Sunday, September 12, 2010

Remembering Well

A few years ago I lost my Grandma Doty. I was closest to my grandparents on my mother's side, the Doty's. Four years before gram's death, Papa passed away. In the year after my gram's death, I came to a point where I felt it was time to let go of grieving but I didn't want to. I was afraid if every time I saw a flower which reminded me of her or heard a hymn which I could hear her singing I didn't cry, well, that meant I forgot her. I didn't want to stop grieving out of fear of forgetting.

We just celebrated the 9th anniversary of 9/11. Time and time again, I heard the call "to never forget" the lives lost. I couldn't move ahead personally out of my grief over my grandparents' deaths until I chose to remember well instead of trying not to forget.

How does one remember well? On birthdays and anniversaries for my grandparents, I try to do something they enjoyed or we enjoyed together. Perhaps a trip to an ice cream shop, Papa took us down the street when we were young to Dairy Queen. My grandmother loved gardens so planting a garden or working with plants helps me to remember well.

I wonder what remembering well those who lost their lives on 9/11 would look like. If they lost their lives because of intolerance and hatred, how can we counter that with hospitality and love? Does remembering well change the discussion over the mosque 3 blocks from Ground Zero? Instead of trying not to forget, perhaps we can remember well.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Muslims, Christians, and a match

So tomorrow we mark another anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Approaching the anniversary this year has been laden with one controversial issue after another. It is like we have mixed gun powder, lighter fluid and a match. We have the proposed Muslim Community center three blocks away from Ground Zero in NYC. The anger over this is interesting since there has been a prayer room at this site for over a year. Then there is the on again, off again, on again Koran burning in Florida. The church of 50 wants to send a message to radical Muslim terrorist organizations that we will not back down. I guess the moderate Muslim community is just collateral damage to them.
Once again, I am left asking, "where is the voice of God's Kingdom?" In both of these situations, we have an amazing opportunity to say with a loud voice to the terrorists, "the same hatred and anger which you willingly nurture in your community, we will not allow you to nurture in our community." Instead a small amount of so-called Christians have chosen to send the message, "we can hurt you without killing a person, just as bad as you hurt us by killing people."
Christian hospitality has been defined as affording to strangers the same kindness and love afforded to family. Ground Zero is sacred. We would say a church being built there would be redeeming and desired. Would Christian hospitality call us to afford the Muslims the same kindness we would extend to Christians or any other religion?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Christians and Politics

On a friends facebook page, there has been a discussion on whether Fox News should be the voice of Christianity and if the Conservative Party really should be known as the Christian party. A few months ago (back in March I believe), I blogged about a Christian voice. I stated my concern with Beck and the Right Wing has been the blending of Christianity with Americanism--syncretism. One person who was in the discussion, assured me he is not blending his faith with his politics and went on to tell me I am in open rebellion because I have voted Democrat at times. I am not a party line voter. So yes, I vote democrat and republican and independent because no one party holds the Kingdom's voice. But I laugh, syncretism would not be as dangerous if it wasn't subtle and attractive to God's people.
It got me wondering though. Why are Christians so susceptible to someone using Christian-ese? Throw in God, faith, hope, charity, and suddenly, you are obviously a Christian and you deserve my vote. Speak against that candidate and Christians question your Christianity. Why are we so willing to sell the voice of God's Kingdom to one party? (I am aware that in some areas the one party is the democrats and in other areas it is the Republicans, and still now the Tea partiers.)In my opinion:
1. Its a power thing. We like to be in power. Get the Christian in the White House and in Congress. The only problem is: we have had this scenario. There have been plenty of times the "Christian Party" has been in power. Abortion remained legal under them. All of the "Christian values" they were voted in for, seemed to take a back seat. But we were in power and it was comfortable for us.
2. It is much easier to legislate morality than it is to do it Jesus' way. Oh, we are trying to save our country. Christ called us to be fishers of human beings. If we outlaw the "big sins" of abortion and homosexuality, we won't face the judgment. Or if we help the poor, we will not face judgment. But we weren't called to make Christian nations. We were called to make disciples of all nations. Disciples cannot be legislated into existence. But making disciples is a messy business. It means I have to get to know people personally who are different from me. I might find someone who has had an abortion or someone who is homosexual who loves Jesus with all their heart. I might hear a story which breaks my heart and my political agenda meets a real person whose life is broken. I might see Jesus in those broken people. And hear Christ's call to love them as they are. What would I do then?
Why do you think Christians want to have one party be the voice of the Kingdom?