The most exciting stop on my tour was in North Carolina, where I reconnected with my dear friend and Peace Catalyst International colleague, Thomas Davis, an extraordinary bridge-builder and peacemaker both in his hometown and in several nations around the world. (You can read Thomas’s amazing stories at his blog: http://www.incomparabletreasure.com/. You can see his Muslim Christian Dinner Club, read his post on “Jesus–Messiah, Feminist, Friend of Outsiders, Savior of the World” and so much more.)
Thomas invited about 20 Christian friends to a dinner to hear me share about our peacemaking work in Indonesia, but I went home astounded at what Thomas’s friends are doing in their own communities!
- Some are helping international students, including Muslims, to adapt to their new surroundings in America and find local friends who will care for them
- Others are involved with some Iranian Muslims reading the Qur’an and the Bible together
- Still others have joined Thomas’s Dinner Club, where several families from the church and from the mosque regularly eat together, rotating to different members’ houses, with no agenda except to enjoy one another’s friendship
- Out of this Dinner Club came the idea of joining together to help refugees fleeing the Middle East. Can you imagine a Syrian family arriving in America, and at the airport a local Muslim family and a Christian family are waiting side-by-side to welcome them to America and help them start a brand new life? Isn’t that outrageously beautiful?
My last post asked some tough questions of my fellow Americans; my trip to North Carolina reassured me that there are still those Christians in America who have rejected fear and have chosen to reach out in love. “Love your enemy” was always meant to change us, for if we no longer see an enemy, but the object of our affections, we begin to see the whole world as “friends and future friends.”
If you feel emboldened to start something small in your hometown that builds bridges between Christians and Muslims, please let me know! Perhaps Thomas or myself or others would be able to help you take that first step.