MY TALK LAST NIGHT AT WAVES OF UNITY
I didn’t share it all – but this has all I would have shared had I gone through the entire manuscript – good news – it is parts from my book. I enjoyed meeting a lot of new people last night and hanging out with old friends – as I ipromised – here’s the address . . . . .
FAITH IN THE 21ST CENTURY – BOLD AS LOVE
How the Best of Our Faith’s Bring us Together
Tearing us Apart
It is an honor to be with you and to be invited to speak here. I wish to thank the Deen Institute of North American and specifically Mr. Al-Amin. It gives me great joy to be here.
There are 4 things I know about us today:
First, we all love God!
Second, we all love Texas!
Third, we all love America!
Fourth, we all love Jesus! Though we may define him differently.
That you would ask me, a conservative evangelical Baptist from Texas to speak to you – is very moving. You know that we have differences theologically – perhaps more than any group with you in the US. But I believe it’s critical that we come together and we build bridges to one another. Let Muslim & Christians model how Republicans & Democrats need to get along these days!
If we are ever going to get along and get this tension behind us – we have to first admit it exist and the second find a way around it. I think I have part of the way.
We must be honest and transparent with one another – not fearful about what each other believes trying to become friends then softening the blow – but be honest and clear upfront the whole time being willing to get along. BUT, if we believe the truth – then we don’t and shouldn’t be mean spirited, hateful, rude, disrespectful – instead the opposite should be true. Truth doesn’t bully – it speaks and embraces in kindness and love.
Trust can only be built if we are transparent.
The way to our relationship is not based on our commonalities of faith – but our commonalities as human beings and how both of our faiths demand we get along with the other. Let’s not count on our commonalities bringing us together – instead lets see how extreme our love of God and love of man can be by loving others that are completely opposite of us and serving them in the name of God.
It’s true, Christianity & Islam are expansionist religions as I heard on the History channel a couple of nights ago – we would not say it that way – we would way Great Commission & you would say Dawa. The Prophet Mohammed taught that it was important to spread Islam. So, we believe Jesus – not only prophet but God – commanded us to take his good news to the ends of the earth – and we cannot not do this and consider ourselves Bible believing Christians. I read my Quran to learn about Islam. I was excited that I could learn that one book and find out all I needed to know about Islam – and then I discovered all these hadiths – I’m exhausted!
We believe that God is one – monotheism.
We believe the Bible – you believe the Quran – though we would respect each others books.
We believe Jesus was God in the flesh and the concept of the Trinity. You believe he was a prophet.
We believe the cross was not just a historical fact where Jesus died and was resurrected but the way that we obtain mercy from God – not from works – but from his sacrifice on the cross. You believe he didn’t die on the cross but is in heaven with God.
We believe that there is no other name on earth whereby men can be saved. You believe a rejection of Mohammed as a divine prophet is a rejection of truth with consequences to be suffered.
If what I say I believe, is what I believe, then I cannot isolate myself from you, hate you, fear you, or try to avoid you – it’s all the more incumbent upon me to love you, serve you, be there for you, regardless if you accept my truth or not. A man who calls himself a follower of Jesus, a Christian, and hates you – has rejected the most fundamental tenant of Jesus to all people TO – LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
The beginning of our relationship must not be to reconcile all of these things – but to reconcile ourselves as brothers in humanity – as a Syrian SHEIK/Imam Abdul Rachman – has told me – who studied at Al Aqsa – and has become a very very good friend – he lives in Hama and we must continue to pray for Syria.
I have lived this, and as a result have become close friends to Muslims all over the world, and even in my own backyard.
Story of pilgrimage – Story of building bridges – JANUARY 20TH, 2013 5PM BUILDING BRIDGES EVENT AT NORTHWOOD CHURCH BETWEEN MUSLIMS & CHRISTIANS
BOLD AS LOVE:
1. WE MUST LOVE ALL OUR NEIGHBORS
Zia & seeing Irving Islamic Center everytime I flew out of DFW
Glocal / Polycentric / We are not Isolated
In Luke 10:29 when the rich young ruler ask “who is my neighbor” Jesus gives the story of a good Samaritan – a reject who when a priest & Levite sees a man beaten on the road, he keeps walking, but the Samaritan helps the man. V.36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers hands? 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” It was the opposite one.
