an atheist herself and does not seem to have a very good grasp on what religious faith actually is, strung together pieces of anecdotal evidence to write her book and was dissected by Maher. It was painfully sad, actually to see him pick her apart, but her book is a book with a political agenda rather than a spiritual agenda and the dissecting was pretty ugly and effective. It also demonstrated that people of faith ought not to rely on non-believers to defend them. Part of her problem is that she was cherry picking some attacks on the ‘fruits’ of ‘some’ ideas, but never really proved her point. Maher used an allegory to describe her research and it was like picking one raisin out of a large loaf. It is a good reminder that anecdotal evidence is not very effective. Anecdotes make good reading and great stories, but they do not really prove anything.

In fairness to Cupp, before they really discussed her book, the three guests were arguing with Maher over religion and war. Maher said that most wars are caused by religion and they countered that there are many things that cause war. Cupp used the examples of Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin, and Maher dismissed this by saying they promoted state religions. I think she made a good point and Maher is just going to call anything he doesn’t agree with a religion.

Booker and Avlon, however, were a different story. My sense is there two people, both of who are actual believers, made the best arguments. Avlon argued that the greatest factor in everything, believer versus believer or non-believer is the issue of arrogance. No one position owns God. Booker than affirmed that one of the truest demonstrations of faith if humility. From that point on, in my opinion, the Mayor of Newark carried the day. Maher was left with little more than his own personal talking points.

Booker spoke of having a collection of Holy Books that Maher decreed all contradicted each other. Booker, most appropriately pointed out the great fact that they mostly do not; Maher semi cited Jesus ‘only through me’ from John’s Gospel----an often misinterpreted passage.

Booker observed that many churches in Newark, New Jersey are doing amazing, transformative ministries, and changing people’s lives. Of course, Maher didn’t want to hear about that, this is not what he wanted to talk about.

I walked away from this exchange with some real thoughts.

First, religious faith is, at its best, apolitical. Neither American political party could safely invite Jesus to their convention. They might claim that they could, but they really couldn’t. Considering Jesus’ moral teachings centered on caring for the poor and a promotion of the outcasts of society, Jesus talking to an exclusive crowd and the biggest downers would not go over well. Jesus would pick the meat off every bone in the room at either convention. Jesus, in his own life, lost his life after appearing to two different political leaders, Herod and Pilate. Politicians didn’t love him then and only love him now as long as they are able to only promote the parts of him they like. The real and total Jesus? Not hardly.

Secondly, Booker was right about humility. It requires humility to believe. Maher arrogantly kept calling Booker arrogant because Booker ‘believed’ (in Maher’s mind) that he, Booker, knew all the answers. Booker did not know all the answers and explained why. It didn’t convince Maher but Maher was beyond being convinced. He was right and everyone else was wrong. True faith does require humility.

Thirdly, S. E. Cupp is an interesting person. I’ve watched her interviewed by Bill O’Reilly who loved the book (it’s a political book that agrees with him, so he would love it) but kept trying to convert Cupp to being an actual person of faith. She was also interviewed by Bill Maher who hated the book (it’s a political book that doesn’t agree with him, so he would hate it) and kept trying to convert Cupp into being an actual atheist. She just finished a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies and understands that religion is good for people, but she doesn’t, herself, believe in God. My sense, with her, is that her arguments really do fall way short of the goal because she genuinely doesn’t understand religious faith. It is not something she has an experience of, and she’s stuck writing on things about faith, while missing the point of faith.

Lastly, whatever one things of the three guests, Booker, Cupp, and Avlon, they were all better than Maher. Of course, Bill Maher is, first and foremost, a comedian and he sees, first, to bring great folly and laughter to his show by making God and religious people, the butt of his humor. Faith is not irrational, it is not the domain inhabited by stupid, poorly read people, but it is a domain that is filled with a vast cross section of individuals with a wide variety of beliefs. Bill Maher’s mocking of things, of beliefs, of deeply helped values built on faith, is not particularly funny.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Boys" Need to be Men

University of Virginia student, Yeardley Love was founded murdered, beaten and killed by blunt force trauma to her head. A young man, a fellow University of Virginia student and fellow Lacrosse player, George Huguely, was arrested and charged with the murder. This is not the first time Huguely has been in trouble for a violent offense. Police in Lexington, Va., about 70 miles from Charlottesville, said that in November 2008, Huguely was shocked with a stun gun by an officer there after resisting arrest for public intoxication. He pleaded guilty to two charges last year, was placed on six months of probation and given a 60-day sentence, which was suspended.

