Wrestling with Love and Justice

Fair warning: The God Journey goes political again as Brad struggles with the proposed mosque in New York City, a few blocks from the Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and invites Wayne into a discussion about whether or not we are to be a force for cultural change in this world. How do we affect life in the world we live in, especially if some are using the conventions of society to force their will on others? Is that what Jesus asks of us? What does it mean to be salt and light in the world? Can any of us enjoy our rights without also sharing responsibilities? How do we blend the call for justice with Jesus' invitation to love deeply even those who consider you their enemy? Only in God himself does righteousness and peace come together in one incredible whole. He alone knows how to connect judgment and mercy in a world that is so broken by human need.

29 Comments

  1. Excellent – how do you change the culture? The culture is the people – their attentions – their prejudices – their affections. It’s a collective. The culture changes only as the people change, so we effect people and the culture is simply a reflection.

  2. I just wanted to point out that what is being proposed in New York is a Muslim community center not a mosque. Like any group of people, they are looking to serve their community. Despite what is being reported to my a media that serves its own self interest, the Muslims are no more of a threat to America than Jews were to early 20th century Germany. From my point of view, this issue has far more to do with bigotry than it does with what’s right.
    As to the well used metaphor of us being salt and light, I’ve tried to find a scriptural basis for using that metaphor for the purpose of cultural preservation. I’ve found that when scripture refers to salt, it is constantly used to mean a flavoring. I’ve not been able to find an instance where the bible talks about salt being used to preserve. If we are the salt used to flavor the world, then we are to influence not control and “preserve” it.
    When salt is used to flavor food, it makes it tasty and desirable. When excessive amounts of salt are used on food, the salt removes the moisture from the food and, while protecting the food underneath it, the top layer is turned into an inedible skin.
    If we pour or salt all over the world in an attempt to preserve it we will only succeed in sucking the life out of it and turning it into a hard dry shell. If we allow the Holy Spirit to sprinkle us on to the world as He sees fit, then we will become an inviting influence. Demonstrating Dad’s love for the world and His desire to redeem it

  3. Luv you guys, love your podcasts. I can’t describe to you all the ways it has blessed me and helped to clarify my walk. (I am one of those crazy people, who, when I found you a year ago, went back and listened to your archives from the beginning. They remain relevant and helpful.)

    I’ve noticed, however, that on at least the last two programs, Brad’s a little out of control. I can’t speak for everyone, but I really wish he’d interrupt Wayne less. I want to hear his whole thought.

    As to the particular argument Brad was making today, I think it was all over the place and didn’t really hang together. My thoughts: you can’t force people to be kindhearted and thoughtful. It is, in fact, the right of citizens to do what’s legal even if it’s not thoughtful or kind. (And honestly, those who are offended by the unkind actions of others have a path to tread as well, one that hopefully leads to love and forgiveness.) As to what I should do, as an individual child of God, I need to be living out His love in my surroundings and circumstances. You can’t really tell me that I need to take a stand on any particular issue. It’s between me and God and depends upon what path He has me on. I feel strongly that we need to pay more attention to how we treat others on a micro level, and that will change the culture.

  4. It seemed like the conversation bounced around, but I agree with the sentiments as a whole. It probably would have been a good idea to edit out the sexual humor in the beginning since it did not really add to the topic.

    Rome was not transformed by political activists, but by a people who died to self. I believe that the Lord leads many into political activism, so for them it is important because the Lord is in it. But that is the point. We do what the Lord is in. And for many, He is not leading them into political activism. Neither should those who are led into such activism assume that political and cultural change is His intention. God is a grass roots God who is more concerned with individual hearts than He is in cultural identities.

  5. Hey – you guys inspired me, I just started a new blog last week called http://www.omnichurch.com – I only hope I can have as much fun writing it as you two seem to be having in your podcasts 🙂

    RE the mosque: I normally use an analogy of a Christian blowing up an abortion clinic to help myself get my mind around the events of 9/11. If some Christians blew up an abortion clinic with people inside – then later some other Christians wanted build a church near by – should they? I would say “yes” but _ONLY_ if the Christians that were building the Church made a strong apology and a statement about how it was wrong to bomb the clinic.

