Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Quran, The Pastor, and My Choice

Let me start with a footnote: I'm not a political person, and this is not a political post. I vote, but I'm not associated with any political party, and you'll never hear any political talking points from me, either from the stage, my site, or this blog. Okay, here's what's on my mind tonight...

"I love Jesus, but sometimes, Christians drive me nuts."

That was my facebook status two days ago.

I wrote it just after Gerald told me about the pastor in Florida who wants to mark the 9th anniversary of 9/11 by burning Qurans.

This story has flooded the news and consumed my thoughts. I've thought about how I would feel if a group was marking a special event by burning Bibles. I've thought about how this man's actions affect the reputation of churches everywhere. I've thought about the troops and the dangers it may bring their way.

I started writing a blog post just after that, and I've been working on it for days. At first, I ranted and raved. I thought, "I'll show them! I have freedom of speech too!"

Every time I'd have a conversation about this pastor and what he's doing, someone would bring up the classic question, "What would Jesus do?"

And that got me thinking: "What if I turned this question not just on the church in Florida, but also on myself?"

And maybe not exactly, "What would Jesus do," but "What would Jesus ask me to do?"

Wow. That changes everything.

In "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen Covey shows that after any incident, we as humans have a moment where we can decide to either react or act.

Last night, as I continued to edit my blog post, I realized that I was reacting.

What if Jesus was asking me to act instead?

So, that's what I've decided to do. I'm still mad, and horrified, and generally upset over the situation in Florida, but that anger is affecting no one but myself (and possibly my patient husband who gets to witness my rants.)

Instead, here's how I'm choosing to act over the next few days:

- PRAY - I'm praying for the pastor and for his congregation. I'm praying that their hearts are turned away from this hateful act. I'm praying for the Muslim community that is so hurt by this act, and I'm praying for safety in areas where this event may lead to more conflict.

- READ - I've just finished reading "Three Cups of Tea," which is a real-life example of how education can bring peace and healing. I highly, highly recommend you read it too!

- LEARN - We are all a little too ignorant about the different racial and religious groups that live in our own towns and cities. How can we ever love our neighbours when we don't know anything about them? This week, I'm going to take time to learn a little more about the Islamic community in my city.

- LOVE - If we do nothing more than love someone this week, imagine the difference that could make in our world. This week, I'm going to find a moment when I'd usually be tempted into gossip or sarcasm, and try to react in love.

- ENCOURAGE - I'm going to encourage you to choose action over reaction this week. I encourage you to be loving to those who are different than you, and to pray for peace and generosity in our world.

What is Jesus asking you to do this week?

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