Monday, September 10, 2007

Thank You Means So Much

Just over a year ago, I was struggling to find a resource that I could share with church families on the fifth anniversary of 9-11. Especially on that day, when many families just want to be together and not necessarily try to attend another worship service, I was looking for a devotional that families could use in their homes and adapt for their own needs. Finding nothing of what I was looking for, I decided to write something and at least be able to use it with my congregation and share it with friends and family. After a few emails and phone calls, the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church was gracious enough to publish it last year on their website.
This year, GBOD updated it and again made it readily available on their website. I shared it with some church families this year, and will use it with my family as well.
This afternoon I received a call on my cell phone. A gentleman from accross the country had tracked me down and wanted to just say, 'Thank you' for the 9-11 resource that I had written. I was stunned that a perfect stranger would take the time to track me down and reach me to share a personal thank you. After the phone call, I looked toward the sky, tears in my eyes and thanked God that something I did had meant something to someone else. That thank you was an immeasurable blessing; so unexpected and so appreciated. I thank God for the gifts that allow me to be in ministry, but most of all I am reminded how much a 'Thank you' can mean.
If you would like to use the devotional for your family, please click on the link below. May God be with you, and may you be blessed in the giving and receiving of thanks.
9-11 Family Devotional

Monday, September 3, 2007

Sacred Connections with or without Technology

Is anybody out there? How often have you seen that question posted on a myspace page or thought that to yourself while posting your latest blog entry? Just a few years ago things like myspace, facebook, blogging, twitter, podcasts, webcasts, and RSS feeds did not exist. Now everyone has a blog or myspace page, but who is reading all the stuff we post?
The idea behind all the online communities and technologies is to easily connect people and make friends who share common interests. Yet, sometimes when we try to connect with others we find that no one responds to our posts, text messages, or voicemail. While the jury is still out on whether our constantly wired world helps us or harms us socially, at least one research project by Washington University “showed a rapid decline in participation for social activities beyond the net and increases in depression and loneliness.”
Thomas Lewis, author and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco examines the psychobiology of human interactions. At the recent Conference on World Affairs, Lewis warned that “if we're not careful, we can trick a part of our brain into thinking that we're having a real social interaction--something crucial and ancient for human survival--when we actually aren't. This leads to a stressful (but subconscious) cognitive dissonance, where we're getting some of what the brain thinks it needs, but not enough to fill that whatever-ineffable-thing-is-scientists-still-haven't-completely-nailed-but-might-be-smell.”
No wonder we sometimes feel ‘empty,’ or like we haven’t really said anything after online conversations. Our brain is processing the interaction differently than a face to face human interaction and it knows that something important and real is missing. That “empty” feeling can leave us feeling depressed or lonely very quickly, especially if it happens over and over again. Think about the last really good face to face conversation you had with someone and how you felt afterward. Have you ever felt that way after an online exchange?
Youth are especially vulnerable to this kind of technologically induced loneliness because in their stage of development they are naturally experiencing more loneliness as part of their separation from parents and formation of their own identity and independence. During adolescence friendships are of primary importance and can change quickly, often contributing to the roller coaster of emotions that teens may feel. When those friends and social networks do not respond to the variety of messages sent, the sense of loneliness may increase despite the number of myspace friends or online communities one is a part of.
The obvious solution seems to be to encourage more face to face communication and interaction. Yet, how often are some friends available at the same times? Work schedules, school, sports, family responsibilities, and lack of transportation can make those human interactions impossible on a regular basis. So, while technology can make it easier to stay in touch, the interactions are often much less fulfilling.
As Christians we are called to be in community, and we are called to share the Gospel message with others. While technology can certainly help us reach people and get information out, it is our human and holy conversations that bring us into the full connection with one another and with God. Sending a prayer to a friend via IM or text is a wonderful way to use technology. Being with that friend to pray is God-filled moment. Sharing your faith or personal testimony through a blog is a great way to evangelize and bring people to Christ. Personally helping someone connect their story to God’s story and walking with that person on the Christian journey is what being a disciple is all about. Our human interactions may be more difficult, more painful, more messy and more confusing, but they are also that much more rich, joyous and fulfilling. And a human hug is so much more fulfilling than touching a flat screen!

