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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The War on Extremism

A friend of mine shared this with me today. It is written by one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller. Sadly, he is not related.

I am just posting a snippet for you here. Follow the link, read the entire article, and let me know what you think.

A few nights ago, twelve friends and I attended the lighting of the Portland Christmas tree in Pioneer Square. My friends had all flown in for Thanksgiving, and we decided to join ten-thousand others who walked from all over downtown for the event. What we didn’t know is the spot where we squeezed into the crowd was 25 feet from a van filled with what a young man believed were six, fifty-gallon barrels of explosive material. As you know, the FBI had staged a sting, and as the young man made a call on his cell phone from the train station across town that would detonate the bomb, we were singing Christmas carols well within the blast zone. We didn’t hear about the threat until the following morning, and didn’t even know how close we were to the bomb until I saw a picture in the paper, taken only a few steps from the corner of Pioneer Square where we had been standing. read more...

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Comments on "The War on Extremism"

 

Blogger Lista said ... (9:27 PM) : 

Wow Dave! That is a Very Good Article!! I'm Even Thinking about Linking it to my Blog.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (9:56 PM) : 

Lista, this guy is fantastic... link away...

 

Blogger Doug said ... (7:15 AM) : 

Dave, Thanks for the link. He is definately spot on.

 

Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (9:20 AM) : 

Some think we are born with
black/white thinking; that education and maturity lead to recognition that reality is gray. IMO, the fallacies of black/white thinking lead us to extremes where compromise is unthinkable. D. Miller has touched on the dark side of such thinking, and others describe the
problems as well.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:27 AM) : 

Great article BB, sounds like a pastor i might like to get to know...

 

Blogger Lista said ... (1:21 AM) : 

Oh Yes, BB's Article is good Too. I'm Going to Link to them Both. I Hope I Find the Time soon in Order to do so and to Write a New Post.

 

Blogger Lista said ... (6:09 PM) : 

Well, Since the Post that I Finally Ended Up Doing, in which I Posted these Two Links, is Quite Different than I had Thought it would be, I'm going to Post my Original Thoughts here.

When Initially Responding to Dave's Article, I just Wanted to Say that an Extremist may have some of the Symptoms on the List, but not all of them and the Reason why that is Important is because such a Person can very Easily Deny his Vice by Finding One Item on the List that he is not at all guilty of and thus Proclaim his Innocence.

For Example, I Met One Extremist that did not at all Seem Threatened when I Disagreed with him. At First Glance, he Appeared to have Very Good Control Over His Emotions and was more of a Passive Aggressive then a Reactionary and yet he was the most Stubborn and Unbending Black and White Thinker that I have ever Met.

I'm not Sure how to Categorize this Person. He is either a Moderate Extremists, if there is such a Thing, or a Black and White Thinker, but not an Extremist. There may be Degrees of Extremism and yet it is not Ever Good to Justify Oneself just Because "There are Other's who are Worse." I sort of Think of any Form of Black and White Thinking as being a Form of Extreme Thinking.

Aside from what is already Listed in Dave's Linked Article, Extremists also like to "Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water".

 

Blogger Z said ... (10:10 PM) : 

seems like the difference between CHristian 'extremism', as Mr. Miller describes, and islamic 'extremism' makes it pretty clear why we might refer to one as extremism and the other as sheer terror, and I believe that, while he has a point about extremism, it's our reluctance to remind others it's islam which is doing most of the threats of terrorism these days that's perilous to the Western world.
I think it's a good article..thanks.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:24 AM) : 

Z, I would tend to agree that, while there are Christians who do some pretty horrible things in the name of God, there seems to be more of that happening in the Muslim world.

Few Christian leaders refuse to publicly speak out for fear of losing their lives, something we now know to be true in the Islamic world, thanks to the Wiki-Leaks information.

I wonder though, if us westerners have an aversion to calling extremist acts done by Christians terror, simply because we do not want to look in the mirror and see the horror of some of our actions too.

After all, I am sure to the victims of extremism, the families of the Oklahoma Bombing, the families of abortion doctors gunned down for instance, what happened was every bit a terrorist act.

 

Blogger tnlib said ... (4:14 PM) : 

I'm not a sports fan, Sports Fan, ; ) so I scrolled on down and am I glad I did. This was an excellent article and I'm going to revisit him.

One group that's been overlooked are the patriot groups. They are nothing less than domestic terrorists - but Christian.

