When you work in social services, you have the opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life. Persons with different religion, philosophies, and hygiene habits. As a Christian these interactions can sometimes be culturally shocking – especially when you consider the immersion adherents of other world religions have with their respective faiths. I frequently recall a story of a time I interacted with a client at his home and during our meeting the Muslim call to prayer (Adhan) began playing over a speaker system in the home. This visit was awkward and created some discomfort, but reminded me significantly of just how different Christians and Muslims are in their practices, particularly in the West.

There are many facets of Islam that are concerning to Americans due to the increased media coverage, influence of ISIS in the Middle East, and the history of terrorism frequently involving individuals who claim Islam as their religion. But even the most skeptical critics of the “religion of peace” miss the bigger part of the picture. Whenever there is debate or question raised by talking heads and other religious readers I wonder if they have ever read a Quran? More so, have they considered the pervasive nature of Islam and how it impacts social, political, and spiritual facets of the believer’s life?

At the end of the day, we are only going to change the “evil” effect of Islam through the independent conversions of those that have become lost in its grip of deceit. Just like any other problem we must know the barriers before we can cross them. Most importantly we must remember Jesus’ instruction to love our neighbors – even the Muslims.

Personal experience has shown that the ability for a Muslim to find validity in your Christian witness is through the experience they have with you as a person and follower of Jesus Christ. If you seek to know them and their faith, they will respect you and yours. This is the crucial point where our dialog gains traction and the power of the gospel finds its root.

Thankfully, Justin Taylor has provided some excellent linkage from Adam Francisco (who has a Ph.D. in Islamic-Christian relations from Oxford University) is professor of history at Concordia University in Irvine, California. at his blog entitled, “A Crash Course on the Muslim Worldview and Islamic Theology” with several digestible 5 minute clips. The post also contains links to several other resources for further learning. I recommend your get on over and start studying.

A Rewarding Journey

November 27, 2015 — 2 Comments

Finally got the degree I’ve been after.


Too blog or not

November 21, 2015 — 5 Comments

Well, the keys are dusty and the blog needs to be swept up a bit. But all is still here and in working order. I have considered blogging again. Winter is coming and life slows down a little – not much, but maybe enough to consider some musings.

Is anyone still out there?

I have never found a shed antler before. Even though I have not set out purposely to discover any, I try to keep an eye open for them. This father’s day weekend was all work for me on the hunting property, but a treasured moment with my son made it all worthwhile.

Obviously Not A Doe

Obviously Not A Doe

This weekend began with a trip to the family property in Antrim County. We go often to see relatives and spend time in the outdoors. Only recently I have had the opportunity to begin hunting the property. Having been stalked by the belated Grandpa Jack for more years than I have been alive, the property has likely seen it’s better deer days.

When you walk the property, ancient wooden tree stands, stools, and blinds remind you of the legacy that has remained since the last time Jack fired his rifle or bow. The memories fade ever so slightly when one of those haunts tips over and makes its way to the burn pile, but it seems that the more I explore this beloved heirloom, another forgotten spot pops out at you. Read More…

photo   © 2010   Bob , Flickr

photo © 2010 Bob , Flickr

What you see is what you get, a helpful axiom that has aided my ability to judge most situations in life as helpful or unhelpful. But then, someone comes along and tells you to not judge a book by it’s cover. Now you are forced to save face, give in, and examine an otherwise undesirable situation further. In most cases, things really are exactly how they seem. But if you dig deeper, you can find a few excuses to tolerate otherwise unfavorable events or relationships with people.

Love. What do you feel or experience when you hear that word? Depending on your culture or upbringing, it has various connotations. I for instance, imagine a bunch of hippies wearing tye-die t-shirts, ripped blue-jeans, and smoking reefer. Some may envision the intimacy between a man and a woman in marriage. You can even describe love as being the emotion that causes the emptiness and feeling of loss when your favorite pet dies. Regardless of the schema love has in your mind, it is a powerful emotion.

Love ultimately facilitates the cohesion of living beings to other living beings. Therefore, the absence of love paints a picture many of us can see when we turn on the evening news. Wars, violence unto others, and the governments of the kingdoms of this world that consistently posture themselves for personal gain are fair representations of lovelessness.

Jesus defined love quite profoundly. Examining his entire ministry provides many other anecdotes that make good sermons on love. But that just over complicates my point. The message he gives seems much simpler. Read More…

Mar 25

Waiting on tables as ministry?

At the Koinonia Blog the weekly feature “Monday’s with Mounce” includes an excellent induction of the topic of ministry and waiting on tables as read in Acts 6:2. Often gifts in the New Testament are structured in order of importance in our modern implementations. Rarely, do we see the gift of this or that exalted above Preaching/Teaching. Bill Mounce of ‘Basics of Biblical Greek’ fame states,

‘Is preaching more important than serving the widows? I know the quick, evangelical answer is, “Of course it is.” But what is James’ answer? “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their time of trouble.” What was Jesus’ model? Do we see him giving a significant priority to preaching over helping people? I don’t think so.’

You can read more on this post at Koinoniablog.

politicswitnessAt some point in history, the direction and motive of the church in the world changed. As described by John Howard Yoder, there was a “Constantinian Shift.” Suddenly the power and ability for the church to exercise dominion became embodied and carried out through political and military force. Sounds eerily similar to the 1st Century Temple and Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day doesn’t it?

The Politics of Witness: The Character of the Church in the World is another entry into the Areopagus Series from Energion Publications. This book, along with the others in the series, is aimed at expounding upon topics of universal interest to the Christian Church in an irenic tone. Alan Bevere, the author ventures to expound upon a difficult topic within a short sixty-two page limit.  Read More…