a koran. a mosque. and jesus.

With so much attention being directed toward the building of a potential New York City mosque near Ground Zero and now the incendiary issue of a charlatan pastor leading a potential Koran burning in Florida, it is worthwhile to examine how Jesus might approach such issues and then ask if we as his followers are responding appropriately. Being that there are so many who wear his name as a badge of identification, yet who behave so radically different from one another, it is important for us to contrast those who clearly attempt to follow his way from those who have created their own self-serving religion.

I believe it is worth mentioning at the outset that I am only viewing these issues through the lens of how Christ might view them and I am only writing to those who claim to follow Christ. I fully admit and expect that this perspective will not jive with many, including nationalists, but I am not writing to you. I am writing directly to the hell bent fundamentalists who would like to summon the flames of hell to burn their enemies and to those who say they follow the way of Christ but who live under the values of good ol’ Uncle Sam instead of the values of Jesus.

It is true that the tendency of mankind is to retaliate, fight, punish, and even destroy the offender. That is the way of the world and that is the way it has operated for thousands of years- civilization after civilization, kingdom after kingdom, and empire after empire. It is a mind-set, attitude, and way of life that is so deeply embedded in our wayward human psyche that any suggestion to the contrary is not understood and many times ridiculed, mocked, or even attacked itself.

But while I have no expectation of the average person to stand against the cyclical patterns of aggression and follow the words and life of Jesus by loving our enemies, blessing those who curse us, and forgiving those who trespass against us, there is a very real expectation for those who do profess to follow Jesus to actually follow this way. If the Christian has made the way of Jesus our own personal pursuit then love, peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation of our friends and enemies ought to be our norm, our mandate, and our call. Our life work ought to center on healing and restoration in the lives of people and relationships.

People who claim to be “Christians” yet who incite hatred, antagonism, vitriol, fighting, retaliation, or judgment are not of Christ. Those are not his ways and they are not the ways to which we have been called. Whether it is standing in front of a strip club holding signs in protest, yelling and screaming about the New York City mosque, or burning the text of another religion- they all completely miss the way, life, and teachings of Jesus in the way he loved those who were enemies of him and the way he served those who had been pushed to the edge of society.

The Samaritans were clear religious enemies of the Jews. One day when Jesus walked by one of their villages the Samaritans began to hurl insults against him. Two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, asked if they should call fire down from the sky to burn the accusers to a crisp. How did Jesus respond? He chastised his disciples for monumentally missing the point. Did you get that? He did not agree with the retaliatory notion of his followers.

I believe Jesus would have the same reaction today to any of his “followers” who feel the need to retaliate, marginalize, or burn anyone (or anything) to a crisp in hostility. Jesus did not play the tit-for-tat retaliation game. He chose to bless those who cursed him…and he was trying to teach those who follow him the same thing!

In the most disregarded passage in the Bible Paul asks his church, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside?”

Christians would serve themselves (and God) better if we would learn to worry about our own waywardness rather than everyone else’s waywardness. We should be more concerned with how we are demonstrating the loving and self-sacrificial way of Christ to the world rather than how wildly offended we get by what others do. We have not been asked to sit in the judgment seat with God; we have only been asked to love.

So what business is it of the Christian if a mosque is built in New York City? It is not our concern and it does not change anything for us. We are still called to be like Jesus no matter the situation or circumstance. Our time would be better spent discussing how to demonstrate a greater love to the Muslims or how we can better serve them with our actions. Granted this may push you to the edge of what you are comfortable with but the way of Christ pushes us beyond that which is humanly possible. Burning sacred texts and spewing hateful venom is too easy, too predictable, and too much like the fallen world. If you call yourself a Christian…then start acting like it. Otherwise quit doing your evil bidding in the name of Jesus.

peace…

brandon

11 thoughts on “a koran. a mosque. and jesus.

  1. I saw the pastor of the “Dove World Outreach Center” (notice it’s not a church) interviewed this morning. The interviewer said: “if Jesus were here would he tell you that burning a Qu’ran is the right thing to do?” The pastor replied “Yes!” “Really, Jesus would want you to burn a Qu’ran?” “Yes.”

    Dolt. Evidently he doesn’t have a permit to burn anything, and the local fire deptartment is on standby to extinguish anything that is not a stick or a twig. Thankfully.