    If the proposed mosque plan included a sign out front that expressed condemnation of the acts committed in 2001 then I would be all for it. Without that, it potentially could become the second most holy site in all of Islam with pilgrims travelling there to view the site of their greatest victory in modern times and that just doesn’t sit right – not from a religious standpoint but from a national standpoint.

  6. The conversation in the last 10 minutes, especially the last 5 minutes, of this podcast got really interesting and I think you guys made some great comments. I really look forward to that “longer podcast” you kept mentioning. I hope you do it.

    Thanks!

  7. I don’t know the motives of the people who want to build their mosque near Ground Zero. But let’s suppose it’s just to rub America’s nose in it.

    They have every right to build it there.

    But we have the right not to let it eat at us.

    We may never bring ourselves to forgive the atrocities of 9/11, but we can at least refuse to allow anyone to use our anger and grief as weapons against us…

  8. Brad alluded to something that leaves me believing he thinks it’s only Christianity that is seeing it’s freedom of religion right intruded upon. I would argue the freedom of religion thing has always been a farce anyway. The on the ground reality has been the superiority of the Christian religion in this land and all others could go about some of their practices (but not all of those practices) as long as Christianity as the superior religion wasn’t threatened. To me today it seems there is a bit of a backlash to this reality which most Christians seem to be oblivious to so it seems to them they are the ones that are having their rights challenged and limited. And the more they push against it and protest it….the move will more than likely continue to produce the very thing they fear.

  9. This was a great podcast. Wow, I was just pondering the very subject last night. I have quite a few friends in the “justice” movement, not the social justice movement but the movement that gets 1000’s of young “revolutionaries” together and pray to end abortion and pray legislation and court rulings. I made a facebook note last night and included an article by Jon Zens on the very subject of how we as the body of Christ should be in the midst of our culture. Very fresh perspective amidst the evangelical calls to political arms. I tend to think too many gave their heels dug into the wrong kingdom. It is more on Americanism but does touch on some of the very issues. And as a note I see alot of politics as very divisive in the body of Christ.

  10. I laughed out loud when I listened to the podcast. I would have loved to have seen the video of you guys trying to pull yourselves together. 🙂

    As I listened, I was reminded of the saying, “Just because you could, doesn’t always mean that you should.” or “Just because you have the right, doesn’t always mean it’s right.”

    Looking forward to “Wrestling with Love and Justice – Part Deux”

    Well done.

  11. Hi Wayne and Brad, whatever it is you guys are on, I want some too. It sure sounds like a lot of fun. As to the more serious discussion, it is certainly a big one. I have listened to several stories that Wayne has shared in his Bridge Building work and I am even more convinced that communication is so desperately important for a positive outcome when two or more opposing parties prepare to deal with an issue. If one of the comments is correct, that this building is a community centre not a mosque then again the public have been stirred up by media lies. Fear makes people come out fighting before they even know the full story. How important it is for us, who know the peace and security of living in God’s perfect plan for our lives, to speak in tones of peace and communication rather than adding to the turmoil of emotions that have been generated. We can’t influence the whole world with all its problems, but we can influence those around us and as another commentator said our calling is to flavour the immediate world we live in by living the way Jesus would have lived and to trust that God has other flavourers in other parts of the world doing the same thing.

  12. What if the perceived ‘enemy’, Islam, is just that?! Probably much truth concerning all the identities of the instigators of ‘911’ will remain hidden this side of eternity. So, let’s just be peacemakkers in the raging debate over the – albeit sensitive – location of a religious centre and allow Jesus to be glorified instead!

