Okay - I really am pissed. I don't often get this angry, but I am angry. It really concerns me when individuals co-opt anything that I believe in to justify hatred. Especially when they hijack my faith. I am a Christian, I am unapologetic, I believe in the resurrected Christ. Period.
This murderer in Norway is claiming my faith and is using it to justify his hatred and his murderous ways. His called himself a Christian and then, wearing that disguise, he killed innocent people. Let's be clear, he is not a Christian. He is a hater, he is an extremist, but he is not a Christian. And me? Well I just want to start tossing some temple tables.
What is a Christian? "One who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ." How is extremism defined? As the "quality or state of being extreme." - Merriam-Webster
So how then does one apply Christian Extremist and hate in the same person? It's an oxymoron. If one has an extreme belief in the risen Saviour then one does not behave with hatred. One behaves with extreme love. Christ teaches that there are two things that are the most important commandments of the Christian faith. When discussing the law, He was asked what the most important commandment was. His reply:
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " ~Luke 10:27
My interpretation of this? That I am to love everyone, even this man who abuses my faith for evil. Extreme Christianity is extreme love for all individuals regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, lack of religion...you get the idea. Am I always successful? Of course not, but my failure is not in Christ, it is in my humanity. We as Christians cannot sit by while anyone uses Christ's name as an excuse for hatred, ever.
So much evil has been done in the world - for centuries - in His name. And what do we as Christians do in response? Seriously, it is time to claim our faith back. It has always bothered me that the Muslim community sat back and said nothing while extremists used their religion for hatred and terrorism. And now here we are as a Christian community doing the same thing. Well, I will not be quiet.
I know that Christ doesn't need me to defend Him. But we, as people of faith, cannot stand quietly by while others use the name of Christ for evil. I will oppose the view that this is Christianity in the extreme. That is a lie, he is a liar and a murderer, and the worldwide press is being duped into believing him. Why? Because it sells.
No - Christian Extremism is the complete opposite of what this man did. Christianity in the Extreme looks completely differently. It looks like Extreme Love. It looks like a hand extended in friendship toward those we may not love or agree with. It looks like Christ dying on the cross for me, for you, and even for this murderer.