Over the past week I’ve watched as a lone pastor described in one news article as “militant, fundamentalist” and “unrepentant” take it upon himself to wage war against Islam. His first step was to hold a trial, convict, and burn a Koran. This came less than six months after he threatened to burn a pile of them at which the president had to call and ask him to stop. The result has been outrage by the Muslim community. Protests in Afgahnistan have resulted in 20 deaths. As I sit and reflect on the situation, I’ve found myself asking “do Christians take the holiness and sanctity of their faith as seriously as Muslims?”
When I was growing up I remember my parents instilling a reverence for the Bible in me. You never put another book on top of a Bible. You always knew where it was, never let it get beat up, and the only marks you made in it were for notations and study. Today, I have Bibles all over my house. They’re in drawers, next to (and sometimes under) the bed, on the desk with the mail, etc. If I read a story about an Immam burning a pile of Bibles I’d notice, but probably wouldn’t worry too much. Not nearly as much as any Muslim does about the Koran. Why is that? One explanation I heard was that Muslims consider the Koran as the litteral word of God transcribed by the prophet while Christians consider the Bible as a compilation of the work of men. Now there are lots of debates about the authenticity, accuracy, and legitimacy of the Bible, but I’m not going to get into that. Christians consider the Bible God breathed. It is not merely accounts crafted by human hand, but it is the inspired word of God transcribed by Gods annointed messengers. If Christian’s truly believed that to the extent that Muslims do, how would it change their faith? How would it challenge them to reach beyond differences in interpretation and implementation to impact lives? Is there any one thing in Christianity that could do such a thing?
The United States is considered a “Christian” country. After the 9/11 attacks there was this Pro-America nationalism that swept through the country. Everyone was waving flags and proudly proclaiming “Made in America” on their brands. Could there ever be a galvenizing event for Christians like that? Would there ever be one thing like the burning of the Koran that every Christian would stand up and say “that’s enough”? I’m not asking for Christians to arm themselves and start killing people for offenses to their faith (there’s enough people who do that sort of thing in religions name already). What I’m asking is can we let go of our callousness to be broken hearted, offended, and take action when we hear of Christians being persecuted in China, Bibles being edited in the Phillipines, missionaries being martyred in South America, and more? Let your heart be broken by the things that would break Jesus heart. Jesus came to a point where he was so offended at the way his Fathers house was treated he chased them out with a whip. There’s something we can learn from the holiness and reverence that the Muslims proceed with their faith. How will you proceed with holiness and reverence for the elements of your faith today?