george_hancockstefanA good friend of mine once called me a convention junkie. I go to academic seminars and conventions, denominational conferences and seminars as well as clergy type conventions and seminars. I have learned a lot and because I learn a lot, I rarely complain. It was my absence of complaining that made my friend describe me as a convention junkie.

Probably what I appreciate the most at a seminar or convention is a challenging presentation or lecture or a very stirring sermon. I do not need to hear things that I agree with, but I need to hear things that are well-balanced and well supported.

Thus, I almost lost my calm and collected self when a speaker mentioned that it was the Western World that has helped the threat of terrorism. He advocated that we show to the terrorists the love of Jesus and practice the Amish version of non-violence. This was done during the week after the attempted attack of the Christmas Day bomber, when President Obama announced that mistakes were made within the U.S Intelligence and the homeland security threat level was raised to orange.

I was wondering how our speaker came to the convention. Did he take the Amish buggy or did he fly out of one of our airports? On the way to the conference, I started my trip at Newark Airport, where the check-in line was so long that no one could believe how many winding turns it had. We were in this line for over one hour. I use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device for my sleep apnea. This instrument is always removed from its bag during inspection and thoroughly examined. On the way back from the conference, the face snaps broke. I mentioned it to the person who roughly inspected it and he told me that since I did not report it when it happened, there is nothing he could do about it.

As I was waiting in line, I was thinking of my younger years when I gave myself 10-15 minutes in the airport. I always traveled light, walked fast and I only missed two flights in all of those years.

Can anyone calculate the billions of wasted hours waiting in lines because of the terrorist threats? Can we calculate the expenses worldwide of creating heightened security? Can we estimate the psychological damage done to millions of people who are flying in fear?

President Obama asks us to be more patient and wait longer in airport lines. I think that the idealism of the speaker at my convention was misplaced. Jesus called out Herod for what he was – a deceiving fox. He confronted the Pharisees and called them whitewashed walls.

I do believe with President Obama that the majority of Muslims are decent. However, until these decent Muslims rise up and destroy the evil in its hatchery, it is going to be the scourge of the earth. Until they confront evil, it will continue to exist no matter how idealistic my friends become.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...