Friday, September 21, 2012

Six Suggestions to Help Christians Deal with the Middle East Crisis

 
 In 1987 there was a photograph by an American artist and photographer, which shows a small crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist, Adnres Serrano's, urine. I discovered that this piece won the Southeastern Center of Contemporary arts "Awards in the visual Arts."

Adnres Serrano said,  "this work is not intended to denounce religion, it alludes to a perceived commercializing or cheapening of Christian icons in contemporary culture."

Even so, Protestants and Catholics alike cringe at the thought of someone taking a symbol of their beloved Christ and submerging it in urine as sacrilegious. Although this is, in my opinion, distasteful and his thoughts on "commercializing or cheapening" of Christian icons has some merit; nonetheless, the thought of it is offensive.

However, offended Americans of faith did not burn buildings, send in suicide bombers to blow up buses, nor did they kill anyone, and they certainly didn't accuse a whole nation of blaspheme God—unlike what we're witnessing in the radical Muslim world today over the YouTube video trailer entitled the [i]Innocence's of Muslims. In the protest, as you know, four American men—unrelated to this film, were murdered and our Embassy burned. American soil was attacked.

In February of this year someone burned the Quran at a U.S. base in Kurduz. This led to hundreds of protesters who sought to burn down the U.N. building. In this protest, four people where killed and 50 injured.

Yet I've watched as these radical Islamic men have burned the American and Jewish National flags, burned pictures of our President, and vehemently have shouted "Death to America." Did you know they published our Ambassador's death, Christopher Stevens, on YouTube? If that's not a spit in the face, what is? And I wonder if President Obama has asked for its removal as he has asked for the Innocence's of Muslims video trailer to be removed.
 The radical Muslim's seething hatred has sparked fierce riots all over the Middle East. It's true that a "little yeast works through the whole batch of dough," (Galatians 5:9). This video was an excuse to let loose their hatred and violence upon America.

Jesus said, "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such thing must happen, but the end is still to come," (Matthew 24:6).

It can be quite alarming as we observe such hatred for our country coming from the Middle East. We can only wonder where this will lead? And what should be our response?

I think of comedians who blaspheme God, Christ, and religion and put people of faith in categories of weak, crazy, or unintelligent . . . even though it offends me; we live in a country with the freedom of speech. To speak out about what we like and don't like. To protest when something is against our morals and values in a civilized manner.

According to Brigitte Gabriel of [ii]ACT for America she wrote, "Followers of radical Islam have declared jihad against Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, non-Muslims, and secularists - simply because they regard us as infidels. They even target Muslims whom they regard as insufficiently “pure.”

The warriors of radical Islam are not only "over there." Tens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America, operating in sleeper cells, attending our colleges and universities, engaging in influence operations aimed at the media and government. They are here - today. Many have been here for years. Waiting. Preparing."

I laugh a bit at this statement because my mother, God rest her soul, used to say all the time, you watch those radical Muslims are going to take over America! She passed before 9/11.

What should be the Christian's response? I think it's a personal issue in how one responds but as Christians we do have a responsibility to honor God's Word.

Jesus said we are to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. To put upon they're heads heaping coals of kindness. If only I were Jesus! Inside me spurs anger toward them, I feel fearful of what this can lead to. I'm frustrated at our government's non-action in which they attribute our adversaries anger BECAUSE of a poorly made film that offends their Allah and Mohammad—this is absurd and ignorant. Angry people who bring ammunition to a protest plan on using it for a specific reason. This was NOT spontaneous.There was a plan and will continue to be a plan against all who do not believe as they do.

Corrie Ten Boon, a Holocaust survivor said, "If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest."

This is true . . . God is the Almighty Sovereign God. Jeremiah 32:17 declares, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." That means he can give us peace in the midst of unrest.

Here are some thoughts I've had about how we can respond to the Middle East crisis:

  1. Be spiritually equipped—our battle is not against "flesh and blood . . . but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms," (Ephesians 6).
  2. Be informed—"By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised [is] wisdom," (Proverbs 13:10).
  3. Don't trust everything the media tells you—"Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly," (Proverbs 13:16).
  4. Be proactive, voice your opinion with prudence—"The lips of the righteous nourishes many, but fools die for lack of judgment," (Proverbs 10:21).
  5. Don't let anger fuel hatred—"Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs," (Proverbs 10:12).
  6. Be Prayerful for our government and our world—"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness," (1 Timothy 1-2).

What are your thoughts?  What do you feel should be the Christian's response to what is happening in the Middle East?  How do you feel about the attacks on our Embassies?


                                                   











[i] <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/MAiOEV0v2RM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
[ii] http://www.actforamerica.org