VIGNETTE III OF PEACE
The email screamed, “Nine thousand Muslims are coming! Keep them out of our Christian country! They will pervert our children and destroy our way of life.”
The chaplain should not have forwarded the email to me, her boss, whether or not she knew my views on immigration and on Islam.
I should have ignored it.
But I had a gnawing unease. Unless I did something about it, I would go on thinking that way about that chaplain. She had lost my respect, and it was important for me to restore it.
I started refuting the email line by line. Bad plan. That made me angry and made me write angrily. That way inflamed the situation. My first intuition to ignore the email had reason. I stopped writing. I waited a day. I prayed.
Then I wrote back to her, “I am sorry I cannot agree with your email,” I said, “but is it not possible that God wants 9,000 Muslims to come to Australia so that we can share our Christian faith with them?” I sent the email and waited two days.
She sent one more email, “I hadn’t thought of that. You may be right.” And then she apologised, “I am sorry I sent you that email without thinking first.”
Next time I saw her, I thanked her publicly for the commendable work she was doing in a difficult school. In praising her, I felt good about myself.