Sunday, June 9, 2013

"We Saw You As Our Own Flesh And Blood"

Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution and a founder of the Simple Way Community in Philadelphia, describes the harrowing experience he and some of his friends had while on a peace mission in Iraq in 2003. As they were traveling on a desert road near Rutba they had a terrible car accident and would almost certainly have died if the people of that town had not cared for them, in spite of their being identified with foreign American occupiers.

What was so amazing about the kindness they were shown was that, just three days prior, U.S. planes had inflicted heavy casualties to the only hospital in Rutba, including to its children's ward.

In 2010, Shane was able to go back to Rutba with several others who had been in that accident to thank the Iraqis who had acted as Good Samaritans seven years earlier. According to an article he wrote in the May, 2013, issue of Sojourners, one of the Iraqi doctors said, "When we saw you bleeding, we did not see you as an American or a Christian or a Muslim; we saw you as our own flesh and blood, as our own brothers and sisters."

This inspired Shane to help establish a social network site called "Friends Without Borders" to encourage world neighbors to be in conversation with each other across ethnic, religious and national lines, based on the belief that it is through Christ-inspired friendships that the world can be saved from its terrible violence.

As Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, "I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends."

The following is from Claiborne's article:

"It's been said that one of the most radical things Jesus did was to eat with the wrong crowd. Undoubtedly, folks on the Left were frustrated with Jesus for making friends with Roman tax collectors. And folks on the Right were surely ticked at him for hanging out with Zealots. Dinner must have been awkward with both of them at the table; after all, Zealots killed tax collectors for fun on weekends. 

"But Jesus was a subversive friend, a scandalous bridge-builder, a holy trespasser. Just as we are known by the company we keep, so was Christ--accused of being a 'glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners' (Luke 7:34)."
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