Part of me wanted to type, what ISIS forgets, but truthfully, as the season of ISIS begins to close we must remember that the threat still persists in other forms. A while back, I wrote the first of what was to be a two part article on Radical Religion where I discussed the notion that you just can’t separate Radical Islam from Islam itself. You can hope in the moderates of Islam in that they would embrace modernity and peace. However, you can’t just pretend like Islamic terrorists and Islam don’t share the same bath water.
Now, some of you might be wondering what happened to part 2. Well, no one really read part 1 as it turns out, so in my best Soup Nazi voice from Seinfield, “No Part 2 for you.” However, I think you could pretty much get many of the same sentiments that would have been in that article from this one. What with it being Good Friday today and all, I think the timing is appropriate and being a Christian myself, I have no problem talking about my faith. So let’s do this.
The Christian Chicken Nugget
Look, I don’t know these Christians who are being killed. I honestly have no idea the exact nature of their faith. I don’t know if they are Christians the way so many in America claim to be Christian in name, or whether they literally are following Jesus. However, when you get your head chopped off for refusing to renounce your faith in Jesus, it is like instant street cred to me. Why? Oh just because Christ himself died for us, his disciples were killed for spreading the good news, and Jesus told us as much would happen. So if it looks like, smells like, and sounds like, it likely is so.
Now somewhere in America, there are some fat rich people living in a mansion, utilizing the best healthcare to prevent from dying, and claiming the same faith as those willingly dying. They don’t help the least of these unless the least of these is a double cheeseburger that needs help getting to their mouth. Basically, what I am saying is this. The Martyrs who knowingly claim a faith in a land that is knowingly hostile to it, and are dying at the hands of Radical Islam are examples of organic unfiltered Christianity. The American version we so like to impose on the world is like the breaded chickenish nugget with rib meat and fillers, preservatives, and million other added chemicals version of Christianity. Go buy and read David Platt’s book, Radical, so you can see more of what I mean here; Radical by Davit Platt. Oh and if you recognize your butt in that picture, I’m like really sorry, it was just a stock photo, and I was trying to drive home a point. But you know, you looks good.
The Internal Struggle
So for me, this whole ISIS thing creates a pretty harsh internal struggle. I see them wage this campaign of death and it makes me want to shove a grenade up a certain place of each one of those evil men. Call it Sheepdog, call it temper tantrum, or just call it Marine, the bottom line is, it invokes certain feelings in me that to be quite honest are not helpful for this stage of life. I wrote in my article, Mighty Men and The Western Guns of Kurdistan, how I was taken aback and inspired by those who actually stepped up like Mighty Men, left their comfortable life in the west and are fighting ISIS this very minute.
Yet still, to be honest, I am somehow more fixated on those that willingly die. I mean, Jesus did have that moment when he put together a whip and ran all the money changers out of the temple. But to be honest, these men, women, and children who refuse to renounce their faith in the face of a certain horrendous death remind me of Jesus a little more. It convicts me of my fleshly militancy. And that is what radical Islam fails to understand.
The Image of Christ
Hey, I look like Christ as well. To God that is, not to anyone else as the God sees the righteousness of Jesus himself imputed upon me through the cross. You see, the nature of the gospel, the nature of Christianity is not all the cultural debates we have these days that dominate the headlines. The nature of the gospel is that Jesus Christ came to die and suffer, in order that sinners like you and I who are dead in our natural state, might truly be alive. Jesus said greater love has no man than one who gives his life for his friends. And yet, through this sacrifice, we are more than friends. We are adopted sons and daughters of the most-high God and through his promise, nothing will make us fall from his hands.
He then calls us to die. Die to ourselves, die to our earthly desires, die to our flesh, and yes, should it be time, literally die at the hands of evil men. After all, he kind of blazed that trail himself. Consequently, every single time ISIS, Boko Horam, or Al shibbidy jobbidy new terrorist group kills a Christian, they paint a picture of Christ himself. They remind us American McRib version of Christians what following Christ truly means. If God is who he says he is, then even the hands of these evil men don’t swing without his permission. Yet each time one dies, a picture of gospel is played out that through Christ death we are ransomed for eternity.
So I thought on this Good Friday, I would just remind ISIS that they are but paint brushes and tools in the hands of God reclaiming his people for all of eternity. God doesn’t lose his own. It is a promise I have to close my eyes and tightly hang on to these days in the turbulence of life. After all, if He is Indeed Risen, then the death of these Christian martyrs makes perfect sense because staying dead is not really Christ’s thing. Happy Easter readers of Unprecedented Mediocrity.
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