Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shawn Boonstra, lies about the Tea Party

The Adventist Review has a recent article entitled Would Jesus Be in Zuccotti Park? By Shawn Boonstra. In his second paragraph he writes:
Would He?  Conservative evangelicals would likely disagree, preferring instead to see Jesus on the other side of American dissatisfaction, attending Tea Party rallies and helping push America back to its religious roots.  Of course, no self-respecting liberal would agree: Jesus, they would emphasize, is clearly about social justice and toppling corporate greed.”
Now I am not going to accuse Boonstra of being a deep thinker, he is not after all his answer to his question is:
Where would we find Jesus in the heart of the world’s current mess?  At rallies and protests?  His current occupation provides the answer: He’s chosen to stand in heaven’s sanctuary, devoting His full attention to the same underlying problem He focused on during His earthly ministry: sinners in desperate need of reconciliation to God.”

So he has limited thinking ability that he must apply to Jesus Christ who is God a physical location, the heavenly sanctuary. As if God has a building in heaven that was the model for earthly buildings rather then a God who deals with reality and trying to express reality in earthly terms. Even Adventists realize much of the furnishings of the temple can have symbolic meaning and can connect them as symbols of Christ, so why have a whole building of symbolism where Christ can minister to symbols. It is foolish but it is traditional Adventism.

But what bothers me more than his traditionalism is his lack of discernment. Take for instance the statement that the Tea Party rallies are helping push America back to its religious roots. Is that what the Tea Party is about? If so you sure don't find it in their online material. For instance:
The Tea Party movement is a grassroots movement of millions of like-minded Americans from all backgrounds and political parties. Tea Party members share similar core principles supporting the United States Constitution as the Founders intended, such as:
•  Limited federal government
•  Individual freedoms
•  Personal responsibility
•  Free markets
•  Returning political power to the states and the people
As a movement, The Tea Party is not a political party nor is looking to form a third political party any time soon. The Tea Party movement, is instead, about reforming all political parties and government so that the core principles of our Founding Fathers become, once again, the foundation upon which America stands.”
Newt Gingrich one of the candidates running for the Republican nomination for President has a Contract from America which lists several points, but not one about pushing America back to its religious roots. His points are:
1. Protect the Constitution
2. Reject Cap & Trade
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
6. End Runaway Government Spending
7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
9. Stop the Pork
10. Stop the Tax Hikes
How does someone who begin with such fallacious understanding of current events think they can give us any beneficial information. If your argument begins by misrepresenting people or groups it has a faulty foundation and all arguments built upon it will fall. As Boonstra next line shows:
But students of the Bible ought to ask themselves if Jesus can safely be co-opted by either movement.”
You see his false premise is growing, building more errors upon his original error (is the Tea Party co-opting Jesus). We could argue his errors of no self-respecting liberal would agree it is about social justice and toppling corporate greed. That might be true of Jim Wallis and his ilk, but there are many at the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests that are protesting such things as Jewish Bankers, that Jews must leave this country. Others that are saying destroy capitalism and start a revolution that creates a new country under communist philosophy. Antisemitism and communism are just two of the ideas we hear from various OWS protesters. So it is any wonder they would disagree with the fictitious Tea Party return to religious roots. I would guess they also disagree with the propagation of flying elephants. It says nothing to say someone disagrees with something that is not even being talked about.

Lying about people and organizations is used when the facts don't fit well with someone's own opinions and speculations. Adventism has a high degree of speculation about what the future holds. That speculation is often considered inspired. The speculation has never proved correct in their areas of prophetic prognostication but that seems to not stop them from pretending that their speculations are true. So when the facts don't line up with the reality, tell another lie.

Better yet tell it in the official church publication. If our church leaders cannot be trusted to be accurate in the small things, why trust them with the more important things such as our spiritual lives and our doctrines.

Perhaps it is time we occupy our churches and remove these thoughtless leaders. That might be something the OWS supporters and the Tea Party supporters could agree on.


Anonymous said...

I find your your use of the word "lie" to be offensive and ironic. Your accusations have just as much grounds for verification as your accusations against Boonstra.

You could say Boonstra was "mistaken", "misguided", "wrong", "ill informed", etc. BUT NO - you have decided that he "lied".

Why? Because it fits your biases and prejudices against mainstream Adventism. So often, I appreciate your insights but when you literally mimic the behavior that you so often rail against???? Making a statement with no facts to back it.

