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Saying what we’re not allowed to say

IMG_2763I’ve watched the events unfolding in the Middle East MY ENTIRE FREAKING LIFE!  It’s ALWAYS BEEN chaotic; always multifaceted and many guilty parties.  My conclusions, to date anyway, are not popular with anyone.  I reject taking up “others’ views” to simply be accepted within a “tribe”, to belong.

We see a region, from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, across Israel, Palestine, to Egypt and all the way to Morocco.  The recent events with super powers involved in an effort to “destroy ISIS” without being on the ground is futile and we all know it, but no one is satisfied with allowing ISIS to continue, nor to commit boots on the ground to stomp them out, either.  Peace seems a virtue ISIS scoffs towards and uses it only to outmaneuver for treachery.  What a mess!   It feels surreal, like the summer of 1914, a world war waiting to happen for no clear reason or worthy sacrifice for what is about to be demanded to pay death itself.

Look, on one hand – and many will NOT like what I am about to say, the mess in the Middle East has been fostered by a century of imperial meddling from many countries, the US, UK, France, Russia and now the latest, China.  The lust for oil, control of a geographic key region has driven people to fight over this area for the history of mankind.  The past century directly lays ground work for internal strife, and the chaos of today.  We continue to define “our interests” at the expense and lack of voice by those who “get to” endure our will played on them.  In other words – a big part of this mess is OUR FAULT (the western powers, and I’d throw Russia and China into this complicity.

BUT, and here is what is not allowed to be said….  BUT…  the core of this mess is a violent culture, a violent predisposition that has fought amongst itself from all of history.  The Old Testament reveals a history of war, genocide and racial dominance and NON-STOP bloodshed.  Many site the curse of sin and the nature of the races that God told Israel to wipe out because their DNA was evil.  Others will say they are merely working out the internal defining Europe did centuries ago.  Some will say it’s all our fault, making money off warfare, war we participate in and we sell to when and when we’re not directly involved.

I think all of it is true.  What is not allowed to be said is that the Middle East, from the Persians, to the Arabs, to the North Africans – they have some deep cultural VIOLENT and literally murderous tendencies that they are not owning up to.  Life is cheap, “my way” or die (the eternal fallen human disposition) is real there.  They choose this reality and as a people and region are not willing to come to terms and compromise to co-exist together.

The unbridled freedoms of the west, what liberals insist will bring harmony to the Middle East, are exactly the core of what they hate – despise, loath and froth at the mouth over.  They do not esteem freedom at all, but concrete and clearly defined boundaries of absolute obedience.  Free thought, critical thinking and a willingness to tolerate any dissent is odious to the Middle Eastern cultures.  Hence, reason does not work and why democracy is ludicrous and a waste of time by the right and the left persuasions.  The right simply wants to lull them to peace with profits and markets.  It’s a mere temporal anesthetic that will not be effective long, as so many realities of the region reveal.

So, what do we do?  Great question – no clear answer or answers.  The first step though is realising NO answer will fix it.  There is no “right” choice.  There is NO fix to this region.  Dour?  Yes.  Yet the entire history of the region is dour and I’m not allowed to say that either.  The Kingdom of God is the ONLY fix to the region.  Yet, a helicopter marketed shiny western evangelism of celebrity isn’t the way either – rather an upside down kingdom approach of humility – but we’re not patient enough for that, are we?

*Thank you to my nephew, Joel Knight, for this beautiful photograph (Wellington, New Zealand, 2015)

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2 responses

  1. Brian Peterson

    I agree on all your points. It goes beyond mere patience though. The upside down kingdom is so sacrificial, so other centered – daily lay down your life and lift up your cross. In parts of the Middle East being a Christian could be your martyrdom. Here in the States life is so “me” centered and selfish. It’s so pervasive in the culture that it’s hard to ferret out sometimes… hard to even see the full extent of it in my own life. Like you said though the Kingdom of God is the ONLY fix for the region, and for that we all – all the body of Christ – need to be abiding in Him, because He will lead and guide and move through the body.

    Mike I like your thoughts because you point people to the Jesus way. Also, you are well traveled. We “Yanks” are spoon-fed our news by biased media engines that give an ideology of their own and not facts. Actually being able to travel the world and see first-hand is helpful. Anyway, thank you for posting this.

    13 December 2015 at 01:01

  2. I find myself deeply agreeing with your points too. And I figure sending in the tanks, IF that achieves anything, will only aim at Democracy and Capitalism etc. It won’t even aim at PEACE – not Shalom.

