Friday, September 10, 2010

This Just Keeps Getting Weirder

The sad "Quran burning, or not, well maybe" saga in Florida just keeps getting weirder.

Word came yesterday that the event was canceled, causing a mass wave of elation and linking/posting online (including yours truly). Woo hoo!

Then we discover the Quran burning was canceled because a deal was made (perhaps nowhere other than in Pastor Terry Jones' mind) for Jones to fly to New York City and negotiate the moving of the Park 51 Center. When the respective imams in New York and Gainesville said they had no idea what Jones was talking about, Jones left the door open for the burning to go ahead.

Meanwhile, here in Middle Tennessee, a pastor plans to burn a Quran on Saturday and post the video online. I hope he decides to back down, too.

All of this leads me to conclude that those who have been challenging the media not to make this a bigger story are on to something. Prior to the last 24 hours, I thought that this was news and that blaming the media was using a cheap target and missing the point.

However, seeing the flip-flopping on the burning and the competing claims about meetings, I'm starting to wonder if Pastor Jones isn't crazy (he is a pastor, after all; we've all got a screw loose!), but extremely savvy when it comes to manipulating the media.

After all, what to the Park 51 center in New York and a tiny, hateful church in Gainesville have to do with one another? Nothing, except for the fact that they're both front page news, and Jones sees that fabricating some kind of connection between them will keep him on the front page for a little bit longer. And that might be the whole point of this exercise.

It may be that Pastor Jones shares a compulsive need for attention with people like Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, willing to say and do anything to get people to notice them regardless of what they really believe or who they may hurt. We, the media consuming public, eat it up, because like a car wreck, we're horrified but we can't look away.

Semi-related aside: Mark Silk over at Spiritual Politics has a humorous take on all this. Perhaps a good laugh will ease the tension. Thanks, Mark.


Jessica Miller Kelley said...

Sounds like Terry Jones and Brett Favre have something in common ;0)

Taylor W Burton Edwards said...

I see this a bit differently.

I don't think this is about getting attention for himself.

I think this is about demonic possession.

I mean that.

This action-- both the threat to do it and the doing of it-- is pure evil and is already unleashing more evil across the globe. Yes, the media participated in propagating the evil-- just as certain mosquitoes participate in propagating malaria.

But the mosquitoes are just that-- carriers, not causes.

Reduce the number of carriers or their effectiveness at reproducing and you reduce propagation.

But you don't eliminate the malaria itself.

It will likely find another vector to propagate itself.

The carriers don't directly kill you. The malaria does.

And we're a culture that has few if any tools to deal with God or evil... both of whom can make powerful claims on our lives that we find ourselves hard pressed to resist at times.

Terry Jones needs an exorcist.

So do those who would try to pull off a similar stunt elsewhere.

May God be merciful to us and send them!

Or if God's wisdom is to let us experience the wrath that emerges when such ministry does not take place, may we learn from this and not allow ourselves to take evil-- or the wrath of God-- so lightly again.