Being a Christian does not mean burning the Koran

It is always empowering to read an article about those who truly practice Christianity.  It is sad to read articles about those who in misguided ways do damage to the essential message of Christ.  Rev. Terry Jones, a pastor who is gaining some notoriety for his commitment to burn the Koran on 9/11, is an example of someone whose words damage that essential message of unconditional love.

One can view scripture in many ways.  One can create a loving, merciful compassionate God.  One can create an angry, vengeful God as well.  I recall listening to the authors of the “Left Behind” series as they discussed their view of a “slaughtering Jesus.”  Still a head-scratcher for me.

I believe deeply that is why Jesus living on this earth is so critical,  why the concept of the Divine Human is central to Christian New Church theology.  One simply cannot find the cruel Jesus in the New Testament.  This is Man who never carried a sword.  This is a Man who never set aside a foreign faith system as being “of the devil.”  This is a Man who quietly talked the crowd into putting down stones ready to be cast at a sinner, not a demagogue inciting the crowd to pick up stones in vengeful hate.

One can takes words out of context to cobble together an angry Jesus.  What one cannot do is look at the context of His entire life – words and actions – and come up with anything but a deeply loving merciful God.  This is not a God who burns Korans.  There are rooms for grey at times.  In other areas of our life there are not.  This is one of the later. Being a Christian does not mean burning the Koran.

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One Response to “Being a Christian does not mean burning the Koran”

  1. Chuck.Blair says:

    A follow up to a conversation about the blog post …

    The third way is key to understanding Christ. It is that path that is neither “flight” or “fight.” It is best exampled, I think, in the parable where Jesus says if someone strikes you on the right cheek (a backhand) turn the other cheek to the person. What does not mean? Don’t strike back – i.e. “fight”. Don’t run away – i.e. “flight.”

    What does that mean for us today?

    One of the real strengths of the New Church is that organizationally we do not and will not make religion a political endeavor. In other words, one will probably not hear a minister speak to the legitimacy of war in Iraq or Afghanistan. We may speak to principles but not to the political realization of those principles. It is up to you to figure out how the teachings of Jesus should inform that debate.

    I know that living the third way, in my life, means trying to practice non-violent resistance to evil. I think we often miss the middle part of that phrase – resistance. The third way is a form of resistance. It is not ‘soft headed’ in any way. In terms of yesterday’s post, I would clearly stand – literally and figuratively – against the burning of the Koran.

    What principles do I think should inform how we should approach other faiths?

    1. The ultimate purpose of creation is a heaven from the human race
    2. Everyone is created to go to heaven
    3. Therefore God has given everyone unique elements of faith/ religion to help them on that journey
    4. Not all of those faiths/ religions are “Christian” which is actually a good thing because Christians tend to blow it. (“Non-Christians tend to pay more attention to God than Christians because their religion is in their life.” Divine Providence)
    5. We can choose to cooperate with God’s plan, to pick up the tools that our faith/ religion gives us or not
    6. In doing that we are choosing heaven or hell
    7. We must always constantly guard against separating faith from charity – the big sin. Having an intellectual faith without a life of loving kindness makes one dangerous – a “terrorist” of sorts.

    How do these principles impact how our nation should interact with Muslim nations? Now there is a conversation! I am big fan of Rev. Reinhold Neibur in this regard. He said democracy is about finding “proximate solutions to intractable problems.” For me that means the challenges will always be with us. Easy answers will not come. The best we can do is muddle on as best we can to find proximate solutions.

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