Barghouti and Mandela

Recently I read a long excerpt from one of Philip Yancey’s books, and it touched me deeply. With his permission, I have included it below. He did express the following caveat: “You’re welcome to use this excerpt in a blog. I have since heard from some people who question the details, since they do not appear in the records of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. I first read of the story in a Mennonite publication, and they are usually very trustworthy. You should know, though, that its veracity has been questioned.” In spite of this caveat, I think this long excerpt is worth reading, and I like to imagine what would happen if radical grace were practiced today. Would it make a difference in the conflicts in our broken world? Jesus practiced radical grace, and what a difference that made to our human history! Recently I read a long excerpt from one of Philip Yancey’s books, and it touched me deeply. With his permission, I have included it below. He did express the following caveat: “You’re welcome to use this excerpt in a blog. I have since heard from some people who question the details, since they do not appear in the records of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. I first read of the story in a Mennonite publication, and they are usually very trustworthy. You should know, though, that its veracity has been questioned.” In spite of this caveat, I think this long excerpt is worth reading, and like to imagine what would happen if radical grace were practiced today. Would it make a difference in the conflicts in our broken world? Jesus practiced radical grace, and what a difference that made to our human history!

Timeline of The Arab Spring

Here is a very valuable resource to those who are interested in quickly finding out important dates and events in the Arab Spring from 2010 to 2015. It came from one of the books that I have read in 2016: A Rage For Order, written by Robert Worth. This timeline presents in detail the events of the Arab uprising or Arab Springs and the developments that followed. For some, this timeline is a useful one time read to learn chronologically about the recent history of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.  For others this Timeline is a resource to go back to repeatedly. For quick reference, I have underlined the countries.

 My Way vs. God

Whenever I listen to the beautiful music of I did it "My way” by Frank Sinatra or others, I have mixed feelings. I LOVE the TUNE and I can listen to it repeatedly, but as for the lyrics, I wish they were different and focused more on honoring God rather than focusing on our human achievements. The lyrics of "My Way" song is diametrically opposite to the gospel.  In the Bible we see abundance of examples of people who at one time had the "My way" attitude and at other times, they did it "God's way." 

 CIU January Course

Early in January 2017, I taught a course at Columbia International University in Columbia, SC. It was quite an experience. I had a relatively small class that included a financier from Wall Street and a man who is aspiring to be a pastor, and the rest were missionaries. I was honored to spend eight hours a day for five days in the company of those sharp people. At the end of each day I asked that they share a main insight they gained on that day and an issue they are struggling with or on which they disagree with me. At the end of the week, I requested a longer response addressing how the course impacted their lives and their thinking. 

Deobandi Islam

Some people assume that the majority of Muslims in the world live in the Middle East. This is an easy mistake to make since Mecca is in Saudi Arabia, and the famous Al Azhar University/Seminary is in Cairo, Egypt. Mecca is the spiritual capital of Islam since the pilgrimage takes place on an annual basis in that city. Cairo, on the other hand, is the intellectual capital of Islam because of the presence of Al Azhar University/Seminary. Al Azhar Seminary is the most prestigious Muslim seminary in the world. It has been going nonstop for more than one thousand years. Al Azhar has many branches, and the number of students studying at any given time is about 90,000. It is true that the Arab world is the heart of Islam, but most Muslims live in Southeast Asia, in countries such as Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 

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