The Need for Peace in Palestine
"For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil." (Isaiah 59:3-4)
Wherever CMM personnel travel, especially in the Muslim world, the issue that most often takes center stage is the need for peace in Palestine.
Pakistan: A Personal Journey
March - April
Although the situation in Afghanistan has claimed much of our attention, we have also been forced to look carefully at Pakistan--a large, arid nation between India on the East, and Iran and Afghanistan on the West.
This Nation has 150 million Muslim people, second only to Indonesia. The name Pakistan holds significant meaning: "Pak" means pure or holy, and "stan" means place. So this country was founded to be a holy homeland for Muslims in South Asia.
For millions of Americans, the word jihad elicits images of Iranians seizing the American Embassy in Tehran, Israeli buses destroyed by bombs, and hijacked airliners crashing into the World Trade Towers. We are left bewildered as to why anyone would perpetrate such acts against a "Christian" nation that feeds much of the world and sends millions of aid dollars to the very ones who despise us.
One significant difference between Muslims, in general, and Western Christians, in particular, is their time orientation. Westerners are basically future-oriented. Not only do we dream and plan for the future, but we delight to tread where none have gone before. We pride ourselves in being great explorers, inventors, and innovators that lead to new discoveries, new methods, new fashions, and new fads. We learn to live in a flux of constant change because change has become for us a mark of progress, and forward progress is viewed as good and necessary for human survival and improvement.
Friendly Neighbor or Fanatic Foe?
There has been much discussion in recent months about the character and values of Muslims, generally, and Arab Muslims, in particular. Often questions have been posed, such as: "Are Arab Muslims friendly, hospitable people or are they hostile fanatics, wanting to kill every Christian they meet??
Approach to Muslims
When it comes to Christians reaching out to Muslim people, one of the most common questions is,"How can I best share Christ with a Muslim?" The answer is not so simple because not all Muslims are the same. Islam embraces a global community of adherents who come from a wide assortment of national cultures, Islamic sects, religious practices, and social strata. Some Muslims are extremely conservative and, therefore, suspicious of Western ways. Conversely, some Muslims pride themselves as modernists and are quick to identify with contemporary trends.