  13. hhhmmm! seems again like parallels to germany in the 1920’s and 30’s. extreme pushiness in a time of esoteric fascination. not to mention the wide open doors in n. america . masonic churches. the symbolism and foundations are the same as islam. why shouldn’t islam invade america, with determined conquest. a muslim in the white house, masonic temples in every town and city. there is a great void of men who pray
    from their own lives completely surrendered to CHRIST. GODS order is men as head of the home. the best and most powerful, as well as easiest way to lead is to pray to the ONE WHO IS TRUTH.
    HE said ‘MY house shall be a house of prayer’ and ‘if I be lifted up I WILL draw all men unto me.’ where oh where are the men who pray? why is it always women?

  14. I hear that Teriyaki restaurants near Pearl Harbor are being boycotted too……

    Just kidding, but you get where I am going with this.

    The problem for Christians is that if you take this logic of “don’t allow something that I find offensive to be built near me / a place I hold dear” too far, then before long you will find the ACLU is going to be pushing for zoning requirements that ban the construction of buildings to be used by Christians (what some call churches) in the vicinity of schools, citing separation of church and state.

    Do believers really want to be pushing this line of reasoning where this is where it could end up down the line?

  15. To me it sounded like Brad’s arguments for engaging the culture or taking a stand were all over the place, and even more so when he tried to tie it in with the issue of the Park51project in NYC. Perhaps it would be more considerate to the non-Muslim relatives of those killed on 9/11 if they didn’t build the community center within a few blocks. But at the same time, it IS their right to build the community center, which according to their website, does include a mosque along with other facilities. http://park51.org.s105994.gridserver.com/faq.htm
    Brad was not clear on how “engaging the culture” relates to the construction of this community center in NYC. Is he representing Jesus, the Church, or the USA by taking this stand against Park51? So far a lot of the most vocal against Park51 are the rightwing TV pundits. As a Christian I would want to stay as far away as I could from them, but that’s just me. As Christians, how are we affected or threatened by PARK51? And what does this “stand” consist of? Writing a blog or making a Facebook status? Starting a petition? Is this how we represent Jesus, by opposing other religions as they exercise their Consitutional rights? Brad’s trip to Israel and the Muslim call to prayer in foreign, Muslim controlled areas doesn’t relate to this situation in NYC. Neither does bringing up the issue of pacifism. Was he saying the people who are trying to build Park51 are our enemies? Brad continued to bring up various issues in a dramatic fashion, like he was grasping at straws trying to tie the whole thing together. None of it made sense.

    I believe that we engage the culture in our day to day life through building relationships with the people around us. We share our love with others, and by this, with the power of God withion us, our light shines in the world. That’s the same message you guys have been sharing regarding everything else in life, in this journey, why must there be a big change of gears when something comes up like Muslims in New York City building a community center or mosque?

  16. Stephen, they’ve been pushing that line for a long time without being able to see the huge problems with it

  17. as someone from outside usa this just seems to me like another typical we are the dominant culture blindspot. the west pushes its culture and religion on others without apology constantly. we dont separate islam from the arab world so why should they separate christianity from west. Believers should rise above all this nonsense and not get caught up in them vs us media circus. Less fox news, more loving our neighbor even if they have different religion and political view. I’m ashamed that my fellow citizens in the west so often label the muslims as bloddthirsty, insentive zealots when our governments have zero room to judge. Christ is reconciling all things to himself, i want to be part of that.

  18. Just listened to the podcast today, guys! Great dialogue. You “erected” quite a show. 🙂
    You fellas “slay” me! Keep slingin’! Peace!

  19. I found this podcast very timely as I have just started Eric Metaxas’ book on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. How does one face evil in the world as an apprentice of Christ? That appears to be exactly the issue Bonhoeffer faced and I believe that is the question that Brad was trying to get at. Perhaps bringing in the “Ground zero mosque” muddied the issue, at least it seems to have from some of the postings.

  20. Love the way that you guys can banter back and forth with each other. I can hear as I listen that you are two brothers wrestling with a topic rather than two individuals trying to win someone over to their side.

