the Yazidi in our midst

iStock_000045869354_SmallJesus and I talk in my car…a habit of his choosing.

I was listening to NPR the other day and heard this story. A family, a Yazidi family, started a local organization to find out what was happening to their people as they suffer a genocidal assault from ISIS.

The family lives in Houston.
It turns out there is a Yazidi community in Houston.
I have Christian friends working in precisely that area of Iraq now.

What are you going to do? – Jesus asked.

This weekend the leader of that group and I are having tea…at a Starbucks in a Randalls in H-town. And of the thousands of questions I have for him one has floated to the top – Who is helping you? 

The Yazidis are not Christians. In fact, their religious beliefs are very foreign to the Christian ear. But over the last years a few phrases are guiding more and more of my actions. One is – love does. Thanks, Bob Goff. Love takes action, and if it does not take action it is not love. The second is – don’t lean left or right, lean in. Thank you, Jeremy Courtney. We need our convictions, but convictions cannot overwhelm our ability to really get to know someone. It shocks me sometimes how quickly I can dismiss the person I do not even know.

The third is a Bible verse, Exodus 22:21, Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. 

Yazidis on a mountaintop in the 1920s

Yazidis on a mountaintop in the 1920s

When there is an outsider in town, God asks us to remember at one time we were that outsider. This is what struck as Jesus and I were talking in my Jeep. There are foreigners here, and in this case at least, I know a few folks who might help.

The other thing I know is that Jesus has a habit of moving when people very much unlike each other meet. So many times Jesus told stories of the poor man outside the rich man’s gate, or the holy person passing the bleeding man, or the self-righteous crowd chanting for the execution of the adultress – in each, the ‘opposites’ never stopped to know each other and the Kingdom was missed.

When different people meet, though, the Kingdom gets built. Twelve average fishermen got to know Jesus and look what happened.

So let’s see where the Spirit leads. Somehow I think its a journey already underway.


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