What’s Faith Got to Do With It?

In church today I saw things differently, I wondered about the language, I questioned what does it mean with the missionary says, “before we went to “the field.” What is that language about anyway?

The Faith Club; A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew, Three Women Search for Understanding, by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, It’s this book that caused me to see church differently. It’s the true story of these three women in New York City in the months and years following 9/11. The Muslim women’s search for what her religion means in today’s world, and how she can authentically practice Islam in America. A Jewish women who was a “Member of the Tribe” but unsure of God in such an unstable, unpredictable world, and an Episcopal, strong and sure in her faith, maybe even “rigid”? They share, they challenge, they lay bare their doubts, their stereotypes of each other, they unintentionally offend each other, and celebrate Yom Kippur, Easter and Ramadan with their friends. They uncover what divides, but much more so what unites as women, as mothers and as citizens of a fallen world. The Jewish woman learns to love and respect Jesus, The Christian learns the history that divides Jews and Christian and how easy it is to unknowingly offend, the Muslim learns how to embrace her faith, The Jewish woman and Palestinian Muslim learn how to look beyond the political chaos in Israel to something more. . .

A few of my own lessons from these articulate, educated, FAITHFUL women. . .
* The Holocaust shapes much of the views of many Jews today. They (or Priscilla) lives daily with the doubt and fear, “It happened before, it could happen again, and it could happen to me.”

* The Crucifixion of Jesus is where the rub comes, especially for so many Jewish people. When Christians talk about the Crucifixion, it’s easy for Jews to hear, “The Jews who crucified Jesus. .” When I’ve always thought it was “ALL of us” who were responsible for his death.

* Muslims (or the Quran, the Holy Book of Islam) views, Christians, and Jews as fellow “Followers of the Book”

I could go on and on. . . It seems like EVERY book I’ve picked up over the past month or so. . . from “Hypnobirthing” (an alternative to Lamaze birthing), to Lost Women of the Bible and now this book, have caused me to think deeply about, “The way things are, isn’t always the way things ARE.” We are shaped by our history, we are shaped by our culture, we are shaped by the expereince and baises of those who have come before us, and our baises will shape our world. But can we live outside of these biases? I’m not sure that we every truly can. I guess we live the best we can within the culture and expereince we’ve been given, we learn what we can, we question where we can, we share our journey with others and do the best we can with what we are given. . .my weak faith and feeble questions somehow help us all. . .


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