burning the qur’an and other nonsense
September 13, 2010, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , ,

this story has been making the news rounds lately. a pastor in florida thinks islam is of the devil and wants to burn their holy book to make a statement about religious extremism…anyone see the hypocrisy in that statement?

one extreme act to combat another extreme act, and we just keep going round and round in this vicious cycle of ‘he hit me so i’m going to hit him’. oh religion…i love Jesus, and i want to love religion. i wish religion was synonymous with Jesus, but people like terry jones make it very difficult to see it that way. shane claiborne, a role model for me, wrote intelligently here about humility, and giving terry jones credit for backing down. i like the idea behind what he says, i just struggle with actually taking my heart there. people are saying that it’s his right and his freedom allows him to desecrate something holy to millions of people. it might be his right, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t being a dink. i wish i took my holy book as seriously as those who follow the qur’an. in high school when i was doing drugs all the time, i ran out of rolling papers for my weed. i ripped a page out of my bible and used it. i remember a close friend asking me if i was sure that was a good idea. i didn’t care at the time, but now i am looking back and realizing that i really don’t have enough respect for this book i follow. the Bible. it’s been used for great things in the name of Jesus and horrible things in the name of religion. some might say i’m just splitting hairs with that statement, but that’s how i feel. Jesus is amazing, humans are stupid sometimes. the movie “GREENBERG” has this great line where one guy says to another, “youth is wasted on the young.” the guy sitting next to him says, “i’d go further. life is wasted on people.” i lol’ed at that one. i don’t really believe it. i love people. they just drive me insane. i drive myself insane with my own stupidity. i often wonder if God wants to take back that statement in Genesis 1 about seeing adam and saying that what he created was very good. i mean, he’s God, so probably not. but seriously, look at us. the Bible. a book filled with life that doesn’t give pat answers. if you use it as an answer book, that’s when religion and humanity take hold and ruin it. the Bible. i read a story about brother yun, a man who lived in China when christianity was a thing of the past in his time. there were no bibles to be found. living under mao, to follow Christ led to imprisonment and often worse. but brother yun wanted a bible desperately, and so he prayed and prayed. he fasted and wept and couldn’t go a moment without desiring his bible. when he finally got one, he spent each moment he could with it. loving it. living it. it’s a cool story. anyway, i have 7 bibles on my shelf. for some reason i struggle to pick one of them up once a day. i am SO busy. doesn’t God know that? i wish i would have been offended by the thought of burning a page of my bible when i was younger. i wish i had the passion of brother Yun for my bible, at least for 1 of the 7. at least it makes me look spiritual, right? when i really think about it, i do love my bible. the problem isn’t that the bible isn’t calling me or speaking to me. it does every time i pick it up. the problem is me. my attitude. my heart. my chaos. my culture that i created and have bought into. when our holy books and religions are used as weapons to destroy and hurt people, that is when we have corrupted and co-opted the story of Jesus and turned it into something hateful. burning qur’an to show them the error of their ways…really effective strategy. it’s like slapping a baby to get them to quit crying. i am not advocating slapping babies, in case anyone misinterpreted that. using your bible to justify war and bigotry. when will we grow up? i bet if christians everywhere saw their bible the way brother Yun did, things would look a little different. our bibles wouldn’t be collecting dust on our shelves. people that try to twist the narrative of rescue and redemption from the pages of scripture and turn it into a message of domination and oppression wouldn’t have a voice if we all really listened, prayed and lived the words of scripture. i am guilty as all of you, so please don’t take this as an attack. i’m attacking myself.

i think shane claiborne is on to something with his article. because i really want to sit here and rip a new one for people like terry jones and the many like him. but in doing that, i am no better than them. ‘love your neighbor’ means to love followers of islam, which means we should not burn their holy book. but it also means that we have to love people like terry jones. and i struggle with that. the idea inspires me. living it scares me. but i guess if i took my Bible as seriously as i should, maybe it would be easier to love not just the oppressed, but the oppressor. and that is where i’m at today. the bible will speak to us in all sorts of ways. the Bible can be co-opted to say things that it never said. to mean things it never meant. anyone can grab a verse here or there and justify anything. but the Bible was never meant to be co-opted. it was meant to tell a story. the story of God’s love for his people. i want to start telling that story rather than making it fit the story i want to tell. wish me luck.