True Muslims are not terrorists. Just thought I would throw that out there to begin this post. There are extremists in every faith who stray far from the fundamentals of their beliefs. I’m sure you can think of a few in your own “religion/faith”.
Last week I was in Washington DC at Georgetown University. Christian & Muslim leaders from all over the world joined one another for the “Common Word” conference. This is a pursuit of focusing on the similarities between Islam & Christianity instead of the differences. It is an attempt to remove ignorance that both parties are guilty of, which leads to unnecessary violence & hatred. Everyone there has a desire to bring peace to, and change in the world.
In case you guys don’t know: Islam is currently one of the fastest growing faiths in the world. It would behoove us to educate ourselves about this religion, and begin engaging Muslims with the Gospel & person of Jesus Christ…
Just for the record: Everyone at “Common Word” was very open with one another about what they believe, and how they desire everyone else to subscribe to their particular faith. However, there were ZERO debates. There is a time and a place for “reasoning” with those of other faiths-this was not one of them. The “reasoning” takes place outside of the conference schedule in the context of relationships that have been formed…
I have heard of many mainstream evangelical pastors who speak out against things such as “Common Word”. From my experience this past week, there was absolutely nothing dangerous or unhealthy that took place. None of us compromised any of our beliefs, nor were we ever expected to. There were, however, many relationships forged that will lead to global change.
I know some of you are probably thinking something that was heavy on my mind during the few days we were there: “Global change & peace is great, but it’s not the same thing as people coming to know Christ as Savior. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to get distracted by social justice causes that become more of a pursuit than seeing unbelievers come to faith in Christ.” This was one thing that made me a bit nervous. My prayer is that as Christians & Muslims engage in peace initiatives with one another that the power of the resurrected Christ would be So evident through the lives of His followers that Muslims would come to faith in Him. This is already happening by the way.
In order for this to happen we must engage with Muslims & those of other faiths. Believe it or not, most Muslims WILL NOT come to our churches, or Christian gatherings. We may have to go engage them on their turf…I think I remember Jesus doing quite a bit of that. (The key here is that our church services and gatherings should not be our means of evangelism-especially to those who are very different from us culturally & spiritually)
I will delve deeper into these issues later this week. For now I just wanted to share some pics from the trip, and introduce you to an entirely different world that exists out there, which most of us know little about. I know very little, but am committed to pursuing knowledge & relationships with the 1.2 billion Muslims in our world today…
John Esposito & other religious/governmental leaders from all over the world.
Language Translation Device: Arabic to English for me =)
Joined a new Muslim friend at the Capitol Building for their Friday Muslim prayer time. I gratefully accepted the invite so long as they were ok with me praying to Jesus =)
Visited the White House before my flight home…
I’m excited to post more about my new passion and pursuit of engaging those of other cultures/beliefs. I know this makes many uncomfortable & nervous, as it did me in the beginning. However, I’m learning quite a bit about having confidence in truth, and allowing that confidence to empower me through my desire to be comfortable. Christ wants to know every Muslim deeply-I hope to be a part of that process.