i had been working on another piece before the events of this weekend unfolded. that’s on hold for now, but it’s supremely relevant even though it has to take back burner for today’s story. we’ll get there, though, soon enough.
(one other note, the titles of my posts are all song lyrics. at the bottom of the post you’ll see the artist and song used in the title. the option is yours to listen to the song or read the lyrics for another take on the topic at hand.)
for some, those are paramount for human existence. there is a desire to understand.
how things work.
action and reaction.
where those lost socks go.
how we exist.
why humans do the things we do.
we’ve been talking a lot about logic over the weekend. because for all intent and purpose, what is happening in our corner of the world is illogical.
my american, college educated mind finds it very easy to disconnect truth from opinion, facts from hearsay. i find it easy to use discernment and logic in discussing the events of the past few weeks:
– secular, satirical magazine in a country that supports freedom of speech and religion lawfully publishes cartoons that negatively depict the prophet of millions of followers around the world, many of whom live in countries where there is no separation of church and state, nor is there encouragement to speak out against, poke fun at, or malign a supreme personage.
– secular, satirical magazine is targeted and people are senselessly killed, global headlines appear. global support for freedom of speech appears.
– muslims in former french colonies catch wind. people are angry that the person they most revere is continually being defamed.
– they gather at their place of worship to demonstrate their anger. the police tell them to stop. now their anger is kindled.
– they begin to act irrationally, mob mentality takes over, they take advantage of the situation to make clear their feelings against christians by burning churches, homes, christian schools, things get maliciously out of hand.
it is irrational for churches in africa to be burnt because of a secular magazine in france. it is irrational for muslims to think nigerien christians had anything to do with that magazine. it is irrational for people to burn homes simply because other people are doing it. it is irrational to forcibly and physically remove the livelihood of fellow neighbors simply out of anger or hurt. it is irrational to use this situation to show disdain for the government. it is not logical.
but i, too, am illogical. i trust and follow people who have acted irrationally.
paul and barnabus’ missionary journeys do not make rational sense. upon preaching the message of grace and redemption in certain cities, they were threatened and stoned, left for dead. it does not make rational sense for them to return and continue encouraging people. but they did. they risked their lives because they knew their message was truth.
it doesn’t make rational sense to be in a foreign country, contracting weird bacterias and being eaten by malarial mosquitoes. it doesn’t make rational sense to stay here after our churches have burnt and believers in Jesus are being threatened. but we stay because we know the message we share is about love, redemption, forgiveness and God’s grace. and the people here desperately need to know that. so we stay. it doesn’t make sense because it is illogical.
Jesus is illogical. following Jesus goes against limited human logic. He who tells me to love and pray for my enemy and for those who persecute me, to turn my right cheek when my left cheek is hit, to give my shirt when my jacket has been taken… He who tells me to forgive someone 70 times 7… He who died bearing my sins and the sins of the world to reconcile us to God… He is not logical. His word goes against what our rational AND irrational minds think and do. His very birth and life is illogical. i can’t understand it. it doesn’t make sense.
but i am not naive. i have not been brainwashed into believing fairy tales and i do not subscribe to faith because it wraps up the world in a tidy package that makes life easier to swallow.
it is in the very essence of this irrationality that i find truth, hope, freedom, promise. i trust because Jesus is illogical. i believe because God can’t be fully explained. i have hope because even a shred of His Word brings more peace and acceptance than any logical or rational thought can prove to me.
have you lived enough years on this earth to realize the irrationality of it? have you seen enough humans make choices every day that confound and madden you? how many times have you made one of those choices, the choices that make you stop and think, “why… why did i do that. i cannot find a reason…” our minds cannot explain everything away. they can’t explain everything at all. many brilliant, brilliant people have tried to come up with an explanation for everything. and that, is illogical to me.
i don’t know the reasons for what has happened here this weekend. no one knows the whole truth and we can’t try to rationalize it. it goes against logic. but i have plenty of illogical reasons for staying here when so many think it’s unsafe. here are just a few:
there are still threats against christians around the country right now. still demonstrations going on. so, right now, we pray. we pray that love and peace prevail. we pray that the irrationality of forgiveness is seen, felt, and heard. we meet as the Church, which no one can burn to the ground, and we help our brothers and sisters rebuild their church buildings. we continue to send a message of peace, hope, redemption, truth, and eternal life with Jesus. the most illogical of us all.
(derek webb- i repent)