What Would Jesus Say About the 911 Mosque?
We know what Sarah Palin would say (against) about the proposed Mosque near the site of the 911 tragedy. We know what President Obama would say (for the most part for). We know what a host of media pundits, New York politicians, and religious leaders would say (all over the place). We know what the polls say (majority against), but what would Jesus say? Here are some possibilities…
1) “The only way to the Father is through me, I am the way the truth and the life. I have come that your joy might be full.” (Quoted from the Gospel of John). I think it is wise to state this upfront. I (Dan) am fully committed to the centrality of Christ…for life. I deeply desire for Muslims to discover and know and love the Jesus I have discovered, know and love. Just like I deeply desire those with a Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu religious worldview.
2) “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” (Quoted from the Gospel of Matthew). This one may not fit quite as well but I think it it is a reminder that Jesus seemed to have somewhat of a submissive attitude toward the lawful rules of the land. (Paul details this attitude more in Romans.) I don’t think it’s because Jesus didn’t care. Jesus cares about every area of society including the socio-political. But he calls us to invest in the primary life-giving, strategies of the Big Kingdom (of God)…not the little kingdoms (of this world). (
3) “Out battle is not against flesh and blood…” I know these are not Jesus’ words, they are Paul’s, (Quoted from Ephesians) but my thoughts on the inspiration of scripture lead me to believe that Jesus would agree. For those Christians who are concerned about the spread of the Muslim religious world-view, for those Christians who are deeply passionate for all people to find life and joy, truth and peace, our battle is not against people, it is for people. It is a spiritual battle and when we fight spiritual battles with secular weapons we lose. If this issue sparks your heart it should lead you to prayer, long before it leads you to politics.
4) The pathway to greatness is service, lived out — at least in part — in the act of loving our neighbors and loving our enemies. (Jesus message found in all the gospels.) I realize that this issue, at least in some measure is more political than it is Christian. But I think Jesus would ask those who are His followers to make sure that our responses to this issue are shaped by love and served up with a servant’s heart.
5) Mercy triumphs over judgement and those who sow words of peace will reap a harvest of righteousness. (Words from James the brother of Jesus.) Could this be an opportunity for us to show mercy and sow words of peace?
I realize this is a complicated issue. I lived in New York City for a period of time, Lynn has relatives who have grown up in New York City. I know people who lost people in the 911 tragedy. There are no easy answers, but there are choices. We choose how we will respond. This is an opportunity for Christians to respond as peace-makers and mercy-givers and truth-lovers and servant-hearted neighbor-lovers. I hope we do.
I’m glad you wrote this. I’ve read some absolutely disgusting things that have been written by supposed Christians about this issue, so I’m glad that I can now point to some more reasoned and graceful thoughts on the matter.
I shudder when I hear the political anger spewing out of the mouths of Christians. I want to weep when I witness what can only be described as terror over elected leaders because I know God does not give us a spirit of fear and we don’t have to be so afraid. When the actual name calling starts, I have to leave or speak up because regardless of my own political beliefs, these are people we are discussing. If they are our neighbors or enemies – the direction is the same – love. What I recognize when I see Christians so worked up over these issues is Christians in pain who need gentle love and ministering. Thanks for your post.
Although I absolutely agree that it is our duty as Christ-followers to respond as “peace-makers and mercy-givers and truth-lovers and servant-hearted neighbor-lovers” I think it is very wrong to assume that because one has an opinion that is not politically correct or might ruffle a few religious feathers that it also means we are not completely steeped in the love of Christ. I do not like the way many people are responding in the eye of the media spewing their biggoted fury and using their 15 minutes of fame to condemn fellow human beings whom they do not like for one reason or another, but I think it is very dangerous to assume that it is unChristian to have an opinion. Christians are called to love, yes, but they are also called to think and learn and use what they know about mankind and history to make accurate judgements and observations. There is nothing wrong in my eyes for a mother whose child burned to death 10 years ago to be vehemently opposed to a building being built that will daily remind her of the motives behind the crime. No, we shouldn’t stand there and scream hateful hurtful things to one another, that would be unChristian. But even Jesus took the time to check those whom he knew to be white-washed tombs. Jesus loves us all, and one day all this will pass away – all but his Word. But if you look closely at what some would call “interfaith dialog” and look for our faith, Christianity, you won’t find it. Although it may sound biggoted to say that, the literature speaks for itself. This issue is too complicated to be settled by merely loving our neighbor. Unless the Father draws the man, all the love in the world is merely the stench of death. Faith comes from hearing and what must be heard is the truth of Scripture. Again, although it might sound mean to say this, Islam is very much out there promoting their religion and their book the Qur’an and in my opinion unless we start doing the same many will be led astray, as Jesus himself has told us. So yes, let’s love our neighbors, but let’s also defend the broken hearted.
Hmmm yeah Maryellen, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that it’s unChristian to have an opinion. And the issue may be (I’m not sure I agree but may be) to complicated to be settled by merely (and again I think loving our neighbor is rarely a “merely” kind of thing) loving our neighbors…but I’m also quite positive that the issue is not so complicated that it negates Jesus call to “love our neighbors,” “love our enemies” “forgive those who abuse us” and “turn the other cheek”
I wholeheartedly agree that we should be out promoting Christ, and I believe that when we give grace, forgive, and speak of Jesus it is such a powerful message that around the world — not here in America, but around the world — it is causing Muslims to turn to Christ in unprecedented numbers.
I think you and I probably come at this issue from different perspectives — not different perspectives necessarily on what’s right — but different perspectives on what Christ is calling us to do and what will turn the hearts of Muslims to him.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.