Built for a Time Like this


 

We are being asked to live with unknown cultural elements and we are uncertain as to how some things will play out. We find some things we have seen this week to be unbelievable. Some of us are homesick, others of us feel exhausted, curious, disillusioned, and engaged all at once. It’s hard sometimes for me to articulate the deep longings that come out as emotional overload and my guess is that I am not alone.

Those of us in international education or those of us who have studied abroad or those of us who have international partners as part of our day to day work are built for a time like this. How do I know?

Cultural Disorientation

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Nabeel Qureshi Part 2

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

Christians worship Yahweh, the Trinity, whereas Muslims worship Allah, a monad. This is not an incidental difference; Islam makes every effort to condemn the Trinity as blasphemy (4.171). The Quran rejects the relational aspects of God, saying that He is not a father (5.18) and He is not a son (112.3). It establishes its own doctrine of God, Tawhid, in diametric opposition to the Trinity, and that doctrine becomes the central doctrine of Islamic theology.

Most people who say Christians and Muslims worship the same God are aware of this difference, but they treat it as relatively inconsequential. This is not a trivial difference, though; it has major implications. Since mankind is made in the image of the Triune God, love is woven into our very nature. The Trinity gives us the most consistent, most powerful basis for being self-sacrificial and altruistic.

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Dear President Obama and Anyone Else Wanting to be President

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Obama (and any candidate who will listen):

Mr. President, I don’t mean to be impersonal in penmanship or in greeting. First, my handwriting isn’t going to win any awards and secondly, when I voted for you, you were still Mr. and Mrs. Obama, a couple who understands that family life takes work and that the American life also takes work.

I am writing to encourage you and for two additional reasons. First, you don’t need another critic. In fact, criticism is not what I learned from my community as a value in civic duty. Secondly, I want your help.  Let me set the context a bit. I too am from Illinois and I have a graduate degree in education from the University of Illinois. I have worked in faith based relief organizations for most of the past decade and took quite a bit of slack from fellow evangelicals for supporting you in 2008.  To me, the evangelical camp has become far too politicized in its efforts at social change and has sent its share of mixed messages recently in its political activity. In fairness, both parties have their sincere flaws. I don't think that that is news to anyone. My commitment is to follow God, conscience, and country in that order and I feel blessed to do so because our own Bill of Rights supports such convictions. I resonate with what you and Michelle highlighted in your recent speeches at the DNC, though I am white and yes, my real name is Bo. And yes, if you google my name pictures of your dog come up first. Thanks for that! But, let me explain why I am writing and why I am asking for your help.

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Tags | Global | economy | faith | global

They Had Been with Jesus

"When they [the Sanhedrin] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13

Can you picture the scene above unfolding? Peter and John, two ordinary dudes, find themselves standing before prestigious, educated, professional court officials because they had just been part of something extraordinary and unbelievable. Actually, the healing of a man's legs was simply one of many extraordinary happenings taking place leading up to their moment in court.

The events recorded in the book of Acts are wild to say the least. Pop some popcorn, get settled in your comfy chair and read it for yourself. It’s incredible! Only God could design the supernatural and extraordinary events in the beginning of Acts which led to the advance of the Good News of Jesus` resurrection around the world. I can’t help but think the events in the first few chapters of Acts were Peter and John’s lightbulb moments when all the puzzling stories Jesus told and the wild things He did began to click and make sense.

Standing before the court that day, I imagine their hair was a mess and their eyes were blood shot from both lack of sleep and from a fresh, Spirit filled awakening in their souls.

What exactly does one look like who has “been with Jesus?”

Jesus spent most of his time with the poor, the outcasts, the down and out and the suffering. I imagine his hands were often dirty and his hair may have had the wind-blown, all natural look going on. Jesus was the dark skinned, poor guy from a struggling, low income family and neighborhood with a bad reputation. I imagine Jesus` disciples were an unpolished, wild looking bunch too.

What does it look like to be recognized as someone who has “been with Jesus?”

When I think of people of who look like they have been with Jesus I think of my friends Camille and Esther who willingly moved into an area of conflict in Eastern Congo to love and empower the suffering Congolese people.

I think of my friend Beth who, for close to 3 years has consistently spent her time, in order to be present and provide a listening ear and a smile for the dozens of neglected people residing in a local motel.

I think of those who tear down walls intended to divide us by race, nationality, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, etc. like Dr. John Perkins, LaTasha Morrison, Shane Claiborne, the Hatmakers, my friends Adriana, Meredith, Monica and Melany.

Six Things That May Change the Way You Think About Police Officers

After the horrific events of last week, I’ve been asked repeatedly about race relations in America, the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police officers, and the increasing violence against police officers. As a member of the law-enforcement family (and a member of the Christian community), I would like to respond by providing some insight into the training and daily practices of police officers, particularly given the number of requests I’ve received.
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Justice

When I chose the name Justice for my son, it was for one simple purpose. I believe the name means what ought to be. The world is clearly not what it ought to be. 

