More naÃ¯ve observations of an itinerant communicant: iftar
This evening I went to â€˜manse coffeeâ€™, and a brother from the USA nicely reminded me of how post-Enlightenment my understanding of Christianity has become. Yes, angels and demons, Virgin Birth and Resurrection, Son of God and Heavenly Father, body and blood of Christ, but not in the medieval sense — the saints before us were stretching the semantics to express things not covered by the existing vocabulary.
Smugly I carry the phrase ‘right relations’ around, trying to explain shalom with it. Before the manse coffee, I was at an iftar on the kind invitation of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford. I thought it was as important to gracefully accept an invitation as to generously extend one.
Before dinner (or ‘break-fast’ as in ‘iftar’) at 18:00, we listened to the journalist Abdullah Ahman (?, I have almost certainly got his name wrong) from Q-News speak about ‘The ethos of Islamic spirituality’. There was a suggestion that Jesus would have been a muslim (lowercase ‘m’) as he was also one who submitted (to God). This troubled me.
Is submission the right relation between us and God? Is this the Christian view? (I do not suppose earthly parents necessarily want their children to submit to them.) Is ‘submission’ — as in ‘muslim’ and ‘islam’ (lowercase ‘i’) — to be taken at its semantic sense, or is something else being attempted here?
A few more simple steps of thought, and very important and fundamental questions will post themselves (exercise for the reader). I would approach these with much care (and some confidence).
Postscript 1: Mr Ahman (?, vide supra) gave an excellent talk which I shall leave for others to summarize. Much about the similarity of faiths — especially those Abrahamic — have been pointed out; here I am more keen on reporting my contention.
Postscript 2: What a blessing it is to be able to draw from both the laid-back Celtic Christianity and the rigour of Calvinism!
Copyright © 2005-10-23/25 Kaihsu Tai
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