And now, for the rest of the story …
I have a dear friend, husband of a former colleague, who has spent a significant portion of his life working for a highly regarded, multi-national, faith-based organization fighting poverty, disease and injustice throughout the most tangled and torn corners of this earth.
For most of his tenure, he travelled extensively and spent long stretches of time in one impoverished part of the world or another, spearheading the “justice and mercy” arm of this international ministry. Son of a diplomat, he spent much of his time overseas interacting with and trying to influence the leaders and decision-makers of the world’s hot spots.
He is a man of substance and discernment … and boots-on-the-ground experience.
He sent me an email this morning, in response to The Insomnia Special I sent out last night. His words are worth considering:
“As you know I have a great passion and professional investment in
international affairs. Coverage of Iran in Foreign Policy, Foreign
Affairs, the Economist, International Crisis Group among others may
fill out the gaps in the caricatured picture that Rosenberg draws.
“It's irresponsible to say 'Iran's the enemy'. Lest we forget, millions
of young, reform-minded Iranians poured into the streets a few weeks
ago, risking life and limb to protest against Ahmadinejad and his
thugs. There is an opposition worth supporting (and praying for) in
Iran. We would commit the same error as the extremists if we declared
war on the Iranian people.
“The actual situation is exponentially more complicated and nuanced
than Joel Rosenberg wants us to believe. The solutions are many,
varied, and do not need to involve pre-emptive warfare.
“As Christians we have a responsibility to arm ourselves with the
truth. Jesus warns us to "Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
It didn’t take long for me to take a step back … and send a response, part of which is below:
I really appreciate your thoughtful answer and gentle admonishment. Too often I think like a novel writer. You are right in bringing me back to a more balanced view of the world. Thanks again. I deeply appreciate your wisdom, clarity and friendship.
And then it wasn’t long before he responded in kind.
“Anytime brother. "Like iron sharpens iron, so one brother sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17 Let us seek the Lord to sharpen us together.
“I am by no means an expert on Middle East issues, but I have been a student of international conflict for the last 15 years and by God's grace I've had a front-row seat on many conflicts around the world. I literally did sit in the front row of the UN Security Council audience when Colin Powell briefed the Council on Iraq. Things are rarely as simple as the media or entertainment worlds have the capacity to convey.”
It’s a bit bracing when your ignorance is revealed. Perhaps there are others who, like me, have only a surface understanding of a critically important issue for the future of our world – the Islamic Revolution and its impact on Western culture.
Perhaps it’s time we learned more. This is not an age for the simple.