Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Some Random Thoughts in a Radicalized World"

This world is a very scary place these days. I guess it always has been, but somehow it seems like the scariness is at a whole new all-time-high level.

I will not be giving you a treatise on how to fix all the world's problems. I will leave that to Donald Trumpet and the rest of the politicians. And while I'm on the subject, I will say that while I don't know if Ben Carson is the best choice for president, he sure is a breath of fresh air with his mild and respectful manner.

I realize also that the Christian church is not the same as the government and has a vastly different role. I acknowledge that part of the government's role is to "keep our country safe" while the church's role is something else entirely.

Like I already said, I don't have the answers on how to "fix" everything but I am troubled by a lot of what I hear, especially pertaining to the refugee crisis. In light of that, here are several things I think we need to remember when we go about making our grand statements. I'm not saying that my thoughts are anywhere near the whole of what needs to go into making some conclusions, but I think they need to be part of the discussion.

1. Unless we are Native Americans, we are all from "immigrant" stock somewhere in the relatively not-so-very-distant past. Isn't it a little hypocritical to rail against immigrants when we are immigrants also? Are we justified in doing so just because we got here first?

2. When Jesus said to "love your neighbor as yourself", that means something. I would say that the scope of who is our neighbor has increased  dramatically since Jesus' day. I feel like if we as Americans turn our backs on the suffering people of the world we will do so to our own downfall and hurt. It seems like some people are saying that as long as we (Americans) are "safe", who cares about the suffering in the rest of the world.

3. I know full well that none of us want terrorists wandering around in our cities. (Long Island, VA is looking better all the time; I doubt any terrorists will stop by here unless they're lost on the way to somewhere else) I know it seems like most of these terrorists are so brainwashed that they are beyond changing for the better and to be honest, I don't have much hope for them either. But I would remind us that the majority of the New Testament epistles were written by a former terrorist. (check out Acts 9:1)

4. I'm really afraid of being misunderstood on this one. I'm in no way saying that the people that died in the Paris venue were "judged by God" or deserved to die. I would echo the story Jesus told about the men that were killed when that tower collapsed on them. He asked the question, "Were these men sinners above all others?" And the implied answer was no. He went on to say that we must repent or we will likewise perish. But did you catch the name of the band that was "entertaining"at the Paris club when the terrorists came in and started shooting? Well, how does the "The Eagles of Death Metal" strike you? I'm not acquainted with their music but the name certainly has a nice edgy ring to it. Somehow the edginess loses most of it's appeal when ISIS shows up with the real thing. It just seems to me that there is a real measure of hypocrisy here; glorifying violent music (in this case) on one hand and then being horrified when someone does honest-to-goodness violence in real life.

As Christians, let's be sure we get our direction from our Leader. I guess we're remembering that following Jesus trumps (sorry for the choice of words) all national and racial allegiances.And so many of Jesus' teachings run counter to the popular rhetoric of our day.

Let's keep a sweet spirit. Some of what you hear on Talk Radio sounds like they drank battery acid for breakfast instead of orange juice.

Let's be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.

Now that's radical.