I will let you draw your own inferences from the text, but recognize that this is the mindset of conservative adherents to the Islamic faith as well as those who use it for their own selfish gains. There is a liberal or progressive community of Muslims, but they have no power and are considered just as bad as apostates for how they interpret the Koran.
Abdul-Qaadir told me about Yusuf’s question, when he’d asked whether it was possible for someone who had been Christian, then become Muslim, and then returned to Christianity to again become Muslim.
In response, Abdul-Qaadir had said flatly, “Some people think you should kill them.”
Abdul-Qaadir said that some people were offended by his remarks. “It’s a sensitive issue for Yusuf and Yunus,” he said, “since their mother is an apostate.” He was putting this mildly. Imagine telling an eleven-year-old kid that God wants his mom put to death, and you’ll understand the level of sensitivity at play.
But that wasn’t what I thought of when Abdul-Qaadir told me about the previous night’s class. I wasn’t thinking about feelings or sensitivities. I wanted to know if those people really should be killed.
And Abdul-Qaadir had a ready explanation. “The reason a lot of people are uncomfortable with this is because they don’t understand the notion of apostasy in Islam. They have these Western ideas about religion as something you try on to see if it feels comfortable, something that you can take off just as easily as you put it on. They hear that you can be killed for leaving Islam, and their reaction is ‘Huh?’ What they’re not considering is that religion and politics aren’t separable in Islam the way they are in the West. When you take the shahadah, you aren’t just pledging your allegiance to Allah; you’re aligning yourself with the Muslim state. Leaving Islam isn’t just converting from one faith to another. It’s more properly understood as treason.”
“I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’” hadith collected by al-Bukhari from Muhammad the Prophet.
The epistle of James, the brother of Jesus, has this to say about our conduct and treatment of the big 3: the poor, the orphans, the widows
1:26-27 “If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
2:1-13 “My brothers, hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ without showing favoritism. For suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring, dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes so that you say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or, “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? Yet you dishonored that poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Don’t they blaspheme the noble name that you bear? If you really carry out the royal law prescribed in Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as trangsgressors. For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all. For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom. For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
The instructions about orphans and widows is a lot easier to follow than the instructions about the poor and showing favoritism. While both require love to accomplish, in my own experiences it is a lot easier to love a woman (widow) and children (orphans) than a dingy, rough, and tough man (poor). I am not saying that all of the poor are men, but that is what we typically think of regarding the homeless at least. The other side of the coin is that being poor does not mean being homeless. We have to be careful with our understanding of who the poor are. It will be different within each culture and economic system.
I don’t know completely how we show favoritism in our lives today, but maybe some of the following will get us thinking about how to break down some of the social barriers that hinder our interaction with others outside of our economic class:
1. Having a Vacation Bible School? Post the flyers or drop them off everywhere in town – both the wealthy and the poor neighborhoods.
2. Headed to the public library? Maybe you could stop and buy several toothbrushes with protective holders, and tubes of toothpaste to handout to those sleeping in the park, or making use of the “public” part of the library? Handing out water works too.
3. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter/food center. Even once a month is better than not at all, right?
4. Engage the homeless when the opportunity presents itself. We are an anti-social society when it comes to standing in lines with other folks. Idle chit-chat can go a long way in validating someone’s existence. It may be exactly what that person needs to start pushing forward.
5. What about going and hanging out where the homeless are? I know that most of what I am suggesting is not for the solo woman to pursue, but in a pack of three you might be good to go.
6. Could you and a group of friends head to a local poor side of town with a grill in tow, some soccer balls/Frisbees/etc… and completely bless the socks off an entire community? Yeah! Add in some music and make it an impromptu block party.
The key is to make this a matter of the heart, not a matter of action. If your heart still sees the poor and homeless as outcast and social downgrades, then you have missed the point of James’s rebuke. Jesus taught about matters of the heart in upholding the Law. (Matthew 5:21-6:4)
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
I have spent a lot of time lately transferring old 8mm home video into digital format. This cannot be done quickly with the software I have so you are almost forced to watch all of your old films. I have seen videos of our wedding, a mission trip to the Philippines, military training from many moons ago, tons of video of our first child, and a couple of videos of houses we used to live in. With each of those videos I caught a further glimpse into myself for two reasons: 1) I typically was the one doing the recording, 2) I was able to see me in various settings when I was not recording – Christmas at my in-laws, military training, singing at church, interacting with my daughter.
