Monday, April 04, 2011

we were having a bit of a “conversation” in the car this morning that we’d love to have you add your two cents to…in the news today and yesterday is all this stuff about that pastor, publicity hound,  here in florida--terry jones—and how he burned some Qurans (to what end?) and wound up getting 24 people killed over in Afghanistan—including 7 united nations workers…
my argument, in agreement with something I heard on tv, and what I think is common sense, is stop giving the guy media attention and maybe he’ll go away!! he’s looking for attention!! further more, it’s high time somebody in the Christian world gets angry enough to speak out when these atrocities occur: when the terry joneses pop up—crying “look at me, look at me!”; when so called Christian cult groups picket outside military funerals applauding the death of gay soldiers who “are only getting what they deserve;” when people like George tiller are gunned down in cold blood, without the most basic research being done into what their actual function is, before the judge, jury and executioner, attack to kill. the silence of the body of Christ tells the world that it approves of these horrendous acts perpetrated in its name, when, most likely, that’s hardly true…but think a minute….how do most of us react to muslims who never speak out when horrors are committed by muslim terrorists…do we not assume, then, that quiet muslims agree with the atrocities?
It occurs to me that precisely what you think the media should be doing is what we—Christianity—is attempting--ignoring these fringe characters and charlatans and hoping they will go away.  Interestingly enough, when we have a cause, we are not shy to stand up and shout our opinions, to try to change the laws of the land to reflect our morality, to turn one another into a panic over the “appalling state of our decadent nation.”  We are so good at creating an atmosphere of panic, and perhaps Terry Jones and his companions are simply reflecting our attitudes, applying our techniques in places where they do not fit. 

Mostly I'm furious with this Terry Jones guy who gives expression to a judgmental violent response to Islam and dares to call it Christian.  These misdirected crusaders whom our leaders seem to ignore do not represent anything that the Jesus of the Bible ever did or said.

Okay, now--your turn, what do you think about all of this?  No fisticuffs, but everything else is fair game!! please join in:


Shirley said...

SSS: I agree. Ignore Terry.
File him under "Terrence, this is
stupid stuff."
He's seeking publicity and doesn't
respect others' beliefs.

From the Rim of the Box said...

wow! there you are!! welcome. i know what a struggle this was, just getting here!! i wonder, though, how we get through to the do we convince them to lead the ignoring. you and i can ignore our heads off and it's meaningless...unless we tell the news outlets we'll stop watching or reading or whatever if they don't realize what their part in all this is, and do something about it... thanks for stopping by, shirley...come back soon!! efc

From the Rim of the Box said...

I think most of us, excepting the media, who thrives on sensationalism, pretty much agree that ignoring him is the way to go. BUT if the media insists on making a big deal out of it, I think the question we need to face is this: Since he is spread out there for the world to see what nuts we Christians are, how do we let the world know that he no way represents us? Or should we just go about being who we really are and hoping the world can see that and believe it? ELH

From the Rim of the Box said...

A Note from JANE: When I read things in the media, I take them with a grain of salt because of personal experiences where the news folks got the entire account so incorrectly that it didn't even resemble what had actually happened. I also think that respecting others' religions is important, so if it is as the media has said, a big if, then Terry needs some reteaching about what being a Christian means. And finally, if we respond to book burning with killing people, no matter what our religion is, that's overreacting, and my old daddy used to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right."
Jane Carlile Baker

Carol Loewen said...

First of all, E & e, I love your blog name - very appropriate for helping us think through issues together.

I too am concerned that the media is so biased that they will focus on a Terry and give him lots of media space, and then write or speak as if all Christians feel as he does. However, that same media will make no assumption, for example, about other Muslims feeling the same as those who attacked the Trade Towers on 9-11.

That said, we Christians need to be more outspoken in saying "This is not the teaching or the lifestyle of Jesus, and we do not support these actions." One way my church does this is by partici-pating in lots of community needs and activities, from bringing homes of the poor up to standard through a focus called "Beautiful Day", to having hundreds join the annual Walk for Aids. We want to express Jesus' love to those in our communities.

From the Rim of the Box said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From the Rim of the Box said...

everyone speaks so well--will anyone notice that most of us are writers!!? But whether you say it "pretty" or you don't, the thing i keep missing--and particularly from christians--is:

you KNOW the media will never shut up as long as they can sell one paper, or acheive one ratings point with any little tittlation--or anything that can be made to appear as such--you know that! you also know that he (terry jones) is just LOOKING for attention, and so taking him with a "grain of salt" would only be workable if there were no other consideration--no fallout: like people who might be stirred into going out to kill some other'd need a big hunk of salt for that!

what disturbs me is that christian leaders are very vocal about movies and books i should miss; and they keep a close, judgemental eye on my personal behavior. and particularly generically, they are most happy to tell me and mine exactly how i should/ must live my life... but when one of their own fails to live up to that standard in one or more important ways... who among them will step up and speak out? who will say, "if i expect you to live in a 'proper' way, then i and mine should be the model for that, and this man is not projecting that model for one reason or another..." this is my main complaint...where are the christian voices...maybe there have been some, somewhere... but there need to be some that we, who don't read christian magazines get to see/hear, too. i want to know you are just as angry as i am, and that it hits you just as hard as it hits me...!!

i guess you can guess, this posting is all ellen... efc

Bruce said...

