I am dismayed — mortified — and full of questions this morning as I continue to read the news. My human response is to consider the gun carrying, Quran burning, pastor Terry Jones, to be idiotic and stupid, the definition of ignorance. Although my gut response isn’t helpful or kind (or very Godly) can I say I just don’t understand him — at — all! ? It seems to me to be unfair that such a crazy man “represents” the same powerful, life-changing, transforming, beautiful faith that I have experienced with Jesus. And because Terry Jones speaks so loudly (and is getting so much media coverage) I must say: He does not speak for me.
I have to speak up and say: This is not my faith. This is not my Christianity. Not my religion. It is nothing like what I know to be true about Jesus and how Jesus would respond to the climate between people of various faiths in America today. I cannot conceive of the level of confusion and misguided thinking that would lead a follower of Christ to make these expressions of their (supposed) faith.
The freedom to express one’s self is a cherished liberty in America — I value the freedom I have to write my thoughts down here on this blog and express my beliefs and thoughts. But burning a book (sacred or otherwise), a flag, a cross, a church, a temple — it is all so indulgent and wrong.
A post by Eugene Cho this morning helps to direct thoughtful people toward a peaceful response asking the sometimes silly question: WWJD.
What Jesus would do ?
“How do their/your/my (my addition in italics) actions and stories testify to God’s work and invitation of reconciliation and redemption? As Christians, we can find harmony in the beauty of the Gospel: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16] And because Christ has died for us, we can live for the work of reconciliation and redemption. I am not suggesting we be timid in our declaration of Christ as the way, the truth and the life. But in doing so, we can also choose to lay down the sword and choose love and build peace. We can choose to believe the truth of the Gospel: God not only died for us but dwelt amongst us. He walked among us. And he did the most amazing thing: Jesus ate with humanity.”
Jesus came to “restore, redeem and reconcile” us. He wants to heal us of our depravity. He died so that we could be changed people. He brought the Peace of himself to our world — of confusion, hatred and ignorance. This is the whole reason for what Jesus did – giving his life for our life. By coming to earth and walking and eating with us, he showed us only love. Love others as you love me, he said.
Cho says it well: “God wants eternal communion and friendship with us. He creates it, pursues it, and ultimately sends his Son to restore, redeem and reconcile that Relationship – as the perfect Sacrifice. Truly amazing.”
How does Jesus respond to the state of faith in America. I believe … Jesus weeps for us. And why do I share this today? Because what God has done for me is to heal me, making my life about reconciliation not judgment. And I do not want the reputation of Christ to be slaughtered by men like Terry Jones. No, God does not need me to salvage his reputation, but still I feel compelled to speak for what I have experienced as a person of faith.
If you want to talk to me about this or anything else I have written, please give me a call. Or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise please feel free to leave a thought here.
- “what would jesus do: burn the koran or eat with his muslim neighbors?” and related posts (eugenecho.wordpress.com)