Cities Concerned about Declining Populations

The Blessings of Foreign Born Friends

The “Rust Belt.” The phrase brings to mind abandoned buildings, crumbling infrastructures, demoralized and unemployed people. Those that remain complain about the declining quality of life, police protection and the schools their children attend. What is a city to do when industry and people abandon their properties?

The Wall Street Journal on May 19, 2016 shared census statistics of the declining populations in US cities. Mayors and city councils are concerned with these trends. My city of Louisville would have declined in population over the last ten years if not for foreign born people moving to our city. Cities

Looking Like Jesus:

Actions and Proof Texts

I recently took my Syrian imam friend to a Christian college to speak. He was a guest lecturer in “Cross Cultural Communications” classes, a “Theology of Missions” class and a “Church Planting” class. It was really interesting to hear how the imam approached these topics from an Islamic perspective.

Jesus and ISIS: Five Commands for the Road to Peace

Peace Catalyst International
March 4, 2015

Rick Love, president of Peace Catalyst International gives several important guidelines for Christians to keep in mind as they consider how to respond to the brutality of groups like ISIS. Rick is not a pacifist but e is a follower of Jesus who wrestles deeply with Jesus teachings and example. For an audio podcast of much of this same material listen to Rick here

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Some Christian Thoughts on Fear

If you were to ask Muslims about the events in Iraq and Syria, you would get many different answers as to why these things are happening, which implies there is no single grand conspiracy that all Muslims have to “take over the world.” Sure, there are some who have grand designs to rule the world under a single caliphate, but most Muslims would never follow the radical leader of ISIS. The deeper question is, “Why would anyone follow a self-proclaimed spiritual and political leader who advocates such violence as God’s will?” Imam Wasif Iqbal asked the same question in a recent video interview that I did with him. According to the imam, this “caliph” has no appeal or legitimacy to most Muslims.

Many Muslims would like to see the world submitted to God. Christians would say the same thing. This world would be better off if we were submitted to God, but that should lead us to a neglected conversation between Muslims and Christians about what it means to submit to God and just how are we supposed to get to that point.

The Problem With Fear

1 John 4:18 Perfect love casts out fear. As long as we are fearful, we are not loving perfectly.

With people’s heads getting sawed off with knives, it is easy to become fearful and/or angry. That is what the terrorists want. I’ve watched the news reports calling for war. Now, on this 13th anniversary of 9/11, the President vows to “destroy” the militants known as ISIS. Seems like we have been here before. Trying to bomb our way to peace seems misguided without a longer-range plan or asking ourselves, “How did we get here in the first place?”

Following the collective “we,” the masses, the majority, frequently get us into trouble. As Brian Zahnd recently wrote in his book, A Farewell to Mars, “the crowd is nearly always wrong,” or at least suspect. The crowd wanted to return to Egypt. The crowd wanted to crucify Jesus. The crowd has elected and followed some terrible leaders throughout history.

Balancing Hard and Soft Power (Part 1)

The war drums are beating again. “ISIS is just one airline ticket away from attacking the United States,” a senator said on the morning news. The President was to announce another round of policy changes in a speech that night. “We hope the President, in his speech tonight, does not tie our hands and get into what the US will and will not do.”

It seems the “go-to” tool is the military. If things begin to boil out of control, it must be time to bomb the pot. In between bombings, we ignore the pot as it simmers on the stove. Some say it is too expensive to invest in development programs abroad. We even have laws that prevent us from engaging. You have probably heard, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” At some point, to resolve issues, somebody has got to talk.

Remembering What the Quakers Were Saying the Day After 9/11/2001

Friends Committee on National Legislation
September 12, 2001

 

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Do you remember the ire silence in the skies on September 12, 2001.  No planes were flying.  No jet streams criss-crossed the skies. America was in shock trying to figure out what happened and who was responsible. Here is what the Friends were saying then.

Our hearts go out today to the victims of Tuesday’s terrible attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the people in the four civilian aircraft. We call on Friends and others across the U.S. to offer prayers, solace, friendship, and aid to the survivors, families, and friends of the victims.

We are concerned, however, about how the U.S. government responds now. First, we are concerned that the U.S. not avenge these attacks with attacks upon other innocent people who may happen to be of the same nationality, faith, or ethnic group as the alleged perpetrators. This concern extends to protecting the safety and rights of people here at home. Many in this country of the Islamic faith or of Middle Eastern descent are worried that they may now become the unwarranted focus of suspicion in their communities or, worse, the subjects of unjust persecution.

Kurdish areas

I have been working on setting up an opportunity to get to know your Kurdish neighbors for several months.  Long before this ISIS group came into the mainstream news, I was talking with local Kurdish people about a Peace Feast.  I would thin with all the news coming from Iraq and Syria, you might want to hear what the local Kurds have to say. As a special treat, we will have Kurdish musicians performing for us.

This event will be at Little Jerusalem Cafe.  Sami always does such a wonderful job preparing our meals. The buffet meal will cost $10.  Please make  reservation now to help us plan for the event. We will need to limit this event to about 80 people. I hope you can join us!

Benchmark Events

Date: September 6, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Event: Kurdish Peace Feast
Topic: Our Kurdish Neighbors
Sponsor: Peace Catalyst International
(502) 424-5162
Venue: Little Jerusalem Cafe
(502) 614-6465
Location: 5312 South Third Street
Louisville, KY 40214
Public: Private
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Peace Catalyst Articles

 

The purpose of Peace Catalyst International entries here are to create a greater understanding and respect among various cultures. How many conflicts could be minimized or totally avoided if we just understood each other an little better.  In that spirit, these posting try to shed light on things often misunderstood.