Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harvard is Exempt

So, this week, I guess Harvard was able to do what no one else can, because, well, it's Harvard. When the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military wasn't changed, Harvard decided they had enough, and will no longer allow ROTC and it's members access to their campus. Don't get me wrong, they have every right to run their institution however they want, but it's their arrogant way of doing things that I struggle with. Are they the only ones who can take a stand without being called intolerant?

Their way of arguing is no different than the way any of us try to make a point. They make decisions based on a core set of values that in turn drive the decisions they make as an institution. We all live from a core set of values that shape who we are and the decisions we make. Whether we're pro-choice or pro-life, an advocate of traditional family values or a more liberal definition of what it means to be a family, a Quran-burning preacher from Florida, or a flag burning Muslim from Iran; we are all shaped by a core set of beliefs that shape how we live and react to our world.

So, this week, Harvard acted on theirs. They have their critics, sure, but there are many that aren't even aware that this decision was made because the press didn't tell us, unlike the story about a preacher from a small church in Florida who's one act created an international stir. For the record, I don't agree with what he was threatening to do, or attempting to say, but I think he has the right to express his opinion, just like Harvard.

I find myself growing weary of this conversation, where one side is justified in their argument. I say again that there has to be a more hopeful voice in this and it often comes from those who, more times than not, remain silent so they won't be labeled one thing or the other. Extreme sections of our tribe already make it difficult for us to be intolerant for the things we should not tolerate. More times than not we choose silence and grace over picketing and arguments; but you won't read about that in the press either.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Extremist are everywhere

So, no one should be shocked by what is taking place this week. Threats from extremists, hiding behind their faith, have been around since man got themselves kicked out of the garden. People have been burning flags and holy texts for centuries, all in the name of freedom of expression.

Remember Timothy McVey, not like we could forget him. He was an extremist who was ticked off at our government and the way they handled, well, extremists. Remember David Koresh, he was an extremist who used the same Bible I do to justify what he did. Who is right; one can only hope he isn't, right?

So, the Muslim cleric that wants to put the Mosque in the same proximity of the former World Trade Centers, who one might call an extremist, is ticking off the other extremists, and now they are coming out of the woodwork. Pastors from both Tennessee and Kansas vow that if Terry Jones won't burn a Quran, they will. A man from Wyoming, who apparently no one knows very much about, is going to burn a copy of the Quran on the steps of the state house. For years, Muslim's have burned the American flag, with dummies dressed to look like everything from presidents, to now Terry Joneses. Crazy you say.

Well, it's just beginning. Now Muslim's in the Gaza strip are burning copies of the Bible, and threatening Christians that live in their city and region. Christians are calling out for help and protection, not the first time this has happened either, is it? And here we all sit, Christians, Buddists, and Muslim alike.

I don't want to believe that any of us think this is what God intended when he created us, in his image. We argue all the time what we think he did create us for, and what he is moving us toward, but I want to think we can all agree, this isn't it.

If this isn't it, then what is? Is it possible for us to find a more hopeful way to live in this life? Will the extremist always get all the press?

The reality is that abortion clinics will continue to be bombed, as well as government buildings, churches, mosques, shopping centers, with people getting in the way all the time, because extremists are everywhere. But for what? For what end? The glory of God? Really?

Here's one person who hopes, that the hopeful end we all lean into while living life in the here and now, can some day play a role in helping us understand heaven a little better on this side. And here's one person who hopes, and prays, that what we see and hear today, isn't it. Is that too extreme?