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None of the above

October 12, 2012

It sounds like I am ready to declare my favorite in the Presidential election, doesn’t it?  Well, no.  Although that might in fact be the direction I am leaning.  Rather this is a follow-up to my last post where I mentioned the attempted killing by the Taliban of Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old girl in Pakistan, for the sin/crime of wanting to go to school.  I’ve been pondering for some time now how grace might respond to such a horrific event.

Should we just forgive?  Does grace have room for outrage?  What could possibly drive someone, indeed several someones, to believe that this was the right and God-honoring thing to do?  How does turning the other cheek work with people more than willing to shoot you in that side of the head too?  Doesn’t justice and revenge feel better than grace and forgiveness?

I keep asking myself what they were thinking.  How can they follow a twisted theology that would end up in shooting a child?  How can they conclude this was a righteous thing to do?  It would be easy to assume that they are just evil people or even, as some have done, that their whole religion is evil.  (This judgment in spite of the fact that the girl who was shot was a devoted follower of the same religion.)

I glimmer of understanding came to me as I perused the news of the world-wide outrage over this event and the diversity of people expressing this outrage.  Lost in the flood of responses to this tragedy was one that gives me a clue to the twisted logic of the assassination attempt.  This week Madonna, at one of her concerts, dedicated a song to the girl who has now become known simply as Malala.  As part of this song of dedication she did something of a striptease and reveals that the girl’s name was now written on her back.

There are two loud voices speaking to girls and women of Islamic countries, and to some extent the entire third world.  On one hand they are being told that change means the embrace and participation in a perverse culture of sexual promiscuity.  To use a well-worn phrase, Malala is on a slippery slope to Madonna. 

The other loud voice comes from those who say the only protection is to deny girls a voice, an education, a role in public and put them in head-to-toe burkas and hide them.  Oddly enough, the two views degrade women equally.  One lures to sexual promiscuity; the other says your very existence lures men to that fate and we must hide you.  The Taliban, and frankly many women in the Middle East, feel that these are the only two options.

But we Christians know that the answer is none of the above.  The value of Malala, and any women, rests in the reality that they are image bearers of God.  They are created by a God who loves them and takes joy in them.  A third voice is needed and we Christians should be the ones to supply it.  Above all others we need to be the ones to say that these girls have value in God and nobody can take that away from them.  We must tell them this message over and over.

And how about the shooters?  Grace need to say to them that they could not be more wrong, that they should cherish and protect the image-bearers and help them to be everything God wants them to be.  Grace can rebuke these men but always seeks their repentance.


From → Christianity

One Comment
  1. Joseph Justice permalink

    good article. Very sad what happened. pray, pray, pray.

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