Angry in Nairobi

For the past week, I’ve been here in Nairobi, Kenya, reviewing the ministries in which World Concern is involved, enjoying once more the warmth and commitment of our staff.  I return home this evening.

After a wonderful visit and the anticipation of returning home, why am I angry?

I am angry with those who, perhaps in sincerity and perhaps for attention, intended to burn copies of the Koran this weekend.  General Petraeus, along with many government and religious leaders, have warned about the loss of life that is likely to result from this event. But they are not telling the entire story.

We work in areas where militant Islamists are not only our enemies but the enemies of others who follow Islam. Many more Muslims have been killed by the Islamic fundamentalists than those of other faiths. The security services that monitor the situation in areas of fundamentalist activities have issued a warning to agencies working there, including World Concern, and especially to those that identify themselves as followers of Christ to take steps to protect their staff and, at least for a while, to curtail their witness.

I’m angry because some of the most dedicated followers of Christ I have had the joy to meet are endangered and may lose their lives because the actions of a few who sit far away, reflecting hatred to those for whom Jesus died and loves with the same intensity that he loves each of us.

In its militancy, were the plans of the Dove World Outreach Center reflecting the way of Christ?

Muslims will sometimes suggest Christians follow a very impractical religion. What is the point of loving your enemies? How much more impractical can we become than that?

The Bible records only one time when Jesus healed a wound.  It was a wound inflicted by one of his followers who was trying to protect him, on a man who had come to arrest him and take him eventually to his death. Clearly he did not agree with the harm his disciple inflicted on a perceived enemy.

I’m grateful to learn that the burning of the Koran at this one Florida church has been called off, but remain concerned that others will carry out this action in other places. And unfortunately, damage has already been done.