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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sometimes It's tough to be Christian

Did you know there is a chapel in the Pentagon building that has worship five days a week, and allows Muslims to use it as well? Do you remember that on September 11, 2001, the Pentagon, as well as the World Trade Center was bombed by terrorists? If the Pentagon is OK with Muslims worshiping in the very BUILDING that was bombed, why should folks in New York City be concerned if a mosque is built a few blocks away from "ground zero?"

I understand that the furor over this building of a mosque near where many people lost their lives uncessarily to the hate of terrorists is mostly emotional, and generated by those with political agendas...however, as a theologian I can say this with some certainly--there will never be healing for anyone in this event until a mosque (or something like it) is allowed to be part of the conversation...until we realize in our hearts--not just our heads--that people who take their religion to an extreme in order to terrorize others cannot take away our faith in God--there can never be healing...never.

Martin Luther once noted that each of us have an "inner" and an "outer" Christian faith. And what happens to our "outer" faith (the faith we have on display for ourselves and each other, like how we worship, pray, serve our neighbors, deal with tragedy, celebrate moments...) does not affect our "inner" faith (the faith given to us by God). And here is why: nobody can take away what God has given you...that is, the inner faith you have received comes from God, and no one, not even your own doubts or fears, can take that away from you...only God can...and that IS something to worry about...

So if something challenges your "outer" faith, it is simply that: a challenge...but it cannot take away from you what God has given you...so relax...your faith is in the hands of God...and even if God is a God of law and punishment (and the evidence is still not in on that completely...), until God tells you your inner faith is gone you are good. It is never easy to forgive someone...but that is precisely why it is so tough to be a Christian. Anybody can try to be good and follow the rules, but to forgive? Well, in our tradition that takes God. Specifically a God from the cross in the resurrected power of the Spirit...and if we are willing to put our God near a cross, we can probably allow a mosque near ground zero.

1 comment:

Scott Frederickson said...

This post was changed, as one of our readers pointed out that it is not a "mosque" in the Pentagon building, but rather a non-denominational chapel, that Muslins can use, that was built after 9/11. Thanks Steve for catching that detail. (I probably gotta stop getting all my information from ESPN!)