780) “I Will Never Lie Again!”

Manilal Gandhi  (1892-1956)

From Let Me Tell You a Story, by Tony Campolo, © 2000 , pages 146-147

        (Mahatma Gandhi’s son Manilal continued his father’s work toward achieving civil rights for groups that were discriminated against, and the family moved to South Africa to join the battle against apartheid.  This story is about Manilal, told by his son Arun.)

     Gandhi’s grandson Arun Ghandi (1934- ) told me that one day his father (Manilal) asked him to drive him to a meeting in Johannesburg.  “My father asked me to drop off the automobile at the repair garage and then be back at five o’clock to pick him up,” he said.

     Arun went on to say, “I dropped my father off for his meeting and got the car to the garage by one.  Since it was a long time until five o’clock, I figured I could go to the movies, which I did.  That day there was a double feature being shown, and when I got out I checked my watch and realized that it was past five o’clock!

     “I rushed to the corner where my father had said he would be waiting for me, and when I saw him there, standing in the rain, I tried to think of excuses I could make.  I rushed up to him and said, ‘Father, you must forgive me.  It is taking them longer to repair the automobile than I thought it would take, but if you wait here I will go and get the car.  It should be ready by now.’

     “My father bowed his head and looked downward.  He stood for a long moment and then he said, ‘When you were not here at our meeting time I called the garage to see why you were late.  They told me that the automobile was ready at three o’clock.  Now I have to give some thought as to how I have failed, so as to have a son who would lie to his own father.  I will have to think about this, so I am going to walk home and use the time during my walk to meditate on this question.’”

     Arun Gandhi said, “I followed my elderly father home that rainy, misty night, watching him stagger along the muddy road.  I rode behind him with the headlights of the car flashing ahead of his steps.  And as I watched him stumbling toward home, I beat on the steering wheel and said over and over, ‘I will never lie again!  I will never lie again! I will never lie again!’”

Arun Gandhi and his famous grandfather Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

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I Corinthians 13:6 — Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Proverbs 12:22 — The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

Proverbs 30:8a — Keep falsehood and lies far from me… 

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A FATHER’S PRAYER ON THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT BY MARTIN LUTHER:
Dear God, you have given me spouse, child, house, and land.  I receive these as your gifts, and will care for them for your sake.  I will do what I can to make all go well.  If not all my plans succeed, I will learn to be patient and let whatever cannot be changed take its course.  When things do go well, I will give you the glory and say, ‘O Lord, this is not by my work or effort, but by your gift and providence.’  Be the head of my family.  I will be obedient to you in all humility.   Amen.

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334) Even If it Could be Proven…

From Let Me Tell You a Story, by Tony Campolo, pp. 78-9, © 2000

    When I was in graduate school, I had the privilege of doing my doctoral dissertation under the prominent “God Is Dead” theologian Paul Van Buren.  I owe a great deal to this man, because he was the first one who forced me to think in ways that could avoid ambiguities.

      On one occasion, Dr. Van Buren was trying to show me that my religious convictions would not stand up to any kind of empirical testing.  He said, “If you want to convince the skeptics on this campus that your God is real, why don’t you do what the Old Testament prophet Elijah did?  Why don’t you build an altar of wood and call down fire from heaven to consume it?  Why don’t you go out on Broad Street, stop the traffic, build up a high pile of logs, pour water all over it?  Call all the doubters together, and when the crowd is properly assembled, call upon your god to rain down fire from heaven.  Then you would have some empirical proof that God, exists.”

    I answered by asking, “Dr. Van Buren, suppose I did that?  Suppose I really did pile up some logs in the middle of Broad Street right in the midst of our university, and I called all the skeptics to come together and watch, just as Elijah once did with the skeptics of his age?  Suppose, like Elijah, I poured water all over that pile of wood and called down ‘fire from heaven—and fire did come down and consume the pile of wood.  What would you say?”

