The story of Christians who helped a Muslim community rebuild their mosque is a snapshot of what human freedom, faith praxis, and self-government can be–at its worst and at its best. It’s a snapshot of the hatred that will always be the underbelly of society. It’s a snapshot of the vulnerability of marginalized culture. It’s a snapshot of the beauty and warm-heartedness of good people.
As a Christian who lives in a place where speech is free and self-determination is accessible, I would absolutely help them rebuild. Not because I share their faith (though how much we share might surprise you), but because I share their humanity. I share their vulnerability to hate. I share their willingness to suffer for what I believe in.
When one of us suffers, all of suffers. That is the mantra that Jesus calls us to live by, and it is the high bar that self-government demands of us. Of all the so-called similarities between the Christian faith and American form of government, this is the closest. Of all the things Jesus offers, this is the most poignant offer that is global and without border. Without empathy and shared suffering, we have no hope of living together in disagreement–civilly, nationally, or globally.
So yes, I’d welcome refugees even if it increases a terrorism threat (not what the probabilities say) or if they change our economy. Yes, I’d help rebuild this mosque. Yes, I’d hide an illegal immigrant if ICE came looking. Yes, I’d buy lunch for a Trump supporter who thinks I’m nuts, politically correct, and in the words of some of my biggest fans, a “pansy” and in favor of “caliphate.”
Whatever. If one of us is suffering, all of us are. And until we get that in our head and heart, we will continue to settle for faith with no relevant praxis and government with no participation.
I came “off the bench” from my Anabaptist perspective this year. I did it because I see too much apathy or willing ignorance towards suffering. As a human who follows Christ, I cannot see suffering and not participate in efforts designed to alleviate it. Not without sacrificing my integrity. We can debate the how, but we cannot debate the call.
God imagines a flourishing human race. Humans, collectively, desire flourishing. If we will not fight for that flourishing, we are a party to those that stand against it.