A Better Book for Understanding Islam

seeking allah finding jesusDylan was right. “The times they are a changin’.” One change is that Muslims now make up about 1% of the US population—about 3.3 million people. That number is expected to double by 2050. More and more, our neighbors and coworkers, will be Muslims. Will they be our friends as well? What are we doing to reach out to this growing minority?

In an effort to better understand a Muslim worldview, I’ve been reading a series of books on Islam.  Ignorance breeds fear and misunderstanding. I recently wrote about one book, Wholly Different, by Nonie Darwish, that I found informative but largely lacking in love and compassion. Well, the book I just finished is filled with love and compassion. If I had to recommend one book on the subject, this would be it! And it’s not just me—Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus won the Christian Book Award for both “Best New Author” and “Best Non-Fiction” of 2015.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is one man’s story. Born in the US to Pakistani immigrants and raised both here and in Scotland, Nabeel Qureshi grew up in a loving and close-knit family of devout Muslims. As Ahmadis, a lesser-known Muslim sect, his family clearly sees Islam as a religion of peace and kindness. This is a very different perspective from the one described by Darwish in her book—in fact, they’re almost polar opposites! Continue reading

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A Challenging Read: Wholly Different

Wholly-Different-e1488317368277I debated a long time about this book review. Should I write it? Should I post it?

The book has issues. The author often repeats herself, making the book much longer than necessary. The pain and anger that permeated her early life can be seen in her forceful and unapologetic approach. Her conclusions are certainly not politically correct. Many who read this book will be upset by her claims, and I hate making people upset. Yet, author Nonie Darwish presents both information I was ignorant of, and a viewpoint that I had not seen before. I think it’s important that others hear these facts and consider them carefully. Actually, I think it’s very important.

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Read These and Be a Better Wife

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Pete and I celebrated our anniversary last month. (Well, technically, we haven’t celebrated yet—he was out of town at the time, and now I’m somewhat incapacitated  with an injured back. But we will be celebrating soon. I’m sure we will.)

In addition to the typical romantic dinner out, etc., we have a number of more unusual traditions that we enjoy when our anniversary comes around each year. We had a long distance relationship for our first year dating. This was before such conveniences as email, cell phones with free roaming, and the discovery of electricity. So we wrote letters and put them in envelopes and actually mailed them to one another. We still have those letters, and they’re fun to read and reminisce about how clueless we were back in the day.

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Review: Passport through Darkness

Passport to DarknessRead this: Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, by Kimberly L. Smith.

For perhaps most Americans, their faith consists of going to church on Sunday, sending up an occasional prayer, and being nice. Some volunteer at church, or for a local ministry. Some read their Bible on a regular basis. A few go on short-term mission trips. But for Kimberly Smith, none of that was enough. She and her husband sensed God calling them away from their comfortable lives and onto the mission field.

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Life Stories

chasing-the-dragonConsider someone whose life is filled with incredible hardship. Danger and disease. Sacrifice. Doubt. And yet amazing faith. Grace. Intense joy.

I’m not usually big on biographies. Many of the ones I’ve tried to read have seemed to muddle along, the story filled with inconsequential details the author just couldn’t bear to leave out. But I make an exception for Christian biographies, especially those of cross-cultural missionaries. People who obey God’s call rarely live boring lives!

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Embrace this Book

Embrace MeRedemption. Forgiveness. Love. Grace and mercy. With heady themes like this, you might get the impression that Embrace Me is a difficult and demanding story to read. You’d be wrong. Intense, yes. Emotional, absolutely. But author Lisa Samson’s easy style and authentic dialog make reading this book enjoyable, not laborious. In many ways it reminded me of The Shack, another work of fiction used to convey Biblical truth.

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Good Answers for Hard Questions

You’ve heard it before:

  • All religions are the same.
  • Suffering is proof that God doesn’t exist.
  • Christians are so narrow minded!
  • Religion does more harm than good.
  • A loving God would never send anyone to hell.
  • Science has disproved Christianity.
  • The Bible isn’t a reliable document.

You’ve run into these ideas in books or articles. They’ve issued from the mouths of friends or family members. You might even agree with some, or all, of them. Skepticism and atheism are oh, so trendy. Entire networks of blogs are devoted to dissing God and religion, usually with plenty of snide comments and a great degree of sarcasm. (I’ve often wondered why people get so snarky when it comes to criticizing other people’s beliefs.)

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