    My professor smiled wryly.  “I would have to say– there must be another explanation!”

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“The questioner wants the truth.  The doubter wants to be told there ain’t no such thing.”

–from a Cormac McCarthy novel

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I Kings 18:16-39:

      So … Ahab went to meet Elijah.  When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
    “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied.  “But you and your father’s family have.  You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals.  Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel.  And bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”  So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.
    Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  But the people said nothing.
    Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has 450 prophets.  Get two bulls for us.  Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it.  I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it.  Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord.  The god who answers by fire– he is God.”
    Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
    Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you.  Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.”  So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
    Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon.  “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted.  But there was no response; no one answered.  And they danced around the altar they had made.
    At noon Elijah began to taunt them.  “Shout louder!” he said.  “Surely he is a god!   Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling.  Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”  So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.  Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice.  But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
    Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.”  They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which was in ruins.  Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.”  With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed.  He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood.  Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
     “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
    “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time.  The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.  At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed:  “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
     Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.  When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord– he is God! The Lord– he is God!”
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 A PRAYER OF MARTIN LUTHER ON THE FIRST COMMANDMENT:  I thank you, Lord, for mercifully condescending to me, a lost person, in such a fatherly way.  Unbidden, unsought, and undeserved by me, you offered to be my God, and have accepted me.  You will be my comfort, help, protection, and strength in every time of need.  Although we poor, blind creatures have sought our comfort and help in many other places; you have shown us that only in you do we have a true and lasting hope.  We will be forever grateful.  Amen.

100) The Impact of a Father’s Failure

From Let Me Tell You a Story, by Tony Campolo, © 2000 , pages 146-147

        This brilliant story was told to me by the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi…

     (Gandhi’s son continued his father’s work toward achieving civil rights for groups that were discriminated against, and the family moved to South Africa to join the battle against apartheid.)

     His grandson Arun Ghandi told me that one day his father asked him to drive him to a meeting in Johannesburg.  “My father asked me to drop off the automobile at the repair garage and then be back at five o’clock to pick him up,” he said.

     The grandson went on to say, “I dropped my father off for his meeting and got the car to the garage by one.  Since it was a long time until five o’clock, I figured I could go to the movies, which I did.  That day there was a double feature being shown, and when I got out I checked my watch and realized that it was past five o’clock!

     “I rushed to the corner where my father had said he would be waiting for me, and when I saw him there, standing in the rain, I tried to think of excuses I could make.  I rushed up to him and said, ‘Father, you must forgive me.  It is taking them longer to repair the automobile than I thought it would take, but if you wait here I will go and get the car.  It should be ready by now.’

     “My father bowed his head and looked downward.  He stood for a long moment and then he said, ‘When you were not here at our meeting time I called the garage to see why you were late.  They told me that the automobile was ready at three o’clock.  Now I have to give some thought as to how I have failed, so as to have a son who would lie to his own father.  I will have to think about this, so I am going to walk home and use the time during my walk to meditate on this question.'”

     Arun Gandhi said, “I followed my elderly father home that rainy, misty night, watching him stagger along the muddy road.  I rode behind him with the headlights of the car flashing ahead of his steps.  And as I watched him stumbling toward home, I beat on the steering wheel and said over and over, ‘I will never lie again!  I will never lie again! I will never lie again!’”

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I Corinthians 13:6 — Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Proverbs 12:22 — The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

Proverbs 30:8a — Keep falsehood and lies far from me… 

**********************************
A FATHER’S PRAYER ON THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT BY MARTIN LUTHER:
Dear God, you have given me spouse, child, house, and land.  I receive these as your gifts, and will care for them for your sake.  I will do what I can to make all go well.  If not all my plans succeed, I will learn to be patient and let whatever cannot be changed take its course.  When things do go well, I will give you the glory and say, ‘O Lord, this is not by my work or effort, but by your gift and providence.’  Be the head of my family.  I will be obedient to you in all humility.   Amen.