March 15, 2019

No people, this is NOT what you get for mixing Islam with the West.

In the wake of the terrible events in the Christchurch mosques just today, could Christians of a certain persuasion stop writing things on Facebook along the lines of “This is what you get for mixing Islam in the West.”?

Yep, I saw that within a few minutes of the announcement of the shooting, but strangely – or perhaps not – that particular post has now disappeared.  Perhaps the sheer enormity of what happened shamed that particular person into removing it.  I hope so.

Do people think that King Jesus is watching that statement from his heavenly throne and  going “Yeah, right on!”?  

This is not what you get when you mingle Islam with the West.  This is what you get when human sin is given free rein.

This is the time to grieve at human sinfulness, and a time for Christians to determine that the rights they call out for in their homelands are the rights that many Muslims never have in their own countries, and are darned grateful to have in our lands.

There has not been a church shooting in either New Zealand or Australia on a Sunday worship gathering taking out nearly fifty people.  When there is get back to me.

My chief concern is the constant cry from Christians who think that the West should be reserved for us.  There’s a conspiracy afoot everywhere to bring us down.  We saw it also in the George Pell conviction where within minutes on Facebook there were cries of it being a stitch-up to bring Christianity down.  Let’s face it the church was doing a good enough job of that itself with the scandal that arose.

Somehow certain wings within the faith – or individuals within it – have a reflexive action at times like this that show up their faith as grounded more in culture than the gospel, the very thing of which they accuse others.

I have little regard for Roz Ward of Safe Schools Coalition fame.  She’s a hard-line Marxist who has little room for dialogue and is firmly in the “winner-takes-all” category that will certainly fracture our even more fractured society.

But she’s somewhere on the money as this report in The Australian newspaper shows:

…Ward, writing for the Socialist Alternative newspaper Red Flag, also took aim at the political, religious and media opponents of Safe Schools for once accusing the program of “sexualising children” and “now falling over themselves to defend a convicted paedophile”.

According to the self-­proclaimed Marxist activist, Safe Schools operatives were attacked and labelled “child abusers” for their attempts to change school culture for the benefit of LGBTI students, whereas the church was a “proven perpetrator of abuse” that covered up a “massive paedophile ring … for decades”.

Ward may be over-egging the cake.  Not everyone who opposed the program defended Pell, not by a long stretch  But there’s a trend in there, where we’re quick to point out the sins of others, while at the same time diminishing our own sins.

And that’s taken root among many increasingly angry Christians.

I hope this latest shocking, evil, tragedy is a chance for Christians to call it for what it is.  And for some who have flirted with a “let’s keep the West white and Christian, and allow everyone else to form their own tribes in their own lands”, to realise that is just another form of cultural apartheid.

Mark Sayers, in his excellent podcast, This Cultural Moment, calls out the progressive, secular agenda in our world as a desire for the Kingdom Without the King.  People want the benefits of what Jesus brought to the world without his rule.

Well conservatives (and I would label myself as fairly conservative) can fall into the equal and opposite trap of wanting the flipside of that: Christendom without Christ.  A secular, conservative program that keeps all of the benefits of the old West, and what the Christianised culture did for the West, but without really having to bow the knee to Christ.

Secularism is a Christian heresy, whether progressive or conservative.  Neither has any concept of human depravity, especially of one’s own.  Both seek to explain away their own indulgences and blindspots.

So let’s not get into bed with the angry, predominantly white, middle class cultural elite who still want to live their own sexual mores privately, but who are certain that the wider culture needs to look like it did sixty years ago.

Christendom without Christ is no more attractive that the Kingdom without the King.  And the events of today in Christchurch (ironically named) are the end result of thinking we can have a westernised tribalism that will not spiral into the sorts of actions that occurred today.

Let’s pray that Christians respond with grief, compassion and love.   Many are already.  And when my beard is due for a trim next week I will go in and talk with my Muslim barbers from the Palestinian territories and Iraq, and mourn with them that an incident we in the West find reprehensible, is an almost daily occurrence in their homelands.

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There is no guarantee that Jesus will return in our desired timeframe. Yet we have no reason to be anxious, because even if the timeframe is not guaranteed, the outcome is! We don’t have to waste energy being anxious; we can put it to better use.

Stephen McAlpine – futureproof

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