Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

When Torn Paper Is More Outrageous Than Torn Families

When torn paper is more outrageous than torn families, it is a mirror that reveals to us the heart of a people.

Thousands of children were torn from the arms of their parents, and the “people of God” were silent.

When there was not silence, there was justification… even when those children were locked in cages.

A few sheets of paper were torn, and the “people of God” were outraged and finally spoke up.

When torn paper is more outrageous than torn families, it reveals the heart of a people.

While the President’s recent State of the Union address revealed many things, the most glaring thing on display that night, and the days which followed, was the heart of a people.

People who profess to be followers of Jesus of Nazareth, but somehow are more outraged at torn paper than torn families.

It reminded me of a time when someone else went to the most sacred hall of a nation and held up a mirror that revealed the heart of a people.

America has a Capitol building– and the spot where the leaders of our nation gather all in one room is perhaps one of the most sacred spots of a nation.

Israel had a temple where the most powerful people gathered together– and that too was the most sacred spot in the nation.

But yet, the people who most loudly claimed to be followers of God stood behind a money-hungry leader who abused his office, and they enacted or tolerated policies that were specifically designed to oppress the poor and immigrant.

And they even did it in God’s name.

The Second Temple was divided into sections; one section was called the Court of the Gentiles. This area of the Temple was at the heart of a nation, and was a place where outsiders (non-Jews, immigrants) were welcomed in–and where they were invited to experience the goodness of God.

But, Annas, the high priest who presided over Israel, had corrupted his office by turning it into a money making scheme for himself and his sons. It is said that many common folk utterly despised him for parading himself around as the most religious among them, when in reality his chief motivation was making himself and his sons rich and powerful. However, the Religious Right loved Annas and embraced him & his family as God’s pick.

Out of his greed for money, Annas and his sons became known for turning the Court of the Gentiles– the place where immigrants and outsiders had previously been welcomed– into a crowded market that not only left no room for them, but oppressed them in God’s name. It even became known as the “Bazaar of Annas” as he rented out spaces to merchants who gouged prices on animals and exchange rates, and gave him a kickback on it all.

Immigrants had to exchange money to buy an animal for sacrifice, so they charged oppressive exchange rates to do that. And when they went to buy the animal itself (because the high priest had approval authority for which animals were acceptable or not) the price of the animal was said to be ten times the going cost.

It was the most sacred place in the nation– the place where the powerful and religious gathered, claiming to follow the same God who said, “Do not oppress the immigrant among you.”

It was also home to the leader who enacted policies that oppressed the immigrant, and who saw his position of power as a way to make himself and his family richer.

And the “people of God” were silent.

But in walks a man named Jesus who knew the truth about Annas, his son-in-law Caiaphas who was now high priest, and the conservative religious leaders who kept them in power– and Jesus protested that oppression by kicking over tables and calling out the corrupt and oppressive system.

Magically, the “people of God” were no longer silent– instead, they were outraged anyone would be so disrespectful.

In fact, they had him arrested and placed him on trial— by none other than Annas and Caiaphas whose corruption in the name of God he was protesting.

Less than 24 hours later, Jesus was dead. (Rigged!)

The “people of God” were not outraged at the sight of poor families who had their own animal rejected by the priest, and who were forced to buy one from his family market with the last of the money they had left.

They were not outraged at the sight of immigrants who traveled many miles only to discover that the Court of the Gentiles– the place saved for them– was now crowded out by the family business of the high priest.

And neither were they outraged when immigrants went hungry because what little extra money they had was stripped away by excessive exchange rates– even though the Bible itself called this an abomination.

No, the “people of God” weren’t outraged until someone knocked a few things over and creatively called their leader a corrupt fraud who didn’t even know the Scriptures. (Mt 21:12-13)

Yes, they were a people who found empty tables more outrageous than empty pockets or empty bellies…

No different than a people who find torn paper more outrageous than torn families.

