What Separates Pastor Jones and (Insert Your Preferred Extremist)?

My favorite op-ed columnist strikes again. Leonard Pitts Jr. weighs in on the impending bonfire in Florida. Some have “Tweeted” Pastor Terry Jones will be praying about halting the now high profile church event. Let’s just say the horse is out of the gate. Widespread reactions point to the overall effect of the mere announcement and the strident intention to move ahead with plans regardless of any retraction or cancellation. The damage is done literally if figuratively.

Maybe this clip from Pitts’ piece will entice you to click over and read the entire piece,

There is in the act of burning something primitive and tribalistic, something that appeals to the lizard brain which has no ability or desire to reason, no comprehension of ideals and abstract concepts, that knows only that it lives in fear of a world it cannot understand and will do anything to send the fear away.

The process of becoming a truly human being is the process of conquering that lizard brain. Unfortunately, some people never do.

On Saturday, some of those people will gather round a bonfire to watch pages blacken and curl and turn to smoke. You listen to the hatred spewing from respectable leaders in prominent places, you think of how normal that has become, and one thing suddenly seems starkly clear:

We’re burning a whole lot more than books.

I am left asking what separates Pastor Terry Jones and, say, Iran’s often irascible Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Nothing. Ahmadinejad regularly announces “Enough, enough,” when he thinks of cow towing to demands of any Western nation. Discuss curbing nuclear energy and any accompanying weaponization of uranium and it is “Enough, enough.” Recently any potential threat Israel floats like a “trial balloon” is immediately met with threats of the annihilation of the Nation of Israel.

Here we have a Pastor whose Sacred Text conveys the words of Jesus, “turn the other cheek.” Or, how about forgiving indefinitely, or completely – yes that too was Jesus. What should separate Pastor Terry Jones? Not the images of a pastor rocking back and forth while praying, toting a gun, or speaking in tongues. No, what should separate “any” Christian from this kind of rhetoric, intention, or plan – embodying the Way of Jesus. Not pointing to it in some nostalgic glance as if it were merely pietistic dreaming. No, every one of us who lays claim to Jesus as Liberating King understands we now stand free from the need to address our fears with the contention, “Enough is enough.” No, it is never time to say enough to following the Way of Jesus. If we do so then what should separate us no longer does.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.