Twenty Things I Wish I'd Learned from September 11


Jesse Mills/Unsplash

Hard to believe it’s been twenty years since the attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. If I could now go back to my Iowa high-school self, this is what I’d say. Not to say that I failed to follow every one of these guidelines I wished I would have had, but these are twenty things I wish I would have learned during the fall of 2001. Some of these things we could still learn now.

  1. Do not turn tragedy into ammunition for a partisan agenda.

  2. Any fruits borne of tragedy can fade with time.

  3. Never place blame for tragedy using the name of God.

  4. Followers of Islam deserve equal rights and religious liberties.

  5. The United States’ citizens need a better understanding of Near Eastern culture.

  6. “Allah” is, etymologically, much closer to the historic name for the deity Christians. (including myself) worship than “God,” which is more based in the Scandinavian deity Odin.

  7. American Christians should better understand the cultural and theological history between Christianity and Islam.

  8. American experiences of terrorism are relatively rare, and that’s not due to our immigration policies.

  9. We should be willing to accept refugees and immigrants, and not turn them away due to unreasonable fear.

  10. American Christians should be willing to accept the same type of suffering as was experienced by the New Testament Church.

  11. There is a lot American culture can learn from Near Eastern culture.

  12. There is a lot Western Christians can learn from Near Eastern Christians.

  13. Biblical and true justice is about right relationships, not transactional equality.

  14. The ongoing tensions of the Near East need grace and understanding.

  15. America is not (and never was) a Christian country.

  16. Advocating non-violently for community flourishing in a religious-pluralistic society is a New Testament value.

  17. There is a big difference between involuntary martyrdom and suicidal attacks. The global Church has survived because of the former.

  18. Suicidal attacks are a perversion of the teachings of the Torah.

  19. Christians should take an honest look at their history and subcultures that we do not use violence.

  20. All followers of Islam are children of God and need to be loved with biblical definition, according to 1 Corinthians 13.

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