Monday, March 27, 2006

The New Terrorists . . .

Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are familiar names. They stir deep emotions as we envision the twin towers of the World Trade Center burning like candles and then disappearing into heaps of rubble. If we aren’t very careful hate begins to ooze into our subconscious and we become terrorists—who hate so much we want to hurt, injure and kill people we don’t even know. Hate becomes the over-riding emotion when we think of such men with their twisted logic about how to make the world a better place.

So how should we respond to terrorists and terrorism? How should we react to such despicable acts of violence?

Hate is a powerful emotion. It twists our thinking and distorts our values until red looks green and green looks red. With the distortion comes bad decisions. That is a danger to you and me just as much as it is to Hussein and Bin Laden. If, because they have done despicable things we allow hate to rule our emotions, we too, can easily cross the line to become terrorists. Then hate wins.

On the other hand, we can reject hate and base our lives on love, which is also an emotion, and we must be careful or it too can be distorted to the point of irrelevance. Every parent knows how difficult it is to know when love requires discipline and correction, and when it requires sympathy and mercy. If it were easy to know the difference, we might all be perfect parents, but we’re not.

So what do we do about terrorism and terrorists? Do we give in to hate and let it eat us alive like corrosion on steel— making us worthless for any productive purpose? Or do we try to find a better way?

I’m reminded of another terrorists from the east. He was originally know as Saul, of Tarsus and was ruled by hatred for those who disrupted his way of life. Later he wrote about a “more perfect way” and went on to describe it more fully in his second letter to followers in Corinth. He was then known as Paul and was loved by those who formerly had feared him.

I still think that is the best way to deal with terrorism. The question is, how can we change the heart of a Saddam Hussein or an Osama Bin Laden? I could say, “I don’t want to change their hearts, I want to cut them out!” but if so, I may have crossed the line to become a terrorist— who wants to kill those who disagree with me instead of listening, seeking to understand their views, and giving genuine consideration to the possibility that they could be right. When we disagree with someone we must be willing to consider they could be right in some way or we are not really listening.

So what do I suggest? Because the United States of America went to war against Iraq many people died. It may have been necessary, but war is never a good answer. (This question will be debated for years to come and may never be fully answered). We do know more hate has been produced and the cycle of bitterness, revenge and retaliation continue into another generation.

On the other hand, I would not want to live in a community without a police force, nor would I want to live in a world without armies. Sometimes evil must be restrained before good can triumph. I pray President Bush and other political leaders will make wise decisions for the good of everyone on earth. I pray the Iraqi people will be able to become a functioning democracy where good people can flourish, criminals can be restrained and the enemies of political and religious freedom can be defeated.

But what can you and I do as ordinary citizens? We can pray. That sounds weak and insipid to those who don’t know the power of prayer, but many of us know prayer to the God of all creation, the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is powerful beyond comprehension. It changed Saul of Tarsus into Paul the Apostle and it can also change all the terrorists of the world. Jesus destroys his enemies by converting them into beloved brothers and sisters. He did it with you and me and he can do it with all of them. His way of love strikes terror to the hearts of those who love to hate.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
And that's my view from Tanner Creek.

1 comment:

BabyBear1952 said...

You have a very good head on your shoulders, and we seem to be on the same page!

I found you when I Googled Warner Auditorium. It does seem a shame to tear down such a unique structure, and I hope that the University will at least keep another unique, old structure: Byrum Hall

Check out my blogs here when you find time and want to. I have several of them and don't get around to updating all of them all of the time. There are others that I'm still in the process of building. Perhaps, I should take some of them out of the main viewing place until I get a little more done on them. They will still, if people come across them, be visible but will be more private while being worked on.

Anyway, my blogs, for the most part, have no comment sections, thanks to too much spam in the past, but I do have a special e-mail address set up on my profile for those who read and want to comment.

I see that you have no e-mail address but a comment section.

Drop me an e-mail sometime so that we can talk more!