Ready to Die?

By Dick Duerksen

Photo by Dreamstime

The photograph is memorable for what it says about one individual’s willingness to stand for a belief. The person in the photo is a young Chinese man, standing alone and tall in front of a line of tanks. The tanks have all stopped, uncertain of how to proceed in the face of such strong convictions. In standing, the unknown man became an international hero.

On March 16th, Rachel Corrie, a 23-yr-old American student, knelt before an Israeli bulldozer and prayed that the destruction of Palestinian homes would cease. The bulldozer continued forward and Rachel was crushed beneath its tracks. In dying, she gave all for her convictions.

Monday, March 17th, the American talk show culture laughed at her. They ridiculed her mission and mocked those who supported her. She was called misguided, confused, and a “failed protester.” Rachel Corrie, they said, “was on the wrong side, no better than a suicide bomber.”

Others, like Anne Fischel, a faculty member at Evergreen State College where Corrie was a student, lauded her for “following her convictions.”

That brought a whole new set of pictures. Martin Luther nailing his thesis to the cathedral door. Fire licking at the feet of John Huss as he was burned for believing in God’s Grace. Joan of Arc calling for her executioners to be forgiven. Catholic leader Antanansio Bazzekuketta being dismembered for his faith in Uganda. Steven watching heaven from under the stones of his enemies.

There is no historical shortage of Christian martyrs.

I saw the pictures, listened to many strong opinions, and wondered what convictions I have that would make me stand before a tank or kneel before a bulldozer.