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  2. Good thoughts, Brandon. I agree with your fundamental points- Christians need to be known more for what they are FOR, not what they are against. They need to be known for love vs hate.
    However, this mosque thing is a little bigger than just a religious issue- more of a national security issue than anything. Mosques are traditionally built on sites that muslims have conquered and as a fact are known to not only house weapons to arm terrorists, but be a safe house for such. I see this as an act of terrorism on their part- knowing that Americans (not just Christians) have been very damaged by effects of their religious teachings (9/11), yet not doing anything to seek peace. Building a mosque on a site where thousands of Americans died at the hands of Muslim terrorists is not exactly peaceful.
    I do not suggest yelling and screaming at them to quit in order to try to make a difference. Obviously, we’re dealing with something much bigger than what yells and screams can accomplish. I think a call to prayer for the Muslim community would be appropriate. Jesus also condemned the sin of those he reached out to- at times very bluntly and harshly. Yet, they knew He loved them and would hang out with them.
    Thanks for being willing to tackle this issue, Brandon! I see your heart and it’s beautiful to see the love and grace God has given you for others. May He do so for all of us.

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    1. Vanessa… I would suggest a few questions for you to consider:

      1. are Christians called to fear or love?
      2. why do the values of many Christians in the United States look more like the values of our culture and what is best for our country than the values of Jesus and what is best for his Kingdom?
      3. why are Christians in the United States so quick to debate issues (like the above issue) by using nationalistic perspectives than by using the words, life, and teaching of Jesus?
      4. if Jesus was hanging out with you and you started explaining the above issue to him and offering a nationalistic perspective and concerns about national security… what do you think his response to you would be?

      peace…

      Brandon

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  3. Good words, brother. I wish there was more understanding & more Christlike treatment towards the good people who follow Islam. Thank you for this, I’ll be passing it along.

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  4. Thank you Brandan for your raw insight. I love that you are not afrid to say it how it is. I love the paragraph about how we are to love our ememies, to use peace and restration instead of hatred and bitterness. This is a good reminder and I will pass it on. Thank you

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  5. Wow! That Vanessa person is a lunatic! Claiming mosques are used for storing weapons and whatnot is more hatefilled to me than burning a book. Spreading these venemous lies is more harmful to our society than a million terrorists will ever be. Open your brain up, you nutjob.

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  6. well said Brandon… 1 Cor 5:12 is one of the most forgotten scriptures in the new testament. Also…Rom 12:21, overcome evil with good…I think we forget that Jesus walked it…and we must do the same! All things are possible with God and it takes us as a group of believers to fast and pray not blend in the world and culture around us!

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  7. Thanks for sharing perspective I have wanted to share with the media every time i see a report on these topics. The problem is that a congregation with 50 members spoils the pot of the Church’s mission and that is to love. The middle east perceives the West (not just USA) as a Christian nation. This comes from many years of war done in the name of Christ. They view things through the lens of the Crusades and how people burned and pillaged in the name of Christ with red crosses on their shields. One “little” thing such as a Nazi-ish book burnig party adds fuel as well as confirmation that their narrow minded view of Christianity is really real. We know that 50 people in Florida do not represent all Christians, but the fact is many Muslims do not recognize Christians as being Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Post modern, New Age, etc. They see all of these representing the same religion with the same fundamentals and the same views. If we could only focus on our mission to love instead of joining in to the propaganda we could confirm rather than disaffirm Christ’s love displayed through his Church.

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  8. The ONLY time I remember reading ANY time our LORD JESUS using ANY violence & showing signs of ANGER …were at the Temple of HIS own people….it was a righteous anger for making HIS FATHER’s house a “Den of Thieves”….Brandon’s right ! Our Actions speak much louder than our words!!! The World is watching & WE are Ambassodores for our LORD !!! We must ask ourselves, “What ARE our actions speaking on behalf of of our LORD?”…What would Jesus have done? Well HE went through torture & crucifixtion for our salvation rather than inillate us all…I think that pretty much says it…oh yeah, He finished the deal with “Forgive them,Father, for they know NOT what they do!” He said pray for our enemies…love our neighbors…Let’s obey HIM for a change!!

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