God, change the hearts and minds of these ignorant and foolish men in the photo above. May they know You, the Creator of all people in Your image. May their hearts be illumined with the light of Your love more than these torches of hate that illumine their faces. May they be transformed. Continue reading
Our first afternoon in Mafraq, John Hollon, two other volunteers, and I had the opportunity to go on a home visit. These are visits where we accompanied one of the local full time servants who provide on-going care and have relationships with Syrian refugees who have moved into the area. For us, this servant was Egab, a man with a huge smile and a humorous joy that seems unending. On our way we make a stop to pick up some diapers, formula, and a few other supplies. These are for a new baby in the family.
This is a guest post by my good friend, musician and author, Callen Clarke:
When I was a kid, I asked my mom what Jesus looked like. This is the picture she showed me.
The dynamics of conflict and peace, enmity and friendship in the realities of Israeli and Palestinian relationships are far more complex and nuanced than is frequently depicted in U.S. media and rhetoric. Continue reading
In the world to come, some will finally arrive home because they were foreigners and resident aliens, refugees without a permanent home in this world.
Others will arrive in the world to come as foreigners, empty-handed refugees forced from their home, because their citizenship and possessions were of this world.
The good news for this latter group is that those who were refugees in this world will likely welcome refugees in the next.
Wealth and success atone for all wickedness of word and action in a society that worships Mammon, the god of riches. Continue reading
E. Stanley Jones was a Methodist missionary and theologian. He is most well known for his work in India and, espeically, his friendship with Gandhi. He has many well known works in missionary, theological, and Methodist circles, including The Christ on the Indian Road, which sold over 1 million copies.
One of his works that has been formative for me is The Christ of the Mount, in which Jones focuses on the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. I really cannot recommend this book enough. It is transformative. Continue reading
One of the best books I’ve ever read on ministry and leadership is In The Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. I was introduced to it sometime in the early 1990’s, and it has been work to which I have returned regularly. As Nouwen’s words have often been timely and good reminders for me, I thought I would share some of this thoughts on power here: Continue reading
The story told by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 begins with this introduction:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25.31–32)
My friend Rich Rosendahl has committed himself to connecting and sharing life with his refugee neighbors in Des Moines, Iowa, and he works full time training others in his context and around the U.S. to do the same. He is the founder of The Nations, an organization that facilitates individual and corporate engagement with refugee communities. Rich has worked with refugees both here in the U.S. and in the Middle East (in Jordan, in Tunisia on the Libyan border, and Palestine); and he has also worked in Iraq facilitating peace initiatives among divided groups and tribes there. Issues and facts related to refugees here in the U.S. and abroad are not theoretical for Rich: he knows them firsthand.
‘Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”’ (Luke 14.12–14 NIV)
I told someone a few weeks ago that we could probably expect an increase in extremist attacks outside of the Middle East, and that, unfortunately, there would likely be attacks tied to refugees from Syria. Already, as I said it, there was the growing rumble of fear here in the U.S. regarding refugees, and my own concern was that if/when an attack happened that was connected with refugees, that it would feed such fear and even turn it into anger and hatred. Now we find that such an event has occurred in France. Continue reading