Monday, October 17, 2016


While pursuing my degree in journalism, I worked for the campus newspaper.

Most anything that happens on campus can become fodder for a story for those just learning the business.

I was fortunate to cover some rather interesting stories during my short stint there.

One of those included a time spent with the Muslim community during the holy month of Ramadan.

I learned much about fear and how it cripples otherwise intelligent people.

I discovered that the community was made up of honest-to-goodness real human beings, struggling to make their way in this world as best they could.

They were living in the midst of a town long noted for its extreme prejudices against anything different, and the Muslims certainly fit that criteria.

They had a “funny looking” building near campus known as a mosque. Their property was surrounded by a high chainlink fence. Everyone in town just knew it was to keep outsiders out.

Since I’ve been an outsider all my life, that aspect didn’t bother me as I drove up to and through the gate and parked my car. I got out, walked around looking for someone to talk to, but found no one.

I had to repeat the process later in order to find someone who could tell me about their community. I did; and I’m still alive today to write about it.

The short and sweet of it is that I was invited to join them for their evening meal. Sitting on the floor in the mosque, having removed my shoes outside, I ate with my fingers as did everyone else.

Delicious food and interesting conversation eventually made its way into my story about those “foreigners who didn’t belong in our town.”

The leader of the community hand delivered a thank you letter to the editor, and told everyone in the office that day how my story raised everyone’s hope for better treatment in our town.

Fear has zero capacity 
to build a bridge to anywhere.

Another story I covered raised my own hopes that I, too, could someday come to find myself being more accepting of others without first judging them for something.

I noticed a bulletin on the public announcement board for a talk about homosexuality to be given by the leader of the Chi Alpha group on campus.

This would certainly produce some interesting fireworks as a bible-thumping Christian lashes out at homosexuals. I was not walking with the Lord at the time, and was more interested in the potential fight than anything else.

The preacher spoke for about 30 minutes and there was no heckling from the audience. When he opened the floor for questions, he was challenged on some of his points, but in a respectful manner.

His obvious love had overcome the expected hatred and venom that I had come to witness.

I interviewed a group of homosexual men who had stayed behind for a few moments. One of them had asked many of the questions directed to the speaker. He acknowledged that the speaker had disarmed him with his soft attitude.

We had to leave, so I asked if I could join them at whatever restaurant they were going to.

As I talked with these men, I discovered that they were honest-to-goodness real human beings, struggling to make their way in this world as best they could.

I have since re-entered the service of the Lord, but I have never forgotten these two experiences. They continue to shape how I deal with people in this world.

I still maintain friendships with both homosexuals and Muslims.

Some of my Christian friends are upset that I don’t proclaim the evil of these two groups, while my friends from these two groups have said, “You are one of the few Christians we can respect, because you live the life of God with us.”

It is not the commendation nor condemnation of any group that I am after. I only seek to please the Lord. (Eph. 5:10)

I have learned, however, that fear has absolutely zero capacity to build a bridge to anywhere.


  1. Well written, I kind of understand. I still think that one-on-one relationships are different from trying to have a relationship with a whole Muslim community.

    1. One-on-one is the ONLY way to build any kind of true relationship.


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