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My Take: Stop supporting buffoonery in the pulpit
February 27th, 2012
12:52 PM ET

My Take: Stop supporting buffoonery in the pulpit

Editor’s Note: Rev. DeForest "Buster" Soaries is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey. He is a former Secretary of State of New Jersey.

By Rev. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Special to CNN

(CNN) – When I was a child, if a crime were committed, my grandmother would say, “I hope he wasn’t colored.” Her concern was that all African-Americans suffered whenever one of us was caught doing something wrong. In those days black people raised their children to abstain from behavior that would give credence to the stereotypes that society had used to characterize us and justify the injustices heaped upon us. And most of us embraced that ethic.

Read the full op-ed at CNN's In America Blog
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Houses of worship

soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Maura

    Hi!there!OMG!this is super two of my fave Favs are here!..no doubts dliorong..at the sight of Rob..lol!!Rob looking even hotter without his suit jacket on..with that beautiful smile,Rob looks like a kid on Christmas morning!..hugs to u favs:)

    June 29, 2012 at 6:17 am |
  2. DoNotWorry

    None of you know anything about God or the Universe. Not one human being on this planet knows anything. Everyone has made up a story, then starts defending to the death what they know is a STORY. My story is: I live in an awesome Universe. I am part of the awesome Universe. Good luck to all.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  3. AGuest9

    Stop supporting buffoonery in the legislature, as well.

    February 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  4. The Central Scrutinizer

    God's Child, the only thing I agree with is that you are ent.i.tled to your opinion. And I notice the more you talk in response to the responses to your posts, you reveal how little you know about the sciences and the universe, which is a shame because reality is far more interesting than fiction.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  5. God's Child

    @ The Central Scrutinizer: I don't blame you for how you feel. In fact, I applaud your bravery in speaking your mind. Everyone is entiltled to their own opinion. Here a little "parable" that my father told me one day. Not meant to change your mind or even really explain the events of the world, but it's just a great story.
    A man was at a barber shop getting his hair cut. He sat in the barber's chair and began reading his bible as the
    barber worked. The barber looks down and says, "Why are you reading the bible?" The man responds, "Because
    this is the word of God, by which we are all bound." The barber responds, "I don't believe in God." "Why not," the
    man asks. "Because," the baber begins to explain, "what kind of God would allow this world to get so bad? Look at
    all the disease, death and destruction in this world. We have two wars, and horrible global economy, dictators killing
    their own people. Why would God cause all of this to happen?" "Hmm..." the man responds and nods his head, "you
    make some good points." After his hair cut, the man leaves the barber shop. He sees a man standing on the corner
    with an iPod listening to music. The man had long uncombed hair, and a long scruffy beard, reminiscent of ZZ Top.
    He asks the man, "Could I borrow you for a second?" The man returns to the barber shop with the gentlemen in tow
    and tells the barber, "You see this guy? I don't believe barbers exist." "What are you talking about," the barber
    responds angrily. "Well," the man says, "look at this guy's hair and beard. Look how long and unkept it looks. What
    kind of a barber would allow this to happen?" The barber laughs and says, "Well that's because he hasn't come to
    me yet." The man just grins and says, "Exactly."
    You see we Christians believe in good and evil. And although no evil is stronger than the will of God, He allows the enemy to work in this world as a test of our failth. Hitler was known as a passionate, persuasive speaker. Had he found God, and accepted Jesus as the one and only savior, he may have been able to use those God ordained gifts for the purposes of furthering God's kingdom. Instead he chose to be persuaded himself by the temptaions of sin, and was used as a very powerful tool by the father of lies. God HAS chosen my path for me, he HAS written my story. But if God is so powerful to create my story before I was born, why wouldn't he have the power to change it as it goes along? Although my path was chosen, it's up to me to walk that path, the path of righteousness. The destination may still be the same, however, God says, you can chose the smooth path and do it the right way, or chose the crooked path. God sent his Son Jesus to make the crooked path straight again. Meaning, that although I may take the crooked path, I have a way of getting back on the path God created for me, through his only begotten. We all have choices, and all we can hope for is that we make the right ones. If I were striken with cancer, I would pray for peace, not healing. The Lord will heal me through my acts of faith, or he may choose to call me home because my death may serve a greater purpose to those whom I may have touched in my life. Through my faith, all the way through my time of death, it may lead others to Christ and further God's kingdom. What it comes down to is this. You can believe what you choose to believe, and I can believe what I choose to believe. We all have that fundamental right as humans. And neither one of us has the right to tell the other, "Your WRONG!" All I can do as a child of Christ is offer up an alternative to your belief system. Through the saving graces of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ and the word of God. And it's up to you to accept or reject that alternative way of thinking. But at the end of times, whether that be your own time, or the end of the world, we will see whose choice was wrong, and whose choice was righteous. Whether you want me to or not, I will pray for you, brother. Because that's what the Lord would have ME do.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • chief