And my friends, when torn paper is more outrageous than torn families, it is a mirror that reveals to us the heart of a people.

The reflection from it ought be sobering for the one standing in it:

Because when a people are more outraged at torn paper than torn families, it reveals hearts so deeply disconnected from the heart of God… that such a people would despise him to the point of killing him, were they to ever actually meet him.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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58 Responses

  1. Did the Prosperity Gospel preachers hold a prayer meeting with Trump and his official spiritual advisor Paula White in order to ask for more toilet paper for their god Baal? Remember how Elijah mocked the false prophets saying their “god” did not answer them because he might be on the toilet. Sorry folks fresh out of toilet paper right now. Check it out.

  2. The false prophets of the prosperity gospel have recently been shouting and praying in the Oval Office with Trump probably putting in an order for more toilet paper for their god Baal. Baal, which also means Lord, is the god of the false prophets who Elijah mocked and said might be unavailable to answer them due to being on the toilet at the moment. “Sorry” came the reply, tell Baal, we are fresh out of toilet paper in all our stores just about everywhere now.”

  3. Preach! Those who support Trump and are okay with breaking families apart and keeping children in cages have no moral high ground. They are supporting inhumane policies. Speaker Pelosi did nothing wrong except tear up a speech full of lies. Big deal.

    1. Pelosi is a supporter of killing babies in the womb. She should be prevented from taking communion by the Catholic Church but they don’t have the guts to take her on. Some day Jesus will.
      Who cares what she does now. Her time is over like Satan; she is just waiting to be replaced.
      Why don’t the Democrats propose infrastructure legislation that would pass in the Senate and dare President Trump not to sign it? Because they don’t care about people, children in cages, hollywood rapists like their God Harvey Weinstein or anything other than Power and the Money it brings them. Good luck Nancy. May you rot in your grave as you surely will.

  4. Ben, Patheos is using your blogs because their current cast can’t get comments. Below is one of yours from Patheos with 2509 comments:

    No, The Gospel Isn’t “Good News” For Everyone

  5. Was anyone truly outraged by Rep. Pelosi’s action or is it all part of the game…the act…the social media performance? In the real, offline world, I didn’t run into anyone who expressed outrage, or even mild disapproval. And I know plenty of right-leaning people.

    I remember back when President Obama gave a speech and a Congressman shouted out “You lie!” It was rude and disrespectful. Lots of people professed to be outraged. At the time, families were being separated at the border. No one was outraged then either.

  6. From the President’s last State of the Union Address:

    Our message to the terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice. If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life.

    What about the brown, Muslim, and of Iranian descent “American” “citizens” terrorized at our borders? Should the Trump inspired terrorists forfeit their lives?

    Since the President’s absolution, from his primaried intimidated Republican Senators, he has further torn up the Constitution in favor of Trumped up law. … lucky Stone!

    33,000 emails never was a crime except in Trump’s mind, for which he and his still insist that she should be locked up. It is not a crime, fortunately for the Trump children, to play your fortunes off your father’s name. But according to Trump’s law that is not so for children with the last name Biden. Trump’s law says that all who are called (once thought to be legal) and sworn witnesses to his once considered to be crimes are traitors to the President and must be punished, and they are. It is not just families torn apart by Trump’s law. The entire proud nation of constitutional law is torn apart by Trump’s law, with no longer a legal remedy.

      1. What is wrong with you? Why are you so obsessed with ignoring truth?

        What makes Hillary a criminal? … Vince Foster, Pizza-Gate, Benghazi, personal server, 33,000 emails? All investigated by a Republican House and Senate as well as Bill Barr’s Department of Justice with none finding anything criminal.

        You think you’re winning based on fabrication, mis-direction, fear mongering, intimidation, manipulation, … . Where does that put the nation of the people, by the people, for the people?

        1. Because Hillary is a criminal.
          She and Bill received over $500 million in contributions to The Clinton Global Initiative by selling her influence (same thing Biden has done). That is a crime for which she may yet pay.

