South Sudan

Hope Deferred

I remember looking down on the village in South Sudan as we made our second approach to the dirt landing strip. The first fly-by was to chase the cows off the ru21205107313_9bf6b3512a_mnway. As we pulled up I saw anti-aircraft guns and several soldiers guarding the strip. At that time it was not yet South Sudan but functioned as an quasi-independent country. Fighting between the north and south had mostly stopped, but official recognition by the UN would only come later.

Islamophobia Hurts America

Religious Freedom and Islamophobia Conference in Philadelphia October 6-8, 2015

Douglas Johnston is known as the “Father of Faith Based Diplomacy. Opening the conference on Religious Freedom and Islamophobia, Johnston said, “The greatest asset we have to fight militant Islam is the American Muslim community. Unfortunately, we have alienated many in this community.” Johnston also said, “As the Muslim community is marginalized, it plays into the hands of extremists.”

Many in evangelical circles are concerned with the impact of overgeneralized anti-Islamic rhetoric and how that impacts common goals that we all share for religious freedom and security. The polarization between the Muslim communities and the Christian communities is doing great harm to our nation and to our Christian witness.

Muslims are Asking Questions in Louisville

Do you have answers?

I have been “evangelized” both by well-meaning Muslims doing da’wah and Christians who made assumptions about my relationship with Jesus. One Muslim wanted to “share his testimony” with me. I could not wait for that conversation to end. It did not feel so good to have my faith insulted as “inferior.” The phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” came to mind and made me question the way many “evangelize” others.

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


What the Atlantic Left Out About ISIS According to Their Own Expert

Think Progress
Feb 20, 2015

ISIS photo

Rick Love says of this article,

“An important, nuanced, and well written article about ISIS vs mainstream Islamic Theology.”

“There are numerous Islamic texts “that advocate a more kind of pacifist, less violent, and, in fact, an even tolerant and open-minded [religion that is] accepting of, let’s say, non-Muslims.” But he concluded that the texts ISIS pulls from still exist within the Islamic tradition, thus making them Islamic.”

Islam and the “Islamic State”: What Does the Quran Really Teach about Christianity?

The Witherspoon Institute - Public Discourse
February 19, 2015


“I choose to defend Islam not because I’m embarrassed or want to be politically correct, but because I love my religion. This understanding of Islam is not a “cotton candy” view of my faith, as some may naively suggest. Rather, the verses in this article get to the heart of Islamic belief. I share them with the hope that perhaps members of IS or those who are considering supporting their cause might read them and realize how un-Islamic their behavior really is.

“In a strange twist of fate, IS has become the greatest enemy of Islam in our modern world. What might have been a noble endeavor to establish Islam and provide social and economic justice for all has been marred with transgression against humanity. ” Saba Ahmed

What The Atlantic Gets Dangerously Wrong About ISIS And Islam

Think Progress
February 18, 2015


Graeme Wood entitled “What ISIS Really Wants,” which claims to expose the foundational theology of the terror group ISIS, also called the Islamic State, which has waged a horrific campaign of violence across Iraq, Syria, and Libya over the past year. The article is deeply researched, and makes observations about the core religious ideas driving ISIS — namely, a dark, bloodthirsty theology that revolves around an apocalyptic narrative in which ISIS’s black-clad soldiers believe they are playing a pivotal role.

Despite this, Wood’s article has encountered staunch criticism and derision from many Muslims and academics who study Islam.  The core issue, they say, is that Wood appears to have fallen prey to an inaccurate trope all too common in many Western circles: that ISIS is an inevitable product of Islam, mainly because the Qur’an and other Islamic texts contain passages that support its horrific acts.

Panel Discussion- What ISIS Really Wants

The Diane Rehm Show
February 18, 2015


I stumbled into an excellent panel discussion based on Graeme Wood’s article in the Atlantic on the Diane Rehm Show today.

  • Bernard Haykel professor of near eastern studies, Princeton University
  • Ambassador James Jeffrey former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey.
  • Graeme Wood contributing editor, Atlantic Magazine
  • Akbar Ahmed chair of Islamic studies at American University, former Pakistani high commissioner to the U.K.

As is the case with most panel discussions there will probably be things with which (more…)

What ISIS Really Wants

the Atlantic
March 2015

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The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.


Louisville Peace Feast helps Children in Pakistan

The mob surrounded the house as the couple hid behind a locked door. It was not strong enough to protect them. The bolts broke and the young couple was beaten because they had burned some paper with Arabic words that some thought came from the Qur’an. They were barely alive when they were then dragged to a brick kiln, where they were burned to death. The angel from Daniel’s fiery furnace did not appear to those gazing in, they did not emerge unharmed, but the injustice of this vigilante execution touched the hearts of Muslim men in Louisville, Kentucky.


“Do you remember that couple that was killed in Pakistan last year?” Younathan, my Christian Pakistani friend asked,

The look on my face said, “No.”

“They were a Christian couple. They were accused of blasphemy and a mob surrounded their house and killed them.”

Younathan went on. “Two Pakistani men at the mosque here in Louisville contacted me and wanted to set up a scholarship for the four children that were left behind. They asked if I could help them.” Younathan took the request to his father.