Wednesday, February 24, 2016

In The Land of Blue Burqas--a Book Review

 Kate McCord, a protected pseudonym, takes us inside Afghanistan and inside Afghan's hearts and culture as she shares stories of her five years living and working there for a non-governmental organization.  She was passionate about befriending and helping the women, taking the time to learn their language, fitting in to their way of life as best she could and becoming acquainted with their Muslim beliefs.

Kate neither writes a memoir or diary of her time there, but captures us with her storytelling of the people she learned to love and share mutual respect with.  Her writing style is very engaging and paints a narrative that is informative and thought-provoking.  I read and took notes, finished the book and now find a haunting desire to reread sections in order to digest and dissect the Christian truth she illustrates and interprets so well.  Kate boldly, yet discreetly and respectfully, shared Biblical concepts and traded religious differences with Afghans with amazing wisdom. I would like to emulate her commitment to and desire to share Jesus with those who don't know him; with the love and tenderness she demonstrates.

The Koran acknowledges Jesus as a prophet and the Torah as worthy writings. The author uses these connections to make comparisons between the teachings of  the prophet Mohamed and the Honorable Prophet Jesus.  The differences are strikingly obvious.  The book shares many examples. The Bible teaches God is love; there are 99 names for Allah but none of them is love.  Allah can't love because that would be expressing a need, and having need is never true of him.  Allah is merciful only to those who obey his teachings and those who rejected the teachings of Mohamed were killed; to obey Jesus is a choice and he teaches Christians to love their enemies.  God's desire is for good; Allah's desire is not defined by goodness but by laws.  Jesus teaches forgiveness for all; forgiveness is revolutionary and a hard concept for Muslims.  "It was easy to recognize our Teachers in one another's  lives.  After all, a student will become like his or her teacher."  p. 62.

The author was not always received warmly and she had to be careful how she approached conversations about beliefs. When pointedly asked why she hadn't become Muslim or embraced Muslim prayers, she simply stated that she was a follower of the Honorable Prophet Jesus and lived according to his teachings.

Kate believes good seeds were scattered in Afghans who heard God's truth and love. She came to understand the teachings of Jesus more completely as she saw through the eyes of a culture more similar to Jesus' day than our Western culture.  Her own faith grew as she sought Bible answers for the questions she encountered.  She gained awe for Jesus who is revolutionary and "amazingly beautiful".

I was challenged to appreciate anew the loving God I serve, Jesus, and His truth that endures and penetrates human hearts wherever it is shared.  You will discover this beauty in the book as well as an idea of what it looks like to relate to practicing Muslims.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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