Christian/Muslim discussion seems to be a pretty hot topic in some circles right now. Two circles in particular seem evident, 1) what passes for Christianity in US politics interacting with Islamic states, and 2) progressive Evangelicals attempting to figure out how to stay faithful to the Gospel within their progressive commitments. There are other circles but these seem to me the dominant voices. First, I have no clue if there are circles within Islam where this sort of dialog is such a big thing. Also, I have an interest in the dialog but I am neither political (as in I hold out little to no hope for actually effective political solutions to anything that really matters) nor am I particularly Evangelical (though that is a bit tenuous, since, like Canadians over against Americans, Evangelicals are really not sure what it actually means to be Evangelical except that they are not Catholic......maybe.)
That attempt at incisive cleverness aside; a rabbi, an imam, and a pastor walk into an auditorium......
A Christian Church that I frequent recently held a panel discussion at the Sunday morning service. Now this panel included a rabbi, an imam, and a pastor. The question to be addressed was, "Do we all worship the same God/god?"
Now, I have some rather particular and somewhat strong positions on the execution of a Sunday morning service (I will expose these at some point in the future as I foray into the field of pro-bono unsolicited blog-based church consulting.) Interestingly enough, this panel discussion sets a few of these positions at odds with each other and the result is interesting. While not directly proclaiming the Gospel, the panel had the opportunity to demonstrate the Gospel in action while at the same time being excellently timed marketing.
As it happens, I was, in the wickedness of my heart, earning a living and thus unable to be present at the meeting. However, I spoke to several people who were there to get an idea of how it went and what happened. I have gathered that it was mainly a PR press conference where an actual direct answer to the question posed was politely avoided. One of the people that I talked to said that the pastor commented on intimacy with God through Jesus and the rabbi and imam essentially said, "Great, but we don't need Jesus for that intimacy."
I think that the whole question and discussion was misframed. I believe that, judged on deeper criteria than strictly sociological assessment the distinctions between the participants are false to the discussion at hand (maybe "false" is too strong a word, possibly "misleading" would be better.)
More to come.
Do you hate cliffhangers with subsequent posts more than ridiculously long individual posts?
And well, here is Part 2