Thursday, March 29, 2007

Disturb Us?

Sir Francis Drake, an adventurer and essentially legal pirate, wrote this prayer in 1577 as he departed Portsmouth, England on the Golden Hind to raid Spanish gold on the west coast of South America.

He ventured at least as far north as the non-Spanish parts of California, claiming it as "New Albion" [New England] and returned to his Queen (the long way - via circumnavigation of the world) with loot worth over a half million pounds sterling receiving his knighthood for it. Special thanks to Tom Hughes for sharing it with me.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

Active Adventist #1?

In the first years of the nineteenth century, most runaway slaves didn't get very far. The more than 100,000 who did almost always had the help of Quakers, free blacks, and other opponents of slavery. Such as John Byington, the first General Conference President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who ran a station on the Underground Railroad on his farm in upstate New York. For more info, click here to read Social Work and Adventist Education: Strange Bedfellows or Kindred Spirits? by G. Victoria Jackson, Asst. Professor of Social Work, Loma Linda University [page 7 of the online PDF or p.183 in her research]

While there are no references to John Byington in the following book according to Amazon's "Search Inside This Book" feature, I'm still putting Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America by Fergus Bordewich on my wishlist.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Can A Good Muslim Be A Good American?

Because I’ve recently been posting some stuff I've learned about Islam, my friend Jim decided to forward me an email “to get a rise out of me.” Which worked. The email asked the following question: Can a good Muslim be a good American? And overwhelmingly concluded “no.”

Since I can’t read the Quran in its native Arabic, I hauled out my English translation of the Quran called The Message of the Quran translated and explained by Muhammad Asad that I received in the mail for free from The Council on American Islamic Relations [See previous post “Christ In The Quran?” for details] and added my responses in italics which Jim said he'd look forward to reading. Can a good Muslim be a good American? What do you think?

Theologically - no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of Arabia. Allah means “The God” and is the Arabic word for the monotheistic worship of the only true God in heaven that was known by the bedouin descendants of Abraham’s first son Ishmael [Genesis 16] in Arabia for thousands of years before Muhammad was even born.

Religiously - no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256). That’s not what that reference says. Sura 2:256 actually says “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from [the way of] error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.”

Scripturally - no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran. Common sense contradicts this conclusion. Who do historians say actually protected many of the oldest manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments? Muslims. Sura 5:68 adds, “Say: ‘O followers of the Bible! You have no valid ground for your beliefs unless you [truly] observe the Torah and the Gospel, and all that has been bestowed from on high upon you by your Sustainer!”

Geographically - no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca , to which he turns in prayer five times a day. This makes very little sense. American Freemasons and their buildings always face east so they can pray toward the sun. But we don’t question the patriotism of the numerous Freemason Presidents of the United States do we?

Socially - no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews. Much of what Muhammad was taught came from Jewish and Christian friends. Sura 5:47 says, “Let, then, the followers of the Gospel judge in accordance with what God has revealed therein.”

Politically - no. Because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and Destruction of America, the great Satan. There are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world many of whom do not advocate violence. Moderate voices like Hamza Yusuf [click here to read his article “Love Even Those Who Revile You”] and Abou Fadl who wrote The Great Theft [click here or the graphic to the left for more info] could probably do a better job of getting their message out, but they often do not receive much help from the media or from Christians.

Domestically - no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34). As hard as it is for us understand, Muhammad actually elevated the treatment of women in the violent 6th century. Sura 4:34 is comparing how Muslims should treat a righteous devout wife versus an unfaithful unrighteous unrepentant wife.

“Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which God has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter, and with what they may spend out of the possessions. And the righteous women are the truly devout ones, who guard their intimacy which God has [ordained to be] guarded. And as for those women whose ill-will you have reason to fear, admonish them [first]; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them.”

Sura 4:15-16 adds, “And as for those of your women who become guilty of immoral conduct, call upon four from among you who have witnessed their guilt; and if these bear witness thereto, confine the guilty women to their houses until death takes them away or God opens for them a way [through repentance]. And punish [thus] both of the guilty parties; but if they both repent and mend their ways, leave them alone: for, behold, God is an acceptor of repentance, a dispenser of grace.”

Intellectually - no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt. Because Muslims believe the Quran is 1 book from a single revelation of God that Muhammad subsequently dictated to his scribes over 23 years instead of the numerous revelations they believe the 44 authors of the Bible received over 1500 years, Muslims believe the Quran and the Bible are totally different in nature making comparisons between the two fruitless. Muslims still highly respect the Bible though and don’t understand why Christians would ever leave it on the shelf or casually place anything on top of it using it as a coffee table coaster.

Sura 4:136 says, “O you who have attained faith! Hold fast unto your belief in God and His Apostle, and in the divine writ which He has bestowed from on high upon His Apostle, step by step, as well as in the revelation which He sent down aforetime [the Bible]: for he who denies God, and His angels, and His revelations, and His apostles, and the Last Day, has indeed gone astray.”

Philosophically - no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic. We should judge an idea by its founder and its teachings not by its abuses. Muhammad and the Quran do allow for freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam can co-exist. There are moderate Muslims teaching and preaching this. Christians should help them do it.