I agree that the obsession with 24 hour news coverage plays a role in encouraging bad behavior. Everyone wants fame and evil actions attract the cameras. However, don't lose focus on reaction of Muslims worldwide. A group of Christians were killed in Afghanistan in "retaliation". We should demand that Muslims, at least in western countries denounce the concept that killing "infidels" earns a heavenly reward. All religions seem to have matured through the centuries except for Islam. If Muslims did not riot and kill in reaction, the Terrys of the world would not attract attention.

Wanda said...

I'm very sorry for the families of those killed by these radical Moslems. It is sad to see the innocent die.

I'm currently reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book The Caged Virgin and Irshad Manji's book The Trouble with Islam Today. Very thought provoking books! I can't keep their ideas apart, but one said that the West is afraid of the Islamic world. Due to the murder of Theo van Gogh (he made a film called Submission with Ali) and the attacks on various Dutch publishers after they published the cartoons of Mohammad, and other situations, Europe and the West have become afraid of speaking out against Moslem tenants and faith. They wish the West would be more courageous in speaking out against the complete veiling of a woman in Western public and certainly about the horrors of female genital mutilation.

That leads us back to Terry Jones. Isn't it interesting that hundreds of Christian churches throughout the world are burned each year (and thousands of Bibles with them or in additional situations), many in Moslem countries by fanatical Moslems, YET what Christians attacks Moslems in mobs to kill them in response to these atrocities or where do Moslem nations condemn such acts? Yet one person--in a free country (Terry Jones--burns one book (yes, sacred to Moslems--and how many people die??? What is that all about?? Is that about Terry White or about the hatred and fanaticism in the Moslem culture? Many of the Moslem countries are currently calling for the destruction of Israel, Britain and the USA. Christians suffer terribly in many Moslem countries today. And if a Moslem converts to Christianity? They are often tortured, raped, imprisoned, or killed. So let’s have a discussion about the Moslem culture, not just about Terry White. He's just exposing what's already there.

I am not condoning Terry's act. At first when I heard what he was planning I thought, "My gosh, how could anyone do that to a Koran when Christians around the world will suffer for it?" Then, as I have been reading the above books, I realized, "We are afraid in the West of the fanatical Moslem world. We don't want to upset them. So how long are we going to keep them appeased? What are we going to do next so they won't get upset?"

Moslems are treating the Quran like it is a god. Cannot God defend His own book?

I'm just asking questions. What is all this hatred and rage really about?

From the Rim of the Box said...

the west, or elements of the west, are terrified—seems to me—of almost anything that’s not PC (politically correct.) last week a family at the airport went berserk because their 6 –year old was patted down at security. I’m terrified we will bow to that family. I saw the tape, and that child was not touched in any way inappropriately…and any of you that has had family who were willing to discuss their experiences fighting in countries from viet nam forward can tell the rest about the babies and small children who were/are outfitted with bombs…all we need to do is announce we’re not going to be checking young children…sadly, sometime, in the near future there will be some tiny roman candles passing through the tsa and boarding our aircrafts…it’s the nature of the terrorist mind…and by that, primarily I mean the muslim terrorist.

never, at any time, has there been a group of people so willing to die and to kill…although, I can only shake my head as I recognize that the suicide bombers, so thoroughly convinced of their mission and their rightness and their path to the promised 72 virgins—are mostly, basically, children of a sort, themselves, none appear to be more than 30-ish, most considerably younger, and I wonder—what would happen if their elders and trainers were offered the opportunity to step in, maybe for an extra virgin or two!! would they be quite as gung ho, or maybe they’d be looking for a do-over…?

but I digress—when you’re dealing with muslim terrorists—who have no regard, as you, wanda, say—for anything resembling human sensibilities or feelings—then you must deal with the reality of that understanding. FORGET PC…if you attempt to be understanding, or try to give the benefit of some imaginary doubt—any of that—they will destroy us. they’ve made great inroads into said destruction in france and germany and Holland, etc…do your own research…this is no state secret…
for the moment, the issue is that, at the very least we need to be able to expect muslim leadership to stand up and say, “this is bad; this is wrong; we need to clean up our own house…”

of course, that leadership would be be taking their lives in their hands just as an outsider would be by speaking out… but then, at least, we on the outside would know that islam has people in it who are wanting exactly what they’ve been insisting they’ve been wanting—to live in peace among the rest of the world…up till now, that concept has been a little hard to swallow…but, oh, my--give me an excuse to believe it! please!!!

oh, yeah...all by myself, again--ellen

From the Rim of the Box said...