The arresting officer, R.L. Moss, said in a statement Tuesday that she felt it necessary to use the stun gun because Huguely became abusive and his size was no match for her.

She said in the statement that Huguely was "yelling obscenities and making threats."

News reports state that people were shocked and dismayed because Huguely was a star lacrosse player. Actually, so was Yeardley Love, but people haven’t paid that much attention to that. The University of Virginia is going to grant to Love her diploma on graduation day----post humously.

Ben Roethlisberger is a major star in the NFL. He has been the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and, even as a young player in this league, has two Super Bowl rings. In his second Super Bowl appearance many said that he was the real MVP of the game, though he didn’t win it. He is noted for being a great player and a great athlete.

He has also been accused of sexual assault by three different women. Thus far no charges have stuck because of the intoxication level of the women and lack of physical evidence. Roethlisberger had body guards who probably do know what really happened but claim they know nothing, other than talking in derogatorty language about the intoxication of the victims. Roethlisberger’s behavior and own intoxication levels were of no concern to them.

Lawrence Taylor was the great linebacker for the New York Giants. If people saw the movie, The Blind Side, it was his legendary hit on Joe Theissman that changed the game of football and began the movie. Taylor was the greatest player ever to put on a New York Giants uniform and arguably the greatest player even to play defense in the National Football League. He is accused of raping a 16 year old girl who he paid $300.00 for a sexual encounter. She had been beaten up before seeing him and had a bruised eye, forced by a pimp into this encounter. Taylor is claiming that he’s innocent of rape because he did, after all, pay her $300.00 for the sex and thought she was 19.

There have been warning signs about Huguely for quite some time. He was growing increasingly obsessive about Love, a girl he had dated and was breathing violent comments to many people around her and threatening violence toward other boys who found her attractive or showed her any sort of attention. He had demonstrated earlier that violence toward women was not something he was reluctant to do and that going into a drunken rage would not be a first time event. Many of his actions and words were dismissed with the comment, “Boys will be boys.”

Ben Roethlisberger has been cruising toward a disaster for quite some time. Three allegations and a motorcycle accident, sans helmet, later people have taken notice. Some have suggested he might have brain damage from so many blows to the head. Up to now his behavior has been dismissed wit the comment, “Boys will be boys.”

Most fans of the New York Giants (myself included) loved Lawrence Taylor on the field and have been willing to forgive many of his drug-related transgressions. He has, however, been notorious and quite open to the fact that he was a frequent customer to prostitutes. His association with a well known pimp seems to indicate that his behavior has not changed. Often his conduct has been overlooked using that old, weary line, “Boys will be boys.”

I have some thoughts on this whole subject.

The first is about sports, and I say this as a sports fan. We’ve gotten carried away with sports. Athletes often ‘get away’ with a great deal. They get through high school and college for being the star player and become professional athletes and then they do something really bad and end up in jail----wondering why no one was there to get them out of trouble. The list of athletes who are or who have been in prison is large and getting larger.

Our sports culture has become almost overwhelming. Sitting outside of Louisville I’ve become deeply disturbed by the fact that coaches for the University of Louisville make huge salaries and I’m wondering how their salaries compare to the professors, in let’s say, the medical school. What does it say about our society when we are willing to pay coaches untold millions of dollars while we pay professors teaching those in who we entrust our lives so much less? I find this troubling.

Secondly, there is an increasing concern that women are less and less safe around many of these men who play the games. George Huguely was praised as a great lacrosse player while Yeardley Love’s significant contributions to the University of Virginia’s women’s lacrosse team were pretty much ignored. Increasingly, we are learning that he spoke violently a great deal and no one was taking him seriously, despite the fact that Yeardley Love, herself, was growing increasingly concerned.

