The world of Islam

On Tuesday nights Judy and I are taking a college level class called “Perspective on the World Christian Movement”, or in AZ its called “Pathways to Global Understanding”. I’ve explained it in depth several Blogs back.
Last Tuesday we had an interesting class. We normally meet in a class room of a church, men and women altogether. But this time they separated men from women. Men went in one door and the ladies went in another. The men’s door was labeled, “You are now entering the Muslim world, please remove your shoes”. The women entered a door to the same room, but there was a partition between the men and them, with only a five foot wide curtain of opaque material. Their lights were turned off as well. I entered the men’s door and saw a Muslim Holy Man, in full robes, standing in front. In English he asked us to stand in a row side by side facing the front and that he was asked to go through some Islamic religious culture for us. He demonstrated the prayer and practice of the “five times a day prayer”. Then had us all sit down on the floor, no chairs in the room, for a question and answer time. He said the women were not allowed to speak, but could write notes and pass them to the men to read on their behalf. One of our men asked, “Why the separation, why can’t the women speak?” The Muslim teacher answered and said that “the woman’s voice is too tempting for men to hear when they are trying to worship and learn the things of god. Also to have a women doing the bowing and kneeling in front of men would be very distracting to men.

We all have a “World View”, a way of looking at and understanding the world around us. we are not born with it, we learn it as we grow. Each of us are taught our “World View”, by our families, our neighbors, our schools, churches, media, (TV, Newspapers, Radio). As we mature, hopefully we realise that not everyone thinks the same way we do. Some people have differing points of view. Not necessarily wrong, just different. When we come to that realization and are willing or even want to learn others world view, then we have a chance of learning to communicate cross culturally.

I really enjoy viewing the world through other peoples eyes. Its kind of like the old adage, “Walking a mile in another mans shoes”, and getting an idea as to why one acts and reacts the ways they do. To be able to speak to people using their own language and culture is a gift. We must take it seriously. We must be willing to step out of our comfort zone and learn of other people and their ways. The Muslim world is upon us. We need to know how to speak with them, so they can really understand us and learn of the relationship that God wants to have with them.

The two main takeaways I got that night:
(1) We followers of Christ make the statement that “Jesus is the Son of God”. A true statement. But to a Muslims ears that is perverted. To a Muslim that statement says God came down in some human form and had physical sex with Mary in order to have a son. To a Muslim that is a sick belief system of Christians, that we would so humanize God in that way. What Muslims believe is that God spoke Holy words that entered Mary and miraculously formed the baby Jesus.
What we have here is a “failure to communicate”.
(2) They have received some Sacred Scriptures in the Islamic world. We need to learn how to communicate the rest of Gods Words in such as way that they can understand it and embrace it as their own.

Way too busy.

This partnership developement takes a lot of time. Just finished the newest Newsletter. If I can figure out how to post it here, I will. Planning a trip out east. We’ll be leaving Thursday, March 11. Take three days and two night to get to Ashville, NC, to visit our daughter, Jody and her husband Caleb and Josh as well. We’ll be taking Jody and Caleb’s storage unit full of stuff. It’ll be a great trip! We’re deciding what books on CD to take with us. They really make the time go by. I love driving cross country. The USA has soooo much great seanery.

Grace and contentment

We all have challenges in our lives. At times we all find ourselves in circumstances not of our choosing. Difficulties are a part of life. I know when I take the time to actually choose contentment in the midst of my trials, I almost always receive a certain level of peace. I’m glad Paul talked about this. My natural reactions would not to be content, it goes against my grain.

Get Motivated

I went to this yesterday in Phoenix. It was held at the US Airways Arena. Plus 3 other satellite venues. 30 -50 thousand people attending. It was incredible.
The GET MOTIVATED Seminar is an action-packed, fun-filled, explosive, exciting, inspiring, skill-building business event that is world famous for its mega-watt superstar speakers and spectacular stage production. This blockbuster one-day seminar will give you proven strategies to sharpen your business skills, ignite your motivation, accelerate your effectiveness and increase your income!

Its a covert Christian event. The Gospel is clearly presented, several times, by world famous business people / Christians. Its a great event. I’ve been five times in the last 15 years. Somebody always gives me a free ticket. They are out there. But even if you have to pay, its well worth it.

