Archive for the Category » Islam «

September 22nd, 2010 | Author:

Scenario I: You and your buddies Mike and Jim got up at oh-dark-thirty and drove three hours to your favorite ski resort.  You got there before the sun, bought your lift tickets, and were really looking forward to a crisp, sunny day of racing down the mountain.

As you left the lodge for the lift line, though, three buses pulled up and disgorged a horde of foreigners — ignorant foreigners who mulled all over the place in their street shoes, ruining the snow pack at the bottom of the run.  They obviously didn’t even speak the language, if you went by their confused looks when people started telling them to get off the trail.  Great.  Just great.

“C’mon,” you said to Mike and Jim.  “Let’s get at least one run in before they figure out how to get up the mountain.”

You and Mike hustled to the lift line, and Jim said he’d catch up to you in a bit.  You and Mike caught a chair, and you continued to grumble all the way up the mountain.  When you got to the top, though, the sun was bright and the snow was fast, so you forgot about the foreigners as you set off down your favorite trail, Mike close behind. You forgot, that is, until you got down to the bottom and had to dodge around the foreigners who were still in the way and still wrecking the snow.  Where was the ski patrol?  Why weren’t they getting these idiots out of the way?  This was getting downright scary.  How many of them were there, anyhow?

As you tried to work your way back to the lift line, you realized you hadn’t seen Jim.  You finally spied him heading toward … the beginner’s slope?  Then you realized he was leading one of the foreigners, who had somehow acquired a pair of skis.  They were laughing and Jim was obviously trying to teach the guy how to walk in skis.

Scenario II: If you substitute America for the ski resort, Muslims for the foreigners, and police for the ski patrol, I think you’ll have a pretty good understanding of what many American Christians think about the Muslims in our country today.

  • We resent foreigners that show up at our mountain, ruining our day.
  • We expect them to act like expert skiers, even when they don’t have skis.
  • We get scared when a lot of them show up.
  • We think they should know the language.
  • When they don’t “get it,” we want the ski patrol involved.

Expecting anyone to act like a Christian when no one has told them about Christ is ludicrous.  Making laws to that effect not only violates the First Amendment, it exposes our selfishness in wanting to keep the “mountain” to ourselves, and our hypocrisy in focusing on outward behaviors instead of a heart filled and changed by the Holy Spirit.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. (Matthew 23:4)

September 11th, 2010 | Author:

When asked about the impact of threatening to burn qurans in his recent press conference, Obama said this:

There’s no doubt that when someone goes out of their way to be provocative in ways that we know can inflame the passions of over a billion Muslims around the world at a time when we’ve got our troops in a lot of Muslim countries, that’s a problem.

Instead of sending the FBI to intimidate the misguided Florida pastor, removing our troops from “a lot of Muslim countries” would seem to offer them better protection.  It might even “deflame” their hatred for the U.S. because it would be harder for us to kill their civilians from a distance.

This move would probably help the democrats in November, too, although I know you would never make a decision based on politics.

I’m just sayin’ and I know you have other very important things on your mind, but that’s my two cents, Mr. President.

September 08th, 2010 | Author:

As the ninth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the battle continues to rage over plans to build a mosque near ground zero; a church in Gainesville, Florida has dubbed the day International Burn a Quran Day; and analysis of the 9/11 text messages posted by Wikileaks reveals that the greatest emotional response to the attack was not anxiety or sadness, but anger.   Here’s a chart showing how we felt as the day progressed:

I submit that the anger represented in this chart has only continued to increase over the past nine years.  Not satisfied with destroying Iraq and Afghanistan, with murdering  thousands of civilians, we seek further revenge.  We want to burn their holy books and prevent them from building their holy buildings.  In our hearts, we don’t want them in our country.  As many people I know would say privately, “kill the towelheads.”

I am not concerned with how the “many people” act.  As Paul told us,

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

But I am deeply concerned with those who call themselves Christians, particularly those in public places, for I am seeing and hearing little on this subject that reflects Christ.  I am particularly grieved by the common attitude that Americans “deserve” the respect of Islam, that our desires are more important than theirs, which is the complete opposite of this biblical injunction:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  (Philippians 2:3)

If we are truly living for Christ, then our concern would be to win Muslims to Christ, not satisfy our own sensibilities.

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

Do not mistake my meaning.  I am not among those who think that all religions are equal, or that Muslims are going to heaven.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)

I believe this completely, and am convinced that until I was born again at 39, I was destined to hell.   No good deeds or acts of martyrdom will gain us access to God.  Only repentance and faith that Jesus died for our sins can accomplish that.

