Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Strange Solicitation

Sitting at my office trying to work up a sermon for this coming Sunday, I took a very strange call from a man with a very heavy accent trying to get me to commit to coming to a Baptist Church in a nearby town later this month to learn the “real truth” about radical Islam and the threat it poses. Once I told the man I would not be attending and had no real interest in such things, he came pretty near to questioning my patriotism (??) and wondered how I could continue to live in my blind ignorance of the threat posed by such “jihadists”. Once I informed him that I was probably better informed about the world situation than your typical phone solicitor, I suddenly realized that I had allowed myself to be sucked into this ridiculous discussion. As I could virtually hear him shuffle for the page likely marked “successful responses to typical declinations”, I wished him a good day and hung up. Still, he obviously did not know he was talking to a "right-wing extremist" who is considered a "potential" threat to national security.

It occurred to me that during the time of Jesus, the people of Israel believed the Romans to be the real, or at least most grave, threat to the well-being of the people. When Jesus was no longer useful to them in facing this threat, they turned on Him and wished Him dead for all the good He was doing them and Israel.

It also occurred to me that my first real encounter with a so-called “clergy killer” was one who objected when I suggested that Islam and Muslims pose no threat to Christians, Christianity, or the United States … certainly no threat to the Lord Himself. Those like this particular gentleman need enemies to accommodate the pain, bitterness, loneliness, and hatred that permeates their very soul. All that soul-draining energy needs someplace to go, and Muslims are just as good a target now as blacks were in the 40’s and 50’s or the Jews in Nazi Germany in the 20’s and 30’s. Few realize how much energy it takes to hate, and that energy must have an outlet. So all anyone needs is a scape goat, something or someone to blame for their sorry lot in life. All that pain, bitterness, and hatred has to have somewhere to go.

It rarely occurs to these haters of whence the true enemy lies. And it never occurs to them what kind of energy it actually took to torture and nail to a cross an Innocent Man.

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