People Say, “They Call God ‘Allah’!”

Since I was told the other day that someone wants to discuss the beliefs of Muslims with me and it’s been awhile since I’ve read up on it, I decided it’s time to read a book that I picked up, probably at church, on Islam. The name of the book is “Answering Islam: The Crescent in the Light of the Cross” and it’s written by Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb. This book is not a defense of Islam; it’s a critique of the beliefs of Muslims, and offers a defense of the beliefs of Christians. If you want to discuss these things intelligently, it’d be best to educate yourself. I want to, so that is what I’m doing.

I am barely into it and already I’ve run into something that will answer the objection, “They call God ‘Allah’!” that some folks bring up. Ever wondered why they do that? It’s simple, really. It’s Arabic and it means “the Divinity.” They don’t speak English in Arabic countries. Even Christians who speak Arabic call God ‘Allah’.

The use of the word goes back to pre-Islamic times. It’s not something that Mohammed came up with. It’s not derogatory at all. And when an Islamic person speaks of God they are speaking of the same God the Christian is speaking of – the God of Moses and Jesus. We – Muslims and Christians – have a different concept of who God is, but we are speaking of the Creator of all things who is One God, not many gods.

Well, I think this is going to be a very interesting book. Norman Geisler is a Christian who has written many books on apologetics and Abdul Saleeb is a former Muslim who has studied the differences in Islam and Christianity. I’ll be reading this book with a highlighter and an ink pen in hand.

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People Say “They all read the same book”

I am up early this morning and have slept only about four hours because I am astonished and frightened by the hatred I saw expressed in comments yesterday on Facebook regarding a news item. The link to the story said, “What should Texas students learn about Islam” and some of the reactions to that were awful. The Texas State Board of Education issued a resolution regarding Islam in textbooks. They said there are some history textbooks that devote more copy to Islam than to Christianity. The article didn’t say what was said about each religion. In comments some people said nothing should be taught about Islam and some said if anything was they would take their children out of public schools. People said Islam is a cult and not a religion and some even think all Muslims ought to be wiped out. People called each other names and yelled at one another over this. (In case you don’t know, to use all caps is yelling.) The article said none of the textbooks mentioned in the resolution are being used in Texas schools.

I find it odd that when I get into discussions over religious freedom and the lines are drawn, standing next to me so to speak, are a few Christians and a lot of agnostics, atheists and pagans. Across the line yelling at us and participating in the name-calling are a bunch of Christians.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father except through me.” I believe this with all my heart. Having said that just to be clear, here are some of the things I’ve noticed.

People say, “They all read the same book.” Yes, Muslims all read the Koran. Christians all read the same Bible, too. And some wear white sheets with pointy hats and hate people who have a darker skin than they have or who follow a different religion. Some vote not to allow the sale of alcohol in their cities so that if they think it’s wrong to drink the stuff, no one else should be allowed to either. Some don’t believe it’s a sin for a man and a man or a woman and a woman to act like they are married to each other. I don’t agree with any of this and I am a Christian. We all read the same book.

This hatred toward Muslims reminds me of how it was in Germany before WWII, except the Jews were the ones who supposedly were going to destroy the country. I think some people don’t really look at history and current events with their eyes open. Can’t people see that the people in power who want more power create an enemy of the state and drum up hatred against that group? This is what happened to the Christians in the early days of Christianity in Rome. And if folks think that our military is willing to give their lives for only Christians to have First Amendment rights, they don’t understand the Constitution they claim we ought to follow. Some act as if every country doesn’t have Christianity as its civil religion, then God’s Kingdom is going to suffer. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again – God’s Kingdom does not have political boundaries, it doesn’t have a flag and I’ll add that it’s not cultural. Talking about God and praying in public doesn’t make one a Christian. It only means we have the freedom to do such things.

My husband said that sometimes ignorance prevails, and as an example he pointed out what happened to Jesus. I sure hope ignorance doesn’t prevail in our country over the issue of religious freedom. Would you hide a Muslim in your attic?

Making Liquid Laundry Soap

Yesterday I made liquid laundry soap for the second time. I got about 3 weeks out of the first batch. Since I’ve had a bit of extra laundry the past few weeks, I figure I’ll normally be making soap once a month. I’ve been using it exclusively so I could test it on towels, jeans, delicates, sheets and everything else before writing about it.

I’ll start by telling you I like it. This recipe makes a little over 2 gallons of liquid soap and it takes 1/2 to 1 cup per load. I use a whole cup for jeans and for towels, and gauge the other loads by size of the load and how dirty the clothes are. Since I’m using my solar clothes dryer (clothesline), I’m using vinegar in my rinse water. I’ve found that it makes the towels and jeans a little softer if I use a whole cup of vinegar, but I only need 1/2 a cup for other loads.

