By Melissa Wuske
Movement Toward Christ Among Muslims
“We are living in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history,” said David Garrison, author of A Wind in the House of Islam. Through several years of research, Garrison found almost 70 movements of Muslims voluntarily turning to Christ between 2000 and 2012. That figure dwarfs those of the first twelve centuries of Islam, when there were essentially no voluntary movements of Muslims converting to Christianity.
After decades as a missionary, Garrison began his study with “healthy skepticism,” but found that reports he’d heard of new believers were often underestimated rather than overestimated, as he’d suspected.
“What is exciting is not just how big the movements are
. . . but how many of these movements there are now and that they’re not limited to one corner of the world, but we’re seeing them from West Africa to Indonesia, and virtually everywhere in between,” Garrison said.
What’s causing the change? “God has brought several elements together uniquely in our time,” Garrison said. “Some of them are old elements—Muslim violence is not new; this is one of the least violent centuries in Muslim history—but what’s different is today when Muslims experience this violence, they can see an alternative . . . they can switch on their Internet, they can turn on their television and hear an evangelist speaking Farsi or Kazakh or Uzbek.”
Mental Illness and Law Enforcement
A report by the Treatment Advocacy Center found that people suffering from mental illness are 16 times more likely than other people to be killed by police. Mental illnesses affect nearly 8 million Americans.
“If this were any other medical condition, people would be up in arms,” said John Snook, a coauthor of the report. “What we need to do is treat the person before the police are ever called. This is a mental illness, but we respond by calling the police and arresting a person.”
About a tenth of police encounters involve someone dealing with mental illness, and many police officers don’t have sufficient training to properly address mental illness. “Even for trained mental health professionals, it can be challenging to deal with people who are psychotic or under the influence of their symptoms,” said Jeffrey Lieberman, director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. “This places an unfair burden on police.” In response, some police departments have formed specially trained teams that can help calm people suffering from mental illness rather than using force.
An Energizing Find for Beachcombers
Residents of Indialantic, Florida, found something special at the beach one day last December. “There must be thousands of cans or packages of compressed coffee,” said Leon Stein. The coffee was likely from a ship that lost as many as 25 containers of sealed coffee cans that fell overboard.
“We’re checking to make sure it’s nothing else but coffee,” said Elvin Rodriguez, a marine science technician with the Coast Guard. Meanwhile, people came to the beach in droves to collect the cans of Café Bustelo.
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Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).