Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Terry Jones and the burning of the Koran
Terry Jones is the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. He is the pastor who is going to have 200 copies of the Koran burned this Saturday, September 11th. According to news accounts approximately 50 people come to worship every Sunday at the Dove World Outreach Center. The question that has been lost in the media coverage is why is this a story?
I was the pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Plainview, Minnesota. When I started there in 1993 our worship attendance was 54; we grew to 98 in worship and then settled at 84. Our congregation was larger than the congregation at Dove World Outreach Center. No member of the media every came to worship to report on the sermons I gave. The message I shared that God loves us, Jesus Christ is risen, the Holy Spirit is present never made the national news.
Not surprisingly I don’t think my sermons in Plainview should have made the national news. Just as I don’t think that Terry Jones’ message should make the national news.
When I was a kid I was taught that if someone makes a bullying comment, the best thing to do was to ignore the person. The more I paid attention to a bully, the more caustic the bully would become. The same principle applies to Terry Jones. The more the media pays attention to him the more outrageous his statements he will make.
Do I think the Koran should be burned? Of course not.
Do I think that Islam was part of murdering over 3,000 people on September 11, 2001? No
Do I think that Osama Bin Laden represents Islam? No way
Am I bothered that Tony Jones wants to burn the Koran? Yes, but I wouldn’t let him know. Why would I want to encourage a man with such extreme views?
This Sunday during worship I’ll pray that this situation will renew relationships between Christians and Muslims. I doubt anyone will from the media will write about my prayer.
This story is more about the immaturity of the media than it is about a angry man with a small flock in Florida.