Middle East Monday: Eric Metaxas interviews the “Vicar of Baghdad,” Canon Andrew White. – YouTube

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Me, Andrew, and Lina in Baghdad in 2011

 

Andrew White is a dear friend of mine. He is the person who invited me to go to Baghdad with him in 2011, and we went! We share a deep love for Iraq, the Middle East, hope for the nations, peacemaking, absurdity, and revolutionary risk-taking (otherwise known as “faith”).

If you would like to see him speak in person, you can sign up for the newsletter here.

 

Eric Metaxas interviews the “Vicar of Baghdad,” Canon Andrew White. – YouTube.

Someone’s Boston is Someone Else’s Baghdad

I have walked Baghdad’s streets: the vendors, the families, the lives churning.

I have walked Boston’s streets: the vendors, the families, the lives churning.

There are a lot of similarities between these two cities.

Boston

Baghdad

Seeing the upheaval over the bombings in Boston has deeply grieved my heart. I hate war – in all its forms. And the attacks in Boston are a form of war. War isn’t just about nations striving against nations; it’s about unrest, it’s about fury, it’s about a climate (whether individual or corporate) that spews hatred via violence and death on other people.

Baghdad is one of my very favorite cities in all the world. Having spent seventeen years praying for that city, it is very important to my heart. Moreover, I have spent weeks in Baghdad. I know its curves, its smiles, its dreams. I love Baghdad.

I also lived thirty minutes north of Boston for four years. While there, I asserted my spiritual responsibility to pray into that region’s destiny. I roamed the streets of Boston for countless hours. I know quite well the segments of streets where the bombs went off. Ouch. Those images are awful.

In seeing those images I immediately thought of my beloved Baghdad. Someone’s Boston is someone else’s Baghdad – their hometown, their neighborhood, their family’s dwelling place. Both cities matter.

I hope that the bombings in Boston bring more understanding to Americans of what many people living in cities like Baghdad experience DAILY. Imagine worrying about going to the grocery store, school, or a friend’s house because of the potential to be blown up on the way.  It’s a rough way to live.

Of course, I wish the incidents in Boston never happened. I wish the incidents in Baghdad never happened. I wish there was no war anywhere. Since that isn’t the case yet, I do want to use this moment of similarity to bring to the forefront the universal pain of war.

Perhaps this week’s experience will help Americans think more holistically before they support war in other nations. Perhaps it will open up the reality of how evil war and death are. Perhaps it will draw out the courage within all of us to search out solutions which prevent war.

I pray so.

In the meantime, as you ponder these elements, here are some articles for your contemplative fuel.

Reminder of violence elsewhere

Baghdad Bombings Monday

(With the above article, I’d like to note that I know exactly where “a parking area used by vehicles making their way to Baghdad’s heavily-guarded airport” is. I got out of one heavily armored vehicle and into another at that very parking area (all while surrounded by a security detail of eight armed men) when I was leaving the Baghdad airport in 2011.)

Christians praying for Baghdad and Boston

Lastly, I ‘d like to ask ,”Who will go to Boston, Baghdad, and other places experiencing war?”

These places need hope. They need people to be their advocates. We can change cities and nations from war zones to peace zones.

As Jesus said, “Go into all the world.” (Mark 16:15)

Ask the Holy Spirit right now, what your part is to play in this peace-making.

Let’s go!

(P.S. I love you. I love your city. May both flourish today.)

“Rare Earth” by Davis Bunn – REVIEW

Well, I haven’t read the entire book yet, but I am excited to. I’d give it 4 of 5 stars thus far.

For me, reading Davis Bunn’s previous book “Lion of Babylon” was beautifully enticing. I read it right before I went to Baghdad, Iraq. Bunn is excellent at bringing to life the tenor and zest of war zones. It should be noted that while “Rare Earth” is second in the trilogy which begins with “Lion of Babylon” it also stands alone – so you don’t have to have read “Lion of Babylon” in order to congeal with “Rare Earth.”

Anyhow, I appreciate Bunn’s writing style very much. “Rare Earth” is another stellar example of faith alive on the front lines and how one person truly can change the world. Moreover, the way natural resources are involved in the book is more food for thought. As Christians, we are responsible to love the earth well and to steward its resources. Thus, it is fascinating that Marc Royce, the main character, finds himself involved in the earth itself. So, read the book. Go on a new adventure. Get rejuvenated in how you view possibility. Then go live your destiny with new passion.