          Paying for the Steel Dossier to kick start the coup against Trump (Crossfire Hurricane). Another crime for which she may pay along with Comey, Brennan and others.

          We are winning because the Mueller Report found no crimes and the fake Impeachment resulted in Acquittal. I’d say those are two very large wins wouldn’t you?

          1. None of those are criminal, none, except in the legally illiterate mind of Donald J. Trump and his enforcers. Trump has already been convicted of tampering with his foundation funds and defrauding students of his trumped up University. And he paid!

            The Steel Dossier did not start any coup and was no different than any warning of possibilities that we (as a nation) have addressed each by investigation through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No where has it been proved, after investigation, that any in the FBI or CIA let their good sense of a crook candidate for the presidency influence their objective compiling of evidence.

            You have no clue as to what you speak, or the damage you cause in pushing Trump’s addenda of narcissism, which, in the end, will not include you or yours, it never has. Why do you so wish to take us all down with you, including the babies you give no chance to live in a democracy, or maybe no chance to live at all?

            1. The Steel Dossier was the basis for the FISA warrants. These warrants have been exposed as not justified. Carter Page will be a wealthy man. The FISA courts have to be overhauled. The process was used to spy on the President just as he said. You are wrong as usual. See the IG report since you don’t seem to know.

              As far as any concerns you have for our country, your friends on the Left are doing all the damage.

              1. Bob, I need a rest from your lynch mob minion mentality. You follow, defend and worship a proven bankrupted, lying, criminal to denigrate anyone, ANYONE, who threatens him. You literally cannot be an example of Christ’s truths, just as written in the Gospels. If you’re an acceptable Christian then that says that Christ and Christians do not share the same values. … maybe later, I’ll respond to your need to be heard and important.

                1. You mix religious and political terms as if they are interchangeable. They are not.
                  One votes for a President not to worship but to hope that person carry out their promises and he is.
                  The Left and you are trying to destroy one man because you didn’t win. This is not the American way but it is the Progressive Way. Grow up and stop it. The election draws near. If you are correct Trump will not win. If not you get four more years to spread your lies.

    1. Further to does God have a mouth:
      John 4:24
      (24) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

      “God is Spirit, and nowhere, not even in one verse, does it say that God does not have a body. He is perfect, immortal, infinite, immutable, self-existing, omnipotent, omniscient, invisible, impartial, absolutely holy, full of knowledge and wisdom, and sufficient to provide for His entire creation.

      Like any other person He has names, and in His case, many names. And just as our names identify us as specific individuals, His names identify Him. He has titles by which He is known. Men and women have titles by which they are known.

      The Bible shows that He has a head, hair, face, arms, fingers, hands, waist, loins, eyes, eyelids, nostrils, ears, mouth, lips, tongue, breath, feet, and back parts. God even speaks of His heart! He rests, but He does not get tired. He feels things. He eats and drinks, and the alcohol in wine, as Judges 9:13 says, has an effect on Him: It cheers His heart. He laughs. He becomes angry. He speaks in a small still voice; He roars from Zion. As a man, He wept. Sounds a great deal like us, does it not? It should because we are made in His image and likeness.

      But there is even more. He goes about from place to place in a body, just like anybody else. He rides in a vehicle. He walks. He plants. He works. He lives in a spiritual place called heaven.

      Yet, despite all these biblical descriptions, the men and women who claim that God has no body never cite any other passage except John 4:24 as proof. But He has revealed Himself in so many different ways in His Word that what these people say turns God into a liar who deceives mankind about what He is like.

      Let us be clear: John 4:24 does not teach that God has no body. It, plus a multitude of passages that we have read or alluded to, expand our understanding about the properties of spirit—about what spirit bodies are like. Spirit is just as real as matter, except that it is a much higher type of substance and is governed by higher laws.

