Saturday, January 17, 2009
It can also be found on Huffington Post.
Be warned, it's a little disturbing.
On April 17, 2005, at the southern California Anaheim Angels sports stadium thirty thousand Saddleback Church members, more than ever gathered in one spot, assembled to celebrate Saddleback's 25th anniversary and listened as Rick Warren announced his vision for the next 25 years of the church: the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.
Towards the close of his nearly one hour speech, Pastor Warren asked his followers to be as committed to Jesus as the young Nazi men and women who spelled out in mass formation with their bodies the words "Hitler, we are yours," in 1939 at the Munich Stadium, were committed to the Führer of the Third Reich, a major instigator of a World War that claimed 55 million lives. Rick Warren has exhorted Christians towards Nazi-like dedication in at least several public speeches and also during a one hour video recording of a talk by Warren, explaining his P.E.A.C.E. Plan, that is currently hosted on the official P.E.A.C.E. Plan website (see 'video page', "The Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan"). A version of the anecdote can also be found on page 357 of Rick Warren's 1995 book The Purpose Driven Church, which sold over one million copies.
During his Anaheim stadium speech Warren, sometimes called 'pastor Rick' talked about a number of visions and communications he had received from God. By calling on his church members to follow Jesus with the fanatical dedication with which the Nazis, or Hitler Youth, gave to Adolf Hitler, Rick Warren appeared to be in effect asking his Saddleback members to be fanatically dedicated to Warren's own leadership, given his role in divining God's intent for the Saddleback church flock. During his speech, Rick Warren also explained that God had personally instructed him to seek, for the good of the world, more influence, power and fame.
Warren moved on, from his celebration of Nazi dedication to purpose, and held up Lenin, and Chinese Red Guard efforts during the Cultural Revolution, as behavioral examples for his Saddleback flock, whom Warren called on to carry out a "revolution".
Concluding his motivational speech, the Saddleback Church founder instructed his ranks in the stadium to hold up signs, from their official programs, with the preprinted message "whatever it takes". Warren then introduced, as leader of the first nation on Earth in which the P.E.A.C.E. Plan would be implemented, Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
In 1998 under Kagame's leadership Rwanda, along with the now officially "Purpose Driven" nation of Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of The Congo, touching off a conflict that has claimed more civilian lives than any since World War Two. On December 12, 2008, the United Nations accused Rwanda of aiding Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda, accused of massacres and human rights violations and whose recent offensive has created several hundred thousand Congolese refugees.
In March 2008, Rick Warren's Saddleback launched an official national "Purpose Driven Living" program in Uganda, a country which was indicted in 2005 by the International Criminal Court for perpetrating "massive" human rights violations by invading and looting the natural riches of the Congo. Uganda is know for brutalizing its own population too. In the late 1990s under president Yowerie Museveni, whose wife Janet Museveni has spoken at Saddleback Church conferences, the Ugandan military drove upwards of two million Acholi tribe members in Northern Uganda, through a terror campaign of massacres and bombing, into crowded concentration camps on the Congo-Uganda border where many languish to this day, in what one Former Undersecretary for the UN has described as an ongoing, slow genocide.Mega-pastor Warren, who will give the opening prayer at the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama on January 20, 2009, aspires to great moral and spiritual leadership. Rick Warren has called for a second Christian Reformation, and he has stated his intent of inspiring 'one billion' Christians, half of all Christians globally, to become personally and 'radically' committed to changing the world.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Buddhism teaches that there is no self, no soul.
I can buy that. After all, there cannot be a permanent soul if everything is impermanent. Some people have an issue with this belief, but for me, it fits.
However, if there is no such thing as a soul or self, then how does reincarnation work? Reincarnation indicates that something is getting reborn. What is this something that is getting reincarnated? The easiest answer would be to say that its the soul.
Ah, but wait, I don't believe in the concept of a soul.
The concept of reincarnation was something I wrestled with for a while. The concept of a soul never seemed quite right to me, and impermanence makes sense. But I have trouble rejecting reincarnation all together because so many Buddhists have adopted it. We follow Buddha's teachings to break free from the cycle of suffering and, according to some, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
One day, while I was thinking about this, another thought occurred.
"Why do I even care? Why not just live this life as well as I can, with all the compassion and mistakes and humor that comes with it? To me, people die, and then...
That's part of what death is. The unknown.
I don't know when I'll die and (possibly) be reincarnated.
So why worry?
Some would see this as kind of a cop-out, but it satisfied me.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
New years was fun, if you didn't mind standing outside in -40 degree (Fahrenheit) weather. It was so cold all of our cars froze and wouldn't start until a day later when the weather warmed up to a nice toasty -25.
Over Christmas we also got over 24 inches of snow, which was awesome unless you had to drive in it. But I did manage to shoot some beautiful pictures of my backyard. As much as I don't like living in this state, it is very beautiful.
My poor car was completely buried under 2 feet of snow and refused to start.