Thursday, August 11, 2016
Early this morning Twitter informed me that police in Strathroy, Ontario shot and killed a young aspiring terrorist with an explosive device. He was known to authorities and had been before the courts because of his stated sympathies for ISIS or Daesh. While he was raised as a Christian he claimed to have converted to Islam.
The television and radio news gave us more information of a troubled young man who made threats against GO Transit and the TTC in Toronto, which led police to his door in a quiet neighbourhood in a small town. He detonated one bomb and was killed before he could set off a second.
While this fellow has been described as a "lone wolf" who probably had no actual contact with ISIS, the prospect of terrorism in scary for all of us when we witness what has happened in other countries. We don't really care if he was acting alone, if he had murdered others that knowledge would have provided little comfort.
There is a personal aspect to this in our family. Every work day daughter Jocelyn takes the GO train from Oshawa to Toronto and she passes through Union Station. Daughter Emily takes the TTC to work. And most sobering, son Isaac, who lives in London, drops our precious grandsons at a daycare half a kilometre from the site of the shooting.
As a father and grandfather I find this unsettling and too close to home. At the same time I will live with hope for this country and this planet. I am ashamed of supposed brothers and sisters in Christ in the United States who have allied themselves with the miserable presidential candidate, Donald Trump, a dangerous bigot and xenophobe. Their message of alienation and fear is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ and unfaithful.
I celebrate the diversity of Canada and the freedom of religion. I am encouraged by the positive relationship our congregation has established in this community with the mosque and its members who have become partners in the sponsorship of our Syrian family.
Do terrorists scare me? Of course, although as I look at the face of the young man who died I can only feel that this was a troubled person whose death is a senseless waste.
I don't want to be terrified because God calls me to live a life of courage and hope and love.