An Important Question...Let's Go One Step Further

In her article yesterday in the Washington Post, Dale Hansen Bourke wrote, "When I interviewed people of faith for a book I was writing on poverty, most agreed that poverty was a faith issue, but few could name specific ways their own faith community engaged with the poor, except in foreign missions." (Full article)

Poverty emerges as an important issue for me as well on the faith and political fronts. As I have traveled the country and the world leading mission experiences for young adults, and more recently as I have taken a very personal role in helping a homeless woman in my area, I have come to understand that mission is not about helping people "somewhere else." While it is crucial to be in mission in places far distant from one's own zip code, it is just as crucial to be in mission in our own neighborhoods. It is no surprise to me that many people of faith have no personal experience with helping those poor in assets and in spirit right in their midst.

Book after book about church rejuvenation reflects the notion that many houses of faith are very good at 17th and 18th century forms of worship and are stuck into the 1950's and 1960's notions of mission and poverty.

As church leaders (speaking as one of them) we have been fearful to change "traditional ways" thinking that we would lose membership and money. But we've behaved like the Pharisees of Jesus' day in some respects. Rather than reaching the "least, the last and the lost" we either gotten stuck or hidden behind committees and failed to trust God to provide all we needed in order to do what God is calling us to do.

So my questions for you to consider today are these. What is your community of faith doing to engage with the poor in your area? What are you doing to learn about and help the needful people in your neighborhood? What are you doing to see the sacred in all people? What are you doing to help others see the sacred in all people?

May you find joy in the challenge, and may God comfort you as you provide comfort for others!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Now We're Asking the Right Questions

It's not surprising this article from the Washington Post jumped out at me today. Finally, someone is looking beyond the surface of poverty in America, and asking new questions that can spark new answers and ideas.

I've now seen, through the eyes of my friend Angel, how poorly the "system" works. It is inane! Angle does not fit the normal "homeless profile" and neither do an increasing number of folks who are not keeping up with the rising costs of living. Gas prices, energy costs, food prices, and health care costs are rising faster than most people's wages. And those of us who have money and are not living at the poverty level are feeling the crunch of our higher electric bills, grocery bills, fuel bills, and higher prices on consumer goods. So if we're complaining about the pinches in our budgets, how do we think those who make much less than we do are surviving? Many folks are working full time, but are still not making ends meet. It is often not because they are over-buying or over-spending their budget. Our money does not go as far in the day to day of living. It is not just about "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" anymore. Many people are, but the straps just don't reach as far now. Working homelessness and poverty are real. So what are you and I willing to do individually to help change it?

The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46 NIV)
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Bible Resources.Org

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Angel in My Life

About a month ago I was being my extroverted self and introduced myself to a woman at church who was wearing a visitor nametag. That was the beginning of an amazing relationship.
For many years God has been working on me, gnawing at me to look homelessness in the face. When I lived in Chicago it seemed like homeless people where everywhere begging for money. I walked past them on Michigan Avenue, drove past them on the Diversy/Kennedy ramp, and helped make a few meals for them at my church's weekly shelter. But God kept challenging me to see things differently and to do something more.
I've been given several opportunities to do more over the years, but have always come up short and found ways to pass on by like the priest and the Levite in Jesus' parable. So that Sunday morning when I introduced myself to Angel and learned that she wasn't just visiting from out of town, but that she was homeless, I decided then and there to stop passing by. After the worship service I enlisted some help and after a small flurry of action I garnered approval for her to stay in an empty home that the church owned, but would soon be renting.
The more time I have spent with Angel, listening to her life stories, helping her through the difficult maze of social services, and waiting with her for a bed in a shelter, the more I have been blessed by her. God is "growing me up" right in front of my own eyes. When I read some of Jesus' parables and the accounts of his healings I am awed, challenged, humbled and even ashamed because I know that I am afraid of doing what Jesus did. I'm afraid of putting myself in harm's way. I'm afraid of interrupting my schedule. I'm afraid of what my family or friends might think. I'm afraid of becoming the "hitching post" for all things "needy." I'm afraid I won't have enough to give. Thank goodness God knows better than I do!
Angel and I have had no reason to trust one another. But we have. She stayed in our home for a week until a bed opened up in a shelter. Now I'm still helping her "navigate the system" along with several other great church folks. But I can't wait to have her in our home again.
This is just the beginning of the story for Angel and me. I have no doubt that God will continue to shape both our lives, giving us many opportunities to minister to one another.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Faith Has No Boundaries

