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Those Muslim Cabbies

This isn’t a blog post about what’s wrong with Islam.

In fact, most people would be shocked to learn that as a white, middle-class American Pastor I’m actually an Islamic sympathizer.

That’s not to say that I place any stock in the Islamic faith, it’s just to say that I’ve travelled too much of the Islamic world to be swayed by the rhetorical punches that are aimed at “a religion” but land squarely on the noses of human beings.

I have Muslim friends and despite our cultural and religious differences I am generously received by them.

This is a blog post about what’s wrong with the human heart.

This week an American rental car company fired 25 Muslim drivers for not “clocking out” while they observed their daily prayers.  The drivers, Muslims from war torn nations in East Africa, came to Washington looking for a better life.  They found it shuttling cars around the SeaTac airport.

Devout Muslims pray 5 times per day.  It’s common in the Muslim world to watch the activity of an entire town grind to a halt as the call to prayer sounds. The people dutifully face towards Mecca, bow to the earth, and spend 5-7 minutes in prayer.

It’s nearly impossible to find an American who can sit still for more than 5 minutes.

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Appetite For Deception

Last week I heard that Gun’s n’ Roses were going on tour in North America.  The first thing I did was work the Google machine to see if Axl and Slash had finally made nice.

They haven’t.

Neither Slash, nor any other original member, will be joining W. Axl Rose for this tour.  It will merely be the lead singer performing alongside a bunch of people you’ve never heard of.

It’s not like all the former members hate each other.  In fact, getting them together in a room is actually quite easy, you only have to mention that Axl won’t be there.  This is a shame because when they were operating as the Most Dangerous Band In The World, Rose was often the only thing holding them together.

Now he’s the only thing keeping them apart.

Under most conditions it can be hard to keep a rock band together, but it’s even harder to do when they’ve achieved everything they hoped for. It’s not usually the battle to become the best that kills a band, it’s usually the divvying up of the spoils.

My favorite band break up? The Smiths. It included the now legendary firing of Bassist Andy Rourke. He received a Post-It Note on the windshield of his car, it read: “Andy – you have left The Smiths. Goodbye and good luck, Morrissey.”

What’s great about this break up is that even though it was committed in about as cowardly a fashion as the 1980’s allowed for,  Morrissey at least contacted Andy to let him know that the relationship was over.

Which brings me to Facebook.

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Occupied With Discernment

If you woke up over the weekend to find out that a park or downtown area of your city was filled with people marching and carrying protest signs you probably had the same initial reaction that I did:

“What are those people carrying on about?”

Your second reaction probably had to do with how long you’ve been alive.  For anybody who lived through the 1960’s or ’70’s the reaction was probably one of underwhelming disinterest.  For you this protest was probably like flipping past an episode of “America’s Got Talent”,  you’ve not only seen this kind of thing before, you’ve also seen it done much better.

If you are too young to remember the kind of demonstrations that included draft cards, fire, and the public brandishing of brassieres, you may have felt the twinge of concern that arises from fear, the fear of the unknown.

When we see or experience something we don’t understand, we tend to have a fear based reaction.  This is our survival instinct kicking in.

If you are confused, agitated, concerned, or frightened by the recent “Occupation Protests” it’s probably because you don’t understand the reasons why so many people are “sitting in” or “marching through” places like Wall Street in New York City.

If you don’t understand them or what they want, you aren’t alone.  Many of the protesters are as confused as you are. (more…)

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