      and he took cords and made a whip of them and drove the moneychangers out of the temple......... im not buying your happy shiney garbage.....

      February 28, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • momoya

      If god created visible universes as often as barbers cut hair, there'd be no atheists. "Barber-ness" can be proved; god cannot. Are you claiming that all the various religions with conflicting beliefs are accurate representations of god because people can also get different haircuts?

      February 28, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • God's Child

      @ Chief: If someone came into YOUR house with ill intent, wouldn't you use whatever means necessary to drive them out and protect what's yours? And by the way, who are you to call my beliefs garbage? Did I call your athiest beliefs garbage? No, in fact I said I respect your beliefs, because they're your beliefs. I may not agree with them, but I was at least respectful of them.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • God's Child

      @ momoya: There's only one universe, and I believe God created that universe. And God created barbers to serve their purpose in life. You don't have to cut your hair if you don't want, just like you don't have to believe what I believe. You can believe what you choose to believe. And I will still respect you for having your own beliefs. We ALL believe in something. Whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddist, Athiest... we all have a fundamental belief system. That this world and everything in it was created, some how, some way. I choose to believe that the Author of All, God the father, created the known universe and everything in it in six days, and rested on the seventh. And that he sent his son Jesus to atone for our sins. In my humble opinion, there's only one true representation of God, and it is all explained through his word in the bible. Am I forcing you to believe my way of thinking? No. All I'm simply stating is, at the end of our journey in life, whether if come naturally, forcefully, or spiritually, we will see whose belief system was right.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • chief

      re godschild.... im not an athiest, but you called me one.... i didnt call your beliefs garbage... i know hebrew and greek and can translate in both.... i called your perspective garbage... all that flowery crap is just a component of the bigger picture..... why could an atheist quote the passage about Jesus driving the moneychangers out? or in regard to telling someone they are wrong or offending them...... what did is mean when Paul said " i am speaking the truth in love".... he was telling them they had to hear him and they werent liking it..... so speaking the truth in love, i get sick of all the lovey dovey God is good talk....

      February 28, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Loved the barber story. Thanks for sharing.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • bigot

      "there's only one universe, and I believe God created that universe."

      Again, how do you KNOW with absolute certainty that any of your claims are true? You may speculate, but there is no way you KNOW without a doubt anything you ramble about the universe or god.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • momoya

      @God's Child

      You're missing my point, God's Child. Barbers can be observed barbering. God cannot be observed creating universes. Because there is only one visible universe, and because that universe does not demonstrate a particular type of creator (see the countless creation myths across history and geography) there is no compulsion to believe in a god.

      You state facts correctly when you say your belief is "your humble opinion." It can't be anything more than opinion, because that's all faith is: Opinion. Math isn't opinion. Chemistry isn't opinion. These two have fundamental rules that can be tested and results that cannot be denied by disbelief. God CAN be denied by disbelief because there's no universal mandate to believe in any particular way about any particular deity proposed.