I've just spent the last week as the director of a Christian Sports Camp for Youth. Nestled along the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, West River Camp (United Methodist) played host to several camps all summer long, including our youth sports camp which also hosted over 30 Korean students and counselors. The intercultural exchanges were rich in learning from the volleyball court to the dinner table. As both American and Korean students shared languages, cultures and sports, a great commraderie grew and friendships blossomed. Despite differences in language the youth all found ways to communicate, play together, worship together and become a unique community.
During one of the hottest most uncomfortable weeks of the summer, there were many times when students could have complained or stopped patcipating. Fatigue, the oppressive heat, the language barriers, the cultural differences, the demanding schedule, the change in food; any one of those could have made most of us complain. But even with all those things to deal with, the students chose not to complain, but to perservere.
I believe that we can all choose to see things from a selfish position where we perceive we are being treated unfairly or poorly. Or we can see things as challenging opportunities to grow in our understandings of ourselves and God.
Over and over I was privelaged to witness students seeing one another through God's eyes and seeing that they had far more in common than they had different. They chose to behave out of faith, staying positive and supportive in some of the most difficult situations.
No matter the language, no matter the culture, no matter the gender, we can all see one another as sacred beings uniquely created by God. In so many ways we all learned that we have more in common than we have different. Our faith especially transcends all differences, helping us break down barriers or stereotypes.
Thank God for our Korean friends and thank God for the experiences and memories of an amazing week!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Foolish Words

On the political front this last week Ann Coulter shows what not to say in public. Wishing someone dead is not only mean-spirited, it reveals a foolish and childlike understanding of the world. All too often, that view of the world is destructive. And speaking without understanding the power of words belies the fool.

"Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice. Fools show their anger at once, but the prudent ignore an insult. Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness speaks deceitfully. Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment" (Proverbs 12:15-19).

Even though we all have freedom of speech our words are windows to our souls. Our words convey our wisdom (or lack of it), our sense of self (or lack of it), our love (or lack of it) and so many other things about who we are. Our words can be beautiful or ugly, revealing the beautiful or ugly inside of us. Our words reflect our identity and our values. Fools lash out and attack others, their words "like sword thrusts." Few words are as cutting as saying that you wish someone dead.

Often our character is revealed in what we do not say as well. When faced with such foolish and hurtful words, one option is to walk away remaining silent, or walk away with words of blessing or prayer for the other person. The other option is to address the behavior but not the person. Replying with wisdom means refraining from "giving it back," and focussing instead on the words and feelings.

I pray that as you walk a sacred path each day, that you will seek wisdom, understand the power of your words and what they reveal about you, and that the words you choose will bring healing to a seemingly foolish world.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Doing Sacred Work

I'll be away for the next week in the Adirondacks. I'm leading a youth mission trip and working in the Chestertown area of the park, helping folks rehab their homes a bit and doing what we can in general to help the communities. We'll all be looking for small and big ways to spread acts of random kindness and be Christians disciples in the places we travel and serve.

See you in a week!

Friday, June 15, 2007

So many Candidates, So little Time

It really is time to start paying attention to presidential candidates and their campaigns if you haven't already. Though many will wait until after the primaries to even start looking at a candidate, now is a better time to start reading, watching and listening. The buzz recently has been candidates' marriages. Rudy Giuliani loses in that category. But is a successful marriage a sign of a successful president? Maybe not, but ethics are. So start watching now to see what each candidate's campaign is saying and see if it runs true throughout the campaign. See if the campaigns are positive and encouraging or negative and attacking. Do we really need another president who allows attack ads or tries to get votes using fear? I don't care who you like or dislike in the field of candidates. But I do care that you vote...hopefully making an informed vote. I know you don't feel like you have the time to track all of the one does with so many already in or considering a run. But make it easy on yourself and subscribe to some candidates websites or check out some reputable news organizations that are tracking each candidate. And start watching the debates!

