There are countless opportunities for us right-wing fundie evangelicals to take offense and grow wroth with the culture. Television, movies, magazines, the NEA, Clinton presidencies — it’s almost as if there are elements out there deliberately looking for sticks to poke us with. Each time X, Y or Z causes an uproar, my pastor has a common reminder for our congregation: “God didn’t fall off of the throne because of X, Y, Z.”
His point is that God is still in charge and undismayed and unthreatened by such goings on, and even laughs at the thoughts and plans of men. He’ll often go on to point out that we shouldn’t be shocked when sinners sin. The reason he does this is not to say that we shouldn’t be concerned about what goes on, but to help us change our perspective to see the big picture: how do we get the revelation of God’s grace and mercy to those who seem bound and determined to test it.
With the news this week detailing the reactions of Muslims – rioting, threats of violence, kidnapping and other intimidations – to their prophet being depicted in editorial cartoons it seems that there may be a fundamental difference in the way Christians and Muslims view the power of our God. I believe a Christian perspective is to hope that those who oppose us will live long enough to see the error of their ways and repent well before a final judgment; the Islamist approach appears to be to try and yank as many as you can to judgment right away.
It’s also interesting to note that our own culture and media are willing to celebrate, in the name of free speech, crucifixes soaking in jars of urine, religious icons smeared with dung or Kanye West portraying himself on a magazine cover as the crucified Christ, yet it cowers in the face of Muslims being outraged over a few cartoons. The mainstream press and television will pull the cartoons, or pixilate them, or fire editors and reporters for running the images and claim they do so out of a desire to be “sensitive” to their Muslim audience. No such sensitivity appears to be available to Christians who, despite the fears and portrayals of many, are not generally given to violence. Meanwhile, look cross-eyed at their faith and you’d think Muslims are a bunch of frenzied liberals reacting to Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell whenever she departs from the dogma that Democrats have nothing to do with the Abramoff scandal. (see photos of the banners Muslim protestors are carrying here).
Okay, deep breath. God is still on the throne.
I have done things in my life that were deeply disrespectful to Christianity and Christians. I did them at the time with little fear or awareness of possible repercussions though by the standards of the rioting Islamists God had every right to strike me dead. Actually, I agree with them – God had every right and more than enough power to do just that. Instead I lived long enough to meet Him and Jesus Christ in miraculous ways and to profoundly repent. Furthermore, the revelation that I have been spared helps me to see others, no matter how offensive, in a different light, even the same light that God sees them in: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Some Muslims (and Christians) may think that God wants us to take heathens, pagans and infidels out; I believe he wants us to bring them in.