Easter 2015

Part of me wanted to type, what ISIS forgets, but truthfully, as the season of ISIS begins to close we must remember that the threat still persists in other forms.  A while back, I wrote the first of what was to be a two part article on Radical Religion where I discussed the notion that you just can’t separate Radical Islam from Islam itself.  You can hope in the moderates of Islam in that they would embrace modernity and peace.  However, you can’t just pretend like Islamic terrorists and Islam don’t share the same bath water.

Now, some of you might be wondering what happened to part 2.  Well, no one really read part 1 as it turns out, so in my best Soup Nazi voice from Seinfield, “No Part 2 for you.”  However, I think you could pretty much get many of the same sentiments that would have been in that article from this one.  What with it being Good Friday today and all, I think the timing is appropriate and being a Christian myself, I have no problem talking about my faith.  So let’s do this.

The Christian Chicken Nugget

Look, I don’t know these Christians who are being killed.  I honestly have no idea the exact nature of their faith.  I don’t know if they are Christians the way so many in America claim to be Christian in name, or whether they literally are following Jesus.  However, when you get your head chopped off for refusing to renounce your faith in Jesus, it is like instant street cred to me.  Why?  Oh just because Christ himself died for us, his disciples were killed for spreading the good news, and Jesus told us as much would happen.  So if it looks like, smells like, and sounds like, it likely is so.

Fat Christians

Now somewhere in America, there are some fat rich people living in a mansion, utilizing the best healthcare to prevent from dying, and claiming the same faith as those willingly dying.  They don’t help the least of these unless the least of these is a double cheeseburger that needs help getting to their mouth.  Basically, what I am saying is this.  The Martyrs who knowingly claim a faith in a land that is knowingly hostile to it, and are dying at the hands of Radical Islam are examples of organic unfiltered Christianity.  The American version we so like to impose on the world is like the breaded chickenish nugget with rib meat and fillers, preservatives, and million other added chemicals version of Christianity.  Go buy and read David Platt’s book, Radical, so you can see more of what I mean here; Radical by Davit Platt.  Oh and if you recognize your butt in that picture, I’m like really sorry, it was just a stock photo, and I was trying to drive home a point.  But you know, you looks good.

The Internal Struggle

So for me, this whole ISIS thing creates a pretty harsh internal struggle.  I see them wage this campaign of death and it makes me want to shove a grenade up a certain place of each one of those evil men. Call it Sheepdog, call it temper tantrum, or just call it Marine, the bottom line is, it invokes certain feelings in me that to be quite honest are not helpful for this stage of life. I wrote in my article, Mighty Men and The Western Guns of Kurdistan, how I was taken aback and inspired by those who actually stepped up like Mighty Men, left their comfortable life in the west and are fighting ISIS this very minute.

Yet still, to be honest, I am somehow more fixated on those that willingly die. I mean, Jesus did have that moment when he put together a whip and ran all the money changers out of the temple.  But to be honest, these men, women, and children who refuse to renounce their faith in the face of a certain horrendous death remind me of Jesus a little more. It convicts me of my fleshly militancy.  And that is what radical Islam fails to understand.

The Image of Christ

Hey, I look like Christ as well.  To God that is, not to anyone else as the God sees the righteousness of Jesus himself imputed upon me through the cross.  You see, the nature of the gospel, the nature of Christianity is not all the cultural debates we have these days that dominate the headlines.  The nature of the gospel is that Jesus Christ came to die and suffer, in order that sinners like you and I who are dead in our natural state, might truly be alive.  Jesus said greater love has no man than one who gives his life for his friends.  And yet, through this sacrifice, we are more than friends.  We are adopted sons and daughters of the most-high God and through his promise, nothing will make us fall from his hands.

Easter 2015

He then calls us to die.  Die to ourselves, die to our earthly desires, die to our flesh, and yes, should it be time, literally die at the hands of evil men.  After all, he kind of blazed that trail himself.  Consequently, every single time ISIS, Boko Horam, or Al shibbidy jobbidy new terrorist group kills a Christian, they paint a picture of Christ himself.  They remind us American McRib version of Christians what following Christ truly means.  If God is who he says he is, then even the hands of these evil men don’t swing without his permission.  Yet each time one dies, a picture of gospel is played out that through Christ death we are ransomed for eternity.

Military shadow box - flag display case - Freedom Display Cases

So I thought on this Good Friday, I would just remind ISIS that they are but paint brushes and tools in the hands of God reclaiming his people for all of eternity.  God doesn’t lose his own.  It is a promise I have to close my eyes and tightly hang on to these days in the turbulence of life.  After all, if He is Indeed Risen, then the death of these Christian martyrs makes perfect sense because staying dead is not really Christ’s thing.  Happy Easter readers of Unprecedented Mediocrity.

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19 Replies to “What Radical Islam Forgets About Killing Christians”

  1. God Bless. A good reminder this Easter season. Rather humbling.

  2. Happy Easter Jeff. A lot of my sentiments were contained in your article.
    Often I compare Western Christianity to that of the Ten Boom family in Holland during the Holocaust. They gave their all in the face of death. Indeed it is one of the most moving and thought provoking stories I’ve read or seen played out in a movie, The Hiding Place.

