He Loved Muslims Because He Loved Jesus. The Bible Showed Him How.

Remembering the pilgrimage and legacy of Rick Love, who founded Peace Catalyst after years as international director of Frontiers.

ck Love loved Jesus above all else. He loved the Bible as God’s Word.

Rick’s love for Jesus led him to love Muslims. But his love for Scripture eventually changed his mind about how to love Muslims.

Rick, who passed away on December 29, did not always love Jesus. In a candid confession in his book, Glocal: Following Jesus in the 21st Century, Rick describes how in his youth he “embraced the ‘sex, drugs, and rock and roll’ lifestyle of the sixties.” After partying through the night of his 18th birthday, he woke up in the morning thinking, “There has to be more to life than this, and I’m going to find it.” It was of the 1970s Jesus Movement he would later write, “I encountered Jesus, and my life radically changed.”

From the start, Rick’s faith was all about following Jesus, which he distinguished from the cultural trappings associated with “Christianity” and traditional ways of “doing church.” It was certainly not about a heretical fusion of Christianity with American nationalism, that he believed has tragically damaged the witness of American Christians.

The other element at the heart of Rick’s faith was the authority of Scripture. Not content with merely upholding inerrancy as an abstract doctrine, he would steep himself daily in the biblical text, allowing it to guide his life. His wife Fran describes how day after day she witnessed Rick holding up his hands in prayer and worship as he studied the Bible.

From Scripture, Rick understood early on that God cared about all nations and cultures. This moved him to care about Muslims. For decades, he assumed this meant he should become a missionary in the traditional sense. He and Fran went to Indonesia to serve Jesus. Later Rick was asked to lead Frontiers—one of the largest evangelical organizations worldwide dedicated to reaching out to Muslims.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY

Medieval robots? They were just one of this Muslim inventor’s creations

Fountains that could be programmed to switch on and off. A model of an Indian mahout (driver) who struck the half hour on his elephant’s head. Automatons in the form of servants that could offer guests a towel.

These are just some of the marvellous creations of the 12th-century Muslim inventor Ismail al-Jazari, who laid the groundwork for modern engineering, hydraulics, and even robotics. While some of his lavish and colourful creations were made as novelty playthings for the very wealthy, al-Jazari also made practical machines that helped normal people, including water-drawing devices that were used by farmers for centuries.

Passion for invention

Badi al-Zaman Abu al-Izz Ismail ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari was born in 1136 in Diyarbakır in what is today central-southern Turkey. The son of a humble craftsman, he was born in a time of political turmoil, a result of local power struggles as well as the effects of the Crusades.

Al-Jazari served as an engineer in the service of the regional rulers, the Artuqids. This dynasty had once expanded its empire into Syria. In the course of al-Jazari’s lifetime, however, Artuqid power came under the sway of the more powerful neighboring Zangid dynasty, and later still by the successors of the Muslim hero, Saladin. (Here’s why the “Assassins” were sent to kill Saladin.)

Despite the upheaval of the Crusades, and the turbulent relations between different Muslim powers, life for the brilliant engineer was peacefully spent serving several Artuqid kings, for whom he designed more than a hundred ingenious devices. Unlike other practical inventors of the period, who left little record of their work, al-Jazari had a passion for documenting his work and explaining how he built his incredible machines.

In 1206, drawing on a quarter of a century of prodigious output, he gave the world a catalogue of his “matchless machines,” which is known today as The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices. Al-Jazari included meticulous diagrams and colourful illustrations to show how all the pieces fit together. Several incomplete copies of his work have survived, including one held by the Topkapi Sarayi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, prized for its artistic detail and beauty.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Beirut, young Christians and Muslims: The thread of hope

By Pierre Balanian
The city razed by a near-atomic bomb – the 4 August explosions were equal to one tenth the strength of the Hiroshima bomb – is paralyzed and devastated; the effort underway to restore some quasi normality to its appearance is mammoth.

