I’ve tried to write about this for a week, and feel so much pain inside. I hope these thoughts might help to contextualize the way the world is spinning today.
Brussels, ISIS, and Jesus
The world is once again shocked at the attacks we see in the media. To think so many people simply commuting to work, traveling for vacation, or just going about their day to day lives affected by this evil attack is sobering. Evil is Evil, and the images we see of people who are victims of senseless violence is absolutely 100% a part of a dark world. Don’t be deceived, evil and good are at war with one another, and on days like this; it feels like Evil is winning.
The fact that groups like ISI, ISIL, or ISIS (whatever you call them and actually my Arab friends defer to call them Daesh) still are carrying on attacks like this highlight the need for action. Many of my friends see this simply though the eyes of religion, some through geo-political powers, and still others through the eyes of military justice; all of which have complicated pros and cons.
My own view can be seen through the paradigm of Jesus, and this week especially; I’ve been meditating on the Passion Week leading up to Easter. I believe there are lessons we can learn from the greatest man who ever lived, but it’s going to take some re-tooling many of our primal urges.
I know many will say, This is a fight about real things, not faith values. Keep Jesus Out.
Others will try and make the case the battle is a religious war, ISLAM vs. the World.
Some will try and advocate for social paradigms to speak of cultural problems.
While others will make it an economic problem speaking of poverty and access to the vulnerable.
It may seem complicated and skewed, but what is clear, each voice offering solutions to this evil has a paradigm by which they begin trying to make sense of this awful terror activity. Mine happens to be tied to my view of the world through the eyes of Jesus.
So what would Jesus say about the current news stories coming out of Brussels, Lybia, Turkey, and Egypt? What would Jesus’ strategy be to address this massive problems in Iraq and Syria? And how would Jesus address the basic needs of people involved in and effected by these evil acts of coward-ness.
Jesus was always concerned with the individual
During his time on earth, Jesus always reached out to the human-ness in relationship to the Kingdom of God. He reached out to the religious leaders AND to those who were violently advocating for religious uprising (Zealots.) He cared for the prostitute, and fed the hungry; no matter who they were or what group they were a part of.
Don’t be deceived, the world was as dangerous in Jesus’ day as it is today. Governments were at war, terrorism was alive and well, and evil was on the forefront of everyone’s mind. To think Safety and Security is a new modern idea is to ignore the Occupied Jewish people by the Roman Empire who had a ideology to conquer the whole world. My point: The world in Jesus day wasn’t that different. The players were different, but the human condition was the same. So what was Jesus’ strategy?
He gave healing to the Roman Centurion (the terrorist) for his servant.
He fed large groups of people who came to hear a message of hope.
He even said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me.”
Jesus met the human condition head on, knowing that God created all men and all men have the promise of hope.
Jesus wasn’t as interested in government systems as he was a mindful relationship with God
When he met with a group of Pharisees who asked him who he paid taxes to he asked one of them to show whose face was on the money. When the pharisee, who was forbidden from doing trade with Rome, accidentally presented Jesus with a coin from the Roman economic system (actually showing overt hypocrisy in the Pharisees) He claimed, “Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and Give to God what is Gods.”
The lesson Jesus showed the Pharisees was simple. There’s a kingdom of men here on earth and there’s a Kingdom of God here too. And Jesus was asking the Pharisee, and loosely all those in earshot, “Whom do you serve?
If our solution is merely about government control, military action, or faith in the systems of the world, we are forgetting about the Kingdom God is trying to create. God’s kingdom is different than the ideas and thoughts of the world. Loving your neighbor. Loving your enemy. Keeping yourself pure in the eyes of God’s Kingdom are all virtuous values whereby Goodness meets the Evil of the world Head on.
So when we see these atrocities happen on earth we have a choice? Do we meet them head-on with the world’s ideology, or will we meet them with God’s kingdom?
Jesus’ message was to bring God’s Kingdom all over the earth
So many people want to oversimplify the conversations about Islam and Christianity. One is right, one is wrong. One is more human than another. One has virtues while the other is barbaric.
Those of us who are citizens of the Kingdom of God need to remember, ALL HUMAN LIFE is sacred and given to us by a creator. No matter who they are, God reigns and desires his Kingdom to be expressed “on earth as it is in heaven.”