Saturday, September 18, 2010

Connected to the Vine

Muslims have been free to say what they want about Jews and Christians, and no one retaliates against them. Muslims even ask to impose Sharia law in non-Muslim nations, and no one stirs themselves to violence over it. Yet, if anyone says anything against the Muslims or their religion, they get together to stir themselves up in a furor of anger and hatred, and they blame the resulting evil on the person(s) who they claim caused them to get violent.

The result is that everyone walks on eggshells around Arabs, lest they get violent. It is high time someone steps up and says we refuse to take the blame for your behavior. Someone did that on September 11, 2010 by tearing pages out of a Koran. The pages ripped out were those that commanded the killing of non-Muslims, which is a point that needed to be made long ago. Can a person be a Muslim without embracing the teaching that all should be Muslim and that every Muslim should seek to either convert or kill all non-Muslims? Is there such a thing as a peaceful Muslim?

I think of the Muslim who was working to paint Muslims as being peaceful, moderate peoples. Yet, when his wife left him, he killed her and cut off her head. So moderate!! So peaceful!!! Yet that is the Sharia law they wish us to allow them to practice in non-Muslim countries. They want us to look the other way when they murder their wives and sisters. And how long would it be before they murder us because we are not Muslim? After all, isn’t that Sharia law, too?

The crazy thing of it is that these murderers refuse to be held accountable for their actions. They claim it is someone else’s fault for stirring them to anger. Concerning the 20+ that were killed as a “response” to tearing pages from the Koran, for example, they blame those that tore the pages out. Yet, we saw the Muslims on the news, stirring each other up, rousing the crowd to violence.

Randall Terry, who organized the Koran page tearing, got it right when he said: “Such logic is like saying that a woman who is abused by her boyfriend or husband is guilty of bringing violence on herself because she said or did something that irritated him.”

Indeed, many in the Christian community do blame abused women for being beaten by their husbands and also blame the Koran page tearers for the killing of 20+ people. Those husbands, whether Christian or Muslim, are responsible for their own actions. They, themselves, are responsible and accountable to God for the way they practice their evil thinking and stir themselves up to anger and violence. Their violence is NOT a knee-jerk reaction; it is a developed ideology and belief system that they carefully nurture, even researching for ways to grow “hybrid crops” (like teaching that the in the Trinity Jesus has a role similar to what they proscribe for wives, while husbands have the role of The Father) to strengthen the “stock” of their belief system and make it resistant to various destroying “pests.”

Only this time the “pests” are actually beneficial to the saving of their souls. For the belief system they are nurturing and attaching themselves to is actually a soul-destroying thorn bush that claims to be the Vine. But as it is fed, it puts forth a choking vine that wraps itself so tightly around their branch where it is attached to the True Vine, and squeezes off the sap supply until their connection to the Vine is choked to death and dies without their knowledge. As their connection to the Vine is in the process of being squeezed shut, their fruit of the Spirit becomes smaller and production decreases, and their fruit of the thorn bush begins to increase. Eventually, when the connection to the vine is completely severed—even though they may be quoting Bible verses—the thorny fruit becomes big, luscious, and hurtful to many who come in contact with them.

The result is that some “Christians” behave very similarly to “radical” Muslims, lashing out in violence to any who dares to oppose them, blaming those they target. “Christian” husbands—and their pastors—blame their wives for “non-submission” and “insubordination,” while Muslim husbands blame their wives and sisters for the same thing—even when the wives/sisters are raped. Neither puts the blame where it belongs, both have an inflated idea of their godlikeness, and neither are connected to the Vine.

Jesus said: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:4-6 KJV

It seems to me, a big part of "abiding in Jesus" is to do what he says (as perceived by the people in His day, taking into account the culture and beliefs that were already in place when Jesus said those things). Jesus explicitly said to not take authority over others:
“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them and they that are great exercise authority upon them. but it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his lie a ransom for many.” Matt 20:25-28

but the CBMW and complementarians are teaching the opposite of what Jesus taught. They teach husbands to exercise dominion, leadership, authority over their wives.

How can they do that and consider themselves to be abiding in Jesus or connected to the Vine?

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

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