    Peace to you.


  3. I don’t want to be “that guy” and disagree just because I can. But I want to unpack when you’re saying a little more…..just to be sure. There is no reasonable doubt that ISIS’ victims are martyrs, but I think you’re implying a certain inevitability that isn’t necessarily God’s will. Jesus didn’t die a honorable death so we could have the same fate, the bounty on us was paid in full. Evil no longer has any claim to those of us who believe but we are forever and powerfully bound together as the body of Christ. Being commanded to love each other, we don’t have the option of letting evil run wild. When we stand in from of God and give an account of what we’ve done, standing by while Christians were killed will be frowned on. If you love someone, and have the ability to help them, chances are you’ll help. Otherwise it’s doubtful you truly loved them. that militant felling might be the Holy Spirit urging you to stand in the gap with the helpless. When these people call out to God for help it maybe you us who he sends to save them. It’s not God’s will that any of those people be killed. It happens because we live a fallen world, but we haven’t be left on our own here either. It’s very important that we, as Christians, turn the other cheek when attacked. But that doesn’t mean we should forsake others who we could help.
    Psalms 83:3-4 “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked”

    1. Yeah, you make some good points. That is really the struggle for me. I don’t think that God asks everyone to just lay down and die, but he most certainly could. The Sheepdog in me rises up to strive to protect the innocent, but to just literally die for the Gospel is inspiriring.

  4. Great article. Thing about the western Christianity is sheltered people here don’t see nor experance what other Christians in parts of the world that depend on God. We depend on our money. But God has us we’re where at. We need to take our blessings and help those who cannot help themselves out as it states in the bible

    1. Well said man. We just have to strive to be faithful to what God asks of us in our current setting.

  5. Bertrand Russell said that, “All movements go too far” and the way I see it, that goes for ISIS, the oil sheikhs, our “Consume, borrow, and spend some more society,” and those who have twisted the words of Jesus with their Prosperity theology; the recent pulpit request for a $65 million luxury jet is my Exhibit A there. WWJD is my religion and scenes like finding myself in the only county without a library; they in fact turned down 100% funding from Uncle Satam with the County Exec telling me, “We can’t afford the operating costs” doesn’t wash with me. Not with churches on every corner and halfway in between and a multi-million stadium church twenty times the size of the planned library under construction. They preach a fire and brimstone fear-mongering faith I have no time for and the scheme of it all is paralleled by the fearsome and remorseless 700 AD version of Islam “preached” by ISIS and all the rest. Hammering one book into the heads of ignorant folks is happening here and there (and the vengeful murderous God of the Old Testament that cheered on ethnic cleansing is no God of mine.

    I guess what I’m saying is that we should climb down from our high horse. In point of fact, much of what we know about the Greeks and Romans along with numerous scientific achievements (algebra) and other scholarly work was centered at Cordoba in Moorish Spain at a time when Europe was struggling through the Dark Ages and committing barbarous acts only limited by human imagination.

    I’ve written before; these religious labels are secondary to a contest between civilization and barbarism. Can’t keep the players straight but it was simplistic and naive in the undertaking to roll through Iraq and put any stock in buildinhe g a modern state with popular support. We need the balkanization of their “Yugoslavia” into many new states and the largest area that has a chance of being cohesive is a Free Kurdistan(s), an outpost of religious tolerance.

    Moderate Islam (Jordan, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia; with suppressed factions in Egypt, Syria, and the Gulf states) needs support but we should stand off and keep our distance, perhaps with interlocutors such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Our direct involvement would be poison.

    1. Those are some good points. I have often said that islamic extremism is a problem only the muslim world can solve. We can merely make a ready defense. But yes, when America jumps into the fray we bring with us a lot of baggage.

      1. With the threat of Iran acquiring atomic weapons; and everything else happening in Africa, I doubt the rest of the world can afford to wait for Islam to have its own Reformation .

        1. True. I wish there was a way we could could speed it up. but those moderates are going to have to step up and fight as hard as the extremist.

  6. Loved it, brother. It’s the same conundrum I and many others face: when does standing tall and protecting others bow down to humility and leaving our fate in God’s hands? I can only assume when the time to fight comes, that we’ll know for sure that what we’re doing is right.

    “There is a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:8.

    1. Yeah man, I think of that verse often. Like you, I hope if that moment comes, the spirit speaks loudly!

  7. Well written, Jeff!
    I appreciate your challenge to us to remember their example and to live in a way that honors their sacrifice. Some will die as martyrs, some will die fighting, and some will live to keep the faith alive and enjoy the blessings of liberty. I have Christian friends in Pakistan and Afghanistan who were safe and free to worship on Easter Sunday because of our diplomatic influence and military intervention. Refugee families were supplied with food and new clothes to wear to church as they were “adopted” by local Christians.

    1. thanks man. that is great to hear of some getting the freedom to worship. It is definitely a tough thing and they could take the easy way out and not claim it. But that is inspiring they stand up for their faith.

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