I came here from Shaw's but I don't get here often enough, so I'd very much like to put you on my blogroll as a reminder. I'm old.

 

Blogger Doug said ... (6:09 PM) : 

Dave,

Is there a particular book by Don that you would recommend as a first reading?

I was kind of thinking about the "Greatest Hits" but was wondering if that is a cliff note version of the three or a complete set.

Thanks again for the link.

 

Blogger dmarks said ... (8:43 AM) : 

Dave said:

"Z, I would tend to agree that, while there are Christians who do some pretty horrible things in the name of God, there seems to be more of that happening in the Muslim world."

I was never more down on Muslims as a whole than when I used to read the Detroit Free Press. There was always no shortage of Arab/Muslim letter writers expressing the worst hatred and extreme views against Jews/Israelis (Israelis had no right to exist, fight back, etc). Once I got away from reading the op-ed page, I let go of negative perceptions.

Either the Detroit Free Press had a reason to skew views of Muslims by printing antisemitic letters, or there's a small extremist faction in the large Detroit-area Muslim community that is very active in pumping out letters.

 

Blogger Lista said ... (11:29 AM) : 

Dave,
"I wonder though, if us westerners have an aversion to calling extremist acts done by Christians terror."

When Directly Confronted, I Suppose we should always be Willing to Apologize for any Form of Sin, Large or Small, yet to Stress this and Emphasize it does nothing more than Assist those who Use Christian Hypocrisy as an Excuse to not Believe. We Need to Focus on the Positives and Forgive the Negatives of all who are Repentant. Those who are not Repentant are not a Part of us, rather they Call themselves Christian or not and should not be Identified as Part of our Group.

We should never be "Down on Muslims as a Whole". They are People and Some of them are Extreme, but not all of them. Of those that are Extreme, though, I do not Believe that Christian Extremists Compare. There are Larger Numbers of Muslim Extremists than there are of Christian Extremists. Muslim Extremists are more Organized and believe in Destruction on a much more Massive Scale and therefore, they are the Ones who are the Most Destructive and Dangerous.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:56 PM) : 

Doug, I would start with Blue Like Jazz, and here's why...

I was having breakfast one day with a guy who had pretty extensive church experience.

I saw that he had that book so i asked him what he thought of it.

His response hit me like a ton of bricks...

He said "Dave, as I read this book I have hope. this is the first time I have ever read anything that seems to tell me I am semi normal. I can't believe this guy is a Christian."

Having read the book, I totally agree. Miller is not your typical thinker and in fact pisses off, along with Brian McClaren most of passes for traditional CHristian thinking in America today.

I could go, but trust me, get that book. And if you are a reader, get Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell.

You'll be glad you did.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (2:01 PM) : 

Lista, while you are focusing on numbers, I might ask, how is the underlying theology, or motivation different?

While 3000 people died on 9/11 and maybe only one person died from an abortion clinic bombing, bot perpetrators felt they were acting as God's agent didn't they?

So if this is true, and I believe it is, is there a level that must be reached before something rises to the level of terrorism?

 

Blogger Lista said ... (5:36 PM) : 

The Numbers have Nothing to do with Motivation, only with the Level of Danger and when it Comes to Security, Numbers matter because Higher Numbers Indicate Greater Risks, so Motivation is not the Subject that these Numbers Address.

As to Theology, Muslim Extremists believe in Killing those who do not Agree with their Theology. I Suppose there might be Non-Muslims that have this Same Motivation, yet they are not as much of a Risk because there are not as Many.

We are not Talking about Guilt Either, for all are Guilty and all who Repent with a Sincere Heart are Forgiven. Whether the Sin is Great or Small Doesn't Matter, yet I don't Think that is a Subject that Matters when Speaking of Public Security.

Perhaps Terrorism is a Relative Term, yet when it Comes to Security, they do Evaluate the Level of Risk as High or Low and Terrorism is Usually a word that Describes a High Risk to a Significant Number of People.

I'm not Trying to Justify anything, Dave. Sin is Sin and if you Cheated on your Taxes, than you are Guilty.

Numbers also Matter when Establishing what is a Valid Belief and what it is that Works and what does not. Therefore, Fewer Terrorists Illustrates that Christianity is more Peaceful Over All than Islam. If you Want to Defend the Truth of what you Believe in, you will not Down Play Evidence that Leans in your Favor.

Again, Motivation and Level of Guilt was not the Subject I was Addressing.

 

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