    This podcast obviously has raised lots of discussion which is good. It doesn’t seem that the things you discussed were as much politically oriented as they were discipleship oriented. After all…doesn’t everything we encounter in this life have to be run through the filter of “Jesus what are you saying to me in this and where are you leading me.” That’s what it means to be in relationship with the Father and each other. We don’t get dragged down into political or doctrinal fights. We instead are reminded that we all are being led “further up and further in” (to quote C.S. Lewis) into God’s amazing gift of life and love.

    Being a person who has found great inspirational in my life of discipleship through the Ana-Baptist/Mennonite traditions I find the conversations surrounding justice intriguing. Brad, you asked a great question about the supposed conundrum of the Christian life. “Should I exercise love and mercy or righteousness and truth in moments of conflict?” I say this is a supposed conundrum because (as Wayne pointed out through the Psalms) these two “sides” come together in the person and work of Jesus.

    I see this play out in the example that was used in the podcast of the abusive father and the victimized daughter. For me it is not enough to say, “I can love the daughter who is being abused because she is the oppressed, and I need to see justice brought to the father because he is the oppressor.” This would only continue a split worldview that love and justice are two different things to be doled out to different people at different times. Instead can we look with the eyes of Jesus at both oppressed and the oppressor and realize that love and justice are one in Jesus (or better yet that his justice flows from his love). If this is the case then l feel compelled to say that I find I love the oppressor just as much as I love the oppressed. Yes, one needs assistance to escape an oppressive situation and the other needs to be held accountable for wrongs….but they are both to be loved equally. If we can’t do this than we need to ask ourselves, “What don’t I understand about the Father’s love for me…that while I was still his enemy he loved me…and even when I ignore, disregard, and fight against him now…he still loves me.”

    It’s like you both have been saying….our relationship with the love of the Father will continue to transform our relationships with others. How radical that will look in the world’s eyes! How upside down is that kingdom! How incredibly healing and restorative is the justice, righteousness, and mercy of the Father and Son that flows through their love for all of humanity!

    Thanks for continuing to share your conversations with us.

  21. @ Nate Barker.. Really good points..More than one person here touched on it , but I think it’s worth repeating that it is really our individual relationships with people that do the most to transform the culture.
    I really liked what Nate said about our love for the oppressed and the oppressor.
    I would add that as I tend to believe that Sin provides it’s own recompense, the oppressor is oppressed himself by his oppression of others ( does that make sense?).
    If God’s justice flows out of His love for us, then I think that the self- oppression of the oppressor is of just as much concern as the oppressed to God.
    We look at Muslim nations as enemies because we don’t see our government’s own oppression.
    The Muslims of the middle east don’t hate us just to hate us. The ones that hate us have every right to hate us as a nation who identifies it’s self as Christian. Not because of the fact we are a supposedly “Christian Nation” but because we continually occupy their countries, because we blow up their cities because we wage wars to serve our own interests in a place where we have no business. Ok we have business there but it’s all about oil. We also kill people under the guise of Redemptive Violence ( another myth I would love to hear your guys thoughts on).
    I think our new popular “Christian ” culture is really mostly Nationalism re-named.
    It all has little to do with Christ in my opinion.
    I think when we jump to conclusions about the intentions of others we kill the communication and we are removed from the reality of the day to day lives of other people .
    Empathy for all of humanity is a very tall order, But all of humanity is made up of individuals that we can know, befriend and extend grace to.
    I think that is what Jesus would do.
    I really do love the podcast you guys seem so real, I think that is rare these days.
    Peace

