Monday, May 02, 2011

You're Not Going to Like This

I am sure that there are a million plus blog posts, commentaries, and thoughts on this subject, and I don’t like to be a part of the popular stream. Yet something about the very recent news of Osama Bin Laden’s death has moved me and I feel that I should write something for the three or four of you that read this.

It is more about the reaction than anything else that moves me. So I am writing a reaction to a reaction.

What I would like to offer is a Christian response to this news. This is not a flag-waving-country-loving-yellow-ribbon-patriotic response, but a response that comes out of the life, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In a word, I grieve. I grieve because with the death of Bin Laden something is lost. It is not that I am lamenting the absence of Bin Laden on this planet. He was someone who was very twisted, who was full of hatred and blind because of his rage. I am lamenting the loss of the possibility of reconciliation.

This is what the cross is about, humanity being reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Christ. The resurrection is assurance of our reconciliation and such reconciliation should be shared through humanity. We are called to reconcile our hurts, wounds, and pains with each other and with God.

Maybe you say that such a call for reconciliation is only among Christians, but I will look to such parables as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son as examples of taking the outsider in. If all people are God’s children, and if all are divine in the eyes of God, then there was a potential for grace in Bin Laden. Yes, he is responsible for some of the most heinous actions in current human memory and he needed to be held accountable for such actions but death takes away the potential for reconciliation.

Perhaps some of you feel that such reconciliation was impossible, but so was the resurrection and we have been celebrating that for two weeks now.

I’m not blaming the military – from what it sounds like, they did what they could to capture him and the level of engagement made a live capture impossible. I’m not blaming the government for it is a system that works on a different set of values and morals than we do. I don’t think there is anyone I can or should blame. What I am doing is lamenting the jubilation that many people, people who profess to be Christians, are embracing.

We live in a broken, violent world. 9/11 was a horrific symptom of that brokenness. The violent death of Bin Laden is a symptom of that brokenness. So as a Christian I cannot rejoice or celebrate on this day but grieve the violence, the hatred, and the loss of hope that we all find ourselves apart of.

May God’s kingdom come, and may it come soon.


Danica said...

Thank you for writing this. I too was feeling uneasy this morning after hearing the news. It really bothered me when the radio talked about how people were celebrating. It made me wish that Osama hadn't been found because I don't think any good may come from this. Though with God anything is possible. Thanks again for sharing.

Jeff said...

Well said, Jonathan. You have given voice to the dis-ease many of us have felt at the spectacle of jubilation.

Charley Eastman said...

Perfect response. Could not agree more. Just did the old, "yeah, what he said" over at

btw, s1_e2 is up. even on itunes.

develped said...

There is nothing of the way of peace in these events. I am profoundly sad.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jonathan. I understand that in a conflict where symbols matter, Bin Laden plots to attack the World Trade Center as a symbol of American capitalism and world domination, then we plot to attack Bin Laden as the symbolic leader of a movement. However, at the end of the day, we who allege that he places no value on human life - while insisting that we place highest value on human life - resort to murder as an expression of our national policy.

Jack said...

YourYou're not going to like this...

Psalm 83, among others.

Jonathan Malone said...

Thanks for your lengthy retort. Some thoughts:

First, this Psalm is a prayer of someone to God. This is not God speaking with wrath and anger. We do not know if God actually follows through with such requests but we do know that feelings of rage and anger are a part of the human experience. After all, can we read Psalm 137:9 "Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!" and then justify bashing the heads of infants against rocks?

Second, I think you are missing the point of my blog as well as the point of the cross. The cross opens up reconciliation at a profound level - your reading of Psalm 83 (or at least what I assume your reading is - you didn't really explain anything) is one of vengeance, violence, and destruction.

Third, your use of scripture, if I understand you, is misguided at best and dangerous at worst. To use such a psalm to justify violence and vengeance means you can use the psalm to justify wiping out entire nations and people.

So Jack, unpack what you mean, explain yourself, or take a closer look at scripture, Christ, and the power of the cross.