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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reaching out to Muslims with a circle of love

    "There is no greater love than
     to lay down one's life for one's friends."
          Jesus/ John 15:13

 I'm very excited about my new book, "Tears in a bottle: seeing through their eyes." I have spent over two years wrestling and laboring with the themes of this book in order to present a perspective that I believe has been sadly ignored. As a Christian I am interested in dialoging
 and communicating respectfully with those of "different faiths." In particular, I spend a lot of time on the internet interacting with Muslims in Iran, Malaysia and different parts of the world. My goal in all of this is to first find our common ground and then discuss the theological differences in our worldviews.
"Tears in a bottle," is an open and honest book that attempts to help you and I "see through the eyes" of the average Muslim as they encounter hatred and discrimination in their everyday lives. I felt the best way to introduce my new book is to reproduce the introduction word for word and let you get a glimpse of the motives in my heart for writing this new book.
                                   (A Circle of Love)

When we love and lay down our lives for our friends, we are pleasing to God in the ultimate way. This is exactly what Jesus did for us. He loved us so much that He was willing to give away his life for his friends.
Recently, there was a beautiful example of this sacrificial love demonstrated in the streets of Cairo, Egypt. As protesters and angry crowds collided with each other in outrage over the dictatorship of Mubarak, a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians peacefully displayed a beautiful circle of love. They joined hands with each other and formed a circle of protection around Muslims so that they could perform their Friday prayers. This was one of the most beautiful events I have ever seen. Amidst the violence, anger and outrage, a group pf Christians were willing to lay down their lives so that their Muslims friends would be protected.
Living in a post 9/11 mindset, we have become fearful and judgmental toward all Muslims. Instead of displaying a circle of love and tolerance, we have instead erected a circle/barrier of hatred and labeled every Muslim with a terrorist mentality  Instead of personal conversations and interactions between each other, we have allowed the ratings- driven media to shape and decide who we really are. We don't talk to each other and listen. Instead, we allow the media to paint a distorted picture of our identities and because of that the scars go deeper.
My new book, "Tears in a bottle," is an attempt to bring healing to the scars. The scars of fear, the scars of racism and discrimination and the scars of not listening from the heart. 
There are no scars too deep and there is no hatred too strong that the Grace of God cannot heal.
What I witnessed in Egypt is possible right here where we live in America. We have a beautiful freedom and opportunity to form a circle of love around each other and begin to listen and pray for one another. While everyone else is in the crowd shouting, arguing and accusing, why don't you dare to be different? Take a moment to walk in a Muslim's shoes. Take the time to see, feel, and hear what they hear. When you and I begin to "see through their eyes," we will then have the courage to confront our own hypocrisies and then the world will be a much better place because of it.
Why not begin forming that circle of love today?