Challenging Extremism: The Conversation that Needs to Happen

You know what's funny?

My very strongly pro-immigration views and constant challenges to radical hospitality have earned me the reputation of being some kind of Islamic-sympathizer with flimsy theological positions about the nature of God.

It's funny and sad, but I get it. It is far easier to just sign up for someone else's pre-packaged ideology than to wade into the nuance and grayscale of real life and mission and the Kingdom.  Let me ask you, when Christ commanded us to love our enemies and Scripture fleshed it out with talk of turning the other cheek and giving them our cloak and feeding them -- what exactly do you think that looks like?  What exactly do you think it means to have an enemy?  It's more than just a fued with your neighbor about lawn care.

So, a friend of mine sent me this video put together by Muslims calling for an honest conversation about "Radical Islam".  Now, I know almost nothing else about the group that produced this, but, I can tell you that it is well-crafted, well-reasoned and compelling.  And I agree exactly with the conclusion -- we need to be able to have an honest conversation about this. I agree that political correctness can hinder good communication (but I also believe that it is extremely valuable for good communication). Sadly, an honest conversation will never happen during an election year.

I don't take it further to conclude -- as some surely would after viewing this video -- that we need to block Muslim immigrants.  First of all, and this is a subject to consider at length at a later time, anyone who thinks they can effectively restrain the tides of human migration in our day are fooling themselves.  People are on the move and will keep moving.  Shaping and guiding and leveraging that movement is the key.  Recall those viral YouTube videos of Black Friday stampedes at Walmart -- you know how people are. Pressure keeps building and eventually breaks through.  Highway strategies can prove very effective.  Blockades are almost always disasterous.

I have a friend -- perhaps a former friend now because of our radically divergent views on this -- who insists that my head is in the sand when it comes to Muslims.  But, I've actually been threatened with violence, lived with Islamist neighbors who knew we were missionaries, and on one occasion had to wear a disguise because of threats against a public event I was helping lead.  I know that there are Muslims who would enjoy killing me (and I also know I am am small potatoes).  I know there are some in my country and city.  I don't want them to do so.  But you know, it  doesn't change the fact that when I see a Muslim family around, I am drawn to them -- I want to have a conversation and get to know them.  I feel love for them.  If they move in next door, I rejoice greatly.

But I digress ... I do that a lot.  Here is the video I mentioned.  It is worth your time to watch:

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