Muslims, Christians, Jesus by Carl Medearis is one of the best books I read this year because it speaks to my growing love and compassion for Muslims that I feel God has given me since meeting my Syrian friends last year. I found this at the same bookstore near where I found another of the best books I read this year, The Crescent Through the Eyes of the Cross which I wrote about a few months ago. Both authors have a tender, loving attitude towards Muslims and they do not demonize the lot of them as many in the West have done. In fact, they demonize none of them.
In the forward of this book, Floyd McClung wrote that "The problem with the war on terrorism is that it can put us on the defensive. God is looking for people who will go out on a grace offensive, people who forgive and reach out in love." (pg. 10) This is my desire. Perhaps if I had been directly affected by 9/11 -- had a loved one killed -- I'd feel differently, but right now I do not. Instead of lumping all Muslims into the category of terrorists, I want to reach out to them with grace and love. Why not seek to understand their perspective instead of seeking to take our anger and revenge out on them for the sins of others? Are we any better than the 9/11 terrorists if we kill innocent people in our quest to keep terrorists off our soil? Some would justify that that is the price of war. True, but is it right? Does it make us morally superior?
Anyway...this is supposed to be a book review not a political statement. :-)
Carl Medearis tells us that he is "only a follower of Jesus who loves Muslims" and then says his book was written to "give you some information to help you befriend a Muslim and practical tips on how to live a life that's truly Good News to a Muslim." (pg. 18) Sounds like a winner to me!
There is way more good stuff in this book that I can possibly share. I highlighted a lot and then that still left a great deal that could have been highlighted. But then the whole book would have been pink! Pages that I noted:
Page 16 when Carl realized "I love these people," and that it was not his love that kept him serving in the Middle East, but God's love for them.
Page 33 -- "The most important thing we can do as followers of Jesus is to do just that. Follow him. Jesus himself is the Good News. . . . Jesus had compassion for people, and he valued the same quality in his disciples, even above personal sacrifice."
Carl reminds us often in his book -- point people to Jesus. Everything else is secondary.
Page 130 -- "For the spiritual person there can be no apathy." and "By choosing an attitude of love and compassion towards people we don't understand, and toward an intimidatingly unknown religion, we not only see fear and suspicion diminish, we begin to build bridges. Bridges that lead to Jesus, the Prince of Peace."
Page 131-- from Mother Teresa -- "I never think in terms of a crowd, but of individual persons. ... I believe in the personal touch of one to one."
Carl tells us to build true friendships, point people to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do His job.
Page 145 -- "I have discovered that when I fear God, there is no room in my heart to be afraid of men. When I fear God, I don't care about a loss of reputation or a fear of the future. I am secure. This allows me to be non-defensive, gentle, and above all, Christ-focused."
Page 145 -- "I pray that you too can find Jesus in the eyes and heart of your Muslim friend; that you can see him as a child searching for his father; and that you can take him by the hand and walk the journey of life and faith together -- one step at a time."
Page 178 -- I loved the story about Carl's "unfair advantage."
This book was great. Carl just encourages us to find common ground with our Muslim friends, not to debate the differences, but simply point them to Jesus' teachings. Carl gives great illustrations, good advice and interesting information made easy to understand.
I greatly enjoyed this book!