Just for fun, try the website below to see which candidate matches with the issues most important to you!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sacred Voices in Life and Death

I join the thousands of people today who are praying for the Graham family. In life and now facing death both Ruth and Billy Graham have been an inspiration and example of integrity, discipleship and grace. Even in the midst of illness, Billy Graham is able to see the sacredness of life and death as he understands that going home to God is a joyful moment.
See his comments at

In her own right Ruth is an accomplished author whose wisdom, humor and faith have long nurtured her family and her husband's ministry. Please continue to pray for Ruth and the Graham family.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sorry I haven't been posting lately. I've been doing more writing for the UM Publishing house of late. Read my review below of Evan Almighty which comes out nationwide on June 22nd. I was at a screening last week and am anxious to see it again with my family!

Evan Almighty is Mighty Funny

The new movie, Evan Almighty, is completely refreshing for what it lacks – profanity, violence and sexual content. Aside from being funny, it brings to life an image of a God (played by Morgan Freeman) who is loving, purposeful, and playful.
Steve Carrel plays Evan Baxter, a TV anchor turned Congressman who won the seat with his campaign slogan to change the world. So the freshman congressman from Buffalo moves his wife and three sons to a huge new home in a prestigious new development in Virginia, just outside Washington DC. With a little encouragement from his wife Joan (played by Lauren Graham) Evan asks for God’s help in fulfilling his campaign promise as he begins his new job. What Evan does not know is that the new home, the new hummer, the big new office are all part of Congressman Long’s (played by John Goodman) plan to get Evan on board to help pass a new bill that would allow residential development on National Park lands.
Before Evan even has a chance to get settled at home or work, a box of strange tools and a load of gopher wood appear at his door. “Gen 6 14” seems to pop up everywhere Evan looks and soon God also makes an appearance to let Evan in on his plan to build an ark. When Evan protests, “This isn’t part of my plan here!” God just laughs and animals of all kinds begin following Evan two by two.
Confused by his reckless purchase property, the construction of a strange boat and the change in his appearance Evan’s wife finally has enough of his ‘mid-life crisis,’ packs up the boys and leaves. Realizing there is little else he can do, Evan throws himself into building the ark while also learning from God that the small acts of random kindness are just as important as the big ones in changing the world.
This enjoyable family film helps us remember how important the practice of kindness is – even kindness towards those who appear to lack ethics. In the Bible, while talking about loving one’s enemies, Jesus relates the golden rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). But this movie is not just about kindness. It is also about relying on God’s plan to change the world in big and dramatic ways through God’s people.
Go see this film with your family, friends, or youth group. And don’t miss the great lines delivered by Wanda Sykes who plays Rita, and all the animal antics that provide one laugh after another.
Once you’ve seen the film be sure to check out to find out about a great way you and your church can get involved in a “Craig’s list” type of kindness program. Organize your own program or find out how to start by using the resources provided through the website.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Forgive But Not Forget

