I ran into my friend Sama at Kéan. And she was with her cousin, Rami, and a friend named Angie. Sama is a Muslim and she always wears a hat over her hijab. I met her a few years ago. She is Syrian and used to go there to help people but she can’t anymore.
We talked about Allepo and I don’t know what to write about that right now.
Sama works at the nature center and finds such joy in teaching children about the outdoors and how to start a fire — things like that. She takes them on field trips to places like Joshua Tree.
Our conversation, packed around a small table, the four of us, was beautiful and I don’t know exactly why it was so beautiful.
But I have a hunch.
Because it’s raining and we are talking about things that matter and Kéan is packed because nobody can sit outside. Rain blasting down and it’s tight in here with bodies and voices and warmth and humanity and there’s something about that feeling.
Some people are accepting and welcoming and you could feel by their body language that they love humanity. Sama and Rami and Angie send those vibes.
I don’t always send those vibes of love off and I’m too aware of my deficiency.
Angie just returned three days ago from Germany. She had studied for and lived there for 10 years.
I remember coming back to Orange County from London after two years and this sobering realization during a layover in Dallas in the American Airlines terminal — that this Dallas then Orange County, California, USA culture is as strange as any other. The way people look. The way people talk. The way people think.
If you’re not from the USA, you understand this too well.
I remember a class in college. Reverse culture shock is harder than culture shock. Because at least with a culture shock, things are new.
Traveling is one of the greatest teachers. Humbling.
I’m having a lot of trouble right now of thinking what to write. There’s the black man who just walked in. Not many black people here in Newport Beach.
There was the conviction of Dylan Roof this week. Executed 9 Christian people in a church during a service precisely because they were black. I imagine what the news would have been like had a black supremacist walked into a white evangelical church and executed white people during their prayer meeting, precisely because they were white.
During the election, I heard lots of people saying we need to “get over” the racism issue and move on.
Easy for a white person living in his white world to say.
Denial of white supremacy being alive and well in the USA.
Kanye: It all looks great 400 years later we’re buying our own chains…
Why do people care about the issues they care about?
Think with me.
I’m giving my life to helping Christians understand and embrace Muslims. Because it’s a life and death issue. And people are more suspicious of Muslims than after 9/11. Hate crime’s up.
Muslims are no different than anyone else. I had dinner with some Muslims this week. A university professor of finance and his wife and two kids, one an engineer who just graduated from college. And a daughter in college. Some others. And an amazing Christian pastor and his amazing wife.
Ten of them. Five of us.
Xenophobia is the fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity.
Why do I care about this issue? Especially, when so many of people like me just don’t care that much. I’m not judging the people that don’t care about this issue.
I’m just saying that people care about different things.
Why do some care about orphans?
Why do some care about human trafficking?
Some issues Democrat Christians care about: civil rights, poverty, racism, sexism, taking care of our planet.
Some issues Republican Christians care about: immorality, abortion, divorce, evangelism.
This is a problem. We should all care about all of these issues and not politicize them.
Christian leaders politicize them by picking and choosing what issues to address.
I’m a man. I am white. I am educated. I’m upper middle class. I am Christian
But it frustrates me that the male, white, educated, upper-middle-class, Christians have all the power.
And it bothers me that few male, white, educated, upper-middle-class, Christians really care that much about female non-white, non-educated, non-upper-middle-class, non-Christians.
Didn’t Jesus care mostly for those unlike him?
I make no apologies for who I am.
But I want to leverage my male, white, educated, upper-middle-class, Christian privilege to help non-male, non-white, non-educated, non-upper-middle-class, non-Christian, non-privileged.
Will you join me? Visit Christian Muslim Alliance and sign up?
I was going to write a post a few weeks ago about holidays – why family dynamics are so difficult. But then during our break at Beer and Carols I was telling a few friends about this post idea, and a lady I had never met who is a divorce lawyer said, “I don’t agree. My family has zero tension during the holidays. I can’t relate because it’s totally peaceful every year in my family.”
So she turned my whole theory upside down. I had never met the lawyer lady before but she seemed very credible. She wasn’t married and didn’t have kids if that matters.
I think the holidays are hard for families, because love.
This is a season of love.
And love always brings more joy and more pain.
When you fall in love or have children or love a pet, it brings inexpressible happiness and inexpressible pain.
That’s what love does.
Bree tells me that some of her friends read all my posts and enjoy them. College students.
That brings me joy.
A note on “Freewriting.”
Every Friday, I set my timer on my iPhone for 15 minutes. Then I start writing. I don’t stop. I write whatever pops into my mind. After 15 minutes, I go back and quickly correct all the blatant typos. Then I publish it on Paulosophia.
I started “freewriting” in the early 1990’s because I had read this short article called “Freewriting.” I was a horrible writer back then, with the most severe writers’ block. The article said you have to write WITHOUT STOPPING. For a fixed period of time. Even if you have to write the same word over and over again. Over time, you get better, and more confident.
I can’t count how many freewriting exercises I’ve done over the years. Thousands for sure. I still do them almost daily. My kids know them well.