Well all the controversy is pretty much over – September 11 came and went and Dove World Outreach Center canceled plans to burn 200+ copies of the Koran. For a group of 50 people planning to do this somehow the news spread across the world, of course outraging Muslims in particular and caused a global outcry. (You’d think people would realize this was a TINY fringe group doing this, not anyone truly representing the way of Jesus).
For various reasons, including the fact that the event didn’t happen and now its past news, I’m not going to expound on this event and condemn it. But I do think we can still gleam some lessons from it all.
Love your enemies, blah blah blah, I know you’ve heard it a million times. Though in this instance – who should we be going out of our way to love? Maybe it’s not the Muslims – since we sided with them that we’d prefer that Korans not be burned.
Could it be, in fact, that Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Center be the people who we need to focus on loving?
As you can imagine for many people this is not the preferred option. And if you do swallow the truth, you may find yourself wondering how do you go about doing this? I live in Oregon, which is nearly the polar opposite of Florida in the continental United States – so how do I, being so far away, love Terry and his Dove World crew?
Well I suppose first of all it starts in my heart and mind. At the most basic level I need to ensure I’m not allowing hatred and judgment ample room to grow and multiply. And imagine if others did the same, so much so that the story got little coverage because the conscious decision was made to love.
But, as the commenter David (fireandgrace.com) responded to my Thursday blog post, this job may be left to those who are near Terry and Dove World. Plenty of people denounced them for afar via blogs and web sites sans any sort of personal appeal or contact. And what good does that do?
This may be why we are commanded to love our enemies and love our neighbors. They sometimes are interchangeable. Maybe the task of loving Terry in a tangible way is best left up to those who share a zipcode, street, or neighborhood with him.
And maybe the hardest of all to swallow is that we would love Terry Jones, even after the burning had it gone down. This is the place where Christianity loses any resemblance of being fun and games.