A Wind in the House of Islam III

The greatest barriers to Muslim movements to Christ may be found not in the Muslim world, but within our own ranks.

Sometimes that means fear. When we’re afraid of the Muslim world.
That’s not their fault, that’s our fault.

Fear is a choice and fear is supplanted by love, and love overcomes fear.

Fear leads to hatred.

Muslims, Mission and Martyrdom with Dr. Jerry Rankin

I’ve recommended and posted a few audios from this source.

This is one includes another very interesting interview worth the listening time.

The interview starts around the 7 minute 25 second point, after some banter between the podcast presenters.


This audio and the rest in the series can be downloaded from the site at the above link.
I’ve downloaded episodes to a USB stick so I can listen to them in the car on my way to and from work. I find that much more practical than sitting at the computer to hear them.

To Forgive or Not to Forgive.

From Noriko Dethlefs’ In His Strength (p53)

“It is rare that killers are brought to justice here [in Afghanistan], but in the case of a colleague – whose cousin was shot dead for not releasing some office documents – members of the family are taking the law into their own hands. When I spoke to them about forgiveness, they agreed to forgive after they found the killer and put him to death. It is a matter of honour”

Compare to:

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.


Forgive, and you will be forgiven.


if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins

The above quotes present interesting contrasts in attitudes to forgiveness. The resulting outcomes are also significantly different.

What is REAL forgiveness? Something we apply AFTER punishing someone for perceived wrongs? Or something we apply despite being wronged?

What do we think is more important?

Maintaining our personal sense of honour – or being eligible for God’s forgiveness?

Across the Cultures: A Shared Need of God.

In recent weeks I’ve been trawling through the book section of charity shops and picking out novels by authors with a “non-western” background. I find it helpful to read things that give an “insider’s” perspective of other cultures. It helps to shake up (and shake down) the complacent assumptions that can be drawn when we remain closeted with the comfortable and familiar. I’ve come to understand that reluctance to challenge our cultural assumptions merely  entrenches the sense of our own “rightness” no matter how unreasonable or wrong that “rightness” may actually be.


One of my trawling sessions brought me to Noriko Dethlefs’ (non-fiction)book In His Strength, subtitled “Letters from Afghanistan 2005-2009”. It was the subtitle that caught my attention because I had been reading books about Afghanistan and its people, and had a few more on my “to be read” shelf. This one is a short book that I knew wouldn’t take long to get through.


By concentrating on the subtitle more than the actual title, I initially overlooked the title’s strong suggestion that the book had a Christian connection. I didn’t realise the significance  of the title until I looked closer after I got home and I found the author and her husband has been in Afghanistan working with CBM (formerly Christian Blind Mission).


Apart from the Christian and Afghanistan connections that make the book significant to my interests, I found the author and her husband not only came from my former home city of Wollongong, she had lectured at my University and they belonged to a church that I had visited on one or two occasions.


Noriko Dethlefs’ account of her life in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2009 not  only gives an insight into different cultural attitudes and religious beliefs, the daily dangers faced by both locals and foreigners and the lack of comforts that we in the “west” take for granted, the book shows that despite those differences, there is a shared, vulnerable humanity, of people in need of relationship with God. That’s something too often forgotten or purposely avoided for political expediency.


A few excerpts:

“Her story [about the death of her older brother in a bomb attack] brought tears to my eyes and a smile to hers. She explained that her pain was lessened because my heart was ‘soft enough to weep freely’. Tears no longer come easily to those who have been enduring pain for years and years. There have been other occasions when women have thanked me for ‘shedding the tears they no longer have’ as they retold their stories of pain.”


“If only the common greeting ‘Salam (alekum)’, meaning ‘peace (be upon you’), could become a reality for these people, who repeatedly use this greeting all day every day, and yet know so little of what it means.”

It puzzles people that we talk of a ‘loving’ God, as none of the ninety-nine names for God that are used in Afghanistan even hints at ‘love’. Here, the concept of God is more like that of a Master who gives commands for us to obey, or that of a Creator who has given rules to the ‘Created’ to follow. The audacity of us likeminded people* referring to God as ‘our Father’ or ‘our God’, and claiming to have a personal relationship with him, is beyond their comprehension.


* throughout the book the author uses the term “likeminded people” as a euphemism to describe her Christian community within Afghanistan, “for security purposes”.


A more detailed description of the book can be found here:


In Memory of Another Cousin (Who I Never Got to Know)

On 9th July 1943, aged 21, Horace Smith became a casualty during Operation Ladbroke, a glider mission intended to start the Allied invasion of Sicily. It was almost exactly two months after his brother’s death in North Africa.

Horace was aboard Glider no. 70, one of almost 150 gliders being towed to Sicily.

Like so many others, glider 70 didn’t make it, being released too far from land it crashed into the sea and Horace was one of six from the glider listed as missing.

Details of his final moments can be found here:

After being in the sea for about half an hour, we heard three people crying for help. Two of the voices were recognised as Pte. Smith’s and Pte. Kennedy’s. We shouted and flashed a torch but they were unable to reach us owing to the roughness of the sea. They continued to cry for help, but then we heard a choking noise, and the cries ceased.

Having no known grave, Horace’s name is listed on the Cassino Memorial at the Cassino War Cemetery in Italy.


Previous post about Horace

This is part of my militaria collection related to Horace. His photo. A beret of the type he is wearing in he photo, complete with RAMC cap badge. Five service medals (I assume) he would have been awarded. (1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star*, Defence medal, War Medal 1939-45)

A photo of the type of glider that took him to his death. A small map of the glider route. RAMC collar badge. A small copy of the Commonwealth War Graves document at the top of this post. I also have a plastic model of the glider waiting to be assembled.

The medals on the right and the small badge leaning against the glider photo aren’t related to Horace.

*I included the Italy Star among Horace’s medals, but it’s possible he wouldn’t have been awarded this one considering he lost his life on the way to the Sicily campaign and never made it to Italian territory. It’s something I can only confirm by obtaining his military service record.

I have now found that Horace arrived in Africa a month too late to have been eligible for the Africa Star. I’ve now moved the medal (seen in the photo) to another part of the cabinet with a few items related to Albert, Horace’s younger brother.

Albert Smith
Albert’s Grave

“Why I Work with Muslims”


The issue for the Muslim world is a lack of access to the gospel.


As an alternative to a common saying that refers to the bringing together of Mohammed and a mountain, let me propose the following:


When the gospel of Jesus is refused access to the Muslim world, God brings the Muslim world to where the gospel of Jesus IS accessible.