      John 4:24 is a statement of fact, but it does not define or analyze spirit. The properties of spirit are described throughout the Bible, as those who actually saw and heard God and interacted with Him reported their experiences. Either they are right, or these modern writers are. They cannot both be right because they contradict each other. Which will we believe?”

      — John W. Ritenbaugh

      1. Judges 9:13 (NIV2011)
        “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

        Bob, read your Bible, and read Judges 9:13 in full context, hint: “be my king”.

        It is truly sad that you don’t believe God can be in you and you in him/them. You are missing the opportunity of an eternal lifetime.

        God has never been an animal, with one historic exception, that was when Mary was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit, and conceived Jesus, the Christ. Only an entity of spirit can be omnipresent, Jesus was not omnipresent as a Son of Man, his Father has always been omnipresent.

        Mankind is only 25 million years young on an earth that is 4.5 billion years old, within a universe that is 13.8 billion years old. Moses didn’t know that, nor did Caiaphas, Peter, Paul, James or any other who cared about God 2,000 to 4,000 years ago. The Fertile Crescent was first farmed by human beings 9,000 years ago.

        John W Ritenbaugh, preaching elder of the Church of the Great God only knows God by what he read from the Bible. He does not know what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t understand that all that each of God has to share with (and in each other as mankind cannot) is emotion (heart), unifier (soul), logic (mind). Spirit entities do not have physical brain synapses to run a physical body.

        You and elder John are of the blind world, two of thousands of different theologies (studies of God by those who do not know God with and in them).

        John 14:17 (NIV2011)
        the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

        John 14:20 (NIV2011)
        On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

        So, is the Father’s mouth in Jesus? Is Jesus mouth in me? Is my mouth in Jesus?

        Bob, I don’t think you can bear to know the truth. Prove me wrong, dare to ask, even demand of, God to teach you the truth, just as much as you can bear, please?!?!? Can you trust God to protect you from evil?

        Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV2011)
        For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

        Before Jesus died on the cross all your sins could have been forgiven if only you forgave others who sinned against you. If that’s true what true salvation did Jesus give mankind when he gave up his spirit?

        1. Tony, my brother, I’m getting by, thank you!

          I was out of action for over six months, and have been crawling back way too slow, for my infant mind, but better than can be expected for my 75 year old body, for another 8 or so months. I had to give up my esophagus to be able to learn for a few more additional years. On my 6′ frame I went from 200 plus pounds to where, today, I weighed in at 150.8 pounds. I now have energy but the endurance is sorely lacking. I’m having to learn to eat enough all over again, and not nearly as adaptable as I was with an infant body. God blesses me in so very many ways with this opportunity to do more, yes, though more slowly, before I have to give up this challenging life.

          How are you? I haven’t searched for your web activity for a long while now, though I do think about you quite often. It is nice to hear your spirit!

          1. Hehe yours too, despite your infirmities. Bit of a rough time there, bro, and I sympathise. Yeah I’m doing ok; the grief comes in waves and atm I’m in a ‘trough’, but God holds me through it all. He’s speaking to me on a level so deep that words can’t express it… On the web, I’m only really doing stuff on my blog and a bit on Facebook, not so much on here. Just dropped a prophetic bombshell on a local Pentie church who are holding a ‘prayer for revival’ event, and I suggested that they keep their eyes open because the revival they have been praying for for like 40 years has already started :D. All very gentle and respectful, a million miles from what it can get like on Disqus eh 🙂

        1. Why is everything that is in disagreement with the President illegal? Childish and petty is not shaking hands with the second in line to the Presidency.

        1. No one was truly “outraged” about it. It was more of that faux “I have 10 minutes to fill on cable news” kind of outrage. No one was talking about it 36 hours later. Folks had moved on to the next “outrage.”

