It is extraordinary how a little church in Florida can gain the attention of the world with an old fashioned bonfire. When I was kid my Friday evenings were busy with the burning of KISS albums. People thought it was weird but the President never weighed in. Maybe in this case it is the sheer act of burning books that has caused such a stir. But surely, the fact that this little church will be gathering to burn copies of the Koran, is what is at the heart of the controversy. This ought not surprise given Islam's tendency toward perpetual outrage. They are an excitable bunch. If Islamists were gathering in, let us say, a small town in Pakistan to burn Bibles the world would not notice. There would be no Presidential press conferences, Papal announcements, or State Department meetings. There would be no warnings about marauding hoards of Christians killing indiscriminately or discriminatingly for that matter. But I digress.
The fact is, this little bonfire in Florida is nothing more than a vanity project for a hapless pastor from Gainesville. I'm not sure if it is un-American or not. After all, we have been assured that the construction of a victory mosque at Ground Zero is the very essence of America. So I confess my newly discovered ignorance concerning what is or is not American. What I do know is that the burning that will go on in Gainesville will do nothing to advance the Gospel and this ought to be uppermost in the minds and hearts of God's people.
The Gospel offends. Of this, there is no doubt. The Gospel turns everything upside-down. It reverses fortunes and calls out worldly notions of power and status and wisdom. What ought not offend are the personalities of those called to advance this stumbling block of a message. The message of the cross will do its job quite well. The Gospel is the power of God after all. It does not require that it's messengers act like the rear ends of horses.