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Periodically, we look evil in the face. The Boston Marathon bombings are the latest sickening evidence evil exists and is all too alive and well.

No matter who we are, or what kind of character with which we live, evil intrudes, either from within our own hearts or from the hearts of others. It crashes in without regard for life or limb, without sensitivity or restraint, and without conscience or compassion. It’s just evil. It maims and kills and destroys. Its end is death.

President Obama said, “Make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this and we will find out who did this and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”

In times like this partisanship shouldn’t matter. I’m rooting for the President, the FBI, the Massachusetts Governor, Boston officials, and everyone else involved in the justice, security, and military system. I hope we discover who did this and that they feel the “full weight of justice.”

But we already know “why they did this.” It’s called “sin,” or to stick with our theme, “evil” (Genesis 3:14-24; Romans 5:12).

I’m not in a position to assist professional responders. So how do we respond to this? You can send funds, donate blood, pray, but beyond this there’s not a lot we can do.

We can, though, work to restore our soul and the souls of those around us. Tragedy is disheartening. It generates fear, anxiety, discouragement or disillusionment. It creates a need, whether recognized or understood, for theological perspective and spiritual refreshment. Toward that end, here are a few thoughts from Scripture:

--God is sovereign. No matter what happens, no matter what evil occurs, no matter the fragility and brevity of our lives, God is still God, still in charge, still loves us, still able to bring hope and peace (Psalm 103:15-19).

--“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2-3).

--“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).

 --“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

--“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

--“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

--“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Evil ascends for a time, but in the end it will not win. We must combat it within (ourselves) and without (in the world), availing ourselves of the power of the Holy Spirit of God. But we’re not responsible for victory. God is. In fact, he’s already finished his work (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57).

Evil like what we see in the Boston Marathon bombings is gut wrenching and sad. But it’s not whistling in the dark to say, “We will trust in God. We will have hope.”


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Think with me about the difference between what's immoral and what's illegal.

Here's more on the subject:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Sin and crime are, unfortunately, all around us and always with us. It's been that way since the dawn of time because human beings are, at their core, tainted by the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Remember The New England Primer? Maybe not, but you will remember "In Adam's fall we sinned all," a phrase used in the primer for teaching the alphabet letter "A." It's good theology.

However, though human beings are sinners by nature not all, thankfully, choose to sin to the extent of evil imagination. And, thankfully, when people do sin their sins are not always defined as crimes. I'm glad for this because otherwise I'd be in jail along with everyone else.

Crimes are actually certain acts (kinds of sin?), ones society or government if you prefer has defined as illegal. (Some acts defined as crime may not, from the point of view of Christian theology, really be sin, and some acts not defined as crimes are, from the point of view of Christian theology, indeed sins that perhaps should be considered crimes as well). So the point is: commit that particular sin and you'll not only transgress your moral code, you'll also be in violation of the law.

Thinking about the difference between sin and crime, and thinking about which sins should be crimes and which should not, is an interesting moral and political exercise. Where do you draw lines between sin and crime?

Here's more on the subject:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Who wants to be sued? I don’t. I doubt most people would. Why would they?

On the other hand, if you’re the one doing the suing, the plaintiff, than perhaps lawsuits aren’t all bad. They offer people a legal remedy by which they can pursue restitution or a sense of justice or closure or in some cases punitive action.

“A civil suit is a lawsuit whereby the plaintiff claims that the defendant’s actions or negligence caused damages (losses and/or suffering)… If a defendant is found guilty in a civil suit, they are typically required to pay restitution to the aggrieved plaintiff…In some cases, where the wrongdoing was intentional or malicious, the court may also order punitive damages. Punitive damages in a civil suit are intended to punish the defendant and deter them and others from committing similar acts in the future.”

After a year (1995) of televised circus-like trial in which O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, her family, not surprisingly, did not feel justice had been served. So in 1997 the family, along with the family of her murdered friend Ron Goldman, brought civil suits against Simpson, ultimately winning a $33.5 million “wrongful death” judgment.

Did this judgment bring Ms. Brown or Mr. Goldman back? Of course not. Did it heal the Brown or Goldman families’ pain? Probably not. But it did give them some sense of accountability and justice served.

In 2001, lawsuits were filed in the United States against priests of the Catholic Church who were said to have sexually abused victims, now men, when they were children. Suggestions of such charges had surfaced in the 1980s, but in the 2000s they reached well over ten thousand victims and nearly five thousand priests worldwide. Ultimately, the Catholic Church has paid approximately $1.3 billion in damages related to sexual abuse by priests.

Did this money remove victims’ pain? I doubt it. Did it hold priest pedophiles accountable? Not really, for the most part. It did force the Vatican to reexamine and reorder certain practices and policies that will, hopefully, reduce the likelihood of this kind of thing happening (as extensively) in the future.

