It was 1993 and I was offered the opportunity to visit Egypt with my school. The class I took was World Cultures, and proved to be my favorite class in all my life. We had studied ancient Egypt that year and I yearned to visit these structures that were built over 3,000 years and still standing. This coupled with my post church-camp experience where I got to meet kids from all over that had a real personal relationship with god. I was amazed at how something so old was still preserved. Everything in my life that I saw, short of a few buildings were changing – the culture, the people, the fashion, and the way of the life… everything. I couldn’t wait to visit the area where the language is still the same, the culture the same, the way of the life – clinging to their roots. That trip never came, unfortunately.
I grew in a Christian home – Christianity was far from us, as was the case in most people I knew. If anything, the “church” as we knew it was more Christendom and Apostate. I found myself discovering my life as an adult running away from this “god” as so was described to me into the world for answers. As time passed, this dream of going to Egypt was covered by the nuances of life.
In 2009, I had an intimate experience with God -as you know. I can never deny his supreme existence. This transformed me. I decided for the first time I would read the Holy Scripture, the entire way through. Not just in reading it – but to read it and then apply these teaching to my life. I started with John in the NT and read to Jude then the OT and just skipped Revelation because what am I going to do with someone else’s dream. I wrote a summary for just about every chapter/book in the Bible. How does this speak to my life? And you know what, it did. As I started to incorporate these teachings into my life – I started to be transformed (be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may be perfect and acceptable lacking nothing).
In my transformation, my mind was activated. I wanted to learn more so I enrolled in school for bible study /namely a course that would lead to a BS in Theology with a concentration on the effects of Religion in the Culture. It was an accelerated course, I would do 3 years. At the crest of year two, I dropped out. This was not at all what I needed; my heart was searching for God, not for Christianity.
I hadn’t thought much about the Middle East before. Then 9/11 hit and there was so much news about it. Prime time shows were non-existent for months. Life here kinda just stopped as the people prepared themselves for war on US soil. There were so many reports that came in but when you used your brain, the media reporting didn’t make any sense. I’m pretty sure this was pre-Facebook… we had our cell phones, which by the way didn’t work for a few days. Most people by this time didn’t have a LAN line. It was really difficult. Not a lot of work got done at work those days, as people were still trying to wrap their mind around what happened. But one thing that did happen was there were many, many PowerPoint slides made up to support the retaliation into the Middle East regarding this situation.
I remember sitting there at work, and looking at the peoples compilations and thinking to myself – this doesn’t make any sense. So I spend the next few months digging through information on line, and from sources in chat rooms to make sense of what had just happened in my country. The research findings were devastating. I learned that the powers that be, the powers that rule government, are playing chess with the world. I have friend here in my city whose family is from Afghanistan, this is the far east of the Middle East, but it was something.
Fast forward 2012… This was the year I had dropped out of school… to pursue the face of God. A very dear friend of mine let me know he left apostate Christianity to learn Islam. Now I had heard of Islam but really didn’t know anything about it. When he said this to me, I immediately feared him. This is what I had been taught. It was wrong. It went against everything I knew and everything I valued as a part of myself. But I felt this discomfort in the pit of my stomach. And I wanted it gone. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t going to read the bible and discover what it said for himself.
After reading the Quran and studying Islam for myself I think the people of any religion do themselves a grave injustice to not read the other holy books from their god. I totally agree that some of the text has been changed and the meanings have been lost in the bible. In my study I read many different versions in the bible – one line that is most disturbing is Matthew 18:22 NIV CEB now just between these two versions there is a big difference between seventy-seven (77) and seventy time seven (490). So what is it? The answer is more than you want to, and more than you think they deserve.
Furthermore, I read the Torah by English – and I learned there was information there that wasn’t brought into the bible’s OT. Then I went back further and read the Septuagint which was the original Greek of the OT and found books I never heard before and again, read these and found nothing in the bibles OT. So, why were these books not placed in the bible as being a part of the OT or the history of the lineage of David? And why, beyond the language itself, why is the translation lost?
