Ok…I am wading into treacherous territory with this post but since it is my blog, I can do that. By now, everyone is aware of the proposed construction of a Mosque for the Muslim community near ground zero. Opinions vary in support or opposition, and in the degree of civility (or lack of). But for all the Christians living in America, are we thinking about this issue through the lens of the gospel…the lens of biblical witness? My thoughts also have to do with the wider issue of immigration.
Several things come to mind as I reflect on the biblical witness, on what God is doing in the gospel of Jesus Christ. First, the land is God’s land and it has always been. The notion that there is American land, Mexican land, Canadian land, etc… must be tempered by the fact that ultimately all of creation belongs to God, for it exists by the will of God alone. Second, Christians ought to read what the Bible says about treatment of the aliens and foreigners living among God’s people and then – and only then – begin deciding how we ought to respond to the reality of Muslims and other immigrants (legal and illegal) living amongst us. As an Evangelist/Preacher, I have heard far too many Christians offer a response to this issue that is rooted in fear and national politics rather than gospel and biblical witness. Surely we hinder God’s will when our actions are rooted in fear (rather than faith) and national politics (rather than gospel/biblical witness)…and this is a scandal since it is we who also profess the claim of truth and salvation in regards to God. Third, rather than being fearful of Muslims and other immigrants living among us, we ought to see their presence as a missional opportunity. If we take our faith seriously, we are instructed to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28.19, NRSV). Typically this assumes the sending of missionaries to other lands of the world for the mission of God. However, now God is bringing those from other lands of the world into our midst. What shall we do? Shall we complain because of some extra hardships the presence of the alien and foreigner may place upon us? Shall we protest because of the danger some may potentially pose? Or shall we live by faith in God, rooted in the gospel/biblical witness and teach them to become disciples of the One – Jesus Christ – to whom we believe is the way, truth, and life (cf. Jn 14.6)?
Of course, the answer to that last question presumes we are living as disciples of Jesus Christ ourselves. And yet, the comments I hear by many professing Christians does not bear witness to a life of discipleship.
I don’t know what the best solution is to the proposed construction of a Muslim Mosque near ground zero (or the larger issue of immigration). I understand the sensitive nature that such a proposal presents to the families of those victims who were murdered on 9/11. However, I do know this: we who claim to be Christians cannot allow national politics to inform our faith. Furthermore, if we take the gospel and biblical witness seriously, we must conclude that the world will not be a better place if this issue is resolved through national politics and fear. And so we continue to pray that our Father’s will be done here on earth as it is done in heaven (cf. Matt 6.10).
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