On the front page of our local paper and in the national news, two seemingly parallel scenarios are taking place. In our local city of Temecula, California some fearful people are protesting the building of a 25,000 square foot mosque. In NYC, a mosque is proposed just blocks away from the 9/11 Ground Zero.
I am a Christian–a follow of Jesus–and a pastor at a local church. Speaking for myself, I feel some of my brethren may have made a terrible mistake by protesting the building of a Muslim church. I know people are fearful of Islamic extremists and some feel that having a mosque in our area is a bad thing. And, with 9/11 we all have etched in our mind the terror so a mosque blocks from Ground Zero reminds us of Islamic extremism’s worst effect.
I disagree with the teachings of Islam. I follow Jesus. But, I think those of us as Christians need to examine how we think and look at the fact that our battle is not against people–ever. I am not saying let’s do a barn raising for the mosque. But, what should we do?
Here is how I feel some of our thinking should be challenged:
- Let’s work to model, speak and live out following Jesus rather than build walls that form a ghetto to keep us “safe” from other ideas, cultures and peoples.
- We are called to reach the world. Today the world is coming to us, so it means this is an opportunity to be salt and light, not Crusaders who convert by the sword of local politics, racism or contempt of people in any form.
- Let’s be careful to not lose our perspective that people matter to God, whether Muslim, atheist or followers of Jesus. God sent Jesus to die because he loves everyone, even those who choose not to follow him.
- Our battle is “not against flesh and blood” so let’s pray for our city before we march with placards or sign petitions. We can protest the bad or we can praise God’s goodness.
- This is not our “final” home. We are citizens of heaven. So, that should change our view of investment and erase some of our fear. We live for eternity and it’s balance sheet, not the temporary world we inhabit.
I am sure I missed some. Please let me know what your thoughts are. Are we thinking critically enough about our actions here as Christians?