The army is everywhere, but it has to give priority to maintaining security, avoid looting, protect sensitive sites, ensure traffic and the passage of emergency vehicles.

The Civil Defense is committed to extracting bodies from under the rubble, welcoming colleagues from all over the world, coordinating the work.

The politicians are engaged in meetings to find a modus vivendi, first of all among themselves, to then respond to the conditions set by the international community: the French president Emmanuel Macron was its spokesman and ambassador, explaining the conditions under which Lebanon can access new loans, lifting the sanctions imposed on the country.

Meanwhile, the city is covered with debris, glass, trees crossed by explosions, houses without walls that like a gloomy stage display what remains visible of a life suddenly interrupted; balustrades, balconies, walls, buildings and bridges that are in danger of falling at any moment.

Elderly and lonely people who wish to clear their homes but lack the strength or the courage do not know where to start. They cry, pray, hope, hiding their faces in their hands out of shame, pain, helplessness.

In this scenario of desperation, the true strength of a people has risen, its future, new, clean, dynamic energy, not a slave to political or economic interests: its young people.

They rushed from everywhere, from the north, from the south, from the mountains, organized in small groups of friends, armed with sweeping brushes, shovels, gloves and bags, they sleep in the open, work without speaking, without boasting, they act in silence, without a leader, without a coordinator, disorganized but the effects they produce are astounding.

FULL ARTICLE FROM HERALD MALAYSIA NEWS

What does Islam say about climate change and climate action?

Many Muslim majority countries bear the brunt of climate change, but their cultural awareness of it and climate action are often staggeringly limited. 

A movement of “Islamic environmentalism” based on Islamic tradition – rather than imported “white saviour” environmentalism based on first-world political campaigns – can address both. And the post-COVID-19 lull in emissions is an opportunity to fast-track this.

It is a movement we sorely need. My home country Turkey, for example, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as temperatures are rising and rainfall is decreasing year on year, causing serious problems with water availability. In Bangladesh, it is estimated that by 2050 one in seven will be displaced by climate change, creating millions of climate refugees. In the Middle East, large areas are likely to become uninhabitable due to heatwaves likely to sweep over the region in the next few decades.

However, despite their vulnerability, many Muslim countries are contributing to the problem. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world, is the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and is doing little to curb emissions. Bangladesh and Pakistan are the two most polluted countries in the world, but have taken no serious measures to address pollution. Inaction in the Muslim world persists despite a declaration by Muslim countries in 2015 to play an active role in combatting climate change.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA

Can Lebanon Rise from the Rubble?

TOPSHOT – A man draped in a Lebanese flag reacts as he stands before the ravaged port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 9, 2020, in the aftermath of a colossal explosion that occurred days prior due to a huge pile of ammonium nitrate that had languished for years at a port warehouse. – The huge chemical explosion that hit Beirut’s port, devastating large parts of the Lebanese capital and claiming over 150 lives, left a 43-metre (141 foot) deep crater, a security official said. The blast Tuesday, which was felt across the country and as far as the island of Cyprus, was recorded by the sensors of the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS) as having the power of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake. (Photo by PATRICK BAZ / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Aug 12, 2020JOHN ANDREWS

The destruction of the port of Beirut – and Lebanon’s freefalling economy – has fueled calls to end the country’s sectarian political system, which allocates power among Christians, Shia, and Sunni Muslims according to a rigid formula. But might such a change merely deepen suspicion among an already deeply divided population?

WINCHESTER, UK – Haram Lubnan, poor Lebanon. As if hosting more than a million refugees from the Syrian war next door, an economy in free-fall, and COVID-19 weren’t enough, now the catastrophic destruction of the port of Beirut has left more than 150 dead, over 6,000 injured, and some 300,000 – 5% of the population – homeless. What can end this tale of woe for a country whose capital once saw itself as the Paris of the Middle East?

