Category Archives: from the Balkans


Assignment: find images of conflict and peace.


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thinkers on “the state”

Perica (p. 211) introduces his conclusion with quotes from Hegel, Nietzsche, Machiavelli, and Orwell on the state. 

Those to look to the state or think their state “good” or “Christian” would do well to reflect on these words.

Don’t freak out, I’m not endorsing these four, but I do endorse thought.

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Looking back to Sarajevo

On this trip I was on my own a lot and was able to explore beautiful Sarajevo on my own terms.

Here are a series of pix I took in a neighborhood up the hill from Old Town. They are of a kind of neighborhood mosque with many graves from 1992-1995 and the main mosque in the Old Town.




My assumption is that these died in the siege during the war when Serbs bombarded the city from the surrounding mountain tops.


Down the hill, I went to the main mosque, it’s minaret was visible down this alley…


And upon entering you are given the rules…


On Fridays this mosque is filled with Muslims…


Walking by the side I noted the extra prayer rugs stacked in the window…


Martin Luther said that Muslims (among many others including Jews and many “Christians”) worship the same God, but they worship him incorrectly. As I study Islam (for my Cross Cultural Studies program) and read from many sides of this discussion, it seems Luther makes a sound argument. The enemy of God wishes to keep people away from him and the best way is a way that looks right while being wrong. A one degree error send KAL 007 into Soviet airspace and hundreds died when the Soviets shot it down. Worshipping the right God the wrong way, through works, may look good, but is not His way.

We depend on grace alone, trusting in the final and complete work of Jesus: death, burial and resurrection. In Christ alone.

Allow not a desire for pluralism to water down the way and the truth.

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Where cultures meet: Sarajevo

In the old town of Sarajevo one finds endless little shops selling, primarily, Turkish coffee sets hammered out from brass that, presumably, comes from a seemingly endless supply of brass shells left over from the war. A testament to how many shells were fired at this city.

On the main walk to the old town from, what I call downtown, (it’s old too, but is more of what I call a downtown), kinda where the old town and downtown meet, is this…


This really is a place of cultures meeting.

This city is, according to a reliable source, over 90% Muslim, I counted 13 minarets visible from my window…


Which a friend told me includes this one, the main mosque…


I was here to visit my friends who serve among these people and his focus is the study of Islam toward helping Muslim friends come to a true understanding of Jesus.

With my doctoral studies in mind and what I had learned from our conversations and the books I’d read in preparation, I struck up a brief conversation with a young economist. I asked him who Jesus is. He replied that it depends of what you believe and that he wasn’t religious.

He may not have been, but I made one observation that is not scientific. When I first came to Sarajevo in ’07, there were not many women wearing head coverings. 8 years later, head coverings are common. My count, based on video survey was that as much as a third of women are now covered.

While waiting…


for my favorite Sarajevo food, burekški…


we observed that all the women working in the eatery were covered. This is a sign, I concluded, of increasing emphasis on the Islamic culture becoming more defined in this city where cultures meet.

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Sarajevo pix






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In a few moments were driving through the ice and snow…


… to Slatina for church. Back in 2004 and 2005 two teams of us held English camps in this small city. They outgrew their small church and I’m looking forward to seeing the new place for worship in singing and the Scripture! Today we’re thinking about Paul’s prayer for depth in Philippians 1:9-11.

After church I grabbed this with the pastor and his wife…


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19th years ago: a genocide

19 years ago, there was a mass killing in Bosnia. Each year there are remains identified using DNA and then given a proper burial. In 2009 three of us drove to Srebrenica to remember the event and experience the memorial.

I made a brief film from that trip. Please click here to share in our experience.

The waffling of diplomats leading the UN effort at a “Safe Zone” is described by journalist Roger Cohen: “Into the night of July 10 he prevaricated, with NATO planes in the air waiting to strike. His attitude showed an extraordinary disregard for his men: he had ordered the Dutch into dangerous, and exposed, “blocking positions” with a pledge of air support in the event of an attack, only to renege on what he had promised. Having talked to General Zdravko Tolimir of the Serb army, the French general still doubted that the Serbs intended to take the town. At one point that evening, in the midst of a meeting of his crisis team called to discuss air attacks at Srebrenica, Janvier took a long telephone call; people at the meeting had the impression the call was from Paris. In the end the NATO planes returned to base; Srebrenica’s fate was sealed.

“The next morning Karremans assumed massive air attacks were on the way. Repeated requests for air support were made as the population of Srebrenica fled to the Dutch camp in a disused battery factory at Potočari, in the northern part of the enclave. It was almost noon, however, before Janvier, in Zagreb, finally signed a written order for an attack, and then it was to be limited to “any forces attacking the blocking UNPROFOR position south of Srebrenica and heavy weapons identified as shelling U. N. positions in Srebrenica town.” Such an order, so late, amounted to holding up an umbrella against a hurricane. That afternoon, one Serb tank was hit before NATO air attacks were called off with the Serbs threatening to kill all the Dutch hostages. The “safe area” of Srebrenica fell at four o’clock that afternoon. About twenty-five thousand Muslims, including over fifteen hundred men of military age, sought protection in or just outside the Dutch camp at Potočari. Another ten to fifteen thousand Muslim men set out northwestward in a desperate bid to walk across more than thirty miles of Serb-held territory into the safety of government-held territory south of Tuzla. (Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo
by Roger Cohen)

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