      Your argument about "see[ing] whose belief system was right" is exactly what those of other religions say (that believe in final judgment/afterlife/etc). However, if you consider that when your brain stops functioning, your thought life ceases to exist, then there will be no way to know that you were wrong about your god belief. If you are correct, that some god is the ultimate judge, than you might find out that one of the other religions were correct. Perhaps then you will wonder why "the true god" did not predestinate you be born in the society and time period when that god was most worshiped.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • MarkinFL

      If that little parable above speaks to you then I understand why you believe in your religion. The comparison is inane at best.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • God's Child

      @ chief: " i didnt call your beliefs garbage... i called your perspective garbage" Aren't my perspectives what I believe or how I see things? So yes, you are still calling my beliefs garbage. You're confusing me, you're not an atheist, but you get sick of "lovey dovey God is good talk." Doesn't that make you a person who doesn't believe in God, hence, an atheist? And why IS an atheist quoting the bilble anyway? That's rhetorical by the way. Speaking the truth in love means telling others how you feel in humility, respect, and reverence. Don't try to force people to think how you think, however speak your feelings with good intentions, and let others decide for themselves how THEY feel about it.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • chief

      re godschild.... here is my point.... you ever read job? or job 21? the the psalms? they are the poetic stomach turning adorations.... ( some are ) ... they are harsh, life is hard, selling your concept of all is good is delusional and a detriment to the cause of Christ.... if you preach happy shiney happy thoughts to people as "Christian" .... when things arent on the yellow brick road, people tend to think they arent Christian enough or other things and they become discouraged...... all you are doing by going on and on is making yourself feel good ....... that condescending nonsence about "we will see who is right" makes me sick,..... but i guess it shouldnt if i am right like you......

      February 28, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • chief

      re: godschild.... BTW perspectives arent beliefs..... i believe that you mean well and i agree with the subject matter you talk about..... my perspective is that you are delusional in daily living and you use God as a crutch or excuse when things aren't going well.....

      February 28, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • JohnR

      I don't go the barbers, but I know they exist. Just like ministers exist. We who don't go to church are well aware of their sporry presence. None of this has anything to do with whether any god exists. Your parable is idiotic. You should be ashamed as a rational adult for buying into such obvious nonsense.

      February 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • God's Child

      @ JohnR: Why so angry? Wow, that was harsh. I never told anyone of you responding to my post to believe the way I do. I just wanted to share a funny parable, a sort of "Ah Ha" moment. Like the man at the barber shop at the end of "Coming to America." I was just trying to make everyone think, not to believe the way I do. There's no need for anyone to get offended or upset by what I posted. And there's no need for blatent disrespect of other's belief systems. Whether or not you believe in God, does that give you the right to be disrespectful and call my story idiotic? I would NEVER be ashamed of loving God and believing that he is my savior. Not to mention, if I'm not mistaken, this story was posted in the Belief Blog, wasn't it?

      @ chief: If you blew out your knee today, wouldn't you use a crutch to help support you until you get strong enough to walk on your own again? Yes, God is my crutch, He is my rock, He is my fortress. He strengthens me when I feel week, disciplines me when I disobey, and teaches me through my failings. He picks me up when I fall, and when I feel discouraged, He lifts my head up and pushes me forward. Like a true loving father. And He accomplishes all of that through His word combined with my faith in that word. That's what I believe. You call that delusional, I call that God's love.

