I don’t know of anyone who thinks pastor Terry Jones’ “Burn a Koran Day” this Saturday is a good idea. As if it will be helpful…. However….!

(First a funny/sad side note. Have you noticed the name of his church has the word “Dove” in it? Hmmm?  Maybe just me, but I found that strangely ironic).  Anyway….

While most of America may think burning a Qur’an in public is not a good way to do what pastor Jones says is “sending a message to the radical Muslims that we will not tolerate them,” I do wonder if many of us have a little bit of that kind of thinking down deep inside.  Let me suggest the following possibilities:

1. The majority of Christian Americans I meet (both locally and as I travel) are very suspicious and thus fearful of Muslims’ intentions.  Fear never leads to anything productive.

2. The majority of American Christians (unlike the rest of America) do think that Obama is secretly a Muslim.  And that thought breeds fear

3. The Majority of American Christians do not think a mosque should be built near Ground Zero. They are suspicious and fearful of this new mosque and its “agenda.”

4. The majority of Christian Americans are very concerned that Islam is actually taking over.  Europe for sure, and eventually America. They are fearful that we will lose our way of life.

FEAR.  It’s wherever I go. It’s palpable.  And Christians seem to succumb to It’s grip more than others.  Pastor Jones’ has let this fear grip him to the point of burning a Qur’an.  But I get emails daily from well-meaning (afraid) Christians from around the States and Europe who are “concerned” about Islam.  Videos. Blogs. News casts.  Books and articles.

Here’s an image to remember ­ I actually believe that the Lord spoke this to me a few years back (you don’t hear me talk like that much, but in this case, it’s true, so….).  Islam is  like a huge castle.  On the outside (where we stand observing it), we see a huge banner over the castle. It says, “Keep out. Be Afraid.”  And we are. Afraid, that is.

But for those who have the courage to walk up to an actual Muslim (in one sense, there is no such thing as “Islam.” There are only Muslims), and talk to him or her ­ we soon find out the castle is made of paper. And we can stick our index finger right through it.  The castle is a paper castle. Nothing at all.  And the people inside are the nicest (confused, but wonderfully nice) people you will ever meet.  But someone has to have the courage to poke the castle and not be afraid.

DO NOT FEAR.  Probably the clearest command in the Bible. Do not be afraid. Go ahead, touch the castle. No need to burn it. Just touch it.  Find a Muslim and give them a big hug.  Maybe on Saturday we should start “International Hug a Muslim Day.”