See the rest at ArchDailyRead More
A friend living in the Middle East wrote a post entitled Spiritual Lessons Learned from Arab Culture some time back, and I thought that it was quite helpful, both for those who know Arab culture but haven’t spent a lot of time reflecting on it and for those who are unfamiliar with Arab culture.
Arab culture differs in many ways from the American culture I was raised in. Much of it still retains values we see of biblical cultures in the Old and New Testaments. As I was reflecting on Arab culture and my experiences recently I was reminded of three ways Arab culture has encouraged me in my walk with Jesus.
1. Even before we moved to Jordan, we knew how important it is in Arab culture to host and visit friends. Initially we did not have many Arabs come to visit us, but we enjoyed taking time to get to know neighbors and others we came in contact with in their homes. Often we would take flowers or chocolate or some small gift to thank them for their hospitality. Sometimes we would take a gift that was wrapped or was in a nice bag – perhaps some candles or dish towels. As our children began to make friends at school, they were invited to birthday parties and would, of course, take a gift for the birthday girl or boy.
We began to notice a pattern. If we were visiting a family they would take our gift and set it aside. They would say thank you, but would not open it. We would not hear about it again during the visit though often they would thank us later. At birthday parties, all the gifts would sit on a table in the corner, unopened. Even as guests began leaving, no one moved to open them and no one seemed to object.
When we asked our friends about this we learned it would be shameful, in Arab culture, to open a gift in front of the giver. To do such a thing would be to say that you treasure the gift more than the giver. Instead, the gift is set aside so the hosts can give their guests their full and undivided attention.
I’ve often thought of that in relationship to Christ. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Sometimes I catch myself treasuring the gifts more than the God who gives them. He also said we should “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all (the things we need) will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). I want to be a man whose treasure is Jesus. I want to be like Mary, delighted to sit at Jesus’ feet and just be with him. Somehow I know that if that’s the case…whether I have the stuff or not really won’t matter. But wouldn’t it be sad to gain all the stuff and lose what’s most important?
Read the whole thing here: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Arab CultureRead More
One of my friends living in the Middle East recently posted some interesting thoughts on Why the Kingdom of Jordan will NOT be the Next Egypt, and I would urge those following the situation in both countries to consider what he has to say. He followed up that post with links to some other helpful posts–focusing on Jordan in particular–from bloggers living in Jordan.
I resonate with some of the posts that resent the way some of this is portrayed in the media. I flipped on CNN yesterday, and it was astounding to me how much ignorance was being thrown out there by the commentators (and FoxNews doesn’t seem much better by the way). Rather than listening to Glenn Beck and others who really aren’t qualified to really discuss what’s happening, listen to some of these voices from within the Middle East itself.Read More
King Abdullah II of Jordan agreed to an interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, and thanks to my aunt, I was made aware of it. You can watch the original interview on the Daily Show site or YouTube (but notice that the first half of the show has to do with Republicans and the recent UN meetings, with King Abdullah coming in later). But his majesty agreed to an extended interview which I found extremely interesting. Check it out below:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
Having lived in Jordan for about a year, it was great to hear King Abdullah articulate clearly many of his ideas (and quips, I think he surprised Stewart a few times).Read More