Muslims see the diversity of humankind as a blessing from God… The Quran says you are to compete in God consciousness and good works on this earth with one another. The diversity actually propels you to be better humans and believers through aggregation of good works.
Anas reported that the Prophet said: None of you has faith unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
2. WE MUST FACE ALL OUR FEARS
Going to Gaza the second time and winding up having to enter alone & getting in cab
Fear of death / harm / retribution / confusion of faith
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because he first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar, for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
3. WE MUST RISK WITH ALL OUR FAITH IN REACHING OUT
Building Bridges – Moving from connecting clerics to people – where we wouldn’t be in control of everything. Someone has to be willing to extend a hand . . . and keep extending a hand until someone takes it . . . and not become angry from being rejected.
NOVEMBER 14-16, 2013 GLOBAL FAITH FORUM – NORTHWOOD CHURCH – WORLD LEADERS FROM ALL FAITHS SPEAKING ON FAITH IN SOCIETY
Who give in times of both plenty and in hardship, and hold in check their anger and pardon their fellow men – because God loves the doers of good – (3: 134)
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.
4. WE MUST SERVE WITH ALL OUR MIGHT ONE ANOTHER
Hand – heart – head – Wife’s cooking club with muslim/jews/xns
Abu Musa reported the Prophet said: Charity is imcumbent on every Muslim. What about he who cannot give, he should work with his hand and profit himself and give in charity, if he has nothing? He should help the distressed one who is in need. Then if he is unable, he should do good deeds and refrain from doing evil, this is charity on his part B: 2
Abu Hurairah reported the prophet said: The man who exerts himself on behalf of the widow and the poor is like the one who struggles in the way of Allah or fasts all night.
Luke 6:27 But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those that love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecging nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will sons of the most high; for He himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men, 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
5. WE MUST SPEAK ALL OUR TRUTH CLEARLY
Tell me what you believe – you believe it based on truth – not harshness, narrowness, or mean spiritedness. We all believe truth is bigger than ourselves.
GLOBAL THEOLOGY – CLEAR / SIMPLE / CORE / NON-SPECULATUIVE
Eph 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth to each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. . . .
Anas reported that the Prophet said: He who goes forth in search of knowledge is in the way of Allah till he returns.
6. WE MUST LIVE WITH ALL OUR FAITHS PRESENT – MULTIFAITH
Salt & light to each other – conservative Christians like me & Muslims are the biggest conflict
Az-Zubair ibn Awwam reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “There has come to you the diseases of the nations before you: envy and hatred; and hatred is the razor, it shaves the religion and it does not shave hair; by the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not believe until you love one another; shall I know show you something, if you do it, you will love each other? Spread peace between yourselves.”
Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscdription, “To an unknown God, Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. . . “ “
7. WE MUST CHALLENGE ALL OUR TRIBES
I’ve learned your own tribe will crucify you before another tribe will. It was a Hindu that killed Ghandi. WE MUST NEVER NEVER NEVER VILLIFY ANOTHER RELIGION.
O humankind We [God] have created you male and female, and made you into communities and tribes, so that you may know one another. (Quran 49:13).
Acts 19:37 For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of templers nor blasphemers of our goddess.
8. WE MUST FORGIVE WITH ALL OUR HEART.
Wherever Hell is breaking loose – we must do more there to serve than anywhere. From working in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Gaza, Syria, etc., I’ve learned the line from Kevin Costner “What they say about these people is not true” there are more incredible people than there are evil people globally. Don’t let the evil people define the globe for you.
Correct and courteous words accompanied by forgiveness are better than a charitable deed followed by insulting words. God is Rich Beyond Need,
All-Forbearing. ( Quran 2:263)
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Had I not crossed these 8 barriers erected by my tribe and culture – I wouldn’t have the friends I have today or been enriched – and it hasn’t weakened my faith – only made me think deeper about it, loves others more deeply, and share and emulate the love of my Savior Jesus Christ to all of humanity.
Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.