CNN.com: Christo-Muslim, having it both ways?

So, can you do this? And get away with it?

Ann Holmes Redding has been an Episcopal minister for 30 years. For the past 3 years, she's also been a practicing Muslim.

The CNN.com article reads: "Redding said her conversion to Islam was sparked by an interfaith gathering she attended three years ago. During the meeting, an imam demonstrated Muslim chants and meditation to the group. Redding said the beauty of the moment and the imam's humbleness before God stuck with her."

Redding continues, "Both religions say there's only one God," Redding said, "and that God is the same God. It's very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven't shifted my allegiance."

I made an argument here, once, that the God of Abraham and Isaac is the God of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Of course God manifests differently based not only on theology, but on culture and language (as with segments within Christianity). Some blog visitors didn't like that idea. And I understand: it's scary to suggest commonality with a worldview that has been asserted as a "sworn enemy." But travel back to the Bible, and read God's promises to Ishmael. Interesting...

I'm not saying I think Christianity and Islam are the same. I recognize that we don't even believe the same things about God. But I could say the same of myself and Southern Baptists. Or Assemblies of God. Or Roman Catholics. Just like we were talking about a few days ago concerning Process Theology, we tend to make God in our own image.

Jen and I used to take yoga classes together. I don't anymore (no time) but she does. We both find yoga to be a powerful mind-body excercise that helps center ourselves. Christianity doesn't offer a similar practice (although Christianized variants on yoga practice have been developed... a sort of ritual-colonialism, maybe).

But don't we get very worried when someone suggests they need something beyond what we have? "If it's good enough for me, it's good enough for YOU!" we defend.

Redding said she does not want her belief in two religions to diminish the value she holds for both Christianity and Islam. Each faith by itself is enough to fulfill a person spiritually, she said. "It's all there. I am not saying you have to go somewhere else to be complete. Some people don't need glasses, some people need single lenses. I need bifocals."

I'm not sure what I "need," but I'm pretty certain my own need begins and ends with Jesus Christ. But there may be room for something else in the middle. Like Star Trek or Buddha, or Czech Beer. Hmmm... should that make me uncomfortable?

Click here to read the full CNN.com story...

9 comments:

adhunt said...

Peter,

I guess Czech beer is alright ;)

It seems to me that what Christians mean by God being Trinity is something that is incompatible with Islam as I understand it. Their "christology" is markedly different; to say the least!

Wickle said...

I would argue that not all differences are equal.

Sure, Methodists and Baptists disagree on some things. At the end of the day, though, we're all talking about Jesus being the Messiah who died for our sins.

I don't know of any Muslim sect that recognizes the divinity of Jesus. That would be rather a deal-breaker, I'd think.

DrD said...

Muslims are taught in the Koran that the curse of Allah is eternally upon every Christian who continues to believe in the Divinity of Jesus.

One cannot truly be a Christian and reject the Divinity of Jesus and yet every Muslim is required to.

Therefore, it would seem impossible to truly be both a Muslim and Christian?

I have not seen any article yet where Ms. Redding resolves that difficulty.

She is also supposedly a NT scholar and teacher so has to be aware. It leaves one to wonder whether she really believes in the Divinity of Jesus.

If not then the way is clear for her to claim both religions.

I know many 'liberal' main-line preachers who do not consider Jesus as divine yet continue to claim that they are Christians and continue in their job as ministers.

I even posted about a Dutch Protestant pastor this week who is an atheist.

Peter said...

I agree that theologically there are profound differences that affect the way we see/understand/interpret/encounter God.

But I read a paper once, that suggested Wicca should be used as a mirror for the Christian faith, to understand how we have failed as a religion. Where Christianity has failed, both ideologically and in praxis, Wicca thrives: understanding of feminine elements of God, honor and stewardship of nature and recognition of the sacred in creation, and a more intuitive sense of personal spirituality - all of these are things that I could imagine enhancing one's Christian faith. Theologically, Christianity and Wicca may be radically different, but in practical application, they may be surprisingly complimentary.

Like Kabbalah, paired with Judaism.

I'm just suggesting that PERHAPS for some, Islamic practice may compliment Christianity (even if there are ideological divergences). I have always admired the reverence and discipline of the Muslim World, though I love Jesus, and don't support fundamentalism or misogyny (sins Christianity is equally guilty of).

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BauJLUTxxZo

Peter said...

Thanks for the link, Anonymous. I think Jesus was "hot" AND "slippery."

Lots of dead people...

asthedeer.com said...

Peter,

I admire the simplicity in Islam. A one sentence confession of faith paired with a few religious practices -- prayer, almsgiving, fasting, pilgrimage. It's simple enough that a child can understand it, yet satisfying for adults too. Simplicity is a key thing Christians can learn from Islam.

Having said this, though, I think the only way for someone to be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time is to hold truncated, reductionist versions of both faiths. In their full bodied forms, each faith excludes the other.

Peace to you,

Chris

Peter said...

Chris, well said. I think you're right on the money: "I think the only way for someone to be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time is to hold truncated, reductionist versions of both faiths. In their full bodied forms, each faith excludes the other."

Or perhaps to hold very loose, non-literal versions.

Neither extreme is very interesting to me, but I appreciate the ability to look at Islam and admire its strengths - even its beauty. I find the same appreciation, in greater strength, for Buddhist practice.

Peace to you as well, Chris,
Peter

David Henson said...

There's also the argument that CHristianity is basically a syncretic sponge, soaking up the culture, philosophy around it and Christianizing and claiming it for its own.

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