Islam and Pluralism

The daily atrocities by Islamic Jihadists against people of other faiths and cultures are bad enough.

Islamic-hateWhat I find equally alarming is the apparent inability of moderate Muslims to counter the Jihadists by openly articulating a clear and effective theological basis – from the Qur’an – for religious and cultural pluralism.

Increasingly, I wonder if it is even possible to do so – either because they fear retribution by other Muslims or because maybe the Qur’an provides no consistent basis for such views.

These issues highlight an uncomfortable truth: Those who are unable to embrace and defend cultural and religious pluralism should not be allowed immigrant or refugee status in societies which do.

This is not bigotry, but frank reality.

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Mentoring Entrepreneurs

Here’s a TV program that’s been airing in our area about one of the ministries in which I’m involved. I, and others, have been mentoring and working with folks who are gifted with entrepreneurial aptitude. Our focus is helping them start and grow new businesses, based on solid, real-world experience and sound Biblical principles. Often, we work with “alumni” of the local jail.

The host, Liz Charity, starts out interviewing me, then does an on-site interview with one of my protegé’s, Oscar Weeks, who started a road-side pit BBQ business.

Christian Counseling Class

I will be teaching a semester-long Christian counseling class beginning next Tuesday, September 6th, through early December. We will be meeting every Tuesday evening at my home just south of Manassas, Virginia, from 7:00 to 9:15 pm.

The course is being offered through Emmanuel Christian Institute, in conjunction with Fulcrum Ministries, for a very modest $200 (this fee goes to ECI for much appreciated administrative support, not me!).

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On Sunday I taught men in the jail, using Psalms 116:5-7 (ESV), about moving from woundedness to life. I challenged them not to settle for mere comfort when confronting hurt, but to embrace life instead.

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
   our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple;
   when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
   for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

When hurt and wounded, too often all we can muster is a desire for God’s comfort or soothing presence. Although he’ll sometimes do that, what he really wants is to move us past woundedness into brokenness – that low place where we are willing to surrender to him. Only then can we hope to experience the bountiful life, both in us and around us, that comes from finding and finally doing God’s joyous will.

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It’s interesting how God sometimes returns us to our spiritual roots, even while we are pressing forward in the faith.

Forty-four years ago on Easter Sunday, 1965, I became a Christian at eight years of age in response to a sermon preached by George Batson. George was then a young Assemblies of God pastor starting his first church in Annapolis, Maryland, and my parents were among the first members of his young congregation.

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