Sunday, December 17, 2006

An Enlightening Sunday

My church is a place of constant enlightenment for me as I continue my journey on God's path. I learn more about myself and my God, but today I learned quite a bit more than I knew about Sudan and the strife going on there.

A few months ago, some Sudanese immigrants approached my pastor to join my church. This produced an incredible opportunity for outreach and sharing our respective cultures. A bit more understanding of the situation in Sudan came to light today at the church Christmas party. After the meal, the man responsible for seeking out my church gave a presentation about the religious strife between Muslims and Christians in Sudan. As much as I thought I knew about the situation, I still learned a couple of things.

First, I learned Sudan and Darfur's implications on the global war on terrorism. Sudan is split into two sections right now: the north, controlled by Muslims, and the south, controlled by non-Muslims. The north has been pounding on the south, as can be expected with extremist Muslims. We think of the war on terrorism in places like Afghanistan or Iraq, but not in Sudan. Yet, Sudan is as much of a front in the war on terrorism as any. If the Muslims succeed in their push to wipe out non-Muslims in south Sudan, it will become another situation we'll have to address sooner or later. And with some in Washington not too keen on how we've fought the war on terror so far, I'm pretty sure we'll address it later rather than sooner.

However, not all of today's lessons were so pessimistic. As I watched the Sudanese talk to members of my congregation and their children running, laughing, and playing with the other children, I realized they're really not that different than I am. Sure, their skin color is different and we may not be able to understand each other all the time, but these are minor obstacles. The heart transcends cultural lines. Where there is love, there are no insurmountable barriers.

And in my little church in Des Moines, the love and understanding abounded.

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