Once again, we have lived through a moment that will continue to define our century. The wake of the triad of terror that has happened in the last days in Paris and Beirut and Baghdad will create rhetoric similar to 9/11, the attacks in New York and Washington. Our mindsets and attitudes will bend, our politics and apologies will twist, all to address this day.
The last 14 years have been lived out differently because of 9/11 and the resulting accentuated fears of the unknown and the assumptions we have embraced to create a culture of fear. Islamophobia has been a definition of that culture of fear. It has been a dividing wall between corners of our world; it has led to wars and violence, exclusion, racism, sexism, and devastation at grandiose levels.
Tragically this has led to poor postures of heart, to the inability to love, to the root of all of our failures.
We, being the church in this critical moment, are living on the corner of holy history. We have an incredible opportunity to step up and be prophetic voices of love and to change the narrative of the next decade. We can be a part of changing a global response; we can be catalysts to a movement of global compassion and kinship. We can do this.
What does that mean, practically? This means tolerance, the combating of racism, the pursuit of just policy and immigration, and a plethora of other things.
It means reaching out to make relationships with those in the Muslim communities and showing them we will not blame their religion for the actions of a few extremists.
It means addressing Islamophobia, exhibited in the dominating perspectives on the refugee crisis. In the words of my friend Rev. Jé Hooper of New York, the combatting of Islamophobia begins “with me and removing the fear and the shaming of my kin-faith-family.” This occurs when we denounce “narrow-mindedness we see from the media, politics, and ignorance for other faith institution(s).” It occurs when we pursue fervently love as our first and last option.
These are what faithful responses look like in wake of a defining world event.
While I could get into what the politics of what this looks like, this is not a political blog. This is a blog about what young voices are saying, and this post in particular is a call to have a faithful response in a critical moment that will define our social context.
We are living on the corner, the place where the direction we choose, directly or indirectly, will define our future. I call you now, as my community of faith, to posture your hearts in love. Choose a posture of love over fear, over Islamophobia, over anti-immigration, over blaming, over avoiding the refugee crisis, over apathy.
We are living on the corner, with a choice to make. Make your choice love.
I leave you with the words of my friend Hugo Brousté, a citizen of France. His family hosted me for several nights when I was living in France four years ago.
“L'amour est plus fort que la mort! Pendant ces temps de deuil et de tristesse, prions pour notre pays, notre capitale, nos familles, notre gouvernement, notre armée, nos églises. Ne soyons pas effrayé, la peur amène la panique et nous n'avons pas besoin de cela. Le peur n'a jamais vaincu la peur, mais la paix et l'amour nous garde dans la confiance et la sérénité! Serons-nous les coudes et aimons nous car rien n'est plus fort qu'un peuple uni et qui aime!”
“Love is stronger than death! During this time of grief and sadness, pray for our country, our capital, our families, our government, our military, our churches. Let us not be afraid; fear leads to panic and we don't need this. Fear has never defeated fear, but peace and love keep us in confidence and serenity! We will stick together and we will love, because nothing is stronger than a united people!”