Comedic - Or Not
© 2.13.06 By D. Eric Williams
The wailing and gnashing of teeth in the world of Mohammedanism over a comic depiction of the prophet in a bomb-like turban might be funny (in a grim sort of way), if it were not quite so violent. After all, the Mohammedans are rioting and killing people in an effort to dispel the myth that Muhammad preached a religion of violence. If nothing else, the violent dervish among the followers of the Arabic peasant displays the vast gulf that separates Islam from Christianity. The dominate media hasn't noticed, but any thinking man understands that Islam and Christianity are worlds apart.
That isn't to say that Christianity has never experienced its own violent spasms. On this very day in history, back in 1991, 36 people lost their lives when violence erupted during an Ash Wednesday Mass in Mexico. Consider also the murderous behavior of Paul Hill in his horribly misguided attempt to extend the kingdom of God through violence. Yet, that sort of thing is an aberration not the norm. (As an aside, the Crusades are not an example of such an abnormality; they were wars fought in the aid and defense of fellow Christians chaffing under the harsh yoke of Islam. I'm not suggesting that they were justified, I'm only saying that they were not paroxysms of unreasonable violence. The Crusades were part of a larger war, carefully planned and executed in an effort to recapture the Holy Land and "rescue" fellow Christians from the clutches of the Muhammadans. I suppose some will suggest that the current Moslem riots are carefully planned and executed as well; perhaps.)
On the other hand, violent behavior in defense of Muhammadanism is encouraged by the Koran, the protestations of "moderate" Moslem clerics notwithstanding.
Unlike Muhammadanism, the Way of Jesus demands esteeming others more than self. The followers of Islam commit violent suicide so that they might kill and maim others and thus further the cause of Islam. In the struggle to spread the good news of Christ's sacrifice for the sins of His people, the followers of Jesus willingly lay their lives down so that others might live. Christians are enjoined by the Word of God to seek the "wisdom that is from above" (James 3:17). In other words, the Christian is supposed to think like God, to see things through God's eyes, as it were.
This wisdom from above is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." I'm not suggesting that Christians are supposed to let wickedness stride through history unopposed. Of course not. But our response to ungodliness is not violent. When a fool places a crucifix in a jar of urine and calls it art, Christians do not riot in the streets. Instead we use whatever means are available to us to publically protest the fool's attempt to mock God and then go about the business of the kingdom; feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, taking in the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and ministering to those in chains (Matt. 25:35-37). Truly we should fall on our knees and beg God's mercy on the fool and his jar of urine. We should reach out to the enemies of Christ, acting as friends of the Bridegroom and woo them on His behalf.
Perhaps I should say that we are supposed to be going about the work of the kingdom even while fools mock our faith and the One we have faith in. I know that there are numerous Christians involved in works of charity. Yet there are far too many of us who do little or nothing to prove that our faith is practical after all. Too many people who are called by the name of Christ are stuck in phase one of the kingdom. All of their efforts are directed at bringing their own life under the sway of the King. They have no time for other work. The sphere of influence that God has given them lies unattended as they struggle (or not), with the elementary work of growing in personal Christlikeness.
I am of the opinion that one of the reasons Christians are failing to make a noticeable impact on the culture of the day is that we have not learned to serve in our department. We want to leap over the drudgery of self sacrifice and upend the world by creating music, movies, literature and fine arts that will dazzle the world into repentance. It doesn't work that way. I think that until the Church is known (once again), for its self sacrifice we will not be recognized for our superior culture. I understand that the blessings we enjoy today find their source in the consistent Christianity of God's people in times past. Science and culture flowered in the friendly atmosphere of the advancing kingdom. But that was then and this is now. Today we are surrounded by the enemies of the Cross. It is time once more to go forth to battle. It is time to move beyond personal piety and lay our lives down on behalf of the perishing. Indeed, it is time to provide the world with a consistent, thoroughgoing example of Christlikeness.