Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Probably not just in Dallas...

A Letter to the Editor of the Dallas Morning News:

I read with interest Mr. Park’s article that appeared as the central story on the front page of the Dallas Morning News, Sunday morning, July 24th. I’m not sure just how to react.

If the intent was to celebrate the fact that a huge Dallas congregation owes its success to intolerance of those who are unlike them or see the world differently, I am appalled, frustrated and more than a little upset. If the intent is one of irony – an illustration of cause and effect of such judgments when literally placed side by side another article about the results of such a world view – I am more sympathetic.

But I also fear, if irony is the intent, most people didn’t and won’t get it.

The tragedies experienced by the nation of Norway were prompted by the right-wing Christian fundamentalism of one man. His anti-Muslim, as is all hatred and fear of those who are different, is not genetic but comes as the result of the rhetoric and actions of those perpetrating those emotions i.e. the message of the Rev. Robert Jeffress and others. Mr. Jeffress’ theological understandings are certainly not those of all, hopefully not of a majority, of those who follow the teaching of Christ.

So much for my being appalled and upset. My frustration rests in the fact that the congregation I serve spent over 18 months creating a “Perspective Against Religious Intolerance” that appeals to believers to stop using religion as a weapon against others. For too long scripture has been abused in supporting positions of bigotry, hate, fear against people of color, other religions, non-hetrosexual orientations, immigrants and women. ENOUGH.

Our perspective was sent to all area newspapers hoping for a little exposure to the options available to those who are seeking a loving faith journey. Little is what we got. Let’s see other religious viewpoints as central articles on the front page of the Dallas Morning News! Please.

Rev. Terry L. Zimmerman
Pastor, Midway Hills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Dallas, TX


  1. Thank you thank you thank you! I join you and Claremont College of Theology in recommending that we embrace one another's faith journeys and learn from and celebrate one another. Rev. Jeffries intolerance and unwelcoming exclusivity is not the way I believe. That you are affirming and inclusive - my kinda people.

  2. Mr. Zimmerman, excuse me for saying that I think that you sound a little jealous. Jeffers preaches the knowledge in the Bible to those who want to worship God and believe Jesus died for our sins. Jeffers is making it as clear that if you live a life that is full of sin without redemption then you can not offer God what is unholy. Christian churches usually try to avoid popularity contests,

  3. It seems to always boil down to this main thing in Christian circles : what is your theology regarding the scriptures as the rule of faith and practice ? Seems to me that all sides should give the other room to express honest belief based upon their answer to this question. If "tolerance" is to be a valid perspective it has to cut all ways within the the larger Christian community. Otherwise it is simply another hypocrisy to add to the list.

  4. Tolerance is not a spiritual gift; it is the distinguishing mark of postmodernism; and sadly, it has permeated the very fiber of Christianity. Why is it that those who have no biblical convictions or theology to govern and direct their actions are tolerated and the standard or truth of God's Word rightly divided and applied is dismissed as extreme opinion or legalism?
    - John Stott (1921-2011)