“Pastor” Terry Jones is at it again – stirring things up. I remember well the first time I heard of this man. And you probably do too. It was a year and a half ago in the summer of 2010 when he was making noise about burning the Qur’an on September 11th of that year. Like millions of other Christians around the globe, I was horrified. . .and ashamed. Horrified about the possible loss of life that might result from such a stupid and senseless act. Ashamed that someone who calls himself a “Christian” would do something so unlike the Jesus I know, love, and follow.
In talking about my anger over this so called pastor’s intentions to another follower of Jesus, he asked, “Why don’t you have an ‘I Love Muslims’ Day at the University of Michigan?” Immediately my heart knew this was the right course of action to do something – anything – to show our Muslim friends that we love them. I just knew I was supposed to be a part of making this happen!
And it did happen. All praise be to God! The president of the Muslim Student Association at the U of M – a great young man – was touched by the idea and the student leadership of the MSA officially approved it.
On October 25th, 2010, we had a wonderful night of about 50 Muslim students and 50 Christian students talking, eating (my wife put together a halal menu), exchanging e-mails, and enjoying each other. At the end of the night, we had a talk by our team of Christian hosts called: “Top 10 Reasons Why We Love Muslims.” All in all it was a fantastic event!
I would love to see other universities give something like this a try but I want to add one caveat: we had already pursued a relationship with the Muslim Student Association for two or more years and they had kindly reciprocated. So. . .we did not enter into this event without a relational foundation.
Nevertheless, my hope and prayer is that Christians on university campuses and in communities would attempt to show their love for Muslim students and their Muslim neighbors in ways that are meaningful and and fun for everyone!
Maybe a few walls can be broken down.
Maybe a few bridges can be built.
Maybe God’s heart will be gladdened by such simple expressions of love.