Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Anglican Commentary on Norway's Tragedy

A Facebook friend posted this commentary by Rev. J. Barney Hawkins IV about last week's slaughter in Norway.  The piece can be found at the Virginia Theological Seminary's website on Anglican Communion Studies.  Hawkins' commentary reminds us of the Gospel passage a few weeks ago about the field where there were seeds sown, but in the middle of the night, someone planted weeds to grow up alongside the wheat.  Hawkins writes:

In times like these, I find helpful a “Litany of Contradictory Things” in which there are verses like: “Wheat and weeds: let them grow together; Arabs and Jews in Palestine: let them grow together; those whose thinking is similar and contrary: let them grow together.” I would add a new verse: Christians and Muslims: let them grow together.

In that parable, the sower of the seeds instructs the slaves to leave the weeds alone.  To yank them from the ground might tear out the roots of the wheat as well.  He says to let them grow together and the reaper will make the distinction of wheat from weed. 

That's the problem with an extremist such as Anders Behring Breivik.  He is convinced of his own rightness and has thus tried to elevate himself to be God, the judge and jury of the world.  His anti-Muslim hatred... a sentiment unfortunately shared by other Christian extremists... so warped him that he opened fire on children.  

Many in Christianity are quick to point out that Breivik's actions are absolutely counter to the teachings of Christ.  Certainly, if Breivik, and the other so-called 'christians' who rail against Islam understood the teachings of Christ, they'd back off their vitriol and beat their automatic weapons into ploughshares.  We can live side-by-side in this world.  What happens when we die is anybody's guess.  That's the great unknown, and will remain unknown to us until we are able to bear the unveiling of that next level of understanding.  For now, we live in the tension of difference.  And that's OK.


Anonymous said...

Good thoughts, Susan and it is so true. Extremism of any kind is so hard to understand. This guy did a horrific thing and took out the innocents as well.


Anna said...

I read today that the first funeral for any of the victims of the attacks in Norway was held today - it was at a (Lutheran) Church of Norway for a teenage Muslim girl whose family is Kurdish and fled to Norway from Iran when she was young. An imam and a female Lutheran pastor presided and she was buried in the church graveyard, where religious authorities consecrated a special section for Muslim burials.

I'm glad people in Norway are trying even harder now to live side-by-side, when it would have been so easy to react differently.

SCG said...

I saw that too, Anna. Come back later as I have more to say on that event. I, too, am glad to see the people of Norway growing closer together instead of fracturing during this time of deep pain for them. I hope that continues to be the case.