“Not again,” were the thoughts and whispers uttered by so many on Monday, April 16th after finding out about the rampage shooting at Virginia Tech. A student who was described as “strange,” and a “loner” by roommates carried out his vengeful plan of hate and violence, killing 32 others before turning the gun on himself. By now the story is old news and many have moved on to the next media story. But for 33 families who lost a loved one that day, the Virginia Tech campus, and so many others connected to this tragedy, life has changed. The grieving process has begun, but the questions and pain will remain for many years to come.
While responses have varied, the notion of ‘not again’ speaks to our growing realization that violence on school campuses is not going away. According to the website, “infoplease,” which lists “A Time Line of Recent World Wide School Shootings,” ( over 15 school shootings have occurred within the last two years alone, and 46 since 1996. More than 50 people in the US have been shot and killed in school-related violence in the last two years. As we continue to mourn and process this latest shooting at Virginia Tech, we cannot help asking tough questions of ourselves, our society, our laws and our God.
We question school security policies, gun control, mental health laws, and new measures to protect ourselves and our children wherever we go. Out of our grief, fear, anger and pain, we look for some one or some thing to blame that can be fixed, so that this cannot happen ever again. We want someone else to take responsibility for something that could not be predicted or controlled. And since we cannot punish the shooter, we question God as well, asking how a loving God could let this happen.
Feeling the emotions of grief, sadness, fear, anger, and confusion are normal and good when we express and deal with them in the appropriate ways. All of us get angry at times, but reacting from a place of anger (regardless of what action we take-yelling, hitting, fighting, throwing things) makes us no better than those who would pick up a weapon and do harm.
For Christians the bar of behavior has been raised high. Ephesians 4:26 says, “do not let the sun go down on your anger” and “put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger” (4:31) in order to forgive as Christ has forgiven. We are instructed to deal with our anger swiftly so that it does not “consume” and “devour” us (Hosea 11:6). After the shooting in Pennsylvania last October in an Amish school, the country was shocked by the swiftness of the Amish community’s response of forgiveness for the shooter. Maybe that is exactly the Christian response because it may be the only way to prevent the anger and fear and pain from destroying us too.
The Gospel of John recounts a story about a woman accused of adultery that was brought to the temple by the Pharisees in their attempt to trap Jesus in heresy. They confront Jesus with the woman saying that the Mosaic (or Jewish) law states that punishment for an adulteress is death by stoning. We can imagine the angry, tense scene. But Jesus does not react out of fear or anger. He calmly bends down, writing in the sand, saying only, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
Who among us has never been angry? Never sinned? Who among us can judge one another and God? Jesus’ response in the midst of anger and potential violence is one of compassion and love. Even as he was being crucified on the cross he asked God to forgive his persecutors. While we cannot claim to be Jesus on this earth, we must claim his ways in order to be his disciples. “The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also” (1 John 4:21). That means that if we claim to be Christian, we must also love and forgive those who use violence.
Because children and youth are the targets and victims of school violence we must affirm that their fears and all of their reactions are real and important. Part of our task as adults is to love them and comfort them through their fears, helping them then understand that even though there is no place that will ever be completely safe we cannot live in fear. Living means taking risks and being exposed to bad things. Our only real security rests in God, and our belief that God will be with us, take care of us and love us no matter what. Giving in to fear or refusing to forgive means that we do not yet trust God enough to handle it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Violence at Virginia Tech

Such violent and tragic acts are impossible to understand. And finding anything sacred amid the confusion seems difficult right now.

Yet, consider what our first impulse pray for the students and their families, the faculty, staff and everyone involved. In our prayers we invite God to help us make sense of the incomprehensible and to be with those who grieve. The act of prayer is sacred.

In the coming days as the stories of countless students and families are told, watch for how God has been and is at work. The stories, coincidences, and testimonials are part of the fabric of sacred beliefs.

It is normal to question, "Why would God allow this?" And each of us must seek understanding from our faith traditions. But at some point along the faith journey we must also ask, "Why would we allow this?" The moment we realize and accept that we are all connected as humans beings and we are all of sacred worth to God, is a transformational and holy moment.
That's the first step. I'll write about next steps in a future post.

May you find comfort through prayer this week, and may you dwell in the sacred as you struggle with the secular.



Saturday, April 14, 2007

Not my idea of an Easter Sermon

A friend sent me the article below from the NY Times. My comments follow.

