Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Essay Rewind: Jos Violence

[2010 In Review]

While you and I were rejoicing over the birth of our Savior this past weekend, Christmas Eve bombings in Jos, Nigeria, claimed 38 lives and wounded 200 more. Most of the victims were ethnic* Christians.

At a Baptist church in Maiduguri, the pastor and two members of their choir were slaughtered by a Muslim gang before the Christmas Eve service was to begin. Imagine if that had been here in the United States - at your church, perhaps.

Our eyes may almost instinctively gloss over these images, and tune out these descriptions, since we're so used to this kind of news from that part of the world. However, the fact that these events took place in Africa make them no less a human atrocity.

Granted, from our vantage point, it sounds like a classic Christian - Muslim conflict, but reality is more complicated than that. Most of this violence in Nigeria stems not from purely religious tensions but from long-standing feuds over land and political influence. Still, the fact that this violence tends to fall along a religious Mason-Dixon line between Christians and Muslims increases the volatility of the strife.

So today, as we look back over this past year's collection of essays, we return to what I wrote for Monday, March 8, during 2010's season of Lent, when Nigeria's current conflict had taken another turn for the worse.

And, like yesterday's look back, what I wrote about Jos in March apparently - and unfortunately - isn't yet out of date.

*By the term "ethnic," I mean to describe people in Nigeria who are not Muslim and hold to conventional, religiously Christian doctrines. They're not all what I would consider to be orthodox evangelical believers.

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