  7. Part of being an adult is knowing how to solve a problem. Let’s take immigration for example. The Left seems to want open borders. The Right wants border security. Open borders boils down to people coming to our country. Right now there are about 1.0 million legal immigrants per year. Why not:
    1. Agree on an acceptable number: 5, 10, 25 million…
    2. Pursue Congress to formulate a passable a bill with that number.
    3. Spend all energy and dollars now wasted in hatred towards a goal.
    People can do amazing things if they know the goal. Right now there are only political talking points. Who is benefitting from that situation? Certainly not the immigrants to be.

    1. Part of being a responsible adult voter in a democratic republic is to make an effort to research the issues before they speak about them “The Left” do not, and never did want “Open Borders”. That is only one Trumpism fear-fauxism designed to paint his opponents as extremists welcoming drug cartels, rapists and jihadists without restriction. Wake up and smell the truth. What do the majority of the discerning citizens want and why? Is the Republican party always “Right”, so therefore correct and the Democrat party always “Left”, so therefore wrong? …..groooooaaaaan!

      1. Just about always.
        Most people realize that Democrats favor mass immigration – open borders. Apparently you have a reason to mislead?
        Even a brief search shows what Democrats want.

        1. Why would any one want “mass immigration”? That doesn’t make any sense what-so-ever. No, most FOX News students might have been taught that lie but most people, of the United States of America’s electorate do not believe “Democrats favor mass immigration”. President Obama, a Democrat, stiffened immigration and expanded deportation relative to what any President before him did, Republican or Democrat. The difference between he and Trump is that he didn’t lie and he was humanitarian (in everything, doing to others as he would have others do to him).

          Trump’s, Mexican paid wall, is a straw horse fraud when most drugs come through the legal border entries and nothing can be done to totally close off all our water borders, nor the northern border, nor the southern border. It is physically impossible.

          Most illegal aliens came into the USA legally under visa and stayed.

          Research, Research, Research … don’t be lazy and accept as fact all you hear from his, and his stooges, lying mouth. Unless, of course, it is your pleasure to be the stooge of a liar!

          1. You understand nothing. The Great Commandment is a summary of the Ten Commandments not a replacement of them. And not only that you are not competent to judge situations using it.

          1. Bob, humanitarian borders, as were available to your family of immigrants when they sought asylum is a direct answer, think Ellis Island opened in 1892 and closed in 1954. If we really are a nation under God, where all of Man are created equal with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, wouldn’t humanitarian be a respect for all of Man seeking asylum from nations not allowing them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

            Claiming to be a Christian, with ancestors who immigrated to this nation, one would think that humanitarian would be understood as both “love your neighbor as yourself” and, “in everything, do to others as you would have others do to you”.

            If liberal means making sacrifices for other children of Man to live, then that would be a quality I would look for from those charged with guarding our borders, in the example and spirit of carrying our own crosses to remain students of Christ.

            1. Herm…your platitudes are still open borders. Coreys emotive and straw man statement of we are concerned about torn paper more than torn families–straw man argument and a platitude.
              I am open to immigrants and immigration. We have a system and when followed immigration can be open, fair and helpful. I have friends from India who have recently immigrated and as they look at the system–especially the situation on our southern border–they are quite frustrated. The couple I know did it legally and it has been a long process. I also have a friend in the border patrol and he finds our system of open borders hideous. Your platitudes are unhelpful. One can love people and demands basics–like truth and respect for the laws of the host nation.
              The democratic party position as espoused by its primary voice pieces is indeed an open border and all I need to see that is the position taken by the party in the early years of President Obama.

                1. Fear, in the name of Trump, is running this nation. Poor little ole’ Trump has to stand up against the big, bad “Left”. You are confused if you really believe the country is Trump’s to run and not the people’s to run. One would be an autocracy and the other would be a democracy.

                  Is the Declaration of Independence incoherent, also? Look up “When in the course of human events…”.

              1. Everett, it is against our present asylum laws, to stop anyone seeking such, before they reach our borders. The only panicked remedy for escaping immigrants was to go around, cross the border, and passively wait to be arrested as “illegal” aliens.