April 7, 2007
Guest Columnist
An Easter Sermon
Jesus knew viral marketing.
In the Gospel of Mark, the disciple John complains that nondisciples are selling bootlegged copies of Jesus' miraculous powers. "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us."
Jesus tells John to quit obsessing about the intellectual property and to focus on getting the brand out. "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me." Jesus adds, "Whoever is not against us is for us."
Fast-forward two millennia. Weeks after 9/11, George Bush says roughly the opposite. His famous "You're either with us or against us" means that those who don't follow his lead will be considered enemies. The rest is history. Today, Jesus has more than a billion devoted followers. Mr. Bush has ... well, fewer than that.
The religious left — yes, there is such a thing — complains that Mr. Bush ignores the Bible's moral injunctions. But leave morality aside. If he could just match the Bible's strategic savvy, that would make a world of difference.
Consider a teaching of Jesus that seems on its surface devoid of strategic import. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Christians often cast this verse as innovative, a sharp break from Jesus' Jewish tradition. But the same idea can be found in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament), and here it is clear that the point of the kindness is to thwart the enemy: "If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat; and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on their heads."
Coals of fire? As the editors of the New Oxford Annotated Bible explain, submitting to this treatment was an Egyptian ritual that "demonstrated contrition." (And how!) "The sense here seems to be that undeserved kindness awakens the remorse and hence conversion of the enemies."
Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. It's unlikely that sending Osama bin Laden a Hallmark card would induce paroxysms of self-doubt. Still, there are other ways that reining in hatred can hurt your enemy's cause.
Suppose, for example, you were nurturing a nascent religious movement in the Roman Empire, and your antagonists welcomed excuses to harass you. Suppose, that is, you were the Apostle Paul. When Paul preaches kindness to enemies, he uses not the formulation found in the Gospels, but the one from the Hebrew Bible, complete with the coals of fire.
Of course, Mr. Bush is more in the shoes of the Roman emperor than of Paul. America isn't a small but growing religious movement. It's a great power threatened by a small but growing religious movement — radical Islam. But the logic can work both ways. Great powers, by mindlessly indulging retributive impulses, can give fuel to small but growing religious movements. If you want to deprive jihadists of ammunition, make it hard for them to persuade others to hate us.
Right after Paul espouses kindness to enemies, he adds: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Sounds like naïve moralizing until you look at those Abu Ghraib photos that have become Al Qaeda recruiting posters.
The key distinction is between man and meme. Yes, a great power can always kill and torment enemies, and, yes, there will always be times when that makes sense. Still, when you're dealing with terrorists, it's their memes — their ideas, their attitudes — that are Public Enemy No. 1. Jihadists are hosts for the virus of hatred, and the object of the game is to keep the virus from finding new hosts.
The Internet is fertile ground for memes, and jihadists are good at getting the brand out. One of the few things Osama bin Laden has in common with the Jesus of the Gospels is belief in the power of viral marketing.
The ultimate in viral marketing was Jesus' ultimate sacrifice. Deemed a threat to the social order, he was crucified under Roman auspices. But the Romans forgot one thing: If you face a small but growing movement that threatens the imperial order, you shouldn't attack the men in ways that help the memes.
Mr. Bush says his favorite philosopher is Jesus. One way to show it would be to spend less time repeat- ing the mistake of the Romans and more time heeding the wisdom of Christ.

Okay, so it's some pretty watered down theology, but the best point of the piece is:
If you want to deprive jihadists of ammunition, make it hard for them to persuade others to hate us.

Bush did not create the climate of hatred toward Americans…we all did that all by ourselves in the last 200 years. Certainly, the President has done nothing to help our image, and has done much to promulgate the stereotypes.
And for a country that takes such pride in free, democratic elections we seem to have a disconnect between that ideal and the reality that money and political connections drive campaigns and candidates. Don't forget that Bush was elected (not once but twice) in our system of elections. "We the people" put him into power (even though we may argue that point, that is how others see us).

And really, if you are going to quote Scriptures about kindness and love for enemies, then isn't that article the wrong approach/attitude to take with regard to Bush? Does "practice what you preach" sound familiar?
Hopefully I'm not the only one who sees some hypocrisy there.

Rather than bashing Bush for not being more like Jesus, how about being Jesus-like to Bush? It starts with each of us in our own hearts and homes. Attacking the other guy for "attacking the other guy" makes no sense even though it is popular. We would all do better to live by Jesus teachings, especially about pointing out the speck in someone else's eye while ignoring the log in our own. Why not begin a campaign of prayer for Bush? Or a call to accountability through support, solutions, and modeling the Judeo-Christian values that we are so quick to spout about (but have a hard time living)?