While you were all having this great discussion, I was up in the mountains near my home taking part in the 42nd annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. It was gorgeous up there-- everything was in bloom all over the place-- trees, bushes, free-standing stems in all the gardens. And all was clustered around and beneath the ancient towering redwood trees of the Central California coastal area. We sang together, ate together, climbed hills and critiqued manuscripts and attended classes. And at night, we listened to a writer/entertainer/ film maker. He admitted that he had been bored with Christianity long ago. Then someone urged him to learn to listen to God's voice and always say "Yes," no matter what God said to him.
His life has been truly exciting ever since. He encouraged us to stand up and speak up and say whatever God tells us to say. I think if all of us Christians did just that, the world would know where we're coming from and feel, not condemned by us and God, but invited to join the adventure. That's the one positive thing we can do, eh? ELH

From the Rim of the Box said...

efc here: the next short dialogue is one ethel and i had in response to her last comment. i had a bit of a problem with it in the context of this discussion...the conversation is too raw to be a "posting," so we've left it as a simple continuation of the dialogue.

efc: when you've had time to unpack and unwind you need to go back and reread all the pieces that lead up to what you wrote. it seems like there's maybe more to be said than pretty trees and "okay" to god, as a fixit for all the ailments we're talking about in this discussion...i KNOW you don't think that, and i don't want your readers to believe that's all you believe, either...sunshine and lollipops won't do it; and if it is what you really really believe, then be more explicit...

ELH: I'm thinking how to respond to your comments. I was making an important point when I wrote that yesterday, but you seem to have missed it. And if you did, maybe others will, too.

efc: you’re quite right when you say I missed your point entirely; I must have…I felt as though we were discussing ugly things, and all the sudden you were talking about sunshine and lollipops…and I didn’t quite grasp where you were…so, yes, I’m sure I must’ve missed the point.

ELH: The point was that in the midst of all the beauty around us (at my writer’s conference in the woods,) we had this terrific speaker with a charming way of bringing us back to the reality of the bigger world we all come from. He told us his life story and how God had given him some pretty daunting & ugly assignments. He challenged us to go home and do whatever we are instructed by God to do. I tried to say that if everyone who calls himself Christian would do just that, we would end up giving the entire world a clear picture of who we are called, by God, to be. So then when the Terry Joneses come along, the rest of the world would shake their heads and say, “Wait a minute,this guy doesn't behave like the Christians we know..."

efc: I’m not sure how to respond to this. I feel like we’re running across the field toward each other, arms out in greeting, and we run just past one another by inches! number one, it is not possible that everyone who calls himself a Christian would listen for god’s word and follow it—as opposed to, say, interpreting god’s word according to his own personal idea of god’s rules…so your premise is impossible…AND terry jones is a Christian who makes my point---he thinks he’s an excellent Christian, I’m guessing.
so how are we, the "OUTSIDERS," to make the distinction between terry and the good guys, especially if the good guys are not willing to speak up--why aren't they?? why is the onus on the outsider to see the big divide between the good christian and the knucklehead, who could not possibly be a “real” Christian…when, in fact, he IS a real Christian…just, an obnoxious one…and it would be lovely to hear you SAY—not leaving to us to understand, but YOU SAY—yes, this person may be a Christian, but misguided, and hopefully, we’re not to be judged by what he is, but rather by what we try to be and how we try to live our lives.” SPEAK UP!!

ELH: One more thing I have to add: The point is not whether Terry Jones is a real Christian, but whether he is acting “Christian-like.” I mean, outsiders look at the weird and reprehensible actions of this kind of man and say, “Ah so that's Christianity! Yuck!” What I'm saying is that we should speak up, yes. But it takes more than our words. And, too, only God knows how much of a Christian this guy is, at heart. We need to live by the standard we claim so that Terry Jones can legitimately be seen as the aberration, not the normal representation of Christianity.

efc: well said!! I have absolutely no argument left, EXCEPT THIS: if you live an exemplary life, but don’t speak up—allowing the terry joneses of the world to run amok at will, then it would appear that you are tacitly agreeing with their actions…

Mimi Moseley said...

I loved them! I especially enjoyed the part about Terry Jones. Grrr! All he did makes me CRAZY! While Jesus calls us to SHOUT love, he shouts foolishness. Will burning the Quran cause the lost to turn to Jesus? Don't think so. But if we choose to love first, it just might open the door to hear truth.

Sorry, I didn't plan on sticking my two cents in but I think that's what your blogs are all about...causing us to respond and discuss.

Great job!

From the Rim of the Box said...

“But if we choose to love first, it just might open the door to hear truth.” (m.mosely)

but mimi, what if we choose to love first, but fail to pair that love with something practical, like speaking up--simply and honestly about the things we know to be true, in the belief that the loving is many Christians seem to believe that other folks think about and understand the in’s and out’s of any given religion and those who follow it—whereas I know that that outside fundamentalism, most people don’t give it lots of thought and are willing to believe whatever’s easiest. my point: if terry jones is a jerk and terry jones is a Christian (to most people) there may easily be a lot of Christian jerks, LIKE TERRY JONES; if some muslims are terrorists, and most muslims are middle eastern…(the simplistic, and, of course, idiotic conclusion would be) most likely, if you’re a middle easterner, YOU’RE A TERRORIST!! it’s a form of magical thinking, and it stinks, but if we—ALL OF US, you and me, and anyone who can scare up a formum to speak upon—if we are not willing to speak up, then, by golly, that magical thinking is what we get, and probably what we deserve!! - efc-