The Tenant: Good morning, hello, I thought I’d give you a call….
Me: Who’s that speaking?
The Tenant: This is one of your tenants. I might even say it’s your favourite tenant.
Me: There some mistake here, I don’t rent property and I’m not a landlord….
The Tenant: You are Rev Michael Mair if I’m not mistaken..
Me: Yes, that’s me, but I don’t have any tenants.
The Tenant: No? Not even in that property you take so little care of…
Me: Come on, stop messing around. Are you trying to sell me something? Where are you calling from?
The Tenant: Somewhere very near, closer than you can imagine. You could call it an interior. Eh-heh, you could call it your interior in fact. If you doubt me, just switch off your phone. Good man, that’s it, and you can still hear me, yes, clear as a bell?
Me: Yes…….I can……Look, what sort of trick is this?
The Tenant: No trick, at all, I assure you. Just me, calling from your inmost self, your mind, your psyche, your soul as it used to be called…..
Me: I did wonder. I guess my mind’s playing tricks on me. You’ll go away if I don’t panic. You said you weren’t alone. who else is there?
The Tenant: Oh we don’t need to talk about him for the moment. No, I wanted to talk to you about your blogs.
Me: I’m always open to criticism.
TheTenant: So you say, but somehow you don’t ever get any. Maybe because hardly anyone reads them.
Me: That’s just abuse…
TheTenant: You’ve paraded yourself as a radical Christian who follows the true way of Jesus. You make pointed criticism of violence, greed and religious hypocrisy, just as he did.
Me: Well, so I do. Is there something wrong with that?
The Tenant: Well let me ask you. Is the world a whisker better, more peaceful, more generous, more honest, for all your criticism?
Me: Well, of course, I don’t really know. How could I know?
TheTenant: You know as well as I do that there’s not the slightest bit of evidence that all your pious blethers have improved the lot of the poor or the oppressed in even the teensiest of ways.
Me: I suppose you may be right….
TheTenant: Suppose? Of course I’m right. Yet you keep on blogging because it makes you feel better. You know that oppressive thugs will still kill and turture innocent people. You know that the richest people on the planet will grab its resources while despoiling its ecosystems. But blogging makes you feel better so everything’s fine and dandy.
Me: But you, my inner tenant, you know the answer, is that right?
Me: So? You can’t expect me to believe you without being told your recipe for world-improvement…
TheTenant. You’ve been blogging now for six, seven years, is it? That’s about the same length of time it has taken Islamic State / Daesh to establish itself.
TheTenant: So, in the same time you spent farting around with bible blogs, these people have established networks of influence, purchased weapons, attracted worldwide support, carried out ambushes, raids, suicide attacks, taken hostages, altered the politics of the world, demonstrated in other words, that ordinary people can change things….
Me: But by terror, by atrocities and ruthless commitment to their own cause…
TheTenant: Exactly. By terror. Because they know that only terror can shift the levers of power. Only terror can make the rich and powerful sit up and take notice. Only terror can have any hope of establishing the Rule of God in the world.
Me: Are you really making a case for terror?
TheTenant. Bet your sweet ass I am. While you have been bleating in blogs, these guys have transformed the world. Stupid people ask in bewilderment why nice Muslim boys and girls from the civilised world are joining them. The answer’s obvious: because they’ve gone beyond talking about injustice and done things that make world leaders shake in their shoes, for if people are willing to die for a cause – not just willing to kill, but willing to die – how can they be contained by the usual threats; and if they are living their dangerous truth, how can they be deceived by the usual lies?
Me: But they’re monsters, depraved killers who torture and kill indiscriminately.
TheTenant:No, not indiscriminately. They don’t kill their own brand of Muslim. But yes, they are savage, deliberately maiming and killing in monstrous ways, to create fear. Terror, it gets things done. The rich and powerful seem to have their house comfortably furnished, under lock and key. Only terror opens the door. Even Jesus knew that, he said nobody could ransack a strongman’s house unless he first tied up the strong man. That’s what terror does.
Me: Ah, right. I think I know who you are, at last. I suppose I’ve always hoped you’d been evicted….
TheTenant: No, you’ve threatened, but you’ve never finally done it…you like me too much…
Me: You wish! But I recall you mentioned the other tenant. I think I know who that is, and maybe I’ll ask his help in dealing with you. As you reminded me, you need hog-tied before we can springclean the house…..
TheTenant: I’m a peaceful soul who never outstays his welcome. You don’t need to bother the… the …..other…But maybe you’ll keep in mind what I’ve said?
( To be continued)