The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines:
irony1 noun (pl. -ies) [mass noun] the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect,
. . . and that almost captures my feelings on learning, over this past weekend, that last Sunday, the Jamaica Gleaner had published an unfortunately rather poorly excerpted version of my original, dashed-off comments of Sept 19th, as a "contribution" responding to (as opposed to the fact: anticipating!) Mr Boyne's attempted rebuttal of October 15, in which last he characterised me as a fundamentalist ignoramus and zealot.
I find it particularly illuminating to contrast the beginnings of my original note and the newspaper article:
ORIGINAL, Sept 19: My attention was just today drawn to an article by Mr Boyne of Jamaica in the Gleaner this Sunday past. The article is so outrageous, that I have corrected it in the Caribbean Kairos eGroup, where it was drawn to my attention . . . . I found that in his commentary, Mr Boyne has stated much that is of deepest concern . . .
EXCERPTED/EDITED, Oct 29: My attention was drawn to an article by Mr. Boyne in The Gleaner several Sundays past. I found that in his commentary, Mr. Boyne has stated much that is of deepest concern . . .
Amusingly and instructively ironic, in a quirky sort of way!
However, the "almost" is also important: I am saddened to note that the "[p]response" -- though obviously not as specifically responsive as my Oct 18th Gleaner submission, and though so badly edited that it is jerky and gappy [notice how references to links are suppressed and a "might" seems to have no antecedent in the excerpted citation from Mr Boyne] -- is in fact substantially able to point out major problems in the fact and logic claims he made.
Amusement aside, that, regrettably, is sadly telling indeed on the level of commentary that was used by a well-known "columnist and veteran interviewer" in dismissing Bible-believing Christians in our region as being "prone to bigotry, intolerance and the desire to impose their will on others just as the Islamic militants." [This is of course his "oops"-moment in his failed Oct 15 attempt to deny that he has tried to assert immoral equivalency between Bible-believing Christians and Islamist terrorists and oppressors.]
But in fact, as explored in details here, Bible-believing Christians, especially over the past 500 years, have made a major contribution to the rise of modern liberty, such that:
the difference between Bible-believing Evangelical Christians (the sort of people who are often tagged as "fundies" in a Christian context) and Al Qaeda's plane-hijacking suicide bombers is obvious and vast . . . . [T]o help us correct . . . potentially dangerous misunderstandings, we need to first go back to the reformation era and trace the pattern of liberation struggles that flowed out of putting the Bible in the hands of the ordinary man, [thus decisively helping end the dark ages] at the cost of martyrs' blood -- e.g. Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English, as late as 1536. So, let us now turn to the first major Reformation work on liberation struggles, the 1579 anonymous book, Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, by Junius Brutus [i.e. Phillipe Duplessis-Mornay, a Huguenot French soldier and Diplomat, et al], the subsequent and derivative 1581 Dutch Declaration of Independence, and the stream of further thought and state documents that flowed from that well-spring, including most notably Samuel Rutherford's Lex Rex, John Locke's 2nd Treatise of Civil Government, and the US founding documents, especially the 1776 American Declaration of Independence
Consequently, we should be cautious indeed before pushing such believers into the same boat as the Taliban or al Qaeda. For, as the above linked briefing note on Government Under God went on to demonstrate through a survey of key figures, documents and events:
. . . it is well warranted to conclude that biblically based, Creation-anchored Christian thinkers and statesmen have plainly played a crucial -- though often now unacknowledged or even censored out -- role in the liberation of peoples all across the world. Consequently, it is improper (and sometimes, frankly, bigoted) to assume, imply or assert that Bible-believing Christians [however labelled] are -- generally speaking -- potentially violent and/or oppressive enemies of liberty. Nor, should we confuse principled, reform-minded civil opposition to abuses, licence, libertinism and amorality this last, often announced as "tolerance" and "diversity"] with enmity to liberty.
However, all of this interplay reflects an underlying geo-strategic process, in which surges from three spiritual tidal waves are affecting our region with increasing force as the third Christian Millennium dawns:
1] From the North, There is a massive wave of dechristianisation, as many "post-moderns" now eagerly seek to dismiss and forget the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus of Nazareth, resenting him as an oppressor instead of remembering and thanking him for being our loving Father who has so richly blessed us.
2] From the Middle East, and partly in response to the dechristianisation and secularisation of the West, there is a wave of islamisation that seeks to bring our region into the house of Islam, and some have even gone so far as to revisionise our history to make it seem to many that this would be a reverting to the religion of our african ancestors. [Cf. this July 2003 appreciation and call for action by Caribbean Christians in response.]
3] But also, building on the rich godly heritage of Bible-believing Christians such as George Liele, recently hailed in the Ghana-based Journal of African Christian Thought as a "black prophet and father of the church in the Americas and Africa," there is a wave of reformation and awakening to our Missionary potential, as we re-vision and pursue the enduring mission of the church in and from the Caribbean.
So, as we see increasing indicators of the three major forces at work in our region, we have some decisions to make. By God's grace, let us be like the men of Issachar in David's day, who had understanding of their times to know what Israel should do. END