Unrest in the Middle East

The unrest in the Middle East continues to grow today, fanned by popular anger over a video that denigrated the prophet Mohammed.  How do we hold this?

It is sad when one reads – correctly – that the vengeful video that escalated into the unrest was partially the work of right wing Christians.  The sad part is that it is true – historical Christianity does carry within it an aberrant strain of violence, not only apparent in this incident but spread throughout history.  But that strain is our fault, not Christ’s.  It is indefensible. One could readily argue that Christ’s clearest message was indeed the opposite – non-violence.  The entire crucifixion narrative, captured at Easter, clearly portrays the redemptive nature of non-violence.  And yet, mankind will do with any religious message whatever they will.

Non of this excuses the virulent anti-Western sentiment apparent in much of the Middle East either.  It does not excuse in any way those who murdered the American ambassador to Libya.  We must call intolerance in any form darkness.  And as with all things spiritual, we must start with ourselves.

Hatred and judgement readily cascade downward into violence.  This is no small thing.  This is not “over there” or “among them.”  This is “here now” and “among us.”  What are we to do?  Pray.  Light a candle.  Gather in loving, diverse community. Care. Live our way into a new way of thinking.  The word “Christian” should mean far more than it does.

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