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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Islam and Global Theology

We have had several posts related to Islam over the past year and had been asked to compile them into one post so that they would be more accessible to people during the seasons of Ramadan and the Eid. Feel free to connect with us via our Contact Page or find ways to Get Involved as a guest contributor or regional editor.

A Christian Perspective of Eid al-Fitr

For many Christians living in non-Western contexts, Islam is a very present religious community. Outside of homogenous cultures, multi-faith communities share life together in meaningful ways. Through interaction with the religious identity of others, we can come to a fuller understanding of ourselves.

Eid al-Fitr is an Islamic holiday that is a celebration to mark the completion of Ramadan. It is a three-day celebration of purification and thanksgiving for Allah’s strength to complete the preceding month of fasting.

My question is, what can Christians appreciate from this celebration and how can we better understand ourselves in light of it?

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Guidance and Light

This shows an Islamic starburst tile pattern (which traditionally symbolizes the spread of Islam throughout the universe), a lighted lamp and the first half of a verse (5:46) from the Qur’an which states:

Sample Images from “Guidance and Light” by Scott Rayl

“And We (God) sent, following in their footsteps Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which was before him in the Torah, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light…”

So, in this painting the lamp and the tile pattern both represent the guidance and the light of the Gospel enlightening the world.

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Qur’an Christology?

Adrian Warnock has a post about 11 things Muslims agree with Christians about Jesus. How can  a functioning Christology be made out of this to turn the corner from interfaith dialogue to ecumenical dialogue?

Or, to put the initial question a different way, what differentiates Islam from Christian groups which hesitate in differentiating members of the Trinity (like Unitarians) or hold a low-Christology or elevate their founding teacher’s interpretations on par with other scripture (like Lutherans or Calvinists)?

What roadblocks stand in the way to distinguishing an authentically Islamic Christian Theology?

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Challenging Islamophobia – A Christian Duty

In this article, Ray Gaston of Birmingham, UK argues for a radical interpretation and implementation of 1 Corinthians 13 in response to Islamophobia in the West.

…I want to present not an analysis or apology for Islam, I leave that to Muslims themselves, neither will this be a potted description of the practices of Islam for Christians. (There are other good resources for Christians to find out about Islam and to find out about the particular communities of Muslims that reside in the UK.) Instead I want to argue for a Christian praxis within this context of rising Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime. This praxis is founded upon two sources – one Islamic and the other Christian – that seek to generate a two-fold agenda for Christians in relation to Islam and Muslims. Firstly, founded upon an Islamic story about the first recorded encounter between Muslims and Christians, the priority for Christians is to seek to build the trust of Muslims. Secondly, rooted in the Pauline understanding of the practice of love, a call to self examine the hatred and fear in our own hearts and as a counter-cultural practice, actively to seek, through a dialogical spirituality, what is good in Islam, thus subverting the barrage of negative portrayals of Islam and Muslims in the media.

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La Familia

How do you experience love, acceptance, and belonging? We may not express ourselves as well as these men, but our need for community is the same.

This is a poignant and intimate look into the lives of men in Central America who have found identity among each other.

Is your church community honest and inclusive enough to respond to the human need for intimacy and belonging? (Click to Tweet)

What associations exist in your community, besides the church, that respond to the need for identity and belonging?

Walking in the Sacred Way: Ojibway Prayer

In a prayer offered by an Ojibway elder, themes of brokenness, restoration, and balance with all of creation are present. From a North American First-Nations/Native American perspective, we can begin to see these themes in a new light within our own communities.

Grandfather,
Look at our brokenness.
We Know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred Way.

(more…)

Global Theology Countdown: Open Theism

Open Theism views God as entering a guided partnership with humanity to actualize our history. God desires to work out our future with us rather than dictate it to us and, to that degree, created a world with a largely unknown future (i.e. “open”). By being responsive to human activity and prayers, God engages with us daily through Christ and the Holy Spirit in achieving the Kingdom’s reality here on earth. The doctrine is also referred to as Openness Theology or Free Will Theism, and is a distinct departure from Classical/Reformed traditions.

The Global Theology Countdown  breaks down a large topic into more easily accessible parts, linking to other sites for those who would want to go deeper.

  • 4 Keys to Understanding
  • 3 People to Know
  • 2 Blogs Worth Reading
  • 1 Book to Read Immediately

This post covers Open Theism and we welcome contributors to share on a different perspective or more information regarding Open Theism. Enjoy! (more…)

Forgiveness and Fambul Tok

After years of civil war, the people living in the country of Sierra Leone returned to communities in which neighbors had experienced trauma at the hands of one another. The fabric of community had been torn apart and the reunification of these areas was vital to resettling and restoring peace. The relational ties that form the foundation of local culture needed to be restored and one way that the people engaged in forgiveness and “peace-building” was through a ceremony called Fambul Tok.

Fambul Tok, or “family talk” is a sacred bonfire that creates a space for victims and perpetrators to tell their story, ask for, and receive forgiveness from the people they had wronged. Following the bonfires, victim and perpetrator will join in planting crops or playing games together as a sign of forgiveness and restoration.

How can the church learn from this example of radical forgiveness of deeply personal and traumatic grievances?

Tim Høiland has a wonderful article in a current issue of PRISM magazine about the ceremony, its impact upon the community and lessons to learn regarding forgiveness. (Read the full article at PRISM)

Westerns struggle to understand forgiveness without retribution. This is true even for Christians, who believe we have been reconciled to God through Christ while we were still his enemies. The grace and forgiveness we have received is completely unmerited, and we’re instructed to go and do likewise, laying down our lives for others.

But when it comes to those who have wronged us, it doesn’t always follow that we automatically forgive. After all, shouldn’t the perpetrator be made to pay for his crime? (more…)