Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burning on 9/11? What Have We Become

As a Christian, nothing incenses me more than people who share my faith but act in ignorance. Case in point, Pastor Terry Jones and his church in Florida wanting to burn Qu'rans on September 11.

Is this what remembering a national tragedy has come to? A revenge plot against a book that is near and dear to the hearts of many Muslims. All in the name of showing the terrorists that we won't back down to fear?

My faith tells me to disagree with someone but not respond with violence or hatred. Standing up for God doesn't mean kicking somebody else down in the process. God's name has been invoked for too many misguided practices and this is one of them.

This is where people go too far. I hear far too many people who call themselves Christians but act so radical that it transcends what the Word actually says. God requires us to stand for his values, live lives that are pleasing to Him and his standard of holiness as well as be His servants in noble causes such as fighting social justice and being examples of His love.

Notice I said love not tolerance. In saying that, we don't have to agree with other faiths but we respect their decision to worship as they see fit and proceed in genuine love to find common things worth fighting for.

Here's a hypothetical question. What if there was a radical group that wanted to have a Bible burning day on Ramadan or Yom Kippur? What if someone wanted to burn the Torah on Easter to show that Judaism has no relevance? There'd be just as much outcry over that as there is over this.

There's a scene in "The Book of Eli" that is worth noting. Eli is responsible for carrying the Bible on a mission and he reads it nightly. At one point, he and his companion are attacked and the Bible is stolen from him. But as they walk on their mission, Eli realizes that for all his study of the Word, he had overlooked the main principle - apply it to his life in front of him as well.

Instead of holding a book burning, why not hold a memorial service where all could come and reflect on the tragedy. Why not discuss what we as Christians can do to not forget what happened but remind ourselves that the enemy is not Islam, it's the Devil who wants to use this tragedy to encourage hatred, division and false pride. There are so many more productive things to be done that show the Body of Christ at its best.

People like Jones are so passionate about being God's servants in actions like these but they forget that His word says love those who hate you. Turn the other cheek and be examples of love. Pray for those who persecute you. Vengeance is mine, I will repay. This goes against everything the Bible speaks of and I'm embarrassed he's using Christianity as his umbrella for it.

I pray he comes to his senses and realizes the foolishness of burning these books isn't just going to agitate Muslims around the world (a large portion of whom are peaceful), it's a disservice to many Christians around the country and world by painting us as fanatics. Our job is to preach God with our actions not slander it with hate.

This says it all. 15 years old and this song is still so relevant.

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