So then, if we have truly been saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, our response should not be to banish Muslims or denigrate Muslims, because it is not Muslims that we battle:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

This is an oft-quoted verse, but at least as it relates to 9/11 and Islam, few Christians seem to actually believe it.  We respond no differently than the world.  We want to keep what we think is ours, and forget that it all belongs to God.  And we want revenge.  Oh, how we want revenge.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)

If we continue to seek revenge, if we continue to try to outlaw Muslims in this supposed land of the free, then we are exposed as hypocritical Christians and have already been overcome by evil … and Islam has won America.

July 23rd, 2010 | Author:

From a legal standpoint, there can be no rational controversy over building a mosque and Islamic community center near ground zero in Manhattan:

From an emotional viewpoint, many have sounded off, including this tweet from Sarah Palin:

Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing

In a subsequent Facebook post, she expanded on her position:

Just days after 9/11, the spiritual leader of the organization that wants to build the mosque, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, suggested that blame be placed on the innocents when he stated that the “United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened” and that “in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.”

While in no way does it justify killing innocent civilians, Rauf has a point if you consider that the U.S. supported bin Laden during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, helping to create Al-Qaeda.

Another appeal to emotion comes in this short video from the The Center for Security Policy:

As a Christian, I can only say, “So what?”  From an eternal viewpoint, a building – whether it’s a mosque or the “9-11 Christian Center”  that is being planned at Ground Zero in retaliation – is no kind of victory.  Both are temporary.  Both will be burned up in the day of the Lord.

As most Americans did, I mourned and cried on 9/11 for the 3,000 souls who were lost, for their families, and for New York.

And I am no fan of Islam.  It’s leading millions of people straight to hell.

But neither am I a fan of religious buildings, whether they’re Islamic, Christian, or Buddhist.  God is not honored by mortar and stone, but by a heart that is cleansed by the blood of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, and devoted to Him.

I am appalled that so many American Christians, instead of heeding the words of our Lord to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, are using worldly, emotional tactics to try to control the actions of the lost.  If Christians truly desire to draw others to Christ, they will not force society at large to honor their traditions and their worthless piles of rubble, but will live the faith they profess.

My friend Jim Wetzel summed this all up nicely in a recent post.  He was addressing a different topic, but if you add buildings to his list, he makes this appeal to our faith:

If we really have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us in power, we shouldn’t need a picture embedded in our flesh, or a cross on a chain around our neck, or a bumper sticker, to give evidence to the world; the evidence should be in our deeds, and in our love. Or so it seems to me.

May 12th, 2010 | Author:

The Word for Wednesday (WFW) is a once-a-week opportunity for Christian bloggers to collectively share what the Lord is working in their hearts. If you’d like to participate, click the WFW tab above.

Note to regular readers: I will resume my End of the Age review of the Olivet Discourse as the Lord leads. Today I’m off on a more topical issue.

The National Day of Prayer

In 1952 Congress, at the request of Billy Graham, established the National Day of Prayer where people were asked to “turn to God in prayer and meditation.”  In 1988, they set the first Thursday in May as “the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.”

On April 15, 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional on this basis:

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote that the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.

“In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray,” Crabb wrote.

In her ruling, she stated that the issue would not go into effect until it has been through the appeals process, and Obama dutifully issued his proclamation.

My first response to all the backlash Crabb’s ruling generated was, “So what?” Do we really need – or want – Obama (or Bush or Clinton or ?) to tell us when and what to pray?  Would the lack of a presidential proclamation prevent us from praying?

When I read Crabb’s reasoning, I tended to agree with her.  If the President can call us to pray on a particular day, hosting special events for that purpose, could they not also try to direct us to non-biblical acts?  This, in fact, is already being attempted, as the New Apostolic Reformation of C. Peter Wagner joined forces with the Christian Right  in what was dubbed “A Cry to God:  May Day 2010” at the Lincoln Memorial.  As Herescope documented, this was less than biblical:

One of the most amazing aspects of the May Day event, planned in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial on May 1, 2010, is its Official Program stating the “Prayers of Repentance for the Seven Mountains of Culture.”[3] Many good-intentioned believers are being led into this event because they support its conservative political ideologies and moral overtones. They support Israel and they are against abortion. But do these folks also support the Seven Mountains of Culture Mandate? And are they fully in agreement with the esoteric theology of these spiritual warfare prayers and the Dominionist goals of the NAR leaders of the May Day event?

I’d encourage you to read that article and follow the links it contains, as well as this article and this one.  There is a long-planned co-opting of Christianity being implemented, and discernment is required.

All of this has led me to reflect on the larger issue of America as

A Christian Nation

“America was birthed in prayer and founded on the Bible,” said Shirley Dobson, chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, on Thursday.