Sadly, that image is long gone, destroyed by the 1975-90 civil war, corruption, and regional turmoil. The hapless government called a state of emergency in the wake of the port blast, only to be confronted by demonstrators chanting the slogan that almost a decade ago sparked the Arab Spring: al-sha’b yurid isqat al-nizam — “the people want the overthrow of the regime.”

Although the government has now resigned, popular fury is set to grow: on August 18, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Hague will issue its verdict on the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Four members of Hezbollah, the Shia militia and political party backed by Iran and Syria, have been tried in absentia for the bombing of Hariri’s motorcade. The verdict had been set for August 7, but was postponed “out of respect for the countless victims of the devastating explosion” in Beirut three days earlier.

Whatever the Special Tribunal’s verdict, political tensions will rise. Hezbollah, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, enjoys widespread Shia support. Its militia is more powerful than the Lebanese army, and it has a powerful bloc in parliament.

Just as the presence of Palestinian guerrillas and their “state within a state” was a factor in the civil war, so Hezbollah’s “state above the state” will provoke still more calls – by Lebanese and outsiders alike – to end a system in which political and economic power is allocated not by merit but by religious sect.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PROJECT-SYNDICATE.ORG

Friday service is meaningful to Muslims. This East Lansing (Michigan, USA) mosque brought it back with precautions.

mosqueThe Friday congregation prayer and sermon is the worship service every practicing Muslim looks forward to at The Islamic Center of East Lansing.

Many often took time off work and school just to attend the service. Then the coronavirus pandemic halted the Friday service and many other in-person activities at the mosque in March.

“People look forward to it each week. It’s equal to Sunday Mass,” explained Thasin Sardar, an Islamic Center board member. “We decided to suspend services before the governor enacted the statewide lockdown. Knowing how rampant infection was going to be, we erred on the side of caution.”

Last Friday, the Islamic Center resumed its most important service after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer amended coronavirus restrictions for indoor and outdoor gatherings. The mosque complied by holding two outdoor prayer services, each limited to 100 people.

The gatherings were scheduled an hour apart from each other.

Face-mask-wearing attendees, who were spaced 6 feet apart, gathered in the mosque’s parking lot while listening to the sermon of Imam Sohail Chaudhry.

“To see the people there — you could see a desire and hunger to get back to normal as much as we can, which we are still far away from,” Chaudhry said. “It was a great feeling, but there was sadness and grief we can’t do it inside the mosque due to restrictions. I had a mixed feelings, personally.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM LANSING STATE JOURNAL 

In the latest sign of Covid-19-related racism, Muslims are being blamed for England’s coronavirus outbreaks

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London (CNN)Coronavirus conspiracy theorists have spread baseless rumors online — frequently targeting minorities — since the beginning of the pandemic. In England the latest wave of vitriol criticizes Muslims, blaming them for spreading Covid-19.

Muslims were caught off guard last week, when the UK government suddenly announced local lockdowns in a slew of areas in northern England where cases have spiked. The announcement came just hours before Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest festivals in Islam.

The affected areas included Greater Manchester, Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford and Leicester — all places with a significant Islamic population according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

The restrictions — published late last Thursday evening — banned people in the named areas from mixing with other households.

“The timing … it focused people’s minds [on Muslims],” Rabnawaz Akbar, a Labour Party councilor in Manchester, told CNN.

The government “have done it on the eve of Eid,” leading people to think “it must be the Muslim community’s fault,” Akbar said. “You see how people would have come to the assumption. [The government] have done it without thinking but of course, they’re highlighting a particular demographic. And people are angry and now that anger is focused on a particular community.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement to CNN: “Decisions on lockdowns are based solely on scientific advice and the latest data. Where there are local outbreaks, our priority will remain taking whatever steps are necessary to protect people.”

Muslim leaders: Vandals smashed out windows at new Warren (Michigan) mosque

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A new mosque in Warren on 10 Mile Road was vandalized, Muslim leaders said.

