I have the good fortune of incredible friendships here in Huntsville. The Lord has brought so many amazing people into my life and I am so very privileged to call these people friends.
Not the least of these are my good friends Hannah, and my dear new friend Hind who is an international student here at Sam Houston. Hind is nothing short of a blessing to know. She is from Tunisia, and has such a warmth and genuineness about her that would be a waste to go unappreciated by any who meet her.
Hannah, Hind and I spent some time musing and talking over coffee the other day, taking full advantage of the shift in the weather to cooler, more pleasant temperatures by sitting outside. Having only a general knowledge of Islam, the topic came up in conversation and we asked Hind to explain to us what her beliefs are, differences between Sunni and Shiite, eternity and what she believes about it, etc. My wheels were turning as she explained things to us. What I understood was this: the Islamic religion has quite literally defined the culture of the Arab world. Their religion IS their culture. Every thing they do, every good act all stems from the beliefs they hold. How is it then that a nation founded upon Christian principles has not sustained them within their own culture?
Before I gave my life to Christ, I did not understand this, but being on the other side I realized that American culture and Christian culture are two entirely different things. And the reason our nation has not sustained that culture is because we have not held to it so strongly as the Islamic nations have held theirs. We are a nation of “freedom”, but bound by our own selfishness.
When other nations think of Christianity, they automatically associate it with Western culture. To them it is one and the same. So naturally it makes sense that in light of how they view western culture they would want nothing to do with the religion of it. Why would they want a religion that offers just as little comfort and hope as their own? But as I have said already, Christian culture, the Lord’s culture, is so far from western culture that when truly understood could never be placed together. The Lord’s culture is one of peace, restoration, redemption, freedom, surrender, grace, mercy, kindness, love, service, unselfishness. The western culture is every man for himself…survival of the fittest if you will. It could never compare.
So back to our conversation, I threw my thoughts on the table. Her response? In the friendships that she has, each one of the Christians in her life have shown her that true Christianity, is far different from the culture of our nation.
True Christianity, has loved and served the heck out of a girl who came to Huntsville, TX of all places and shown her that those in love with Christ will act out of the abundance of that love to be a friend, to serve her, to love her unconditionally, to go out of their way to help her…all so that one day she might know personally and intimately the Son of God, and call Him Lord…and friend.
That is what I call good coffee 😉