Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Drinking from a Muslim firehose

A few weeks ago my family and I were shopping in another part of town and (as usual) I armed myself with a pocket full of tracks, but left my tract bag in the car. Stepping inside the store we waited while a tall woman wearing a hijab selected her shopping basket. I flinched when I realized I had a couple of tracts (here is one) reserved for witnessing to Muslims in my bag, which I left in the car. Since the whole family was with me, I wrestled with taking a moment to rush back to the car and get the tracts, or shepherd my family through the store—I chose to wait and help my wife.

As we made our way through the store, we kept crossing paths with the Muslim woman. Making our way to the check-out, I noticed she was hurriedly closing her sale while we were just getting started and I started kicking myself for not going after those tracts. Note to self: carry one.

My mother closed her sale and was helping her to the car while my wife and kids closed our sale inside. To my surprise, I noticed the Muslim woman was parked in the space next to us, so I made haste to return so I could at least fetch the tracts and drop them off. The Muslim woman finished putting her groceries in the car, then with audible frustration, locked up and made her way back into the store, passing us on our way out—apparently she forgot something.

“Praise the LORD!” I exulted. I helped mom into the car and found the tracts and waited patiently. A few minutes later, the Muslim woman exited and approached her car. I came around the other side and, holding out the tracts asked, “Did you get one of these? It would be a great delight if you looked at this—it means so much to me.” The woman looked at me, rolled her eyes, made some noise of disgust and swiped them from my hand. That was it! Done! I thanked her, wished her a good day and returned to my car praying she would read them and maybe call me (I put a sticker on the back of the tracts I distribute with my name and phone number in case anyone wants to talk about what they read).

Last Saturday afternoon my cell phone rang. The caller ID said, “restricted number.” My brain spun as I prepared to launch into the “Good Person” test I sometimes use when I get wrong number phone calls. The woman on the other end said, “Is this James? This is the woman you gave some papers to at the grocery store a couple of weeks back.” I smiled and with great delight expressed my thanks for calling, asked for her name and inquired how I could help her. She said tersely, “I’ve got a couple of things I would like to send you, but don’t see your mailing address on this . . . stuff you gave me.” I gave her my address and asked her name again. She repeated the address back and said to be expecting something, then hung up.

“Great,” I said to myself and my imagination went into overtime as to what a Muslim woman would be sending me now that she had my home address.

Monday, May 21, my wife shows up at my office with a large package (no name on the sender, just a return address). Inside was a large hard-back Qur’an, a stack of CD’s with great titles (most by a former Christian-turned-Muslim, Gary Miller):

“What the Gospels mean to Muslims”
“Basics of Muslim Belief”
“Tawheed (Monotheism)”
“Modern History of Christianity”
“Communicating Islam”
“The Amazing Qur'an”
“A Concise Reply to Christianity”

There were also some books:

“Understanding Islam and the Muslims”
“Muhammed (pbuh), The Natural Successor to Christ (pbuh)”
“Gifts from Muhammed” [looks sort of like a “Promise Books” version of the Qur’an]
“An Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam.”

And this book that really looks interesting: “Beyond Mere Christianity: C.S. Lewis and the Betrayal of Christianity” by Brandon Toropov.

There was also an article called, “The Difference Between the Bible and the Qur’an.”

Needless to say, I still feel overwhelmed. When I started looking at the material, I felt totally firehosed!

I don’t know if I will ever see the woman again. I may send a thank-you card to the addresses printed in the books (same Post Office box as was on the package label), but don’t know who to address them to. Regardless, I’ve never really had such a good look into this ancient deception, but plan on making a series of posts here that would respond to issues as they present themselves as I read and talk with my contemporaries here at the University who teach in the subject.

I am excited to see how our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in this, as I prepare for future ministry opportunities.

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