Archive for August, 2010

Ramadan 2010 Pictures

Great Ramadan pictures from The Big Picture.

I love the picture of this boy:

You can also see last year’s photos.

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From ABC News:

A New York City cab driver was attacked Tuesday evening just after 6 p.m. by a passenger who asked him if he was Muslim, says the NYPD. A spokesman for a New York City cabbie group blamed the attack on the proposed construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack, but police said they were not aware of any link.

Read the whole thing.

HT: E-baad-e News

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Visual Peacemakers

I recently was pointed to The International Guild of Visual Peacemakers. It is a guild of cultural photographers who seek to use their skills to promote greater understanding among different peoples of the world. Here is how they describe their purpose:

We are devoted to peacemaking & breaking down stereotypes by displaying the beauty of cultures around the world.

The International Guild of Visual Peacemakers (IGVP) was created to build bridges of peace across ethnic, cultural, and religious lines through visual communication that is both accountable to an ethical standard and created by those who authentically care about people.

On their site you can read their blog and see their work.

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Is America Islamophobic?

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I’m thankful for the way Justin Taylor points people to good resources. The following post was so helpful with so many resources that I decided to repost it in its entirety. From Justin’s blog:

I would recommend that every church at least be familiar with Peacemaker Ministries and the resources that they offer. I recently had an opportunity to lead a group through their small-group DVD set and study guide, and the feedback was very encouraging, with tangible fruit produced.

They have a church resource set, which contains posters, sermon outlines, a DVD, leader’s guide, and small-group participants’ guides. This is a great way to introduce a “culture of peacemaking” throughout the church. A newer resource is a DVD-based group study designed specifically church leadership teams, called The Leadership Opportunity: Living Out the Gospel Where Conflict and Leadership Intersect.

Here are some free online resources that give you an idea about their approach:

  • Getting to the Heart of Conflict – Conflict starts in the heart. Therefore, if we fail to address the heart in a conflict, then any solution will fall short of true reconciliation.
  • The Four G’s – The biblical system for resolving conflict is captured by “The Four G’s”: Glorify God, Get the log out of your own eye, Gently Restore, and Go and be reconciled.
  • The Slippery Slope – A visual tool for understanding the ways people tend to and ought to respond to conflict.
  • The Seven A’s of Confession – A guide to making a sincere and complete confession.
  • The PAUSE Principle – A biblical approach to negotiation.
  • The Four Promises of Forgiveness – A great way to remember what you are really saying (and committing to) when you say “I forgive you.”
  • The Peacemaker’s Pledge – Complete summary of biblical peacemaking, suitable for churches or organizations to commit to together.
  • Relational Commitments – A way for a church to make a mutual commitment to work together to pursue unity, maintain friendships, preserve marriages, and build relationships that reflect the love of Christ.
  • The Gospel of Peace Mirrored Through Peacemaking – A summary statement of how the gospel of Jesus Christ is at the core of biblical peacemaking.

Let me give you a quick outline of one of these resources (go here for the full version). They talk about The Slippery Slope, a very helpful visual for thinking about the different ways we can and should respond to conflict:

Escape Responses
On the left side are three responses typically used by those who want to avoid or get away from conflict instead of resolving it. Starting with the most extreme, they are:

  1. Suicide
  2. Flight
  3. Denial

Attack Responses

On the other side of the slippery slope spectrum are attack responses, going to the most extreme:

  1. Assault
  2. Litigation
  3. Murder

Peacemaking Responses

In the middle are responses of conciliation, recognizing that the gospel is the key to peace.

The six responses are divided into two categories:

Personal peacemaking:

  1. Overlook an offense
  2. Reconciliation
  3. Negotiation

Assisted responses

  1. Mediation
  2. Arbitration
  3. Accountability

Again, I find these sorts of tools very helpful for providing a grid of responses to conflict.

If you’re looking for helpful books applying peacemaking to various roles and aspects of life, here is what WTS Books carries:

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Tweeting the Bible

I’ll admit that I am not a fan of Twitter. I don’t tweet and I have no plans to do it. Honestly, I suspect that for 98% of those tweeting it is an egotistical waste of time. (Sorry to my readers and friends who tweet! I’m sure you’re all in the other 2% :))

Yet, there can be something good about taking a Bible chapter a day and being forced to summarize its point in 140 characters or less. This is what Chris Juby will do over the next 3 1/2 years. He tweeted Genesis 11 today. Regarding the difficulty of summarizing the text he says this:

Will I really be able to do justice to all 176 verses of Psalm 119 in 140 characters? Probably not. But the challenge of being so brief will force me to engage with the text and understand the key themes. And that’s partly the point in the first place – I want to be an active rather than a passive reader of Scripture!

Amen to that!

You can follow him on Twitter or at his site.

HT: CNN Religion Blog

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It is Ramadan. Muslims all over the world are fasting from sunrise to sunset. At the end of the month they will celebrate with one of the two most important holidays in Islam: Eid Al Fitr. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar it is possible that this holiday will land on September 11. No one reading this needs to be reminded of the significance of that day.

Unfortunately, Muslims who had nothing to do with 9/11 have had to contend with lots of backlash from that day and no doubt it will be even louder if the holiday lands on 9/11.

I was moved with compassion as I read Haroon Moghul’s thoughtful article about this convergence. I encourage you to read it and see that American Muslims endured loss on 9/11 as well.

It was worrying enough to think about how some people might misinterpret such a convergence, and that was before the rise in Islamophobic rhetoric. Every other day, I’m greeted with someone arguing that Muslims are all evil, that we shouldn’t have any more mosques in America, that we are a dastardly fifth column. The assumption here is always that Muslims are foreigners and intruders, that we are strangers in our own lands, unwelcome in our own homes.

It is easy for us to forget that there were also Muslim victims on 9/11. Moghul lives in New York and was there when the towers came down. Two fears came over him, “How do I explain that I was scared because my city was attacked, but I was also scared because people might blame me?” Not sure of what to do he went to the Muslim prayer room they had on campus and found a Jewish student. When Haroon asked him what he was doing he replied:

“I figured that some Muslims might feel uncomfortable walking home”—people had already begun to blame any number of extremist Muslim groups, and of course the subways had been shut down—“and that, if I walked home with them, maybe people would think twice before trying anything.” (He wore a yarmulke).

This reminds me of when America invaded Iraq in 2003. We were living in Syria at the time and the day of the invasion a Syrian friend called to check on us. She wanted to go to the store and get some groceries so that we wouldn’t have to go out in case we were afraid of any backlash.

The Ground Zero Mosque
I have sought to stay away from politics on this blog. I am stunned to see that what one thinks about whether there should be a mosque built near Ground Zero (not on it) has become political. It shouldn’t be. It seems appropriate at the end of this post to say that I support the building of the mosque and I am saddened to think that Americans who enjoy the greatest religious freedom in the world would be opposed.

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