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Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time
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Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  409 ratings  ·  68 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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4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  409 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
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.
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.
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.
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.
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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.
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.
Tim Hoiland
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When we read the headlines and watch news clips from the Middle East, it’s overwhelming to consider the hardship of daily life for so many, not to mention the dizzying complexity of geopolitical dynamics. When you factor in language, religion, geography, and cultural barriers, it’s no wonder most of us opt to keep that part of the world on the periphery of our minds.

That’s why I so admire what Jeremy Courtney and his colleagues at the Preemptive Love Coalition are up to in Iraq. After decades of
"We are all tribal, programmed to protect our own."
Alex Phillips
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I originally read this as an e-book, but its effect on me was such that I will order at least a couple of copies to have around my house, ready to recommend to friends and guests. Short version: This account of the hard work of love in a country bound up with a quarter-century history of violence is at once intimate and grand, beautiful and gritty, inspiring and relentlessly challenging.

Being involved in global health and also living and studying in the Middle East, I have read many accounts bot
Beto Moreno
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so grateful that I came across this book. I had heard of Jeremy and Preemptive Love but never took the time to find out what they were all about. When I got the book last week and read the back cover my jaw dropped, my heart was pounding and my eyes began to water. Being that it is heart awareness month the timing was impeccable. And with all the turmoil in our country, this story just helps to remember that we are all human and that love should always come first.

If you've never heard of @p
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found this book at a local thrift store. The cover caught my eye. The title sold me on the $1 purchase. It was a dollar well spent. The bookstore price would have been money well spent.

I am not a literary critique. I can not rate the content based on writing finesse, only on its impact on my heart. For that, I give it 5 stars.

The story is riveting and the message is a voice crying in the wilderness of war and hatred. It is the story of imperfect people choosing to press into an impossible drea
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Honestly going into this book I was preparing myself for a "white savior" kind of thing, but I was pleasantly surprised. I so appreciate that as Jeremy told the story of PLC, he was extremely honest and vulnerable about mistakes that he made and ways that he failed. It felt like a really transparent story of a guy doing his best to be faithful exactly where God has put him. You can tell that he truly honors and respects Iraqi culture, and isn't trying to Westernize or change it into something it ...more
Jun 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Let me start by saying that I picked up (uh, downloaded, actually) this book having no idea what it was really about. And it took me several chapters to figure it out. Probably helps that I had never heard of the author's organization 'Buy Shoes. Save Lives.' or his Preemptive Love Coalition. Total blank slate here. It would have been nice to know what the purpose of the book was before I got halfway through it. If the author was one of my students, I would have written 'What is your thesis??' i ...more
Apryl Anderson
I truly appreciated Courtney's preemptive honoring. All of his words, memories, homages, exposés, observations are written with positive intent. Who knows what went on in his head when these moments transpired, but as an afterthought, he credits each player with making their own informed choices—most atypical to the majority of travel-writing (memoirs of anglophones in France, for example). Courtney has an endearing way of presenting this particular culture clash. We are not right or wrong, but ...more
Brenda Funk
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What an inspiring read this was! It makes you wonder how very different the world could be if we would all practice 'preemptive love' in our spheres, if instead of sending our armies all over the world to 'right' the wrongs we see happening, we would be willing to risk all to love? It's an amazing concept.

"Where you are sitting in the world as you finish this story may influence how you interpret my idea of preemptive love. If you are in the States, you may think first in terms of American kindn
Greg Barrett
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Please read my review of Jeremy's work and book on The Huffington Post.

My column ends with this important insight from Jeremy:

"Where you are sitting in the world as you finish this story may influence how you interpret my idea of preemptive love. If you are in the States, you may think first in terms of American kindness toward enemy Iraqis. If you are in Iraq, however, you may be more quick to see the countless times in this story in which the Iraqis acte
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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.
“Courage, love, faith . . . these are
all muscles that grow in strength each time we push them to their limits.”
“Love first; ask questions later.” 5 likes
More quotes…