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Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  506 ratings  ·  80 reviews
A personal account of the Courtney family and the Preemptive Love Coalition, as they help children obtain lifesaving surgeries in Iraq using one simple but powerful tool: a love that strikes first.

In the middle of the Iraq War, Jeremy and Jessica Courtney found themselves with their two children caught up in the turmoil, just hoping to make a difference. After an encounter
ebook, 240 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Howard Books
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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Jessica Vaughan
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Within a span of 48 hours, I laughed, I cried, I questioned who I was and who I could become. I pondered how and when I had allowed my government, my culture, and at times my "religion" to choose my enemies for me. I fell in love with the Kurds, the Arabs, the Israelis, and the Americans. We aren't so different after all. We are all straining to see that far off country, all hoping for a place where kids know no war. I am in awe of Jeremy and Jessica Courtney and how eager they are to unmake vio ...more
Ian Rowlands
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let me make a very bold statement: if you read this book it will change and challenge your perspective on how to live life - if you open your heart and mind it will change your life forever.

Jeremy Courtney is a consummate story-teller and this is a great story to tell. He manages to to achieve a balance of humour and seriousness, drama and and reflection, facts and narrative and is empathetic and challenging. This is both a preemptive and redemptive story!

The honesty and transparency with which
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Easy read, but very challenging! Can I live what I believe? Can I put my life (time, money, comfort, security) on the line to love first? Violence unmakes the world, but preemptive love has the power to unmake violence.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The true story of the Preemptive Love Coalition, thanks to the courageous initiative of Jeremy and Jessica Courtney, Cody Fisher, and their team members. Jeremy and Jessica moved their young family to Iraq... a bold move especially considering the dangerous political climate and the fact that they had one child plus one on the way. Jeremy started wearing klash... shoes that were a traditional symbol of Kurdish culture and helped him assimilate in Iraq. Jeremy and Jessica found countless children ...more
Andrew Harward
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This brilliantly written account challenged and inspired me, planting seeds of change in my own heart. Jeremy tells not only of lives saved and huge challenges overcome, but also of his own personal failings throughout. Reading this feels like sitting with a close friend, confiding in you about their experience as if it happened yesterday.
Ryan Fung
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The timeline for events in Courtney's retelling is convoluted, with chapters bouncing back and forth with only a few key sentences embedded to help ground the reader in the grand chronology of things. Half the time I had no idea how one chapter connected with the other. That is probably the only thing about this book that I didn't appreciate.

That said, this book is worth reading. This is a story of an unnatural brand of love, one that borders on irrational, impractical, and even irresponsible.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, christian, 2019
I appreciated getting an "on-the-ground" look at Iraq and the challenges created both before and during the Iraq war, especially for families. I also found the Courtney's approach to love first, ask questions later to be thought provoking. ...more
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love first. Ask questions later.

In the middle of the Iraq War, Jeremy and Jessica Courtney found themselves with their two children caught up in the turmoil, just hoping to make a difference. After an encounter with a father whose little girl was dying from a heart defect, they began to investigate options for helping and learned that untold thousands of children across Iraq were in similar need, waiting in line for heart surgery in a country without a qualified heart surgeon.

With the help of th
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been following the Preemptive Love Coalition since they first began selling the Kurdish "klash" shoes and, as a result, was very much looking forward to this book's release. It did not disappoint! Courtney never paints a grandiose picture of himself--something that may be the most practical takeaway from the book: that regular, imperfect, fear-laden, non-know-it-all's can accomplish a great deal of good in seemingly hopeless situations! And it is this connection to his humanity that keeps ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
A passionate and interesting story, but at times hard to follow. It was difficult to tell what the intent of the book was: simple relaying of events to tell a story, or exhortation into a life of preemptive love?
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-faves
Powerful book with many powerful stories. I have been a fan of this organization since the early days, and now I am even more of a fan! Jeremy is very humble and open about the challenges, heartbreaks and pitfalls inherent in a complex work like this. And a thrilling and fascinating read.
A few favorite quotes:
"...something lacking in all the religions, sacred texts, and holy prophets of the world. We scarcely know what they mean until they are embodied in front of us. I want us to fill up what
Philippe Lazaro
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: human-rights
“I don’t lean left or right. I lean in. I lean forward, because that’s where love lives.”

–Jeremy Coutney

This book was such a good read that I found myself intentionally slowing down so it would last a little longer. I love hearing the stories of people who have found themselves committed to a meaningful mission and hearing how they got started.

