Monthly Archives: September 2012

Children, Muslims and hugs.

This is part two of a three part series leading up to the next “INTERSECTION” service on 7th October. These three blogs will be related to this month’s topic which is called “Is their god my God?: Being a Christian in a multi-faith world.” For more information on Intersection, visit the Shore Vineyards website here

As we contemplate our Christian faith within a world of other faiths, I would like to share an excerpt from a book called “Broken we kneel” , written by Diana Butler Bass.

One day, my daughter Emma saw a woman walking towards us covered in a veil and asked the inevitable, “what’s that mommy?”

“Emma,” I answered, “that lady is a Muslim from a faraway place. And she dresses like that – and covers her head with a veil – because she loves God. That is how her people show they love God.”

My daughter considered these words. She stared at the woman who passed us. She pointed at the woman, then pointed at my hair, and further quizzed, “Mommy, do you love God?”

“Yes honey,” I laughed. “I do. You and I are Christians. Christian ladies show love for God by going to church, eating the bread and the wine, serving the poor and giving to those in need. We don’t wear veils, but we do love God.”

After this, Emma took every opportunity to point to Muslim women during our shopping trips and tell me “Mommy look, she loves God.”  One day, we were getting out of our car at our driveway at the same time as our pakistani neighbors. Emma saw the mother, beautifully veiled, and, pointing at her, shouted, “Look, mommy, she loves God!”

My neighbor was surprised. I told her what I had taught Emma about Muslim ladies loving God. While she held back tears, this near stranger hugged me, saying, “I wish all Americans would teach their children so. The world would be better. The world would be better.”

And with that I simply pose the following question:

What would you teach your children?

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Defining truth.

This is part one of a three part series leading up to the next “INTERSECTION” service on 7th October. These three blogs will be related to this month’s topic which is called “Is their god my God?: Being a Christian in a multi-faith world.” For more information on Intersection, visit the Shore Vineyards website here

All truth is God’s truth”

– Arthur Holmes

It can be a daunting thing to confront the beliefs of other religions. It can be scary observing their practices, and challenging studying their laws.

In fact it is difficult to do so because, by our own knowledge, understanding, and experience of truth, these other belief systems are simply not correct.

But as a Christian, I believe it is not ok to simply state that and throw it in people’s faces, but rather  that we owe a certain duty of care to our fellow muslims, buddhists, mormons and hindus. Now, that does not mean just “loving” people within these religious groups, but making an effort to understand them and their beliefs. After all, their truth is very real to them. That is why we need to have this discussion. How do we live out our Christian faith in a multi-faith world?

Before we enter the discussion, before we even consider these other beliefs and people,  we must develop somewhat of an understanding of our own truth, and our identity within that.

So…

What is truth to you?

And on a deeper level than that,

Is that truth absolute, fixed, and unchanging?

Or is truth to you something that is narrative and experiential? Something that grows as it is challenged and refined through conversation, conflicts, and the rigors of life.

What you believe to be true of God, your life, and your faith is instrumental to how you live out your life today, tomorrow and the next day. Either that truth is fixed, keeping you rooted in security and stability, or it lends itself to challenging you, moving you from content to perhaps uncomfortable.

And what if that is how God reveals his truth to us? The reality of His presence? What if, by pushing us “out of the boat”, we experience a bigger and more profound truth than what we perhaps knew before? Does a father, who holds his newborn child for the first time, have a more profound understanding of love than that of a high school boy experiencing his first feelings for a girl? Is our understanding of truth affected in the same way?

I can only offer questions and thoughts, but I encourage you to ponder them – I think it’s important before we hit the next stages of our discussion.

How have you defined truth?

And,

How has truth defined you?

 

 

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An eternity I want to be a part of, now

This is part four (point two) of a four part series leading up to the next “INTERSECTION” service on 2nd September. These four blogs will be related to this month’s topic which is called “What comes next?: Exploring Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.” For more information on Intersection, visit the Shore Vineyards website here

I am excited that the guest blogger is my youth intern for the year, Cassey Locke

When I was younger I used to believe that heaven was a place I would go to when I died.

I would be magically transported to a new realm where I could do all my favourite things.

There would be no pain or tears, so naturally, faced with a cliff one could merely jump without hesitation and land safely on the ground – almost like flying!

My favourite idea was that I would be able to ride a lion or a polar bear, or any other ferocious beast for that matter, because of course; “the lion will lay down with the lamb”.

So all I had to do was wait out my life here on Earth…

But is that really all there is to it?

Would God create a planet we would eventually be whisked away from?

Won’t I get bored, here on Earth, where flying is impossible?

As I wrestled with some of these questions, I was hit with the idea that eternal life might start now.

Perhaps God doesn’t want to throw away the Earth, and instead has all along had a bigger plan for us – a plan to restore not to demolish. This would make more sense, surely?

In that case, I have a responsibility to uphold.

To be a part of assisting in the establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth.

To pray as Jesus did; “your Kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven”.

The more I explore, the more it seems I may have been wrong.

But the more I want to be in on God’s eternity, now.