  22. As usual, awesome podcast. Wherever it goes, it is always worth the hear, since it seems to always deal with something of the Everyday of life.
    And too, I agree with Ibby; Brad seems often to be letting off quite a lot of stress. I hope the vent helps.
    To the general issue. Now with the Florida thing, it is stomping into a HUGE issue. To me, it is about trying to keep the big picture in view. I think that there is something that is often missing or just poo-pooed in our freer thinking dialogues; the thought that we are living under the law of nature. Yes, God made laws. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love.
    The laws of nature are well known in the sciences. God’s law of acceleration even reveals deception in explanations of the 3 building-fall events of nin/elevn. The lies of that day have everything to do with the anxiety, hatreds and fears filling the world this very day; 9 years later! Cause and Effect, and as current as it gets!
    But we also have a natural law in us too. God breathed that into us. Does anyone grow up with the idea that it is ok to kill others or take stuff from them? No. We grow into those thoughts, then choose how we live them out. Cause and Effect, Karma. Natural law: we have lived under it since the Garden. It is a perfect law. It shows no mercy.
    How does that affect us? Of course conflicts come out of it. Could civil war loom? I would think so.
    Although the Fl. group is small, and clearly not representative of most of us, Jesus himself did experience the system of powerful religious “group mentality”. Didn’t he have some strong stuff to say about it (Mat.23)? You bet! The Jake book clearly pointed out the problems of when people and groups start butting heads. All common sense seems to quickly go lost.
    That is where Jesus comes in! That is why what happened on the stake is so totally important to the whole population of the planet. The all powerful and thus impossible for us to keep Law was simply fulfilled by the greatest act of Love the world has ever known!! We needed Him! And He fulfulled!
    That LOVE trumps the perfect law of nature! That is how we are made free!
    However, I don’t believe that all that what was completed on the stake has yet played out. But it will play out when the right time comes. We read about that completion taking place on a new earth. There will, of course, be no more “law”, as none will be needed.
    One of the best dealings with parts of this idea I know of is from Ken Rideout, in his book “The Truth you know you know”. Along with “the Shack” and “He loves me”, its worth a huge read!
    Much love, Rob

  23. As I read and reread through the postings I have an uneasiness that any questions such as, wheither or not this podcast would be allowed under Sharia law or why Christians in the Sudan or Indian are being targetted by violence when they are not occupying anyone, might not be lovingly accepted. Brad asked a legitmate and tough question.

  24. I hate the fact that the people who are politically incorrect are viewed as crazy. People are followers more than they realize. We as Christians, are to follow Jesus and his teachings. We don’t have to accept some crazy Islamic thought or other thoughts by non-Christian parties. Why must we bow to other religions? We don’t have to ever. The thing about the Islamic faith is that it by it’s written content wants to get rid of all other religions even by force if necessary. When will the Islamic countries allow the free preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ in their countries? Never. So why should we allow their mosques to be built in the US???? I can just imagine having half of the populace in the US becoming muslim by birth or by pressure by other folks and people in the media. The god of Islam rejects Christ in direct conflict with our God with theirs because our God claims that Christ is his very son d the saviour of the world. Can these two thoughts co-exist together? I don’t think so. One with try to evangelize the other or force the other to surrender. We can only learn to respect one another’s differences which Islam teaches against and Christianity by it’s nature cannot accept. The (Christian) God has said that it is either Christ or judgement. I am a Christian and I have the right to reject Islam on all levels although I can love the people who practice Islam. I wonder if the same can be said of the Islamic faith towards Christians. I doubt it. Look at the reality of the Islamic world. I am so tired of tip toeing around about the issues that concern me and I really don’t care if people know exactly what I think. I don’t have to apologize about that because it is still a free nation or is it? How long will it take for the Islamic faith to change our laws on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. By the way things are done in Islamic countries, I wouldn’t want to live in the US anymore. If fact, the US would cease to exist as the US but in title alone. It would be the Islamic United States of America. I reject this completely. I have only one Islamic friend and I always state my business. If he doesn’t like it, then he doesn’t have to be my friend any more. I can live with that but I shouldn’t have to change who I am in order to fit in with the rest of the crowd. Who says that the crowd is correct? I am free and I plan on staying free whether anyone follows or not. I don’t care about what the culture says. The culture is sick.