A solemn mood prevailed at this year’s National Day of Prayer, as speaker after speaker lamented what they perceive as an attack on our Christian Nation, but … does it really matter?  Can any man-made law make us Christian or prevent us from being Christian?  Can any nation actually be Christian?

Before everybody gets in a dither, let me state that I agree with Dobson’s statement.  I’ve learned a lot from my friend Hercules Mulligan, and I agree that, by and large, the founders of America were Christian and attempted to base our government on God’s law.  But that does not make us a Christian nation.

Jesus told Pilate this:

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” (John 18:36)

Nowhere in scripture did Jesus attempt to change the worldly governments.  Nowhere in scripture did Jesus tell his disciples to change the worldly governments. In fact, history has shown that since Constantine tried to establish the first “Christian nation,” nothing but disaster has resulted.  Every government that has tried to enforce Christian principles wound up killing in Jesus’ name and desecrating His name – and America is no exception.

A Young Soldier, in a follow-up to the Wikileak Collateral Murder video (which has over 6 million views to date),  has posted Part 1 of an interview with Josh Stieber.  Go here to watch the whole interview or read the transcript.

Josh Stieber enlisted in the army after graduating high school. He was deployed to Baghdad from Feb 07- Apr 08 with the military company shown on the ground in the Collater Murder video. Upon his return from Iraq, Josh was granted conscientious objector status.

So who is this young man?  What was he thinking when he enlisted?  Here’s part of the interview.

STIEBER: I grew up very religiously and very patriotic, in a selective sense that, you know, I only wanted to hear things that I wanted to hear and only things that I thought would make my country look better and make my beliefs look better, and I wasn’t very interested in understanding other perspectives. And the vision I had of my country was that, you know, we were going all throughout the world doing, you know, all this great stuff and helping people in need. And, you know, after 9/11 I was obviously affected by that and wanted to protect the people that I cared about, and, from everyone I trusted, was told that the military would be a good way to do that, and then was also told, you know, there’s this country Iraq that’s getting oppressed by this horrible dictator who’s also a threat to us, and if we can get rid of him, not only will we be keeping ourselves safe, but we’ll also be helping this other country in the process.

JAY: How interwoven were your beliefs in America and what America stands for and your religious beliefs?

STIEBER: They were pretty closely intertwined. I went to a religious high school. And one example is, in a government class that I was in at this religious high school, we read a book called The Faith of George W. Bush. And people like that were held up as, you know, these—these are people that are fighting for God’s will here on Earth. So religion was very interwoven with a sense of nationalism.

So what happened to change his beliefs?

JAY: So you go to Iraq. You join, you go through boot camp, and you’re sent to Iraq, and you’re still more or less the same mindset. Tell us a little bit about boot camp and the kind of training that takes place to prepare you for war. I mean, your religious training is supposed to be about love thy neighbor, and then you’re sent to war. So how do they get you ready for that?

STIEBER: Yeah, I guess that’s where I started to see, maybe, some of these contradictions, just by the kinds of things that we did on a regular basis in basic training, whether it was the cadences that we sang as we were marching around, some that even joked about killing women and children.

JAY: Like what?

STIEBER: One that stands out in my mind is—it goes,

“I went down to the market where all the women shop
I pulled out my machete and I begin to chop
I went down to the park where all the children play
I pulled out my machine gun and I begin to spray.”

JAY: That’s as you’re marching.


JAY: So this is, like, an authorized chant, you could say.

STIEBER: Yeah. I mean, the training, they focus on the physical aspect, or, you know, they say that’s the challenging part, but then they slip all these psychological things in along with it.

JAY: Well, that’s got to be shocking for you to hear that the first time.

STIEBER: Yeah. And so I started writing home to religious leaders at my church, saying what I’m being asked to do doesn’t really line up with, you know, all these religious beliefs I had. And I would get letters back with explanations that I needed to have more faith in God, or this is just how the military works.

JAY: They would write back and defend a chant like that, that it’s okay to go down where the kids are playing and start to spray? They would defend that?

STIEBER: They would either defend it or say that ends justify the means or say, you know, maybe you personally don’t say chants like that and just march silently, but you still go along with the whole system.

If these are the words taught by a “Christian Nation,” it’s no wonder the Muslims hate America.  And it’s no wonder that they hate Jesus.

I’ve taken some liberties with the following scripture, but based on Matthew 5:43-48 when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, I don’t think He will object.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love for Muslims,
I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge;
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love for Muslims,
I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor,
and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love for Muslims,
it profits me nothing.
Love is patient,
love is kind and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own, is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7)