The Middle East Will Never Be the Same Again: The Rise of the Millennial

by Arthur Brown

My society is full of contradictions: a society that dissolves the identity of the individual into the identity of the group, a society that is afraid of change, a society that praises freedom of expression but ultimately suppresses it. One learns to remain silent, to become a coward, to accept reality regardless of the discrepancies. One is taught that things in Lebanon will remain the way they are no matter how hard one tries to bring about change. There is no logic in our society. We must live up to the expectations of the family, the community, our religious sect, and political party – but I have no intention of doing so.[1]

With these words, Lebanese student “Yasmine” encapsulates all the salient energy and potential of the millennial generation. As Khalaf and Khalaf go on to suggest, ‘…youth can be subservient agents to repressive state authority or serve as radical agents in bringing about transformative change’.[2] Continue reading

Christians as a Minority: Finding a Place in Society

By Rupen Das

As the challenge of the presence and integration of Muslim communities in Europe grows, I was reminded of something that was mentioned a number of years ago. The person said that historically Christian theology and teaching has assumed that Christians are a minority in society. Hence the teachings about being salt and light, about relating to governments that may seem hostile, people of other faiths and those who oppress you, and realizing that God allows “the wheat and the weeds” to exist side by side in society till the end of time. On the other hand, Muslim theology and teaching has assumed that Muslims are a majority and in power in their particular context. Though it took them between 300-600 years (depending on the region) to become demographically a majority in the emerging Muslim empire, there is very little in their theology about how to live as a minority without power in society. If they are minorities, it is not the ideal. Continue reading

ISIS and the Future of Islam – داعش وتأثيره على مستقبل الإسلام


By Martin Accad

Would you believe it? It turns out that more than two dozen conferences and consultations have already been organized by international Islamic bodies in order to condemn the behavior of ISIS! And that was in the mere 12 months immediately following the emergence of the group in the summer of 2014.

بقلم مرتان عقّاد

  هل تعلم بأنّ مؤسّسات إسلاميّة دوليّة قد نظّمت عددًا كبيرًا من المؤتمرات والمنتديات في الأشهر التي تلت ظهور منظّمة ’الدولة الإسلاميّة‘ في صيف 2014، لتعلن عن رفضها لتصرّفات داعش؟ التتمّة تلي النص الإنجليزي

Continue reading

Trash: A Rather Unusual Form of Expertise that Middle Eastern Christians Have to Offer the World

Cairo, Egypt, is one of the world’s largest metropoles. Many people associate Cairo with the Giza Pyramids, with one of the most impressive national museum collections in the world, and with the more recent iconic images of protests in Tahrir Square during the early days of the so-called Arab Spring. If you have visited Cairo, thoughts of the city will readily conjure memories of pollution, crowded streets and crazy drivers.

But something else that distinguishes Cairo, that we are unlikely to notice if no one points it out to us, is its garbage collection system. Most of the garbage collection in this megacity is done by the 60,000 residents of a community on the outskirts of the city that is referred to popularly as Hay al-Zabbaleen, or Garbage City. This community is mostly Coptic Orthodox Christian, and has for decades lived off of the profits from collecting and recycling the city’s waste. Continue reading

When Religion Becomes Idolatry: A Reflection on the Politics of Identity in the Midst of the Syrian Crisis

By Suzie Lahoud

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Cor. 13:12

Like Jacob, I have recently wrestled with God over the politics of my own identity. From a young age I had attained to what many around me attested to be “profound maturity” in my Christian faith.  I could quote Bible verses in the proper context with a sound interpretation for the right circumstance.  I had a solid theological answer for every question of faith, and even for those questions I had not yet thought to ask, I could conjure an immediate response based on my finely tuned spiritual reasoning.

And then war broke out in Syria, and my faith was shattered.  Continue reading

What is the Solution for Syrian Refugees?

by Wissam al-Saliby

The Syrian refugee influx into Europe respects no borders. From the Mediterranean shores to the Arctic sea, hundreds of thousands are determined to “get in”. I have followed the journeys of many young Syrians over Facebook as they have immigrated first to Greece and then on to their country of destination (often Germany or Sweden). A few weeks ago, I received a message from a pastor in Northern Finland along the Russian border, asking for advice. “These days we have a lot of Syrian refugees coming across the border, of which some participate in our Sunday service,” he wrote.

1 (4)  1 (3)  1 (2)

What is the solution for Syrian refugees? Although this conflict has been displacing Syrians for 5 years now, ever since the images of the three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed onto a Turkish beach went viral early September, greater Western attention has focused on this difficult question. My wife and I have received many messages from friends and acquaintances in the West asking us how they can help and to whom they can give money that will directly support refugees. The following is my two-cents as to what we can do: Continue reading

Has Lebanon finally figured out its own version of the ‘Arab Spring’? هل توصّل لبنان أخيرًا إلى إصداره الخاص لـ’الربيع العربي‘؟

By Martin Accad

I was travelling when the recent popular uprising began in Lebanon. At first it emerged as an outcry to the trash crisis that has been engulfing Lebanon with its stench for several months now. Lebanon hasn’t had its ‘Arab Spring.’ Some people think that’s because – God forbid – everything works perfectly here! Others note that Lebanon has no dictator to overthrow. Yet the reality is that nothing is working,

كنت أقوم برحلة خارج البلاد عندما انطلق الحراك الشعبي الأخير في لبنان. نشأ في بدايته كصرخة في وجه أزمة النفايات التي ما زالت تغمر لبنان برائحتها الكريهة منذ عدّة أشهر. لم يعِش لبنان “ربيعه العربي.” يعتقد البعض بأنّ سبب ذلك هو – لا سمح الله – لأنّ الأمور كلّها هنا على ما يرام! ويشير آخرون بأنّ لبنان ليس لديه ديكتاتورًا يطيح به. ولكن الواقع أنّ لا شيء هنا يسير كما يجب… التتمّة بعد النص الإنجليزي Continue reading

“The World Is Yours!” A Brief Reflection on Citizenship and Stewardship

The World Is Yours_horizontal

By Martin Accad

Yesterday morning, I collected my daughter’s U.S. passport that needed renewal. It was accompanied by a leaflet that read on the front: “With your U.S. passport, the world is yours!” Nothing shocking on first glance; just a sense of pride and patriotism that citizens of most countries feel towards their flag, passport, and other symbols of nationhood.

Though the slogan is of course no more than a symbolic affirmation, something troubles me with the statement. Continue reading

Responding to Franklin and the Politics of Fear

By Arthur Brown

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them…There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. [1 John. 4:16 & 18].

There is no shortage of fear in this world, and of course no shortage of things to be fearful of. Given recent comments by a well known Evangelical Christian leader in the US concerning his views on Islam and Muslims – and how he feels his country should respond to it/them – it seems there is the need to address some basic gospel principles [yet again] in relation to the responsibility followers of Christ have towards their Muslim neighbors.

Islamaphobia has been defined as: Continue reading

Notes from my Visit to Iraqi Kurdistan

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to visit a dozen of pastors in Iraqi Kurdistan, in the cities of Erbil and Duhok. The purpose of my visit was to promote ABTS’s educational programs with Arabic-speaking churches, namely our new online degree program and our English language Master’s program.

We often hear about the Kurdistan region in the news when violence happens – armed violence, US bombings, crimes by ISIS or terrorism. How can we pray for the people groups of this region, for the Church and for those called by God to serve Him in this area? The following are some of my notes from this trip to guide our prayers. Continue reading