God is Love
On the PBS Newshour two weeks ago there was a story about a woman, Sabina Khatri, who is the founder of a school in Karachi, Pakistan. Her belief is that Pakistan’s social and economic problems have their root in a broken educational system (I would suggest the same is true in our country). Of course, there the situation is infinitely more dire as only 2% of the budget goes to education and much of that money gets pocketed. Schools exist only on paper; 50% of the schools are without electricity and 40% without toilets.
Over against this reality, the Karachi school is seeking to make a difference in the lives of the poor children of Karachi and thereby in the country. The school teaches critical thinking and inquiry rather than the traditional rote learning. They teach music and dance; they teach Islamic values often neglected, such as tolerance. Now the hope is to open a co-educational school, adding girls to the 250 boys they already are educating.
At a meeting for parents to talk about this possibility, one woman raised the concern that the school was teaching liberal values. An 11 year old student answered:
“We believe in God. The way we have learned about God is, God is love. But that is not the way other children are taught. It’s always that God will punish you. God loves you.”
“They were quiet,” Ms. Khatri shares, and then the woman concerned about the liberal values asked for an admission form.
Isn’t this how the Christian Reformation started? Martin Luther wrestling with himself, God, and Scripture until he was struck with the revelation that one needn’t earn God’s love because it is freely given? Somewhere a global reformation of Islam must take hold – who knows? Maybe it will start with the students of Karachi, Pakistan who are learning along with Martin Luther and I hope us, that God is love.
God is love. How does that affect how we view others? How we respond to those in the news? How we live our lives?