Ben Roethlisberger had bodyguards whose main job did not seem to be protecting anyone other than Roethlisberger’s reputation and hide. The women he was so cruel and crude to in the bar, and there were many, were simply seen as fodder for him. They were not safe.

And Lawrence Taylor was callous to overlook the fact that the girl he was with was beaten up to force her to service him. She would not tell him anything about being beaten up (despite being badly bruised) because she was afraid of him. And she had no reason not to be afraid of him.

Three men, all callous. One man callous to the point of murder. Two others, callous to the point of believing these women were there strictly to amuse them. They gave these women no respect and they were all unsafe----tragically unsafe. The University Virginia sees fit to honor Yeardley Love with a degree, but didn’t see fit to protect her from harm.. In a society that boasts of the equality of the genders, we are seeing women moving higher in careers than ever before, while often being in greater danger. Increasingly, a woman in the presence of the ‘star’ player is in grave danger. This should not be.

And, lastly, there is that comment: “Boys will be boys.”

What exactly does this mean? Does it mean that if you are the male of the species intolerable behavior is allowed? Does it mean that if you are the male of the species that you may say or do anything you want because you are a boy? How many free passes are men ‘allowed’ because boys will be boys? Does this mean, if you are a male, gross, improper, crude, and even illegal conduct is overlooked because boys will be boys?

As a male of the species, as a man, I find it offensive to think that less is expected of me because I am a male. It is a reminder to us that low expectations yield low results. It is time for us to demand better----and begin making that demand on ourselves. It is time to recognize that boys need to grow up and learn to be men.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day Sermon

God’s Peace! Here? Are You Kidding????
Text: John 14:27-29
Rev. Dr. John E. Manzo
May 9, 2010

Jesus speaks of peace, God’s peace, the kind of peace the world cannot give.

In looking at the Common Lectionary the passage we had to read today was on God’s peace and my initial reaction was to laugh. It’s the Festival of the Christian Home; Mother’s Day and, the concept of peace on a day about family sounds, if nothing else, amusing. I mean, most people, if asked about God’s peace and home would say:

God’s peace? Here? Are you kidding????

In 1983 one of the great all time movies about family life and family fun was made. It was National Lampoon’s Vacation. It was the adventure of Clark and Ellen Griswald driving from Chicago to Florida to visit Wally World. The movie was about their trip. In one short conversation between Clark and Ellen we learn a lot:

Clark: I'm just trying to treat my family to a little fun.
Ellen Griswold: Oh spare me, Clark, I know your brand of family fun. Tomorrow you'll probably kill the desk clerk, hold up a McDonalds, and drive us 1000 miles out of the way to see the world's largest pile of mud!

And later:
Clark: Despite all the little problems it's fun isn't it?
Ellen Griswold: No. But with every new day there's fresh hope.

Family life, is, in a word, interesting. And to the mix Jesus speaks quite earnestly and seriously about God’s peace. The more I have been thinking about this, the more I’ve come to realize that to understand and receive God’s peace, so much depends on us. For God’s peace to live, for God’s peace to thrive in the world, in church, and even in our homes, it requires each of us to come to a sense of peace within our own lives.

In light of this, from my own personal experience there are things that keep people from peace within themselves. There are things we can do to help ourselves.

The first is learning to say “I’m sorry,” when we are wrong.

I have found that there is nothing as character building as apologizing. Having the humility and courage to admit that you are personally wrong and have made a mistake, is liberating. Often a good apology clears the air between people. Families who learn to apologize to one another, live healthier and happier lives.

One thing that is crucial, however, is learning to truly apologize as opposed to pretending to apologize.

There is several words in the English language that ought never be in an apology. The word is ‘but.’

When we say, “I am sorry for offending you, but....” When we say this, we are putting the issue of offense on the person we offended. We are trying to justify our actions.

“I’m sorry for hurting you, but...” You deserved it.

“I’m sorry for stealing from you, but...” I wanted the money more you needed it.

You get the point.

Or when we use the word ‘if.’

“I’m sorry IF I offended you, “ and we’re really saying you need to have thicker skin.

“I’m sorry IF I hurt you,” and we’re really saying you need to be tougher.

“I’m sorry IF you needed that,” and we really saying I needed it more.

