Filed under Current Events

They Will Know We are Christians by Our Drinks

They Will Know We are Christians by Our Drinks

This article was first published in the April print edition of Christianity Today. The deadliest incident faced by the persecuted church last Christmas wasn’t radical Islamists. It was alcohol. Liquor mixed with aftershave killed about 50 people at Christmas parties in a Pakistani village, and sickened about 100 more. In Pakistan, as in many Muslim-majority … Continue reading

Does Egypt Still Matter?

Does Egypt Still Matter?

As America under Trump re-determines its policies in the Middle East, the feelings of the region’s people matter very little. ‘Hearts and minds,’ sure, but cold-calculating interests generally rule geopolitical considerations. All the same, I can imagine the Egyptian angst in reading this recommendation by the Hoover Institute for Washington to re-up its cooperation with … Continue reading

What Jesus Can Teach Muslims Today

What Jesus Can Teach Muslims Today

The New York Times carried a very Christian op-ed recently, penned by a Turkish Muslim. Mustafa Akyol is one of Turkey’s leading journalists, and argues that the crisis in the Muslim world today can be solved by turning to Jesus as example. But first, a primer for those who don’t know the basics: While Muslims … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Bread and Entry

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Bread and Entry

God, Facing a severe decline in tourism, Egypt doubles the entry fee. Facing corruption in the bread market, Egypt scales back supply. Both decisions can be seen as sensible, God, but outcry is loud and execution haphazard. Give wisdom for right policy. Immediately the government postponed the visa price hike, and hints a final decision … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Blind Threat

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Blind Threat

God, As one era passes, another begins. One died, and then two others. There is no connection, save a pernicious idea. Defeat it, God, and save the people – target and targetter alike. Far away in America, the Blind Sheikh passed away after many years of incarceration. Linked to terrorism in the first World Trade … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Divorce and Authority

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Divorce and Authority

God, You know best the worth of a woman. You know what is timeless, you know what is cultural. Help Egypt to know as you do, and act accordingly. Troubled by rising divorce rates, the president pushed for reform. Hoping a standardized process might curb rash decisions, he asked administrative witness and registration be made … Continue reading

Islam, Jihad, and Syria

Islam, Jihad, and Syria

Two days ago I shared my new article at Christianity Today contrasting Muslim and Christian polls about eschatology. As ISIS surged in the Middle East, it activated also Christian visions of Armageddon. But it is good also to look at the raw material. This article by Josh Landis contains many interesting tidbits on how Syria … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Falling Short

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Falling Short

God, Egypt was almost happy. Perhaps she was a little. The national soccer team came close to reclaiming its heritage as ‘best in Africa’, but fell short in the final. But so also seemed many of Egypt’s actors this week, for good or for ill. A women’s labor strike at a textile factory abandoned the … Continue reading

Who Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims

Who Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims

This article was first published in the Jan-Feb print edition of Christianity Today. Jesus did not show up to defend ISIS—and the first to celebrate was a Muslim. “The [ISIS] myth of their great battle in Dabiq is finished,” Ahmed Osman, a Free Syrian Army officer, told Reuters in October after coalition forces drove more … Continue reading

Conspiracy Theory Comes to America

Conspiracy Theory Comes to America

Living in the Middle East one drinks deeply from the well of conspiracy thinking. It pollutes the mind, but also trains it. So while Americans mused over the merits and demerits of Trump and Clinton, I feared the patterns I was watching develop. To describe would require a full listing of faults, but I mean … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Quiet Revolution

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Quiet Revolution

God, January 25, 2011 was a momentous event. But if the president hadn’t said something, in 2017 Egypt might hardly have noticed. It was a turning point in history, he declared, though it brought on many troubles. But he praised the people and the martyrs, giving assurance Egypt is on the right path. May it … Continue reading

Where Credit is Due

Where Credit is Due

Two years ago I wrote about Egypt and her struggle to return to normal. Protests were still being waged on the streets, as terrorism assaulted the post-Morsi regime. But that article featured also the mundane. A foot bridge was repaired by local authorities in the Maadi neighborhood of Cairo, but for a long time left … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Red Sea Verdict

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Red Sea Verdict

God, The court has spoken, and the land is Egyptian. Perhaps. Months ago the president and the Saudi king concluded an agreement that included return of sovereignty over two small islands in the Red Sea. Opponents called it an illegal transfer, as Egyptians died in war defending their home soil. This week the High Administrative … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Law, Left and Letter

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Law, Left and Letter

God, The law carries many meanings, but among them is license. Neither state nor citizen may act as they wish; the law – in principle – standardizes behavior. In Egypt, two laws in particular are illustrative. God, may the proper lessons be both learned and applied. Several weeks ago the parliament passed a controversial draft … Continue reading