My good friend Dr. David Crosby is celebrating 20 years as pastor of the First Baptist Church of New Orleans. Today, June 5, the church devoted the morning service to this, followed by a luncheon and a program consisting of a “roast,” with 6 speakers, of whom I was one.
What follows is my roast, with an explanation or two in italics along the way, followed by my “toast.”
“I’m honored today to stand before you to say a few words about a great American, a man beloved in New Orleans and elsewhere. A man of great popularity who is held in high esteem. He is a success any way you cut it. A man of movie star looks, with a beautiful wife.
“But–enough about Donald Trump. Let’s talk about David Crosby.
“David, you and I were both born on March 28. Thirteen years apart. No one looking at you today would ever believe you are that many years older than me. Janet is clearly taking good care of you.”
“In June of 1996, when you first arrived in New Orleans, I was pastoring the First Baptist Church of Kenner, and had just had surgery. Since the doctor ordered me to rest up for three weeks, I was able to hear your first three sermons–the first two on live TV and the third in person. I will never forget the subjects of your sermons.”
“Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod in 1749. Yet because of opposition from local clergymen–man should not dare ‘avert the stroke of heaven’–the lighthouse did not receive protection from God’s thunderbolts for more than two decades.” –The New York Review, May 26, 2016
Imagine the thinking of some people: We shouldn’t protect ourselves from lightning, lest we interfere with God’s judgment.
Abandoning their responsibility, criticizing those trying to help, and blaming their warped thinking on God.
“This is how God set things up.”
Interesting theology, I think we can agree.
If we carried that reasoning to its natural lengths, no one should wear seat belts or repair the brakes on cars just in case the Father in Heaven had planned to kill us that morning.
God should always be given a free hand in these things.
According to the authorities, the San Andreas Fault, that break in the earth’s crust running up and down California, is overdue for delivering the mother of all earthquakes. One expert said, “The San Andreas is 10 months pregnant.”
When that happens, as we are assured it will, two things will follow: devastation on a massive scale and lazy theologians blaming it all on God.
“Why did God allow this to happen?”