Monthly Archives: February 2019

That crazy stuff Jesus did!

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Have you ever wanted to do the stuff Jesus did? Some of the crazy stuff? What would it be like to make a whip of cords and thrash your church?!? (Well, that church you used to go to!)

One of the things Jesus often did is available to us with limited risk of failure and high likelihood of success. Jesus talked to people who didn’t look, act, smell, talk or think like him. Sometimes they were brought to him. Think the woman caught in adultery. Other times he went after them, eg. Zacchaeus. And then there were times like Matthew’s shindig when Jesus chose to attend events he knew would gather a bunch of folks who aspiring young rabbis usually didn’t hang with.

People like us can do stuff like that, particularly with Muslims.

These three things affect how likely we are to engage with Muslims we don’t already know.

  1. Personality: If it deeply scares the bejeebers out of you to think about talking to someone you don’t know, cut yourself some slack. God’s main goal is not to make you something you’re not. He made you! And my main goal is not, “Let’s see how uncomfortable I can make them before they unsubscribe!!”
  2. Attitude: Maybe read through Romans 8 in the New Living Translation or listen to “Eye of the Tiger” really loud. Whatever gets you amped up! Then tell yourself, “I will not die if I talked to that guy! And if I come close to dying, at least I’ll have a good story!” (Tweet this.)
  3. Tactics: I think sometimes we’re hindered simply by not knowing what to say. The weight of social norms on one side, the absence of a good (pick up?) line on the other.

To help with number three, I want to develop a tool called the Muslim Connect “Hey there, Thank you, You’re welcome” Cheat Sheet. It will equip normal people like us to say those things in a couple dozen languages that Muslims tend to speak. It won’t solve everything, but it might give you a tool to open a conversation.

Here’s what I’d like to know from you: Would you be helped by something like this? What language(s) would you like to see? Is this something you’d be willing to pay for? If so, how much? $2? $5? If you can take a moment, please shoot me a quick email or just hit reply and let me know your thoughts. I’d really like to hear them.

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Troops in the Mosque (Not that kind!)

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Mention Girl Scouts around the U.S. this time of year and a healthy percentage of people will panic, “Is it too late to buy cookies?!?” (If you’re breathing just got rapid and shallow, do this: Go to girlscouts.org, drop in your zip code and relax. They’re still for sale near you!)

As much as I like their cookies, I want to talk about actual girls scouts this week. Particularly the fact that lots of Muslim girls are members of this most illustrious organization. I had no idea.

I read an article recently about Troop 647 in Plano, Texas. This all-Muslim troop numbers 100 scouts and meets in a mosque. After they recite the Girl Scout Promise, they together say the first chapter of the Quran, the Fatiha.

The article goes on to say, “These Scouts are part of the growing number of mosque-based troops sprouting across the nation. Although there are under 500 girls in all-Muslim troops in Northeast Texas, many more are among the 25,000 Scouts in integrated troops throughout the region’s 32 counties.”

And at a recent meeting, the all-Muslim group hosted a sister troop whose girls were working on their “Finding Common Ground” badges. Through conversation and activities, the girls gained understanding of each other and learned how to negotiate differences and compromise.

As you might guess, this has me thinking. Here are some questions that come to mind:

  1. If you want to meet Muslims and you qualify to join Girls Scouts (or have little munchkins who do), you might possibly find some friends there.
  2. Are all-Muslim girl scout troops a good idea? While I can see some advantages, it also raises some questions.
  3. Do we really want Muslim girls to “build their confidence, develop their sense of self and celebrate who they are?” If that happens, more of them are going to run for Congress! 😉

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Making Fun With Muslims

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Please see the special note at the bottom of this week’s Muslim Connect. 

Since humor provides a unique understanding of culture, and Muslim Connect has been dreadfully serious for a couple of weeks, I’d like to point you to some places where you can laugh along with Muslims.

Khalid Al Ameri, @KhalidAlAmeri
Fair warning: If you click one of these links, you may not surface for a while, but you will be happier when you do! (This is also the answer to the question, “Why did Muslim Connect come out on Friday instead of Thursday this week?) Khalid and his wife Salama are Emiratis. They are charming, beautiful and funny. Their videos, which have multiple millions of views, show a warm and insightful side of Muslim life in Dubai and beyond. At one to three minutes long, it’s easy to eat a whole box!

Here are a couple of favs (Arab hand signs, Snow fight) and the whole list.

Nigar Nazar
Nazar is the preeminent cartoonist of Pakistan. Her popular character is Gogi, according to the BBC, “a progressive, educated Pakistani woman who wears polka-dotted dresses – and is loved by thousands around the world.” Nazar delivers her social commentary with a pleasant dose of cuteness.

Muslim Women Comedians
Because tastes and boundaries vary, let me just point you to this list. I can’t endorse all these comedians, but number 4, Maysoon Zayid is very funny and her TED talk is pretty clean. Here’s a briefer snippet, with one bad word.

If you have other examples of Muslims being funny, I’d love to hear them. Post them in the comments or shoot me an email. Thank you.

I appreciate that you trust me enough to read Muslim Connect. If you have any trust left over, please check out my friend, brilliant global researcher, Justin Long’s Roundup. It’s a weekly collection of amazing resources and insight. If Muslim Connect is a curveball on the corner of the plate, Roundup is the World Series! 

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When Christians Marry Muslims

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How would you feel if your child, born or not yet, grew up and married a Muslim? My friend, Jami Staples wrestles with this as she counsels Christians who have married Muslims and parents whose kids have or are considering it.

Here’s an excerpt from our recent conversation. You can read the full transcript here. Jami also highly recommends the article, “Considerations for Marrying a Muslim.”
Why has this become such a compelling issue for you, Jami?

. . .it exposes two profound realities: Women are not convinced of the identity given to them by a very good and loving God and they’re not at all convinced their Muslim friends need to know Jesus.

What do you tell someone when they ask, “Where is God in the midst of my daughter marrying a Muslim?”

Interestingly I don’t get that question a lot. Most parents. . . tend to punish themselves before they punish God. (They) say “I wish we’d talked more directly about how to choose her spouse” or “what did we do wrong?”  We need to remember she is making choices based on much more than what she’s been taught. She is making decisions on who she believes herself to be.

What unique motivations lead Christian women to marry Muslim men?

Well, that is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Despite what the modern feminist movement wants us to believe, women prefer to be cherished. Many Muslim men are raised in cultures which value beauty, language and hospitality. . . . Second, Muslims are not only permitted but encouraged to marry “women of the Book” (Christians and Jews). Finally, the discussions she is having with her Muslim friend about faith. . . quickly degrade to opinions rather than truths. When “love is all that matters” becomes the bottom floor, there’s no stairwell for truth.

What do you tell someone who’s already married to a Muslim?

. . . God is a God who sees you. He knows the desires of your heart, your good intentions and the circumstances you are in. He’s never left you. Meanwhile, pray for your husband. God is in his story too.

Thank you for reading Muslim Connect. If you’re an info-vore like me, please check out my friend, brilliant global researcher, Justin Long’s weekly Roundup. It’s a regularly amazing collection of resources and insight. If Muslim Connect is a pop tart, Roundup is the grocery! 

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