      February 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • God's Child

      If you've never tried an avocado before, is it right to say that you don't like it? I did this up until recently. All my life I have hated avocado. Until my wife asked me if I've ever tried it. I realized I hadn't, and whe she gave me some, I actually liked it. I didn't eat it all at once, I sort of eased into it, and I still am. The same is true of God. Can you really say God is not real and He can't work in your life if you've never given him a chance to work in your life? People are telling me I'm delusional for believing that God can intervene in my life, and yet I haven't called any one of you delusional for having your beliefs. All I as is, have you ever tried to let Him intervene in your life? And if you have and it didn't work for you, did you truly believe and have faith in the power of His word? The bible says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8) I've been on the non-believing side. I've indulged in sin, and it almost ended up destroying my entire life. But when I turned my life over to Christ, that all changed for me. It was a hard lesson to learn, and He punished me for my mistakes. But along with His wrath, I have also experienced first hand His mercy and goodness. He has been hard at work in my family, in my marriage, and in my work. He has blessed me abundantly. And in return, I give him my life and my obidence. My life for His blessings. To me, that's an even exchange. I truly wish all of you the best in life, whatever you may believe. This has been a fun discussion.

      .

      February 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • momoya

      @ God's child

      You've tried Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and all the other religions, then? You can't know if they're the right religion or "good" if you don't try them. Your words.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • toxictown

      Cool barber story Bro!

      February 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • JohnR

      Quit the passive-aggressive BS, GC. I'm not angry. I'm disgusted that a supposedly rational adult would tell such an inane tale in the hopes of making some point. It is simply profoundly disappointing that mental pigs like you insist not just on wallowing on such intellectual slop, but sharing it with others. And you are SUCH a liar when you write: "Not meant to change your mind or even really explain the events of the world, but it's just a great story." I hate liars.

      February 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • God's Child

      @ momoya: Actually I have studied the teachings of Islam, Buddism and Hinduism and what they all represent. It wasn't for me, so to answer your question, yes.

      @ toxictown: Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

      @ JohnR: To paraphrase a teaching I once heard, if I told you that everyone in the world was subject to the law of gravity, you now have the choice to reject what I say and jump off a cliff to prove me wrong, or you can live your life subject to that and take caution around cliffs or other falling hazards. In the same respect if I told you that everyone is subject to the word of God, that God hates sin and has to punish it, but that he also send his only Son to atone for our sins, and that he crucified, died, and resurrected on the third day, you now have the choice to reject what I say and continue to live your life the way you do, or you can choose to accept that truth and let it change you. But that's your responsiblity. There's no need to bash me for what I believe or call me a "mental pig" and a "liar". The sad thing is I never once disparaged you for what you believe, but you choose otherwise with what I believe. Can't we have an intellectual debate without resorting to bashing each other? Is that really necessary in order for you to get your point across?

      February 29, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • momoya

      @God's Child

      Oh, ok. When you said "try" you meant "study about." I studied the bible intensely for almost 50 years; it is a collection of old myths that nobody should take seriously.
      .
      .
      .
      .
      I think you missed my other post, so here it is again:
      .
      You're missing my point, God's Child. Barbers can be observed barbering. God cannot be observed creating universes. Because there is only one visible universe, and because that universe does not demonstrate a particular type of creator (see the countless creation myths across history and geography) there is no compulsion to believe in a god.

      You state facts correctly when you say your belief is "your humble opinion." It can't be anything more than opinion, because that's all faith is: Opinion. Math isn't opinion. Chemistry isn't opinion. These two have fundamental rules that can be tested and results that cannot be denied by disbelief. God CAN be denied by disbelief because there's no universal mandate to believe in any particular way about any particular deity proposed.

      Your argument about "see[ing] whose belief system was right" is exactly what those of other religions say (that believe in final judgment/afterlife/etc). However, if you consider that when your brain stops functioning, your thought life ceases to exist, then there will be no way to know that you were wrong about your god belief. If you are correct, that some god is the ultimate judge, than you might find out that one of the other religions were correct. Perhaps then you will wonder why "the true god" did not predestinate you be born in the society and time period when that god was most worshiped.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  6. P

    There's only one paragraph. Where's the rest of the article???

    February 28, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • MarkinFL

      You just have to take it on faith....

      February 28, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Awesome

      I thought that too. This is only click bate material.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:41 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.