Blessed to be a blessing

Love God, help people, and do what God puts in front of me to do. That’s my season of life right now. Don’t know that I’m doing a good job at it. But, at least its simple, concise and to the point. Some times I hear the wambalance coming, then I realize its only because I’m being a whiner. (“The Kid” with Bruce Willis) Sometimes I just want some stuff, land, house, truck, dog, etc. The normal American dream. Eventually, it always passes and I remember that God has already given me everything that I need. Which materially means He’s keeping us mobile or nomadic. I think He’s keeping us free of material goods so we can move quickly at some point. Thats a good thing…. the American Dream can cause one to be tied down. The more things we have the more responsibility we have to take care of and protect those things. Going to Chad is becoming more and more exciting to us. But we do have to buckle down and get our support back up to 100%. Need to get our French back up to par. Then we’d really like to get some Arabic language learning done and some Islamic culture studies completed. Then I’d like to get my Aviation Mechanics certification current. Wycliffe / JAARS has some aircraft in Cameroon I can help maintain part time and MAF has a Cessna Caravan and C206 right there in Chad, I could help maintain. Even at our current material status (low) we are filthy rich compared to 98% of the rest of the world. We have been blessed…. But not for our own enjoyment…. We’ve been blessed to be a blessing to the rest of the world…. Loving God is the big #1 in life and loving people is the big #2. I think everything God has done for us, His ways of blessing us, I think He has done it so we can pass it on. We are not blessed to hoard it and see how much more we can collect. We’re blessed to give it away, and I’m not speaking just materially now. Am I willing, if God calls, to give away everything, absolutely everything in His name and fore His glory? Am I willing to suffer injustice, poverty, sickness, imprisonment if doing so is Gods calling on my life?

Perspectives on the World Christian Movement

Its a life changing program. Once you take it, you’ll never be the same again!!!!!!
In AZ its called Pathways to Global Understanding. It started last week. Its the Biblical, Historical and Cultural Dimensions of Gods Plan for the Nations.
Since 1974, more than 80,000 believers in North America have experienced the Perspectives course. In 15 lessons, you’ll engage with a range of dynamic speakers. Weekly readings and study will help you dig even deeper. Join thousands of others in one of 200 locations.
PathWays is a dynamic 13-week journey that explores God’s worldwide agenda and the significant role each of us can play in His relentless Kingdom intentions.
It answers questions such as:
What is God’s purpose among the nations?
How is God working in history?
How is His Kingdom advancing?
Where does this generation fit in?

If you get a chance, go visit a meeting. The first two are always free. Then you can decide to schedule it for next time it comes around.

Survivors of Torture (SOT)

Survivors of Torture seminar at International Rescue Committee(IRC) on Tuesday

I attended and wanted to give you a short summery of the event. It was held at the IRC office on 7th st in PHX. About 50 people in attendance. Casie C was the speaker. It started off with some info on the wall.

70 countries currently use torture as a wide spread weapon.
5 – 35% of all refugees are torture survivors.
Between 2,000 – 16,000 torture survivors were resettled in AZ between 1983 and 2008.

1) Name at least 3 symptoms common to torture survivors.
Below is what I gleaned as the answers:
a) Chronic health issues
b) Extreme anxiety and depression
c) Isolation / fear of people
d) Unexplained gaps in trauma history
e) Distrust of community, local authority

2) Name at least 2 barriers survivors face when seeking services.
Below is what I gleaned as the answers:
a) Fear that no one will believe their story
b) Shame about their torture experience
c) Even after basic needs are met, they still have feelings of lack of security
d) Cultural negative impressions relating to mental health help
e) They think language and financial difficulties may prevent them from getting help
3) Describe the “Survivors of Torture” (SOT) program to a potential client and correctly complete a SOT referral form.
Below is what I gleaned as the answers:
a) A program offered to survivors of politically motivated torture.
b) Refugees who have experienced severe mental or physical pain or suffering as inflicted by government officials, police, military, or other groups in power (rebel groups, insurgent groups, etc.)
c) Services are also available to family members of torture survivors.
d) Intensive case management counseling
e) Medical, Dental, Psychiatric referrals
f) Many other types of referrals for survivors of torture.

Who is not eligible for services from SOT.
1) Victims of general war trauma
2) Victims of domestic violence
3) Victims of human trafficking
4) Those who were tortured by private citizens
There is help available for these situations under different refugee programs, just not the SOT program.

This is a seminar I would recommend to anyone working full or part time with refugees, including long term volunteers. Its goal is simply to help the worker recognize symptoms of SOT, explain the SOT program and if the refugee is interested in receiving help, instructions on filling out the referral form.