Making Jesus Accessible

  • Christianity and Why Words Matter

    If you haven’t checked out the discussion on both my Facebook and my last blog post, you should. It’s in response to my thoughts entitled “Jesus Wasn’t a Christian.” You should go read them if you haven’t….

    Here’s the deal – words matter. Sometimes I hear that “it’s all a bunch of semantics.” Well, yes. Language is vital. And Communication 101 is this: it’s not only what I say that matters, but what you hear.

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    Jesus Wasn’t A Christian

    Have you ever wondered who founded Christianity? The dictionary says it was Jesus Christ. Christ = Christian, right? A couple of thoughts on that and why it matters that we have it right…

    First of all, Jesus’ last name is not “Christ.” He was Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary. His title may have been “the Christ” or the “anointed one”, but that was not his name. His name was/is Jesus. (Joshua or Yeshua).

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  • Loving Bin Laden

    My two Lebanese Muslim friends and I waited in the hallway of the dark building for about five minutes before someone walked through the door and said “Follow me.” We did, and found ourselves in a room adorned with yellow and black Hezbollah flags and big, soft armchairs. And we waited.

    It was at this moment when it hit me what we were doing. We were meeting with an enemy of my country. Probably illegal – I think I had forgotten to check that little detail. (I’m not much for details.) We were surrounded by men with AK-47 machine guns, in an unfamiliar city, in an unknown building, meeting a man I’d never seen, who didn’t know why I was there. Other than that – all was good.

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  • A Congressman Weighs In….

    I wanted to share a post from another guest blogger on the Why Do You Fear Me? website. This post was written by Mark Siljander, former Republican U.S. congressman & deputy U.S./U.N. Ambassador.

    Can a Muslim be a Good American?

    By Mark Siljander

    The title above is the head of an email I have repeatedly received from concerned friends. That particular letter is not unique among the hundreds of perhaps well-intended books, articles, emails, and videos condemning Islam, often from Christian authors. They warn us that “radical Islam” is intent on dominating the world, destroying Israel and our Western way of life. While I will not debate their findings, we must first stop and realize that these tactics operate from a “bad news” spirit of fear. Meanwhile, the Bible tells us not to fear 200 times. Can we truly share the message of “Good News” while basing our sense of reality in fear?

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  • Do Muslims Speak Out?

    One of the questions I most often get is this: Why don’t Muslims speak out against the terrorists? It’s a fair question, because we don’t often hear that.

    I haven’t had guest bloggers in the past, but I thought this was worth posting. Eboo wrote this for our website, but I wanted to post it here as well.

    Muslims Speak Out

    by: Eboo Patel

    I recently wrote a piece for USA Today where I expressed my strong opposition to Muslim extremists, my belief in American pluralism, and my desire to partner with Americans to defeat extremists and achieve pluralism. I got some interesting responses to this article.

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  • Yemen and the Spread of Al Qaeda

    April 1983 – a scared 20-year old landed, all alone, in Sana Yemen – two days late because he had been “detained” by the police in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, so the man who was supposed to meet him, wasn’t there.

    That person was me. I was there to help rebuild some Yemeni villages which had been destroyed in the Christmas earthquake of 1982. I didn’t know anyone there, I didn’t speak Arabic, and I knew nothing about rebuilding stone houses – other then that, I was ready to go.

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  • Are you afraid of Muslims?

    Are you afraid of Muslims? Most are. For some good reasons too. The recent attempted bombing has made people nervous to fly again, not to mention, the daily bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan.

    Ask yourself these question to determine your Fear Factor (be honest):

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  • Take Jesus Back

    I encouraged the 1000 Muslims from around America at the Muslim American Society annual conference to “take Jesus back.” I reminded them that Jesus was from Nazareth, not Tulsa. And that he was probably 5 foot 8 with brown skin and a big hooked nose. That he looked more like the Arabs sitting on the front row than he did me. (They liked that).

    I retold the parable of the Good Samaritan and how provocative it would have been in his day. And I finished with Luke 4 – Jesus’ “mission statement.” And how interesting that everyone loved his speech until he pointed out that the Prophet Elijah went to a widow in Zarapheth (modern day Lebanon) and that Elisha healed the leper from Syria. Then they tried to kill him.

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  • Merry Christmas and Arab TV

    Chris and I and our three kids want to wish each of you a wonderful and merry Christmas. We hope it’ll be wonderful, with or without lots of presents.

    Two other quick things:

    1. Remember to pray for me as I address about 1000 Muslims in Chicago on the 26th.
    2. And I will release the video of me speaking on Hezbollah TV on the 28th. It wasn’t easy, but we got a decent quality live video of my whole talk (5 minutes) to the nation of Lebanon when we were there in November. It went out to the whole region on their satellite station as well. So when I get back, we’ll have a chance to post that. Should be interesting!

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  • Would the Good Samaritan Fight?

    I was recently asked a great question: If the Good Samaritan had shown up when the robbers were still beating the man, would he have intervened?

    It’s a good question without a simple answer. Yes! No! Maybe? It depends? It’s hard to know for sure since that’s not what happened, but we could make some educated guesses. First, my overall philosophy on how to frame the answer: We look at the life and teachings of Jesus (big surprise, eh?)! But seriously, many theologians, when asked about retaliation or defense in a physical manner, resort to the Old Testament for their answers.

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