Q & A with author Davis Bunn:

Marc Royce is not your typical hero. Where did you find your inspiration for his character?

As I started researching the first book in this series, Lion of Babylon, I took a flight where I was
seated next to this very remarkable woman, an amazing combination of hard intelligence and
great gentleness. She was reading a pocket New Testament. We started talking, and it turned
out that she was a special operative, formerly with the State Department intelligence division,
and now working with the Department of Defense Intel. I found myself drawn by this incredible
paradox of ruthless focus and very intense calm.

Soon after this flight, I had an opportunity to meet a senior figure in the CIA. I had never had
any contact with the intelligence community, and all of a sudden I was finding one door after
another being opened, because both of these people—the DOD Intel officer and the CIA agent—
took it upon themselves to help introduce me to their worlds. I have found this happen on a
number of occasions, and these ongoing miracles humble and astound me. I drew on these
people as the basis for structuring my hero.

“Rare Earth” author, Davis Bunn

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Endorsements for My Book: “Driving through Walls”

My book will be published soon. When I was a child I woke up really early on Christmas morning because of excitement and anticipation. Since it is still two months before publication, I should probably not stay awake from now until then – despite my joyful enthusiasm. I need my sleep to finish the journey.

I am in the midst of the editing ocean now. It is a great, tedious, and maturing journey.

To whet your appetite for the book, I’m going to drip-drop endorsements for my book onto you in the weeks ahead.

Praise for Driving through Walls

Thousands upon thousands each year go on pilgrimage to the land of the Holy One. There they see the divine majesty of the one who once trod that land. There are very few people who will take residence in that land called Holy, but rent apart by trauma, turmoil, and conflict. I, like Dawn, have lived there and loved that land. In this book you are given the opportunity to see it like it really is. You also see what, I believe, is the only way to cope here, the supernatural miraculous nature of G-d.

As you read Dawn’s inspiring words you will see how from a very young age the Lord was preparing Dawn to be in this place and do this work. Somehow I think this is just the beginning for Dawn, but spiritually this book will give you a chance to come here too.

The Rev’d Canon Andrew P B White, Vicar of Baghdad

President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation on the Middle East

 

 

In a fast-paced world of opinions and sound bites it is always refreshing to read a book that matters. Dawn’s story is a story of courage, compassion, wide-eyed wonder and, most of all, faith. She has experienced horrors that none of us ever want to ever see, and wonders that we all hope could happen to us. Her’s is a story that will encourage you and prompt you to seize God’s call on your life. I encourage you to read it with joy!

Dr. Paul Wright

President of Jerusalem University College

Mt. Zion, Jerusalem, Israel

 

 

You can help my book get published by pre-purchasing a copy and/or making a contribution. Anonymous giving is available. I need $1,335 by March 31, 2012 to get the book published. It will be released in MAY!!!! HOORAY!

Info here.

Fight Death in Iraq with HOPE for IRAQ

Youth in the emo-subculture in Iraq are being stoned to death for their creative self-expression which runs counter to the religious spirit of the so-called Moral Police and extreme Shia groups. This is horrifying and really grieves me. I feel like running to Baghdad and gathering all those youth and protecting them, then going to the murderers and having a real heart-to-heart until love breaks through. They must know the true LOVE of the Father.

This kind of killing is anti-joy, anti-innovation, and anti-art. It must be stopped.

For me, I am not in Baghdad now, but I am able to grow a HOPE movement for Iraq from here.

If you’d like to give an encouraging word or prayer for Iraq. Come to the HOPE IRAQ facebook page

If you’d like to be part of a real counter-terrorism movement and proclaim it, buy an “I ♥ Baghdad” shirt and wear it in confident expectation that IRAQ WILL SHINE. Love is the best counter-terrorism movement there is.

Read an article about these killings here.

In the midst of many voices talking about the Middle East. Choose to be a voice of hope.

I (heart) Baghdad - shirt

See the church I was at in Baghdad!

This new video narrated by my friend Nick, the director of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East displays the compound in Baghdad I stayed in. It also demonstrates the powerful and varied work of FRRME. Hope is rising in Iraq and Saint George’s Church is a central part of that. Iraq will shine.

It would be doubly helpful if you “liked” the video and commented. Let’s encourage hopeful dialogue about precious Baghdad. Thanks.