I couldn’t put my finger on it at first but the more I saw of myself the less I liked myself. I was confident. Always appearing to have an answer. And then I started noticing what the problem was and still is. I am not humble. More so then than now – and not because I am more humble now, but rather I am less confident now. I am not God’s greatest gift to mankind. I am not God’s greatest gift to my spouse. I am not God’s greatest gift to my children, my family, my friends, my church, my enemies. I am nobody in the grand scheme of life. I have a small sphere of influence, but each person is the master of their domain. I looked up some verses that I think will do me well to remember and I will pass them on to you.
“The fear of the LORD is wisdom’s instruction, and humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 15:33
“He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
“Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:33
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time,…” 1 Peter 5:6
“All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.” -Jesus in Matthew 11:29
Example: Moses – Numbers 12:3
Encouragement for being humble:
“The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10
I am not entirely sure how to apply this in the multiple areas of my life. Is it a disregard for myself across the board? Is it a denial of “Me Time”? Is it meeting the needs of others even if what they desire from me is something I cannot meet? God is our fulfillment that can satisfy. I cannot fill those needs and longings in others – my wife, my children, my coworkers. Maybe it is me pointing to God when people are trying to find their fulfillment in me and I in myself?
The interesting part is that some people in the videos are obviously not as enthralled with me as I was with myself. But they never laid the smack down on me. What if they had? Would I have received it? Would I receive it now? Try it and let’s find out how I handle it.
So I tried to write a poem. I made three attempts and none of which stuck because they were either focused on me or weren’t quite as loving as I wanted them to be. (see what I did there, “me” and “be”, ha!)
Things I remember about my mother:
1. I used to get money out of her purse for buying slushies at the shaved ice place by Mr. Malone’s barber shop. Whether I stole that money or not is up for debate. I think it was about a 50/50 split.
2. I remember being threatened when I was about 8 or 9 by a guy in the bathroom at Verona Jr. High after I had tattled on him for smoking in the bathroom. I told my mom that I was scared. She pulled out a knife and told me that she would stab anybody who tried to hurt me. So when we left the basketball game that is just what she did. No, she didn’t stab anybody, but she would have, I think. She did let me cling to her for dear life while keeping the knife in her other hand. I don’t know if anyone escorted us out or not. I never heard from that guy again either. Maybe he got wind of my mom being willing to poke a few holes in him. (Hind sight: I think what she was actually carrying was a retractable nail file, but to an 8 year old in need, it was Crocodile Dundee’s knife from the first movie).
4. Can anyone say “Green Thumb”? Very good. You can be certified as a parrot. Most weekends my mom could be found planting something, mowing something, hauling brush, working in the garden, etc… She was always dirty and her clothes were of the finest quality with holes in her jeans and typically an old t-shirt on. She taught me that hard work could be fun, except after harvesting the garden when we had to snap beans and shell peas for days on end.
There are more memories but I am not writing a book. I am writing a blog. I remember my mom as a loving protector, like a Mama Bear is with her cubs. She allowed us to have our independence while keeping tabs on us in case something bad happened. She hugged us and scolded us. She feed us and feed us and feed us and feed us and…well you get the idea. It is not surprising that it took my sister and I moving out before they were able to get ahead financially. I am kind of looking forward to that day myself twenty years from now, at least until one of the children moves back home.
I love you and miss you.
Your son in the Land of Entrapment
There is a huge push to legalize same-sex marriage in our country, among other sexual oriented things, and Christians need to change tactics in their approach to this fight. There is a reason that the Pro-life Movement has been winning the fight in that area, because you can never spin the killing of the unborn into something more noble like “women’s rights”. The Pro-life push has the upper hand because they have the positive side of the argument. Even Women’s Rights folks have to admit that the destruction of a baby in the womb is happening in order to achieve what they are aiming for. Well, within the culture of sexuality, the LGBT community has the upper hand in the moral fight from a “positive” standpoint. They are saying “yes” while many folks are saying “no”. The reality of the matter is that positive or progressive things win out in the long run (and this is not always a bad thing – slavery was abolished, women’s rights were established, and Civil Rights were recognized).
In preparation for losing the fight regarding same-sex marriage I believe Christians specifically have a responsibility to preach the entire Word of God and to LIVE IT OUT as well. Some people are going to get mad at me for posting this, but these are not my words.
