Sunday, August 10, 2014

Convert or Die? What Would You Do? What Should You Be Doing?


Radical Islamists Persuade With Lethal Force.

Over the past few months I have spent a lot of time and money making my home and yard beautiful. There were special events and visitors coming. All of that has come and gone now, and this morning I am looking around at all that we accomplished, and it is pleasing to see the final results.

Then I look at the headlines. Have you ever had a government agent knock in the middle of the night? We had a border who had failed to check in with his parole agent. We got a very, very early morning visit from some very serious police officers. It was not a pleasant feeling to see so much authority on the doorstep to my sanctuary, even when I was sympathetic to their reasons for being there.

That's as close as I can come to having any sense or idea of what Christians throughout the Middle East are faced with. My experience is a vapor compared to the stark reality of angry, hateful zealots showing up without any true authority demanding my home, a massive tax, or my life and the lives of my family. All of this seems so very far away. My brief brushes with thuggery in Ireland, Spain, and Rome provide no real context for the terror visited upon my Christian brothers and sisters half a world away. 

Could it happen here? The prospect seems so remote and yet so imminent at the same time. It is impossible to guess how many radical Islamists are already in the US, how many are being converted in our jails, prisons, neighborhoods and mosques, and how many are on their way. While the threat of religious bigotry and persecution looms large in the Middle East at all times, most of the Christians being forced to flee or die right now probably thought the idea remote just a year ago.

What if it did happen here? What would you do? From front line reports it would appear that some small percentage do convert and another small percent pay the tax. The vast majority are going into exile, sometimes with immediate prospects that include death from exposure, malnutrition, or dehydration. Others are killed on the spot.

As you contemplate what your response might be in a similar circumstance, keep in mind that you are not an island. Your response is going to be partially determined by your family, your neighbors, and others you are responsible to or who your respect for their wisdom. But what if that wise leader and/or your family are recommending conversion. Will you go along? Will you strongly object and try to move the crowd to your point of view?

These are hard questions when viewed from such a distance. We would all like to think that we have the faith and courage to stand up for Jesus, and to take the consequences of our decision. We'd all like to think that saving our friends and family from burning in hell is more important than their perception of us or whether they would be upset if we attempted to keep them from converting, so they could stay in their current home. 


Admittedly, I have done nothing about Christian persecution other than write this post. I have not written letters, donated money, spoken up or even prayed about the subject until that last few days. There is some smattering of news now about Christians being killed, tortured, or displaced. Some are calling it the genocide that it is. However, a few hundred deaths in Palestine that are self inflicted gets more coverage than the ongoing murder of Christians worldwide. More Christians are effected by this type of hatred and bigotry than any other religious or ethnic group.

Is it too soon to complain, react, respond? How many will have to die before I wake up and start to pay attention?  What about you?

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