The Crisis of ISIS
With the headlines blaring every day of another tale of horror perpetrated by ISIS, the web and news talk worlds have been buzzing about an article in the March issue of The Atlantic. Written by Graeme Wood, it is a lot to take in...and it is not a reading for the faint of heart, or for the "I know, let's just find these guys jobs" crowd.
It is a religious movement at its core. Their passion and purpose is to serve their faith by bringing on the Apocalypse, the "End of Days." They will not be easily deterred. There is no "room" in their faith for "tolerance." There is Mohammad; there is the Koran; you agree, or you are dead.
Let's put aside the utter uselessness of our present administration and, for that matter, our congress -- at least that is the view from here -- and let's focus on the real frightening truth in all of this. They are beheading en masse...and they are beheading Christians. Not "citizens" of this or that country, but Christians. Fellow believers.
Now, this is where I just may lose a whole bunch of you. As painful as it is to admit, most of my fellow empty-nest, tail-end of the "baby boom" generation cannot (or will not) defend their Catholic faith with their now-adult children, let alone with the world.
Face it. Most people in our generation have "stepped away" from the teachings of the Church because their children, who they raised in said Church, have taken the world's lead in these matters. And God forbid we mess up the family Christmases. The world's take on religion? It is for the weak-minded; it is for the simpletons--not for the educated enlightened like us....and on and on.
Oh, the conversations I have overheard or been a part of as the wife of a Permanent Deacon! "Well, I just don't agree with the Church's position on __________." There is no better way to change a subject then to stand for those teachings and ask if they understand why the Church teaches what it does about __________.
While I realize I've touched a nerve here, I would argue the real "Crisis" sits in our church pews on most Sundays. It is the crisis of faith. Never mind the many who have just thrown in the towel on the whole "church thing" long ago and have simply walked away, with an occasional nod to Christmas and Easter. In many respects, the Church in the U.S. has dropped the ball during most of my adult life. I see a bright horizon at this writing. There are so many good people who serve our Lord with zeal and clarity of purpose, from local pastors all the way to the Vatican. But it will take some time to see the fruits of their labors.
For now, we are a nation without a defense in this particular conflict. Our pride and our self-indulgence, along with the indulgence of too many of our children, have taken us to a dead end. ISIS has merely given us a lens--more like a mirror--with which to test what we really believe. The task will be daunting.
Well, on the bright side, all that money spent on 12 years of "Catholic" education for our children should really pay off. While I barely remember even minimal work on the Catechism...I do remember many a homework assignment on "world religions." So we should be good to go!