This was such a obvious attempt to project your preconceived animosity toward those in the Adventist church that you view as the enemy. You can do better than this type of blogging.

I also wonder about the tone. You better hope that Shawn Boonstra is not God's man.

Ron Corson said...

I used "lie" because it has a particular meaning. the definition is: lie

1.a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
2.something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: inaccurate or false statement.

I don't believe the use was a mistake, he knew and designed his article to build upon the intentional untruths. I provided actual information about the Tea Party which shows it is not intent upon returning American to it's spiritual roots but to it's constitutional roots. constitutional roots include freedom of religion. If one is free with their exercise of religion why try and bring them back to their religious roots? After all they are free to worship as they wish or don't wish. It is simply politically correct thinking to say you can't say someone lies. But I won't play the political correct game.

It is not a prejudice to be against something that has shown it has serious problems. Pointing out those problems is not a bias. Nor is it mimicking their behavior. If I wanted to mimic them I would not offer any reasons why their positions are wrong. I would simply assume it like Boonstra did in the article. Just make statements without any evidence.

I hope Boonstra is God's man and as such capable of correcting his behavior and actually make reasonable arguments for his views. But I imagine many traditional Adventists don't want to think that God wants them to change.

Anonymous said...

Your response is full of, as is your custom, the same logic based on presumption, that you accuse others of.

1. Boonstra said something erroneous.
2. I proved that what he said was erroneous.
3. Since it backed up Boonstra's side of the argument AND it was erroneous - it must be a lie.

You leave no room for what, to the rest of us, often leads you to lose your credibility - Boonstra said something erroneous!

When you hang your hat on such a flimsy peg. That you "think" he lied because it simply backed his argument.

Frankly, there are a lot of Americans that falsely think the same thing. If you went to any of the early Tea Party rallies, you would frequently see references to God in post and banners.

Here is an excerpt from a news story dated Oct. 21, 2010 from the GateHouse News Service.

"Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) who consider themselves part of the tea party movement say they are also part of the Christian conservative or relig-ious right movement.
According to the new American Values Survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute, on many important political and social issues, Ameri-cans who identify with the tea party movement also hold views that are similar to the views of those who identify with the Christian conservative movement."

So Ron, is it any wonder that Boonstra might have said what he did?

The reality is this. I just went back and read your blog again. You are the one that really has nothing to say. No purpose, nothing constructive, just a little puff of garlic breath.

To be frank with you, if all of your blogs were like this one, most of us would no longer stop by to visit and read the blog of a man who though bitter, is generally well thought out, fair, and reasonable.

Ron Corson said...

I already gave you the definition of a lie, it is not really up for negotiations. An intentional error is still a lie, even unintentional errors are lies. Perhaps if he were to apologize and acknowledge the error maybe I would change the title (though I really can't it is how the blog is indexed, I can change it but the title will always include somewhere the original of what it got indexed as.)

As for your statistics of the tea party and God, you could say the same thing for Republicans and God:

Overall, 51 percent of Republicans qualify as born-again Christians, according to the Barna Group, compared to 38 percent of Democrats.

So does that mean that the Republican party is helping push America back to its religious roots.?"

It is little wonder Boonstra said what he did, he is ill informed and does not take time to learn what he is talking about. That is too bad, that causes people to lie.

Your comments in the main are less then helpful, sort of a bitterness because you can't quite come to grips with the unthinking leadership active in the Adventist church. But I don't require anyone to read my blog or to agree with me. If you can present a case where I am wrong then I would appreciate it and correct myself. Something I don't see to often in people like Boonstra. I mean good grief we have people at Revelation seminars telling lies all the time. Historical, Scientific etc, sure you can say they are errors and they are, but when you keep doing it is lies. After all lies are just intentional errors. But if you never look to correct or get the actual information it is hardly reasonable to allow their errors to continue just because they won't take the time to educate themselves. To me that is simply another way to lie.

Tony McPherson said...

You might want to look at the sentence you quoted and ask yourself who is "thoughtless" or uninformed. The subject of the sentence is "Christian evangelicals," and it lists, as things they might favor, (1) Tea Party rallies and (2) a return to religious roots. It is you, not Boonstra, who tied those two causes together in that sentence. He nowhere states that the Tea Party is pushing for religion (although anyone who watched Glenn Beck's rally would have to wonder about the intersection of the Tea Party and the religious right). He said that evangelicals might hope that Jesus would support both causes.

You also utterly fail to mention the premise of the article, which could scarcely be deemed offensive. He encourages people to follow their convictions, but to be pragmatic about flying the Jesus banner" over a cause.

