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[Italicized snark brought to you by the year 2014]

My email to Calvary Chapel (2003)

Dear Calvary Chapel of Melbourne,

Recently there appeared an article in the Florida Today about one of your members. "Stacey Ford, a fifth grade teacher, works hard in her class to respect the rights of parents regarding their various religious faiths."

I would like to express to Ms. Ford my deepest respect and admiration, as well as gratitude. As an atheist and parent of three children, I greatly appreciate the example she has set for other teachers in understanding that we all differ when it comes to beliefs, and parents are those solely responsible for the religious education of their children.

If your church had anything to do with Ms. Ford's tolerance and respect for others, I thank you.

Dianna Narciso

"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't."
--Anatole France

And now, Pastor Balmer's overly solicitous response:

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark Balmer
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 3:07 PM
Subject: RE: Florida Today article


This is Pastor Mark Balmer, Senior Pastor of CC of Melbourne.

Thanks for your email. I enjoyed your comments and agree with much of what you shared. As a church we want to be tolerant and respectful of people's individual beliefs especially in the work place i.e. a school. On the other hand when Christians have an opportunity to share their faith in God the Bible tells us to share this truth in love.

Let me explain.

Before I became a minister I worked as a Director of Pharmacy in a local hospital for more than 25 years. It was an incredible job because of all the new discoveries in the medical field that offered a cure to a particular disease. The biggest challenge was to get the truth to the people who didn't know a cure existed. We always tried to educate the physicians who in turn would educate their patients. The final choice (to take the medicine or refuse it) was always left to the individual patient. But we had a moral responsibility to share the truth - LIVES DEPENDED ON THE TRUTH.

It was very easy when I became a minister to transfer these principles to the spiritual world. We believe that there is ample scientific, historical and logical proof that there is a God who created the world and each person. [Yes. Exactly. You believe there is evidence. It's not there, so you have to believe in it. Not just the god in question...but the evidence too!] We also believe there is credible evidence that Jesus really is God's son and that He came to earth to solve the sin problem that each human has. [There was that word "believe" again. You even have to believe your evidence exists.] I have interacted with atheists, agnostics and skeptics many times. [I wish you would use the Oxford comma. I go nuts for it. I'd probably be nicer if people used it.] I would listen to their view points and when given an opportunity present the truths of the Bible. [I'm sure you always managed to find that "given" opportunity. Like now. Even though my email needed no response and if any, a simple thank you would suffice. Instead, you assume I've given you the opportunity to share your cure for a disease you think I have. How sweet of you.]

I have discovered the following: Ecc 3:11 (NLT) God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.

This verse tells us that every person knows instinctively that when death comes it is not the end of life. [OMG, it's the everyone-knows-deep-inside-there's-a-god offense.] Because we are created in God's image, (1) we have a spiritual thirst, (2) we have eternal value, and (3) nothing but the eternal God can truly satisfy us. [This is starting to sound creepy.] We were all created to know God, to enjoy God, to worship God and to serve God. [And creepier...Does this guy hear himself?] Humans can never be satisfied without a personal relationship with God. [Speak for yourself, bub.] Life without God has no real meaning. [For you, apparently.] You are so right when you shared that each parent has the tremendous responsibility of sharing religious truth with their [his or her, you mean. Each, is singular.] own children. Do you know where that principle came from? This principle came from God; Notice the references to parents and children. [But of course. Everything comes from your god. I can't sneeze without you saying your god is in charge of it.]

Deut 6:1-7 (NLT)
1 "These are all the commands, laws, and regulations that the LORD your God told me to teach you so you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy,
2 and so you and your children and grandchildren might fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all his laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life.
3 Listen closely, Israel, to everything I say. Be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
4 "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.
5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.
6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today.
7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.

[I'm not reading any of that. I'm willing to bet I didn't read it the first time, either.]

Before there was a school, a government or even a church there was the family. In the family is where each child was to learn about God and the Bible. Each parent was to be the teacher not only by reading the Bible but by living a life in obedience to God. It is obvious that you love your children very much. May I suggest that you take some time to investigate the truths of Christianity? [Been there, done that, preacher dude. Why do you think I'm an...wait don't answer that. I've heard it all before.]

I don't believe that your email to us was by accident. [Oh, it was an accident all right and it won't happen again, you can be sure of that.] I know that God loves you and is trying to get your attention. [What the hell is wrong with this guy's god that he is so ridiculously inadequate?]

This Sunday night we have a live video program called The Case for Christmas which will be aired all over the United States. It is by a man named Lee Strobel who was an award winning reporter for the Chicago Tribune and an avowed atheist. He decided to investigate the claims of Christ and discovered so much compelling evidence that he has become a Christian. [Now, that's just bullshit. Did you even read his book?] He has written a number of books - one which I highly recommend that you read - The Case for Christ. [That's the one. Strobel pretends to ask compelling questions and then just slurps up the answers like a starving man licking chocolate off a boob.]

The program will be shown on our two big video screens from 7PM - 8:30 PM. [Yes, let her know about our two big video screens, Marky. We've got the technology Jesus would use!] There will be many people attending including skeptics who are honestly searching for truth. [Sure, sure.] It is NOT a church service but simply a presentation of truth for people to consider. [I don't think you know what "truth" means.] I encourage you to come if you get a chance.

If there is any thing that I can do to answer questions or even provide you with a free copy of The Case for Christ, please email or call me. If you do come Sunday night, stop up after the video and introduce yourself. Thanks again for being a parent that truly cares for their children. [Her. Her children. A parent. Singular. See?]

May you find truth and may the truth bring you rest in your life. [I did find the truth. That's why I'm an atheist. And I'm pretty rested up now, thanks.]

Pastor Mark

[Holy Freakin' God. I just wanted to say something nice! I did email him back to tell him that I was already very familiar with The Case for Christ. It's complete bullshit. I didn't say that, of course. I think we went back and forth again before I finally decided to wipe myself off and move on.]