When you consider Muslims, what comes to mind? A terrorist? A suicide bomber? Or perhaps a woman swathed in a black burka? How about the family next door, or your college professor, or perhaps the engineer in the next cubicle?
Because many Americans don’t personally know anyone who is a Muslim, our mental image may not match reality. Sure, some Muslims are terrorists, but many more are our neighbors and business associates—and perhaps our friends.
If you’d like to go beyond the front page news stories and discover how the “average” Muslim thinks, (if there is such a person), I highly recommend that you read The Crescent through the Eyes of the Cross: Insights from an Arab Christian, by Dr. Nabeel T. Jabour. If you’d like to know how Muslims view Christianity, then I recommend this book even more highly. And if you want to move past stereotypes and fear and learn to love our Muslim neighbors, then get your hands on this book as soon as possible! Continue reading
As I continue to read through Jeremiah, I’m constantly struck by the similarity between the moral state of their nation and of ours. The Israelites were intentionally ignoring God while sacrificing even their children to idols. Instead of seeking holiness through obedience to the Lord who loved them, they were focused on feeding their appetite for power and wealth. Over and over God decried the lack of justice in the land. He sent prophets to warn them, and they mocked God’s word.
I was going to post this last Friday, but I got distracted…
Having enjoyed my breakfast, I grabbed my mug of tea and headed for the bedroom to put the finishing touches on my outfit for the day. On the way past the living room, I noticed that I’d left the knitting loom, yarn, and finished hat on the couch, so I grabbed the loom and headed to my home office to pick out a new project.
Once in the office, I noticed that the plants needed watering, and the gecko’s food bowl lacked meal worms. So I headed back to the kitchen to get the tub of worms out of the refrigerator.
The Bible often describes God as being “worthy of praise.” (See 1 Chronicles 16:25, Psalm 48:1, and Psalm 145:3 for some examples.) I was singing at church last week when I started to wonder—what does that actually mean? Why should we praise God? What makes Him worthy? What makes any of us worthy of praise?
I had these questions in mind when, later that day, I clicked on the news and was inundated by the media’s hot question of the week: Is McCain a war hero? Yes, he was shot down and captured, and spent considerable time as a POW. So, does that make him a hero?
It’s hard to admit it, but I’m tired of going to church.
We attend nearly every Sunday, sitting in the same spot, singing the same songs (or at least the same style of songs—after a while they all begin to sound the same to me), listening to yet another (admittedly excellent) sermon, taking communion, and saying hi to our friends.
Twenty-twenty hindsight is a wonderful thing. As I read once again through the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, God’s warning seems oh, so clear. Both of these prophets warned the people over and over to stop their idolatry, turn to God, embrace justice and righteousness, and live. And over and over the people ignored them.
It’s easy for me, sitting here in 2015, to think, what idiots. God told them what He was going to do! Why didn’t they obey Him? Wasn’t it obvious that an idol they themselves made of wood couldn’t solve their problems? And who would choose to sacrifice their child, when God never asked them to do so?