On September the 11th, 2001, our nation experienced a surprise attack, as Islamic terrorists hijacked and crashed four airplanes on American soil. Two planes were flown into the World Trade Center destroying both towers, another crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
No passengers survived and, including nationals from over 90 different countries, around 3,000 people lost their lives. Within two hours both of the Twin Towers had collapsed and the United States was forever changed. The event was so disturbing that most of us old enough to remember the attack can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the shocking news.
As if the terrorist act wasn't bad enough, and in addition to watching it over and over in the news, we also witnessed footage of Palestinian Muslims rejoicing as they celebrated our being attacked. A quiet anger seethed among Americans.
The next day at the military recruiting center in the northwest suburbs, I saw a line outside the building of what looked like a hundred young people waiting to sign up to join our armed forces. This brought a tear to my eye as it made me realize the young generation do care about our nation after all.
President Bush was quite vocal in making sure Americans did not lump all Muslims together under the terrorist banner and it seemed most of us have maintained our composure these last nine years. That is until a small church pastor in Florida decided to burn the Islamic Quran on September 11th, 2010.
Most Christians do not agree with this pastor and have said so but this pastor is getting more airplay then his many detractors. For example, Rev. Phil Blackwell, of Chicago First Methodist church was quoted as saying " Not only is it an insult to Muslims around the world, it is also an insult to Christians."
As a traveling minister I speak in churches and at special events and I too am offended by this pastor in Florida. For me it is not really about my being offended though, it is about what the gospel represents and what the book burning represents.
The gospel is about love: The gospel represents salvation coming to us through God becoming man in the form of Christ Jesus who then took upon Himself our sins and paid for them with His life. Jesus never burned books...although He did chase away the money-changers from the Temple. Jesus came to die for us and provide forgiveness of sins for all. Jesus was the ultimate expression of love from a loving God that choose to punish His Son for our behalf. The gospel is about love.
Quran burning is about judgment: The burning of the Quran represents judgment...not love. While it may be true that I believe the Islamic faith is wrong that does not give me the right to stop loving the people that believe in the Islamic faith. If anything I am called to love them even more.
Christianity does teach about judgment but the final verdict is not in until we die. Christianity gives people time to repent, time to discover faith, and time to choose Christ or not to choose Christ. Then after this life is over is when comes the judgment.
So I have contacted a large number of pastor friends and recommended that on this upcoming 9/11 that they offer a hand of love to the local Muslim community and give those that will show up on 9/11 a free Bible as an expression of understanding who Christians really are and how even after being attacked by others in the name of Allah, we can show love and forgiveness.