Jeremy Courtney's work is especially a big reminder that in a complicated world with lots of bickering, there are still people to love right in front of
Paul Herriott
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard Jeremy Courtney speak publicly before I read his book, it was almost just as real. What an incredible story, what tough set of circumstances, what endurance by everyone. This book is part collection of stories, part memoir, part juicy tell-all. It was a raw account, not always glamorous, but certainly captivating. Jeremy does a great job of intertwining the history and culture of the Iraqi region into the book which helps to make sense of the complexities they faced. Even though this ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I really loved this book. I didn’t manage to finish the last few chapters since I borrowed it from the library and had to return quickly. The book made me reflect a lot and made me question about what life was, the role of a believer and what peace really meant.

It gave me a fresh perspective that has remained even after weeks. I hope to be able to complete the book in the future and I believe preemptive love is an inspiration to how differences can be accepted. Indeed, love is above all.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Powerful and inspiring. It really takes you on a journey to learn about choosing the path less travelled by, trusting your enemies despite you and everyone around you's best judgement, loving first, and asking questions later. This is what it looked like for them to follow Christ and obey his teachings - stepping into dangerous territories, forsaking all sound advice, and allowing themselves to be vulnerable enough to be hurt and to love. ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
At times, this was a hard read, but I'm so glad I finished it. Courtney's honesty is brutal at times and his story of loving first is eye-opening, convicting and beautiful. I love that he tries not to mince words about his own failures and what he has learned from them. It is clearly a story of how God's preemptive love for us changes everything. ...more
KentValerie Laws
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A friend shared this book with me after hearing how much of an impact it had on her. I am so glad she passed it on. Now when I read the sermon on the mount and read about loving your enemy, Jeremy Courtney and the Preemptive Love team come to mind. What does loving your enemy look like? I believe it looks like what he and his team have been doing. Inspiring read.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8

If there is any earthly being who comes close to exemplifying God’s love for us through Christ, Jeremy and Jessica Courtney would be at the top of the list, along with all the Preemptive Love Coalition. Read their story! I believe it will be life-changing :)
Paul Frank Spencer
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful depiction of the cost of love. I'm not sure if I'd agree with Mr. Courtney's theology, as he expresses little of it in this book. Preemptive Love is about God's love, expressed through the life of Christ and the Word of God. Iraqis deserve love as much as we Americans do. God does not forget this, though our prejudices might. ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is so much that is inspiring about this book and the story of the organization that Jeremy and Jessica Courtney started in Iraq. I listened to it as a loan from the library. It makes you wonder what the world would be like if we were all more like these two whose actions on paper look naive at best and foolish or dangerous at worst.
Aimee W.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I no longer accept the zero-sum worldview that says we cannot simultaneously be on the side of the Democrats and Republicans; Americans, Israelis, and Iranians; Jews and Palestinians; Sunnis and Shias; Arabs, Kurds, and Turks. I choose them all.”

I am so encouraged and challenged and heartbroken and hopeful. Preemptive love >>>>>
Diane Busch
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brave. Committed. Loving. Christ follower - These describe Jeremy and his wife Melissa as they live and do ministry in the middle east at their own risk. They collect money and help take kids with heart problems to get surgery. Their lives are at risk but they are being neighbors and living out the gospel.
Esther Brumme
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cross-cultural
So many stories to tell from this American NGO inside of Iraq. Would have done well with a stronger narrative arc, joining the vignettes into a story. Book is wordy, hard to navigate at times, but has a strong cause that carries it. Well done, Jeremy and team for breaking down the walls between Arabs and Kurds and Turks and Americans, pursuing peace one heart operation at a time. 3.5 stars
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been supporting this organization for a while and now i feel even better about doing so. Courageous and hopeful stories, they are living in love and bringing about a generation of peace one heart at a time. ...more
Megan Carver
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love a book that changes my perspective and haunts me. This is one of those. An amazing undertaking! Highly recommend.
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredible stories of how this nonprofit began.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story of love and redemption.
Mylon Pruett
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Biography of the beginning of the Preemptive Love Coalition. Amazing story of their journey to heal wounds, physically, emotionally, and spiritually in the lives of the Iraqis.
Read Time: 4h 26m
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-world, memoir-bio
No "3 steps to loving your enemy." No "Ooo, look at all the great things that happen when you just have faith." Zero easy answers. Just simple, raw, honest experience.

Please read this book.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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Jeremy Courtney is co-founder and executive director of the Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC), an international development organization based in Iraq that provides lifesaving heart surgeries to Iraqi children and training for local doctors and nurses, creating peace between communities at odds. Jeremy resides in Iraq with his wife, two children, and an indispensable team of dear friends.

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“I don’t lean left or right. I lean in. I lean forward, because that’s where love lives.” 7 likes
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