Before you read this, please take a few deeps breaths.
Terrorize: To create and maintain a state of extreme fear and distress in someone; fill with terror. (See above image, tweeted by the Lt. Gov. of Texas— a Christian.)
Last night, on 12 June, 2016 a man lost his war against fear, against terror. He became too consumed with defending his own small ideas and projections of God, too afraid to believe in Love and Goodness and Grace. And while I cry tears for those still living, those scarred and traumatized and broken, I also weep for him. How miserable were his last days, weeks, months, years, decades? Can you imagine feeling so afraid and so angry?
I can. Because I’m not sure the American, Evangelical, “Christian” church isn’t committing the same kind of heinous, heartless acts that radical Islam does. Ours sneaks around much, much deeper. Way below the surface. But it’s just as murderous, if not more so. Instead of murdering human bodies, ruining the flesh and blood and beings of people, we go around murdering human hearts. We spread the same kind of terror ISIS does. Does that Tweet by Dan Patrick promote Love, Peace, Grace, etc? Or does it promote and maintain distress and fear?
“Repent! Or else!” Or else what? No, we don’t strap explosives to chest and enter crowds of people. We make you feel bad, worthless, unholy, unloved, and wicked. We wound. And honestly, I don’t see a difference. Except maybe those who die at the hands of a terrorist are the lucky ones, because they got to go feel the embrace of Love in it’s fullest form—God, Allah.
We’ve got our own small projections and ideas about who God is, who God loves, and who God doesn’t love. We’re not afraid to go from door to door, or post a FB status, or stand outside voting centers and abortion clinics and gay nightclubs yelling heinous, hateful things. We make people afraid, we terrorize. WE DEFEND A GOD WHO NEVER ASKS FOR DEFENSE. Only for Love.
You know what? Every member of ISIS, every extremist, every terrorist is also a victim of terrorism. They fall on the same spectrum of fear as we do. They too exist in a reality of constant, fear-inducing separation and hell. Let me be very clear in stating that I can offer no justification for terrorists and Islamic extremists—justice is justice and God weeps more bitterly than any of we do over each senseless murder.
But Grace is Grace, and Love is Love. And I know that out of the darkest of ashes, New Life springs forth. I believe that the moms and dads and loved ones of each life taken will come to know a deeper existence and deeper Love because of what happened last night, because death always precedes Life. But those shoots of New Life are not for today, not for tomorrow, and maybe not for decades to come. Today is for crying, because each tear is a silvery prayer. Today is for anger and rage, because it feels like the Kingdom is a little further away. Tomorrow is for more tears, and numbness. As is the day after that.
And I will sit in it. I will pray for God’s Love and Peace to fall on us like a soft down comforter on a chilly night—just one, big America-sized down comforter. One big, earth-sized down comforter. I will pray sight for us, a humble willingness to see our own acts of terrorism, our own extremism. I will pray for courageous hearts. Lord, Allah, make us brave enough to help Love win.