The Dearborn Arab International Festival, Pt. 2: Lovers, Haters & A Man Named John

In the last blog post, I spoke of the “Bible Believers,” the so called “Christians” who hurled angry invectives at the Muslim crowds who gathered around them last weekend at the Arab Festival in Dearborn, Michigan. The video below is a sample of that kind of horrible, hate-filled speech. I warn you: to listen to this man’s yelling and name calling is – at least to me – disheartening, disturbing, and disgusting.

I call these people “haters.” Though I am not their Judge, it is mighty hard (impossible?) to call them “believers” in Jesus or the Bible. Honestly, can anyone see Jesus acting like that? Who in the world would want the Jesus they say they represent? If they’re going to Heaven, who would want to be in the same place?!

OK, enough about the “haters.”

On a much more positive note, let’s talk about some “lovers” – people who love and show kindness to others regardless of their religion, politics, country of origin, or the color of their skin.

There were some true Christians (I prefer the term “followers of Jesus”) at the festival who represented Jesus in a much more authentic way. One such real believer I saw out there last Saturday was a man named John. For many years John has gone to the festival with a huge orange container of ice water and hundreds of little plastic cups. I loved watching him give free cups of cold water to Muslims, and Christians, and anyone else who passed by in the sweltering June heat and wanted a refreshing drink (refills too!).

Yes, John is a Christian – a genuine follower of Jesus. No doubt about it. He doesn’t hide it. He can’t hide it. It just comes out. He even had little pamphlets on top of the water container about the Jesus that he loves. But he didn’t push them or his faith in a way that demeaned the people he conversed with. He just loved.

John won’t make the Channel 7 News for his actions. The Detroit Free Press won’t do an article about his kindness. No one will likely put something on YouTube showing him smiling and blessing each person who took the little clear cups of water. No, that video would not go “viral,” now would it?

That’s why I had to write something about John. I had to write about lovers like John who are always at the Arab Festival but don’t make noise or trouble or require riot police to enforce a “free speech zone.” They don’t make the kind of sensationalistic news that so many seem to want to see.

But you know what? Someone did see every act of John’s kindness and love. Someone kept a record of it. And someone delighted in it. Yes, God Himself saw what John did and will reward him for it. On two occasions, the Bible records Jesus speaking about the beauty and value of simply giving someone a “cup of cold water” (Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41).

Sometimes only God sees what lovers quietly do for others. There is no press. No publicity. Just the Lord. In the end, that will be enough.

I think it already is. . .for a man named John.

(Postscript: though there is no YouTube video about John’s kind actions and words at the Arab Festival, there is one about a group that comes each year called Impact International. They volunteer in numerous ways: putting up tables and tents, providing parking lot security, helping in the children’s tent, and cleaning up at the end of the festival. Below is a video about their acts of kindness.)

2 thoughts on “The Dearborn Arab International Festival, Pt. 2: Lovers, Haters & A Man Named John

    • Ammar,

      Habibi, I don’t know everything about what human governments are doing to promote war or hatred. IF it is true that our government is spending huge amount of money to promote Islamophobia, may God forgive us.

      I only know that I want Jesus to be the true governor of my heart. I submit to his government of my life.

      700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah looked ahead to Jesus and said:

      “For to us a child is born,
      to us a son is given,
      and the government will be on his shoulders.
      And he will be called
      Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

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