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November 2, 2004
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Man Tests Faith With Lions

In a modern-day test of faith AP tells us that a Taiwanese believer known only as Chen decided to tempt a lion in the city zoo with a small human sacrifice – himself.  I suppose it wouldn’t demonstrate quite the same level of commitment if he had put somebody else up to it.  So we have to give this guy credit for strict adherence to principle, if not for fully comprehending the spiritual meaning of faith.  You see, God prefers that we not choose to challenge him unilaterally.  He’d rather set the terms and conditions for our tests of faith.  Christians in ancient Rome being thrown to the lions in retribution for their stubbornness comes to mind.  Attempted suicide doesn’t.
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After hopping into the proverbial lion’s den and beckoning the felines, Chen stood calmly while they pawed at him to test for tenderness, all the while stoically professing confidence that “Jesus will save you.”  I think he got a couple of things wrong here.  First, it wouldn’t exactly be “you” that would be in need of salvation at this particular moment – it would be “me” (i.e., him).  The lions don’t need any help to take down one guy and make a meal of him.  That guy definitely needs all the help he can get persuading the hungry beasts to act against their natures and pass on the tasty morsel.  Second, he’s showing that he skipped a few Sunday School classes with his profoundly dim understanding of our mortal ability to summon up the Lord’s will.  Fact is, Jesus will save us when he chooses to and only subject to the grace of God and our own acceptance of Him as our redeemer.  Jumping into a pit of lions takes nuts, but not necessarily grace or deep faith in Christ as our savior.

In something of a letdown for the bloodthirsty crowd, the lions appeared to back off after just a few bites at Mr. Chen.  Maybe he didn’t taste good raw.  Or maybe it was the firehoses that the zoo folks brought in to break up the party.  Once he’d been hosed down, Chen climbed out of the cage on his own power and was taken to the local hospital for unspecified tests.  One of the doctors who treated him summed up the incident this way:  . "He took this dangerous action today because he imagined he heard voices."

Seems Mr. Chen has something in common with our once and future President.  Unlike our fearless leader, however, Chen didn’t allow the voices to drive him to invade a sovereign country.  I guess we can’t all have as clear a channel to the Lord as Mr. Chen, and the signal quality seems to be inversely correlated with the power wielded by the receiver.

What can we do to eliminate some of the noise from our Commander in Chief's channel?  How about we take a page from Chen's book and introduce him to some tests of faith.  Here are some good ones:
Stake Burning - There's no need to go clear back to the Romans to find good ways to test faith - there are plenty in the last millenium.  There's nothing  like a roaring bonfire with your name on it to cause you to quickly establish a deeper, more reliable, bond with the Almighty.  Lots of innocent women in Massachusetts strengthened their spiritual lives this way.  So why not strap the POTUS to a stake and light him up?  According to Mr. Chen's logic he should survive intact and with a stronger connection to the divine.  Of course, Mr. Chen might be wrong.  Isn't it pretty to think so.
Inauguration Day