You really have to understand the reason behind the bible in order to appreciate the bible. The bible was compiled to help
the people of god to understand the way through the walk/life of Jesus. The bible isn’t historical fact data. The bible is comprised of two parts, the first part OT being most of the Torah and the second part the NT being post Jesus. All messengers from god were given to the people as a means of delivering the way of life – or the way to a successful life, form god. There are three religions that fell out of the descendants of Abraham. By means of the Bible, we are told that Ishmael his first son by Hagar the Egyptian Maid-servant came Islam… and from Isaac his second son by way of his wife Sarah came the Israelites later known as the Jewish – and from the lineage of King David we have Jesus, a Jew. The Christian is merely the people that follow the way of the Christ, Jesus.
So what was the religion before Abraham? What were the religious practices at the time, and what was Abraham practicing and how was he raising his family? I have been actively researching the way of life in regards to worship and prayer to god from Adam to Abraham. In my studies, I have been trying to find the 1-path to god. Hamdulliah I’m finally on my way. I have been reading the Quran for about eight months, during that time – I worked two jobs for five months in order to save the funds I needed to depart from my home for 1-month. Much to say I didn’t have much time to read. What I have read so far though, has demonstrated to me the way to stay in the way of the god. You see the bible brought me to god. It taught the way to god, and the way to accepting the good and making the right choices in my life. The Quran I find is giving me the specific instruction on how to live the life.
My rebellious Americanism fights me on this sometimes – but I serve god not this country. My god is more important to me than myself. The bible tells me I will be in daily battles with my mind; the Quran tells me how to be successful in these battles. I understand how people fear what they don’t know, I did this. I want to create an atmosphere where people can learn and grow together so that they can see that their religions essentially are the same. We get so caught up in diving ourselves rather than coming together in love.
I made it to Egypt. I sat on the cleft of a rock at the pyramids, with god. I opened my phone and read the Holy Scriptures out loud as I looked out into the sand… then Giza for as far as my eyes could see… and I prayed to my god the words that he gave me, المو منون
I’m pretty sure I was in love with Egypt before I got there, but being there just solidified it. My most intimate desire, other than educating people, is to live in a place where sex is not the object. I found this in Egypt. I found a lifestyle that supported the family, that all people are kind and considerate and helpful. A way of life, although having its flaws – is a lot different than the way here.
My friends tell me it’s because I found my soul in Egypt. And while this is true, I don’t know how I would have felt in Egypt alone because I was with a native – which I’m in love with. Life here is so different, it’s clean and it’s roomy. All things here are easy and our government has rules that help the children and the people overcome their current circumstances in the life. But the mindset of the Egyptian people mirrored my religion – and that has caused me to want to study their religion all the deeper. I want to be a faithful servant of god; I want to submit all my being to his way… I cling to my friends from the Middle East to give me accurate information regarding the life there. I have friends displaced because of daesh/ISIS, I have friends still living in Syria and in Iraq. Chat Rooms have afforded me the opportunity to speak with people in Palestine in Israel in Jordan in Egypt in Iran in Iraq in Syria in Saudi in UAE – who tell me their perspective of the way of life for them.
I have found, everywhere in the world there are apostate people… in all religions. I have found that people hurt the same way about the same stuff no matter where they are from. One can be in the Middle of the East in a culture that supports faith and still find oneself alone and a part from the god. You can be in the middle of America where everything is at your disposal but still lack something deep in your heart. And you can find this, and then you find peace.
It doesn’t matter where we are, where we live… God is with you. God is a god of order, not chaos, not fear, not condemnation. He is a god of peace, of protection and of wisdom… and he will impart these things to do, if you take the time to seek him. I have found my way that I cannot live in this world without my god – I trust that every path is a path he is walking with me, guiding me and helping me when I fail him. And my cry today is that everyone will take the time to learn about the things that fear them, so we can grow together in love.