On the day after the September 11th attacks, I posted a message on Fellowship Chat declaring it was time promote love and peace. I felt like the thing for the Church to do was to spread the Gospel of love to a world full of hatred and violence. "The time has come," I said, "to put away hate and promote love. We must respond to this tragedy with peace, not violence."
Sadly, the message was not well received. In fact, everyone basically said it was time for the Church to declare war on Islam.
Nine years later, there are still people who believe that the only way to fight Islamic extremism is with more extremism. The other day I talked about Pastor Terry Jones' plans to burn the Quran (I mentioned that he cancelled the book burning, but we're still not sure what exactly is going on). Also, some of you may remember from a few weeks ago when a man in New York stabbed a taxi driver for being a Muslim. And then there's the Tennessee mosque that recently burned down.
Meanwhile the Islamic extremists are using these incidents as recruitment tools. Extremism breeds more extremism which breeds even more extremism. The cycle never ends.
I still believe that the Church should follow Jesus' example, and respond to violence and hatred with peace and love. When our Muslim neighbors see the Church do such horrible things, they don't see us extending an open hand to come to our churches--they see a middle finger instead. We must see our Muslim neighbors the way Jesus sees them: not as "the enemy" or "the other," but as human beings. In the Kingdom of God there is no "us" and them;" there is only "us."
May we never forget what happened nine years ago this day--and may we also never forget Jesus' call to be peacemakers.
3 weeks ago