Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Muslims Must Decide

by Steve Ray on January 18, 2006

I think the Jerusalem Post is absolutely correct. Islam is evolving quickly in our generation. Much depends on who rises to the top and how Muslims define themselves. Will they be moderates and learn to live peacefully in the world, or will they be extremist isolationists who declare war on the world and civilization?

 The Jerusalem Post writes: "It is sometimes difficult, especially in this part of the world, to distinguish Islam – the religion and civilization – from the threat posed by its militant adherents, the Islamists, who are at war with the West and our values of liberty, tolerance and individual freedom. Islam is a proselytizing religion spread originally by the sword. But history shows that Muslim civilization has also embraced long periods of tolerance, during which bellicosity was replaced by civility and stability.

“The West's war against 'terrorism' is really a war against Muslim extremism and not against Islam. It is for Muslims themselves to determine whether their faith, in this century, will be shaped by the likes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and al-Qaida's fanaticism, or whether moderate views gain a hearing."

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Catching up

by Steve Ray on January 18, 2006

I have only a few minutes and is it ever marvelous to have a wi-fi spot that I can use in the home of our very gracious hosts June and Genie Vargas here in Bacolod on the island of Negros in the Philippines. We left Guam and flew the 4 hours to Manila — slept 4 hours and caught another plane to Cebu for a day and a half with these marvelous folks. It was very busy and fruitful especially using the media of cable TV to broadcast the message of the Church through the Philippines and even into Asia. But I had no internet connection.

Now we have just flown in to Bacolod and getting refreshed before heading out for two talks and a Q & A this evening. I will try to catch up with pictures and such later tonight or early tomorrow.

I will have to tell you about the huge glass door that crashed down around us. We had just collected our luggage and Jimmy Montalvo drove us to the large hotel in the city which is quite beautiful. We had a meeting with the people who work for Madame Gretchen who is sponsoring us back on this island on Saturday.

When we left the meeting I opened the door for Janet. It was dark-colored glass, about 8 feet high and about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. When I pushed it open I felt it give way in my hands and the whole door crashed to the ground in a thousand pieces. We were very lucky (or blessed is probably a better word) since we could have been seriously injured but we each only received a simple cut.

Our hosts said, “Your talk tonight must be very powerful since the devil tried to put you out of commission!” We are grateful to the Lord that we were not seriously injured. I am sorry about their door, but it must have been defective because I did not push it hard, slam it against the doorstop, or anything else that would have caused such damage. After I got the glass out of my sandals, we took off to do our talks. I will tell about them later when I get a few more minutes. Right now I am off to speak at a Businessmen's Breakfast.