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Archive for January, 2011

There are many similarities between Muslims and Christians. In fact, as a follower of Jesus the Messiah, when I am with Muslims I often feel more comfortable than when I am with Americans or other Westerners. My values are much closer to an average Muslim than to a secular Westerner. We especially noticed this several years ago while studying Arabic in Syria. There was a big difference between us and some of our European classmates (I only remember one other American, though, interestingly, we did meet a Somali who lived about a mile away from us in America).

As similar as many of our values are, there are differences in our theology, especially regarding our beliefs about Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus Christ? What did he do? It is the answers to these questions that separate us (the separation is theological – it doesn’t have to be relational).

This morning as I read my Bible I came across a passage that defines the differences between us. When I read this text my heart fills with praise to God and gratefulness for his mercy and compassion. I am really happy that I am reconciled to God, that I have peace with the Lord of the worlds. Here are the verses:

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. – Colossians 1:19-20

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Richard Nixon: Peacemaker

Richard Nixon was the 37th President of the United States. If you know anything about him, you know that he was the first and only president to resign from office. His legacy has forever been scarred by the Watergate break-in and the subsequent cover up.

Most people (even Americans), however, don’t know much about the remarkable foreign policy breakthroughs that he accomplished during his time in office. This included ending the Vietnam War, opening relations with China (he was the first president to visit China), and negotiating the first nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union.

In 2009 my family visited Disneyland in Southern California. Afterwards we were traveling to Hemet, CA to visit friends. I love presidential history, so when I mapped it out and saw that we would go through Yorba Linda and be a couple of miles from Richard Nixon’s birthplace and Library I convinced my wife we had to stop.

It was great seeing all the memorabilia from his life and teaching my daughter, Lucy, about Nixon and other presidents. We got to go in Marine One, which is the helicopter he left the White House in on the day he resigned. But the thing that stood out most to me was his tombstone. Here is a picture:

“The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker”

The phrase on his tombstone is a line from his first inaugural address. Whether we think of Richard Nixon as a peacemaker or not, it is interesting to me that being a peacemaker must have been very significant for him since he had it placed on his tombstone. It is how he wanted to be remembered.

I’m not working in the arena of foreign affairs between governments, but it is how I hope I will be remembered.

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Human Shields

Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community.

In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.

HT: Justin

 

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