    I have never been there. I have no reason to think I ever will. And though I am sure sending missionaries is another form of boots on the ground in which we can expect great casualties, I would note that there does not seem to be an answer in which that will not happen. I lost a young cousin in Iraq a few years ago who thought he could advance God’s gospel with an assault rifle in his hand. Neither his mission nor his method achieved any recognizable goal. Too bad he wasn’t taking communion on that battlefield. At least those who took his life would have seen God.

    I remember visiting a church in Seattle on 4th of July Sunday in 1999. The preacher that day described how he and some minister-friends were young and reaching out to UW back in the early 80’s. They did not have the raging success they previously envisioned. And then the Iran Hostage situation developed at the US embassy. It was all the headlines. Everyone was talking about it. And as these ministers prayed about their work at UW, they added this news to their list. And suddenly one of them said, “How can we do anything good for that situation here?”

    It was the kind of question that could have dropped that prayer from the prayer list. It was sooooooo remote, soooooooo complex, sooooooo off mission… or so it seemed.

    Then one of the guys had an idea: What if a big school like UW had attracted students from Iran? If there were any Iranian citizens at UW, they might really need a friend just about then. So they checked. And there were two young ladies on the roster. By the time the minister group found them, they were hiding in their apartment afraid to attend class or even go out to get food! These girls were in sad shape.

    It took a lot of coaxing to gain their trust, but these ladies were in no position to resist someone who came to HELP. These boys formed a security service providing escort to class and other vital functions. They brought groceries to the girls. It was clandestine evangelism right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    The boys were not pushy with the Jesus agenda. They just offered love and help in his name. But that was enough to make a powerful impression. One of the girls said she wanted to become Christian. So… they baptized her. And then the next day after sooooo much joy, one of the boys asked, “Hey. What will her relatives think about this back home?” She and her friend told them that she had just signed her own death warrant, and would be killed upon returning to her “earthly” family. This news put a bit of spine in those ministers that they had not previously known. They went to work getting political/religious asylum for their new sister. And they found out that was an extremely hard thing to do in America for a girl from Iran in the early 1980’s! They met resistance at every turn. They all became devout in prayer for the next year as they worked to secure this girl’s future existence.

    In the end, they managed to do it. And the preacher that day introduced this woman to the church. She had gone on to earn a Ph.D. She was a pillar in the Seattle community. AND a Christian!

    Now… fast forward with me.

    About 5 years ago, here in LUBBOCK, TEXAS, where I live. I was attending classes at a local community college. It is actually a fairly big school for its kind, and so I do not know everyone who attends or works there. In fact there are at least 3 campuses full of people. But while I was there, a local news story broke one day about a kid from Saudi (I think) who was arrested when a delivery driver became suspicious that the chemicals he had delivered to this guy’s apartment could be made into explosives. Sure enough, the resulting investigation found that this young man who had been living in this Christian town, going to school, and all the stuff this community has to offer for over a year, had planned to drive down to Dallas and blow up President Bush’s house!

    And I kept thinking, WOW! Was that guy in any of my classes? Did I ever see him? Talk to him? Talk in front of him? I figured that I had not, actually, but I also figured that the school was too small, the town was too small to think that some of my friends had not. We HAVE to know people in common!

    And the thing that kicks me in the jimmie is that LUBBOCK is a Christian town! We are as Christian as it gets! Seattle is definitely NOT Lubbock – for more than a few reasons!

    This kid had come from THAT PART OF THE WORLD into THIS PART OF THE WORLD! How is it that his hate only fueled more and more??? How is it that this alien among us could come here into this Jesus-loving community and not find the love of Jesus throwing a wet blanket on all that hate?

    He should have been confronted with LOVE by US a long time before a delivery driver’s suspicion confronted him! There was still time to win his heart THEN!

    But even more than that… after the fact…. after the story became headlines, why is it that NO ONE in the media or in any church in this town felt ashamed that we could have such a guest in our midst soooooo long and yet he never had an encounter with Jesus? TO OUR SHAME!!!

    AND no one even raised the question! We go along absolutely oblivious even now!

    (And now I am saying what is not allowed!)

    Look. I am not so naïve as to believe our Christian love would have been absolutely irresistible to any and every person who encounters it. But I am saying it should be our weapon of choice! It should be a powerful weapon that expands the imagination of both God’s people and God’s enemies. Even if we had failed to convict this young man’s heart and dissuade his mission, we should have been trying. And we should have offered evidence to that fact when the story became news. As it is, I am left saying what is not allowed on blogs while no one in this town even considers it.

    Thanks for posting.

    Agent X
    Fat Beggars School of Prophets
    Lubbock, Texas (USA)

    26 April 2016 at 12:26

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