Peace, Love, or War

Al-Qaeda issued another infomercial this week, informing Americans that if they did not convert to Islam, they would suffer the consequences.

Is this the same religion that insists it's main tenet is love? Where's the love in insisting non-Muslims convert or be punished? Especially when al-Quaeda's form of punishment seems to be violence and the killing of innocent people.

To make the 48-minute video interesting, American Muslim-covert, Adam Yehiye Gadahn (please see the irony in his first name being Jewish, and that his pre-conversion name was Adam Pearlman), added some colorful commentary, spicing up the usually dull, rhetoric-filled past videos from al-Quaeda.

Here are a couple of quotes from Adam:

"Instead of killing yourself for Bush ... why not surrender to the truth (of Islam), escape from the unbelieving army and join the winning side. Time is running out so make the right choice before it's too late."

"You know that if you die as an unbeliever in battle against the Muslims you're going straight to Hell without passing 'Go."'

"We send a special invitation (to convert to Islam) to all of you fighting Bush's crusader pipedream in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever else 'W' has sent you to die. You know the war can't be won."

"It is time for the unbelievers to discard these incoherent and illogical beliefs. Isn't it the time for the Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists to cast off the cloak of the spiritual darkness which enshrouds them and emerge into the light of Islam?"

No Muslim should "shed tears" for Westerners killed by al-Qaida attacks.

OK, no direct threats in Adam's sermon, but just check out the news each day and we see Islamic radicals killing innocent "infidels" all over the world. His organization was also behind 9/11 (remember that?).

Parading their new propaganda star around will not likely win many converts, but I'm sure Adam is enjoying the spotlight and cozying up to the top brass in al-Qaeda. His resume is going to look great in a couple of years! That is, if the FBI doesn't catch up with him first, since he is wanted by them in connection to terrorists attacks. If he does get nabbed, chances are he'll be spending his life at Club Guantanamo.

Sadly, Adam's comments above could easily be cut and pasted into many Protestant sermons. The comment about going straight to Hell without passing go in particular. Yes, Christians should work to convert non-Believers, but threatening fire and brimstone does little but create an atmosphere of fear, and it pigeon-holes God into a fierce and heartless judge intent on holding us by the ankles over a lake of fire until we give in.

Instead, we should be potraying God as He is, a loving and merciful Lord who longs to have a relationship with us and to use us for His work. I believe God weeps over each of His children who does not put their trust in Him, for He knows their punishment is eternal separation from Him. As a parent, I can understand that kind of love.

In June, we were on our annual beach trip. My wife and I were taking turns watching our kids, and suddenly we realized we could not find our daughter. Scanning the water, I caught a glimpse of what I thought was her floating under the water.

We sprinted into the surf, but when I got to where I thought I had seen her she was not there.

Words cannot describe the terror and anguish I felt as I tried desperately to find her. Minutes passed and my desperation grew. I kept calling her name, over and over, as people from all over the beach joined us in the water, searching. I heard someone say that 911 had been called, and I found myself wondering how long she would be able to survive underwater.

Long minutes passed. What was probably five minutes seemed like 5 hours. The last words I remember screaming were "Where is my baby girl?? Someone help me find my baby girl!!!"

Then, my father was there, yelling to me from the beach that my daughter had snuck past us and was safe in the house.

From desperation to complete relief and joy. That night, after putting her to bed, I must have gone in to hug and kiss her six or seven times, just grateful that I could.

In my image of God, I see Him desperately wading through the water, frantically trying to find his lost children, screaming "Where is my child?? Where is my baby??"

The God I serve mourns each of his lost children. Instead of throwing around the threat of eternity in Hell, we should be talking about the benefits of eternity with a loving and caring Father who is desperate to hold onto you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A beautiful word picture

Sun Sep 03, 10:57:00 PM 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home