The Christian Brotherhood

Egypt fell and will be rebuilt under the direction and political influence of the Muslim Brotherhood soon. With all the bad that will come out of it, I wanted to note something that Ayaan Hirsi Ali said about them:

When I was 15-years-old and considered myself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, there were secular political groups in the diasporas of Pakistanis, Yemenis and Somalis in Nairobi who lived in exile like my family. These loosely organized groups had vague plans for restoring their respective countries and building them into peaceful, prosperous nations. These were dreams they never realized.

The Muslim Brotherhood did more than dream. With the help of money from Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries, they established cells in my school and functioning institutions in my neighborhood. There were extracurricular activities for students. There were prayer and chant hours, as well as communal Quran readings. We were encouraged to become volunteers, to help the indigent, to spread Allah’s message. There were classes and activities for all age groups. They established charities to which we could give Zakat (tithe for charity), which was then used to provide health and educational centers.

The Brotherhood also provided the only functioning banking networks, based on trust. They rescued teenagers from lives of drug addiction and excited them about a purposeful future for justice. Each of us was expected to recruit more people for the Muslim Brotherhood, creating a perpetual campaign. The mosques and Muslim centers were the main areas of association, but they visited us at home too. Most importantly, their message transcended ethnicity, social class and even educational levels.

Why do we not see Christians doing more of what the Muslim Brotherhood does for people?

Maybe we need to form a Christian Brotherhood. A group of individuals who come together for God’s work. Not about a denomination or worship style. Just Christians working together to bless all people. Isn’t this what the Church is supposed to be doing anyways?

Ever since seeing those hungry kids grateful to eat cheese puffs for dinner, I have felt God moving me to see the social justice that needs to take place. Children should not be hungry in one of the richest countries in the world. Women should not have to go without because their man deemed them unworthy. People should be clothed and shown common respect. Houses should not be in a state of disrepair because the person is elderly and/or poor. We are called to take are of the widows and the children and the poor and those in prison. I know others see these problems, but they honestly seem overwhelming. How can one person address them. I think that is why more people do not get involved.

Now I am not talking about starting a group that does “Christian” things. I am talking about a group of Christian men and women who come together and shows mercy to others. They can support Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, or Food Banks. No need to make a Christian version when a secular group is already in place. This isn’t about labeling things Christian so people can feel good about it. It is about Christians doing what we have been called to do.

I get annoyed when a church will start a new outreach program so they can be doing the work of God when another outreach program is already in place in their area. Why not going what is in place? Usually it is because it isn’t “Christian” or because another denomination is doing it. That is BS! Get off the label high horse and do what needs to be done. This group would partner with other churches to help their programs without regard to a difference in worship styles. These small churches are the ones in the area trying to provide mercy for the people in the area. Why try and start something new when someone is already there. They are missing the resources of people and money. This group would supply that.

I don’t know how to start this group, but I am going to start talking to people. I know there are others who have to feel this way. Lets see Christians reaching out to all people and showing love and mercy without preaching to them. Show them Jesus and they will ask about Him. Don’t chase them down

Vacation Bible School and Hope for the Hungry

I was asked the other day to help out with a vacation bible school that another church was holding. A friend asked if I would mind helping out because the game leader was going to miss due to another commitment at their church. I honestly wanted to say no. It was outside of my comfort zone and I didn’t not want to leave. I felt like God was telling me to step out and do this. I have been talking about my desire to go into ministry for awhile now and this seemed like a put up or shut up moment from God. I agreed and I am glad I did.

The church is located in one of the poorest areas of town. It is a multicultural church and you could see that in the children that showed up. I think the majority of them were Laotian, but there was a mixture of all of them. We even had 6 Somalian children show up. They weren’t looking to learn about God or have fun with the kids. They stopped to ask if the church was having supper that night. Many of the children there were looking for food. They were so happy when they got their little bowl of cheese balls, midget cheese puffs. They shoved what they were given into their mouths and even took some out of the other kids bowls. Several kids would stop by after we had already started just for something to eat. The sight really was heart breaking. They would leave after getting what they could. I wondered if that was their dinner for the evening.

My church runs an outreach program in that area. It is the largest of the outreach programs in the city. I firmly hold that the church should be feeding those who can not feed themselves. The gospel message is nice to spread if you can, but it should not be a requirement for the act of compassion. The act itself seems more like Jesus to these people then making them listen to a sermon.

Even though I give money to them, I have never been out there. I have never been face to face with those that I am helping to feed. Seems like such a distant way to do outreach on my part. Providing the food is out of love, but it doesn’t really show the love to the people. I wonder if they fill love when the hold a box of food or do they feel the love when someone hands it to them. Wouldn’t that interaction with a person be more loving then holding food. You can steal food. You can scavenge and find food. When food is given with love, I think it can show that person that they are loved. It can give hope that they can be loved. Hope is a reason to live.

I am going to try and break out of my comfort zone more often. Step out and meet the people I am helping. Show them love and compassion. Maybe help them find hope.