    God (the Father of Jesus Christ) bless you two for your podcast,
    Many regards,
    Manuel (a U.S. Citizen, A Christian, A Free man, A Free thinker, a human being)

  25. Dear Brad & Wayne,

    I am a long time listener to the God Journey podcast. I really enjoy your conversations and appreciate that you have different perspectives and viewpoints from each other on a wide range of issues. For several years now, my wife & I and a large number of other Christ followers have been engaging Muslims in dialogue and building relationships with them with the aim of showing Christ to them in a way that is contextually meaningful. After listening to the “Wrestling with Love and Justice” podcast, I felt strongly compelled to respond to some of what Brad said about a number of topics and offer some contrasting viewpoints based on my ongoing experience of interfaith friendship with Muslims.

    Ground Zero Mosque

    The first thing is that the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” is not actually at ground zero. It is several blocks from the world trade center complex. It is also not actually a mosque. It is an Islamic community center. It is not a house of worship. (See http://www.cracked.com/blog/3-reasons-the-ground-zero-mosque-debate-makes-no-sense/). The reason that these two facts are not widely known is that in the run-up to the mid-term elections, this issue is a button that politicians can push to get people riled up. It also may be leading to open violence against Muslims in America (http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/26/colleague_of_nyc_taxi_driver_stabbed).

    Minarets & the Call To Prayer

    I was troubled by Brad’s comments on minarets & the call to prayer. My wife & I traveled in a Muslim country a few years ago and at first the mosques with their minarets stuck out as unusual and strange. As we traveled through the country and observed them in every small town we passed by, we began to see that they were not any different than the multitudes of steepled churches we have in every town in the south. There were a sort of common cultural touchstone in a way. As for the call to prayer, I have heard many believers living in muslim countries say that while they were disruptive (especially the early morning one), they were a reminder to them to pray regularly and consistently, which I believe a net positive.. I tend to think the reaction that Brad had in Israel to the minarets was largely resulting from the cultural strangeness of it and not really anything truly negative about these aspects of Islam.

    The Israeli Perspective

    There is implied in Brad’s comments about the Israeli situation the idea that the Israelis are doing what they have to do to survive given a situation that they are not responsible for. He mentions that there are countries and groups whose aim is the destruction of Israel. Taken out of context, such statements clearly justify some kind of serious response. It is important, especially as “peacemakers”, to see both sides of this difficult issue, and not just ignorantly promote one sides viewpoint, even if it seems clear and obvious.

    For starters, Israeli has huge military power relative to the Palestinians. The tactics employed by the Palestinians are a violent (and despicable imo) response in a war where they are vastly outmatched militarily. Because of the extent of their dominance, I believe the Palestinians have been pushed to use whatever means are at their disposal to respond. The desperate and hopeless living situation for many Palestinians also provides a ready supply of volunteers for suicide attacks. I don’t agree with these tactics, but I also think it is not an unexpected response given the situation.

    Things get even more complicated when you look at the history of Palestine. The Palestinian refugees fled or were driven from their homes. Many of these refugees have the deeds to their homes and were expelled from land that had been in their family for generations. The tactics employed by Zionists to remove Palestinians from their land are well documented (http://guardian.150m.com/palestine/jewish-terrorism.htm) and involved violence and terrorism. Seen in this historical context, the violent response by the Palestinians begins to make more sense.

    In the broader Muslim world, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict continues to be a major driver for Muslim extremism and anti-western sentiment. Ask yourself this: If the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was resolved 20 years ago (or had never occurred) would the 9/11 attacks have occurred? Many Muslims come from cultures of honor and shame. From many conversations I have had with Muslim friends about the Palestinian situation, it is clear that they feel a kind of cultural shame in the way that Palestinians Muslims have been dominated by Israel. I’ve even had some of them say that they believe the whole situation is a kind of punishment from God for Muslims. How sad is that?

