Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Some Middle East Thoughts

My friend Kezia sent me this link today. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to discuss the Middle East crisis with many Christians. I tend to get two pat answers. 1. Israel is God's chosen people so whatever they are doing must be right. 2. Kill those terrorist who are evil and ungodly and don't deserve to live.
I got in a heated debate with a fellow Christian at a cafe. The dude basically told this teenager, from Europe, that American is God's chosen country, we are called to take them out and help Iraq become like America. I was an innocent bystander and I overheard the conversation. I spoke up (who would have thought) and asked this youth pastor what he (yp) thought about love; and did he forget that mercy is better then judgment? I also asked him if he thought that the Iraqis were our enemies? He said yes. I then asked him how we should deal with the issue at hand (war, Iraq, etc.)? He replied with, "well we need to take them out." My response was simple, "what about loving our enemy?" Is God not a God of love, mercy and grace? Did he not come to heal our world and bring peace? Are we not called to be "seekers of peace?"

The dude quickly backpedal, and said yes...BUT! Of course their is always a BUT, right? I looked at the teenager and I told him that God is love, and that God loves Israel, Iraq, Lebanon and America the same. God does not show favoritism. The teenager replied back with a quick response. He said that made sense to him, that God could love everyone.

At this point, the fundamental youth pastor dude quickly jumped out of his seat, shook my hand and left the cafe. The teenager said "thanks" and he left. And I sat there amazed at the fact that so many folks in my tribe really think that America & Israel has all the answers and somehow we are better than the rest of the world; Which is totally not true. But it is what it is, and to be quite frank, I do not know what to do about that. And I do not like the fact that we cover the story of Christ with a bunch of junk that does not reflect who (I think) Christ is, and who (I think) Christ wants us to be. Anyhow, check out the article, maybe you won't agree with is all, but at least it's an alternative viewpoint that could cause more of a balanced conversation to take place.

Peace & Love

'Who Is My Neighbor' in the Lebanon-Israel Conflict:

"Through the responses that I received, it became clear to me that there are many misunderstandings about certain realities in the Middle East. The first has to do with the use of the term 'terrorist.' The term has been so grossly misused for political rhetoric in the past few years that only those who are willing to question deeply-rooted conventions will be able to hear me. 'Terrorist' cannot;should not;be used as a noun or in the substantive. It can only be an adjective to describe an act. The fact is that the 'terrorists' of one group are the 'heroes' of another. "


BTW-By no means am I saying that these terrorist groups are doing the right thing. Nor am I rooting or totally agreeing with either side. I just think violence sucks and the church needs to make a stand for peace!

1 comment:

Caribou said...

Well put. It's difficult to reason with extreme beliefs and attitudes, but you handled it very well.

Cheers
rb