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Saturday, August 24, 2013

What do you know about Egypt?

Blessed are you…

Does it bother anybody else, or is it just me?  With all the upheaval going on in Egypt, it sure seems to me that the coverage (at least here in the U.S.) of the events seems to turn a blind eye to what is happening.  Or at least, an eye limited in scope.  If you do a little research, you can find it reported that there are dozens of Christian churches that were burned, along with orphanages and schools.  And some of the buildings are centuries old edifices.  Where is the outrage??  I do find myself wondering if it were mosques being burnt, and non-Muslims doing it, there would be plenty of outrage.  Like when Hillary went on and on about the “disgusting internet video,” which turned out to be something nobody was even paying attention to until she brought it up.  Or the outrage at that Florida pastor who burned a copy of the Koran, and had so many people upset.  I wonder how many Bibles were burned in those churches.  I wonder if anybody is outraged?  I wonder if THOSE actions are “DISGUSTING,” too?  I mean, orphanages?  Schools?  Really?  And wouldn’t you say that is AT LEAST as bad as an amateur video nobody saw? 

A young woman I met from Vienna with relatives in Iraq told me about the number of Christians who are being targeted and killed in Iraq these days.  Killed in ways so reprehensible she chose not to even describe what was happening.  We know about Abu Grabh, and we know about the soldier on trial for his rampages over in Afghanistan.  But these atrocities are simply ignored.  As they have been for centuries.

Throughout history the Jewish people and the Christians have been misunderstood, misrepresented, made into scapegoats and targeted for attacks of various kinds.  Not that both groups haven’t also made their share of mistakes.  And they are usually not permitted to forget them, either!  But these radicalized Muslim thugs, who even moderate Muslims abhor, seem to be granted a pass or at least their evils are explained away or ignored.   And, by the way, God bless those Muslim moderates who have even taken some of the Christians into their homes to protect them from the attacks!   But back to history.  The Romans cruelly treated both Christians and Muslims.  They loaded their catapults with Jewish slaves when they laid siege to Jewish territories.  Nero burned Christians as torches to light his garden at night.  And those examples are repeated many ways as the story comes down to our modern age.

Some people…and not just the radical Muslims or atheists…would just as soon the Christians and Jewish people were gone, because both are reminders that there is right and wrong, and that there is a God who will hold us all accountable for our deeds.  Some would like to simply be able to do anything and have nobody question their actions.  But it seems to me, that leads only to societies where three young men arbitrarily gun down a foreign jogger just for the sake of thrills…at least, that’s what is being said about that sad situation in Oklahoma

 Nope, when you stand up and declare that there is a right and wrong, and call into question actions and attitudes in society, you aren't always going to be loved.  But you will end up being the conscience of a society.  Although society may fight back and try to convince folks that you are the one who is wrong, outdated and irrelevant.  And there can come a day, even here in the U.S., when those who oppose will actively burn down churches and synagogues, and find that nobody cares.  But Jesus perhaps addressed the issue best in the Sermon on the Mount, when he called blessed those who suffer persecution, because they share the experience of godly people who have gone before, and because their reward in heaven will be great. 

So for my brothers and sisters in Egypt and Iraq, as well as other places around the world where being a follower of the one true God results in persecution and attacks, you have my prayers.  And always remember Jesus had placed you in a special category, and that is a category called, “blessed,” even if it doesn't seem like it now.  For persecution often leads to revival and an outpouring of God’s Spirit on those who are lost.  For the rest of us, perhaps we ought to write our news agencies and politicians and ask WHY, with the exception of NPR, there is such little coverage of and concern for this travesty here in the U.S.

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