I can hear them already. I could hear them before President Obama had finished his speech in Cairo. Heck, I could hear them before he even started:
"He's sold out America..."
"Surrendered on the way to the victory party..."
"Traitor in the White House..."
"Socialist, Marxist, nihilist..."
"Closet Muslim finally comes out. Now we know for sure..."
"Gave terrorists a free pass..."
Yada, yada, yada...
Oh, and he's going to take away all your guns, too. Yeah, right. As if even God could get that done. So far, America which is already awash in guns has been able to keep supply ahead of demand. And then some. But it seems we are running short of ammunition. Not because too little is being produced. It's because people are stocking up by the case, by the pallet load: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/ammunition_hard_to_find_as_gun.html Preparing for war, I guess.
Fear is a four-letter word. And it seems to be running us around like headless chickens. Ever seen one of those? I've seen a few. They do run. They fly. They flop around wildly. For a time... Not a pleasant sight. So was the war in Iraq a response to terrorism and its causes, or was it a reaction to fear? Have Israeli-Palestinian relations improved as a result? Are we on better terms with Iran as a result? Is N. Korea less nuclear? Iran? Pakistan more stable?
Can we go on as we have and get anywhere good?
Don't we have to start somewhere to make a new beginning? Could we have made a better start? What have we already been doing to back that up?
The Muslim world. Seems a mystery to most Americans. Where to begin? Hmmmm...?
Here's a suggestion for starters. Try pronouncing the word a little more accurately. "Muslim" does not rhyme with the cotton fabric known as "muslin". There is no "z" in the word. There is an "s". And the "u" is not pronounced like the "u" in "up". It's closer to the "u" in "lucrative". We won't work on the "i" today.
So maybe it will all blow up in the president's face. But I give him an A+ for taking the initiative and for at least being able to pronounce the words like an intelligent person.
Are we praying for him in our churches? Are we actually praying for peace, or are our prayers more self-focused on our own faith communities as islands? Does the prayer of St. Francis ("Lord, make me an instrument of your peace...") translate as "Lord, keep us in a secure bubble protected by weapons and ammunition"?
God's shalom does not come from the surroundings of human-built fortifications,