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Popcorn Guide: Mustafa Akyol

Mustafa Akyol, a well-known Turkish journalist, discusses the difference between the Islamic faith and local traditional practices. In this compelling TED talk, Akyol asserts that traditions change and vary between regions, countries, communities, and are often shaped by globalization and other global activity. Although some practices aren't necessarily found in Islamic text, they can become the predominant way society understands the Islamic faith. Sadly, this can lead to stereotypes and suspicions.

The Heart of Peacemaking

"There are too many angry peacemakers!" bemoaned a friend of mine during an Evangelical Peacemaking Summit. Everyone laughed, because we all realized the irony of it. Sometimes those who wrestle with injustice and seek peace don't embody the very message they bring. They have the right beliefs and the right actions, but not the right affections. Something is wrong in their hearts.

Popcorn Guide: Jeremy Courtney

Jeremy Courtney, executive director and cofounder of Preemptive Love Coalition, speaks about living as an American in Iraq and pursuing a lifestyle of preemptive love. He says, "violence unmakes the world," but "preemptive love unmakes violence. Preemptive Love remakes the world through healing." This philosophy of preemptive love has led Jeremy, and the staff of Preemptive Love, to work in partnership with Iraqis to eradicate the backlog of children who need heart surgery in Iraq. This video is filled with inspiring stories of peace, healing, and hope coming out of Iraq.

A Funny Thing Happened at the Mosque...

One important part of what we do with Peace Catalyst is introducing Christians to Muslims, so that they can build friendships and learn from each other. With this goal in mind, a couple of weeks ago, Martin and I met a group of Christian friends at a local mosque. We observed the prayer time and toured the facility. We enjoyed our visit; and as we were leaving, the leaders there invited us to a special event that would include a dinner, special speakers, and a Muslim comedian. We had no idea what that even meant-a Muslim comedian-at the mosque?? We were intrigued, so last Friday night we went to check it out.

Popcorn Guide: Dr. Salim Munayer

Dr. Salim Munayer is the Director of Musalaha, an organization working on the process of reconciliation in Israel and Palestine. He speaks on the importance of having a robust theology of reconciliation instead of the incomplete theologies that lead to exclusive support of either Israel or Palestine. He identifies the tendency of fundamentalist Christians to support Israel, mainline Christians to support Palestine, and shows how a deep theology of reconciliation will lead to a desire for the flourishing of both communities.

Popcorn Guide: Eboo Patel

Eboo Patel, an American Muslim and founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, addresses a group of Christians at the Global Faith Forum at Northwood Church. He talks about the increasing challenges of living in the U.S. as a Muslim and the need for people to protect and respect people from other faiths. Patel encourages people to promote peace, not in spite of their faith, but as a response to the robust peacemaking teaching found in their religious texts.

Healing Individual Wounds and Cultural Hatred

Today on the blog, we have something a bit different. This post was written by Christen Hansel, a friend of Peace Catalyst's, for her personal blog and we're reposting it here with her permission. It's very personal and a bit different than what we usually post, but it is a powerful story and one we hope will move you as much as it did us.

Popcorn Guide: Mike Erre

We've recently added a collection of resources to our website called the Peacemaker's Popcorn Guide. In short, it's a collection of short online videos that we think are excellent for provoking thinking and promoting peace. We'll be posting one video a week on the blog, along with some reflection questions to go with each. Watch them on your own, or get a group and talk through the questions together. Let us know what you think too - we'd love to hear your thoughts and what kinds of discussions you have after watching these.

Muslims, Christians, and Jews Find Common Ground for the Common Good

In Peace Catalyst International, we aspire to launch a global movement of Jesus-centered peacemaking communities. To that end, our PCI team in Raleigh has helped to catalyze a significant movement of Muslims and Christians who are moving beyond unhelpful stereotypes and are building bridges of friendship and trust. Back in the fall, however, things took a major twist for us. A well-respected local rabbi reached out, basically saying that he had heard about our work in bringing Muslims and Christians together and that he wanted his Jewish congregation in on the fun.

Different Books, Common Word

I was privileged to view an extraordinary documentary recently that presents a very different picture of Christian-Muslim relations than that which is promoted by the media and religious extremists. The name of the documentary is Different Books, Common Word, produced by the Baptist Center of Ethics in 2009.