An Open Letter To ISIS/ISIL

Last night, some person or persons, acting in your name, drove a truck into a concert full of kids in Manchester, England. 

Really. Kids. These were people not doing anything to you, not thinking about religion, certainly not thinking about your religion. In fact, they were probably thinking of nothing much but music, joy, and dancing. On what basis, other than hate, can you justify this? Are you against joy, dancing, or children? 

Maybe you don’t like girls/women who sing. Everybody’s a critic. I know the internet is full of trolls who feel like they have the right to complain about the arts, but I don’t like them, either. I like you less. The singer at the concert you bombed said she was “so sorry”, but — as one who works with victims all the time — I can assure her that she did nothing wrong. She didn’t drive a bomb into her concert. You did. 

Maybe you don’t like women in general. I don’t know about where you’re from, but here women are pretty much a necessity for life. Further, if teenage girls are who you’re targeting, does that mean that you perceive them as some kind of threat to your cause? I know that they’re loud, but I don’t find them scary in any way. If they scare you, you’ve got problems already that bombs aren’t going to solve.

In short, this target serves no political objective. It does make us like you even less and it promotes revenge fantasies. For instance, what if we found out where the bomber was from and we drove a truck into his village and blew it up? And what if we did it every single time this happened? Yes, I’m capable of revenge fantasies, but I don’t engage them because I like kids. Once your children figure out that I won’t hurt them, but you will, guess who wins? Oh, well.

About your goals: From what I hear, you want to establish an Islamic religious state somewhere.  I don’t think it’s going to work — not because of anything I say or do — but because you can’t build anything. You can only destroy, as far as I can see. We have people in our country that think you can build with hate and by saying “no” to every positive idea expressed. I’m not sure if you read our newspapers, but if you do, you will see that they are going to fall soon as well.  Killing creative people, while building killers will ultimately lead to your destruction.

I don’t know much about Islam, nor do I care to, if this is what it looks like. What I do know something about is the One you call Allah. That One is all about love. That One is all about Strength, yes, but not about killing, or murder of innocents. The One who created the Universe isn’t much interested in destroying it. If the One you believe in is against evil, then ultimately I wouldn’t want to be you, because what you have done is evil, and you and I both know it. In our scriptures, ” ‘Vengence is  mine’, says the Lord”. I don’t even have to do anything to fix the situation. The One Who Establishes Justice will. 

To sum up, this attack was a really bad idea. By targeting people who did nothing to you, you have called attention to yourself, and it’s not the good kind of attention. You haven’t hit a military target, you haven’t won anyone to your cause, and your God isn’t very happy with you. You might try another series of techniques if you want to build a state that gives glory to Allah. This one’s not working.  In the end, only kindness matters. 
Resisting with Peace,

John 

For Those Still Playing The Liberal/Conservative Game: Cut It Out!

Reading my Facebook feed today, I see Right Wing folks rolling their eyes or mocking “those liberals” and I have to say we — yes, WE — have bigger fish to fry. I don’t care about whether you’re liberal or conservative. I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat. I don’t care if you like me or if I like you. We can’t focus on those kinds of things. Democracy is at stake. The soul of America is at stake.  

The boat we are on is sinking and arguing about the color of our buckets isn’t going to keep us afloat. We may disagree — and we do — about many things. But let’s be honest, the Trump presidency is NOT one of them. In 4 months or so, we have seen what actual hatred of America can do.  In 4 months, Mr. Trump has given away secrets to the Russians, fired the man chasing him for possibly working with the Russians, fired a woman who noticed his friends worked with Russia, talked to, and spoke for, the FBI director about this investigation, is happy people will lose health insurance and rich people will have more of our wealth. 

How many of you voted to cozy up to the Russians? How many of you voted to lose Medicare or Medicaid? How many of you wanted to lose health care? How many of you wanted to work for “the man”, get poorer while he gets richer? I’m pretty sure he didn’t win by promising that. 

In things Trump’s gotten done, how big was the Crazy People Need Guns lobby? How big was the Feed Our Children Less Healthy Food Coalition? How many Americans were yelling for dropping our biggest bomb on Afghanistan? Trump got that done. I bet he didn’t represent you. 

