Can it be the same Bible? Can it be the same God?

And now the questions get real.
I think that for some strange reason it is easier for us to accept terrorism or crime or general hatred when it is perpetrated by people who don’t identify as Christians. While we may ultimately side with those who say “the criminals misunderstand their religion,” we too easily back away from the discussion claiming, “we don’t fully understand their religion, either.”
But when the criminals, the terrorists, the hate-mongers claim to be Christians, or use Christian precepts to motivate their actions, it puts us in an awkward bind. We suspect that they are misunderstanding their religion. But, do we know? Do we have the moral competence, the intellectual competence or the theological competence to proclaim that those who hate in the name of Christ are not, in fact, Christians?
Thus the question that always flows my way in the wake of events like the White Supremacist Rally in Charlottesville.
How can these people say they follow the same Bible as me?
How can they say they follow the same God?
The simple fact is, I don’t know. Though I’m white, I’m no one’s white supremacist.  And so, at the end of the day, I can’t claim to know how these folk think. Growing up in a profoundly rural area of the country I have direct experience of the hatred and the rhetoric, but I cannot claim to understand it. Their interpretation of scripture is foreign to me. One thing I do know is this, though, most white supremacists  know the bible. And, while distasteful and hateful, their reading of the bible is thoughtful and thorough and, frankly, better than yours – or mine.
And so, I write this blog, to encourage people of good will to embrace and engage and understand their faith. To read the bible – large parts of it. And to ask questions. To find friends and family and religious  that they trust to aid them in the cause of better understanding their faith and tradition and to teaching their children the same. To share their own interpretations with both the courage of their conviction and the humility to appreciate the interpretation of others who disagree. To reclaim Christianity from the terrorists and the hate-mongers and the pundits and the posers. To own our inheritance and say with boldness:
“This may be your interpretation, but this is not our Bible.”
“This may be your belief, but this is not our God.”
Share this with a friend. And keep those questions coming in.

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