When God created the world, He did so with purpose, intention & design. As you read over the narrative of Gen 1 and 2, you may pick up on the theme God first created a space and then He intentionally filled the space (i.e., he first created sky and later birds to fly in the sky). When God created Adam, He called him "very good."  God's design was for He and Adam to exist in the company of each other in a vibrant community.

The Great Commission Summit 2016: On Transforming Culture

Readers, are you ready for this? I hope so because it is so good and inspiring and well, challenging too. But oh so good. Read on.


If you live in America, i.e., the west (for those in CA, please read, the wild, wild west because I know you just imagined Will Smith wearing cowboy get-up while rapping “wild, wild, west” as did I and this is why I like you), the following is a short list of why we struggle to transform culture.

 

 

  1. We live in an individualistic society vs. a community oriented one.
  2. We have comfort and the ability to retreat to a dynamic subculture, free from pain and suffering.
  3. We tend to have a higher than what ought to be dependence on structure, laws, rights and self.
  4. We have a pretty low threshold for pain. The more affluent we become, the lower the threshold sails downward.

Why would I say such things to you?! This is not a downer blog; I pinky swear in the air to you right now.


I simply do not have the insight for the aforementioned list of our western woes, not to mention I am an American from the wild, wild, west specifically, so my perspective is limited here. I heard the statements above coming flying straight from the mouth of activist Prashan De Visser, President and founder of Global Unites at The Great Commission Summit 2016. Global Unites is a very large and very radical youth movement of peacemakers around the world. Their vision is to inspire, connect and equip youth to transform global societies through movements that promote hope, nonviolence and reconciliation.


Say what? Yes, youth, as in teens, babes, little lambs, littles, and the like are transforming global societies by promoting hope, nonviolence and reconciliation. (Side note: MLKJ was a mere 25 years old when he began his ministry of nonviolence and reconciliation. Respect and encourage your youths friends.).


Prashan is a humble and kind man, so naturally he did not leave us only with what hinders the west from participating in transforming culture and reconciliation work, he also reminded us of a different way of life; a way reflective of the Kingdom of God through His followers wherein we become active participants in reconciliation work so desperately needed in our world today.


  1. We were created for community. It is who we are. Resist the urge to withdraw, stand back and isolate. Rather, let’s shift our thinking from what’s in it for me to how might this benefit and care for those around me.
  2. From sea to shining sea, America is full of retreat like and feel gated communities of heaven on earth, and 10 min down the road people are experiencing hell.
  3. Our dependence ought only to be on God. He is our plan A, B and C.
  4. Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. Embrace pain knowing and believing God’s Spirit will be our helper through it. He will help us overcome it.
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How Do We Engage Muslims?

In the final part of a 4-part Q&A on his new book, Answering Jihad, Nabeel Qureshi addresses some of the most fundamental issues of the global concerns concerning Islam: Do Muslims want to take over the West? Should Syrian Muslims be admitted to the U.S.? Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? And perhaps the most important questions for Christians, How do we engage Muslims so they can know the triune God?

Do you believe that Muslims want to take over the West with sharia?

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Why Trump Is Winning

In this crazy, unpredictable, perplexing election year, we’re seeing candidates who are redefining what it means to be a politician. Or not.

Consider the candidacy of Donald Trump, who is frustrating the living daylights out of the Republican establishment. You could say Bernie Sanders is having the same effect on the Democratic party, but he is a long shot, while Trump seems to have a chance of being his party’s presidential candidate.

Whether you are horrified or intrigued by that prospect, my purpose here is to neither endorse nor denigrate Trump, but to offer one very simple explanation for why one of the most polarizing figures in modern political history is winning. In fact, it has to do with why.

Trump is very clear about why he is running, and I’ll bet you know “why.” That’s right. He’s running to make America great again.

I’ve been doing a little experiment with the slogans (or tag lines) of the seven remaining presidential candidates (two Democratic, five Republican). I went to the websites of each candidate and noted the slogan of each one. Here they are:
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Mercy Hospital

I was born in a hospital with the word ‘mercy’ in the title. My wife and children were born in the same hospital, different than mine, but still it had the word ‘mercy’ in the title. This seems fitting on so many levels, but still early in a new year, let’s reflect a bit on where we all started.

We all started in need of help. Think of how many people surrounded your coming in to this world. There were doctors, nurses, hospital staff, friends, and family. And at no point, in the very beginning, did you and I do much on our own. Mercy.

Each and every time we are faced with a difficult time, perhaps one that puts in a hospital, we want things to get better. We want to feel well again. We want to make better diet and life decisions.

Tags | Global | Grace | mercy | new days
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