Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ahmadeniwhat?

Call me paranoid, but the Senate's approval of Joe Lieberman's resolution on Iran makes me wonder if those faint reverberations in the distance are the sounds of a new drum-beat for war--this time with Iran. I am deeply troubled by such a prospect, both as a "resident alien" of the United States and a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

In light of this concern, I am departing from my normal pattern of steering clear of politics, whether of a national or ecclesiastical variety. I do not have time to write a full post about this matter, but I have found someone who says what I am thinking better than I could. I do not often agree with Joe Klein of TIME magazine, but this week I think he's hit the mark. If you have the time, check out his commentary on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the US. I find his words a good dose of reality in the midst of a talking-head and media-inflamed frenzy of speculation (with the much beloved Fox News leading the way).

Please, my friends, let us resist the urge to create a new bogey-man out of a politically weak and ideologically ridiculous little man. Let us remember that there are families, women and children, living peacefully within the countries about which we speak with vitriole and hatred.

I know this may be difficult to accept, but Iran is not our enemy. Neither is Ahmadinejad. As followers of Jesus, our enemy is not flesh and blood, but the prince of the power of the air. He wants nothing more than to undermine sanity, instigate mass carnage, and hinder the spread of the good news. Let us set the example in a world going crazy: Choose prayer. Choose calm. Choose peace.

5 comments:

Alycelee said...

Emily,
Good thoughts.
While I don't necessarily agree that Ahmadinejad is politically weak or his influence potentially dangerous, I very much agree that we, even as Christians look to political means to solve spiritual problems.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.

Emily Hunter McGowin said...

Alyce Lee,

I should clarify: I think Ahmadinejad is politically weak in his own country. He is little more than a puppet for the theocracy and his support among the populace of Iran is almost as bad as Bush's is among Americans. Any nuclear threat we have from Iran comes from the Ayatollahs, not the president.

That said, its clear that his ideology is popular among anti-American leadership in developing countries and that could be dangerous, depending on how much influence he wields among them. But, even that is a war of ideas across a broad spectrum of cultures and religious groups.

Thanks for your thoughts, Alyce Lee. The scripture you quote is among my favorites from the Psalms.

Grace and peace,

Emily

traveller said...

Emily,

You are absolutely correct. Amadinejad has almost no power in Iran other than over some of the economy. However, even there he is limited. The real power lies in others who actually are less religiously driven than desparate to remain in power so that they can secure all the material perks and control that such positions entail. This is one reason so many people in Iran are quite poor. Indeed, everyone in Iran is worse off economically than under the Shah. (This is most definitely not a defense of the Shah!)

Our government's response has given him far more importance than he or his position deserve. He will remain in office so long as it suits those in real power. In other words, so long as he brings benefit to them. He can be the straw man taking the heat from the world while they go about the business of being the real problem both in Iran and outside.

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily,

I've been reading your blog occasionally, and I enjoy your writing. This one struck a chord, so I'm commenting. Sorry for the length of it.

I live in Muslim-majority Malaysia (in SE Asia), where a surprising number of young men from Iran come to study business and English.

I had the pleasure yesterday of meeting three young men, at least two of whom are interested in converting and following Jesus. Those two just arrived from Iran where they had been reading the Bible in Farsi (Matthew's gospel). But they dare not continue there because of the threat of death. So because of some connections to Malaysia and the greater freedom they would have here, they've come to investigate more about the faith and eventually be baptized (that's their desire!) The third fellow of the three, an Iranian who lives here now, visited me two weeks ago and asked if they all could come see me. He had found our church web site and searched me out.

We four talked and prayed together. I will meet with them this Friday to start reading the Bible together. They are so eager! It's a rare and wonderful thing when seekers search for missionaries and pastors! It's also humbling and heart-wrenching when you realize they may not get to go back home because of persecution. We know several more Iranians here with this dilemma.

In my long conversation with these three, I asked about their opinion of their president. They said they agree with his foreign policies, but are very unhappy with the situation inside the country: poor economy, strict control of life through religion, etc. They also agreed that the Ayatollah has the supreme power. Ahmadinijab is not popular there except when he stands up to leaders of other countries.

The younger generation is tired of Islam's hold on the government. One other Iranian here told me that they would much prefer a gov't based on a principle like freedom, rather than a gov't based on a religion, specifically Islam.

I agree with your post. Let's pray for peace, wisdom, justice, and God's intervention to prevent further carnage in the war on terror -- particularly from US forces.

And let's please pray for all Muslims who are disillusioned with their religion and seeking for truth -- particularly the ones we are privileged to work with here -- and also the ones in Iran.

I'm submitting this comment anonymously for the sake of my new friends, just in case these words turn up in hostile hands.

Blessings,
anICleader

Steve said...

I think the idea in Washington among those who feel they must defend America is that putting pressure on President Im-a-dinner-jacket is the best way to get him replaced, and perhaps for the populace to begin to get serious about establishing a real government that sees to the needs of its people. At least, a more stable personality in that office might not feel he has to be a tinkling brass clangling loudly
to stay at the head of the berobed mob.