“Some people are dead. It is another normal day.”
Life in Baghdad: not exactly a walk in the park.
This book is the remarkable story of Andrew White, whose ministry has taken him to serving God and people in Baghdad. It is a story of a man who has relied wholeheartedly on God as he struggles to see peace brought to a place synonymous with violence.
He meets with politicians, military personnel, terrorists, civil servants, religious leaders and countless others and all the while seeks to draw them together. It is so refreshing to see someone who’s cottoned on to the fact that religion is a vital part of society in some countries, and who recognises that peace will not come unless religious leaders are engaged with and encouraged to support the process.
He says, “Everyone needs to be involved in the quest for peace. Peacemaking of the old woolly-liberal kind no longer works, if it ever did. We cannot succeed if we do not engage with the military. By the same token, we have to engage too with the people who choose to kidnap women and children and blow up buses. We cannot confine ourselves to sitting down and drinking tea with nice people.”
The progress that has been made over the course of the last decade is testament to an extraordinary man who serves an Almighty God. It is a story of hope in the depths of despair. A story of trust at all times. A story of God at work.
It is also a story that may help us to understand better the situation in Iraq, as well as to understand better those of other faiths. He argues that, “The mutual incomprehension between the Islamic world and the West is certainly one of the biggest problems facing humankind today.” It’s also refreshing to see a man whose faith has been strengthened, not diluted, by his work with those of other faiths.
There’s not a glorification of risk or danger, though both are presented throughout the book. They tend to be dealt with in a matter-of-fact sort of way. You don’t get a sense that he is a man who thrives on such things. Rather, he seems to thrive despite them.
I’d recommend the book for anyone who wants to have a better picture of life in Iraq, a fuller understanding of those of other (particularly Muslim) faiths and a greater realisation God’s work in His world, even its most difficult parts.
How is God at work in our world today?
What responsibilities do Christians have for seeking peace? Are those responsibilities being taken seriously?
What can you do to bring peace to an area of conflict in your own life?