Did any of us really vote for the extra Secret Service to be part of the nation’s debt? Whose agenda does it serve to use Congress’ time for investigations rather than budgets, jobs, social programs, and such? Was it me or you that decided to escalate with North Korea? How many of us voted for the “Golf Every Weekend” President? 

What about money laundering as a policy, overt racism from our Top Cop, who now has to recuse himself from some of the biggest cases the administration faces, because he might be a suspect? How many anti environmental hunters and fishers are out there. How many of us wanted ExxonMobil to run our State Department and make more money? How many Americans voted for Wall Street to rip us off even more? How many of us planned for there to be an Alt ForestService  or remove information from  websites? How many of us 

 My guess is  that none of us voted for the policies the Man in Office has made happen. He has made these decisions. He is gutting our system. He has been disrespecting the very Constitution he swore to uphold — and I’m still not convinced he’s read it! 

We need to impeach our President for being a walking, talking lie to all of us. If you still want to roll your eyes or mock somebody, get a mirror. I’ll be here looking for a life preserver.

Resisting with Peace,

John

Back To Life, Back to Theology…

This blog and its predecessor, “Like It Matters” were designed, among other things to discuss theology. As I hear certain people in the present administration make choices regarding basic needs and claim theological reasons, apparently it’s time to go back to theology — because, among other reasons — I want to protect the reputation of my faith.  To my mind, the things some people think while claiming Christianity are actually anathema to Christian teaching. 

For example: yesterday a man in Congress suggested that insurance was for good people, because good people take care of themselves and, if they get an illness, or have need of using insurance, it’s “through no fault of their own”. Apparently these people have never read the book of Job, where the good suffer, and their “friends” blame them. Apparently they don’t remember Jesus saying ” the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike”. Nor do they remember the psalmist saying, “how long must the wicked prosper?…”  We have done away with the theology that says “good happens to good people, while bad happens to bad people” and we did it centuries ago! 

Years ago, when Hitler was in power in Germany, the churches in Germany began supporting his regime, and there were few, if any, safe places to say what you saw going on around you. Theologians who seemed radical, I’m sure, created a document (the Barman Declaration) that said, in short: “There is no God but God. We know how God acts, and Hitler’s not God. To say he is (which Hitler said himself) is to at the least, miss the point, and at worse, proclaim evil as good”. Here’s my update: Donald Trump and Donald Trump-ism is not God. Capitalism is not God. Wealth is not God. To dance around and smile because you succeeded in hurting people and saying you’re Christian American is to, at the least, miss the point of Christianity and Being an American. 

Time after time, throughout history, people have made Something which isn’t God to be their God. The 10 Commandments — the Law and Order rules that some people want put in courthouses, strictly forbid such idol worship! It always fails because the thing people replace God with is only a shadow, only a sliver, only an atom, of who God is. We shouldn’t settle for half a loaf of God. To do so is to set ourselves up for failure. Failure is the opposite of success. If you want to succeed in the long run, stop having a narrow view, a short-term view, mean hearted view of God.

I know that some families who used to be “on top” of human hierarchies are now hurting or ignored because their industry has changed and so have the rules. Christians suffer so that others may have their needs met. Jesus never said, “if a man slaps you, you should shoot him in revenge”.  The Bible says, “Vengence is mine, says the Lord”.  Revenge is never a good motive in the Christian life. White Supremacy is based on the perceived slight of the “right people” by giving “the wrong people” the the things they need. White Supremacists want revenge (never a good thing)  for a perceived slight called “sharing”. Sharing is a Christian ideal. Revenge is not.

Regarding the environment, some people think “we have dominion over nature” means we can do whatever-the-hell-we want. It doesn’t. It means we’re responsible for nature. You’re not much of a ruler if you have no subjects. If you destroy them, you guarantee that you have no subjects to rule over. Try not to destroy anything or anyone under your care.  If you do, you only end up killing yourself. 

Things cannot go on being the way they are. Love and people are God’s interest. Hating each other is not. Destroying the human spirit is not. 

That’s it for now.

Resisting with Peace,
John