Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Thought From The Wilderness

Enough already.

Nothing can dull the pain of those still grieving? Maybe not. They say time is a healer, and God certainly is.

Can anything justify what happened that day? Certainly not.

But is every single year, re-opening that old wound that has already marked and shaped the 21st century, going to help?

I'm not a believer in conspiracy theories - the idea that "9/11" was constructed by the Bush administration is patently absurd. But now it's all Bush can do to drag people's minds back to the day America was attacked, because nothing but the raw emotion of that awful day can shroud the disasters his policies are making in the Middle East. Only by ensuring the wounds are fresh, the pain is still strong, have his warmongering policies survived six years.

Now, should someone criticise US "foreign policy" (or rather, military operations), Bush just needs to pull out the "9/11" card and he's won the argument.

And what _really_ gets to me, is that the whole thing is framed as some sort of good vs. evil, Christian vs. evil-terrorist-guys battle. A year after the WTC attacks, Bush quotes from John 1: "This ideal of
America is the hope of all mankind. That hope drew millions to this
harbor. That hope still lights our way. And the light shines in the
darkness. And the darkness will not overcome it." But note something very significant yet missed by most of the media at the time : Bush has replaced Jesus (the 'light' John was referring to) with the American Dream, a fact that seems to have been overlooked by Bible Belt America. (Stephen Chapman commented on this in more depth, in November 2002.)

I submit to you: America's response to the attacks on September 11th 2001 is not just un-Christian, it is anti-Christian. Bush himself, Sept. 11 2001: "Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America."

There are many in America who are not Christian, both supporters and opponents of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I don't seek to preach to them; my plea comes from Scripture.

Paul writes in Romans: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." (Rom 12:14 NIV). And from Jesus himself:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that
you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on
the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the
unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5: 43-47 NIV)
That is the true Christian response. Nobody said it was the easy response. The easy response was to fight back; if someone strikes you on the cheek, strike him back with your cruise missiles, right? That's human nature. Wait a sec... "Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of
human nature."

We can't escape the fact that we are human, imperfect, even evil. But for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that is all we would ever be; but we as Christians are called to be perfect, as God is perfect - something only possible by God's grace. America chose to listen to America, and not God; and I believe that only God can clean up the mess that this first decade of the 21st century has left.

I hadn't planned to write such a long post tonight; this has been on my heart for a long time. What triggered it was a forum post by "Silentbrick" (a player of the MMO game Eve Online):
Never Forget

Never Forgive.

I'm not going to voice my opinion here. This isn't the place for it.
But the four words above are the ones that will always be tied to this
date for me.
There is still so much anger, hurt and grieving over that day, not just in America but around the world. But I believe there is also a loving, healing God who is waiting for His children to turn to Him for comfort, and through Him and Him alone finding the strength to not just forgive, but to bless those who have persecuted them.