Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ali's Favorite Things

On another note, I was finally able to capture Ali's typical home demeanor when he's "guarding" the house from the window. I think there was another dog outside. What a nerd.


We had a good friend come and visit a couple of weeks ago. She and I spent the afternoon working on sewing projects, and she taught me how to make a purse out of a placemat. Here's what I've done so far.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Goats are Goners

A good friend posted some pictures of a sheep sacrifice she observed outside her house yesterday. It was incredibly reminiscent of a number of experiences I had in Egypt. Every once in awhile we'd find a sheep tied up in front of the building, hear the sheep crying (see the crazy video here), or find sheep droppings in the elevator--no joke.

One of the most shocking days I had in Egypt was Eid al-Adha. It's a celebration where every family sacrifices sheep, cows, goats, etc. I was awoken much earlier than usual that morning to the call to prayer. The megaphones from the mosques continued to blare for over an hour. I was supposed to have a 7am language lesson, but my teacher called and told me I should wait for awhile to come over.

I finally made it into a taxi around 9:15 or so when the streets cleared out a bit. There were animals everywhere!!! On my way up to my language lesson, there was a black bull standing in the middle of the road mooing. I greeted the people standing around the bull and went upstairs. A mere two hours later, I found myself in a pool of blood at the bottom of the apartment stairs. I looked around me: the bull's head was on one side of the road, and his skinned remains were on the other.

I walked a ways and flagged down a taxi. Every road we turned down was full of crowds sacrificing animals. The stench of blood and flesh was unbearable!

I'd seen hundreds of animal carcases before hanging in the butcher shops, but this was different. Actually, this was the day that clinched my decision to not eat meat. I just couldn't handle it.

Anyway, after all of those rich descriptions, check out the link to my friend's blog to get a picture of it for yourself.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tony Campolo's Perspective

Tony Campolo wrote an interesting blog today about how U.S. foreign policy has affected mission work in the 10/40 window. Check it out here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Courage for Peace

The other day, as I was reading the news, I stumbled upon a website that has since become our new dream: Christian Peacemaking Teams.

CPT's mission is to "Get in the way. What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?" CPT is often invited to work in volatile areas of the world where certain people's needs are not being met and horrific injustices are being committed on a daily basis. Presently, they are working in Columbia, Iraq, Palestine, Congo/Uganda, U.S./Mexican Border, and among Aboriginal tribes in Canada.

Within the next year, Jonathan and I plan to take a short-term trip to either Iraq or Palestine, and God willing, will join up with them for the long-term 3 years when we are led.

Nonviolence is something I believe in very strongly. I know there are times where we have no choice but war, but I also don't believe these times are as frequent as war has been.

Many people have heard President Bush's comment in reference to Jimmy Carter's work with foreign policy. "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared:"Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

He's right in the fact that discussions may not change the minds of certain world leaders, but does it really mean we shouldn't try? Are bombs or threats or trade embargoes really the answer?

This reminds me of a passage in Luke, in which the disciples are upset that they were rejected by the Samaritans (a people Jews had been oppressing since the Samaritans came into existence). After the Samaritans refused them lodging, James and John said, "'Lord, do You- want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?' But He [Jesus] turned and rebuked them, and said, 'You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them'" (Luke 9:54).

Jesus didn't "refuse conversation" with Samaritans, Jews, Gentiles, or even the ones who betrayed Him and hung Him on a cross. If Jesus didn't, why should we?

Deitrich Bonhoeffer, a martyr during WWII, put it well when he said, "The world is overcome not through destruction, but through reconciliation. Not ideals, nor programs, nor conscience, nor duty, nor responsibility, nor virtue, but only God's perfect love can encounter reality and overcome it. Nor is it some universal idea of love, but rather the love of God in Jesus Christ, a love genuinely lived, that does this."

What would the world look like if Christians fought for love, reconciliation, and peace instead of personal rights, justice, and revenge?