Sura 5:48 says, “If God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto you. Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ.”

Spiritually - no. Because when we declare “one nation under God,” the Christian’s God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent names. I think it’s ironic that all 99 names of Allah in the Quran are also found in the Bible for God. Sura 6:59 adds, “For, with Him are the keys to the things that are beyond the reach of a created being’s perception: none knows them but He. And He knows all that is on land and in sea; and not a leaf falls but He knows it.”

Therefore after much study and deliberation....perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. They obviously cannot be both "good" Muslims and good Americans. After a little more study and deliberation, perhaps we should be suspicious of anyone who makes blanket statements about entire groups of people that are at best misleading and at worse blatantly false. Sura 5:42 says, “But if thou dost judge, judge between them with equity: verily, God loves those who act equitably.”

Call it what you wish....it's still the truth. Truth can afford to be fair. Sura 3:103 says, “And hold fast, all together, unto the bond with God, and do not draw apart from one another. And remember the blessings which God has bestowed upon you: how, when you were enemies, He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessing you became brethren; and [how, when] you were on the brink of a fiery abyss, He saved you from it. In this way God makes clear His message unto you, so that you might find guidance.”

Save Your Car's Soul?

This Castrol motor oil ad appeared in the December 2006 issue of Blender, p. 111. The ad has a large banner that reads “Save…” with smaller text below, “…your car’s soul.” The first line of the small print next to the image of the product reads, “Resist the temptation to put any old oil in your car.”

You could use this ad to discuss what Madison Avenue gets right or the true nature of salvation. Mark 8:36-37 [NIV] says, "36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Which reminds me of some lyrics from that old
Jewel song.

Who will save your soul if you won't save your own? / Some are walking, some are talking, some are stalking their kill / You got social security, but that don't pay your bills / There are addictions to feed and there are mouths to pay / So you bargain with the devil, say you're OK for today

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Could A Perfect Stranger Know You Better Than You Know Yourself?

I wish every guy I know would read Dinner With A Perfect Stranger.

I wish every girl I know would read A Day With A Perfect Stranger.

I read the first one last Saturday night in less than a couple of hours. It was so good I read the next one when I woke up.

They're only 100 pages each. But well worth your time. Click on either book for more info. Thank you to Jeff Batchelder for letting me read his copies so I can recommend them to you!!!

Global Warming?





Anything In Common?

Muslims and Christians both worship one God. In fact, they have much in common.

Although the history between Muslims and Christians has been strained at best, it doesn't have to be that way. There are many areas of common ground between the two faiths, providing ample opportunity to build relationships.

Building Bridges provides personal experiences based on a lifetime of understanding the Arab world as well as research and analysis of the texts of the Quran and the Bible to show the similarities between the two. This book supplies readers with the information, concrete examples, and insights necessary to begin effective communications with Muslims.

The Costly Call is an anthology of true stories of Muslims worldwide who found Jesus and converted to Christianity. Click on either book graphic for more info.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Christ In The Quran?

After 9/11, do you remember folks forwarding an email through cyber space saying that the Quran 9:11 contained the following quote?

"For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace."

According to snopes.com, an Urban Legends Reference Page, that quote is NOT in the Quran. But you know what is? The following references to Jesus [Isa in Arabic]!!!

If you don't believe me, you can get your own free copy of the Quran [all you pay is $8 shipping] from The Council On American-Islamic Relations [www.cair.com] by clicking the graphic above and then looking up the following surprising chapters [Suras in Arabic] and verses on your own.

Isa is the son of Mary [Sura 2:87,253; 3:45]
Isa is the Messiah [Sura 3:34; 4:157,171]
Isa is the Servant of God [Sura 4:172; 19:30]
Isa is a Prophet [Sura 19:30]
Isa is an Apostle of God [Sura 4:157,171; 5:75]
Isa is the Word of God [Sura 3:45,417]
Isa is the Word of Truth [Sura 19:34
Isa is the Spirit of God [Sura 4:171]
Isa is a witness [Sura 4:159; 5:117]
Isa is a mercy from God [Sura 19:71]
Isa is a sign for all peoples [Sura 19:21; 21:91]
Isa is great/eminent [Sura 3:45]
Isa is righteous [Sura 3:46; 6:85]
Isa is holy [Sura 19:19]
Isa is blessed/a blessing [Sura 19:31; 43:59]
Isa is a life–giver [Sura 3:49; 5:110]
Isa did miracles [Sura 2:87]
Isa was led by the Holy Spirit [Sura 2:253]
Isa was born of a virgin [Sura 3:47; 19:20-21]
Isa guides people to the truth [Sura 3:49-50]
Isa healed people [Sura 3:49; 5:110]
Isa raised the dead/life giver [Sura 3:49; 5:110]
Isa would die for unbelievers [Sura 3:55]
Isa resurrected from the dead [Sura 3:55]
Isa ascended into heaven after his [Sura 3:55]
Isa is coming again [Sura 43:61]
Isa knows the future [Sura 43:61,63]
Isa came with wisdom [Sura 43:63]
Isa is to be followed/obeyed [Sura 43:63]