Wednesday, August 22, 2018


I am sitting here in shock. I can hardly believe my eyes. I have read it over and over yet it keeps saying the same thing. Bishop Mark Lawrence is calling on his followers to be storm troopers!

In the new issue (Fall 2018) of "Jubilate Deo," the DSC regular news publication (find it here ), there is a front-page article by Joy Hunter entitled "More than 1200 Attend Deanery Gatherings with Bishop Lawrence." In it, Lawrence is quoted as saying, "It's not that the buildings are bad. They're good. Ministry has been done in them generation after generation and I believe we ought to fight for them until there is no reason to fight any longer, but they ought not keep us from storm trooping the gates of hell to rescue those trapped behind them. That is our calling. We're to storm troop the gates of hell and bring people to Jesus Christ. The reality is God's going to get us out there one way or another. I say we go willingly. So let's get on with it!"

In the first place, this does not make common sense. "Storm troopers" are going to lead an attack on hell and force open the gates and rescue people trapped behind them? What does such as this mean? Just what kind of hell is this? It is definitely not the hell I learned in vivid detail growing up in a fundamentalist Baptist church.

As a student of history, I am most horrified by comparing Christian witnesses to storm troopers. This is the worst analogy imaginable. No one can be that ignorant of history. The term "storm trooper" immediately brings to mind the Nazi brown shirts. The Nazi storm troopers were a paramilitary organization responsible for the worst crimes in early 1930's Germany. By the late 30's they had melted into the SS, now remembered as the worst of the worst among the criminal perpetrators of the Nazi nightmare. The slaughter of the Jews was just one of their unspeakable crimes against humanity.

Surely, surely, Lawrence must change his wording here. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and rack this up to carelessness. He is worn out by the schism, like the rest of us. But come on, this wording must not stand. The analogy of good Christians as storm troopers is beyond cringe worthy.

Memo to Bishop Lawrence: It is always best to think before one speaks; and do not allude to your followers as storm troopers. I am sure the common historical meaning of this term is not what you would intend to convey.