Today, the first day of 2012, a dream is fulfilled: the launching of a blog which I hope will be a small step forward in bringing Muslims and Christians together! My deep desire is to see us talk with each other — heart to heart, not head to head. Head to head conversations become debates with winners and losers. Heart to heart conversations create bridges of friendship strong enough to bear the weight of people speaking openly and honestly. Don’t we need more of that in a world in which many (not all) Christians and Muslims harbor inner fears – or even animosity – toward one another?
Whenever you look at this blog, note that it has 4 purposes:
- Building Bridges of Friendship, Trust, & Understanding Between Muslims & Christians
- Tearing Down Walls of Suspicion, Fear, Anger, & Prejudice
- Planting Seeds of Peace in a World of Conflict & Violence
- Inspiring Dialogue of Faith Issues Using Honesty, Sincerity, & Mutual Respect
Would you join me in learning and listening? This is not a forum to preach at each other. This is a forum to talk with each other through the replies and threads.
Watch for blogs about once a week but the next one will be much sooner!
I’d say that head to head & toe to toe communication can all lead to personal renewal. It is a matter of bringing each person face to face with God. We are to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our MIND and with all our strength. If something is true, we should not be afraid to say it. If something is true, we should not be afraid to hear it. Just let it be true.
Mert, good word. I too think we need to use our heads in religious dialogue. My point was that too often, that is all that people use! And that just leads to what I believe to be unnecessary difficulties. So maybe speaking from our hearts — as well as our heads — is a good way to go!
thank you marta good word.
i like to talk abut this
i would like to thank each person in the world who trying to break the ice between the three religions followers. for me as a person who came from Jerusalem to Paris, i can easily say that “Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” still misunderstood to many people here in europe. they still think that the religion bring wars and fights, when actually the religion and the religious people are (or have to be) the most peaceful people on the earth because their religion puts for them restrictions in their life, and the ten commadments and the other common teachings that the three religions agreed on is the best example for breaking the ice and the misunderstanding toward the good religious people from their different religions, cultures, countries and backgrounds.
Ammar, thank you habibi, for being the first Muslim friend to post a reply on my new blog!
I really appreciate the time we spent together by the Damascus Gate — building bridges of friendship, trust, and understanding. I hope to talk more about that time in my next blog! Yes, let’s keep breaking the ice!
Mark, I do not want to be too philosophical, but you have two complex works in your title: love and Muslim. What is your definition of love? And if there are Muslims reading this, I would benefit from their definition of a Muslim. I send my thanks to all who seek a better world.
Larry, insightful question! Wow, what do I mean by love? Well, I can only tell you that I prayed just today for God to give me the kind of love that Jesus has for us and that is an unconditional love. I am far from that in my life. Too often I only love those who love me. Jesus said that kind of love is not too special — anyone can love like that!
I can say regarding my love for Muslims that in the summer of 2006, God just deposited a real interest in and care for Muslim people. I cannot explain it. I just know that since then I greatly enjoy being with my Muslim friends and I deeply care about them. It is great to eat together, to share heart-to-heart about life, faith, and family.
When I first met Saudi frinds who came to Seoul to study in a university where I worked on 2007, I was really surprised at the change of the world. They were the first students who came to Korea to study. They were very friendly and open to learn Korean culture and society including christianity. Some of them lived in my house for one and half years. They introduced me Quran and I showed them the Bible. They made me their traditional meal and I ate it with my right bare hand. I taught them how to use chopsticks.
We need to learn more about different religions to make our world more pleasant and peaceful place to live. Your work to increase the understanding muslims and christians is so precious in this world. It is very timely.
Jongmin, your story is what I hope this blog can be about. Muslims and Christians sharing stories about life together. Your example is inspiring!
The love that you, MJ, and your family have for one another shines out in your photos. How blessed we all are that your love reached out to us and continues to reach out to others. Jesus said that those around us would know we are Christians by our love. May that truly be so!
Kit, great to hear from you. Yes, love is so huge in all our interactions. We love because He first loved us!!!
Thank you, Mark and MJ, for working so faithfully, on behalf of all of us who share this great love, to create peaceful, fruitful relationships between Muslims and Christians. A faithful representation of Jesus’ heart in a rancorous world is a treasure beyond price, and I am so grateful that you are providing it, even in small ways. Everything counts!
