Relief in Wartime Chaos
Image: Warrick Page / Getty

It is 8:30 on a Tuesday morning, and crises are blaring from the television in the student lounge of Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS), based in Amman. Only a few students—mostly Egyptian, Sudanese, Syrian, and Jordanian men—are watching. Everyone else is crowded around the coffee and tea, swirling sugar into paper cups as they review Greek vocabulary and Trinitarian theology.

A US-led coalition has just launched airstrikes on regions in Syria controlled by Islamic extremists, a reporter announces. The Islamic State (ISIS) is fighting Syrian President Assad’s regime, Kurdish militaries, the Iraqi army, and rebel forces in Syria. ISIS has beheaded journalists and is holding other people hostage. Jordan participated in the airstrikes and is tightening its borders, cracking down on Islamists, and arresting terror suspects across the Hashemite kingdom.

A refugee pastor who fled Syria two years ago switches the TV off.

“Yallah shbab [Come on guys] chapel!”

Upstairs a student named Mounis is leading staff and other students in worship. “Astatih kullu shayin fil masih kuwati [I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me],” sings an Egyptian keyboardist, eyes closed, brows furrowed.

“Ilahi yourid an ahya fi najahi [My God wants me to live in victory]. Wa yuqimuni ila murtafaati [And he enables me to walk to my high places].”

After worship, Bryson Arthur, a Scottish systematic theologian at JETS, approaches the podium to read from Matthew 8.

“God is asleep in the disciples’ boat. The creator of the universe is asleep in the boat!” Arthur says. “‘Ye of little faith,’ the Messiah says. ‘Why are you so ...

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Relief in Wartime Chaos
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December 2014

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