A bonfire too far?
Is it perhaps the law of unintended consequences? Terry Jones, the minister of a small church in Florida, USA, who achieved worldwide notoriety as the media hyped his plan for an “International Koran Burning Day” may have achieved the opposite to the intended effect in some places.
IRVINE – With debate reaching a fever pitch over a planned mosque near Ground Zero and talk of a Florida church burning copies of the Islamic holy book on the anniversary of 9-11, an Irvine mega-church hopes to promote conversation encouraging understanding about the Muslim community.
Mariners Church, one of Orange County’s largest churches with 7,500-plus members, is hosting an all-day seminar Saturday called ‘Bridges.’
Reacting to Saturday’s planned — but now, tentatively, canceled — Quran burning in Florida, leaders at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in Rolling Hills Estates have decided to hold a ‘Quran reading.’
While the nation debated a Florida pastor’s plans to burn Korans and worried about angry reaction from the Muslim world, a young Sparks man pondered a positive response, one that would reflect his Christian belief.’It’s just so distasteful on so many levels,’ says Tommy Bond, ‘and I just felt I had to do something about it, something proactive and positive.
What if, he thought, Christians could send a message of love and peace at this tense moment. He could think of no better language of that message than flowers.
‘They’re something God has created and already given to us,’ Bond says. ‘They’re a symbol of peace and love in so many cultures.’
Bond is the son of the Rev. Steve Bond of the Summit Christian Church in Spanish Springs. He and his father decided to try to interest others in the idea. The younger Bond says the idea seemed to catch on as he called megachurches like Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in southern California and the Archbishop of New York.
‘The fact that there’s an idea out there and we can come against this hatred in a really positive and beautiful way is what people are excited about.
I don’t know what the Revd Terry Jones hoped to achieve by his action, but I suspect that it was nothing like these responses.
And then in the blogosphere well-known Christian blogger Tall Skinny Kiwi issued a call of his own: Tall Skinny Kiwi: Blog A Koran Day [Sep 11]:
Hey bloggers! Join me on September 11 to BLOG A KORAN and help me create some understanding with our Muslim neighbors. I think what Terry Jones is doing by suggesting a Burn The Koran Day is ABSOLUTELY AWFUL and SHAMEFUL and HARMFUL to Christians overseas. In that last category I include myself and my family who spent 3 months in Muslim countries already this year and plan to visit at least 3 more Muslim countries next year. And most unfortunately, our last name is also ‘Jones’. People in Muslim countries are a wonderful, hospitable people who welcomed us warmly into their homes and they became our dear friends.