Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Good Muslim

One day, a Christian of America made up in his mind to test Jesus, saying, "Teacher, remind me on how I am to inherit eternal life."  Jesus said to him, "What is written in the New Testament? How do you read it?" And he answered, "I must have faith in him whom God has risen from the dead. It is a living faith which leads me to love God and my neighbor." And Jesus said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."

But the Christian of America, didn't fully appreciate the answer. He straightened his back. Cast a smirk of a smile and said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Jesus replied, "A man was going was Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, and he was car-jacked by several persons, who stole his clothes, seized his smartphone, broke his ribs, cracked his skull, leaving him unconscious on the side of the road.  Now it happened to be the time of a great conference and a pro-life group was passing by, and when they saw the man, they passed on by. Likewise a missionary group who just returned from India, when they came to the exact same location, they too passed on to the other side.

But a Muslim, as he traveled to work, saw the man on the side of the road, and when he saw him, he entered into his suffering. He pulled out his first aid kit, tended to the man's injuries and then called 911 for emergency assistance. He followed the ambulance to the hospital and sat over night with the man in ICU.  Next morning he told the hospital billing office, "Here is my credit card. Take care of him and whatever he needs."

Jesus looked at the Christian of America and with strong eyes asked, "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man carjacked?"

The Christian of America clenched his fist. He looked around fumbling with the keys in his pocket. He finally looked up to Jesus and said, "The one who showed him mercy."

And Jesus says to the Christian of America,

"You go, and do the same."

This retelling of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) was inspired by my friend Jared Wilson who tweeted on Monday December 7, 2015:

"If Jesus were telling the parable we call The Good Samaritan to many evangelicals today, it might be known as The Good Muslim."

This year has proven we need to revisit this parable and others like it to recover how we are to live as Christians in this current climate. We are seeking to justify ourselves and how we treat others on the basis of our citizenship, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Such justifications lead us only to love those who are like us. This parable demonstrates the power of transformative love when those who are in conflict share in each other's suffering. This parable is spoken to those who ask the question, "What must I do to inherit life?"

Jesus is speaking to us today.

Jesus is telling us a old story in a new way.

Jesus who has showed us mercy now says,

"You go, and do the same. It will cost you time. It will cost you resources. It will cost your life. But because I have give you the power of an indestructible life. You go, and do the same. Show mercy as an act of gratitude for the mercy you have received."

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

We must have bold decisive action - NOW

It seems to me that our political leaders of all parties are pussy footing around the issue of bombing Syria. Once you start bombing (or have we already started?) you accept that there will be the murder of innocent civilians collateral damage. As Stalin reputedly said " A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic." So why worry over the deaths of a few? Further in Syria and the surrounding countries we are not quite certain as to who the good guys are and whom we should be killing. Therefore the logical solution is to kill them all.

A few, 6 or so I would guess, large nuclear bombs would suffice to kill all the people on all the sides. It would also end the refugee crisis, there would be no people left to become refugees. If we included Israel and Palestine in the target zone we would also end this conflict.

With far fewer people in the world it would help reduce the pressure on growing food and producing clean potable water. If we irradiated the oil fields in this region this would help the oil companies by driving up the price of oil which would reduce traffic and lower dangerous emissions. The more I think about this idea the more I am growing to like it. We could extend the idea to cover trouble spots in Africa, drug regions in South America etc.

The military should like it as none of our forces lives will be put at risk and it would prove once and for all if our nuclear weapons really work. Why have them if we are not going to usefully use them?

So I urge you, write to your MP, the Prime Minister and anyone else that you can think of you to take this bold decisive action now.