    Brad, you are a person of influence in the Christian community. I believe that may have been part of the reason that you were invited to visit Israel, so that you can speak on behalf of the pro-Zionist viewpoint. Please consider becoming more informed about the other side of this issue and the history behind it before taking sides on something so important and divisive. There are a large number of books which discuss it and would be good to read. Here are some recommendations (if you expressed an interest in these, I would be happy to send you copies):

    1. With God On Our Side – a documentary on Christian Zionism (http://www.withgodonourside.com/index.html):

    With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.
    This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.

    Some quotes from the website:
    “I dare anyone to see this film and remain unchanged”. – Steve Haas – VP World Vision USA

    “I don’t know of anything quite like it – and I would have to say the church desperately needs it.” – Tony Campolo

    2. Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East Crossfire by Brother Andrew. This book opened my eyes to the fact that there actually Christian Palestinians who are suffering because of Israel’s policies.

    3. A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide by Mark Siljandr. This is a great look at the common ground Christians and Muslims share.

    4. Wall – a documentary on the wall Israel is building and how it is affecting Palestinians. (http://www.amazon.com/Wall-Simone-Bitton/dp/B000AYQO6A)

  26. Kelly,

    Very well stated, it saved me struggling to say it not nearly as well as you did.

    Wayne and Brad, I am really enjoying your podcasts. One of the things that I find worthwhile about them is that you don’t have to both be in agreement about everything to be in agreement about the most important things. That is good.

    I was also interested in Wayne’s comments on his bridge building ministry. I would like to know more about it. What I heard impressed me greatly. Does one of the previous podcasts cover it in detail?

    I found that the general issues were treated well, but whenever it came back to the specific of the building of the community center / mosque in New York, it seemed to me to disconnect a fair bit from both the general issues as you presented, and to your general outlook as expressed in The God Journey, and in the books He Loves Me, and Don’t Want to Go. It is quite possible I misunderstood your expressed opinion, Wayne, or that I am missing some of the points relevant to the situation. That would be possible because I don’t always keep up with all the news, and also because I don’t live in the USA.

    It seems there is an understandable desire to build such a community center in lower Manhattan, both because of the large number of Muslims in New York, and also as a bridge to try to get past the idea of “Muslims are the enemy”. I can understand that there is a great deal of antipathy, but I wonder whether it is something to be validated and encouraged. The WTC attacks were horrific, despicable, painful, shocking, and heartbreaking. My heart goes out to all those who were touched by them. However, not so long ago, we were all aware of the violence in Northern Ireland. Catholics were fighting against a Protestant government, and atrocities were committed. The more well known terrorist attacks were carried out by the IRA, but I understand that there were also evil things done by the government forces. However, I never heard of anyone trying to stop the building of a Catholic or Protestant church because of what was happening there. We seemed able to separate what was done in another country in the name of God and or religion from the normal understanding and ways of Catholics and Protestants in our neighborhoods.

    We have recently been shocked to see that Muslims in Iraq are blaming Christians in Iraq for being in sympathy with the Christian forces that have been occupying and ravaging their country. This has resulted in true terrorism, where many innocent people have been murdered, and others threatened because of presumed solidarity with the US occupation. Of course the murders are very extreme and shocking, but at the root of it, is it so different from what is happening in Manhattan?

    Then, the whole uproar seems to me a reaction to religion. As was brought out in the Jake book, if we react to religion, we are just as much being controlled by it as if we are caught up in it. Best to let those who want it live in it, while we focus on a live in the love of Father. Why are we so worried about another religious structure being built in New York? Why is that a threat to us?

    One final point, and I may be mistaken here, or I may have missed a few things since I am not a real student of the news and don’t live in the USA. How do we actually know who attacked the WTC? I don’t recall ever seeing any evidence presented showing who did what on that terrible day. All I’ve seen are claims by the same US government that assured us they had undeniable proof of weapons of mass destruction being stockpiled in Iraq. If they ever told us how they knew who did what, I’ve missed it, and wouldn’t mind someone showing me the hard evidence.

    Peace, and keep up the good work!

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