Some religious and political comments reaching to an understanding, by Andrew J. Schatkin

There are two things I would like to talk about here. The first is clarify and understand monasticism and the monastic movement and the second is to comment on the latest terrorist attack in Strasbourg France.

To many in our modern world the decision to be a monk, and enter a monastery is incomprehensible. After all, many would say who wants to give up sex, family, and a car and a nice house for isolation and loneliness? The answer is in the life of Jesus who did not marry, had no family and spent his ministry with a group of male disciples and female followers. Let us take a close look at the encounter with the Rich Young Man. In Matthew 19 16-30, a Rich Young Man approaches Jesus and asks the what he can do to have eternal life. The answer Jesus gives is to keep the commandments. The Young Man says he has observed them and Jesus then tells the young man to sell his possessions and give to the poor and to follow Him. Monastic vocation is not, as many would conclude, an aberrant choice any more than Jesus’s life and the ministry were aberrant choices by the eternal god. The monastic choice is the choice to follow Christ and it is a decision to give up our earthly attachments whether goods, family or sex the things that tie us to this life. The monastic choice is the choice for communion with god. Perhaps it could be good that it only when we give up the things that we hold dear that we are able to grow as persons to fully evolve and become the potential eternal beings that we are destined to be. The mother who gives birth endures pain and suffering to the child into the world. Her pregnancy is a physical trial. Perhaps, as Jesus seemed to advise, it is only when we give up something and if you will suffer that we grow and can become the persons we can have the potential to be. Blind and in hiding, Milton wrote the great epic poem “Paradise Lost.” Suffering brought forth one of the greatest works of art.

I would now like to comment on the latest act of Terrorism in France and a number of people were killed and injured at the Christmas Market in Strasbourg. France. Let me make clear I have no hostility and prejudice to our Muslim brothers and sisters, the large majority of whom are law-abiding and merely set about to support their families. The New York Times initially reported the matter as the act of a gunman. Later, the report was changed to an act of terrorism as the French government stated in light of the gunman stating, “God is Great” The news media reported that the gunman was radicalized in prison. It was also reported that there are thousands on a terrorist watch list in France. How long can the West turn a blind eye to the reality of Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism? The West and the world must come to understand that there is a minority movement within Muslim political and religious system in certain countries where these acts of violence occur and are directed. It is a clear but unfortunate that the attacks in the Christian market in Berlin and now in Strasbourg were anti-Christian attacks. Can our governments have a list and wait until there is an attack before attending to what is a clear danger? I am not suggesting civil liberties violations but do suggest that we should not just wait until murder and death occur. Again, I make no conclusion against or entertain hatred, hostility or discrimination with respect to our Muslim brothers in Christ, but look at the problem and that perhaps another approach should be taken than waiting for what has happened over many years. The attacks occur with no solution in sight.