True apologies end with “I’m sorry.” We can add, “Because I offended you, or because I hurt you, or because it was uncalled for, but we can’t use the word ‘but’ or ‘if.’

And I’m sorry IF this bothers you BUT, it’s true.

The second thing is learning to forgive. One of the greatest causes of people to not be at peace with themselves is because they carry grudges, carry anger, and never really learn to forgive. Not forgiving others, carrying around permanent burdens, causes people to be totally overwhelmed by their grudges.

One of the great models of forgiveness is, believe it or not, God.

In Chapter 15 in the book of the prophet Jeremiah, there is an interesting and unusual scene. And a troubling scene. Things have not gone well for Jeremiah and he is angry and frustrated. In a moment of anger, in a moment of frustration, Jeremiah tells God:

Truly, for me you are a deceptive stream with uncertain waters!

The words are poetic and elegant and they have one consistent meaning. In the heat of anger and frustration at God, Jeremiah indicates that God has been lying to him; that God has been dishonest to him; that God is a liar.

Harsh words, most especially to speak to God.

And the moment just hangs there. God’s prophet calls Him a liar. The heat of anger has come and the most vile words Jeremiah could think of saying have come out of his mouth. The mood hangs.

And God responds, and you can almost hear it as a whisper: “If you come back, I will take you back.” Jeremiah has called God a liar and God, in those simple words, “If you come back, I will take you back,” forgives His prophet.

What I love about this passage is this. It’s so real. This is the kind of exchange that takes place in life all the time. It happens a lot in homes. Anger and frustration builds up and heated words are spoken. Often the words are less poetic than Jeremiah uses, but they are equally harsh. Resentment and anger build up. Yet, God models how to respond. Forgive. Forgiveness brings peace not only to those around us, but also to ourselves.

The last thing is this. Do not judge.

Let me tell you a really stupid story. What makes the story so incredibly foolish was the judgmental behavior of one person in the story, namely me.

Years ago Janet and I were out to eat in a restaurant in the town we where we lived in Pennsylvania. We went to a small restaurant we used to frequent a great deal and they had a small salad bar. I was following a man at the salad bar and, instead of taking some lettuce, tomatoes, and the usual stuff for a salad, he filled his entire bowl with onions and then pour French dressing on his 100% onion salad.

I do not, for a variety of reasons, eat raw onions and I watched this guy in horror. When I went to sit at the table I pretty much ignored Janet and watched this guy eat his bowl of raw onions and I sat there and fumed. Janet tried to engage me in conversation and I was short with her and I was short with the server who came by. I sat, watched the guy, and fumed because, to put it simply, I did not approve of his choice of salad.

In the great picture and scope of the universe, this meant nothing, but I was all worked up. I judged this guy’s salad. That’s it. And I fumed. I realized, after a while, how incredibly stupid I was. The guy’s salad might not have been to my approval, but so what?

We do this kind of thing all the time in life. We judge. Someone does something or makes choices that we do not approve of. So what?

Jesus spoke of judgment a great deal. It accomplishes nothing good; it just estranges people from one another and sows disharmony in the world. And it accomplishes nothing.

Peace? There’s an old hymn, Let There Be Peace on Earth, and it begins with the words, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

Jesus offers us the gift of God’s peace; and God’s peace is not available until we make peace within ourselves. Learning to apologize, forgiving, and not judging others is a great place to start. And the best place to begin is the place we all begin and end each day. At home.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Random Rants

What Makes Me Sad....

What makes me sad is that culturally we have fallen into an intellectual abyss. Signs show up of this abyss in all different ways.

Lawrence Taylor was the greatest on field football player to ever play for the New York Giants. He was the greatest on field defensive player in the history of the NFL. His off field stupidity, ongoing issues with drugs and prostitutes is legendary. It has also been criminal. His celebrity has kept him out of prison. Raping a 16 year old girl, who had been beaten by a pimp, is the height of stupidity and is downright evil. Whatever defense his attorneys can dream up for him now is no good. There is NO defense for this. None. Zip. Jail awaits and it is a sentence he richly deserves.

A recent poll indicates that 14% of the country believes that Barack Obama was born abroad. To these folks I would like to offer you a great opportunity. There is a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn seeking a purchaser. You can own the bridge and charge tolls. It is a highly profitable venture for you. The real estate agent is B. Madoff....

