Sunday Post 128: My New Muslim Friends

Tonight several elders from my church were invited to spend the evening with a Turkish Muslim community.  WOW!

I’m so ignorant of other religions.  I’m so unexposed to others who are different from me.

This particular faith community strives to invite outsiders into their family to talk.  They share their beliefs, they share their struggles and, they share their food!

I think what struck me the most about this group was their explanation of Ramadan.  Before tonight, I couldn’t have told you the difference between Ramadan and the Ramada Inn.  I assumed it was about fasting, but it is so much more than that.  Fasting from sun up to sun down is representative of so many things:

  • It builds an appreciation for all that we take for granted – our food and clean water for starters
  • The 30 day period is a time to work to cleanse yourself, not only fasting but working on fixing the other things in life that you participate in that you shouldn’t – like gossiping or using foul language
  • It is also a time of service.  This Muslim community uses Ramadan to do for others… Beautiful!

If I were walking around with a grumbling belly, it’s doubtful I’d be thinking about what I could do for someone else.  I’d be concentrating on what time the sun was going down.

This community stops five times a day to pray.  Now, often I pray throughout the day when it strikes me.  But I can’t imagine the discipline it must take to stop what you’re doing, get down on your knees and go through a conscious process to put God first FIVE times a day.  And by the way, they also have personal conversations with God in between the five officials.

I don’t necessarily believe everything I heard tonight, but there seemed to be many more commonalities than differences in what we believe.

What if we took more time to invite folks of other faiths into our own churches?  Not to change their mind, but to foster understanding.  What if we spent less time criticising other religions and more time learning about them?  What if one of my best friends, one that I ate dinner with on a regular basis, was Muslim?  Think that might help with world peace?

Less judging, more understanding.

One of the guys said that they didn’t believe in working to change other people’s minds about their beliefs.  Instead, he said that they worked to show their faith through their actions.  Their hope is that others will see God through them.  No preaching necessary.

I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one any day.

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11 Comments

  1. Great post. Too many Christians spend their time bashing Muslims. It is fear that drives their criticism. And fear spreads more rampant than the flu.
    Thanks for the reminder that God teaches through our actions even better than from a sermon.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  July 28, 2013

      It’s interesting that we see them through their most extreme factions – and… they see us the same way. They asked me about the senator who wanted to make Christianity our official state religion. I told him that most Christians weren’t in support of that.

      Reply
  2. Jenny McLeod

     /  July 28, 2013

    Well said – as always!!

    Reply
  3. Aunt Susan

     /  July 28, 2013

    Well I am impressed, and a little surprised that you were weren’t more aware of Ramadan, I teach it to my kids every year! Are you going to experience other ideas as well?

    Reply
  4. Beautiful write-up. 🙂

    Reply
  5. “Less judging, more understanding.”

    Yes, indeed.

    Reply
  6. How great that your church is opening up the dialogue with other religions. If most religions are about love, compassion, service, and forgiveness… makes sense we’d all start learning from one another.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  July 31, 2013

      Why do we fight so much when in reality, we have so much in common?

      Reply
      • Exactly! I’m forever humbled by what I don’t know. By the way… where’s the book???

      • Danny Tanner

         /  August 1, 2013

        I swear – I’ve been saying two weeks for three months. I think we’re going to release the first Wednesday in September. Should…be uploaded and approved by Amazon in the next 2 – 3 weeks. But that is when school starts here so going to hold for one more week. Afraid folks won’t read that week and will miss the link – getting close! Thanks for asking.

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