Three areas need to be addressed and WE ALL need to start repenting: 1) DIVORCE, 2) FORNICATION, and 3) ADULTERY.
1. DIVORCE – Jesus said, “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
2. FORNICATION – The Apostle Paul has the most to say on this topic. “I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am. But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire.” 1 Corinthians 7:8-9
“But because of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:2
“But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” Matthew 15:18-20
3. ADULTERY – “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
There are several other verses, but the point is this. Christians, it is time to get our own houses in order and to remove the planks from our own eyes before we can see clearly to remove the planks from someone else’s eyes. We need to do what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, “Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly, or box like one who beats the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
The greatest fulfillment ANYONE will get from sexual intercourse is within marriage when EMOTIONAL intimacy is occurring in addition to the physical intimacy. All of this is what Christians need to be doing and talking about. If the LGBT wants to get married and some of them claim to be Christians then they are just as accountable to the above three passages. We have failed to have a voice because the Ecclesia, the church of the body of Christ, has failed to hold ourselves accountable for the past fifty plus years and has given the enemy a foothold to establish his domain in our country. While this world might belong to him and his minions, we can still fight the good fight.
Examine yourself and get your own body in check and your own marriage in order. “If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:31-32
Me – Sin has become so normalized that righteousness is starting be called wrong/sinful by the heathens among us. Media is largely to blame – internet, television, movies, magazines, etc…
Wife – And it’s just going to get worse
Me – Yes it is. We almost need to go Jewish in our mindset. Protect the culture of Christians through Christian community.
Wife – That’s very true…..Wonder why that is. Sin “feels” right where righteousness is uncomfortable? Is it not comfortable because it is not the popular belief?
So I see two questions here that would be a great discussion for my followers to engage in:
1. What should Christian community look like in terms of protecting each other from the outside world – being in the world, but not of it – while still being able to share the gospel with those around us intentionally?
2. What is going on within Christianity that we feel wrong about being righteous and right about falling into sin? Sub question: Can we find areas where we have compromised to the point that we can’t see our own compliance with sin?
I had been awake this morning long enough to get a bath, take my medicine, and eat a little oatmeal when I received a phone call from my doctor.
“This is Keith.”
“Mr. Wadley, this is Dr. Corpus.”
“Hey, Dr. Corpus, how are you?”
“You are dying. Eat better, lose weight, and exercise. Goodbye.”
Okay, so that is not how the conversation went, but it was pretty straight forward. Apparently the blood draw last week came back with my triglycerides in the 700s. What we determined was that the numbers are skewed because I was dehydrated for the test. I was supposed to be able to drink water, but that was not in my paperwork. I will be sure to stay hydrated for the next blood draw. But according to webmd.com numbers over 500 are over the cliff high and can lead to a terrible thing called pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas. To read all about it, go here.
So that is what my doctor told me that I was in danger of and that it can kill you. She wants me to change my diet and get healthy. For me that is going to mean losing weight, eating less fat and carbs, and exercising more consistently. The big thing is the diet.
I will let you all know how it goes in the next few weeks. Take care of yourself fellow readers and bloggers.
p.s. Here is my plan for the next three weeks til I get my blood work done again the third week in April:
- Steel cut oats (make 1.5 cups), banana or strawberries on the side (maybe mixed in)
Snacks throughout the day:
- Nuts – no salt, not roasted, small doses
- Fruits – any
Lunch x 2 a day:
- Sweet potatoes – lightly salted, peppered, with chicken and a vegetable (green beans, black beans, sweet peas)
- Long-grain brown rice
- Albacore Tuna, eggplant, mix of vegetables (black beans, green beans, sweet peas, lima beans, pinto beans) at least twice a week
- Roasted chicken, sweet potato, red onion dish (make this each Sunday for work the whole week or bake chicken and potatoes – 2 sweet, 3 Idaho) Put in containers for work with vegetables added each day before I leave
- Vegetable medley (sauté if I get tired of it): squash, cucumber, okra, black beans, spinach leafs (no lettuce)
- Meat: Fish or chicken – baked or pan cooked but in olive oil (not fried), I can add spices to change the flavor like lemon-pepper, oregano, paprika, red peppers, etc…
- Water – at least a gallon a day
- Coffee – no sugar, no fattening creamer (use honey if I need flavor)
- Tea – Green Tea, Unsweet regular tea