I’m not sure why McDonalds won’t hire me as the leader of their ad campaign. My motto for them would be: McDonalds: I’d Rather Eat Dirt. (Sorry, a rant)

Speaking of such things: White Castle now has candles that provide the aroma of their famous sliders. I cannot imagine...

Wall Street plunged almost 1000 points for a short time on a bizarre ‘sell order’ for P & G, one of the most stable stocks. It may have been the result of a typo. AGH!!!!! The stock market is vulnerable to typing errors????? At this level?????

Michael “Heck of a Job Brownie” Brown announced that President Obama was thrilled about the oil leak off the coast of Louisiana. Of course, this is a week after President Obama decided to allow off-shore drilling... Of course, this is also a national disaster... I’m not sure what Michael Brown is doing these days, but I may suggest a course in “Logic” from a local community college.

JaMarcus Russell. Says it all.

Ray Lewis, NFL thug, has long associated with thugs, disapproves of Tim Tebow namely because people speak so well of Tebow. Tebow, who, whether you agree with him or not, is about as non-thug a human being there is on the planet and Lewis disapproves of him. This says a lot more about Ray Lewis than it does Tim Tebow.

England decided to become more ‘American’ in their Prime Minister election and held, for the very first time, televised debates. The end result is very American as well. A hopelessly hung government.

BP is putting a dome over the leaking oil well. Their hope is that this dome will stop the oily scum. I doubt this will work. The Capitol Dome hasn’t been very effective at suppressing oily scum from what I’ve seen.

The show “Man Versus Food” is amusing, but, frankly, grotesque. Why do we find it amusing to watch a man eat a 10 pound hamburger and see his face covered with grease, ketchup, and pickle chips.

And finally, when people watch “Real Housewives of New Jersey...” My Mom was a real housewife from New Jersey. My Grandmother was a real housewife from New Jersey. I grew up surrounded by wonderfully great women who were REAL real housewives from New Jersey and they had nothing in common with these fools on television.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Art of Apology

Ever apologize?

One of the best things on the planet is the apology. It makes you feel better and it makes the person you have apologized to feel better.

Apologies are heartfelt and sincere as long as they exclude one word: But.

When we say, "I'm sorry, but..." we are not apologizing. We are making a justification. We are explaining ourselves but not apologizing.

Sometimes people in public moments say unkind things. Whatever one thinks of Elisabeth Hasselbeck, she made some statements about Erin Andrews. We can debate on whether she was right or wrong, but her words went over the top and were hurtful to Erin Andrews. And she did it publicly.

Then Elisabeth Hasselbeck did something very classy. She apologized.

She set an example for her 5 year old daughter (who she speaks about) and set an example to others. Whether you like her or not, or agree with her or not, she showed great class and demonstrated the art of apologize well. I am impressed.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Discovering Love Again for the First Time (Sermon)

Discovering Love Again for the First Time
Text: John 13:31-35
Rev. Dr. John E. Manzo
May 2, 2010

Love. Love is probably one of the most used words in the Dictionary. It refers to everyone from people, to vacation spots, to food, and to favorite horses in the Derby.

Love is the topic of most movies, most novels, most songs, and most greeting cards. We read such things as:

Love is the irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly.
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
Love is the unity of two hearts beating together as one.
Love is not finding a perfect person, it is seeing an imperfect person perfectly.

And they’re all fine and nice. For greeting cards. But there always seems to be something missing, something more.

Jesus, toward the end of the Gospel of John, speaks a great deal to the apostles about what is going to happen next and what his hopes, dreams, and aspirations for them are. He summarizes everything he has to say quickly:

4I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

But here it is. If you’re like me, you like to know the definition.

Sometimes people say, “I had a really good time,” and I’ll wonder, how they define a really good times.

Or people say some place is a great restaurant and I want to know why and how they define a great restaurant.

Or, preaching sermons. “That was a great sermon!” I like people to define what they mean by a great sermon.

So Jesus tells them to love one another. It makes me want to ask one question. How does Jesus define love?

Jesus’ definition of love has one overwhelming requirement. Sacrifice.

