Lebanon and The Balance of Love

My wife and I just spent a week in Lebanon, what follows are our first impressions of this remarkable place.  Although we would have loved to spend months exploring the beautiful country, we split our short time between the urban sprawl of Beirut and the agriculturally pristine Bekaa Valley.  It was in the Valley where we met with Syrian Refugee’s, the main purpose for our trip.

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Ditka, Eminem and Islamophobia

In the midst of the massively controversial Flag kneeling debate, ex-NFL Coach Mike Ditka was quoted as ignorantly saying, “There has been no oppression (in America) in the last 100 years, that I know of.”  Just days later, Eminem freestyles at the BET Awards praising Colin Kaepernick for the act of kneeling that Ditka had been critiquing.  So why is it that two white guys, who have spent tremendous amounts of time around Black men have such contrasting views on this issue?  And what can this teach us not only about Racism in America but also Islamophobia?

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How Christian Advocates for Refugees are Often Creating Advocates for the Muslim Ban

Over the years, I have encountered some remarkable Christian organizations and individuals who are Loving our refugee neighbors in beautifully bold ways.  Often making significant sacrifices and expecting little or nothing in return.  But along the way, I have also noticed something quite strange that I can only describe as some Christians who seem to actually hate the very refugees they are trying to Love?

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The Risk of (American) Christian Supremacy and The Great Commission

There are countless churches and organizations across America that have programs teaching people how to evangelize others into their version of Christianity, some that I have participated in.  These groups are typically focused on the idea of trying to follow what is called ‘the Great Commission’ of Jesus, but in practice, the attitudes and actions of these organizations can sometimes produce a form of (American) Christian Supremacy.   

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An Underlying Issue with the Letter Signed by Evangelical Leaders Regarding the Muslim Ban

Recently, over 500 Evangelical Christian Leaders signed a letter that was sent to the current President and Vice President expressing their grief over the recent EO, Muslim Ban, with a request for reversal.  This is great, it really is. Seeing Evangelical Leaders rise up and speak out is awesome, necessary, and helpful.  Thanks to all who participated in this initiative!  However...

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Desiring Love, Spreading Fear

A number of years ago, I met a young Christian couple who was passionate about Loving others and had some questions about our Muslim neighbors.  As we chatted, the husband shared that a few weeks before, he had purchased a Quran and had been reading it in hopes of better understanding those who follow Islam. 

When his wife heard this, she was shocked, her face was suddenly covered with fear.  She asked when he brought it into their home and upon hearing the date, she said she had felt something was wrong in their house (spiritually) and was now convinced of the reason why – there was a Quran in their house.

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My un-American Wedding

I recently got married.  Our wedding day was a very special day for many reasons; including how fortunate I am to now be married to such a remarkable woman. Our wedding was an intimate gathering in a small city in the Midwest, surrounded only by our closest loved ones; it was a day I will never forget.

As I look back on that day, I consider the current cultural shifts in America and I wonder how many people would actually consider our wedding to be very un-American?

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"I am a Refugee"

 

The following was written by an Iraqi Muslim friend who arrived in the US as a refugee.  Her name has been changed for privacy and security.  

I always take a deep breath and listen to my heart.  It says, who am I?  Where am I?  Where is my family?  How can I live again when I long for everything I have lost?  All of these questions are in my head every day.  I answer myself with yes, it is difficult, but you will live.  It is difficult, but you will succeed.  It is difficult, but it is worth it to give my family a better future.

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It's Time to Stop Blaming the Terrorists

When children get in trouble for fighting with each other, we often hear them explain their actions with something like, 'But Johnny took my toy’ or ‘Johnny pushed me first.’ Children are great at pointing the blame at others to try to justify their own actions, especially if their response was equally foolish or harmful.  But as adults we are supposed to know better, right?

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The Great Big Muslim Lie

Since 9/11 the world has changed and many of us along with it.  Like most Americans I remember where I was, who I was with, and the raw emotions that seemed to pour from my soul as the towers fell.  I also remember how those events gave birth to what may be the biggest and most dangerous lie of this generation and one that I once believed.  The lie that says Muslims are our enemy.

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