Here’s the recipe:

2 gallons of hot water

1 bar of soap

2 cups of baking soda

I measure 2 gallons of water into a big pot and let it heat while I grate the bar of soap. Our regular bath soap is Ivory and that is what I’m using. I’ve read that Fels-Naptha works, and I have a bar of that for getting out stains, but it says on the package that it is a skin irritant and we have fussy skin, so I’m sticking with what agrees with us. I use the finer side of the grater and grate right into a saucepan. I have to remember not to pop the last little bit of soap in my mouth when I get down to small pieces. You know how you do when you’re grating carrots? I have to remember that this is soap. And when it’s all nicely grated in the pot it looks like mozzarella cheese, and again, I have to resist the urge to taste.

After the soap is grated into a small saucepan, cover with water and heat over low heat till it’s melted. I use a fork to stir. The first time I made soap I thought this part would take a long time, like making roux for gumbo, but it didn’t. The whole process takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. After it’s melted pour it into the bucket. I’m using a 5 gallon bucket that kitty litter came in. I also use a spatula to scrap the sides of the pan.

Then add the 2 gallons of hot water and stir. While still stirring, add the baking soda. Each time you use this soap, you will need to stir it. I keep the slotted spoon in the bucket for this purpose. Some folks like to store their liquid soap in bottles they have saved from commercial liquid soap. In that case, be sure to shake well before using.

If you want to try this but want to read more first, here is the website where I got the recipe. This is a really neat site: http://raisingolives.com/2009/03/homemade-laundry-soap/ Here is another cool site with more laundry soap recipes: http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-laundry-soap-detergent-recipes/ I did a bit of reading before I tried this. Different families like different soaps, and it was helpful to me to read and consider opinions before making my first batch. I’ve had no complaints from the family. Three adults are getting clean clothes and I’m smiling as I walk past expensive laundry soap at the store that I no longer have to buy.

ADDENDUM: When you pour the baking soda into the soap and hot water it foams a whole lot! More than double the space is taken up in the bucket than what you will see the next day when it’s all settled down, so mixing in a big bucket is necessary.

ADDENDUM #2 (March 9, 2013): After using this recipe for something close to two years, I decided to try another one. I’m now using #5 on the Tip Nut site. There is only one ingredient change (1 cup of washing soda instead of the baking soda and 1/2 a gallon more water). The procedure is the same as above. I think this one gets our clothes cleaner; they smell better anyway.

I Wasn’t Exactly a Girly-Girl

I was just looking at an article in a newspaper about a local festival. There were lots of photos of the Court. You know, all the young ladies on down to small children. They are all female and their titles range from Queen to Princess to Duchess to Little Miss with a few others as well. I’m sure these young ladies are having a blast doing this. As I skimmed over the hobbies and activities of the very young (three and four years old) I thought of what I was doing at that age. It wasn’t ballet or swimming or gymnastics. At least not in any organized sense.

My mom once took a photo of me on my way down from the top of a pine tree when I was four. The tree was at least 20 feet tall. I had a little friend who lived a couple of houses down who showed me how to climb that tree. After mastering the pine tree, there wasn’t hardly a tree I wouldn’t try. I even walked the fence then jumped off and grabbed a limb and swung up into a crepe myrtle tree when I was about nine years old. I missed once and knocked my breath out but, oh, well. Stuff like that happens when you do the things I did. At least I never fell out of the pine tree.

Another thing I did when I was playing with my little friend was make the tire swing that my Dad made for me, go in a big wide circle and grab onto the barbed wire fence and make it stop. Of course, you have to be sure and grab between the barbs. I missed once. I still have scars.

So far, my activities wouldn’t look so great in a newspaper article about a Little Miss. What else did I do at that age?

Oh, yeah. I baptized kittens. My grandma’s cat had a litter of kittens. I got a bucket of water ready and told them about Jesus and asked them if they wanted to go to heaven. They all did. And they all did, too. My grandma was so upset! And oh, my poor aunt. I bet she wanted to baptize me.

But you know what? I was on a court once. Most likely no one knew of my previous not-so-ladylike behavior. I was in the first grade and we were having some kind of school festival and pageant. In preparation, the two first grade teachers kept getting boys and girls to stand next to each other. They were looking for a suitable prince and princess. I got to be a princess because I was an inch or two shorter than the boy they stood me next to.  It must have been pretty important that the heights be just right because it seems like they took forever calling up one or the other child until they got a match.

I can’t say it was the most fun I ever had, but it is funny to look back on. When we were rehearsing I was told to go up the walkway to the stage and bow. I did. Like a man. They laughed and showed me how to curtsy. I had to do it several times. Then the night of the pageant brought more laughter. As Princess of the First Grade, I had on my white dress with white socks and shoes, white gloves, seems like I had some kind of little white hat on my head and a matching white bandage on my knee. My mom could not convince me that the white bandage that covered my knee would be more conspicuous than the skinned knee. I don’t remember if it was my right knee or my left, but if it was my right knee, I still have that scar, too.