Martha, thanks for your kind words. I only hope that MJ and I can faithfully represent Jesus!
What an awesome work! I am so proud of you and Mary J. I love that new grandbaby. I have six! Really wish they were born FIRST! I will be interceding for you all. God is able to do exceedlingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think. Your willingness to ‘just go’ has been acknowledged in heaven. I believe Jesus will support, increase and validate the good work you are doing. This IS his heart Mark. He is a God of love….that is, He loves all people.
Brenda, we can’t take any credit for what God has put in our hearts to do. All glory to Him! He alone is worthy!
I applaud the bridge-building approach between the faiths. For those who like
to read, I’d recommend: “A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to
Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide” by Mark Siljander. It is a useful exploration of the
linguistic similarities (and therefore beliefs) between the faiths when one compares the Classic Arabic of the Qur’an with the Aramaic Bible
Earl, thanks so much for the book recommendation for all of us. I have heard of it many times and know some people who know the author. I need to read it!
I really like the logo, the theme and the website name as well. Good Job Mark. I hope we all ( Muslim-Christian) overcome the adversity and build bridges of peace through this blog……..
Abdul, thanks so much for responding. I really appreciate your kind spirit! I want all of my Muslim friends to feel comfortable on this site. And eventually, I hope that Muslims and Christians will get on this blog not just to talk to me, but to each other!
It is with great joy that I read your blog, and the comments. I remember when the Lord laid this call on your heart. What a blessing it is to follow the journey and read about all God’s loving ways of bringing Muslims and Christians together. You and MJ are in my prayers daily. Thanks for the beautiful pictures of your family. Blessing in the New Year!
Susan, what kind words. And daily prayers too — wow! Thank you. Let’s keep serving the King!
Well Mark, you did it. I just want to say if most of us is as peaceful and as understanding as you are we will be in a better place. Congrats and good job !!
Haitham, I thank you so much for responding! You are a prime example of someone that I love to have sincere dialogue with. You share about your faith. I share about mine. We do it with dignity and respect for one another. You are a great listener, a real man of peace. I hope we can have many more conversations!
Hi Mark & Mary Jane,
You are both such a consistant inspiration in your unwavering faith & actions. After reading your letters & accounts, I come away with a sense of renewal, especially since my own faith in this area often seems depleted. I ask God for increase in love & understanding many times after listening to the news, He always comes through with personal messages of forgiveness. So then I am recharged & refueled with a peace & a love for the ones that He loves.
Great to see pictures of your whole family! Congrats on being grandparents! You look great, your joy certainly comes through.
Lori, we send our greetings to you and your family and thank you for your constant encouragement!
The most amazing web site with the amazing idea
More power to you Pastor Mark and his son Ben it was a pleasue meeting you in Bethlehem and may God reward you for your great work into brings the people together and working for peace in the Holy Land
Darwesh, it was a big honor to meet you in your beautiful shop and hear you explain your work. Also good to meet your friends. I feel God led us to walk in your door and have great conversation about life in Palestine and what our faiths are about. Hope to see you again one day. God bless you!
is also hearing, “I know your hearts are full this day to race out of the starting block like a stallion starting a race” but know this, I have all time in my hands. You have not lost time or drawn back. Hold on to what I have given you in your hand, nothing is lost, but ALL to gain! Time shift taking place, you have not had time stolen as maybe you have thought, for I am the keeper of ALL times.
Elias, I know we have to be patient to build peace. And we have to trust God who holds time in His hands. I just don’t want to be guilty of wasting time (Ephesians 5:16) instead of working for peace!
hey how are you. it was nice to meet you in bethlehem
pray for you
Elias, it was a real privilege to meet you in Bethlehem on Manger Street! May God bless you in your education and work in His service.
MJ & Mark. We will be praying for you daily as you spread the Word to people in need of it. Ron
Ron, thanks for your encouragement and prayers. We all need the Word of God. I need it badly in my own life. I hope I can take it in to change my own life first and then spread it to others with faithfulness and love.
Hi Mark. Nice blog. I have nothing intelligent to say, but I wanted to say hi and encourage you. God bless you through your Lord Jesus. -Scott
Scott, I just thank you for taking the time to leave an encouraging comment.