Movies Are Prayers by Josh Larsen, Free for CAPC Members
In Movies Are Prayers, Josh Larsen exemplifies how critical engagement with a film can be an act of neighbor-love.
Abu Atallah grew up in Egypt and was raised in a Muslim home; but as the rather evocative title of his memoir suggests, Atallah was ultimately taken hold of by the love of Christ and made a conversion to Christianity. From Christ to Cairo: How One Muslim’s Faith Journey Shows the Way for Others is Abu Atallah’s story. In the introduction, Kent A. Van Til makes it abundantly clear that Atallah’s journey was far from easy:
Simply put, From Cairo to Christ is an uplifting, illuminating, and convicting read.
“His conversion was costly. He lost family, friends, career, and home. He slept on floors and was effectively kicked out of college. His life was at risk. In fact, he chose the English name Stephen due to his belief that he too would soon be martyred.”
And while it is always wonderfully encouraging to read and learn about such a dramatic and dynamic conversion to Christianity, there are, frankly, quite a few memoirs telling very similar stories out on the shelves of your local bookstore. What makes From Cairo to Christ stand out from the crowd, therefore, is Atallah’s unshakable desire for his story to practically equip his readers to better minister to their Muslim neighbors by providing us with a fuller, richer, and more nuanced understanding of the cultural, social, religious, and political contexts in which they live. His book is filled with practical insights and timely wisdom. In the final section of From Cairo to Christ, for instance, he provides specific and concrete advice, offering a word of caution that is much-needed in our contemporary political climate:
“Don’t lump all Muslims in one pile, especially if that pile is filled with hatred and violence. The vast majority of Muslims do not support terrorists groups who act in the name of Islam. There is a great variety among Muslims, just as there is among Christians.”
In addition, Atallah calls his readers to action, encouraging us to look for ways we can share the glorious gospel with every tribe, tongue, and nation:
“The globe is shrinking, and nationalities are blending. Getting involved in God’s redemptive mission can take many forms today, from medical missions to media missions, teaching, aid and development, and tent making of various kinds.
“Where God is already at work, any of these means can be useful.”
Simply put, From Cairo to Christ is an uplifting, illuminating, and convicting read. It will help you understand the unique challenges and obstacles faced by Muslims in their everyday lives; it will make you keenly aware of the ways in which you can and must serve and love your Muslim neighbors; it will teach you how to pray for the Islamic nations, as well as the missionaries who minister under the shadow of Islam; and it will cause you to see afresh the glorious, saving grace of God. Finally, Atallah’s story will be a balm to those struggling with their faith. His love for Christ is infectious, as is his confidence in the power of God’s gospel. “The love of Christ found me,” he writes, “and I will not leave him.”
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