This is Viewpoints for Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014 

‘Radical grace’

Dr. Kirby Godsey’s essay of June 1 expresses precisely the sort of lofty rhetoric and soaring prose one would expect from the chancellor of such an esteemed Baptist institution as Mercer University.

The title says it all: The grace afforded by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, poured out on the cross for the remission of our sins, will indeed conquer “bigotry, prejudice, fear and hatred.” Not to mention pride, the original sin of putting ourselves, or any other created thing, before the will of God.

Godsey’s assertions are suitably vague enough to appeal to most everyone. “Religion,” like people, has its good and bad -- its upside and downside. The tricky part, it seems to me, comes in defining the difference between the two. Opinions vary.

A standard would be useful in measuring them in absolute terms, just as a yardstick is useful in measuring the length of a board. It takes out the guesswork. But then, which standard to use? There are so many to choose from.

I concur with Godsey in choosing the “radical grace that Jesus embodied.” That is because he is the “word” of God made flesh. He embodies the truth, in all of its fullness. And that truth has to be the standard, else we fall into the errors alluded to by Godsey. Including this popular misconception, which he almost seems to express:

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” -- H. Richard Niebuhr

-- W. Wade Stooksberry II

Macon

Transparency

For many years I have devoted my life to serving my beloved Macon-Bibb community. In the effort to be transparent, I want to let people know that my wife and I are dealing with a homeowner association issue with some new property that she recently purchased and that we are working to resolve. If you plan to move in a HOA neighborhood please make sure you receive and read all of its requirements well in advance. It will save you a headache. We will keep you posted. I will also be glad to add you to my calling post update list. Please send a request to 478-803-0369 or email me at mbctillman@maconbibb.us.

-- Al Tillman

Macon

A fair trade?

Obama decides to contravene longstanding U.S. policy to not negotiate with terrorists. So, he plays “Let’s Make a Deal” with terrorists. Guess what? Another colossal mistake. Our dear leader manages to trade five killer Taliban commanders safely ensconced at Guantanamo for one disillusioned deserter who walked off his post in Paktia on purpose five years ago. Wonder who got the best deal?

Taliban leaders are ecstatic over the release of the five top jihadis and are claiming this technique is how they will gain release of all Guantanamo prisoners soon.

As for our side, the deal is so bad that soldiers in Bergdahl’s squad were forced to sign nondisclosure agreements to keep them from exposing how he came up missing. This is the same Sgt. Bergdahl who famously proclaimed “I am ashamed to be an American,” and “the horror that is America is disgusting,” days before he wandered out of camp. Our forces lost six brave, loyal soldiers trying to find Bergdahl during his Taliban captivity, AWOL or not. So Obama releases five stone-cold killers dedicated to our complete destruction and gets one jihadi sympathizer in return. The only continuity in the Obama regime is supreme incompetence for all participants.

-- John Brogden

Warner Robins

Marketplace fairness?

I read with some amusement the recent letter from William Baker in support of the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act. Baker fails to note that if this misguided bill -- which passed the Senate over principled bipartisan opposition -- were to become law, the consequences for small online retailers would be catastrophic. Many of these retailers are small “mom and pop” operations, based in basements or garages in Georgia and across the country.

These businesses would now be required to comply with the laws of almost 10,000 taxing jurisdictions across the country and could be threatened with audits from them as well, despite having no presence whatsoever in those communities.

For Baker, the general manager of a local mall, to make this argument is especially disingenuous. What would he say if the clerks in every one of his mall’s stores were required to ask customers where they lived and collect and remit the appropriate sales taxes for that jurisdiction? No doubt it’d be a logistical nightmare!

Baker is right that Congress should act to ensure a level playing field for 21st century commerce, one which would ensure that small, nimble online retailers -- the embodiment of the 21st century economy -- are on an equal footing with such 20th century throwbacks as shopping malls.

-- Phil Bond

executive director, WE R HERE Coalition

Alexandria, Va.

Good old days

In the ‘50s, it was unlawful for women to wear shorts on the streets in one south Georgia city. This is unbelievable for some, but many of us have seen this change. In the ‘50s women wore dresses well below their knees. Then, in the ‘60s, dresses went far above the knees, with the miniskirt. What happened?

One thing that happened was the music. Music changed from clean, easy listening to rock ‘n’ roll. And the dances changed from formal to vulgar. Television came on the scene in the ‘50s with wholesome family programs and changed to degraded and sexual in the ‘60s.

All these things affected the family, especially the television, which did more damage to the family than anything. In the ‘50s, most families had a mama and daddy.

But in the ‘60s, divorces increased and families broke up. Thus began the rise of the single-parent family.

Some of the evils pervading our nation would be unheard of back then. One preacher put it this way: Have we become more enlightened today to accept certain evils into our society and church?

If not then, we are becoming like the world and culture around us. And if the church is becoming like the world around it, how can it expect to keep from preaching a watered-down gospel and contend with ever-present forces of evil?

-- Dwight Poole

Hawkinsville

Prayer for Today

Dear God, you would think you would always have family and friends for you when you need support. Father, I know that family and friends are not happy when I am happy. They seem to be happier when I am down and out, not knowing which way to turn. Help me, Father, even then to keep a song in my heart and a prayer in my spirit so I can keep moving in the name of Jesus. Amen.

-- Bessie R. Brown

Manassas, Va.

Readers -- ministers, rabbis, priests and laypersons alike are invited to contribute prayers to this weekly feature. Mail them to “Prayer,” The Telegraph, P.O. Box 4167, Macon, GA 31213; or fax to (478) 744-4385; or e-mail letters@macon.com.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service