The Al Ihsaan Islamic Center, also known as Ideal Islamic Center, was opened a few months ago by immigrants from Bangladesh in what was previously a Lutheran church. On Friday afternoon, someone smashed several windows of the mosque with a hammer, according to the imam, Muhammad Islam.

A piece of the hammer broke off and fell inside the mosque, Islam told the Free Press on Monday. He speculated that if the hammer had not broken, more of the mosque might have been vandalized.

He said that a neighbor has video footage showing the person who attacked the structure driving in a car outside the mosque.

Warren police did not comment on the incident. A police lieutenant referred phone calls to Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer; a message left with Dwyer’s office was not returned Monday.

“Because of increasing hate incidents targeting houses of worship and minority communities nationwide, we urge local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this act of vandalism as a possible hate crime,” Dawud Walid, executive director of Michigan CAIR, said in a statement.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DETROIT FREE PRESS 

Joint Christian-Muslim study of sacred texts offers new insights to interfaith dialogue

lwi-dok-62-cover(LWI) – Joint theological study resources on the sacred texts of both Christians and Muslims open up possibilities to gain “new perspectives” and “fresh insights into the meaning and transformative dynamics” of each other’s Holy Scriptures.

Lutheran theologians Rev. Dr Simone Sinn and Rev. Dr Sivin Kit made these remarks while reflecting on The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) publication Heilige Schriften heute verstehen: Christen und Muslime im Dialog. The German edition of the publication Transformative Readings of Sacred Scriptures: Christians and Muslims in Dialogue is now available online and in hard copy.

Sinn, the publication co-editor is currently professor of Ecumenical Theology at the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland. While the new edition targets all German-speaking regions, she noted a particular interest in Germany due to its historical “contributions to the dialogue between philosophical and theological hermeneutics.” In recent years, universities there “have provided opportunities for new interreligious collaboration on scriptural interpretation and hermeneutics,” she said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM LUTHERNWORLD.ORG 

Medieval robots? They were just one of this Muslim inventor’s creations

peacock-fountainFrom water pumps to musical automatons, Ismail al-Jazari’s extraordinary machines ranged from practical to playful, delighting farmers and kings alike.

Fountains that could be programmed to switch on and off. A model of an Indian mahout (driver) who struck the half hour on his elephant’s head. Automatons in the form of servants that could offer guests a towel.

These are just some of the marvellous creations of the 12th-century Muslim inventor Ismail al-Jazari, who laid the groundwork for modern engineering, hydraulics, and even robotics. While some of his lavish and colourful creations were made as novelty playthings for the very wealthy, al-Jazari also made practical machines that helped normal people, including water-drawing devices that were used by farmers for centuries.

Passion for invention

Badi al-Zaman Abu al-Izz Ismail ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari was born in 1136 in Diyarbakır in what is today central-southern Turkey. The son of a humble craftsman, he was born in a time of political turmoil, a result of local power struggles as well as the effects of the Crusades.

Al-Jazari served as an engineer in the service of the regional rulers, the Artuqids. This dynasty had once expanded its empire into Syria. In the course of al-Jazari’s lifetime, however, Artuqid power came under the sway of the more powerful neighboring Zangid dynasty, and later still by the successors of the Muslim hero, Saladin. (Here’s why the “Assassins” were sent to kill Saladin.)

Despite the upheaval of the Crusades, and the turbulent relations between different Muslim powers, life for the brilliant engineer was peacefully spent serving several Artuqid kings, for whom he designed more than a hundred ingenious devices. Unlike other practical inventors of the period, who left little record of their work, al-Jazari had a passion for documenting his work and explaining how he built his incredible machines.

In 1206, drawing on a quarter of a century of prodigious output, he gave the world a catalogue of his “matchless machines,” which is known today as The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices. Al-Jazari included meticulous diagrams and colourful illustrations to show how all the pieces fit together. Several incomplete copies of his work have survived, including one held by the Topkapi Sarayi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, prized for its artistic detail and beauty.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (UK)