Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reimagining Christianity 1.8

Affirmation 8 holds that loving ourselves means walking humbly with God, acknowledging our own shortcomings while honestly seeking to understand and call forth the best in others, including those who consider us their enemies.
Hm, seeking understanding and calling forth the best from ... our enemies? Sounds risky and naive to me -- a call likely answered with a suicide bomb (do I play the conservative fear card well?)
I'm reminded of something Tony Campolo wrote after 9-11: "What has made it the very worst of times is that it is becoming more and more difficult to get away with talking about Jesus within the church. If you dare to quote Jesus in some Christian gatherings, you are likely to encounter hostility. ... If, without the required apologies, you should quote what Jesus had to say about how to treat enemies, it should be expected that one or more in the congregation will stand up and walk out. This is not a time when there are ready ears for words such as, 'Love your enemies and do good to those who would hurt you.'" (In Strike Terror No More.)
I had lunch this afternoon with some folks from the Rumi Forum, an organization that fosters interfaith dialogue between Muslims and nonMuslims. They spoke of both the difficulty and importance of such work in the post 9-11 world.
At a moment when some in the Christian world consider Islam itself the enemy of the West, seeking deeper mutual understanding and calling forth the best from one another sounds a bit less like risky naivete and a bit more like practical politics -- as the Confession of 1967 suggested a few years back.

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