It is a basic belief of mine that the only technology in the world that really makes a difference is More People. Without more minds, without more hands, without the labor of the peoples of the earth – the cultivation of our universe would not happen at the speed that it is occurring today. 7 billion people are 7 billion nodes of potential lighting up the world with ideas which lead to actions which lead to growth or destruction. People are more intertwined, sharing of culture is more assumed and melding is becoming more complete in a broad sheet across the cities of the world. When Haiti was hit, all of North America felt it, when Japan was hit by a devastating Tsunami, their old enemy China admired their stoic response and the world began to help and learn from the tragedy.
Natural disasters are one thing, but when disasters are because of bad decisions and based in stark us versus them attitudes (based in latent misunderstandings and distrusts of those who are not “like us”), we don’t look to the skies and ask why. We can only blame ourselves and our own injustice when dealing with our own kind. As much as we like to candy coat the universe and make everything neat in the Western world, all across the globe there are pockets of fanaticism that can burn every shining surface whether wood, stone, plastic or metal. The evidence is the militaries of Western powers stationed across the globe, who push the wars off the home soil as much as possible. There are a million cold wars on the edges of what we have cultivated for ourselves. Not everyone is on the “inside” and not everyone wants “in” to what the west has built. Nor should we assume that all our shiny things are good for the world (but that is a very deep and long discussion in itself). Globalism is good for profits, but not everyone benefits.
One cold war turns hot. When I first heard of Terry Jones, and his Florida church known as the Dove Outreach Center, planning to burn the Quran I was blown away. Though Christians (myself included) believe in Christ as the sole mediator of salvation, the basic sign of our faith has been LOVE – of all God’s people. Anytime Christians forget this, they cease to live in the spirit of Christ! Stories ignite on contrasts like this, like an old black and white film making eye candy in the shadows. The media eat it up, and our global culture spread the story to the four winds of the earth. It is obvious why it perks ears and eyes – Christians spouting hate, the opposite of what Jesus preached, a fiery pastor who can be put up in effigy of what is wrong with the Wes and plenty of papers bought, click throughs clicked, and the grease of the machine goes on. When the story hit, its tenacity shocked everyone and moved like gossip at the proverbial international water cooler.
Like anti-global folks across the world needed a reason to fight against perceived symbols of Western Imperialism. By that, I mean, imagine yourself a muslim farmer in Afghanistan in a tribe that has tended the land for generations and during your generation you have seen two governments topple, and now blue and digital camouflage helmets march from across the globe march into town and begin building bases and rebuilding the social structure in a new image. Old resentments die away as new resentments against the Foreigner grow. As everyone begins getting internet and television signals, many read about the burning of the Quran, the written record of their faith – and a march of protest is organized. Those with the most anger get violent. The crowd becomes a mob, and Peacekeepers in the UN (symbols of the west) are killed and two are beheaded. One perceived evil leads to another.
And the rest of the people of the world, those who are in basketball leagues, saving people in Japan, or attending the Shakespeare theater or getting a haircut in Brazil just sit and watch the crazy. Our mouths drop open and we say “how bad this is” but we have no direct attachment to it. We don’t attend that church in Florida, we also do not report the news and lastly, we are not Afghanistan residents living in the midst of a long standing battle zone. We are not the soldiers, though we probably know a few, and we are not a politician walking across our world. We are considered the consumers. We read about it among all the other evils in the world and wait for the next flash point. A million cold wars ready to blow. We can feel it, but we try to forget it until it comes. Our ice cream tastes good and American Idol is so much fun.
This is where it gets hard. This is where we want to feel guilty, but guilt doesn’t solve the problems. The only solvent to these cold wars is for the betterment of the 7 billion individuals in the world. The working towards true equality. Jesus spoke of loving your neighbor as you love yourself. This flowed out of a love for God and spilled out to the rest of mankind. Burning another person’s book isn’t part of that love. Neither is going into another culture and feeling bad for everyone and trying to change their world without considering the impact it has on their own survival structures. But regardless, working together needs to become part of who we are. The biggest story in the world that is never reported, is the fact that every person in the globe is not constantly at war with everyone else. In fact, most people are at peace with the majority of their neighbors. This is the miracle of the our time. That there is still good in the world.
I believe that when Abraham was sat down by God and was told that he would be blessed, that the second part of the blessing needs to be remembered even more.
Genesis 18:18 – “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.“
Whenever we seek to be a blessed people of God, we have to remember to love our neighbor. Jesus reminded us all of something that is too easily forgotten, but which is a basic principle that if applied to every heart on the earth appropriately, would make earth more like heaven.
If Terry Jones considered his Global neighbors and left Florida to live in Afghanistan and loved the people, perhaps he would think differently.
If the media had thought to ignore the rantings of a man who obviously craved the attention that he craved, and left it to local news, would this have escalated.
If the people of Afghanistan valued the lives of others, even those they do not know, would the many be laying dead and beheaded? Maybe not.
But as an optimist, and a person of belief in prayer and action, I continue to hope and love. A truly equal world would be very different from what we have today. It will scare those on the bottom, the middle and at the top because change is scary – but if God is real, its coming regardless of what we want. Which side of this are you on?