Lawsuits and trial attorneys get a bad rap and likely some of them deserve it. Certainly we live in an overly litigious society and tort reform is needed. But not all lawsuits, like not all trial attorneys, are about greed and avarice. When civil suits are properly pursued and administered they serve to remind society that truth and justice matter.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


It’s a common view: Christians shouldn’t sue other Christians, or for that matter anyone—ever. You’ve probably heard people make this comment if you haven’t heard a pastor preach it.

1 Corinthians 6:1-8 is the most extensive treatment of lawsuits found in Scripture. Here the Apostle Paul warns the Corinthian Church away from taking personal disputes to the courts, asking non-Christians to adjudicate them. Paul’s primary point? For Christians to take internal church or personal matters to court is a poor testimony. It undermines the unity, fellowship, and moral credibility of the Body of Christ. Christians should have the maturity to handle our own problems.

So despite forming the foundation of a widely held erroneous interpretation these verses really do not say Christians may never ever sue. Actually, this passage is about church fellowship, not criminal behavior and, for that matter, not civil lawsuits protecting rights or seeking justice. Yet the passage has long been cited as the traditional proof text for the principle variously stated as “Christians should never sue.”

There are other passages relevant to this question. Matthew 18:15-17 details how Christians should seek to resolve conflict: approach the offending person; if the person doesn’t respond, approach the offending person along with two or three others; if that doesn’t work, take the issue to the church. Few people I’ve ever known have gotten past the second step or needed to if they followed the process sincerely. But this process isn’t always applicable, for example in terms of civil liberties threatened by government or instances wherein laws have been broken.

Matthew 5:40 recommends Christ’s ethic of love. If persons sue you and want to take your coat, Jesus said let them have it—the coat that is. Here the message is one of compassion, turning the other cheek, loving ones enemies, or doing good to those who persecute us. All of these attitudes or behaviors are aspects of the Christian ethic and should be lived. But these injunctions are not absolute for every circumstance and do not displace other passages of Scripture in which Paul, for example, cites his rights as a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37-40) or in which government is ordained by God to secure order, liberty, law, and justice (Romans 13).

Nowhere in Scripture does it say Christians may never sue. It says we should not sue for frivolous personal matters outside what can be handled amongst believers. Scripture says we should bless those who seek to harm us and not seek vengeance. It says we should, as much as possible, live at peace with one another. But this is not always possible even when we behave wisely, so Scripture indicates we may employ duly appointed governmental means to overcome evil.

I thought about this matter a few years hence as I watched in shock the unbelievable number of people who came forward attesting to the abuse done them during their childhoods by Catholic priests. It was and is a sickening story.

I’ve been thinking about this matter again recently as I’ve watched a grievous case in which a Christian perpetrator harmed many people via actions now long ago and long hidden and, it appears, actions at least in part known, mishandled, and covered up by a Christian organization.

Deciding whether to seek justice (not vengeance) via civil lawsuit is a complex matter. What’s right or best to do is not always unambiguously spread before you.

I thought most victims of priest abuse acted responsibly when they pursued class action lawsuits seeking not simply money but truth and justice. Since I am not privy to all details on the recent story I cannot say I know exactly what the harmed should do. They will have to make this decision based upon their evaluation of how the Bible calls for us to integrate truth, justice, and grace in our lives. In any event, I believe Christians sometimes must sue and can be biblically justified in doing so.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


Lame duck Florida Governor Charlie Crist pushed the Florida Clemency Board this week to grant a pardon to the late Doors’ singer Jim Morrison for exposing himself at a concert in Miami in 1969.

Morrison was known as a talented but particularly wild rock star who died at age 27. While the arrest was never resolved before he died in 1971, witnesses, friends, and critics suggest the allegation fit his lifestyle. Fans, however, have been fighting for years to get the charge dropped.

Governor Crist, once considered an up-and-coming Republican star, is now an un-reelected official with no known or foreseeable political future. So he’s spending his last days in office and his executive powers to pardon dead people for public indecency. The real question is why? Why this pardon and why now?

To say that the use of public funds for this kind of ridiculous action is a waste of resources is self-evident. The pardon doesn’t help a dead man and many of his associates have gone on record rejecting it as too little, too late. In other words, whether you’re pleased or displeased, this pardon is inconsequential.

For Governor Crist, though, the pardon’s a salute to his youth. It’s a sound bite for his legacy. The pardon assures Crist will become the answer to a trivia question even if his governorship is forgotten. It makes him a hero for a few who still hang onto the counter-culture movement. It also means Crist is perhaps unintentionally demonstrating what kind of odd-thinking president he would have been. We dodged a bullet on that one.

Given the real challenges Florida faces today, whether or not Jim Morrison opened his pants in 1969 and whether his arrest was justifiable really doesn’t mean much in the scheme of things. Governor Crist just reminded us of how silly politicians can be.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at