I’m guessing many of you have heard the recent news about the Pastor over in the US who has decided the best way to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 was to burn loads of copies of the Koran. Politicians, public figures and religious leaders worldwide have spoken out against the decision made by this pastor, including Christians – and I believe they have every justification to do so.
However, I’m not going to sit here and pronounce judgement. It would be very easy to accuse this pastor of being judgemental, unloving, and attack him for the damage this could potentially do for the name of Jesus. I mean, frankly, I don’t believe what he’s doing is what Jesus would do, and doesn’t demonstrate the way of Jesus at all.
I think it just make things worse.
But that’s my opinion.
Let me make this clear, its not my job to judge him.
That’s God’s job, not mine.
Even though I fundamentally disagree with this man, there is a chance that beyond this one action, that God is somehow at work in his church. Therefore any criticism I make – especially given I’m not perfect either – is criticism of someone God is using in some way, which in the Bible is called blasphemy.
This guy will have to give an account to God for what he’s doing, and that should be enough for all of us. I need to trust God, not to ‘deal with him as I would’, but to be just – because Jesus died for him too, and he believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus just as I do. I need to let go of my need to control, criticise or condemn this guy, and make sure I examine my own planks before I start looking at others specks.
I will say this though.
If it had been me, and I was going to do something to commemorate 9/11, instead of burning books I would have done the following:
First, I’d hold a prayer meeting in our church for all the families of the victims of 9/11, and for all those affected by the war, to which I would have invited local Muslims, although making it clear it was a Christian prayer meeting. I would then have the church host a meal either on church grounds or on neutral territory like a restaurant, and invited everyone in the church and all the Muslims in the area. I’d encourage the people of my church and the Muslims to sit next to each other and talk to each other. I would have then said publicly to the Muslims that any time they wanted to visit our church, they were welcome, even if they didn’t believe what we did. Not only that, but long-term I’d meet with all the religious leaders of the area, including Muslim leaders, figure out what values we have in common and in light of that what we can do to best serve our community. Personally I think that’s the kind of thing I think Jesus would have done.
But hey, that’s just me. You come to your own conclusions.
Whatever your opinion or reaction, I think there is one question that needs to be asked in light of this, and I think has much bigger implications.
Would Jesus burn books?