                To be as fair as I can, because of Central American economic (very much weather/climate related like Syria) collapse, the Obama administration did not find a perfect solution for meeting our laws regulating asylum (like Ellis Island served for an exceptional number of asylum seeking immigrants). He increased the guards, improved border security, deported record numbers of unqualified aliens but could not find enough court remedies to satisfy the numbers requesting asylum.

                For the past twenty years plus, per capita: We have not had an increase of illegal drugs crossing our borders to supply our demand. We have not seen an increase of bad characters crossing or recrossing our borders. Most of our illegal aliens are visa jumpers.

                The very first illegal Mexican rapist mentioned from the escalator was a fabrication no less a lie than Barack Obama was born in Kenya. There never was any justification for a Mexican paid wall, not based on present and past facts. Trump instilled fabricated fear, like of the alien Kenyan invasion, of out of control invasion of the brown rapists. We have lost the war on terrorism when we paint asylum seekers as terrorizing Invaders. Trump’s governance through intimidation and manipulation fear mongering has divided and terrorized our nation more than ISIS (true terrorists) or any brown, black or Islamic immigration ever could.

                I am sorry you see humanitarian and, in everything, do to others as you would have others do to you as platitudes with no significance as to how we should measure the enforcement of our borders. The solution is not ever going to be build an impenetrable wall and hide behind it. Wars happened between human beings fearing what is going on behind their neighbor’s walls, like once were the mountains between France and Germany. There is not enough time or space to sufficiently solve this problem here. What you call platitudes are planting seeds not meant to be the solve all.

        1. No Bob, no I didn’t. I spoke to that spirit who lies that, “The Left seems to want open borders.” It doesn’t.

          If you actually followed the lead and example of Jesus Christ you’d know there is no limiting number to those allowed to immigrate into the kingdom of God. If you trusted God to provide, there would not be a limitation for welcoming every immigrant needing our support to survive. “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

          Love those who would love you. Show mercy to those who would be merciful to you. In everything, do to others as you would have others do to you. What would you have done to you if you applied for asylum to the United States of America to escape certain death, imprisonment, and the unshakable fear of gang violence?

          I feel so really sad that you, claiming to be Christian, think that humanitarian borders was not a direct answer.

          You don’t even have a clue that this isn’t a right or left, right or wrong issue. Most of our nation, most of our world, are somewhere in the middle of left and right. There is wrong in the left and right. There is right in the left and right.

          This immigration problem is a major determinate to the survival of mankind. If you believe that the Shiloh family will survive without the rest of mankind, then close the borders of your house. If you really believe mankind behind the borders of the USA will survive without the rest of the world then close the borders of the USA. Reality is we, mankind, are dependent upon the support of all mankind on this earth who are constructive and productive as they would have the rest of mankind be constructive and productive.

  8. Caiaphas reminds me of the line in JC Superstar, “We need a more permanent solution to the problem.” Trump has said that Schiff has not paid the price yet. Trump’s retribution has begun. Who knows how far he will go?
    So chilling.

    1. Yes, a lot further. He plans to incarcerate Schiff and Nadler shortly for “defying the One President.” This crime though rare will be mercilessly applied to these two traitors.

      1. Where in the hell is this law that makes it a crime to defy the One President? I thought that was exactly why we revolted against the monarchy of England. That was the impetus behind the original Tea Party. Does the Freedom Caucus believe the same as you?

    1. I look around me, at the carpenters and the fishermen, not the Pharisees, Sadducee and Caesars, and I see good and Godly is alive and well.

  9. What so many of these Trump supporters do not realize is that the original speech is in the National Archive while the spoken form of it is in the Congressional Record. Speaker Pelosi tore up a copy. It is rather ironic that Trump has been allowed to violate decorum while he and his supporters will continue to attack what they see is every little breach of it when their opponents. (“You lie” to Obama by a Republican)

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