In light of the news surrounding the burning of the Quran on September 11th. I have a question. Why? What is the purpose? I remember exactly the precise moment in time when I heard about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9.11.01. That following Saturday I was leaving for Tupelo, MS for a 13 wk. nursing assignment. My son, Bryce, had just turned 13. He had a nanny that would stay with him during my absence. It was extremely hard for me, as a mom, to leave him knowing our nation was in turmoil. Fear paralyzed a nation. Then….we had the Anthrax attack. I will spare the details of the event as this in not my primary reason for blogging today! Focus…right?
A few years ago a movie, Crash, aired. While I don’t approve of the language used in the film, the message was apparent. Prejudice on every side and disrespect for humanity on many levels. Being raised in the South (Louisiana) and being old enough (29:) ) to remember desegregation, I loathe prejudice. I was the cheerleader who purposely made the people sneer when my all black basketball team played.
There is yet another prejudice that puzzles me. Religion. I remember being in love (yes, it has been awhile, but there is a faint memory!) and marrying my high school sweetheart. He was a basketball player and I was a cheerleader. Classic right? Well….as our marriage went south (no, not further in La ), I sought to become closer to God. I loved the sanctity of marriage and believe when God created me, he stamped me to be a wife and mommy. My husband belonged to a certain religion and I was raised another. In a desperate attempt to save my marriage, I converted. This little southern Baptist girl went Pentecostal. Yes….no make-up, no pants…the whole 9 yards. My hair was already really, really long so…I did the switch. Did this make my husband change? Absolutely not. However…a remarkable thing happened. I fell in love with Jesus. I had a revelation of the scripture, “God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance.” (my paraphrase!) I was happy as a person, in love with a holy God who knew and accepted me for me.
Then…one day… I did the unpardonable thing. I wore pants again. I walked into K-mart where my mother-in-law worked and was served the silent treatment with a side of cold shoulder. (To this day I admire, respect and love her dearly regardless of divorce!) Honestly, I preferred their mashed potatoes or tuna stuffed tomatoes! What happened to me & how did that make me feel? I immediately felt condemned, but I told her through tears that day, God knows my heart. Honestly….at that time I didn’t even know that was a scripture. Well….fast forward….after multiple infidelities (uuhhmmm not on my part!), we divorced. I will save the attempted murder & murder suicide attempt for another blog! What did I resort to? I then left the church completely, hit the bars & started the long road of endless searching.
Why? I was rejected because of a religious belief and practice. There was a prejudice between church choices. I loved God. Period. I was not strong enough to withstand the guilt of another persons imposition. The world accepted me for who I was. It was easy to surrender. Years later I got truly saved and have never turned back. I did something however that I later repented for. I became religious, transferring that same prejudice toward other people who did not serve the same religious practices as I did. I was (still am) full gospel, Assembly of God. The day I left the church where I had attended for 13 years, (because of infidelity in the pulpit), in my spirit I heard the chorus to a song, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles disappear…” Instead of rain it was “reign” as referring to the reign of man. It was as though a veil had been lifted from the eyes of my heart. I realized I had become the person who had hurt me many, many years before because of a belief system based on pride and yes…prejudice. The reign of man was broken and I was free to realize things on my own. There are many religions for many reasons. Who am I?
Today….the right question to ask concerning the burning of the Quran is simply, Why? The men that attacked our nation were no doubt evil. There are people in our nation who are American citizens, as shown in the movie Crash, who for no reason other than a skin color or religious practice, are catching the brunt of our hate. The people who wish to build a Mosque on ground zero have their rights and reasons. Let me ask you another “right” question. Was that property open to purchase by anyone? Is it fair to assume that a Catholic Church could have purchased it? A Baptist congregation? How about one of the many Assemblies of God affiliations? Could it have been a multi-cultural art building? Why are we so quick to judge a religious practice and not look at the hearts of the persons involved? I will not be one of them.
I have a friend whom I love, admire, and respect dearly. She is one of my favorite business partners and it grieves me to think her Quran is the target of hate. Let us consider that in the light of eternity, we are responsible for working out our own salvation with fear(respect) and trembling. We have a commission, and in case no one else is paying attention, it is harvest time. The Bible clearly tells us that in the last days, we will have wars and rumors of wars….let’s not contribute to that by desecrating a beloved book.
A great pastor experienced such an act of hate against his book. Rick Warren quotes, “In 2009, a tiny fundamentalist group got national exposure by burning The Purpose Driven Life. It was their 60 sec of fame.”
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.- Martin Luther King Jr
We will either learn from the mistakes of history or repeat them.