Monthly Archives: March 2021

What Do Muslims Think Happened to a “No-Easter Jesus?”

I’m serious about the “connect” part of Muslim Connect. It’s easier to knowabout Muslims than it is to actually befriend and engage with them. Safer, too but, Gospel love has risky feet and hands. Because of my bias toward action over knowledge (and perhaps due to my sophomoric knowledge!), I prefer talking about what Muslims and Christians have in common that can lead to connection, rather than our differences.

Can’t always do that, though. And with Easter looming gorgeous and sunny on the horizon, I’d like to consider how Muslims deal with a Jesus whom the Gospels say died all the way and 100% rose from that death.

Islam has chosen to see Jesus as one of the best prophets, but giving him anything like co-equality, or same substance, with God is anathema. Having established that, dealing with the Gospel accounts of the resurrection is tricky.

For starters, since Jesus was a beloved prophet of God, surely he would not be allowed to suffer the shame of a forsaken death on a cross. For many Muslims, it’s unthinkable. Something else must have happened.

One possible solution is a switch. God sent someone else to the cross, an imposter made to look like Jesus.

Some Muslims will say Jesus died like any other person, others that God raised him to Heaven. These assume the crucifixion did not happen at all! That makes things tidier, but is a tough sell, given the Gospel accounts.

Ahmadiyya Muslims, who are considered unorthodox by many others, contend that Jesus didn’t die, maybe fainted or something, then went to India to preach there and later died in Kashmir!

These ideas sound crazy to our Easter-loving ears, but our Muslim friends believe them sincerely. The first step to sharing a bigger, better story is understanding current convictions.

Ask your friends what they believe happened to Jesus.  

More Info: For a solid, yet quick read, check out my friend Fouad Masri’s articleand book.

Dig into Gregory Lanier’s article for a thorough, slightly more academic, but accessible and well documented look 

I’d encourage listening to Matt Maher’s song, Christ is Risen on 11 while you read!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How to Care in Ways that Count

How would Christians respond if you asked, “Are Muslim women oppressed?” I suspect I’m in agreement with you in predicting most would say, “Yes, they are.” Like many things though, there is nuance here. There are better ways to ask the question and there are other viewpoints to consider, including those of Muslim women.

Assuming broadly though that Muslim women are oppressed (I plan to explore this issue in future Muslim Connect editions.), how should we respond? What if anything should we, or some of us, do?

I favor, though certainly don’t always practice, taking productive action. Rather than telling our circles again, “Muslim women are oppressed. Hijabs are bad!” let’s find practical responses that make a difference.

For instance, some good friends are laying it on the line as they seek to establish a series of safe houses for Muslim background women.

That might be too big a leap for you right now. It sure is for me. So what might you and I do?

Read something by a Muslim woman. Browse here and here. (To be sure, we won’t agree with every opinion expressed on these sites.)

Encourage gatekeepers to offer Muslim women a chance to find safety and deliverance in your country.

Buy a stack of the Muslim World Prayer Guide and pray through it with some friends this coming Ramadan (April 13-May 12).

Peruse the resources at The Truth Collective. If you like what you see (and you’re a woman!), consider attending their Written on Her Heart Conference.

Finally, next time you see a hijab-wearing woman in the media, thank God for her precious life and pray it gets way more abundant. When you see one in real life, smile at her like the Jesus-loving wild thing you are! If you’re a man, pray all kinds of hope and life over her. If you’re a fellow female, exercise your freedom in Christ and say hello.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Helium for Hope

Do the stats ever get you down? The reports. The news. The grave and somber prognostications?

Another email landed in my inbox this past week. This one in part sharing an article designed to fan flames of fear and anger because, get this: A woman in a hijab participated in a press briefing at the White House. I have a hunch this reflects similar squawking from years past when the first woman gave a press briefing! (History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme!)

Her name is Sameera Fazili, the new Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and no light weight! We’re blessed to have someone so whip smart helping lead the nation. (To be fair, the one who shared the email with me did so for purposes of prayer.)

When you find yourself growing weary in the struggle to think about Muslims the way God does and love them like Jesus, maybe try these two things that help me:

  1. Wriggle your way into giving a missions talk! No, I’m serious. The size of the audience is not the main thing, but shoot for your whole church! The chief benefit will be the research and prep you do. And when your brain hears the conviction in your voice, it will agree, “Yes, we do believe this stuff. Keep pouring on the coal!”
  2. Hang out with crazy vision people. I recently reconnected with a friend as he paused in the midst of a weeks-long international trip. He’s putting his own body on the line to see what can happen right now for people groups not only without a church (unreached), but also, as far as we can tell, with no one working for the Gospel at all (unengaged).DW is a little older than me, an honest three times smarter, and has vision, pardon my French, out the wazooo! God uses him to strengthen my soul.

I hope you have people like him you can call on when your conviction caves a bit. You also probably have other ways to shore up flagging passion. Please help us by sharing them below or with me.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Slowly, Slowly Spring Is Coming!

Can you feel it? Here in lovely southern Colorado we likely still have a couple more big snow storms to navigate, but maybe, just maybe winter is loosening its grip. And maybe, just maybe we’re beginning to emerge from a long COVID winter as well, though not without pain yet to bear.

With that hope in mind, can I point your fertile imaginations down a winsome avenue? When we can once again be with people, how might we be with Muslims? Here’re some ideas I’m anticipating:

  1. Plan to take someone to a mosque. It’s so good, though scary, for Christians to cross the threshold of a mosque. There is power and liberation in learning “those people” are simply people. Although we disagree in fundamental ways, in similarly fundamental ways, we’re pursuing the same ends. Now’s the time to reach out and set things in motion.
  2. Easter may be too soon, but plan now to have a Muslim family over for a Memorial Day bbq or a 4th of July shindig. The Easter tips here work for most holidays.
  3. Host a cooking class. I really try not to ask you to do anything I haven’t or wouldn’t do, but this one’s iffy. I might gather a cooking class, but only if someone else, ideally an amazing Muslim cook did the teaching. (Unless the guests wanted to learn to bake sourdough bread. Poorly. Like a rank beginner!)

You may just be hoping to hug your mom or, oddly enough, see the inside of a McDonalds. I hear you. But may God fill us with faith, sanctify our imaginations and supply us with strength to connect with Muslims here, there and everywhere.

Feisty Action Alert: I signed a petition this morning to ask President Biden to immediately, “follow through on your commitment by signing the updated presidential determination for FY 2021, which would increase the refugee ceiling to 62,500.” Join me?

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized