Irshad Manji has posed three interesting conundra on her blog here.
- An American in Iraq, a female soldier, wants to know how to help the Iraqis.
- A cabbie from Sudan want to convince Irshad that the English teacher who let the children name the teddy bear Mohammed should be flogged.
- A Muslim in Java who wants to promote pluralism but is being isolated by family and threatened by the National Majaheddin Council.
I dislike that question since it assumes the lack of a present dialogue. Lord, what would you have me do? is one variation. Or since I am not in any of these places except in the Spirit by the work of the Media (to paraphrase St Paul - when you meet together and I am with you in Spirit, you are to hand this person over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh...), I can ask, Lord what would you have me say?
Paul's context is that of a man living with his mother in law - or his father's wife. What has this to do with anything!!
It has to do with question 1. The woman soldier needs to meet with those of her unit who are for her a safe haven and influence them first - in the Spirit. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the LORD. (Zechariah 4:6). Then together, they can learn to have that Spirit with them in this difficult situation.
It has also to do with question 2. The cabbie needs to be isolated (handed over to the Accuser) for correction. Maybe since he is working in NY, he will be.
Question 3 is more difficult and even more distant for me to think about. Isolation is already being applied as a technique by the other side. The problem is similar though - it is a matter - a real tangible fleshly and concrete action MATTER - of changing people's minds. Or 'repentance' in other words. How do you change people's minds? Especially those you love who are perhaps fearful, or conditioned. And it is a matter of limited survival for a potentially deadly ministry. Again - how to bring the present Spirit to bear on such a problem.
I think my advice in the face of threats from faceless organizations and disavowal by one's family would be to move away and find a safe place to consider options. If it happens that one must give up one's life then let it be in the same Spirit that Jesus gave his - for the life of the world. But this was not the beginning of his ministry. Often it was said of him that he slipped away to avoid the crush of the crowd.
It is my opinion - likely contrary to many of my own culture and religion - that God has poured out this Spirit on all flesh - so I am not advocating anything that requires anyone to change their religion - just to recognize that religion isn't everything, but that the Spirit of the All-Merciful is.
All of this is at present hypothetical for me. I have very simple problems to resolve and they frequently take multiple tries or even multiple years to bring some limited degree of resolution. Always though, I am reminded that I am to some extent part of the problem also. My problems are often my own chickens coming home to roost - so I have to either give them their roost or chase them out of my coop into someone else's.