While it seems like ages, I can remember when a terrorist event pulled on a tear in my heart. From Munich to hostages on cruise ships to airline bombs, each event pushed me into a place of tearful reflection. At the time I did not see it as a war between ideologies or a statement about capitalism. It was cruelty and violence between human beings.
With bombings now a norm, states fighting others without formal declarations of war, and innocents in the crossfire, it is hard to remember what lies at the center. I no longer feel the tear. Today’s news is met with a resigned sadness that there is little you or I can do about it. The news simply is. It is something that could happen anywhere, anytime. Often without commentary, we note it occurrence and move to matters at hand.
I would like to register my protest. I am not fighting the news. I am protesting the fact that we have become numb to the event! We celebrate when “we” win. We express rage when “we” lose. We look at body counts, destroyed lives, and families that are forever changed with ambivalence. If we are not directly impacted, we carry on.
Like wars that extend themselves, I do not believe we know what the real battle is about. The labels we use are no longer valid, if they ever were! How can a minority of any religion twist the theology beyond recognition. If Islam is guilty today, then what about Christians in the race conflicts in the 60’s or the Crusaders?
The battle was never about the core theology. It has always been about the rights of one group trumping those of another. At the center is a simple question: are we a family with compassion, forgiveness, and love at its center? If so, dialogue can begin. If not, the fight will continue. At the center rests the teachings of Buddha, the call to community of Mohammed, and “the Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10.4) We are a family, even when we forget.