Thinking Out Loud

November 15, 2015

Thoughts on Paris

Filed under: Christianity, current events — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 2:00 pm

I realize there are a lot of voices speaking to the events of Friday, so I’ll go with bullet points…

  • Human Chain - Paul Louis MetzgerPaul Louis Metzger: “In the current situation, many people are very quick to condemn Islam, or religion, or even secularism, depending on one’s own ideological stripe. This would be a gross mistake. …[W]e cannot afford to make sweeping judgments in a state of anger. All we do is end up sweeping others away, and ourselves in the process. We need to make the French connection, the human connection, the connection with all people, not simply the victims, but also the victimizers. Such a connection should not be taken to mean some shallow form of sentimentality that discounts the terrorists’ responsibility for their heinous acts of terror. Yes, they must be brought to justice, whatever that might entail. But we must all take a deep look within ourselves and ask how far we are willing to go to build a relational connection with those outside our orbits of relational gravity. We must do everything in our human power and graced by transcendence to make immanent the humane connection with those who are disillusioned, who feel left out, and who can be easily pulled down by ideological extremes that would destroy us all. We cannot afford the isolation.”
  • Someone tweeted this weekend that we have to be careful to avoid using the events of Friday to support opinions and ideologies that we already held the week before. I think that is a big part of a tendency we see online: To spin or manipulate current events to suit our purposes. If anything, I believe we need to allow ourselves to be changed by events like this. While our core beliefs may be relatively the same, we have to realize that not everything fits into neat categories, each act of violence or terrorism should be helping us to refine our so-easily offered positions.
  • One example of the above is that here in Canada, some are suggesting that we use this event to put the brakes on a mass Syrian refugee sponsorship program. After all, we don’t know who we’re bringing into the country and what terrorist cells we may be inadvertently incubating here. However, others suggest that the very thing that shocks and offends us concerning what happened on Friday in Paris is the very type of thing these Syrian refugees are fleeing; and this should cause us to, if anything, want to accelerate the program.
  • How does a “peace” denomination like the Anabaptists (or Mennonites or Amish) respond to these events? Bruxy Cavey of The Meeting House family of churches in Ontario, Canada offers this video response.
  • My wife suggested that what the Islamic community needs is its own Gandhi, its own Martin Luther King; someone who can convince the radicals that there is another way; another solution; another path to what they ultimately seek. (Yes, I can hear you responding to this one already; but still…)
  • While everyone is focused on Paris, it’s easy to overlook that on Thursday, the day before, an ISIS attack in Lebanon killed more than 40 people. Paris was a coordinated attack, and grabbed the front pages, but terrorism is rife throughout the world. There have been seven countries impacted by terrorism in the last 14 days.
  • This morning our pastor included this in a prayer for those leaders and governments that are in a position to make decisions arising out of the events of Friday: “Forgive us God, for picking and choosing who we will love and who we will hate.”

Image credit: Paul Louis Metzger (click on image)



  1. I agree with what you are saying. Paris is just one of many attacks. The church’s message should always be Jesus. Hebrews 13:1-3

    Comment by angie — November 15, 2015 @ 9:18 pm

  2. I do not hate the radical Muslims who have decided to bring terror and death to pass around the world. I hate the demonic spirits that have entered them. I was talking to my teenage sons tonight after I picked them up from youth group and we were all so sad to think that young people could be convinced that strapping bombs to their own bodies and blowing themselves to pieces would satisfy and please their ruthless god Allah. I am grief stricken that ISIS infiltrated the genuine refugees but I am not foolish about it. We cannot open our borders to everyone just because they are from Syria. Mercury One, for example, is an organization that is working with pastors and priests to sift out the genuine Christians in peril and then raising the money to get those families out. The attackers in Paris were Syrian “refugees”. There is no way to soften that fact. Even as Christians called to love, we are also told to be wise as serpents. That time is now.

    Comment by yokedwithhim — November 15, 2015 @ 9:46 pm

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