An open letter to Christians, Muslims and America…

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As a lifelong follower of Christ, an undenying believer in the Bible, an Alumni of a Christian college (where I wrote a 36 page final research paper on the Quran, a religious text which I do have my own concerns and disagreements with)  and a friend of a Muslim family and their sweet and beautiful children, whom have shared our lives, our home, and our dinner table….I am absolutely appalled.

Rest assured, when we invite our friends (the gentleman and wife are both in management for a company that ships goods nationwide, while he is also an active member of his Muslim church as well as a coach to at risk youth in our community) I am NEVER EVER EVER concerned for my family or my children. In fact, I would be honored to see my kids mimic the respect and dignity that this man puts forward…and their children are some of the most respectful and well behaved kids I have seen. Not to mention adorable 🙂

My Christian brothers and sisters, on the other hand, like so many examples set forth recently, would still be respectfully welcomed in my home…but their examples would not be ones that I would ever hope for my sweet, compassionate, empathetic and respectful children to ever adopt as a part of their core values.

 

Christian brothers and sisters,

Assuming all middle eastern people are terrorists is like assuming all white people are Nazis.
Assuming all Muslims are Islamic Extremists is like assuming all Christ followers are Polygamists.
Assuming all followers of the Quran are of the same mind as Osama BinLaden is like assuming all followers of the Bible are of the same mind as Brian David Mitchell.

Basing wide sweeping assumptions about that which you are not fully educated on, immersed in, or seeking deeper reflection about is extremely dangerous, incorrect, ignorant and arrogant.

I challenge you…study. Study in depth the Bible, the Quran and the many religions that stem from these two religious texts. Not all Biblical based religions are “good” just as not all Quran based religions are “bad”. Both books have many questionable texts within them…it is the followers job to study the text and try to comprehend the implications within it while also understanding the culture, society and era in which it was written. Remember, many Christian scholars, preachers and teachers are in disagreement about how texts from our Bible are to be interpreted. Could not the same be said about the Quran and its followers?

I challenge you, plead with you actually, quit reading your Bible. Yes, you heard me correctly. QUIT READING YOUR BIBLE and rather, become a STUDENT of it! Study it. Critically. Dig deeper into the life of Jesus and his teachings. Dig deeper into the messages of how one who lays down his own life to follow Christ is to live.

Likewise, befriend a Muslim or a Muslim family. Welcome them into your life, even if for no other reason than to have a mentoring relationship with them. Try to understand them. Try to understand their religion and their beliefs. Ask them about their core values, their children, their morals and ethics. I promise, you will be surprised and humbled by what you hear. Perhaps what you fear is simply that which you do not understand.

 

To my Muslim friends,

I am sorry. I am sorry for the message that my own brothers and sisters are sending to you and yours.

While I do not necessarily adopt your religion or your Quran as my own, I am not afraid of you or have an inaccurate assumption about you or your family as a result of it. I would challenge you do to the very same as I have asked my Christian brothers and sisters to do…please look at the Scriptures critically and study them in depth. I will continue to do the same. In the mean time, know that I do not believe that the actions of radical Islam are a reflection of you and your religion anymore than (I hope) you believe the actions of the KKK or alt right are a reflection of mine.

I see you in our community, in our schools, coaching up and educating our youth, in our businesses working, living peacefully living among us. I do not fear you, nor do I condone you.

I see the persecution of your brothers and sisters who are not lucky enough to have been born here and my heart hurts for them, as my heart hurts when I have seen my fellow Christians persecuted. It is tragic and unfortunate and disgraceful.

While I may not share your religion, I share your species….human. From one human to another human, I extend my compassion. While I hold no leadership role with the power to make executive orders, please know that I would welcome your fellow brothers and sisters into my country, my communities…my home. 

 

To my fellow Americans,

I see that you are scared, and angry, and afraid. I understand. I have many concerns and fears as well….

but my current view is of my children on the floor in front of me as I type this…playing peacefully, laughing, carefree.

At this very moment across the world, another mother is watching her starving, filthy, fearful child crawl amongst a pile of rubble. She hears shots and explosions and the cries of other women whose children werent as fortunate as hers. She lives in fear of being kidnapped, shot or worse. She is considering putting her child into the water because the water is safer than the land…but she knows that in order to even do that, she risks all of their lives to come out of hiding.

You’re angry because we lack the empathy for our own hungry, our own unsheltered, our own underresourced.

It makes me angry too.

One way I choose to channel that anger is by offering clothing, diapers, food, warm coats and shoes to those who need it. I channel it by opening my home to homeless or hurting children.

I hear you when you say you are angry about the treatment of our Veterans…when is the last time you took one of them off the street and into your home for a warm shower or meal? What programming are you giving your own resources to to help provide more resources for them?

I am just trying to throw out some ways to channel your anger here…because I have it too. But I also know that even living on the streets of America is safer than living in the rubble and ruins of Apello.

To my knowledge, refugees are not asking for money, housing or even food. (I know that our government and relocation programming has offered such things…my point is that I do not think that the refugees currently fleeing Syria are ASKING for such.) They are asking to come into our country to simply have the opportunity to find these resources without risk of life and limb and the kidnapping, rape and murder of their children in the process.

I wish there was more the government could or would do for our own people, but I also see an America crying out to “drain the swamp” and for less government, while simultaneously cutting funding for social services.

I don’t know the answer here, but I do know that the best allocation of my own time and resources is to channel them into the areas of my own community where I can make a postive impact on the very injustices that fuel me and fire me up the most. For me, that is caring for the needs of children and families.

For you that is ?? (Insert veterans, children, the homeless, women in distress, the education system, families in need?)

I challenge you to dig deep and identify one such thing, then go out and make a positive impact on it!

I know you’re scared. I am scared too. I believe that we are often the most scared of that which we don’t (or can’t) understand. I also have to be confident that there is a vetting process for these people that is ensured to keep us safe. I can not promise nothing bad will happen anymore than I can promise nothing bad will happen at the hands of one of your fellow Americans. It happens everyday. Society as a whole is kindof a scary place.

I read somewhere that an American has a 1 in 3.6 billion chance that they will be attacked by a refugee in any given year.

Likewise, you have a 1 in 4 chance of dying from a heart related complication or disease.

The number of American civillians killed by terrorists in 2014- 8. The number of American civillians killed by lightening the same year- 29.

You have a 1 in 8 chance that you will be molested or raped by a family member.

The chances of dying by homicide at the hands of a fellow American is roughly 1 in 20,000.

1 in 113 odds yearly that you will die in a car crash.

There is a 1 in 6,162 chance you will drown. Actually, about 1 in every 1,000,000 baths ends in a death. There is literally a 1 in a million chance that you will die taking your next bath.

Now this is not me saying that as a fellow American, I do not believe that radical Islam poses a huge threat and a risk to all of us…of course I do. It is real. It is a reality. It is a bleak reminder that terrorists are actively waging war on the west. But I do not beleieve that the refugees fleeing the very terrorists we fear are, in fact, all terrorists that we should fear. In fact, I believe that these people have just as much, if not MORE fear and distain for radical Islam after seeing their families tortured, murdered and their homes and cities taunted, invaded and destroyed. I believe that these individuals have a far better idea and understanding of destruction and degradation of the savages they flee.  Just my guess, though.

 

Friends, Christians, Muslims, Americans…my earnest hope is that we can find peace among one another. That we may break bread at the same tables or at the very least live within the same borders safely and with mutual respect and understanding…but for now all I can offer is this universal truth:

The current rhetoric you see and hear is not a reflection of us all. We do not have to completely understand one another to treat each other as a fellow human.

Peace be with you.

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