Thursday, September 9, 2010

Now I'm Burning.

I am fired up. I haven’t been this fired up about anything really important in a long time. While in some ways to have my passions stirred is a good time. I haven’t hidden the fact that I’ve been terribly depressed for a long time. But on several levels I am not sure I like being stirred up. 


First I wish this issue would go away. I wish Dr. Jones and now this Pastor in Springfield TN would just come to their senses, repent and not burn anything this weekend. Second, I fear that I will be misunderstood, lose friends which are valuable to me and maybe even vilified.  As I said yesterday, I am much more the Kumbaya, get along type person.

I feel a real sense of grief in my spirit. After I wrote my blog yesterday, I saw the post from a Pastor in Pakistan. I could feel the pain in his words. He was begging for us, his brothers and sisters in the west to do what we could to stop the burning of Qur’ans. He posted a picture of a burned house in Pakistan. I know religious militants are not right and need to be stopped, etc. But you know what? They exist. Christianity has produced quite a few of them as well. Look no further than Dr. Jones.

It is easy for us, sitting in freedom to say things like well, they don’t have churches in Saudi Arabia. That’s right they don’t. Thank God we live in America where we have the freedom to build churches, or temples, or synagogues or even mosques. We don’t want to be Saudia Arabia. We love to talk about the godly heritage of our country, our “Christian” roots. It is because of those foundations that we have freedom of religion.

When we hate, when we respond with hatred, are we any different? Someone said they wanted fairness. They said they wanted the President and others to react just as strongly when Bibles are burned as they are to this Qur’an burning. I think it is to our credit that we don’t react. Not that I want to see a Bible burned. That’s a terrible thing as well. But we understand that when someone does that, our response should be to pray for them. It should be separate their actions and see it as their problem. The reason we can do that is we know freedom. Not only the freedom of knowing Christ but also because we live in a country of freedom.

I saw a clip of a pastor and an imam from Memphis who are respecting each other. The pastor said that he is told in his Bible to love his neighbor. These Muslims are now his neighbor. So he is doing what the scripture says. Is that in your Bible too? It is in mine.


These two reminded me of the powerful video I saw a few years ago, The Imam and the Pastor.  You can see a clip on youtube of part of it here. Two Nigerians, one a Pentecostal preacher, the other a Muslim Imam work for peace. Seems that would be a very godly thing to do, at least to me it does?

I don't think this fire is going to go away. I wish it would. I wish I didn't feel compelled to speak up, but I do. I can't ignore it.

Listen to the words of Jesus:
Matthew 5:38 "Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' 39 Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. 40 If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. 41 And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. 42 No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.43 "You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' 44 I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, 45 for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best - the sun to warm and the rain to nourish - to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. 46 If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. 47 If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. 48 "In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
We really don’t need Patraeus or the President to be telling us that this Qur’an burning is wrong. Our Master and Savior told us this a long time ago.  I am a Christ-follower. I want to behave like one. I also want our brothers and sisters around the world to be safe. I also believe in the scripture that says we are all one body and when one hurts, we all hurt.
1 Corinthians 12:25 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, 26 the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. 27 You are Christ's body - that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything.

4 comments:

  1. For those that know God, and believe the Bible – which is only about 20% of the 80% of Americans that say they believe in Him – this stuff is sad, maddening, and elementary.

    There is a real conflict between Islam and Christianity. It started way back in Genesis with Abraham’s 2 sons, Isaac and Ishmael. One, the father of Judaism and the other the father of what is now Islam. It will end in Armageddon. It is a conflict that will involve Israel and the nations of Islam in a real battle.

    Because Christians have the same God as Is real, we are in the conflict as well. However; ours is a SPIRITUAL conflict, not one addressed with NATURAL means.

    Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

    2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

    Qur‘an Burning is wrong even if it is protected by freedom of speech!

    Acts 19:19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.

    The ones that burned these idols of worship had converted to Christianity and this was a sign. No one burned the items for them.

    Retarded and inflammatory.

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  2. When I heard about the FL pastor who was going to burn Qur’ans, I was upset. We as Christians are not respond with hate but with love. The world is to know us by our love not getting back and doing as others do.

    You are so right. Our country was founded on Christian principles and that included freedom of religion. We never mandate that people become Christians just because they live in America. They are free to worship as they please. The Pilgrims came to America so they could worship freely.

    If Christians really lived out what they claim to believe, others might view us differently.

    I may not agree with another person's faith but I recognize that they have that freedom. Only the Holy Spirit can draw a person to faith in Christ and we are the Jesus they get to see for now. What are they seeing in us?

    I pray for others to come to know Christ but in the meantime, I don't burn their religious articles. I continue to live out the life of Christ who is my hope.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

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  3. Interesting read. I posted recently about, "Breaking the Threshold." How today's church can change the direction it has been going in, if it has not been moving in the Spirit.

    http://davevilk.com

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  4. interesting read. I recently posted on my blog about how the church can change direction, by individuals answering their call and in turn the corporate unit can see the move of God.
    "Breaking the Threshold." See at http://davevilk.com

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