Monthly Archives: April 2021

The Sweet Poison of Self-Righteousness

Can you believe people? Some think they’re better than you. Others think they can curry favor from God by doing “good deeds.” Some of them write weekly emails, claiming to tell you how to think about Muslims.

Self-righteousness has two lobes: I do good things to gain the favor of God. And I sense the good things I do (or bad things I don’t) make me better than others.

Some examples of the poison I’ve imbibed over the years, “I’m good, or at least better than you, because I: Go to church. Don’t smoke. Swear little. Live poor. Never been divorced.” Of course, the ship has sailed on some of these.

I’ve long thought of Ramadan as a self-righteousness tour de force. A time when Muslims work hard to gain favor from God. “The less I eat, the more you’ll like me.” And I suppose some fast to show others how darn holy they are!

Now I’m more hesitant than before (though still not very hesitant) to ascribe motivation to anyone’s behavior. The line between fasting to show devotion to God or to curry favor from him is fuzzy at best. I’ve had friends who for all the world seemed to fast because God said to and to show their love and devotion to him.

Even so, I know from myself, the best of efforts can be laced with subtle, but evil intent.

So I pray: “Father, deliver me from the sweet poison of self-righteousness. Deliver us. Deliver Muslims who right now take pleasure in their fasting, trusting in their good deeds to gain right status with you, hoping others are impressed by their religion. For the sake of their beloved souls, take that pleasure away. From them. From me. From all of us. Amen.”

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Starving For Forgiveness

There’s a good chance you’ve fasted more than I have, but there’s a better chance the average Muslim has fasted more than both of us combined!

Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, begins on April 12th or 13th (depending on where you live). While eating and celebrating do occur at night during Ramadan, the fasting activities during the day are arduous: No eating, no drinking, no smoking, no swallowing saliva and no sex.

Ramadan is a time of self-denial in order to honor God. Muslims talk of going without to show thanks to God for what he has done, both good and bad. It is a time of purifying oneself and asking God for forgiveness.

If you’re in close, daily contact with Muslims, I can imagine God might nudge you to fast along with them. Since I’m not planning to do that this year (or likely any other year, to be honest), I’m not advocating for it.

I am planning to do these three things and invite you to join me.

1. Pray. Spiritual activity intensifies during Ramadan, both for Muslims and those reaching out to them. Get prayer help with the pdf version of the gold standard “30 Days of Prayer.” You can also sign up for a daily prayer email. Gather some people together to pray and find ways to encourage your networks to pray for Muslims this month.

2. Learn. Join me in registering for this helpful webinar next Tuesday evening. Ask Muslim friends questions. Maybe start with, “Do you mind if I ask you something about Ramadan?” Sensitive, but curious is a good approach. I was just trying this with a North African friend this morning. I honestly want to know what Ramadan is like for him.

3. Share. Post a brief prayer for your friends and other Muslims during Ramadan on this prayer wall. While you’re there, take a moment to lift up the other requests.

May God multiply our small efforts to his great glory and much abundant life for many Muslims this Ramadan.


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Big Announcement!

Ah, but Spring is blooming in my neighborhood and in my heart! Easter is just around the corner and new things are popping up all over. Seems like a good time to bring some newness to bear on this weekly missive.

In an effort to re-fresh and remain relevant to our culture, I’m pleased to announce a new name and new direction for this email. Please join me in welcoming Muslim Correct!

Muslim Correct will now focus on three driving imperatives:

  1. Things that I think are wrong with Muslims.
    For instance, why do they name so many of their boy babies Muhammad? We don’t do that. (Apologies to Latinx readers.) They’re probably trying to dominate baby name popularity lists. Which reminds me, we’ll be focusing more energy on what I believe motivates Muslims, than on what most of them actually do.
  2. Things that readers like you think I am wrong about.
    Come on, I know you’ve been thinking about it! “Who does this guy think he is and what can he really say in 300 words? Plus, I got a newsletter from a guy who quoted another speaker sharing how a Muslim convert thought what most missiologists said and did was rubbish.”
  3. A broader look at things that are wrong with the world and can be made better by sitting on the couch watching Jeopardy and grousing about them. This aspect will hopefully be anchored by guest authors who have a proven track record of calling out Muslims. (Can anyone put me in contact with Jerry Falwell Jr.?)

The outgoing motto for Muslim Connect, you may remember was, “Thinking about Muslims the way God does. Loving Muslims the way Jesus does.”

Get ready, our new motto is: “Thinking about Muslims in ways that make us feel good about ourselves. Loving Muslims from a nice, safe distance.”

Whether you endorse or oppose these new changes, please take a moment to watch this 59 second video. Thank you.

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