Sensationalistic, headliner type stories don’t usually capture my interest. But this one did. I suppose it might have something to do with some recent conversations with fellow Reformed believers who reject the idea that instead of inciting suspicion, observant people, no matter the particular tradition, make way better civil citizens than those who eschew the ways of their ancestors. No, says they, get enough pious Muslims together and you’d better lock up your wives and daughters. I suppose we do happen to live in a day and age that deems it easier and more secure to indulge certain religious bigotries. Such is the way of the world.
Still, chances seem good that this story has a lot less to do with the notion that Muslims are all secretly waiting for the perfect moment to jihad-chop every non-Muslim within five feet of them—even their own off spring— and more to do with the much less sexy realities of family tension and growing up. I understand that extraordinariness always trumps ordinariness, but chances are pretty good that this young woman is actually quite confused both about her newfound faith and the rearing she received and just how these two things are now supposed to co-exist. And chances are really good that a typically misguided and sophomoric evangelical circle within which she has been converted has fueled the flames of discord with not a little fear and loathing. If she is anything like the rest of us in our flesh and blood, to say nothing of immaturity, she has likely been wooed by that siren song to conceive of oneself as a martyr: “The day has come that I dreaded,” she wrote. “I’m ready to die for my faith.”
It’s true that Jesus said he came to divide households, that we will be hated for our faith and that even some of us would be demanded our very lives for what we hold true. And far be it from me to diminish or otherwise trivialize any believer who has endured the pains and injuries of persecution. And it certainly isn’t lost on this rabid two-kingdomite that true religion and any false tradition of men are diametrically and fatally opposed. But sometimes, more often than we might be inclined to believe in fact, it really is just about the unfathomable complexities of human relationships. It would seem to me that anyone with a family would understand that much.