Fireworks and Faces

from Shane's Muslim Connect

“Wanna come ta tha show?” The young face was brown, but the accent was classic West Yorkshire. And his arms were full of fireworks! We were newly arrived in England, walking around our neighborhood, wondering how to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, when a dear Afghan family from down the road asked us to join in their fireworks fun. I’ll never forget the warmth and kindness I felt at being invited to share it with them. They went on to be friends to us throughout our too short time in their town.

While I know almost nothing about Afghanistan, I’m predisposed to think well about Afghans because one of my very few data points was so overwhelmingly positive. Is it any wonder that in contrast, many Christians struggle with general apprehension relative to Muslims? In the absence of direct connection, we tend to go with the data we see in the media which is almost always negative. 

Nuseir Yassin, a brilliant young Palestinian man, and social media sensation, says, “When it comes to underdeveloped countries, our brains get lazy. We tend to classify, generalize and stereotype.” I definitely see this in myself. It can also be of true of our thinking about Muslims. We’ve got to find ways to get the fuller story, to see Muslims as God sees them, to know names and faces. This takes time and intentionality. . .like what we see in Jesus’s life  when he re-routes  to meet the woman at the well and then adds a two day layover in her town. 

 

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