Monthly Archives: November 2020

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

My heart goes out to the little turkeys this year. It used to be a good strategy: Stay small and the bigger guys will go first. Then 2020. Small holiday gatherings mean small gobblers go premium. Sorry my mini feathered friends.

I’m thankful, nonetheless, as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving today. I’m grateful to God for food and Muslims and particularly for when the two have overlapped in my life.

  • . . .for the Palestinian couple in Jordan who served my friends and me watermelon before the sun had risen.
  • . . .for Mrs. Memon who warmed my heart, but burned my tongue with her spicy treats.
  • . . .for the Turkish family in Konya who served fried eggs and warm baklava to AnnMarie and me.
  • . . .for the Kurdish family who called our little band up from the street in Istanbul as we wandered during an airline layover to feed our bodies and souls.
  • . . .for the Muslim missionaries-in-training in Malaysia who served a mountain of chicken and rice to my pastor, my friend, my dad and me.
  • . . .for our dear neighbor lady in Bradford who welcomed us to the neighborhood with some of the kindest and tastiest curry of my life.
  • . . .for the guys at the mosque in Frankfort who insisted I eat first after Ramadan even though I’d eaten and drank liberally all day.
  • . . .for every Bengali entrepreneur who’s ever served my teams and me kebabs. You saved our tummies and our budgets.
  • . . .for my dear Gambian friends in Catania who introduced me to domoda, the peanut, tomato and potato stew that sounds impossibly odd, but is certain to be a delicious staple of Heavenly cuisine.

Shukron, teshekur, grazie mille, thank you.

Congratulations to Leah from Oklahoma, the random winner of the $100 Amazon gift card celebrating the 200th edition of Muslim Connect. Leah’s been reading since nearly the beginning and she and her husband have eaten domoda, walked miles and prayed for God’s kingdom with me in Sicily. Thank you to the dozens who shared and wrote in response to the last issue. I appreciate you!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Simple, Staggering Question

We’re building a set of mantras in our house, aphorisms that bundle up the ideas and values we want to guide our interactions as a family and how we follow Jesus. “Mess up? Fess up,” for instance and “be grateful, not greedy.”

I’m trying to add this one to the canon: “Questions trump answers.” It’s a little dicey from a truth angle, plus the word “trump” can pull the mind away from the main point. We could go with “questions are better than answers,” but that immediately makes me sing “reindeers are better than people” in my head.

Some of this might be tied to personality and individual bent (Enneagram 9here!), but I’d prefer asking a Muslim four really good questions to sharing with him the four spiritual laws.

If you’re inclined that way as well, here’s a question you may want to try:

“Can you tell me about the God you believe in?” 

I read that question recently on a Facebook forum for people who connect with Muslims online. It resonates with me at a deep, deep level.

How would you respond if a non-belligerent atheist at work asked you that question? Or if your adult child did?

How do you suppose a Muslim friend might respond? I intend to find out! Of course, answers will vary considerably based on belief, depth of relationship and the winsome work of the Holy Spirit!

One thing is likely, the question will be reciprocated and you’ll have an opportunity to share about a God who the Bible reveals to be good beyond imagination, loving beyond reason, transcendent, yet closer than our breath.


This email marks the 200th edition of Muslim Connect. To celebrate my delirious happiness at reaching this unlikely milestone, I’m giving a $100 Amazon gift card to one person who reads this email. I’ll wait four days, then choose from the list of people Mailchimp says opened the email. You can double your chances in two ways: 1. Tell me you’ve read since the very first issue back in January of 2017. 2. Share this with a friend or two and let me know you have. 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Glimmer of Hope

How are you doing today? Stressed out by the US election? You’re not alone. As I write mid-day November 5th, it looks like Joe Biden will win the presidency. For many Christians, this is not the outcome they hoped and prayed for. (Although, it is the outcome many other Christians asked of God. )

If you’ve read Muslim Connect for a bit, you may be aware I’m not the most politically sophisticated egg in the tray! (I’m looking at you, Blake!)

That said, I’d like to offer this one glimmer of hope to look forward to with a Biden presidency:

President Biden “will set the annual global refugee admissions cap to 125,000, and seek to raise it over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need.”

This is not sweeping endorsement of Biden, nor a wholesale dismissal of Trump. It is a glimmer of hope for a hundred thousand people.

I think of the Syrian widow, sitting with her two little kids in a soon to be freezing tent on the fringes of a refugee camp in eastern Turkey. Maybe God is answering her prayers.

Increasing asylum intake often brings up these two questions. If you’re interested, you can dive in at the links.

1. Are refugees sufficiently vetted before the US gives them asylum? Check here for the official process detailed by the Department of Homeland Security. If you’re more visually oriented, this infographic tells a similar story.2. Won’t refugees place further stress on an already over-taxed public assistance system? Check the bullet points here for a quick overview of a White House requested study of refugee impact. Here’s the money quote, “The U.S. refugee and asylee population paid $63 billion more in taxes than they received in benefits to all levels of government from 2005 to 2014.”

It’s a glimmer of hope. For some, hope of safety and life. For us, hope for new friends, both for us and Jesus.


Filed under Uncategorized