Tuesday, September 19, 2006

American Jihad

I happened to be in my car, listening to the radio during President Bush's speech to the U.N. General Assembly, and being the wordophile (?) that I am, I noticed the number of times he used the word struggle. "Struggle," of course, is the simplified, soundbyted (?) translation of the Islamic concept jihad. And I got to thinking, what would an Americanized concept of jihad be like?

Of course, there are other religious concepts that America could commodify if it so chose. The recent book The Gospel According to America dips the good news of Jesus Christ in red, white and blue, for example. But yet to be considered is American shalom, the Hebrew concept most often simplified and soundbyted (!) as "peace." What's American shalom look like?

I'm reminded of a papal soundbyte from decades past: "If you want peace, work for justice." Jihad and shalom are both represented, and the pope's signature gives it the aura of gospel. And as if Islam, Judaism and Christianity in one sentence weren't enough, what's more American than giving mad props to justice?

I'll tell you what's more American than giving mad props to justice: T-shirts, that's what. So in the spirit of American private enterprise as vehicle for world salvation, I propose a new t-shirt that will bring the big three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions together: "Good News: Shalom Is Jihad." There now, can't we all just get along?

2 comments:

Craver VII said...

Ohmygosh! Yeah, you go ahead and wear such a shirt...you may as well paint a target on your back.

We can not all get along (without trying to change the others). We (the three big monotheists) have opposing and incompatible world views. But the manner in which we struggle can and should be civil. The followers of Jesus Christ are to be unwaveringly bring truth and grace into their world, touching our communities with healing from above, overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit, and unashamed to speak for the one we represent.

Mr Steve said...

My wife brought this to my attention (she heard it somewhere, NPR perhaps): In the English language we have the concept "non-violent". This is merely a negation of another concept. Is there another word the actively and postively encapsulates this concept? Before you throw out "peace" consider the fact that I can be in conflict with someone and still be engaged in "non-violent" behavior (see MLK and Gandhi). To me peace implies lack of conflict. Is it part of our fallen nature that vilence is the default condition for conflict. The concept of a non-violent conflict is so strange that we must merely negate the existing concept. Look through a children's book of opposites to see exactly how many concepts we hold in our vocabulary that oppose each other with having to default to the use of "non" or "un". Imagine walking down the street and pointing out the un-black snow falling from the sky, or seeing a warning on coffee cups that the beverage you are holding is extremely non-cold. 7Up is already the uncola.

Give Shalom a chance, and have a non-jihad day!