Why do young people join Isis?

In the wake of the events taking place in the Middle East, West Africa and Ottawa it is easy to lose hope and faith. When confronted with the ugly reality of how far humans are prepared go in cruelty towards each other to further their agenda we, well at least I, have feelings of apathy rising up in my heart. Why care? This world is not our home anyway right? Wrong.

I would suggest that this world is created to be our eternal home, albeit in a restored fashion. I believe that down deep, in our nous, we know that we are created for eternity. We know that this world is created good and with eternal quality. It is this consciousness, this nagging awareness that drives us ever faster either towards the outer darkness or towards the Light. This feeling of paradise lost, this faint scent that we only smell in moments of glory, reminds us of a purpose that somehow have been overshadowed by another more sinister smell namely; the rank smell of us believing that we can accomplish our eternal purpose on our own.

What drives, what seems like perfectly happy Western youth, to become mercenaries in the ranks of Isis? What is that causes Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine? Why does it take so long to rally help to aid Western Africa? Why do we see lone gunmen in Ottawa and Oslo? I believe it is because the persons involved in these situations believe that they know what paradise should look like and since paradise is the ultimate purpose, nothing must stand in the way. Our paradise lost is a terrible force. The kingdom of heaven still seems to elude us. We know in our bones that we must somehow get there to find peace but our conviction is misplaced. It is placed on the altar of self, Pride performing the most terrible of actions. The stench from the wound of our hearts carries over right into material reality. Our good earth becoming a perfect reflection of the reality of our hearts.

There must be another way back home. Regulated religious states, be it Christian, Sharia or Atheistic ones, have never brought us closer home. (Yes, Atheism is a religion but that is another post) Truth is that there is nothing we can do to become whole again. There is no plan that we can conceive that will absolve us from our predicament. There is no plan only the Man. “Stop!” you say; “This is just the Christian religion offering up their version of a solution. You even claim that your solution is the solution. Any absolute claim like that is gonna turn bad.” I must agree that much within the “Christian” realm has turned bad because of different persons having different interpretations and agendas about Christ. That however, is beside the point, Christianity is not a plan it’s the Man. It is not a solution it’s a Person. He is the Inaugurator of our paradise lost. He is in His very nature the peace we are looking for. We do not find peace and eternal purpose in the Kingdom of God by following a plan. We find the Kingdom of heaven by becoming a part of the Man. By letting the Kingdom and its King find us. It is this that happens in the Eucharist. We become a part of the Kingdom of heaven, we can not follow Christ with our mind only. We can not come up with a Christian plan or doctrine of how to follow Him, the only thing we can do is to allow Him to enter our hearts and become apart of Him. It is an ontological transformation that incorporates the spiritual and physical realities of your person. Once a part of Him, your whole person is transformed. Once a part of Him you are able to be Him to other persons. Christ does nor force Himself on people, He gives His life for people.

Paradise was lost because we tried to control it. It was never meant to be controlled, enforced or planned out by us. It is and was always present as gift within us, ready to appear when we accepted it as such.

The Kingdom of heaven was never about convincing anybody with a logical argument, it was, is and always will be about serving everyone with the reconciliation of the King. It is when the Church fails, when I fail, at this that the cult(ure) will start to look towards other “solutions” to appease that eternal longing to be seen and to have purpose that rests within each and every one of us, that remnant of the Kingdom. The Church needs to live like Her groom. The Kingdom will grow by default when we live like Christ. Until we find peace by being reconciled to our Source through Christ, we will always radicalize the tools we have been given to the point of either our own or someone else death. The Kingdom of heaven is gift and can only be presented and received as such.

A true witness is a person who reports what he or she has seen and experienced, they do not offer an opinion or interpretation of what they have seen or experienced. The intrusive testimony that never awaits or listens to the question, or respects where people are on their journeys, is counterproductive to the Kingdom of Heaven. So let us be martyrs, that is, witnesses to the Kingdom of heaven. Then, and only then, will the insecure, broken and lonely people looking for purpose find it in the Way that will appease our eternal longing and heal our wound.

In Christ,

fr. Jakob

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