Saturday, November 14, 2015

Our Dangerous World--by Linden Malki

Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris were reminders that we live in a very troubled world.  They followed  major  attacks in Beirut and Baghdad earlier this week. We've become too used to the news out of the Middle East,  but when it hits the West, it gets our attention.  There were also similar attacks in Turkey last month, and Egypt a few months ago.  There is evidence that the recent crash of  a Russian aircraft in the Sinai desert was not an accident.

There are also the ongoing massacres and displacement of Christians and other minorities, and also rival sectarian communities.  And it's not the first time.  My father-in-law  fled Turkey as his people were slaughtered along with the Armenians before, during and after the First World War. All of these pale in comparison with the Holocaust of the 1930's and 1940's when not only six million Jews but also about the same number of Christians were  systemically killed.  And too many more, in too many different places, by too many perpetrators.

There was one posting from Paris that asks people NOT to pray for Paris. The claim is made that "religion" is the cause of it all.  I've heard claims like this for years, especially having been around the Middle Eastern cultures.  It is easy to say,  but my own observation is that too often, "religion" is a code word for tribe. It has always been a way that people distinguish "us" from "them, "  often with little attention paid to the actual content of the beliefs.  And too often, the teachings are "cherry-picked" for quotations (often out of context) that reinforce one's own prejudices and goals.

The whole existence of violence and injustice in this world does not have easy answers.  We hear things that are easy to say, but lead places that are not so easy to live with.  Scripturally, there is more support for protection and help to victims than self-protection.  Yes we should seek peace, but we do need to recognize that it is not necessarily valued by everyone, especially those who with a tradition of revenge--and they can be found in many places.

One of the side-effects of the horrors we ae seeing is that while there are people who use radical answers for their own ends, there are also those who are having their eyes opened to  dangerous realities, and are standing against evil.  

One thing we can do is to seriously pray against evil, and for those who are victims, and especially for those who are in strategic positions to influence events, on small scales and large.

This we do know: "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33  NIV)

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