I think your lack of couth and your arrogant assumption of intellectual superiority, predicated on your own hasty reading and conclusions, might warrant an apology to your readers, and perhaps also to Pastor Boonstra. Really, your prejudice is showing.

Tony McPherson

Ron Corson said...

I did not misquote him, I gave the quote, I did insult his thinking ability. I could couch all may statements like him and say "likely" so that I have an out in case anyone calls me on anything. But I have more surety then that. After all I can see what you see in the sentence, but I would guess that my view is more informed so I am able to give my opinion without having to resort to the weasel words for protection.

I was hard on his article because it was really fairly foolish. So I might have to apologize for that. I could be more diplomatic, but I think I would actually rather say what I think rather then beat around a bush and not really letting anyone know how their foolishness offends. After all I am not writing in a Church paper he is.

Tony M. said...

I can see that you are unmalleable when it comes to your somewhat uninformed opinion. Ironic, when you suggest that Boonstra is only God's man if he is humble enough to change and come around to your perspective. If not, he should be expunged from the leadership of the church. Are we to assume that you are NOT God's man, given your unrelenting insistence that you (and it seems, you alone) know the truth of this matter?

I question whether or not you've ever MET Boonstra - or if your assessment that he lacks thinking ability is simply a knee-jerk reaction based on a blurb in a magazine? I've met the guy at camp meeting, and he's quiet, humble and approachable. Not all all like the caricature you're trying to build. And as far as his ability to think? Spend a little time with him, and you'll realize that he's not in the habit of delivering uninformed opinions. You might not agree with his conclusions, but rest assured that his river runs much deeper than you want your readers to believe.

Of course, you don't make statements that can't be backed - including the mention of people "like" Boonstra, whatever in the world that's supposed to mean. I should suppose that you know the man intimately enough to make such broad-based generalizations?

Honestly, this screed of yours makes you look like a small man. You've taken a short opinion piece, and built a case against Boonstra that has little to do with the point of the rather benign article itself. He was reacting to a SINGLE Occupy protestor's comment that Jesus would be part of their movement; he wasn't stating the movement itself was built on religion, or that OWS endorsed this individual. Neither did he claim anything of the sort for the Tea Party. He merely asserted that people ought to be careful about claiming God is behind their personal causes - something that at least SOME people have done.

You mock his belief in a heavenly sanctuary. I suppose he didn't expound on the subject to your heart's content? Or maybe you're offended that he said Jesus was there - something the author of Hebrews also states. His point (which your superior intellect apparently missed) was that Christ's activity (as opposed to His physical locale) gives us a clue to His priorities. Did you honestly believe Boonstra was saying Jesus couldn't be a Zucotti Park because He was stuck in heaven? (I know you don't, but the way you write leaves so much room for a question like this).

I wonder what makes you so sensitive about this? Why so angry? Did Boonstra do something to you at some point? Have you discussed politics and religion with him enough to ascertain that he is a neophyte? Or, if you don't actually know him (as I suspect - and if you don't, I'm wondering where you borrow the omniscience to so confidently assign him motives and decry him as a "liar") are you scapegoating him because you have issues with your own church?

Mr. Corson, I'm not particularly expecting at this point for you to own your own mistakes or bend in the slightest. It seems obvious to me that your opinion has firmed up enough to be inflexible. But please note that you appear to be guilty of the very thing you accuse Boonstra of: dissemination of uninformed opinion.

Tony M.

PS: what you deem to be "weasel" words, others would take to be a sign of humility - not the clever work of someone trying to dodge responsibility.

Ron Corson said...

Tony M. said...
I can see that you are unmalleable when it comes to your somewhat uninformed opinion. Ironic, when you suggest that Boonstra is only God's man if he is humble enough to change and come around to your perspective.
Really is that what I said? Or is that a lie? I guess this is what you are referring too:
“If our church leaders cannot be trusted to be accurate in the small things, why trust them with the more important things such as our spiritual lives and our doctrines.

To that in my comment I added:
I hope Boonstra is God's man and as such capable of correcting his behavior and actually make reasonable arguments for his views. But I imagine many traditional Adventists don't want to think that God wants them to change.
So I suppose when that is your prejudice it matters little what I actually say. Just as it did not matter to Boonstra about what the Tea Party actually says. I was going to answer you other points but since you begin by telling lies, using weasel words “you suggest” I don’t really think you are worthy of my time.