You don’t have to look very far to find a topic that polarizes these days. Lately, it seems the one topic I’ve heard/seen people talk vehemently about….is the issue of whether or not a mosque should be built so close to where the tragedy on September 11th, 2001 happened. Just click the links in the previous sentence and you’ll see the latest stories, filled with intense drama and effort in both directions.
For most of us, it doesn’t quite matter what we think. You don’t have a national “vote” to make a decision like this. So whatever side we fall on…we give our opinion, and walk forward into whatever comes next. But in how we state our opinion, much can be said about who we are.
It seems to me like an issue that should not have been made such an issue. So much time and energy has been wasted, relationships have been broken, and hate has been spewed, all between several religions who claim peace and love as highly important.
I can’t speak to the Muslim side of things. I’ve heard accusations of different reasons they may be motivated to build such a building on that location. So let’s say it’s true. Let’s say somehow this Muslim community IS connected to the terrorist group that was behind the attacks on 9/11. Let’s say they wanna build a giant building with a sign that points at “Ground Zero” and says..”Boo Yah”. ( I don’t believe this is the case at all.)
Even with that, I believe I can speak to the Christian approach. I believe we are called in many places throughout scripture to live and respond prophetically to the events happening all around us. (Luke 12:56) Not that God wants us to make predictions and see if they come true, but that God desires those who follow Him to respond to current events from the perspective of New Creation, and the Kingdom of God that is, and is to come.
What does that mean? We understand that by reading the rest of Luke 12 leading up to those verses. Jesus is talking about letting go of possessions. About giving things away. About not storing up treasures on earth. Reminding us that where we invest our time, money, and energy; there our “center” will be. That we should “consider the lilies”, not just as inspirational decoration choices – but as a reminder not to allow worry over temporal things to have such a hold on our lives.
I’ve heard many loving followers of Jesus who oppose building on the basis of “showing love, respect, and honor to those who suffered in 9/11”. I can understand that desire, but I do not believe Christ calls us to reinforce anxiety over possessions out of Love for those who suffer. I’ll finish with a quote:
“..the new kingdom didn’t look like they had thought it would…No violence, no hatred of enemies, no anxious protection of land and property against the pagan hordes…Rather, a glad and unworried trust in the creator God, whose kingdom is now at last starting to arrive, leading to a glad and generous heart toward other people, even those who are technically “enemies.” ” – NT Wright, “After You Believe”