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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Sounds of Silence


Over the past few weeks, following the Benghazi attack, there has been much in the media, the veracity of which is suspect, of a u-tube video as the cause of the outbreak of violence.  Whether or not that video was the sparkplug, the mere fact that it has been accused as being the cause points to the seriousness with which Muslims consider an affront to Allah.  We can ask ourselves why Christians do not take similar action as our faith is bombarded almost on a daily basis by the media and the Hollywood elite.  For the most part, we remain strangely silent.
There may be several reasons for this, some of which point to our having a weakened faith; others to having a robust and active faith.  Some will remain silent because they do not want to get involved.  They could really care less about what others say about God as long as they are, for the most part, left alone.  After all, just because they attend church, it doesn’t mean that they are much different than their non Christian neighbors.  They don’t want to be identified with those reactionary “Christian” nuts, and so remain silent.
Others don’t see God as active in today’s world.  To them, he is more of a feeble retired grandfather who never-the-less cares for them as a loving grandfather does his grandchildren.  Since God is no longer active, it’s best to not make waves, keeping quiet.  After all, if they get into trouble for speaking out He won’t be able to help them.
The third group takes a strong stand regarding the ranting against Christianity.  Unfortunately, at times they can be as obnoxious as their opponents.  Just like the Muslim radicals, they regard anything spoken against God as heresy.  It almost seems that they must come to the defense of God, only not quite as violently as the Muslim radicals often do.  Like the preceding group, they don’t really believe that God is very active in the world today and needs their help.  The famous debate held in Ann Arbor, Michigan during the 1960s between the death of God theologian Thomas Altizer and John Warwick Montgomery is a case in point.  Montgomery, treating Altizer as a heretic, totally destroyed him in the debate. But the sympathy of the crowd was with Altizer.  There was no love shown.
A fourth group sees God as very active in today’s world.  He doesn’t need our participation to defend Himself.  Since He is fully capable of defending Himself, they remain silent.  Those holding this view would do well to remember the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he decided to stop speaking the Word of the Lord because of all the trouble it brought him.  He concluded that he had to speak up because not to do so was like having a fire gnawing at his bones, thus he had to speak out, and did so.
The final group speaks up out of the conviction of a sincere and robust faith.  Like the fourth group, they have a strong faith that God is in control of history, guiding it to His ends. But how they speak up is vital.  Their speech is seasoned with love.  The more they are ridiculed, the more love they show.  They exemplify the song “They will know we are Christians by our Love
As we look at our own lives, we likely find ourselves emulating one of these positions.  We can be silent, speak out rudely, or speak out in the context of demonstrating God’s love to those against us.  Which will it be?

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