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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mustard Seed Faith

Rudy at Urban Onramps recently posted this link. What an amazing article on the Pope's call to a faith filled response to the conflict with Islam. It calls us back to a faith filled response to our current challenge. This article resonated with my feelings about the church. I believe that in our country the Church has been all to connected to a political worldview. Our strength lies with our ability to be the subversive underground Kingdom that is governed by a different set of values. When the Church is the Church, separate from the State, we have authority and the world is forced to notice. The article states:
A self-described revolution in world affairs has begun in the heart of one man. He is the Italian journalist and author Magdi Cristiano Allam, whom Pope Benedict XVI baptized during the Easter Vigil at St Peter's. Allam's renunciation of Islam as a religion of violence and his embrace of Christianity denotes the point at which the so-called global "war on terror" becomes a divergence of two irreconcilable modes of life: the Western way of faith supported by reason, against the Muslim world of fatalism and submission.
Pope Benedict calls for a clear understanding of the conflict:
The West is not fighting individual criminals, as the left insists; it is not fighting a Soviet-style state, as the Iraqi disaster makes clear; nor is it fighting a political movement. It is fighting a religion, specifically a religion that arose in enraged reaction to the West. None of the political leaders of the West, and few of the West's opinion leaders, comprehends this. We are left with the anomaly that the only effective leader of the West is a man wholly averse to war, a pope who took his name from the Benedict who interceded for peace during World War I. Benedict XVI, alone among the leaders of the Christian world, challenges Islam as a religion, as he did in his September 2006 Regensburg address.
The article expounds on the Pope's thoughts:
One does not fight a religion with guns (at least not only with guns) but with love, although sometimes it is sadly necessary to love one's enemies only after they are dead. The Church has lacked both the will to evangelize Muslims as well as the missionaries to undertake the task. Benedict XVI, the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, has thought about the conversion of the Muslims for years, as I reported just before his election in 2005 (The crescent and the conclave, Asia Times Online, April 19, 2005). Where will the Pope find the sandals on the ground in this new religious war? From the ranks of the Muslims themselves, evidently. Magdi Allam is just one convert, but he has a big voice. If the Church fights for the safety of converts, they will emerge from the nooks and crannies of Muslim communities in Europe.
Read the article here.

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