Jesus states this bluntly in Chapter 15 when he says: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

Of one mother’s profound sacrificial love, the preacher Michael Milton from Chattanooga, Tennessee shared very profoundly.

A young mother had to give up her daughter to be raised by the mother’s sister. The child’s mother had been burned horribly in a fire and despite many, many operations, never really recovered and was placed in a nursing home.

The little girl grew up but never met her mother. She lived in another part of the country, but her aunt showed her pictures of her mother and spoke often of the girl’s mother.

When the girl had grown up and was a young woman she made the journey across the country to visit the nursing home where her mother lived. She was taken to her mother’s room, with her heart beating with excitement and anticipation. When she walked into the room and saw her mother, she screamed. Her mother was dreadfully and horribly disfigured and nothing at all like the pictures of the beautiful woman the girl had seen as a child. The young woman went screaming from the room and was sobbing uncontrollably.

A nurse followed the girl and sat her down. Then the nurse told the young woman the story of how she, as an infant, was trapped in her bedroom by a fire that was sweeping rapidly through her home. But her mother had risked her own live and had run through the flames and the smoke to rescue the baby. She did, indeed rescue the baby, but was horribly burned, disfigured that she would never be able to function in society again. The nurse said, “The wounds are wounds of love for you.”

The mother had sacrificed it all for her child.

We use the word sacrifice all the time. Ever ask yourself the question, “What would I die for?” Friends, family, country, God? All good questions.

I have been watching The Pacific on HBO. It’s about the Marines fighting the Japanese in World War II. It is very realistic, based on real people, and shows us what it was really like. I hate it. It is almost unwatchable to see what really happened; it was dreadful. But I keep watching it because there were young men who were willing to die for their country and sacrificed so much to do what they did.

Jesus defines love as sacrifice.

In the early Christian Church people confronted sacrifice on a daily basis. It was illegal to be a Christian. If you were caught worshiping God, professing faith in Jesus Christ, you were put to death, often brutally.

Every day people flock to the city of Rome and tour the Coliseum. It was a massive stadium and the winners of the games lived and the losers of the games died. So many of those who lost were placed, unarmed in the center of the Coliseum, and slaughtered while people cheered on the animals or the humans who were putting them to death.

We come to Worship every Sunday and see the cross in the Sanctuary and I wear one around my neck. In the early Christian Church so many people lost their lives, they sacrificed their lives for Christ.

In 2010, within Christianity, we are not in danger by coming to Worship on Sunday morning. Which is good. But we’ve also lost the concept of sacrifice.

One of the barometers of congregational health is by the percentage of a church’s membership in church on Sunday morning. If a church averages at least 40% of its members, it’s health and good. That is four out of ten people. Which means if the majority of people miss Worship most Sundays, the church is healthy. Sacrifice is not important.

The Biblical joy of giving is tithing, which means people give 10% of their income to charity, often the church being the largest recipient. Most churches are ecstatic if people give 3% of their income to charity and/or the church. Sacrifice is not important.

The last time the United States was fighting a war in two fronts, like we are now in the War on Terror, was World War II. Men were drafted into service. Items were rationed at home to support the war effort. Taxes went up and war bonds were sold to fund the war. Everyone spoke of sacrifice.

We are now fighting a war on two fronts. We are not encouraged to sacrifice. Taxes have been cut, there are no war bonds, there is no draft, and we are encouraged to consume items. In fact, the government gives rebates on certain items for us to purchase.

The cost of the war? We’ve put it on VISA. It’s someone else’s problem for another day. Sacrifice is not important. At least to us, here and now.

Oh, and before anyone says I’m sounding political, I’m really not. There is no politician of any political party, in 2010 who will ever utter that horrible word ‘sacrifice,’ unto the American people. So many of our political leaders are so willing to profess their faith in Jesus Christ, but not one person will ever speak of sacrifice.

And sacrifice is the center of Jesus’ definition of love.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

If we want to truly speak of love in the name of Jesus Christ, we need to ask ourselves questions:

Who or what are we willing to die for?

Who or what are we willing to sacrifice our time for?

Who or what are we willing to make financial sacrifices for?

If we want to love, we need to learn to sacrifice because “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”