Broken-down Poetry: Jesus Wore Klash


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Friday, July 30, 2010

Jesus Wore Klash

The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.


Kurdish men wear these funny shoes called klash. They're handmade, hand-sown clogs with a hard sole and white top. Ever since Lydia and I first arrived at the Sulaimania airport, we saw dozens of men wearing these shoes with their juli kurdi, traditional Kurdish garb.

During my internship with Preemptive Love in Iraq, all the intern guys bought one or two pairs of klash. Jeremy and Gigs, the photographer, have klash too.


When Jesus came to earth 2,000-odd years ago, he didn't come in a sparkly white robe with a glowing orb surrounding him.

He wasn't the son of a king or religious leader. He wasn't hot. He wasn't a different race than the other Jews; he was from the tribe of Judah.

He was born next to sheep. He grew up learning a trade like all the other boys his age.

He was Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph. He lived among the people he wanted to help. He didn't elevate himself to a higher position. Philippians says, "he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant."

People didn't know him as that outsider coming in to change their situation. He didn't market himself as a savior.

I wonder what would happen if Jesus acted like a lot of Americans doing development work overseas.

What if he only came for two weeks? What if he came with certain tools useful in his homeland, but not this one? What if his knowledge of the Hebrew people came from Disney movies or what he heard on the news?

I love that Jesus came and lived as a human among humans for 30 years before starting his ministry. He didn't come out of the womb proving to be an expert. He lived like us. He worked like us. He dressed like us.

I'm convinced that if Jesus came to the Kurds of northern Iraq, he'd wear klash. If he came to America, he'd wear Converse or flip-flops.

And he wouldn't talk like he knew everything,
without living in the culture for a while.


I spent two months living and working with Jeremy and Jessica Courtney, two development workers in Iraq. I saw how their way of living affected PLC's work in Iraq. Locals respect them because they live like their neighbors: in similar clothing, in houses among other Kurds, they know the language.

Spending a summer with the Courtneys has taught me a thing or two about God.

We say that we have a LORD that empathizes with us. I get that now. Empathy implies experience. It doesn't mean Jesus gets how we feel because he's GOD and that's what he does. It means that he gets it because he lived it.


* photo by Lydia Bullock

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